BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Existential Angst And The God Factor





Once upon a time....


Mankind was rooting around on the earth for a few billion years, picking his nose, learning how to walk upright and how to wipe his butt with a smooth leaf. At an undescribed time, mankind became intellectually aware of death after watching his mate be the dinner of a large hairy thing with bad breath. This elicited the response: - "Help! Help! I am going to die! And I don't wanna!" Mankind roots around a bit more, makes a spear and sits down and thinks on the rare times that he isn't fodder for a hungry sabre toothed tiger.


After thinking about the tiger, he screams a few more times and gets very nervous in a natural environment which obviously exists to do him in. He begins to develop dependencies and affections for members of his own species who also scream out "Help! Help! I am going to die! And I don't wanna!" a few times as well. They try to comfort each other as best as they can, but seeing no resolution to their impeding deaths, they scream in unision, "Help! Help! We are going to die!" Things start to get a bit tricky at this stage. There is a lot of fear and a lot of screaming and not much spear making, hunting, gathering or cave painting occurring as the fear of their impeding death is becoming an all-consuming reality. The situation begins to spiral out of control, the natural world is strong, powerful, threatening and dangerous.


Enter one of the most frightened members of the tribe. He has screamed out "Help! Help! I am going to die! himself a few times and understands the fear factor. Whilst sitting in the back of the cave one day and feeling extremely hungry because everyone is too paralysed with fear to hunt, he notices a piece of deer meat in his belly button that wasn't there the day before. Now even primitive man knew that deer meat doesn't grow in people's belly buttons, but not being too much of a bright spark anyway, he decides that it must be a gift from the sun, because there was a ray of sunlight shining onto his belly button so that he would find it. The sun must WANT HIM TO LIVE. After chewing the piece of deer meat whilst running his fingers through the sunbeam in thanks, he runs outside to tell his fellow tribesmen of the power of the sun.


The tribesman explains what happened, embellishing it a bit as everyone likes a good story and we shouldn't let the truth get in the way of it. By the time the story has ended, the rest of the tribe are convinced that by worshipping the sun that they will never go hungry. But not only that, but the sun will ensure that if they worship him in the right way, that he will let them join him in the sky after they die. People start to settle down a bit more after that. They start to make spears again, but these new spears have images of the sun engraved on them, to show not only their respect, but to imbue the spears with the power of the sun, the power to provide food. The power to provide food means the power to provide life. And the power to provide life means the possibility of escaping death.


Everyone seems a lot happier, work is being completed, people's bellies are full, the cave walls have beautiful sun pictures and deers on them and people are less afraid of death because of the relationship they have with the powerful sun. The tribesman, who had this revelation about the sun, goes on to become the expert concerning the sun's wants, desires and concerns. Which just goes to show that the best job, is the job you create for yourself. As the font of all knowledge concerning the sun and the tribes lives, he attains for himself a place of superiority within the tribe sometimes equal to, and even surpassing that of the tribal leader.


The people start to demand that the tribal leader consult the shaman (as he will know be called), on all matters concerning the tribes activities, as they wish to be assured that their actions will be pleasing to the sun. They don't want to incur the sun's wrath so that he doesn't make good his promise of life. They also remember those feelings of dread, fear and anxiety before the sun and the knowledge of the sun, came into their lives, so all their activities must meet with the sun's approval.


Unfortunately, sometimes the rituals to the sun don't work. All the chanting, painting of sun pictures around their navels, and food offerings to the shaman (told you it was a good job), don't have the desired effect. The shaman heads off to the back of the cave where he has a special rock with a sun picture on it to do some thinking and talking to the sun. After contemplating his navel for a few hours and the lack of food within, he decides that it is the fault of some members of the tribe, that is making the sun punish them.


He remembers how one of the tribe doesn't make the sign of the sun, (drawing a circle in the air), when he passes. He remembers that one of the youngest members of the tribe mentioned how the moon helped her to find her way home in the dark and that perhaps they should be offering food and chants of worship to the moon as well. There will have to be more rules about what the sun wants. And these rules must be obeyed without question. It is the only way to ensure that the tribe survives. The new rules are accepted without any real degree of questioning, except for the tribe member who is convinced that she is the voice of the moon. The shaman uses his authority as accepted and revered spokesperson for the sun, to insist that the tribe's troubles are the result of disloyalty to the sun. Hence, the offending tribe member is offered up as a sacrifice to the sun, to show the sun that they acknowledge him as the supreme power over their lives. The member of the tribe who was lax in making the sign of the sun, has a sun symbol burnt into her forehead to remind her of the error of her ways.


Now the tribe only has to concern themselves with pleasing the shaman and their sun. Occasionally, terrible things still happen, people are still eaten by wild, hairy animals with bad breath, but at least they get to go and live with the sun as long as they have been loyal followers. People still go hungry, but they have now accepted that it is their fault. It must be because they have displeased the sun in some way, and if they only chant enough, place enough offerings on the sun altar, or ask for forgiveness from the sun, all will be ok. They have become victims of their own creation, but some comfort is better than the thought that they are on their own.






"Help" - The Beatles




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38 Comments:

Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Great story and you carried it off so well with the addition of the humor that it deserved. Okay, gotta go and check my navel for deer meat. If the sun placed some there I'm gonna be more than a tad surprised. ;)

1/3/07 2:59 am  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Some say there is a part of the brain called the "God Part", because of humanity's knowledge of, and fear of death. Because of the G spot of the brain, we have religion.

1/3/07 4:56 am  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Very well written. Kind of sounds like the rhetoric coming from those in power here in the west! ; (

1/3/07 5:36 am  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Yikes! Sorry. While rummaging around I found a tape of J Krishnamurti I have from 1979 before he died. I converted the first side of the tape to an MP3 if you're interested in hearing it. If so, let me know and I'll post the URL for you.

1/3/07 5:38 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Curious. I just posted something on death before I checked in here. Curious coincidence.

A plausible explanation from a purely naturalistic perspective.

There is another plausible explanation. That man, as a created being, has a racial memory of that status. He is aware of the infinite and stands in awe of it. The looming infinite appears not impersonal but personal. This memory lies close to root of the impulse which brings man to formulate various forms of religion, to provide him with some sense of returning to it.

The process, on its own, will always fail because all of man's fear of the infinite (mysterius tremendum) cannot be answered by his own reason. The infinite has to come to him. He cannot rise to it.

1/3/07 5:57 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

typo: mysterium tremendum
(cf. Rudolf Otto "The Idea of the Holy", Mircea Eliade, "The Sacred and the Profane" )

1/3/07 6:01 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

gadfly said...
The infinite has to come to him. He cannot rise to it.

I agree. This works for the God of the Bible but I see some religions that are works-based.

1/3/07 8:08 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
The looming infinite appears not impersonal but personal. This memory lies close to root of the impulse which brings man to formulate various forms of religion, to provide him with some sense of returning to it.
To which I reply:
"What man calls Absolute Being, his God, is his own being. The power of the object over him is therefore the power of his own being. Thus, the power of the object of feeling is the power of feeling itself; the power of the object of reason is the power of reason itself; and the power of the object of will is the power of the will itself." - Feuerbach.

1/3/07 10:08 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE patricia:

If you find any deer meat there, don't forget that you owe me 10% for helping you to know where to look. ;)

RE renegade: Thanks for reminding me, I might post about "the god part of the brain" at a later date.

RE coffee: Sure, post the link, I will have a listen. :)

1/3/07 10:34 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly:

Supposing my explanation was a "non-humanistic one", I would only be able to accept all supposed revelation as true, as there is no supernatural methodology to test the veracity of any supernatural claim.

UNLESS, I had a specific predilection for one version due to it being forged through culture, politics and societal recommendations.

And as most people are quite cultural or tribal specific in their attitudes,behaviours, and thinking patterns, I would be left promoting the "revelation", into which I was socialized in the first place.

1/3/07 10:47 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: the notion of the infinite as being a personalised being.

The concepts of anthropomorphism and personification, explain this quite well.

These concepts are also evident in most religions, and religious rituals which suggests, at least to this humanistic brain, that religions are psychological examples of interpreting the natural world as extensions of ourselves.

1/3/07 10:51 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA:

Great quote, BTW.

1/3/07 10:53 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
Thanks.
Of course, if the caveman was an Outie, there'd be no deer meat, right? ;)
Anyways, that's 1 huge belly-button.
I assume there's a symbolic reference to navel-gazing?;)

1/3/07 12:37 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Re: KA

Yes, a reference to navel gazing, but also a reference to correlation not being necessarily equal to causation.

"Correlation does not imply causation is a phrase used in the sciences and statistics to indicate that correlation between two variables does not imply there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

Its converse correlation implies causation is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are prematurely claimed to have a cause-and-effect relationship. It is also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for "with this, therefore because of this") and false cause."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

(But you know that anyway)

So, the caveman correlated 2 situations 1. deer meat in his belly button and 2. the sunbeam shining on it and went on to create and to believe in a relationship between the 2 which did not exist.

It is an extremely easy thing to do, these false or dodgy correlations. I remember once using the microwave to heat something up, and in the instant that I pressed the start button, there was a huge clap of lightning.

For a moment I thought that the sound of the lightning was actually the microwave blowing up.

If, however, I imagined lightning, or the actions of lightning, as an anthropomophic powerful entity, I may have jumped to the conclusion that the "lighning god" didn't want me to use a microwave to heat my food. I may have embellished this further, by denouncing all electrical equipment as a heresy against the one true electric god, lightning.

1/3/07 1:04 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I think the point is that the caveman did not look for any other reason as to how the deer meat got in his belly button. It was just a morsel, yet he leapt to the premature conclusion that it was the sun who wanted him to have it.

My implication was that he was a sloppy eater. can't imagine that table manners were high on the list of priorities. lol

1/3/07 1:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mankind has been on the earth for a few BILLION years, eh? well i learned something today.

1/3/07 1:47 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE anonymous

Hang around, you might learn to lace your shoelaces too.

1/3/07 2:04 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
For a moment I thought that the sound of the lightning was actually the microwave blowing up.
Interesting. I was at a Tai Chi class - my style (Chen) entails stomping. The building is an old complex.
I stomped one time, thought I shook the building.
Somebody just slammed a door real hard.

1/3/07 3:11 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE anonymous:

I won't allow you to post porn sites on here. They will be deleted. Go and post them on your religious site.

1/3/07 10:52 pm  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

http://rapidshare.com/files/18839774/k-_1.mp3

It's about 45 minutes long. When I was divorced, I was going to see Krishnamurti, but he died. This tape is all that is left of my journey into other realms.

If you want the other side, I can do it next week sometime, otherwise, Cheers to you! ; )

1/3/07 11:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA

Remember when you were a kid and you would spin yourself round and round until you got dizzy? Maybe you had more sense not to do that, but I know we used to make quite a game of it here when I was a kid.

I can remember, (aparts from being told to stop it and that I would make myself sick), being corrected when I said something like " Ohhh, all the world is spinning around."

I was quite quickly told that it wasn't. The world wasn't spinning. (And of course I was talking about the appearnace of it spinning, not the reality of it spinning on its axis.)

This all sounds terribly pedantic to a lot of people, but it is a lesson in perception and the validity of a subjective experience.

I didn't make the world spin. The world APPEARED to spin TO ME because of my actions. These actions resulted in my perception of the world altering. The world itself did not alter.

In other words, how we put 2 and 2 together makes a great deal of difference. Many people put 2 and 2 together and get 5. (Figuratively speaking.) Their personal experience and interpretation of it may not be what is actually happening from the point of view of an objective bystander.

Consequently, a tree falls in the forest and makes a sound regardless of whether I am there to hear it or not. Because, the tree and the resultant sound, doesn't need my perception of its falling in order to fall. It doesn't need my permission to exist, nor my recognition of its existence, in order to fall.

I know this because I don't need to subjectively experience its falling, in order to objectively know that trees do fall.

Perhaps everyone is taught more often today, that it is their subjective view of the world which counts as truth, or reality. I don't know.

But there seems to be a marked trend towards a subjective opinion being as valuable as an objective one. It is too late for me to hop on that bandwagon. It seems to me that where anything is true, nothing is true.

1/3/07 11:36 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE coffee: Thank you for posting the link. I will have a listen to it.

1/3/07 11:38 pm  
Anonymous gadfly said...

A couple of thoughts:

Any explanation for the prevalence of religious thinking that "evolved" in mankind (such as your deer meat example - which I admit is pretty cute) must account for the multiplicity of discontinuous instances in which it arose.

To say that one cave man had an insight/illusion/ supernatural explanatory idea and that somehow it virtually took over the extended range of human communities is to trace all of human religiosity to a single community.

According to evolutionary theory that is way too early. Man's religious consciousness is posited to be a product of cultural interaction at a fairly high level. Such an situation as you propose would need to happen virtually simultaneously across a wide spectrum of settlements, separated by significant distances and unsafe frontiers.

Further, the general theory is that man's earliest religious consciousness was not tied to the fear of his own death but to the unknown. Animism saw spirits behind the unexplained tides in the river, the sudden appearance of flowers in spring, the movement of the air, etc.

Fear of inevitable death is an abstraction. Only humans seem to possess this trait though all animals fear a threat of imminent death. So, pondering the idea that "I don't want to die" requires a fairly advanced state of evolution.

So, I think on those grounds, that your particular scenario, though plausible, is highly improbable.

1/3/07 11:45 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Gadfly: is to trace all of human religiosity to a single community

I don't think so. Just because Beep has singled out one particular belief doesn't mean there aren't others.

Consider that we have many different religions in this world of ours. One cave man finds deer meat in the sunlight where another, living closer to the coast may have found crab meat by moonlight, between his toes.

Animism saw spirits behind the unexplained tides in the river

Just as the bible sees god as the creator of the universe.

Fear of inevitable death is an abstraction.

But it is the promise of eternal life that is the lure.

2/3/07 12:17 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly

I am not claiming that this is how all religions developed, merely that they developed according to the needs of man. In this instance, I am positing the idea that mankind becoming aware of death, and that the person or animal is no longer responsive, is a motivator towards religious belief. It is a motivator towards religious beliefs that especially claim a life after death.

RE: "According to evolutionary theory that is way too early. Man's religious consciousness is posited to be a product of cultural interaction at a fairly high level."

I am perplexed what you mean by "religious consciousness." Mankind posited all sorts of seemingly inexplicable natural events to powers outside of his control. Traditional Australian aborigines, for example, would be viewed by many people from a western perspective to be culturally and socially primitive. (They are often described as stone age people as they did not have the knowledge of forging metals for example, nor the knowledge of pottery for that matter either.)

Yet regardless of this western perception, they had a very complex, indepth "religious consciousness." It does not require "modern man" in order to have a highly organized concept of religion. Not does it require "modern man" to have concepts of man surviving death in an afterlife. The ability to form abstract concepts like religion require at least 2 things. A concept of self and the use of expressive formalized language. Both of which, the aboriginal peoples had in abundance.

My story, and you will notice that it started with "Once uon a time", was a way to express how mankind creates religious concepts. In the case in question, it shows how fear can be a driving force in the willingness to believe, and how fear can be a driving force to perpetuate the beliefs.

RE: "Further, the general theory is that man's earliest religious consciousness was not tied to the fear of his own death but to the unknown. Animism saw spirits behind the unexplained tides in the river, the sudden appearance of flowers in spring, the movement of the air, etc."

I agree except with the first part. We don't know if a motivating factor in religious belief was fear, but I will suggest that fear is always one of the factors.

When mankind first decided to worship fire, for example, they worshipped the inherent power of the fire. Fire was something not only something useful,but also something to be feared, as with its benefits were also potential harm and destruction.

So, the worshipping of fire was not only a way to try and explain and deal with the mysterious properties of fire, but with that was the hope that the fire, or the fire god, would not harm them. There was the hope, that through ritual and observamce, that they could keep the "fire god" or "fire spirit" happy, so that its presence was beneficial to them, and not harmful.

RE: "though all animals fear a threat of imminent death"

I don't think that this is true. I am not convinced that all animals are capable of experiencing fear from a biological point of reference. In order to experience fear, an animal needs a well-developed and sophistocated central nervous system. Not all animals have this. Zooplankton, for example, certainly do NOT fit this description, neither would bacteria or most insects.

What biologists consider to be higher order animals - those that do have a central nervous system, are biologically capable of experiencing fear. Which is why we can observe the characteristics of fear in animals fleeing from a predator. (Dilated pupils, shortness of breath, rapid heart beat, increased blood pressure, and the release of large amounts of adrenalin.)

Recognizing that fear exists in other animals does not by necessity, equate to a concept of death. In order to have a concept of death, one would need to be conscious of self. (They may know that they don't want to be eaten, but this is not the same as an abstract concept such as death.

There is evidence that higher order animals such as orangutangs, chimpanzees and apes, have a concept of self and self- existence.

For example, they are able to recognize themselves in a mirror. They are capable of intellectually assessing that the image is them, and not some other ape or chimpanzee.

So, the prerequisites may be that an animal would need to have a concept of self in order to have a concept of "death of the self". But even if an animal has a concept of self, this doesn't automatically determine that they have a concept of death.

The concept of death is an abstraction. It isn't like developing a concept of food, or sex, or walking. The ability to use language seems to be a major factor in the devolopment of abstract concepts. Chimpanzees may be able to think on a concrete level, and also to use not only body language and vocalizations to pass on simple messages, bit it is a leap to say that they, or all animals have developed a highly abstract concept like death.

RE: "So, pondering the idea that "I don't want to die" requires a fairly advanced state of evolution."

It requires at least a concept of self, and a developed,formalized language through which one could express the concepts of fear and death.

2/3/07 12:47 am  
Anonymous gadfly said...

Re: Ted - Consider that we have many different religions in this world of ours. One cave man finds deer meat in the sunlight where another, living closer to the coast may have found crab meat by moonlight, between his toes.

All I have time for is this quick note: If it was not a single instance from which all subsequent religious behaviors are attributed, then the only alternative is that endemic (sp?) in man is a tendency to ascribe supernatural behaviors to that which he cannot understand.

This would argue that our essential humanity cannot be separated from a religious mindset. To seek to separate man from religion would be to argue that he must oppose his own nature.

2/3/07 1:14 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly:

"This would argue that our essential humanity cannot be separated from a religious mindset. To seek to separate man from religion would be to argue that he must oppose his own nature."

No. This would argue that wherever there is a lack of knowledge, mankind inserts a god.

2/3/07 1:56 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
To seek to separate man from religion would be to argue that he must oppose his own nature.
"But if religion, i.e., the consciousness of God, is characterized as the self-consciousness of man, this does not mean that the religious man is directly aware that his consciousness of God is his self-consciousness, for it is precisely the absence of such an awareness that is responsible for the peculiar nature of religion. Hence, in order to eliminate this misunderstanding, it would be better to say that religion is the first, but indirect, self-consciousness of man. That is why religion precedes philosophy everywhere, in the history of mankind as well as in the history of the individual. Man transposes his essential being outside himself before he finds it within himself." - Feuerbach.

2/3/07 7:31 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Gadfly: This would argue that our essential humanity cannot be separated from a religious mindset. To seek to separate man from religion would be to argue that he must oppose his own nature.

I have to agree with Beep here because you said it yourself: a tendency to ascribe supernatural behaviors to that which he cannot understand.

But not so much what he cannot understand, only that which is not understood as yet. As man comes to understand his surroundings, discoveries are made which render certain beliefs invalid. River spirits that manipulate currents for instance, are no longer required because we now understand enough of hydrodynamics to be able to explain why they are there and behave the way they do.

Authur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. In the case of ancient man, this concept can be extended to include everything from why rain falls from the sky to the process of procreation.

There are a multitude of religions in this world, as I said. Some are younger than the Judaic traditions, some are older, but all grew to reflect the surroundings in which they were spawned.

KA: Excellent quotes...:)

2/3/07 10:50 am  
Anonymous gadfly said...

As long as we are quoting Feuerbach, let's let the sword cut both ways:

"What theology and philosophy have held to be God, the Absolute, the Infinite, is not God; but that which they have held not to be God is God: namely, the attribute, the quality, whatever has reality. Hence he alone is the true atheist to whom the predicates of the Divine Being, — for example, love, wisdom, justice, — are nothing; not he to whom merely the subject of these predicates is nothing. ..." (The Essence of Christianity).

Couldn't have said it better myself. If one ascribes any ultimacy to an abstraction such as love, justice, etc. then one cannot truly be an Atheist.

3/3/07 12:00 pm  
Anonymous gadfly said...

Ted - granted, as an Arthur Clark fan, that science does demystify the world. However, as Eliade and others have suggested, this constitutes not an essential change of being, but rather a draping of a veneer of "civilization" which insulates us from the urgings of our own being. It tends to separate us from the immediacy of confrontation with our own limitations. At its root it promotes the sense of human autonomy. It is when this autonomy, at whatever level, is challenged, that our common human lot is to wonder about the supernatural.

I still maintain that man's essential being tends toward the infinite, especially during periods when the great questions of life, purpose and eternity come into focus. When these things mean something in the immediate, man still experiences the urge to cry out to the Being Who Is There.

This, coupled with an intuitive sense of the moral, not of its specific nature but that there is such a thing, points man toward something beyond himself against which he is or should be measured.

Angst is not just a Christian idea. Virtually all religions, including Pagans, have roots in the idea that the Being Who Is There needs to be propitiated in some way.

So... Feuerbach to the contrary, religion is not just projection, better it is intuition.

3/3/07 12:12 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

to gadfly

RE: "However, as Eliade and others have suggested, this constitutes not an essential change of being, but rather a draping of a veneer of "civilization" which insulates us from the urgings of our own being. It tends to separate us from the immediacy of confrontation with our own limitations. At its root it promotes the sense of human autonomy. It is when this autonomy, at whatever level, is challenged, that our common human lot is to wonder about the supernatural."

Can you say explain what your claim is without resorting to "woo woo language."? The above quote is kind of like a pop song, it can be interpolated to mean whatever the reader wants to hear. So, let's have the claim stated in a way which is able to be critically analysed. Or, just resort to what you SHOULD be saying, which is : "I have faith that it is true."

As for the rest of the post, it suffers from essentially the same problem. There is nothing which can be discussed on a critical level.

Example: "I still maintain that man's essential being tends toward the infinite,"

I have no idea what actual claim you are making here. First you would need to state what man's essential being is. Then you would need to explain what "tending towards the infinite means" - and then we could see if we agree on whatever those definitions are.

RE: "Angst is not just a Christian idea. Virtually all religions, including Pagans, have roots in the idea that the Being Who Is There needs to be propitiated in some way."

I agree that angst is not particular to any relgiion. Angst occurs because people become highly emotionally or psychologically concerned either about their 1. actions. 2. purpose. 3 behaviour 4. meaning etc.

So, religious thinking for many people is a means to alleviate angst. Unfortunately, depending on what is believed, it can also be a means to perpetuate angst.

If you wish to make a claim for intuition, or some sort of psychic ability, you need to contact the James Randi Foundation and see if you can collect that $1 mill.

One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
http://www.randi.org/research/index.html

3/3/07 2:36 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
As long as we are quoting Feuerbach, let's let the sword cut both ways:
Nice try, no cigar.
Feuerbach states in the introduction that he uses the theistic language to explain.
You, my friend, are dishonest.

3/3/07 4:26 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
Here's the correct quote, in it's entirety:
"In other words, that which theology and philosophy have so far regarded as God, as the absolute and essential, is not God; but that which they did not regard as God, is precisely God – quality, determination, and reality par excellence. A true atheist, that is, an atheist in the ordinary sense, is therefore he alone to whom the predicates of the Divine Being – for example, love, wisdom, and justice – are nothing, not he to whom only the subject of these predicates is nothing. And the negation of the subject is by no means also necessarily the negation of the, predicates as they are in themselves. The predicates have a reality of their own, have an independent significance; the force of what they contain compels man to recognise them. They prove their truth to man directly through themselves. They are their own proof and evidence. Goodness, justice, and wisdom do not become chimeras if the existence of God is a chimera, nor do they become truths simply because the existence of God is a truth."
From the preface:
"Thus in the first part I show that the true sense of Theology is Anthropology, that there is no distinction between the predicates of the divine and human nature, and, consequently, no distinction between the divine and human subject: I say consequently, for wherever, as is especially the case in theology, the predicates are not accidents, but express the essence of the subject, there is no distinction between subject and predicate, the one can be put in the place of the other; on which point I refer the reader to the Analytics of Aristotle, or even merely to the Introduction of Porphyry. In the second part, on the other hand, I show that the distinction which is made, or rather supposed to be made, between the theological and anthropological predicates resolves itself into an absurdity."
So not only did you misquote the paragraphs, you quote-mined to create a strawman to caricature, to paint with a broad brush with an unrepresented example that was wrong to begin with.
Those are all fallacies.
& that makes you a rhetorical rent boy, in my book.

3/3/07 6:23 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Gadfly:

as an Arthur Clark fan

In which case I'll reccomend "Childhood's End", if you haven't already read it.

this constitutes not an essential change of being

Correct, it constitutes knowledge. Nothing more and nothing less.

but rather a draping of a veneer of "civilization" which insulates us from the urgings of our own being.

Quite incorrect I think. Knowledge of science and engineering helps create all those things we call "civilised", like plumbing for instance (I picked on hydrodynamics, so I'll stay with it). How you relate to "civilisation", what you think about it and how you react to it, has nothing at all to do with science. You may see it as a veneer, I see it working for us every day.

It tends to separate us from the immediacy of confrontation with our own limitations

The reason that a lot of science is researched and developed is because our limitations have been sorely tested and confronted, so I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here.

At its root it promotes the sense of human autonomy

Do you mean from each other or from god? If you mean from each other, you are quite wrong. Science and technology help us communicate and travel over vast distances, thereby bringing us closer together. If you mean from god, you are also wrong. As in the case with "river sprites" science is also helping us understand that the actual creation of the universe was very different to how it's described in the bible. So rather than promote human autonomy, we've grown to the point where god's explanation of creation, just like the river sprites explanation of currents, is obsolete.

It is when this autonomy, at whatever level, is challenged, that our common human lot is to wonder about the supernatural.

Wrong again I'm afraid. There was a time when, if we found something we couldn't explain we'd say "Well, it must be magic" (or god, same thing really). Now we say "I wonder why that is?" and start experimenting. We simply no longer need god as an explanation for why things happen.

I still maintain that man's essential being tends toward the infinite.....

Are you talking about your "soul" here? Like Beep, I'm not realy sure what you're trying to say. I don't think there is any "infinite" or "eternity" for me personally, so I don't tend to worry about it.

cry out to the Being Who Is There

What the? Sometimes life isn't fair. There's no point yelling at some imaginary friend, you'll only ever get an imaginary response.

intuitive sense of the moral

So morals don't come from god? I'm sure you were arguing that they did on Beep's last post...

points man toward something beyond himself against which he is or should be measured

I would contend that because man can percieve it, then it isn't beyond him. You and I will both be judged by those that come after us.

Angst is not just a Christian idea

Correct...:)

So... Feuerbach to the contrary, religion is not just projection, better it is intuition

More a problem I'd say, given all the angst that it has caused in this world...

4/3/07 8:59 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

ted:
There's no point yelling at some imaginary friend, you'll only ever get an imaginary response.
I'm thieving that, if you don't mind.

4/3/07 1:04 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

KA:

By all measns...:)

4/3/07 4:31 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep, et al.
You asked me to explain the "woo woo" language I used in the previous comment. It was too long for a comment so I posted a blog entry on it - gadfly.typepad.com

If anyone is interested.

6/3/07 3:54 am  

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