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No thanks no God!

Imagine a country where no-one said thanks or gave praise.
The instincts were removed through brain operation at birth.
It was found that these were the instincts which led people to want to give thanks for life, to give praise for beauty of nature, and this meant seeking God.
The NoThanksNoGod country found that without these instincts, people no longer had a need to worship God.

Would these people be happy?
 
I don’t get the relation. People can appreciate nature, experience, and existence without belief in any gods. I feel these things frequently without belief in God.

That's because it's a natural instinct :)

Appreciation is relational. I don't say, I appreciate this house, without appreciating the one who made the house or designed the house, and honouring him.
 

Mestemia

Advocatus Diaboli
Premium Member
Imagine a country where no-one said thanks or gave praise.
The instincts were removed through brain operation at birth.
It was found that these were the instincts which led people to want to give thanks for life, to give praise for beauty of nature, and this meant seeking God.
The NoThanksNoGod country found that without these instincts, people no longer had a need to worship God.

Would these people be happy?
I suspect that just like all the other people the universe has hosted, some will, some won't
 

Meow Mix

Chatte Féministe
That's because it's a natural instinct :)

Appreciation is relational. I don't say, I appreciate this house, without appreciating the one who made the house or designed the house, and honouring him.

“Appreciate” also just means to recognize worth or value. It does not always mean to be thankful to someone or some being.

If we’re specifically talking about thankfulness, then it depends on the context. I don’t feel thankful to anybody for the planet or the universe, but I value them and see worth in them. I am happy to have experiences. I don’t need to thank anyone to feel this kind of value and happiness.

Now of course a world where we didn’t thank other real live human beings for being nice to us would be a bummer. So if you removed ALL thankfulness, then that would not be good.

The point seems to be about whether there is happiness without thankfulness to gods (correct me if I’m wrong) though. And yes, there is.
 
“Appreciate” also just means to recognize worth or value. It does not always mean to be thankful to someone or some being.

If we’re specifically talking about thankfulness, then it depends on the context. I don’t feel thankful to anybody for the planet or the universe, but I value them and see worth in them. I am happy to have experiences. I don’t need to thank anyone to feel this kind of value and happiness.

Now of course a world where we didn’t thank other real live human beings for being nice to us would be a bummer. So if you removed ALL thankfulness, then that would not be good.

The point seems to be about whether there is happiness without thankfulness to gods (correct me if I’m wrong) though. And yes, there is.

One can appreciate without thanks or praise but it would be deficient.

I can appreciate a classical music concert, without expressing any thanks or praise to the conductor, but I think it would be a very deficient and quite sad appreciation. I would be taking and not giving. I don't think it would be a true appreciation.

This is the same with everything in life. I can appreciate any blessings of my upbringing, but if I don't say thank you to my parents at the same time, it wouldn't feel right somehow.

Is appreciation essential to happiness?
 

Mestemia

Advocatus Diaboli
Premium Member
One can appreciate without thanks or praise but it would be deficient.

I can appreciate a classical music concert, without expressing any thanks or praise to the conductor, but I think it would be a very deficient and quite sad appreciation. I would be taking and not giving. I don't think it would be a true appreciation.

This is the same with everything in life. I can appreciate any blessings of my upbringing, but if I don't say thank you to my parents at the same time, it wouldn't feel right somehow.

Is appreciation essential to happiness?
Are you saying that you can only truly be thankful if the person knows you are thankful?
 

HonestJoe

Well-Known Member
I can appreciate a classical music concert, without expressing any thanks or praise to the conductor, but I think it would be a very deficient and quite sad appreciation. I would be taking and not giving. I don't think it would be a true appreciation.
Wouldn't that make it impossible for you to properly appreciate anything recorded or created by someone now deceased? Directly expressing your praise to the creators in that situation would be impossible, just as it will be in countless day-to-day examples.

I'd suggest that full appreciation is perfectly possible in yourself. There can also be positives from thanking, congratulating or praising the people (or some of them) who created the things you appreciate, but I'd see that as a bonus rather than a necessity.

And none of this automatically has anything to do with any gods unless you happen to believe they created something you appreciate.
 
OK.
Then it seems to me I am not understanding what you mean.

We are relational creatures. Appreciation is relational.
To appreciate life, we would have to appreciate a creator of life.
He would know what was in our hearts, so it would be impossible to have such appreciation (or its lack) without them knowing.
But can I be thankful to my dad, if my dad is no longer alive?
I suppose I can be thankful for him. But as he is no longer alive, it would be impossible to be thankful to him.
 
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Wouldn't that make it impossible for you to properly appreciate anything recorded or created by someone now deceased? Directly expressing your praise to the creators in that situation would be impossible, just as it will be in countless day-to-day examples..

Agreed.

This is why appreciation is dependent on God, who is eternal and the creator of all.
When we give thanks to others we also give thanks for Him. And that thanks can never be false (if it is from the heart.) By contrast, thanks and praise to others only is compromised by other very human drives - envy, pride, etc.
 

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Imagine a country where no-one said thanks or gave praise.
The instincts were removed through brain operation at birth.
It was found that these were the instincts which led people to want to give thanks for life, to give praise for beauty of nature, and this meant seeking God.
The NoThanksNoGod country found that without these instincts, people no longer had a need to worship God.

Would these people be happy?

You seem to be asking whether, were it possible to surgically excise the brain's gratitude faculty, would people be happy? I assume you mean while living a life that would otherwise be happy pre-op.

I'd say yes, but less happy. Gratitude is an experience that makes the experience of the rest of life better. It enhances overall satisfaction with life.

But you needn't inject gods into the matter. Why do you call it the NoThanksNoGod country. I am an atheist, but a grateful person nevertheless. The main difference is that my gratitude is without an object to be grateful to. Grateful for, not grateful to.

I think that gratitude, along with awe, a sense of mystery, and a sense of connectivity, are the essence of the spiritual experience, without which, life is less colorful, less satisfying. And I assure you that one can be both grateful and happy without a god belief.
 

HonestJoe

Well-Known Member
This is why appreciation is dependent on God, who is eternal and the creator of all.
That might be what you need (or think you need) but we're not all the same. Some people will thank Allah, Zeus, Vishnu, Gaia or The Spirits. And some of us appreciate the good things in life without identifying a character as a focus for it.

As long as you're not harming anyone else, it's all good. Suggesting that people who don't believe the same thing you do are somehow incapable of properly appreciating anything is a small step in that harmful direction though.
 

viole

Ontological Naturalist
Premium Member
Imagine a country where no-one said thanks or gave praise.
The instincts were removed through brain operation at birth.
It was found that these were the instincts which led people to want to give thanks for life, to give praise for beauty of nature, and this meant seeking God.
The NoThanksNoGod country found that without these instincts, people no longer had a need to worship God.

Would these people be happy?
Since Finland, and Scandinavians in general, rate highest in happiness, while mostly believing that God is as plausible as Mother Goose, I would say yes. You do not need Gods to be happy.

Actually, I would go so far to say that only otherwise unhappy people need a God.

Ciao

- viole
 
That might be what you need (or think you need) but we're not all the same. Some people will thank Allah, Zeus, Vishnu, Gaia or The Spirits. And some of us appreciate the good things in life without identifying a character as a focus for it.

As long as you're not harming anyone else, it's all good. Suggesting that people who don't believe the same thing you do are somehow incapable of properly appreciating anything is a small step in that harmful direction though.

You are fully entitled to your outlook.
But I believe it conflicts with reality. Appreciation is a relational instinct.
 
Since Finland, and Scandinavians in general, rate highest in happiness, while mostly believing that God is as plausible as Mother Goose, I would say yes. You do not need Gods to be happy.

Actually, I would go so far to say that only otherwise unhappy people need a God.

Ciao

- viole

Also very high rates of suicide!

Statistics are not always a reliable indicator of anything. No offence to the mother goose, I like geese very much! I give thanks for geese!
 
You seem to be asking whether, were it possible to surgically excise the brain's gratitude faculty, would people be happy? I assume you mean while living a life that would otherwise be happy pre-op.

I'd say yes, but less happy. Gratitude is an experience that makes the experience of the rest of life better. It enhances overall satisfaction with life.

But you needn't inject gods into the matter. Why do you call it the NoThanksNoGod country. I am an atheist, but a grateful person nevertheless. The main difference is that my gratitude is without an object to be grateful to. Grateful for, not grateful to.

I think that gratitude, along with awe, a sense of mystery, and a sense of connectivity, are the essence of the spiritual experience, without which, life is less colorful, less satisfying. And I assure you that one can be both grateful and happy without a god belief.

Hi. Thanks for the post.

I entirely agree with a lot of what you say. Gratitude is an essential part of being human, and also a part of spirtiual experience. I lived most of my life not thinking of God. Was I never appreciative? I'm not a very good person, so probably I wasn't, in my heart. I was depressed.
Then I found enjoyment and love in nature and art. I could never say thank you! for this, but both gave me happiness. But was I appreciative?
I think it was practicing a kind of appreciation, which told me about the ultimate meaning of life - I just hadn't followed this instinct to its conclusion.
It led me in another direction. I wanted to capture life myself, be the artist!
Was this appreciation?
I wanted people to appreciate me. I wanted to make myself a little god. I think the godless society encourages this in all of us.
If that has no resonance for you, that's okay. It's the truth as I see it. All the things you mention, tell us that appreciation is our highest and most essential purpose here.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
Imagine a country where no-one said thanks or gave praise.
The instincts were removed through brain operation at birth.
It was found that these were the instincts which led people to want to give thanks for life, to give praise for beauty of nature, and this meant seeking God.
The NoThanksNoGod country found that without these instincts, people no longer had a need to worship God.

Would these people be happy?
This sounds like another of these "What if the sky were made of concrete?" scenarios.

The question can't be answered without a long excursion into what it is that makes people happy. Is that what you are looking for?
 

viole

Ontological Naturalist
Premium Member
Also very high rates of suicide!

Statistics are not always a reliable indicator of anything. No offence to the mother goose, I like geese very much! I give thanks for geese!

Which begs the question: how are you going to make your point?

Ciao

- viole
 
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