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Author Topic: Is holding on to Atheism when growing old the satyagraha of religion?
PanaceaSanans
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To quote Sayagi and Petra – or OSC – on satyagraha:
“The willingness to endure great personal suffering in order to do what’s right. You do not hide from the consequences. You bear what must be borne. Personally, as an individual, if you know that the price of doing right is terrible loss or suffering or even death, satyagraha means that you are all the more determined to do right, for fear that fear might make you unrighteous.”

Countless people turn religious towards the end of their life, not seldom on the brink of death.

But to accept some deus ex machina when death approaches, to believe - whether you admit it to yourself or not - out of fear for your own eternal soul, or out of fear of terrible loss or suffering when you cannot bear the thought of a being dear to you ceasing to exist at the moment of their death…

It is fear that makes you unrighteous in that moment, first and foremost toward yourself, your beliefs and your unfettered, scientific, atheistic mind. And I wonder whether that fear will one day be stronger in me than my current fear that fear might make me unrighteous when I face it, and stronger than my determination to hold on to my righteousness toward my sensible conviction.

I would appreciate to hear your thoughts.

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PanaceaSanans
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Footnotes:
I do not wish to insult anybody or slag any religious beliefs. I am not stating that atheism is satyagraha.

I do not intend to imply that atheism in and of itself is superior to any religion. While it definitely does require braveness to choose to be responsible for all of your choices and actions yourself, I firmly believe it takes an equal amount of courage to give yourself completely into the "hands" of a superior being.

The question is meant to be understood only - as stated in the headline - in regard to the specific situation of holding on to atheism when growing old.

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Elison R. Salazar
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"There are no atheists in foxholes, this is not an argument against atheists, but an argument against foxholes."
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TomDavidson
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I think turning to religion because you fear a lack of afterlife is singularly stupid, since there's no guarantee that you're going to pick the RIGHT afterlife. It's like playing roulette because you don't want to be poor.
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Elison R. Salazar
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We are all doomed to be tortured for eternity by Roko's Basilisk anyways.
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think turning to religion because you fear a lack of afterlife is singularly stupid, ...

No doubt it is. Which is precisely why I truly hope I'll be able to avoid such weakness.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
... since there's no guarantee that you're going to pick the RIGHT afterlife. It's like playing roulette because you don't want to be poor.

Isn't it rather like being told to either play roulette and possibly gain eternal life by winning OR not play at all (in line with your belief that gambling is wrong) and accept certain death?

[ June 02, 2016, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: PanaceaSanans ]

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narrativium
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quote:
Originally posted by PanaceaSanans:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think turning to religion because you fear a lack of afterlife is singularly stupid, since there's no guarantee that you're going to pick the RIGHT afterlife. It's like playing roulette because you don't want to be poor.

Isn't it rather like being told to either play roulette and possibly gain eternal life by winning OR not play at all (in line with your belief that gambling is wrong) and accept certain death?
The house always wins.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Isn't it rather like being told to either play roulette and possibly gain eternal life by winning OR not play at all (in line with your belief that gambling is wrong) and accept certain death?
Only if there are no consequences to playing and not winning. Some religions cost more to play than others; others posit very serious consequences for losing.

I think it's perfectly understandable for someone to feel a bit adrift thanks to an atheist worldview; questions like "what's the point of it all" are harder to answer to most people's satisfaction, even though answers do exist -- and it's less likely that it'll be easier to find a group of like-minded friends who share those answers. But to embrace religion because you fear the unknown afterlife is just baffling.

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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Only if there are no consequences to playing and not winning. Some religions cost more to play than others; others posit very serious consequences for losing.

Very true. Which is why I explicitly asked about the end-of-life-scenario - at which point, playing and not winning would indeed have no disadvantage compared to not playing. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think it's perfectly understandable for someone to feel a bit adrift thanks to an atheist worldview; questions like "what's the point of it all" are harder to answer to most people's satisfaction, even though answers do exist -- and it's less likely that it'll be easier to find a group of like-minded friends who share those answers. But to embrace religion because you fear the unknown afterlife is just baffling.

The point of life is life itself. Nothing frightening about that. Selfish as it may be, it is the thought of ceasing to exist that bothers me.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Which is why I explicitly asked about the end-of-life-scenario - at which point, playing and not winning would indeed have no disadvantage compared to not playing.
Except that isn't necessarily true. It's possible that the one true paradigm is of a god or pantheon of gods who get very, very upset if someone worships the wrong god, and punish that error for all eternity.

quote:
The point of life is life itself. Nothing frightening about that.
I'm not sure that's true. I would say that "the point of life is what a given individual decides the point of his life is." Because if the point of life is just to LIVE, you get into all kinds of ethical quagmires very quickly.
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theamazeeaz
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I don't know any old atheists, and we can't ask the dead ones.

Believing in God requires one to think that God is real. Certainly, the less religious may be come more devout as they near death, and thus *woship* more. For the atheist, this poses a problem.

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PanaceaSanans
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Thank you for your thoughts, TomDavidson. I truly appreciate your input.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Except that isn't necessarily true. It's possible that the one true paradigm is of a god or pantheon of gods who get very, very upset if someone worships the wrong god, and punish that error for all eternity.

Again, and unsurprisingly, you are right. So I'll have to hope that believing in no god whatsoever will infuriate them less than believing in the wrong god...

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The point of life is life itself. Nothing frightening about that.
I'm not sure that's true. I would say that "the point of life is what a given individual decides the point of his life is." Because if the point of life is just to LIVE, you get into all kinds of ethical quagmires very quickly.
I do not believe that ethics - historically or logically - stem from religion... So that was never a powerful incentive for me. I suspect you'll agree on this.

When I said that I hold life itself to be "the purpose", I did not mean to deny the need for ethics. But they are not the "point" of life. Much rather, they are a logical consequence of our biological makeup as a species as well as our need to assemble in societies. (No need for ethics in a successful hermit.)
But how could there be any other "purpose" to it than life itself when measured to the universe a single human life is (most liberatingly) absolutely meaningless?

[ June 03, 2016, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: PanaceaSanans ]

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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Believing in God requires one to think that God is real. Certainly, the less religious may be come more devout as they near death, and thus *woship* more. For the atheist, this poses a problem.

I think "belief" overlaps with "hope" significantly more than "non-belief" - at least in "decent" humans. So the decent atheist may think that no god exists and that no afterlife exists while still hoping to be wrong (at least on the latter point) - especially toward the end of their life. And in a way, doubting atheism does qualify as theism...
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
We are all doomed to be tortured for eternity by Roko's Basilisk anyways.

Thank you for the prod. I had not heard of this and found it very interesting to read up on.
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
"There are no atheists in foxholes, this is not an argument against atheists, but an argument against foxholes."

That's as may be, but in fact it's not even true.

This aside, can I just point out that the thread title sounds like it was generated by a Markov chain working on OSC's novels?

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
We are all doomed to be tortured for eternity by Roko's Basilisk anyways.

Excluding those who haven't heard of the Basilisk; which is now a smaller category than it was before you had to open your big mouth. Does the phrase "information hazard" mean anything to you?
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
... can I just point out that the thread title sounds like it was generated by a Markov chain working on OSC's novels?

Care to elaborate? I have not heard the term Markov chain before, and I'll be sure to read up on it, but I'd enjoy reading your explanation for the above statement more.

quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
We are all doomed to be tortured for eternity by Roko's Basilisk anyways.

Excluding those who haven't heard of the Basilisk; which is now a smaller category than it was before you had to open your big mouth. Does the phrase "information hazard" mean anything to you?
Sapere aude. [Wink]
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theamazeeaz
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They are often used in stats to do simulations, and their next step in the simulation depends on where the simulation is right now, and nothing that has gone before. A board game, where you roll the dice is an example-- yes, your previous moves got you where you are, but the fact that two turns ago, you "lost a turn" will not make you roll a three more than a six. They've been used to generate fake papers and english sentences, and so the most likely meaning here is that in small clusters the words make sense, but together, the topic has no meaning.
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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
We are all doomed to be tortured for eternity by Roko's Basilisk anyways.

Excluding those who haven't heard of the Basilisk; which is now a smaller category than it was before you had to open your big mouth. Does the phrase "information hazard" mean anything to you?
Are you worried about roko's basilisk for real? Are you actually pissing at someone for mentioning it?
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
They are often used in stats to do simulations, and their next step in the simulation depends on where the simulation is right now, and nothing that has gone before. A board game, where you roll the dice is an example-- yes, your previous moves got you where you are, but the fact that two turns ago, you "lost a turn" will not make you roll a three more than a six. They've been used to generate fake papers and english sentences, and so the most likely meaning here is that in small clusters the words make sense, but together, the topic has no meaning.

Ow.

Thank you for explaining it to me.

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Elison R. Salazar
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I feel like there's a non-zero chance that it is true; just not a large enough chance to get worked up about it. It's like The Game mixed with Pascal's Wager.
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Heisenberg
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I'm not saying I believe it. I am saying that the concept is creepy as all hell.
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Elison R. Salazar
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Aren't all interesting thought experiments a little creepy? Like the Deadspace theory that posits that the reason why we haven't encountered alien life is because something prevents them from succeeding once they reach the space age.
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Aren't all interesting thought experiments a little creepy? Like the Deadspace theory that posits that the reason why we haven't encountered alien life is because something prevents them from succeeding once they reach the space age.

As in the way we keep (most) animals from intermingling in zoos because we think they couldn't possibly get along? ("Damn, the humans just made another attempt to get out." - "Should we enlarge their cage? It's so befouled all over..." - "There're too many of them now..." - "But I'd hate to decimate their numbers again.")

[ June 05, 2016, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: PanaceaSanans ]

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Elison R. Salazar
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We don't have any evidence except those spouted by UFOlogists that we've reached this level of development before; but is more for explaining why we've seen ZERO evidence of aliens.
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PanaceaSanans
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I am well aware of that. But I had to say "humans" because by IGU law I am forbidden to speak to you the names of the other known species. And you couldn't possibly be able to comprehend them anyway, because there is no way to write them in a way you humans would recognize as script.

JK. Obviously I had to say "humans" because we don't know the name of any alien species.

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Stone_Wolf_
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What I've been teaching my small children:

"Everything that lives also dies. If it doesn't die, it was never alive in the first place."

"No one knos for sure what happens when we die. Lots of people have beliefs on what happens ...and that's fine, but if someone says they KNO for certain, they are lying."

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Elison R. Salazar
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Tolkien's Elves or various kindas of organisms that are functionally immortal?
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Stone_Wolf_
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They are 5 & 6.
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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Everything that lives also dies. If it doesn't die, it was never alive in the first place.

Tolkien's Elves or various kind's of organisms that are functionally immortal?
Unfortunately there is no immortality yet except in fiction, so up to this point, Wolf is right, I think.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by PanaceaSanans:
quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
They are often used in stats to do simulations, and their next step in the simulation depends on where the simulation is right now, and nothing that has gone before. A board game, where you roll the dice is an example-- yes, your previous moves got you where you are, but the fact that two turns ago, you "lost a turn" will not make you roll a three more than a six. They've been used to generate fake papers and english sentences, and so the most likely meaning here is that in small clusters the words make sense, but together, the topic has no meaning.

Ow.

Thank you for explaining it to me.

Add me to those who like the cut of your jib, Pan (I find that response to be fairly indicative of your character).
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PanaceaSanans
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Jake, and Heisenberg:

"Petra had done for him on Eros the same thing that Nikolai had done for him in Battle School - provided him with a kind word now and then. He was sure that neither Nikolai nor Petra ever realized how important their casual generosity had been to him. But he remembered that."

Thank you.

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