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11-20-2012 06:28 AM
Nekromanta
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Clydey The nicest poster on the board... And where's that chick harmless?
11-25-2011 11:40 PM
Har-Tru
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
Jose and Habib, I was wondering if you would both be willing to expand on how your views on faith have evolved over the past couple of years? I'm interested in what it took to change your minds, whether there was something specific that you found particularly persuasive.
Habibko kindly called my attention to this post. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever posted in this thread, for some reason. Probably because I hardly have any time for philosophy as of late...

In any case... where to begin? Some facts about my life are needed first. I was born into a painfully stereotypical rural Spanish family. My parents are both believing Catholics, I went to a Catholic school and my mother is a catechist and is very active in the church. That being said, I never really had much trouble with Catholicism. My school was quite liberal and laid-back. We went to mass when it was mandated, we had religion classes and the walls were filled with biblical quotations and posters. But the nuns were for the most part kind, caring old ladies who pretty much left us alone. And my parents, while being fervent Catholics, are also quite liberal. I still remember when my mum told me to use condoms...

So I was raised believing in the Christian God the Catholic way, went to church with my mum every sunday until I was about thirteen, at which point I told her I would stop going, more due to laziness than because of any serious conviction. As I grew up, my beliefs started to wobble and gradually fall down or suffer a metamorphosis, in their desperate attempts to cling on to life. I stopped considering myself a Catholic, but I still defined myself as a Christian. I never really gave the theological arguments much thought, but the message of Jesus seemed too powerful to me. That was (and still is) the most convincing argument for Christian theism I could find, and for many years it was enough.

However, as I said, my beliefs were very weak and unstable. All that was needed was a kickstart, a push that would drive me to investigate and deal with the matter in depth, to really go into it. I sort of started doing just that when I slept with my flatmate, who was a student of Catholic theology, and she kicked me out of the flat... but it didn't seem significant enough. That kickstart was the realisation that a very close friend of mine, and old one, had joined a hardline conservative Catholic sect. It is recognised by the Vatican, but even there it is seen with distrust, because of their radical emphasis on the holiness of the family and the standard Catholic precepts. In any case, whatever those people told her and tell her, they fucking destroyed my dear friend. She is just not the friend I used to know. She stopped talking to a common friend because she told her she didn't believe in God and supported abortion, is marrying a guy she met some months ago, etc...

That was what pushed me to purchase the famous book by that British biologist everybody was talking about. That did it. Smooth and easy. That and Sam Harris's work, which I find powerful as. It was a liberating moment, to be honest.
11-19-2011 11:42 PM
fast_clay
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nidhogg View Post
I'm a simple individual, and I make my own fortune. Right now my purpose in life is nothing more than to enjoy a glass of good Whiskey and watch Gene Hackman being force-fed heroin. Later on I will experience pure, exstatic bliss by the humble means of a mangle and 10 meters of bubble plastic wrap...
Preach Brother, Preach.
11-19-2011 11:09 PM
Nidhogg
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

I'm a simple individual, and I make my own fortune. Right now my purpose in life is nothing more than to enjoy a glass of good Whiskey and watch Gene Hackman being force-fed heroin. Later on I will experience pure, exstatic bliss by the humble means of a mangle and 10 meters of bubble plastic wrap...
11-19-2011 10:37 PM
Sunset of Age
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
I meant meaningless in the larger sense, as in being put here for a reason.
Heh heh. Us Homo Sapiens sapiens put on Planet Earth for a 'reason'? I'd rather call it One Big Mistake. Yet another reason to not believe in any a 'god'.
No way, man - well perhaps to finally cause the ultimate downfall of the ecology of our planet... on which we're doing a mighty fine job, unfortunately.

Quote:
That is a good way to think of it, even if I wouldn't agree that, objectively speaking, that is our purpose. But subjectively, I would absolutely agree.
I don't think any of us individuals have any 'purpose' of being here. but I guess such is just too painful to think about for a lot of folks.

This said, I think that this is one of the causes of there being religions at all - as a matter of fact, Homo Sapiens sapiens is one of the very few mammalic species having any conciousness of mortality at all (I know there are some reports of elephants and dolphins perhaps having it as well, but don't really know how convincing those claims actually are), so that might well explain the 'need' for having a religion - the thought of not being as important as you might want to think you are, might just be too hard to bear for many.

Quote:
I wouldn't call it silly, since I'm sure you don't look at the plants and really think that your friend resides within them.
- nope. It's just some kind of an irrational, but nice, way of dealing with the though thoughts on the loss of a dear friend. Some kind of very spiritual ritualization.
11-19-2011 10:26 PM
Clydey
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset of Age View Post
Quite like my own feelings as well.
I think it's a mistake to think that if there's no 'afterlife' - which I think there isn't - your, or anyone else's for that matter, life would be 'meaningless'.
I meant meaningless in the larger sense, as in being put here for a reason.

Quote:
I think that the meaning of our lives is in fact designated by what you manage to do with your life - and during your lifetime, whether it is a great career, or just being helpful to others. Thereafter, we'll just end up being molecules again, which will help build up the next fase of nature, and there's nothing wrong with that.
That is a good way to think of it, even if I wouldn't agree that, objectively speaking, that is our purpose. But subjectively, I would absolutely agree.

Quote:
As I am for 99% an atheist, I'd like to emphasize that being 'religious' is a totally different concept than being 'spiritual'. I consider myself a very spiritual, even (over-?)sensitive person, but that has never blocked my very rational mind - I just allow myself to feel 'spiritual' whenever I think it's a good thing.

To name an example:
A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine died at a very young age of a dreadful cancer. Years before that happened, I marvelled at the hollyhocks in her garden, and asked her for some seeds to spread around on my doorstep.
Well... two years ago she died, and guess what happened? The hollyhocks came out in full bloom, right on my doorstep, in flaming pink and gentle yellow/green. Exactly her favourite colours.
So now, every spring when those plants come up again, I cannot help but just nod towards them and think, "Hi there Chantalle, nice to see you around again. How are you doing 'over there'?"

Silly? Perhaps.
I wouldn't call it silly, since I'm sure you don't look at the plants and really think that your friend resides within them.
11-19-2011 10:03 PM
Sunset of Age
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
Absolutely. Feel free to share your thoughts.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
I have no absolute purpose. That is, I believe my existence is a happy accident and that is where it ends.

I suppose you could say that I make my own purpose. I am a relentlessly logical person, but I have my irrational moments. For example, I am an extremely proud Scotsman and would love to achieve something that would be recognised as a Scottish achievement. I of course realise that nationalism at this level is a vacuous concept (if anything we are all Africans), but my national identity is still something I cherish.

Taking that into account, it is easier than you may think to manufacture a purpose and remain largely unconscious of the pointlessness of it all, with the exception of a few slightly depressing moments where I realise that nothing I do ultimately matters.
Quite like my own feelings as well.
I think it's a mistake to think that if there's no 'afterlife' - which I think there isn't - your, or anyone else's for that matter, life would be 'meaningless'.

I think that the meaning of our lives is in fact designated by what you manage to do with your life - and during your lifetime, whether it is a great career, or just being helpful to others. Thereafter, we'll just end up being molecules again, which will help build up the next fase of Nature, and there's nothing wrong with that.

As I am for 99% an atheist, I'd like to emphasize that being 'religious' is a totally different concept than being 'spiritual'. I consider myself a very spiritual, even (over-?)sensitive person, but that has never blocked my very rational mind - I just allow myself to feel 'spiritual' whenever I think it's a good thing.

To name an example:
A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine died at a very young age of a dreadful cancer. Years before that happened, I marvelled at the hollyhocks in her garden, and asked her for some seeds to spread around on my doorstep.
Well... two years ago she died, and guess what happened? The hollyhocks came out in full bloom, right on my doorstep, in flaming pink and gentle yellow/green. Exactly her favourite colours.
So now, every spring when those plants come up again, I cannot help but just nod towards them and think, "Hi there Chantalle, nice to see you around again. How are you doing 'over there'?"

Silly? Perhaps.
11-19-2011 09:47 PM
Clydey
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by fast_clay View Post
i'll share a secret... here is last time that i truly held any faith...



one final gem found in the ashes of the 80's...
80's action movies. The one thing I hold dearest.
11-19-2011 09:47 PM
Clydey
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset of Age View Post
hi folks, am I allowed to join in? Sounds like an interesting discussion going on here.
Absolutely. Feel free to share your thoughts.
11-19-2011 09:26 PM
fast_clay
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

i'll share a secret... here is last time that i truly held any faith...



one final gem found in the ashes of the 80's...
11-19-2011 09:19 PM
Sunset of Age
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

hi folks, am I allowed to join in? Sounds like an interesting discussion going on here.
11-19-2011 09:08 PM
Clydey
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by habibko View Post
true, I learned about the concept of absurdism even before I started my atheistic science readings of the last 2 years when I was reading Arabic translations of existential works of famous philosophers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Camus etc

but I'm not like you, I can't just go on in life without being conscious of its absurdity, especially when during my daily life almost everyone around me is so different, my mind rarely stops thinking about it, the only way I can silence my thoughts for now is to think there's a meaning that we don't yet know or can't know until we die, the fact that we aren't even close to understanding how life came about, or simulating anything of the sort leaves room in my mind for this soothing thought

yes I understand this is another classic example of a god of the gaps, but we are like that I guess, contradictory and weak, this has nothing to do with my deep appreciation, interest and admiration of science, and doesn't stop me from criticizing religion, creationist views and anti-scientific attitudes in general, and I won't wait for whatever meaning there is to decide how I live my life for me, I derive my morals and way of life by my own logic and reasoning and my innate sense of right and wrong

given your nihilistic view, what is your purpose in life?
I have no absolute purpose. That is, I believe my existence is a happy accident and that is where it ends.

I suppose you could say that I make my own purpose. I am a relentlessly logical person, but I have my irrational moments. For example, I am an extremely proud Scotsman and would love to achieve something that would be recognised as a Scottish achievement. I of course realise that nationalism at this level is a vacuous concept (if anything we are all Africans), but my national identity is still something I cherish.

Taking that into account, it is easier than you may think to manufacture a purpose and remain largely unconscious of the pointlessness of it all, with the exception of a few slightly depressing moments where I realise that nothing I do ultimately matters.
11-19-2011 08:42 PM
habibko
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
I understand where you are coming from. A nihilistic view isn't necessarily easy to deal with, but it is the only logical conclusion I can come to.

I liken it to watching a movie. You know the movie isn't real, but you still lose yourself in it, get invested in the characters, etc. That's how I view life. It is ultimately meaningless, but I am rarely conscious of this fact while I'm living it.

What is it that makes you think there may be something more?
true, I learned about the concept of absurdism even before I started my atheistic science readings of the last 2 years when I was reading Arabic translations of existential works of famous philosophers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Camus etc

but I'm not like you, I can't just go on in life without being conscious of its absurdity, especially when during my daily life almost everyone around me is so different, my mind rarely stops thinking about it, the only way I can silence my thoughts for now is to think there's a meaning that we don't yet know or can't know until we die, the fact that we aren't even close to understanding how life came about, or simulating anything of the sort leaves room in my mind for this soothing thought

yes I understand this is another classic example of a god of the gaps, but we are like that I guess, contradictory and weak, this has nothing to do with my deep appreciation, interest and admiration of science, and doesn't stop me from criticizing religion, creationist views and anti-scientific attitudes in general, and I won't wait for whatever meaning there is to decide how I live my life for me, I derive my morals and way of life by my own logic and reasoning and my innate sense of right and wrong

given your nihilistic view, what is your purpose in life?
11-19-2011 08:10 PM
Clydey
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by habibko View Post
I as I read some of my old posts in this thread, still not too bad



sure

I have always promised myself to be open-minded and not take anyone's word for anything I believe in or any personal decisions I make in my life, while I did lead a religious life in the early parts of my teenage years, I always had doubts and questions over specifics, purposes and meanings within Islam and its teachings, things I couldn't square inside my mind, the traditional answers grew more and more empty to my ears, insufficient, contradictory to what I feel is really good to us

for instance I could never bring myself to believe that music is something God hates and teaches to be a work of Satan, note that this is not a universal teaching within Islam but it's taught in the more conservative forms of it, inside my mind I kept thinking that I cannot love and worship a God that thinks music is a bad thing, this is just one little example

I was always an avid reader, I spent most of my free time reading whatever I could find, free reading in literature, history and philosophy was a daily practice even as early as 10 years old and from then on as I had access to my dad's private library (quite big), this helped me learn that there's more out there than the official curriculum of my school (back then internet wasn't what it is now)

little by little I looked out for more, and in science I found what I was looking for, pure objective facts about our world that we build on without having to resort to supernatural explanations that cannot be proven, I started reading more about evolution in Dawkins' books, from there I moved on to the works of Hitchens and Harris, and then to so many other books, online lectures and debates, I realized that science has enabled us to understand our world without having to resort to creationist explanations that had so many logical, moral and philosophical fallacies

still I don't describe myself as a full-fledged atheist, I lead my daily life as one but within me I yearn for more, I can't bring myself to think that this is all there's to life, call it wishful thinking if you may, but a deist stance leaves room for meaning behind this life, a meaning that we don't (and maybe can't) fully understand, one thing is for sure: religions as we know them aren't the answer

in a way I miss the short time in my life when I was sure that everything made sense and my world was intact, I look at people around me and envy how they lead their mostly delusional lives being sure of their steps and where they are heading, knowledge is a burden and ignorance is a bliss, but I still prefer the bitterness of truth as far as we know the facts to the delusions of our ignorant ancient attempts to make sense out of the unknown
I understand where you are coming from. A nihilistic view isn't necessarily easy to deal with, but it is the only logical conclusion I can come to.

I liken it to watching a movie. You know the movie isn't real, but you still lose yourself in it, get invested in the characters, etc. That's how I view life. It is ultimately meaningless, but I am rarely conscious of this fact while I'm living it.

What is it that makes you think there may be something more?
11-19-2011 07:37 PM
habibko
Re: Clydey and Friends' Philosophical Paradise

I as I read some of my old posts in this thread, still not too bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clydey View Post
Jose and Habib, I was wondering if you would both be willing to expand on how your views on faith have evolved over the past couple of years? I'm interested in what it took to change your minds, whether there was something specific that you found particularly persuasive.
sure

I have always promised myself to be open-minded and not take anyone's word for anything I believe in or any personal decisions I make in my life, while I did lead a religious life in the early parts of my teenage years, I always had doubts and questions over specifics, purposes and meanings within Islam and its teachings, things I couldn't square inside my mind, the traditional answers grew more and more empty to my ears, insufficient, contradictory to what I feel is really good to us

for instance I could never bring myself to believe that music is something God hates and teaches to be a work of Satan, note that this is not a universal teaching within Islam but it's taught in the more conservative forms of it, inside my mind I kept thinking that I cannot love and worship a God that thinks music is a bad thing, this is just one little example

I was always an avid reader, I spent most of my free time reading whatever I could find, free reading in literature, history and philosophy was a daily practice even as early as 10 years old and from then on as I had access to my dad's private library (quite big), this helped me learn that there's more out there than the official curriculum of my school (back then internet wasn't what it is now)

little by little I looked out for more, and in science I found what I was looking for, pure objective facts about our world that we build on without having to resort to supernatural explanations that cannot be proven, I started reading more about evolution in Dawkins' books, from there I moved on to the works of Hitchens and Harris, and then to so many other books, online lectures and debates, I realized that science has enabled us to understand our world without having to resort to creationist explanations that had so many logical, moral and philosophical fallacies

still I don't describe myself as a full-fledged atheist, I lead my daily life as one but within me I yearn for more, I can't bring myself to think that this is all there's to life, call it wishful thinking if you may, but a deist stance leaves room for meaning behind this life, a meaning that we don't (and maybe can't) fully understand, one thing is for sure: religions as we know them aren't the answer

in a way I miss the short time in my life when I was sure that everything made sense and my world was intact, I look at people around me and envy how they lead their mostly delusional lives being sure of their steps and where they are heading, knowledge is a burden and ignorance is a bliss, but I still prefer the bitterness of truth as far as we know the facts to the delusions of our ignorant ancient attempts to make sense out of the unknown
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