T Nation

About Belief, Religion and God

…not just about Christianity…

Atheism does not allow for singular experiences. Atheism restricts knowledge to those concepts that are formed by comparing objects. For ex, the concept of ‘chair’ is formed from observing several very similar objects and tagging those objects with the word ‘chair’.

But then we run into difficulties with things like ‘justice’. Plato wrote a whole book trying to extract the concept from examples about cities (Republic).

God is a singular being. To know God is a singular event. If we restrict our knowledge to only those concepts attained by comparison, then that excludes God. But in my many years I’ve yet to see an acceptable argument for such exclusion.

That God has not chosen to speak to you, is sad.

God bless and Happy Hannukah!

Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.

[quote]Jab1 wrote:
Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.[/quote]

Certainly. We form concepts by a process of abstraction, looking for a common theme in the things we see, hear, touch, and so on. When we have extreme similarity, we give those things a name (word). Think of how, for ex, music gets labeled as hip-hop, country, or what not.

Now suppose you have an experience unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. You would try and explain it using previously formed concepts. That is, in fact, the process of learning. But suppose that encounter was not possible to categorize. You hear an oceanic voice say to you: “The Spirit”. Your mind is trying to reason out your experience but voices don’t sound, in your experience, like thunderous oceanic sounds. Try as you may, reason as you may, it just doesn’t fit.

Of course, atheists say that such an experience is a delusion or hallucination; but you know better. And they’ve excluded your singular experience from being knowledge, by THEIR OWN DEFINITION of knowledge.

Atheists engage in an odd sort of collective solipsism, which I find fascinating.

To me this sounds like a god of the gaps argument; you experience something that previous encounters or knowledge can’t explain, therefore god did it.

I have certainly had experiences that would fit your defintion of “singular”. I have spent time meditating and achieved incredible moments of what I presume (correct me if I’m wrong) you would describe as “The Spirit”. I just think that there IS an explanation, regardless of whether we know it yet. A singular experience is, in my view, no evidence for anything other than that experience.

I believe atheism is intellectually lazy.
From the beginning of consciousness, of self identity or the recognition of second person perspective, there has been some form of belief in god(s). Intuitively, man knew that there was something else. He did not create all that he experienced, therefore there had to be a creator. If it makes it more palatable, he sensed an organizing intelligence that was beyond he and all that he experienced.

When man was less evolved, barely more than an animal, he processed life through an archaic worldview. He still had problems differentiating subject from object. Much like an infant today, his sense of self and the world was often still fused.

Overtime, man began to move to a magical worldview. Although he understood that he was separate from and distinct from his environment, he was still very egocentric and believed he could have some control over his environment with word magic and ritual.

Along the course of time, the omnipotence of mans ego began to be challenged. The word magic and rituals were not getting the job done. He began the transition to a mythic worldview where his ego omnipotence was transferred to “gods.” He began to formulate concrete and literal myths to explain all of creation and his place within it. This worldview has existed in many forms throughout most of our known history and is still prevalent today. By some estimates, fully 70% of the worlds population are at this level of development as we speak.

Somewhere around the middle of the late 1600’s the Age of Enlightenment began and with it the rational worldview. This was an incredible development in that for the first time in our history, man began to differentiate between mind, body, and spirit (or art, science and religion). Until this time, all three were wound together, undifferentiated, with religion dominating and setting the boundaries of the other two. With its shackles removed, science went on a tear. For the most part, this has been a wonderful thing. Science has advanced the general quality of life many fold. Hunger and disease, if not conquered, were beaten back into the shadows. Information and technology were brought to the masses. In a way, science became the new religion. For the first time in history, many began declaring the death of God/gods. Reductionism became the the new religion and scientist its new priest.

But an interesting thing began to happen around the beginning of the twentieth century. Those that were busy deconstructing reality and studying its parts finally got to a startling point. At the level below atomic, the rules that had served them so well began to go out the window. At the subatomic level, Newtonian physics was no longer relevant. A whole new world began to emerge and in its workings scientists once again began to see the hand of God. Within chaos was order. An intelligence beyond our comprehension was at work. Einstein and his cohorts rediscovered God. He was no longer on top of a mountain handing out laws. He had slipped into the spaces between potential and reality and had therefore permeated everything.

Within the last 60 years a new worldview has appeared; pluralistic relativism. It began as the noble effort to include all worldviews and give them a voice. Its intentions are admirable but its methods are dysfunctional. In order to give everyone a voice, it declares that no world view or perspective has more value than another (except its own worldview, of course). It denies hierarchy, all the while ignoring the fact that by asserting that its worldview is best, it is participating in hierarchy.
The next worldview that is starting to pop up along the edges of philosophy, science, and spirituality(religion) is holistic integralism, which will hopefully be able to integrate the multiple worldviews, concepts and paradigms without denying the obvious existence of natural hierarchy. To get a brief glimpse, think of nested hierarchies as kind of like a set of Russian dolls. One within another, each a whole unto itself yet each a part of a greater whole. Worldviews are like this (as is all of nature), with each new evolving worldview transcending yet including the previous worldview. Just as matter cannot organize to molecules without atoms, you cannot truly adopt a worldview without, if only briefly, having adopted the beliefs of its predecessors. If we are lucky, maybe holistic integralism can heal the wound that was created during the Enlightenment and re-integrate art, science and religion (mind, soul and body).

I have gotten way to wordy, so I will wrap it up. To deny God (spirit) just because you object to the level of comprehension and interpretation that one segment of society has ascended to is simply being lazy and bullying. I, myself, teach a kindergarten Sunday school class at my church. Am I a hypocrite? Not at all. I simply understand that everyone has to ascend through and experience the different levels of development. My kindergartners could not comprehend any of this and shouldn’t. But they can comprehend love and the difference between right and wrong, and maybe the fact that there is something out there bigger than us all that ties us all together.

One last point. You cannot rush, bully or force someones development. That is at the core of the problem of today’s liberal left, but that is another topic. You can support, encourage, and assist when the student is ready.

Atheists should view me as having a predisposition for religion, specifically Christianity. Just say it’s my orientation. For me, it pushes all the right buttons in the ole gray matter so that I feel like I’m living the real me. In fact, the atheist should see an attempt to convert me as the equivalent of trying to talk a gay man straight. Sure, sure, you might convert some of us. However, they were closeted atheists in the first place (so the atheist should see it). Atheists that challenge us should also view themselves as religionphobes. That is, not secure in their own orientation. Basically, closeted religious-curious. Really, it’s time to come out of the closet.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]Jab1 wrote:
Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.[/quote]

Certainly. We form concepts by a process of abstraction, looking for a common theme in the things we see, hear, touch, and so on. When we have extreme similarity, we give those things a name (word). Think of how, for ex, music gets labeled as hip-hop, country, or what not.

Now suppose you have an experience unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. You would try and explain it using previously formed concepts. That is, in fact, the process of learning. But suppose that encounter was not possible to categorize. You hear an oceanic voice say to you: “The Spirit”. Your mind is trying to reason out your experience but voices don’t sound, in your experience, like thunderous oceanic sounds. Try as you may, reason as you may, it just doesn’t fit.

Of course, atheists say that such an experience is a delusion or hallucination; but you know better. And they’ve excluded your singular experience from being knowledge, by THEIR OWN DEFINITION of knowledge.

Atheists engage in an odd sort of collective solipsism, which I find fascinating.
[/quote]

How could that argument not be made by any schizophrenic?

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Atheists should view me as having a predisposition for religion, specifically Christianity. Just say it’s my orientation. For me, it pushes all the right buttons in the ole gray matter so that I feel like I’m living the real me. In fact, the atheist should see an attempt to convert me as the equivalent of trying to talk a gay man straight. Sure, sure, you might convert some of us. However, they were closeted atheists in the first place (so the atheist should see it). Atheists that challenge us should also view themselves as religionphobes. That is, not secure in their own orientation. Basically, closeted religious-curious. Really, it’s time to come out of the closet.[/quote]

Well as long as you do not try to ram your “religion” down my throat you can be as ga…, religious as you want to be.

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Atheists should view me as having a predisposition for religion, specifically Christianity. Just say it’s my orientation. For me, it pushes all the right buttons in the ole gray matter so that I feel like I’m living the real me. In fact, the atheist should see an attempt to convert me as the equivalent of trying to talk a gay man straight. Sure, sure, you might convert some of us. However, they were closeted atheists in the first place (so the atheist should see it). Atheists that challenge us should also view themselves as religionphobes. That is, not secure in their own orientation. Basically, closeted religious-curious. Really, it’s time to come out of the closet.[/quote]

Well as long as you do not try to ram your “religion” down my throat you can be as ga…, religious as you want to be.

[/quote]

Did anyone hear some noise from the closet? I know it couldn’t have been “I attend church out of town so I won’t run into anyone that might recognize me,” Orion. Nah.

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Atheists should view me as having a predisposition for religion, specifically Christianity. Just say it’s my orientation. For me, it pushes all the right buttons in the ole gray matter so that I feel like I’m living the real me. In fact, the atheist should see an attempt to convert me as the equivalent of trying to talk a gay man straight. Sure, sure, you might convert some of us. However, they were closeted atheists in the first place (so the atheist should see it). Atheists that challenge us should also view themselves as religionphobes. That is, not secure in their own orientation. Basically, closeted religious-curious. Really, it’s time to come out of the closet.[/quote]

Well as long as you do not try to ram your “religion” down my throat you can be as ga…, religious as you want to be.

[/quote]

Did anyone hear some noise from the closet? I know it couldn’t have been “I attend church out of town so I won’t run into anyone that might recognize me,” Orion. Nah. [/quote]

I only pray in mosques.

The give me the hardcore religious pounding I feel a deep need for and they share my hatred for freedom and applepie.

They make me whole.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Atheism does not allow for singular experiences. Atheism restricts knowledge to those concepts that are formed by comparing objects. For ex, the concept of ‘chair’ is formed from observing several very similar objects and tagging those objects with the word ‘chair’.

But then we run into difficulties with things like ‘justice’. Plato wrote a whole book trying to extract the concept from examples about cities (Republic).

God is a singular being. To know God is a singular event. If we restrict our knowledge to only those concepts attained by comparison, then that excludes God. But in my many years I’ve yet to see an acceptable argument for such exclusion.

That God has not chosen to speak to you, is sad.

God bless and Happy Hannukah![/quote]

…does the absence of belief in a god stop me from basking in the beauty of a glorious sunset? No, it doesn’t. Does the absence of belief in a god stop me from loving those close to me wholeheartedly? No, it doesn’t. Does the absence of belief in a god stop me from being kind to those who deserve it? No, it doesn’t…

…the absence of belief in a god does not stop me from being human, from being a good person to the best of my ability. It does not stop me from all of that because this is who i want to be without the threat of hell or the gift of heaven…

…has it ever occured to you that some people need speaking to, and some don’t?

[quote]JEATON wrote:
wall of text
[/quote]

JEATON, i can’t read what you read due to the lenght and especially the formatting of your post…

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:
wall of text
[/quote]

JEATON, i can’t read what you read due to the lenght and especially the formatting of your post…[/quote]

Let me sum it up for you. God or spirit gets broader and deeper as you develop. The meaning and interpretation changes because your perspective and altitude changes.
Unfortunately, I do not have the means to write that in crayon for you. :wink:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]Jab1 wrote:
Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.[/quote]

Certainly. We form concepts by a process of abstraction, looking for a common theme in the things we see, hear, touch, and so on. When we have extreme similarity, we give those things a name (word). Think of how, for ex, music gets labeled as hip-hop, country, or what not.

Now suppose you have an experience unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. You would try and explain it using previously formed concepts. That is, in fact, the process of learning. But suppose that encounter was not possible to categorize. You hear an oceanic voice say to you: “The Spirit”. Your mind is trying to reason out your experience but voices don’t sound, in your experience, like thunderous oceanic sounds. Try as you may, reason as you may, it just doesn’t fit.

Of course, atheists say that such an experience is a delusion or hallucination; but you know better. And they’ve excluded your singular experience from being knowledge, by THEIR OWN DEFINITION of knowledge.

Atheists engage in an odd sort of collective solipsism, which I find fascinating.
[/quote]

How could that argument not be made by any schizophrenic?

[/quote]

And there we have it. If an experience doesn’t fit in with previously held concepts, its delusional or mental illness or whatnot.

Simply because something doesn’t fit in with the current psychological/philosophical paradigm does not mean it is wrong or delusional. Just ask Galileo.

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Atheism does not allow for singular experiences. Atheism restricts knowledge to those concepts that are formed by comparing objects. For ex, the concept of ‘chair’ is formed from observing several very similar objects and tagging those objects with the word ‘chair’.

But then we run into difficulties with things like ‘justice’. Plato wrote a whole book trying to extract the concept from examples about cities (Republic).

God is a singular being. To know God is a singular event. If we restrict our knowledge to only those concepts attained by comparison, then that excludes God. But in my many years I’ve yet to see an acceptable argument for such exclusion.

That God has not chosen to speak to you, is sad.

God bless and Happy Hannukah![/quote]

…does the absence of belief in a god stop me from basking in the beauty of a glorious sunset? No, it doesn’t. Does the absence of belief in a god stop me from loving those close to me wholeheartedly? No, it doesn’t. Does the absence of belief in a god stop me from being kind to those who deserve it? No, it doesn’t…

…the absence of belief in a god does not stop me from being human, from being a good person to the best of my ability. It does not stop me from all of that because this is who i want to be without the threat of hell or the gift of heaven…

…has it ever occured to you that some people need speaking to, and some don’t?
[/quote]

You don’t need to meet Ayn Rand, Richard Dawkins, or Mother Theresa either. I’m simply saying that religious experience is different than a common experience. Rejecting the first because it doesn’t fit the second is a sign of a closed mind.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]Jab1 wrote:
Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.[/quote]

Certainly. We form concepts by a process of abstraction, looking for a common theme in the things we see, hear, touch, and so on. When we have extreme similarity, we give those things a name (word). Think of how, for ex, music gets labeled as hip-hop, country, or what not.

Now suppose you have an experience unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. You would try and explain it using previously formed concepts. That is, in fact, the process of learning. But suppose that encounter was not possible to categorize. You hear an oceanic voice say to you: “The Spirit”. Your mind is trying to reason out your experience but voices don’t sound, in your experience, like thunderous oceanic sounds. Try as you may, reason as you may, it just doesn’t fit.

Of course, atheists say that such an experience is a delusion or hallucination; but you know better. And they’ve excluded your singular experience from being knowledge, by THEIR OWN DEFINITION of knowledge.

Atheists engage in an odd sort of collective solipsism, which I find fascinating.
[/quote]

How could that argument not be made by any schizophrenic?

[/quote]

And there we have it. If an experience doesn’t fit in with previously held concepts, its delusional or mental illness or whatnot.

Simply because something doesn’t fit in with the current psychological/philosophical paradigm does not mean it is wrong or delusional. Just ask Galileo.
[/quote]

A lot of people that we would consider to be insane were deemed holy, and I did not make an argument for either side.

I do not know who said that and I really cannot be bothered to look it up right nopw but the gist was that there is a door to the human experience that only disease and serious illness can open.

I am not making fun of that in any way and I am aware that “healthy” and “sane” are social constructs at least as much as seemingly rational, analytical tools.

Does not change that crazy people also hear voices and when I hear hooves I think horses, not zebras.

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:
wall of text
[/quote]

JEATON, i can’t read what you read due to the lenght and especially the formatting of your post…[/quote]

Let me sum it up for you. God or spirit gets broader and deeper as you develop. The meaning and interpretation changes because your perspective and altitude changes.
Unfortunately, I do not have the means to write that in crayon for you. ;)[/quote]

Your god is a reflection in a pond.

What makes you different from Narcissus?

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:
wall of text
[/quote]

JEATON, i can’t read what you read due to the lenght and especially the formatting of your post…[/quote]

Let me sum it up for you. God or spirit gets broader and deeper as you develop. The meaning and interpretation changes because your perspective and altitude changes.
Unfortunately, I do not have the means to write that in crayon for you. ;)[/quote]

I think his point was maybe to mix in some spacing between paragraphs, because it is a difficult read.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

[quote]Jab1 wrote:
Headhunter can you define what you mean by a singular experience or event?

God didn’t choose to speak to me either.

Love that video by the way. So logical it hurts.[/quote]

Certainly. We form concepts by a process of abstraction, looking for a common theme in the things we see, hear, touch, and so on. When we have extreme similarity, we give those things a name (word). Think of how, for ex, music gets labeled as hip-hop, country, or what not.

Now suppose you have an experience unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. You would try and explain it using previously formed concepts. That is, in fact, the process of learning. But suppose that encounter was not possible to categorize. You hear an oceanic voice say to you: “The Spirit”. Your mind is trying to reason out your experience but voices don’t sound, in your experience, like thunderous oceanic sounds. Try as you may, reason as you may, it just doesn’t fit.

Of course, atheists say that such an experience is a delusion or hallucination; but you know better. And they’ve excluded your singular experience from being knowledge, by THEIR OWN DEFINITION of knowledge.

Atheists engage in an odd sort of collective solipsism, which I find fascinating.
[/quote]

How could that argument not be made by any schizophrenic?

[/quote]

And there we have it. If an experience doesn’t fit in with previously held concepts, its delusional or mental illness or whatnot.

Simply because something doesn’t fit in with the current psychological/philosophical paradigm does not mean it is wrong or delusional. Just ask Galileo.
[/quote]

Let me get this straight- you are using Galileo as an example where you are arguing for the existence of God/religion???

That is too fucking funny for words.

jnd