Books or Articles?

SteveB

Well-known member
And yet it is.


Who are you quoting? No-one has said that but you.


No, you're just doubling down on your strawman instead of learning from your mistake.
Your belief that it's a mistake doesn't make it a mistake.
It's a belief.
 

His clay

Active member
I've read half of it thus far.

I did get a quote (unyielding despair paragraph) out of it that I had read elsewhere; in a certain sense, I am happy to have found the quote complete with context.
As for the article's content, I did get the following: logical positivism, nihilism, narcissism. Without trying to evaluate Russel's work, I did find those items just mentioned to be key elements of the picture Russel was trying to paint.
I was not really surprised by anything that I read, for I've already read some of Russel's compilation of authors promoting Logical Positivism. I've also read some philosophy books that give broader overviews of his views as well. His preface to Wittgenstein's Tractatus was a bit lengthy.

While I'm intentionally avoiding substantive evaluative remarks, I don't wish to be hidden with respect to my own beliefs. I'm a Christian, and I don't find Russel's work persuasive. However, a friend of mine from college, who lost his belief in his Christian upbringing, has told me that I'm one of those very rare breed of Christian that listens and seeks to properly understand the other side of the fence.

I hope that answers your questions. I'll restate my previous question. "What exactly do you like about Russell's article?"
I've finished reading "A Free Man's Worship" by Bertrand Russel
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I've read half of it thus far.

I did get a quote (unyielding despair paragraph) out of it that I had read elsewhere; in a certain sense, I am happy to have found the quote complete with context.
As for the article's content, I did get the following: logical positivism, nihilism, narcissism. Without trying to evaluate Russel's work, I did find those items just mentioned to be key elements of the picture Russel was trying to paint.
I was not really surprised by anything that I read, for I've already read some of Russel's compilation of authors promoting Logical Positivism. I've also read some philosophy books that give broader overviews of his views as well. His preface to Wittgenstein's Tractatus was a bit lengthy.

While I'm intentionally avoiding substantive evaluative remarks, I don't wish to be hidden with respect to my own beliefs. I'm a Christian, and I don't find Russel's work persuasive. However, a friend of mine from college, who lost his belief in his Christian upbringing, has told me that I'm one of those very rare breed of Christian that listens and seeks to properly understand the other side of the fence.

I hope that answers your questions. I'll restate my previous question. "What exactly do you like about Russell's article?"
Thanks for your reply. I hope you will take the time to read the whole essay - it's a short read that shouldn't take more than 15min. I have no idea how you are getting logical positivism, nihilism, or narcissism from it. If anything, the article is an antidote to the latter two, and says nothing on the first.

To answer your question, I personally find this essay to be one of the most inspirational and moving things I've read. Objectively, it is undeniably well written as a piece of prose. I think he does a great job of outlining an atheistic perspective on reality, and of how to develop and uphold one's own values in the face of an indifferent or hostile universe. It is balanced in that he gives credit where due to religious thought, and also critiques the indignant rebellious form atheism can take. What really stands out though is the humanitarian compassion expressed through the last few paragraphs. It's a short essay that I think best expresses for the religious how an atheist views the world, and how one can appreciate morality and beauty in a Godless universe.
 

His clay

Active member
Thanks for your reply. I hope you will take the time to read the whole essay - it's a short read that shouldn't take more than 15min. I have no idea how you are getting logical positivism, nihilism, or narcissism from it. If anything, the article is an antidote to the latter two, and says nothing on the first.

To answer your question, I personally find this essay to be one of the most inspirational and moving things I've read. Objectively, it is undeniably well written as a piece of prose. I think he does a great job of outlining an atheistic perspective on reality, and of how to develop and uphold one's own values in the face of an indifferent or hostile universe. It is balanced in that he gives credit where due to religious thought, and also critiques the indignant rebellious form atheism can take. What really stands out though is the humanitarian compassion expressed through the last few paragraphs. It's a short essay that I think best expresses for the religious how an atheist views the world, and how one can appreciate morality and beauty in a Godless universe.
No problem on replying. I did read the whole essay; it did take me longer than 15 minutes. I'm a slow reader. I would be happy to point out where I got those points from if you would like.

Thank you for answering my question. I can agree with your "well written as a piece of prose" comment. I can also agree to some degree with your "gives credit where due to religious thought." I was a bit surprise to read that material, but I can appreciate that his opposition to religion doesn't lead him to jettison all the good as well as what he perceives as the bad.

One of the criticisms from atheists toward believers in God is often called the "wish fulfillment fallacy." Having the desire for there to be a god does not mean that there is one. Hence, believers in god project their desires and create god. My concluding question comes from this objection toward belief in god. However, I'm simply turning the mirror around and focusing upon Russel's atheism. Is this not "wish fullfillment" the same thing as what Russel is doing? Aren't values, goals, and purposes in an atheistic universe just simply a wish fulfillment, since the very one making them is nothing more than a small insignificant blip of the blind, indifferent universe? Why think that there is more that just unyielding despair in Russel's universe?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
No problem on replying. I did read the whole essay; it did take me longer than 15 minutes. I'm a slow reader. I would be happy to point out where I got those points from if you would like.
Yes please. That cold be instructive.

Thank you for answering my question. I can agree with your "well written as a piece of prose" comment. I can also agree to some degree with your "gives credit where due to religious thought." I was a bit surprise to read that material, but I can appreciate that his opposition to religion doesn't lead him to jettison all the good as well as what he perceives as the bad.
Thanks. It is reassuring to see that a Christian can see value in his writing as well.

One of the criticisms from atheists toward believers in God is often called the "wish fulfillment fallacy." Having the desire for there to be a god does not mean that there is one. Hence, believers in god project their desires and create god. My concluding question comes from this objection toward belief in god. However, I'm simply turning the mirror around and focusing upon Russel's atheism. Is this not "wish fullfillment" the same thing as what Russel is doing? Aren't values, goals, and purposes in an atheistic universe just simply a wish fulfillment, since the very one making them is nothing more than a small insignificant blip of the blind, indifferent universe? Why think that there is more that just unyielding despair in Russel's universe?
I think the difference lies in the fact/value distinction. The problem of wishful thinking is that believing something to be the case just because one wants it to be so, doesn't actually make it so. What Russell is talking about isn't believing some matter of fact, but rather creating and upholding one's own values and ideals in a universe that doesn't provide them for us. There is more than just unyielding despair in this universe because we make it so. In creating our values and goals they really do exist, and are therefore distinct from the delusion of wishful thinking.
 

Thistle

Well-known member
What books or articles would you recommend on the topic of atheism? They can be for or against atheism - the topic is intentionally broad.

And welcome back!
Well, speaking from a Christian perspective I have to start by asking what is the most central and necessary point on which Christianity rests. There was a time when I would have said something about redemption, the cross work of Christ, or similar. But I don't think this is the big hurdle for those on the outside. I think the central doctrine on which the edifice rises or falls is this, God created the Universe. Without that there is no way to get to Christianity. You could have a Jordan Peterson kind of perspective, but actual believe would be beyond your grasp. It's only been in the last decade or so that I've come to understand this, and I do believe it to be true.

With the success of evolution in science and the academy, and the commitment to the idea that it's not going anywhere, I finally read a book my father had given me to read the year after his passing. It was "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller. I don't depend on evolutionary biology for anything I do, so this was pure learning for me. I'm very interested in the doctrine of creation on the ground that it is a door everyone must pass through to become a Christian. Admittedly Miller knows far more science than theology, and a lot of the struggles he had I knew enough more theology so they were not as vexing to me. In fact some really excellent answers to the things he pondered about can be drawn out of a good Theology of God. Jack Cottrell has an excellent offering in that area, by the way, [What the Bible says About God . . . ]. I'd recommend Millers book to anyone whose not willing to check their evolution at the door, because it delves deep into the science, and takes the whole subject of God seriously.
 

Ficciones

Active member
Ayn Rand's work is also good.

As in Nietzsche, of whom Rand is a tenth rate imitator, religion is merely an ancestor and proxy for the real enemy, socialism - or slave morality - anything that might stay or hold the self-seeking of the aristocratic elite. Really, you might as well read Nietzsche rather than Rand, because unlike Rand he isn't a gobbling unlettered idiot. Also, never before or since has any reactionary thinker "told on himself" like Nietzsche.

Aspiring readers of Nietzsche would do well to read part 9 of Beyond Good and Evil first, where Nietzsche offers the core of his moral philosophy with little of the characteristic beating around the bush one finds in other works.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
One of the criticisms from atheists toward believers in God is often called the "wish fulfillment fallacy." Having the desire for there to be a god does not mean that there is one. Hence, believers in god project their desires and create god. My concluding question comes from this objection toward belief in god. However, I'm simply turning the mirror around and focusing upon Russel's atheism. Is this not "wish fullfillment" the same thing as what Russel is doing? Aren't values, goals, and purposes in an atheistic universe just simply a wish fulfillment, since the very one making them is nothing more than a small insignificant blip of the blind, indifferent universe? Why think that there is more that just unyielding despair in Russel's universe?
Do you think that the atheists you know live lives of unyielding despair?

I think a simple answer to your point is that things really do matter to atheists, which makes things more than a shallow wish fulfilment. The universe may be blind and indifferent, but our particular manifestations of it are not.
 

His clay

Active member
Yes please. That cold be instructive.


Thanks. It is reassuring to see that a Christian can see value in his writing as well.


I think the difference lies in the fact/value distinction. The problem of wishful thinking is that believing something to be the case just because one wants it to be so, doesn't actually make it so. What Russell is talking about isn't believing some matter of fact, but rather creating and upholding one's own values and ideals in a universe that doesn't provide them for us. There is more than just unyielding despair in this universe because we make it so. In creating our values and goals they really do exist, and are therefore distinct from the delusion of wishful thinking.
I did read your post. I have seen "Yes please. That could be instructive." However, I still have not gotten to responding. It requires me to reread BR's work again, and then I have to quote him (possibly pointing out the paragraph# for ease of reference), and then I have to state why I have come to those conclusions. In short, it requires some work; and I've been a little busy doing other things. However, I do hope to get to it here soon. I apologize for my lack of speed on the matter.
 

His clay

Active member
Do you think that the atheists you know live lives of unyielding despair?

I think a simple answer to your point is that things really do matter to atheists, which makes things more than a shallow wish fulfilment. The universe may be blind and indifferent, but our particular manifestations of it are not.
Thank you for your post. You have pointed out a good issue, and I hope to adequately address the point.

What I (think about atheists that I know) and (how I argued previously) are not identical things. I did not make the argument that atheists live lives of unyielding despair. I also agree on your point that "things really do matter to atheists." If that is the impression that you received from my point, then I would suggest rereading it. Having a (subjective idea of purpose and meaning) and (having real purpose and meaning) are not the same thing. Do you agree?
 

Tiburon

Well-known member
So... let me get this straight, you need help to not believe God?
Please explain this to me.

I thought atheism was the non-belief in the reality of YHVH.

And you actually need people to tell you what you're supposed to believe, so that you know what to not believe, and how to not believe it?
No he's interested in how others view the argument?
Do you read books about Christianity and Apologetics? Yes.
Why? Don't you already know what you believe?
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
What I (think about atheists that I know) and (how I argued previously) are not identical things. I did not make the argument that atheists live lives of unyielding despair. I also agree on your point that "things really do matter to atheists." If that is the impression that you received from my point, then I would suggest rereading it.
Ok,
Having a (subjective idea of purpose and meaning) and (having real purpose and meaning) are not the same thing. Do you agree?
I'm not sure, so for the sake of argument i'll say I don't agree and see what results. I don't see a distinction between the two.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I did read your post. I have seen "Yes please. That could be instructive." However, I still have not gotten to responding. It requires me to reread BR's work again, and then I have to quote him (possibly pointing out the paragraph# for ease of reference), and then I have to state why I have come to those conclusions. In short, it requires some work; and I've been a little busy doing other things. However, I do hope to get to it here soon. I apologize for my lack of speed on the matter.
No problem. I realize it would take some effort, so no pressure.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Having a (subjective idea of purpose and meaning) and (having real purpose and meaning) are not the same thing. Do you agree?
I realize you were not asking me, but I'll add my 2c if you don't mind. I doubt many atheists would agree with that. Most, myself included, view purpose and meaning as inherently subjective, and therefore view subjective purposes and meaning to be as real as they get. Even God's goals and purposes are subjectively his own. He presumably has his divine reasons for creating a universe, and his own goals for humanity within that, but nothing about his power or control makes these objective. They still only become the goals and purposes of humans when they choose to subjectively align their own purposes with God's subjective purposes for us.
 

Thistle

Well-known member
I realize you were not asking me, but I'll add my 2c if you don't mind. I doubt many atheists would agree with that. Most, myself included, view purpose and meaning as inherently subjective, and therefore view subjective purposes and meaning to be as real as they get. Even God's goals and purposes are subjectively his own. He presumably has his divine reasons for creating a universe, and his own goals for humanity within that, but nothing about his power or control makes these objective. They still only become the goals and purposes of humans when they choose to subjectively align their own purposes with God's subjective purposes for us.
If God created the universe and everything in it and then further wrote down the book why he did so then God's purpose for all things is absolutely objective subjective.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
If God created the universe and everything in it and then further wrote down the book why he did so then God's purpose for all things is absolutely objective subjective.
What is "objective subjective"? I don't think writing one's purpose down makes it objective rather than subjective.
 

Thistle

Well-known member
What is "objective subjective"? I don't think writing one's purpose down makes it objective rather than subjective.
My apologies I did this on my phone and the voice recognition omitted the word not in between objective and subjective. God is a Divine person and when a person does something with deliberation they do it toward an end and /or purpose.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
My apologies I did this on my phone and the voice recognition omitted the word not in between objective and subjective. God is a Divine person and when a person does something with deliberation they do it toward an end and /or purpose.
Okay. I don't see what divinity contributes to the objectivity of purpose. And if doing something with deliberation makes a purpose objective, then that applies to all people, divine or not.
 
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