On labels or that kind of thing


A number of the readers here identify as atheists. Some who don’t do so identify as either non religious, agnostic and a few as anti-theist. Yesterday I was reading a paper, An argument for unbelief: a discussion about terminology by Nickolas G Conrad in which he makes the case that the best all encompassing term to use is unbelief. Atheism as we all know is loaded politically and socially and doesn’t cover the nuances of say Barry, who for all intents has rejected the orthodox dictates of religion but still find some relevance or utility in religion (a term that you might realise is not so straightforward by the way) or my friend from across the lands Veracious Poet or Nan.

He also argues, and I think I agree, that referring to some ancients as atheist do not do them real justice. They could have rejected orthodox religion but never did refer to themselves as atheists. They were freethinkers in France, Fouriers, positivists or followers of Saint- Simon but not atheists.

What do you think?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

265 thoughts on “On labels or that kind of thing

  1. jim- says:

    I always just assumed freethinkers was a self defining word TIL I looked it up, but it is far from thinking freely, having its own agenda and dogmas to be considered a freethinker. Funny, really. It’s as loaded a word as pro choice, pro life, or especially free speech, most often acceptable if the speech agrees with your party affiliation.
    Atheism seems to be no different. Just try posting free flowing thoughts on any given topic, then see how compelled you are to edit before sharing it with atheists. If you have any thoughts that are not strictly atheist, are you really an atheist?
    I’m sure the above mentioned were technically atheists, but to say so would be TMI for the times, so they did the end-around, or word-around.

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    • makagutu says:

      Bullivant in his dictionary of atheism (I am yet to finish the book) has 4 or 5 definitions of atheism. I think for most of the blog conversations, we are not trying to be totally academic. But one notices these terms come already quite loaded with other meanings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jim- says:

        Since you are more academically minded than me, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts after you finish the book, por favor

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    • Ron says:

      There is nothing loaded about any of these words, Jim. They mean exactly what they mean regardless of whether or not they get misappropriated by bad actors. IOW, a doctor defines a person who is licensed to practice medicine, even if people who are not licensed to practice medicine grant themselves that title. Moreover, it only defines one aspect of that person’s life: their profession. It says nothing of their marital status, sexual preferences, political or religious leanings, hobbies and leisure activates, or anything else outside of their chosen profession.

      Likewise, an atheist is simply someone who doesn’t believe in gods — no more, no less. You can be an atheist and still believe in Santa, or the Tooth Fairy, or black magic, or astrology, or the paranormal, or ghosts, or reincarnation.

      And a freethinker is someone whose opinions are based on reason rather than popular consensus or authoritative decrees. So anyone who fails to meet that definition is not a freethinker, regardless of whether or not they present themselves as such.

      Second, who is compelling you to edit your thoughts? It’s your blog and you have complete editorial control over your posts and who can comment. If you censor yourself, that’s on you, not on others.

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      • jim- says:

        Thank you Ron. First of all, I don’t edit my comments or anyone else’s. Not every comment is perfect and I make mistakes. Those mistakes are definitely learning tools for me. I have nothing to gain by covering them,m (although I have allowed myself to get off track lately into territory I haven’t given much thought)
        There is much in atheism that is simply in-discussable. Every single post that introduces an unknown is laid out to see if there is an explanation. Without fail someone brings up woo, accuses me or tries to bait me into admitting somehow I am not an atheist. I had hoped we were past that. What I really believe is there is an explanation for the Polynesian navigators, the song lines, the Chladni plates, and so forth, but none are rarely offered. Like yesterday, every religion and science uses descriptive words explaining the ontology as a sound. Even the Big Bang carries that connotation, why? Is there anything to it, and how? That’s a pretty big coincidence that this is so, so I thought maybe one could explain that. But amongst atheists it seems woo is an explanation all itself, when it isn’t. It was a bit frustrating for me when my entire premise was to get another POV, and solve a riddle. There is no woo. It’s all explainable. Thanks for your thoughts on that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ron says:

          For what it’s worth, the only thing that is not open to discussion “in atheism” is calling oneself an atheist while simultaneously expressing beliefs in god(s), because that would be akin to saying you’re a vegan who enjoys eating meat.

          So I think it might be more accurate to say that some atheists are not open to discussing topics focusing on non-theistic belief systems. However, even that accusation seems unwarranted given that these topics have generated a fair bit of lively discussion, even if the feedback you received wasn’t entirely what you might have expected. Plus your posts granted the impression — at least from my perspective — that these beliefs were somewhat more credible than the run-of-the-mill religious beliefs we normally discuss.

          Finally, I think it’s worth reiterating that an “attack” on one’s beliefs/opinions should not automatically be construed as an attack on one’s person, unless the other person is being overtly hostile.

          Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            I agree with you Ron.
            And maybe the other lesson, at least from where I sit, is he would do much better if he aimed at less ambiguity.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ark says:

              @ Mak.
              Yes! Very well said. It is the ambiguity that often causes problems.
              If there is something to say, then simply say it. Or ”Spit it out” as my old man used to say when we were kids.
              If accusations of trying to import ”woo” are being levelled it may be fair to suggest the reader isn’t paying attention to the post for the first time but when this happens on a fairly regular basis – as we all can attest to on posts written by Christians and their apologists – then perhaps the writer should stop and consider there may be valid reasons for such accusations and simply change the way the topic is presented.
              And of course, rather than alluding to something mysterious or otherworldly there is nothing wrong with simply stating:: ”I don’t know”.

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      • makagutu says:

        Would we call say Lucretius or Epicureans atheists when they didn’t believe in orthodoxy only averring that gods were irrelevant in human affairs so to speak?

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    • Free thinkers are about authenticity, and a free thinker responds to the demand to get real, he cannot choose his responses to his situation, and because his responses to his situation are chosen he is responsible for his choices of being a free thinker!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ark says:

    Once again … this completely unnecessary issue raises it’s head.
    Let’s look at the definition of a theist from the first dictionary def that popped upon Google.
    Theist: A person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.

    Therefore the antonym of theist is A-theist.

    Ergo:
    A person who does not believe in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.

    Seriously, why is this so difficult for some people to grasp?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ron says:

      I got tired of arguing of constantly having to point this out so now I just refer to myself as a non-theist. It means the same thing but removes the debate over definitions from the table and puts the ball in squarely in the theist’s court.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ark says:

        Ah … this sounds like a very sensible thing to do, Mister Ron. I may nick your spiffing idea and adopt this mantle henceforth and forthwith.

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        • Barry says:

          I’ve been a nontheist for nigh on 60 years, but even that identity, just like the term atheist gives wriggle room for belief in angels, demons, heaven(s) and hell(s), in fact all forms of supernatural belief apart from deities.

          I often use the term non-realist or anti-realist instead. I’ve given a brief definition in another comment below. Perhaps a non-realist nontheist is a more complete description of what my position is.

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          • Ark says:

            just like the term atheist gives wriggle room for belief in angels, demons, heaven(s) and hell(s), in fact all forms of supernatural belief apart from deities.

            I’m tempted to flatly dispute this but i suspect we’d end up in a back and forth on semantics, so perhaps you would like to offer a broader explanation including specific examples of atheists who actively believe in demons and angels etc.

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            • Barry says:

              I think you’ve taken an interpretation I didn’t intend. I did not state that there are atheists who believe in forms of supernatural other than deities. If, as many atheists insist, atheism is a lack of belief in deities, no more and no less, then it does not preclude an atheist holding other suoernatural beliefs. If you wish to insist that atheism also includes a lack of belief in all forms of the supernatural, then you have given the word a nuance beyond the strict definirion insisted on by many athiests.

              I’m simply pointing out that words can carry nuances and sometimes baggage that can vary considerably from person to person, community to community and place to place.

              It’s much like when I state I’m religious and most people assume i believe in god(s) or believe some text has divine authority or think there’s some form of existence after death.

              Or when I identify as a Quaker but not as a Christian and Ashley insists that Quakers are by definition Christian. Perhaps in some dictionaries, but it’s not a claim made by Quakers.

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              • Ark says:

                As deities (gods) would generally be considered to reside in ‘heaven/s” and their minions would include angels, it would seem highly odd for an atheist to have a complete lack of belief in gods while maintaining a belief in angels, heaven etc.

                ”I’m vegetarian. Except for steak, I love steak.”
                Penny … Big Bang Theory.

                Bit silly really.

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                • Barry says:

                  Are we discussing what atheist do or do not believe, or are we discussing what we can do to help 24 the defines an atheist?

                  I find it rather easy to imagine a religion where there’s a place that a person’s soul or spirit travels to after it leaves a body and where sharmen can call on these spirits for advice or assistance by uttering the appropriate prayers. Perhaps the religion can also include a belief that every object whether animate or not contains some form of life force within it. Some forms of animism come very close to that description, including a lack of deities. Followers of such a religion would have a lack of belief in deities, but i would not adentify them as atheists. I doubt you would either. Yet a great many atheists insist, that the only requirement for being an atheist is a lack of belief in deities. No more no less. By that definition the followers of my imaginary religion would be atheists.

                  Let’s take my own case. I don’t just have a lack of belief in deities, I’m convinced that they exist only in the human imagination. In other words there are no gods, yet most people, including atheists would consider I’m not an atheist. I don’t, and I don’t think mak does either. And I very much doubt that you would consider me to be an atheist.

                  I have been taken to task many times by atheists for saying tbat atheists don’t believe in gods and reminded that atheists lack a belief in gods, not a belief that gods dont exist.

                  As for Penny’s understanding of what a vegetarian is, it’s contrary to any definition of vegetarian that I’ve heard as they all require the exclusion of meat from the diet.

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                  • Ark says:

                    I find it rather easy to imagine a religion where there’s a place that a person’s soul or spirit travels to after it leaves a body …

                    Well, imagination is a wonderful thing.

                    As for Penny’s understanding of what a vegetarian is,….. etc

                    Of course it is, Barry. This is why I used it to illustrate the point.

                    If we accept that creator gods (pick your poison) are responsible for creating the universe and all it contains it goes without saying therefore, they are responsible for angels, demons, heaven hell etc.
                    Certainly, those who believe in Yahweh consider he created Hell, as we know.
                    Therefore, if Creator gods are removed from the equation everything they are responsible for creating are also removed ….. just like that – Fzaaam!!

                    Perhaps those who would like to consider the reality of angels, demons, heaven and hell, etc haven’t quite thought it through properly?

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                    • Barry says:

                      Perhaps those who would like to consider the reality of angels, demons, heaven and hell, etc haven’t quite thought it through properly?
                      Of course they haven’t thought it through properly, but that’s irrelevant. Mak has already pointed you to a Pew report where 3% of American atheists believe in the existence of heaven, and I’m sure you’d find a similar number who believe in the existence of a soul and any number of other “religious” beliefs. So I’m puzzled why you are persisting with this line of argument.

                      I think you are arguing from an overly simplistic perspective based on your statement “if Creator gods are removed from the equation everything they are responsible for creating are also removed ….. just like that – Fzaaam!!“. That would hold true only if every religion includes a creator god/being. They don’t.

                      Your inclusion of Penny’s comment misses the point completely. Her statement is the equivalent of stating “I’m an atheist and I thank God (or deity of choice) for making me so“. Let me restate my position: Having a lack of belief in gods does not a guarantee a lack of all supernatural beliefs (although it does improve the odds considerably).

                      One definition of animism is “the belief that the spiritual world is immanent in the material world“. While some forms of animism include a belief in the existence of deities, others do not. Some forms of animism are nontheistic. Would I be correct in assuming that you wouldn’t consider any form of animism (with or without deities) to be consistent with atheism, even though there might be an absence in a belief in deities?

                      In many forms of Buddhism there are multiple worlds and what might be termed heavens, each of which is inhabited by spiritual forms at different levels of “enlightenment”. These worlds or heavens, of which the world we exist in is but one, do not rely on a creator for their existence. They exist in the same way as the Christian God is often portrayed – as existing outside of time. Once again an absence in the belief of deities – the core essence of atheism.

                      I think what you seem to be consider to be atheism might better be described as naturalism: that only the physical realm exists, and phenomena such as consciousness are emergent properties of complex biological systems. It goes beyond the question of a belief in deities and it seems to be a position held by most (but apparently not all) atheists and is also held by myself.

                      Let me ask you a direct question: I have already stated my position on the existence of deities, so do you consider the term atheist applies to me as equally as it does to you?
                      And while we’re about it, how about Sir Lloyd Geering, John Shelby Spong and Don Cuppit? Would you consider them to be atheists?

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                    • Ark says:

                      I think you are arguing from an overly simplistic perspective based on your statement “if Creator gods are removed from the equation everything they are responsible for creating are also removed ….. just like that – Fzaaam!!“.

                      Yes, this is the position I am arguing from, as theism would generally be understood to include gods in general, but also God ( as in the Creator Of All Things) specifically.
                      Thus any lack of belief in ‘God’ would (should) automatically preclude belief in the other baggage.
                      I think it was Dan Dennett who suggested many people simply beleive they beleive (in reference to those of religious/divine inclination. ) without truly understanding what it is they believe.
                      Perhaps some of those who claim to be atheist haven’t really thought it through, as we agree, and cannot therefore be regarded as ”proper” atheists.

                      I cannot comment on the likes of Spong etc as I don’t know enough about their position without researching. You can tell me their views if you like?
                      Therefore, if you consider there is considerable nuance involved, perhaps the word needs to be redefined to embrace those who are a little slow on the uptake?

                      Having done a quick wiki search yesterday on Quakers it appears there are groups that consider themselves atheists.

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                    • Barry says:

                      There are quakers who are atheists, agnostics, Moslems, Christian, non-realists, buddhists, Wiccans, Jesus followers. If you’re among Quakers of the liberal tradition, it makes no difference. That includes Quakers of the UK, Europe, Oceania, Asia and parts of North America. The same is not necessarily true among Evangelical Quakers who are found mostly in Africa, Central and South America and parts of North America.

                      Quaker beliefs are very diverse and most non-quaker description of Quakerism lean towards the Evengelical tradition, possibly because it has statements of faith, creeds etc and is more understandable from a traditional Christian perspective.

                      If you wish to understand the perspective of liberal Quakerism, you could look at the the NZ or UK websites. I won’t provide links but if you search on “Quakers Aotearoa | The Religious Society of Friends” or or very specifically regarding God “Quakers and God | Quakers in Britain” you may see what our perspective is. I also have a few post on my own blog regarding Quakers.

                      I started (but never finished) a series of posts on Lloyd Geering my blog titled “The Last Western Heretic”. The views of Cuppit and Spong are along similar lines.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Nan says:

                      Barry, just looking at this from the outside-in, I think what throws many is the use of the word “God” in the Quaker Beliefs description. For many, the word is synonymous with a supernatural entity — and this tends to go against the grain of those who call themselves “atheist.”

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Barry says:

                      I’m confident that in humanity’s distant past we gave agency to unknown forces that were were unable to explain. Somewhere along the line these agencies acquired human-like abilities and eventually supernatural abilities, and laws that mere mortals must obey. The Enlightenment brought a new perspective to the understanding of religion and what it means, but I often feel that America missed out on the conversation. God as a deity has long past its” use by date”, and today is more likely to be the embodiment (or in many cases, the personification) of what we value most.

                      I find among Americans, but less so elsewhere, both atheists and theists have a very similar idea about what God is (apart from God’s reality). There doesn’t seem to be much discussion about what God represents or what God means.

                      I remember the often heated discussions in this nation back in the 1960s about the meaning of God, of a mortal soul, of the Resurrection etc. There was little discussion about the reality of those terms. In many ways, I think America is still stuck in arguing the reality of religious thought and is yet to “progress” to discussing the meaning of religious thought. I find that many American atheists are quite adamant that there is only one possible definition for God – a deity – and I’m wrong if I think otherwise.

                      Liked by 1 person

              • makagutu says:

                I think you are right and I have shared a link with Ark on atheists who believe in heaven and all.

                Liked by 1 person

              • basenjibrian says:

                There are atheists who have the supernatural belief that if we just give more money to the billionaire class, it will magically trickle down to us peons.

                Liked by 1 person

            • basenjibrian says:

              I believe in PINHEAD and his Cenobites. “Explorers in the further ranges of experience. Angels to some. Demons to others”

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    • makagutu says:

      There are those who hold what we call atheistic thoughts but haven’t said explicitly they are atheists. To be academically rigorous, we would be misrepresenting them if we insisted they were atheists.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ron says:

        If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

        Then again, I suppose it wouldn’t harm to ask out loud anyways — just in case.

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        • makagutu says:

          It may be imitating a duck, you know.
          Two examples, NDT has no belief in deities as far as I can tell but he doesn’t refer to himself as atheist.
          Barry, doesn’t hold orthodox belief about gods but doesn’t call himself atheist. So I guess it is better to ask out loud

          Liked by 1 person

          • Barry says:

            I self identify as a non-theist rather than an atheist. The reason being is the assumption by many that atheists are non-religious or even anti-religious. It’s a case of the word being loaded with nuances beyond a dictionary definition.

            I also self identify as a non-realist, as in “there is no transcendent being or reality to which religious languages and practices refer, and that the source of religious meaning and value lies in us, human beings” (Nuyen, 2001: 394)

            But if I’m in the mood to allow others to create wildly inaccurate images of me, what I believe and how I live, I simply state I’m a Quaker without any further elaboration. The results are quite entertaining. For example confusing Quakers with the Amish and forsaking modern technology, but never questioning the fact that I frequent the blogosphere.

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            • makagutu says:

              I think saying Quaker especially during online discussions will leave you in a fit

              Liked by 2 people

            • Ark says:

              @Barry
              Do you consider there is any real value to religion? I’m also interested to know your views on the bible, if you’re up to sharing them?

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              • Barry says:

                Any value in religion? For me there is. Doesn’t necessarily apply to anyone else.

                The Bible is entirely a man made set of documents. It has no more authority than any other piece of lterature. I thought this would have been obvious given thst I’ve stated on numerous occasions thst all religions are a creation of tbe human mknd.

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                • makagutu says:

                  And I agree with you on all points

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Ark says:

                  @ Barry.
                  If we are honest there would likely be no Judeo/Christian religion if it were not for the bible, it being highly doubtful oral tradition would have survived intact with out the written word, and certainly Christianity probably would have died a miserable( but welcome ) death.

                  So, I wonder what specific value religion can offer anyone?

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                  • makagutu says:

                    This is most likely true. You have to admit also that without the evangelism of christianity and Islam, these religions would have remained in their birth places. In some place, the category religion didn’t exist independently. So that people would find use. utility in religious observances without this sharp distinction between culture and religion, which i believe is a uniquely European thing.

                    Liked by 3 people

                  • Barry says:

                    Not sure what happened to my original reply, so here goes again.
                    @makagutu: If the other reply turns up (caught in Spam?), feel free to delete it or this one (or both if you have a mind to)

                    If it wasn’t for Christianity being made the official religion of Rome, it’s quite possible that with or without the Bible, Christianity may have survived, but that’s in the realm of speculation. And if it wasn’t for the Bible and/or the authority of the Church, then I doubt very much that Christianity in the 21st century would look anything like it does. Christianity became fossilised within the first few centuries of its existence, and we can only speculate on how it might have evolved if it had been able to grow in the light of new insights and knowledge.

                    Your comment refers specifically to Christianity, but the following question pertains to religions in general so I’m somewhat confused by the question itself. I can’t speak for any religious person apart from myself and perhaps to a very limited extent, those who I personally know and I have discussed these thoughts with.

                    But before it’s possible to answer your question without composing a lengthy article well beyond what might be acceptable in a comment, I need to know what you are referring to by “what specific value religion can offer anyone?“. Are you referring to religion as (1) a set of beliefs contrary to scientific knowledge, (2) a belief in the supernatural, (3) a set of rules to follow, (4) a set of ethical values, (5) a way of living, (6) a way of viewing the world, (7) a personal experience, (8) a shared experience?

                    To save time, I see no value in the first three, but as I have already stated, I cannot speak for anyone else.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      I think your earlier comment was eaten by your web browser.

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                    • Ark says:

                      I need to know what you are referring to by “what specific value religion can offer anyone?“.

                      If I were to ask: What specific value can owning a dog offer anyone I am sure you could come up with a whole bunch that would be unique to owning a dog that couldn’t be gleaned from any other activity.
                      So simply change owning a dog to religion.
                      Personally I cannot think of a single specific value to religion.

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                    • Barry says:

                      I don’t think i can come up with one. I’m fascinated to know of a value that’s unique to owning a dog but not any other activity.

                      But my question to you is why is it necessary for a value to be unique to religion?

                      In my blog post i describe some reasons why i find religion or more specifically Quakerism attractive.

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                    • Ark says:

                      This conversation is going to become mish mash if we divide it between two blogs.
                      Best we confine it to one – yours? (I’m sure Mak will understand? )
                      I’m sure others can join in if they so wish?
                      Knowing how much affection she has for me, should I reply to Clare, or do you think it best I leave well alone?

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                    • makagutu says:

                      what did you do to Clare, mr Ark?

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                    • Ark says:

                      Rather ask her Mr Mak. I’ll probably get that wrong as well.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      We don’t talk much but I will make a point and ask

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                    • Ark says:

                      Let me know of the outcome. Oh, and don’t be shy. There probably aren’t many names/things I haven’t been called by the ”religious” over the years!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      I imagine that list of words would include: god-fearing, holy, humble, pious, prayerful, righteous, saintly, spiritual and virtuous — amirite?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Hahaha. You jest

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                  • Barry says:

                    @Ark: I’ve been sitting on a partially completed post that originated from a discussion we started over on Claire’s blog. As Claire’s article was about her comment policy, I felt extending our conversation there was inappropriate. Our conversation here has prompted me to complete that article: A personal challenge. We can continue the conversation there if you like. I won’t feel guilty about constructing long replies there 🙂

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                  • What specific value can owning a dog offer anyone I am sure you could come up with a whole bunch that would be unique to owning a dog that couldn’t be gleaned from any other activity.

                    I’ve never owned a dog and am not much an animal person. So before anyone can address your question about the unique value of religion or if that is a good standard to use in the first place in determining its value, could you tell us what the unique value of owning a dog is that can’t be gotten from any other activity or thing in the world?

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                    • Ark says:

                      @ Consoledreader
                      Are you, in fact, considering getting a dog? If it is a choice between getting a dog or getting a religion which are you likely to choose and why?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No. I am allergic to pretty much every animal with fur (or at least the usual ones people have for pets). My question though was: what unique value can owning a dog offer that something else can’t?

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                    • Ark says:

                      Define what value means to you.

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                    • You made the initial comment when you wrote: “What specific value can owning a dog offer anyone I am sure you could come up with a whole bunch that would be unique to owning a dog that couldn’t be gleaned from any other activity.”

                      So why don’t you tell me what you meant by specific value that is unique to owning a dog and we can go from there.

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                    • Ark says:

                      But it would be meaningless as you are allergic to dogs and there would be no way for you to appreciate any value of dog ownership.
                      I would imagine though that if you did decide to get it dog, allergies or not, it would likely bite you for being such an asinine smug bastard.
                      But that’s merely a guess.

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                    • So you can’t tell me anything unique to owning a dog that one can’t achieve from owning a different type of pet, having children, getting married, or some other activity, etc. I am not really sure why you think uniqueness is a good criteria for judging something to be valuable since you can’t seem to do so for your own example.

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                    • Ark says:

                      Oh, I can, but as you are not asking from the perspective of genuine interest I feel no compunction to inflate your bloated ego any more than it already is.

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                    • john zande says:

                      I have both dogs and cats, adore them all, but I think you can connect on a friendship level better with dogs… and having a cross-species relationship is unique, I’d say.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Thanks for responding, John.

                      From what I understand, your relationship with your pets boils down to companionship and friendship. They’re like one of the family. At least to my perspective that doesn’t seem unique since you can get companionship and friendship from humans and family members. While I guess one can make the case that it’s a different sort of relationship from being married or having children in your cross-species comment, it seems to me it would be possible to say the same thing with religion (I.e. the companionship Someone feels at church is different than the companionship they feel in their bowling league). Or maybe I misunderstood your last point.

                      There is no particularly good reason to insist that religion must possess a unique characteristic in order to have value. A spicy dish doesn’t have its value if it’s the only food that can be called spicy. Value also seems somewhat subjective. I don’t feel there is much value for me in owning a pet, while you and millions of other clearly do. That is fine.

                      To answer Ark’s original question, the values of Judaism that are valuable to me are the importance of being active in improving the world, treating all humans as equals, critical thinking and asking questions, constantly learning and education, the willingness to change when the occasion calls for it, the importance of seeing things from multiple perspectives. Of course, none of these are unique to Judaism, but they are crucial parts of Judaism.

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                    • Nan says:

                      All the values you list are things that are (or should be) common to humans in general. Why do you feel they are specific to Judaism?

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                    • They should be, but they aren’t always. However, as I already said at the end of my post they aren’t unique to Judaism, meaning you will find some of these values in other cultures, religions, and individuals.

                      As for why I and others associate these qualities with Judaism: direct experience and data from a variety of studies.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Or because that’s your religion?
                      You know when I was a young and Catholic, I used to believe everyone else was going to hell for having the wrong religion. Now that I am older, I know better. Nobody knows.

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                    • As a Catholic you were taught people of the wrong religion would go to hell, probably about the eucharist, Original Sin, and salvation through Christ, etc. Right?

                      In other words, Catholicism and Christianity has specific things it teaches as part of that religion. After all, I wasn’t taught any of that stuff!

                      Related to what Nan asked me, I am saying the values I mentioned were things actually taught explicitly as part of my Jewish education. We were taught ideas like Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and that each and every human being has a role in making the world a better place. These weren’t just side issues, but core ideas.

                      In one study done by PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) they found that 74 % percent of Jews say that tikkun olam (healing the world) are somewhat or very important values that inform their politics and activities.

                      Other findings from this study include:

                      8-in-10 American Jews say that pursuing justice (84%) and caring for the widow and the orphan (80%) are somewhat or very important values that inform their political beliefs and activity.

                      A majority (55%) say that seeing every person as made in the image of God is somewhat or very important in informing their political beliefs and activity.

                      And 46% of all Jews in the survey said “a commitment to social equality” is a quality most important to Jewish identity.

                      https://www.prri.org/research/jewish-values-in-2012/

                      In a different study entitled the Portrait of Jewish Americans conducted by Pew (which I think I’ve linked to you before) when asked about what does it mean to be Jewish:

                      * 69% stated that leading an ethical/moral life is what it means to be Jewish.

                      *56% stated working for justice/social equality

                      *49% stated being intellectually curious.

                      https://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      We seem to be saying the same thing. That each religion or ism have a particular set of teaching(s) that inform behaviour or outlook.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes. Sorry I was a little confused by your response. Completely my fault.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Bias? My religion is the correct one & everyone else has the wrong one?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • john zande says:

                      A religious community experience can’t be compared to a cross-species relationship. To empathise with an animal, and have that connection confirmed, is to truly broaden and deepen your understanding of reality. A religious community actually does the complete opposite; it offers only a self-reaffirming anti-reality. If someone finds value in that anti-reality, then fine, but my example is tangible and real, while the other is… well…

                      Liked by 3 people

                    • makagutu says:

                      Religion does this especially by teaching you this is not your home, everything is for your use n besides they are not going to heaven if Hambo, that aussie is to be believed

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think I agree with you. Value is subjective and people value things for different reasons. And generally, value and truth don’t always go together.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • You said this to Barry a couple of days ago.

                      Like

              • makagutu says:

                I think for the many billions of religious people, it does have real value. And the question of value must be separated from that of truth.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Ark says:

                  Well, this is because they have been conditioned to believe such nonsense – we all are/were to varying degrees – and often why believers cry: ”But what would you replace it with?”
                  Er … reality?

                  Like

                  • makagutu says:

                    There are cultural christians, maybe muslims or whatever religion. they find some use in their religion. company. solace. whatever it is that religious people list as benefits of their religions

                    Like

                    • Nan says:

                      IMO, it’s all about a power push, as with most everything else. The so-called “leaders” (even from the beginning) like the idea of being able to tell others how to live their lives. And of course, they deserve ample payment for their services.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think it was Napoleon who said it is religion that kept the poor from eating the rich. In this sense, politicians find utility in religion as a tool for control.

                      Like

                    • Barry says:

                      Not all religions have so-called leaders – Quakerism is just one example.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      But this a cultural/social thing, not a religious value.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      The line may not always be so distinct. Is wedding religious or cultural/ social or funeral rites?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Barry says:

                      You’re separating religion from culture. Apart from in the “West” they are not so easy to separate. In fact in some cultures they are so tightly entwined/integrated, that removing the religious or spiritual aspect removes the culture.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I alluded to this already. Religion as a distinct category is uniquely European

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Barry says:

                      Or another was of putting is to separate life into tbe secular and the religious. I don’t make that distinction.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      According to one source ….

                      The word religion comes from the latin word ligare: to join, or link, classically understood to mean the linking of human and divine

                      ….in some cultures they are so tightly entwined/integrated, that removing the religious or spiritual aspect removes the culture.

                      Agreed, which merely emphasises how much ”religious/spiritual” nonsense humans still cling to.

                      Like

                    • Barry says:

                      I think that’s a rather arrogant position to take – the perspective that your world view is superior to others. But lets extend this specifically to my experience of religion. Why not be specific and describe why what I value/experience/practice is religious/spiritual nonsense.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Thomas Paine said doing good is his religion. Auguste Comte, he of the positivist school came up with a religion devoid of supernaturalism.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Then why call it religion?

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Wikipedia: Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements.

                      The three elements mentioned don’t always include a god.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      So what religion to I adhere to?

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Vegetarianism? 😁😄

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ark says:

                      All hail the spiritual carrot. We’re not worthy.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Hahahaha. Good one

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      RAmen!!

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Ark is just being difficult.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ark says:

                      Difficult? Moi? I need things to be kept simple —just like me. This is why I struggle with big words and convoluted terms and meanings within meanings.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I have read elsewhere, not that I agree, that religious explanations or use of language differs from the general usage. Don’t ask me to explain how this works, I can’t.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ark says:

                      I think the vernacular term is: ”Making shit up,” But I could be wrong, so don’t quote me.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Hahaha
                      I will not quote as this might lead to my banishment

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ark says:

                      Yes …. that might be the outcome.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements.

                      And exactly what are these ”spiritual elements”?

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Defs:
                      Supernatural: Not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material
                      Transcendental: Existing outside of or not in accordance with nature
                      Spiritual: Lacking material body, form or substance

                      My point is that while none of them are synonymous with hard science, they also do not make reference to god(s). I know it’s against your grain, but many people do believe in forces outside of the “natural.” And they aren’t always related to “religion” which generally references a belief in a “divine power.”

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      So, in other words. Woo.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Not necessarily — but to you anything that’s outside of you personal definition of atheism is “woo.” I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Actually, anything that assigns any form of agency to something that does not comport with reality I would consider ”woo”.
                      For example: Ouija boards, Tarot cards, bending spoons a la Yuri Geller, mind reading, religion (including religion that is not really religion – no god required – but claims it is,) spiritualism, (seriously, can someone once and for all demonstrate what the frak spiritual and spiritualism are?) Voodoo, homeopathy, intelligent design, creationism, water divining, and , last but not least, a belief that a miracle will occur and Liverpool will retain the English Football Premiership title this year – ALL, nonsense and All wishful thinking..
                      Should I continue?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Yes please. Does this include I feel I am a woman inside so I am a woman?

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      This depends. Do you have a beard, hairy chest and a penis?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      All these I have but I feel deep down inside that I am a woman. And I like women too. Do you think it is ok if I use women’s showers?

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Probably pushing your luck, then, I’d say.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You have not been following the news it seems. Some blokes in the us of a & others from the uk I think are all over the place insisting women include penis wielding blokes. I am not making this up

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I should add that religion is not only as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal god or gods but can be seen as a process of human beings to reconnect with deity or whatever people consider to be a supreme being or cause behind existence.

                      Like

                    • Barry says:

                      I wish I had kept the URL of a site that provided 27 definitions of religion, where if you removed every pair that were mutually exclusive, you ended up with none.

                      Here’s two articles on the difficulty of defining religion from two different perspectives:
                      What Is Religion? …and the Problem of Defining Religion
                      Defining Religion and Spirituality

                      Personally, I like the definition given by Lloyd Geering: “Religion is a total mode of the interpreting and living of life“. Short and sweet.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      In this definition by Lloyd Geering, religion and culture seem to me as synonymous.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Barry says:

                      Perhaps. I don’t always agree with Geering’s ideas, and I think here he’s trying to put some emphasis on the “mode” being a conscientious effort. For example he would liken some sections of the green movement such as the Extinction Rebellion, GreenPeace and Sea Shepherd as modern forms of religion.

                      Unless one’s culture is under threat due to the dominance of another (for example Māori culture in New Zealand) one simply “goes with the flow”. I don’t think Geering would define cultural Christianity as a religion because one does not need to take that form of belief very seriously.

                      When Geering gave that definition, his voice slowed and a lot of emphasis was placed on “total mode” In other words, it’s not something one does when one feels like it or when it’s convenient, but one does does it regardless and is aware of doing so.

                      Mind you, if I was to take an extreme interpretation of of that perspective, I’d have to change my position from “religious” to “mostly religious” and occasionally to “sometimes religious”. But hopefully I get a B+ for effort 🙂

                      Geering has been a man of his time – he’s now 103 years old. He has been influenced mainly by philosophers and theologians of the Christian West. I can’t blame him for some gaps in his knowledge of Non-European thought as it has been rather thin on the ground and I think still today relatively little study is done except perhaps in the field of anthropology, and that frequently has a very Western slant to any study.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Looking at your exposition on the same point, I can’t help but see that this is really not separate from culture. In culture, one is totally immersed in the game of life_ and generally one goes with the flow and it is a total immersion.
                      This is the reason, I think, when the students of Hegel came to Africa, they said there was no religion because to the European, they had this separate category called religion while here life was lived fully. There were activities that one would denote religious but they were part of daily life.
                      And this is the point p’Bitek makes. That to make the African a Sunday Christian wasn’t conversion. It was more an uprooting from roots, so to speak. Christianity, to him, he saw as insufficient a philosophy for practical life. The same can be said of Islam or any other evangelical religion.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Barry says:

                      I think that what Geering was driving at that it’s something one takes seriously. Most people don’t think about their culture and generally, when your culture is dominant seldom think about it.

                      But I agree that there is no clear line between religion and culture. I see this in both the world view of my wife and in the world view of our daughters ex-husband. And because he is so passionate about preserving his Māori culture and language and retelling the myths and folklore, I felt the passion too, whereas the wife takes her Japanese culture for granted. Most of what I have learnt about Japan has come from sources other than her. I would say that our former son-in-law has a religious passion for his culture and there there is no separation of religion, language and culture – they are one and the same.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think our conclusions agree.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      But these are not true values of the religion but rather of the community.
                      The foundational/fundamental tenets of a religion should define it’s value.
                      So what are the foundational tenets of the Judeo /Christian/Muslim religions?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think it is Brahma who tells Arjuna to seek detachment to see no difference between a mound of earth and a mound of gold. Value is not a property of things but it is assigned.
                      To an art collector, the Monalisa is invaluable to my village man, the monalisa or the portrait of his favourite politician have the same Value- can all be used as wrapping paper.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Value is not a property of things but it is assigned.

                      Correct. And in the case of , say, Christianity, what are the assigned values of the foundational tenets?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You realise different Christians have different things they consider foundational. And two, I don’t think it is the case that they put value in the foundational tenets but in aspects they give value.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      This is true. A former neighbour “shopped around” for a denomination that aligned with his cultural and moral values. And a former customer shopped around for a Catholic parish that aligned with his liturgical preferences. Which leads me to conclude that the social aspects of religions fellowship are just as important as the doctrines themselves.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      A friend of mine, a Catholic moved to the baptist Church nearby because she said they had a better message delivery or something of that kind. Another moved because the praise and worship was better at the new church.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      1 Corinthians 15 etc

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Armaments, chapter two, verses nine to twenty-one

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      The stated values are: subservience to Allah/God/YHWH , and by extension, to one’s fellow man.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. shelldigger says:

    I know I have posted on this before in different places, so pardon me for repeating myself.

    All we truly know is our experiences. Our experiences in life will never be exactly the same as anyone elses. My experience was that it took many many many years to work through being a wannabe religiot, to a tentative agnostic, to a pretty damn agnostic, to an all out atheist. It’s a sliding scale, some of us see it through to the most logical position. Some of us get hung up in the middle somewhere, some of us buy the BS whole hog and swear by it till the day they die.

    The one who asks questions, seeks knowledge, is never satisfied with “cuz we said so,” these are the people with some hope of making it to the light.

    Dullards, self appointed geniuses, and self appointed experts in BS (the True Believer) will wallow in their own willful ignorance till they take the permanent nap.

    The labels that get thrown around, I see as a mild distraction, I see no need to get caught up in that. It’s like having an argument on social media with a self appointed expert in BS. You will never get your point across, and it isn’t worth the trouble worrying about it.

    Yes, atheism should be “loaded politically and socially and doesn’t cover the nuances” As I said before we are a result of our experiences, none of us will be exactly the same, nor should we. I’m happy with “close enough” to my WP friends.

    We could, argue with the differences between atheism and unbelief if we really wanted to. I say it isn’t worth the trouble. It’s close enough for horse shoes and hand grenades, and more similar than different.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Instead of atheist, I just call myself a cannibal. It fits me and describes me perfectly: “A being without morals who loves the taste of Christain infants.” See, easy peasy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. renudepride says:

    I like the term “unbelief.” I think that covers me completely. Good job, boss! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. basenjibrian says:

    My preferred term is Misotheist. Because I find the Christian religion and its God awful and fundamentally wicked in its theology (if not always in the cultural attributes or in the behavior of some….some…adherents)

    Like

  7. Nan says:

    Labels can be the bane of language.

    Like

  8. Believe is a matter of highly personal, subjective, passionate and freely chosen commitment to believe and without doubt, those characteristics apply equally to the atheist stand against any kind of reasoning for the existence of a Deity.

    Like

  9. If Conrad’s concern is accuracy, how is applying a vague term going to help things? It sounds like his point is better served by correctly labeling schools of thought rather than coming up with yet another label for people to sift through.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. john zande says:

    It’s a better descriptor, but it doesn’t ‘flow’ as easily off the tongue: unbeliever. We need a new word, a word the universe has never heard before: Sexatoo.

    Might need some work.

    Here’s the Fake Word Generator that came from.

    https://www.wordgenerator.net/fake-word-generator.php

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Barry says:

    Or WordPress. (Or most likely me forgetting to click ‘Send’ before moving to a new page, but I’m not going to admit to that 😊)

    Like

    • Ark says:

      Hi, Barry.
      I left a comment on your blog post re: your question and it went straight into moderation for some reason.

      Don’t you love me anymore, or have you been taking advice from Clare?
      🙂

      Like

      • Barry says:

        I take advice from anyone I respect or whose opinions I value. Acting on such advice is an entirely different matter.

        And no you’re not moderated. There’s only one contributor I moderate and that is because they persist in dressing up opinion as fact even after being warned not to. As the moderator, I don’t want to be a defendant in a defamation claim thank you.

        Like

  12. […] March 28, 2021 at 17:48 […]

    Like

  13. rawgod says:

    To enter the fray, I find this whole discussion to be rather senseless if not entirely useless. Atheism is what the individual atheist wants it to be. No two atheists believe exactly the same beyond not having a belief in superior or supreme beings often referred to as gods, or God. Higher power, as in A.A., is just a euphemism for a supreme being allowed by a believer to be in control of their lives. The only beings in control of our lives are us, individuals, with out own belief in who we are and what we can do. When I discuss atheism with a theist, I do my best to explain atheism is NOT like a religion. We are all armies of 1, each with our own understanding of who and what we are. While we do party together, so-to-speak, we have no dogma beyond we do not believe in Higher Powers, whether Theities or Deities. To think or claim to be a better atheist than any other atheist is pure bullshit. We understand what we understand about ourselves, and only our selves. There is no unity, no atheism. Past non-belief is an open field. Stand on it where you will, or don’t stand where you will not. Dig a hole if you like, or buy a circular bed. Or even a bed of nails. Above all, be yourself. No one else can be you. You cannot be anyone else but you.
    But don’t take my observation as set in stone. Somewhere two snowflakes were probably identical, but no one will ever find them both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      There is actually no contention here. The question really is are we right to call some ancients atheists just because they did not hold orthodox beliefs about religion while believing in some form of supernaturalism?

      Like

      • rawgod says:

        I would ask does it matter, they are long dead, but since you are asking the question it obviously matters to you. I have no take on that question, yea, or nay. But I would love to hear their answers,were that possible.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          there are instances where different groups have claimed a dead person as being of their group; a good example is Abraham Lincoln who Christians have claimed was one of their own & I think atheists too have claimed him or it is Jefferson.
          I don’t care one whit whether someone was atheist or not, really.

          Like

          • rawgod says:

            It changes nothing.

            Like

            • Ark says:

              Do you consider one can claim to be an atheists while in the same breath claim to be religious?

              Like

              • makagutu says:

                Buddhists are religious but not theists. I think you are using religious and theism to mean the same thing when they are not

                Liked by 1 person

              • rawgod says:

                It depends on what you mean by religious. If it as a simple blue in something to a great degree, as a belief in true love is a religious brlief, then, yes, an atheist can claim to be religious. Atheism itself is a religious belief in that understanding. But if religious pertains to a religion as a belief in supreme beings, and a director of the universe, with tenets on how that belief must be conducted, then obviously the claim is nonsensical. I hope this answers your question.

                Like

                • Ark says:

                  I do not consider myself to be religious in any shape or form whatsoever.

                  Like

                  • rawgod says:

                    Yet you are, according to a dictionary. Though the Oxford English dictionary claims this definition is now obsolete, figurative. Strict fidelity or faithfulness; conscientiousness; devotion to some principle. Obsolete.
                    Consider the REM song Losing My Religion, which can be interpreted in many ways, but few of the meanings meet the standard accepted meaning of devotion to a higher power.
                    In my understanding, though I know you will protest, you have a religious belief in science, you are completely devoted to it.

                    Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      And to Liverpool

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      In my understanding, though I know you will protest, you have a religious belief in science, you are completely devoted to it.

                      Really? Your understanding? Well, firstly this erroneous understanding you have is because you are fucking imbecile and, secondly, how, the hell would you know what, if anything, I am devoted to or how much?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Calmly, Ark, calmly. You write, I read. It is that simple.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Instead of writing garbage why not at least strive for a higher degree of honesty and integrity rather than being a Nob?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Aw, and here I thought you had calmed down. Ah, this too is from 5 hours ago. So is this message to yourself? I called you the writer and me the reader and then you speak of writing garbage. The only reference I have for writing is what you write to me. To strive for a higher degree of honesty and integrity would certainly be apropos for someone who calls another dickhead, a fucking imbécile, and a Nob, whatever a Nob might be. It certainly feels like a pejorative, though being seemingly a proper noun that does make one wonder.
                      Didn’t you say on Nan’s blog the other day that people who use the word fuck show a lack of couth, or intelligence, or something like that. I do love when the pot calls the pot a kettle.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      No, wasn’t me. You should probably hone your reading skills, or perhaps it’s a memory/comprehension issue?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Wasn’t you? 18 hours ago, I quote:
                      Really? Your understanding? Well, firstly this erroneous understanding you have is because you are fucking imbecile and, secondly, how, the hell would you know what, if anything, I am devoted to or how much?
                      That was you.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      I was referring to your claim about what I supposedly wrote regarding language and vulgarity. As I mentioned, perhaps you need to hone your reading skills?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      If I was wrong, that is a memory problem, not a reading skill. I’m not about to go look.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Well, if you’re not prepared to fact check then perhaps you would be better off not making silly claims?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      It’s not that I’m not prepared to fact check, I know exactly where to look for it. But you are not important enough in my life to make a major case out if it. You are a bother with your assininine comments, to be sure, and I have fun replying to them, but were you to disappear from my life I would not miss you. You might be matter, but you certainly do not matter. Science me that!

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      I’m pleased I am so unimportant that you would rather make a fool of yourself by misquoting, even though you claim you know ”exactly where to look”?
                      Based on your interactions with several others It seems making a fool of yourself is part of your stock-in-trade,

                      Silly person.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Only in your eyes, Ark, and those of people like you. And you are blind. Fortunately the world is full of other-sighted people.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      A person who writes erroneous tripe like this ….

                      you have a religious belief in science, you are completely devoted to it.

                      …is a fool in the eyes of a great many people.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      I just go with what you show me. As I just asked moments ago, “What is it you are not showing me?”

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      Then you are ignorant and likely disingenuous Where have I ”shown you” I have a ”religious belief in science”?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      You demand evidence, even when you know evidence does not exist in a material reality. That is religious, but nothing to do with gods.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      You state I have a religious belief in science. Science is evidence based and has nothing to do with religion. Perhaps you are not quite well, or you simply do not understand what you are talking about?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      You refuse to see what I am talking about because you hate the word I am using. A 5 year-old child can see that.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      No, you are importing terms to use for your own ends. Terms that are not evidence based, do not comport with reality and have nothing to do with science.
                      And you know this very well, which strongly suggests you are being disingenuous – and a Dickhead.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      A Philippe K. Dickhead, most certainly.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Hah! Spelchek is on your side. Obviously I meant Philip K. Dick head.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      5 hours have passed. You are calmer now, one hopes. May I suggest for your reading pleasure a short story. The Defenders, by one of the best science fiction writers ever, Philip K. Dick. It exists in The Philp K. Dick Mega-Pack on Kindle, for free, if you do not want to pay for it.
                      While you are there, maybe read Beyond Lies the Wub. This one you may not understand, but it is an interesting read, I think.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ark says:

                      What would make you believe that I may not understand the Wub?
                      I have been a fan of Philip K Dick for as long as I can remember.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      The Wub is a spirit of sorts, an entity that exists beyond the physical body. But maybe you just have a different way of reading him.
                      Yet, if you are a PKD fan (I read my first PKD novel, in the early 60s, The Man Who Japed, published 1956, and was immediately hooked for life) I do not see how you can knock something I believe that I encountered while under the influence of LSD as pure bullshit. Consider this passage from Michael Moorcock:
                      The notion that bourgeois life is a comforting illusion, that American capitalism is an insane trick founded on a complex lie, is not new to SF, but Dick came to own it. He developed it into a complex personal belief system, fuelled by clinical paranoia, which heightened as he used amphetamines and LSD to write at high speed one novel after another. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/27/philip-k-dick-best-novels-blade-runner-minority-report
                      V.A.L.I.S. is basically spiritual atheism gone wild.
                      Dick is the quintessential questioner of what is reality? Nothing is too weird for him. Anything is possible, and probable.
                      Nothing you have said to me yet speaks of anything but hard science. Being a PKD fan just seems completely out of character. So what are you hiding from me?

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      The Wub is a spirit of sorts,/blockquote>
                      Really? Whatever gave you that impression?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      It transfers bodies. That takes a disembodied being, also called spirit.
                      Your religious stubbornness is boring.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      The Wub is an alien. The premise in Dick’s story is that Peterson absorbed it AFTER he ate it. Furthermore, it is important you realise it is ONLY a story.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Peterson did not absorb anything, the Wub took over Peterson’s body. There is no more Peterson inside the body. The Wub gave him fair warning. Peterson ignored the Wub, and now is no more.
                      Of course it is only a story, but it is a PKD story, and nothing is ever what it seems.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      I thought Petersen ate the Wub?

                      Are you trying to equate a PKD novel with some sort of thing you call ”spirits”?

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Go away. You bore me to tears.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      I think Mak is the only one here who has the ”power” to make me go away.
                      If you insist on behaving like an pompous, disingenuous halfwit then don’t expect sympathy from me.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Sympathy?
                      Write on Mak’s blog all you want. I don’t give a shit! Just stop directing your inane comments to me. They will go unheeded henceforth.

                      Like

                    • john zande says:

                      …said the moth to the light bulb.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ark says:

                      No problemo. You go focus on your spirits and further analysis of your former drug induced experiences. Maybe if you decide to join reality then one day you will be capable of having an intelligent conversation?
                      Would you like us to pray for you? Scientific prayer, of course.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I was hoping that you two old geezers would come to an understanding without my intervention.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    • Ark says:

                      @ Mak
                      It’s difficult for me to reason with a senile former drug user who is desperate to try to convince those around him that his LSD addled experiences redefined his reality and we simply don’t understand where he’s at … man .

                      Perhaps it’s time for Rawgod to put away the tie-dyed T-shirts, the Grateful Dead records and smell the coffee?
                      Going to San Francisco with flowers in one’s hair is not a thing any more.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ron says:

                      Are you sure? I was told we’re supposed to listen to what the flower people say?

                      Time to kick back, relax and enjoy some Voodoo Child.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Everyone is interesting to look at but not to talk to.

                      Like

                  • makagutu says:

                    Except as regards Liverpool which you religiously support even when all they are doing is losing

                    Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      My Liverpool is Detroit these days, be it the Red Wings, the Tigers, the Pistons, or the lowest of the low, the Lions. None of my favourite sports teams, the Saskatchewan Rough riders excluded, are doing well these days. Not even Team Jennifer Jones of Women”s Curling fame is winning, though they are still competing at the highest level. But there is always next year… and the next… and the next… and the next…

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I happen to have no sports team. I don’t follow any sports on TV. Can watch a game if it found me in a bar or something

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Ah, the loneliness of the long distance runner, forever ending in a bar seeking basic companionship not to be found because he has no sports teams to be dedicated to. My condolences. (Fingers crossed behind my back, tongue stuck firmly in cheek!)

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Hahahaha. You maybe right.
                      In Long distance running and cycling one has few companions.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      That”s one reason I gave up long distance running 55 years ago. I could run forever, but I could not run forever fast. I loved cycling, but it was not a sport where I grew up.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      55 years is so long ago! I wasn’t even there to start with!
                      I grew up cycling. Used a bike as a means of transport, as a workhorse and all. Running is that thing i did to try beat rain and in high school it was one of those we had to do. Now I have just eased back into it and i think eventually long distance runs will be my thing, if i can stay injury free

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      Hope you do. I started smoking 55 years ago (and quit 37 years ago) and by then I was out of high school and I ran out of sports to play. Chasing girls became my then-new passtime. I was somewhat better at that than I was at playing sports, so I stuck to it. Now I’m just old and physically decrepit. But I am happy.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      That, if you ask me, was a better choice, they chasing girls. More interesting too and quite challenging.

                      Like

                    • rawgod says:

                      And much more rewarding, at times.

                      Like

                    • Ark says:

                      @ Mak
                      The usage of the word in this form is colloquial rather than religious, as well you know!
                      Stop stirring the poo, Mister Mak!

                      Like

              • rawgod says:

                However, if you restrict yourself to the standard accepted definition of religion, “No, I do not think an atheist can claim to be religious,” as that requires a belief in a higher power.

                Like

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