Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Moving Through Clouds

The most profound periods of personal growth for me tend to happen when I'm either alone or transitioning between groups of friends. I think I store a lot of self-observations and things-to-fix for these periods. It's hard to reinvent oneself and let one's social bonds re-sort themselves appropriately, and the habits of existing bonds inhibit personal growth. Ideally, family and very very close friends can come along on that journey, but it's easier for me to shift when people further out are not there.

I've been thinking a lot about what this move is going to mean for me. I've had a lot of frustration with most of the social circles in Pittsburgh; people with annoyingly exclusive circles of friends, problems I've made, times when I've either been too dogged or not dogged enough in keeping friendships alive, etc.

I thought this description of atheist perspectives to be reasonably accurate; it doesn't *quite* describe me.

==About Atheism==I think that Atheism is the most reasonable stance on a single issue, but it is not enough; we should strive to better ourselves, both as individuals and as societies. I believe that there is no evidence to support the notion of gods, and an adequate understanding of human nature tells us how we've created gods and what social/philosophical/other insecurities have led the idea to be created/sustained over so much of our history in so many forms. I recognise that intelligent people can believe in gods, but I believe that various flaws in their thinking, subtle or gross, lead them to belief.

==About God==There are no gods

==About the Trinity==The trinity is a confusing, never-fully-worked-out effort to deal with the conflict between a desire for monotheism and the roles of HaShem and Yeshua in the standard version of the Christian story. Different strands of Christianity disagree over the details of this doctrine (those that have it). I place no stock in it, as I lack both a belief in gods and an impetus to try to reconcile the monotheistic/polytheistic difficulties at the heart of christianity.

==About Jesus==I don't particularly like the teachings, I do recognise a set of possible philosophies from the various (christian, muslim) accounts of the person, and I give a limited respect to Yeshua as some kind of religious philosopher (as I do to other philosophers in general).

==About the (Christian) Bible==It's interesting as an ancient cultural artifact and as a complicated statement on some philosophical matters. In my adult life, I don't draw inspiration from it specifically in any meaningful way.

==About the Afterlife==I don't believe an Afterlife is likely. I have exactly one hedge on my otherwise solid bet that ties to my notions about the nature of intelligence (patterns in data) and the lack of meaningfulness of instantiation of patterns; this perspective is deeply alien to traditional notions of an afterlife.

==About Salvation==I don't believe in sin or salvation. I do claim that people should attempt to live their lives in ways that are compatible with a well-considered (either detailed, or at least good-natured-if-vague) notion of the public good, and I have specific ideas about that notion that I would like to spread. I don't think any of this is worked into the universe itself, which if it can be characterised at all can be said to be indifferent to human concerns, morals, and values.

==Postnote==I am amused by the suggestions on how to talk to someone like me. As a philosopher, I have always been willing to think, at possible cost to reputation and friends. I probably would have (slightly) more friends were I not so far off the beaten path; even for an atheist. Yes, talking about sin is not likely to convince me of everything; likewise with quoting holy books. I don't know if Yeshua was crucified, but I doubt people are going to be able to find evidence to prove a resurrection. Personal testimony that christianity may have changed people's lives is not likely to make a difference to me; I know it has, as I know many other philosophies would. So what? Life philosophies are powerful things.

There's a grab-bag of further arguments designed to prepare people to argue with Atheists. None of them are any more threatening.

I sometimes find it odd that so many science-fiction authors are conservative.


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