Delusion

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by usfan, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    There are 2 basic, mutually exclusive possibilities, for the origin of life and the universe:

    Intelligent Design
    Atheistic Naturalism

    Goddidit, or Nuthindidit

    All other Questions hinge on the assumption of one or the other of the base worldviews.

    I have listed the Big Questions, in other threads, but to provide a more complete philosophical overview, I'll repeat them:

    Origins
    Meaning
    Morality
    Destiny


    These are The Big Ones: How, Why, What, & When.
    They are questions of matter, purpose, law, & time.
    HOW did i (and everybody else) get here?
    WHY are we here? Is there a purpose to our existence?
    WHAT do we do? Are there rules for our existence?
    WHEN we die, what happens? Is there a soul?

    The conclusions drawn, from either assumption, are completely different.

    IF.. the God made assumption is true, THEN:
    How? - Goddidit
    Why? - There may be a reason or purpose that God has made us.
    What? - There may be rules, or standards of morality, for our behavior.
    When? - We might have a soul, and face an eternal destiny.

    Now, IF.. we assume a godless universe, the answers are logically different.
    How? - Nuthindidit. Natural processes, without intelligent intervention
    Why? - No purpose or meaning is possible. We are a random accident in a meaningless, purposeless universe
    What? - No absolute morality is possible. Good, evil, virtue, and morality are human constructs
    When? - No soul, no existence beyond the physical.

    These are the logical possibilities, and the conclusions, from either assumption.

    Why do so many people believe in a standard of morality, or a sense of significance and purpose, or a feeling of spirit/soul within them?

    2 possibilities, in a God made universe:

    - Those things are real, inherent to our existence
    - those things are delusions


    There is only one possibility, in a godless universe:
    - those things are delusions

    The dilemma we humans have, is figuring which assumption to believe. Is the universe purposeful, directed, with eternal significance and consequence? Or is it a random accident of nature, with no direction, significance, or consequence?

    Delusion is common, in the human experience. How does one arrive at an objective, empirical conclusion, on this most basic question of humanity?
     
  2. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    You are talking only about purpose in a cosmic, creator sense. I don't think that's necessarily the nature of purpose. It seems to me you are conflating purpose which people can feel (and without which, people tend to be unhappy) with some eternal purpose or significance.

    Consider a hammer. It is constructed with the purpose of hitting nails into wood. You might say its purpose is to drive nails into wood. However, I might take the hammer and do something else with it, I might use it to hit a bell. Now, the purpose of the hammer is to hit the bell. It may not have been the original purpose, but I have no problems now considering hitting the bell the purpose of the hammer.

    One central phrasing of existentialism is "Existence precedes essence", i.e. it is possible for purpose ("essence") to be given to something after its creation/beginning (existence). Indeed, it is possible for things to not receive a purpose at all.

    If there is no God, then cosmic purpose is a delusion. However, we can still have normal purpose. "Normal" purpose might sound cheaper than cosmic purpose, but if the latter doesn't exist, then it's a moot comparison. It'd be like calling Bill Gates poor because he has less money than some hypothetical, even richer person who just happens not to exist. It seems to me, it's only people who have imagined some grander notion of purpose who are dissatisfied by "normal" purpose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  3. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I submit that this 'feeling' of purpose, however it is qualified, is either:

    A delusion
    Imbedded by a Creator


    Subjective feelings of purpose, significance, a soul, or eternal existence can ONLY be a delusion, in a godless universe.. since there is, in fact, no purpose or significance in a godless universe .

    Even in a God made universe, those things still might be a delusion. How would you know? A 'feeling' of significance? Could that not be just wishful thinking, from a frightened person unable to face the hard realities of their own insignificance?

    I see this trait.. this 'feeling', across the board. Both theists and atheists claim to have morality, purpose, and significance. Why?

    If we live in a godless universe, why would this feeling be there?

    If the hammer had self awareness, and 'sensed' its purpose to drive nails, or pound things, would it not be fulfilled in its 'purpose', by doing what it was made for?

    'Normal' purpose is also a delusion. The term is only meaningful in a God made universe, IF this God has so directed it.

    In a godless universe, anyone can define 'purpose!', however they like. It is an arbitrary, meaningless choice, and a delusion, if one believes it provides significance to their life.

    I addressed this concept in another thread:

    The only common denominator, based on either assumption, is, 'delusion'. So, lacking any evidence to the contrary, one can only conclude 'delusion', for the reason for this feeling or need of significance and purpose.
     
  4. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    Purpose and significance are simply extrapolations of "normal" purposes. The purpose of me climbing a tree is for me to get and eat the fruit. Most things we do have a few layers of normal purpose. It is not at all strange that we would extrapolate the same kind of thinking further steps (the purpose of getting the fruit is eating the fruit, the purpose of eating the fruit is not to die, the purpose of me not dying must be something).

    In my head, the feeling of purpose is more arbitrary on the religious view. What's the point of serving God? What's the point of anything happening as God wants it? Putting God in the way merely veils the end of the line of thought which asks "Why?" at every step, it doesn't fix the fact that it cannot have an answer.

    Maybe. I guess so. But then again, might it not feel equal satisfaction in ringing the bell? Maybe even more so, knowing that it is meeting a need, rather than just doing something because someone proclaimed it to be a hammer. Why?

    My point is that the purpose endowed by its creator doesn't automatically trump the purpose of me, the user, in fact, I'd argue my understanding of its purpose is more important as the user.

    I don't see anything delusional in normal purpose. It can be a bit arbitrary, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist or that you have to be deluded in order to see it. (I also happen to think that they're not completely arbitrary either, in that they're often informed by our evolutionary priorities, but that's another matter).

    The purpose of a hammer to ring a bell seems perfectly sensible, it only looks bleak next to your understanding, even though that one hasn't been confirmed to exist.

    It seems to me people have a need to have something they call a purpose. People need a justification to be proactive, even when their future is secure in every way they need (or care for). But for those who do not believe in God, that doesn't need to be purpose in the religious way you seem to think about it.

    There have been non-religious people who have set their purposes (and religious people who have set purposes without the help of God), and felt satisfied in approaching them. That seems to me an indication that it couldn't be called a delusion, even if it was arbitrary.
     
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  5. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    The 'feeling', or 'need' for significance or purpose, is the issue. Whether you premise 'God put it there', or 'it is a self delusion in a meaningless universe', the feeling of abstract concepts of time, eternity, morality, destiny, and purpose are there.. not just over survival needs, but way beyond the physical animal side of humanity.

    The actual reality of God/no God is not important, in analyzing this phenomenon. Premise either, and you have the same 'sense', in all of humanity.
     
  6. FivepointFive

    FivepointFive Newly Registered

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    Rene Descartes

    We think therefore we are?

    Philosophy is not one of my best subjects

    I've always found the nature of things interesting love is intangible but it's a real thing for a lot of people
     
  7. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    I can think of at least two other options:

    1) The origin of life and the universe is due to supernatural, but impersonal forces. I'd argue this is the predominant view among pre-Christian religions.
    2) There is no origin of the universe. The universe is eternal and/or the passage of time is an illusion.

    #2 is the one I subscribe to because it best fits what we know about physics (the B theory of time). Because time is relative, so is the present. There is no such thing as a universal present; it is a matter or perspective. This renders the future and past just as real as the present and suggests that the passage of time is also a matter of perspective, not an objective feature of the universe as a whole.

    That is, indeed, the teaching of most modern monotheistic traditions.

    One would hope so, although I guess he could have just as easily done so out of arbitrary whim. Or the entire universe may exist for the benefit of the bacteria in our gut, with our only purpose being to house them.

    There is one, and only one, ethical theory that absolutely requires the existence of god: divine command theory. It isn't universally accepted by theists, by Christians, by Protestants, etc. In it, there is only one rule: obey God. That's it. All other "rules" are subject to change based on God's command. Don't kill (unless God tells you to), don't steal (unless God tells you to), etc.

    Possibly.

    Yes. In a natural universe, there are only natural causes.

    *Bzzt* wrong. You are trying to slip in the assumption that the only possible purpose or meaning is one that his force-fed to you by a religion and decided for you by outside forces. Plenty of people can, and do, find or create purpose and meaning without God.

    I'm going to stick with "objective" here instead of "absolute" because it is more precise. Nearly every theory of objective morality does not require a god. Again, the only moral theory that absolutely requires a god is divine command theory, as shown by the Euthyphro Dilemma, to which monotheists have yet to come up with a good response.

    Objective theories of morality include utilitarianism, ideal observer theory, deontology, natural rights theory, virtue ethics, etc. None of them require god or a belief in god.

    There are some traditions that teach otherwise, but sure. That seems like the most likely conclusion.

    There is a huge problem with your theory: how can God be the source of our feelings of morality, significance, and purpose when religions have yet to produce a God who is compatible with these instincts? Just going with Christianity as an example, how can the God of the Bible be the source of the instinct that tells me that the God of the Bible is evil?
     
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  8. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    All of these "feelings" or "needs" are based on self-awareness. They'd likely be a concern for any self-aware being; they're metaawareness. You are proposing a false dilemma when you say that the only explanations are that "God put it there" or it is a delusion.
     
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  9. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Those are both covered under the 2 basic possibilities:
    Intelligent Design
    Atheistic Naturalism

    Your #1 is just intelligent design, and #2 is atheistic naturalism.

    Defining specifics is not necessary, in this broad categorization.
     
  10. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    ..because it is not tangible, but is an abstract concept. Even 'acts of love', are interpretations from an observer.

    And, just as how 'love' is real to those who feel it, so is faith, ..and delusion. Subjective feelings of 'reality!' Can be objectively interpreted in many ways.
     
  11. FivepointFive

    FivepointFive Newly Registered

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    I am not the best philosopher

    I'm pretty pragmatic and just accept things as they are what they are

    It is fascinating that the intangible abstract art and concepts exist only in the realm of intelligent consciousness

    Renee Descartes was forced to show his devotion to the supreme being as interpreted by the Christian leader ship
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  12. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    This is a philosophical examination of delusion, and the basis for belief in morality and purpose. Specific religious beliefs are not relevant, as they all premise a Higher Power giving 'laws' for behavior.

    Your snarky jabs at Christianity are not appropriate, and just expose religious bigotry with the irrelevant false narratives.
     
  13. FivepointFive

    FivepointFive Newly Registered

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    All Jerusalem is a latitude longitude on the spherical surface of the globe all organized religion is useless
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  14. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    Except there is no intelligence behind the first and there is no beginning at all in the second, so neither is covered by your categories.
     
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  15. yguy

    yguy Well-Known Member

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    Of course not. It is, however, presumably the nature of every purpose God has in mind WRT His creation.
    The problem being...?
    Sure, but the maker of mass produced hammers doesn't much care what they get used for, as long as he has a reliable base of satisfied customers. He has no reason to feel bad even if someone buries one of his hammers in a child's skull. By contrast, the composer of a symphony will probably not authorize the use one of its main themes in a commercial jingle, because whereas a hammer is not created to be anything special, a symphony is.

    Bearing all this in mind, I don't know how in Hell anyone with a lick of humanity can consider an electron, a raindrop or a blade of grass without seeing something special.
     
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  16. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    So a dumb God, who has the ability to create everything from nothing, is not 'intelligent design', to you?
    'Beginnings!' are irrelevant, in atheistic naturalism. The premise is just that everything is here WITHOUT supernatural intervention.. naturally, only.
     
  17. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    We seem to agree that humans have a 'need' for significance and purpose. I'll toss morality into the mix as well, though i don't want to get sidetracked on a morality pissing contest.

    IF... there is a sense of need for significance and purpose, WHERE does that come from?
    1. A Supreme Being could have imbedded it in humanity.
    2. It is not real, but is a delusion.

    If you assume the premise of atheistic naturalism, there is no meaning or purpose to anything. You make up whatever you want, and it is no better or worse than anyone else's 'meaning'.

    Only with a Creator/Imbedder is there a rational explanation for the truth of this sense. All other scenarios depend on it being a delusion.. a made up construct, based on fear, manipulation, or whatever.

    There is no rational explanation for 'meaning,' in a godless, naturalistic universe. It is a religious delusion, to pretend some 'higher purpose' in a purposeless universe. These religious delusions would apply to everyone who tried to claim some elevated purpose for their existence, when any arbitrary choice is equally valid.
     
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  18. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    All you did was repeat the same question I already answered in my last post. These needs are the result of self-awareness. Any conscious being would have them. Constantly repeating a false dichotomy won't make it true. You claim there is no natural explanation, but when one is offered you simple ignore it and fail to address it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  19. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I believe in the biblical teaching of Divine initiative... that nobody can come to saving faith by their own volition. It is a gift from God, and cannot be perfectly explained.

    But, i also believe, and observe, that the 'call' of God is not a 'one and done' event, but that His Spirit often calls and draws humans to Himself.

    Now, per the topic, is this reality? Or a delusion? How would one distinguish from a genuine 'calling' from God, vs a sentimental feeling, or angst driven psychosis?

    What if this 'feeling' of longing, remorse, and emptiness is just a chemical reaction in the brain, with no spiritual significance? What if 'religious experience', is just a delusion, as many skeptics claim?

    It seems that if you reject these 'callings' from God, or at least the feelings of Something More, eventually they go away, and you become settled and convinced they are all contrived.. from fear, wishful thinking, or manipulation.

    The problem i have with this conclusion, is the exclusion of themselves, by the skeptics, of the psychological motivations.

    IF.. belief in God is a delusion.. wishful thinking to pretend significance and eternal purpose in a meaningless, insignificant universe, how do they exclude themselves? If there is such a major propensity in humanity to believe in a delusion, might the skeptic also be deluded, by pretending there is no God, no accountability, no sin, and no eternal consequence for their words, thoughts, and actions? What if constant denial and 'hardening the heart', toward spiritual matters only dulls or deadens the spiritual perceptors in every human? That assumption is equally valid, imo.

    If it an easy projection on the majority to assume, 'delusion!, for believing in God, i submit that the reverse is an equally valid assumption. The skeptic is merely responding from fear and wishful thinking, pretending there is no God, so as to avoid the responsibility and accountability he might have, toward his Creator.

    If delusion is as widespread as it appears, then what else can you conclude, but widespread delusion, regarding the mysteries of life?
     
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  20. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Merely asserting this does not present a logical progression. This 'feeling', still is a delusion, if it was not implanted, for a reason, by a Higher Power.

    What other possibility is there, for a 'sense' of significance, eternal purpose, absolute morality, or other intangible 'feelings' common to man?

    If it is a false dichotomy, what other possibilities are there?

    Goddidit, or delusion. There are no other possibilities. You have no arguments, facts, or evidence for more and other possibilities, that do not fall into the basic dichotomy.
     

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