Hello people,

Because I joined the site today, I thought it might be a good moment to introduce myself.

I was born and raised in a catholic family in the Netherlands, and until the age of about 15 I was a theist. Although I did believe in a god which was slightly different from the catholic god, the whole framework of course came from Catholicism and in a broader sense Christianity.

In my early teens, I took more and more distance from the dogmatic beliefs of my family and all other religions, at the age of 15-16 it became apparent that I had become (or always had been) an atheist. For this I have many people to thank, both personally as in media.

I don't have a real hatred towards theism. But I have never heard any coherent definition of the concept of "god", and have yet to see the slightest bit of credible evidence for a "god", so I'm not especially inclined to be respectful either.

Although I don't mind being called an atheist, I would prefer to call myself a (scientific) materialist or nihilist and a liberal.

It's good to be here, I'm hoping for a lot of good discussions! I'm quite capable of taking a joke, and are not easily offended.

P.S. English is not my first language, so if I make errors which seem to cause confusion, please let me know.

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Welcome aboard, Rob. As for your English, you got it made in the shade.
Thanks for the welcome Walter!
Hy JohnD,

Thank you!

The picture is of James Dean, I'll upload a picture of me someday soon.
For now, I thought that if I place a picture, it might as well be of a men as handsome as hell.
Tadaa!!!!

New picture added of me and my girlfriend on our recent holiday.

As can be seen, I don't resemble James Dean in anything except the love for beautiful women and fast cars.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so we might argue forever, but I don't think the Dutch men and women are particularly more beautiful then those of other countries.

I have a French girlfriend, so I look for beauty elsewhere then my own kind. I can only hope that she finds me more attractive then James Dean though...
Hey Rob,

Good to see you here. I have several friends from the Netherlands. They are also quite capable of taking a joke. Maybe that comes from living in a swamp! (see what I did there?)

I'm interested at your self-label of nihilist. From the latin 'nihil' meaning 'nothing', that word has garnered many connotations: The Russian anarchist movement negating all authority, existential nihilism negating teleological purpose, moral nihilism - basically amoral, and many others.

I consider myself a compassionate pragmatist and spiritual atheist - none of which references anything metaphysical. The underpinnings of my philosophy is that the universe (latin again: 'one turn') is, in actuality, one thing synergetically formed of an extreme variety of integrated components (including entropy). Discovery of the ways these parts are integrated leads to a better awareness of the nature of the universe. I'm agnostic on the 'purpose' part. It is difficult to formulate the standard idea of purpose without some concept of god - though I do not think this is an absolute limitation. I do have an intrinsic sense of purpose. But I am not a tool, a cog, nor is the universe all about me.

I'm curious what a nihilist of your type might say about my version of 'spirituality'. Perhaps I too am a form of nihilist and just don't know it yet.
Hey Howard,

Good to be here! I'm happy that my fellow countrymen have left a good impression when it comes to taking a joke. I wouldn't dare to say that we are by definition more humorous then other nationalities, but we have a distinct sense of humor, that's for sure.

As to your interest in my self-label as a nihilist, I agree that it can sometimes be a difficult and confusing term to use, so I'll explain in detail:
For me, being a nihilist is about reducing any aspect of reality to it's basic components. A claim about the nature of things in my opinion can only be evaluated on it's validity if you follow this reductionist approach. I think that understanding is dependent on the ability to reduce complicated systems and claims to the most basic tenets.

I think that I'm mostly a moral nihilist, because I don't think that morality is anything else then a human construct. It's an abstract concept that has no meaning in reality, it is completely dependent on content. So to use the term morality usually adds nothing to the content except confusion.

When you state that 'it is difficult to formulate the standard idea of purpose (without some concept of god)' I have to agree. It's the reason why I would not assign 'purpose' to any natural process, it implies that there is some intelligence involved (such as a god).

But why would we as humans, want to assign purpose to the nature of the universe? It doesn't add anything, it doesn't help us to gain more understanding about the subject. So why make things more complicated?

Discovery of the ways these parts are integrated leads to a better awareness of the nature of the universe.

Do you think that adding a concept as complicated and abstract as 'purpose' is useful in gaining understanding of the nature of the universe?

I will not go as far as to proclaim you a nihilist, but I think that when you state that the whole of a system can be explained by discovering the ways that these parts are integrated then I would assume that you agree with me that reducing complexity is an effective method of gaining understanding. Such a reductionist approach could quite possibly lead you to some soft of nihilism. I'm a nihilist because my it's where my reductionist approach led me to be.

Could you maybe explain the 'spiritual atheist' label that you have given yourself? I don't really know what to make of it. Is there a distinction to be made between an atheist and a spiritual atheist? As most atheists I do not deny the existence of spiritual experiences, I think that most, if not all humans have spiritual experiences of some sort. So I really would like you to clarify the 'spiritual atheist' label.

It took me quite some time to reply, but i enjoyed every minute. Thanks!

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