In regards to atheism.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by garbonzo, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I have some idea of what's not evidence.
    Comprehension is an idea, that's why it's not evidence. Even if I comprehended god, I would question whether this thought represented anything real.
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  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Comprehension is perception, and understanding of anything (including ideas).

    What makes you think it's just a thought?

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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Nope, atheists in general demand physical evidence under threat of ridicule...regardless of whether a claim of physical evidence has been made. Most theist claims are subjective and anecdotal, but many atheists willingly accept this sort of evidence in the social sciences all the time.
    Can you say hypocrisy?

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    Are you equally claiming that being and identity have no physical basis or correlates? Do constructs such as gender identity deserve the same derisive treatment?

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    Your interpretation of "thing" seems to presume materialism a priori.

    : an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated use this thing
    a : an inanimate object distinguished from a living being
    : a separate and distinct individual quality, fact, idea, or usually entity
    c : the concrete entity as distinguished from its appearances
    : a spatial entity​
    Observed brain activity is physical, and it correlates to thought. But if you're claiming that thought is whole metaphysical, without physical correlates, then you must believe in free will...and are halfway to being a theist already.

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    Claiming there is no evidence is equivalent to claiming any evidence must be physical...since that is all an atheist will ever accept. Their ideology is that of physicalism...which is just as a priori as a theist's dualism.
    Exactly. They presume all evidence that they could accept would be physical...or are more agnostic than atheist, as leaving open the possibility of evidence for an existence logically requires leaving open the possibility for the existence itself. If they're really agnostic though, their adamant arguments don't really make sense.
    As I've asked several times in this thread, do atheists equally doubt being, identity, or other metaphysical entities?
    What do you accept as evidence for these? Physical correlates?
    Yet they do deny it...quite vigorously. This belies the claim that they're merely unconvinced. I'm completely unconvinced that unicorns exists, yet I have zero interest in arguing someone who happens to think they do.
    Here's a glimpse. I know I have a much greater potential than I currently exhibit, as I learn new information and skills daily. At this rate, I cannot imagine a hard limit to that potential, other than perhaps the time in which I have to develop it. I have created things no one else has ever created. I can understand others by understanding myself. While not a solipsist, even if solipsism were true, it would change nothing.
    Then how do you do math?

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  7. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    I seriously doubt any means to demonstrate god will ever be possible. For one, it would remove free will from the choice of belief, as most sane people do not get to choose whether things like chairs exist.
  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Social sciences is a misnomer

    While surveys and other methods can produce generalisations about social constructs the social aspects of the region vary the results and are not repeatable EXACTLY

    Science remains constant no matter who does the observations or experiments

    Can you say piousness?

    YES yes a thousand times yes

    Being = physical existence

    Identity = the ' who ' of somebody, has no physical presence and is wholly subjective varying between the person themselves and any other person

    Also varying from moment to moment

    \ī-ˈden-tə-tē, ə-, -ˈde-nə-\

    • : who someone is : the name of a person
    • : the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others

    Oh the old shame the claim card

    Anybody can claim whatever they wish

    If somebody wants to lay claim to any of the 50+ (as I understand the number of current choices available now) go ahead

    If the person gets called out about their choice then they should be (but are frequently not) prepared to back up claim

    I claim gender identity is not a physical entity

    No shame in that


    Activity is NOT physical

    If you believe brain activity is physical please show me (a quality photo will do) a sample of brain activity and (I will accept a guess) its dimensions and weight

    Thought is a PROCESS

    While you are obtaining a photo of ACTIVITY add a photo of PROCESS please

    Since neither exist I don't think I am over burdening you

    Every day I wake up I thank god he made me a atheists

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    Physical evidence would be the best

    However I (and I think most atheists) would also accept an observation

    Something like

    "Hello ladies and gentlemen I am here today to show you god

    He won't be attending as a physical being but as a demonstration

    OK god take it away"

    With that the demonstrator rises 50 metres into the air

    Does a few laps over the heads of all those in the stadium

    On the way he cures all the sick

    The blind see again

    The crippled become whole

    Everybody gets a meal of their choice

    That would do it for me

    Can I leave it to you to organise?

    Please send me tickets and a program well in advance so I can make travel plans

    Already answered but worth repeating

    The English in the above is a bit wonky but

    Being = physical - not a problem believing

    identity, or other metaphysical entities?
    What do you accept as evidence for these? Physical correlates

    Identity - non physical - accept the DEFINETION while understanding no physical evidence can be produced

    Metaphysical entities - misnomer - no such animal

    Physical correlates - my two neurones are arguing about this. Can you clarify please?


    and probably true for most of the Earth population

    Potential (cracked record coming up) is not PHYSICAL


    and definately true for all of the Earth population

    The time you have to add to your potential stops when you die (sorry to be a downer)

    Solipsist might know themselves but it is a delusional style of thinking that is all that can be known

    What do they think of their surroundings?

    Bet they believe the food they eat

    On a personal level I do know that the Universe will cease to exist when I die

    Well I understand NOW it will cease to exist for ME

    I understand NOW it will continue to exist for those remaining alive for them

    However when I die I will know a big fat NOTHING

    Because I am dead

    In the old days I would write down a number

    Then another number

    Perform a operation on the numbers (in my head if the numbers were small)

    Arrive at a answer

    Now use a calculator on my mobile phone

    Ooooh do you think the OPERATIONS I perform on the numbers have a physical existence?

    They don't

    I wish they did as it would make maths classes much more interesting

    Believers (theists) recognize God as real regardless of evidentiary demonstration of His existence

    Riddle me this

    What sets god apart

    from other fantastically beings

    which can be conjured up by imagination

    but are NOT believed in?

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  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Thank you.
    Do you see the above as somehow being a difference between the believer and the non-believer, the theist and the atheist, or even between the religious and the non-religious? I ask as I know many atheists that have the same view of themselves, that they have potential as yet unfulfilled, and their self-designated purpose is to fulfil as much as possible. I just don't see what you detail as highlighting a difference between the theist and atheist, and that's really what I'm trying to understand.
  10. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    So how do you classify economics, political science, human geography, demography, psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, jurisprudence, history, and linguistics?

    Even physics often has a error margin in its results, so even in that field, results may not be "repeatable EXACTLY". You seem to have an overly-simplistic view of science. Good self-reported methods are generally statistically repeatable.

    Being is a basic question in the field of metaphysics, and no cherry-picking of definitions changes that. That goes for identity as well.
    1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.​

    If identity doesn't warrant derision, why should any other subjective belief?

    Brain activity is composed of electrical impulses that can be measured and even imaged.

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    If you do not accept this as physical, then you're not just an a priori physicalist (who takes into account scientific advances on what is physical) but a neophyte materialist who only thinks matter is physical (contrary to the equivalence of matter and energy expressed in E=MC²).

    What? Activity nor process exist? How are you typing?

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    Observation requires physical light and at least a source capable of reflecting such. So observation is no different from physical evidence.

    As I told someone else here, proof of god would defeat free will, just as a sane person cannot really deny the chair he sits in.

    Again, quit cherry-picking definition to suit your a priori presumptions. You do know that cherry-picking is fallacious reasoning, right? Do you know what an a priori assumption is? Look it up.

    You don't even seem to know that philosophy of science employs metaphysics to justify what we consider scientific fact.

    Who ever said potential...or being, or identity, or thought, or some other straw man argument...was "physical"? You don't seem to know that knowledge is defined as justified true belief either, nor how we go about justifying a belief as such. Do you think science just sprang up, fully formed?

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    Who said my experience was unique?

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    If mathematical structure don't exist, how do you use them? Can you manipulate the nonexistent?

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    What's sets god apart from other fantastical beings is that god is not external.

    Now unless you can offer a more intellectual challenge, I predict someone is going to be meeting my ignore list soon.
  11. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Darn, I was hoping you could tell me...especially from personal experience. I'm not keen on taking your word on the experiences of others, as I cannot confidently convey those myself and would not deem them compelling, even if I could. As I said in my post to Micheal, I don't expect these to be unique to me, and maybe not even to's just a place to start.

    I don't know that I would claim a self-designated purpose to fulfill as much potential as just keeps happening. If there are atheists who have created something no one else ever has, do they feel it as such, or do they write it off as a happy coincidence of their history and external stimuli? If solipsism were true, would that cheapen or lessen the atheist's relationships with others?
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I disagree in that atheists are generally not saying that there is no evidence; they merely (in my experience) say that there is no evidence that convinces them.
    (Yes, I accept that they may not word it that way and it may come across as being a more categoric "there is no evidence", but interrogate them further and it will be a matter of being convinced.)
    There may well be physical evidence which eventually does convince (e.g. Anthony Flew) but the atheist is as yet unconvinced.
    Some may think that all physical evidence is entirely unconvincing.
    But again this is not saying that any evidence must be physical.
    I, for one, would happily accept non-physical evidence for consideration.
    But again, I find none that has been presented to be convincing.
    "More agnostic than atheist"?
    Agnosticism is not a sliding scale on the theist / atheist axis.
    Theism / Atheism is an ontological position: if one does not hold the belief that God exists then one is atheist.
    Agnosticism is an epistemological position: it's a question of what one knows, or considers knowable.
    Sure, there's a difference between strong and weak atheism, and I have no disagreement with what you're saying as it applies to strong atheism.
    If that's who your comments are addressed to, please confirm and we can end in agreement, but most atheists on this site are agnostic atheists who will be more than happy to consider non-physical evidence if any should be offered up.
    Whether they would be convinced by it might be determined by how much of a materialist or physicalist they are, or indeed their general agnosticism on matters of metaphysics.
    From a practical point of view, I would say so.
    From an intellectual point of view, I can't say as I haven't given them too much thought: their existence of otherwise does not have the same claimed importance as that asserted by some theists.
    No, I don't think they do deny it as per the understanding of "deny" that I put forth.
    They vigorously deny that they are convinced, but there is no vigorous denial of God per se.
    They always leave open the possibility - or else they are strong atheist.
    But again, it may be the manner in which they word their arguments that suggests otherwise, and without going into every argument anyone here has raised, I will not press the matter further and am happy to simply agree to disagree.
    I would suggest that the interest in discussion is determined by the pervasiveness of belief in the existence, and the importance that is placed in that belief by those that believe.
    Not by those that are not convinced.
    For example, if unicorns were claimed, by those that believed that they existed, to be of fundamental importance to life, to after life, to existence itself, with the vast majority of the world basing some part of their life upon their existence, then I'm sure those unconvinced would have a non-zero interest in discussing with those who were convinced.
    I certainly would.
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The problem with basing things on just one individual's perspective is that there is no way to tell if the differences between the two individuals (having the dialogue) are causative or simply coincidental to the issue. I'm also not expecting things said here to be compelling, merely exploratory - things to consider rather than anything definitive. So if I say something about me that may be different to your views but not those of people you know who share your belief, then you knowing such people is worth noting at least, to be able to dismiss the difference as causative etc.
    Understood, and I did misunderstand you in that regard. Do you think you are fulfilling potential as fast as you could? How do you gauge it? Do you feel any obligation to do more? Or are you just content to keep moving forward?
    Atheists are as prone to pride and contentment in achievement as theists, I assure you.

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    I doubt I would ever even think about the ultimate cause of how it came about. Would you? The fact would remain that it did happen, and I would enjoy that on a personal, selfish level, as well as enjoying the impact it might have on others.
    As for solipsism, I'm not sure it would change my relationship with others. I live my life on the basis of what I experience, and through the intellectual capabilities I possess informed by those experiences. I can't see solipsism changing that. Would it change your view of such relationships?
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Non physical

    Percent Error Formula
    When you calculate results that are aiming for known values, the percent error formula is useful tool for determining the precision of your calculations. The formula is given by:

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    Brain activity

    is composed of electrical impulses

    True - as a REPROSENTATION

    that can be measured and


    even imaged


    However REPROSENTATIONS are not the ACTIVITY

    A map is a physical object but as a REPROSENTATION of the area not the area

    A photo of a person is a REPROSENTATION but not the physical person

    Find the ACTIVITY as a PHYSICAL enterty and post a REPROSENTATION photo

    Ummmm please provide another photo

    This one of a glass jar of energy

    Or a bucket full

    Or a truck full of energy

    A truck full of ' the ability to do work ' would be my pick

    All the fantastical beast in my brain are not external so the question remains

    I'm shaking in my socks

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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I prefer to define 'atheism' as the view that God (or gods or supernatural beings in general) don't exist in any literal objective sense. (I think that atheists and theists probably agree that these things do exist in the way that fictional characters in literature do, as thought contents that might not correspond to anything with any reality beyond human thoughts.) The precise content of atheism often varies according to context. The strength and conviction with which the belief is held can vary as well. Some atheists are absolutely convinced (often with little justification) they are right and that everyone else is a fool, others hold their 'doesn't exist' view as kind of a working hypothesis and are effectively agnostics (I include myself in that category, I guess).

    I suppose that view of atheism corresponds to 'strong atheism' as some internet atheists would have it. I object to the 'weak atheism' popular on the internet since it collapses atheism and agnosticism together and I would like to keep agnosticism distinct. And defining 'atheism' as the simple lack of any theistic belief as opposed to the belief (however strong) that ~(God exists) is T, seems to suggest that rocks and stones must be atheists, since they lack beliefs about anything. The motivation for 'weak atheism' seems to be the desire to 'pull-a-Jan' and claim that atheism is the default condition and that it doesn't require any justification. I think that's disingenuous either way, whether its the theists or the atheists pushing it.

    So Jan would seem to me to be wrong when insisting that this thread isn't about God's existence, since the thread title is "In regards to atheism" and that's the issue that defines atheism and atheists.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The kind of atheists that one encounters on the internet are often uneducated, unsophisticated and very similar to religious fundamentalists. (Just like people in general, of which they are examples.) But I hope that I will do better.

    At least for me, the issue isn't metaphysical naturalism (your physicalism) vs supernaturalism so much as it's objective vs subjective.

    I'm quite happy to accept religious experience as evidence in support of religious belief (or at least for some varieties of religious belief). The difficulty seems to me to arise when we try to draw conclusions about objective metaphysics from our subjective experiences. The contemplative saint or the Hindu yogin might claim to have had a hugely confirmatory experience of God. But schizophrenics have experiences too, experiences of delusory things that most of us don't want to accept as real. So how can the factual cases be distinguished from the delusions when their content is unique and private to the individual having the experience?

    I would agree that this issue might not arise for the saint or for the schizophrenic themselves. Both of them might be totally convinced by their experiences.

    But the question does arise for the rest of us, if the saint or the schizophrenic tries to convince the rest of us of the truth of his/her beliefs and appeals to his/her private experience as evidence.

    The physicalism thing arises with the senses. Our senses give us access to an intersubjective world that we all seem to inhabit in common. (In fact, they give us our reason for believing in the existence of others like ourselves.) And all of our senses seem to work by physical causal interaction with the surrounding environment. So our senses give us access to the physical world, simply by how they operate.

    So in my case at least, what I want is evidence that the object of somebody else's belief exists not only for that person, in that person's own subjectivity, but for me as well. And arguably, the only sources of information that I have regarding objective reality are my senses.

    Metaphysically, I think of reality as an unbounded set. Imagine it like a Venn diagram. I live in a little bubble of what I (and others like me) know. Surrounding that is a larger space composed of realities that we don't know. That larger space isn't bounded by a precise line, since we are talking about the unknown and we don't really know its extent or what it contains.

    But that's all hypothetical. What I can actually know about, what defines that little inner circle of what I actually know, is the fact that I have some epistemological means to know about those things. And that typically seems to mean some employment of my senses. I'm not claiming that reality is restricted to that little circle, I have no way of knowing that. I personally believe pretty strongly that reality is much more than that. But I have no way (at present) of knowing about those things.

    I don't really know what mathematics and logic are (or the laws of physics for that matter). Nor do I really know how human beings know about them. I agree that there does seem to be some non-sensory source of objective truth there that seems to be known intuitively.

    What makes mathematics objective rather than subjective? Apparently the fact that everyone intuits the same things (pretty much). Mathematicians the world around agree about proofs.

    So the question arises, do anything like theistic proofs exist that should be convincing to anyone who understands them and logically compel the same conclusions for everyone? Certainly people like Aquinas tried to generate some, but without notable success.

    Some traditions out there make similar moves with religious experience. The early Buddhists insisted that intuitive verification for the Buddha's teaching was possible, through meditative experience. So anyone who performs the practices, should achieve similar results. But early Buddhism notably wasn't making a whole lot of grand claims about metaphysics and the existence of transcendental personalities. It was more of a spiritual psychology, so the objective/subjective distinction was less pressing for them. If the goal is for particular things to happen in your head, then those things happening is all the validation they need.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  17. birch Valued Senior Member

    Unfortunately, that doesn't guarantee you are right. Sophistication and education and glamorous or flowery delivery does not equate to correctness. There is equally plenty of conglomerated and complex bullshit on this forum with perfect grammar and 'big' words but style of execution does not mean it's true. like wellwisher's long-winded bs, for example.

    People can wrap bs or falsehood in perfect packaging with a nice bow and it still will be what it is, wrong. incorrect. Or often, they think it's logical but it's really not. Ironicly. vacuum type logic doesn't always equate to reality.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    They are distinct. I self-identify as an agnostic atheist. My atheism is informed by my agnosticism. I lack belief that God exists (atheism) because I do not have knowledge of God etc.
    Weak atheism does, in a sense, collapse the two issues, but only for convenience, as most (if not all?) weak atheists are agnostic. If it helps then simply consider the weak atheist an agnostic atheist. That way they are kept distinct.
    But I do feel it important to make the distinction between weak and strong atheists. Agnosticism seems to be the differentiator, but it is also a differentiator within theism. Some theists are agnostic, after all, even if somewhat rarer than the agnostic atheist.
    I used to be of that view but have moved to the view that atheism/theism must be a considered position - i.e. one must be able to make a judgement on the matter, have some concept of the God that one is taking a view of belief about.
    I think you do the agnostic atheist a huge disservice. The position is simply the combination of an ontological and epistemological view. One's argument is up to the individual, but please do not confuse some people's arguments with the motivation of the whole. That is disingenuous. That some people might see it, or argue it, as the default condition is for them to support, and for you to criticise those arguments. Just as we don't judge all theists by Jan's arguments, so please don't judge all agnostic atheists by the arguments of a selection.
    In that we most wholeheartedly agree.

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  19. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    No matter the degree removed from ourselves the experiences we reference, only actual studies could narrow down causative factors. Our extended anecdotal evidence cannot do that. For that, we'd need to address things like this:

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    Perhaps closer family ties, happiness, and charitableness predispose people to be theists, rather than being effects of theism.
    No, I'm sure I could accomplish more faster. I don't really gauge it against anything nor feel any obligation. I don't really have any feeling, either way, on progress in general...just specific accomplishments, as they occur. I would be content to remain rather just doesn't seem to happen.
    I'm not as sure about those. Since pride is condemned by many religions and contentment a measure of happiness, I'm not sure those are equal between theists and atheists. I do think about ultimate causes, both in tracing the genesis of my own thoughts and in how events in my life play out. I recognize the extent to which my choice of attitude effects things.
    No, solipsism would not change anything, since I already believe everyone is connected in such a way that would ultimately be compatible with solipsism. Do you believe in such a connection? Or would solipsism just reduce your love for others to self-love (them being nothing but your own imagination)?
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I'd agree that both the average atheist and theist alike are unsophisticated. I already know you're better than that.
    I don't believe in supernaturalism, except insofar as you may presume it in dualism (philosophy of mind)...which I don't.
    Since what is objective is itself a metaphysical question, "objective metaphysics" doesn't seem to be clearly defined. Schizophrenics have other debilitating traits that distinguish them from functional individuals. Have you found evidence of clinically diagnosable delusion that is not tied to mental disorder, drug use, etc.?
    You have to wonder, though, what the ~80% of the world that beliefs in god senses in common to arrive at their mutual conclusion. It's not likely a thing that can be pointed out to you, but an interaction or principle of behavior that must be recognized for yourself. Much wisdom is of the kind that you can only be led to the door that you must find the wherewithal to open. Do you have similar doubts of other such wisdom? Like meditation, you must find out for yourself whether it helps you.
    You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
    I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
    - Song of Myself, Walt Whitman​
    That's understandable. Much like a child or animal cannot be expected to understand things beyond their grasp. But man's reach should always exceed his grasp.
    A theistic proof that is compelling would exclude any real exercise of free will in the matter. After all, do you feel you can rationally deny the existence of a chair you sit in? There are logical arguments, but if any could be universally compelling, it would defeat the underlying purpose of individual freedom and responsibility.
    Many, even sophisticated, atheists seem to take a lot of science on the authority of others, not knowing the science themselves. It would seem that the argument that you would need to sense things for yourself only applies lopsidedly to theism.

    Granted, I take a lot of science on the word of others as well. But like theism, I accept it due to my own reasoning. I can demonstrate to my own satisfaction that certain things influence the world.
  21. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Self controdicting

    No such animal

    Maybe worse than that

    Maybe the equivalent of Cowpat from a non existent animal

    Not exactly pointed out, but more like brain washed into, while the brain is susceptible

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  22. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    I never thought that made sense

    If you have reached beyond your grasp I would contend you understand what you have grasped

    and beyond that you have reached into new knowledge which you can now include within your grasp

    Sorry Robert I think a better expression would be

    There should always be something beyond mans grasp and that is what heaven is for

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  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm. There's a whole confused mess of causation or correlation in all that, I'm sure. My family is a mix of theist and atheist (but the kind that just doesn't think about it), and we're not close in the sense of having extended gatherings once a month. I'm fairly sure we wouldn't even if we were all theist. I'm also fairly sure that it's not the mix of religious views that have led to that, but rather the upbringings that they variously had and provided, and their individual introvert/extrovert natures.
    Okay. I don't see myself as being too different. The rate of progress may be different but it doesn't sound as though there's too much difference.
    With regard pride, being condemned by a religion surely doesn't stop it happening, but rather only stops it being shown outwardly or admitted? Or acted further upon?
    As for contentment, why do you think the atheist and the theist would differ in levels of contentment? I can vaguely recall studies that seem to show that theists are "happier" - but cause or effect? I would suggest an effect, but maybe there is something beneath, e.g. the theist mindset is more willing to latch onto something they consider possible and that provides happiness, whereas the atheist is more willing to reject that happiness if it doesn't make immediate sense? (I'm trying to avoid implicitly being insulting in my characterisations, and if I have failed I do apologise.

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    Interesting, in that I try not to dwell too much on how events will play out. Sure, I have a conscience and I don't take decisions on a whim, or lightly, and do assess possible impacts etc, but I don't dwell. Once a decision has been made, once an action done, then there is no taking it back and it is how we deal with it that I consider. But I have been told I'm considerably more laid back than others. Are atheist more laid back? I doubt it, somehow.
    I think we are each connected in a manner of speaking, in that I can only experience others through my senses. So I only know them through that connection with me. But in the sense that everyone is connected, say, via a universal consciousness or something akin to that (if that is what you mean) then no: I think we are each separate and distinct.
    And solipsism as I understand it is the philosophy that only our own mind can be known to exist. I'm not sure I see it as that everyone else is therefore our own imagination. But maybe that's me not understanding the full implication of solipsism. If they are to be considered as nothing but my own imagination, and I was to believe that, then my lack of control over them would put them at an intellectual distance that would mean I would (could?) not treat it as merely self-love, and I'm not sure I would treat them any differently.

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