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The main problem with the pit fiend in the dam is the completely insane description of the physics involved.
"I know! I, Karzoug, have figured it out! Never again shall the dam get too much water behind it, for I, Karzoug, will bind one of the Lords of Hell itself to monitor the water level and apply controls for all eternity!"
The problem with science in this field is that it actually has no bearing on the issues. It can only ever answer the question "how?", never "why?". It certainly touches on them, what with our understanding of how much of our mental functioning is given by pieces of our brains, but until we actually meet a ghost or something, that is the best it can do.
I take great comfort in my atheism. Oblivion may not be very sexy, but it holds no terrors. There will be no dreams when we have shuffled off our mortal coils.
And... with apologies to any believers out there... Let's say they are right. There is an eternity of torture waiting for those who are not granted access to Heaven. I would take my comfort in the saying "Hell is the absence of God". A lot written about God in the bible makes this a very important issue to me.
If I were more egocentric, I would call it Sissyl's wager.
Republicans in congress are currently trying to outlaw abortion, but I'm guessing you don't consider that shoving beliefs down people's throats, do you?
Sure it is. Throat-shoving is popular all across the political spectrum. That is the nature of the game. When republicans don't get what they want, it is all because gays, bad morals, people having sex, terrorists, immigrants and China, not because what they want is not interesting to people. Surprise.
But... Them doing it has no bearing on you doing it. They are not an excuse, nor a role model I'd recommend.
To get back to the discussion at hand:
The classic idea of an afterlife as painted by religious people generally speaking consists of you being in a land of eternal happiness, being yourself, and being with those you lost in your life. To me, it sounds like a deeply problematic concept, even or perhaps especially if you get all that. Eternity is a VERY long time to both be with people, and even existing at all. Imagine a billion billion billion years. That is an infinitesimal part of the time you will be there. Could you change in the afterlife? What would you eat that didn't taste like ashes? If your loved ones change, is it a given that you will like who they become? What if someone doesn't fit the demands of getting into Heaven anymore? If you got into Heaven but your husband did not, would it be okay to miss him? What if there is conflict? What if you don't like God after a billion billion billion years? I honestly can't see any answers to these questions.
As I said, when dogmatic American leftists don't get what they want, it is ALWAYS because people are misogynist, racist and otherwise *ist, not because the stuff they wanted might not have been attractive enough to matter for those who could join.
Atheism + was literally two posts on a message board. It never got off the ground. As usual, the misogynist garbage was to blame, not that not even two people had the energy and dedication to sit down and plan up what Atheism + could and should be. What a surprise.
As for your "I'll use this as an example" comment, refer to it as you wish and do draw your own conclusions about what I say. You are going to anyway.
You're saying I should do more to combat misogyny in Atheism + then? Are there any other groups I am not a member of that I should keep free of misogynist garbage?
Atheism + did not interest me because I found the + to be sorely dogmatic American leftism, which has never appealed to me.
And when dogmatic American leftists don't get what they want, it is always all because of misogynistic garbage, which I find poorly nuanced and simplistic. It is quite possible for groups to fail for other, indeed for all sorts of reasons, at least a few of which have nothing to do with nazi misogynist trolls and Fox news. Just to name one, a lack of interest from people who do not see atheism and + to be a natural fit in any situation. That was, as I stated above, my reason for not engaging in it.
In a general sense, opposition doesn't necessarily hurt groupings much. What it often does is confirm to its members that their viewpoint is important. When organizations die, they do so because of lack of interest.
I agree with Quiche, though. Time to end this derail.
ElevatorGate and Atheism+ revealed the level of bigotry and misogyny present in the atheism community. Religion doesn't have a monopoly on hate.
It doesn't seem to me there are many benefits of doubt given here. From what I know of the atheist community, it is strongly anti-authoritarian and anti-dogmatic. You think this could clash with various progressive slogans?
Possible. To my thinking as an atheist, though, tying any of those things to atheism is a mistake from the start. Atheists are united by their atheism, not their political leanings or views. Tying it to such means you get a pretty small group of people who agree on those counts. Which means a useless grouping, which is ineffectual and will lose people.
Another question was whether atheism ever was the central concept of Atheism +. I wouldn't join a group that claimed to be atheist but the stuff debated was not applicable, instead ranging in areas I had no interest in. Being an atheist is part of my identity. Being pro social justice as American leftists define it is not. Better for me (and a lot of other atheists) to not join, and better for the group not to have us.
I would add the King's bounty game series as well, the modern rebooted games by Katauri: King's bounty, Armoured Princess, Warriors of the Northlands and The Dark Side. They are simple enough strategy games with rather satisfying depth, though most would find one of them enough. I started with AP, but Dark was the better of them.
Just a thought... to use options in PFS, you need to own the book they appear in. So, this ought to create a desire to buy a book for the specific details of option X, which is quite different from the desire to buy the book because you like its theme Y. These two groups would think rather differently about this.
The Big Bad Wolf of Karazhan wrote:
Bowling ball head would get all too involved in all the animals, trees and such there to be much of a bother. Not much fun being put in a jungle though. My headspikes get stuck in all the plant life...
Mass Effect is a fantastic SF game with tons of depth, intriguing characters, a somewhat shallow combat system and only a few truly amazing levels, but those are spectacular. It also has a pretty bad minigame.
Mass Effect 2 is a truly mind-bogglingly stupid SF game, without the ambition to present a coherent setting, a plot that makes you go guh bluh guh whattttt? The characters are absent, the same, or rather uninspired. The minigame is the epitome of boring.
Mass Effect 3 is what they could salvage after the very large number of monkeys who wrote ME2 had done their job. All in all, pretty decent, considering what they had to work with.
I think atheism is on the rise now mostly due to the internet. With that channel to discuss it, people who had never seen it as a possibility now did, and with more visible atheists came a basic organization. Several books painted a bleak picture of religion as is, and endless debates were held, again often on the net. The first generation of people for who atheism was an alternative started spawning lesser minions. Alternatives to baptism were created in naming/welcoming ceremonies. Civil unions became more common. Where churches had had a very important role in people's lives, there were other options.
And most centrally... People got access to so much more information than they had had, and much of what science has said spoke against (by at least superficial interpretations) the basic transcendental direction of religious thought.
My eclipse solar, built to bind the heart of everyone who so much as looked at her, once ended up with her circle having defeated an enemy. He was a very... Traditional necromancer. He murdered people, he made them into undead abominations, he added things like plague spreading to them, and so on. His entire life was death, blasphemy and horror.
Even so, partly because she had no idea about the depths of his depravity, she decided to redeem him. So she did. It wasn't terribly difficult. He happily joined her as her servant, and the rolls involved were so extremely successful that he became deeply fanatic in her cause.
But... He didn't really know anything but how to spread death. She forbid him to murder people, so he didn't. Instead he animated the corpses left behind them meticulously. Until she sighed and told him to terminate them. So he created a hugely virulent plague and gave the bottle to her as a present. Which she had a hell of a time trying to dispose of. He created mutated bears for her. He made art from skeletons. He poured his soul into showing his devotion.
Eventually, he got killed due to other story reasons. Everyone breathed out.
The prevalence of having the God gene seems to be about 25%, according to the studies that have checked. It is no surprise that religion is a powerful force.
But... is the reason for the rest of the more than 90% who are religious then that being so is convenient?
Marcus Cole wrote:
I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
Meaning is what you make of it. It has to be judged on the scale of what is being judged, too. As you say, pull back far enough and none of it is even noticeable. So, judge your meaning on your own scale. MAKE your own meaning. And if you can't find your own meaning, helping others will usually help you find yours.
But what if joy and bliss and such are only chemical reactions? Take a good look at that "only". They are, but the chemical reaction happens in a unique environment. All you are is chemistry... and pretty awesome such.
Where you see a lack of meaning, I see freedom. Where you see gross matter, I see something utterly beautiful and awe-inspiring. People talk about statues crying blood and turning water to wine as miracles. I would say that truly is child's play compared to the miracle of even one child born healthy.
The heart of the reasoning is really not "is it true?" but "does someone's belief make it true?". The answer to that is a resounding no. You can believe anything you like, and it will not change what is true or not in the slightest.
Of course, that also ignores the concept of belief. So long as the truth is not revealed to us, we can act as if our belief is true, and take strength and comfort in that. We can all feel the longing to meet someone who died so long ago. We all carry our ghosts with us. Add in the certainty that you won't have to fear death, and the desire to see evil punished, and it is easy to see why people want to believe in an afterlife.
But eventually, we will all find out if there is one, or if oblivion awaits us. And whether we believe in one or not changes nothing.
The belief in an afterlife is a matter for how we choose to live our lives.