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Author Topic: 21st century Atheist  (Read 1208 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 08, 2014, 12:03:19 PM »

Does anyone here at Orthodox Christianity.net rationally connect with modern atheism? I don't actually reject God but for the most part have a small functioning faith. Is it time to bridge the gap between religion and science...
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 12:37:14 PM »

I do. I watch and listen to Atheists all the time. Christoper Hitchens, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, the Atheist Experience etc. Their objections to Christianity are usually based on a Fundamentalist understanding within Protestantism. So their objections never really stick.

Anyway, after all the videos I have seen of FSA war crimes in Syria, if I am not an Atheist now... I don't think I ever will be.

I object to Atheism because of inevitably relativistic morality and innate meaninglessness.
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 12:42:56 PM »

I don't fully understand arbitrary decisions to reject atheism because it is arbitrary.

But in any event, while I don't have much in common with atheism, I do also have faith issues or obstacles, though less as time goes by.
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2014, 12:45:57 PM »

Well, I sympathize with Atheists...well, at least Atheists here in the US. There is so much BS and such a horrible understanding about God and scripture because of the "usual suspects" I kind of can't blame them in a way.

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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014, 12:51:11 PM »

I find atheism to be a perpetually insufficient basis to explain existence.  Therefore I reject it.
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 12:52:03 PM »

The problem with many modern atheists is that their criticisms are not really against the classical theism of the church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, the Arab philosophers, etc. What many of the New Atheists attack is a straw man that results from week Protestant apologetics.
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2014, 12:52:25 PM »

I find atheism to be a perpetually insufficient basis to explain existence.  Therefore I reject it.
As do I.
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 01:30:59 PM »

I think, in theory, you could adopt the beliefs in the History of the Vatican Popes and just be Catholic? ...
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 01:35:16 PM »

By the way, what are you hiding from? ..
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2014, 01:46:22 PM »

Yes I do. Thank God for Atheism.
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2014, 02:24:04 PM »

By the way, what are you hiding from? ..
To whomb is this question directed?
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2014, 03:17:12 PM »

What many of the New Atheists attack is a straw man that results from week Protestant apologetics.

I think we may have discussed this before, because everyone seemed to know a better class of atheists than me. I don't cross the street when I see one coming  Grin but I do avoid discussions (esp. online) with them. It seems such a waste of time. I find their usual arguments just as unpersuasive as they probably do mine. And as Papist points out, they are setting up a strawman rather than presenting evidence for atheism. In the end, no one can "prove" or "disprove" the existence of God, ISTM.
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2014, 05:06:13 PM »

The problem with many modern atheists is that their criticisms are not really against the classical theism of the church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, the Arab philosophers, etc. What many of the New Atheists attack is a straw man that results from week Protestant apologetics.

I wrote "week" instead of "weak."  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2014, 05:23:54 PM »

By the way, what are you hiding from? ..
To whomb is this question directed?

To whomever is hiding in the (+hidden) in the bracket bar on top of the forum.
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 07:29:42 PM »

By the way, what are you hiding from? ..

That note appears whenever someone un-clicks the "show others your online status" in their account profile.  Instead of producing their name it tells you how many "hidden" users are online (that way you can have an accurate count even if you cannot see all the names of those online).  There is a similar tally at the bottom of the forum's main page in the "Users Logged In Today" section.
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2014, 08:03:11 PM »

Yes

For the most part they're even more targeted, hated, and discriminated against by American Evangelicals who think that atheists are behind everything that goes bump in the night. Most atheists have problems with religion precisely because of how absurdly Evangelicalism presents it. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that Evangelicals make more atheists than they convert.

I don't buy however the view that atheism gives you a "meaningless" life or whatever. If anything, an atheist can probably derive more meaning and joy in this life by being able to do whatever they want and have fun without having a bunch of annoying religious rules and statutes making their lives miserable. I loathe the sense of non-guilt and freedom that atheists have.
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2014, 08:33:53 PM »

I was atheist for about a week (or was it a weekend?) in college.
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2014, 09:30:27 PM »

I don't buy however the view that atheism gives you a "meaningless" life or whatever. If anything, an atheist can probably derive more meaning and joy in this life by being able to do whatever they want and have fun without having a bunch of annoying religious rules and statutes making their lives miserable. I loathe the sense of non-guilt and freedom that atheists have.

Innate is the key word; not meaninglessness.

Quote from: Richard Dawkins
There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.

In other words, there is no innate meaning to life, but a superficial meaning. A meaning that you contrive.
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2014, 09:42:40 PM »

In other words, there is no innate meaning to life, but a superficial meaning. A meaning that you contrive.

Sounds a lot better opposed to the cosmic despair of having your "meaning" contrived by external cosmic forces with littler regard for you (paganism) or being forced into a Divine "test" against your will where the repercussions for failure are eternal (Monotheism).
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2014, 10:14:29 PM »

Hitchens in particular -- I've always found his arguments compelling, and in each YouTube debate of his -- whether with pastors, priests, rabbis, or imams -- he just mops the floor with them.

Perhaps anyone rooted strongly in Enlightenment principles and the founding ideas of the United States may nod their head anytime Hitchens starts talking about the thought dictatorship of God, that heaven must be a lot like North Korea, and that life in eternity must be like staying forever at a party that should have ended an hour ago. He suggests we do a lot of awful things in the name of religion -- such as child genital mutilation (i.e., circumcision) -- that we might not do without God-based justification, and it's hard to disagree. Finally, his indictment that God stood, arms folded, for tens of thousands of years of human existence, while humans were cowed by disease and terrifying natural phenomena, and only showed up a relatively short while ago in a back-water part of the world. Anyway,  I could ramble on ... but you don't need me to tell you what he says since you can watch it yourself...

There's simply no answering many of these charges.



 

I do. I watch and listen to Atheists all the time. Christoper Hitchens, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, the Atheist Experience etc. Their objections to Christianity are usually based on a Fundamentalist understanding within Protestantism. So their objections never really stick.

Anyway, after all the videos I have seen of FSA war crimes in Syria, if I am not an Atheist now... I don't think I ever will be.

I object to Atheism because of inevitably relativistic morality and innate meaninglessness.
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2014, 10:16:29 PM »

Hitchens in particular -- I've always found his arguments compelling, and in each YouTube debate of his -- whether with pastors, priests, rabbis, or imams -- he just mops the floor with them.

Perhaps anyone rooted strongly in Enlightenment principles and the founding ideas of the United States may nod their head anytime Hitchens starts talking about the thought dictatorship of God, that heaven must be a lot like North Korea, and that life in eternity must be like staying forever at a party that should have ended an hour ago. He suggests we do a lot of awful things in the name of religion -- such as child genital mutilation (i.e., circumcision) -- that we might not do without God-based justification, and it's hard to disagree. Finally, his indictment that God stood, arms folded, for tens of thousands of years of human existence, while humans were cowed by disease and terrifying natural phenomena, and only showed up a relatively short while ago in a back-water part of the world. Anyway,  I could ramble on ... but you don't need me to tell you what he says since you can watch it yourself...

There's simply no answering many of these charges.


That's true, only if we take an anthropomorphic view of God.
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2014, 10:17:48 PM »

Twice people have said that modern atheists work in circles with protestant understandings and apologetics.  It would be interesting to know which ones.

The atheists I have met would attack all the cores of the faith no matter which.
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2014, 10:18:02 PM »

What do you mean?

Hitchens in particular -- I've always found his arguments compelling, and in each YouTube debate of his -- whether with pastors, priests, rabbis, or imams -- he just mops the floor with them.

Perhaps anyone rooted strongly in Enlightenment principles and the founding ideas of the United States may nod their head anytime Hitchens starts talking about the thought dictatorship of God, that heaven must be a lot like North Korea, and that life in eternity must be like staying forever at a party that should have ended an hour ago. He suggests we do a lot of awful things in the name of religion -- such as child genital mutilation (i.e., circumcision) -- that we might not do without God-based justification, and it's hard to disagree. Finally, his indictment that God stood, arms folded, for tens of thousands of years of human existence, while humans were cowed by disease and terrifying natural phenomena, and only showed up a relatively short while ago in a back-water part of the world. Anyway,  I could ramble on ... but you don't need me to tell you what he says since you can watch it yourself...

There's simply no answering many of these charges.


That's true, only if we take an anthropomorphic view of God.
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« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2014, 12:50:38 PM »

Does anyone here at Orthodox Christianity.net rationally connect with modern atheism? I don't actually reject God but for the most part have a small functioning faith. Is it time to bridge the gap between religion and science...

Modern atheism is largely a reaction to western Christianity and bad religion in general. As for religion and science, there should not be a gap, and as far as I know, there is no gap in Orthodox Christianity. I fully believe in evolution, but I believe that no matter what we discover, God is the originator and the cause, and creator of all things. He is before and beyond all things. Science simply can't deal with God, it can't prove or disprove his existence or that he is the cause of all things. It simply can deal with his creation and how it has come about, it can't deal with what was "before" the creation.

Like I said, I'm an Orthodox Christian and I believe in evolution, I'm not alone. There are many others who believe in evolution and we have the right to do so. In fact, our Church doesn't tell us we can't, despite some radicals who think it does (they are wrong). I also believe science when it tells me how old the earth is and how old the universe is. I believe there could potentially be life out there beyond us. None of that really discounts Orthodox Christianity in any way, nor does Orthodox Christianity say its wrong.

Also, there are many saints and figures in the Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church that have discussed science, and who have even been prominent scientists while also being members of their churches in good standing with them.
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2014, 05:08:22 PM »

Has Modern Christianity been debunked or disproven? Either it is hidden or we don't understand how to translate the Bible's time and context to today. What happens next? ...
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2014, 05:13:44 PM »

I've never met a 21st century Atheist. Most people I meet who call themselves Atheist are actually Anti-Theists.
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2014, 05:20:55 PM »

Has Modern Christianity been debunked or disproven? Either it is hidden or we don't understand how to translate the Bible's time and context to today. What happens next? ...

I'm going to have some coffee because I feel tired.  Hopefully I am able to fall asleep at a reasonable hour in spite of it.
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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2014, 05:28:13 PM »

(Ah,... nevermind  Smiley)
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2014, 05:35:41 PM »

The problem with many modern atheists is that their criticisms are not really against the classical theism of the church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, the Arab philosophers, etc. What many of the New Atheists attack is a straw man that results from week Protestant apologetics.

While I don't reject God I think we should use Science and Reason. 
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« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2014, 10:51:55 AM »

The problem with many modern atheists is that their criticisms are not really against the classical theism of the church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, the Arab philosophers, etc. What many of the New Atheists attack is a straw man that results from week Protestant apologetics.

While I don't reject God I think we should use Science and Reason. 
For what?
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« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2014, 11:08:15 AM »

Has Modern Christianity been debunked or disproven? Either it is hidden or we don't understand how to translate the Bible's time and context to today. What happens next? ...

No and Yes, depending on how one look at it.

It is "No" in the sense that Orthodox Christianity has not been debunked. It's doctrines are perfectly in sync with logic, science and reason.

"Yes" in the sense that Protestantism or at least branches of it have been in fact been debunked. Calvinism/Reformed Christianity is an example of this. Because of their doctrine of Predestination, their official philosophical position must therefore be Hard Determinism as in the sense that every single action or outcome had already been predetermined prior to their occurrence. Quantum Physics ultimately destroys the Hard Determinism that Calvinists/Reformed Christians hold onto due to the fact that anything about a particle cannot be known for certain prior to observation which inserts uncertainty into the mix. Given Calvinistic Predestination, this cannot be the case, it must be known and certain because it had been preordained in advance by God. Yet, experiments continue to demonstrate that this is impossible. This means that Calvinism/Reformed Christianity have been debunked as it cannot reconcile itself with this scientific finding.
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« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2014, 01:54:43 PM »

I find atheism to be a perpetually insufficient basis to explain existence.  Therefore I reject it.

Existence of what, the cosmos, matter, man? And from what does such need a theistic foundation?

What comes forth and stands out, within and away from itself, requires no placing in a god for the putting forth of itself; otherwise it would be a fleeing and evading from what is.
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2014, 01:59:56 PM »

Quote from: nothing
What comes forth and stands out, within and away from itself, requires no placing in a god for the putting forth of itself; otherwise it would be a fleeing and evading from what is.

Uh, what?
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2014, 03:52:54 PM »

Quote from: nothing
What comes forth and stands out, within and away from itself, requires no placing in a god for the putting forth of itself; otherwise it would be a fleeing and evading from what is.

Uh, what?
I think "nothing" is saying that, unless one has a direct experience of a theos, the rational approach would be to just acknowledge what one does have an experience of and not posit an additional something to explain what is obviously experienced.
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2014, 04:34:55 PM »

Quote from: nothing
What comes forth and stands out, within and away from itself, requires no placing in a god for the putting forth of itself; otherwise it would be a fleeing and evading from what is.

Uh, what?
I think "nothing" is saying that, unless one has a direct experience of a theos, the rational approach would be to just acknowledge what one does have an experience of and not posit an additional something to explain what is obviously experienced.

Whatever is disclosed, does not preclude the unveiling of a deity by its supernatural agency. The problem is seizing what is audaciously taken for granted to be detrimental to what existence means, and what we will do away with in tracing out existence.
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2014, 05:44:21 PM »

Has Modern Christianity been debunked or disproven? Either it is hidden or we don't understand how to translate the Bible's time and context to today. What happens next? ...

No and Yes, depending on how one look at it.

It is "No" in the sense that Orthodox Christianity has not been debunked. It's doctrines are perfectly in sync with logic, science and reason.

"Yes" in the sense that Protestantism or at least branches of it have been in fact been debunked. Calvinism/Reformed Christianity is an example of this. Because of their doctrine of Predestination, their official philosophical position must therefore be Hard Determinism as in the sense that every single action or outcome had already been predetermined prior to their occurrence. Quantum Physics ultimately destroys the Hard Determinism that Calvinists/Reformed Christians hold onto due to the fact that anything about a particle cannot be known for certain prior to observation which inserts uncertainty into the mix. Given Calvinistic Predestination, this cannot be the case, it must be known and certain because it had been preordained in advance by God. Yet, experiments continue to demonstrate that this is impossible. This means that Calvinism/Reformed Christianity have been debunked as it cannot reconcile itself with this scientific finding.

You forgot to mention that Catholicism wasn't debunked as well.

Plus, the books that showed me the false of Atheism are one written by a Presbyterian Protestant called The Reason for God and another book written by an Anglican called Mere Christianity. So, maybe Protestantism is debunked for you, but there are millions of people will disagree with you. The countless numbers of Atheists who became Christians because of these two books will also disagree with you.

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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2014, 06:14:05 PM »

Dostoyevsky already said all that needs to be said about atheism: "If there is no God, everything is permitted". Today's so-called atheists (really secular humanists) are just deluded if they think otherwise.
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2014, 07:05:50 PM »

Dostoyevsky already said all that needs to be said about atheism: "If there is no God, everything is permitted". Today's so-called atheists (really secular humanists) are just deluded if they think otherwise.
Well, isn't that a coincidence? I know all I need to know about theism because of something said by an atheist character in a novel written by an atheist.
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2014, 07:32:26 PM »

Dostoyevsky already said all that needs to be said about atheism: "If there is no God, everything is permitted". Today's so-called atheists (really secular humanists) are just deluded if they think otherwise.
Well, isn't that a coincidence? I know all I need to know about theism because of something said by an atheist character in a novel written by an atheist.

That doesn't change the fact that he was right. If there is no God, everything is permitted. As simple as that.

Atheists deny God, but they still live by His rules and values. It is like someone denying that there is a tree, yet he is sitting under its shadow.
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« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2014, 08:14:42 PM »

Does anyone here at Orthodox Christianity.net rationally connect with modern atheism?

I guess it just depends on the type of atheism. If it's angerier than I already am about everything, then no.
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« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2014, 08:58:02 PM »

Dostoyevsky already said all that needs to be said about atheism: "If there is no God, everything is permitted". Today's so-called atheists (really secular humanists) are just deluded if they think otherwise.
Well, isn't that a coincidence? I know all I need to know about theism because of something said by an atheist character in a novel written by an atheist.
1. Dostoevsky was an Orthodox Christian.

2. Atheists can say things that are perfectly true or valid.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 09:31:06 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2014, 09:12:48 PM »

Dostoyevsky already said all that needs to be said about atheism: "If there is no God, everything is permitted". Today's so-called atheists (really secular humanists) are just deluded if they think otherwise.
Well, isn't that a coincidence? I know all I need to know about theism because of something said by an atheist character in a novel written by an atheist.

That doesn't change the fact that he was right. If there is no God, everything is permitted. As simple as that.

Atheists deny God, but they still live by His rules and values. It is like someone denying that there is a tree, yet he is sitting under its shadow.
If atheists were radical enough they would turn away from values and evaluating entirely. However the Dostoevsky quote, if it can be attributed to him, is a non-sequitur.
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« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2014, 09:22:53 PM »

The line is a memorable one, but not much good as a standalone statement. It's really about what happens if there is no ultimate judge, guide and authority when it comes to human decisions, actions, thoughts. The atheist (e.g., Sam Harris?) I suppose could argue that there are certain principles built into nature itself, though I doubt most would bother with that kind of approach. Nor should they. Whether there is a God or not humans are fallible, biased, and generally good at not figuring things out. Even if there is an absolute, objective, or ultimate rule or morality, I wouldn't be sure I knew what it was anyway. What's more, according to Christianity God judges us according to circumstances and the variables that impact us in particular. In that sense I think the concept is as useless as that of infallibility.

The other aspect is about keeping people in line, so that if you believe there is a God you might be more likely to do good things and not do bad things. Or, you might listen to [Religion X] when it says such and such is good and this and that is sinful. Atheists seem to very much dislike this side of things, even getting indignant. 'Do you need a God to tell you that rape is wrong? Can't you figure that out for yourself?' they might say. Well, for my part I'm cynical enough to think a judge/jury/executioner in the sky would probably have a positive impact on many people. People seem to try to get away with as much as they can, or at least pick and choose what good to pursue and what routine sins to forgive. Of course the belief has to be something firm... just sorta kinda believing probably won't have a huge effect.

Having said that, I'm not sure that it matters much in the long run. If there is a God we have this whole system/structure of virtues and vices and heaven and hell and purgatory (for some) and suffering and healing and so forth. For this system it's all been instituted/enforced from outside us, by God. You can say that we have the freedom to do this or that, but in the end someone is going to judge us, someone is going to apply a standard, and so on. Atheists generally just accept that some kind of agreed-upon system of laws and such can be used. They would also use force to put their system into effect, though it would perhaps be somewhat more open to modification (and perhaps more open to abuse, or perhaps not). The main issues religious seem to have with this is how arbitrary and subjective it is. "Who are YOU, John Q. Atheist, to decide such things?" Well, for them they don't have much choice, unless they're ok with anarchy. Though since I think everything we do is arbitrary and subjective (thank God!) I don't really see it being a huge issue anyway.

(If someone responds by saying "Are you absolutely sure there are no absolutes?" I'm going to scream. Seriously. Scream.  Tongue )
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 09:23:40 PM by Justin Kissel » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2014, 09:42:18 PM »

"...the liberties that permit one to purchase lavender bed clothes, to gaze fervently at pornography, to become a Unitarian, to market popular celebrations of brutal violence, or to destroy one’s unborn child are all equally intrinsically “good” because all are expressions of an inalienable freedom of choice. But, of course, if the will determines itself only in and through such choices, free from any prevenient natural order, then it too is in itself nothing. And so, at the end of modernity, each of us who is true to the times stands facing not God, or the gods, or the Good beyond beings, but an abyss, over which presides the empty, inviolable authority of the individual will, whose impulses and decisions are their own moral index.

...our age is not one in danger of reverting to paganism (would that we were so fortunate). If we turn from Christ today, we turn only towards the god of absolute will, and embrace him under either his most monstrous or his most vapid aspect. A somewhat more ennobling retreat to the old gods is not possible for us; we can find no shelter there, nor can we sink away gently into those old illusions and tragic consolations that Christ has exposed as falsehoods. To love or be nourished by the gods, we would have to fear them; but the ruin of their glory is so complete that they have been reduced—like everything else—to commodities." -David Bentley Hart, "Christ and Nothing,"  http://davidbhart.blogspot.com/2006/03/david-b-harts-christ-and-nothing.html?m=1

"Generally, atheists and agnostics are talking about themselves when they talk about the absence of God. They simply express their personal subjective truth (that their souls are empty) in an objective way and try to generalize their experience. In other words, there is no theology, or even philosophy here, it is just their own ill or deficient psychology, which is what atheism is… In the Scriptures Christ says clearly that only the pure in heart will see God. In other words, intellectuals, examiners and professors will never understand God, if their minds are not pure…” -Fr. Andrew Anglorus
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 10:07:04 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2014, 10:33:03 PM »

Whether there is a God or not humans are fallible, biased, and generally good at not figuring things out.
What are those things that need figuring out? What we do in the world affects others, and what we do matters to others, which also matters to us. We care because the life that is ours is delimited by our deaths and it is by our own death makes our lives meaningful. If to assume by "everything is permitted" meaning ethics, then it must negate morality which at the same time eliminates any meaning, force or power morality could have; and with the absence of a supposed ethical basis (i.e. God), then it does not matter what is or is not permitted, from who then becomes the one to permit? This negation, to be unshackled from morals, unfettered from constraint by evaluation, leads to an affirmation of life and with it projecting into uncharted possibilities.
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