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Old 28th May 2016, 04:20 PM
Post-Theist Post-Theist is offline
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Default The burden of reason, I suppose ...

For most of my childhood our family lived by a church. Officially, my mother was the caretaker of this church and, while she cleaned the floors and removed dead flowers from their vases, I explored the bluestone building without any regard for its supposed sanctity. If there was a pivotal, illuminating moment it occurred when our family decided to move away. As a farewell gesture, the priest wanted to gift me, the eldest child, with a small bible. The only condition was for me to recite the Lord's Prayer from memory. I remember that day well. The priest dressed in his black robe, the chalkboard in front of me with the words I was asked to remember and the small, black bible on a table. Over and over again I read the words on the blackboard. I clearly recall the anxiousness I felt ever time the priest turned the board away and asked me to repeat what I had just read. I just couldn't do it. To help motivate me the priest kept reminding me of what I would gain if I succeeded. And, of course, what I would not receive if ...

I just couldn't do it. And the more he tried to help the worse it became, until I was in tears. I was seven years old.

Perhaps it was the catalyst for my future mistrust of the clergy. It certainly wasn't a good experience, except now from a safe place of hindsight.

As I said, for most of my childhood we lived next to churches. My mother was a capable church caretaker (cleaner) and the church grounds always provided plenty of space for me and my siblings to play. We never went to church, even though my mother when asked would declare herself a Lutheran. But it didn't seem to add up to much. The only time we actually used the church was to find respite during hot summers to play Dungeons and Dragons and it gave me access to a grand pipe organ when I started to toy with my burgeoning artistic needs.

I would attribute several factors as to why I think I managed to dodge the bullet of religion (or would a better analogy be a poison dart?): 1) no outside pressure to participate in religious 'education' and religious rituals, except Christmas; 2) no experiences of the supernatural or divine, except that I was starting to explore some of the pseudosciences like astrology and the Tarot; and 3) a solid, secular education from a good state school.

Eventually I labelled myself an Atheist (capitalisation purely for emphasis). It seemed the perfect label because it meant I belonged to a certain group of like-minded people who revelled in arguing with theists from all corners of the world (no, I don't actually think the Earth has corners, but an infinite procession of turtles holding the world in place does tickle my imagination . But, really, it's no fun always winning the game of Reason Vs Belief. I mean, who would find it fair and just (or any fun at all) to argue with the obviously insane and deluded?

Now, I've pretty much moved away from the atheist label. I think it served its purpose and, besides, I'm tired of being seen as an arrogant know-it-all by those closest to me.

As a post-theist, I am now convinced that theism is almost entirely irrelevant and certainly beyond any serious consideration. Where there is any relevance it's more concerned with our psychological need to address certain core values (psychological needs) and, unfortunately, religion has had this covered, albeit with its fantasy and outright deceit.

So, moving forward for me is not so much about discrediting the existence of gods and the supernatural (the debate is over!) as it is about understanding people's needs and how they can be met in a more realistic and fulfilling way.

P-T
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  #2  
Old 28th May 2016, 05:04 PM
Spearthrower Spearthrower is offline
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

I expect I am probably the member closest in position to you, but even then I have a few confusions about the content of your post.

I don't think being an atheist means arguing with theists. I don't think it's a necessity to be an atheist, I think that just requires not believing in gods.

Similarly, I don't think post-theism relates to anything like understanding peoples' needs and the like.

For me, neither atheism nor post-theism say what you are - to quote the Hackmeister - they say what you are not.

Personally, I think if you want something that motivates you and impassions you then you'd need to find something you do stand for. An example of which may be humanism.

For me, the primary reason why I contest theists is when they make claims that are not correspondent with the reality we've worked hard to understand via the scientific method. I don't think that credulousness should be given status in society. I don't care if they believe in gods and magic, but I do care if they want to wedge it into schools, get tax relief because of their beliefs, or promote policies or laws that require lending that nonsense credulity.
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Old 28th May 2016, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

Welcome to the forum P-T. Thanks for the intro, I look forward to your input - especially if you have ever managed to win an argument over belief with reason!
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Old 28th May 2016, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

Hi, thanks for your story.
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Atheist: n; A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others.
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Old 28th May 2016, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

Hi P-T. It was good to read about your experiences with theism and your movement to post-theism. As someone who had no such religious influences growing up it's helpful to me to hear about others' brushes with religion. Your post also includes something that has puzzled me for a while; something I have seen here a bit and have been accused of at times
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Post-Theist said View Post
Now, I've pretty much moved away from the atheist label. I think it served its purpose and, besides, I'm tired of being seen as an arrogant know-it-all by those closest to me. P-T
The bit in bold is what I mean. From my point of view it's not at all arrogant to say that there's no reason to believe in a sky-daddy, even when you make it clear that you are not saying you know there is no god.
Anyway, welcome.
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Old 29th May 2016, 09:34 AM
Post-Theist Post-Theist is offline
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

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Spearthrower said View Post
I expect I am probably the member closest in position to you, but even then I have a few confusions about the content of your post.

I don't think being an atheist means arguing with theists. I don't think it's a necessity to be an atheist, I think that just requires not believing in gods.

Similarly, I don't think post-theism relates to anything like understanding peoples' needs and the like.

For me, neither atheism nor post-theism say what you are - to quote the Hackmeister - they say what you are not.

Personally, I think if you want something that motivates you and impassions you then you'd need to find something you do stand for. An example of which may be humanism.

For me, the primary reason why I contest theists is when they make claims that are not correspondent with the reality we've worked hard to understand via the scientific method. I don't think that credulousness should be given status in society. I don't care if they believe in gods and magic, but I do care if they want to wedge it into schools, get tax relief because of their beliefs, or promote policies or laws that require lending that nonsense credulity.
Firstly, let me apologise for not having the skills to 'multi-quote' at this stage. However, I do want to address some of your queries/concerns about what I've written.

1) I agree that being an atheist doesn't mean arguing with theists. But what is an atheist if it isn't concerned with 'combating' theism? My own thoughts and experiences of atheism is that it can't exist in a vacuum. Simply put, without theism there is no atheism. So, because of this arguments/debates/dead end discussions inevitably occur.

2) I have to disagree with your statement that post-theism is unrelated or unconcerned with the need to understand a person's needs. I think post-theism's active principle is a) accepting that the human species has certain needs and desires - such as making sense of this world and all its abstractions; and b) employing our wealth of knowledge and methods to try and address these ubiquitous questions.

For me, this is the most interesting aspect of the post-theist's way forward. I would be happy to discuss this aspect of post-theism further.

3) I have to disagree again with the statement that labels such as atheist/post-theist/theist/etc, etc don't say what you are or, at the very least, the position you hold regarding both your own needs and your view of reality. Sure, it doesn't give the whole picture just as I might say I'm a musician and that's supposed to tell you who I am. However, it does give you some idea of where some of my needs and priorities lie. Simply put, if I label myself an atheist then it's highly likely you'll never catch me in a church hoping to win favour with a supernatural entity. As a post-theist, I now accept that theism is dead as in "God is dead" and in the same token it nullifies atheism because the matter is settled. All that is left is to move on and try and solve the issues is a rational, scientific manner.

4) I agree with the need to stop the spread of religious poison infecting our society, especially when it comes to our children. As a post-theist this is more of a mental health issue and should be addressed as such.

P-T
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Old 29th May 2016, 10:06 AM
Post-Theist Post-Theist is offline
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

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odd said View Post
Welcome to the forum P-T. Thanks for the intro, I look forward to your input - especially if you have ever managed to win an argument over belief with reason!
No, there's no winning argument when reason is viewed with suspicion. But as an atheist I always felt compelled to give it another go. What do they call a person who repeats the same action expecting a different result? Anyway, that burden has been lifted now that I call myself a post-theist (yeah, very awkward label phonetically). As a PT - as arrogant as it sounds - the god debate is over, which includes any notion of pixies, dragons, unicorns and the boogie man. Now the serious work can commence employing our great skills of reason to combat mental health.
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Old 29th May 2016, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

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Post-Theist said View Post
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odd said View Post
Welcome to the forum P-T. Thanks for the intro, I look forward to your input - especially if you have ever managed to win an argument over belief with reason!
No, there's no winning argument when reason is viewed with suspicion. But as an atheist I always felt compelled to give it another go. What do they call a person who repeats the same action expecting a different result? Anyway, that burden has been lifted now that I call myself a post-theist (yeah, very awkward label phonetically). As a PT - as arrogant as it sounds - the god debate is over, which includes any notion of pixies, dragons, unicorns and the boogie man. Now the serious work can commence employing our great skills of reason to combat mental health.
This is a very confused paragraph.
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Old 29th May 2016, 01:55 PM
Spearthrower Spearthrower is offline
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

Quote:
Post-Theist said View Post
Firstly, let me apologise for not having the skills to 'multi-quote' at this stage. However, I do want to address some of your queries/concerns about what I've written.
Cheers!


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Post-Theist said View Post
1) I agree that being an atheist doesn't mean arguing with theists. But what is an atheist if it isn't concerned with 'combating' theism?
An atheist.

I expect only a tiny percentage of atheists have any interest n contesting theism. Atheism is about what you don't believe, and for most people that's no cause to argue.


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Post-Theist said View Post
My own thoughts and experiences of atheism is that it can't exist in a vacuum. Simply put, without theism there is no atheism. So, because of this arguments/debates/dead end discussions inevitably occur.
Again, I actually agree with the statement there is not atheism without theism, but most people won't. But that doesn't draw a line between atheism and contesting theism.

Someone who doesn't believe in gods is an atheist even if they never have crossed words with a theist in their lifetime.


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Post-Theist said View Post
2) I have to disagree with your statement that post-theism is unrelated or unconcerned with the need to understand a person's needs. I think post-theism's active principle is a) accepting that the human species has certain needs and desires - such as making sense of this world and all its abstractions; and b) employing our wealth of knowledge and methods to try and address these ubiquitous questions.
For me, I think you're imbuing words with your personal preferences, essentially applying different meanings to words that don't really have that significance.

Atheism is the position of not believing in God.

Post-theism, as a word, specifically means that the god paradigm is obsolete.

You personally might be interested in what the human species' psychological needs are, but that drive isn't under the label of post-theism.

As with atheism, post-theism says what you're not, not what you are!



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Post-Theist said View Post
For me, this is the most interesting aspect of the post-theist's way forward. I would be happy to discuss this aspect of post-theism further.
I'd be happy to discuss anything, but for me the entire point of post-theism is that the category of theism is irrelevant, obsolete, pointless to discuss.

What humans as a species wants, or how we're to go forwards in knowledge-acquisition is interesting, but more rightly under the label of philosophy.



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Post-Theist said View Post
3) I have to disagree again with the statement that labels such as atheist/post-theist/theist/etc, etc don't say what you are or, at the very least, the position you hold regarding both your own needs and your view of reality. Sure, it doesn't give the whole picture just as I might say I'm a musician and that's supposed to tell you who I am. However, it does give you some idea of where some of my needs and priorities lie. Simply put, if I label myself an atheist then it's highly likely you'll never catch me in a church hoping to win favour with a supernatural entity. As a post-theist, I now accept that theism is dead as in "God is dead" and in the same token it nullifies atheism because the matter is settled. All that is left is to move on and try and solve the issues is a rational, scientific manner.
I'm not Australian. Does that give you much information about me?

The notion that atheism constitutes a belief system, or that it necessarily implies what you do is something I think you'll find very few to no people here will accept.

I'm not sure if you're aware of PZ Myers rallying call to atheists to make atheism mean X, Y, and Z, but I think most people just groaned and face-palmed.

Again, I would say that these labels are not describing your position regarding proactive beliefs, values and passions. For that you'd want humanism, or skepticism, or rationalism, or some other system that posits an active method or value system because neither atheism nor post-theism possess one.



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4) I agree with the need to stop the spread of religious poison infecting our society, especially when it comes to our children. As a post-theist this is more of a mental health issue and should be addressed as such.
This is going to be difficult, PT!

I don't think anyone's going to buy into your definition of post-theism. Firstly, because the meaning most people here would associate with post-theism simply does not match up to what you're saying, and secondly because most people would not be content considering theists mentally ill.

Don't get me wrong - I don't want to be a burr in your butt-cheeks, and I hope you understand I am not just trying to be difficult with you, but personally I think that when people go round using different definitions for words that have a ubiquitously accepted meaning, then very little in the way of rational discourse can happen.
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Old 29th May 2016, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: The burden of reason, I suppose ...

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<snip>

Now the serious work can commence employing our great skills of reason to combat mental health.
But I don't want to combat mental health. I want to promote it.

IMO the label post-theist doesn't contribute much if anything to any discussion. Mostly coz it is couched as something which follows from theism and as such doesn't really address theism at all.

Tis one reason I quite like ignosticism, and in general atheism, which can readily be couched as a position one arrives at from first principals, not as an instead of or a reaction to.
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