New Gods for a New Age — Losing Our Religion and Finding it Again

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brianvds (July 08, 2019, 08:31:03 AM):
A nice little article, pointing out that it is almost impossible for people not to believe in some or other thing. As for me, I'm a nihilist, and perfectly happy being one :-)


New Gods for a New Age — Losing Our Religion and Finding it Again in (Unlikely) Places

https://medium.com/@bronwynruthwilliams/new-gods-for-a-new-age-losing-our-religion-and-finding-it-again-in-unlikely-places-f8d420c7de38
BoogieMonster (July 08, 2019, 10:39:20 AM):
Hrmph. I don't think I've filled in my *ahem* "god shaped hole" with anything. But maybe this is a self-fulfilling prophecy in and of itself: I've seen no evidence that belief in the "Singularity" is a secular pasttime only. It's just a thing some people believe, secular or not. I mean fuckit, you could call heliocentricity a religion then if you must find a brush to paint all non-believers with.

I think what's actually curious about this article is how some people need non believers to also believe something, anything, as long as we can point to them also being moronic, it makes us feel less moronic about ourselves. Helps smooth over any cognitive dissonances.

I think it was an exchange that Penn Gillette, or Dawkins, ... maybe someone else... had during a debate once:

Quote
Debater:... But you CAN'T believe only in things for which there's evidence you must...
Atheist interjects: I CAN! I DO!
Mefiante (July 08, 2019, 11:21:12 AM):
Even if it was true that we all have a certain kind of “faith”—even if it’s only that our fundamental epistemological intuitions are correct, such as syllogistic reasoning, zetetic knowledge acquisition, induction, and so forth—the accusation would still constitute at least two logical fallacies.

First, and perhaps most obviously (as already pointed out), it’s a simple tu quoque dodge: The fact that your faith invokes fantastical beings and mine doesn’t hardly puts the contents of our beliefs on any sort equal or comparable footing. If I dropped my “faith,” I would be left in the unenviable position of not being able to assert any knowledge about anything at all.

Second, the article is quite specific in dealing with beliefs about gods and related religious matters. Attempts to equate such circumscribed belief with beliefs about the nature of knowledge commit an equivocation of the term “belief” that can’t easily be justified. It would essentially be the same criticism that many religionists espouse when they claim that belief in (a, any) God is a very different thing to belief in the tooth fairy.

Still, maybe I do have fervid faith that I don’t have anything that could properly qualify as “faith”…

'Luthon64
brianvds (July 08, 2019, 14:43:26 PM):
Hrmph. I don't think I've filled in my *ahem* "god shaped hole" with anything.

Just about everyone fills their god-shaped hole with something, though it does depend on what exactly we mean by that god-shaped hole. If it consists of a sense of meaning or purpose, or perhaps "oneness with all" or being in the presence of the numinous, then I would think that lots of people who have no use for supernatural entities still understand what it means to have a "religious experience." One need but to look up at the Milky Way on a dark Karoo night to have such an experience, and deities need not be involved.

I would think religion also, to some extent, serves as the glue that binds communities together, or that separates "us" from "them." For those without supernatural beliefs, politics often work just as well for this, hence your foam-at-the-mouth commies or über-libertarians or whatever. In fact, politics functions pretty much as a sort of secular religion.

Me, I try to stay away from politics, but I seek out religious experiences. :-)
BoogieMonster (July 08, 2019, 16:08:34 PM):
Hrmph. I don't think I've filled in my *ahem* "god shaped hole" with anything.

Just about everyone fills their god-shaped hole with something, though it does depend on what exactly we mean by that god-shaped hole. If it consists of a sense of meaning or purpose, or perhaps "oneness with all" or being in the presence of the numinous, then I would think that lots of people who have no use for supernatural entities still understand what it means to have a "religious experience."

... or an experience of awe in the face of massive scales, which has been co-opted by religion to be redefined as "spiritual".

Quote
I would think religion also, to some extent, serves as the glue that binds communities together, or that separates "us" from "them."

In the modern day people may well look for something along these lines but in the past there were tons of times that Christians warred with Christians, etc... good old Tribalism will do just fine.

Quote
For those without supernatural beliefs, politics often work just as well for this, hence your foam-at-the-mouth commies or über-libertarians or whatever. In fact, politics functions pretty much as a sort of secular religion.

This is where my objection starts. Having been around very religious people since birth, I can tell that it never stopped anyone from engaging in political hijinks. It's not, in my estimation, that atheists "find politics" post deconversion any more so than they would've been engaged with that subject as religious zealots. I'm, for the most part, just as politically apathetic and/or active as I always was. Religious or not.

It's just that, lacking religious belief, when one considers the atheist, politics is the only thing left that one can attribute to that person as a "personal belief structure" that is (perhaps) not entirely grounded in science and evidence and more in one's philosophical leanings.

But, that doesn't make it a replacement for or "crutch" for the lack of religion.... IMHO at least. It's an "in addition to" and not an "instead of".

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