Atheists in my experience are pretty diverse in their world views and ideologies. If you don't believe in god, what do you believe in? I find a great deal of meaning in science and humanism. I'm also a firm believer in democratic socialism (within a modern market context).

Please post what ever it is that has replaced god as the source of meaning and direction in your life and why it is that whatever it is "does it for you".

Nihlists are free to post as well, but I don't know why they would.

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I think there's a couple of things for me.

Firstly, I accepted a looooooooong time ago, that there wasn't a God. So, at the end of the day I have nothing to lose in terms of studying everything I can, about meaning , the large questions of life and the possibilities. I like studying religious ideas, philisophical ideas, I like learning about human biology, and particular the brain, and physics is particularly interesting(astro-physhics!!).

So, I like to learn, and it is the joy of learning, especially about certain things that gives me a purpose in a sense(although it's the journey that really counts). The possibilities of what really exists, of what we can learn and know, is extrodinary.

From another perspective, I actually feel rather sorry for humans. We know we exist. We know we are going to die. And we are doing it together. As much as religion can and does frustrate me my anger toward it has cooled somewhat. We really are in a dreadful predicament when we really think about it. This..is a painful existance in many ways. So...another thing that gives me meaning, is simply that we are all going through it together, and understanding each other's pain, might help lessen the load a little.

Cheers
In the views I've acquired in life, the fact that that I can ponder existance, and further, my own individuality, fascinates me to the point where I want to live to ponder these ideas and the questions related to them. Are my memories and past experiences the sum of who I am? How come I exist as an individual seemingly bound to the fate death in a world that seems infinite? I wonder if the world will end when I die. I mean, I won't be here to observe it. How the hell should I know? I feel that being bound to die makes this finite life pointless. It's as if I don't even exist, yet, and excuse my arrogance, it seems as if I do. So why? And how?

What keeps me here, in short... I believe it's the questions. I figure I'm going to die anyway, but here, while I'm aware of my existance, I get to think about it. Hot shit, all that being said, I think I might even like this world.
Did it occur to you that there might be something else after death? For those involved, yes, I have nagged Cartesian dualism so much, excuse me but I am still learning! :), it argues that the nonphysical can still exist without the physical, not necessarily in a sense of a soul or an afterlife. Maybe you get to visit other dimensions, other universes, or as I believe, join the world in a big spiritual pile of whole (think of it as Tao)? It is very well possible to believe in spiritualism without discarding an atheistic view, because spiritualism does not equate to believing in spirits as in a soul, merely that you believe in a world which is of nonphysical matter. I prefer labelling many forms of personal spirituality which cannot be grouped up into bigger groups like Christianity as life philosophies, I find it utterly romantic and I think it is a very positive and befitting term. Maybe you'll like it too?
It is quite possible to believe in spiritualism without discarding an atheist view, but is it rational, reasonable and a good approach? Just because there "might" be something after death does not mean we can rationally accept that idea. We might be part of a computer simulation (e.g. The Matrix)! We might have been created yesterday (with all of our memories implanted by whomever made us). Believing in what is possible (no matter how improbable) is not justified without evidence. If you believe that the nonphysical can exist without the physical (what would be "nonphysical"? In fact, what does that statement even mean?), what evidence can you provide that that is the case?

If you believe in those things without evidence, it is no better (and no more logical) than any other religious belief, and as such, should not be held.

I agree. It is possible! I just don't think it is a reasonable belief to hold until shown otherwise.
I don't believe there is an afterlife. I believe I found evidence in my little mind that we may exist simply because, without need of the body and mind. The only problem is, I don't know what makes us as such, say in comparison to a dog. Is it because we've gained sentience that we exist without the need of observation? Furthermore, such being would have to be completely free, and infinite. The universe is expanding time and space, not through time and space, and that makes it quite finite. Is it true that it'll collapse? I need to do more research now. It seems that if the universe is infinite, then so must we be in order to exist. But if it is not, than I suppose we need only exist at a human, organic level to be, and our time spent here will be set in a block in the finite universe.
Well, how do you know a dog doesn't have a mind? Certainly it can think and feel, no? You can learn a dog things, it's a sign of cognitive ability and dogs can show when they are scared, angry, hungry and happy just like humans.

Of all evidence I have read and seen, yes, the universe is quite finite (we can prove it by telling how much it expands each year) and it is certainly a possibility it might collapse upon itself but why should it matter to you as you are probably dead by long when it will happen?

Also, it is proven that humans and the rest of the lifeforms found on earth and earth too are finite, we are going to die someday. It would be impossible for any lifeform to have a finite existence inside something which is infinite. I feel like you are trying to grasp a worry you can't really define yourself, a sort of worry over the meaning of your living existence, perhaps? You are free to disagree, this is just a hunch I got from reading your post and I don't want to sound or be demeaning when I say it.
"Well, how do you know a dog doesn't have a mind?" I believe you misunderstood me. To elaborate, I believe a dog does have a mind. Comparisons between our two species, a few which you've listed, could bring this to a conclusion. My question, to myself, is whether the human mind has achieved something on entirely different level. I could call it sentience, which I believe I already have, but I wonder if there is truly a fine line, one that makes a difference (If there is a fine line, it probably ultimately effects nothing), or if sentience is more like a scale, humans being more sentient than a dog.

I am also aware of the evidence supporting the theories regarding the construct of the universe. I'm merely drawn to different chains of possibilities at the moment. I have not been able to come to any conclusions.

This thought process is all coming backwards from whether or not sentience grants a being the state of... well... "being", or not.

I am not worried over the meaning, merely the terms. Maybe I'm getting too deep into "Defining existence".

To state again I do not believe in any form of afterlife. I suppose the thoughts here are completely irrelevant to the matter.

I wish I could better explain myself.
Well, sentience as being the same as self-awareness is not a strong argument either, as there are animals which presumely are self-aware such as elephants and dolphins. Also, maybe I used the wrong word here, concerned might've been better than worried. My bad.

And why wouldn't such a quote like cogito ergo sum be sufficient? You think, therefore you are? There are a lot of arguments of how to define existence (Kant for example all argues we are thought-bubbles in our own heads... we might not even exist at all, others argue we exist through the memories of others etc) but personally I don't find any of them sufficient. While thinking over the meaning of existence might be interesting, don't forget that trees, stones and plants exist too. I am not sure what conclusive ida one would gain by coming up with a definition for existence. I'd rather think of things as life; really. There is no answer for what is existence? While it might very well be possible in time for me to come up with arguments what existence means I am not sure if I find it meaningful or fruitful, even though it might be interesting. I mean, it doesn't really change who you are now, right?
Of course it doesn't. Still, I ponder for the sake of pondering. You haven't said anything so far that contradicts or disagrees what I've said. All I'm doing is asking questions, mostly asking them to myself. I appreciate your input, but all it's doing is taking my mind back to questions and possibilities I've pondered before.
Well, I was never for or against it to begin with; and since you brought it up we are discussing it right? I just said that I personally myself never spent time on it because I am quite sure i would never come up with a conclusion I would find satisfying; even if I did, there are just more acute questions to ponder. Existence of god being of those, because the arguments you come up with can later help you when arguing with others and most of all, when you really need to disprove religious people wrong. Maybe you do come with a conclusion one day, I don't know, but I guess I just prefer hard learning over philosophy :) I think probably one of the reasons I for example lost a little interest in this topic (about proving existence) is merely that I didn't learn anything on a day to day basis. That's just me though.
Actually, there is at least a theory in practice that there are other dimensions yet unexplored by man, parallel universes as you wish. You have to read a lot of physics though, I have merely heard it myself from other people who are more well-read than me in the subject but I believe they know what they are talking about, and both of them do believe in an afterlife that they might be able to visit or even communicate with these other dimensions/parallel universes.

You probably loosely know of String Theory, it touches this matter and I guess you can start there somewhere, honestly if I was looking for this myself in modern physics I would probably get utterly lost :) Anyway, there is recent research pointing to the possibility that other dimensions exist, so hell, why not? Just because we haven't seen them doesn't mean they don't exist either (in comparison people do claim to have seen/heard/spoken to god, but never managed to prove it in return).

As with the physical vs the nonphysical, just think of the body vs the mind. The body is your physical body, the object, the mind represents things which necessarily cannot be seen as a physical object but more exists in an abstract sense. A thought can be considered of nonphysical matter because we can prove a thought exists (we think of a thought) but we cannot see it.

Also, I am not entirely sure if you are subjecting my own beliefs or just the belief in an afterlife or somesuch in general, but there is actually quite a logical explanation to my beliefs. I believe that there is an energy that all living creatures share with each other (we are as a matter of fact, alive) and when you die you return this to the earth. And you do return all the matter of which you were made out of back to energize other creatures, it makes perfectly sense from a scientific view as well.
I don't just loosely know of String Theory, I know it rather well (in many of its variants). The recent research you are referring to that points to the possibility that other dimensions exist is purely theoretical with no real hope of being falsified. The math looks great... but that is about all we can say. In fact, the math is beautiful. The joys of theoretical physics! I would recommend reading "Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next" by Lee Smolin, or "Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law for Unity in Physical Law" by Peter Woit. I have read both of those in the last couple of months, and they both deal with the failure of String Theory to make any verifiable predictions, propose experiments or offer up opportunities to be falsified.

As for the mind not being physical, neurology, neurobiology and the other brain sciences are showing more and more that who you are as a person is a direct result of what is happening in your brain. You consciousness is an emergent property of the vast interconnected network of cells that make up your brain. You mind isn't outside of your brain... it IS your brain.

As for the idea that there is an "energy" that all living creatures share... can you point to any research that would indicate that this is the case? I agree completely that your matter (your body) returns to the earth, rots, gets recycled, etc... but you, the "you" that was formed by the interactions happening IN your body, do not exist. Once those processes stop... you are dead. There is no "you" anymore. There is just meat.

In some vague way, you can say that we all share some matter (matter and energy being the same thing), but you are stepping quickly onto shaky ground.

Again, I am not asking what is possible (string theory may very well be true, we just can't tell with any high level of certainty yet), I am asking what is probable.

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