?

Log in

On atheism - But here in my heart, I give you the best of my love.

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> Doogie's Delusions

Links
Classy Sports Commentary
Pirates Blog
Origuymi
Erin's blog
Tril's blog
Robin's blog
Lynds
Aaron's blog
KC Royals Pitcher: Brian Anderson
Austin's blog
Ed Barnes: On the Road
Yoouuuuuuuuuk
Newzie's Blog
ckd's blog
Cosmic Ray
Dan's new blog
Rabbi Andy's blog
Geezer Pirate
Josh the Younger
Watchman
Jim Norton (He just sucks)
Frank Longbottom (PTM journal)
Old Frank Longbottom Journal (PTM RPG Journal)
Augustus Rookwood (PTM journal)
Frank Longbottom (Cataclysm RPG journal)
Captain Lord Ivan Vorpatril (Vor RPG journal)
Lord Richars Vorrutyer (Vor RPG journal)
Byerly Vorrutyer (Vor LJ RPG journal)
FF chart (potential TMI)

May 25th, 2007


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
09:58 am - On atheism
So last night I said to my husband, completely serious, "Atheism must be a great comfort to people. The idea of being in control of one's destiny. That there's no agency deliberately, methodically plotting out the course of events."
And, bless his heart, he said with equal seriousness, after only a moment's pause, "Some people find comfort in believing there is an order and a design and a purpose to all events."

And of course, that is the point of a belief system, any belief system, even atheism, to provide a measure of comfort and make sense and order of a universe that seems devoid of both, even if your way of "making it make sense" is to declare that it is incapable of making sense.

So I don't know. Is it better to believe there's a purpose and a design for everything, including all the bad things, or better to believe that it's all chance and therefore can't be attributed to malice, indifference, or relegated to the land of "you're too stupid to understand grand design?"
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Tags:

(16 Represent the voice of the people | Request an audience)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:bitchinmona
Date:May 25th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)

Who defines broken, though?

(Link)
This brings up an interesting phenomenon I've noticed with females writing online. I've read numerous accounts of women engaging in casual intellectual conversation with their spouse, partner, significant other, etc... and meeting their equal. I don't mean equal in the sense of men vs. women, though. I mean... just the whole "Hey, blah blah blah-diddy blah blah blah" with an equal (and sometimes opposite) retort of "Yes, but blah blahbooby blobbin bladotty blah blah". Just that someone can rip out a thought-provoking statement and have it met with such sincerity and consideration without being over-wrought or intended to impress makes me swoon when I see it in others' relationships.

Granted, I can (and do) have meaningful conversations in my own relationship, but rarely on topics such as religion, politics, ethics, and so on. We express shared outrage and frustration at the objectionable politicicians and their frequent shenanigans, but it seldom evolves (or devolves, as it were) into protracted discussions on underlying mores and sentiments and values.

I think I'm just trying to understand if that's more because we know each other well enough to just perceive the other's complete view, if we just are each so independant in our beliefs and values that while we likely share the same views it doesn't really matter to us *why* the other shares that opinion, or if we're lacking some sort of basic tenet of a relationship where we don't talk about the "big" things and instead choose to grouse about Melinda's unjust ouster from Idol or whether Alexis and Daniel will survive the wreck on Ugly Betty.
[User Picture]
From:mdyesowitch
Date:May 25th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Who defines broken, though?

(Link)
Hoppie and I are both really outspoken people who will say nearly anything that comes to mind, so our conversations really span a ride range of topics and interests.

Sometimes he takes me seriously, sometimes he doesn't, it depends on his mood and mine. I do honestly think his long pause was related to the idea that he couldn't figure out what mindset I'd gotten myself into. There are myriad of assumptions built-in to my thought and I think he was taking the time to detangle them and at the same time not say, "wow, that's the stupidest thing you've ever said." (which it isn't by a long shot! 8-) )
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 25th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am a staunchly defensive agnostic. I have no idea what forces guide us and I will defend to the death my lack of idea. :D
[User Picture]
From:zombie_dog
Date:May 25th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
uh, that was me, sorry
[User Picture]
From:sc00ter
Date:May 25th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"And of course, that is the point of a belief system, any belief system, even atheism, to provide a measure of comfort and make sense and order of a universe that seems devoid of both, even if your way of "making it make sense" is to declare that it is incapable of making sense.

I don't know.. As an atheist, I don't find any extra comfort or sense and order.. I just came to that conclusion based on the facts and observations I currently have.

In fact I think it's almost counter-intuitive to base your belief in what makes you warm and fuzzy. Rejecting reality to make yourself feel good can't be an overly good thing in the long run. Be it that you think there is or isn't a good, or that the people on the TV are giving you secret messages to kill people.
[User Picture]
From:enochs_fable
Date:May 25th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)

making sense

(Link)
And of course, that is the point of a belief system, any belief system, even atheism, to provide a measure of comfort and make sense and order of a universe that seems devoid of both, even if your way of "making it make sense" is to declare that it is incapable of making sense.

And atheism (or even agnosticism) isn't saying that it's incapable of making sense - but rather that the sense it does make is defined by knowable physical laws that govern the universe.

Unless you're talking here strictly of "moral" sense.
[User Picture]
From:mdyesowitch
Date:May 25th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)

Re: making sense

(Link)
I didn't mean that atheists abandon all notions of order in the universe, although I suppose it probably came out that way. I meant that the focus is on unguided progression rather than following a grand plan.

Take for instance the image of a water at the top of the mountain. According to physical law, it runs down the mountain in a roughly straight line. Simple. Basic. Logical. Now in a theological perspective, things happen if that water is not intended to go down to the spot you'd expect: a freeze maintains the position of the water on the mountain, blockades, natural or man-made divert the water, and ultimately, according to the plan of a grand architect, the water ends up in the perfect spot for....maybe a new community, maybe a baby cast away (See: story of Ishmael), we as humans don't necessarily know what for.

Same water, same mountain, out of a theological perspective. Same thing happens. It gets cold it freezes. There's no plan for the water. These things happen. It's a mountain. Mountains above a certain height are prone to freezing for valid scientific reasons. And if that water doesn't freeze, changes are good, given the nature of a mountain, it will not end up near the originating point because: there are beavers who love living on the mountain and they'll damn up low areas to trap water, or there are rocks and the rocks force the water to go a different way down, or there are clumps of dirt, or houses, all perfectly natural, all entirely sound. And you've got the same water behaving in exactly the same way, but for the first water, there is an a theoretical endpoint at time it will have served its divine purpose. For the second water there's no end point. There's no destination. There's movement and there's progress and it's orderly and there are factors external to the water dictating where the water will end up, and things will happen as a result of where the water lands and when, but those things aren't dependant on an orchestrator. Not only is the water itself independant, albeit not self-sufficient, all of the factors that govern the actions of the water are independant from the water and from each other and yet they form a dependant relationship for the duration of their time, for example: the water being on the mountain affects the duration of the freeze and possibly the intensity resulting ultimately in a thaw. The rock as a result of it's interaction with the water ultimately becomes diminished, or another agent, seeing that rock impedes the water, may move it, something that would not have happened without the water.

So before I get too lost in that, the point is that regardless of whether there is or is not a guiding force that manipulates events on this planet, there is progress along a defined order. I don't mean to in any way demean the philosophy of atheism, and I hope my comments haven't come across the way.

I have met intelligent people on both sides of the argument and the arguments either way are compelling. The main difference, given that the observable phenomenon are identical comes when you consider the purpose for things happen. Either things happen for a reason, or they don't. And it's hard really to say there's a gray area. And if things don't happen for reason, what a burden that would relieve. You really could do nothing but live up to your own moral and ethical code (if you have one) and let your only governances be your immediate surroundings and whatever feelings of personal responsibility.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mdyesowitch
Date:May 27th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
Now that you say that, it's an excellent point. I hadn't really thought about it, but it does feel a bit like I'm carrying the weight of the universe on my shoulders.

You're absolutely right. The purpose of the universe, assuming there is one, isn't my responsibility to assure. I've got this frenetic need to do good, to advance, to make progress towards....something. Why?

I mean the obvious reasons spring to mind, we're wired that way, always seeking knowledge, advancement, understanding, and that holds, but rings a bit too pat.

I'll have to think about it. Thank you.
[User Picture]
From:naughtyneffie
Date:May 25th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I've always felt the other way about 'belief'. I think it must be comforting to believe that someone out there gives a damn about you and has a plan for you. True believers always seem so calm and peaceful. Nuns, for instance.

However, I take issue, as an atheist, with your use of the word 'belief'. I do not have a belief system. I have a knowledge system. Facts, figures, experiments that can be repeated. I can prove the things that I 'believe'. Well, not personally but someone can. I don't feel the need for a greater purpose or a reason for the good or bad things that happen. Things happen. We are all just random bits of humanity fired by electrical impulses. To believe otherwise, I think, is egotistical.

I tried to believe in a higher power when I was younger. I just couldn't. It all felt like a lie and still does. I'm not interested in changing anyone else's feelings about anything. I know what I know and I'm not going to change, so why should I try to change other ppl? I think it's just rude. I come from a very Christian oriented society so there are things I just don't talk about. It wasn't too long ago that the KKK was flourishing around here.

Basically, as long as you are happy, I'm happy. But I still felt the need to butt my nose in. :) Atheists are one of the more persecuted of the 'religious groups' nowadays. Particularly where I am. Simon got yelled at on the bus the other day because he told them how the Earth was created by swirling dust and the other kids started screaming that it was created by God. He came home in tears. He saw it on tv. They proved it. He watched it with his daddy. Knowledge, not belief. He's still upset.
[User Picture]
From:sc00ter
Date:May 26th, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"I've always felt the other way about 'belief'. I think it must be comforting to believe that someone out there gives a damn about you and has a plan for you. True believers always seem so calm and peaceful. Nuns, for instance."

I don't know.. Some nuns seem like they're out to force you to believe. But as far as being calm and peaceful.. A few true believers that I know, that are really into their religion put on a front for the general public because that's what they think god wants them to do, they feel controlled. Some people need that control for their lives and its probably good for them. Then you have the casual believers that don't even follow the rules of their faith. That just seems like living a lie to me. If you don't want to believe or follow a specific religion, than don't.

"Basically, as long as you are happy, I'm happy. But I still felt the need to butt my nose in. :) Atheists are one of the more persecuted of the 'religious groups' nowadays. Particularly where I am. Simon got yelled at on the bus the other day because he told them how the Earth was created by swirling dust and the other kids started screaming that it was created by God. He came home in tears. He saw it on tv. They proved it. He watched it with his daddy. Knowledge, not belief. He's still upset."

That sucks about Simon. :(
[User Picture]
From:cassie_o
Date:May 26th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
(Link)
On one of your other posts...I did have a few friends that gave me recomendations when I was having problems....

If you are interested.
[User Picture]
From:mdyesowitch
Date:May 27th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That sounds sensible. I accept.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:asenathwaite99
Date:May 28th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
Atheism isn't a belief system; it's a lack of a belief system. Some atheists think everything is determined, others don't. Some atheists are agnostic, others aren't. The only thing the label "atheist" implies about a person's opinions and beliefs is a lack of deities.
If everything that happens, including everything bad, is part of a greater purpose, I shudder to think what that purpose might be, or what sort of malevolent entity might be guiding it. In a sense, you're right--I think it's far more comforting to base one's worldview around reason than to believe in an omnipotent being whose design embraces all the suffering in the world.
[User Picture]
From:mdyesowitch
Date:May 28th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)

I was going to create another post for this, but since you bring it up...

(Link)
Hoppie also pointed out when I told him about some of the comments on this thread that deism also provides for different theories of purpose; the clockmaker god, which proposes the idea that the world was created than left to advance naturally; and the caretaker god which provides some guidance, but does not control everything inclusively.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com