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Featured Atheism, Theism, and John's Prologue.

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by John D. Brey, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Without unpacking all the details, John's prologue implies some extremely important things about atheism, theism, and everlasting life. Without getting into the exegesis, John's prologue implies that all mankind, atheist, or theist, is endowed with divinity, such that we're all, every one of us, whether atheist or theist, possessors of everlasting life (or at least "existence") from the get-go. This naturally makes the atheist theistically-endowed even in his atheism. It makes atheism a branch of theism.

    When these truism are linked with the theological doctrine that theistic "salvation" is "non-meritorious," and that every righteous act requires what Jews call an attitude of "lishmah" (doing something strictly for its own sake), a thinking man can begin to make sense of some of the profound disagreements that arise between theists and atheist in regards to nearly every form of thought under the sun.

    If every human being is divinely endowed, i.e., if human self-consciousness is itself a divine-endowment, then consciousness of that fact must be the initial, formative act of consciousness, of every sentient, self-conscious human being, who possesses a reasonable, natural, normal, intellect. In other words, if human self-consciousness is divine, then the first instance of this self-consciousness must be the moment where the conscious agent immediately enters into either theism or atheism prior to sentient empirical observations that might taint the non-meritorious decision of the self-conscious agent. This must be the case (if theistic faith/salvation is non-meritorious) since if even one conscious observation is allowed to interfere in the act of theism versus atheism then neither theistic-faith nor atheism can be non-meritorious since various empirical inputs might weigh in favor of atheism or theism in the self-conscious agent's selection of atheism versus theism. But if the selection of theism or atheism is the initial moment of self-consciousness, then faith in theism, or atheism, can be, will be, either way, non-meritorious. The atheist chooses against theism, belief in God, as the initial moment, pre-empirical observation, of his self-conscious being. The theist does the opposite; believes in God as the initial moment of pre-empirical observation thought and decision. Neither one has one iota of of empirical or factual evidence for or against belief in God at the moment of decision (the initial instance of self-conscious sentience).

    Where this is understood to be the case, the die is cast for theism or atheism prior to the first empirical observation, and before the first logical, or fact based thought. This being the case, the atheist immediately, naturally, uses his initial decision of self-consciousness, disbelief in theism, God, as the prism not only for his first empirical observation, but likewise for his first logical deductive act. Ditto, in reverse, for the theist.

    Part and parcel of this understanding is the fact that in order that the non-meritorious nature of theism or atheism not be contaminated after the fact of the conscious selection of one or the other (as the first self-conscious act), no temporal, natural, distinguishing factor, whatsoever, can affect the atheist different than the theist, or the theist different than the atheist. In both cases, the freewill decision that is the initial moment of self-consciousness must be insulated against meritorious gain, or loss, for the natural life of the theist or atheist. Only in this way can a righteous judgment of the life of the atheist and the theist be performed since there would then be no merit-based impetus for the atheist and or the theist to think, believe, and act, differently from one another.

    Any difference in the final evaluation of the theist versus the atheist must be insulated from meritorious influence, good or bad, for the final evaluation of the life to be righteous since there isn't one iota of privilege for theism rather than atheism, nor for atheism rather than theism. The only exemption from this principle would be the fact that the atheist is naturally allowed, and may be naturally prejudiced, to use his divine endowment for his temporal enrichment, whereas the theist might believe ---based on some duty to God ---- that it's his duty not to use his divine endowment for personal gain. In this way the atheist might be one up in temporal things simply by reason of the fact that he has no reason to hold back on self-enrichment for the sake of a God he doesn't believe in.



    John
     
    #1 John D. Brey, Aug 15, 2022
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  2. John53

    John53 Well-Known Member

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    I can't for the life of me work out what it is you want to debate.
     
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  3. KWED

    KWED Scratching head, scratching knee

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    Your initial premise that there is such a thing as "everlasting life" is merely an unproven assertion.
    You need to establish it before you can move on.
     
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  4. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Quite creative, I like it.
     
  5. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    It's pretty easy and obvious there is no such thing as everlasting life no more or less than everlasting death.
    .
     
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  6. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    All you have to do now is prove John's prologue is a real phenomenon. Good luck with that. Divinity itself seems to have empty meaning since many theists are violent and dangerous people, as have been some atheists. I would argue that mentally stable and mature people demonstrate a divinity and that even many theists don't have it. A head full of religious concepts won't make a person better.

    But I suspect one purpose of this post is a some of religious violence against atheists. I say that as it intends to define something important to theists and aims to drag atheists under its authority. We see a similar religious violence in how some Christians insist that all people are sinners and that salvation and damnation lies to everyone, including non-Christians. There's an arrogance in that that is contrary to the ideals of what Christianity wants to believe of its ideology, so not only DOESN'T apply to non-Christians but is a challenge to Christians themselves in how they want to adopt and apply their ideology. The ego can be a dangerous thing to the self.

    Theists need to get their own mental state in order before dragging in people outside their belief system.
     
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  7. Link

    Link Veteran Member
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    This is not to contradict what you said, but make another branch to it.

    I would say "directly" from "God" can lead to theist arrogance as well as it did Iblis in a similar way atheist see the "good" emanating from themselves. Those who talk about God but don't try to find out the source of his channeling of his light, will use "God" as a source of pride and it will be a source of arrogance.

    I see every good that I do from Ahlulbayt (a) tree and that they are foundation and fighting for my soul, I would have long perished without God's intercession and intercession of his chosen, due to my dark sins.

    Those who couldn't see John, Elijah, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) in their own time as the light of the world emanating into all things in the world, lead to kill those who were the foundation of all their goodness (Yahya was killed by the tyrant of his time who was a Kahen and sorcerer) if they had good, and so what it the point of borrowing light from the light but fighting those who channel it?

    This is why the heart of the religion of God in all times is to recognize the leader of the time as the only path to God. When you begin to think you are the source (atheist) or that God provides the light directly to you, you become arrogant to the extent the intercession of chosen ones can barely help a soul in this sense, because their power in helping the soul goes unnoticed. If God would make a heedless soul free from evil deeds, it would only increase them in perishing. This is God's words:




    أَمْ تَسْأَلُهُمْ خَرْجًا فَخَرَاجُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ | Do you ask a recompense from them? Your Lord’s recompense is better, and He is the best of providers. | Al-Muminoon : 72

    وَإِنَّكَ لَتَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ | And indeed you invite them to a straight path, | Al-Muminoon : 73

    وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ عَنِ الصِّرَاطِ لَنَاكِبُونَ | and those who do not believe in the Hereafter surely deviate from the path. | Al-Muminoon : 74

    وَلَوْ رَحِمْنَاهُمْ وَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِمْ مِنْ ضُرٍّ لَلَجُّوا فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ | Should We have mercy upon them and heal them from their harm/evil, they would surely persist, bewildered in their rebellion. | Al-Muminoon : 75
     
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  8. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    OK, but my thesis is that there is probably no such thing as divinity, gods, or everlasting life, so, by your reckoning, this makes the theist atheistically endowed even in his theism, and it makes theism a branch of atheism.
     
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  9. Link

    Link Veteran Member
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    Yes, this would be the inverse. We make up God into our own image of morality which is self-generated or generated by the mind so it would be a branch of atheism or the self-mind projecting morality and deceiving itself about God. A way of dealing without knowing God but making up a concept and believing in it through illusion or delusion.

    In fact, many psychologist see God as a coping mechanism. The Quran agrees with this in some respect, that it's a coping mechanism, spirituality of bani-Israel waiting for Musa (a) and faith was heavily linked to fear of their oppressors, which is why "wealth" and "luxury" is a trial in itself that many perish because it leads to arrogantly feeling one doesn't need God.

    Maybe USA should change their policy to Iran if they really want to stop us and should spoil us with wealth instead. The more sanctions and difficulty makes regime change more unlikely and more like we want a government preparing the way for the Mahdi (a).
     
  10. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    I apologize, I'm indeed trying to solve problems that aren't clearly laid out in this thread.

    In numerous threads of late I've quoted atheist scientists beginning to concede that what the human mind is doing in science and otherwise appears not to be compatible with naturalistic theories of evolution. In a thread you might remember, The Reptile-Brain, the Atheist, and the Jew, the foundation for this thread was laid by showing that atheists are now trying to proclaim that ideas taught in the Bible for thousands of years are only newly found out by atheists.

    In that thread, atheists concede that the human mind is no longer an animal phenomenon, like the original, reptilian brain. Something has happened that gives the human being an almost impossible, or literally impossible, ability to think outside the box, which is to say, outside anything that can be condensed into the laws of physics.

    What this implies is that this divine endowment isn't acquired at the point of faith in God, or Christ, since it's undeniably possessed by atheist and theist alike. In the more traditional understanding, when an atheist rejects God, his mind should be stripped of the divine endowment and he should start eating bananas and hooting and grunting and looking all the time for a female to impregnate.

    It is the glory of the human cerebral cortex that it -----unique among all animals and unprecedented in all geological time ---has the power to defy the dictates of the selfish genes. We can enjoy sex without procreation. We can devote our lives to philosophy, mathematics, poetry, astrophysics, music, geology, or the warmth of human love, in defiance of the old [reptile] brain's genetic urging that these are a waste of time ---time that "should" be spent fighting rivals and pursuing multiple sexual partners: "As I see it, we have a profound choice to make. It is a choice between favoring the old brain or favoring the new brain. More specifically, do we want our future to be driven by the processes that got us here, namely, natural selection, competition, and the drive of the selfish genes? Or, do we want our future to be driven by intelligence and its desire to understand the world?"

    Richard Dawkins, introducing Jeff Hawkins, One Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence (bracket mine, based on earlier comment in intro. Last quotation is Dawkins quoting Hawkins).




    John
     
  11. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    I'm implying that the kind of self-consciousness that humans possess and animals don't is itself a divine thing that, because it's divine, isn't subject to death as biological things are. The body can, obviously, die, and does, but human self-consciousness, though it might be able to experience something like death, cannot cease to exist in some form or other that we admittedly might not want to label "life."

    I'm coming from the premise that divine things are eternal.



    John
     
  12. KWED

    KWED Scratching head, scratching knee

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    Another assertion that needs supporting.

    And another.

    Yet more!
    Your argument is built on the soft sand of bare assertion. That is why it crumbles and falls so easily.

    All the evidence we have suggests that our consciousness is a product of the physical brain that can be altered by manipulating the physical brain. There is nothing to suggest that it can or does survive after the death of the body. Your wishful thinking does not constitute any kind of rational argument.

    But you have yet to show that our consciousness is either divine or eternal.
    In fact, first you have to demonstrate that "the divine" exists in any way at all.

    To counter your "argument", I have one that starts with the premise that the divine does not exist and consciousness is a product of the physical brain.
    Checkmate!
    :rolleyes:
     
    #12 KWED, Aug 15, 2022
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  13. KWED

    KWED Scratching head, scratching knee

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    I would suggest that you have misunderstood, or are wilfully misrepresenting what they have said.
    No evolutionary biologist is claiming that the human brain arrived at its capabilities by magic.
     
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  14. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    His peers used to criticize Jacques Derrida as obviously not serious in much of what he says. One of his peers disagreed. He said much of what Derrida says is seriously not obvious to those oblivious to his brilliance.

    Not being obvious is often a trait of things that are so valuable they evade the perceptions of the hoi polloi. Everlasting life is presumably of great value such that I wouldn't expect it to be obvious to those who have more mundane tastes and values.



    John
     
  15. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    One of the key points in the thread-seeder is the idea that every person is distinguished by theistic faith, or atheistic belief, at the first, the initial, instant of self-consciousness. After that, they encounter empirical, logical, cultural, religious, inputs from the external world that may affect their initial orientation.

    I would say that it's possible, and my experience suggests it, that most theists have mostly lost their theism or destroyed its potential by not understanding the fact that it's of infinitely greater value, and power, than their natural, biological, prism for observation and understanding. For most people, their theism is so watered down that, as you note, they become gross hypocrites and mostly trouble-makers who have no genuine access to the power of their theism since they traded it for the same natural, biological, bells and whistles as their atheist peers.

    You bring up a point important to this thread of thought. What you say above would make me posit the theory that an initial theistic prejudice (from the instance of self-consciousness) is fundamentally different than the salvific conversion into the belief that a particular man, Christ Jesus, is, in fact, the theistic entity acknowledged instantly, intuitively, but not personally, at the instant of self-consciousness.

    In other words, though someone is theistic from their very first instance of self-consciousness, they may never see Christ Jesus as connected to their theism. That requires a new, instantaneous, experience of existential sinfulness, a sinfulness that has nothing to do with sins, but is pure, unadulterated, complete, unworthiness in the presence of the very deity, God, accepted from the get-go for the theist, and rejected by the atheist.

    More than that, my experience and understanding suggest that it's possible for an atheist to experience what I'm calling an existential experience of pure sinfulness while a theist doesn't. In this sense an atheist could be as likely, or even more likely, to seek relief from his existential experience of sinfulness, utter separation from God, than might an inborn theist. More atheists might come to faith in Christ than theists. There might be more former atheists in the so-called Body of Christ today than there are theists in that same Body.

    My first and greatest spiritual mentor/teacher teaches that religion is the least likely means to arriving at the true salvation that exists for all mankind. He would probably accept the possibility that more atheists have been "saved" than have theists.




    John
     
  16. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    I see no flaw in your logic. In fact, I have no problem with theism being a branch of atheism. As I noted to F1-fan, I believe it's very possible that there will be more former atheists in heaven than there are theists, and even theists who have been theists from the very first instance of self-consciousness.

    I owe it to F1-fan to have brought up a distinction between theism, versus, salvation. Theists and atheists are in some sense the same thing. Salvation, not theism, is the point of demarcation that was missing in the thread-seeder. Furthermore, on deeper meditation and thought, I believe initial theism is quite possibly a deterrent, more than a positive possession, so far as acquiring salvation is concerned. If this concept can be honed and shown to be fruitful, F1-fan, in his atheism, has redirected this thread into a more important theological nuance than was initially undertaken. :D



    John
     
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  17. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism – something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world. We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.

    Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 200-201.​

    We have learned the history of the universe and look out almost to its edge. . . except for behaving like apes much of the time and suffering genetically limited lifespans we are godlike.

    Edward O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth, p. 288-289.​

    We, like virtually all other multicellular animals, must die, and there are many mechanisms built into us to be sure that we do. . . Many single-celled organisms may die, as the result of accident or starvation; in fact the vast majority do. But there is nothing programmed into them that says they must die. Death did not appear simultaneously with life. This is one of the most important and profound statements in all of biology. At the very least it deserves repetitions: Death is not inextricably intertwined with the definition of life.

    Professor William R. Clark, Sex & The Origins of Death, p. 54 (bold emphasis mine).​

    The support for my argumentation, i.e., the quotations above, come, every one of them, from atheists possessing a PhD. So if they crumble, well, so much for atheism, and so much for a PhD. education. :D

    Our experience of consciousness is directly related to the brain. And the brain is a product of biological evolution. What great thinkers have come to understand is that nothing in evolution accounts for the human kind of self-consciousness that possesses a grammar able to perform art, science, religion, and such. While our "experience" of consciousness is no doubt a product of the brain, the self that talks to the brain (see Popper's The Self and Its Brain) is not a subsumed in the biological architecture of brain it sometimes has to give a good kick in order to kick-start the best kinds of thinking.

    I share with the materialists or physicalists not only the emphasis on material objects as the paradigms of reality, but also the evolutionary hypothesis. But our ways seem to part when evolution produces minds, and human language. And they part even more widely when human minds produce stories, explanatory myths, tools and works of art and of science.

    Karl Popper, The Self and Its Brain, p. 11.​

    Popper is (died as) an atheist. And that's no typo in the name of his book. He considered the brain the possession of an immaterial, self, through which things come into being that no other creature from the start of life itself has ever conceived in their wildest, non-divine, mind.




    John
     
    #17 John D. Brey, Aug 15, 2022
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  18. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    How old are you? Are you unaware that we did just that and the cultural prejudices of Iran rejected it when they took hostages in the late 70's. They rebelled against the Shah, the wealth, and the Western ways, and returned to poverty and the strict religious strictures that makes them feel like genuine Iranians rather than dark-skinned Americans.



    John
     
  19. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    No. Theism and non-theism are highly abstract concepts, while self-awareness is quite primal.

    If people give up their religion I'm sure it is for excellent reasons



    Doubtful. No one ever knows about Jesus until they hear about it from others.

    Atheists are wise to reject it.

    I'll say this as far as Jesus Christ and Christianity: if when the Spanish, Italian, English, Dutch explorers started traveling the globe and encountered indigenous people that had never been exposed to the West, but they were engrossed in knowledge about Christ and sin and salvation, that would be impressive. That would suggest there was a real divine force acting on the Planet and at work. This is what you seem to be expecting in your posts. But it never happened. The explorers found people with completely different religious traditions. Jesus is never present anywhere until Christians show up. And Jesus is only present as an idea, no magic, no divinity, no anything but belief by Westerners. The Christians often killed the indigenous people for various reasons, so there is that that offends the more decent among us. Where is that divine force you speak of? No wonder atheists aren't convinced. From what we observe good people make good Christians and bad people make bad Christians. I'd be impressed if Christians acted with an unusual degree of love and compassion. We just don't see it.

    That's OK because atheists don't see sin as a real thing. Besides, ever notice Christians never think they are going to hell? Regardless how bad the Christian is they think they are going to heaven. Who needs a God to judge them when you have that big of an ego, right? There's a reason pride is a sin.

    Kinda of like being on a diet that prohibits a food that doesn't exist. None of your religious concepts are relevant to atheists, yet you imply they are for some reason. I suspect you are projecting all this on to atheists because you are feeling guilt about something, but pride is trying to save your ego.

    I've heard this claimed but not a single credible case. There are many atheists who rejected Christianity, even on these forums.

    If he meant saved from religious belief, yes. there is a great spiritual freedom that comes with rejecting absurd and implausible concepts.
     
    #19 F1fan, Aug 15, 2022
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  20. KWED

    KWED Scratching head, scratching knee

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    Other species show traits such as altruism and empathy. These traits require some sense of "self" and "others". It is simply wrong to claim that humans are the only species who do this.
    Do humans have a more developed, advanced sense in this regard? Very possibly, but there are evolutionary pathways to explain it - your disingenuous quote-mining of Dawkins notwithstanding. The very idea that Dawkins claims that our cognitive abilities have any other origin than the biological is laughable.

    None of your quotes suggest a divine element to consciousness. Either you have misunderstood what the authors are saying, or you are being deliberately dishonest. Either way, not a good look for the wannabe intellectual.
     
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