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If you lost your faith.. do you think you would become depressed?

Discussion in 'Singles (Only*)' started by MehGuy, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. JCFantasy23

    JCFantasy23 In a Kingdom by the Sea. Staff Member Administrator Supporter CF Senior Ambassador Angels Team

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    Yes I would be completely depressed. Anyone with faith would I'd imagine. The closer you are to God the worse it would be. I'm sure my actions would change as well in some areas.
     
  2. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    Just humble.

    hu·mil·i·ty

      [​IMG] /hyuˈmɪl[​IMG]ɪ[​IMG]ti or, often, yu-/ [​IMG] Show Spelled[hyoo-mil-i-tee or, often, yoo-] [​IMG] Show IPA
    –noun the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.



    Yes, there are other definitions that include submission, but that isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about not believing that you already know all you need to know about an issue or that others are required to "prove" something to you, like you are so important that others must meet your standards.
     
  3. Themistocles

    Themistocles Newbie

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    It's not so much this. There are all sorts of alternatives to theism. It's just that nihlism, or something very much like it, is the only alternative plausibly more intellectually coherent. A person who says, "there is no god and yet I ought to avoid murder and practice charity" is plainly talking nonsense. You can't even begin to get an ought, in the moral sense, out of nature. "You ought" do nothing. Or anything. Or everything. "You ought not" do everything. Or anything. Or nothing. I don't mean this in the Ecclesiastes, Pascalian "there's only eternal annihilation at the end of the road and therefore all is vanity" sense. I mean something far simpler. There's no reason for you to adopt any permanent moral code. You could, plausibly, given that annihilation awaits us, justify some situational decision-making which looks a bit like morality. A 10 commandments for the atheist might look something like this:

    1. Don't murder people in broad daylight. Justification: You will certainly be caught, possibly executed (which, again, leads to irrecoverable annihilation) and if not executed incarcerated, a happening that profoundly curtails your ability to order your few minutes on earth.

    2. Don't commit adultery in full view of your partner. Justification: You will certainly be caught and dumped. Given that, even in our increasingly lax world, sex is by no means a certainty, purposely cutting off the spigot, even for one of your 10 minutes on earth, is unwise.

    Etc. As you can see, the code really boils down to getting caught. Every choice is weighed on personal utilitarian grounds- do the benefits of this action outweigh the costs? If yes, the action is reasonable (there's no sense talking about "good" or "right"). If not, the action is unreasonable. This assumes, of course, that you still live in a moral universe, in which the majority of inhabitants recognize some absolute standards (even if you do not). In a universe where everyone has abandoned absolute morality and adopted personal utilitarianism you don't even have these sort of useful commandments circumscribing your behavior.

    The really tough thing though is that charity is perfectly useless. It has minimal use in a world where you're a renegade utilitarian- after all, some pathetically moral soul might reward you for being a good samaritan. In a world where everyone has seen the light, charity is idle. It's no good saying, "yes, but I might have been born mentally handicapped or blind or in a third world country" because, after all, you weren't born that way and since you're going to be annihilated any moment now it is by no means probable that you'll ever personally benefit from a regime which treats these people kindly. You'd be reasonable to take minimal steps to foster a social mores that insures against any likely events (for instance, you'd be wise to promote hospitals) but you have not the least incentive to go out of your way to help someone.

    This is the way we ought, rationally, to suss out decisions in a godless world. Anything else is a useful fiction. There's something to be said for uselful fictions in godless universes but they're plainly no more intellectually satisfying than the professed non-fictions of theists in Godful universes. Less intellectually satisfying because one can't even make them sensible on their own terms- they're merely quite deliberate lies crafted to order a senseless universe- whereas theism has embedded in it the notion of a telos (a purpose). It would be perfectly useless to adopt Christianity as a useful fiction because the whole point of Christianity is that it is not a fiction- if it is a fiction, you have believed it in vain and possibly forfeitted much of the pleasure you could have received prior to annihilation. Much better, assuming you're adopting fictions, to adopt something that conforms exactly to your own instincts and predilections. You enjoy hunting? Well hunting is your purpose. You enjoy sex but find blood gruesome. Well, unfettered sex is perfectly moral and murder verbotten.

    The point is, that everyone who is NOT a theist does this because no one really lives as a perfect utilitarian. They craft useful fictions, often knowing they're fictions, in an attempt to order a senseless universe. Only theists believe something which really is useless as a useful fiction- they believe that they must believe. They believe that belief can, in some sense, walk about and flex its muscles and lift real mountains. Theism is the only thing in this or any universe that can possibly be TRUE.
     
  4. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    So then we introduce the argument of which of the millions of brands of Theism is correct. Personally I tend towards the esoteric orders :) However I recognize that my path is not forever nor should it be.
     
  5. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    It is possible for someone to see charity as a mutually beneficial act, realizing that having neighbors who are well off will likely lead to having neighbors who will be more willing to help them (a rising tide raises all boats, as it were). Or that the world needs more healthy, strong people in order to maintain the division of labor necessary to support our current technology level and hence our standard of living. Or that it is logically contradictory to treat others differently than you treat yourself. Or just simply that it feels good to see others prosper.

    But again, there is no ought in all this. Without a supernatural source of morality - that is, something superior to ourselves - then morality is all in our imagination, and a frankly absurd way of expressing our reasons for acting the way we do. As C.S. Lewis put it, if amoral and irrational Nature is all there is, then saying "I ought to feed the hungry" is of no more value than saying "I am going to vomit". And choosing to act in a short-sighted and self-centered matter, becoming a wolf to all other people, is no less valid in such a state.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  6. Im_A

    Im_A Legend

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    While I see your point, here's an example to show why I can't fully agree with you.
    Science has theories of what happened before the Big Bang. The biggest question in my opinion is what happened before the Big Bang. Not God, miracles, meaning etc, but what happened before existence as we have become aware as of today.

    Now there are theories out there. Some seem pretty sound. Yes, scientists currently see them as theories and not 'fact'.

    Yet here we have sound theories of the greatest mystery in our existence, in our universe, why can't science talk about God and actually have a sound position?

    It seems as if the idea of God, when left to theologians, is leaving it always to be in the positive/affirming. Critical reasoning is not found in methods that boil down to nothing more than special pleading.

    If we can get rid of all our out dated views about existence in terms of others gods, in terms of 'normal' science, there is not one reason that one can't go the extra mile and use scientific method to actually disbelieve.

    Sure the core of science has nothing to do with the gods. It is not atheistic, or theistic. Since one can't use science to prove god, then no one can argue that science's core is of the gods simply because of how religion and science once had a relationship that wasn't as conflicting as it is today. That's why I laugh when all those crazy Christians out there will call evolution atheistic. To say though that its only the theologian, well is like saying that the only one to be able to tell how Christianity is the ultimate truth is Christians is just using biased reasoning which tells no one of so called 'proof', or even a type of reasoning to invest the idea of 'credibility'.
     
  7. Themistocles

    Themistocles Newbie

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    I read Lewis's The Abolition of Man when I was languishing in a benign agnosticism and while it's not a tract for Christianity or even theism as such (he identifies the absolute morality, for simplicity sake, as The Tao) it, as much as anything else, set me on road (back) to Christianity. As you say, nothing can be plainer than this: there is no morality in an irrational universe. We have no rights anyone else is bound to respect: our cries for justice are the senseless whimperings of desperate animals. We are behaving very stupidly when we think and act otherwise.

    Your first paragraph hints at the only sense in which we might plausibly construct a system of behavior which is not irrational and not entirely senseless. We attempt to suss out the nature of man- which things really bring him happiness, what kind of community organization promotes his goals, etc. We could imagine someone with perfect information answering these questions- we could imagine that there are answers, given that man is merely a particularly advanced type of animal. In some sense, we are trying to do this whether we think of ourselves as existing in a godless universe or not.

    But we run into problems in godless universes. Futurity looms large. We will live but a few moments and then be annihilated. Even if we supposed the human race capable of obtaining perfect information about itself we will certainly not live to see the fruits. Am I to waste my one and only life trying to suss out the truth for people I shall never meet, who shall exist long after I am I? There are no doubt romantic and poetic minds that find comfort in extending their influence to future generations, and there's a decent argument that this is what the whole human race, religious or irreligious, is after- but it's perfectly obvious that, in a godless universe, this comfort is not rational and that no good can possibly come to you after you've ceased to be you.

    This view is also in the peculiar position of insisting upon something that theists take as foundation; that man has a real nature. That some things really conduce to his happiness and some to his misery; that we can't, once we've shucked off the old notions of God, create notions of right action from the ground up, because right action is embedded in the universe. If man doesn't have a real nature you can't even say, as you suggested, that we ought to look out for others because "it feels good to see others prosper". The natural retort to that is, simply, "it feels good to see others prosper because you've been schooled in a particular type of society with a particular code of conduct. Only once shuck all that off and you'll see yourselves untrammeled, able to feel good, as you please, slave to no one and no idea".
     
  8. K9_Trainer

    K9_Trainer Unusually unusual, absolutely unpredictable

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    If you've studied science, you would know that altruism is NOT "useless". It is an evolved characteristic that has a purpose in furthering the gene pool. Such morals as charity did not just pop up out of thin air.

    I actually talked a bit about it on a couple pages back.
     
  9. Miles

    Miles Well-Known Member

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    Why can't I agree with those same theories of what happened before the big bang? I wouldn't personally limit God to a set number of big bangs, let alone a set number of previous or concurrent universes. If we can develop a model of what happened, then I think we should. Belief in God isn't an alternative to science. It isn't a competing ideology unless you want it to be.

    It's just that I perceive an underlying framework to reality. To my mind, that framework suggests a the work of a creative intelligence... much like a computer program would suggest a programming language and a programmer. Even if we knew everything that we could possibly know about nature, my view would probably remain the same. As a philosophical position, monotheism makes more sense to me than atheism or polytheism. People tell me that I'm a bright guy, that I'm great at pattern recognition etc. I've always loved science, and I can imagine all kinds of SF/Fantasy alternatives so it's not like I lack the imagination to see other points of view. Why shouldn't I go with what seems the most plausible to me? Why should I have to choose between two things that are not mutually exclusive? Why should I accept being told that I'm stupid, delusional, backward etc. by strangers, when such accusations are demonstrably not true IRL? Such nonsense says more about the accuser than it says about myself or my fellow Christians. Quite a few of which who I've known personally are practicing scientists, FWIW. So I see the universe as evidence of God, and you don't. It's more a matter of perspective than anything else. I'll connect the dots as you see fit. If you see things differently, feel free to do so. Your perspective is your perspective, just as my perspective is my perspective.

    The Christian God is portrayed as the beginning and the end, the logical order of things, the language of what holds it all together. In the beginning was the Logos, the Logos was with God and the Logos was God. - John 1:1. That sounds a lot like my idea of a Creator, especially considering the connection between language and coding. He's not a Zeus type character in my book, and there's nothing about him that would lead me to reject things like gravity or evolution.

    As far as theologians are concerned, it seems to me most modern apologists are involved in an elaborate play. They're handed scripts, and they do their best to play their parts, but the fruits of their labor is disconnected from reality. I feel the similarly about authors like Richard Dawkins. In real life, theists and atheists can easily work side by side in a constructive manner. Believers and nonbelievers alike can contribute to the advancement of science, or whatever it is they feel like doing.

    Sorry for rambling. Sometimes, I feel like this is all a matter of reciting the same old same old. Nothing much accomplished, nothing much learned. Two or more people stubbornly refusing to see each other's point of view while occasionally lobbing poorly formulated generalizations and half-truths at each other, punctuated by the occasional insult. Fun stuff despite it all, but not something I plan on doing much longer. Although I do appreciate these conversations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  10. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    Yes and now its a point going unaddressed.
     
  11. Themistocles

    Themistocles Newbie

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    Taking this as a given, why should I care about the gene pool? Even if I'm contributing to it my descendants, no matter how much they might physically resemble me, are not, in fact, me. If they are well or ill it is all the same to me who won't be around when their fate descends upon them.
     
  12. Isambard

    Isambard Nihilist Extrodinaire

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    Uh huh. So tell me, by what standards should I judge things keeping in mind that as I human I am limited and thus must adopt some sort of epistemological criteria.

    That said, how does humility = god?

    Unless you are a closet-sociopath in need of a cosmic nanny to moderate your behaviour, the answer should be self-evident.
     
  13. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    Not at all. If the process that leads us to contribute to the future of the species is the same one that leads us to seek food and excrete waste, then there is no ought involved in it; it is only what we will do. And there is no reason why anyone should be afraid to be called a "sociopath" in such a condition. Nobody's saying that there isn't a reason to be altruistic, any more than that there isn't a reason to eat food. We are pointing out that in the absence of a supernatural source of morality, then speaking of oughts and shoulds is a lot of bullcrap, having precisely the same value as a literal pile of said substance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  14. Isambard

    Isambard Nihilist Extrodinaire

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    The oughts and shoulds come from the necessity to organize given human inclination towards sociability. Lacking a supernatural source of morality doesn't mean all constructed morality is bullcrap just because it isn't commanded by the biggest tyrant who will hurt you if you don't comply. Instead, it needs to be judged based on how effective it is with the aims of a given society.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  15. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    I guess it comes down to philosophical viewpoint then: Most Christians hold a central doctrine that people are inherently evil or flawed and thus cannot sustain any type of morality outside of God so of course to them anyone who isn't "of God" is not moral.

    I disagree, arguing that morality is also a cultural construct that can be enforced by social surroundings and socio-cultural context that may be entirely independent of religion.
     
  16. Isambard

    Isambard Nihilist Extrodinaire

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    That would be one of those testable claims I mentioned earlier. Just because a society is mostly populated by Christians doesn't make it any less or more 'moral' than one populated mostly by non-Christians. They can believe whatever they like, but claiming that there is a universal Christian morality is demonstrably wrong.
     
  17. Miles

    Miles Well-Known Member

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    We're all capable of moral behavior. Folks who say otherwise speak for themselves.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  18. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    No; our position is that if morality doesn't come from something greater than ourselves, then any action we choose to make is of equal value to any other action we possibly could choose to make, from the most supposedly altruistic decisions down to the most basic biological functions. That, in fact, is axiomatic. This isn't even a Christian apologetic stance. Immanuel Kant recognized that a legitimate categorical imperative can only come from a supernatural entity, because nature is all equal within itself. Unless something greater than nature has described a moral principle - an "ought" - that prohibits murder, then you can't say without speaking nonsense that one ought to refrain from killing his children if it makes him happy to do so in spite of the consequences.

    You can only say that if he prefers for his children to live, or if he prefers not to go to prison, that he should refrain from doing so. There is no reason why he should prefer for his children to live, or why he should prefer not to go to prison if it makes him happy to kill his children and risk the consequences. There are only different, completely subjective sets of values, each of no greater or lesser validity than any others, except as they either work towards or against the completely subjective and independent satisfaction of the individual persons who hold them. And there isn't even any reason why a person ought to engage in actions that fulfill his own values from the perspective of anyone but himself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  19. FaithPrevails

    FaithPrevails Well-Known Member

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    This thread has strayed a bit from the OP, IMO, but I am going to join in and chime in my two cents anyway.

    When people ask about faith and losing it, I typically reference Hebrews 11:1.

    I don't have to "see" God literally in order to be able see Him all around me. But - while I believe in sharing the Word, I don't believe we can convince others of something they themselves don't have a desire to believe in. It's a relationship. Just like any other relationship, a person has to want to relate to God in order for the relationship to exist and grow.
     
  20. FaithPrevails

    FaithPrevails Well-Known Member

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    Of course people are flawed. I would hope it wouldn't take being a Christian to understand that.

    As for morality - a person can call themselves a Christian and be immoral. How they reconcile the two are between them and God. But, being a non-believer does not automatically earn someone an "immoral" tag any faster than being a Christian earns someone a "moral" tag.
     
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