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Henotheism and Atheism

Meriweather

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I am happy I made the sacrifices I did because they have all been a boon to me in the long run.. I don't need religion to realize that.
Exactly. Hence the adages of "What goes around comes around" and "cast your bread upon the waters and it will return..." Karma.

While our sacrifices may not have any effect on the universe, often times they do have an effect on the tiny portion of our own small universe.
 

Blues Man

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No need for religion to realize that sacrifices can turn out to be a boon in the long run.

And again one does not need to believe in gods to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. And you have no clue as to what I experience on my own path.
Correct! No one needs a spouse, children, both a mother and a father, or a close extended family. One of our strengths how adaptable we are. My husband turned out just fine without a dad. No one says to him, "You could do this, that, and the other if only your dad had lived."

God, like a parent, is one of life's bonuses--a true blessing. Trying to convince people God is not needed goes over about as well trying to convince people a parent wasn't needed. It just gets us thinking about what would have been missed without them, while at the same time acknowledging some people do very well without them.
Lots of people with parents end up living shitty lives

Lots of people who believe in gods end up living shitty lives.

I have not seem any real advantages to believing in gods and I have lived a very good life despite being orphaned in fact it was probably better than if my deadbeat alcoholic father and junkie addict mother had lived.
 

Meriweather

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Lots of people with parents end up living shitty lives

Lots of people who believe in gods end up living shitty lives.

I have not seem any real advantages to believing in gods and I have lived a very good life despite being orphaned in fact it was probably better than if my deadbeat alcoholic father and junkie addict mother had lived.
What kind of parents did I have? What kind of child was I? It is all a toss-up between nature and nurture--not to mention outside peer pressure. Being good parents doesn't exempt one from having bad children; having bad parents doesn't condemn a child to a bad life. Too many variables are at play.

What we see through the rear-view mirror (hindsight) influences discussions here. We can look back on where parents/other adults failed us and where they gave us a boost. We can see where we were on our own and it was up to us, on our own, to pull ourselves along.

I believe it was Moses who noted that we see God best in hindsight. Where in our Lives was God able to lend an assist, and when couldn't He?
 

Blues Man

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Lots of people with parents end up living shitty lives

Lots of people who believe in gods end up living shitty lives.

I have not seem any real advantages to believing in gods and I have lived a very good life despite being orphaned in fact it was probably better than if my deadbeat alcoholic father and junkie addict mother had lived.
What kind of parents did I have? What kind of child was I? It is all a toss-up between nature and nurture--not to mention outside peer pressure. Being good parents doesn't exempt one from having bad children; having bad parents doesn't condemn a child to a bad life. Too many variables are at play.

What we see through the rear-view mirror (hindsight) influences discussions here. We can look back on where parents/other adults failed us and where they gave us a boost. We can see where we were on our own and it was up to us, on our own, to pull ourselves along.

I believe it was Moses who noted that we see God best in hindsight. Where in our Lives was God able to lend an assist, and when couldn't He?

I don't think a couple lucky breaks was due to some divine intervention.
 

Meriweather

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I don't think a couple lucky breaks was due to some divine intervention.
I do not trace lucky breaks back to God. In many cases it is hard work on one's own part, being in the right place at the right time, or another human intervenes.

I do trace some spiritual help back to God, help I was in need to for my everyday life. Still, while all spiritual help may come from God, the greatest majority (say 99.9%) I, myself, cannot trace back that far. I believe the Jewish philosophy: One comes to know and love God through living and loving God's law. Christians take the tact of loving God leads to loving His ways (law). I think of this as a circle--and people can step into the circle at either point, or even somewhere in between.

Many atheists have the perspective that evolution and therefore our genes are what trained us to act ethically and fairly--it is what is best for the species. No God. That's fine. But my own experience in following the law/evolution (along with loving God) does lead to God. It has been a good experience.

There is more for us than just this existence.
 

ding

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you are excluding the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is.
Actually I didn't. Like I said before... I started my journey by looking at the only two options which exist; God created existence (aka space and time) or existence created itself. So, no. I did not exclude the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is. In fact what I have said before is this...

It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional.

So I started my evaluation from two possible mutually exclusive positions; 1. the universe was created by God intentionally and has a purpose. And 2. the universe was not created by God and has no purpose.

So you are wrong again.
When you start with a preconceived and arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities you cannot come to any conclusions that are not preconceived or arbitrary.
They aren't arbitrary. There are the only two options which exist. All other options will simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options. The fact that you can't name another possible option which does not simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options proves that your statement that I started with an arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities is WRONG. You can always prove me wrong by naming another possibility which does not simplify to one of the only two options which exist.

Are these two options preconceived? Well I did start with everything I could think of and they all simplified into one of these two mutually exclusive options. So it was only preconceived like all evaluations are preconceived when one is trying to list all of the options. It was not preconceived in the manner you are suggesting which is to mean biased. If I were biased I would only consider one of these two options like YOU have done.

The fact that we cannot conceive of more than 2 options is proof that we are limited in our thinking and are most likely physically incapable of understanding the processes of the inception of the universe. We are beings that can only perceive 3 dimensions but we live in a space that has at least 4 dimensions. For all we know, the only way to grasp the inception of the universe is to be able to perceive that 4th dimension.

If we were 2 dimensional beings living in a 3 dimensional space we would think that anything entering our 2 dimensional world from the third dimension would simply appear as if from nowhere and we would only ever be able to perceive a 2 dimensional cross section of that thing.

My dog will never comprehend prime numbers and she evolved out of the same stuff humans did. It is therefore not only reasonable to assume but also probable that the human brain has its own limitations.

The invention of a god to explain what we do not comprehend is a human characteristic and we've done that very thing throughout our existence
There no thing that can describe God because God is no thing. God is not matter and energy like us and God exists outside of our four dimension space time. In fact the premise is that God is no thing. That God is a spirit. A spirit is no thing. Being things we can't possibly relate to being no things. A two dimensional being would have an easier time trying to understand our third dimension than we - a four dimensional being - would in trying to understand a multi-dimensional being outside of our space time. The closest I can come to and later confirm with the physical laws is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

So now that a realistic perception of God has been established we need to examine the only evidence at our disposal. It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional. After all in my perception of God, God is no thing and the closest thing I can relate to is a mind with no body. Using our own experiences as creators as a proxy, we know that when we create things we create them for a reason and that reason is to serve some purpose. So it would be no great leap of logic to believe that something like a mind with no body would do the same. We also know from our experiences that intelligence tends to create intelligence. We are obsessed with making smart things. So what better thing for a mind with no body to do than create a universe where beings with bodies can create smart things too.

We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise - some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental - that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds beings that know and create.

The biological laws are such that life is programmed to survive and multiply which is a requisite for intelligence to arise. If the purpose of the universe was to create intelligence then a preference in nature for it had to exist. The Laws of Nature are such that the potential for intelligence to existed the moment space and time were created. One can argue that given the laws of nature and the size of the universe that intelligence arising was inevitable. One can also argue that creating intelligence from nothing defies the Second Law of Entropy. That creating intelligence from nothing increases order within the universe. It actually doesn't because usable energy was lost along the way as a cost of creating order from disorder. But it is nature overriding it's tendency for ever increasing disorder that interests me and raises my suspicions to look deeper and to take seriously the proposition that a mind without a body created the material world so that minds with bodies could create too.

If we examine the physical laws we discover that we live in a logical universe governed by rules, laws and information. Rules laws and information are a signs of intelligence. Intentionality and purpose are signs of intelligence. The definition of reason is a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. The definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. The consequence of a logical universe is that every cause has an effect. Which means that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose. The very nature of our physical laws point to reason and purpose.

All we have done so far is to make a logical argument for spirit creating the material world. Certainly not an argument built of fairy tales that's for sure. So going back to the two possibilities; spirit creating the material world versus everything proceeding from the material, the key distinction is no thing versus thing. So if we assume that everything I have described was just an accidental coincidence of the properties of matter, the logical conclusion is that matter and energy are just doing what matter and energy do which makes sense. The problem is that for matter and energy to do what matter and energy do, there has to be rules in place for matter and energy to obey. The formation of space and time followed rules. Specifically the law of conservation and quantum mechanics. These laws existed before space and time and defined the potential of everything which was possible. These laws are no thing. So we literally have an example of no thing existing before the material world. The creation of space and time from nothing is literally correct. Space and time were created from no thing. Spirit is no thing. No thing created space and time.

If the universe were created through natural process and we are an accidental happenstance of matter and energy doing what matter and energy do, then there should be no expectation for absolute morals. Morals can be anything we want them to be. The problem is that nature does have a preference for an outcome. Societies and people which behave with virtue experience order and harmony. Societies and people which behave without virtue experience disorder and chaos. So we can see from the outcomes that not all behaviors have equal outcomes. That some behaviors have better outcomes and some behaviors have worse outcomes. This is the moral law at work. If the universe was created by spirit for the express purpose of creating beings that know and create we would expect that we would receive feedback on how we behave. The problem is that violating moral laws are not like violating physical laws. When we violate a physical law the consequences are immediate. If you try to defy gravity by jumping off a roof you will fall. Whereas the consequences for violating a moral law are more probabilistic in nature; many times we get away with it.

Morals are effectively standards. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest possible standard. This standard exists independent of anything else. It is in effect a universal standard. It exists for a reason. When we deviate from this standard and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. Thus proving that morals cannot be anything we want them to be but are indeed based upon some universal code of common decency that is independent of man.

So the question that naturally begs to be asked is if there is a universal code of common decency that is independent of man how come we all don't behave the same way when it comes to right and wrong? The reason man doesn't behave the same way is because of subjectivity. The difference between being objective and being subjective is bias. Bias is eliminated when there is no preference for an outcome. To eliminate a preference for an outcome one must have no thought of the consequences to one's self. If one does not practice this they will see subjective truth instead of objective truth. Subjective truth leads to moral relativism. Where consequences to self and preferences for an outcome leads to rationalizations of right and wrong.

Man does know right from wrong and when he violates it rather than abandoning the concept of right and wrong he rationalizes he did not violate it. You can see this behavior in almost all quarrels and disagreements. At the heart of every quarrel and disagreement is a belief in a universal right and wrong. So even though each side believes right to be different each side expects the other to believe their side should be universally known and accepted. It is this behavior which tells us there is an expectation for an absolute truth.

If there were never a universal truth that existed man would never have an expectation of fairness to begin with because fairness would have no meaning. The fact that each of us has an expectation of fairness and that we expect everyone else to follow ought to raise our suspicion on the origin of that expectation.

These are your opinions. We have no idea what god is or isn't.

This universal code you claim that somehow exists outside of human beings is nothing but the culmination of our ability to imagine a behavior and its possible outcomes while never actually engaging in that behavior. Since all human brains evolved the same way then all human brains are capable of such thoughts.

In doing this we determined what would be the most acceptable outcome and we then taught these things to future generations. these ideas did not exist outside of the human experience nor did they predate the existence of humans.

Once again you are viewing the end result of the evolutionary process and saying that people have always been as they are today. This simply is not true.
Correct, I don't know what God is or God isn't. I even said, The closest I can come is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

I believe to discover God one must start with some realistic perception of God. And that was the closest I could come to understanding God. People that argue there is no God are really arguing there is no God as that they can perceive. What they are really saying though is that they have no perception of God other than fairytales. Which is why everything they see is skewed to fairytales. So naturally they aren't looking for God. They only look at things to confirm their biases.

The universal code is logic and truth and exist independent of man. All humans are capable of seeing truth and logic if they are objective instead of subjective. The problem is that most people are not capable of being objective all of the time and about everything. Especially about themselves.

Humans are free to establish any standard they wish but they are not free to avoid the consequences of choosing a lower standard. Different standards have existed through out time and man has reaped what he has sown when he followed a lower standard.

Physiologically speaking, humans 10,000 years ago are pretty much the same as today but shorter. So I am not making the claim that people have always been as they are today. But for the past 10,000 years, man's intelligence probably has a similar distribution as we have today. Mind you I said intelligence and not knowledge. I do see repeating patterns of behavior and I do believe there are explanations for those patterns just as their are explanations for those behaviors. But what you have to know is that for almost any given thing there will usually be a distribution which always should be taken into account.
I don't assume there is a god to be discovered. And as I said before I don't think it matters if any gods actually exist or not. The beginning of the universe while interesting from both a physical and metaphysical perspective doesn't really matter either. Like I said we came into the theater after the movie started and we will leave before the movie ends so neither the beginning nor the end really matter as far as we human beings are concerned.

The oldest Homo Sapiens fossil has been dated to about 315,000 years ago and some anthropologists think H Sapiens may be as old a 500000 years.. 10000 years ago is the estimated period when agriculture began which also marked the end of the Neolithic Age.

So you make these sweeping statements like humans have always thought this or that but you are really only referring to the last 10 thousand years?

It is my position that our behaviors were evolving from at least 315,000 years ago and those behaviors from the very beginnings of H Sapiens emergence as a species are just as if not more important than anything that happened in the last 10000 years.
Sweeping statements, huh? Actually you saying I made sweeping statements is a sweeping statement. I was pretty specific which is the opposite if a sweeping statement.

As for you not believing it matters if one believes on God or not, you have never tested it. I have. I've walked both paths. You haven't. And despite your denial that religion offers functional advantages, Darwin disagrees.

So which is it man has always believed in the spiritual or man has believed in the spiritual only in the last 10000 years?

When you use words like always you are not just indicating a very specific point in history but rather are referring to ALL of history.

It's those pesky definitions again.

And you need to reread what I said.

I said I don't believe it matters whether gods exist or not.

Darwin wasn't a sociologist. Religion as a social institution provided a control on society not dissimilar to government.
Ummmm... always, at least once he became aware. But I only know that physiologically speaking man is pretty much the same now as he was 10,000 years ago. Could that have been earlier? Sure.

I know what you said and I know what you meant. And I know that you have never tested if it matters or not. I have. God, like all of reality is made manifest by mind.

If religion offered no functional advantage, then according to Darwin's principles, religion would have died out.

So it is your assertion that man has only been aware for the last 10000 years?

Now you say gods only manifest because of the human mind so then they must not have existed before men invented them.

Religion doesn't offer an evolutionary advantage. It offers a sociological advantage.

When humans were nomadic tribes it didn't matter if they believed in gods or not as far as their everyday survival was concerned.

Religion didn't become organized until we left the nomadic life behind and started living in larger and larger societies.

It was realized pretty quickly that as populations grew that controls were needed to ameliorate human behaviors religion was and still is one of those controls.
You are like a dog with a bone on this 10,000 year thing. The only claim I am making is that in the terms of intellect and physiology man hasn't changed much over the last 10,000 years. I make no other claims beyond that.

Religion offers FUNCTIONAL advantage. It is FUNCTIONAL advantage that determines if a trait will be retained or not. If there is no FUNCTIONAL advantage, then according to Darwin it is discarded.
Homo Sapiens is homo sapiens from a day ago or 200000 years ago.

Religion isn't a trait it's a social institution that didn't become organized until we moved from nomadic tribes to living in large stationary groups.

Religion acts as a control on the population and as the populace of a society grows those controls are beneficial to the long term success of the society. Religion does not help a person survive the rigors of life as a hunter gatherer.
I don't believe that physiologically speaking that homo sapiens from 200,000 years ago are the same as they are today. Do you have anything which supports that belief? I know there was little difference 10,000 years ago because there was a body recovered from the Alps that had been frozen and the comment that was made was that physiologically he was effectively the same as us today.

If you want to deny Darwin, that's your call. But it makes a ton of sense that believing in God has functional advantages that atheism does not have.

The only difference is the influence of society. Society has made us who we are more than mere evolution. You cannot separate modern man from the society he has lived in. Society is responsible for most of our belief systems. Everything from religion to morals and ethics has been shaped by societies and as those societies become more homogeneous the differences in those societies become less meaningful and will ultimately disappear.

This is the reason you think some patterns of thought are universal absolutes.
Again... from a natural selection perspective believing in God must have functional advantages that atheism does not have and that is why religion persists.

Again believing a gods has nothing to do with survival or evolution and more to do with the fact that as our intellect grew and our survival skills increased humans had more time to ponder things and one of the things human did was invent gods to explain things in the natural world.

I will propose that we didn't invent gods until we were so adept at survival that we had more time for activities other than merely surviving.
I never said it did. I said the reason religion persists is that religion provides a functional advantage that atheism cannot provide.

Only in a sense that it is a societal control.

What advantage do you have over an atheist?
Only in a sense that it is a societal control? Wrong. In the sense that it brings peace and joy through the storms of life.

The advantages believers have over atheists are peace and joy through the storms of life and meaning and purpose from being God's creatures; Meaning in God, Meaning in Creation, Meaning in Human Existence, Meaning in History, Meaning in Morality, Meaning in Justice, Meaning in Suffering and Meaning in Messianism.
You don't need religion to experience joy or weather the storms of life.

And You don't need religion to live a meaningful life.

There is no advantage to being religious.
William James sees it different.

When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.​

So what?

I don't need a god to feel I am part of the universe because I was part of it the day I was born.
I just explained the so what. :rolleyes:
no you gave the opinion of a guy that you think is some kind of authority.
Who explained why there is a difference. It's the why that matters not the who.
Why does what James said carry so much weight that everyone has to agree with him?
Again it's not the who, it's the why.
And what if his why isn't the same as mine?

I don't need to follow anyone
Because William James logically explained why the religious get joy from making sacrifices. All you have done is make a claim that you don't need religion to weather the storms of life. No where in that statement do I see you getting joy from experiencing the storms of life.
And that assumes people who aren't religious don't make sacrifices or derive some sense of meaning from the sacrifices they make.

I accept the troubles of life as unavoidable I weather them with a sense of peace and calmness because I know they are temporary. Is that "joy"? And who are you or William James to tell me what it is?
Correct. In part that assumes they don't see meaning in their sacrifices or get satisfaction from making sacrifices. That is one part of it, yes.

No. That doesn't sound like joy. That sounds like undergone at the very best without complaint. Of course YOUR practice of Buddhism is to avoid suffering, right? The Christian view is to embrace suffering and sacrifice. To even add on unnecessary givings-up to increase happiness.
Quite an assumption to base such a sweeping statement upon don't you think?

And Buddhism teaches to recognize that suffering is part of life and that most of the less obvious sources of suffering are caused by ourselves. One can achieve a cessation of suffering upon enlightenment.

And again who are you to define the joy, or mere happiness of another person. I happen to think a calm and peaceful state of mind is the most enjoyable whereas the extremes of happiness or sadness are caused by the inability to recognize that the causes of those extremes are impermanent
No. I don't think.

Don't sugar coat it. Buddhism teaches the end of suffering.

You are arguing that you embrace suffering and you don't see the contradiction with Buddhism? Seriously? So you will have to excuse me if I take your words at face value. You don't seem to be getting the distinction between embracing suffering and wanting to avoid suffering, but there is a huge difference between the two.
The end not the avoidance.

You cannot avoid suffering until you realize that all things that cause suffering are impermanent.

I said I accept suffering as part of life and i also know that the causes of suffering are impermanent. When one realizes these things then the causes of suffering no longer have any power over you.

Most suffering is caused by our wants, expectations and attachments and freeing yourself of these things frees you from the suffering they cause.
The end is absolutely avoidance. That is just you sugar coating it. You can't celebrate what you are trying not to experience. It seems you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can't have it both ways.

When suffering ends it no longer has to be avoided because it no longer exists.
Oh... I see but until then you embrace suffering and get joy from your sacrifices? That's illogical.

Accept and embrace are 2 completely different things
Which is why the best you can hope for is to suffer without complaint which was the point all along.
No you're wrong as usual.

People who say they get pleasure from suffering are twisted. The fact that you chase extreme emotions is a sign that you have unhealthy attachments to impermanent things
Pleasure?
You said you get joy from suffering.

Like I said twisted.
They get joy from making sacrifices. Do you even William James?

I think it must drive you crazy because the best you can do is suffer without complaint.

And you think that non religious people don't make sacrifices or that they can't get a sense of satisfaction from them?

And I don't suffer to any great extent. I have let go of attachments and expectations that are the root cause of a great deal of human suffering and discord and as a result I have nothing to complain about.
I think the best you can do is make sacrifices without complaint. Yes.

Well you're wrong. Again.

I have made a lot of sacrifices and I am more than happy with the results. But while I was making those sacrifices I never compalined.
Perfect. You have proved my point. That was the absolute best you could do.

So I suppose you complain piss and moan while making all your oh so many sacrifices on your way to your "joy"? I did peg you as a whiner quite early on in our discourse.

And if being more than happy that I made sacrifices is the best I can do I'll fucking take it.
Sometimes I do but then I find something to be thankful for and m attitude turns and I realize that what I thought was bad was in reality good for me. Such is life when one worships God and want to show appreciation for what one was given. Something you choose not to experience.
No need for religion to realize that sacrifices can turn out to be a boon in the long run.

And again one does not need to believe in gods to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. And you have no clue as to what I experience on my own path.
I couldn't disagree more. As William James explains... When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.
The universe doesn't give a single fuck about you or any sacrifices you make.

I am happy I made the sacrifices I did because they have all been a boon to me in the long run.. I don't need religion to realize that.
The universe might not, but God certainly does. :)

I'm not sure who you are trying to convince here because I'm having none of it. It's my opinion that the reason atheists come to religious forums is to vent their frustration.
 

ding

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SIns are nothing behaviors seen as unacceptable as deemed by society
At best. "Sin" is a silly, magical concept invented when people didn't understand anything about the world or about human behavior. The concept is a child's toy that we need to put away, now that we have grown up.
If you don't start with a reasonable perception of God then you can't possibly have a reasonable perception of sin.
If there are any gods it's pretty clear they don't care if people behave badly
That's your opinion. The basis of Christianity is that He does. Jesus wept.

And that's just another bit of religious dogma
Maybe, but every religion professes it. So maybe not. ;)
Since religions evolved from the same roots it's not surprising that there are commonalities.
Which roots would that be exactly?
The minds of humans attempting to explain the natural world
You mean like Siddhārtha Gautama did? Sure. There is nothing wrong with men seeking God. Much can be learned about God from that endeavor. Of course only one religion makes the claim of God seeking man.
The Buddha didn't seek gods on his path to enlightenment as enlightenment does not come from an external source.

The idea of powerful deities sprang from our ignorance of the natural world and we invented gods to explain what we didn't understand.

Many cultures had similar gods: Sun gods, Moon gods, fertility gods, water gods etc.

As we came to understand the natural world better we discarded gods in favor of scientific explanations.
Scientific explanations like the mind or spirit living on after a physical death and entering a new body until enlightenment is reached? Scientific explanations like that? :rolleyes:
I already said I don't subscribe to the reincarnation stuff.
Unfortunately your beliefs are based upon beliefs concerning body and mind or spirit where reincarnation is integral to the basic belief that body and mind or spirit are one.
My beliefs are based on no such thing.

You assume I subscribe to everything that anyone who claimed to be a Buddhist happened to say. I don't

But ponder this

The self is an idea, a mental construct. That is not only the Buddha’s experience, but the experience of each realized Buddhist man and woman from 2,500 years ago to the present day. That being the case, what is it that dies? There is no question that when this physical body is no longer capable of functioning, the energies within it, the atoms and molecules it is made up of, don’t die with it. They take on another form, another shape. You can call that another life, but as there is no permanent, unchanging substance, nothing passes from one moment to the next. Quite obviously, nothing permanent or unchanging can pass or transmigrate from one life to the next.

Isn't this what i have been saying all along?
Like I said before, you don' believe right and wrong are real so you can't actually believe the eight fold path is real as it is based upon right and wrong.
you're hung up on the English translation.


Just looking at the English translation, viz. "Right", one could say it is the opposite of wrong - like, one should practice "Right Mindfulness" and not "Wrong Mindfulness". This "Right - Wrong" also lends itself to be looked as "Good - Bad". Often, referring back to the Pali or Sanskrit word gives us a better understanding of the english translation. For example, Right Mindfulness in Pali is "samma-sati". The Pali word "samma" has a wide range of meanings: right/rightly, perfect/perfectly, full/fully, complete/completely, through/throughly, proper/properly. Why was "right" chosen in preference to the other possible English words? What about "Proper mindfulness" or "Perfect Mindfulness"?
And all of those clarifications point to an ideal, a standard. And those ideals and standards have an antithesis. You can't get around the fact that the Buddha believed that there were ideals and standards that were better than others and that they were better for logical reasons. But hey, if you want to argue that the Buddha would have thought that rape and pillaging was the key to enlightenment because that was acceptable to others, feel free to make that argument.
You really need to get help with your obsession with rape.

What you don't understand is that the Eight Fold Path is not a set of commandments where this and only this is right and everything else is wrong. And you are stuck in your own belief that a person must adhere to everything that the Buddha ever said. And the problem with that is that the English translations of Pali are woefully inadequate as your fixation on the English meanings of right and wrong illustrate.

The only real guideline is that you do not cause harm to others and that you think and act with compassion. What you do or what you think while following the guideline is your own choice.

And like I said before my own brand of personal philosophy is my own mix of Buddhism, Stoicism and a couple other things so my practice isn't ever going to be a strict adherence to any of those things.
Apparently, given your beliefs, the eight fold path are just some opinions and suggestions as they have no basis in logic.

Logic is a man made set of rules of correct inference.

So it is certainly correctly inferred that all people experiencing suffering or discord.
It is also correctly inferred that much of that discord originates from a man's own beliefs and behaviors
It is also correctly inferred that since discord arises from man's own beliefs and behaviors that man can end that source of discord

The Buddha never said his way was the only way to do so but it was a way.
I guess you can rationalize logic to be anything you want it to be then. For you it's just an opinion.
Using the definition is not rationalizing.

Correct reasoning means there is a right way and a wrong way.

Which is defined by men because logic is a human invention.
No. Which is defined by reality and truth which is independent of man.
So who invented it?
No one invented truth. Truth is. No one invented logic. Logic is.

Yeah here we go again all these things are just floating around in the ether

I can just as easily say no one created the universe it just is
Sure you can say that. There has always been two views; the universe was created from nothing or the universe has always existed. The former is supported by science. The latter isn't supported by science. But you are still free to believe it. Just as you are free to believe that truth and logic were invented by man instead of discovered by man. I think that saying truth and logic were invented by man is a ridiculous proposition but you are free to believe it.

Or what you call created from nothing was merely a change in form.

To me, it doesn't matter one whit. We came to be after the universe began and we'll be gone before it ends all that matters is how we comport ourselves in our extremely short lives.
SLoT says that is impossible. It's not possible for matter/energy to be eternal without reaching thermal equilibrium.

I believe the answers to the origin questions matter a great deal.
 

Blues Man

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you are excluding the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is.
Actually I didn't. Like I said before... I started my journey by looking at the only two options which exist; God created existence (aka space and time) or existence created itself. So, no. I did not exclude the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is. In fact what I have said before is this...

It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional.

So I started my evaluation from two possible mutually exclusive positions; 1. the universe was created by God intentionally and has a purpose. And 2. the universe was not created by God and has no purpose.

So you are wrong again.
When you start with a preconceived and arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities you cannot come to any conclusions that are not preconceived or arbitrary.
They aren't arbitrary. There are the only two options which exist. All other options will simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options. The fact that you can't name another possible option which does not simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options proves that your statement that I started with an arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities is WRONG. You can always prove me wrong by naming another possibility which does not simplify to one of the only two options which exist.

Are these two options preconceived? Well I did start with everything I could think of and they all simplified into one of these two mutually exclusive options. So it was only preconceived like all evaluations are preconceived when one is trying to list all of the options. It was not preconceived in the manner you are suggesting which is to mean biased. If I were biased I would only consider one of these two options like YOU have done.

The fact that we cannot conceive of more than 2 options is proof that we are limited in our thinking and are most likely physically incapable of understanding the processes of the inception of the universe. We are beings that can only perceive 3 dimensions but we live in a space that has at least 4 dimensions. For all we know, the only way to grasp the inception of the universe is to be able to perceive that 4th dimension.

If we were 2 dimensional beings living in a 3 dimensional space we would think that anything entering our 2 dimensional world from the third dimension would simply appear as if from nowhere and we would only ever be able to perceive a 2 dimensional cross section of that thing.

My dog will never comprehend prime numbers and she evolved out of the same stuff humans did. It is therefore not only reasonable to assume but also probable that the human brain has its own limitations.

The invention of a god to explain what we do not comprehend is a human characteristic and we've done that very thing throughout our existence
There no thing that can describe God because God is no thing. God is not matter and energy like us and God exists outside of our four dimension space time. In fact the premise is that God is no thing. That God is a spirit. A spirit is no thing. Being things we can't possibly relate to being no things. A two dimensional being would have an easier time trying to understand our third dimension than we - a four dimensional being - would in trying to understand a multi-dimensional being outside of our space time. The closest I can come to and later confirm with the physical laws is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

So now that a realistic perception of God has been established we need to examine the only evidence at our disposal. It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional. After all in my perception of God, God is no thing and the closest thing I can relate to is a mind with no body. Using our own experiences as creators as a proxy, we know that when we create things we create them for a reason and that reason is to serve some purpose. So it would be no great leap of logic to believe that something like a mind with no body would do the same. We also know from our experiences that intelligence tends to create intelligence. We are obsessed with making smart things. So what better thing for a mind with no body to do than create a universe where beings with bodies can create smart things too.

We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise - some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental - that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds beings that know and create.

The biological laws are such that life is programmed to survive and multiply which is a requisite for intelligence to arise. If the purpose of the universe was to create intelligence then a preference in nature for it had to exist. The Laws of Nature are such that the potential for intelligence to existed the moment space and time were created. One can argue that given the laws of nature and the size of the universe that intelligence arising was inevitable. One can also argue that creating intelligence from nothing defies the Second Law of Entropy. That creating intelligence from nothing increases order within the universe. It actually doesn't because usable energy was lost along the way as a cost of creating order from disorder. But it is nature overriding it's tendency for ever increasing disorder that interests me and raises my suspicions to look deeper and to take seriously the proposition that a mind without a body created the material world so that minds with bodies could create too.

If we examine the physical laws we discover that we live in a logical universe governed by rules, laws and information. Rules laws and information are a signs of intelligence. Intentionality and purpose are signs of intelligence. The definition of reason is a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. The definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. The consequence of a logical universe is that every cause has an effect. Which means that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose. The very nature of our physical laws point to reason and purpose.

All we have done so far is to make a logical argument for spirit creating the material world. Certainly not an argument built of fairy tales that's for sure. So going back to the two possibilities; spirit creating the material world versus everything proceeding from the material, the key distinction is no thing versus thing. So if we assume that everything I have described was just an accidental coincidence of the properties of matter, the logical conclusion is that matter and energy are just doing what matter and energy do which makes sense. The problem is that for matter and energy to do what matter and energy do, there has to be rules in place for matter and energy to obey. The formation of space and time followed rules. Specifically the law of conservation and quantum mechanics. These laws existed before space and time and defined the potential of everything which was possible. These laws are no thing. So we literally have an example of no thing existing before the material world. The creation of space and time from nothing is literally correct. Space and time were created from no thing. Spirit is no thing. No thing created space and time.

If the universe were created through natural process and we are an accidental happenstance of matter and energy doing what matter and energy do, then there should be no expectation for absolute morals. Morals can be anything we want them to be. The problem is that nature does have a preference for an outcome. Societies and people which behave with virtue experience order and harmony. Societies and people which behave without virtue experience disorder and chaos. So we can see from the outcomes that not all behaviors have equal outcomes. That some behaviors have better outcomes and some behaviors have worse outcomes. This is the moral law at work. If the universe was created by spirit for the express purpose of creating beings that know and create we would expect that we would receive feedback on how we behave. The problem is that violating moral laws are not like violating physical laws. When we violate a physical law the consequences are immediate. If you try to defy gravity by jumping off a roof you will fall. Whereas the consequences for violating a moral law are more probabilistic in nature; many times we get away with it.

Morals are effectively standards. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest possible standard. This standard exists independent of anything else. It is in effect a universal standard. It exists for a reason. When we deviate from this standard and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. Thus proving that morals cannot be anything we want them to be but are indeed based upon some universal code of common decency that is independent of man.

So the question that naturally begs to be asked is if there is a universal code of common decency that is independent of man how come we all don't behave the same way when it comes to right and wrong? The reason man doesn't behave the same way is because of subjectivity. The difference between being objective and being subjective is bias. Bias is eliminated when there is no preference for an outcome. To eliminate a preference for an outcome one must have no thought of the consequences to one's self. If one does not practice this they will see subjective truth instead of objective truth. Subjective truth leads to moral relativism. Where consequences to self and preferences for an outcome leads to rationalizations of right and wrong.

Man does know right from wrong and when he violates it rather than abandoning the concept of right and wrong he rationalizes he did not violate it. You can see this behavior in almost all quarrels and disagreements. At the heart of every quarrel and disagreement is a belief in a universal right and wrong. So even though each side believes right to be different each side expects the other to believe their side should be universally known and accepted. It is this behavior which tells us there is an expectation for an absolute truth.

If there were never a universal truth that existed man would never have an expectation of fairness to begin with because fairness would have no meaning. The fact that each of us has an expectation of fairness and that we expect everyone else to follow ought to raise our suspicion on the origin of that expectation.

These are your opinions. We have no idea what god is or isn't.

This universal code you claim that somehow exists outside of human beings is nothing but the culmination of our ability to imagine a behavior and its possible outcomes while never actually engaging in that behavior. Since all human brains evolved the same way then all human brains are capable of such thoughts.

In doing this we determined what would be the most acceptable outcome and we then taught these things to future generations. these ideas did not exist outside of the human experience nor did they predate the existence of humans.

Once again you are viewing the end result of the evolutionary process and saying that people have always been as they are today. This simply is not true.
Correct, I don't know what God is or God isn't. I even said, The closest I can come is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

I believe to discover God one must start with some realistic perception of God. And that was the closest I could come to understanding God. People that argue there is no God are really arguing there is no God as that they can perceive. What they are really saying though is that they have no perception of God other than fairytales. Which is why everything they see is skewed to fairytales. So naturally they aren't looking for God. They only look at things to confirm their biases.

The universal code is logic and truth and exist independent of man. All humans are capable of seeing truth and logic if they are objective instead of subjective. The problem is that most people are not capable of being objective all of the time and about everything. Especially about themselves.

Humans are free to establish any standard they wish but they are not free to avoid the consequences of choosing a lower standard. Different standards have existed through out time and man has reaped what he has sown when he followed a lower standard.

Physiologically speaking, humans 10,000 years ago are pretty much the same as today but shorter. So I am not making the claim that people have always been as they are today. But for the past 10,000 years, man's intelligence probably has a similar distribution as we have today. Mind you I said intelligence and not knowledge. I do see repeating patterns of behavior and I do believe there are explanations for those patterns just as their are explanations for those behaviors. But what you have to know is that for almost any given thing there will usually be a distribution which always should be taken into account.
I don't assume there is a god to be discovered. And as I said before I don't think it matters if any gods actually exist or not. The beginning of the universe while interesting from both a physical and metaphysical perspective doesn't really matter either. Like I said we came into the theater after the movie started and we will leave before the movie ends so neither the beginning nor the end really matter as far as we human beings are concerned.

The oldest Homo Sapiens fossil has been dated to about 315,000 years ago and some anthropologists think H Sapiens may be as old a 500000 years.. 10000 years ago is the estimated period when agriculture began which also marked the end of the Neolithic Age.

So you make these sweeping statements like humans have always thought this or that but you are really only referring to the last 10 thousand years?

It is my position that our behaviors were evolving from at least 315,000 years ago and those behaviors from the very beginnings of H Sapiens emergence as a species are just as if not more important than anything that happened in the last 10000 years.
Sweeping statements, huh? Actually you saying I made sweeping statements is a sweeping statement. I was pretty specific which is the opposite if a sweeping statement.

As for you not believing it matters if one believes on God or not, you have never tested it. I have. I've walked both paths. You haven't. And despite your denial that religion offers functional advantages, Darwin disagrees.

So which is it man has always believed in the spiritual or man has believed in the spiritual only in the last 10000 years?

When you use words like always you are not just indicating a very specific point in history but rather are referring to ALL of history.

It's those pesky definitions again.

And you need to reread what I said.

I said I don't believe it matters whether gods exist or not.

Darwin wasn't a sociologist. Religion as a social institution provided a control on society not dissimilar to government.
Ummmm... always, at least once he became aware. But I only know that physiologically speaking man is pretty much the same now as he was 10,000 years ago. Could that have been earlier? Sure.

I know what you said and I know what you meant. And I know that you have never tested if it matters or not. I have. God, like all of reality is made manifest by mind.

If religion offered no functional advantage, then according to Darwin's principles, religion would have died out.

So it is your assertion that man has only been aware for the last 10000 years?

Now you say gods only manifest because of the human mind so then they must not have existed before men invented them.

Religion doesn't offer an evolutionary advantage. It offers a sociological advantage.

When humans were nomadic tribes it didn't matter if they believed in gods or not as far as their everyday survival was concerned.

Religion didn't become organized until we left the nomadic life behind and started living in larger and larger societies.

It was realized pretty quickly that as populations grew that controls were needed to ameliorate human behaviors religion was and still is one of those controls.
You are like a dog with a bone on this 10,000 year thing. The only claim I am making is that in the terms of intellect and physiology man hasn't changed much over the last 10,000 years. I make no other claims beyond that.

Religion offers FUNCTIONAL advantage. It is FUNCTIONAL advantage that determines if a trait will be retained or not. If there is no FUNCTIONAL advantage, then according to Darwin it is discarded.
Homo Sapiens is homo sapiens from a day ago or 200000 years ago.

Religion isn't a trait it's a social institution that didn't become organized until we moved from nomadic tribes to living in large stationary groups.

Religion acts as a control on the population and as the populace of a society grows those controls are beneficial to the long term success of the society. Religion does not help a person survive the rigors of life as a hunter gatherer.
I don't believe that physiologically speaking that homo sapiens from 200,000 years ago are the same as they are today. Do you have anything which supports that belief? I know there was little difference 10,000 years ago because there was a body recovered from the Alps that had been frozen and the comment that was made was that physiologically he was effectively the same as us today.

If you want to deny Darwin, that's your call. But it makes a ton of sense that believing in God has functional advantages that atheism does not have.

The only difference is the influence of society. Society has made us who we are more than mere evolution. You cannot separate modern man from the society he has lived in. Society is responsible for most of our belief systems. Everything from religion to morals and ethics has been shaped by societies and as those societies become more homogeneous the differences in those societies become less meaningful and will ultimately disappear.

This is the reason you think some patterns of thought are universal absolutes.
Again... from a natural selection perspective believing in God must have functional advantages that atheism does not have and that is why religion persists.

Again believing a gods has nothing to do with survival or evolution and more to do with the fact that as our intellect grew and our survival skills increased humans had more time to ponder things and one of the things human did was invent gods to explain things in the natural world.

I will propose that we didn't invent gods until we were so adept at survival that we had more time for activities other than merely surviving.
I never said it did. I said the reason religion persists is that religion provides a functional advantage that atheism cannot provide.

Only in a sense that it is a societal control.

What advantage do you have over an atheist?
Only in a sense that it is a societal control? Wrong. In the sense that it brings peace and joy through the storms of life.

The advantages believers have over atheists are peace and joy through the storms of life and meaning and purpose from being God's creatures; Meaning in God, Meaning in Creation, Meaning in Human Existence, Meaning in History, Meaning in Morality, Meaning in Justice, Meaning in Suffering and Meaning in Messianism.
You don't need religion to experience joy or weather the storms of life.

And You don't need religion to live a meaningful life.

There is no advantage to being religious.
William James sees it different.

When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.​

So what?

I don't need a god to feel I am part of the universe because I was part of it the day I was born.
I just explained the so what. :rolleyes:
no you gave the opinion of a guy that you think is some kind of authority.
Who explained why there is a difference. It's the why that matters not the who.
Why does what James said carry so much weight that everyone has to agree with him?
Again it's not the who, it's the why.
And what if his why isn't the same as mine?

I don't need to follow anyone
Because William James logically explained why the religious get joy from making sacrifices. All you have done is make a claim that you don't need religion to weather the storms of life. No where in that statement do I see you getting joy from experiencing the storms of life.
And that assumes people who aren't religious don't make sacrifices or derive some sense of meaning from the sacrifices they make.

I accept the troubles of life as unavoidable I weather them with a sense of peace and calmness because I know they are temporary. Is that "joy"? And who are you or William James to tell me what it is?
Correct. In part that assumes they don't see meaning in their sacrifices or get satisfaction from making sacrifices. That is one part of it, yes.

No. That doesn't sound like joy. That sounds like undergone at the very best without complaint. Of course YOUR practice of Buddhism is to avoid suffering, right? The Christian view is to embrace suffering and sacrifice. To even add on unnecessary givings-up to increase happiness.
Quite an assumption to base such a sweeping statement upon don't you think?

And Buddhism teaches to recognize that suffering is part of life and that most of the less obvious sources of suffering are caused by ourselves. One can achieve a cessation of suffering upon enlightenment.

And again who are you to define the joy, or mere happiness of another person. I happen to think a calm and peaceful state of mind is the most enjoyable whereas the extremes of happiness or sadness are caused by the inability to recognize that the causes of those extremes are impermanent
No. I don't think.

Don't sugar coat it. Buddhism teaches the end of suffering.

You are arguing that you embrace suffering and you don't see the contradiction with Buddhism? Seriously? So you will have to excuse me if I take your words at face value. You don't seem to be getting the distinction between embracing suffering and wanting to avoid suffering, but there is a huge difference between the two.
The end not the avoidance.

You cannot avoid suffering until you realize that all things that cause suffering are impermanent.

I said I accept suffering as part of life and i also know that the causes of suffering are impermanent. When one realizes these things then the causes of suffering no longer have any power over you.

Most suffering is caused by our wants, expectations and attachments and freeing yourself of these things frees you from the suffering they cause.
The end is absolutely avoidance. That is just you sugar coating it. You can't celebrate what you are trying not to experience. It seems you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can't have it both ways.

When suffering ends it no longer has to be avoided because it no longer exists.
Oh... I see but until then you embrace suffering and get joy from your sacrifices? That's illogical.

Accept and embrace are 2 completely different things
Which is why the best you can hope for is to suffer without complaint which was the point all along.
No you're wrong as usual.

People who say they get pleasure from suffering are twisted. The fact that you chase extreme emotions is a sign that you have unhealthy attachments to impermanent things
Pleasure?
You said you get joy from suffering.

Like I said twisted.
They get joy from making sacrifices. Do you even William James?

I think it must drive you crazy because the best you can do is suffer without complaint.

And you think that non religious people don't make sacrifices or that they can't get a sense of satisfaction from them?

And I don't suffer to any great extent. I have let go of attachments and expectations that are the root cause of a great deal of human suffering and discord and as a result I have nothing to complain about.
I think the best you can do is make sacrifices without complaint. Yes.

Well you're wrong. Again.

I have made a lot of sacrifices and I am more than happy with the results. But while I was making those sacrifices I never compalined.
Perfect. You have proved my point. That was the absolute best you could do.

So I suppose you complain piss and moan while making all your oh so many sacrifices on your way to your "joy"? I did peg you as a whiner quite early on in our discourse.

And if being more than happy that I made sacrifices is the best I can do I'll fucking take it.
Sometimes I do but then I find something to be thankful for and m attitude turns and I realize that what I thought was bad was in reality good for me. Such is life when one worships God and want to show appreciation for what one was given. Something you choose not to experience.
No need for religion to realize that sacrifices can turn out to be a boon in the long run.

And again one does not need to believe in gods to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. And you have no clue as to what I experience on my own path.
I couldn't disagree more. As William James explains... When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.
The universe doesn't give a single fuck about you or any sacrifices you make.

I am happy I made the sacrifices I did because they have all been a boon to me in the long run.. I don't need religion to realize that.
The universe might not, but God certainly does. :)

I'm not sure who you are trying to convince here because I'm having none of it. It's my opinion that the reason atheists come to religious forums is to vent their frustration.
Tell yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

And I'm not an atheist. I don't know if any gods exist or not and I don't think it matters if they do or don't.

I for one would not change the way I live if I was given irrefutable proof that some supreme being exists.
 

Blues Man

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SIns are nothing behaviors seen as unacceptable as deemed by society
At best. "Sin" is a silly, magical concept invented when people didn't understand anything about the world or about human behavior. The concept is a child's toy that we need to put away, now that we have grown up.
If you don't start with a reasonable perception of God then you can't possibly have a reasonable perception of sin.
If there are any gods it's pretty clear they don't care if people behave badly
That's your opinion. The basis of Christianity is that He does. Jesus wept.

And that's just another bit of religious dogma
Maybe, but every religion professes it. So maybe not. ;)
Since religions evolved from the same roots it's not surprising that there are commonalities.
Which roots would that be exactly?
The minds of humans attempting to explain the natural world
You mean like Siddhārtha Gautama did? Sure. There is nothing wrong with men seeking God. Much can be learned about God from that endeavor. Of course only one religion makes the claim of God seeking man.
The Buddha didn't seek gods on his path to enlightenment as enlightenment does not come from an external source.

The idea of powerful deities sprang from our ignorance of the natural world and we invented gods to explain what we didn't understand.

Many cultures had similar gods: Sun gods, Moon gods, fertility gods, water gods etc.

As we came to understand the natural world better we discarded gods in favor of scientific explanations.
Scientific explanations like the mind or spirit living on after a physical death and entering a new body until enlightenment is reached? Scientific explanations like that? :rolleyes:
I already said I don't subscribe to the reincarnation stuff.
Unfortunately your beliefs are based upon beliefs concerning body and mind or spirit where reincarnation is integral to the basic belief that body and mind or spirit are one.
My beliefs are based on no such thing.

You assume I subscribe to everything that anyone who claimed to be a Buddhist happened to say. I don't

But ponder this

The self is an idea, a mental construct. That is not only the Buddha’s experience, but the experience of each realized Buddhist man and woman from 2,500 years ago to the present day. That being the case, what is it that dies? There is no question that when this physical body is no longer capable of functioning, the energies within it, the atoms and molecules it is made up of, don’t die with it. They take on another form, another shape. You can call that another life, but as there is no permanent, unchanging substance, nothing passes from one moment to the next. Quite obviously, nothing permanent or unchanging can pass or transmigrate from one life to the next.

Isn't this what i have been saying all along?
Like I said before, you don' believe right and wrong are real so you can't actually believe the eight fold path is real as it is based upon right and wrong.
you're hung up on the English translation.


Just looking at the English translation, viz. "Right", one could say it is the opposite of wrong - like, one should practice "Right Mindfulness" and not "Wrong Mindfulness". This "Right - Wrong" also lends itself to be looked as "Good - Bad". Often, referring back to the Pali or Sanskrit word gives us a better understanding of the english translation. For example, Right Mindfulness in Pali is "samma-sati". The Pali word "samma" has a wide range of meanings: right/rightly, perfect/perfectly, full/fully, complete/completely, through/throughly, proper/properly. Why was "right" chosen in preference to the other possible English words? What about "Proper mindfulness" or "Perfect Mindfulness"?
And all of those clarifications point to an ideal, a standard. And those ideals and standards have an antithesis. You can't get around the fact that the Buddha believed that there were ideals and standards that were better than others and that they were better for logical reasons. But hey, if you want to argue that the Buddha would have thought that rape and pillaging was the key to enlightenment because that was acceptable to others, feel free to make that argument.
You really need to get help with your obsession with rape.

What you don't understand is that the Eight Fold Path is not a set of commandments where this and only this is right and everything else is wrong. And you are stuck in your own belief that a person must adhere to everything that the Buddha ever said. And the problem with that is that the English translations of Pali are woefully inadequate as your fixation on the English meanings of right and wrong illustrate.

The only real guideline is that you do not cause harm to others and that you think and act with compassion. What you do or what you think while following the guideline is your own choice.

And like I said before my own brand of personal philosophy is my own mix of Buddhism, Stoicism and a couple other things so my practice isn't ever going to be a strict adherence to any of those things.
Apparently, given your beliefs, the eight fold path are just some opinions and suggestions as they have no basis in logic.

Logic is a man made set of rules of correct inference.

So it is certainly correctly inferred that all people experiencing suffering or discord.
It is also correctly inferred that much of that discord originates from a man's own beliefs and behaviors
It is also correctly inferred that since discord arises from man's own beliefs and behaviors that man can end that source of discord

The Buddha never said his way was the only way to do so but it was a way.
I guess you can rationalize logic to be anything you want it to be then. For you it's just an opinion.
Using the definition is not rationalizing.

Correct reasoning means there is a right way and a wrong way.

Which is defined by men because logic is a human invention.
No. Which is defined by reality and truth which is independent of man.
So who invented it?
No one invented truth. Truth is. No one invented logic. Logic is.

Yeah here we go again all these things are just floating around in the ether

I can just as easily say no one created the universe it just is
Sure you can say that. There has always been two views; the universe was created from nothing or the universe has always existed. The former is supported by science. The latter isn't supported by science. But you are still free to believe it. Just as you are free to believe that truth and logic were invented by man instead of discovered by man. I think that saying truth and logic were invented by man is a ridiculous proposition but you are free to believe it.

Or what you call created from nothing was merely a change in form.

To me, it doesn't matter one whit. We came to be after the universe began and we'll be gone before it ends all that matters is how we comport ourselves in our extremely short lives.
SLoT says that is impossible. It's not possible for matter/energy to be eternal without reaching thermal equilibrium.

I believe the answers to the origin questions matter a great deal.

In its simplest form, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. The amount of energy in the universe is constant - energy can be changed, moved, controlled, stored, or dissipated. However, this energy cannot be created from nothing or reduced to nothing.
 

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you are excluding the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is.
Actually I didn't. Like I said before... I started my journey by looking at the only two options which exist; God created existence (aka space and time) or existence created itself. So, no. I did not exclude the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is. In fact what I have said before is this...

It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional.

So I started my evaluation from two possible mutually exclusive positions; 1. the universe was created by God intentionally and has a purpose. And 2. the universe was not created by God and has no purpose.

So you are wrong again.
When you start with a preconceived and arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities you cannot come to any conclusions that are not preconceived or arbitrary.
They aren't arbitrary. There are the only two options which exist. All other options will simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options. The fact that you can't name another possible option which does not simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options proves that your statement that I started with an arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities is WRONG. You can always prove me wrong by naming another possibility which does not simplify to one of the only two options which exist.

Are these two options preconceived? Well I did start with everything I could think of and they all simplified into one of these two mutually exclusive options. So it was only preconceived like all evaluations are preconceived when one is trying to list all of the options. It was not preconceived in the manner you are suggesting which is to mean biased. If I were biased I would only consider one of these two options like YOU have done.

The fact that we cannot conceive of more than 2 options is proof that we are limited in our thinking and are most likely physically incapable of understanding the processes of the inception of the universe. We are beings that can only perceive 3 dimensions but we live in a space that has at least 4 dimensions. For all we know, the only way to grasp the inception of the universe is to be able to perceive that 4th dimension.

If we were 2 dimensional beings living in a 3 dimensional space we would think that anything entering our 2 dimensional world from the third dimension would simply appear as if from nowhere and we would only ever be able to perceive a 2 dimensional cross section of that thing.

My dog will never comprehend prime numbers and she evolved out of the same stuff humans did. It is therefore not only reasonable to assume but also probable that the human brain has its own limitations.

The invention of a god to explain what we do not comprehend is a human characteristic and we've done that very thing throughout our existence
There no thing that can describe God because God is no thing. God is not matter and energy like us and God exists outside of our four dimension space time. In fact the premise is that God is no thing. That God is a spirit. A spirit is no thing. Being things we can't possibly relate to being no things. A two dimensional being would have an easier time trying to understand our third dimension than we - a four dimensional being - would in trying to understand a multi-dimensional being outside of our space time. The closest I can come to and later confirm with the physical laws is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

So now that a realistic perception of God has been established we need to examine the only evidence at our disposal. It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional. After all in my perception of God, God is no thing and the closest thing I can relate to is a mind with no body. Using our own experiences as creators as a proxy, we know that when we create things we create them for a reason and that reason is to serve some purpose. So it would be no great leap of logic to believe that something like a mind with no body would do the same. We also know from our experiences that intelligence tends to create intelligence. We are obsessed with making smart things. So what better thing for a mind with no body to do than create a universe where beings with bodies can create smart things too.

We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise - some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental - that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds beings that know and create.

The biological laws are such that life is programmed to survive and multiply which is a requisite for intelligence to arise. If the purpose of the universe was to create intelligence then a preference in nature for it had to exist. The Laws of Nature are such that the potential for intelligence to existed the moment space and time were created. One can argue that given the laws of nature and the size of the universe that intelligence arising was inevitable. One can also argue that creating intelligence from nothing defies the Second Law of Entropy. That creating intelligence from nothing increases order within the universe. It actually doesn't because usable energy was lost along the way as a cost of creating order from disorder. But it is nature overriding it's tendency for ever increasing disorder that interests me and raises my suspicions to look deeper and to take seriously the proposition that a mind without a body created the material world so that minds with bodies could create too.

If we examine the physical laws we discover that we live in a logical universe governed by rules, laws and information. Rules laws and information are a signs of intelligence. Intentionality and purpose are signs of intelligence. The definition of reason is a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. The definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. The consequence of a logical universe is that every cause has an effect. Which means that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose. The very nature of our physical laws point to reason and purpose.

All we have done so far is to make a logical argument for spirit creating the material world. Certainly not an argument built of fairy tales that's for sure. So going back to the two possibilities; spirit creating the material world versus everything proceeding from the material, the key distinction is no thing versus thing. So if we assume that everything I have described was just an accidental coincidence of the properties of matter, the logical conclusion is that matter and energy are just doing what matter and energy do which makes sense. The problem is that for matter and energy to do what matter and energy do, there has to be rules in place for matter and energy to obey. The formation of space and time followed rules. Specifically the law of conservation and quantum mechanics. These laws existed before space and time and defined the potential of everything which was possible. These laws are no thing. So we literally have an example of no thing existing before the material world. The creation of space and time from nothing is literally correct. Space and time were created from no thing. Spirit is no thing. No thing created space and time.

If the universe were created through natural process and we are an accidental happenstance of matter and energy doing what matter and energy do, then there should be no expectation for absolute morals. Morals can be anything we want them to be. The problem is that nature does have a preference for an outcome. Societies and people which behave with virtue experience order and harmony. Societies and people which behave without virtue experience disorder and chaos. So we can see from the outcomes that not all behaviors have equal outcomes. That some behaviors have better outcomes and some behaviors have worse outcomes. This is the moral law at work. If the universe was created by spirit for the express purpose of creating beings that know and create we would expect that we would receive feedback on how we behave. The problem is that violating moral laws are not like violating physical laws. When we violate a physical law the consequences are immediate. If you try to defy gravity by jumping off a roof you will fall. Whereas the consequences for violating a moral law are more probabilistic in nature; many times we get away with it.

Morals are effectively standards. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest possible standard. This standard exists independent of anything else. It is in effect a universal standard. It exists for a reason. When we deviate from this standard and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. Thus proving that morals cannot be anything we want them to be but are indeed based upon some universal code of common decency that is independent of man.

So the question that naturally begs to be asked is if there is a universal code of common decency that is independent of man how come we all don't behave the same way when it comes to right and wrong? The reason man doesn't behave the same way is because of subjectivity. The difference between being objective and being subjective is bias. Bias is eliminated when there is no preference for an outcome. To eliminate a preference for an outcome one must have no thought of the consequences to one's self. If one does not practice this they will see subjective truth instead of objective truth. Subjective truth leads to moral relativism. Where consequences to self and preferences for an outcome leads to rationalizations of right and wrong.

Man does know right from wrong and when he violates it rather than abandoning the concept of right and wrong he rationalizes he did not violate it. You can see this behavior in almost all quarrels and disagreements. At the heart of every quarrel and disagreement is a belief in a universal right and wrong. So even though each side believes right to be different each side expects the other to believe their side should be universally known and accepted. It is this behavior which tells us there is an expectation for an absolute truth.

If there were never a universal truth that existed man would never have an expectation of fairness to begin with because fairness would have no meaning. The fact that each of us has an expectation of fairness and that we expect everyone else to follow ought to raise our suspicion on the origin of that expectation.

These are your opinions. We have no idea what god is or isn't.

This universal code you claim that somehow exists outside of human beings is nothing but the culmination of our ability to imagine a behavior and its possible outcomes while never actually engaging in that behavior. Since all human brains evolved the same way then all human brains are capable of such thoughts.

In doing this we determined what would be the most acceptable outcome and we then taught these things to future generations. these ideas did not exist outside of the human experience nor did they predate the existence of humans.

Once again you are viewing the end result of the evolutionary process and saying that people have always been as they are today. This simply is not true.
Correct, I don't know what God is or God isn't. I even said, The closest I can come is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

I believe to discover God one must start with some realistic perception of God. And that was the closest I could come to understanding God. People that argue there is no God are really arguing there is no God as that they can perceive. What they are really saying though is that they have no perception of God other than fairytales. Which is why everything they see is skewed to fairytales. So naturally they aren't looking for God. They only look at things to confirm their biases.

The universal code is logic and truth and exist independent of man. All humans are capable of seeing truth and logic if they are objective instead of subjective. The problem is that most people are not capable of being objective all of the time and about everything. Especially about themselves.

Humans are free to establish any standard they wish but they are not free to avoid the consequences of choosing a lower standard. Different standards have existed through out time and man has reaped what he has sown when he followed a lower standard.

Physiologically speaking, humans 10,000 years ago are pretty much the same as today but shorter. So I am not making the claim that people have always been as they are today. But for the past 10,000 years, man's intelligence probably has a similar distribution as we have today. Mind you I said intelligence and not knowledge. I do see repeating patterns of behavior and I do believe there are explanations for those patterns just as their are explanations for those behaviors. But what you have to know is that for almost any given thing there will usually be a distribution which always should be taken into account.
I don't assume there is a god to be discovered. And as I said before I don't think it matters if any gods actually exist or not. The beginning of the universe while interesting from both a physical and metaphysical perspective doesn't really matter either. Like I said we came into the theater after the movie started and we will leave before the movie ends so neither the beginning nor the end really matter as far as we human beings are concerned.

The oldest Homo Sapiens fossil has been dated to about 315,000 years ago and some anthropologists think H Sapiens may be as old a 500000 years.. 10000 years ago is the estimated period when agriculture began which also marked the end of the Neolithic Age.

So you make these sweeping statements like humans have always thought this or that but you are really only referring to the last 10 thousand years?

It is my position that our behaviors were evolving from at least 315,000 years ago and those behaviors from the very beginnings of H Sapiens emergence as a species are just as if not more important than anything that happened in the last 10000 years.
Sweeping statements, huh? Actually you saying I made sweeping statements is a sweeping statement. I was pretty specific which is the opposite if a sweeping statement.

As for you not believing it matters if one believes on God or not, you have never tested it. I have. I've walked both paths. You haven't. And despite your denial that religion offers functional advantages, Darwin disagrees.

So which is it man has always believed in the spiritual or man has believed in the spiritual only in the last 10000 years?

When you use words like always you are not just indicating a very specific point in history but rather are referring to ALL of history.

It's those pesky definitions again.

And you need to reread what I said.

I said I don't believe it matters whether gods exist or not.

Darwin wasn't a sociologist. Religion as a social institution provided a control on society not dissimilar to government.
Ummmm... always, at least once he became aware. But I only know that physiologically speaking man is pretty much the same now as he was 10,000 years ago. Could that have been earlier? Sure.

I know what you said and I know what you meant. And I know that you have never tested if it matters or not. I have. God, like all of reality is made manifest by mind.

If religion offered no functional advantage, then according to Darwin's principles, religion would have died out.

So it is your assertion that man has only been aware for the last 10000 years?

Now you say gods only manifest because of the human mind so then they must not have existed before men invented them.

Religion doesn't offer an evolutionary advantage. It offers a sociological advantage.

When humans were nomadic tribes it didn't matter if they believed in gods or not as far as their everyday survival was concerned.

Religion didn't become organized until we left the nomadic life behind and started living in larger and larger societies.

It was realized pretty quickly that as populations grew that controls were needed to ameliorate human behaviors religion was and still is one of those controls.
You are like a dog with a bone on this 10,000 year thing. The only claim I am making is that in the terms of intellect and physiology man hasn't changed much over the last 10,000 years. I make no other claims beyond that.

Religion offers FUNCTIONAL advantage. It is FUNCTIONAL advantage that determines if a trait will be retained or not. If there is no FUNCTIONAL advantage, then according to Darwin it is discarded.
Homo Sapiens is homo sapiens from a day ago or 200000 years ago.

Religion isn't a trait it's a social institution that didn't become organized until we moved from nomadic tribes to living in large stationary groups.

Religion acts as a control on the population and as the populace of a society grows those controls are beneficial to the long term success of the society. Religion does not help a person survive the rigors of life as a hunter gatherer.
I don't believe that physiologically speaking that homo sapiens from 200,000 years ago are the same as they are today. Do you have anything which supports that belief? I know there was little difference 10,000 years ago because there was a body recovered from the Alps that had been frozen and the comment that was made was that physiologically he was effectively the same as us today.

If you want to deny Darwin, that's your call. But it makes a ton of sense that believing in God has functional advantages that atheism does not have.

The only difference is the influence of society. Society has made us who we are more than mere evolution. You cannot separate modern man from the society he has lived in. Society is responsible for most of our belief systems. Everything from religion to morals and ethics has been shaped by societies and as those societies become more homogeneous the differences in those societies become less meaningful and will ultimately disappear.

This is the reason you think some patterns of thought are universal absolutes.
Again... from a natural selection perspective believing in God must have functional advantages that atheism does not have and that is why religion persists.

Again believing a gods has nothing to do with survival or evolution and more to do with the fact that as our intellect grew and our survival skills increased humans had more time to ponder things and one of the things human did was invent gods to explain things in the natural world.

I will propose that we didn't invent gods until we were so adept at survival that we had more time for activities other than merely surviving.
I never said it did. I said the reason religion persists is that religion provides a functional advantage that atheism cannot provide.

Only in a sense that it is a societal control.

What advantage do you have over an atheist?
Only in a sense that it is a societal control? Wrong. In the sense that it brings peace and joy through the storms of life.

The advantages believers have over atheists are peace and joy through the storms of life and meaning and purpose from being God's creatures; Meaning in God, Meaning in Creation, Meaning in Human Existence, Meaning in History, Meaning in Morality, Meaning in Justice, Meaning in Suffering and Meaning in Messianism.
You don't need religion to experience joy or weather the storms of life.

And You don't need religion to live a meaningful life.

There is no advantage to being religious.
William James sees it different.

When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.​

So what?

I don't need a god to feel I am part of the universe because I was part of it the day I was born.
I just explained the so what. :rolleyes:
no you gave the opinion of a guy that you think is some kind of authority.
Who explained why there is a difference. It's the why that matters not the who.
Why does what James said carry so much weight that everyone has to agree with him?
Again it's not the who, it's the why.
And what if his why isn't the same as mine?

I don't need to follow anyone
Because William James logically explained why the religious get joy from making sacrifices. All you have done is make a claim that you don't need religion to weather the storms of life. No where in that statement do I see you getting joy from experiencing the storms of life.
And that assumes people who aren't religious don't make sacrifices or derive some sense of meaning from the sacrifices they make.

I accept the troubles of life as unavoidable I weather them with a sense of peace and calmness because I know they are temporary. Is that "joy"? And who are you or William James to tell me what it is?
Correct. In part that assumes they don't see meaning in their sacrifices or get satisfaction from making sacrifices. That is one part of it, yes.

No. That doesn't sound like joy. That sounds like undergone at the very best without complaint. Of course YOUR practice of Buddhism is to avoid suffering, right? The Christian view is to embrace suffering and sacrifice. To even add on unnecessary givings-up to increase happiness.
Quite an assumption to base such a sweeping statement upon don't you think?

And Buddhism teaches to recognize that suffering is part of life and that most of the less obvious sources of suffering are caused by ourselves. One can achieve a cessation of suffering upon enlightenment.

And again who are you to define the joy, or mere happiness of another person. I happen to think a calm and peaceful state of mind is the most enjoyable whereas the extremes of happiness or sadness are caused by the inability to recognize that the causes of those extremes are impermanent
No. I don't think.

Don't sugar coat it. Buddhism teaches the end of suffering.

You are arguing that you embrace suffering and you don't see the contradiction with Buddhism? Seriously? So you will have to excuse me if I take your words at face value. You don't seem to be getting the distinction between embracing suffering and wanting to avoid suffering, but there is a huge difference between the two.
The end not the avoidance.

You cannot avoid suffering until you realize that all things that cause suffering are impermanent.

I said I accept suffering as part of life and i also know that the causes of suffering are impermanent. When one realizes these things then the causes of suffering no longer have any power over you.

Most suffering is caused by our wants, expectations and attachments and freeing yourself of these things frees you from the suffering they cause.
The end is absolutely avoidance. That is just you sugar coating it. You can't celebrate what you are trying not to experience. It seems you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can't have it both ways.

When suffering ends it no longer has to be avoided because it no longer exists.
Oh... I see but until then you embrace suffering and get joy from your sacrifices? That's illogical.

Accept and embrace are 2 completely different things
Which is why the best you can hope for is to suffer without complaint which was the point all along.
No you're wrong as usual.

People who say they get pleasure from suffering are twisted. The fact that you chase extreme emotions is a sign that you have unhealthy attachments to impermanent things
Pleasure?
You said you get joy from suffering.

Like I said twisted.
They get joy from making sacrifices. Do you even William James?

I think it must drive you crazy because the best you can do is suffer without complaint.

And you think that non religious people don't make sacrifices or that they can't get a sense of satisfaction from them?

And I don't suffer to any great extent. I have let go of attachments and expectations that are the root cause of a great deal of human suffering and discord and as a result I have nothing to complain about.
I think the best you can do is make sacrifices without complaint. Yes.

Well you're wrong. Again.

I have made a lot of sacrifices and I am more than happy with the results. But while I was making those sacrifices I never compalined.
Perfect. You have proved my point. That was the absolute best you could do.

So I suppose you complain piss and moan while making all your oh so many sacrifices on your way to your "joy"? I did peg you as a whiner quite early on in our discourse.

And if being more than happy that I made sacrifices is the best I can do I'll fucking take it.
Sometimes I do but then I find something to be thankful for and m attitude turns and I realize that what I thought was bad was in reality good for me. Such is life when one worships God and want to show appreciation for what one was given. Something you choose not to experience.
No need for religion to realize that sacrifices can turn out to be a boon in the long run.

And again one does not need to believe in gods to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. And you have no clue as to what I experience on my own path.
I couldn't disagree more. As William James explains... When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.
The universe doesn't give a single fuck about you or any sacrifices you make.

I am happy I made the sacrifices I did because they have all been a boon to me in the long run.. I don't need religion to realize that.
The universe might not, but God certainly does. :)

I'm not sure who you are trying to convince here because I'm having none of it. It's my opinion that the reason atheists come to religious forums is to vent their frustration.
Tell yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

And I'm not an atheist. I don't know if any gods exist or not and I don't think it matters if they do or don't.

I for one would not change the way I live if I was given irrefutable proof that some supreme being exists.
The spirit of God is within you whether you realize it or not. Some people have to lose what they have before they realize what they had. You may be one of those people. Let's hope you never have to find out.
 

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SIns are nothing behaviors seen as unacceptable as deemed by society
At best. "Sin" is a silly, magical concept invented when people didn't understand anything about the world or about human behavior. The concept is a child's toy that we need to put away, now that we have grown up.
If you don't start with a reasonable perception of God then you can't possibly have a reasonable perception of sin.
If there are any gods it's pretty clear they don't care if people behave badly
That's your opinion. The basis of Christianity is that He does. Jesus wept.

And that's just another bit of religious dogma
Maybe, but every religion professes it. So maybe not. ;)
Since religions evolved from the same roots it's not surprising that there are commonalities.
Which roots would that be exactly?
The minds of humans attempting to explain the natural world
You mean like Siddhārtha Gautama did? Sure. There is nothing wrong with men seeking God. Much can be learned about God from that endeavor. Of course only one religion makes the claim of God seeking man.
The Buddha didn't seek gods on his path to enlightenment as enlightenment does not come from an external source.

The idea of powerful deities sprang from our ignorance of the natural world and we invented gods to explain what we didn't understand.

Many cultures had similar gods: Sun gods, Moon gods, fertility gods, water gods etc.

As we came to understand the natural world better we discarded gods in favor of scientific explanations.
Scientific explanations like the mind or spirit living on after a physical death and entering a new body until enlightenment is reached? Scientific explanations like that? :rolleyes:
I already said I don't subscribe to the reincarnation stuff.
Unfortunately your beliefs are based upon beliefs concerning body and mind or spirit where reincarnation is integral to the basic belief that body and mind or spirit are one.
My beliefs are based on no such thing.

You assume I subscribe to everything that anyone who claimed to be a Buddhist happened to say. I don't

But ponder this

The self is an idea, a mental construct. That is not only the Buddha’s experience, but the experience of each realized Buddhist man and woman from 2,500 years ago to the present day. That being the case, what is it that dies? There is no question that when this physical body is no longer capable of functioning, the energies within it, the atoms and molecules it is made up of, don’t die with it. They take on another form, another shape. You can call that another life, but as there is no permanent, unchanging substance, nothing passes from one moment to the next. Quite obviously, nothing permanent or unchanging can pass or transmigrate from one life to the next.

Isn't this what i have been saying all along?
Like I said before, you don' believe right and wrong are real so you can't actually believe the eight fold path is real as it is based upon right and wrong.
you're hung up on the English translation.


Just looking at the English translation, viz. "Right", one could say it is the opposite of wrong - like, one should practice "Right Mindfulness" and not "Wrong Mindfulness". This "Right - Wrong" also lends itself to be looked as "Good - Bad". Often, referring back to the Pali or Sanskrit word gives us a better understanding of the english translation. For example, Right Mindfulness in Pali is "samma-sati". The Pali word "samma" has a wide range of meanings: right/rightly, perfect/perfectly, full/fully, complete/completely, through/throughly, proper/properly. Why was "right" chosen in preference to the other possible English words? What about "Proper mindfulness" or "Perfect Mindfulness"?
And all of those clarifications point to an ideal, a standard. And those ideals and standards have an antithesis. You can't get around the fact that the Buddha believed that there were ideals and standards that were better than others and that they were better for logical reasons. But hey, if you want to argue that the Buddha would have thought that rape and pillaging was the key to enlightenment because that was acceptable to others, feel free to make that argument.
You really need to get help with your obsession with rape.

What you don't understand is that the Eight Fold Path is not a set of commandments where this and only this is right and everything else is wrong. And you are stuck in your own belief that a person must adhere to everything that the Buddha ever said. And the problem with that is that the English translations of Pali are woefully inadequate as your fixation on the English meanings of right and wrong illustrate.

The only real guideline is that you do not cause harm to others and that you think and act with compassion. What you do or what you think while following the guideline is your own choice.

And like I said before my own brand of personal philosophy is my own mix of Buddhism, Stoicism and a couple other things so my practice isn't ever going to be a strict adherence to any of those things.
Apparently, given your beliefs, the eight fold path are just some opinions and suggestions as they have no basis in logic.

Logic is a man made set of rules of correct inference.

So it is certainly correctly inferred that all people experiencing suffering or discord.
It is also correctly inferred that much of that discord originates from a man's own beliefs and behaviors
It is also correctly inferred that since discord arises from man's own beliefs and behaviors that man can end that source of discord

The Buddha never said his way was the only way to do so but it was a way.
I guess you can rationalize logic to be anything you want it to be then. For you it's just an opinion.
Using the definition is not rationalizing.

Correct reasoning means there is a right way and a wrong way.

Which is defined by men because logic is a human invention.
No. Which is defined by reality and truth which is independent of man.
So who invented it?
No one invented truth. Truth is. No one invented logic. Logic is.

Yeah here we go again all these things are just floating around in the ether

I can just as easily say no one created the universe it just is
Sure you can say that. There has always been two views; the universe was created from nothing or the universe has always existed. The former is supported by science. The latter isn't supported by science. But you are still free to believe it. Just as you are free to believe that truth and logic were invented by man instead of discovered by man. I think that saying truth and logic were invented by man is a ridiculous proposition but you are free to believe it.

Or what you call created from nothing was merely a change in form.

To me, it doesn't matter one whit. We came to be after the universe began and we'll be gone before it ends all that matters is how we comport ourselves in our extremely short lives.
SLoT says that is impossible. It's not possible for matter/energy to be eternal without reaching thermal equilibrium.

I believe the answers to the origin questions matter a great deal.

In its simplest form, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. The amount of energy in the universe is constant - energy can be changed, moved, controlled, stored, or dissipated. However, this energy cannot be created from nothing or reduced to nothing.
It is possible for matter to have a beginning. In a closed universe the gravitational energy which is always negative exactly compensates the positive energy of matter. So the energy of a closed universe is always zero. So nothing prevents this universe from being spontaneously created. Because the net energy is always zero. The positive energy of matter is balanced by the negative energy of the gravity of that matter which is the space time curvature of that matter. There is no conservation law that prevents the formation of such a universe. In quantum mechanics if something is not forbidden by conservation laws, then it necessarily happens with some non-zero probability. So a closed universe can spontaneously appear - through the laws of quantum mechanics - out of nothing. And in fact there is an elegant mathematical description which describes this process and shows that a tiny closed universe having very high energy can spontaneously pop into existence and immediately start to expand and cool. In this description, the same laws that describe the evolution of the universe also describe the appearance of the universe which means that the laws were in place before the universe itself.

 

Blues Man

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you are excluding the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is.
Actually I didn't. Like I said before... I started my journey by looking at the only two options which exist; God created existence (aka space and time) or existence created itself. So, no. I did not exclude the possibility that the universe has no purpose and just is. In fact what I have said before is this...

It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional.

So I started my evaluation from two possible mutually exclusive positions; 1. the universe was created by God intentionally and has a purpose. And 2. the universe was not created by God and has no purpose.

So you are wrong again.
When you start with a preconceived and arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities you cannot come to any conclusions that are not preconceived or arbitrary.
They aren't arbitrary. There are the only two options which exist. All other options will simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options. The fact that you can't name another possible option which does not simplify to one of these two mutually exclusive options proves that your statement that I started with an arbitrary set of just 2 possibilities is WRONG. You can always prove me wrong by naming another possibility which does not simplify to one of the only two options which exist.

Are these two options preconceived? Well I did start with everything I could think of and they all simplified into one of these two mutually exclusive options. So it was only preconceived like all evaluations are preconceived when one is trying to list all of the options. It was not preconceived in the manner you are suggesting which is to mean biased. If I were biased I would only consider one of these two options like YOU have done.

The fact that we cannot conceive of more than 2 options is proof that we are limited in our thinking and are most likely physically incapable of understanding the processes of the inception of the universe. We are beings that can only perceive 3 dimensions but we live in a space that has at least 4 dimensions. For all we know, the only way to grasp the inception of the universe is to be able to perceive that 4th dimension.

If we were 2 dimensional beings living in a 3 dimensional space we would think that anything entering our 2 dimensional world from the third dimension would simply appear as if from nowhere and we would only ever be able to perceive a 2 dimensional cross section of that thing.

My dog will never comprehend prime numbers and she evolved out of the same stuff humans did. It is therefore not only reasonable to assume but also probable that the human brain has its own limitations.

The invention of a god to explain what we do not comprehend is a human characteristic and we've done that very thing throughout our existence
There no thing that can describe God because God is no thing. God is not matter and energy like us and God exists outside of our four dimension space time. In fact the premise is that God is no thing. That God is a spirit. A spirit is no thing. Being things we can't possibly relate to being no things. A two dimensional being would have an easier time trying to understand our third dimension than we - a four dimensional being - would in trying to understand a multi-dimensional being outside of our space time. The closest I can come to and later confirm with the physical laws is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

So now that a realistic perception of God has been established we need to examine the only evidence at our disposal. It should be obvious that if the material world were not created by spirit that everything that has unfolded in the evolution of space and time would have no intentional purpose. That it is just matter and energy doing what matter and energy do. Conversely, if the material world were created by spirit it should be obvious that the creation of the material world was intentional. After all in my perception of God, God is no thing and the closest thing I can relate to is a mind with no body. Using our own experiences as creators as a proxy, we know that when we create things we create them for a reason and that reason is to serve some purpose. So it would be no great leap of logic to believe that something like a mind with no body would do the same. We also know from our experiences that intelligence tends to create intelligence. We are obsessed with making smart things. So what better thing for a mind with no body to do than create a universe where beings with bodies can create smart things too.

We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise - some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental - that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds beings that know and create.

The biological laws are such that life is programmed to survive and multiply which is a requisite for intelligence to arise. If the purpose of the universe was to create intelligence then a preference in nature for it had to exist. The Laws of Nature are such that the potential for intelligence to existed the moment space and time were created. One can argue that given the laws of nature and the size of the universe that intelligence arising was inevitable. One can also argue that creating intelligence from nothing defies the Second Law of Entropy. That creating intelligence from nothing increases order within the universe. It actually doesn't because usable energy was lost along the way as a cost of creating order from disorder. But it is nature overriding it's tendency for ever increasing disorder that interests me and raises my suspicions to look deeper and to take seriously the proposition that a mind without a body created the material world so that minds with bodies could create too.

If we examine the physical laws we discover that we live in a logical universe governed by rules, laws and information. Rules laws and information are a signs of intelligence. Intentionality and purpose are signs of intelligence. The definition of reason is a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. The definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. The consequence of a logical universe is that every cause has an effect. Which means that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose. The very nature of our physical laws point to reason and purpose.

All we have done so far is to make a logical argument for spirit creating the material world. Certainly not an argument built of fairy tales that's for sure. So going back to the two possibilities; spirit creating the material world versus everything proceeding from the material, the key distinction is no thing versus thing. So if we assume that everything I have described was just an accidental coincidence of the properties of matter, the logical conclusion is that matter and energy are just doing what matter and energy do which makes sense. The problem is that for matter and energy to do what matter and energy do, there has to be rules in place for matter and energy to obey. The formation of space and time followed rules. Specifically the law of conservation and quantum mechanics. These laws existed before space and time and defined the potential of everything which was possible. These laws are no thing. So we literally have an example of no thing existing before the material world. The creation of space and time from nothing is literally correct. Space and time were created from no thing. Spirit is no thing. No thing created space and time.

If the universe were created through natural process and we are an accidental happenstance of matter and energy doing what matter and energy do, then there should be no expectation for absolute morals. Morals can be anything we want them to be. The problem is that nature does have a preference for an outcome. Societies and people which behave with virtue experience order and harmony. Societies and people which behave without virtue experience disorder and chaos. So we can see from the outcomes that not all behaviors have equal outcomes. That some behaviors have better outcomes and some behaviors have worse outcomes. This is the moral law at work. If the universe was created by spirit for the express purpose of creating beings that know and create we would expect that we would receive feedback on how we behave. The problem is that violating moral laws are not like violating physical laws. When we violate a physical law the consequences are immediate. If you try to defy gravity by jumping off a roof you will fall. Whereas the consequences for violating a moral law are more probabilistic in nature; many times we get away with it.

Morals are effectively standards. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest possible standard. This standard exists independent of anything else. It is in effect a universal standard. It exists for a reason. When we deviate from this standard and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. Thus proving that morals cannot be anything we want them to be but are indeed based upon some universal code of common decency that is independent of man.

So the question that naturally begs to be asked is if there is a universal code of common decency that is independent of man how come we all don't behave the same way when it comes to right and wrong? The reason man doesn't behave the same way is because of subjectivity. The difference between being objective and being subjective is bias. Bias is eliminated when there is no preference for an outcome. To eliminate a preference for an outcome one must have no thought of the consequences to one's self. If one does not practice this they will see subjective truth instead of objective truth. Subjective truth leads to moral relativism. Where consequences to self and preferences for an outcome leads to rationalizations of right and wrong.

Man does know right from wrong and when he violates it rather than abandoning the concept of right and wrong he rationalizes he did not violate it. You can see this behavior in almost all quarrels and disagreements. At the heart of every quarrel and disagreement is a belief in a universal right and wrong. So even though each side believes right to be different each side expects the other to believe their side should be universally known and accepted. It is this behavior which tells us there is an expectation for an absolute truth.

If there were never a universal truth that existed man would never have an expectation of fairness to begin with because fairness would have no meaning. The fact that each of us has an expectation of fairness and that we expect everyone else to follow ought to raise our suspicion on the origin of that expectation.

These are your opinions. We have no idea what god is or isn't.

This universal code you claim that somehow exists outside of human beings is nothing but the culmination of our ability to imagine a behavior and its possible outcomes while never actually engaging in that behavior. Since all human brains evolved the same way then all human brains are capable of such thoughts.

In doing this we determined what would be the most acceptable outcome and we then taught these things to future generations. these ideas did not exist outside of the human experience nor did they predate the existence of humans.

Once again you are viewing the end result of the evolutionary process and saying that people have always been as they are today. This simply is not true.
Correct, I don't know what God is or God isn't. I even said, The closest I can come is that God is consciousness. That Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.

I believe to discover God one must start with some realistic perception of God. And that was the closest I could come to understanding God. People that argue there is no God are really arguing there is no God as that they can perceive. What they are really saying though is that they have no perception of God other than fairytales. Which is why everything they see is skewed to fairytales. So naturally they aren't looking for God. They only look at things to confirm their biases.

The universal code is logic and truth and exist independent of man. All humans are capable of seeing truth and logic if they are objective instead of subjective. The problem is that most people are not capable of being objective all of the time and about everything. Especially about themselves.

Humans are free to establish any standard they wish but they are not free to avoid the consequences of choosing a lower standard. Different standards have existed through out time and man has reaped what he has sown when he followed a lower standard.

Physiologically speaking, humans 10,000 years ago are pretty much the same as today but shorter. So I am not making the claim that people have always been as they are today. But for the past 10,000 years, man's intelligence probably has a similar distribution as we have today. Mind you I said intelligence and not knowledge. I do see repeating patterns of behavior and I do believe there are explanations for those patterns just as their are explanations for those behaviors. But what you have to know is that for almost any given thing there will usually be a distribution which always should be taken into account.
I don't assume there is a god to be discovered. And as I said before I don't think it matters if any gods actually exist or not. The beginning of the universe while interesting from both a physical and metaphysical perspective doesn't really matter either. Like I said we came into the theater after the movie started and we will leave before the movie ends so neither the beginning nor the end really matter as far as we human beings are concerned.

The oldest Homo Sapiens fossil has been dated to about 315,000 years ago and some anthropologists think H Sapiens may be as old a 500000 years.. 10000 years ago is the estimated period when agriculture began which also marked the end of the Neolithic Age.

So you make these sweeping statements like humans have always thought this or that but you are really only referring to the last 10 thousand years?

It is my position that our behaviors were evolving from at least 315,000 years ago and those behaviors from the very beginnings of H Sapiens emergence as a species are just as if not more important than anything that happened in the last 10000 years.
Sweeping statements, huh? Actually you saying I made sweeping statements is a sweeping statement. I was pretty specific which is the opposite if a sweeping statement.

As for you not believing it matters if one believes on God or not, you have never tested it. I have. I've walked both paths. You haven't. And despite your denial that religion offers functional advantages, Darwin disagrees.

So which is it man has always believed in the spiritual or man has believed in the spiritual only in the last 10000 years?

When you use words like always you are not just indicating a very specific point in history but rather are referring to ALL of history.

It's those pesky definitions again.

And you need to reread what I said.

I said I don't believe it matters whether gods exist or not.

Darwin wasn't a sociologist. Religion as a social institution provided a control on society not dissimilar to government.
Ummmm... always, at least once he became aware. But I only know that physiologically speaking man is pretty much the same now as he was 10,000 years ago. Could that have been earlier? Sure.

I know what you said and I know what you meant. And I know that you have never tested if it matters or not. I have. God, like all of reality is made manifest by mind.

If religion offered no functional advantage, then according to Darwin's principles, religion would have died out.

So it is your assertion that man has only been aware for the last 10000 years?

Now you say gods only manifest because of the human mind so then they must not have existed before men invented them.

Religion doesn't offer an evolutionary advantage. It offers a sociological advantage.

When humans were nomadic tribes it didn't matter if they believed in gods or not as far as their everyday survival was concerned.

Religion didn't become organized until we left the nomadic life behind and started living in larger and larger societies.

It was realized pretty quickly that as populations grew that controls were needed to ameliorate human behaviors religion was and still is one of those controls.
You are like a dog with a bone on this 10,000 year thing. The only claim I am making is that in the terms of intellect and physiology man hasn't changed much over the last 10,000 years. I make no other claims beyond that.

Religion offers FUNCTIONAL advantage. It is FUNCTIONAL advantage that determines if a trait will be retained or not. If there is no FUNCTIONAL advantage, then according to Darwin it is discarded.
Homo Sapiens is homo sapiens from a day ago or 200000 years ago.

Religion isn't a trait it's a social institution that didn't become organized until we moved from nomadic tribes to living in large stationary groups.

Religion acts as a control on the population and as the populace of a society grows those controls are beneficial to the long term success of the society. Religion does not help a person survive the rigors of life as a hunter gatherer.
I don't believe that physiologically speaking that homo sapiens from 200,000 years ago are the same as they are today. Do you have anything which supports that belief? I know there was little difference 10,000 years ago because there was a body recovered from the Alps that had been frozen and the comment that was made was that physiologically he was effectively the same as us today.

If you want to deny Darwin, that's your call. But it makes a ton of sense that believing in God has functional advantages that atheism does not have.

The only difference is the influence of society. Society has made us who we are more than mere evolution. You cannot separate modern man from the society he has lived in. Society is responsible for most of our belief systems. Everything from religion to morals and ethics has been shaped by societies and as those societies become more homogeneous the differences in those societies become less meaningful and will ultimately disappear.

This is the reason you think some patterns of thought are universal absolutes.
Again... from a natural selection perspective believing in God must have functional advantages that atheism does not have and that is why religion persists.

Again believing a gods has nothing to do with survival or evolution and more to do with the fact that as our intellect grew and our survival skills increased humans had more time to ponder things and one of the things human did was invent gods to explain things in the natural world.

I will propose that we didn't invent gods until we were so adept at survival that we had more time for activities other than merely surviving.
I never said it did. I said the reason religion persists is that religion provides a functional advantage that atheism cannot provide.

Only in a sense that it is a societal control.

What advantage do you have over an atheist?
Only in a sense that it is a societal control? Wrong. In the sense that it brings peace and joy through the storms of life.

The advantages believers have over atheists are peace and joy through the storms of life and meaning and purpose from being God's creatures; Meaning in God, Meaning in Creation, Meaning in Human Existence, Meaning in History, Meaning in Morality, Meaning in Justice, Meaning in Suffering and Meaning in Messianism.
You don't need religion to experience joy or weather the storms of life.

And You don't need religion to live a meaningful life.

There is no advantage to being religious.
William James sees it different.

When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.​

So what?

I don't need a god to feel I am part of the universe because I was part of it the day I was born.
I just explained the so what. :rolleyes:
no you gave the opinion of a guy that you think is some kind of authority.
Who explained why there is a difference. It's the why that matters not the who.
Why does what James said carry so much weight that everyone has to agree with him?
Again it's not the who, it's the why.
And what if his why isn't the same as mine?

I don't need to follow anyone
Because William James logically explained why the religious get joy from making sacrifices. All you have done is make a claim that you don't need religion to weather the storms of life. No where in that statement do I see you getting joy from experiencing the storms of life.
And that assumes people who aren't religious don't make sacrifices or derive some sense of meaning from the sacrifices they make.

I accept the troubles of life as unavoidable I weather them with a sense of peace and calmness because I know they are temporary. Is that "joy"? And who are you or William James to tell me what it is?
Correct. In part that assumes they don't see meaning in their sacrifices or get satisfaction from making sacrifices. That is one part of it, yes.

No. That doesn't sound like joy. That sounds like undergone at the very best without complaint. Of course YOUR practice of Buddhism is to avoid suffering, right? The Christian view is to embrace suffering and sacrifice. To even add on unnecessary givings-up to increase happiness.
Quite an assumption to base such a sweeping statement upon don't you think?

And Buddhism teaches to recognize that suffering is part of life and that most of the less obvious sources of suffering are caused by ourselves. One can achieve a cessation of suffering upon enlightenment.

And again who are you to define the joy, or mere happiness of another person. I happen to think a calm and peaceful state of mind is the most enjoyable whereas the extremes of happiness or sadness are caused by the inability to recognize that the causes of those extremes are impermanent
No. I don't think.

Don't sugar coat it. Buddhism teaches the end of suffering.

You are arguing that you embrace suffering and you don't see the contradiction with Buddhism? Seriously? So you will have to excuse me if I take your words at face value. You don't seem to be getting the distinction between embracing suffering and wanting to avoid suffering, but there is a huge difference between the two.
The end not the avoidance.

You cannot avoid suffering until you realize that all things that cause suffering are impermanent.

I said I accept suffering as part of life and i also know that the causes of suffering are impermanent. When one realizes these things then the causes of suffering no longer have any power over you.

Most suffering is caused by our wants, expectations and attachments and freeing yourself of these things frees you from the suffering they cause.
The end is absolutely avoidance. That is just you sugar coating it. You can't celebrate what you are trying not to experience. It seems you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can't have it both ways.

When suffering ends it no longer has to be avoided because it no longer exists.
Oh... I see but until then you embrace suffering and get joy from your sacrifices? That's illogical.

Accept and embrace are 2 completely different things
Which is why the best you can hope for is to suffer without complaint which was the point all along.
No you're wrong as usual.

People who say they get pleasure from suffering are twisted. The fact that you chase extreme emotions is a sign that you have unhealthy attachments to impermanent things
Pleasure?
You said you get joy from suffering.

Like I said twisted.
They get joy from making sacrifices. Do you even William James?

I think it must drive you crazy because the best you can do is suffer without complaint.

And you think that non religious people don't make sacrifices or that they can't get a sense of satisfaction from them?

And I don't suffer to any great extent. I have let go of attachments and expectations that are the root cause of a great deal of human suffering and discord and as a result I have nothing to complain about.
I think the best you can do is make sacrifices without complaint. Yes.

Well you're wrong. Again.

I have made a lot of sacrifices and I am more than happy with the results. But while I was making those sacrifices I never compalined.
Perfect. You have proved my point. That was the absolute best you could do.

So I suppose you complain piss and moan while making all your oh so many sacrifices on your way to your "joy"? I did peg you as a whiner quite early on in our discourse.

And if being more than happy that I made sacrifices is the best I can do I'll fucking take it.
Sometimes I do but then I find something to be thankful for and m attitude turns and I realize that what I thought was bad was in reality good for me. Such is life when one worships God and want to show appreciation for what one was given. Something you choose not to experience.
No need for religion to realize that sacrifices can turn out to be a boon in the long run.

And again one does not need to believe in gods to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. And you have no clue as to what I experience on my own path.
I couldn't disagree more. As William James explains... When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.
The universe doesn't give a single fuck about you or any sacrifices you make.

I am happy I made the sacrifices I did because they have all been a boon to me in the long run.. I don't need religion to realize that.
The universe might not, but God certainly does. :)

I'm not sure who you are trying to convince here because I'm having none of it. It's my opinion that the reason atheists come to religious forums is to vent their frustration.
Tell yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

And I'm not an atheist. I don't know if any gods exist or not and I don't think it matters if they do or don't.

I for one would not change the way I live if I was given irrefutable proof that some supreme being exists.
The spirit of God is within you whether you realize it or not. Some people have to lose what they have before they realize what they had. You may be one of those people. Let's hope you never have to find out.

I started with less than nothing and believe you me I realize what I have achieved. So maybe you ought to walk a mile in my shoes before you pass your judgments.
 

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