Are you an atheist?

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Is belief in a higher power even a question or subject which really comes up these days? The argument obviously hasn't been and likely never will be settled, but it feels less pressing by the day. Peter Hitchens presents it as a moral question of what kind of universe you wish to live in, but just deciding the universe is the way you want it to be seems a little flimsy to me.

Personally, I'm agnostic. My gut currently says there is no God, but that isn't proof and I can't come to a conclusion either way.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
What I believe in could be called God, largely a semantic issue. Namely, a sort of underway cosmic algorithm that "pushes" itself through and beyond matter. Not deterministic, per se, but also not random. Seems "stochastic" is better. Hence all the sayings that God is in everything, that God is everything, etc. It all fits, as far as I can tell. Approximations of infinity, right? Makes sense that issues arise when we treat an approximation like the real deal.

My apologies if these spiels are getting tiresome for anybody, I can try to hold it back if its cramping too many threads here. Which is a perfectly reasonable complaint, as far as I'm concerned.

@Corpsey heresy in the ears of the Lukaphants, I know.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Spinoza's metaphysics consists of one thing, Substance, and its modifications (modes). Early in The Ethics Spinoza argues that there is only one Substance, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused, and eternal. Substance causes an infinite number of attributes (the intellect perceiving an abstract concept or essence) and modes (things following from attributes and modes). He calls this Substance "God", or "Nature". In fact, he takes these two terms to be synonymous (in the Latin the phrase he uses is "Deus sive Natura"), but readers often disregard his neutral monism. During his time, this statement was seen as literally equating the existing world with God - for which he was accused of atheism. Spinoza asserted that the whole of the natural universe is made of one Substance – God or Nature – and its modifications (modes).
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Yeah, I can see the similarity, I think. I think the critical aspect is that the development of the universe isn't quite guided by something, nor is it chaotic, but something in the middle. Like how biological evolution manages to progress: hedging its bets, probing in a variety of directions, then "deciding" based on the feedback what the next set of probes should look like. Like feeling its way through the dark, yet managing to secure a footing and a general direction.

What do you think of the premise that all some higher power did was activate the cosmos, which would be able to self-assemble out of an initial singularity? Compatible with simulation theory, which unfortunately seems bogged down by our imagery of computers and simulations.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Perhaps the theistic argument would be that God isn't overseeing the assembly of the cosmos, but is the force of self-assembly itself.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
What do you think of the premise that all some higher power did was activate the cosmos, which would be able to self-assemble out of an initial singularity? Compatible with simulation theory, which unfortunately seems bogged down by our imagery of computers and simulations.
The same thing I think of every idea about God: it seems possible.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Are you interested in theistic arguments that promise alignment with science, or do you think the two are better off on their own?
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Are you (or anyone else here really) interested in advancing our gnosis? How else could it advance, if not through being informed by science?
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
As an aside, its interesting how "gnosis" and "science" overlap semantically/etymologically, yet differ vastly in spirit.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I really wish I had a better knowledge of him - is his stuff similar?
I was going to mention Spinoza myself, actually

his metaphysics are famously difficult to understand

partially by design, is my understanding, to (unsuccessfully) avoid charges of blasphemy, atheism, etc

but I understand it to be basically that God is synonymous with not with Nature but with the infinite potentiality of expressions of matter - that is, modes - by the natural forces of the universe - what we would now call gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear force. he doesn't resolve so as much sidestep the "but what caused God" problem with the whole self-causing, eternal thing. I can't remember exactly but a bunch of the first book of Ethics are devoted God being the only thing which can cause itself to be, which has always been, etc.

I wouldn't call myself a Spinozist except in the very loosest, figurative sense of God as the ultimate emergent property, which I don't think Spinoza himself would agree with
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
he's an extremely fascinating character in any regard, the philosopher's philosopher

an extremely rare and by the far the most famous excommunicate from Judaism

the rare philosopher who largely lived "virtuously" in accordance with his philosophy
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I talk with religious people occasionally, I always find it interesting

there's a guy I have lunch with every now and then, an ex-con who had a moment of true conversion to a strict kind of Lutheranism (I think)

he's really into Bible study in a hermeneutic sense but he's also a Biblical literalist. very strange, always interesting to talk with.

also used to pal around with a Sikh guy back when, visited his temple a couple times, very interesting experience
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
one of the many ironies of Spinoza is that he spends the entire first part of his magnum opus arguing for the irrefutable existence of God and it gets him denounced as an atheist

I don't know the history of philosophy as well as some people here but I find it interesting how he follows on from Des Cartes (and Aquinas I guess?)

how these guys whose entire project was proving the existence of god to remove doubt wound up doing exactly the opposite and creating the space for doubt

or that's my understanding, it may not be totally accurate
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
I'm not a religious person nor ever set out with the specific end of some spiritual system, but Ive found its hard to maintain any sort of intellectual pursuit without these thoughts crowding in on the edges. So I guess I've reframed the question around where spirituality begins and ends, and in this frame of reference the ontological God question becomes a question about infinity. Whats my understanding of infinity? whats my relationship to infinity? and are/how these spiritual concerns? That all probably makes me a cowardly agnostic
 
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