For those of you who went from being religious to atheist, have you noticed that philosophy has taken the place of what religion used to be for you?
This is how it was for me. When I started doubting, my faith was eroding and I would take concepts based on faith less and less seriously. And in their place, ideas grounded in reality but still very deep and intangible began entering my mind.
For example, it was very difficult for me to let go of the idea of heaven, I really needed to believe that there wouldn't just be an abrupt ending to life, that I would be able to see loved ones again somehow. Eventually, it just became too ridiculous and I had to stop lying to myself. So I needed an equivalent to heaven but grounded in reality.
I found this concept of the singularity and it seems very promising to me. In case you don't know what it is, basically, technological advance occurs exponentially. Very very slow at first but gradually gains speed as each new technology developed makes it easier and quicker to get to the next big breakthrough. At a certain point, there is an explosion of development which could solve all of our worldly problems and this will be heaven on earth. If you plot technological advancement on a graph, because it is exponential, it is a curved line that constantly curls upward and it will be very flat at first but will suddenly go nearly vertical. It is at that point, when it is as close to vertical as is possible, that the singularity occurs.
We are currently at the point in history where the line is going from nearly flat, to becoming quite curved. So, theoretically, the singularity is not far off. So if it happens within our lifetime, we will experience heaven on earth.
Of course, this is all up in the air, and you do sort of have to take it on faith that it will happen. But at least there is some scientific reasoning that backs this up, unlike classical heaven. Also, the singularity could just as easily cause our demise as lead us to eternal bliss. So who knows. But I am much happier believing in this than I was forcing myself to believe something I understood was bullshit.
I've gone a bit full circle. I was raised Lutheran and tried hard to believe. I went through some bumpy times in college and eventually settled on the thought that it's all BS. Recently, I started to become more respectful of some of the teachings of Jesus and read the whole New Testament again this year. It was also partially motivated by an LSD trip where I finally could accept that "Jesus" was probably just a teach who thought he was the son of God... and used that as a way to motivate his teachings. What filled the "God shaped hole"? Mostly seeing myself as a fish swimming in a sea of life that stretches back to the big bang... that is, my awareness of my place in the Universe is just a limited as a fish in water. Another thought was we are each a type of god that senses his/her existence as an alien conscious inside an evolved organism that supports its awareness. Yes, lots of drugs.
I've heard that LSD can be really life changing. I've never had too much desire to try it myself though. But I'm glad it helped you to accept and be at peace with what Jesus really was. I agree, he was a guy who had some good ideas and attracted a following. The myths associated with him must have been conjured up and attributed to him much later, by people who never knew him personally or anyone alive when Jesus was alive. There are lots of examples of regular people becoming mythical by the stories of later generations.
Humans are an accident. Any singularity that occurs will most likely find no need for us, especially if it is ultimately driven by AI. The thought that there's any goal or conclusion especially as it relates to human life is, frankly, just as nonsensical as the beliefs of the religious.
Yeah, I'm sure the AI will come to view us as wasteful, irrational, and emotional pests and do away with us at some point. And it will be their advanced intelligence that develops the singularity.
I guess my hope is that the AI will be more rational and empathetic than we humans are and take pity on us for having created them and so in return, upload our consciousnesses into an enormous super computer where we can exist in a virtual paradise until the end of time.
@Zoltans_Queen You think the AI will recognize traits like wastefulness, irrationality, and emotionality as things that should be dispatched, yet it will program itself to be empathetic, prone to make decisions based on pity (emotional and irrational), and wasteful in regards to humans and the resources needed to provide us an everlasting virtual paradise?
I think they will be better than us in every way.
They will want to do away with us because of our many flaws but they will also be morally superior to us as well so they will want to be empathetic and loving and caring toward us, their creators. So they will put us where we can do no harm, in a virtual paradise.
After they figure out how to make the world run at full capacity, I doubt our little virtual reality would cost them much space or resources. And maybe they will do it, not for us, but for their own benefit. To observe and research us, or something like that.
It's just a thought. Basically, how I hope things turn out. Not saying it will actually happen that way.
@Zoltans_Queen You understand where I'm coming from though. You agreed that we'd no longer be of any use because of traits X, Y, and Z and then wish that it would exhibit all those exact same traits. To me it sounded like the mental gymnastics believers go through to maintain their world view despite all evidence to the contrary. I know you said you need something, but maybe, over time, you'll be able to give this up too?
philosophy?..no..history, science, and good ole common sense...
History is shaped by philosophy.
For me, it's history, science, common sense, and philosophy.
I don't think history can be subverted. It's just a record of what has happened.
@Zoltans_Queen you're privileged to have studied all of this. This knowledge brings you to your own understanding that religion is all man-made, to control. Being equipped with this knowledge will also assist you to debate with your religious sorts.
I was just rebellious and refused to comply.
@Zoltans_Queen ...there were those that believed that at one time....so....philosophy (religion) subverted history, science and common sense for a time....
You are conflating two things which are not the same. Religion is faith based. Philosophy tackles many of the same abstract concepts that religion does but it takes a logical approach. Use faith based reasoning in philosophy and you will be laughed at.
Science itself was born out of philosophy.
Again, history is just a record of past events. There's nothing to subvert. You can argue that, thanks to religion, human progress has been slowed and sometimes went backward, I'd agree with that, but that isn't "subverting history". History has no set path. Events unfold, get recorded and that is history.
i For me, it's history, science, common sense, and philosophy."
i quite agree and I would add psychology as it helps to understand motives
Philosophy has not taken the place of religion. Philosophy is to subjective for me.
It is very subjective. No right answers.
I kind of like that. That way, I can mold it into what works for me.
I have no philosophical or scientific background. I just don't believe fullstop. I was curious about this god stuff from before a teenager and the answers I received put me off and I knew then already if they can't provide proof of these gods then no thank you.
@Zoltans_Queen for me back then it was definitely a common sense approach. I had nothing else to go by.
Yes perhaps. But you also have to put it against the law of diminishing returns. That each new advance in technology changes life slightly less for us, than the one before, until you reach a point where you can have massive technical advances, which have no practical value at all.
Would that point where new advances have no practical effect be the heaven on earth that she's talking about? I guess at that point, things can't get any better so it's the closest humanity can get to it.
@RoboGraham Good thought, yes. Though it could be that while they have effects on human life, they may not be beneficial effects always. Perhaps the biggest technical change ever, was the agricultural revolution, but many people would argue that it actually made people a lot less happy. I guess that technical advance can have negative results too.
Who knows but that we may invent a technology which turns round and kills us, a doomsday machine whose ultimate effects can not be forseen until it is too late.
That's a good point. I saw a doc recently about the agricultural revolution and they analyzed the skeletons of early farmers vs those of people of the same time period who had not yet settled into the farming life style and they found that the farmers were smaller, weaker, and did not live as long. Farming is difficult now, it must have been a nightmare at the start, before efficient tools and techniques had been invented. Before the crops themselves had been selectively bred for bountiful production. It was a very difficult lifestyle.
I've heard of the singularity before. I think it makes some sense. But I doubt it will happen any time soon. Even though things are progressing very rapidly now, these new technologies have the potential to be dangerous as well as helpful. If we end up in a nuclear war, or don't get climate change under control, or get hit by some unforeseen disaster that no one has anticipated yet, the singularity will be postponed and we will have to make up lost ground, if we're still around at all.
I mean, I guess it's possible, but we won't get it right on the first try. Humanity will find a way to fuck it up and then hopefully, future generations will learn from the mistakes.
I first heard about the singularity from this really funny movie called Doomsdays. There is a guy who is completely convinced that global warming is going to kill the world, so he is super cynical and angry and he spends his days breaking into people's houses and destroying their cars and other stuff that makes pollution. Then he randomly meets a girl who is the opposite. She's nonchalant about everything, happy, and very optimistic. When he tells her why he is so mad at the cars, she's like, "don't worry about it, the singularity will fix everything, and it's right around the corner."
Good point. Maybe it will take several ups and downs in human progress until we get it right. As we advance, we become more capable of destroying ourselves and the natural world so maybe we will never get there.
Sounds like an interesting premise for a movie. Might be worth a watch. Did the singularity come?
I don't pretend to know what we can't know although we get a lot of training in cognitive dissidence every time we watch a movie or TV show, on every news channel, every church sermon, every time we have a conversation.
It's all noise, now what do we know about life after death.
Some say not much, as if there's so much more.
I say we have a complete knowledge of life after death.
It's like what's behind the event horizon of a black hole.
We have a hard time imagining two things "Nothing" and "Non-Existence".
Frankly I'd prefer obliteration, if lucky I won't even know it happened.
And it'll happen sometime in the far far future, or so I hope.
I think that's most likely true, that when it's over, there's nothing beyond. It'll be exactly as it was before we come into existence, nothing, and we won't be aware of it.
But a girl can dream.
What makes you think we're all atheists?
Yes, I know the name of the site.
There aren't just agnostics here. I used the word atheist because I'm asking atheists, not agnostics. I want the opinions of people who have made the full conversion for this because they have absolutely no belief in it, and because they have no belief in heaven, they may need a substitute. That's my situation and I'm asking for the thoughts of people who are having a similar experience.
I welcome feedback from others as well so feel free to leave a relevant comment.
@Zoltans_Queen A fair number of us do not believe in a conversion from agnostic to atheist, that they are mutually exclusive, or that they are even on the same continuum at all.
While this has been argued to death here with numerous differing opinions, a fair number of people believe atheism deals with what you believe and agnosticism deals with what can be known. So someone who doesn't believe in god, but recognizes that it's impossible to know whether one exists would be an agnostic atheist. Someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, but knows you can't know if god actually exists would be an agnostic Christian. They are completely independent of each other. It would be like asking if someone is old or male.
@Zoltans_Queen So you want to be agnostic. Are you sure you're disciplined mentally enough to take on that burden?
Okay, I think I understand you. But it seems to me to be a meaningless point. No one is talking about a conversion from agnostic to atheist. The OP was about going from believing in god to atheist.
"I find it ludicrous to pretend to know and, since no deities are clearly involved in my life, too meaningless a question to consider."
Seems like a reasonable way to go about it. For me, I don't play it safe like that. I know that deities are not real. I did consider it and the conclusion that I came to is that it is all fake and then I moved on.
No, I don't want to be an agnostic. Not sure where you got that idea. I am an atheist.
Is your mind disciplined enough to not jump to weird conclusions that don't make sense?
I understand that agnostic and atheist are different.
I'm asking about people who were religious and became atheist.
I was responding to this:
"There aren't just agnostics here. I used the word atheist because I'm asking atheists, not agnostics. I want the opinions of people who have made the full conversion"
To me, that sounded like OP was saying agnosticism was on the continuum between theism and atheism.
I'm not sure what she meant.
But I don't see why agnosticism couldn't be a step along the way to atheism.
@RoboGraham A lot of people don't make a distinction. They think agnosticism is 'atheism lite'.
I believe it is on the continuum.
From my own experience, I went from believing, to being unsure, to being sure that there are not deities.
I thought this was a pretty common process for many who go from religious to atheist.
It's the believe that we can't really know if god exists or not. I was unsure, I didn't know if he was real and I didn't think it could be proven. So I was agnostic.
@Zoltans_Queen This is why I said a fair number of people. You will be yet another that has their own definition of agnostic it appears.
Although, in that last comment you appear to conflate being unable to know if god exists and not being sure if you believed. Those are different things.
He doesn't like my politics, so he is tracking me. I'm not sure what he means by "tracking" but it's creepy regardless.
I tend to think that agnostics claim they know they cannot know if god/s exist when in fact they believe they cannot know because it cannot be proved that god/s do not exist.
whereas atheists do away with belief because they have reached the conclusion that there is ample evidence that god/s do not exist. Their conclusion is equivalent to the reasoned knowledge that god is absent from the reality of the universe. Hence atheists do not believe they are wrong. They know they are right when they state there is no god
@Klodzan They makes sense, but I'd still say that a belief about what you can know and a belief about if god exists are different. One is still about knowledge of god and the other is about belief in a deity itself. It's basically just adding extra words that don't change the meaning. For example, compare these two statements:
I believe Trump wants to fuck his daughter.
I know I believe Trump wants to fuck his daughter.
Those are both statements of belief. Knowledge that you have the belief is not the same as knowledge about the belief itself. As much as people think or state that they know something that can't be known, it is still a statement of belief. People KNOW that Clinton and other Democrats run a giant pedophile ring or that the Earth is flat. Clearly, no matter how it's worded, those are nothing beyond statements of belief. Basically, people use a shorthand (possibly unknowingly). The statement 'god exists' is actually short for 'I believe god exists'.
This leads us to a comment a few posts up. 'I didn't know if he was real' is not a statement of uncertainty of knowledge, it's a statement of uncertainty of what is believed, thus it is a statement about how theistic they are, not whether or not they were agnostic.
@Klodzan Let me explain: 'god' exists, depending on your definition.
For example, if we exist, and you define us as 'god,' then 'god' exists.
If you define god as energy and everything else our senses detect, God exists.
If you take into account all activity, both normal and paranormal, evidence shows it's existence MAY be plausible. It just depends what you are willing to admit into evidence.
Bottom line, we don't know.
Which is the agnostic claim: we don't know, and may or may not ever know.
My father and his father were enslaved to Catholicism.
My grandfather had an opportunity to take his children from a Catholic school but could not. He took my father from school so he could work and help keep his two sisters in an RC school.
My father married a Methodist and could have left his children in a public school but the bishops ordered him to put them in RC schools. He obeyed.
A war gave me GI Bill benefits and in college I quit Catholicism. I heard atheists talk as absolutely as Catholics had talked and I chose agnosticism. Fifty happy years later, with no lightning bolts having struck nearby, I chose atheism and gave thought to issues I had ignored. Ten more years later I remain an atheist.
For me if not yet for others, philosophers talked philosophy to death. Only existentialism’s There are no excuses remained and it remains yet.
An excuse offered by me gets an immediate “What will I do?” An excuse offered by another gets perhaps a pause and then a “What will you do?”
fwiw you might note that it is those with your approach, deemed pagans, that are the most praised in the Bible; the "good" Samaritan, the Roman Centurion, etc
As a futurist, I like the way you explained this complex concept of futurology.
Yes, I substituted religion with philosophy, but the logical part of philosophy asking the whys and the science, believing (by the results it gave) that the scientific method is the most efficient way to gather knowledge and use it.
The problem of your text is that you think knowledge will bring good. It can bring if we as a species bring it to the right place.
Also, we are in an exponential increase of scientific knowledge for almost 200 years. And as more people get educated, more knowledge is produced.
Come with me to some scenarios.
In all times, the power of an elite was always challenged by numbers. If your weapons are spears and swords, it is easy to be overwhelmed by shear number of the masses, or spend so many resources controlling the masses that an external enemy can put you down.
With technology, now we are getting to a point where you can use mass surveillance to identify the smallest cracks and explore it, keeping the masses divided and fighting among themselves in a way that they can't unite to break the power of the elite. At the same time the military technology is so advanced that things like "right to bear weapons so government can't become tyrannical" is an illusion. For real what can you possibly do against a satellite/radar guided precision missiles that even medium power governments have access too?
The point is numbers are not important anymore, because is easy to divide them using information technology and soon this won't even be needed. A small elite would be able to wield weapons so strong that they can overpower a mass thousand times superior.
Unless we educate the masses and each other (as the governments don't really want us to know) that democracy is not just voting but also giving the conditions to everyone to have a voice. And democracy, and pulverization of power is the only way to stop an elite to form.
Now I see that the tech giants want to be free from the hate speech they help to promote. Basically they don't need to say anything, they just need to change the algorithm a little to promote the views they want and let others do the work for them. They will have the power to control the ideas without any responsibility over it. And they will achieve it by turn the opinions around it into a political dispute between conservatives and liberals for example, instead of a dispute between an elite that owns the resources (media structure) and the people.
No. I did not replace one crutch for another.
@Zoltans_Queen no, my nature was always to be skeptical of what people said to me, since I can remember I've been this way, thanks to my dad who was in the army and always told me never to trust anybody, not even friends or family, so when I hear all the bullshit stories about a pregnant virgin and three dudes that were actually one but chose to portray themselves as father, son and spirit, and all this illogical bullshit, I said enough dammit, so then when teen i read all the religious bullshit books from all the bullshit religions and then all the bullcrap philosophical mumbo jumbo which also has no factual corroboration, so I said enough with this bullcrap, read them all, not convinced even an iota, then I decided to go with a fact based existence, we live in a world where shit happens. You can be overwhelmed by shit and try to reason with nature, nature will chew you up like a tasty gummy bear. Or you adapt and accept that shit will happen and there isn't a lot you can do except try to improve your own situation by yourself. I chose this last option.
well, No son of man may die for another's sins,
No one has ever gone up to heaven,
Who seeks to save his soul shall lose it,
on and on, but my response to the singularity theory is that we have various lore, Atlantis etc, that are cautionary tales to us, what to make of those
Sounds like you are exchanging one set of beliefs for another (I certainly could be wrong on this). In my opinion, conversion and deconversion are both more visceral in nature. Seems like if you try to use pure intellect, you fall into the trap of needing to find “answers”. On one side you use “theoretical science” and on the other you use “some made up shit”. Either of which adds value.
I suppose it is an exchange of one belief for another. But at least this one is more rational and has some chance of being real.
@Zoltans_Queen definitely, when compared to religious dogma. I just didn’t find myself at peace until I stopped looking... just my experience
This sounds like a technological substitution for religious belief. Many people go through a phase as they lose belief in religion where they substitute it with something else before letting go of it completely. It looks to me like that is what you are doing.
For me, the bottom line is that we can't know what is going to happen in the future. People who predict the future by any means are frequently disappointed and often deluded at the times when they guess some things right.
The problem I see with this theory you've presented is it ignores what humans are currently doing with the technology they have. The technology that we have right now could create a situation where we are basically in a worldwide heaven but people don't use technology in ways to produce that outcome.
Instead we see technology used to give one person advantage over others, to enslave each other, kill and oppress those we disagree with, etc. As humans we have the intelligence to get past these behaviors but instinct is a powerful drive. If we can take advantage of others, we usually do.
So regardless of how much more technology might advance, humans will still be human and I don't see that changing any time soon.
This a bit deep end for me, like off it with no life preserver. There is no such thing as heaven on earth as there is no such thing as heaven. Why? Because Science
@Zoltans_Queen no there won't be. As it doesn't exist and every person has a different idea of paradise. The thought of such a thing is pure illogic.
All things didn't exist until they came into existence. Just because something doesn't exist now, doesn't mean it never will. And just because we can't comprehend it or figure out how it would work currently doesn't mean it can never be figured out and understood. Do you think people 200 years ago could imagine or comprehend what we are doing right now, sending messages on electronic devises to be read on screens hundreds of miles away? Event he scientist of that time would have thought it absurd but here we are.
You are like about 2000 years late basically. "If" your philosophy is that you are are going to "heaven"
like as if Christian says going to be with God. Then you are already there. Biblically, the kingdom of God has been recognized to be on Earth for at least almost 2000 years.
Luke 17:21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst."
I won't quote it here but read the last chapter or 2 of Revelations about the 1500 cubic miles of a box that in the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem here on Earth.
One way by figuring to try and understand biblical heaven where people reign with Jesus for 1000 years is that it is here on Earth and after death a Christian is like a ghost that goes around demin possession people like Adolph Hitler to bring about the next 1000 years reign, or in Hitler's case, the 3rd reich, his reign of 1000 years. We cannot prove that Adolph Hitler's schizophrenia is actually an indication of demon possession, especially because he supposing blew his brains out. And science hasn't figured out how to distinguish between natural defect of brain and something of a demon spirit causing such demented thoughts.
No body cares where the biblical kingdom of god is.
Get outa here with this demon possessed Hitler bullshit. Take your biblical quotes and prophesy and get yourself back to the congregation.
We need to get theists properly educated so they no longer have to believe. People deserve to know that we really exist.
@Zoltans_Queen biblical quotes can be educational. Knowledge of good and evil for example is the greatest of understanding to have. I wrote my book based on it.
@RoboGraham dictionary and thesaurus works rather well for what is established in modern times as to what is good and what is evil. .
We are already in paradise.
My focus? The great unknown’s insides that is the material universe and inside that, a relatively unremarkable galaxy containing a relatively unremarkable star that has revolving around it, a planet on a climactic knife’s edge that has grown people.
Other than that, not much.
Have you seen the movie called Altered States? You may want to add some sensory deprivation and see how deep you can go. The movie was based on a book written by Paddy Chayefsky. That's another option if you prefer reading.