8 Reasons to Reject C. S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire November 19, 2014

lewis argument from desireThis Christian argument looks at innate desires and sees the shadow of God. We feel hunger, so therefore there must be food. We thirst and therefore there’s water; we yearn for companionship and therefore there are companions; we yearn for god … and therefore there is a god.

C. S. Lewis said,

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. … If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Lewis was popularizing a concept that theologians have expressed for centuries. John Calvin referred to the sensus divinitatis, a sense, not of the environment like sight or smell, but of God. Blaise Pascal proposed a “God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.”

This apologetic is easy to understand and has an intuitive appeal, but it fails under closer inspection.

1. Why do we fear death? If our inclinations are a reliable instinctual pointer to the supernatural, then why the fear of death? If we instinctively know that there is a god and an eternal place for our soul to live after life on earth, humans should differ from other animals in having an ambivalence about death or even a longing for it. We don’t.

2. The puddle problem. Lewis imagined that hunger points to the existence of food, but it’s the other way around. Consider Douglas Adams’ puddle, which marveled at how well-crafted its hole was: “Fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well; must have been made to have me in it!”

Lewis’s error is the same as the puddle’s backwards thinking. We don’t notice hunger and then conclude that food must exist; rather, creatures need food to survive, and evolution selects those that have a hunger to successfully get it.

3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the rest.

4. This is just a deist argument. If you find this argument compelling, this should point you to deism. Like many other arguments, this one only claims that there is some anonymous clock maker behind the universe. There is nothing here to argue for the Christian god over any other god or supernatural pantheon. (More here.)

If you argue that this god desire actually does point you to the Christian god, you must explain the myriad different ways God belief plays out in practice. (More here and here.)

5. Consider what else comes along with the argument. C. S. Lewis said, “It would be very odd if the phenomenon called ‘falling in love’ occurred in a sexless world.”

And would it also be odd if the phenomenon “belief in magic” occurred in a magic-less world? It’s not odd at all, because that’s the world we’re living in. Belief in magic is still widespread and was even more so a few centuries ago. We in the West shouldn’t be too smug that we’ve largely turned our backs on magic, because our thinking is still influenced by superstitions and evidence-less beliefs in coincidences, fate, and homeopathy.

We don’t need to puzzle over falling in love, because we know that love and sex exist in our world. But, despite Lewis’s efforts, the God belief looks like just another human belief poorly grounded in evidence.

6. The Ontological Argument again? You can imagine perfect justice, world peace, or a loving god, but that doesn’t make them reality. As with the Ontological Argument, thinking of it doesn’t make it so.

7. What is “innate”? Proponents of this argument list fundamental innate physical needs and drives like food, drink, sex, safety, and sleep. They may also throw in higher-level desires for beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship.

The skeptic can retort with demands for Aladdin’s lamp, Shangri-La, or superpowers. Because they’d be great to have, does that mean that they exist? To avoid this, the apologist distinguishes between innate desires (the first sort—things that actually exist) and contrived desires (the second).

Let’s work with that distinction. In several ways, God desire does not appear to be innate.

7a. The category of innate desires is those things for which there is a clear target of the desire. No one doubts that food and drink exist, but there’s plenty of doubt about superpowers. (Guess which bin God desire fits into.)

7b. Everyone must satisfy the needs of hunger and thirst. Not everyone finds satisfaction for a God desire, and not everyone even has such a desire. The apologist may respond that that might also apply to the higher-level desires such as beauty and justice, but this only makes the innate category seem more arbitrary.

7c. Another way of seeing the innate/contrived distinction is that the innate desires are those we share with other social animals. Since no animal desires God, why call that desire innate?

8. Don’t let your desires run away with you. We must be skeptical of fluffy arguments guided by desires.

Even C. S. Lewis himself argues against trusting too much in desire and Joy because the sane, rational person must be very suspicious of where moods and emotions might lead: “Unless you teach your moods where they get off, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion.” The C. S. Lewis of this passage would insist that we regard our inner states, including desires and Joy, with suspicion if not discount them entirely. (Source: About.com)

Searching for the best spin on this argument

If the list of innate desires were 10,000 long, the apologists’ argument would have some weight. They’d say, “Every single item on this enormous list is a desire for which we know that a corresponding target exists! The only question left is our yearning for god. How likely is it that this one thing is a counterexample?”

But even with the cerebral desires (justice, love, etc.), the list of innate desires is maybe a dozen items long. At best, it’s a weak argument. And given the attacks above, the argument has no credibility.

God belief is a poor fit as an innate belief, but here’s a better comparison. Wishful thinking in religion is like wishful thinking in the health and beauty aisle, or in diets, or in end-of-life care. What’s the loss of a little money when you could look better, be thinner, or live longer? Hope springs eternal, in religion as in more mundane areas. It’d be great to look younger or more fit, and it’d be great to have an all-powerful Friend looking out for me. That doesn’t make it true.

As with claims for cosmetics and cure-alls, we must be skeptical.

In the factory we make cosmetics;
in the drugstore we sell hope.
— Charles Revson (founder of Revlon)

Photo credit: Chiara Vitellozzi

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  • MNb

    “we yearn for god … and therefore there is a god.”
    This is so inviting to spoof.

    “I yearn for a million Euro on my bank account …. and therefore ….”
    “I yearn for sex with little children … and therefore there are little children.”
    I’m sure this argument will appeal to pedophiles.

    • louismoreaugottschalk

      “I yearn for sex with little children … and therefore there are little children.”
      I’m sure this argument will appeal to pedophiles.’

      respectfully i think this points to the possibility that pedophiles have a kind of faith that the reason little children exist is to satisfy the p.’s sexual desires. i think most ppl find this desire criminal, wrong & unique. that doesn’t mean there are no little children existing for other and more humane reasons other than to be exploited. i think it just never occurs to p.’s that they do or that, for a variety of reasons, p.’s lack the capacity (maybe even the humanity) to understand.

      • MNb

        My point is not about pedophiles, but about the shallowness of Lewis’ argument.

        • The Christian apologist will try to argue that you’ve wandered into contrived (that is, not innate) territory. I respond with several of the points above that this distinction is pretty fuzzy.

          Make it just natural, humanity-will-die-otherwise needs (food, water, sex, sleep, safety), and your point is excluded. But then so is God belief.

          Etc.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          “You can do what you want, Abe, but The next time you see me comin’, you better run”

          Highway 61 – Bob Dylan
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDgefX2sZRU

        • MNb

          Like most of your quotes it’s irrelevant for the issue we are discussing.
          Plus I think Bob Dylan boring.

        • louis

          “Each and every
          alcoholic—-sober or not—-teaches us some valuable lessons about ourselves
          and recovery”

        • MNb

          Like what?
          It still has nothing to do with the shallowness of CS Lewis’ arguments, which I illustrated with the example of pedophiles I brought up. So you don’t have respect for me.
          That’s OK. I have learned quickly not to expect it from you. However it means you’re a hypocrite every time you complain that you don’t get the respect – you deserve to be mocked indeed.

        • Kodie

          Louis is being a lot like Erwin.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          ‘the shallowness of Lewis’ argument.’
          it’s shallow? i didn’t know!

        • Blizzard

          “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.”

          Yep shallow! Obviously so!

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          respecfully, are you beng ironic?

        • Blizzard

          People desire that the stars foretell our future. Does that mean that the stars foretell our future? Someone should ask a psychic to channel William Shakespeare. He would probably know the answer to that. Someone channel Sylvia Browne so she can channel William Shakespeare lol. Here’s John Wilkins on the subject of Argument from Desire by the way. http://evolvingthoughts.net/2012/03/what-warrant-is-there-for-belief-in-god/

          “Descriptions of the Philosophers’ Stone are numerous and various.” –wikipedia

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i guess you were not being ironic?

        • MNb

          Now you do.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          no i don’t.

          there
          are two kinds of strengths. The outer strength is obvious: it fades with age
          and succumbs to sickness. Then there is the ch’i, the inner strength. Everyone
          possesses it, too. But it is indeed much more difficult to develop. The inner
          strength lasts through every heat and every cold. Through old age and beyond.
          — Master Kan

        • MNb

          Yes, you do know that Lewis’ argument is shallow, because I told you so and why. You can reread it above if necessary. It’s safe to assume that you don’t that children are there to satisfy the desire of pedophiles for sex, I may hope. Lewis’ argument is the same; just replace belief for sex and god for little children. Now Lewis hasn’t shown why his argument from desire is correct for belief in god but not for sexual lust for little children. That’s shallow.
          What might be the case is that you refuse to accept my rebuttal. That’s OK with me, but you haven’t told me yet what’s wrong with it.
          That quote of yours is totally irrelevant.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          it may be I don’t know. I don’t trust anyone’s word who is shaming and domineering. that is hallmark behavior of alcoholics and dry drunks.

        • 90Lew90

          Does alcoholism or dry-drunkenness preclude sound argument? Some of the kindest, cleverest, most sensitive people I’ve ever known have been alcoholic, so you can just leave that out.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/respect what are you requesting?

        • 90Lew90

          With as much respect as is due, I asked you a simple, straight question. Customarily that implies a request for an answer.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I think the alcoholic who is drinking & alcoholic who is not drinking but is not active in a recovery program is severely mentally ill and has no capacity for rational thinking or communicating.

        • 90Lew90

          Yeah. That’s why Winston Churchill could hardly string a sentence and lost that war. James Joyce? Ernest Hemingway? Practically every artist of the 19th Century? Yes, call alcoholism a disease if you want, but don’t use it as a slur. Or perhaps you think anyone who gets exasperated with you must be an alcoholic? “Severely mentally ill” with “no capacity for rational thinking or communicating”? If that’s your criterion, count me among the alcos.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect to your wish i do.

        • Kodie

          That sounds more like a rationalization than anything else. I agree with Lew, you’re exasperating and then you blame the person you’re annoying for being annoyed with you. TIP: Be less annoying.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          of course you are entitled to your oppinion. i say live and let live.

        • Kodie

          You say it but you don’t do it.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i don’t even know you. there is nothing to connect us but this comment board and a lot of other ppl you can read. of all who read what i write on this blog only a few have had a negative comment on my stuff. bob s. has not been negative towards me. you are free to contact him to complain if you wish.

        • Kodie

          All I’m hearing from you is “I can say whatever I want to piss people off but then why don’t they leave me alone?” You are a hypocrite, so deal with all the responses you get. I have no complaint against Bob. All I’ve seen from you is irrelevant dodges, you are a typical evasive Christian.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes it does i think.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    ‘3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out.

    The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival.
    Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God
    logically
    fits in with the rest.’

    ‘logically’, in this context is a loaded word & i think it needs unpacking. i’ like to have a discussion about it.

    also the assertion that ‘The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival.’ is not true i think. i’d like to know someones thots about what is ‘supernatural’.

    ‘Desire for God isn’t an innate desire.’

    i think it is innate but i don’t know where it (desire) comes from. i don’t think anyone can know that.

    ‘If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out.’
    i respectfully disagree w/ this declaration b/c ‘if’ is not the case. there is no ‘if’ i think. my humanity is a needy state depending on unknown manifestations both under my radar of awareness and w/ in easy reach of my capacity to understand ‘source’. the concept of ‘if’ [these things] are never fulfilled humanity dies out’ is too broadly black and white and quite simplistic besides not convincing. i’m not saying it’s untrue however.

    • I’m saying that Lewis lists innate desires and claims that God belief also fits in there. Problem is, God belief is the odd man out. Play “one of these things is not like the other,” and God belief gets kicked off the island (to mix metaphors).

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        i think it’s interesting that Lewis lists that ‘God belief’ as fitting innate desires and claims it belongs there. i want to know why/how Lewis, who had the ability of genus for articulating his understanding, found a breakthrough experience that influenced his form of faith. You are probably aware he was an existentialist before he found god. He said his introduction to god was a ‘baptism of imagination’ thru a book by george mcdonald; phantasties.

        w/ respect, i think the Problem for you is your belief that belief in God is the odd man out. i wish you would disclose the reasons you are stuck w/ that i would like to know the backstory of how you came to this form of faith.

        • I’ve explained my thinking in the post above. If you think those reasons are correct but insufficient, let me know. If you think the reasons don’t hold up, tell me that.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          would you do me the favor of restateing the highlights as simply as possible? no offence but i find your writting to be a little over my head.

        • Sorry–the post above is about the best I can do.

          My suggest is to focus on points 1, 2, and 3 (labelled above). That’s enough to get my idea across.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          thx very much for this. it it an opportunity i cherish to engage in a convo w/ someone as intelligent and, i hope, fair and open minded as you are. i have studied the points as you suggested and here are my thots;

          1. if you do fear death why? If your inclinations aren’t a reliable instinctual pointer to the supernatural what then? If you don’t instinctively know that there is a god and an eternal place for your soul to live after life on earth, the fear of death has torment.
          2.Don’t you notice hunger and then make a formal arrangement so that food must exist and be available to you? i rather think this arrangement of creatures needing food to survive is an agenda deliberately planned by intelligence beyond your or my present capability to comprehend. You may wish to call it ‘evolution’ if you want to. If you also wish to believe ‘evolution’ selects those that have a hunger to successfully get to survive I hope you remain on the side of the equation that continues to get fed.

          3. You hypothesize that if food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out and that the “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. I agree that Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God fits in with the rest of the ‘list’, but respectfully, so what? Something has got it covered. Evolution? God and jesus? A song, a poem.

          I can’t feel you anymore
          I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
          Every time I crawl past your door
          I been wishin’ I’ve been somebody else instead
          You hurt the ones that I love best
          And cover up the truth with lies
          One day you’ll be in the ditch
          Flies buzzin’ around your eyes
          Blood on your saddle

          IDIOT WIND ~bob dylan
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKMUz2o0NNw&list=RDTKMUz2o0NNw

        • 1. Lewis would say that God belief is instinctive. Why then is that not apparent? Why do we not then embrace the idea of death, of going to meet the God that we instinctively know is there?

          2. Animals need fuel. Evolution selected them to seek it out, and we call this drive “hunger.” No, I see no intelligence behind this. Evolution explains it well.

          I agree that Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God fits in with the rest of the ‘list’, but respectfully, so what?

          3. So Lewis is counting on God belief to look like the other innate desires (for food, for water, etc.). It doesn’t.

        • kraut2

          “If you don’t instinctively know that there is a god and an eternal
          place for your soul to live after life on earth, the fear of death has
          torment.”

          Speak for yourself. I don’t fear death, I may be sad that i have to die and stop experiencing things. I fear dying, because I have experienced some severe pain and just hope to go fast.

          Why does he assume everyone has a desire for god?

          I began to stop being a believer at age 14, but the process began after my grandfather died when i was 12, he the only person in our family who had some strong religious believes and who was pushing for the church – but also not too strong anymore after his experiences with the behaviour of the catholic church and its dealing with the Nazis before and after the war.

          Left alone the concept of god would likely never had any meaning for me.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          ‘Why does he [lewis] assume everyone has a desire for god?’

          i don’t know.

          Pee Wee’s Big Adventure –
          Basement meeting
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tx8jnndMes

        • MNb

          “i don’t know.”
          Hence Lewis’ argument is shallow.

        • R Vogel

          ‘Why does he assume everyone has a desire for god?’

          But does he? Or does he assume everyone has a desire for which they cannot find satisfaction and proposed G*d as the solution? I think there is an important distinction being lost there – he may very well be correct about the former, and there are many non-theological explanations for this, but there is nothing in my experience of more than 40 years experience with believers that the latter is true.

        • Speak for yourself. I don’t fear death

          Using Lewis’s logic, we should instinctively desire death so we’ll be united with the God that we (instinctively) know exists.

        • smrnda

          I’m with you. I never believed in any gods. It just wasn’t taught to me, and it seemed kind of like a museum piece that just wasn’t relevant to life.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          1. Lewis says that, for him, God belief is instinctive. Why then is that not apparent to you? What do you think happened to him that didn’t happen for you yet? Why do you not then embrace the idea of going to meet God after death? I think it might comfort you.
          ‘2. Animals need fuel. Evolution selected them to seek it
          out, and we call this drive “hunger.” No, I see no intelligence behind this. Evolution explains it well.’
          That’s some pretty inteligent evolution!

        • MNb

          “Lewis says that, for him, God belief is instinctive. Why then is that not apparent to you?”
          Because there is no god and Lewis deludes himself.

        • R Vogel

          Saw that one coming from a mile away….lol

        • MNb

          Yeah, scoring for open goal as we Dutch say.

        • No intelligence necessary. When one variant of a species is a bit likelier to pass on its genes, that variant will soon dominate its species.

          Viola–evolution.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          does this happn in every case?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i agree entirely – i switched from violin to viola in high school. 😛

        • Pofarmer

          If it was instinctive for him, then why did he call himself an atheist?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          did he?

        • Pofarmer

          Certainly christians claim he was.

        • R Vogel

          1. Lewis would say that God belief is instinctive. Why then is that not apparent? Why do we not then embrace the idea of death, of going to meet the God that we instinctively know is there?

          You are jumping to a conclusion here. G*d-belief does not necessary entail belief in an after-life. Obviously Christianity does, but I don’t think Lewis is yet arguing for Christianity.

          Is ‘innate’ synonymous with ‘instinctive’? Does Lewis make both claims? In my mind they are different, but I’m not sure. How do you think about them?

          So it seems from the quote that what Lewis begins by positing “a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy” and he posits G*d as the solution. Can you accept that the former may be a true assessment of the human condition while rejecting the proposed solution?

        • MNb

          “You are jumping to a conclusion here.”
          No, BobS isn’t. He makes a point that directly is related to “god is instinctive”. If that were the case we would expect people – especially christians – to rejoice at funerals. At the other hand if death does not mean “meeting the god that we instinctively know is there”, what sense does god make yet? AfaIk Lewis never discusses this question.

        • R Vogel

          For the Christian, yes. But G*d-belief in and of itself does not necessarily entail after-life….although now that I reflect on it, the jump may be Lewis’ not Bob’s. He jumps from I feel a hole nothing on earth can fill (seems a rather big assertion, yeah? I mean, have you really tried everything? Knitting can be very therapeutic I hear) and proposes that it will be filled by G*d in some great by-and-by. So I apologize Bob, and thank you MNb for helping me work that out….

        • Good point about knitting. Maybe that’s an important untapped resource.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “a hole nothing on earth can fill (seems a rather big assertion, yeah? I mean, have you really tried everything?…”

          that was easily the most absurd part of Lewis’ position the first time i looked at it: this is according to what record of what evidence of what catalog of “all earthly experiences”? just another “believe everything you read (on some level)” slip by good ol’ Clive.

        • Kodie

          Don’t all Christians make that claim? Anything you do while a Christian is made that much more meaningful (whether that is sex or knitting or skydiving or charity work), and anything you do while not a Christian is a shallow substitute and an obvious sign that people yearn for that one meaningful thing and just haven’t submitted to Christ out of pride.

        • MNb

          Perhaps not all christians make that claim, but sure a damn lot. Brrr, the idea of having sex for Jesus makes me shiver.

        • If Lewis made clear that this argument (like so many others) is only a deist argument, I’ve forgotten. But we’re on the same page, so good for that.

          Sure, I agree that there are unsatisfiable desires. I’d like to be Superman.

        • MNb

          “2.Don’t you notice hunger and then make a formal arrangement so that food must exist and be available to you?”
          You’re turning things upside down. Food is not there because we feel hunger, we feel hunger because we need food. We can demonstrate that there is food indeed.
          Lewis wants us to accept that there is a god because we feel a “hunger” for god. If we formulate this correctly as I have done with hunger and food we get “we have a desire for god because there is a god.” That’s a logically valid statement. Problem is that we have to demonstrate god first and that’s a lot harder than to demonstrate food.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes it is hard to do but not impossible.
          here is a part of a comment from a blog about a story i found for you today.

          New world peoples literally couldn’t see the European ships? snopes.com http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=000822;p=0

          I agree with you that stories of the natives simply not perceiving the ships, many hours after their first sighting, are highly unlikely. But I’ve heard anecdotes about some tribe or other seeing the ships (and interpreting them, accurately enough, as giant canoes) but thinking that the sails were “strange clouds” behind the ships instead of huge sheets of cloth attached to them. You could say, I guess, that these (probably hypothetical) people couldn’t see the sails, but it would be more accurate to say that they didn’t know how to interpret them.

          Jackson Browne – Rock Me On The Water

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VVJEaHM01o

        • Dys

          No one’s managed it yet.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect try to keep an open mind.

        • Dys

          I do. And as soon as there’s some compelling and persuasive evidence for god, I’ll change my mind.

          Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean allowing for any idea whatsoever to possibly be true. It means one is willing to question their own ideas when confronted with new information. But when there’s as much evidence for the existence of god as there is for leprechauns, it’s not unreasonable to reach the tentative conclusion that neither exists.

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Open_mind
          http://www.atheistrev.com/2013/07/a-skeptic-is-open-minded.html

        • MNb

          Jackson Browne, who is only slightly less boring than Bob Dylan, does nothing to demonstrate god either. You already have admitted that you want to change topic of conversation whenever you like. So I don’t see any reason to read or hear anything you bring up from any other source, until you explicitely provide that reason. Hence I’m not interested in some random messageboard of snopes.com.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I am sorry to disappoint you. I like you and would value your esteem.

    • Susan

      i think it is innate

      What do you mean?

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        perhaps it means hard wired in our hearts and minds? do you know?

        • MNb

          How do you know a desire for god is hard wired in our hearts and minds? Without this assumption the argument from desire doesn’t work.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          it doesn’t? i didn’t know.

        • Dys

          It’s one of the premises. No hard-wiring for god, and the argument from desire falls apart.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          maybe.

        • Dys

          No, definitely. It’s how the argument works. If there is no innate hard-wiring for god, then there is no argument for desire. You’d quite literally be left with nothing more than wishful thinking – ‘I really want there to be a god, therefore there is’ is obviously not an argument anyone is going to take seriously. Without the innateness add-on, there is no argument from desire.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i think it’s relative. how can you know anyone w/ out being introduced? i think once you are aquainted a pattern of stages of friendship progresses based, in part, on truth & honesty. if there enters a deception from either friend that interupts the relationship until amends are made.

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t God kind of the friend you never meet?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i think g _d is a kind friend i happened to meet
          _

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, the same God who drowned the world. Swell guy.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i think that may be a myth. no one really knows 4 sure.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya think?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          sure do.

        • MNb

          Good for you. I never met him. Now what?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          do you think g_d exists?

        • MNb

          What do you think the answer is?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          there’s a well on the hill. you just can’t kill for jesus.
          ~JAMES TAYLOR

        • Dys

          I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I was pointing out that one of the premises of the argument from desire is that god-belief is innate, and if that premise is false, then there is no argument from desire for the existence of god. The question is whether god-belief is actually innate or not. And I think god-belief is not innate, but a by product of actual innate mechanisms misfiring and producing a faulty conclusion.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          To answer for those who ask for comments but most certainly know I cannot give any. Sir Ian Richards said this brillantly in the BBC series House of Cards.

          Couldn’t Possibly Comment
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8RjPAD2Jk

        • Dys

          So your comment is that you won’t comment. Ok, got it.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          not won’t. w/ regret i can’t comment

        • MNb

          Irrelevant. Lewis’ argument claims in your interpretation that the desire for god is hard-wired and concludes from this that there is a god. If the desire for god is not hard-wired the conclusion is not valid in this argument.
          Friendships don’t have anything to do with this.
          You seem to have problems sticking to the subject of discussion. That’s something I’m not going to mock you for, but I do tell you that it damages your credibility.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i am willing to risk credibility.

        • MNb

          OK. Then I’ll lower my expectations from you a bit further – you making sense will be the exception. Thanks.
          Btw refusing to answer a question but changing subject instead shows a lack of respect – for Susan for instance. Hence this

          “w/ respect”
          is as meaningless as the respect a troll has. Maybe that’s why you recognized so quickly that I have some of the characteristics of a troll – you have some of them yourself.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          true!

        • MNb

          Now you know.

        • Dys

          Pattern recognition is hard wired into our brains, which is one of the most likely culprits in the creation of gods and religions in the first place. People see meaningful patterns all the time, whether they actually exist or not. Add in the fact that humanity in general has a fear of the unknown, and it’s not difficult at all to see how god belief developed. Humans will manufacture explanations out of thin air rather than having to fall back on admitting ignorance.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes they will.

          here is good quote i think;

          It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

          Leonardo da Vinci

        • Dys

          The point being that I don’t think god-belief is innate or hardwired at all. Instead it is a consequence of far more basic mechanisms misfiring (pattern recognition, and aversion to the unknown).

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i think it takes a lot of faith to believe as you do.

        • Dys

          No, it actually takes no faith at all.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          you aren’t wrong in your ‘point’. you are you in making your ‘point’. i can’t disagree w/ you.
          btw have you ever seen this show? i like it very much.

          ▲THE POINT▲ #Full Length Movie ~ narrator: Ringo Starr ~ 1971
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjfKteUBa_s

        • Dys

          Not sure what you mean.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          you are speaking your truth. it’s like art i think: your choice out of choices.

        • Dys

          Ugh. Sorry, but I despise the post-modernist notion that everyone gets to have their own personal truth so no one’s feelings ever need to get hurt. There isn’t my truth, your truth, and everyone else’s truth. There is an objective truth, and we’re trying to get closer to it all the time. That’s the goal of science.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          my bad. please pardon.

        • Yeah. Except for all that evidence stuff.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i know nothing. at least i know that i don’t know. i sometimes fool myself that i am convinced by ‘evidence’. Pll on this comment board have really helped me to appreciate the reason and wisdom of chosen choices.

        • smrnda

          But then, what about people who have never desired god? I thought of it as absurd superstition since I was fairly small, a cultural practice that I seriously doubted many people believed. This might come from having grown up in a fairly pluralistic society where everybody gets the same ‘fix’ from some different religious practice.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I too as a child going 2 sun.school inna 1950’s thot something is contrived here. in my 60’s now I just am glimpsing the decay on my spirit and soul; an outcome, I think, for being embedded in our American cult of religious/political sabotage; betrayal, abandonment, abuse. a casualty; my desire 4 god being diverted into multiple addictions.

        • Pofarmer

          Riigghhhtttttt. you’ve just substituted one addiction for another.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes! so what did u do?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t have an addictive personality in the first place, although now I’m kind of into counter apologetics and science.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          you are very fortunate! it is a hideous disease that requires much attention. Tho there are some benifs. Apologetic? I am not familiar.

        • What is your religious/supernatural belief now?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I have found the constant contact needed to remain sober. I first became aware of this phenomenon in alcoholics anonymous. I’ve been to many meetings and still I am amazed at the miracle of recovery of last stage alcoholics.

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps it comes from being brainwashed by well-meaning people from the time one tries to learn about the world.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          brain washing may be temporary I think.

        • Greg G.

          Religions last for thousands of years whether they are true or not. There are many religions and either one is true or none are true. It seems to me that it would be difficult to create a faux religion that is indistinguishable from the true one, but none stand out as being all that different so they are probably all false religions.

          Religion has many ways to keep its hold despite all the crises of faith. Some use the fear of death for apostates. Some shun apostates and taking away friends and family can keep an apostate from being open about it. Some use the fear of punishment in the next life. There are even more subtle methods.

          If a person is told that there is a hell when they are young, that fear can be hard to get rid of. It can require therapy.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes religious addiction is a bummer! the ppl flowing out of mars hill/mark driscoll debacle have my sympathy. there surely is good therapy out there and the field of study is attractive & expanding.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey Greg, what do you think sbout this comment from Blance Quizno on Godless in Dixie?

          I proceeded to make as close and as full study as my opportunities gave me of the Biblical statements, and especially of the representations of Christ as a real personage; and, as I proceeded, every figuration broke down before me, and appeared even traceable to remote Oriental heathen sources.” He closely examined the alleged evidences, and came to the conclusion that “there is a very decided gap between the occurrence of Christianity and the era asserted for the facts alleged as those on which the system has its foundations. It follows that the facts themselves, so bound in an historical expression of them at a particular period, cannot have been enacted, and that the creed has otherwise to be accounted for.” Re: Judge Strange, Contributions to a Series of Controversial Writings issued by the Late Mr. Thomas Scott (1881) http://tinyurl.com/km97jnm
          Per what he refers to as “a decided gap”, I independently arrived at that same conclusion. The earliest crucifixes that have been found date to the late 500s CE, for example. And we find such odd references as Melito, Bishop of Sardis (died ca. 180 CE):

          For the philosophy current with us flourished in the first instance among barbarians; and, when it afterwards sprang up among the nations under thy rule, during the distinguished reign of thy ancestor Augustus [27 BCE -14 CE], it proved to be a blessing of most happy omen to thy empire. For from that time the Roman power has risen to greatness and splendour. To this power thou hast succeeded as the much desired possessor; and such shalt thou continue, together with thy son, if thou protect that philosophy which has grown up with thy empire, and which took its rise with Augustus; to which also thy more recent ancestors paid honour, along with the other religions prevailing in the empire. A very strong proof, moreover, that it was for good that the system we profess came to prevail at the same time that the empire of such happy commencement was established, is this – that ever since the reign of Augustus nothing untoward has happened; but, on the contrary, everything has contributed to the splendour and renown of the empire, in accordance with the devout wishes of all. Nero and Domitian alone of all the emperors, imposed upon by certain calumniators, have cared to bring any impeachment against our doctrines. They, too, are the source from which it has happened that the lying slanders on those who profess them have, in consequence of the senseless habit which prevails of taking things on hearsay, flowed down to our own times. But the course which they in their ignorance pursued was set aside by thy pious progenitors, who frequently and in many instances rebuked by their rescripts those who dared to set on foot any hostilities against them. http://www.earlychristianwriti

        • Greg G.

          I would expect that there would be many opinions about the origins of Christianity and they may not have had reliable encyclopedias to get their dates right. The middle of the second century would be the height of early diversification and before the later standardization, to use a Stephen J. Gould meme. I think Christianity was a hodgepodge of religions that went by that name and they melded whatever writings they could to get a set. But the Hebrews seem to have done the same thing.

          The early first century Christians were expecting the Messiah to show up during their lifetime. I was reading about Preterism today and I’m exporing that idea as a possibility for the late first century Christians who may have thought the destruction of Jerusalem was a sign that the Messiah was on the way. I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet. The Pharisees believed in Resurrection and Paul had a Pharisee background so Christianity maybe a sub-cult of the Pharisees. That idea keeps popping up.

          Crosses showing up as artwork in the 6t century seems reasonable to me. There may not have been a tasteful way to depict a method of public torture and execution while it was being used. Then it would take a while before an artist invented it as an art form.

          I didn’t find anything at Godless in Dixie by Blance Quizno so I didn’t see the context and I’m not sure my answer addressed your question. Did I come close?

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. You used to be able to link directly to comments, but I can’t seem to do that anymore. Disqus hiding things doesn’t help either.

        • Greg G.

          You can’t do it from a hand-held. I think they had to reduce some features in a trade-off for performance. From a desktop, you can hover over the “Share >” link and three icons appear: a bird for Twitter, an “f” for Facebook, and a chain linkage. If you right-click, you can copy the shortcut to that comment.

          I liked the poem at the book link you had:

          THE BIBLE: GRAND, IF HUMAN; ABSURD, IF DIVINE.

          If the English be in English saved or damned,
            And the Dutch be lost or sanctified in Dutch,
          It would seem — unless Jehovah’s scheme is shammed–
            That with ancient tongues we needn’t bother much.

          It is likely that Jehovah had inspired
            The original of what is called “His Word,”
          And neglected all its copies, nor desired
            Translators be inerrable? absurd!

          But the Word’s as full of errors as of spooks,
            Whence conflicting, inter-damning creeds arise;
          Hence, these parson-priest-and-god-degraded books
            Are but human, therefore precious in our eyes.

                          –G. L. Mackenzie

        • Pofarmer

          Whoops, shes posting on Ryan Bells “I love to be ridiculed” post.

        • In the top line there’s a time (“2 hours ago” at the moment for Greg’s comment). Right click on that to copy the link address.

          (Does the same thing, I think.)

        • adam

          So do heart transplant receivers change religion when the heart goes into the body of someone who doesnt believe or believe differently?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          r u serious?

        • MNb

          Are you?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes. to b honest i think you have no respect for me.

        • MNb

          “yes.”
          Then Adam asks a valid question and your

          “r u serious?”
          doesn’t show respect for Adam, just like you didn’t show respect for Susan.

          “i think you have no respect for me”
          That’s correct. I only have respect for very special people and then only partially. You are not special at all, in no single aspect. Moreover you don’t show respect yourself when you don’t feel like. I wouldn’t know why I should give you an exceptional treatment.
          If you want my respect you have to earn it the very hard way. If you don’t want my respect there is no reason to complain. It’s up to you.

        • adam

          Of course, arent you?

          If it was hardwired into the heart, that ‘information’ should be transplanted with the heart.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          no.

    • SuperMark

      wait so you’re saying that the desire for god is innate? every person on the planet desires food, water and sex (sex has a few exceptions but having no sexual desire is almost always a symptom of psychological or physical problems) but not everyone on the planet desires god. case and point, myself. so i don’t desire to know or have a relationship with a god. how does this fit into your and Mr. Lewis’ argument? does that just mean i’m psychologically damaged? if so by what?

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        addiction(s)?

        • MNb

          What kind of addiction(s) could that be? I’m curious, you see, because I can’t remember how long ago was the last time I had the desire to have a relationship with god. I even have never been baptized (thanks, dad and mom). But I’m not aware of any addiction I’m suffering from.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          in my recovery i was very fortunate to discover my addictions were the most important things in my life. my whole life activity oriented around ‘guarding my supply’ it was a hideous futile attempt to create a fantasy world of control. while in denial i was not aware of any problem.

        • MNb

          Apparently again you don’t wish to answer a question.

          SuperMark asked: “does that just mean i’m psychologically damaged? if so by what?”

          You suggested: “addiction(s)?”

          I asked: “What kind of addiction(s) could that be?”

          The question was about addictions that might cause the lack of desire for a relationship with a god. That means I’m totally not interested in your personal issues. I suggest you to send your story to some pseudopsychological magazine. The column “Dear Deborah” might place it.

          The way you don’t answer questions just because you don’t wish to is a form of trolling – something you accused me of.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes i can c how mite interpret my ‘communiction style’ as trollish. i try to be civil and curtious in the spirit of inquiry. i do not have athiest language or education especially on latest developments or leading personalities.

        • 90Lew90

          I thought you might be a recovering addict when you tarred all alcoholics as being “severely mentally ill” with “no capacity for rational thinking or communicating”. That certainly is AA language. You must sincerely believe you are broken before you can be fixed, and in order to do that, you must trust in the ‘higher power’. Essentially that’s substitution therapy, whereby the drug is replaced with (usually) God.

          Perhaps you might want to reflect in your next meeting that the atheist finds much in religion which is objectionable on principle before you project your hatred of your old self onto him, and in so doing, projecting that same hatred onto all addicts. Not for nothing is religion known as “the opiate of the masses”. Just because you were a scumbag — “shaming and domineering” as you put it — does not mean that everyone who suffers from the disease you have must be like you were. And if you’d truly taken the message of your Jesus to heart, you wouldn’t be shaming alcoholics by using that condition to slur atheists. To be an abstinent alcoholic takes spine. So too but to a lesser extent does atheism. I’m working on being an atheist abstinent alcoholic myself at the minute. Two beers down and 18 to go today, but fuck it, it’s the weekend and I’ve just been to a funeral.

          About that funeral. My aunt died on Wednesday. Never smoked or drank in her life. Diagnosed with lung cancer eight weeks ago and poof! Gone. My father is 86 so we arrived fashionably late a few minutes after the service had begun. We sat upstairs on the balcony where we could see the ranked masses below. Convention would have had us in the front rows by the altar but that’s not my old man’s style and neither is it mine. Instead there were church-going cousins who never — I mean never — bothered to visit our aunt in her health or her sickness. Poseurs. Egotists. Masqueraders. (I have almost a hundred first cousins on that side of the family — Irish catholics took the ‘go forth and multiply’ bit very seriously — so I can afford to slag off a handful of them.)

          If I rejoiced in anything it was being with my father there. He’s atheist, tough as an old boot and makes a point of not buying into the whole charade. Distance from that church which I attended weekly as a kid just increases the ludicrousness of the spectacle, which itself was a pretty shoddy facsimile of what I remember.

          “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…” (this at the most solemn part of the mass, Communion).

          And Dad leans in to me and goes: “Certainly not you anyway.”

          I got the giggles.

          And again, after communion, he comments audibly about my cousin, a policeman, the aunt’s son: “He’s got the head of a cop hasn’t he. Thick neck. Looks like a German.”

          More chuckles. To be honest (why am I telling you this?), I’m glad I laughed twice, sincerely, at that funeral amongst all the false solemnity and I hope people laugh at mine.

          Anyway, good luck with the recovery and for God’s sake don’t take yourself too seriously. You needn’t wear your faith on your sleeve. Conspicuous religious belief makes the wise suspicious. Jesus would agree.

        • MNb

          Trolls perfectly can be civil and courteous.

          “i do not have athiest language”
          That’s not an excuse. All of us are familiar with non-atheist language. Hint: “I don’t know” and “I don’t feel like to discuss this” are perfectly acceptable answers, especially if you don’t mind to nullify previous comments of yours.

          Btw if Lew is right underneath and you’re an abstinent alcoholoic indeed you fully deserve my respect for that and even admiration. I come from a family with way too many alcoholics. I have a tendency for alcoholism myself, inherited both from my mother (indirectly) and my father (directly). I was 13 when I drank my first glass of beer and immediately enjoyed it fully. A couple of times I have been binge drinking, long before the term was invented. The only thing that prevents me from becoming an addict is a deeply rooted fear.

  • smrnda

    This may be the worst argument I’ve ever heard.

    It would be nice if I could sort a list in linear time. Yet somehow, n log n seems to be the best we can do. There are a mess of other problems in computer science that would be great if we could handle them in say, just polynomial time, but we can’t, and it’s not a ‘we haven’t figured it out yet’ it’s impossible in many cases. Just cannot be done.

    • Pofarmer

      None of Lewis arguments are particularly good.

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        w/ respetct what isn’t so paricularly good about them?

        • Susan

          w/ respetct what isn’t so paricularly good about them?

          What do you think is one of his best arguments?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          heres a good one susan;

          “Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

          Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/22-awesome-c-s-lewis-quotes/#ixzz3Jb1Y9UdV

        • MNb

          This is not an argument for god, this is a moral value. So you haven’t answered Susan’s question.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i answered as i wished.

        • Dys

          But what you answered with wasn’t an argument for any god. Or an argument at all.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes?

        • MNb

          No. You have answered as you wished, you don’t have answered Susan’s question.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          but i didn’t wish to.

        • MNb

          Then you were dishonest when you replied Susan’s

          “What do you think is one of his best arguments?”

          with

          “heres a good one susan”.

          Thanks for admitting.

        • smrnda

          This seems to have some holes in it.

          Let’s say that you are a slave, commanded to ‘love’ your master. this commandment goes easily wrong since as long as there is hierarchy, the commandments are really not equal.

          Or maybe I don’t actually know my neighbor? My neighbor might want me to mind my own businesses? My neighbor is really annoying? In these cases, I think tolerate is better than love. Let’s not set the bar too high.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          patience, tolerance, love. these are foundational to recovery.

        • MNb

          The conclusion – god – doesn’t logically follow from its assumptions. Moreover Lewis doesn’t investigate the consequences of his arguments, as I have shown underneath with my parody for pedophiles.

        • Pofarmer

          The are pretty much all presuppositional, for one thing.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          ‘presuppositional’ i’m not familiar. what do you mean?

        • Pofarmer

          It means you’ve decided on the answer or “presupposed” it, before you asked the question.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          thx 4 that!

  • R Vogel

    Lewis is such a great example of how Apologetics is really for the believer not the non-believer. Lewis is more than just revered by much of the Fundamentalist/Evangelical world, he is almost deified. To the point where if you criticize him his adherents look at you as if you just started speaking in tongues (see what I did there?) They love to quote him copiously as if he is a final authority on anything. But I find so many of his arguments to be so weak it is almost laughable. I think psychology has provided us with several reasonable explanations of where this ‘desire nothing can satisfy’ comes from. It is probably one of the unpleasant by-products of the development of human self-consciousness. (I am reading a little about Freudian thought about this in Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death. The idea that we develop a symbolic self that is in tension with our physical bodily I find very interesting)

    Of course what C.S. Lewis and all his followers have to address is, as Pete Rollins says in his book The Idolatry of G*d, ‘Because so much of the church has bought into the idea that Jesus is the ultimate bridge between ourselves and that which we feel separated from, it finds itself with the same problem as any other company that promises a product that will make you happy: how to hide the reality that is doesn’t really work.”

    • MNb

      “Lewis is such a great example of how Apologetics is really for the believer not the non-believer.”
      Sounds like (self-)delusion to me. Compare with “Newton is such a great example of how Classical Physics is really for the people who accept the scientific method, not the people who reject it.” Classical Physics still apply to the latter.

      • R Vogel

        I absolutely agree. That is their whole point of their existence, though. To perpetuate the false delusion that there is a ‘rational’ basis for their faith. Honestly, does anyone other than Christians read Lewis beyond the Narnia Chronicles? No one really believes that anyone is convinced by these arguments, it is to further insulate the faithful from all you bad old atheists trying to undermine their perfectly ‘rational’ faith. If you weren’t blinded by your sin this would be perfectly clear to you! 😉

        That’s kind of cheap faith in my estimation, but then I’m not really welcome in their club either….

        • I’ve heard that Lewis (Mere Christianity in particular) is often cited as a foundation/source for many Christians’ belief.

        • R Vogel

          I know many who would make that claim too. I also know that their belief pre-dated their exposure to Lewis. Perhaps foundation in the sense that they think they can rest the intellectual basis for their beliefs on his apologetics, but I have never met anyone who was an unbeliever who was actually converted by Lewis. I actually saw a rather tragically comic opposite when my parents tried to bring him up with my Harvard educated father-in-law. He was as gracious as he could possibly be while maintaining that it was mostly shit. Even Lewis considered himself a failure in this regard.

          I just had wicked deja vu? Have we talked about this before?

        • I’ve heard many say that Lewis was instrumental somehow in making them who they are, but you are appropriately skeptical about whether Lewis actually converted them. IMO, apologetics are just to pat Christians on the head to tamp down their intellectual anxiety that this whole business isn’t really grounded on anything besides wishful thinking and tradition.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wonder if the Screwtape Letters had him up late, wondering whether all his apologetics weren’t in some way the devil’s work?

    • Why do you type God as “G*d”?

      • R Vogel

        As I think you may know, I still consider myself a theist, albeit a largely agnostic one. I borrowed the practice from Jewish tradition and for me it signifies that anything I try to say about G*d is necessarily incomplete. I find it helps me avoid the false confidence that I see far too many religious people exhibit when they talk about things divine.

        • adam

          The same holds true for all ‘gods’.
          Invis*ble Fl*ing P*nk Un*corns included.

        • R Vogel

          I’m sure in some context that is an really good point. Unfortunately this would not be one of them.

        • adam

          Why not.

          I find it helps me avoid the false confidence that I see far too many religious people exhibit when they talk about things divine or what they consider non-divine.

        • OK, but the same thinking argues that you’re incomplete about any deity. I don’t know why Yahweh deserves any more respect than any other. Except perhaps just tradition.

        • Brian K

          I sort of agree with Bob here. I’ve read much of Rollins’ work, and liked it, but ultimately I didn’t see the need to pigeonhole Jesus or The Bible into his brand of agnosticism.

  • Actually even if you believed this argument there’s another hole in it.
    We hunger, thirst, and desire things that may exist, but are not necessarily attainable. Wanting a thing does not put it within reach.
    People starve to death. Food exists, even really tasty and really healthy food, but it is beyond those peoples ability to attain.
    So to, even if you believed desiring a God meant there was a God, it offers no proof that such a God is attainable. He could easily be distant, cold, and unloving to you.

    • louismoreaugottschalk

      just occured to me there may be no proof attainable for anything unknown to one 4 myriad reasons. an example; previous to breakthru technology in ship building and navigation europeans did not know of the existance of the ‘new world’. the ‘new world’ was always there however.

      • Pofarmer

        It was theorised. Look up theology of the antipodes.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          really?! thats fasinating and kind of wonderful i think. i did not know!

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, there Were debates with arguments about how there couldn’t be people inhabiting the antipodes because they couldn’t possibly witness the second coming of Christ, and the bible stated the whole world would see it. Heady stuff like that.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          wow!

    • Lewis fans would say that we know that food exists and that its accessibility isn’t the point. They’d admit that God may be unattainable to avoid problems like Mother Teresa’s famous unfulfilled quest in her later life for God’s attention.

  • Adam Jester

    I’m not sure I completely agree with number 3. At least not if we allow for a more ambiguous definition for the term “god”. What I mean is that it has been suggested that indeed human kind has a deeply seeded need/want for, perhaps we lack a better term, religion. It could be biological or even psychological but I think it shouldn’t be hard to find an informed authority on such topics who would side with the notion belief in god and religion gave humans an evolutionary advantage. So would that not in some way contradict point 3?

    • MNb

      “it has been suggested that indeed human kind has a deeply seeded need/want for … religion.”
      A suggestion is not necessarily correct.

      “It could be biological or even psychological”

      Evidence?

      Counterevidence:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraha_people
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cārvāka

      “So would that not in some way contradict point 3?”

      Learned behaviour also can provide an evolutionary advantage. If one atheist with 100 fundies survives the apocalypse his/her chances of procreation aren’t very good. It doesn’t follow that that atheism is genetically determined.

      • Adam Jester

        Sure, here are some articles and sources which support the idea that as a species in general we are inclined to have/want/need religion. How you define religion may vary however. Also, I believe prominent authors and speakers have made similar claims and their findings are what I based my critique on.

        For example;Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett have written works that touch of this topic. You can also find debates featuring Shermer and Harris in which they concede religion is deeply ingrained in humans and probably served us in some evolutionary capacity.

        Of course, my point is not that religion is correct or true in any objective sense. My objection was to point out that there is at least some evidence and support, even from the atheist community, that religion and/or belief in god/gods is actually innate in our species.

        On your last statement,”It doesn’t follow that atheism is genetically determined.” I would have to read more of Harris but I believe he and others may disagree with you. I am fairly confident Harris is one who suggests that free will is refuted by science and that almost everything we do and think is in some sense out of our control. Thus he might actually conclude that atheism could actually be a genetic factor, at least to some degree.

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/jan/04/the-god-instinct-jesse-bering

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211511/Why-born-believe-God-Its-wired-brain-says-psychologist.html

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714103828.htm

        http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/religdes.htm

        • MNb

          “Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett”
          I’m not aware that these three folks have studied the relevant branches of science (genetics, neurobiology) to determine if religion is “hardwired”.

          Bering provides zero evidence. The Mail article is better, but not exactly conclusive. I liked the last two articles even better, but cannot help notice that again genetics and neurobiology were omittted.
          But yeah, I will take the idea more seriously. So thanks.

          Of course these articles neither address the Piraha people nor Carvaka.

        • Adam Jester

          I never suggested any of those articles provided conclusive evidence. I merely did a quick search for relevant material which supports the idea. And I can’t speak for how much research those authors have done but I am confident I have heard them, especially Harris, make statements within the same vein. Of course it is possible I have misunderstood these statements, which is why I admitted I need to read more of their work.
          I wasn’t concerned with the Piraha or Carvaka for this was a soft critique of the general idea being discussed. However, I am interested and I may look into the Piraha a bit more. I’m a little disappointed they were never mentioned in my religious anthropology class I took years ago. They might have provided quite the talking point.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Harris, at least, followed up his philosophy degree with a ph.d. in cognitive neuroscience, studying (to attempt to put it in a nutshell) the neural basis of beliefs (religious and otherwise). his third or fourth book was his thesis (‘the moral landscape’). (digression: now he makes fun of Dennett for believing in free will.)

        • MNb

          Ah thanks, I didn’t know.

    • God belief is often thought of as a side effect of something else that did have an evolutionary benefit. You’re familiar with the Hyperactive Agency Detector? I’ve blogged about this idea.

      • Adam Jester

        I am not familiar with Hyperactive Agency Detector, at least not by that name. In the comment below when I mention Harris and Shermer are they referencing this theory without using the term?

        • I’ve written more about HAAD here.

        • Adam Jester

          Yes, I believe this HAAD explanation is very much what I have heard. So am I to understand that human beings having a tendency or predisposition to assign agency in nature is not the same as saying humans have an innate desire to suppose supernatural causes.. thus by extension, the belief in spirits, god, or gods?

          For all practical purposes they seem indistinguishable to me.
          After all the argument being made in point 3 was summed up by saying “The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival” but if we believe this HAAD theory to be correct that would support the idea that assuming agency aided in our survival as a species which would go against that point would it not?

          Or am I just confused by the wording and terminology?

  • RichardSRussell

    A particularly apt epigraph from Charles Revson. Readers here properly pay the most attention to your original writing, but I want to acknowledge the little cherry you always seem to find to top it off with.

  • I think Lewis’s argument is more profound than even he knew or would be willing to admit publicly. His apologetics, like most others, tiptoes around the subjective experience of consciousness using rational arguments. That is why it is so easy to misconstrue his appeal to an innate desire for God as being on the same level as any other physical or emotional desire. These arise from the body, the brain, or the ego, but there is an entirely different type of desire that does not arise from any of these sources. It cannot be classified as mere wishful thinking or a hole in the heart. It is more like a person blind from birth who knows about seeing from others but hasn’t experienced it directly. His other senses are a poor substitute, but they help to confirm for him that there is a world out there that can be seen. When a person loses their sight after the age of 6, they still dream visually, so they can still experience vision within their consciousness as they sleep. They can even “see” things that they never saw before they lost their sight. This is more than a desire to see. It is consciousness working to expand itself beyond what can be detected physically.

    • adam

      Delusions

      Psychosis may involve delusional beliefs, some of which are paranoid
      in nature. Put simply, delusions are false beliefs that a person holds
      on to, without adequate evidence. It can be difficult to change the
      belief, even with evidence to the contrary. Common themes of delusions are persecutory (person believes that others are out to harm him/her), grandiose (person believing that he or she has special powers or skills), etc. Depressed persons might have delusions consistent with their low mood (e.g., delusions that they have sinned, or have contracted serious illness, etc.). Karl Jaspers has classified psychotic delusions into primary and secondary types. Primary delusions are defined as arising suddenly and not being comprehensible in terms of normal mental processes, whereas secondary delusions are typically understood as being influenced by the person’s background or current situation (e.g., ethnicity; also religious, superstitious, or political beliefs).[14] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosis

      • Did you mean to reply to me? If so, you didn’t make any attempt to tie your comments to anything in particular that I said.

        • adam

          My comment tied perfectly with what you said.

    • Seems like you’re just elaborating on the same broken argument. Some people just really think there’s a god, so there is?

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        can’t it be possible that some ppl think there isn’t a god and so, for them, there isn’t one?

        • Kodie

          Let’s say a fantasy is a real thing. It is an abstract real thing – people have fantasies, so these exist. If that abstract thing provides what you need, then you can’t say it’s not true, exactly. The people who are getting what they need from it are getting that from somewhere, but not from god, it’s in their own mind. Yes you can imagine something and build a castle in your own brain, and that makes you feel good, and I don’t need that, so for you, you call that self-delusion “god” and it’s not in my brain, so I don’t have “god.” In a way, you could definitely say that there is a “god” he just exists in people’s heads. He doesn’t really answer prayers, that’s an illusion and part of the way you trick yourself. There isn’t a heaven, but as long as you believe there is after you die, what difference does it make? If the lights just go off, you will not be unhappy about not going to heaven. In The Wizard of Oz, at least the movie, Dorothy walked a long way to ask a powerful wizard to send her back to Kansas, but the good witch said the power was within her all along, albeit magical shoes and an incantation. But really, Dorothy was unconscious the whole time, having been hit on the head with flying debris during a tornado and dreamed this story in its entirety. BUT really really, it is a fictional story elaborately recreated on a studio lot with theatrical tricks and illusions.

          Where this gets upsetting is the people who think we need to listen to and heed the rules of their own crazy and illogical thoughts. If god exists for you and seems to be good for you to think god exists, don’t bother me about that. The Wizard of Oz clearly does exist, it’s just that it has no relevance in anyone’s reality, even if it is your favorite movie.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          kodie please don’t upset yourself any more! you are under no obligation to read what i wrote.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not even close to Kodie upset.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes? a drama queen perhaps?

        • Kodie

          I drew you a very colorful analogy to answer your fucking question and you are too sensitive to imaginary things to fucking understand it. Not my fault. Don’t tell me I’m upset, or I shall flag you if you persist!

        • Kodie

          What kind of response is that? I’m under no obligation to ignore what you write, if that’s what you want me to do. Why do you think I’m upset, and why do you think I UPSET MYSELF? From what I understand in a short period of time, you are kind of nonsense. Deal with it? If you can’t read and you can’t write a response, then don’t.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          please don’t tell me what to do. i shall flag you if you persist!

        • Kodie

          Go ahead and flag the shit out of me.

        • Please don’t flag people for trivial annoyances. I permit pretty much everything that isn’t hateful. “You’re mean to me!” doesn’t count.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          thx 4 that. kodie was a persistant nag to me thru several postings. after i flagged she curbed her nagging. I think we are on better terms of understanding now.

        • Kodie

          I nagged you the same amount as everybody else, you douche.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          now i think of it a lot of ppl did not answer w/ respect or were civil but no one swore or called names as you have done.

        • Kodie

          Then your memory is selective.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          you think?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/respect you know nothing about it!

        • MNb

          No. It’s possible though that there isn’t any god, hence some people think there isn’t any. You got the sequence wrong – for the second time, because I have answered this before.

      • Try to imagine that there is more to consciousness than thinking thoughts and having feelings. You have to use your imagination at first, because you still haven’t discovered that there is anything else to your consciousness. You can’t look for God out there or within your logical arguments, because God is consciousness itself, to which yours is connected, and you have to be willing to explore your own consciousness to discover “him.” But if you are restrained by a materialistic dogma, then consciousness is your flat earth. You won’t sail beyond the regions of thought and emotions because on your map, the dragons of superstition are all that exist there.

        • MNb

          “Try to imagine that there is more to consciousness than thinking thoughts and having feelings.”
          Try to imagine that you can fly or that Avada Kedavra works. So what?

        • How about, try to imagine that human flight is possible. It started out as imagination, then those who dared to imagine began to explore the possibilities, which led to discovery and knowledge. It all began with imagination. Consciousness can be explored, and just because it is a subjective experience does not make it pure imagination. Sure, there are plenty of people who are deluded and who cannot understand where imagination ends and reality begins. Some of them are astrophysicists, who imagine black holes, dark matter, and multiverses to explain their observations. Unfortunately, no one will be able to ever directly observe a black hole, dark matter, or another universe. They are only convenient explanations. Consciousness, however, can be directly observed, but only individually. Nevertheless, direct observation is better than mere postulation.

        • MNb

          “try to imagine that human flight is possible”
          Then we can flap our arms and nothing will happen. Or we can rely on physics – ie “reduce” stuff to what can be measured and physically stimulated. Then we can build planes and balloons.
          Black holes, dark matter and the multiverse are not imagined. They are measured, no matter how indirectly.

          “no one will be able to ever directly observe”
          Irrelevant.

          “Nevertheless, direct observation is better than mere postulation.”
          Good luck directly observing heat, electricity and gravity. What you observe is just pain, when you touch a heater, stick a needle in a socket or when a brick falls on your head. Heat, electricity and gravity are “mere postulations”. I totally want to see you try this out in practice.

        • Kodie

          Language is how you communicate what’s in your consciousness. If you say out loud or write to someone that you imagined a way to get humans flying and then draw up plans or engage with someone mechanically inclined to work out the plan with your language, maybe they can figure out what you mean, and invent an airplane. Of course flight is possible – birds do it, insects do it. All that is needed is to figure out how. Do other flightless animals think “I wish I could do that?” Probably not many, but let’s say quite a few do their best. Once people traveled long distances one way on a boat and separated from their loved ones. Being able to talk to someone far away, or to conveniently visit them as often as you can afford to are needs and humans built technology to give solutions.

          Religion is just another invention. You can’t produce god, you can’t command god to perform tricks for you to prove it exists, you can only perceive patterns and call them signs, believe the end of your life is written and you are just walking through the story without knowing how it will go. You can imagine that because you can write a story or read a story or tell a story. You don’t know how it will end when you begin, but it’s how you imagine that you are a character in a larger story. You perceive there is someone you’re meant to be with, something you’re meant to become, etc., but you don’t exactly know how that’s all going to play out. You perceive things as happening to you, intentionally, and you perceive that it is a puzzle for you to figure out whether you did something to deserve it.

          Another person can’t be your author, you think it would be somewhat arrogant to be your own author and direct yourself, but really you are. You decide to go for it, or you decide to play it safe. You are the one who rationalizes all the choices you make. God is only an invention like an airplane. He can say whatever you want him to say, he can be whoever you like. A lot of people do not actually follow a religion, they seek out the one that resonates with their personal feelings. Often it is the same one they were raised to follow, but most would not remain if it did not also resonate with who they are. If you need something, the invented religion may provide your solution, but that does not mean god is real and provided your solution. As far as I can tell, religious people don’t quite understand that. Their experience with god is vivid and real to them in a way they can’t understand that I can reject or deny exists.

          It looks like you are confusing imagination of a scientist’s working model with the fantasy of religion that can fill in whatever holes you want it to. The scientist is getting closer to uncovering facts unknown until the model no longer works, a feature. Religions keep patching up the holes and ignoring the inconsistencies when it no longer works – you’ve become accustomed to it, and do not feel comfortable when facts get in the way.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          and then there is inspiration. Geniuses reach out in imagination and pull something out of their hat! It may be 90% perspiration & the rest? Well as bob Dylan would say get out of the new road if you can’t lend a hand!

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, and they go down many dead ends.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          so true!

        • Greg G.

          That is where theory comes in. A good theory provides an explanation that makes specific predictions of possible observations. If the observations don’t match up, the theory is rejected. If the observations are confirmed, there is support for the theory. It’s a matter of working out the ambiguous observations and refining the theories. Science progresses as better observations are made.

          Religion cannot progress this way as it relies on the ambiguities. Anything is possible in imaginary world’s so nothing can be ruled out. They just come up with excuses and apologetics.

        • Yes, I agree that the Bible is incredibly ambiguous. But, often an astronomer, archeologist, or historian is faced with a similar task of interpreting ambiguous data. You can’t always have the luxury of generating better data to interpret.

        • Guest

          But you miss the crux of Greg G.’s argument. There is no way in theology (the study allegedly devoted to learning the truth about God and His relationship with humanity) to rule out incorrect interpretations. They can “come up with excuses and apologetics” forever.

        • Absolutely right. It comes with the territory. Lots of pitfalls, lots of weird cults out there, autocratic religions, all based on their interpreting the Bible. If that is enough reason to abandon it, then perhaps I should give up on using money because so many other people misuse it. Filthy lucre, you know.

        • Kodie

          How much money do you give to your church?

        • Rudy R

          Our brains give us the capability of imagining a great many things, but it doesn’t necessarily make those things reality. It’s been demonstrated that consciousness is the result of brain activity, that is, electrically excitable cells that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals across the brain, akin to blood cells flowing through the heart. No brain activity will most likely result in no consciousness. We know that people who have experienced brain trauma have experienced a change in their awareness or perception of themselves and the world around them. If consciousness is something separate and distinct from the physical body, then a change in the physical body shouldn’t change a person’s consciousness. But we know that trauma to the brain can change a person’s consciousness, so it is more probable that consciousness is contingent on physical processes than on non-material or spiritual processes.

        • Perhaps you are not aware of the book,Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Near-Death Experience and Journey into the Afterlife. The author was completely brain-dead, which means zero brain activity, and yet he had vivid conscious experiences during that time. Should we discount his report because we cannot verify it? I would imagine that there are not too many scientists willing to step up and try to repeat his experience for themselves.

          Trauma to the brain can disrupt our experience of consciousness, just as a damaged television can disrupt our experience of the signal. But it is not logical to conclude that the signal originated in the television.

          Near-death experiences seem to indicate that once the brain is no longer involved in the process of consciousness, something else takes over and consciousness continues more vividly and completely than when it was limited to being channeled through our wetware.

        • Pofarmer

          His attending physician disputes the book.

          Near death experiences indicate a shared experience caused by a shared set if circumstances regarding the brain. Nothing more.

        • Rudy R

          It’s simply not a fact that the neurosurgeon was completely brain dead. He was put into an induced coma by the doctor who treated Alexander.

          Since you feel the brain is analogous to a TV, what is your evidence that a signal originates outside the physical brain to give a person a consciousness?

          And what is your evidence that “something else (not a consciousness) takes over” during a near-death experience?

        • If you don’t accept Dr. Alexander’s account, you can check out various studies that show exactly the same thing. Here’s a link to a story that describes one study of 63 clinically dead patients who were revived: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98447

          There is no firm evidence that anyone can offer on where consciousness originates. It remains one of the deepest mysteries of science. The medical research of the last 100 years has led to more questions than answers. For instance, memories seems to have no real location in the brain. You can take out various parts of a rat’s brain and it will still remember what it has learned. Scientists have found no brain “engrams” after 100 years of looking for them. That is why I decline to take the dogmatic approach that consciousness must originate in the brain.

          My theory about NDE accounts is that the people experience their consciousness directly, rather than through their brain. It’s just a theory. Like I said, consciousness cannot be studied under a microscope. All we have to go on is our own experience and what other people tell us about theirs. I know it’s more scientific to not believe personal accounts and to disbelieve your own subjective experience. But I’m not a scientist, and don’t pretend to be. But it is interesting to me where science has failed in its attempts to locate consciousness, and where science has reported findings that don’t support the brain origin hypothesis of consciousness.

        • Pofarmer

          You do realize that scientists can induce out of body experiences in a lab now, right?

        • Sure, and people can train parrots to talk. Does that mean that talking is just memorizing sounds?

        • Pofarmer

          They don’t induce things that are “like” out if body experiences. They induce out of body experiences. This is similar to the way that when christians pray, the brain records it in the same areas that record conversations, so the brain remembers it as a conversation, even though it was one sided. This may also be why prayer is so self reinforcing.

        • That’s just an assumption. You can’t measure consciousness, you can only measure brain activity, and you can influence consciousness in a crude way through stimulating the brain. In both scenarios, the scientist is attempting to reduce consciousness to what can be measured and physically stimulated. So I think that the parrot analogy works, because it is equally silly to reduce conversation to auditory events and teachable syllables. Of course prayer is a form of talking. No one disputes that, so we would expect that the brain is involved in the same way. I never imagine that God talks back to me in prayer. I know a lot of silly people do that. Can’t blame you for being skeptical about them.

        • MNb

          “So I think that the parrot analogy works”
          It doesn’t, exactly because both components (the talking and the brain of the parrot) can be measured and physically stimulated. In your immaterial understanding of consciousness that isn’t the case. So your analogy is a false one.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, I’m skeptical about you to. I’m skeptical about me.

        • Pofarmer

          The experiments i’m aware of don’t rely on brain scans, they rely on people describing their own experiences.

        • Rudy R

          What all the people have in common that have had near-death experiences is that their brain wasn’t dead. If a person becomes brain dead, they are essentially dead and will never come back to consciousness. And before you give examples of people who were brain dead and came back to consciousness, those people were probably misdiagnosed. We know enough about the brain to know that once a person has been correctly diagnosed as brain dead, they do not recover from unconsciousness.

          Just because you can’t pinpoint on the brain where memories are stored, doesn’t automatically support your hypothises. We already know that it’s a complete falsehood that the brain only uses 10% of it capacity. The brain uses all its capacity so what makes you think that memories need to be stored in one place? And it’s ludicrous to suggest that after only 100 years, since we haven’t figured out something scientifically, that we should regard something unsolvable by science. It took scientists centuries to figure out what we know about the universe. Why should it take any less for understanding the brain?

          You should know that your use of “theory”, is not the scientific use of the term. What you have is a hypothesis that has yet gone through the scrutiny of the scientific method. Until you do so, it will just remain an idea in your head.

          You know very little of what science has learned about how the brain works and the brain state called consciousness, but you won’t be detered in thinking you know something you just don’t know (faith).
          It reminds me of Christians who denounce evolution and declare it just a “theory”, but have never studied it. It’s really telling how ignorant they are when they refute it because, “if evolution is true, why do monkeys exist”? There are mountains of evidence, across almost all the scientific fields, that attest to it being close to factual, but Christians swat it away, because it doesn’t align with their faith in the creation story in Genesis.

        • I just find it interesting that there are many reports of NDE’s reported from people who had no brain activity. I haven’t personally verified all these reports. I don’t think you have either. If it turned out, for the sake of argument, that every one of them actually had brain activity, then it would be just another example where science could assume that the brain produces consciousness. But consciousness, by its very nature, will always be a metaphysical subject. If it is reduced to the merely physical, then our discussion here is just a by-product of chemical reactions, nothing more.

          I would never assume that just because something has not been discovered that it does not exist. But even scientists, when they spend billions of dollars in research looking for something and fail every time, should start to reconsider their assumptions. Yes, I know that I did not use “theory” in the scientific sense. I’m not a scientist, so that’s not surprising to me. Yes, these are just “ideas in my head.” There is a whole world of ideas out there that are not within the scope of science. I’m OK with that. What is the point of having every idea under the control of science? Is that a good thing?

        • Rudy R

          If there is a claim that someone with no brain activity experienced an NDE, that claim should be dismissed. No brain activity is death by definition and dead people don’t have a consciousness. Claiming dead people have consciousness is a supernatual claim.

          Even if our discussion here could be a by-product of chemical reactions or natural processes doesn’t make it any less significant than if it were a by-product of some supernatural process.

          I’m not suggesting all Ideas should be under the control of science. What I would suggest is that if that idea impacts my well-being, then it would have to be scrutinized by the methods of science in order for me to accept it.

        • Science should never be “by definition.” Maybe the definition is wrong and should be investigated. When science starts dictating what can and cannot be investigated, there is no more free inquiry, is there?

          Many important metaphysical ideas impact our well-being. I won’t quote any studies to prove my point, because that will just bring out the debunkers again. But I will say that I personally enjoy a healthier, more vibrant experience of life because I don’t need to submit everything that I believe and think to some scientific authority. And I find that people who learn to trust their own subjective experience are generally happier and more pleasant to be around.

        • Kodie

          I find people who trust their own subjective experience can be fearful, paranoid, bigoted, or angry. That’s kind of what makes them subjective. People who are wrong and don’t know it are annoying to be around, and people who are wrong and won’t change their mind are often the same people who trust their own subjective experiences. They lack curiosity but they act like they know better than everyone else, and believe “common sense” is the most accurate way to navigate through life.

        • Yeah, there’s a lot of willful ignorance that shouldn’t be confused with trusting your own experience. Religious narcissists, bigots, dogmatists, hypocrites, etc. probably turn more people off to the whole idea of religion than anything else. That’s too bad. We need more than common sense to navigate life. We need personal stability to deal with whatever life deals out, without mistreating others. Whatever your belief is, if it doesn’t produce something good and true within you is just a way to feel self-justified, which leads back to narcissism, bigotry, etc.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you are making a distinction, you’re the one who made the claim in the first place. You’re dismissing my subjective experience because you only know or keep contact with (more likely) people who trust their subjective experience who are happier and more pleasant to be around. Would I also find them pleasant to be around? You really just missed the point of what you said when I said it back to you in my subjective experience.

        • If your subjective experience denies the validity of mine, then one or the other is not valid. Non-contradiction. I am by no means affirming all claims to subjective experiences. That would be simple relativism. Rather, I’m saying that we cannot dismiss an experience merely because it is subjective.

        • Pofarmer

          “I’m saying that we cannot dismiss an experience merely because it is subjective.”

          Absolutely we can, and, in fact we should. Why? Because there is no way for us to verify it, among others. Thomas Paine “Age of Reason”. It’s free.

        • Rudy R

          Both your subjective experiences could be less affirming and less probable than an objective examination, so the law of noncontradiction doesn’t apply here. And yes, we can dismiss a subjective experience, if the aim of that experience is to be accepted as having a firm basis in reality, to be important and meaningful, and considered for subsequent actions.

          For example, if someone wants me to believe in the Christian god, they’ll need to provide me more objective evidence than their subject experience of being touched by the Holy Spirit. Until they provide me information that is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions, I deny the their claim as logical and factually sound.

        • I find myself caught in an unending eddy of comments that circle around the validity and meaningfulness of subjective experiences, and I find it amusing that anyone would think that they can disprove their general validity and meaning. All I need is one counter-example that everyone agrees to shut down this discussion. Take your pick.

          Music
          Psychiatry
          Politics
          Art
          Literature

          I could go on. Sometimes, it’s just quicker to use examples than to theorize your way to the answer.

        • MNb

          None of your examples everyone agrees on, except perhaps psychiatry insofar it’s based on scientific findings, when it becomes objective by definition. You fail.

          “they can disprove their general validity and meaning”
          Once again – what’s your standard? If you don’t have one the general validity and meaning of subjective experiences are disproven indeed. What’s more – the word “subjective” by definition excludes “general”. Fail again.

        • Kodie

          Does anyone claim to have seen and experienced any of these while clinically dead? Your categories are messed up. A person who thinks, believes, or experiences something allegedly while clinically dead can only report on their experience, they cannot determine – it would be extremely difficult for the subject themselves to determine – the validity of their own experience. You are willing to believe personal testimony of someone who doesn’t actually know when they were dead, what they were allegedly thinking or not thinking. And I didn’t see any response from you about having dreams or thoughts or memories prior to or following the period of clinical death, or whether hearing upon waking from unconsciousness that they had clinically died, what associations they suddenly made, and how they validated those associations, themselves, while unconscious and/or dead. Not to mention the prospect of making money off their best-selling book for schmucks like you to glom onto for more “evidence” of something you wish was true.

        • Rudy R

          Simply listing words doesn’t shut down the discussion.

        • Kodie

          But you are cherry-picking and sorting subjective experiences according to some preconceived notion. YOUR CLAIM:

          And I find that people who learn to trust their own subjective experience are generally happier and more pleasant to be around.

          My experience is the opposite, but you weaseled your way out of validating my experience by defining it according to you own preferred notions. That’s complete horseshit.

        • Yeah, people do have preconceived notions, and we all pick the best examples when we are trying to make a point. I’m guilty. I guess that makes me a weasel.

        • MNb

          What’s your standard to decide which experiences you affirm and which ones not?

        • Let’s keep a perspective here. We are just having a discussion. This is not a debate. You are asking for too much of my time in what would require a lengthy reply, and I have other things to do. We both have a pretty good idea what each other thinks. Let’s just leave it at that.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I think science can get really creepy at times when ppl get into things like eugenics.

        • Pofarmer

          “What is the point of having every idea under the control of science? Is that a good thing?”

          It’s a good thing if you want to find actual knowledge.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          I like declaritive statement. I think it is a good thing for you to think whatever you wish. I think science is a good thing but not a totally reliable source of ‘actual knowledge’.

        • Pofarmer

          So, point out another source, how it works, and how it is verified.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          Please ask please.

        • Kodie

          Knock it off.

        • Dys

          Science itself isn’t totally reliable, which is why it incorporates peer review and other self-correction mechanisms. It’s not perfect, but science is the most reliable source of knowledge we have. Religiosity or spiritualism doesn’t even come close.

        • Greg G.

          Right, and as soon as we get a more reliable method for gaining information, I’m switching to it. That science is not absolutely reliable is a poor excuse to stick with the most unreliable methods like wishful thinking and religion.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          are there such things a religious methods or wishful thinking methods? if so i think science borrows from both of these methods sometimes.

        • Kodie

          The religious method is to ignore discrepancies or shovel bullshit over it and handwave it away. This tends to be satisfactory for believers. The wishful thinking method would be to cling to something that’s not true only because it feels nice, no matter what facts get in the way.

          If you’re going to say you “THINK” science borrows from either of these “methods”, you will have to go so far as to explain the connection and not just leave it at how it makes you feel like it’s true. You do that a lot actually.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes! true. i know of no other way to convey a feeling of it’s being true. i seek to further my knowledge and hope always someone feels the same as me, maybe has more experience or insight so that i can add it to the piece that’s missing. all that you have said here has been acceptible to me. you have a particular way of seeing the realities of a cult that is quite clear and sharp! wishful thinking/magical thinking is two sided I think. One one side it is sick, exploitive & obsessive. Flip it and it can be freedom of imagination or even inspiration to create something new to be a shared benefit for a community. ‘you do that a lot actually’ is critical of me? Like taking my inventory? If you say this to help me be aware that others find this behavior off putting I accept it gladly!

        • Kodie

          You just seem like the kind of person who can be convinced pretty easily as long as it seems true and resonates with you personally. That means you can be easily fooled and manipulated as well. You never did say what you really mean by science borrowing from religion or wishful thinking, perhaps you don’t even know what you mean by that. It just sounds deep so you say it, and then you leave it there without explanation. I can only comprehend that you don’t know a whole lot about science or appreciate how thorough and objective it strives to be, which is the opposite of wishful thinking. You are demonstrating wishful thinking – “I think science borrows from religion and wishful thinking” and suddenly that seems true for you without examination. What’s true because you like it or want it to be true? Nothing is true just because you like how it sounds. Science takes away your personal preferences and biases in order to find out facts. If the fact happen to coincide with your preferences, lucky you, but do not confuse the two.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          w/ respect i shall do as i wish. i hope in the long run it will be right. i enter in to this discussion in the spirit of inquiry and i have learned many valuable lessions.

        • Kodie

          I don’t care what you do, but next time don’t just say what you’re thinking and don’t back it up then not expect to be challenged when it’s obvious your thoughts come from the wrong end. W/respect.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          ok

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          that’s just it! i do hope & wish to be challenged. i don’t know everyting. for me this is a co-learning experience.

        • Kodie

          Then why do you avoid the questions that come when you just bs your way?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          do i really do that?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          do i do that?

        • MNb

          “i think science borrows from both of these methods sometimes.”
          You think wrongly. Now I should ask you for one single example. But I suppose you will start talking about something else “because you don’t wish to answer”.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          presumptive is a term i have learned here as it refers to discussions – you assume i will behave in a certain way b/c i have answered ‘as i wish’. you sem to not like that.

        • Kodie

          Your input just lacks a little everything.

          “as you wish”.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          how mite i improve?

        • Kodie

          Back up your assertions as requested, but you don’ wanna.

          Then we’re not really having a topical discussion, we’re listening to you ramble on about yourself.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          thx 4 this. i shall take more care.

        • Pofarmer

          Religious methods are typically called “revelation”. They don’t work.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          they don’t?

        • Pofarmer

          Nope.

        • Guest

          i think thats a good thing for you to think if you want to think it!

        • MNb

          “My theory about NDE accounts ….”
          Have you studied neuroscience? Done research? No? Then I shrug your “theory” off, as you only have sucked it out of your big fat thumb.

          http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/Documents/MobbsWattNDE.pdf

        • My goodness!

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes! insulting!

        • Kodie

          My theory about NDE accounts is that the people experience their consciousness directly, rather than through their brain.

          How?

          My theory of NDE accounts is that people who survive cobble together memories, and just like so many alien abductees, tend to draw a similar account of what it’s like to be dead. There is also what I imagine some time before and after a patient is clinically dead that they are not dead but not awake during which vivid dreams occur. When they are awake, there is no reason to think any memory they have of being unconscious occurred while they were clinically dead. How many were told they had been dead before they came forth with these stories?

        • Dys

          Clinically dead is not brain death, which makes the article a bit confusing. Additionally, many of the trademarks of NDEs can be artificially induced, and can be experienced by people who merely think they’re dying.

          Certainly consciousness is a difficult phenomena to define and investigate, but what’s been discovered doesn’t support the notion that it’s separate from the brain.

        • Dys

          You might want to look a little bit more into Eben Alexander’s account, as it’s so full of holes that the entire story deserves to be taken with a massive dose of scepticism.

          In short, there are blatant discrepancies in the book, and it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

        • I don’t know the guy and haven’t read his book, so it is quite possible he is just an opportunist cashing in on the public’s interest in other genuine accounts and studies.

        • Pofarmer

          So you don’t know anything about the guy or the book, but you’re sure enough to use it for apologetics. Typically braindead disshonest.

        • Just offering it as the most recent, well-publicized example of many. I’m not here to defend any religion, I just think that consciousness is a fascinating subject.

        • Pofarmer

          Consciousness is, indeed, a fascinating subject, but there is zero reason to jump it into the metaphysical.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          but there are many reasons to do so for the sake of well balanced discussion here i think.

        • Pofarmer

          Wishful thinking does not add “balance”.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          not ‘wishful thinking’. that is not what i’m thinking. for want of a better word ‘metaphysical’ was mentioned

        • MNb
        • Well, I’ve learned that the internet is a hotbed for debunkers of just about everything. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t a fraud. But how do you debunk someone’s subjective experience? Quote Hume to them?

        • Paul Floyd

          good point Gregory C.

        • Pofarmer

          Because the doctor attending to him says he is making shit up. Have you ever read “Age of Reason” by chance? Thomas Paine spends a good deal of time outlining why someone elses subjective experiences can’t constitute evidence for anyone else.

        • Who knows which doctor is making things up? Speaking of doctors, we have plenty of them who make a living on the basis of accepting and evaluating subjective evidence. They are called psychiatrists.

        • Pofarmer

          Few notes here. Number one, psychiatrists deal with how someone physically manifests their subjective beliefs. Number two, how do you think a Psychiatrist deals with someone who subjectively thinks they are the reincarnation of Napolean, for example? Three, psychiatry isn’t anything goes. Certain conditions manifest themselves in certain ways. Certain treatments are known to affect these conditions in certain ways. Psychiatry, while a social science is still considered a medical field, and there is cerainly much scientific work taking place within that field, as well as nueroscience.

        • You just demonstrated what is possible when you are willing to deal with subjective experiences. You can come up with really useful stuff and help people. Thanks.

        • MNb

          No. Because what you fail to recognize is that psychology and neuroscience look for objective (ie independent of the individu) explanations for subjective experiences. Take again my own example of hearing voices. Only quite recently I learned that it’s quite common and that there is a fine scientific, ie objective explanation for it. Guess which conclusion I accept? Not one that involves actual vibrations of air molecules coming from some mysterious source. But that’s exactly what you do. Now that’s fine with me; live and let live. But don’t expect me to buy it.

        • Not everything that is a subjective experience is a hallucination. And, no, there is no objective standard for deciding which is which. I’m OK with that. A doctor’s explanation could be helpful if you suspect a medical reason. But again, you are focusing only on physical phenomena that can be explained scientifically. We’ve been through that already. The world is bigger than science and whatever it knows.

        • MNb

          There is no need to debunk anybody’s subjective experience. We only have to recognize that subjective experiences by definition only are valid for the subject who experiences it. I know what I’m talking about. Sometimes I hear voices (maybe once in two years). That experience is totally valid for me. It isn’t for anybody else.
          Simple, isn’t it? So what I deny is that your personal subjective experiences of your consciousness, the divine or whatever is valid even a mm beyond you yourself.

        • Paul Floyd

          But just thinking about many things, does not mean we dread them as a reality no matter how strong an imagination one has. But death is not a imaginary thing – instead, it is a reality that all of sound mind must face.

        • louis

          ‘we know that trauma to the brain can change a person’s consciousness, so it is more probable that consciousness is contingent on physical processes than on non-material or spiritual processes.’
          i think it is more likely not mutually exclusive. my state of consciosness is both a phyisical and non-material reality i think. you are probably aware of the concept of the ghost inna machine? when we die the ghost is gone & the body i no longer aimated.

        • Greg G.

          That doesn’t answer the problem of brain trauma. When a part of the brain is damaged by injury or disease, a part of the self is destroyed. Memories, abilities, personality traits vanish while others remain. It doesn’t matter how the brain is damaged, it is the area of the brain affected that results in changes to the self. How would a brain injury affect a non-material ghost? Either there are lots of ghosts and some may get displaced or there are no ghosts but only an illusion produced by brain functions.

          There are drugs that keep certain proteins from forming that are related to memory. How would a drug affect a ghost in the machine? Date rape drugs shouldn’t work if your theory was correct.

          Vision is not a ghost-related function. It’s what the eyes and the visual center of the brain do. The mind is what the brain does.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          old age, too takes away. whatever i am, whatever I was, whatever i will be before I die, when I die I leave my body behind. ‘i’ is a brain function? O.k. You call it that? I, Louis, being of sound brain function and sober as a heart attack…

        • Rudy R

          What is a non-material reality?

        • louis

          non-material conscious invisible states that one is and can move around in the world with such as confidence, being ‘in love’, extroversion, introversion to name a few?

        • Guest

          Just as I expected. A very murky definition for a concept that is the equivalent to nothingness.

        • louis

          ‘presumtive’ is a term i learned here.

        • And the folks from the other religions say the same thing. “Just walk the walk–you’ll love it!”

          No, I’m good. But thanks.

        • That’s OK, I’m not trying to convert anyone to any religion. Just enjoying a good discussion.

        • Kodie

          Let’s imagine that there is some being somewhere in the universe with greater abilities to detect things we cannot sense with regular human faculties including every human invention used to assist our physical abilities. That being is not a Christian.

        • louis

          thx 4 this!

          ‘You can’t look for God out there or within your logical arguments, because God is consciousness itself, to which yours is connected, and you have to be willing to explore your own consciousness to discover “him.” ‘

        • Dys

          That’s the kind of thing you get when you start vaguely defining God to avoid refutation…a deepity that sounds impressive, but is really just semantic wordplay. It’s no different or meaningful than insisting that “God is love”.

        • louis

          no it isn’t

        • Dys

          Sure it is. Saying “God is consciousness” or “God is love” is just playing around with definitions. Nothing more than “God is [insert abstract concept here]”. Nothing more than playing around with definitions.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i think that if you, dys, have ever felt loved or you have loved you were experiencing god. that is all the definition i have to go by. one of the posts today posited that god is the overarching consciousness that our consciousness is connected to. Can the Trees see the forest? and that may be why we can’t grasp the concept of god: it’s too much!

        • Kodie

          Personal opinions are not what we’re going for here.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          pardon?

        • Kodie

          Do you not understand what personal opinion means? Does everyone get to define what god is like according to their preferences and warm fuzzies? If Dys has felt loved before, how do you take that leap and say “that there, that’s god! At least that’s how I have chosen to understand it.” Doesn’t Dys get to have his opinion about it? Doesn’t Dys get to say, Louis, you’re full of shit, the concept of god is much too vague as to be unnecessary in order to explain ordinary emotional experiences that can be described and explained materially via scientific inquiry. Good for you, you have labeled an ordinary emotional experience with a supernatural deity because it’s so amazing to you, so what? Why should anyone give a shit because Louis thinks so?

          In other perfectly understandable words, “personal opinions are not what we’re going for here.”

        • MNb

          “Does everyone get to define what god is like according to their preferences and warm fuzzies?”
          Yes. In fact it’s the only sincere way to believe. Now only if the vast majority of believers would realize and admit it the world would become much more enjoyable.

        • adam

          Exactly, but especially for all the Revealed ReligionsTM

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          we?

        • Kodie

          With all due respect which is none, yes.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          no i don’t you speak for everyone ‘here’.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          no i don’t think you speak for everyone ‘here’.

        • Kodie

          Show of hands: who has been here long enough to be familiar with the customs?

          Aye.

          The ayes have it. You’re the one who isn’t getting along.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          you are so funny & kind of fun.

        • 90Lew90

          Gazhundheit.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          bitte

        • Dys

          that is all the definition i have to go by

          But we already have a perfectly good word for love: love. We don’t need to redefine it to include magical spirits.

          that may be why we can’t grasp the concept of god: it’s too much!

          If god is incomprehensible, then there’s nothing anyone can say about God, including such empty platitudes as “god is love”. It doesn’t matter what gives people the ‘warm fuzzies’, it matters what can be reliably confirmed.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          but you have ‘brain function’ w/ in. and the reason you feel loved & can love is that b/c ‘brain function’ gives you this capacity?

        • Dys

          There’s plenty of evidence supporting the idea that love has an biological basis:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_basis_of_love

          I also personally find the notion that love is somehow cheapened as an idea if it doesn’t have a mystical, supernatural basis ludicrous.

        • MNb

          “i think that if you, dys, have ever felt loved or you have loved you were experiencing god.”
          You think wrongly. Moreover this is a perversion I’m not willing to try, thank you.

          “Can the Trees see the forest? and that may be why we can’t grasp the concept of god: it’s too much!”
          Can the individual human being see the crowd? Maybe the concept of god is not too much at all. Maybe there is nothing to see regarding god. You pulled off just another analogy that doesn’t work.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          as you say – it doesn’t work for you & you aren’t willing to try. i accept that.

        • adam

          god’s love

          You are confusing love with ego-manical fear mongering

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          W/ respect how do you figure? I think you may have a story I’d like to hear.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          i’m not skeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrd!

        • Pofarmer
        • louismoreaugottschalk

          also i am remembering a movie that is like this concept of overarching consciousness & being connected to; “the matrix” have you seen it?

        • 90Lew90

          So “God” is a creative enterprise? Therefore imponderable in any meaningful way? I think Hume would agree.

    • MNb

      “there is an entirely different type of desire that does not arise from any of these sources.”
      How do you know?

      “It cannot be classified as mere wishful thinking or a hole in the heart.”
      Why not?

      “It is more like a person blind from birth …”
      No, it isn’t and it can’t be. Blindness from birth has material causes – causes connected to the body and the brain (btw ego is part of the brain and brain is part of the body). That person is deprived to some extent from these sources. You cannot say that somone who does not have an innate desire for god (like me) is deprived from any source.
      Hence your conclusion is wrong:

      “It is consciousness working to expand itself beyond what can be detected physically.”
      That consciousness is also part of the brain. The expansion hence is and remains physical. Your god isn’t. If anything your analogy shows that Lewis’ argument from desire is wrong indeed.

      • How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I’ve explored my own consciousness. No one else can do that for me. That is how all philosophy is produced, by introspection. You can’t look at it under a microscope, but that does not invalidate philosophy. You can’t use logical arguments to define consciousness, any more than you can use logical arguments to describe where a river must flow. You have to explore it.
        All scientific attempts to prove that consciousness is produced by the brain have failed. Consciousness is essentially non-material, or spiritual.

        • Pofarmer

          Eh, rivers flow generally downhill.

        • louis

          that makes me think of this;

          “Wherever there is water there is someone drowning.”

          ― Robert Bly,

        • MNb

          “How do I know? Because I’ve been there.”
          And the possibility that you have deluded yourself is totally ruled out.

          “That is how all philosophy is produced, by introspection.”
          And here we have the first error. David Hume, one of the most important philosophers of all time, formulated his philosophical views by looking outside and observing what happened. That’s why he’s considered an empiricist.

          “All scientific attempts to prove that consciousness is produced by the brain have failed.”
          Oh, but there is a very simple experiment that shows that your consciousness is produced by your brain. We just do some surgery and remove your brain. Then your consciousness is gone as well. That’s why it’s totally material.
          Show me a consciousness without brains and I’ll consider your point. Until then, no.

        • Every metaphysical idea, according to Hume, is a construction of the mind, having no reliable correspondence to reality. Yet this proposition, by his own definition of metaphysics, is a metaphysical statement. It doesn’t deal with fact, quantity, or number, or experiment. It is a statement about ideas, and the way we treat ideas is properly the subject of metaphysics. That is why I do not take Hume seriously. He absurdly disallows his own statements.

          No matter how you try to get beyond metaphysics, you can’t make it go away. We are all confronted with our own subjective experience. We can either learn to accept it and even explore it, or we can try to deny it. Hume was a denier, a debunker. The physical-only worldview is just a dogmatic assertion that disallows all metaphysical discussion.

        • 90Lew90

          You can’t take Hume seriously? Possibly the most important philosopher ever to have written in the English language? I doubt that you’ve read him and would guess that you’ve probably read some half-baked attack on him by an apologist. His contention was that metaphysical claims were inapprehensible and unintelligible and thus should be treated with extreme scepticism, particularly when they are used as a guide to “ultimate” morals. This renders things like God or platonic forms imponderable. Basically, they do not bear thinking about. That is not a metaphysical claim but a rejection of a metaphysical claim. It’s akin to the believer claiming atheists “hate God”. Kant, one of the greatest philosophers ever to have lived, agreed with Hume and said that reading Hume’s Treatise had awakened him from “dogmatic slumber”. If anyone could have debunked Hume it was Kant, and I’m afraid your claim that he is self-refuting is a glib, puerile misreading. And that’s putting it mildly.

        • I can’t be bothered by anyone who thinks they can tell the world what bears thinking about, I don’t care how important they claim to be, how many words they wrote, or how sophisticated their reasoning. I draw the line in the sand at the point of free inquiry. Nobody crosses that line. Nobody.

        • 90Lew90

          Right, so you’re one of the fingers-in-ears, la-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you people. I’m not surprised you’re already refusing suggested reading. I can see where this is going. Again. Sigh. Hume says nothing more controversial than that since the existence (or non-existence) of a god or gods is unknowable, it doesn’t bear thinking about, and trying to apprehend “truths” about a god or gods via metaphysical arguments amounts to little more than a sophisticated parlour game; a waste of time.

          It’s not about stifling “free inquiry” (I love it when religious people start wheeling that out, irony-free zones as they are), it’s about concentrating on the stuff of reality which can be apprehended, observed, poked and tested. That approach has produced much fruit. Metaphysics produced nothing but reams and reams of pointless discussion, bound to and obscured by semantics, as parodied in the question about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

          Hume never claimed to be important, in fact he was very diffident, and didn’t write much compared with the metaphysicians. What he did advocate was that philosophers adopt the method of the natural philosophers (scientists) in order to free themselves from the endless, centuries-old cycle of farting about they had gotten themselves into because of the predominance of metaphysics. You cling to it all you want, but don’t think it holds any store. Metaphysics is intellectual onanism.

        • MNb

          “That is why I do not take Hume seriously.”
          You do – every single time you turn on your computer. Every single time you observe that your refrigerator still works. Every single time you drive a car. Etc. etc. Hume was fully instrumental in developing the scientific method. In the 21st Century there is only one escape from David Hume: leaving for a deserted island. But even then I’m pretty sure your brain is infested enough with scientific thinking that you’ll lean on him to survive.

          “No matter how you try to get beyond metaphysics,”
          But I don’t try to get beyond metaphysics at all. The scientific method itself is based on a few methaphysical assumptions. The justification is simple and I already gave it: science works. That’s my standard – does it work or not? You can interpret “work” as widely as you like. But if you don’t show somehow that metaphysics work it’s pie in the sky.

          “The physical-only worldview is just a dogmatic assertion that disallows all metaphysical discussion.”
          Totally wrong, as I just explained and is confirmed here:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics#Metaphysics_in_science
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Metaphysics_of_science
          http://www.bristol.ac.uk/metaphysicsofscience/

        • louis

          i think it’s kind of like cyberspace. we could not be having this convo w/out it. i don’t have to argue the existance of the technology needed for me to access it. all i need is an open mind to learn how to access it. there is an analogy here somewhere!

          “We will have to call especially loud to reach Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.”
          ― Robert Bly, My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy: Poems

        • Consciousness is spiritual? You sure about that?

          Is this a question of some importance to you? If so, would you drop your religion if science developed a consensus view of how consciousness works and where it comes from? If not, this isn’t a particularly interesting question.

          (And consciousness as an emergent phenomenon seems to make sense to me.)

        • If so, would you drop your religion if science developed a consensus view of how consciousness works and where it comes from?

          Nice try, Bob, but I’m very familiar with the tactic of asking unlikely hypothetical questions. For instance, people who find fault with my not owning a gun might ask, “But what if a lunatic broke into your house and attacked your wife?” So let’s just wait and see what science comes up with. Will they ever be able to create a Commander Data, that is, an artificial conscious being? That’s a question that has no definitive, provable answer, except by accomplishing it. Since it can never be disproved, it gives us the illusion that success is more likely than failure. Similar to the question of the existence of alien life. So the best answer I have is one that another commenter gave me: Show it to me, and I will consider your point.

        • Tactic? A tactic to what end?

          So let’s just wait and see what science comes up with.

          Because hypotheticals are really hard to imagine? I thought that was one of humans’ superpowers.

          You’re avoiding answering a question that seems quite reasonable. My point remains: if science were to reach a consensus view with a good theory that resolved most of the puzzles about consciousness, would it make a bit of difference to your faith? If not—and you’d just dredge through the list of science’s unanswered questions to get another puzzler by which to hold onto your faith—then I wonder if your position devolves into “science has unanswered questions; therefore God.”

        • Now you have fully drifted into the hypothetical, imagining what I would say or do in a particular situation. It’s just a tactic to seemingly “win” an argument. Like I said, I deal with actualities.

        • Yeah, I have to imagine it because you won’t tell me yourself.

          Is this just getting a little too close for comfort?

          If you just don’t want to go there, that’s your call, but I’m wondering what we can infer from that.

        • That’s the argument of last resort – personal innuendo. Look, there’s a good reason why hypothetical questions are disallowed in a courtroom. The standard objection is “Calls for speculation” and the judge will respond, “Sustained.” Why do you think that is? It’s because you cannot build a legitimate argument (one that corresponds to reality) on speculation.

        • I’m left with just speculation because you refuse to answer a question. Answer it, and I won’t have to speculate.

          If you don’t want people to engage with your arguments, keep silent. If you present an argument about the importance of consciousness, I assume that you’re adult enough to withstand some questions about it.

          Bad assumption?

        • Your question requires speculation on my part, not yours. I’m just trying to keep the discussion real. I don’t have any interest in speculative arguments.

        • No, I think you don’t have any interest in arguments that look like you’d come out looking bad.

          So everyone else in the world imagines hypothetical situations (What would happen if I called in sick today? What would happen if my investments doubled in value in 5 years?) except you.

          OK, got it. Some questions just dare not be spoken around you.

        • Some questions are by their very nature dishonest. This is just not any speculation, mind you, but you are asking me to speculate that I am wrong. That would just be a way of smuggling in your own wish into the discussion. I’m not going to play Aladdin and grant you your wish.

        • It just keeps gettin’ better! Not only did I use “the argument of last resort – personal innuendo” but now I’m dishonest. Maybe if I keep pushing, I’ll get a hat trick.

          It’s like you have x-ray specs cuz you can see right through me. I did indeed want you to consider other possibilities, including that you are wrong. I do it all the time, but I guess that’s just not how you roll.

          It’s refreshing, I suppose, to see an adult simply come right out and say that he refuses to speculate that he is wrong. I’ve at least gotta give you points for not beating around the bush. Thanks for that. I guess.

        • A dishonest question is not too hard to spot. If you actually need my cooperation for you to make your point, it just shows that you have no material of your own left to contribute. All you have left is petty needling. Real mature.

        • MNb

          God of the gaps arguments like your “science can’t explain consciousness, hence god” aren’t allowed in courtroom either. Hence you’re a hypocrite.

          “It’s because you cannot build a legitimate argument (one that corresponds to reality) on speculation.”
          Writes the guy who offers nothing but speculation. Like this:

          “Consciousness is essentially non-material, or spiritual.”
          A hypocrite indeed.

        • 90Lew90

          And yet all of metaphysics requires speculation. You’re tying yourself in knots.

        • MNb

          And every actuality that hasn’t been addressed by science yet you conclude “god” from.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps

        • MNb

          “unlikely hypothetical questions”
          Beg your pardon? Have you any idea how much progress neuroscience has made last 10, 20 years?

        • Aram McLean

          Start with ‘Touching a Nerve’ by Patricia Churchland. Pretty basic stuff, yet it shows that consciousness is most definitely created by the physical body. Work your way up from there.

        • Oh, thanks. I had no idea that they had discovered the answer. I guess they can stop trying to figure it out now.

        • Aram McLean

          Certainly there are still unknowns, but if you take something as basic as the reality that head injury, for example, changes one’s consciousness, right away you have to accept that the brain plays a major role in the creation of consciousness. Rather than just replying with kneejerk childish sarcasm, why not actually check out the book and learn about what the ongoing research has revealed so far. Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but if I took away your brain, chances are you wouldn’t have much consciousness left.

        • Let’s keep a perspective here. We aren’t here to tutor each other, we are just having an interesting discussion. No assigned reading.

        • 90Lew90

          The discussion would be a lot more interesting, every time, if you were remotely informed about the stuff you deign to comment on, such as neuroscience, which since the 1990s has been racing out new discoveries about the brain at breakneck speed, and which you summarily dismissed a couple of posts ago. Most of us here have at least adequate knowledge of religion to be able to discuss it. I find it interesting that its a tactic of religious people — almost always — to demure from talking about their own beliefs and instead wanting always to talk about science, as if science was some sort of object of worship for atheists. In so doing, they avoid the aspects of their beliefs they would rather fig-leaf, and almost always betray a woeful ignorance about science.

          I’ve read a heap about religion. I was brought up in a religion. I’ve also read a heap of popular work by scientists. I used to make a lot more effort a few years ago to elucidate decent arguments in debates like this, but it became Groundhog Day when religious opponents consistently refused to countenance well-wrought, evidence based arguments and would use any trick in the book — dishonesty and wilful ignorance notwithstanding — to try to hold their position. I ended up wondering what was the point. Maybe it would be worth your while to check out some of the reading suggested to you. Then you wouldn’t come out with things like: “All scientific attempts to prove that consciousness is produced by the brain have failed. Consciousness is essentially non-material, or spiritual.”

        • Aram McLean

          “All scientific attempts to prove that consciousness is produced by the brain have failed.” That comes across as a hell of a tutorial to me (if a false one). You throw out such confident ‘facts’ as that, you should expect some correction in return. But of course I don’t actually care if you want to continue to ignore the latest breakthroughs. It’s your life. Rather I respond so that other thread readers won’t be left thinking you were actually right. Have a nice day.
          EDIT: though I see on this thread I needn’t have worried.

        • Pofarmer

          Except your argument is based on vapor.

        • Kodie

          It’s not interesting to you to have your ideas challenged and to actually get “some perspective” by reading a book?

        • MNb

          Ah, the usual christian cheap sarcasm, based on “science can’t fully explain it yet, hence god”.
          You’re like the ignorant of 2000 years ago who claims that Zeus or Thor is responsible for thunder and lightning. When a contemporary sceptic provides a yet unsatisfactory answer (that would last another 1800 years) you answer

          “Oh thanks, I had no idea they had discovered the answer to thunder and lightning. I guess they can stop trying to figure it out now.”

          Good job, GregC.

        • 90Lew90

          You could do worse than to look at the work of the neuroscientist VS Ramachandran. He gave the 2003 Reith Lectures, available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lecturer.shtml and there is more current work available at Ted, here: https://www.ted.com/speakers/vilayanur_ramachandran

          I’m afraid your claims, “All scientific attempts to prove that consciousness is produced by the brain have failed. Consciousness is essentially non-material, or spiritual”, are just woefully wrong. Technology such as fMRI scanning have enabled us to witness the brain in action, generating consciousness. We’re also able to witness how the brain behaves differently when, say, psychoactive drugs like psilocybin or LSD are administered, producing “altered” states of consciousness. You really should make an effort to inform yourself a bit about the science before sweepingly (and erroneously) dismissing it.

        • 90Lew90

          Her ‘Brain-Wise’ is also good.

        • Pofarmer

          I am enjoying Braintrust also, although I have to digest it in small bites.

        • Blizzard

          Yeah you “explored your own consciousness” so that’s how you know so much. Why bother with this troll.

    • Paul Floyd

      very good.

    • louis

      thx 4 this!

      “His apologetics, like most others, tiptoes around the subjective experience of consciousness using rational arguments. That is why it is so easy to misconstrue his appeal to an innate desire for God as being on the same level as any other physical or emotional desire. These arise from the body, the brain, or the ego, but there is an entirely different type of desire that does not arise from any of these sources. It cannot be classified as mere wishful thinking or a hole in the heart. It is more like a person blind from birth who knows about seeing from others but hasn’t experienced it directly. ”

  • leilaleis

    I also believe that Lewis is a lousy theologian, and agree with everything here, except for #3.

    I agree that religion probably does not confer an evolutionary advantage. That is not enough to dismiss the argument, however, as every single human culture develops a belief in invisible entities, and a belief in a parallel, invisible realm which affects this one. Lewis believed that perception and desire drove that development. Noting that the development brings with it no observable advantage doesn’t undo it, as it’s there, and needs to be dealt with.

    I’m not talking about any specific religion, or any specific type of religion, which is one reason why Lewis is a lousy theologian. You don’t go “Gobekli Tepe! 18,000 years old! Parts of it were probably a temple! Christianity is true!!!!” Doesn’t follow.

    • MNb

      You may be right, but then you also have to explain why atheism was not developed once, but twice:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cārvāka

      and why the “parallel realm” of these people is totally visible to them:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraha_people

    • Tell me more about argument 3. Is it salvageable? Where does it go wrong?

    • louismoreaugottschalk

      w/ respect your last sentence contains entities i am not familiar: what is “gobekli tepe…xianiry is true!!!” izzat a c.s. lewis quote?

      • leilaleis

        Oh dear. We ended up bringing a new dog home, and I forgot all about this. Anyhow, Gobekli Tepe is a ruin in Eastern Turkey. It’s interesting in that it’s very, very old–hunter-gatherer old.

    • Aram McLean

      I think if you bear in mind that for millennium human beings looked to the stars for answers regarding the changes in the season and so on (their survival, essentially), and therefore took changes (such as comets) as magical signs of good or bad tidings (usually bad), then it becomes easy to understand why most human cultures developed a belief in magical thinking. Especially when you consider the common source.

  • Paul Floyd

    we don’t fear death… we fear how we will die. Very different.

    • My point doesn’t still hold? We don’t embrace death … and yet Lewis tells us that we all instinctively know that God exists (and that death is our route to him)?

      • Paul Floyd

        I think you on to something worth discussing but as with so many arguments (like Lewis’) that focus hard on the universals, there are so many particular exceptions. I think your push back is good, but on the issue of death, it is much more tied up with dread and anxiety rather than “fear”. I think the existentialists get it right here, when they point out that dread and anxiety of something (loss – of which death is loss of life and existence as we know it) is powerful and universal. It impacts our thinking lives more than we care to generally acknowledge. No other animal, as far as we know, contemplates this important issue. If there was not something more – why would we actually care about life and death at all? My cat does not. It just lives. But the fact that we are having this conversation demonstrates that we “need an answer” – a something more. Why? From whence does it come? And why is it universal?

        • Your concerns about word choice is fine–dread might be better than fear–but this doesn’t address the point. The dread rebuts Lewis’s argument.

        • louis

          thx 4 this!

          ‘If there was not something more – why would we actually care about life and death at all? My cat does not. It just lives. But the fact that we are having this conversation demonstrates that we “need an answer” – a something more. Why? From whence does it come? And why is it universal?’

          in the graveyard after my dad passed away i felt nothing but i was alert.
          i was bouyed up by numbness and a kind of endorphen high that’s hard to describe! i didn’t cry, then, b/c i never had much of a connection even tho growing up he and i lived side by side kind of like hostages. the mystery of loss is, to one who never had intimacy in the first place, a continued path of perplexity and paradox. i cried loud and long when my cat died.

        • Aram McLean

          ‘as far as we know’ means you can ignore my last comment 🙂 But to answer your question, we care about life and death because we are biological creatures. Other animals may not contemplate it, as you say, but put your cat in the wrong alley and you will quickly understand how much it wants to keep living. Does this mean that your cat is fighting for its life because it needs an ‘answer’? Just so do we react against dying. It is only through our ability to converse in a common language that such crazy concepts such as heaven have come into the common thinking of human culture. This does not mean they have any basis in actual fact.

        • Paul Floyd

          a cat does not dread death … humans do.

        • Aram McLean

          One: how do you know?
          Two: how did you manage to so completely miss my point?

        • Aram McLean

          On a personal note, I do not dread death. Yeah, I’d rather make it into my 80’s say, than die in my 40’s. And I’d prefer it wasn’t painful. But I don’t dread it. Sure, I used to. But then I grew up. The most negative thought I have regarding death is that not existing sounds pretty boring, though I logically understand non-existence precludes even boredom. But in all honestly, boredom is the extent of my ‘dread’. Life is fun. And as such I’d like to have the full human run of it. This means seeing through the lie of foolish guilt and baseless fears. I hope you might one day experience something similar.

        • MNb

          Ah, what a waste of precious time “foolish guilt and baseless fears” are. There are so many fun ways to waste our precious time!

        • Aram McLean

          Yep. I’m just glad I spent my 20’s travelling all around the world, otherwise my emotional state would have made them a total waste.

        • Kodie

          Is that the kind of thing that sends you to leap to the conclusion that there’s a god and humans are his chosen creatures? Cats also don’t have to work for a living and get to sit in the best chairs.

        • louis

          w/ respect i call to your attention w/ best intentions and wish for you to consider that your comment may fit the definition of a Straw man argument.
          [i got this from a ‘bing’ search]

          A straw man is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument. To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.

        • Kodie

          The original argument was “a cat does not dread death … humans do.” Just in case you couldn’t follow two posts.

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          yes?

        • louis

          the cat in the alley is triggered by fight or flight. i think these are states of consciousness we share w/ cats.

        • Aram McLean

          That is rather the way of all living things. Life wants to live. It is tenacious that way.

        • louis

          truely!

        • louis

          yes!

      • MNb

        Yes, your point holds. It’s just a bit more complicated than you formulated it. While I agree with PaulF I don’t think it terribly important.
        Consider this: if death is the christian route to god, then why do christians mourn their loved ones? They believe they only have lost them temporarily – less than a breath compared to eternal bliss. Might it be that their desire for death is not as big as they claim?

        • AlanT

          It is sad to have someone you care about out of your life.

        • Greg G.

          They say that there will be no sadness in heaven, only happiness. So when you get there and find that some of your loved ones got sent to hell, you will be happy to hear that. You will be thrilled that they are getting the eternal agony God says they deserve. So you get changed so that empathy and love for anybody but God doesn’t get to go to heaven. Who the hell wants that?

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          now who wants what? i know you want to make a point i’m not sure just what. do you have more thots on these matters?

        • Greg G.

          Is heaven over-hyped by Christianity? Most people hear that heaven is all good and don’t give it another thought. Try thinking it through, though. If there is only happiness but not everybody gets in, then whatever aspect of yourself that has feelings for other people can’t be had in heaven. Either your memory is wiped so you don’t know about hell or its occupants or your basic humanity is wiped clean so that you know they are being tortured but that is one of the things you can only be thrilled about. If you’re not thrilled, you’re not in that heaven.

          Many Christian theologies say that we have free will, that the possibility of sin is required for there to be free will, the soul is how we have free will, and the soul is the part of us that gets saved into heaven. From that, it necessarily follows that the soul must have free will in heaven, which requires the ability to sin.

          What happens if you sin in heaven? In Revelation, a verse (Erwin should be able to cite the chapter and verse) says that a third of the stars in the heavens will fall to earth. Since it is impossible for the smallest star to fall to earth without obliterating it, the verse is interpreted as a metaphor for a third of the angels being cast out of heaven. So if that many angels can only manage to not get thrown out for a few thousand or a few billion years, what chance does a human soul have to last for an eternity?

          If there is a god and a hell, either the god is rational or it is irrational. If it is irrational, it doesn’t matter what you did on earth and being chosen to spend eternity with the irrational god is probably the worst thing that could happen to you. If the god is rational, nobody would go to hell based on their earthly life. If the rational god favored any persons, it would be the ones who tried to follow reason. If the rational god rejected anybody, it would be those who relied on blind faith. Take that, Pascal!

          If any religion is more wrong than any other, it would have to be one that involves spilling blood and calling it good..

        • louismoreaugottschalk

          wow! i am humbeled and at a loss just trying to process the complexity of your thot here. i think the bible is full of contradictions and i rarely use it for information. i like to cherry pick. that way i can refer it to the only authority i know and respect: my own experiences of existance and having a good conscience. I am keen on when Jesus says things like: “you have heard it said an eye for an eye, but I say do good to those who hate you.” wisdom/ the kingdom or heaven? He says its w/in. W/in what? I think he ment our hearts & minds. Peace, confidence, wellbeing. These are attainable & sustainable I think. If I get to choose I would believe that everyone goes to heaven if heaven exists after we die. For me Hell is living in an alcoholic family, surviving, and being an alcoholic myself. I have no control and cannot influence where anyone goes after death. Greg g. These are my beliefs unique to me & I try to keep an open mind.

        • Aram McLean

          I heard it said, from my own mother no less, that probably god will simply remove the memory of the person who is not in heaven with her (ie: me) and therefore she will have total happiness. Christianity is some messed up shit.

        • louis

          maybe yo mamma!

        • Aram McLean

          Okay, I get it. You’re not right in the head. Good luck with that.

        • louis

          i am not disordered in my mind tho you very well might think that. my state of consciousness is influenced by a form of dyslexia.

          i think the comment you made about your mom telling you she thought she would not have a memory of you if she went to heaven and you didn’t is the real ‘culpret’ here.

        • Aram McLean

          I mean it, louis. I wish you all the best. Ciao

    • guest

      I fear death. Speak for yourself. The idea of not existing creeps me out.

      • Paul Floyd

        The amazing thing is that we as humans are aware of this fact — whereas no other animal has any such awareness. Isn’t this Lewis’ real point. Why have such awareness if it does not have any eternal meaning.

        • Kodie

          Why feed yourself breakfast if it doesn’t have any eternal meaning?

        • Rudy R

          Australopithecus, an ancestor of Homo Sapiens who existed 4 million years ago, had about the same brain size as the modern day chimpanzee. Either the chimp has an awareness akin to Homo Sapiens and humans are not unique in this respect or Australopithecus had no such awareness akin to modern humans and awareness is only unique in respect to evolutionary processes, ergo no eternal meaning.

        • Aram McLean

          How do you know what the other animals are aware of? This is an arrogant blind spot among humans, to assume we are the only creatures with awareness. No study (so far) can ever be conclusive on what another creature (human or otherwise) is actually thinking.

      • louis

        i found this this afternoon. your post made me think of it. btw i am posting my comments as ‘louis’ b/c of some class of wonk-up from disqus wiping out my former account. i used to post as ‘louimoreaugottschalk’.
        “Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
        Jump into experience while you are alive!
        Think… and think… while you are alive.
        What you call “salvation” belongs to the time
        before death.
        If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
        do you think
        ghosts will do it after?
        The idea that the soul will rejoin with the ecstatic
        just because the body is rotten–
        that is all fantasy.
        What is found now is found then.
        If you find nothing now,
        you will simply end up with an apartment in the
        City of Death.
        If you make love with the divine now, in the next
        life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
        So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
        Believe in the Great Sound!
        Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
        it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
        does all the work.
        Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.”
        ― Robert Bly

  • Kodie

    I am going to go out on a limb and say nobody needs god, it’s a fantasy. Way back when god didn’t love anyone, they didn’t draw him that way. God was fearsome and disappointed, and constantly needed superstitious appeasement to avoid his wrath. He wasn’t there to be anyone’s best buddy. This innate need for god seems like a more recent symptom of a psychological willingness to be told what you need, and then provided with that thing you can’t live without, and constant reinforcement from within of the perils of being without.

    Think of how they talk to us, what they’re telling them on the inside what we’re like and what we think instead of asking us and listening to our answers instead of disputing them. Think of how they treat others who find their way out – god doesn’t provide the punishment, people do. It’s just warped. People are threatened so much that they make it about punishing and banning and distrusting the person who no longer believes, it is a harsh deterrent from ever leaving, but still there is no god there. If you never heard of how much you need god and have a god-shaped hole that only god can fill, you would not need god.

    I have said this, in effect, before a good handful of times: If you are alive, part of the universe acknowledges you and might even love you. What religious people say often is that doesn’t count. It has to be ultimate and it has to be eternal. Their family and friends and anyone who has ever appreciated their existence is not enough. If you are loved ones with a Christian, this means your love doesn’t satisfy their greed for attention, and they actively dismiss your worth. They’ve been attracted to a better deal and sold you out.

    • MNb

      No, I don’t entirely agree. I can see why 2000 years ago people needed god(s). I can see why Jesus appealed to people, especially the slaves and the lowest classes of Roman society. Jesus gave them something valuable: hope. Bertrand Russell argues for this. If a society robs people from all hope in this life some of them will project their hopes on afterlife. I recognize this need. Since my son left to study at the other side of the Atlantic I suffer from depressions. The difference is that I reject afterlife as my future and hope. But it took me more than a year to figure out and decide what I want my future to be like. Just this morning I discussed my plans with my female counterpart, who obviously plays a big role in my plans.
      Point is: if this weren’t possible, if the future is bleak and prospectless, then it’s all too easy to shove it a bit backward – to afterlife.

      • Pofarmer

        “life is but a walking Shadow”.

        • louis

          yes! and this is very like it i think;

          “like
          a note of music, you are about to become nothing”

          ― Robert Bly, My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy: Poems

      • Kodie

        Well certainly it developed out of need. Inventions always seem to. I didn’t say when I just said relatively recently. By now most of the religious don’t really need it, but they are absorbed into it like an old wives’ tale, this is just the way it’s always been, and who are we to deny god, after all they are made to feel rather worthless. How bad can every Christians’ life be that they need more time and more love and more attention and more validation than the rest of us? It is a lot of being in the in-group now, “normal,” they contend that they hold morals and specific popular values that cannot be obtained without belonging to this group, and instead of seeing that they actually can be, they judge outsiders for having no meaning in our lives, and having very shallow feelings of love. At least one specifically, that sex is for married heterosexual couples open to procreating, and only then the orgasm is spiritual and meaningful. Outside of this arrangement, they call it lust and fornication with no meaning or value, and that sex is such a special power that it needs to be reserved for whatever they say it is. And if you are a person who does not need to delude yourself, maybe you used to but you got over it, they are willing to never speak to you again and to drive you out of town. Clearly they do not value people, they idolize their religion. The value that religion can offer people is just not translated all that well, and is traded in for the worst qualities that it can offer.

    • louis

      thx 4 this!
      ‘ If you are alive, part of the universe acknowledges you and might even love you. ‘

  • Aram McLean

    I think part of growing up is recognizing one’s feelings of irrational fear and hopelessness as just, well, a part of growing up. What happens, unfortunately, is that many people buckle under the fact that it takes time to naturally overcome these childish fears and concerns, and instead sell themselves short by turning to a simplistic belief in some sort of god for relief (whether the one of their upbringing or just the one that caught them at their lowest point). Cognitive dissonance kicks in from there and sadly many end up spending a lifetime spinning their wheels, perpetually convinced that all others must also have a ‘God-shaped’ hole in their hearts to fill, just like themselves. Never realizing that in fact other people actually grew up and filled this emptiness with actual experience. This, I believe, is one of the main differences between growing up and just getting older.

    • louis

      childhood traumas.

      • Aram McLean

        I wouldn’t say it has to have anything to do with trauma, beyond the fact that coming into existence is a traumatic experience in its own right. It’s more just the natural search for one’s place in this world (as Michael W Smith once put so memorably haha). A common sense of misplacement on the way to finding true peace and understanding in life. Sadly this difficult stage is when so many get hijacked by Jesus, YHWH, Allah, booze, and so on (especially more prevalent if their childhood hammered into them that belief in magical creatures in the sky was the only way to feel whole).

        • louis

          alcoholics anonymous? 12 step programs?

        • Aram McLean

          Use your words, louis. I’m honestly not sure what you’re getting at (beyond being condescending, perhaps).

        • louis

          no qffence taken! i often cannot get beyond a thot that pops into my mind as a kind of add-on to what the other person is proposing.

        • louis

          not my intention! please pardon.

  • guest

    I think desire for God is just desire for a loving parent projected out into the universe. It makes sense for us to want someone to protect us, to love us, to help us with our problems. It’s a natural human need for community. But just like hunger can overreach and make you eat until you’re obese, desire for a loving parent can turn into religion…
    Besides, the premise is unproven. Who says there are no impossible desires, which can’t be fulfilled? where’s it written? The universe doesn’t give a damn what we desire. I’d like to be 21 again, but it ain’t gonna happen.