On death

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
— William Shakespeare

I am not dead yet, that is why I can write this post.

I contemplate on death fairly often. No, I don’t want to kill myself. I contemplated suicide a long while back. I was young. I felt no one and especially my parents were not listening to me. I didn’t think of how to carry out the suicide. Maybe that is why I am still alive. My contemplating suicide is not the purpose of this post.

My friends, Victoria and ejwinner have both written unrelated posts on death; the unconscious reason atheists are feared and the good death or just dying which are both very interesting.

In this post, I intend to share several quotes or observations about death.

Solon, that Greek lawgiver said a man can only be said to have been happy after his death.

As we are born we die, and the end commences with the beginning

Let him hide beneath iron or brass in his fear, death will pull his head out of his armour.”—Propertious

Montaigne advises us thus, about death

And to begin to deprive him of the greatest advantage he has over us, let us take a way quite contrary to the common course. Let us disarm him of his novelty and strangeness, let us converse and be familiar with him, and have nothing so frequent in our thoughts as death. Upon all occasions represent him to our imagination in his every shape; at the stumbling of a horse, at the falling of a tile, at the least prick with a pin, let us presently consider, and say to ourselves, “Well, and what if it had been death itself?” and, thereupon, let us encourage and fortify ourselves. Let us evermore, amidst our jollity and feasting, set the remembrance of our frail condition before our eyes, never suffering ourselves to be so far transported with our delights, but that we have some intervals of reflecting upon, and considering how many several ways this jollity of ours tends to death, and with how many dangers it threatens it.

He continues to say

Where death waits for us is uncertain; let us look for him everywhere. The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty; he who has learned to die has unlearned to serve. There is nothing evil in life for him who rightly comprehends that the privation of life is no evil: to know, how to die delivers us from all subjection and constraint.

Elsewhere he writes

All the whole time you live, you purloin from life and live at the expense of life itself. The perpetual work of your life is but to lay the foundation of death. You are in death, whilst you are in life, because you still are after death, when you are no more alive; or, if you had rather have it so, you are dead after life, but dying all the while you live; and death handles the dying much more rudely than the dead, and more sensibly and essentially. If you have made your profit of life, you have had enough of it; go your way satisfied

And to the goddites who want an afterlife

If you have not known how to make the best use of it, if it was unprofitable to you, what need you care to lose it, to what end would you desire longer to keep it?

And about life

Life in itself is neither good nor evil; it is the scene of good or evil as you make it.’ And, if you have lived a day, you have seen all: one day is equal and like to all other days. There is no other light, no other shade; this very sun, this moon, these very stars, this very order and disposition of things, is the same your ancestors enjoyed, and that shall also entertain your posterity:

I will end here, with this last passage

Neither can it any way concern you, whether you are living or dead: living, by reason that you are still in being; dead, because you are no more. Moreover, no one dies before his hour: the time you leave behind was no more yours than that was lapsed and gone before you came into the world; nor does it any more concern you.

Only the living can say so and so died young. The dead have lived a full life. Life is a stage and each of us has a part. Some, like Methuselah :-), have a longer act, others have short acts and others hardly act at all, so is life.

I hope now all of you feel very positive about death.

Happy weekend everyone, with love.

 

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On deism: does god exist?

I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach,Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.

Thomas Jefferson

Deists are goddites except they don’t believe in revealed religion.

The author of does god exist? tells us yes.

The author tells us we commit a category error when compare Santa, fairies and god. He writes

fairies and Santa Claus demonstrably belong in the realm of childhood and most people, adults and children, know what they are and look like.

and I say that gods belong to our more childlike origins, that is, they belong to the ignorant ages. That adults believe in gods or that today god is conceived as anything from being personal to a vague ground of being doesn’t negate the fact that belief in god is similar to belief in gremlins. The only difference being some people grow up and stop believing in gremlins.

So when he writes

This is not true of God. Islam rejects any possibility of representing Allah and Judaism used Yahweh to signify God, originally not a name, rather an unpronounceable collection of letters. Christianity has given God a human face in Christ, but even then that is only an aspect of God who is ineffably greater.

it is only to say that human beings have created, in their imagination, a being whose name they fear to mention, a monster. I remember as we were growing up, we would not mention leopards by name at night. They told us, if we mentioned its name, we  would be its meal for the night. I never found out the reason behind this prohibition. Fear was enough to prevent us from trying. The church uses the same mechanism to get its adherents to toe the line.

One wonders why most people think of atheism as a belief system just like theism. How is it difficult to comprehend atheism is a lack of belief. The author tells us

it is as much a belief system as theism, both being faiths profoundly held. It often seems the God atheists vehemently do not believe in is not a God theists do.

I want to count those atheists of faith. And if you missed it, atheists lack belief in all gods.

Agnostics, like the ones I interact with, and Bob comes to mind, is in practice an atheist. His position of agnosticism is one of knowledge. He says, as an empiricist, the nature of god is unknowable one way or the other. From this point, I only go a step further and say, if the nature of god is unknowable it is not for us to know and for all purposes, non-existent. I only differ with my friend Bob in the fact that I believe to know the origins of god belief, we must look at the savage state, and we will find in all cases, god belief was born out of ignorance and the rationalizations are later developments.

One can see even in this statement

This leads some to posit a Prime Mover or Grand Designer, which is not to suggest some human-like being on a grander scale. Both phrases can be picked apart if they’re taken literally, but accepting the limitations of language to describe what may always lie beyond human comprehension, they can be used indicatively.

that it is ignorance that is the mother of all gods. The author instead of admitting his ignorance of why the universe is, imagines there is a grand designer and very quickly tries to defeat accusations of anthropomorphism by declaring this designer as something other than human like.

Deists like Voltaire were those who could no longer believe in the god of revelation. They imagines a god who didn’t give a fuck, but still believed in a god. It is easy to understand then why Voltaire is accused of trying to suppress the Testament of Jean Meslier, a priest turned atheist.

I will conclude in the words of Ingersoll

A few years ago the Deists denied the inspiration of the bible on account of its cruelty. At the same time, they worshiped what they were pleased to call the God of Nature. Now we are convinced that Nature is as cruel as the bible; so that if the God of Nature did not write the bible, this god at least has caused earthquakes and pestilence and famine, and this god has allowed millions of his children to destroy one another. So that now we have arrived at the question- not as whether the bible is inspired and not as to whether Jehovah is the real God but whether there is a god or not. The intelligence of christendom today does not believe in an inspired art or an inspired literature. If there be an infinite god, inspiration in some particular regard would be a patch-it would be the puttying of a crack, the hiding of a defect, in other words, it would show that the general plan was defective.

 

on freewill: additional thoughts

“Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”
― Clarence Darrow, The Story of My Life

I hope it will be a while before I write on this topic again.

We have been having a discussion with Marvin on his blog post titled two undeniable truths and since the post is short, I will copy it here for ease of reference.

He wrote

A) Assuming perfect determinism (and I always do) then it is a fact that every decision we make is inevitable.

B) Every choice we make is either freely made by us alone for our own reasons (free will) or it is a choice we are forced to make by someone else (unfree will). Both A and B are undeniably true. And both are always true at the same time in every decision we make.

A is straightforward. However, I would like to add for clarity that the freewill vs determinism debate is really about actions.

B is where Marvin gets so mixed up in a web he seems unable to untangle himself from. A while ago, I did say the freewill vs determinism debate continues to take place because of how freely we use words. Two, because words have different meanings. When writing on the above, I use the word choice specifically to mean awareness of alternatives. Any other meaning, other than this, in this discussion only works to confuse the debate. For example, I have a choice of coffee or tea in the morning. This awareness tells you nothing about what I will actually do. That settled, Marvin’s insistence that our actions are determined and we have freewill is so confused, I can’t begin to express how contradictory this sounds.

A and B cannot both be true.

Marvin’s problem is to insist that since the motives that determine our action are ours, we have freewill. Problem with this is we don’t will what our motive will be.

In the comments, Marvin gave this example, and I will quote it at length,

Billy wants to go out but doesn’t want to wear his jacket. His mother says, “It’s too cold outside, either you wear the jacket or you stay indoors.” So he wears the jacket, but does so against his will. The reason for wearing the jacket is his mother’s reason. It is external to Billy.

When Bill is older, and no longer required to follow his mother’s advice, he is autonomous. He can choose for himself, of his own free will, whether to wear the jacket or not, and live with the consequences of his choice. Having experienced the consequences of not wearing a jacket on a bitterly cold day, Bill decides to wear the jacket. But this time it is for his own reasons. It is internal rather than external.

It is a decision Bill makes on his own, for reasons that are his own. And that is what the English speaking, human species of biological organisms on this planet have decided to name “free will”. Bill’s decision fixes his “will” at that moment. And the fact that it was by his own reasons, and not by reasons imposed upon him against his will by his mother, that we say his will is “free”.

And I pointed out to Marvin, that Billy isn’t acting his will by wearing the sweater. If the motive of going out is great, Billy will bear the inconvenience of wearing a sweater. Wearing the sweater is a manifestation of the will. The mother’s condition is a cause. And as I have said countless times, all our actions have antecedent causes. In the case of Billy, we can easily show the cause of his wearing a sweater. It is not always easy to map out the causes to our actions as we did in this case.

So when Marvin goes ahead and writes

Exactly. Meanings are derived from real world phenomena. The real world phenomena that are called “free will” are those where a person decides for himself or herself what they will do.

I am certain we are not talking about the same thing. What he describes in this statement are unknown in the real world. There are causes to every action. Unless he can name one where this isn’t the case, I am open to persuasion.

I will close this already very long post with the words of Henri d’Holdbach

Man’s life is a line that nature commands him to describe upon the surface of the earth, without his ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant. He is born without his own consent; his organization does in nowise depend upon himself; his ideas come to him involuntarily; his habits are in the power of those who cause him to contract them; he is unceasingly modified by causes, whether visible or concealed, over which he has no control, which necessarily regulate his mode of existence, give the hue to his way of thinking, and determine his manner of acting. He is good or bad, happy or miserable, wise or foolish, reasonable or irrational, without his will being for any thing in these various states.”

The resurrection didn’t happen

Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality

In our present times, when a dead man walks, the entire village is in shock. There is anger and disbelief. That is in my view the way things should be.

Human nature has remained the same for thousands if not hundreds of thousands. A dead person coming back to life would leave the who village shocked. And it would be accompanied with disbelief.

Get your bibles out, I will wait. Open the page on Lazarus, a guy dead and buried for four days. Were they shocked? No one is shocked. Others believed him and others went to the Sanhedrin. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

The goddites insist the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. This story and many others like it appearing in its diverse pages betray the fact it is a book written in a very superstitious age by very superstitious people. There was no critical examination of reports.  I don’t know what the authors were after, but reporting on reality wasn’t one of their aims.

To expect us to accept such claims is, to me, madness.

Goddites can say whatever they want, they can shout all day but I insist it is an insult on our collective intelligence to continue to believe in these superstitious reports from the days of lore.

Clever questions atheists can’t answer, really?

I feel that we should stop wasting our time trying to please the supernatural and concentrate on improving the welfare of human beings. I think that, uh, we should use our energy and our initiative to solve our problems, and stop relying on prayer and wishful thinking. If we have faith in ourselves, we won’t have to have faith in gods.” ― Ruth Hurmence Green

Hope you all have been well. I think if there is a trophy for stupid believer of the week, the author of these questions should get two of them.

  1. They don’t ask you if you are a creationist before admission
  2. we are more afraid of creationists
  3. so all sex is for making little yous?
  4. None.
  5. Yes, it is no evidence of Jesus, idjit!
  6. Your question betrays your ignorance
  7. Because you are either unimaginative or stupid
  8. I wasn’t there, were you?
  9. How would he and he didn’t exist?
  10. Majority of people are ignorant/ stupid
  11. Check no 10
  12. Are you really this stupid?
  13. It is a waste of time debating an idjit, they tend to bring you to their level
  14. I hear they say that of Voltaire too
  15. Yes, his most stupid performance known to me
  16. Because most people don’t read
  17. Ask an astrophysicist
  18. Just study it, you may understand but I don’t have so much hope for that
  19. Where did you read that?
  20. How can evolution not be true if we have idjits such as yourself?
  21. Only in Ken Ham’s mind and maybe yours
  22. You really can ask stupid questions. is your IQ greater than a single digit?
  23. Check no 13
  24. Ask the catholic church
  25. Hahaha
  26. You are beyond rescue
  27. I am too busy to find space for gods
  28. People must be getting dumber
  29. Yes. I ate a baby yesterday. Today I will go strip
  30. You talked to a fossil?
  31. I didn’t know he admitted that
  32. Where did god come from
  33. I wish there were laws against stupid, we wouldn’t be dealing with you
  34. It will be up to those who shall take care of my body. I would prefer cremation
  35. I am not sure you don’t act like a monkey, but you sure sound like one
  36. Really?
  37. You have cleared things up. It is good to rape because god is real
  38. Check no 28
  39. That is really dumb
  40. Have you read it?
  41. It was made from cheese by monkeys
  42. You are stretching it
  43. I also want to know
  44. Ask evolutionists
  45. Yes and no. It was not a Darwinist propaganda
  46. I have seen two
  47. Because some or should I say most Christians are dishonest
  48. He was a christian

Yours truly, atheist