Life After the Vortex (An Existentialist Reading)

In my previous post, "Step into My Vortex" (which you should read before this one), I suggested a "braver" way to deal with our insignificance in the universe is to take Camus' approach to the situation presented in his Myth of Sisyphus.

Here's something I posted about this book on another blog.


***

I've written several times about the influence that Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus has had on me. Camus starts with the assumption that humans seek meaning and purpose in their lives. The universe, however, always appears meaningless and purposeless. People suffer and die for no apparent reason, natural disasters devastate humans and animals, people mistreat others, people hoard resources, etc. Additionally, they discover (through astronomy) that they are insignificant specks in an unimaginably vast universe. When people begin to see the chaos in the universe, they are faced with a decision. Should they continue to live in this indifferent world or should they end their lives? If they choose to live, how shall they continue to do so?

Camus suggests that most people who decide to continue living make some kind of 'leap of faith.' They choose to believe that there is some kind of secret, hidden meaning and purpose to their existence. They posit a god who hides him/herself from humans, but who will some day right all wrongs. They invent another world outside of the one they know in which everything is good and different from the present world. This invention helps them deal with the reality glaring at them (viz. the universe is indifferent to their existence).

Camus offers another alternative to suicide and this 'leap of faith.' He recommends that humans learn to accept the universe as it is, that they stop trying to make it look better than it is, that they courageously accept the obvious senselessness of existence. The way to do this, Camus suggests, is to just stop picturing something better than what actually is. Our lot in life (as an insignificant collection of atoms) is only miserable when one attempts to imagine something better than what exists.

This is where Camus' allegory of Sisyphus is enlightening. The story of Sisyphus comes to us through ancient Greek myth. He was a man who did not properly fear the gods. He deceived them and would not follow their direction. For his insolence, Sisyphus was condemned to spend all eternity rolling a huge boulder up a steep mountain only to have the boulder roll down under its own weight before he got it to the top. Sisyphus' punishment, then, was to engage in eternal futility.

Camus believes Sisyphus' fate is analogous to every day human existence. We are all engaged in perpetual futility. Nothing we do has any lasting effect upon the vast universe in which we live.

How we choose to feel about the futility of our existence, however, is up to us. We could engage our thoughts in speculation about how the universe could be better and more responsive to our existence. We could imagine heavens and gods and pleasant things that do not exist in the world we know.

Another option, however, is that we could accept our existence for what it is ... futility. We could acknowledge that we could imagine a better existence (one with good gods, eternal life, and pleasures of every kind), but that this imagined existence simply is not what we have. We have a pointless existence, but this pointless existence is our pointless existence. It's all we have and as such it is good, because at least we have it.

This is how Camus imagines Sisyphus. Because he knows that the labor of rolling the boulder up the mountain is the only existence he will ever experience, it is not a punishment to him. It loses its misery. Only if he imagines something different, something "better," does what he does have become unbearable. If, however, he accepts his lot as his lot, then it is neither good nor bad, but simply what is. And because it is, it is better than not being and is, therefore, something to take pleasure in. Sisyphus learns happiness in the futility of his action because he stops imagining another, better existence.

At this point in my life, I feel that I can relate to Sisyphus. Sure, it would be nice to imagine some kind of eternal pleasurable existence (my "heaven" would be an eternity to love and be loved by my wife). It would be pleasing to think that my life here has some kind of eternal significance.

The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. And I'm okay with that. When my brain stops functioning and my heart stops beating, I will cease to exist. I will feel neither pain nor pleasure, grief nor loss, regret nor pride. I will no longer be. There will be nothing left to mourn the absence of my wife in my life. There will be nothing left of me. My body will decay, human life will go on and then eventually end without me.

This may sound sad, but it is what all the evidence seems to point to. It is what is. It is neither happy nor sad; it simply is.

I choose to live the life that "is" without fear or regret. I will not invent mythical worlds so unlike the one that actually does exist that it makes this one unbearable. I will face each day with courage. I will surrender to the futility of this life, not fatalistically, but with joyous acceptance of reality. I will make my friendships count in this world, in this life. I will not attempt to hide the person I am to please others because this is the only life I have and I want to live it honestly and openly. I will not waste this precious, short time I have hedging myself in an imagined religion that robs me of the only existence I will ever experience.

This is my philosophy of life.

23 comments:

Zachary Moore said...

"Our lot in life (as an insignificant collection of atoms) is only miserable when one attempts to imagine something better than what exists."

An excellent point.

Michael said...

Exbeliever, your beautiful pictures of planets, the universe, etc. do more to prove the existence of God rather than disprove His existence.

Listen to this: "..what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,.."

Have you ever read this before?

CalvinDude said...

Let's see...you claim that people invent God simply as a way to keep from killing themselves over the meaninglessness and the insignificance they are, and you say, "The better way is to just accept your fate" (of course "fate" is used loosely).

So, according to your own position here, both religious and irreligious views are merely attempts to avoid killing ourselves because of the obvious meaninglessness that is inherent in this universe.

How is it that you can claim your view is better than the religious view? According to your own standards, is it not the case that BOTH views result in people finding a reason not to die? So why is it that you should try to convince someone to abandon their religious views for your own views, especially when you've already admitted that they are all meaningless?

By the way, nothing you (or Camus, for that matter) stated was really original:

"For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust and to dust all return." (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).

"It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 9:2-6).

Of course, we still have this: "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26).

Stardust said...

“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is Whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.” Joseph Campbell

exbeliever said...

michael,

You wrote: "your beautiful pictures of planets, the universe, etc. do more to prove the existence of God rather than disprove His existence."

Perhaps you could tell me how these pictures prove your god's existence in the form of an argument. Maybe something that says, "There are planets, the universe, etc. THEREFORE the Christian god exists."

I'm really interested in why you believe the existence of planets proves your god's existence.

You quoted Romans 1 and wrote: "Have you ever read this before?"

Yes, I "accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior" when I was five-years-old. I "rededicated" my life when I was thirteen. I was extremely active in my church and in evangelism when I was a teenager. I was a summer missionary for my Baptist Student Union in college. I got my undergraduate degree in biblical studies, a master's degree from a very large and well-known seminary and another master's degree from another very large seminary. I was ordained by a church of believers. I was selected to be a church planter for a large denomination.

That verse came up once or twice through the years. Thanks for asking.

Now, do you have a point that you are trying to make?

calvindude,

You wrote: "So, according to your own position here, both religious and irreligious views are merely attempts to avoid killing ourselves because of the obvious meaninglessness that is inherent in this universe."

It seems you are still having difficulty reading and understanding an argument.

I did not say "irreligious views" are attempts to avoid suicide. Some irreligious views are suicidal.

What I did say (and you might pick it up if you read over the post again) is that Camus says there are three options when faced with the meaninglessness of the universe: (1) you can hide from it by pretending that it has meaning and there will be a happy-fluffy-bunny land that you can run to when you die; (2) you can hide from the meaninglessness by killing yourself; or (3) you can accept the meaninglessness of the universe bodly and live your life in spite of it.

If the past is any indicator, you probably won't understand the distinction, but just maybe. . .

You also wrote: "By the way, nothing you (or Camus, for that matter) stated was really original"

Oh, by the way, nothing you or Solomon stated was really original:

"For every one of us, living in this world means waiting for our end."--Beowulf

"O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom
but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow illness or the sword to lay you low, or a sudden fire or surge of water or jabbing blade or javelin from the air or repellent age. Your piercing eye
will dim and darken; and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away."--Ibid.

Or, later but independently:

"A generation of men is like a generation of leaves; the wind scatters some leaves upon the ground, while others the burgeoning wood brings forth - and the season of spring comes on. So of men one generation springs forth and another ceases."--Homer The Illiad

"I too shall lie in the dust when I am dead, but now let me win noble renown."--Ibid.

"Miserable mortals who, like leaves, at one moment flame with life, eating the produce of the land, and at another moment weakly perish."--Ibid.

Ebonmuse said...

It amazes me how some Christians quote the Bible to us as if expecting we've never heard it before. That only works on characters in Jack Chick tracts.

Yes, Michael, I have read that verse. In fact, I've read the entire Bible. How many books arguing for atheism have you read? (Have you even read the Bible? Most Christians haven't.)

Michael said...

Forgive me, gentlemen, for I am not a learned man as some of you. But I admit I've been reading the Bible most of my life, and continue to do so. God's word is living and active in me - I trust His Word.

Yes, when I see God's creation, I'm amazed, and even more convinced that there is a God so powerful, mortal man cannot possibly understand His coming and goings. How can man insist that the universe just happened, or that we all evolved into the wonderful creation that we are?What proof does one have that the universe wasn't just spoken into existence by a supreme power? I cannot PROVE God's existence no more than one can disprove it. And you know, God doesn't have to prove himself to anyone or anything.

What a sad commentary of a life which exlaims, "I exist; and then I die." My friends, that is absolutely not my life! I am very grateful for God's presence in my life. I've seen countless prayers and requests answered by Him, and I've been the recipient of His indescribable love. His love sustains me, and his Spirit gives me hope. My life in no mere existence; it is full of joy, and hope. Even if there were no afterlife, the Christian life is still worth the the joy and peace associated with it.

As you seek the meaning of life, give more than intellectual reasoning to the concept that the Creator of all that is seen and unseen DID come to earth and die for His creation - amazing love!

I'm not a very skillful debater (as you've so rightly criticized me) so I suppose I shouldn't insult you by making these posts. But if any of you would ever like to email me with questions about my faith, my email address is amerikajin22003@yahoo.com.

Thanks for allowing me my "2 cents" on your site.

Stardust said...

" namely, his eternal power and divine nature"

Michael,

If this god exists, and is so eternally powerful and divine, and the message so crucial to his creations, why does this awesome and powerful god need simple and flawed humans to go around "advertising" for him??? These are the very same creatures for whom this great god had to create a son to sacrifice in bloody and torturous death because his creations were so very flawed and bad.

In addition, none of these messengers give people the same message...it is only their "understanding" of the message that was written by other flawed humans in some ancient text.

If the message was so damn important, why would this "divine" and all-powerful entity rely on his flawed people who he couldn't trust in the first place?

These "messengers" can't even get the message straight amongst themselves! There are how many christian denominations? And there is even disagreement inside each denomination! Why doesn't this god "clarify" if the message is life or death?

It's all so ridiculous sounding when you look at it as an outsider. There are how many religions in the world? If we were born to Hindus we would be a Hindu and think that was the right religion, if we were born in Tibet we might be a Buddhist, if we were born in Iraq we would most definitely be muslim. If we were born in Sweden we most likely wouldn't care. So, why do you believe YOU have the right message, Michael, and why does this divine god NEED you?

apples to oranges said...

Imagine if 6,000,000,000 people all believed that there was nothing more after our insignificant, meaningless, atomic lives on earth! Talk about Hell!

Atheists believe that people are basically good and only want to live in harmony together. What a bunch of hogwash. If it wasn't for the God fearing men(and I mean all faiths wether true or not)of this world, past and present, the earth would be far more dangerous than it is today. You can pretend all you want, but if we are the same as grizzly bears and spiders then most of us could not venture out of our caves without being killed by another(probably human)animal. You may have to fight to the death just to mate!

It is the belief in the after-life that drives most people to do good deeds. How about you JL. Where would you be without your prior belief? How far would you have sunk before you stopped. Would your morals be the same? Or do your morals come from the phoney God you once claimed? The truth is the people that post on this blog pretend that religion is the worst thing to ever happen to the world. I believe it is the best thing so far. I know that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but far worse things have been done in the lack thereof.

exbeliever said...

a to o,

You wrote: "Imagine if 6,000,000,000 people all believed that there was nothing more after our insignificant, meaningless, atomic lives on earth!"

Okay.

September 11th wouldn't have happened.

There would be no brewing civil war in Iraq.

Doctors that perform abortions wouldn't have to fear for their lives.

Two men who love each other would be able to commit to that love publically.

Racism in the South would have had no religious justification.

The Middle East would be a nice place to vacation.

There would have been no Inquisitions.

There would have been no Crusades.

George Bush would not be the president of the US.

People would put more stock in this life knowing that it was the only one they had to live.

That was fun.

You wrote: "I know that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but far worse things have been done in the lack thereof."

Hmmm. . . that's not easy to judge.

A lot of it would depend on who gets Hitler:

"Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter."

"We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out".

"For their interests [the Church's] cannot fail to coincide with ours [the National Socialists] alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life".

"I often feel that we will have to undergo all the trials the devil and hell can devise before we achieve Final Victory....I may be no pious churchgoer, but deep within me I am nevertheless a devout man. That is to say, I believe that he who fights valiantly obeying the laws which a god has established and who never capitulates but instead gathers his forces time after time and always pushes forward—such a man will not be abandoned by the Lawgiver. Rather he will ultimately receive the blessing of Providence. And that blessing has been imparted to all great spirits in history."

Stardust said...

apples to oranges~
Some of us do not need religion.
There can be morals and ethics without religion.

Yes, humans will always find something to disagree about, however, many of the things that divide humanity stem from superstitious beliefs and people wanting to impose those beliefs on others. If they were simply happy to believe what they believe, and not attempt to force it into politics, public schools and other people's lives, there would be far less to fight about.

I'd like to believe that people are basically good. I believe in humanity and am positive about human potential. On the other hand, religion tells people that humans are bad...when basically they are good.

Where would I be without my prior belief? I would not have felt bad about myself for many years, thinking I did something so awful that a god had to create and kill his own son for my wrongdoings. A death even worse than those imposed upon murderers. Without religion I would not have the guilt for something I didn't do. I would not have had to sit every sunday and hear how very bad I am. I would not have had to focus on the negativity of humankind. I found true peace once I left the church. I find more peace walking along a forest path and feeling the breeze upon my face and thinking what a great world it really is.

CalvinDude said...

eb wrote that without religion:

---
September 11th wouldn't have happened.

There would be no brewing civil war in Iraq.

Doctors that perform abortions wouldn't have to fear for their lives.

Two men who love each other would be able to commit to that love publically.

Racism in the South would have had no religious justification.

The Middle East would be a nice place to vacation.

There would have been no Inquisitions.

There would have been no Crusades.

George Bush would not be the president of the US.

People would put more stock in this life knowing that it was the only one they had to live.
----

Wait, so you're saying there's actually something wrong with the fact that those things happened?

apples to oranges said...

"September 11th wouldn't have happened.

There would be no brewing civil war in Iraq.

Doctors that perform abortions wouldn't have to fear for their lives.

Two men who love each other would be able to commit to that love publically.

Racism in the South would have had no religious justification.

The Middle East would be a nice place to vacation.

There would have been no Inquisitions.

There would have been no Crusades.

George Bush would not be the president of the US.

People would put more stock in this life knowing that it was the only one they had to live."

Wow JL, you missed the whole point. I'm saying that without a belief in God, society would not exist as we know it.

"but if we are the same as grizzly bears and spiders then most of us could not venture out of our caves without being killed by another(probably human)animal."

I thought the word "caves" would reveal my intentions. I'm saying that the good intentions of the past generations were instilled by a belief in God. Societies were founded by humans that looked to Gods. More recently, modern civilizations were founded by people that believed in a montheistic God.

As far as Hitler goes, I don't think it has been settled whether he was Atheist or not. Hitler used propaganda in all areas, so yours is a cheap shot with no facts to back it up.

What have Atheist's done?

Stardust said...

a to o

There are no facts for the existence of god. Perhaps you would like to provide one bit of concrete evidence for the existence of a god.

There are more facts that Hitler was a christian than there are for the existence of a god. Like most christians, HE really believed he was one. One cannot judge what is really in a man's heart...we only know by what he claims, and in his recorded speeches, Hitler did claim to be a christian before thousands of people. As warped as his thinking was, he truly believed he was doing what god wanted.

What have atheists done? Some atheist leaders in the past have also committed atrocities, just as many religious leaders, but to use that as proof that religion is correct is faulty reasoning.

While the catholic church has supported science throughout history, atheists have also contributed to science, modern medicine, and have made contributions in many areas of society. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan...there are many, many atheists who have made significant contributions to society. They have provided a balance to religion and often challenged superstitious thinking of the church in defense of science in many cases...and throughout time, the church accepted scientific findings to be true.
One only has to study history and science, mathematics and philosophy to find many positive atheist contributions.

Albert said...

Thomas Edison

"I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt."

quote from http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b4edisont.htm#source15

exbeliever said...

cd,

You wrote: "Wait, so you're saying there's actually something wrong with the fact that those things happened?"

It's so boring talking to you presup guys. It's one issue over and over again. You make no argument for your position, while constantly demanding that we explain our foundations for morality and logic. I did that already.

You want to know why I can call something good or bad? It's here. In every attempt that you have made at repeating it, you've gotten it wrong. I would tell you to reread what I've written about morality, but I'm not sure it would do any good.

a to o,

You wrote: "Wow JL, you missed the whole point."

Wow a to o, you missed who posted this article.

You have horrible reading skills. Who does it say posted the comment that you are quoting? Does it say JL or John W Loftus? No, it says "exbeliever." At least criticize the right person.

You wrote: "I'm saying that without a belief in God, society would not exist as we know it."

Yes, because what kind of society could be formed with people like Albert Einstein, Aldous Huxley, Andrew Carnegie, Isaac Asimov, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Bertrand Russell, Elizabeth Cady-Stanton, Voltaire, Freidrich Nietzsche, George Bernard Shaw, Kurt Vonnegut, John Lennon, Frank Lloyd Wright, Karl Popper, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Thomas Paine, Sigmund Freud, Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley, etc.? [some of the above were Deists, but practical atheists]

You wrote: "As far as Hitler goes, I don't think it has been settled whether he was Atheist or not."

I think you could argue that he was not a Christian, but used it as propaganda, but I don't think you could make a serious argument for Hitler being an atheist. He clearly believed in some kind of god which would put him more in your camp than mine.

Here's an experiment for you. Find all of the real people you can who claim to be an atheist and an existentialist (like I have mentioned) and look at their lives. See if you observe any of them treating people cruelly.

For the most part, we atheists are peace-loving humanists and we do it all without fearing reprisal from Big Mean Papa in the sky.

You, Christians, are only moral because you think your god tells you to be so. From the way you talk, without your god holding you back, you would be out murdering people and breaking society into pieces.

We, atheists, are moral for many different reasons, but we don't need a god to hold us back from killing people.

apples to oranges said...

JL "Wow a to o, you missed who posted this article."

I did? I was talking to you John because it's your blog. You are a team! Or do FF and EB not speak the truth?

EB I am very happy to accept John W. Loftus' invitation to join his blog as new team member.
FF I am pleased to join John and the others on this new blog.

Sorry but was under the impression that I could address you personally at any time. Please inform us of the rules so we do not get accused of being confused.

JL “Yes, because what kind of society could be formed with people like Albert Einstein, Aldous Huxley, Andrew Carnegie, Isaac Asimov, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Bertrand Russell, Elizabeth Cady-Stanton, Voltaire, Freidrich Nietzsche, George Bernard Shaw, Kurt Vonnegut, John Lennon, Frank Lloyd Wright, Karl Popper, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Thomas Paine, Sigmund Freud, Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley, etc.? [some of the above were Deists, but practical atheists]”

Do you want me to name all of the Christians that have contributed to science and society? It would be a long list from Samuel Adams to Ronald Reagan, and Isaac Newton to Michael Faraday. Really John Atheists have contributed little in the big picture. And by the way, your list does not include anyone whom I would consider a major contributor outside of a few Deists, that somehow you seem to claim as yours?

JL “ I think you could argue that he was not a Christian, but used it as propaganda, but I don't think you could make a serious argument for Hitler being an atheist. He clearly believed in some kind of god which would put him more in your camp than mine.”

So if one is a Deist(of some type) that has contributed something good to society you can put Him in your camp. But If he is a Deist(of some type) but was evil he automatically goes to mine? What logic you have John! The only reason I labeled Hitler with the Atheist tag was only because you tried to present Him as a Christian, which I think we both can agree He most likely wasn’t.

JL "Here's an experiment for you. Find all of the real people you can who claim to be an atheist and an existentialist (like I have mentioned) and look at their lives. See if you observe any of them treating people cruelly."

Oh, only like the ones you listed? Stalin would be a difficult one to wiggle free from huh?

JL “You, Christians, are only moral because you think your god tells you to be so. From the way you talk, without your god holding you back, you would be out murdering people and breaking society into pieces.”

Straw Man, Straw Man, Straaaw Man!!!!!

apples to oranges said...

JL "Here's an experiment for you. Find all of the real people you can who claim to be an atheist and an existentialist (like I have mentioned) and look at their lives. See if you observe any of them treating people cruelly."

OK But I will use my world view of cruel!

John Loftus, Exbeliever, Matthew, Former Fundy, Carl Sagan, and any other Atheist that lead people astray from the truth.

exbeliever said...

a to o,

How dumb do you have to be to address every single one of your comments to John Loftus when I, exbeliever, (someone other than John Loftus) wrote EVERYTHING that you have quoted?

John W Loftus (the founder and owner of this blog) posts under johnwloftus. "exbeliever" is a different person in a different state and who has never met John W Loftus in person. exbeliever wrote this original post and everything that you have quoted to date. John W Loftus has not even commented in this whole string. Pay attention!

Stop calling me John! Stop writing JL followed by a quote from me!

I just can't talk to people like you anymore. Go read a book and get back to me.

exbeliever said...

a to o,

[This is "exbeliever" typing, not John W Loftus, just so you know]

You wrote: "Do you want me to name all of the Christians that have contributed to science and society?"

There would be no need to do that now, would there be? The only reason for you to do that would be if I had said something like:

"If it wasn't for the NO-God fearing men of this world, past and present, the earth would be far more dangerous than it is today."

See, you are the one who argues that if people were existential atheists, society could not exist. I never said the same of Christians.

So, if you now want to completely change the direction of the argument (which it looks like you have lost sight of anyway) then you can go around and start debating an argument I never made.

You wrote: "Really John Atheists have contributed little in the big picture."

I'll try to ignore the fact that you can't figure out who's posting what around here [John and "exbeliever" ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE!]

You know who else has "contributed little in the big picture"? Almost every group as small as the total number of atheists! There aren't that many of us out there. For our numbers, though, I would say that we have contributed well beyond most groups. Consider the names I listed above.

You wrote: "So if one is a Deist(of some type) that has contributed something good to society you can put Him in your camp. But If he is a Deist(of some type) but was evil he automatically goes to mine?"

If you try to remember your point, here, it was that people who believed there was no purpose in life would not have built a society. Deists believe that a god popped the world into existence and then went on holiday. They did not believe there was any grand purpose in life.

Starting from your argument, then, Deists are more in "my camp."

Hitler does not seem to be a Deist. He seems to think that a god is active in the world; that that god gives laws: "I believe that he who fights valiantly obeying the laws which a god has established. . ."

Can you see the difference? Deists are in "my camp" by your definition (i.e. that they don't see a divine purpose in life). Hitler appears to be more in "your camp" by your definition (i.e. he believes that god is active in the lives of humans).

If your next comment makes as little sense as your previous ones, I'm going to ignore it. I feel like I am wasting my time on you.

apples to oranges said...

EB "How dumb do you have to be to address every single one of your comments to John Loftus when I, exbeliever, (someone other than John Loftus) wrote EVERYTHING that you have quoted?"

Pretty dumb as you suggest. Sorry but I'm new at this and I will pay closer attention from now on. If you wish I will no longer post on or read this blog.

John W. Loftus said...

apples to oranges,

If you cannot be civil and exercise the care to understand who's writing what or follow the golden rule, then your posts will be summarily deleted and you will be banned from posting on this Blog.

exbeliever said...

a to o,

You wrote: "Sorry but I'm new at this and I will pay closer attention from now on."

It wouldn't have really been an issue if you didn't criticize me when you said:

"Wow JL, you missed the whole point. . . I thought the word 'caves' would reveal my intentions."

Here, you were accusing me of missing your point by missing the word "caves" in your post all while calling me "JL." It was ironic, to say the least.

You wrote: "If you wish I will no longer post on or read this blog."

I don't mind if you post or read, I just don't think that you are taking the time to understand what is being said before you start defending your position. It seems to me that you are just waiting your turn to be disagreeable.

If you post something that is well thought out and sensible, then I will be glad to read and respond. If you don't want to hear what I have to say and just respond any way you please, then I think you should start your own blog and say whatever you want there.