Atheism vs Theism vs Science

A personal note: When I was about 19 I changed from agnostic to theist for purely pragmatic reasons:
  • If there is no God then I haven't lost anything because this is all shit anyway and ends with the end of my life as far as I am concerned.
  • If God exists then maybe he will believe in me as much as I believed in him/her/it. Maybe I'll get some brownie points for the belief stuff & pick up some moral guidance along the way.
  • If I straddle the fence then I get no benefits from either side - I don't think there are any brownie points for tension.
I still think it was a good choice!
However, when I examine my rationalizations some 45 years later I see some room for improvement.
  • The belief in God is different from the question of life after death.
  • After death the answer (about God) may not show up in the death space either - it may require belief during life. Anyway, who says  that things that are obscure now are going to be clear after death - I would almost expect the opposite.
  • I no longer have a belief in a gray-bearded man that sits on a thrown and counts up the brownie points & red gigs of my life and assigns heaven or hell to the outcome. My belief in God is more a pantheistic hierarchy allowing for a reincarnation & evolution leading ultimately to the point that I create my own Universe amongst all the other stars in this one.
  • Science only handles the things sensible to the basic 5 - visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory & gustatory. That's like having a machine with only 5 kinds of sensory probes.  I went thru the 60's & 70's and now, free of much more than coffee, can still sense other channels (of the soul!)
  • As far as heaven & hell I tend to believe, even expect that the Golden Rule is the best moral law & code there is for individuals. This is my "religion" - just imagine how many judges & lawyers we could get rid of if everyone used that as his personal guide ! [see: group goldenrule] Every major religion acknowledges some form of the Golden Rule.  It was about the time of my change from agnosticism to theism that I also formed this belief in the Golden Rule.  It is an individual level "law" & won't work for large groups such as citys, states & countries because you can't get everyone in a group to agree on anything.
  • Evolution can go in either direction from the created human evolving to further perfection by casting aside the elements which are too crude take with him or from the chimp to man. Science has no exclusive handle on what is happening. The earth & universe are evolving and changing all the time - in the timespan used to explain Darwinian evolution there is a lot of assumption about the conditions on Earth being the same now as then. Some people have a hard time explaining why there are still amoebas.
  • Nobody has yet explained to my satisfaction why anything at all exists or why there was anything at all to start off the Big Bang with!
  • The Why? state may or not be an exclusively human thing not applicable to physical universe. Beginnings & endings - who knows? Humans are mortal though & definitely have both. The -mind-state is worth examining under silent thought .


  1. atheism
  2. agnosticism
  3. science
  4. silent thought
  5. philosophy
  6. god
  7. theism
  8. behavior
  9. theology
  10. gnosticism


Seth says
Most of my life, if i were asked, i would say that "I believed in God".  But what did that mean? Now i claim that those statements were  made for social reasons so that i would not be ostracized  from various social groups, like my family.  But i was not lying; no, even if i talked silently to myself i would still claim a belief in God ... set aside for a moment that i could not say specifically what this belief entailed.  Oh sure, i could translate that to other forms like ... i believe in a supreme being ... or i believe that all of this (waving my hand and pointing to the splendors of man and the universe) could not have been created by mere chance, by mere mechanics.  Well i still think it is miraculous and splendiforous, but i don't know why or how it is the way it is.  The bottom line is that I don't know anything substantive about it

"God" is just a word.  It has gathered its meaning by everyone who has used it in History.  Let us call that meaning the Historical God.  Historical God has been created by man by the usage of that word, not the other way around.  I think most people today, who profess a belief in God, are using that word like an indexical pronoun ... for social reasons they say, "That which you believe, i also believe".  So in that sense, this God of yours, this Historical God, is a mere social convention, it is a semantic construction.  I think to get out of that semantic morass, one needs to examine specific human behaviors and tag those behaviors as "god belief".  You brought up a couple of such behaviors in your piece above: following the golden rule, and (perhaps stated pejoritively) deference to a fabeled after life.  I'm sure that with a little though we could come up with more such behaviors.

Well that is all i want to say about this now, more perhaps later.

Mark de LA says
source: ... "God" is just a word.
... so is "apple and seth..."  what does that infer about the existence of the something being being referenced?

Seth says
M 2006-02-22 12:42:02 2807
source: ... "God" is just a word.
... so is "apple and seth..."  what does that infer about the existence of the something being being referenced?

Yes, but with "apple" we can write a definition which can be used to seclect apples and we can select something and say whether it is or is not an apple.  The same can be said about a first name.  The word "God" lacks that extensionality.

Mark de LA says
seth 2006-02-22 18:39:49 2807
M 2006-02-22 18:15:14 2807 
LOVE is another one of those just "words" - try just explaining that to your wife on Valentines Day!  honey, that's just a word 
there can be specific behaviors associated with love.
I suspect that you and your wife won't agree on what the top 5 behaviors are without negotiating & then prolly not. You will end up talking about 2 different things. The word "I" is another very peculiar word - one that each person alone can speak and refer to himself.

Seth says
M 2006-02-22 18:15:14 2807
LOVE is another one of those just "words" - try just explaining that to your wife on Valentines Day!  honey, that's just a word 

there can be specific behaviors associated with love.

Mark de LA says
The point IMHO is that when you are using language everything is a word. But nobody confuses the words with what they refer to. Some nouns are abstract and some are concrete. Some refer to concepts, perceptions, contexts & distinctions of other kinds. In your world everything may be behavior (the Scorpio-Dynamism philosophical point of view ) and in mine everything shows up as phenomena (the Virgo-phenomenalism philosophical point of view) - pretty predictable! There are 10 other essential points of philosophical world outlook. You also represent pretty much empiricism - the mood that has that only what can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard is "real" .  There are others such as the gnostic, logicism, mysticism, trancendentalism, occultism , & voluntarism . See the following from Rudolf Steiner's book Human and Cosmic Thought: (The point is not that there is any absolute thruth here but more that these distinctions can be made & it is worth while looking at things from a different one sometimes)

Mark de LA says
M 2006-02-23 06:44:47 2807
For an elib reading of Human and Cosmic Thought you can follow the link. It is facinating how the various 84 combinations of "mood" with "constllation" work out into different world outlooks - this is teased out around pg 50.
Or a later translation with clearer typography in the diagram to be found here online.

Seth says
source: gaping void

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