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Author Topic:   The evolution of hell: how rhetoric changes religion
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 16 of 66 (600937)
01-17-2011 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by nwr
01-17-2011 8:21 PM


nwr writes:

ApostateAbe writes:
Absolutely. Deism, or belief in God without belief in religion, was at least seemingly close to the predominant belief among philosophers and scientists.

For most people, there aren't many important differences between deism and atheism.

ApostateAbe writes:
Where is deism, now? It was replaced by atheism, because there was no more reason left to believe in any sort of God at all.

But I doubt that evolution was important for that. I suspect that it has more to do other changes which have lead to a reduction in the social pressure against atheism.
You find it more probable, then, that even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were merely lying about their preference for deism over atheism to spare them from the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity. Whenever there are disputes about what was going on inside people's brains, there are people who say, "Nobody knows," but I really do find some positions to be exceptionally strange.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 8:21 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 8:44 PM ApostateAbe has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 17 of 66 (600940)
01-17-2011 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 8:33 PM


ApostateAbe writes:
You find it more probable, then, that even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were merely lying about their preference for deism over atheism to spare them from the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity.

I would not accuse them of lying. Either deism or atheism avoids religious commitment. It doesn't make much of a difference as far as I can tell. I expect that they were influenced by social pressures, but so what? If I wear a shirt because of social pressures, does that make it a lie to wear a shirt?


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 8:33 PM ApostateAbe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 8:52 PM nwr has responded

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 18 of 66 (600942)
01-17-2011 8:52 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by nwr
01-17-2011 8:44 PM


nwr writes:

ApostateAbe writes:
You find it more probable, then, that even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were merely lying about their preference for deism over atheism to spare them from the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity.

I would not accuse them of lying. Either deism or atheism avoids religious commitment. It doesn't make much of a difference as far as I can tell. I expect that they were influenced by social pressures, but so what? If I wear a shirt because of social pressures, does that make it a lie to wear a shirt?
OK, just to be clear, you find it more probable even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were pressured to keep out of atheism by the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity. Is that right?
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 Message 19 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 8:59 PM ApostateAbe has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 19 of 66 (600944)
01-17-2011 8:59 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 8:52 PM


ApostateAbe writes:
OK, just to be clear, you find it more probable even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were pressured to keep out of atheism by the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity. Is that right?

No, I am not suggesting that.

I am suggesting that they sensed implicit societal pressures, not that they were explicitly and specifically pressured.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 8:52 PM ApostateAbe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 9:30 PM nwr has responded

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 20 of 66 (600952)
01-17-2011 9:30 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by nwr
01-17-2011 8:59 PM


nwr writes:

ApostateAbe writes:
OK, just to be clear, you find it more probable even the vocally anti-religious philosophers such as Voltaire and Jefferson were pressured to keep out of atheism by the anti-atheistic forces of society than to believe that they really did think that the existence of God was probable following from the argument that there was no other way to explain life and humanity. Is that right?

No, I am not suggesting that.

I am suggesting that they sensed implicit societal pressures, not that they were explicitly and specifically pressured.

OK, yeah, I think "pressured" covers both implicit pressure and explicit pressure. Anyway, bluescat48 thinks that there were a lot of atheists in the closet before Darwin. I think those people were generally telling the truth as they actually believed, and Darwin's theory caused an actual shift in belief in society about the existence of God, following from the shift in the best available explanation for life.
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 Message 19 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 8:59 PM nwr has responded

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 Message 21 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 11:15 PM ApostateAbe has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 21 of 66 (600963)
01-17-2011 11:15 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 9:30 PM


ApostateAbe writes:
I think those people were generally telling the truth as they actually believed, and Darwin's theory caused an actual shift in belief in society about the existence of God, following from the shift in the best available explanation for life.

I'm not convinced that Darwin's theory made that much difference.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 9:30 PM ApostateAbe has responded

Replies to this message:
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 22 of 66 (600964)
01-17-2011 11:25 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by nwr
01-17-2011 11:15 PM


nwr writes:

ApostateAbe writes:
I think those people were generally telling the truth as they actually believed, and Darwin's theory caused an actual shift in belief in society about the existence of God, following from the shift in the best available explanation for life.

I'm not convinced that Darwin's theory made that much difference.
OK, I do find that belief odd, but it is not like I can do much about it.
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 Message 21 by nwr, posted 01-17-2011 11:15 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 180 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 23 of 66 (600966)
01-17-2011 11:32 PM


Also...
There was also the enlightenment a few decades earlier.

A lot of folks from that time on probably were closet atheists.

After Darwin more felt they could come out of the closet.

But don't forget there is still a huge stigma attached to being an atheist. Try to run for national office anywhere in the US as an atheist and you'll have a very difficult time of it.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 24 of 66 (600969)
01-17-2011 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Coyote
01-17-2011 11:32 PM


Re: Also...
Coyote writes:

There was also the enlightenment a few decades earlier.

A lot of folks from that time on probably were closet atheists.

After Darwin more felt they could come out of the closet.

Possible, as always. It is difficult for me to understand how it is sensible to believe that an equal percentage of people could believe atheism, albeit secretly, given that there was no sensible way to explain life before the theory of evolution except for God. The old Watchmaker argument really was a very powerful argument. Life is complex, complex things require design, design requires a designer, all religious traditions identify a god as the designer, therefore God exists. That is an argument that secret atheists would have a very difficult time answering. David Hume did his best, but his argument is ambiguous and difficult to comprehend. Why not just believe that the theory of evolution really did cause the late 19th century rise in atheism? Is there a good reason why not?
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Replies to this message:
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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2263 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 25 of 66 (600981)
01-18-2011 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 11:46 PM


Re: Also...
There is still no totally accepted theory of the beginning of life and evolution, only explains changes after that first life existed. Whats more not only Atheists, Agnostics & Deists accept evolution but many Theists accept the ToE. Explain how this can occur if Evolution and Atheism are directly related.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 11:46 PM ApostateAbe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-18-2011 9:41 AM bluescat48 has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 26 of 66 (600990)
01-18-2011 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 6:46 PM


When Darwin's theory became established at the end of the 19th century as the only theory besides God to explain life, 100 years after Lyell had already explained the planet Earth without God, that is when we see a big historical shift toward atheism--Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Ingersoll--and each of them influenced a helluva lot of people with antipathy toward religion.

Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto a decade before Darwin wrote the Origin of Species.

Nietzsche rejected Darwinism:

I see all philosophers and the whole of science on their knees before a reality which is the reverse of the struggle for life as Darwin and his school understood it- that is to say, wherever I look, I see those prevailing and surviving, who throw doubt and suspicion upon life and the value of life.- The error of the Darwinian school became a problem to me: how can one be so blind as to make this mistake?

The reasons that turned Ingersoll from religion you have already quoted.

Of Freud's religious opinions and, for that matter, his grasp of evolution, I know nothing.


This message is a reply to:
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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 404 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


(1)
Message 27 of 66 (600991)
01-18-2011 3:10 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by ApostateAbe
01-17-2011 6:46 PM


I think there may be something to this assertion:

ApostateAbe writes:

With the theory of evolution, there was no scientific reason left to believe in God, and biology was formerly a very big scientific reason. When Darwin's theory became established at the end of the 19th century as the only theory besides God to explain life, 100 years after Lyell had already explained the planet Earth without God, that is when we see a big historical shift toward atheism...

But I think it's more a matter of the impact Darwin had on theists, rather than on atheists.

First there was scientific acceptance of heliocentrism undermining religious doctrine, then Lyell and other geologists refuting Genesis (no recent creation, no global flood). But neither of these seemed to have the same impact on theists as Darwin's assertion that mankind was "just another animal", and not a special creation with a special (and active) relationship to a sentient and attentive creator.

In other words, it's not so much that Darwin provided some sort of enabling factor or firm foundation to atheists that they previously lacked. Rather, he incited among theists a stubborn and vociferous opposition, which still continues unabated and is fomenting ever more egregious denials against the ever more voluminous evidence for evolution.

As a consequence of theists forcing the issue, atheists have been compelled to be more outspoken about their position, not only to sustain rational skepticism and objective ethics (which have always been fundamental to atheism), but to protect and promote the scientific method itself, which had been an endeavor shared by (some) theists since the Enlightenment.

Still, the topic seems to be centered on the concept of hell, and I don't see any relevant relation between that and Darwin's theory.

As for the describing these different notions of hell as simply being different "rhetoric", I suspect that some theists would view that as a misstatement, because for them, it's a matter of foundational dogma, such that you can't be a "true Christian" (or "true Muslim") if you don't accept the "correct" notion. I even suspect there are some who call themselves Christian and don't actually believe or accept any notion of hell. Go figure...

I personally agree that it's ultimately a matter of rhetoric, since all assertions about the Christian notion of "life after death" are based on nothing more than speculations about various dreams and made-up stories. But apart from acknowledging the fact that religion is ultimately just an artifact of human language and cognitive patterns, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by talking about "how rhetoric changes religion."


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by ApostateAbe, posted 01-17-2011 6:46 PM ApostateAbe has responded

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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 28 of 66 (601012)
01-18-2011 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by Dr Adequate
01-18-2011 2:45 AM


Dr Adequate writes:

Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto a decade before Darwin wrote the Origin of Species.


Yes, that's right, and his writings gained traction among thinkers, leaders and populations who oppressed religions decades after the Manifesto and after Darwin's theory was established.
Dr Adequate writes:

Nietzsche rejected Darwinism:

I see all philosophers and the whole of science on their knees before a reality which is the reverse of the struggle for life as Darwin and his school understood it- that is to say, wherever I look, I see those prevailing and surviving, who throw doubt and suspicion upon life and the value of life.- The error of the Darwinian school became a problem to me: how can one be so blind as to make this mistake?

If you are going to quote someone to make a point, then it is essential to first make the best sense of that quote and fit it into the point that the author made. Nietzsche most certainly did not reject Darwinism, but it was the foundation of his entire philosophy! He writes that the school of Darwinian thought was thrown into doubt because the weak are prevailing within human society, and the Ubermensch is being repressed. He saw that as a huge problem, and he blamed religion.
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ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 2701 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 29 of 66 (601014)
01-18-2011 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by bluescat48
01-18-2011 12:59 AM


Re: Also...
bluescat48 writes:

There is still no totally accepted theory of the beginning of life and evolution, only explains changes after that first life existed. Whats more not only Atheists, Agnostics & Deists accept evolution but many Theists accept the ToE. Explain how this can occur if Evolution and Atheism are directly related.


The theory of evolution is essential to atheism, but harmful to religion. Religion can merely accommodate the theory of evolution.

Edited by ApostateAbe, : No reason given.


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 Message 25 by bluescat48, posted 01-18-2011 12:59 AM bluescat48 has responded

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 66 (601032)
01-18-2011 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Rrhain
01-17-2011 4:18 PM


What nonsense. Evolution did not lead to any rise of atheism.

What makes you so sure?


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