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The secular meaning of life

DrZoidberg

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Here's something I snipped up in a conversation with a friend. A throwaway comment that made me think.

Is the secular meaning of life the inevitable progress of civilisation? So a heritage of the Enlightenment? And are we losing that idea? What will happen when we do?

Some background. I belong to those who doesn't believe in plain nihilism. We need a goal in life to function. We need a goal for our coming day. I believe that people who say that life is about just finding pleasure and avoiding pain just haven't spent enough time introspecting.

Both Nazism and Communism are attempts to fix this problem. Communism was born from the insight that life will always be shit for poor people, no matter how much wealth they help create. Which was true in 1848. Nazism is born from Darwinism/social Darwinism meeting the stock market crash of 1929. The insight is that life is a constant struggle. But only if we do [insert utopia] everything will be great.

If we accept it as true that we need a meaning of life (something more than plain nihilism) and that the belief in the inevitable progress of humanity is dying... what will replace it?

I think that's why religion is getting a come back

What do you guys think, and what can we do about it?
 

Lion IRC

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First answer the existential question - is it scientifically valid to view life in terms of "meaning".
If a coin tossing machine randomly comes up heads, does that have any more "meaning" than tails?

Does the simple, secular, process of evolutionary time plus chance justify violating Occams Razor by way of introducing a superfluous complication called "meaning"?

You won't let theists smuggle in teleology. :eek:
 

James Brown

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Is religion getting a comeback?

An ongoing spate of recent studies - looking at various countries around the world - all show the same thing: religion is in decline. From Scandinavia to South America, and from Vancouver to Seoul, the world is experiencing an unprecedented wave of secularization. Indeed, as a recent National Geographic report confirms, the world’s newest religion is: No Religion.
 

DrZoidberg

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First answer the existential question - is it scientifically valid to view life in terms of "meaning".
If a coin tossing machine randomly comes up heads, does that have any more "meaning" than tails?

Does the simple, secular, process of evolutionary time plus chance justify violating Occams Razor by way of introducing a superfluous complication called "meaning"?

You won't let theists smuggle in teleology. :eek:

It fails the first test. Is it a testable hypothesis? If not, it's not science. So it's not science. So it's philosophy. Which is why I posted it in the metaphysics sub-forum. I'd also argue that "what is life" isn't either a scientific question. We need to define what life is in philosophy, and then we can use science to test that. But life in itself is too vague of a concept to be meaningful scientifically.

Life doesn't have an intrinsic meaning. That's just a fact of life. So we need to give life a meaning. Theists have solved that by inventing a God. I don't really see the point of that, since it's just finding a meaning of life with an added step. Whatever meaning of life belief in God gives you, it'll make no difference if you just jump to the meaning of life step and skip God.

If your meaning of life is to toss as many coins as you can, then you hit the jackpot with a coin tossing machine.

If there is a teleology I've accepted that we'll never be able to find out about it. The universe is just too big. There's just no possible way to travel to the edge of the universe and take a peak at what is beyond. If there is anything. Anybody who claims to know anyway is just deluded. Just like we don't take people seriously when they claim they are Napoleon or that their toaster is talking to them... neither should we take people seriously when they claim to sit on some higher knowledge only privy to those in some special club.
 
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DrZoidberg

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Is religion getting a comeback?

An ongoing spate of recent studies - looking at various countries around the world - all show the same thing: religion is in decline. From Scandinavia to South America, and from Vancouver to Seoul, the world is experiencing an unprecedented wave of secularization. Indeed, as a recent National Geographic report confirms, the world’s newest religion is: No Religion.

I think it is. It's just new religions coming. The old ones are out of style. The reason I think it is so is because... there's just so many smartphones, fancy watches and boob jobs people can buy before life feels empty. We need to give it some sort of higher purpose. Religion comes with a handy starter kit. Just pick one off the rack and you're ready to go. But secular versions. I think theism is dying. It's certainly coughing up blood

It's that or utopianism. I sincearly hope utopianism isn't about to make a comeback.
 
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Koyaanisqatsi

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As with everything, "meaning" is only that which the individual subjectively ascribes or derives. Whether atheist or theist, "meaning" is utterly random and capricious. It's whatever strikes your fancy. Why? Because it is born out of our pattern recognition abilities. You see a bunny in the clouds or a tiger in the grass samey samey. So what you ascribe/derive from that is entirely within that moment and largely influenced by previous experiences (aka, "associations"). Basically our eyes/brains are doing a constant mugshot scan every nano second, with the goal of picking out the predators from the prey. That's where "meaning" comes from.

Iow, there can never be any one grounded base "meaning" to measure everything else by. It's not possible in the same sense that a married bachelor isn't possible. It's a category error. Even for theists who insist that their derivation (aka, "meaning") is grounded in God, this is quite obviously nonsensical wishfulment at best as not a single theist can ever define what God is, other than "the ground of all meaning." Its circular sophistry.

To ask, "What is the meaning of life" is really to ask, "Why have I put up with all of this suffering? What is my reward for not just killing myself?" So the question too is a category error. A binary one at that. There are all kinds of "meaning" to all kinds of events/experiences. Hell you can watch the same film a hundred times and find (derive) a thousand different meanings each time you watch it, so, ironically, "meaning" doesn't mean anything while at the same time it means everything.

Iow, it means exactly what you want it to mean--associate--at any given time. That's why it's so elusive. We want there to be a 1 when its nature is a 0.
 

Speakpigeon

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Is religion getting a comeback?

An ongoing spate of recent studies - looking at various countries around the world - all show the same thing: religion is in decline. From Scandinavia to South America, and from Vancouver to Seoul, the world is experiencing an unprecedented wave of secularization. Indeed, as a recent National Geographic report confirms, the world’s newest religion is: No Religion.

That's my impression, too.

Going into churches here in Paris just to feel the presence of God, I find invariably that the pious are very, very few. Usually, there are more visitors like me than worshippers. Often, the only signs of any religious fervour are the slow-burning candles in front of (the statue of) Marie. Only fifty years ago the churches were still full on Sunday mornings everywhere in France. Nowadays, on Sunday mornings, people just sleep late.
EB
 

DrZoidberg

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As with everything, "meaning" is only that which the individual subjectively ascribes or derives. Whether atheist or theist, "meaning" is utterly random and capricious. It's whatever strikes your fancy. Why? Because it is born out of our pattern recognition abilities. You see a bunny in the clouds or a tiger in the grass samey samey. So what you ascribe/derive from that is entirely within that moment and largely influenced by previous experiences (aka, "associations"). Basically our eyes/brains are doing a constant mugshot scan every nano second, with the goal of picking out the predators from the prey. That's where "meaning" comes from.

Iow, there can never be any one grounded base "meaning" to measure everything else by. It's not possible in the same sense that a married bachelor isn't possible. It's a category error. Even for theists who insist that their derivation (aka, "meaning") is grounded in God, this is quite obviously nonsensical wishfulment at best as not a single theist can ever define what God is, other than "the ground of all meaning." Its circular sophistry.

To ask, "What is the meaning of life" is really to ask, "Why have I put up with all of this suffering? What is my reward for not just killing myself?" So the question too is a category error. A binary one at that. There are all kinds of "meaning" to all kinds of events/experiences. Hell you can watch the same film a hundred times and find (derive) a thousand different meanings each time you watch it, so, ironically, "meaning" doesn't mean anything while at the same time it means everything.

Iow, it means exactly what you want it to mean--associate--at any given time. That's why it's so elusive. We want there to be a 1 when its nature is a 0.

But do we? Do we pick it as individuals, or do a lot of secularists happen to pick the same meaning of their lives. Why that one/ones? That would be interesting
 

PyramidHead

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First answer the existential question - is it scientifically valid to view life in terms of "meaning".
If a coin tossing machine randomly comes up heads, does that have any more "meaning" than tails?

Does the simple, secular, process of evolutionary time plus chance justify violating Occams Razor by way of introducing a superfluous complication called "meaning"?

You won't let theists smuggle in teleology. :eek:

I agree with the direction of these questions, but from a negative perspective rather than the positive one you are apparently suggesting with your last comment.

All meaning (in the sense of significance, value) is part of the project humans must initiate as a reaction to the absence of any meaning or value to life on its own. The creation of meaning is always at the expense of others, who are trying to create their own meaning while occupying the same space. The OP makes some concession to this fact in passing:

Dr. Zoidberg said:
Both Nazism and Communism are attempts to fix this problem. Communism was born from the insight that life will always be shit for poor people, no matter how much wealth they help create. Which was true in 1848. Nazism is born from Darwinism/social Darwinism meeting the stock market crash of 1929. The insight is that life is a constant struggle. But only if we do [insert utopia] everything will be great.

The baseline fact of the matter is that life is a constant struggle, especially for the poor but for everybody to some extent, so we are obligated to enact policies to defend ourselves from life's inherent harshness. But obviously, as history shows, no attempt to mitigate the basic problems of humanity can proceed without stepping on the toes of actual humans, in a small or a big way. It's not that the particulars of the movement are wrong, in the sense that replacing a communist government with a democratic government (or vice versa) will solve everything, it's that all human acts are situated in a crowded, interconnected zone where harm to others is inevitable. Social and economic movements are palliative measures that proceed within the confines of this structural unfairness, which we inherit at birth.

Some background. I belong to those who doesn't believe in plain nihilism. We need a goal in life to function. We need a goal for our coming day. I believe that people who say that life is about just finding pleasure and avoiding pain just haven't spent enough time introspecting.

Another manifestation of the compulsory value-creation I mentioned is the tacit agreement among ourselves that investigating the root causes of our predicament as humans is only worth doing if the answer is consistent with a preordained, uncritical favoring of life's perpetual forward movement. There can be no anti-vital truths, nothing that threatens the underlying goal of flourishing, expanding, multiplying, renewing, advancing, and we should dismiss as nihilistic (even cowardly) any fact about life that compels stasis, monotony, vacating, withering, emptying, withdrawing, allowing to expire, concluding. If this is philosophy, and philosophy is the disinterested pursuit of truth, and truth is not subjected to the a priori condition that it must cohere with a life-affirming ethic, then it cannot be assumed at the outset that the result of "introspecting" will not be nihilistic. Because we are so addicted to the enterprise of creating meaning in the world, we place a stigma on all philosophical conclusions that are uninteresting or banal, leading nowhere, as if built into reality were some metaphysical necessity that truth always be a refreshing and fertile thing. Why can it not be the case that we spend time "introspecting", radically and without prejudice, and the fruit of our introspection is something that terminates rather than spurs enthusiasm, something that is not emotionally satisfying but troubling, something incredibly boring and simple, not invigorating?

I am not suggesting that nihilism is true, or that any specific view is true, I am just pointing out the curious and underhanded way that certain views are disqualified as simplistic, not because of their content but because they do not support the overarching "progress of civilization", which never itself needs justification for some reason.
 

Koyaanisqatsi

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As with everything, "meaning" is only that which the individual subjectively ascribes or derives. Whether atheist or theist, "meaning" is utterly random and capricious. It's whatever strikes your fancy. Why? Because it is born out of our pattern recognition abilities. You see a bunny in the clouds or a tiger in the grass samey samey. So what you ascribe/derive from that is entirely within that moment and largely influenced by previous experiences (aka, "associations"). Basically our eyes/brains are doing a constant mugshot scan every nano second, with the goal of picking out the predators from the prey. That's where "meaning" comes from.

Iow, there can never be any one grounded base "meaning" to measure everything else by. It's not possible in the same sense that a married bachelor isn't possible. It's a category error. Even for theists who insist that their derivation (aka, "meaning") is grounded in God, this is quite obviously nonsensical wishfulment at best as not a single theist can ever define what God is, other than "the ground of all meaning." Its circular sophistry.

To ask, "What is the meaning of life" is really to ask, "Why have I put up with all of this suffering? What is my reward for not just killing myself?" So the question too is a category error. A binary one at that. There are all kinds of "meaning" to all kinds of events/experiences. Hell you can watch the same film a hundred times and find (derive) a thousand different meanings each time you watch it, so, ironically, "meaning" doesn't mean anything while at the same time it means everything.

Iow, it means exactly what you want it to mean--associate--at any given time. That's why it's so elusive. We want there to be a 1 when its nature is a 0.

But do we?

Yes.

Do we pick it as individuals, or do a lot of secularists happen to pick the same meaning of their lives.

We always pick everything as individuals. Even if that pick is "I'll go along with the herd" it's still ultimately an individual choice.

Why that one/ones? That would be interesting

Not particularly. We first learn from our parents and then measure everything against that standard for the rest of our lives. The most important years are our formative ones, which is why cults always include instructions to "suffer the children unto me" and the like. And why we put our kids into indoctrination camps as early as 4 and 5 years old to last them until just before their brains finally finish maturing (i.e., at 25). It's the most vulnerable and most susceptible period of their lives and what is taught/experienced in those years is what dominates everything that comes after, either positively or negatively.

We are programmed first; then it's up to the individual to deprogram, which is what "enlightenment" actually entails. And once you reach the stage of "the now" and understand that there is no such thing as "meaning" in an objective sense (and never could be), that's the abyss. You either look into it and go, "Hmm" and walk away or you fall into it and never come back out.

If you're one of the few to walk away, then you realize it's all subjective and always has been all subjective and that's great. It means you're a free agent and thus things like "Morality" and 'Philosophy" finally have true meaning; the meaning you ascribe/derive.
 

Speakpigeon

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My short answer is that we can pick and choose whatever meaning suits us.

I guess that's what most people do without necessarily fussing about it. It may be having a family to raise kids. Your job. Sport. Any activity that's engrossing enough. If you're deep into what you're doing then the meaning of life is just that. And it seems to work.

Obviously, things don't last forever and we can easily become dissatisfied and "disengaged". I suspect this happens mostly as a result of some undiagnosed psychological condition or more accurately some neurological disorder. Also, if some misfortune happens to you.

Sometimes, it will feel just like you're doing nothing because there's nothing you're interested in doing. It's boring, obviously, and you can become acutely aware then of the fact that time is slipping away and you're going to be left with having to look back at your life later having achieved nothing, not much, or just not enough.

Yet, there is no shortage of things to do. You can embrace the cause of the environment, or whatever cause tickle your fancy and is worth the trouble, and many are, if you're interested that is.

Human beings are mostly really stupid so there's plenty of smart ideas left to have for the first time that could be worth having for the benefit of humanity or whatever. If you're prepared to do some hard work, then the world is your oyster. And you can adjust the work to your resources and abilities.

Again, that's all mostly what people are already doing or trying to do whenever they have the resources. But I don't see that we need any unified perspective like you could say religions may try and fail to be. Let a hundred flowers bloom.

Maybe you can think of it as the meaning of life being that we're just trying to achieve our potential as human beings, both individually and collectively. Which is a unified perspective and should feel motivating to all of us. It's a journey of discovery and a discovery of the road to infinity (see David Deutsch).

What would be not meaningful about that?
EB
 

Jobar

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Is there a singular 'secular meaning of life'? I rather think not. As Koy says, each individual has to find their own; and individuals can find an arbitrary number of meanings to life, secular or religious.

We're a social species, so usually our societies will frown on us pursuing 'meanings' that are plainly harmful to society, and to others. So there are social pressures on us to find meanings that are beneficial to others, or at least harmless. The amount of that pressure will vary with the society in question, and with the perceived harmfulness of what you might consider important or even vital for meaning in your life.
 

Underseer

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Meaning and purpose are human creations.

It is the task of each of us to create our own purpose and meaning.

To ask another for propose and meaning is to ask to be ruled.
 

Speakpigeon

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Is religion getting a comeback?

An ongoing spate of recent studies - looking at various countries around the world - all show the same thing: religion is in decline. From Scandinavia to South America, and from Vancouver to Seoul, the world is experiencing an unprecedented wave of secularization. Indeed, as a recent National Geographic report confirms, the world’s newest religion is: No Religion.

I think it is. It's just new religions coming. The old ones are out of style. The reason I think it is so is because... there's just so many smartphones, fancy watches and boob jobs people can buy before life feels empty. We need to give it some sort of higher purpose. Religion comes with a handy starter kit. Just pick one off the rack and you're ready to go. But secular versions. I think theism is dying. It's certainly coughing up blood

It's that or utopianism. I sincearly hope utopianism isn't about to make a comeback.

I would agree that some people at least may feel they live spiritually empty lives and look for something to fill the vacuum but that doesn't amount to producing new religions. The main point of religion as I see it is to have people connected or bound to each other by common rites and the nonsensical conviction that they share the same spiritual belief. It may still happen but that seems unlikely as long as spirituality remains an open market and there's enough competition. Right now, if you have any new religions at all, they concern only a few thousand at most and they don't last more than a few generations.

I also think that humanity is now evolving so fast that very little will keep making sense from one generation to the next beyond the incontrovertible basics such as food and sleep, and then I'm not even sure about that.

I guess we really don't know where we 're going and so it's always possible, even perhaps very likely, that we meet with some major mishap with subsequent disintegration of the world order for a few centuries. Then religions may have a come back. But I don't wish this on them.
EB
 

DrZoidberg

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I think it is. It's just new religions coming. The old ones are out of style. The reason I think it is so is because... there's just so many smartphones, fancy watches and boob jobs people can buy before life feels empty. We need to give it some sort of higher purpose. Religion comes with a handy starter kit. Just pick one off the rack and you're ready to go. But secular versions. I think theism is dying. It's certainly coughing up blood

It's that or utopianism. I sincearly hope utopianism isn't about to make a comeback.

I would agree that some people at least may feel they live spiritually empty lives and look for something to fill the vacuum but that doesn't amount to producing new religions. The main point of religion as I see it is to have people connected or bound to each other by common rites and the nonsensical conviction that they share the same spiritual belief. It may still happen but that seems unlikely as long as spirituality remains an open market and there's enough competition. Right now, if you have any new religions at all, they concern only a few thousand at most and they don't last more than a few generations.

What about sports? I think being a sport supporter qualifies as being part of a religion. I have an ex-wife who is a fanatical sports supporter. It's certainly religion to her. Yet, she identifies as an atheist. I'd argue sports is the biggest religion of today.

I think we are a social species where being part of a social fabric is more important than anything else. Normal people are willing to sacrifice any beliefs and values to get respect by the people they respect. People who aren't like this, aren't normal.


I also think that humanity is now evolving so fast that very little will keep making sense from one generation to the next beyond the incontrovertible basics such as food and sleep, and then I'm not even sure about that.

I guess we really don't know where we 're going and so it's always possible, even perhaps very likely, that we meet with some major mishap with subsequent disintegration of the world order for a few centuries. Then religions may have a come back. But I don't wish this on them.
EB

I think it's having a come-back now. The problem is that we usually define religion as "faith". But religion is more an activity than a belief system. So modern new religions are wrongly being labelled as just associations or clubs. But they have all the hallmarks of religion IMHO
 

steve_bank

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There is no 'secular meaning of life'. Pick the -osophy or -ism that suits you. The human history is chatic and violent and continuos struggles for power. Hitler thought war was a natural human state. Historically he may have been right.

The American Revolution was an idealistic experiment, the idea that chaotic humans prone to aggression and dispute could manage themselves without an overarching power and authority.
 

Speakpigeon

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What about sports? I think being a sport supporter qualifies as being part of a religion. I have an ex-wife who is a fanatical sports supporter. It's certainly religion to her. Yet, she identifies as an atheist. I'd argue sports is the biggest religion of today.

I think we are a social species where being part of a social fabric is more important than anything else. Normal people are willing to sacrifice any beliefs and values to get respect by the people they respect. People who aren't like this, aren't normal.

OK. So, I'm not normal. Or maybe I don't respect anybody. Or I'm not willing to sacrifice either some beliefs or some values.

I also think that humanity is now evolving so fast that very little will keep making sense from one generation to the next beyond the incontrovertible basics such as food and sleep, and then I'm not even sure about that.

I guess we really don't know where we 're going and so it's always possible, even perhaps very likely, that we meet with some major mishap with subsequent disintegration of the world order for a few centuries. Then religions may have a come back. But I don't wish this on them.
EB

I think it's having a come-back now. The problem is that we usually define religion as "faith". But religion is more an activity than a belief system. So modern new religions are wrongly being labelled as just associations or clubs. But they have all the hallmarks of religion IMHO

I can see some similarities between religion and football supporters but I think that's just that.

And comparison is not reason.

Supporters don't have religious rites. They have communion, usage, culture, habits, and non-religious rituals, like indeed many people outside both religion and sport.

Religious rites are thought of as a way to communicate with an actual spirit. Nothing like that for supporters.

That being said, sport may well deprive religion of its oxygen if supporters go support Manchester United instead of the Church.

And sport may also play a similar function as religion for many people. I personally think that most religious people have always been only pretending. I don't think anything more than a small minority of people were ever really religious at any time throughout history. So, maybe it's some of the same people who were religious who are now football supporters. Just maybe.
 

DrZoidberg

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OK. So, I'm not normal. Or maybe I don't respect anybody. Or I'm not willing to sacrifice either some beliefs or some values.

Considering how many people are either religious, sport supporters, politically activists or all three.... I think it's pretty clear that you are not normal. Most people are part of some tribe or another which they try hard to fit into.

I can see some similarities between religion and football supporters but I think that's just that.

And comparison is not reason.

Supporters don't have religious rites. They have communion, usage, culture, habits, and non-religious rituals, like indeed many people outside both religion and sport.

I think communal rituals intended to unite communities across ages is religious rituals. I think sports qualify extremely well.

Religious rites are thought of as a way to communicate with an actual spirit. Nothing like that for supporters.

I don't agree that's a necessary qualification. It's too narrow. Sweden has several pagan religious rituals we perform anually. All our "Christian" rituals are just pagan rituals left, pretty much intact. Which make no sense in a Christian context. These have survived in spite paganism being a dead religion. It has been for almost a thousand years now. Yet, these rituals survive. Christianity today is pretty much a dead religion in Sweden. That ain't stopping us keeping all those religious rituals alive also.

We need an explanation other than "religious rituals is a way to communicate with an actual spirit" to explain how these have survived in Sweden.

That being said, sport may well deprive religion of its oxygen if supporters go support Manchester United instead of the Church.

And sport may also play a similar function as religion for many people. I personally think that most religious people have always been only pretending. I don't think anything more than a small minority of people were ever really religious at any time throughout history. So, maybe it's some of the same people who were religious who are now football supporters. Just maybe.

I see religion in functional terms. Anything that replaces the functions of religion is religion.

I don't think they are pretending at all. I think it's just you who haven't understood what religion is. This is what it is. God/the spirit is the least interesting part of religions.
 

Treedbear

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If we accept it as true that we need a meaning of life (something more than plain nihilism) and that the belief in the inevitable progress of humanity is dying... what will replace it?

I think that's why religion is getting a come back

What do you guys think, and what can we do about it?

I think the thing to do about it is promote humanism. That is, that humankind is the measure of all things. In a totally connected and interdependent world we need to recognize that the suvival of the entire human race is in the individual interest. This should always be kept in mind as the goal when making decisions either as governments or as individuals. It's the ultimate expression of Kant's Categorical Imperative: "Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law." That should be the basis for anyone's purpose. Meaning goes hand in hand with purpose. Meaning is everything that goes into what we as humans have become. This is revealed in the study of science and history. The search for meaning reveals what we need to do in order to survive. We might not answer the ultimate questions concerning the meaning of life, but the ultimate purpose is survival. As far as I can see that is what distinguishes life from non-life. And anything that promotes human survival should still qualify as progressive, if not necessarily everyone's definition of progress.
 

steve_bank

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The idea that humans are the apex of creation is the source of many of our problems. The simple fact that if the oceans die we die does not seem to be realized by many.

Any world view has to recognize we exist in an ecosystem not apart from it. The wild and commercial bee die off a decade or so back could have had catastrophic effects, reduced polarization. I remember Hannity on FOX whing about tax dollars on the problem.It is the Genesis derived view humans are special and all else serves us.
 

rousseau

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I'd propose something like 'enlightened naturalism'.

Find meaning by embracing the meaningless and realize that this is the starting point to an authentic and aware life.

Everything else is a form of delusion.
 

Speakpigeon

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Considering how many people are either religious, sport supporters, politically activists or all three.... I think it's pretty clear that you are not normal. Most people are part of some tribe or another which they try hard to fit into.

Possibly most people but I believe there's a significant minority who is just pleased to have activities where they will meet other people and do something together. You will notice that a horse and an ass will stick together when kept in a field big enough that they could instead keep away from each other. We're like them. We're gregarious. Nothing religious about that unless you redefine religion to suit your theory.

I think communal rituals intended to unite communities across ages is religious rituals. I think sports qualify extremely well.

Religious rites are thought of as a way to communicate with an actual spirit. Nothing like that for supporters.

I don't agree that's a necessary qualification. It's too narrow. Sweden has several pagan religious rituals we perform anually. All our "Christian" rituals are just pagan rituals left, pretty much intact. Which make no sense in a Christian context. These have survived in spite paganism being a dead religion. It has been for almost a thousand years now. Yet, these rituals survive. Christianity today is pretty much a dead religion in Sweden. That ain't stopping us keeping all those religious rituals alive also.

We need an explanation other than "religious rituals is a way to communicate with an actual spirit" to explain how these have survived in Sweden.

What has survived in Sweden is not the religion, it's the rituals. Rituals void of any religious significance. It's just a pretext and an occasion to get together. We're gregarious. Big deal.

That being said, sport may well deprive religion of its oxygen if supporters go support Manchester United instead of the Church.

And sport may also play a similar function as religion for many people. I personally think that most religious people have always been only pretending. I don't think anything more than a small minority of people were ever really religious at any time throughout history. So, maybe it's some of the same people who were religious who are now football supporters. Just maybe.

I see religion in functional terms. Anything that replaces the functions of religion is religion.

I don't think they are pretending at all. I think it's just you who haven't understood what religion is. This is what it is. God/the spirit is the least interesting part of religions.

I agree with that. Let me repeat. I don't think most people practicing a religion are really religious at all. They're there to be part of a community, feel protected and loved, to conform and avoid feel apart etc. And then the few who will insist in the spiritual dimension are essentially deluding themselves that what they have in mind is the same as what the next person does. So, yes, religions have only become possible because essentially people have a general tendency to gregariousness and to rituals. Yet, gregariousness and rituals are not what people call "religion".

You may redefine the term if you like but then you should start your pitch with that to minimise the confusion. Else, you're just using a private language.

Nothing to do with me not understanding religion. I've always been interested in the phenomenon and it's really not plausible at all that I don't understand it!

You might just as well claim that ants and termites are obviously religious.
EB
 

Treedbear

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The idea that humans are the apex of creation is the source of many of our problems.

First, creation (really evolution with natural selection) has no apex.

The simple fact that if the oceans die we die does not seem to be realized by many.

Then they need to be educated on that fact. It's part of humanism's goal.

Any world view has to recognize we exist in an ecosystem not apart from it. The wild and commercial bee die off a decade or so back could have had catastrophic effects, reduced polarization. I remember Hannity on FOX whing about tax dollars on the problem.It is the Genesis derived view humans are special and all else serves us.

Genesis is not science and Hannity isn't a humanist. It's based on tribalism and isolationism. Such theistically derived survivalism strategies are suicidal in today's global environment.
 

rousseau

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I'd propose something like 'enlightened naturalism'.

Find meaning by embracing the meaningless and realize that this is the starting point to an authentic and aware life.

Everything else is a form of delusion.

To expand on this a bit (it was written from my smartphone), I think there are roughly two states to human life: delusion, and non-delusion. Of course one can't be all knowing and there will always be blind spots, but there can be an awareness of the universe as essentially materialistic and driven by natural laws.

The kicker there is that this awareness should be the secular person's end goal, because it is the starting point of a life that's driven by reality and not fantasy. Once you realize that the things that happen to you are essentially dictated by your understanding and interaction with the material world, then you gain the ability to act in the world with intention and understanding, rather than delusion. You see things as they really are and consequently exist in the world as it really is.

Goal setting is another thing entirely. Once you're aware of how the world really works you're basically free to do whatever you want. In one sense this is absurd, but in another sense this is the most free you will ever be, and the only way you can be free. There is no inherent meaning to this besides the experience itself.
 

Treedbear

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...
Goal setting is another thing entirely. Once you're aware of how the world really works you're basically free to do whatever you want. In one sense this is absurd, but in another sense this is the most free you will ever be, and the only way you can be free. There is no inherent meaning to this besides the experience itself.

Well said rousseau. You are free to be what you are when you become aware of what it is that you are. Freedom is the experience of being in harmony with one's self. Not the being, in and of itself, but the relative awareness. Mankind is not "condemned to be free" as Sartre taught. It must be a rational, conscious choice.
 

rousseau

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Goal setting is another thing entirely. Once you're aware of how the world really works you're basically free to do whatever you want. In one sense this is absurd, but in another sense this is the most free you will ever be, and the only way you can be free. There is no inherent meaning to this besides the experience itself.

Well said rousseau. You are free to be what you are when you become aware of what it is that you are. Freedom is the experience of being in harmony with one's self. Not the being, in and of itself, but the relative awareness. Mankind is not "condemned to be free" as Sartre taught. It must be a rational, conscious choice.

I think for a lot of people evolution and biology kind of act on them rather than vice versa. People act as if they are making conscious, deliberate choices, but I think usually evolutionary tendencies drive the desire, which drives the behavior. Society then packages all this up into a tidy narrative that makes it look pretty and normal, and then most people glide through their life checking the right boxes at the right time and reacting to their own internal biological and social cues.

The free person, on the other hand, is able to say 'the materially smart thing to do would be this, but I'm going to do this other thing anyway'. Evolution still drives their behavior, but they're aware of it and their executive functioning acts as a stronger counter-balance.

Further, just knowledge in general... a lot of natural laws act like really useful heuristics to understand why things are the way they are and why they work the way they do. This understanding and perspective frees you uncertainty.
 

steve_bank

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First, creation (really evolution with natural selection) has no apex.



Then they need to be educated on that fact. It's part of humanism's goal.

Any world view has to recognize we exist in an ecosystem not apart from it. The wild and commercial bee die off a decade or so back could have had catastrophic effects, reduced polarization. I remember Hannity on FOX whing about tax dollars on the problem.It is the Genesis derived view humans are special and all else serves us.

Genesis is not science and Hannity isn't a humanist. It's based on tribalism and isolationism. Such theistically derived survivalism strategies are suicidal in today's global environment.

It has nothing to do with evolution, but the capacities evolution gave humans give us more power than any other critter. The western Judeo Christian view as humans set apart is derived from Genesis. The Earth exists to be exploited by humans.The idea that we actually live in an interactive ecosystem is foreign to that.
 

DrZoidberg

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Possibly most people but I believe there's a significant minority who is just pleased to have activities where they will meet other people and do something together. You will notice that a horse and an ass will stick together when kept in a field big enough that they could instead keep away from each other. We're like them. We're gregarious. Nothing religious about that unless you redefine religion to suit your theory.

I think communal rituals intended to unite communities across ages is religious rituals. I think sports qualify extremely well.



I don't agree that's a necessary qualification. It's too narrow. Sweden has several pagan religious rituals we perform anually. All our "Christian" rituals are just pagan rituals left, pretty much intact. Which make no sense in a Christian context. These have survived in spite paganism being a dead religion. It has been for almost a thousand years now. Yet, these rituals survive. Christianity today is pretty much a dead religion in Sweden. That ain't stopping us keeping all those religious rituals alive also.

We need an explanation other than "religious rituals is a way to communicate with an actual spirit" to explain how these have survived in Sweden.

What has survived in Sweden is not the religion, it's the rituals. Rituals void of any religious significance. It's just a pretext and an occasion to get together. We're gregarious. Big deal.

That being said, sport may well deprive religion of its oxygen if supporters go support Manchester United instead of the Church.

And sport may also play a similar function as religion for many people. I personally think that most religious people have always been only pretending. I don't think anything more than a small minority of people were ever really religious at any time throughout history. So, maybe it's some of the same people who were religious who are now football supporters. Just maybe.

I see religion in functional terms. Anything that replaces the functions of religion is religion.

I don't think they are pretending at all. I think it's just you who haven't understood what religion is. This is what it is. God/the spirit is the least interesting part of religions.

I agree with that. Let me repeat. I don't think most people practicing a religion are really religious at all. They're there to be part of a community, feel protected and loved, to conform and avoid feel apart etc. And then the few who will insist in the spiritual dimension are essentially deluding themselves that what they have in mind is the same as what the next person does. So, yes, religions have only become possible because essentially people have a general tendency to gregariousness and to rituals. Yet, gregariousness and rituals are not what people call "religion".

You may redefine the term if you like but then you should start your pitch with that to minimise the confusion. Else, you're just using a private language.

Nothing to do with me not understanding religion. I've always been interested in the phenomenon and it's really not plausible at all that I don't understand it!

You might just as well claim that ants and termites are obviously religious.
EB

I'm using the definition if religion that Jürgen Habermas does. He looks it functionally. What does it do? God doesn't exist. So it can't fill them with magical fairy dust. Certainly not allow them to comune with God. Do they're not. Whatever perceived benefit it has must be something else.

He, and me, think humans are too intelligent to invest just this much time and effort into something that's pure delusion. It has to have a tangible and practical pay-off.

Atheists often use self congratulatory definitions of religion so they get to feel smug superiority. I think that's what you are doing. Your definition won't help you understand the world IMHO. It certainly won't allow you to respect parts of the religious life. And if you don't you won't find what valuable things there are to find in it.

I see religion all being about building communities with people who might not have all that much in common. That's where the rituals and traditions come in. I think that's the core of religion. God is just an empty symbol to gather round. But its empty. All Gods have been. They're all mystical and ineffable for a reason.
 

Speakpigeon

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I'd propose something like 'enlightened naturalism'.

Find meaning by embracing the meaningless and realize that this is the starting point to an authentic and aware life.

Everything else is a form of delusion.

To expand on this a bit (it was written from my smartphone), I think there are roughly two states to human life: delusion, and non-delusion. Of course one can't be all knowing and there will always be blind spots, but there can be an awareness of the universe as essentially materialistic and driven by natural laws.

The kicker there is that this awareness should be the secular person's end goal, because it is the starting point of a life that's driven by reality and not fantasy. Once you realize that the things that happen to you are essentially dictated by your understanding and interaction with the material world, then you gain the ability to act in the world with intention and understanding, rather than delusion. You see things as they really are and consequently exist in the world as it really is.

Goal setting is another thing entirely. Once you're aware of how the world really works you're basically free to do whatever you want. In one sense this is absurd, but in another sense this is the most free you will ever be, and the only way you can be free. There is no inherent meaning to this besides the experience itself.

Opting a priori for materialism, or some form of it whereby the material world would necessarily be the starting point, seems irrational to me. The rational thing to do in my view is to go for the most plausible option while keeping your mind open. I doubt very much anybody understands how the world works. Those who think they do are deluded. We've lost a lot of our delusions during the last few centuries but the potential was probably limitless to begin with. The most demoralising thing to avoid in my view is for people to realise suddenly late in life that what they have believed all their lives is just crap. Any prior experience in this respect should tell you not to put all your eggs in the same basket. In particular, if it turns out that our civilisation is unable to preserve a minimum of our natural environment, which is a plausible outcome right now, we'll have to adjust to the new situation. We are very creative as a species compared to other animals but we'll have to do it even more in this case and it will become really crucial to our survival. I think it's a bit late to advocate "enlightened naturalism".
EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Possibly most people but I believe there's a significant minority who is just pleased to have activities where they will meet other people and do something together. You will notice that a horse and an ass will stick together when kept in a field big enough that they could instead keep away from each other. We're like them. We're gregarious. Nothing religious about that unless you redefine religion to suit your theory.



What has survived in Sweden is not the religion, it's the rituals. Rituals void of any religious significance. It's just a pretext and an occasion to get together. We're gregarious. Big deal.

That being said, sport may well deprive religion of its oxygen if supporters go support Manchester United instead of the Church.

And sport may also play a similar function as religion for many people. I personally think that most religious people have always been only pretending. I don't think anything more than a small minority of people were ever really religious at any time throughout history. So, maybe it's some of the same people who were religious who are now football supporters. Just maybe.

I see religion in functional terms. Anything that replaces the functions of religion is religion.

I don't think they are pretending at all. I think it's just you who haven't understood what religion is. This is what it is. God/the spirit is the least interesting part of religions.

I agree with that. Let me repeat. I don't think most people practicing a religion are really religious at all. They're there to be part of a community, feel protected and loved, to conform and avoid feel apart etc. And then the few who will insist in the spiritual dimension are essentially deluding themselves that what they have in mind is the same as what the next person does. So, yes, religions have only become possible because essentially people have a general tendency to gregariousness and to rituals. Yet, gregariousness and rituals are not what people call "religion".

You may redefine the term if you like but then you should start your pitch with that to minimise the confusion. Else, you're just using a private language.

Nothing to do with me not understanding religion. I've always been interested in the phenomenon and it's really not plausible at all that I don't understand it!

You might just as well claim that ants and termites are obviously religious.
EB

I'm using the definition if religion that Jürgen Habermas does.

I don't see how you articulate your various criticisms here with anything specific I said beyond the fact that you've decided to change the meaning of the word "religion". We're just not talking about the same thing. Doesn't help.

He looks it functionally. What does it do? God doesn't exist. So it can't fill them with magical fairy dust. Certainly not allow them to comune with God. Do they're not. Whatever perceived benefit it has must be something else.

Sure. We agree.

He, and me, think humans are too intelligent to invest just this much time and effort into something that's pure delusion. It has to have a tangible and practical pay-off.

To claim most humans are intelligent is somewhat like saying all humans are above average. Me, I think most humans are not particularly intelligent and many are just stupid. We all have intuitive protection behaviours that we're not necessarily aware that we have. So, we are more efficient than our intelligence would suggest. People do religion not because they're intelligent but because they intuitively feel it's better to do it.

Although, maybe it's just that you're using your own private definition of intelligence.

Atheists often use self congratulatory definitions of religion so they get to feel smug superiority. I think that's what you are doing. Your definition won't help you understand the world IMHO. It certainly won't allow you to respect parts of the religious life. And if you don't you won't find what valuable things there are to find in it.

This is just gross. Absurd and unjustified. I'm not the one using a private language. I haven't invented any definition of religion. I take the one everybody can find in dictionaries.
Religion
1.
a. The belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers, regarded as creating and governing the universe: respect for religion.
b. A particular variety of such belief, especially when organized into a system of doctrine and practice: the world's many religions.
c. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

I see religion all being about building communities with people who might not have all that much in common. That's where the rituals and traditions come in. I think that's the core of religion. God is just an empty symbol to gather round. But its empty. All Gods have been. They're all mystical and ineffable for a reason.

I think I'm pretty sure I said something very similar. But, please, don't quote me on that.
EB
 

rousseau

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I'd propose something like 'enlightened naturalism'.

Find meaning by embracing the meaningless and realize that this is the starting point to an authentic and aware life.

Everything else is a form of delusion.

To expand on this a bit (it was written from my smartphone), I think there are roughly two states to human life: delusion, and non-delusion. Of course one can't be all knowing and there will always be blind spots, but there can be an awareness of the universe as essentially materialistic and driven by natural laws.

The kicker there is that this awareness should be the secular person's end goal, because it is the starting point of a life that's driven by reality and not fantasy. Once you realize that the things that happen to you are essentially dictated by your understanding and interaction with the material world, then you gain the ability to act in the world with intention and understanding, rather than delusion. You see things as they really are and consequently exist in the world as it really is.

Goal setting is another thing entirely. Once you're aware of how the world really works you're basically free to do whatever you want. In one sense this is absurd, but in another sense this is the most free you will ever be, and the only way you can be free. There is no inherent meaning to this besides the experience itself.

Opting a priori for materialism, or some form of it whereby the material world would necessarily be the starting point, seems irrational to me. The rational thing to do in my view is to go for the most plausible option while keeping your mind open. I doubt very much anybody understands how the world works. Those who think they do are deluded. We've lost a lot of our delusions during the last few centuries but the potential was probably limitless to begin with. The most demoralising thing to avoid in my view is for people to realise suddenly late in life that what they have believed all their lives is just crap. Any prior experience in this respect should tell you not to put all your eggs in the same basket. In particular, if it turns out that our civilisation is unable to preserve a minimum of our natural environment, which is a plausible outcome right now, we'll have to adjust to the new situation. We are very creative as a species compared to other animals but we'll have to do it even more in this case and it will become really crucial to our survival. I think it's a bit late to advocate "enlightened naturalism".
EB

I disagree. A complete understanding of everything? No. But the movement of society, history, biology etc.. those things are knowable. To me that's a basic starting point, or at the very least the acceptance that the only real path to a better life is the acquisition of knowledge and perspective.

Granted, for a lot of people the whole concept of meaning itself is meaningless, and this question is irrelevant.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

Humanity does not currently possess what it takes to understand enlightened naturalism. We're just about consuming and reproducing because that's been the selection process literally forever. Humanity does not even understand natural selection and evolution which is the key to understanding all our current problems - and opportunities.

I'm selfish too in that I wish to possess as much knowledge as I can. I think that's the key to purpose and meaning and having a future worth living. But I don't want to do it at the expense of destroying all that gives life meaning and purpose.

Perhaps humanity should strive to control its emotional nature. Maybe that's the best secular purpose out there. Then maybe humanity could find meaning that doesn't include the destruction that's been its legacy.
 

DrZoidberg

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Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

I didn't understand this? I thought that, religion, if anything is about glorifying the group? Christianity isn't about glorifying Jesus. Even if the guy actually existed, he's long dead now. He's just a symbol to keep the group together.
 

Speakpigeon

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Opting a priori for materialism, or some form of it whereby the material world would necessarily be the starting point, seems irrational to me. The rational thing to do in my view is to go for the most plausible option while keeping your mind open. I doubt very much anybody understands how the world works. Those who think they do are deluded. We've lost a lot of our delusions during the last few centuries but the potential was probably limitless to begin with. The most demoralising thing to avoid in my view is for people to realise suddenly late in life that what they have believed all their lives is just crap. Any prior experience in this respect should tell you not to put all your eggs in the same basket. In particular, if it turns out that our civilisation is unable to preserve a minimum of our natural environment, which is a plausible outcome right now, we'll have to adjust to the new situation. We are very creative as a species compared to other animals but we'll have to do it even more in this case and it will become really crucial to our survival. I think it's a bit late to advocate "enlightened naturalism".
EB

I disagree. A complete understanding of everything? No. But the movement of society, history, biology etc.. those things are knowable. To me that's a basic starting point, or at the very least the acceptance that the only real path to a better life is the acquisition of knowledge and perspective.

So maybe what you called "the world" here just is whatever it is we seem to understand. In this case, no need to assume knowledge. Some hallucinations may give you the certainty that you understand how the world works.

And can you understand how the world works just by seeing every day of your life the Sun goes up in the sky in the morning and down behind the horizon in the evening? Do you understand the world if you assume that the Sun revolves around the Earth as the evidence clearly shows? And what could possibly be fundamentally different about our knowledge of the world now as opposed to our knowledge of the world at the time of Pope Gregory XV?

Granted, for a lot of people the whole concept of meaning itself is meaningless, and this question is irrelevant.

Sorry, I don't see the relevance of that to what I said.
EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought.

Why "depressing"? Being "not so bright" is only relative. We're not God but we're certainly brighter than any other creature we know of. That's surely something to cheer about.

Also, this business of finding meaning in life perhaps should be understood as a strategy to be more effective. We can definitely be much more effective when we work together, "as a team" so to speak, and this maybe requires that we should share something like a "meaning in life".

And then religions shouldn't be seen as something completely imbecile but as a particular contingent expression of this strategy, like business, professional and political organisations, institutions and associations may be for example.

Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

Which religion glorifies the individual exactly?

And your claim that religion destroys "all those things good" is both very vague and extreme.

Humanity does not currently possess what it takes to understand enlightened naturalism. We're just about consuming and reproducing because that's been the selection process literally forever. Humanity does not even understand natural selection and evolution which is the key to understanding all our current problems - and opportunities.

Maybe it's the key to understand many problems but "all our current problems"?! Sounds farfetched to me.

I'm selfish too in that I wish to possess as much knowledge as I can. I think that's the key to purpose and meaning and having a future worth living. But I don't want to do it at the expense of destroying all that gives life meaning and purpose.

Sounds contradictory to me. Trying to possess as much knowledge as you can might destroy knowledge?!

Perhaps humanity should strive to control its emotional nature. Maybe that's the best secular purpose out there.

It seems to me that we've made some progress in that direction. Yet, I'm not sure it's necessarily a good thing either.

Then maybe humanity could find meaning that doesn't include the destruction that's been its legacy.

It seems that's what we're trying to do except for a few very deranged individuals...
EB
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

I didn't understand this? I thought that, religion, if anything is about glorifying the group? Christianity isn't about glorifying Jesus. Even if the guy actually existed, he's long dead now. He's just a symbol to keep the group together.

You could not be more wrong. Think about it. Heaven is an individual reward, the ultimate hedonism, the perfect reward, not something to be missed or denied, perhaps the most selfish expression of human desires ever invented. Every potential entrant is judged based upon their behavior. Group identity is only a means to an end. We're all sinners but we're not all saved so we've got to figure out exactly what the spaceman wants. If our fave preacher isn't delivering we go elsewhere. We read and ruminate on those scriptural passages to find the mysteries revealed so that we can enter the ultimate paradise. This little earthly life is only a means to an end.

Dude, you've been away from the pews too long.
 
Last edited:

DrZoidberg

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Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

I didn't understand this? I thought that, religion, if anything is about glorifying the group? Christianity isn't about glorifying Jesus. Even if the guy actually existed, he's long dead now. He's just a symbol to keep the group together.

You could not be more wrong. Think about it. Heaven is an individual reward, the ultimate hedonism, the perfect reward, not something to be missed or denied, perhaps the most selfish expression of human desires ever invented. Every potential entrant is judged based upon their behavior. Group identity is only a means to an end. We're all sinners but we're not all saved so we've got to figure out exactly what the spaceman wants. If our fave preacher isn't delivering we go elsewhere. We read and ruminate on those scriptural passages to find the mysteries revealed so that we can enter the ultimate paradise.

Dude, you've been away from the pews too long.

I was raised in Sweden. I mer my first theist as an adult. Religion is dead in Sweden
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Then maybe humanity could find meaning that doesn't include the destruction that's been its legacy.

It seems that's what we're trying to do except for a few very deranged individuals...
EB

There are certainly notable humans making attempts to live with the natural world or which they are part. I am a member of the Sierra Club, for example, those left wing mofos who always seem to spring up to oppose mining and drilling, pipelines and development in pristine areas. Yes, I do everything to minimize my carbon footprint but for the most part I'm losing the battles and the war. We're really killing out mother, our home, doing it as a group, and I'm as guilty as the next person, though perhaps to some lesser extent.

The problem is we've occupied and industrialized the entire planet, the human flood plains are all occupied and being consumed.

Do some people still care? Certainly. Are there enough? Not nearly.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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egalitarian
You could not be more wrong. Think about it. Heaven is an individual reward, the ultimate hedonism, the perfect reward, not something to be missed or denied, perhaps the most selfish expression of human desires ever invented. Every potential entrant is judged based upon their behavior. Group identity is only a means to an end. We're all sinners but we're not all saved so we've got to figure out exactly what the spaceman wants. If our fave preacher isn't delivering we go elsewhere. We read and ruminate on those scriptural passages to find the mysteries revealed so that we can enter the ultimate paradise.

Dude, you've been away from the pews too long.

I was raised in Sweden. I mer my first theist as an adult. Religion is dead in Sweden

That is good to know. Thank-you. You give me hope. I consider myself a Swede.
 

PyramidHead

Contributor
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
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5,080
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RI
Basic Beliefs
Marxist-Leninist
To derive meaning from life, at least if we're talking about emotional fulfillment, necessarily involves disrespecting others who are in the same position. This is part of life's central dilemma, and the reason why Nietzsche was correct that saying "yes" to life means discarding or suspending morality. He pursued this idea to the conclusion that we must affirm life, and so much for morality if it doesn't let us do that. He did not consider the more obvious conclusion: we must be moral, and so much for life if it doesn't let us do that. Somehow, even though morality carries with it a natural motivating force, it is always relegated to a secondary level and made subservient to the life-impulse, itself never subjected to scrutiny, moral or otherwise.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,945
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Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
I disagree. I watch many swedish mysteries and dramas on MHZ. Religion is a significant factor in about half of the episodes. Episodes such as The Bridge, Beck, The Inspector and the Sea, Irene Huss, Unni Lindell and Lackburgs Murders were filmed after 2013.

So provide evidence other than personal testimony, perhaps out of one's fart hole, perhaps not, that religion is dead in Sweden. As I understand it Sweden is a bit more than Stockholm and Malmo that city on the other side of the bridge from Denmark.

Besides It's my impression that Sweden is anything but the humanist bastion of northern Europe.
 

Speakpigeon

Contributor
Joined
Feb 4, 2009
Messages
6,317
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Paris, France, EU
Basic Beliefs
Rationality (i.e. facts + logic), Scepticism (not just about God but also everything beyond my subjective experience)
Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

I didn't understand this? I thought that, religion, if anything is about glorifying the group? Christianity isn't about glorifying Jesus. Even if the guy actually existed, he's long dead now. He's just a symbol to keep the group together.

You could not be more wrong. Think about it. Heaven is an individual reward, the ultimate hedonism, the perfect reward, not something to be missed or denied, perhaps the most selfish expression of human desires ever invented. Every potential entrant is judged based upon their behavior. Group identity is only a means to an end. We're all sinners but we're not all saved so we've got to figure out exactly what the spaceman wants. If our fave preacher isn't delivering we go elsewhere. We read and ruminate on those scriptural passages to find the mysteries revealed so that we can enter the ultimate paradise. This little earthly life is only a means to an end.

Dude, you've been away from the pews too long.

I don't see how the Christian's promise to enter Heaven on condition of being morally worthy of itis could amount to "glorifying the individual". Rather the reverse on the face of it. If you want to enter Heaven, you're asked to forget about living a selfish life and become instead an active member of the human community. It's clearly giving precedence to the group.

That's not specific to religion, of course. The state requires each citizen to give precedence to the country. Each individual employee has to submit to the objectives of the business if the business is to survive. Associations obviously do it, too.

It's only recently that commercial interests are systematically promoting a culture of "glorifying the individual", playing on the delusion often young people will have that they, too, can live magical lives like movie stars and footballers. Nothing to do with religion.
EB
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
11,189
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Humanity is not so bright. So to think how that group will find meaning and purpose is a depressing thought. Having a religious purpose seems to have the effect of destroying all those things good in the name of glorifying the individual.

Humanity does not currently possess what it takes to understand enlightened naturalism. We're just about consuming and reproducing because that's been the selection process literally forever. Humanity does not even understand natural selection and evolution which is the key to understanding all our current problems - and opportunities.

I'm selfish too in that I wish to possess as much knowledge as I can. I think that's the key to purpose and meaning and having a future worth living. But I don't want to do it at the expense of destroying all that gives life meaning and purpose.

Perhaps humanity should strive to control its emotional nature. Maybe that's the best secular purpose out there. Then maybe humanity could find meaning that doesn't include the destruction that's been its legacy.

So humans ain't so bright and tend to be self destructive. Do what humans have done through history, eat, drink, enjoy as best you can?
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,526
Humanity does not currently possess what it takes to understand enlightened naturalism. We're just about consuming and reproducing because that's been the selection process literally forever. Humanity does not even understand natural selection and evolution which is the key to understanding all our current problems - and opportunities.

You're talking the same humanity that throws their beer in the air when a random number generator puts a point on the board for their arbitrary political territory? :D

It's always been this way. Philosophies and goals are ideals to strive toward, not universally attainable. There are always going to be people who are incapable of seeing the world for what it is, but that doesn't mean it can't be a real ideal to strive toward. Some will get it, some won't.

Universally, human condition type stuff, I'd argue there can really only be sub-goals that individual people find uniquely meaningful.
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,526
So maybe what you called "the world" here just is whatever it is we seem to understand. In this case, no need to assume knowledge. Some hallucinations may give you the certainty that you understand how the world works.

What about tangible evidence that your understanding leads to consistent, positive outcomes and a more enjoyable, flourishing life?

Sorry, I don't see the relevance of that to what I said.
EB

It was less related to what you said, and more of an aside. What I was getting at is that the experience of the 'man on the street' vs the 'philosopher' is very different. Most people aren't spending their days contemplating meaning, they're just living, and so questions of meaning hold no relevance to them, making this thread moot.
 
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