• wonderer1
    1.8k
    ...frantically trying to avoid the inevitable final outcome, which is that it will spectacularly commit suicide.Tarskian

    Sounds like fantasizing on your part, to me.

    Do you see yourself as someone likely to commit suicide if you came to have an atheist perspective? If so, do you think that might just be a personal issue you have?
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Well, if you stick to such straw men then this conversation won't go anywhereTom Storm

    I’m not arguing why I believe in God and objective truth. You are asking me to justify my beliefs to you as if I was using my beliefs to justify something about atheists.

    I’m simply saying if I personally did NOT believe in objective truth, I wouldn’t see the point of philosophy, and if I didn’t believe in objective morality, I wouldn’t see the point of any morality.

    The thread is about whether atheism is logical or not. Maybe there are no gods. Maybe atheists are right about that. I’m just saying what I think logically follows from an atheistic worldview - absolute truth and objective morality disappear as well, from what I can tell. This isn’t an original idea. Nietzsche called one of his books “beyond good and evil” and belittled those with a “will to truth” as lying to themselves, and said “God is dead” to make his point thoroughly.

    even if you grant there might be gods you can't demonstrate which one is real or what god's moral system is.Tom Storm

    Ok, but that is a different issue. If we grant that there is objectivity and God serving as judge of moral objectivity, now it is worth struggling to find out what God means, what is truth. It is worth having this discussion.

    I’m willing to keep searching and talking about it, because I believe there is an objective truth.

    Which brings me back to my simple point. If I didn’t grant (by belief and my own reasons) that there was truth and objective morals, then I would see no reason to argue about it.

    I’ll give you an example of where this is coming from.

    There is a whole thread on here asking if there is a physical basis for an “object”.
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/15297/is-there-any-physical-basis-for-what-constitutes-a-thing-or-object

    So philosophers can doubt the difference between an apple and a tree trunk is anything more than a mental construct. The world-in-itself is unknown to us, and the lines we draw around things are only lines in our minds.

    This is a real epistemological and metaphysical issue. It’s a conclusion that is currently popular (been around since Socrates). It’s how we show that gender isn’t fixed for instance - we draw the lines we want to draw as there are no lines in an objective world we have access to (if such a world exists).

    I live in the same world as those philosophers. I get the epistemological and metaphysical issues.

    But I just think we have a lot more work to do to demonstrate the objective. I don’t therefore think there are no differences in a physical world apart from me. I believe those of us who think every “object” we take up is ONLY constructed by ourselves, are just wrong, because there is an objective reality with mind-independent distinctions in it.

    The problem with “what is an object” doesn’t lead me to believe “there are no objects” it leads me to believe we have a lot more to investigate about the world and a lot more to clarify in our discussions about it.

    The problem with “what is the real God, and what does it matter to me anyway” doesn’t lead me to believe “there are no gods” it leads me to believe we have a lot more to talk about.

    This is because I believe there is an objective world or truth and morality.

    I get thinking there is no truth. I get thinking there is no god. I don’t get philosophizing and developing ethics despite those facts. You can, but I wouldn’t.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    I think we should end this discussion for now. We are talking past each other.

    I am not talking about objective truth. Whether it exists or not is irrelevant to my point.

    Take care - TS
  • Tarskian
    301
    Sounds like fantasizing on your part, to me.

    Do you see yourself as someone likely to commit suicide if you came to have an atheist perspective? If so, do you think that might just be a personal issue you have?
    wonderer1

    The following view is ascribed to Nietzsche:

    Europe no longer needed God as the source for all morality, value, or order in the universe; philosophy and science were capable of doing that for us.

    Nietzsche believed that the removal of this system put most people at the risk of despair or meaninglessness.

    For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe.

    The absurdist philosophy also suggests that atheism leads to this result:

    Absurdism is the philosophical theory that the universe is irrational and meaningless.

    The three responses discussed in the traditional absurdist literature are suicide, religious belief in a higher purpose, and rebellion against the absurd.

    I am not an atheist. I cannot imagine ever becoming one.
  • Fire Ologist
    493


    I don’t blame you for ending the conversation. It’s actually is an example of the point I was making.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    The following view is ascribed to Nietzsche:Tarskian

    And? Is this meant to be an argument from authority? Nietzche having made predictions about the future based on his limited perspective isn't something I am all that interested in.

    In any case, it doesn't seem to respond to the questions I asked you.

    Your position seems to mostly amount to an appeal to consequences fallacy. Suppose a substantial portion of our fellow social primates can't cope emotionally with having an atheistic perspective. Do you recognize that that doesn't have any bearing on whether God exists?
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    I don’t blame you for ending the conversation. It’s actually is an example of the point I was making.Fire Ologist

    Explain.
  • Tarskian
    301
    Nietzche having made predictions about the future based on his limited perspective isn't something I am all that interested in.wonderer1

    So, why do you want to discuss the matter? My starting point has always been this view ascribed to Nietzsche.

    Suppose a substantial portion of our fellow social primates can't cope emotionally with having an atheistic perspective. Do you recognize that that doesn't have any bearing on whether God exists?wonderer1

    I have never used this argument to "prove" that God exists.

    I consider the objective impartial position to be that we cannot rationally know that. This decision can only be made at the spiritual level. It is an individual choice to make.

    But then again, the abjuration of spirituality is known to have potentially dangerous consequences.

    As an atheist, Nietzsche was clearly aware of that. He proposed that an "atheistic revaluation" could be an alternative to religion. In my impression, his solution hasn't gained particularly much traction.

    In the meanwhile, the ongoing atheist rebellion against the absurd continues unabatedly with no solution in sight.

    You see, God does not even need to exist for religion to develop survivorship bias. Since atheism exhibits a very noticeable tendency to drop out of the race, religion will trivially win by default.

    There is simply not enough time to keep struggling with vaporware such as Nietzsche's "atheistic revaluation". Either you manage to keep the absurd at bay or else the absurd wins.
  • Fire Ologist
    493


    Well I understand you don’t believe in god or religion, and you don’t seem to be an Aristotelian platonist about objectivity, so if I was you, I wouldn’t argue with me either (which was my point).
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    Well I understand you don’t believe in god or religion,Fire Ologist

    While this is true, it does not go to the argument I have been making.

    This is, perversely, actually an argument I first heard in the Baptist community I grew up in. It came up in the context of Christians who thought gay people were destined for hell and that homosexuality was against god's morality.

    So here it is, one more time: Religions disagree about god's moral system. Even within the one religion people can't agree about how god wants us to behave. Theists therefore have no access to an 'objective' or god given moral system. Our Chaplain put it something like this - 'The faithful are in the same position as the secular humanist. We can debate what is right and wrong and we, as Christians, can invoke god's name, but we don't have any certain way to establish how god wants us to behave. Only the literalists will make such an argument and even they will be at odds over the conclusions.'

    All the religious person can do is interpret scripture or respond from personal perspectives regarding how they 'imagine' god wants them to behave.

    Again - this is not about the nature of theism or atheism, it's about the nature of moral systems which can help but be pragmatic, adaptive and evolving.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    All the religious person can do is interpret scripture or respond from personal perspectives regarding how they 'imagine' god wants them to behave.Tom Storm
    :up: :up:

    If we grant that there is objectivity ...Fire Ologist
    ... then (a) "God" is not an objective fact that is either directly or indirectly observed.

    God serving as judge of moral objectivity
    As per Plato's Euthyphro, 'morality is objective' because (a) "God" says so and not that (a) "God" says so because –independent of all subjects including (any) "God" – it is objective? :eyes:

    I believe those of us who think every “object” we take up is ONLY constructed by ourselves, are just wrong, because there is an objective reality with mind-independent distinctions in it.
    Your confusion, in part, comes from equivocating, or conflating, "object" (ontology) and "objective" (epistemology), Fire Ologist, which is typical of p0m0s / idealists / platonists. :sparkle:

    This is because I believe ..
    I.e. assert without argument or non-arbitrary grounds. :roll:
  • Tarskian
    301
    Nietzsche called one of his books “beyond good and evil” and belittled those with a “will to truth” as lying to themselves, and said “God is dead” to make his point thoroughly.Fire Ologist

    Aspirational beliefs are incredibly autosuggestive.

    For example, if you do not believe that there is hope, then there isn't. If an athlete does not believe that he will win the gold medal, then he won't.

    These things are ultimately self-fulfilling prophecies.

    The ability to strongly believe -- "lying to themselves" -- is a survival skill.

    That is why the most repugnant individuals are the ones who destroy other people's hope:

    - there is no hope for you
    - you cannot do it
    - nobody will help you
    - you will fail
    - there is no god who will help you
    - ...

    By destroying other people's hope, they cause untold damage. The step from unbeliever to satanically evil is very small. All one needs to do, is to project one's own despair onto others. It even works because misery loves company.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    By destroying other people's hope, they cause untold damage. The step from unbeliever to satanically evil is very small. All one needs to do, is to project one's own despair onto others. It even works because misery loves company.Tarskian

    That's hilarious.

    Might as well say this of theism:

    By destroying people's freedom and ability to think, theism can cause untold damage. The step from believer to satanically evil is very small. All one needs to do is project one's own nihilism and religious absolutism onto others. It even works because fanaticism craves converts.
  • Tarskian
    301
    By destroying people's freedom and ability to think, theism can cause untold damage.Tom Storm

    Religion does not destroy anybody's freedom. Religion just reminds you of the fact that some forms of freedom are fake. If you do not want to keep the laws of God, then don't. Religion merely reminds you of the fact that it will backfire, if not later in this life, then in a later life.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    By destroying people's freedom and ability to think, theism can cause untold damage. The step from believer to satanically evil is very small. All one needs to do is project one's own nihilism and religious absolutism onto others. It even works because fanaticism craves converts.Tom Storm
    :halo: :up:
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    We can debate what is right and wrong and we, as Christians, can invoke god's name, but we don't have any certain way to establish how god wants us to behave. 'Tom Storm

    I agree we don’t have any certain way (that comes from anyone else but our own selves) to establish how God wants us to behave. God doesn’t send everyone text messages. How we each decide to actually behave and what we actually do is for each of us alone, even alone from God. So I can sit with that part of the quote.

    I also agree that when we are together talking about how we might behave, building moral systems together, we struggle to interpret the words and traditions. And this debate among even members of the same religion, is really the same activity (just a different subject) as people discussing the best government or best economy, or even the best interpretation of any data into any system.

    But what are these debates for? What will my behavior actually be? What can I use from outside of my own wits to inform this behavior? Is there any objective end to the debates and interpretations?

    Personally I have to believe the reason for certain debates is to find one truth, one morality for all of us equally, for all minds and for all gods.

    If the above Christian who says he has no idea how God wants him to behave, and who said we must debate interpretations when talking about it, if he ALSO thought there was no such thing as objective truth, and no actual knowledge of God was possible at all, then what would be the point of all the debating? He may not particularly know God’s will, but if he thought he never would or could know God’s will, why ever discuss God’s will again? And if that was his final lesson to you, he was a poor priest, at least on that occasion.

    I’m not disagreeing with the conundrum it is to be a human being, to figure out what is the right thing to do is, to know no matter what happens at least I tried the best that I could. It’s as hard for a theist as it is for an atheist to figure this shit out.

    But from that starting point of nothing to go on, just like anybody else (no one telling me how to behave, free to figure it out), I happen to believe we can get somewhere together, that that are a few places all minds are already participating in, and that is objectivity, or truth, or when universalizing moral systems, for me, God is equivalent to objectivity or truth.

    If I didn’t think there was anywhere in the universe where the truth was laid bare for anyone to see, where something good was only good and so forever good, then I (ME, doesn’t have to be anyone else) wouldn’t talk to Christians or argue with atheists, or theists or philosophers about any of it.

    And just because I can’t prove to you what the objective truth is, doesn’t mean it is not still apparent to me that it exists.

    I tried to show you how it works for me, just to attempt to fight off the tactical straw man accusation.

    Like proving I have a body, and there is a physical world of causes and effects. I can’t prove any of it is real to a well schooled modern philosopher, but I have no problem believing it is real and even obvious at times (pain and pleasure), as it gets murky at other times (hallucinations and dreams).

    Just like that, I see objectivity all around me. And in the objectivity of morality, Insee God. So now it’s worth trying to articulate what I see to other people, to debate, to have discussions arguing scriptures or eastern mysticism. There really is truth, so it’s worth the struggle.

    But if I didn’t think that, I would understand not seeing the point to any debate, to any label or objective truth, to any indication that X is something God must want.

    All the religious person can do is interpret scripture or respond from personal perspectives regarding how they 'imagine' god wants them to behave.

    Again - this is not about the nature of theism or atheism, it's about the nature of moral systems which can help but be pragmatic, adaptive and evolving.
    Tom Storm

    All the religious person can do is the same thing anyone can do.

    Think of it this way: objective truth is to logical discussion, what God is to moral behavior - it’s the reason to pursue the activity, and join others to the debate for as much help as we can get.

    If didn’t believe in God, I’d see no point in debating moral behavior with a bunch of other monkeys like me - I already know you, just like me, we’ll never settle any debates. And similarly, if I didn’t believe in objective truth, I’d see no point in debating really anything philosophical. Just like if Indidnt really believe I had a body, living in an ecosystem on earth, I’d see no reason to debate biology and physics or anything philosophical. (Body is a no brainer to me, yet people debate it.)

    Objectivity, like God, is there. For me. Just there.

    Or I wouldn’t see the point in debating.

    I truly wish I could show you, to give you the meat you seem to be demanding (which is not my point and why we are talking past each other, or at least I’m talking past you).
    Here, I’ll try. Proof of objectivity and a pointing in the direction of God.

    Objectivity is the law of non-contradiction. It is math and logic itself. We can’t speak at all, and language would never have developed if there wasn’t before this development an objective world of many different objects in reasonable, intelligible relations. Just is. Like gravity. There is shot that can be known for what it is. That’s the shortest way for me to say why I believe (not know for certain) that there is objectivity. I don’t see how objectivity can not exist without it not existing in the context of an objective world (so it still exists). An object cannot both be, and not be, in the same sense, at the same time. You need an object in this world for non-contradiction within that object to be in this world.

    As for belief in God, there is no way to be short. But maybe the most logical thing to say is, if I believe in an objective world I can truly know (once in a while), and I see there are other people like me who see this same truth (or are capable of it), and they share their lives with me, and we need there to be a moral system among us all, wherever we together call something “good”, this moral good between us is now personal; it’s something now shared only among persons, and so this shared good may as well be God, and to me, is in fact God. By seeing, for instance, that it is good to sacrifice to save the people we love, to go to work to help not yourself, but others, I see this love itself between the two people as part of the substance of God. It’s tied up in words and actions and intentions and reasons and meaning - all things human and Good, are of God, with God, in God, and if we choose, for God. We make God up together, and when it is good what we have done, God is really there. And immediately God is so much more than that, while at the same time, that enough to know all of God.

    But I’m not going to be able to prove God exists or show you something objective about God. Only grace will open you up to that, so that is up to you and your God, or maybe you know there is nothing objective to ever know about God so I’ve just been talking to myself again.

    I don’t have to prove that to make my point. I know you aren’t seeing my point without some example of one objective truth or something objective about God, so I gave it a shot.

    I keep just saying my point is simply that, if I didn’t believe in God, I’d lose sight of all objectivity among us people, and so I wouldn’t bother to philosophize about morality anymore.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    I agree we don’t have any certain way (that comes from anyone else but our own selves) to establish how God wants us to behave. God doesn’t send everyone text messages. How we each decide to actually behave and what we actually do is for each of us alone, even alone from God. So I can sit with that part of the quote.

    I also agree that when we are together talking about how we might behave, building moral systems together, we struggle to interpret the words and traditions. And this debate among even members of the same religion, is really the same activity (just a different subject) as people discussing the best government or best economy, or even the best interpretation of any data into any system.
    Fire Ologist

    That's all I am saying. At last we got there. :wink:
  • Fire Ologist
    493


    I wrote the rest of that for nothing?

    You won’t speak to my point at all?

    You can’t get there? It’s a simple point: why make moral laws we all should follow if there is no such thing as laws we all should follow? Simple, didn’t work and you asked for more, so I wrote more and showed you I understood you.

    Have no idea whether you get what I said. Just that you don’t like it.

    All you were saying misses my point, and I responded to it anyway.

    Thanks for the winky face :broken:
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    [W]hy make moral laws we all should follow if there is no such thing as laws we all should follow?Fire Ologist
    Morals =/= laws; your question doesn't make sense.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    @Pantagruel
    Based on Abrahamic, Hindi, pantheonic Greco-Roman-Egyptian-Babylonian-Persian-Mesoamerican-Aboriginal traditions, I understand theism as consisting of [at least] the following claims:

    (1) at least one ultimate mystery
    (2) created existence,
    (3) intervenes in – causes changes (which cannot be accounted for otherwise) to – the universe
    (4) and is morally worthy of worship.

    Cite any deity-tradition, sir, that you consider 'theistic' and that does not conceptualize its (highest) deity with these attributes, or claims. :chin:
    180 Proof
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    [W]hy make moral laws we all should follow if there is no such thing as laws we all should follow?
    — Fire Ologist
    Morals =/= laws; your question doesn't make sense.
    180 Proof

    Started this few posts back saying if I didn’t believe in God and objective truth, I’d see no reason to make moral laws or argue with anyone about them.

    Does the above make sense to you now?
  • night912
    4
    I’m not an expert on living the atheist life, but I didn’t always believe in God. And it was liberating. But also seemed incapable of addressing the bigger questions that didn’t go away. If I stayed atheist, I wouldn’t have come back to seeking answers, and more to the point, wouldn’t be talking about it with anyone else.

    That’s the illogical part to me. If three people agree there is no god, there is no objective truth, there is no access to reality as it must be for all, then they should also agree that they have no idea whether each of them mean or agreed on the same thing - collaboration in philosophy and ethics becomes pointless.



    You just showed what the source of your problem. It's not atheism/atheist or theism/theist. The source is you. You weren't seeking answers when you were an atheist. Now that you've become a theist, you still aren't looking for answers. Instead of looking for answers and think critically, you assumed that the answers are about being an atheist or theist, and that objective truth is contingent on being one of those.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    ... moral laws ...

    Does the above make sense to you now?
    Fire Ologist
    No. Again, morals =/= laws. :roll:

    if I didn’t believe in God and objective truth
    I don't believe in "God" ... and, because there are objective truths, I'm a moral naturalist.

    :up:
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Now that you've become a theist, you still aren't looking for answers. Instead of looking for answers and think critically, you assumed that the answers are about being an atheist or theist, and that objective truth is contingent on being one of those.night912

    No, that’s backwards. When I was an atheist, I figured out that there has to be an objective truth. So I was still thinking critically ( not about morality because that seemed pointless). But once I realized I couldn’t shake objectivity, in my case, it eventually led me back to theism (along with other things).

    If there is no objective truth, questions and answers about morality are pointless. The answer to every question is the same - we’ll never know for sure, because there is no absolute objectivity.

    You would want to refute that instead of diagnosing my problem.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    [W]hy make moral laws we all should follow if there is no such thing as laws we all should follow?

    Morals =/= laws; your question doesn't make sense.
    — 180 Proof
    180 Proof

    Why make moral laws we all should follow if there is no objectivity we all must follow?

    If there is no possibility of obtaining objective, universally applicable truth, why would we bother to debate universally applicable morality?

    How about now? You seemed to understand it before. Just a rephrase of a simple question.

    Why bother with ethics if there is no chance for a standard, any standard?

    There, I said it again. How about now?
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    I don't believe in "God" ... and, because there are objective truths, I'm a moral naturalist.180 Proof

    Well then you might be agreeing with me!

    Some people who don’t believe in God, also say things like “there is no truth” or “there are no absolutes.” So, again if you didn’t believe in any of that, why play moralist.

    But you, you don’t believe in God, but you do believe there is objective, universal, natural law. An absolute standard. So something is there for you to work out a morality.

    If, along with God, you did not believe in objectivity, what do you think would animate a debate over some moral law? I found, not enough.
  • Pantagruel
    3.4k
    Cite any deity-tradition, sir, that you consider 'theistic' and that does not conceptualize its (highest) deity with these attributes, or claims. :chin:180 Proof

    I'll go you one better. Show me where this thread is about the defining attributes of "theism".

    This thread is about whether atheism is illogical. Atheism isn't about refuting theism. Atheism is a disbelief in the existence of god or gods.

    I continue to dispute that theisms accord with your ad hoc criteria. Simply put, your criteria don't appear in any definitions of theism. The "ultimate mystery" condition is completely vague, therefore meaningless. Being "morally worthy of worship" isn't true. The gods of the Greek pantheon exhibited no such consistent morality. Nor the Egyptian. As I said, that is about what humans think about gods, not what gods might be in and of themselves.

    But all of that is moot, since none of that is relevant to the belief in "the existence of god" which is black letter by definition atheism. Which just goes to show, I guess, how illogical some atheists are prepared to be in defense of their dogma.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Show me where this thread is about the defining attributes of "theism".Pantagruel
    Non sequitur. It was you, Panta, who asserted without argument that my sine qua non claims of theism, which are easily falsified (i.e. atheism), is "ad hoc" or that I "made it up" and so I'm requesting of you to put up – respond with a citation that counters my concept of theism (yeah, we both know you cannot :sweat:) – or shut up.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/915456

    Some people who don’t believe in God, also say things like “there is no truth” or “there are no absolutes.”Fire Ologist
    I definitely do not agree with your "some people" as my previous posts point out. Maybe below (A, B, C1, C2) my reasoning will be clearer to you.

    So something is there for you to work out a morality.
    Yes, see (B) below.

    (A) I believe there are objective truths.

    (B) I believe moral naturalism consists of objective truths
    • humans are natural beings which are imbedded in and inseparable from nature and its regular processes (re: objective facticity);
    • natural beings suffer from what they do to and what they fail to do for themselves or others;
    • humans know what makes humans (and other natural beings like humans) suffer and therefore how to prevent or reduce human (natural beings') suffering (re: disvalue);
    • virtues are habits reinforced by preventing and reducing suffering (re: disvalue) whereas vices are habits reinforced by neglecting or increasing suffering (re: disvalue);
    • human flourishing means maximizing virtues and minimizing vices)
    which can be demonstrated using sound arguments. No doubt, open to discussion and debate. "Why bother?" you ask. To expose the flaws in the argument and explore via thought-experiments / scenarios moral naturalism's (as conceived here) pragmatic plausibility because we are thinking adults instead of dogmatic or supertitious children.

    (C1) I do not believe (theistic) gods are anything more than subjective (ideas fictions or dreams) without any objective referents (i.e. enpty names).

    (C2) I believe that any 'morality' based on or derived from merely subjective ideas like (theistic) gods are also merely subjective (i.e. arbitrary, relativist, emotive, dogmatic, superstitious, etc), therefore not objective.
  • Michael
    14.8k
    No, atheism is not illogical. The proposition "no deities exist" is not a contradiction.
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