While there seems to be an objective universe (external reality), the experiencing of this universe is 100% subjective. So, the "quality" of a life will ultimately be determined by the one doing the living.

Given these premises, wouldn't one "belief system" be as good as the next? We'll make this a hypothetical and remove beliefs that result in harm to others.

We each live from the cradle to the grave. My meaning may be found in seeking objective truths through science and logic. Your meaning may be to immerse yourself in sports. Someone else may find meaning in gardening. Someone else in living as a Catholic monk....

We all eventually wind up in the graveyard and probably completely forgotten in a few generations. Who cares what my deceased father believed politically and philosophically? His existence left a small foot print that will erode to obscurity in time. What mattered was the quality of experience he enjoyed (or suffered) during his waking moments.

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Replies to This Discussion

In our personal lives, when it comes to calculating the value of our existence you are absolutely correct.
I think folks have trouble with the idea, because chaos is a potential outcome. Big picture is "so what?" People yearn for some external truth to stand on. Some rules to go by. But ultimately, the only thing that really matters from a human standpoint is "what was it like for me?"

Many of the debates herein have the underlying premise that, "truth matters." But ultimately truth only matters if it is important to you.
Well, the problem is for me: if you don't pursue truth, you can never be sure that you have (to the best of your ability) truth and people who don't pursue truth and assume that they have it act accordingly.

It's why I never silence the theist. Maybe one can actually convince me using an argument I never heard (indeed, if you read my new blog on the Transcendentalist argument, which came up in my current debate, I've never heard it before. It's still a fallacy though. It's just more complicated than the standard Christian rubbish).

I think you mean to say that it only matters from your narrow, subjective, selfish experience. It absolutely matters to the people who you affect when you assume that you DO have truth.
Does the blind man live happier than the one who sees? Does the one who shields himself from sight to block out war and poverty ever experience the beauty of the world the way it is?

Truth is dangerous as well as beautiful. Only an immature coward would forego pursuing such a gift, or else should we call the one who purposely blinds himself wise.

Truth teaches us who we are; what we can do; how we can make our lives more beautiful. The absence of truth is the absence of beauty. The less truth we have, the more miserable we make ourselves and the world around us.

How can one possibly justify the pursuit of ignorance?

That... is the one true hell.
Only an immature coward would forego pursuing such a gift

Pursuit of truth is meaningful to me. I value truth and reason. I feel sorry for folks who are not on this path.

None the less, for me to assume that I know what is best for humanity (and individuals) is grandiose... and dangerous. There is a strong deaf community where I live. Many of these folks have refused new technology that would give them some hearing. They like who they are. They like their community. They literally prefer to experience the world through 4 senses. Who am I to judge them?

There are specific personality types that prefer deep, philosophical endeavors. Other types find such activities equivalent to intellectual masturbation. There are physical people, who love to move and to do. For them, life is about action. For others, life is about order. They enjoy the security of rules and again are happy with this and do not desire enlightenment. Still others find meaning in social interactions. They experience meaning when they connect with others on an emotional level.

You judge everyone who does not pursue the same meaning as you to be blind, cowards. I just judge them as different from me.

Existence is subjective. We don't all find meaning in the same things. Someone, somewhere else, might make the statement, "failure to accept the subjective nature of the human experience is to live in blindness."... and they would be right. They would also be wrong if the statement didn't click with what is subjectively meaningful to you.

People who find meaning in that which is meaningful to me are experiencing meaningful lives. People who do not find meaning in the way that I find meaning are having a less meaningful existence.

I don't buy it. I would prefer that others appreciate the things that are important to me. But, life is subjective and there are lots and lots of ways to live it that have nothing to do with seeking objective truth.
I will never call the people who do not pursue truth evil. I do think, however, I am justified to call them cowards if they are put in the position to pursue truth and do not.

If cowardice is their interpretation of what is best, then I will leave them be and hope they are evolved out of. I promote peace and order beacause I want people to be comfortable with each other and love each other without the superficiality of religion.

I do admit. In my own psychoanalysis I know why I fight for people to love each other more. It is a result of a rather emotionally detatched childhood. No one can be perfect, but the pursuit of truth to those who can handle it is indeed beautiful. To expect everyone to be able to handle it is unrealistic, but I want to bring "sight" to the people who live in the dark and don't realize that they would indeed be happier in the light.

Some will be happier, some will not. I can't know that until I put in the stimulus. I think that anyone who is willing to challenge what they believe (theists in the case of my anti-theism) has the potential to be happier without it. I do not think that I or other anti-theists have the one true form of happiness and I admit, I pursue order and reason in others in order to make my own life more comfortable.

No matter what I pursue, it will be selfish, but yet all of us pursue selfish things and effect the world in some way. I think that there are people who can be helped; reasonable people who are under the false security of theism and feed the bigots who hurt people.

My idea of morality is peace. I don't accept hatred because I want to find peace in my own life. My ideas bring great potential for peace, so I may spread it in order to fulfil my own sense of purpose, but I know that there are a great many who pursue peace and perhaps I can bring even a few the comfort of a peaceful life free of theism.

Your take on opposite views "live and let live" is also a perspective. If that's what brings you comfort, go ahead and live by it. It personally brings me comfort to think that I am doing something for the world and pursue my ideas. I am very careful, always, to check my ideas and make sure that they are as close to "truth" as I can get through my subjective experiences.

If it wasn't for my pursuit of truth and spread of peace, you may have never heard about why "no choice" makes it illogical to not forgive. By posting it I simultaneously helped others and checked myself on my truth by responding to criticisms. I try to minimize the harm done by what I comfort myself by spreading.

At the very least, I don't see how what I do is wrong.
all I know that if not for movements against percieved injustice, I would probably be racist and sexist today and would have a couple slaves and... then again... may not exist since I am a half-race.

We take for granted that racism is wrong because at some point someone stood up against it. To have an opinion and withold it simply because other people can't help what they believe in isn't really wise either. I don't think any logic could justify it so.
if not for movements against perceived injustice, I would probably be racist and sexist today

Right on... and I have always vigorously advocated for folks who are being oppressed (and by vigorous, I sometimes mean an ass whippin). Like you, I try to do my best using the best information I can access. But, I cannot know the "big picture" results of my actions.

There was a movie about this Catholic missionary who went out West to "convert the savages." He worked with one of the very aggressive, warlike Native American tribes. He focused on Jesus' message of peace and love. The tribe converted... and was quickly destroyed by their enemies, completely erasing the culture of the tribe from the face of the planet.

Naturalists were observing baby sea turtles hatch. The first turtle emerged from the hole and was attacked by gulls. One of the observers ran out, rescued the turtle and took it safely to the water. The naturalist was unaware that the first turtle was a scout. When it the scout did not return to the hole, the other turtles assumed it was safe and were subsequently massacred by gulls.
I don't see how what I do is wrong

No, not at all. I think imposing my world view on others is dangerous... sharing my world view is another story.

My take is not really "live and let live." I have a need to share what I have learned through critical thinking and to challenge others to do likewise. It feels good to me to help folks sort things out for themselves. But, if I lead the horse to water, the drinking is up to the horse. Not being the horse, I can't possibly make that decision for the horse. And sometimes, the horse knows best.

I prefer the outcomes I'm shooting for, but hope to not be too attached to those outcomes. I aspire to respect the right of each individual to find a path that works for him/her, even if I find their path ridiculous and shallow.... I don't try to operate like this because it's right. I do it because it brings me peace. My own life is more than enough to keep me busy. Taking on deciding what is "best" for others is waaaaay more responsibility than I want ;-)
perfect. we agree on everthing except this clarification:


And sometimes, the horse knows best.

For itself, perhaps, but any broad assumption about what is best for a society of horses must be based on reason, education, and a fully supported argument if it is to be taken seriously in the more individualistic world we are growing into.

No one can truly know what is best for all. If they want to live in their tiny bubble, they have no justification for forcing others to do the same besides brainwashing and suppression of individuality.
I'm good with that ;-)
Let's not forget that truth is relative. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "There are no facts, only interpretations." Ultimately, don't humans construct human cultures to decide what is valuable? There is a substance on the earth called gold which is very valuable right now. There is a substance on the moon called water which is very valuable right now.

Survival seems to be the most important thing. Whatever illusion (truth) can progress or sustain your survival may be the best choice. And in my mind, I am thinking in terms of the selfish gene theory. We as individuals are just dots in the time-stream of life. Our genes will continue on (hopefully) without us. So live it up!!

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