Can there be an atheistic religion?

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This topic contains 79 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 2 years ago.

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    Here is my philosophy of life…i dont pretend to know shit that is unknowable or unknown…i treat people well until i have reason to not…i savor the existentially delicious moments and the few people i care for…i have helped so many to my detriment but i try to avoid having that make me bitter…

    Oh yeah and as to the priests,  majority of politicians, charlatans, obscurantists who pretend to know what the fuck is up, fuck em and the horse they rode in on but leave the horse alone cuz i like horses.


    Simon Paynton

    That’s pretty much what mine says.


    Faith is pretending to know things that you cannot possibly know. This causes great annoyance to theists whenever I say this so I say it often. I then try to teach them some Critical Thinking skills.


    Jake – here you go. No need to by me a beer. No need to manipulate reality.



    Geesh..thanks for nuthin Reg…how bout a cup of hemlock instead?…what a contrast between Bhoggosian and JP…the former clear-thinking…no bs…the latter an unfortunate mental patient…

    My only quibble with B is that having faith is a bit worse than he portrays it…it is reckless, lazy and negligent.



    Are you guys reading Boghossian??? His book “Fear of knowledge” is my absolute favorite critique of post-modernists, knowledge deniers, cultural relativists, religion truth butchers etc. Even better than “Fashionable Nonsense”. I imagine you’ve seen his videos? His books are even better. He seems to write in an effortless way, brief, brutal and slightly humorous. Pretty much the ideal modern philosopher. Did you get around to it Reg?



    That’s pretty much what mine says.

    “Philosophy of life” is a non-existent thing. It’s one thing to say you have an ethical code or a theory on the meaning of life but “philosophy of life” is almost invariably followed by a series of folk wisdom, badly worked out arguments with lousy premises, badly fitting logic, unclear and inufficient conclusions and an enormous dose of subjective opinions scarcely defended or backed up by convincing evidence.

    There are a few exceptions (Aristotle, Plutarch, Epicurus, Scruton etc) who actually wrote short books on “how to live your life” but in almost all cases they qualified the book with the premise that the book was more advice than philosophy.

    As for your response to the philosophy of life Jake (I know you wrote this tongue and cheek) it’s really a “position on epistemology” (one I very much agree with) followed by “familiar hedonism” (which I also dig) followed by “disdain for relativists and uncritical minds” (which I also dig). The second one is a personal preference, the third is an emotion. Only the first can be philosophy but it is the philosophy of knowledge, not life.




    As for your philosophy of life @simon …the moment you mention “wisdom through the ages” I am extremely skeptical. Folk wisdom and advice is usually not philosophy. There is no DNA of morality. Morality is a human construct which relies less on human instinct and way more on the setting. Morality depending on a DNA molecule doesn’t make sense. Do you understand the relationship between DNA molecules and consciousness, the relationship between consciousness and theory of decision making? Do you know the relationship between decision making and human judgement? By the time to get to morality there is nearly nothing left of the DNA molecule. Concentrating on “stories” is a rather unwise method of working out rational respectable philosophy. Stories are full of bias and produce a lot of anecdotal evidence and badly formed idea. A story as a way of narrating an argument you already worked out is one thing, basing a philosophy on stories is quite another thing. What is mathematics-style philosophy? I’ve never heard of that. Do you mean backing up your arguments with statistical analysis? Or do you mean presenting your arguments through rigorous logic via strong critical thinking skills? I’m unable to imagine how combining evolution, bhuddism and logic can result in a philosophy. The first is a natural process, the second is a man made religion and the last one is a method for making and justifying statements. They are three completely different categories. I’m rather dubious about how that can be a philosophy and more importantly that it could “really work”.


    I dip into his “Manual for creating atheists” on a regular basis. It works using the Socratic method of dialogue. I often engage with street preachers and also help man a few atheists tables for taking questions from pedestrians if they stop. I have “created” several atheists doing this. (They are the winners, not me). I own a copy of  “Fear of Knowledge” too but must confess to have not having read it yet!!. It is 4 books away so another month I guess before I get to it.

    Here is a critique of the manual by Kevin Harris who writes W.L. Craig’s web content and podcasts. I (We) had a few good debates with him on TA (example) and it took time to get him to understand why I edited the title of his post “Evidence for the existence of God” to “Arguments for the existence of God”. I have a certain admiration for his dedication. I think he helped Craig to improve his “Kalam Cosmological Argument” which I debunked for him.

    I was speaking with my 16 year old niece recently who said that my statement about seeking out dangerous ideas (those heretical of the consensus and that challenge us) would be the basis of her next conversation with her friends especially the “poor religious ones who never seem to mature” in the hope that “they might become free of the tyranny of ignorance”. (her words)

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer. Reason: Corrected link in "Critique"


    Okay Davis, points taken.  I was only vaguely aware of B.




    Unseen, are you addressing your employee? I would have had to search for it same as you. In the time you wrote me you could have found it. A simple thank you would have been appropriate.

    You would have been finding it not for me but for everyone in this discussion. Maybe you do need a manager, though.



    Sorry Unseen but my goat is not biting.  You gotta do much better than that.


    Simon Paynton

    @davis“the moment you mention “wisdom through the ages” I am extremely skeptical. Folk wisdom and advice is usually not philosophy

    – if philosophy is defined as “knowledge about life” then it can qualify.  Three that I’ve used are “two wrongs don’t make a right”, “smile now, cry later” and “no good comes of no good”.

    Morality depending on a DNA molecule doesn’t make sense.

    – 1) the DNA molecule reproduces; 2) natural selection is relative.  The result is that those organisms that reproduce better than the others in their niche get to pass on their genes, and the result of this is a pressure on the individual organism to reproduce.  Reproduction requires survival long enough to reproduce; survival requires thriving.  So, there is a pressure to thrive in all organisms.  This pressure to thrive is the driving force behind ethics.

    What is mathematics-style philosophy? I’ve never heard of that. Do you mean backing up your arguments with statistical analysis? Or do you mean presenting your arguments through rigorous logic via strong critical thinking skills?

    – it turns out that the laws of morality look and behave much like the laws of mathematics, as a set of interlinked principles and situations.  This can only be arrived at through critical thinking and rigorous logic.


    – it’s Jordan Peterson who goes in for stories.  But I think this approach works in his field, which is psychology.  I think the human psyche contains a lot of stories or narratives.

    really works

    – it really works, in that the pressure to thrive, survive and reproduce, together with the story of human evolution, and the interlinked principles of morality, provide a simple and elegant framework that can be used to make new hypotheses which match up with reality.




    Simon, I think you are the only person I know that has defined philosophy as “knowledge about life”. If it was “knowledge” then we would not have to ponder it too deeply as it would be passed down to us. The philosopher Hegel said that the study of philosophy is but the introduction to philosophy. It means that if you want to understand (say) the ideas of Aristotle, you need to sit down and allow yourself to walkthrough his thoughts to see the ideas as he did. If I was to be philosophical about it I would say we need to “walk in his shoes before we stand on his shoulders”.

    The 3 example you offer are really just platitudes. They are not knowledge.

    There are some good definitions of philosophy here, including a link to a podcast by Nigel Warburton whose book “A little history of Philosophy” I linked in a recent Sunday School.

    You could argue that Evolution and morality are interlinked but it not genetically coded for.


    Simon Paynton

    But doing philosophy means seeking knowledge, and often, it’s about life.  Those definitions in the link are all good too.

    The philosopher Hegel said that the study of philosophy is but the introduction to philosophy.

    – I think he means that after studying philosophy, which is the introduction, philosophy is all about doing it for oneself, creating one’s own philosophy.  After all, that’s what Hegel did.

    You could argue that Evolution and morality are interlinked but it not genetically coded for.

    – in that case, why are we born with it (and some people are born lacking it, i.e. narcissists)?



    To study philosophy is to study the inner ideas of philosophers rather than to gain “knowledge”. They can lead to theories about life and we can trace the logical progression of those ideas to understand what the philosophers who introduced them intended them to be.

    Philosophy is mostly about personal enlightenment. It can help to develop our code of ethics and how we think about the world. But to do this we must re-enact in our minds the classic problems of philosophy just as previous generations have done. If some of them have not at some point kept you awake at night then you are not doing it right!

    Climatologists can look back at (say) 1000 years of weather records, CO2 levels, sea-level changes etc. and make logical deductions about the future. This is a form of knowledge (facts that are “justified” as being deemed “true”). It can be all checked and verified (peer-reviewed) by the next generation of climatologists who are as yet unborn.

    Philosophy is different. The conclusions drawn from the arguments of a philosopher in the past will be analyzed by future generations. Each one of them will retrace, in their own minds, the logic of the steps of the arguments and set their own value on the merits of the philosophers’ deductions. So yes, Hegel will develop his own and we will create ours. In this sense philosophy is not knowledge.

    Climatologists must reach a consensus if their data and logic is consistent but philosophers don’t have to. Philosophy is a personal quest to make common sense of our shared experiences and its value lies in what each individual (each philosopher) learns from contemplating such questions.

    The next generation will start from scratch, study the history of philosophy and become philosophers in their own right. Once that point is reached future philosophers can further develop those ideas and draw their own individual conclusions about how should we live our own lives. It has nothing to do with DNA.

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