"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 08, 2007

An agreement!!!

After months of essentially shooting past one another Matt and I have arrived at an agreement regarding the nature of meaning and purpose in the life of the Atheist. To arrive at this point we must first assume the NT emergence of CT. I would obviously disagree with this assumption, but I do it a priori. Similarly the atheist affirms this assumption and does so a priori. Now on to the agreement which can be seen evolving in this thread

The agreement as it now stands
We will call the following thesis the 'internal meaning thesis'
{IMT} =since we are conscious and self-aware (CT) we are able to perceive our own existence and have an emotional/intellectual reaction (MT) to our own state of existence.


The same formula can be used to establish the existence of an internally generated sense of purpose but I see no need to formalize another silly thesis statement to substantiate that.

We have also come to an agreement that if NT then IMT necessitates that Man is the only source from which meaning and purpose can spring. Having said that the atheist acknowledges that Man as a collective unit has no meaning, no purpose, no hope. The atheist then lives in a reality where he punctuates his existence with moments self-ordained meaning and purpose all the while realizing that in an ultimate sense life is purposeless and meaningless.

To me this sounds akin to fulfilling a life long dream to build an elaborate sand castle on a remote white sand beach. Then after applying the final touch you realize you built it within reach of the quickly rising tide... and you forgot your camera.

I'd guess if you wanted my analogy to be even more accurate you'd need to have the sand castle be conscious and you to have never existed at all, but then we are just using stupid talk. I'll just chalk that up to the weakness of analogies in general. =)

So at the end of the day we seem of have a much better handle on our terms, yet the more clearly we define the Atheist position the more I realize how unacceptable I find the implications. I'd imagine the implications will be discussed in the coming posts.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Matt M said...

Man as a collective unit has no meaning, no purpose, no hope.

Surely 'Man', as a "collective unit", has the total of all the collective meanings purposes and hopes of those who make it up?

Anyway, as abstract entities aren't conscious it's pointless to talk about them having meaning, or purpose, or hope, etc. Only something which is aware can have those things.

in an ultimate sense life is purposeless and meaningless.

In an ultimate sense that's not true - my life is full of meaning and purpose: my own and other peoples.

To me this sounds akin to fulfilling a life long dream to build an elaborate sand castle on a remote white sand beach. Then after applying the final touch you realize you built it within reach of the quickly rising tide... and you forgot your camera.

All is transitory. All will turn to dust... or sand. That's why it's best to make the most of what you have now - before it's all lost forever.

It's the building of the sandcastle that's important.

1:42 PM

 
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

The fact that the diffrent intelligences present in myself, Matt, Alex and others are capable of meaningful communication implies that there is a certain monism to intelligence; ie all intelligence is ultimately unified.
No man is an island; he exists within a context.
That context is...

1:58 PM

 
Blogger Matt M said...

Our shared environment and genetic history?

2:06 PM

 
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Sharp!
No cigar, though.
Those are the means, certainly.
But are the end?
You of course, don't see the need for an end, Matt.
Except the inevitable heat death, I guess....

Most animals have a shared environment and genetic history within their species. I don't see much intelligent debate in the nematode worm community.
Of course, I don't really know that many nematode worms.

4:14 PM

 
Blogger Alex said...

Crushed,
(I must ask, what's behind the name?)

I'm struggling with what you mean in your response to Matt's comment about our shared environment and genetic histroy. Are you saying that our common situation and makeup is incapible of giving us a foundation for meaningful communication? Does his response not account for this monoism to intellegence that you brought up? It seems to me you switched the conversation from the foundations for meaninful communication to an ultimate end. I think.

Am I missing something here?

7:08 PM

 
Blogger Alex said...

Hey Matt,
Surely 'Man', as a "collective unit", has the total of all the collective meanings purposes and hopes of those who make it up?

I'm not so sure you can add up meanings and purposes in the same way that you could add up a handful of rice.

it's pointless to talk about them having meaning, or purpose, or hope, etc. Only something which is aware can have those things.

Can a shovel have a purpose? Can a flower be meaningful to you? Are either of those two objects conscious? Would it not then be possible for the collective of humanity to be existing for a purpose in accordance to the mind of God? Would it not be possible for our collective lives to be meaningful to Him? It is in this sense that I mean the words. When I speak of hope I refer to every man's desire to avoid the cessation of existence — if NT, it is a fruitless hope. It is the fact that all desire to avoid that reality that I use the term in the collective sense.

In an ultimate sense that's not true - my life is full of meaning and purpose: my own and other peoples.

Will this still be true long after you and any who would remember you are dead and gone? Once your consciousness ceases and the consciousness of those who remember you cease your meaning ceases. If no mind exists to remember you are as good as having never existed at all. It is in this way that I say ultimately our lives are meaningless and purposeless. What you are objecting to is in the 'conditional sense'. According to your current conditions, yes you have meaning and purpose, but not in the ultimate sense.

All is transitory. All will turn to dust... or sand. That's why it's best to make the most of what you have now - before it's all lost forever.

On what basis do you make this claim? You use the word best as if there were an objective frame of reference. Do you see what happens here? Once you take the position that all meaning, purpose and morality is beheld strictly in the mind of man you lose any solid basis to make value claims. All I need to say in counter to your value judgment on what is 'best' is: Well I just don't see it that way You could then appeal to a majority opinion, but who's to say that they know best? All value statements and moral propositions become purely a matter of personal opinion. I find that kind of reality a very difficult reality to try and live in. Do you? Or do you live your life as if you were a moral realist? If so, you do so in violation of an atheistic world view.

This is the beginning of those implications I was mentioning. =)

7:48 PM

 
Blogger Matt M said...

Crushed by Ingsoc,

You're right - for me the end is simply that, dust and then heat death.

4:17 AM

 
Blogger Matt M said...

Alex,

I'm not so sure you can add up meanings and purposes in the same way that you could add up a handful of rice.

I simply meant that when talking about the "meaning" or "purpose" of Man we can talk about the meaning and purposes of the individuals who comprise it. Attributing an abstract with purpose seems to me rather like saying that your car is depressed.

Can a shovel have a purpose? Can a flower be meaningful to you?

Absolutely. But that meaning is attributed to them by us - were they conscious they might see things quite differently.

Would it not then be possible for the collective of humanity to be existing for a purpose in accordance to the mind of God?

Sure, it's possible. But where's the proof?

When I speak of hope I refer to every man's desire to avoid the cessation of existence

Do you believe in God because you think he exists, or because you don't want to die?

For me hope is different - it's the hope that I live a fulfilling and happy life before popping my clogs and being turned into fertiliser.

According to your current conditions, yes you have meaning and purpose, but not in the ultimate sense.

I think we see "ultimate" in different ways - for me, the meaning and purpose I give my life is the ultimate sense. Yours is just metaphysical wishful-thinking. You're attempting to appraise human existence from some God-like position, high above and far removed from our hopes, fears, desires and actions, whereas I'm firmly down in the trenches, with the people.

On what basis do you make this claim?

It's an opinion - formed through a couple of decades worth of personal experience.

All I need to say in counter to your value judgment on what is 'best' is: Well I just don't see it that way

In which case I'd simply ask you what your opinion was. If we disagree, what's the problem? You have to find the meaning and purpose for your own life - not simply listen to idiots like myself.

I've outline how subjective morality (moral dialogue) works before, so I won't go into again here. Except to say that: you have to justify your opinions and search for common ground, rather than appealing to an external authority.

I find that kind of reality a very difficult reality to try and live in.

But you're in exactly the same boat - your value judgments come from your belief in God, but on this site you're dealing with people who a) disagree about the nature of God, and b) disagree about the existence of God.

You're only in a better position if the person you're talking to agrees with you about God. But if someone agrees with me about something then I'm in exactly the same position.

4:36 AM

 
Blogger Alex said...

Absolutely. But that meaning is attributed to them by us - were they conscious they might see things quite differently.

Exactly! If the shovel was conscious it may have all sorts of feelings about the situation, but it would not change the fact that we made them and they were made for a purpose. However, if the shovel just spontaneously came into existence the only meaning and purpose it could have would be that of it's own making, which would then cease to be a reality as soon as it's consciousness ceased. Heh... I'm talking about a conscious shovel. I love where these conversations go!

Sure, it's possible. But where's the proof?

Proof? Where's the proof God does not exist? The matter must be decided on grounds that do not involve proof. If I was to demand proof that Alexander the Great lived you could provide me with none. Evidences, sure, but not proof.

Do you believe in God because you think he exists, or because you don't want to die?

I believe in God because He makes the most sense when I take in the entirety of reality around me and within me. Now having said that, let me say this: When my father died in October two scenarios were running in my mind during that week I was home with my family preparing to bury him. One was in accordance with the Christian world view that I hold. "This is not the end", was the sentiment that view espoused. The other was one of doubt. The thought that perhaps I have up until this point led my life deceived. The horror I felt imagining that this relationship we had was for no reason other than to carry on a species that would eventually it's self cease to exist... the thought that this pain our family was going through was futile, and absurd filled me with a bitterness and despair that I would wish on no one. While I imagined the scenario that I was deceived, my faith was in that of the reality God.

For me hope is different - it's the hope that I live a fulfilling and happy life before popping my clogs and being turned into fertiliser.

Sure you can have hope for that. You can also have hope to get a pimped out 1979 Monte Carlo with spinners, but neither of those are the sort of hope I was referring to. This hope for a happy fulfilling life is what ALL humanity hopes for. But that is not the only thing humanity hopes for. To all men (men as used in LOTR) the specter of death is the final spoiler to all their hopes and aspirations. You may be blown to bits by some religious fanatic tomorrow. I would see that as a horrible injustice, but if there is no other purpose to our life than to blink in and out of existence, what does it matter if you die today, or when you're eighty five, or even if you had never existed at all? I've said this before and I'll say it again, if there is no God your meaning is meaningless. It's absurd. You can embrace it an live in it, but the status you seem to want to elevate it to is not warranted.

Matt I appreciate your optimistic outlook. It's right and proper that you wish to enshrine your meaning and purpose. It is truly good that you strive to live a fulfilling life that enriches those you come in contact with. All I'm trying to say is there is a reason it is good. Your life is not a neutral point of no consequence. But for this to be true there must be something more than just our own existence at play.

I think we see "ultimate" in different ways

Now you are just playing with words. I think you know full well what I am saying here. I am saying that "ultimatly" (ie: In light of all the knowledge humanity has about the known universe) our lives are of no consequence. If there is no ultimate mind from which all proceeds, all our little hopes fears and meaningful conversations add up to nothing. When you try and say that your meaning and purpose is the ultimate sense you are claiming a position you are incapable of holding. You are not the ultimate anything. To claim as much is madness.

If we disagree, what's the problem?

I should note that I was not actually trying to assert that I disagreed it is 'best' to make the most of what you have. I was simply trying to illustrate that the term 'best' is a meaningless term if there is no actual standard fo it to correspond. If the best you can manage is an opinion you have no business telling someone what is or is not best. All you can do is assert preferences.

I am also not trying to deny that you can have this moral dialog with another in the absence of God. All I am saying is that there is no foundation for you to stand on. If you were introduced to a culture where they fattened up their first born son to sacrifice to their God all you can manage is "well that's different". Even your appeal to empathy at this point is flawed. Why is it wrong for one to extinguish a randomly occurring conscious agent? Why should that be seen as detestable? All you can say is that "I find it undesirable". You cannot say it is fundamentally wrong.

You're only in a better position if the person you're talking to agrees with you about God.

I would say I'm only capable of dialoging with someone who believes there is truth in the terms "right" and "wrong". This person would be affirming something that can only be explained with the existence of God whether they chose to acknowledge that or not.

9:38 AM

 
Blogger Matt M said...

“…if the shovel just spontaneously came into existence the only meaning and purpose it could have would be that of it's own making, which would then cease to be a reality as soon as it's consciousness ceased.”

And so it is with all conscious beings.

“If I was to demand proof that Alexander the Great lived you could provide me with none.”

I’m not advocating an approach to life built around claims as to the nature of Alexander the Great though. Sure, it can be fun to speculate about historical figures – but it remains nothing more than speculation.

I don’t believe in God, and will act appropriate to that belief. If you want me to act differently, you’ll have to get me to change my belief.

“The horror I felt imagining that this relationship we had was for no reason other than to carry on a species…”

That’s only true if only external “reasons” are valid – why isn’t the fact that human relations are emotionally and psychologically fulfilling to those involved a good enough reason for you? You’re constantly defining us in terms of why we’re here. But, the way I look at it, while evolution brought me about, it doesn’t define who I am: my thoughts, feelings and actions do that.

The “real” you is the one you choose it to be.

“…what does it matter if you die today, or when you're eighty five, or even if you had never existed at all?”

To humanity? Probably not at all. To me and those who know me, it matters quite a bit. That’s what’s important to me. So the universe and “mankind” don’t care what happens to me – so what? Neither does my computer, or my house, or my TV – I don’t get hung up about that.

“if there is no God your meaning is meaningless”

Meaning can’t be meaningless. You keep shifting the goalposts: “it’s not meaning that’s important, but what that meaning means.” But to me that’s – no pun intended – meaningless. ALL that’s important is that it means something to me – I don’t need, or even desire, a deity to give my life validity.

My life – it’s meaning - is self-sufficient and self-validating. Your problem is that you don’t seem to trust your own opinions and feelings, and are therefore looking for someone to validate them – and the only being that can do that must be perfect, therefore your conception of God. You seem to be after some absolute, unquestionable concept of truth, so that your opinions and actions aren’t just the best you can do, they’re ‘Right’. Well, if that’s the case, good luck to you. But I think you’re on a hiding to nowhere.

If what you’re after is being able to say that this is ‘Right’ and this is ‘True’ and have no doubts, and no disagreement then – if history is anything to go by – you’re destined only for disappointment or delusion.

All we have is opinion, consensus and compromise – it’s got us this far.

And no, I have no idea why there’s so much alliteration in that second to last paragraph.

“If there is no ultimate mind from which all proceeds, all our little hopes fears and meaningful conversations add up to nothing.”


You're right, in order for something to be meaningful it must have an observer. But my life already has one: me.

“You are not the ultimate anything.”

I am the ultimate me.

“I was simply trying to illustrate that the term 'best' is a meaningless term if there is no actual standard for it to correspond.”

There is a perfectly valid internal standard – pleasure is better than pain, freedom is better than oppression, life is better than death, wholemeal is better than white bread, ale is better than lager, Spain is better than Italy, Patrick Troughton was a better Doctor Who than Jon Pertwee. All this things may be subjective, but they are nonetheless true to me. From these truths I decide how best to live my life.

“If the best you can manage is an opinion you have no business telling someone what is or is not best.”

I have no business forcing someone to act against their will – that is, I’d argue, the basis of liberal democracy.

“All you can do is assert preferences.”

And argue for them – again, that is the basis of democracy.

“Why is it wrong for one to extinguish a randomly occurring conscious agent? Why should that be seen as detestable? All you can say is that "I find it undesirable". You cannot say it is fundamentally wrong.”

I don’t argue that it’s “fundamentally wrong”.

Person A wants to kill person B. Person B does not wish to be killed. All I can do is decide which of them I agree with and act accordingly. There is no guarantee that I’m right (in the sense that when presented with further information I might change my mind), nor that others will agree with me – but this doesn’t stop me from acting in what I see as a moral way.

10:22 AM

 
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

No Alex. I implied that our shared environment and our common genetic history are a means to an end.
Out awakenig as consciuosness illuminated by- I hesitate to use the term godhead, as I believe in an impersonal, as opposed to a personal deity- you know what I am hinting out.
We are all part of a single evolving consciousness, IMHO.
Sorry for taking time to reply. You are in a different hemisphere and I have software to market none to five.
My blogname derives from 1984 by George Orwell and my innate distrusts of ideolgies as ulktimately self-deluding systems designed to stramline and oppress.

1:05 PM

 
Blogger Tom Freeman said...

I have two questions to lob in:

(1) Is the kind of meaning that God’s existence and plans are supposed to give us the same kind of meaning (although on an eternal scale) that our existence and plans can give to shovels?

(2) If there were no God but humans were immortal, what would that do for the meaningfulness of our lives?

5:39 AM

 
Blogger Alex said...

Hey Tom,
I have this vision of Matt and I walking down main street with both barrels blazing — blasting anything that moves — and you lobbing two well placed grenades from the safety of your concrete bunker!

Good to see you again.

I'll answer the first with another question.

(1) Does the kind of meaning a loving father an mother give to the birth of a child differ from meaning our existence and plans gives to a shovel?

(2) Good question. Depends on what one means by "would that do". It also forces out the truth that desire for ultimate purpose and meaning is a rather different entity than the self generated meaning and purpose we can achieve without God.

9:46 AM

 
Blogger Tom Freeman said...

It's actually just polystyrene done up to look like concrete, but don't tell anyone...

So:

1) Does the kind of meaning a loving father an mother give to the birth of a child differ from meaning our existence and plans gives to a shovel?

Hmm. 'Yes, but' I think. It's the same in kind but the first is far more powerful (and indeed that child will grow up to be someone with his/her own ability to generate meaning, while the shovel probably won't).

Does the parent-to-child meaningfulness differ in kind or just in degree from the God-to-human meaningfulness?

And on (2), yeah, I thought it might be worth figuring out how much of the 'ultimate meaninglessness of the materialist worldview' is due to the lack of God and how much is due to the sheer finitude of it all. If we factor out the 'we're all doomed to come to nothing', how does the picture change?

Just something to stick in your toaster and see if it pops up brown...

1:09 PM

 
Blogger Alex said...

Sure, it can be fun to speculate about historical figures

It goes a bit beyond the speculation of historical figures Matt. It involves taking in reality all around us. It involves taking in the reality within us. It involves a sense of helplessness that honest reflection should bring each person alive to. You were just throwing out the P word and I just wanted to point out how worthless that word is in these types of discussions.

I don’t believe in God

The question is why? You cannot use an appeal to reason as your sole excuse as others far exceeding your intellect have come to the opposite conclusion. To be fair, others far exceeding my own intellect defy me as well. (I have a feeling you will be addressing this in your next posting.)

why isn’t the fact that human relations are emotionally and psychologically fulfilling to those involved a good enough reason for you?

Because the psychological and emotional fulfillment you speak of needs to be in relationship to something. I say it's in relationship to 'me'. I say 'me' is more than just the chance combination of swirling energy and matter. I am 'more than the some of my parts' in a way that really IS more. I am a substantial reality. I am more than just a mechanical configuration of tissue that has the ability to remember the past thereby giving the illusion of a continued substantial existence.

Thus when I say something is meaningful to me I am affirming the reality that there actually is something called 'me'. All the atheist can say is that the particular state of this energized mass of tissue that I feel is me has a reaction to such and such. You cannot question the existence of 'yourself' in your own life. The question is already answered for you by your philosophical presuposition. 'You' do not exist as a substantial reality. You are merely a complicated growing, changing, dying chemical machine.

If that is the core of the reality that is 'you' I really struggle with the idea that you can interact with this world in the way I'm sure you'd like to. If you view other people as randomly generated, complicated machinery how can you begin to enter into this virtue we call love with another? Think about that. Your thought process would need to deny what you view to be the fundamental reality of that person to experience any sort of agape love towards that person.

while evolution brought me about, it doesn’t define who I am: my thoughts, feelings and actions do that.

How can you say that? You are still just a cog in the machine continuing on to a meaningless end. Your thoughts, feelings, and actions are simply determine responses to a multitude of determined causes that themselves are reactions to still further causes all the way back to the big ol meaningless Fourth of July we call the Big Bang. Your consciousness is but a strange fluke — a meaningless fluke. You have no control over what defines 'you'. You were defined long before you were born and your definition will serve no purpose other than to be a random quirk of an inconceivably colossal event. Meaningless, meaningless.

"if" there is no God...

Does this not at all gnaw on you? Can you look upon that and still puff up your chest and proclaim a meaningful life? Sure you have your 'emotional/intellectual' responses to stuff, but upon recognizing what those responses really are... can you even call that meaning? If you are chemicals in flux, if your emotions and thoughts are simply determined responses, are they really any different in quality than indigestion? Does the really sound like the sort of meaning you'd want to have in life?

The “real” you is the one you choose it to be.

This assumes there is a 'you' that can choose between real choices with the possibility that things could be otherwise. Not so sure the naturalist can maintain that position.

Your problem is that you don’t seem to trust your own opinions and feelings, and are therefore looking for someone to validate them – and the only being that can do that must be perfect, therefore your conception of God.

Hmm... I cannot help but wonder what it means for the Atheist to "trust your opinions and feelings". Trust what about them? That they are correct? That they correspond to reality? If your thoughts are but a product of an unfolding reality shouldn't they always correspond to reality? Just a thought.

If what you’re after is being able to say that this is ‘Right’ and this is ‘True’ and have no doubts, and no disagreement...

Heh. No disagreement! That's a good one! No sir I do not suffer under the idealists hope that someday on our own we'll get this world straightened out. However if you want to say of me that I desire to know 'Right from Wrong' and to be able to base my life off of 'Truth', then guilty as charged. However to do so without doubt is not a luxury we are afforded in this life.

And no, I have no idea why there’s so much alliteration in that second to last paragraph.

Chalk it up to a stroke of genius ;-)

But my life already has one: me.

And when you are dead and in the ground... Come now, you know what I'm striking at here. I understand what you are saying, I just disagree that your view is the ultimate end. I argue there is more. If you are satisfied with your position to such a high degree why waste so much of your precious existence arguing with me? Go get a girlfriend or something. ;-)

I am the ultimate me.

No sir the ultimate you will be heat death. Remember 'you' don't exist. That would be the same as pointing to a cloud and stating "that is the ultimate cloud!", then a moment later the cloud shifts and dissipates. Apparently that was not the ultimate sate of the cloud. In fact the cloud is just a transient feature in a reality that has far to go before reaching it's ultimate state.

And argue for them – again, that is the basis of democracy.

right, according to your personal state of feeling, which only has any weight if it happens to correspond to reality. Thus moral statements do not have any correspondence to reality, since if heat-death is the direction of us all what does it matter if a particular organism is having some emotional reaction at some point in the universe. If there is no God reality is simply a long meaningless road to death.

I don’t argue that it’s “fundamentally wrong”.

As Ravi was saying, if one was to hack apart a child with a sword, I can say "that is fundamentally wrong". The atheist can only manage "I don't like that". Our reactions would be exactly the same, but our explanations of our actions would be worlds apart.

I'm going to try and stop posting on this thread as these responses are becoming a bit hard to manage!

2:08 PM

 
Blogger Matt M said...

Alex,

It involves taking in reality all around us. It involves taking in the reality within us.

But this brings us back to my point about the extreme difficulty of objective knowledge - what you're really saying there is that: "It involves how I see the world. It involves who I see myself."

There is no 'objective' view of Alexander the Great, simply millions of individual perceptions.

You were just throwing out the P word and I just wanted to point out how worthless that word is in these types of discussions.

You have a point: the word was ill-chosen. But all I meant by it is this: if you make an assertion and want to convince someone of it's validity you need to argue for it in the hope of convincing them.

If you say that X is possible, but offer little or no evidence for it, then there's really nowhere for us to go.

The question is why?

That's a question for you. Not for me. For me it's simply a fact about my perception of the world.

'You' do not exist as a substantial reality. You are merely a complicated growing, changing, dying chemical machine.

I don't exist in the way you perceive me to exist, no. But, like all objects, I "exist" on many different levels: the way I perceive myself, the way people around me perceive me, the way various branches of science perceive me, etc. By saying that I'm "merely" this or that is to privilege one perception over the other - something we're not in a position to do. I perceive myself as - in some ways - a unified being, or, to put it more accurately: a commonwealth of biology, memories, emotions and thoughts.

When you say that I'm one thing and not another, on what basis do you make that distinction? Naturalism is not a religion - it is not supposed to represent the fundamental reality of life, it's merely a theory designed to explain how life works on a scientific level.

If you are chemicals in flux, if your emotions and thoughts are simply determined responses, are they really any different in quality than indigestion? Does the really sound like the sort of meaning you'd want to have in life?

I'm still waiting to hear how belief in God gets round the issue of determinism? If our choices aren't determined by who we are, and they're not random, then what are they?

Hmm... I cannot help but wonder what it means for the Atheist to "trust your opinions and feelings".

It means using them as a guide to how to be in life - in the absence of anything else. To be honest, I think it's impossible not to do this - some people just attribute their own desires to higher forces. But, at the end of the day, we're all simply going on gut feeling.

That they are correct? That they correspond to reality?

Once again, we're back to the problem of objectivity - how can we know it exists?

If you are satisfied with your position to such a high degree why waste so much of your precious existence arguing with me?

The more knowledge we have, the better we're able to make decisions. This conversation is helping not only to identify weak-points in my thinking, but also provides an insight into the minds of religious people - which may come in handy one day.

No sir the ultimate you will be heat death.

Why? You're privileging one level of explanation over the other - on what basis do you so that?

If there is no God reality is simply a long meaningless road to death.

That's one way of looking at things - but it requires stepping out of yourself to see it as the only way. Why are our emotional reactions to life insignificant? On what standard do you measure them?

What I'm trying to say is: without an external authority telling you what to do, reality is what you make it.

Our reactions would be exactly the same, but our explanations of our actions would be worlds apart.

To which my response would be: so?

Besides, in order to say that something is fundamentally wrong in the way you suggest, you'd need to convince people that:

a) God's will represents the fundamental level of reality

and:

b) You know the will of God

Can you?

8:24 AM

 

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