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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Update for the sake of updates

It's been a solid week since the last real movement in this place. So I figured since I finally mustered up the energy for another extended response to Matt and Incitatus I'd give the readership a bit of a heads up. Click here for the latest happenings. In case you are wondering yes we are still flogging the relationship between morality theism and atheism.

Also Tom Freeman has an interesting post up here that I'd really like to give a thorough blog when I get a minute. Have a read and keep an eye out for some thoughts on that in the future.

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Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I think sometimes, the deep difference between theists and aheists is simply this;
Are you a 'glass full' or 'glass empty' kind of guy.

1:02 PM

Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

Well, CBI, I'm the latter, and I'm a theist. I don't know what that means. But I feel the logical and experiential pull of atheism, I just regard it as a kind of temptation - for many complicated reasons which are unlikely to be clear any time soon.

1:17 PM

Blogger Alex said...

*gasp!* Could it be the one who's voice I've I've actually heard? My wife thinks you sound hot btw. Thanks a lot. ;-)

Seriously though it is nice to see such a respected member of the blogging community pop in.

But I feel the logical and experiential pull of atheism, I just regard it as a kind of temptation - for many complicated reasons which are unlikely to be clear any time soon.

Heh. You sound like a complicated/conflicted individual. By experiential pull of atheism do you mean (like Matt says) a sort of "I just don't feel anything" kind of deal?

1:39 PM

Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I sorted my answer out for old St Peter at the weekend. I explained it to my mate in the pub.
'Look, I experienced tho maximum pleasure I could for delivering the minimum pain. Isn't this the best way I could have used the life YOU LOT gave me? If you don't think that's fair, then you're not all you sell yourself as...'

2:41 PM

Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

Ho ho, Alex. There are reasons I don't post photos of myself you know.

Experiential - I mean (and I'm kind of repeating old posts of mine here) that the world seems to me dull, explicable, tragic. I don't see or feel the working of a divine creator - most of the time. So atheism seems the reasonable position but I refuse to take it. Yes, as Matt would probably say, but with different conclusions obviously.

also I have odd reactions. Today I showed the animated video of "Miracle Maker" to a class of infants and found myself dabbing my eyes! And I fully wept throughout "Last Temptation of Christ" (I didn't show that one to them, by the way) - something about the story gets me, big time. Possibly having been told it day in and day out since birth.

And that leads me to the too complicated to explain reasons. I'm a kind anti-Freud. I want to keep hold of my infant terrors and neuroses, as they're a key part of me. Most of the poetry that I write for small magazines is on this theme.

no laughing at the back.

9:08 AM

Blogger Alex said...

the world seems to me dull, explicable, tragic.

The word I latch onto most in that phrase is tragic. All of humanity strives for this sort of "happiness", "peace", "joy". But when it comes down to it we are foiled again and again. The desires of our hearts rage against each other. Nature it's self falls down upon us. We drown, fall, break, run down, burn and die. Our children get sick. Our wives get cancer while a child is on the way. Our joys are fleeting and seasonal; before long, the red tide sweeps over us and we again struggle to breath.

This is not a problem for the atheist. It's simply the steady march of an undirected reaction. However, for those of us who claim that God created us for love and that ultimately He is in control, there is this weight that demands explanation. I believe there is an answer. It's a big answer, but also rather unexpected.

The short answer is "love"

Can you see how that might fit in?

Now to change the topic:
I'm curious, what do you feel atheism would do to you if you internalized it? If you chose to live in that reality, how would it change you?

12:02 PM

Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

For the Atheist there is no imperative to follow the Good/Evil axis, because it is ultimately meaningless.

Ultimately what is good, is good, because God wills it si. What is evil, is evil because the Devil wills it so. The similarity between the word pairs God/good and Devil/evil are no accident.
With no higher arbiter to judge your life, that only leaves one judge who can REALLY judge you. No one else knows the facts.

That judge is you.

And here lies the Atheist's dilemma.
Why impress a judge who can always be persuaded to acquit...

1:27 PM

Blogger Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...

'And here lies the Atheist's dilemma.
Why impress a judge who can always be persuaded to acquit...

Because one cannot easily rationalize one's way out of millions of years of evolution. I reject the idea that the only reason people are 'good' is from a fear of, or love of, God. It's actually rather insulting, as well as logically fallacious. We are 'good' because what we describe as 'good' encompasses behaviours deemed advantageous to natural selection. If I kill someone for absolutely no reason at all, I will feel guilty. Religion or lack thereof will have no bearing on that fact. Crime and Punishment and all that. To think that an atheist can simply undo his entire moral infrastructure by removing the godhead is to misunderstand the atheist's view of morality and its origins.

5:12 PM

Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

Alright, Alex, I'll give it to you straight.

You ask me, what would atheism give me if I internalised it? The answer, is, I fear, "truth". The calm that succeeds a decision based upon one's life experience - the answer, insofar as it exists for an individual. If I succumbed to its easy charms (it is what I see, after all), I'd feel happy and - released. If I chose to live in that reality I'd not be myself. I'd be someone else, someone apart from what I have always been, someone different from what I have learned.

But the truth is it would give me would leave holes and sensations. Would leave feelings and memories - or, would leave something. The strangeness of the Jesus story, my growing up swathed in it, the voice or music I always try to shut out with drink or noise. But then I read today that DNA is completely untwined and destroyed at 93 degrees C - so what is left of anything, even of my ashes? But I still don't imagine, imaginatively (as my beloved tutor would have said) - what that means....I guess I'll learn.

Very well then, I am large, I contain multitudes.

I am sorry if this does not address (say) the problem of evil; but then I read it and its counters years ago and felt none the nearer to truth.

I feel like a theistic Nietzsche. I believe there are Catholic existentialists, but I have never read them. I like Tillich but I do not really understand what he believes, if anything.

Writing this, I know I sound completely infantile. You will excuse me if 30 years of my life reveals no more than a moment of your thought. But that is how it is.

12:37 PM

Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Ha, TD, I AM a theistic Nietzche.
That pretty much sums up where I stand, theoligically.
Evil is part of the puzzle.

We are given a maze and three clues.
1. Ou conscience. The little bit of God in us searching the truth.
2. Our reason. To fathom out what SEEMS to be the sensible choice.
3. The Church Christ gave us.
Sometimes, in a world where good and evil intertwine, those clues may pint in different directions eg; paedophilei priests, the theoretcal allure of secular ideas eg Marx, etc.
It is a puzzle we have to negotiate- that's free will.
The Atheist doesn't play this game.

PS I think I am heading in the right direction, but if I go now, I'm still going downwards...

12:52 PM


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