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Author Topic: Atheist Cultural Christianity
seekingprometheus
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quote:
I'm broke until payday and knocked my air conditioning out in August during Las Vegas. The amount of gas in my car essentially lets me choose between going to work and my AA meetings. My wife's in her dad's car heading to Louisiana with our kids, because she can't let them continue to watch me self-destruct.
Wow. I'm really sorry to hear this.

I know that there are ways in which I come across as a brutal, colossally inconsiderate d*ck, but so you know, I had already guessed at some of this, and you and the crisis you're going through have been in my heart and mind a lot over the last few days and weeks.

I know what it's like to destroy myself out of a desperate need for an answer from a sometimes unbearably silent God.

I think that at most, I am Atman, and can speak for Brahman no more than Atman can--but the only answer I have ever found for myself to salve my existential wounds is a strange, and sometimes even cruel, paradox: the key (for me) to seeking God is always gratitude.

In any case, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, brother, and I hope you know that I value our friendship, and would like to be here for you, and even if the only way I know how seems full of challenge, satire and refutation--it is nonetheless undergirded with respect and empathy.
quote:
Is that wrong?
To me, things unfortunately never seem as simple as right and wrong.
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seekingprometheus
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TD:
quote:
if I were rationally capable of holding a belief because I felt that choosing not to hold it would be damaging to me -- and I don't think I am; I don't think my brain personally works that way -- I'd make the same choice.
I think you're wrong about how your brain works, Tom.

I'd suppose it works pretty much the same as all the rest of ours.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
For what it's worth, Pete, if I were rationally capable of holding a belief because I felt that choosing not to hold it would be damaging to me -- and I don't think I am; I don't think my brain personally works that way -- I'd make the same choice.

It means a lot to me, Tom.

For what it's worth, for fear of jumping steps, I'm sorry for being a bastard to you.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
I'm broke until payday and knocked my air conditioning out in August during Las Vegas. The amount of gas in my car essentially lets me choose between going to work and my AA meetings. My wife's in her dad's car heading to Louisiana with our kids, because she can't let them continue to watch me self-destruct.
Wow. I'm really sorry to hear this.

I know that there are ways in which I come across as a brutal, colossally inconsiderate d*ck,

No.

You're lonely. I get that. Probably at some level you think you're helping me. And my problems and self doubt aren't remotely your fault.

[QUOTEbut so you know, I had already guessed at some of this, and you and the crisis you're going through have been in my heart and mind a lot over the last few days and weeks.[/QUOTE]

Well, brother, if you want to experiment with prayer again, this would be a good time, because I'm really screwed right now, through no fault of yours.

quote:
I know what it's like to destroy myself out of a desperate need for an answer from a sometimes unbearably silent God.
He used to talk to me, and I think he still tries to, but I've burned him out of my mind out of spite, through neurotoxins. I miss him.


quote:
In any case, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, brother, and I hope you know that I value our friendship, and would like to be here for you, and even if the only way I know how seems full of challenge, satire and refutation--it is nonetheless undergirded with respect and empathy.

I get that, and thank you.

quote:
Is that wrong?
---To me, things unfortunately never seem as simple as right and wrong.

To me, sometimes they do, but most of the time, we're in the grey.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

As for my mission, my service in the church, I reckon I'd still be satisfied to have been part of a community that does a great deal of good in the world.

But it would be, like you said, destructive of the relationships that for me, make life worth living.

Since I'm as honest with myself as an openly alcoholic mormon is capable of being, I would have to admit that I very well might be too biased to contemplate whatever it is that you think would rock my world and reality.

Simplicity is not necessarily objective. I'm not persuaded that it's less "intellectually honest" to re construe Occam's razor as a confirmation bias. Two probabilities seeming equal, I would almost certainly choose to believe the argument that wreaked less havoc in my life.

So I'd flunk your test for the very same reason that I'd flunk God's test for Abraham.

Is that wrong?

God help me; I don't care if it's wrong. That's my choice.

The Buddhist approach to this sort of quandary is to take the tenets of faith as a kind of working hypothesis, and see what you discover to be true through direct experience. It may not apply in your situation, but I think that, in spiritual terms, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the practice of LDS Christianity is a source of genuine spiritual insight (which can only be determined personally and individually), then I would think that the literal factuality of the canon to be incidental. Maybe that's not very helpful; I'm mostly trying to say that seeking's thesis would be interesting but only tangentially relevant if I were a practicing Mormon.
I think I understand, Adam. Thank you for being you.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
For what it's worth, Pete, if I were rationally capable of holding a belief because I felt that choosing not to hold it would be damaging to me

Not actually the choice I've articulated, though.

What I said here was that I chose to not invite sp to tell me whatever factoid or mental exercise rocked his world.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
The Buddhist approach to this sort of quandary is to take the tenets of faith as a kind of working hypothesis, and see what you discover to be true through direct experience.

That's actually very close to what the Book of Mormon talks about in Alma 32, in what's called an "experiment" with the word of God.

quote:
It may not apply in your situation, but I think that, in spiritual terms, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
On the contrary, I think it's extremely applicable; your timing is perfect.

quote:
If the practice of LDS Christianity is a source of genuine spiritual insight (which can only be determined personally and individually), then I would think that the literal factuality of the canon to be incidental.
There's at least two LDS offshoot sects that have come to that conclusion. My current issues don't come from any crisis of belief; I'm fairly satisfied with the factuality, although slightly less so after discussion with sp about "spiritual eyes." My problems stem more from my failure to apply what I know, and not just spiritual knowledge, but medical recommendations and just plain common sense.

quote:
Maybe that's not very helpful; I'm mostly trying to say that seeking's thesis would be interesting but only tangentially relevant if I were a practicing Mormon.
My concern is that it's a distraction from other stuff I really have to get done.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
You're lonely.
Sometimes.

I do miss the social customs of my culture, and, like anyone, I relate best with individuals who were inculcated with the same values and narrative as I was.

Still, loneliness is really just a symptom of anomie in the end--and an apter metaphor for me than an isolated shrub, might be a rootless tree...

But now I'm back to grumbling about the Gardener of souls again, and I suppose we both consider that to be against my vows...
quote:
Probably at some level you think you're helping me.
I wouldn't know.

I do think that you helped shape the direction of this dialogue, and if your drinking is related to anger at God, it makes sense to me that you might have wanted to see where it would go if you hashed this out with me.
quote:
Now I can say, categorically, for myself that either God exists, or I am delusional
Hmm. I think I should concretely emphasize the point that nothing I have argued here gives any reason to disbelieve in the existence of God.

I don't argue that God doesn't exist, because I personally seek to believe in God--I'm just not ever certain exactly what God is.

In fact, my beef with Smith has always been that his lies limited my people's quest to find out what God is...
quote:
Everything that I've said about SSM would still be true if my religious views were proved to be false.
I'd agree that the argument I've heard you make does not depend on the premises of your religious belief. But I've been pointing out for a while that your argument is made with an improperly inverted assignation of burden of proof. You seem to think that a potential harm (institution of marriage will crumble) outweighs the real and demonstrable harm done by denying people the right to participate in the social institution that reifies the family bond.

And I've never seen you accept the real burden of any argument that could justify a political action that results in a real and demonstrable harm: that of demonstrating that your hypothesized harm is likely to actually occur.

The truth is that we do not know that permitting homosexuals to marry will cause a harm to the ability of future generations of heteros to live in marital bliss, and you've never accepted the burden of demonstrating reasons to believe it will.

Your "argument" is really nothing more than the presentation of an appeal to the status quo as a justification for continuing to perpetrate a demonstrated harm.

See, you don't ever actually say that you know that SSM would cause harm, but any argument justifying the perpetuation of a harm needs a reason to believe it counteracts a greater harm...

And you've got a reason for believing that harm would result, you're just not willing to admit what it is...

[ August 29, 2011, 07:32 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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BTW, since nobody else did it (and it's something that needs to be done) I'll highlight the irony of the fact that I ended a post with this statement:
quote:
To me, things unfortunately never seem as simple as right and wrong
...and then immediately followed it by addressing someone else with this statement...
quote:
I think you're wrong about how your brain works
[LOL]

[ August 29, 2011, 08:17 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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AI Wessex
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"I'd agree that the argument I've heard you make does not depend on the premises of your religious belief."

Dunno about premises, but a belief system built on an elaborate set of structures requires a firm foundation. Those things are projected onto the world to help "hold it together". Some of them can't just be pulled out without other things toppling. Opposition to SSM is clearly associated with strong religious affliation, I think for that reason.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
You're lonely.
Sometimes.

I do miss the social customs of my culture, and, like anyone, I relate best with individuals who were inculcated with the same values and narrative as I was.

Still, loneliness is really just a symptom of anomie in the end--and an apter metaphor for me than an isolated shrub, might be a rootless tree...

But now I'm back to grumbling about the Gardener of souls again, and I suppose we both consider that to be against my vows...
quote:
Probably at some level you think you're helping me.
I wouldn't know.

I do think that you helped shape the direction of this dialogue, and if your drinking is related to anger at God, it makes sense to me that you might have wanted to see where it would go if you hashed this out with me.
quote:
Now I can say, categorically, for myself that either God exists, or I am delusional
Hmm. I think I should concretely emphasize the point that nothing I have argued here gives any reason to disbelieve in the existence of God.

I don't argue that God doesn't exist, because I personally seek to believe in God--I'm just not ever certain exactly what God is.

[/QUOTE]

Most Christians should identify with the latter statement, if they believe what Paul said at the end of 1st Corinthians 13.


quote:
In fact, my beef with Smith has always been that his lies limited my people's quest to find out what God is...
I don't think that Smith lied with respect to his understanding of God, and what God looks like, doesn't necessarily limit what God is. I'd say rather that his revelations opened up our minds to what we are. And I don't think that's a bad thing.

quote:
denying people the right to participate in the social institution that reifies the family bond.
[snipped my response re ssm since I don't want that tangent on this thread.]
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
I'd say rather that his revelations opened up our minds to what we are.
I'd agree only that his actions informed others with potential modes of understanding their own relationships with God. And obviously, many individuals seek to have their relationships with God modified by the actions of other individuals.

(Don't we all?)

I think that this is natural for a species which not only expresses consciousness socially, but actually informs the structure of its social unities through the inculcation of a common teleological/theological cognitive code. (What is culture if not a cloud of carriers of a common PURPOSE meme?)

Thus I think that an individual who acts to mediate and inform (through a claim of unique, direct knowledge) a perception of God's will for another individual, is an individual who commits an act of unique significance--by creating a cultural codification gateway, which functions to bound cultural unities themselves.

Any individual who says: "This is God's will for all of us" performs an action that inherently establishes a cultural identification of "us vs them."

Smith claimed to speak for God. (And his proffered proof was a set of materially invisible golden plates--though he did spruce up the puerile magic act with a promise of a serving of a satisfying pudding refreshment, which some apparently see as a practical proof of a claimed expression of God's will. [Wink] )

And every person who has heard Smith's testimony of God's will must either accept the culturally telic boundary created by that social action, or reject it.

So, yeah: the statement "This is God's will for US," is very similar to: "This is what we are."

...but it's also different. Cuz if there is a God, then the response of the individual to the third party testimony will also define his/her relationship to God. Either the relationship between the individual and God is bounded by belief in the validity of the third party testimony, or it is not...
quote:
I don't think that Smith lied with respect to his understanding of God
Obviously. In the "conscious choice" sense of "think," at least...
quote:
[snipped my response re ssm since I don't want that tangent on this thread.]
Thread the tangent if you like. Personally, I tend to thread my thought tangentially, rather than tangenting threads of thought.

[ September 03, 2011, 04:21 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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ken_in_sc
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Before I came back to the church, a Methodist minister came to my house and asked me why I had not joined his church which I had been attending for some time. I told him it was because I could say all the words of the Apostle's Creed except the first two, “I believe”. Later, I decided that I did.

I don't think Breivik is insane. His actions made perfect sense if you accepted his premise—that the Labour Party was turning Norway over to the Muslims. Better to kill them and their children that to let them be successful—in his mind. This is not insanity. It is worse. It is a mistake. It is wrong.

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seekingprometheus
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Meh.

Insane conclusions derive from insane premises, neh? And delusionally paranoid premises are insane, are they not?

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ken_in_sc
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There is evidence that he was right. I don't think he was right, but there is evidence that he was.
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