Thursday, June 19, 2008

Atheist/Materialist delusions

Welcome to the Real World (read: welcome to the author's world). I find this a great article, really great, I love a lot of it. Yet I can't help tearing it down as I love pointing out to atheists/materialists (same thing really - what you see is what you get. Most atheist adhere to the materialist belief system that matter is the only reality.) how they are viewing the world atheistically/materialistically, not truthfully. It's just another belief system which has been sold to the West, I found it a boring and meaningless one for 23 years of my life and am glad my filters were loosened and this whole new world opened up. I'm not writing this to disrespect the author, but to illustrate how the atheist/materialist belief system filters reality just as ridigly as any other religious belief system.
I'm not writing this to convert, I live and let live. But I'm merely illustrating the limits of belief systems. If any new readers show up here, I hate defining myself (imposing limits) but I guess I'd have to call myself a model-agnostic, a model agnostic continuously re-examines their belief system - abbreviated BS, using 'catmas' which are temporary flexible opinions - the opposite of dogmas. And only have one goal through this: truth. Or what comes closest to it in this world, as the map is not the territory, the menu is not the meal, the model one creates to interpret reality is not reality itself. No comforting beliefs for me thanks, I'll take the complicated route. Ok, let's open up this can of worms. I already regret it lol. (the title is a pun on Dawkins' the God delusion)

I live in the real world. It is a glorious natural world, a world of matter and energy. It is void of magic, monsters, or gods.
Void of magic(k)? Sounds like a rigid dogmatic atheist/materialist filter of reality to me. Though hey, everybody's belief system filters a lot of interesting stuff out of their reality. Atheism/Materialism is no different, just a belief system with its own dogmatic filters. If you believe there is no magic you will not see any magic.
Just because Magick isn't the simplest subject to explore doesn't make it an excuse to ignore it. Obviously it's not easy to discover so don't get me wrong, I completely understand people who don't know about it and/or laugh at it because they didn't come across the information to have the necessary assocations to understand it - as with so many topics this day and age, when I look back at my childhood there were ample opportunities but hey, if you don't know any better as a kid thanks to 'education' and the media selling atheism/materialism as truth? The authorities do not share pearls with the swine, or much of anything else for that matter, and belief systems just happen to be the superior method of divide & conquer.
But when you write an article discarding magic, you know you'd better have explored it first, a simple wiki search on magic will be a great catalyst to enlighten you :p (granted, google's first page doesn't, as the magick we're taling about is spelled with a k at the end mostly). Seeing is believing? Nope, humans are much better at believing than seeing. Because vision gets filtered in the brain. Also, most magick is hidden in plain sight. Which kinda makes it tragically funny.

And yet, I regularly experience feelings of awe, interconnectedness, and transcendence, which some people mistakenly refer to as "spirituality."
Spirituality, a dirty word for most atheists. Though hey, I can't blame them, this is what wikipedia has to say about it "Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit, a concept closely tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality, and one or more deities." Ewww that's about the opposite of how I'd define it except for the transcendent reality. So uhm: "awe, interconnectedness, and transcendence" sounds exactly like spirituality to me. But hey, to each his/her own definition of a word, his/her version and view of reality. Whatever ;) That's what I love about exploring belief systems, new views and associations.

I have to say, "awe, interconnectedness, and transcendence" sound nothing like atheist principles (well they seemingly are according to the author, lovely described and written btw - I could rewrite an ode to this article too if it wasn't for the reality-filtering which I don't appreciate too much), Most or Sombunall (Some but not all) atheists I know (and I'm just speaking from experience, not what atheism (no gods here) stands for but how it's applied in society (nothing special/weird here)) are hedonists who don't care too much or at all about anything that isn't shiny or "valuable" or explosion-less.
Some people say religion is a major factor that allowed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as Christians VS Muslims, however people don't tend to mention the atheist indifference of death in war in a meaningless universe a lot. "Kill 'em all, get it over with" without the "let god sort 'em out" is something I've heard often about the middle east from atheists.
Also, most atheists parents were atheists, there is no examination, just taking what's being handed down, just as in religion. Sure some outgrow religion, and then choose another belief system like atheism or agnosticism, but make no mistake, they are choosing another belief system if they are not examining but merely shifting perception filters.

There are no reset buttons or second chances here.
Wow, you can keep that aspect of your version of reality, I can initiate a second chance at will. For example by using the magic(k) of words in the form of a question ;p

Some of us raise children, and many contribute to society in myriad ways.
Adding to the hive and feeding sheep with unhealthy product-food counts I guess. We have so much meaningful contribution in our society... Like charity, you know that succesful money laundering scheme ;p. I kid, let's not get over-cynical, but still damn. Getting formed in school for mostly meaningless careers to "contribute to society" hardly is worthwhile.

We recognize that our time is limited and strive to make our mark while we can.
Making a mark in western society, is that asking the boss for a promotion, putting new rims on your car or uploading naughty pics on the interwebs? Or exceptionally maybe being a vehicle for manufactured over-produced sounds mistakingly called music? Appearing in a 'reality' show? I dunno. I don't see many people making their mark.

But we have no use for delusions here.
Then why take loads and loads of assumptions and theories for truth? Those are delusions. Turn on your tv, and see if atheists have no use for delusions.

for we understand that suffering is part of existence. That is not to say that we do not experience grief and that we never seek comfort. We do. We find consolation in each other and through our daily routines.
Holy crap, all hail to the daily routines! Somebody pass the sledge hammers to annihilate the 'comfort' zones which stagnate so many peoples and society's development in general right now.

We have no use for the mythical creatures our distant ancestors created. These gods, angels, and demons once served a purpose. No more.
Yawn, nevermind all the archetypal imagery in about everything you see in the media. Granted, this isn't mainstream knowledge, that's no excuse, consensus reality is the laughing stock of the evolved human for a reason.

Life in the real world has improved immeasurably as science and reason have rendered mysticism and superstition obsolete.
Mysticism is not the same as superstition, but is a science of the mind, you do an experiment and results follow.
Science and cold reason have depleted the planet, given us dumbass repetitive jobs behind a computer, helped start continuous wars thanks to the military industrial complex which pay for more 'science', and science itself isn't truth. Just look at this 2005 article stating "50%+ of science journal articles have false conclusions." Let's not forget, scientists have belief systems that filter too, scientists can be bought, scientists can be ignorant, can have hidden agendas and add anything you can come up with here. Science is not truth. Science is a method, that gets abused frequently.

We recognize that groveling before imaginary beings is no substitute for action and provides only a false comfort.
This would be religion/superstition, not mysticism.

To be sure, pockets of darkness remain where superstition and ignorance is widespread.
The Atheist/Materialist belief system qualifies as superstition and ignorance both. I think a lot of aspects of the western 'civilisation' can be seen as a pocket of darkness. I'd like to repeat as others have said that Civilisation is not a fixed state, it is an evolving process of which little has been witnessed in the last decades (please don't talk to me about how your cellphone is so much better now, thanks.)

Many people have yet to step into our world and remain trapped in delusion. Some cannot imagine any other existence, and others are simply misinformed or afraid. They are not bad people, and we should be able to empathize with their plight. After all, many of us were once in their shoes. Their presence reminds us of how fortunate we are to live in the real world, but it should also prompt us to extend a hand in friendship and invite them to join us in the real world. There is plenty of room here.
Convert lovely heathens, we forgive your ignorance, if you would only see the light. Join us, we are compassionate. We have the only truth. You are wrong, we are right, etc.

Hope you didn't take this too seriously, obviously I rate atheism higher than religious belief systems, yet I value agnosticism (which basically comes down to "I don't know & I don't really care") higher. My view for a better world is evolving beyond belief systems. I guess the name for that is Model Agnosticism, where we don't take assumptions for truth but keep examining. (A catma is not equal to truth, it is an experimental opinion given a trial time until more information on the subject is encountered). Like Jacque Fresco said (very paraphrased) "When I was young I went to meetings of liberals, socialists, fascists, anarchists, capitalists, even eastern systems, I couldn't understand why they all chose one model and stuck to it, in technology when you build something, after that you try to go beyond it." Ideas are toys: explore everything, 'believe' nothing to understand the most of this reality.

3 comments:

Klintron said...

"I have to say, 'awe, interconnectedness, and transcendence' sound nothing like atheist principles"

There is only one atheist principle, and I think Dawkins sums it up nicely: "there is almost certainly no god." (Note the "almost" there before you start waving your dogma stick [and btw, why is dogmatic opposition to dogma the only dogma allowed?]) In other words, atheists are defined not by what they believe, but what they don't believe. Some atheists are nihlists, some are secular humanists, some are objectivists, some are Marxist, some don't fit into any tidy category. Some atheists championed the war in Iraq(Paul Wolfowitz, Christopher Hitchens), and many oppose it.

I personally am in the "secular humanist" camp, and I'm not sure I would you use the term "transcendence" I think "awe" and interconnectedness" is part of the worldview of most secular humanists. I'd suggest you visit the Council for Secular Humanism's web site (http://www.secularhumanism.org) for a more expansive view of what (some) atheists think. You may find the secular humanist affirmations (http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=affirmations) and the magazine Skeptical Inquiry (http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=index) particularly illuminating.

There is a movement generally called "New Atheism" which is defined as much by what is believed by its members as by what is not believed. Dawkins is usually considered a leader (if not founder) of this movement. There's a lot of overlap between this and secular humanism, but it should not be believed that so-called New Atheism is representative of atheism or of secular humanism (though, fwiw, I have little disagreement with New Atheism). FWIW, here is a Dawkins article that addresses the matter of spirituality and awe of the universe: http://www.forbes.com/asap/1999/1004/235_print.html

It's also worth noting that even within secular humanism and "New Atheism" there is room for disagreement. Hitchens is both a secular humanist and New Atheist and, as noted, a supporter of the Iraq War.

Calling all parenting "Adding to the hive and feeding sheep" and dismissing all attempts at bettering the world that don't involve some spiritual or magical component "asking the boss for a promotion, putting new rims on your car or uploading naughty pics on the interwebs" sounds more cynical than anything I've heard from even the most jaded of nihilists. The straw-man atheist you attack is flimsy indeed, but TV-addicted corporate drones are as likely to be religious people as atheists. Like any other category of people, atheists may be artists, musicians, social workers, teachers, novelists, doctors, beggers, human rights campaigners, disaster relief workers, or, well, pretty much anything else.

"And science and cold reason have depleted the planet, given us dumbass repetitive jobs behind a computer, helped start continuous wars thanks to the military industrial complex which pay for more 'science', and science itself isn't truth."

Primitive people are/were just as capable of depleting their resources, killing each other, and generally causing terrible human suffering as modern people. There have certainly been negative effects of scientific advancement, but I do think on the whole scientific progress has been good for humanity. And certainly I would prefer a life of meaningless computer work in an air-conditioned office (free to do what I will in my off hours) to an early death to a now-curable disease. But that's just me.

dedroidify said...

I made it clear I was talking about how atheism is applied in society by the average joe, not the intellectual thinker and that I was replying to the article - and I could rewrite my own post entirely different. Contrary to the vibe I'm getting, I was not talking about Your beliefs or Your post on technoccult, so there is no need to feel offended. Though don't get me wrong, I would have replied in similar fashion if someone bashed Model Agnosticism as I did Atheism. Part of the reason I wrote this f'd up thing is I used to be an atheist and disliked it entirely, recnognized my previous dogmas and narrow view.

And with the average joe, atheism = dogma. I know it, because I encounter it everyday of my life. Everything that isn't in their "area of belief" of experience is ridiculous or stupid. ("Where do they come up with this shit?" oh well not in reality, obviously :p) And I'm talking about the atheists I have and continue to encounter, that's all I am talking about.

I think atheism (and better, agnosticism) is a necessary stepping stone to move away from dogmatic religion. Yet I will wave my dogma stick because the general atheist on the street is dogmatic, any human being with a belief system is dogmatic. This is basic psychology.

The post was also labeled "humor", I can completely understand one doesn't like jaded and cynical humor about what they hold dear. I also realize I'm one of the most jaded and cynical people on this planet. I do not enjoy it that much all the time obviously but then again, I do enjoy very dark humor. I do not expect readers to enjoy it as well. I do not expect anything from the readers.

I'm gonna have to go ahead and say that I have little respect for Hitchins, Dawkins and especially Michael Shermer (who converted from dogmatic christian to dogmatic whatever-the-hell-he-is-now.) Humans are much better at believing than seeing. I think Dawkins would be a much more positive force if he bitched about belief systems instead of religion, though obviously, being the main spirit of my blog, that's just my view. Check out an earlier post on catma and dogma about Dawkins specifically, talking about the sometimes closedmindedness rationalism, skepticism, and atheism.

I didn't call "all parenting" adding to the hive but was jesting at how "respectable" it is to raise a family (in the spirit of Carlin - now there's an atheist I do respect - it's as common as shitting). Also, I have yet to see or hear about one real family close to me with decent communication & no f'd up problems, so I don't admire "the family", and obviously my experiences make me never want to have a family. As McKenna said it's a cauldron for the production of neurosis. The media doesn't help either.

Primitive people were also capable of living in harmony with their surroundings, not depleting their environment.

I don't agree with your scientific progress assessment, and I would prefer living in harmony with nature anytime than in a meaningless office. (where a deep introvert like me goes insane, I know, I tried :p)

But those are my views, you are entitled to yours, I respect your views and admire them. I would have replied in similar fashion if someone bashed Model Agnosticism as I did Atheism. Part of the reason is I used to be an atheist and disliked its worldview entirely. I enjoyed this exchange and hope you won't hold this silly post against me.

Peace.

Rafael said...

PROSECUTION
Is there a God? I will not try to say yes or no to this question. Rather, I will make this place a law court. I will ask you to be the judge, and I will be the prosecutor. The work of a judge is to make decisions, to approve or disapprove the truth of statements; the work of a prosecutor is to present all the evidence and arguments that he can possibly gather. Before we proceed, we have to be clear about one fact: all prosecutors are not eyewitnesses of crimes. They are not policemen. A policeman may personally witness an event, whereas a prosecutor obtains his information only indirectly. He places all the charges, evidence, and arguments collected before the judge. In the same way, I shall present before you everything that I can possibly find. If you ask whether I have seen God or not, I would say "no." I am reading or demonstrating what I have gathered. My job is to search for facts and to call for witnesses. You are to arrive at a conclusion yourself.
THE UNIVERSE
First, looks at nature, the world that is before our eyes and every phenomenon in it. We all know that scientific knowledge is the rational explanation of natural phenomena. For example, there is an observed drop in the temperature of a patient. The drop in temperature is a phenomenon, and the explanation for it is scientific knowledge. When an apple falls from the tree, it is a phenomenon. Why does an apple not fly into the air? The explanation for this phenomenon constitutes knowledge. A man with knowledge is a man who has the proper explanations.
ONLY TWO EXPLANATIONS
The universe displays countless phenomena of diverse forms, colors, shapes, and nature. We cannot fail to notice these phenomena before our eyes. The explanation for all these phenomena is known as knowledge. All thoughtful persons have only two explanations as far as the origin of the universe is concerned; there is no third explanation. You have to take one or the other of them. What are these two explanations? The first says that the universe came into being through natural evolution and self-interaction; the second attributes its origin to a personified being with intellect and purpose. These are the only two explanations presented by all philosophers of the world. There is not a third one. Where did the universe come from? Did it come into existence by itself or through chance? Or was it designed by the One from whom we derive the concept of God?
CHANCE EVENTS
What are the characteristics of things that come about by chance? First, we know that they are unorganized. At the most they can be partially integrated. They can never be totally organized. One can achieve a specified goal by chance once, but he can never achieve a specified goal by chance all the time. Anything that comes together by chance can only be integrated partially, never totally. For example, if I throw this chair to the other side of the room, by chance it may come to rest at a perfect angle. If I do the same with a second chair, it may also lie neatly beside the first one. But this will not keep on happening with the third and the fourth and so on. Chance can only provide partial organization. It does not guarantee total integration. Furthermore, all random interactions are aimless, disorganized, and purposeless. They are without order and structure; they are loose, formless, disorderly, and not directed toward any meaningful purpose. Briefly, we can say that the characteristics of chance events are disharmony, irregularity, inconsistency, purposelessness, and insignificance.
CONSISTENCY AND ORGANIZATION
Now let us compare the things in the universe with these characteristics. Take, for example, the human being. He is carried in his mother's womb for nine months and delivered; he grows up and eventually dies. This cycle is repeated for every single individual. Consistency can be observed. It is not a wild game of chance. Again, look at the sun above your head. It does not exist purposelessly. Rather, it has its purpose and significance. Look at the moon, the stars, and the myriads of galaxies through your telescope. Some stars have their own planets. They all follow definite tracks and patterns. They are all organized. Their manner of motion can be calculated and predicted. The calendar in your hand is derived from them. Even next year's calendar can be printed before this year is past. All these show that the universe is organized, consistent, and purposeful.
MICROORGANISMS
Let us turn to the micro-world or quantum mechanics. Take a thin slice of wood. Put it under a microscope and observe its grain and structure, all meticulously regular and rhythmic. Even a blade of grass and the petal of a flower are finely fashioned. Nothing is unorganized or confused. Everything is disciplined and functional. All these things witness one fact to you: the universe, with its macro (the whole universe and galaxies) and micro aspects (quantum), is purposeful and meaningful. Can you say that all these came into existence by chance? Surely you cannot.
CHANCE OR DESIGN
The universe has to be created by someone with profound wisdom, vast knowledge, and intricate design. If you cannot accept the concept of random formation of the universe, you have to admit that it was created by such a God. There cannot be a third explanation. The choice is left to you. You have to decide if the universe came by chance or whether it was created by God.
A DEMAND AND ITS OBJECT
One witness may not be enough. I will call in another. This time we will consider man's heart. Before doing so, we should also observe one fact: wherever there is a desire, there must first be an object for that desire. For example, an orphan who has never seen his father naturally has a desire for a kind of paternal love. I have asked many people who were orphans, and they all have felt this irrepressible yearning. By this we can see that every desire of the heart arises out of an object in the world. As human beings we have a need for social belonging. We need companionship and mutuality. If you put a boy on a deserted island and he grows up alone, he still has the yearning for companions, for beings like himself, even though he has never seen a human being. This yearning or desire is the very proof that somewhere in the world there is something known as "man." At a certain age, man begins to think about posterity; he starts desiring children and grandchildren. This is not a mere fantasy. This desire stems out of the existence and possibility of offspring. Hence, where there is desire, there is an object for that desire.
THERE IS GOD IN THE HEART
Do we have any desires other than social identity and self-propagation? What other cravings do we have? Deep in everyone there is a craving for God. Whether they are highly civilized races, such as those among the Caucasians, or the ancient civilizations, such as the Chinese civilizations, or the African natives and uncultured aborigines, they all have a common craving --God. As long as they are men, they have a yearning for God, no matter what race or nationality. This is a fact. You cannot argue against it. Everyone is seeking after God. Everywhere man is craving for God. This is very clear. By applying the principle that we just mentioned, we can see that since our heart feels the need for a God, there must necessarily be a God in the universe. Since there is a need for God in the heart, there must be the existence of God in the universe. If no God exists, we would never have such a craving in our heart. We all have an appetite for food. In the same way, we all have an appetite for God. It would be impossible to live if there was only an appetite for food but no food. Likewise, it would be impossible to live if there was a capacity for God but no God.
NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT GOD?
Once, an atheist rudely rebuked me in a loud voice: "You said that a man has the psychological need for a God. But there is no such thing, and I do not believe in it." I said, "Well, do you mean to say that you never think about God? In fact, even while you were talking, you were thinking about Him. This indicates that you do have a capacity for God. There is no one who has never thought about God. He may try not to think much about Him. Since this thought is in you, there must be such an object outside of you.
"THE WORDS AND THE HEART”
A young man once came to me to argue about God. He was vehemently against the existence of God. He gave me one reason after another for saying that there is no God. As he was enumerating the various reasons why God should not exist, I listened to him quietly without saying a word. Then I said, "Although you insist that there is no God and support yourself with so many arguments, you have lost your case already." He said, "What do you mean?" I went on to explain: "Your mouth can say as much as you want about there not being a God, but your heart is on my side." He had to agree with me. Although one can give all sorts of reasons in the head, there is a belief in the heart that no argument can defeat. A stubborn person may give a thousand and one reasons, but you can have the boldness to tell him, "You know better in your heart that there is a God. Why bother to look for evidence outside?"Now what would you say? After looking at nature and the universe, after checking with your inner feeling, it is up to you to decide whether or not there is a God. But you should not be irresponsible; your attitude must be sober because everyone has to meet God soon. One day you will all stand before Him. Everything concerning you will be laid bare. On that day you will know God. But now is the time for you to be prepared. We should all be prepared to meet our God.
Finally is there is a God. Who is he? Who among the most ancient religions claim to be God’s son?
As well there must be a written record of God and God’s son. Among all the ancients’ written records is there such a book?