Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nominating oneself for intellectual sainthood

A redated post. 

One feature of freethought literature that has always annoyed me is the way in which nonbelievers tend to nominate themselves for intellectual sainthood. This is something I noticed going all the way back to reading Russell's "The Value of Free Thought," an essay that, in one sense, has influenced me more than any other piece of philosophy or theology that I have ever read. I have spent a lifetime working hard at being intellectually honest, with mixed results. Russell promises that you can be a free thinker if you just liberate yourself from the force of tradition and the tyranny of your passions, but from what I read of Russell's life, he wouldn't have been happy on Vulcan. "I thank God (figuratively, of course) that I am not as other men. I apportion my beliefs to the evidence."

It is all well and good to point out the emotional underpinnings of religous belief. But to suggest that unbelief has no emotional underpinnings is to indulge in a massive self-deception. This links to Telic Thoughts discussion of P. Z. Myers.

17 comments:

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

Of course we all have insecurities. The difference I see is this. Religious believers or God(dess) believers fill the need or void with God's and Goddesses. While others (who come to recognize their insecurities) choose instead to love themselves and embrace death as being part of life and fill the void that way. If I was ever to believe in a God again it would have to be a Goddess. I'm not attracted to the masculine. I'm not gay, you see. If I'm going to entwine my soul or come into a love union with another soul (filling the void or insecurites) I would prefer a female. I'm baffled by those who think they are so "logical" that they cut their emotions off completely. Spirituality, or perhaps the growth process, is suppose to be (in part) about undergoing a transformation and comming into contact with love, beauty, and compassion.

Cole said...

Let me put it to you this way. When you worship someone they are at the center of your life. Why would I place a man (Christ) at the center of my life unless I was attracted to the masculine? I'm not enthralled or stricken with awe and wonder at the masculine. I am with the feminine because I'm not gay. If it's going to be a soul union between two people then I prefer a woman. I don't want to be the Bride Of Christ in other words. If I'm going to find wholeness and completion by filling the void (insecurities) then I would rather bond with a woman and fall in love with her rather than with a man and be His Bride.

David B Marshall said...

Well, to be fair, Spock wasn't happy on Vulcan, either.

Papalinton said...

"..... that always annoyed me is the way in which nonbelievers tend to nominate themselves for intellectual sainthood."

You seem to be inferring that intellectual sainthood is a bad thing.
Sanctimonious christians have been doing that for millennia as a normal function of piety.
A long tradition of religious behaviour has provided a role model that has been operative for many centuries.

So it is not a practice for which atheists can be held responsible.

BenYachov said...

BenYachov's Law:

Knowledge and reasoning abilities are learned skills. Just because you deny gods don't automatically make you rational or knowledgeable.


Bonhoffer talked about "Cheap Grace". I think we can ascribe to Gnus like Myers, Dawkins or Krauss the concept of "Cheap Rationality".

Zach said...

Cole dropping the gauntlet Nietzche-style talking about the immasculating nature of Christianity loving a male person with complete devotion. Don't forget turning the other cheek is not something a real man does!

Interesting spin from Cole. As a Christian I find this more interesting than the usual stuff from skeptics.

Cole said...

Zach,

Doesn't it make sense though? When I'm in the presence of what I consider to be beautiful those are the feelings I get. I don't ever have those feelings for the masculine. Christ was and is a man. The more I think of it the more it makes sense to me that if I'm going to fill the void (insecurities) in my heart and soul and come into a love union with another person, I would rather it be feminine. I don't want to be anybody's bride. If you do then that's your business.

Zach said...

Cole, though, it isn't about sex. It is Platonic. I love my father, my son more than anything in this world. Christianity is admittedly emasculating in some respects.

Cole said...

Zach,

How does God express His love towards you? If it's only platonic then why are Christians called the Bride Of Christ? Have you ever heard of the doctine of union?

The Christian counselor, Gary Chapman, lists five primary ways we express love. Gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. God doesn't do any of those things. He doesn't help around the house, compliment me or give me hugs, neither does He talk back when I talk to Him. He doesn't say thank you or I love you.

William said...

Cole: "How does God express His love towards you? If it's only platonic then why are Christians called the Bride Of Christ? Have you ever heard of the doctine of union? "

Why is there an Eve instead of just Adam? Do't expect the philosopher's God to meet your relationship needs Cole, turn off the computer or try Facebook.

Cole said...

William,

If the philosopher's God doesn't express love then what good is He? What exactly is He? How does God express His love to you? Can you answer that or have you become like the other psychopaths who cut off all their emotions as well? Maybe you are a robot of some kind?

Cole said...

What I do is simply love and take care of myself, gain a true perspective of my value and worth, and love others from a secure position. Embrace death as part of life. If I'm afraid of death then I'm afraid of life. By embracing death I embrace life and everything about it. It is from here one is transformed and then see things differently. What matters now is to live life well and to the fullest. The fear of death is removed as anxieties and fears are released. The fact is this. There is no personal God of love. There is no evidence for such a being. The evidence points in the opposite direction. If He desired a personal relationship with humans then He would express His love towards us and fill our needs (insecurities) and complete us and make us whole.

William said...

Cole,

I'm not personally capable of defining in words the difference between the abstraction of a thing and the thing itself, sorry.

But do turn off that computer, leave the room, enroll in an aerobics class, go to a political meeting or church group or such, get out more.

William said...

Cole:

" Embrace death as part of life. If I'm afraid of death then I'm afraid of life. By embracing death I embrace life and everything about it. "

----
This line of thought is potentially dangerous to you personally. Please discuss with a therapist.

Cole said...

William,

Perhaps you should get out and meet people. Your attempts to belittle me won't work. I meet and counsel with alcholics and drug addicts every day. Get your nose out of your books and start living in the real world. Learn to be secure with yourself and gain a true perspective of your value and worth as a human being. This emotionless philosopher's God of yours doesn't seem to be doing you any good. You can't even explain to me how He expresses love to you.

Cole said...

Also William,

You sound a little off ballance right now. That's what happens sometimes to some people when they start to see reality. It can be unsettling. Believe me I know. It's hard to come to grips with the fact that you believe in fairy tales. It was for me too.

Zach said...

People let's stop doling out personal advice, it really is petty and condescending and presumptious.