Friday, July 23, 2010

Quote of the Day: "The Only Meaning Comes From Your Will Power"

"Atheism is clarity. It is not merely the resolve of your insignificance. It is the reversal of age old belief; the understanding that the only meaning and direction come from your will power and nothing other."

-J. Raney, The Finite Man, quoted by Jonathan on the Ball Bounces.

(I can't find this quote online. I have my suspicions...)

If this is the best atheism can do, it is in serious trouble. When it comes to the really important things in life, the things that distinguish us as humans and not mere animals, it is feeble.

Consider a godless universe. Uncreated. Undesigned. From nothing. For nothing. Prior to man. Prior to life. Is the concept of meaning even coherent? It is not. It is absurd to ask the question because meaning is meaningless, an empty concept. There is no meaning. What is, is, and that is all. No higher purpose (no lower purpose).

Then along comes man. A purpose-driven, meaning-seeking animal. Where does this concept of meaning come from? How does it get wired-into us. Darwinian survival mechanisms? Oh, puleeze! But, OK, let's say darwinian survival mechanisms wired humans to think in terms of meaning. An insentient, dumb-as-a-rock process endues us with the concept of meaning and invites us to seek it.  What possible actual integrity or authenticity can "meaning" possibly have under this scenario? It's absurd.

The atheist can claim that he makes his own meaning by sheer willpower. But, if he is honest he will also admit it's a scam, a sham, and an absurdity.

Atheism diminishes our humanity. It is the inevitable consequence of losing the ontological foundation for rationality, morality, and higher-values like meaning.

Regain your humanity. Rebel against the atheist machine.™

12 comments:

P@J said...

hardly the best Atheists can do.

That would require a long read, from Edward Abbey ("God is a sound people make when they're too tired to think anymore.") to Frank Zappa ("The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. "), and everyone in between, with long side roads including Samuel Celmens ("You can never find a Christian who has acquired this valuable knowledge by any process but the everlasting and all-sufficient 'people say.'") and Lucretius ("All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher")

(admittedly, Lucretius died before your saviour, therefore he didn't have the benefit of your religion.)

RkBall said...

These sound more like rhetoric than argument.

Many of the greatest philosophers, greatest scientists, and greatest inventors were either devout Christians or persons whose worldview and working-assumptions were informed by the Christian worldview.

jonathan said...

"Atheism is clarity. It is not merely the resolve of your insignificance. It is the reversal of age old belief; the understanding that the only meaning and direction come from your will power and nothing other."

-J. Raney, The Finite Man, quoted by Jonathan on the Ball Bounces.

(I can't find this quote online. I have my suspicions...)"

That's because I took the quote you posted about atheism being an abnormality and corrected it. I did it because the man who made the statement was clearly wrong.

"If this is the best atheism can do, it is in serious trouble. When it comes to the really important things in life, the things that distinguish us as humans and not mere animals, it is feeble."

Could you clarify on why it is in serious trouble, and how clarity is problematic? You have to remember, the really important things in life are 100% subjective to each individual. If they were not then the human species would be a hive species with only a few objectives suited to benefit a certain goal. The ONLY thing that distinguishes us from other species is our highly advanced intellect, but we are still animals and will on occassion behave as animals despite our intelligence. So when I state that I have clarity and resolve of my insignificance in this universe I am saying that the things you worry about don't bother me one bit. They allow me to freely think and figure out what I should do with my life and create my purpose rather than think about what is gods purpose for me and constantly question if I am currently fullfilling that purpose. How is this clarity feeble?

"Consider a godless universe. Uncreated. Undesigned. From nothing. For nothing. Prior to man. Prior to life. Is the concept of meaning even coherent? It is not. It is absurd to ask the question because meaning is meaningless, an empty concept. There is no meaning. What is, is, and that is all. No higher purpose (no lower purpose)."

You're sounding a lot like Ray Comfort. I don't know if you'll take that as a compliment but I don't see it as one. You're not critically thinking before you make your statements. The "concept" of meaning is a man-made, abstract, intangible thing. Without man this "concept" CANNOT exist and DID NOT exist prior to our existence. Your logic here is implying that individuals who decide what their meaning is are wrong, and utterly useless. In this instance it is wrong because you say it doesn't fit the goal of an everlasting eternity with god; you are making the statement that their present existence is meaningless even though they may have made their meaning and purpose to help mankind at all costs, even their life. Their higher purpose is what they make it, not what is decided for them.

jonathan said...

"Then along comes man. A purpose-driven, meaning-seeking animal. Where does this concept of meaning come from? How does it get wired-into us. Darwinian survival mechanisms? Oh, puleeze!"

We don't know where this meaning comes from, but I'm convinced that it is because of the physiological structure of our brains. We don't know how it is wired into us and yes it could be survival mechanisms, BUT we don't ASSUME that our meaning and purpose is chosen for us before we have any say in it. If you can't understand this then you will never understand what I'm trying to explain.

"But, OK, let's say darwinian survival mechanisms wired humans to think in terms of meaning. An insentient, dumb-as-a-rock process endues us with the concept of meaning and invites us to seek it. What possible actual integrity or authenticity can "meaning" possibly have under this scenario? It's absurd."

You're still misunderstanding. This process did not endue us with anything. A byproduct of the biology of our brain and our ability to conceptualize is more than likely the reason as to why we think we need a purpose; if anything it is more so a mechanism to keep us focused on a set path that will benefit not only our survival but the survival of our offspring. It's only absurd if you fill you need to be told how to behave, how to think, what you will do with your life, who to give praise to and who to have faith in.

"The atheist can claim that he makes his own meaning by sheer willpower. But, if he is honest he will also admit it's a scam, a sham, and an absurdity.

Atheism diminishes our humanity. It is the inevitable consequence of losing the ontological foundation for rationality, morality, and higher-values like meaning."

This is an ad-hominem of the highest caliber. I do not appreciate being told by an individual, who is scared of the thought of having to make his own meaning, that I am a scam, a sham or that I'm absurd and have no rationality, morality of higher-values like meaning when you don't even know what I've done, or that I've laid down my own life for individuals who I do not know, nor will never know. It is you, not I, claiming that all of the so called diminishing of humanity is based on one group of individuals' beliefs. Could it be that humanity is simply beginning to understand their path in life is theirs, that their purpose in life is their creation of said purpose, or that their meaning in life is what they make of it, instead of a ritualistic predestined course set out for them? Have you thought that people are turning away from your believed god because of the irrational actions of those who follow him? I do not think you will ever, truly understand.

RkBall said...

J. Congratulations on an interesting quote!

"the really important things in life are 100% subjective..."

This could be interpreted to mean that everything important is "ultimately unreal".



"my insignificance" What if you are wrong?!

"create my purpose rather than think about what is gods purpose for me and constantly question if I am currently fullfilling that purpose. How is this clarity feeble?"

The bigger question is, "is there purpose?". Theism answers, yes, atheism, no.

You're sounding a lot like Ray Comfort.

"I am my own man" -- Ball Bounces

The "concept" of meaning is a man-made, abstract, intangible thing. Without man this "concept" CANNOT exist and DID NOT exist prior to our existence."

SInce man is a mere burp of an unplanned universe, then meaning doesn't really exist. It is made up. That's my point. You are affirming it.

"Your logic here is implying.... even their life."

No. This is like the moral fallacy where atheists think that theists are saying that, without belief in God, atheists cannot be moral. What I am saying is, that God exists, and God grounds your search for meaning and purpose in something real -- and this is true whether you believe in him or not!

"Their higher purpose is what they make it, not what is decided for them." So it's a mere invention. Which is my point. There's no actual authenticity to it. It's an artifact -- which in the light of a meaningless universe, becomes an absurdity

RkBall said...

"BUT we don't ASSUME that our meaning and purpose is chosen for us".

This is not my point. My point is the fact that we would be purpose-driven, meaning-seeking "machines" is the atheist conundrum.

"You're still misunderstanding. This process did not endue us with anything."

OK. But purpose-driven, meaning-seeking seems to be something much more primal and basic than mere invention like, e.g. an ice-cream cone or a parking ticket, I mean they go to who/what we are.


Atheism diminishes our humanity....

"This is an ad-hominem of the highest caliber."

It's not meant to be, not in the least. I'm talking about an ideology, not a person. Persons I believe are created in the image of the highest imaginable being -- God -- how can that be an ad hominem -- I believe you are gloriously and wondrously made -- it is the ideology of atheism which diminishes humanity, not me.


"I do not appreciate being told... that I am a scam, a sham or that I'm absurd and have no rationality, morality of higher-values like meaning when you don't even know what I've done, or that I've laid down my own life for individuals who I do not know, nor will never know."

And I never said that, nor would I say that. I believe you are endowed with real rationality, real morality, and that your pursuit of purpose and meaning has real authenticity and value -- because I believe that you are created by God and not an utterly universe.


"Could it be that humanity is simply beginning to understand their path in life is theirs, that their purpose in life is their creation of said purpose, or that their meaning in life is what they make of it"

And I praise God that he has crafted present-day reality in such a way that we can be genuine seekers, that we have a real choice as to whether we want him or not, and that we can ponder great questions such as "who am I?" "why am I here"? "is there meaning and purpose to life?"

You and me. We are in the same boat. We are in this together!

RkBall said...

"BUT we don't ASSUME that our meaning and purpose is chosen for us".

This is not my point. My point is the fact that we would be purpose-driven, meaning-seeking "machines" is the atheist conundrum.

"You're still misunderstanding. This process did not endue us with anything."

OK. But purpose-driven, meaning-seeking seems to be something much more primal and basic than mere invention like, e.g. an ice-cream cone or a parking ticket, I mean they go to who/what we are.


Atheism diminishes our humanity....

"This is an ad-hominem of the highest caliber."

It's not meant to be, not in the least. I'm talking about an ideology, not a person. Persons I believe are created in the image of the highest imaginable being -- God -- how can that be an ad hominem -- I believe you are gloriously and wondrously made -- it is the ideology of atheism which diminishes humanity, not me.


"I do not appreciate being told... that I am a scam, a sham or that I'm absurd and have no rationality, morality of higher-values like meaning when you don't even know what I've done, or that I've laid down my own life for individuals who I do not know, nor will never know."

And I never said that, nor would I say that. I believe you are endowed with real rationality, real morality, and that your pursuit of purpose and meaning has real authenticity and value -- because I believe that you are created by God and not an utterly universe.

RkBall said...

"Could it be that humanity is simply beginning to understand their path in life is theirs, that their purpose in life is their creation of said purpose, or that their meaning in life is what they make of it"

And I praise God that he has crafted present-day reality in such a way that we can be genuine seekers, that we have a real choice as to whether we want him or not, and that we can ponder great questions such as "who am I?" "why am I here"? "is there meaning and purpose to life?"

You and me. We are in the same boat. We are in this together!

RkBall said...

PS - It's a genuinely good quote.

jonathan said...

"This could be interpreted to mean that everything important is "ultimately unreal."

No, it being subjective means that to each individual it will be different. Unreal implies that it does not exist, when in fact it does exist but will differ from person to person.

"my insignificance" What if you are wrong?!"

Then I'm wrong.

"The bigger question is, "is there purpose?". Theism answers, yes, atheism, no."

Wrong again. Theism states that have to have a purpose, that without god there is no purpose. Atheism states that our purpose is what we make of it, that there is no intrensic purpose for mankind.

"SInce man is a mere burp of an unplanned universe, then meaning doesn't really exist. It is made up. That's my point. You are affirming it."

Once again, no. Meaning exists, but it only exists for an individual who decides that he/she has a meaning and then sets out to fullfill their own meaning. It is made up, but made up for that person alone, it's customized. Once it is decided that he/she has a meaning then it is concrete, even though it may change from time to time.

"No. This is like the moral fallacy where atheists think that theists are saying that, without belief in God, atheists cannot be moral. What I am saying is, that God exists, and God grounds your search for meaning and purpose in something real -- and this is true whether you believe in him or not!"

Watch where the logical fallacy comes in:
"What I am saying is, that Ethereal Unicorn exists, and Ethereal Unicorn grounds your search for meaning and purpose in something real -- and this is true whether you believe in him or no!"

You cannot claim that god exists whether I believe in him or not without evidence supporting your position. Faith alone is not a defining factor; our existence is not supporting evidence.


"Their higher purpose is what they make it, not what is decided for them." So it's a mere invention. Which is my point. There's no actual authenticity to it. It's an artifact -- which in the light of a meaningless universe, becomes an absurdity"

It is an invention rationalized to fit their mindset. It is 100% authentic in that they decided what it is, not something that may or may not exist.

jonathan said...

I'm going to use the advice my wife gives me all the time:

"Quit trying to push the square wheel up the hill, it will only frustrate you."

I do not believe that you are understanding exactly what I'm stating, and this could be because of the way that I'm presenting it, so for my frustrations sake I am going to say that I disagree with you and call it that.

RkBall said...

"Watch where the logical fallacy comes in:
"What I am saying is, that Ethereal Unicorn exists, and Ethereal Unicorn grounds your search for meaning and purpose in something real -- and this is true whether you believe in him or no!"

I've got a clever retort to this, but I would rather remain on friendly terms with you.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"