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A former member
Post #: 303
I would like to ask a question of each human being. Would you be willing to go a year without thinking any spiritual thoughts at all?  

Only living in the physical causal world?  You can pay as much attention to your "consciousness" and experience as you would like, but you have to accept that it is completely the product of a purely physical system within your brain and does not and can not receive any information except through your physical senses (pressure, balance, sight, smell, hearing, taste) and through the thin inward interface our brain has onto its own self generated information.  All of your ideas and explanations must come from the perspective that everything happens purely as a result of the direct and causal interactions between physical things and their properties.

No superstition.  No fate.  No prayer expecting results.  No special imaginary powers. No collective or shared consciousness.  No ESP.  No reincarnation.  No ghosts.  No spirits.  No ancient wisdom.  No unexplainable connectiveness or oneness with anything at all. No heaven or paradise after death.  Just death after death.  No quantum strangeness as excuse or explanation for human thinking or behavior.  No relativistic influence on life.  No cosmic influence except radiation and gravity.  Life being purely and exclusively the result of chemistry (covalent and ionic) bonding.  No astrological influence.  No god or gods.  No back door at all.  Nothing special about biology or life except its relative complexity.  Soul being just a sensation of the experience of ones own physical processes (including thinking).  No self serving bullshit.  Just living and accepting life for what it actually is.

It is OK to have thoughts of a spiritual nature, but you must experience them as the result of a brain desperate to explain that which it can't explain.  As internally generated lies. Love, sadness, fear, hate, compassion, disgust, indignation, elation, humor, surprise, contentedness, agitation… all the result of the same physical/chemical mechanisms from which all other sensation arise. No miracles, no coming enlightenment, no rapture, no end of world escapist nihilism, no second coming, no prophecy, no answers from ET, no harmonic convergence, no grand escape, no coming age of peace, no perfect future, no perfect ecstasy, no final insight, no grand answer. Nothing to wait for. Everything that can happen must be done. Everything that can exist must be built. Just evolution.

Would you be willing to do this? Even for one hour? Could you?

This is possible. It is how I live. The only thing that makes it hard is how few people do it, how socially isolating it is.

Randall Lee Reetz
Jeff C.
sixpack65
Pacifica, CA
Post #: 2
Hi Randall,

This is essentially how I live as well, and I do not imagine we are alone in this philosophy. It's called realism. It is understanding and accepting that human beings are simply biological creatures who make choices and live with those choices and the consequences they bring. We are born, we experience life, then we cease to exist. Not such a bad thing at all.

There is no need to create purpose, no need to invent some cosmic master to which we are enslaved, no need to delude ourselves into believing we can attain immortality by allowing some imagined jewish zombie into our hearts. The events in our lives are largely random chance, affected occasionally by the choices we make of our own free will.

It really isn't rocket science. But "faith" makes people immune to common sense.
Gavin I.
globetable
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 96
The short answer is no. And neither can you my fellow human.

How do you propose to contact these 7 billion people exactly? It all seems a bit too Dali Lamaish with a hint of Lenin totalitarianism for my tastes.

This is pure nonsense - " Life being purely and exclusively the result of chemistry (covalent and ionic) bonding," and why folks like our friend Matthew are worthy of the proverbial benefit of the doubt.

Life is special. Emotions are not chemically induced lies, they are evolved over million of years survival mechanisms, including the emotion identified as "spirituality."

May I humbly suggest a counter challenge by having you ignore that liar of liar chemically-induced emotional state, "constipation" for a year. You are off to a good start.

Go back, count up the nos and see if you can find that many things to say yes to.






A former member
Post #: 38
Getting rid of "spiritual" beliefs and other unwarranted positions is not the same as removing all mystery from life. It seems to reach too far to say "all there is, is this or that..." We clearly don't know all there is, hence the continued use of scientific and philosophical enquiry. What we seem justified in saying are things like "This is all we seem to have to work with..." or "We are warranted in maintaining this because...", etc. Replacing one absolutist position for another resolves nothing. For instance, we don't know what happens to consciousness after bodily death, we just don't have any good reason to think there ought to be something else.
A former member
Post #: 1
Phil is right, in my opinion. We do not have to provide an explanation for all things we don't KNOW. They are left open for inquiries. Life is what we get and what we make of it in love, joys, sorrows, emotions, etc. and at the end that is all we know. As a retired hospital pathologist I have autopsied many who died and I can see no reason to believe that there is more after death. Being a humanist does not mean being amoral, it just means avoiding a whole bunch of easy, and probably incorrect, explanations of life. We're here because we're here.
Jeff C.
sixpack65
Pacifica, CA
Post #: 3
Getting rid of "spiritual" beliefs and other unwarranted positions is not the same as removing all mystery from life. It seems to reach too far to say "all there is, is this or that..." We clearly don't know all there is, hence the continued use of scientific and philosophical enquiry. What we seem justified in saying are things like "This is all we seem to have to work with..." or "We are warranted in maintaining this because...", etc. Replacing one absolutist position for another resolves nothing. For instance, we don't know what happens to consciousness after bodily death, we just don't have any good reason to think there ought to be something else.


You don't have to have proof of something to assert that it's true...just ask a Xian. The difference is that theists invoke faith since they have no evidence and no logic on which to base their beliefs. A realist examines the arguments and the existing evidence and reaches the conclusion that, despite the lack of indisputable evidence that proves it beyond the shadow of doubt, everything we think and everything we feel--indeed, even our very existence--is probably a result of chemistry. Can we prove there are no supernatural forces at work here? Admittedly, no. Nobody can claim to have solved all the mysteries of life, so it's certainly good to continue to ask questions and seek answers. It's just that some of us have reached an educated opinion that mysticism and spirituality are a waste of time. If a theist can state his beliefs as a matter of fact, so can I.
A former member
Post #: 313
Wow, either there are shills aplenty in this group or I need to find a "real atheist I mean it!" meetup group. I feel the spirituality and all too awkwardly forced positivism seep up through the floorboards like so much green gas in The Exorcist. Sad.

I guess the difference is that I am not a "recovering" theist. So many in this group seem to be at war with religion. I have no personal grievance. Suffered no abuse from religion. I just think well and try to think more well with all I've got.

Oh, and yes, in the middle of a car crash, or when drowning in a class 4 rapid, I pray. Luckily, I am not often in either of those situations.

I started this discussion as I became aware of the fact that so many people claim to be anti-religion who are in fact just as religious and as inward-facing as any Pope or High Priestess or self-flagellating seeker. In this group I place anyone who studies philosophy or consciousness or meditation or oneness or is searching for 'the answer' or enlightenment or inner peace. If these are your goals, you are religious and definitely not an atheist. Not at least as I define it. Stop looking inside and stop trying to self-medicate and you might just find that building solutions on the outside of the self is a far more constructive activity (will certainly lead to inner peace faster than staring at your navel).

Randall Lee Reetz (my real and full name… no hiding… no reason to)

P.S. At least Jeff Case seems to get it.
Larry H.
terrycts
Group Organizer
Pinole, CA
Post #: 16
Randall,

Enough is enough!

You have been insulting the members of this group en masse for some time. I am personally not offended by your vitriol; to me it says more about you than it does about us.

However there are many on this list who are not comfortable with such ad hominen attacks. Someone checking us out might conclude that we act like the secular equivalent of the Westboro Baptists.

Either display some semblance of civility in your posts, or leave the group, or be kicked out of the group.

A former member
Post #: 39

You don't have to have proof of something to assert that it's true...just ask a Xian.

Putting aside vague uses of the words "proof" and "true", I don't look to Christians or other religionists or religions to determine the justification of what I hold to be the case.

The difference is that theists invoke faith since they have no evidence and no logic on which to base their beliefs. A realist examines the arguments and the existing evidence and reaches the conclusion that, despite the lack of indisputable evidence that proves it beyond the shadow of doubt, everything we think and everything we feel--indeed, even our very existence--is probably a result of chemistry. Can we prove there are no supernatural forces at work here? Admittedly, no. Nobody can claim to have solved all the mysteries of life, so it's certainly good to continue to ask questions and seek answers. It's just that some of us have reached an educated opinion that mysticism and spirituality are a waste of time.

I don't disagree with any of this and I don't think my post conflicts with it.

If a theist can state his beliefs as a matter of fact, so can I.

Just make sure you try avoid the fallacy, tu quoque. Just because some irrational person does something, doesn't mean we're reasonable in doing it also.
A former member
Post #: 40
Wow, either there are shills aplenty in this group or I need to find a "real atheist I mean it!" meetup group. I feel the spirituality and all too awkwardly forced positivism seep up through the floorboards like so much green gas in The Exorcist. Sad.

I guess the difference is that I am not a "recovering" theist. So many in this group seem to be at war with religion. I have no personal grievance. Suffered no abuse from religion. I just think well and try to think more well with all I've got.

I don't really see anything wrong with what's said here. "Spirituality" is a completely unwarranted position to hold. I don't really understand why you would assume others to be "recovering" theists because they might not swallow your every word.

Oh, and yes, in the middle of a car crash, or when drowning in a class 4 rapid, I pray. Luckily, I am not often in either of those situations.

This is interesting. I've never prayed in such situations. The only thing I articulated to myself when I lost control on the freeway was "I'm about to die."

I started this discussion as I became aware of the fact that so many people claim to be anti-religion who are in fact just as religious and as inward-facing as any Pope or High Priestess or self-flagellating seeker. In this group I place anyone who studies philosophy or consciousness or meditation or oneness or is searching for 'the answer' or enlightenment or inner peace. If these are your goals, you are religious and definitely not an atheist. Not at least as I define it. Stop looking inside and stop trying to self-medicate and you might just find that building solutions on the outside of the self is a far more constructive activity (will certainly lead to inner peace faster than staring at your navel).

Randall Lee Reetz (my real and full name… no hiding… no reason to)

P.S. At least Jeff Case seems to get it.

Now this is an ignorant statement. Not only that, it's self defeating. You would be placing yourself into what you consider to be "religious" (and "not atheism") as the statement as well as your OP are based on philosophy. Science is based on branches of philosophy like logic and on certain positions of a philosophical nature like methodological naturalism and scientific realism as well as other fields outside of science (at least partly) like math. Scientism failed miserably with the logical positivists. I wish more of the outspoken atheists knew about that. They're the ones who are looking more and more like a religion by remaining ignorant of the failed philosophies of the past and continuing to make basic philosophical mistakes. To presume that science can talk about everything we can know is not only circular, it's a category error. Godel's incompleteness theorems proves this, that science can't be justified via science without begging the question.

Atheism itself is not representative of a rational mind. There are plenty of idiotic atheists in the world. It is an incidental product of reason based thinking. Dogmatic thinking is the enemy. Religion and new age crap is a common result of that.
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