"Degrading Love" by TheraminTrees [VIDEO]

#2
I liked most of those two videos - they reminded me as to why I am not religious, and why I try to avoid the use of the word God!

The bits I didn't like relate to the way bogus science has filled in, almost in the same way as religion.

Maybe when some people talk to the dead, they do actually do that - science hasn't proved the opposite, just asserted it.

Appeals to the science of free will (only briefly) are also pretty bogus IMHO.

David
 
#3
I liked most of those two videos - they reminded me as to why I am not religious, and why I try to avoid the use of the word God!

The bits I didn't like relate to the way bogus science has filled in, almost in the same way as religion.

Maybe when some people talk to the dead, they do actually do that - science hasn't proved the opposite, just asserted it.

Appeals to the science of free will (only briefly) are also pretty bogus IMHO.

David
Yeah Theramin is a traditional materialist but the vast majority of his material deals with psychology and the psychological characteristics of ideologies and is thus worthwile regardless.
 
#4
I think he makes a lot of good points - particularly regarding love of God - and honestly, I can well understand why so many people who escape that nonsense, end up as materialists. The "Church of England" tends to take a mild fuzzy approach to the doctrine of original sin, and such, but at university I got exposed to a more rigorous version that helped me to leave Christianity!

Stylistically, I think he could usefully sound a bit less wooden and didactic.

I wish he could acknowledge the full picture - that science can't possibly make statements regarding consciousness, except by reporting observations and correlations - such as that people aren't normally conscious when the EEG is flat. Their theories don't cope with the Hard Problem..

David
 
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#5
I must say, I'd hoped that the contents of those two videos - particularly the first - would have sparked a lot more debate here. They really do get into the problem with a straightforward belief in god - almost any god, but particularly the Christian god.

Perhaps people are sick of watching videos, because they take up too much time, and can't be skimmed in the same way that text can, so let me summarise some of the ideas.

1) The concept of 'feeling God's love' is very vague. What happens in practice, is that people in certain environments attribute a whole range of phenomena to God's love - warm feelings of relaxation - feelings of awe and fear - a feeling that they can get over any personal guilt - various other physiological processes, etc. I would add that in the same vein, people who encounter the welcoming light within an NDE, possibly do the same thing, and various psychic phenomena probably also get ascribed to god when convenient. Of course these phenomena were not mentioned in the video which takes a totally materialist stance.

2) One way or another, a love of God, pushes ordinary human love into second place - because the Bible and other holy books contain passages that explicitly demand that. Sometimes that becomes extreme - as with certain sects - but the idea was there from the start with the story of Abraham preparing to kill his son on the command of God!

3) The concept of original sin which can only be expunged by Jesus' death on the cross really makes no damn sense at all. He is supposed to have loved us all so much that he allowed this to happen to himself in order to save us from punishment that a loving god (his father) would otherwise be duty bound to inflict! I was one of the many people who abandoned Christianity precisely because of this nonsense. Others wind these crazy, sick ideas into their lives.

4) If god is omnipotent, he clearly lets a lot of really horrible stuff happen on earth. However people pray to him for assistance with their daily lives, and talk about him as the ultimate source of good!

5) Several religions - including Christianity - are bound up with the idea that there are things people do on earth that require eternal torture to punish them. The only way out is to add those sins to an ever growing list of sins that were washed away when Jesus died on the cross!

I don't want to mock Christianity, but it is important to face up to the fact that this is simply cruel madness.

David
 
#6
I don't want to mock Christianity, but it is important to face up to the fact that this is simply cruel madness.
David
Yes, you put it brilliantly David. I actually find it downright scary how even some very intelligent as well as good-hearted people seem to have such a huge "blind spot" in their logic and, even more importantly, ethical judgement that prevents them from seeing the contradictions intrinsic in believing in a "God of Love" who, being the omnipotent creator, inevitably (logically) created and lets suffering and evil exist and thrive. It's obviously a contradiction in terms but probably, as you describe in your point 1), because of the high produced by what could almost be described as "spiritual heroin", they just refuse to tackle it.

They paint themselves into a logical and ethical corner and then just resort to hand-waving ("this is the ultimate mystery" - as if this was some kind of answer in itself; or "there must be a reason, even if I can't understand it, since this is the will of God and God is love": the ultimate circular reasoning). Basically, they apply a double standard of morality. One is for "us" (who are full of sin, basically, according to them; not just individually it seems, but "collectively", since they always refer to "us" as if all human beings were bad -- and who made us so, btw if we are the creatures of their almighty God, who being almighty could have made us if not perfect at least MUCH better? Incidentally there is so much which is flawed in the material world and which mankind cannot be held responsible for, that their blaming "us" for everything is patently a red herring); and the other standard is for God, who can get away with everything (murder being just one example but there's more of course :)) because "he's God so he knows best"(circular reasoning rules).

I asked some believers about the Abraham story and they told me "But God intervened and his son was not killed" - but that's not the point, is it!! The point is that that "test of faith" was sadistic and deranged, an utter contradiction in terms for a supposed benevolent deity!

And Jesus dying for our sins is something which I cannot even begin to comprehend. So a God of Love wants someone to die for him on a cross to be appeased? This is obviously just a left-over from primitive religions which required animal sacrifice, and their gods were correspondingly primitive and blood-thirsty; however even today Christians stubbornly insist that this makes sense even though they supposedly worship a "civilised", peaceful God.

It's weird how the human mind works (or doesn't work, in this case :))
 
#7
However, the bizarre reality that we have to try to understand, is that the explanation isn't the standard materialist one - I think there is plenty of evidence that pure materialism isn't the explanation. I think religion - certainly Christianity, Islam and Judaism - is a distorted remnant of some genuine understanding of reality, mixed in with politics and brutality. That is where Skeptiko fits in!

David
 
#9
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to post these videos is because they're applicable beyond standard deific religions. The logic applies just as easily to the whole lightworker-soul-contract-soul-evolution-oneness-source cult.

I personally do want to mock all these beliefs. Because they're utter, demonstratable, horseshit and seem to harm everything they touch. I suppose you could say it's my answer to the "tolerance paradox." In my experience the reason such belief holders do not rush to defend their beliefs when critisism comes their way is because they've learned they can't. So they run and hide and hope it all goes away or attack in swarms to eliminate opposition by force so that they can be right by default. Beliefs such as those are the beliefs of the weak, those who are unwilling to stand on their own two feet and too lazy to live their own lives and make their own decisions.

They see the concept of meaningless existence as bleak because it means there's no one to tell them what to think or how to feel and no one to tell them what a good little boy or girl they are for tying their shoelaces or to put that gold star on their chores sheet at the end of the day. No one to "love" them as it were. And since they are so weak, they assume everyone else is too, so they push their wonderful happy-fluffy beliefs onto others thinking that everyone is just as emotionally dependant as they are... by any means neccessary.

If such beliefs have any logical basis or merit then it should be easy to rebutt a post as arrogant as mine let alone the more measured, reasonable questions of the other commentors here. But my hypothesis is that either no one will try or those who do will prove my point, and the points of the videos, for me.
 
#10
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to post these videos is because they're applicable beyond standard deific religions. The logic applies just as easily to the whole lightworker-soul-contract-soul-evolution-oneness-source cult.

I personally do want to mock all these beliefs. Because they're utter, demonstratable, horseshit and seem to harm everything they touch. I suppose you could say it's my answer to the "tolerance paradox." In my experience the reason such belief holders do not rush to defend their beliefs when critisism comes their way is because they've learned they can't. So they run and hide and hope it all goes away or attack in swarms to eliminate opposition by force so that they can be right by default. Beliefs such as those are the beliefs of the weak, those who are unwilling to stand on their own two feet and too lazy to live their own lives and make their own decisions.

They see the concept of meaningless existence as bleak because it means there's no one to tell them what to think or how to feel and no one to tell them what a good little boy or girl they are for tying their shoelaces or to put that gold star on their chores sheet at the end of the day. No one to "love" them as it were. And since they are so weak, they assume everyone else is too, so they push their wonderful happy-fluffy beliefs onto others thinking that everyone is just as emotionally dependant as they are... by any means neccessary.

If such beliefs have any logical basis or merit then it should be easy to rebutt a post as arrogant as mine let alone the more measured, reasonable questions of the other commentors here. But my hypothesis is that either no one will try or those who do will prove my point, and the points of the videos, for me.
How do you figure that they are "utter, demonstratable horseshit"? How do they harm everything they touch?

I guess I'm trying to figure out what you're attacking here, because you're making some pretty broad, general, and pointed statements. Further, what you said about why people dismiss the concept of meaningless existence has, I think, been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, and the exact reasons you put forth (namely, emotion and fear) are exceptionally, exceptionally weak.

While making mention of logic multiple times, your post lacks any sort of logical reasoning. If you could clarify a bit for me exactly which beliefs you are criticizing, that might be helpful.
 
#11
The logic applies just as easily to the whole lightworker-soul-contract-soul-evolution-oneness-source cult.
I am not really sure what you mean by that. Are you referring to the concept that people are reincarnated into a sequence of lives and are supposed to learn from that experience? Maybe try to be a bit less jargony because I think you may be trying to say something potentially important.

David
 
#12
I am not really sure what you mean by that. Are you referring to the concept that people are reincarnated into a sequence of lives and are supposed to learn from that experience? Maybe try to be a bit less jargony because I think you may be trying to say something potentially important.

David
I second this. I'm also curious how the overwhelming NDE reports of unconditional love and that our existence is "all about love" strike you. From some of your previous posts, that doesn't seem to fit into your worldview.
 
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#13
Just a couple of notes on this very interesting topic (was contemplating an essay-style response, but will save you all from that wall-of-text):
  1. IMO, adopting a dualistic perspective solves all of the noted problems with Christianity (of course, then it's no longer "Christianity-as-we-know-it", but it at least makes sense). By dualism (more specifically, "ditheistic moral dualism") I mean that both good, ultimately realised in God, and evil, ultimately realised in His counterpart, are preexisting, and opposing forces, neither of which is omipotent. Now evil and suffering have an explanation in the other (ungodly) pole of the duality; now God's love has meaning despite the existence of evil and suffering; now Christ's sacrifice is not to a God who could have chosen to have forgiven us anyway, but is part of a pact of redemption from a preexisting evil, and which saves us from that dark pole of the duality; now hell is not God's creation but that of His enemy, who seeks to trap us there, and from which God seeks to save us. Etc etc - if there's any criticism of Christianity which you think isn't resolved under a dualistic perspective, then please just let me know.
  2. My favourite YouTube critic of Christianity(-as-we-know-it) is TheoreticalBullshit (Scott Clifton), who hasn't been active on YouTube for several years now. I have never put the merits of dualism to him, so I don't know what he makes of my above description.
 
#14
How do you figure that they are "utter, demonstratable horseshit"? How do they harm everything they touch?
The fundamental problem with all religions, all ideologies, that attempt to provide a restricted view of reality or "meaning" to existence is ownership.

Collectively I refer to all of these belief systems as the ideology of Externalism, the belief that what exists outside of you has and should have authority over what exists inside of you, your own thoughts and feelings.

But who gets to decide what the meaning of existence is and why is the definition that and not something else... and why should anyone care?

Why isn't the purpose of reality eating chocolate. Or murdering as many people as possible. Or juggling. Or patting your head and rubbing your stomach the most. Or hate. Or playing piano. Or, or, or...

Attempting to restrict infinity leads to some irreperable mathematical flaws which damns any restrictive belief before it even gets out of the gate. Externalism suffers the same infinite regression problems as top-down causality does.

However most if not all of these problems go away as soon as the focus shifts internally. It's perfectly possible for many different people to have many different points of view. It's just as normal for many people to have their own personal value that they give to various action and events in life. And moreover, this sort of dynamicism is supported by evidence, whereas the objective life purpose ideas of externalists simply aren't. Just look to the double standards for gods that HyperMagda pointed out for some examples.

Further, what you said about why people dismiss the concept of meaningless existence has, I think, been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, and the exact reasons you put forth (namely, emotion and fear) are exceptionally, exceptionally weak.
Keep in mind that when I say "meaning" I mean it in the sense that your are here for an externally defined purpose. Such as fulfilling gods plan, or learning to love and return to the source, etc. As shown above these sorts of beliefs suffer the problem of ownership, unable to justify themselves in an objective way, which means it's not possible to be clinging to such a belief for a rational reason. The only reasons I've ever seen anyone turn away from meaningless universe ideas is because it doesn't make them feel good.

I am not really sure what you mean by that. Are you referring to the concept that people are reincarnated into a sequence of lives and are supposed to learn from that experience?
Yes. The problem with those concepts is, once again, ownership. Who gets to decide what the person is learning and why.

I second this. I'm also curious how the overwhelming NDE reports of unconditional love and that our existence is "all about love" strike you. From some of your previous posts, that doesn't seem to fit into your worldview.
The problem with all the NDE evidence is that doesn't actually demonstrate that reality is about love. It's just some dude telling some other dude that reality is about love. It'd be like me saying to some guy in Japan that Canada is all about poutine and hockey in a video chat. I could hold some poutine up to the camera or walk them around a stadium but none of that actually proves anything about Canada as a whole. Hell for all he knows Canada could be a communist dictatorship and I'm only showing him the good, tourist friendly parts of the country.

Something else that demonstrates this is that the concept of "love" is either incredibly vaguely defined or is incredibly human centric and thus far from universal. Humans are social animals, our concept of love is likely partly based on that. But what would love be to, say, a sea turtle, who lays eggs on the beach and then leaves forever. If the babies make it to the sea great, if they don't, well sucks be them. Let alone fish and insects that eat their own mates and young or whose young eat each other. Bats that can self abort fetuses if there's not enough food in the environment to raise them. Solitary hunters like many cats, hawks, and sharks who don't care about anything except themselvs and occasionally their family if that. The list goes on.

I'm not saying that all the NDE'ers are lying. I've had a huge amount of my own experiences showing that yes, there appear to be people who really do believe all of this on the other side. Some do it because they genuinely do want to help people just because it makes them feel good for helping, sometimes because they were helped themselves. But others do it to manipulate people for personal gain such as getting people to "pray" to them and do other emotional and mental focusing things for them. Basically using humans as glorified reiki batteries to make themselves more powerful.

And there's whole spectrum in between.

But let's assume for a moment that it's all true, that earth or even this whole universe really is a school and it really is all about love. What about the rest of infinity?
 
#15
if there's any criticism of Christianity which you think isn't resolved under a dualistic perspective, then please just let me know.
Metaphorically it all more or less works but the problem is that you could get the same result by just removing the entire religion and concept of god altogether. Basically there are other, simpler answers to the same problem.

I could rewrite the story as something non christian and it still works, you could rewrite it as something nihilistic (Might controls everything) and it still works. So there's no reason to remain in the Christian sphere and it kinda damns the ideology even more instead of redeeming it.
 
#18
While I think there may be puzzles with understanding the reality that seems to be revealed in NDE's, I don't think those videos are anything like as relevant to this as they are to actual (Abrahamic) religions. If you believe that when you die, you will experience something like an NDE and enter some intermediate phase where you can analyse your life before being assigned (possibly choosing) another to perfect your skills, then that does not involve:

1) A vengeful god.

2) Any sense that not believing is a sin - you are free to say that you believe that there is a 70% chance this will happen (say).

3) Any sense that there is a weird calculus at work, whereby your sins are 'paid for' by Jesus dying on the cross.

4) Any need to convert other people to that point of view - except perhaps that you might use it as a way to convert them away from one of the more damaging religions, or as a way to comfort people concerned about death.

Anyone who participates in sport, has the experience of trying to do something imperfectly, and then maybe discussing it with a coach, and repeating that experience - often endlessly. Each bout of activity is only weakly coupled with the previous one. The concept of reincarnations does make some basic sense, I think.

Something else that demonstrates this is that the concept of "love" is either incredibly vaguely defined or is incredibly human centric and thus far from universal. Humans are social animals, our concept of love is likely partly based on that.
Well ..... maybe not. I mean a materialist would say that, because according to him, absolutely everything is utilitarian, but Anyone who believes the 'NDE story' probably believes that the non-material consciousness that separates at near or actual death, was previously involved in our behaviour, and that our social behaviour reflects the nature of our non-material consciousness rather than evolution.

The thing I find puzzling about the 'everything is love' story, is that it sounds a bit like a diet of ice cream - it might be good for a bit, but then it would be absolutely horrible! Some reports of non-material consciousness do seem to imply that there are other activities, but the picture is vague.

Yes. The problem with those concepts is, once again, ownership. Who gets to decide what the person is learning and why.
Well any non-material world is obviously going to be more about consciousness - us - interacting in various ways. I don't think it is unreasonable to imagine that something like a deep understanding of other people would be self evidently valuable in such a culture. Reports suggest that 'out there' people communicate using their thoughts and simply can't lie. If that is the case, perhaps they come to value 'exercises' in which they are immersed for a while in a world where the rules are different.

I also think there is a danger of uncritically taking over various Christian ideas of god into our understanding of a reincarnation-based reality:

1) Does god have to have infinite powers? For example, if god had infinite powers to create life on earth, why go through 3 billion years of development? Maybe even he only has only finite powers, and needs to experiment, or sub-contract stuff to others!

2) Might there be a range of activities that we can pursue 'out there' not just analysing this life and preparing for the next. Might different people have distinct ideas about how to develop life on earth (or other planets)?

3) Maybe there is an inconceivable number of interesting things to do 'out there', but from time to time we need another incarnation to remind us not to become to egotistical!

David
 
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#19
Metaphorically it all more or less works but the problem is that you could get the same result by just removing the entire religion and concept of god altogether.
Maybe, but it seems to me that God is the best explanation for the design in - and of - the universe.

There is another possibility - that a bunch of disincarnate spirits cocreated it - but then you have to explain how those spirits came to exist individually and have the power to cocreate, not to mention how the reality from which they cocreated came to exist, and the best explanation for all of that - it seems to me - is again, that they were created by that being we call God.
 
#20
Maybe, but it seems to me that God is the best explanation for the design in - and of - the universe.
I guess the problem is that an explanation may sound good because it is vague, or uses concepts that don't really make sense. The god that seems to emerge from NDE reports makes rather more sense to me, because assuming the hellish NDE's represent some transient problem associated with passnig over, is uniformly loving. The Christian concept of god contains too many elements that are either deliberately vague (e.g. the Trinity), or just don't make sense - like Jesus dying to take away our sins.
There is another possibility - that a bunch of disincarnate spirits cocreated it - but then you have to explain how those spirits came to exist individually and have the power to cocreate, not to mention how the reality from which they cocreated came to exist, and the best explanation for all of that - it seems to me - is again, that they were created by that being we call God.
I think any ultimate explanation comes up against mystery - for example if God kicked everything off, where did he come from, or what came before the Big Bang? Perhaps the ultimate answer lies in a different conception of time.

To me the real problem with the 'God' concept, is that hardly anyone can keep the concept abstract. For those in the Christian West, the concept always seems to collapse into something awfully like the Christian god. This is a far more specific idea that fails Occam's Razor in discussions of this sort.

David
 
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