Pensées, part III, note 233
The point of Pascal’s wager is to hedge ones afterlife bet, and that means picking the safest option – to Pascal, that meant at least acting as if you believed in god. Which was sound advice in a time when not doing so was heresy and a death sentence.
The problem with people who pose the wager as if some kind of cosmic gotcha, is that they think their god is the safest bet, otherwise, they wouldn’t be worshiping it. Never mind what that means about their individual faith, but the wager is a false choice and crafted as if there are only the two options: yes god, no god.
Believers who feel compelled to believe because they believe that believing doesn’t cause harm and gives them an afterlife advantage haven’t considered that there’s far more options than their particular god. There’s been 10’s of thousands of gods spread over a large number of distinct religions and compounded by the number of sects that each religion invariable splits into as well as considering all religions that are no longer practiced or will be practiced.
So it’s something of a shock to modern believers to learn that atheists who don’t see a difference between future, current and historical religions, and who view all religions as equally invalid choices given that they all have the same no evidence whatsoever to recommend them above any other. Moreover, the wager is a false dilemma as the choice is not between god and no god, but no god and any number of gods.
On the balance, rather than risk betting on any particular god and very gravely risking finding yourself in an unanticipated negative afterlife or being reborn to try again because there is an actual god and it’s not one that was worshiped either during your lifetime or in the geographic region you were born and raised in – for if gods exist and have anything in common, it’s jealous insecurity about being ignored in favour of other gods – so then not believing in any god, but living to the best of your ability would be the safest manner to not give offense if there happens to be a god, because behaviour and not worship should matter more to any deity that’s worth worshiping.
Living well and without god-worship, if there is a god, at least keeps you in good stead for the life you lived, rather than living well and worshiping a false idol, which is going to be something of a stumbling block to be explained and taken into account in any assessment of you.
By taking the god option in the wager, you also risk angering any god by false belief – worshiping merely to obtain afterlife reward and avoid afterlife punishment is hardly flattering to the god in question, and any god that existed, would surely be able to see through such self-serving conduct and could hardly reward such greed with the same reward given to people who believe because they actually believe and are motive by the threats of punishment and promise of reward for good behaviour.
Actually, maybe there’s not really a difference, so much as the degree of motivating fear and self-interest between the two.
This is actually something of a pet peeve for me when dealing with believers – that they are unable to understand that just because they are motivated by or find compelling threats of hell and promises of heaven (or whatever the given religion’s afterlife promises/threats are) they cannot comprehend that atheists are not compelled or motivated by threats or promises that are lacking in force.
If you do not believe there’s a god, then any threat or promise that stems from said god is not going to induce spine tingling terror or joy. Ultimatums that are issued without tangible proof are simply not compelling and generally, the natural inclination of response to any ultimatum, is to pick the option the issuer of said ultimatum sees as least desirable just to point out to them that they are rarely willing to make good on their ultimatum threat. And, if they are, then you are generally better off without them in your life. Ditto for deities.
Mind you, in all my school years of observing dozens of so called class clowns, the one and only time anyone ever took the “go to the principal” vs “settle down” option, was myself in high school when presented with the option of putting my umbrella on the sideline to play soccer in the rain or the dread go see the principal. My companion in crime immediately cast her umbrella aside, while I cheerfully headed off the field. The principal’s attempt to reason with me – ‘you can’t really safely play soccer with an umbrella’ was more than easily defeated with my reply that common sense dictates to not play outside in the rain at all. It was an interesting experience for this goody-two shoes policy wonk to spend the balance of the hour in the “bad boy” chairs outside the administrative office just to see the shocked look on teacher and other student’s faces.
I realized at an early age that the cost of standing up for oneself – or what was right – paid off in unexpected ways, and that common sense really isn’t that common. Worse, that more often than not, authority’s only concern is perpetuating itself, rather than being harnessed for any general or specific social good; so I have learned that authority can only be trusted and relied upon only as far as its own self-interest: consolidating wealth and power to an elite class of power wielders who demand respect, but never command it. Respect being earned and not bestowed – and serving self-interest, does not merit respect.
Respect is often confused with worship that is unearned and undeserved and worst of all, uncritical. This is why religionists demand special consideration of their beliefs and person, and they demand “respect” for their views, when they are really expecting worship – especially from non-believers. Really, if atheists were inclined or capable of uncritically viewing religion, then we’d be believers.
But, not being motivated by afterlife ultimatums or uncritically examining claims doesn’t leave a lot of common ground between believers and non-believers. But there’s a purpose for non-believers to engage with believers and that is to debunk their misconceptions.
The foremost one being that we’re not believers because we haven’t understood or been exposed to their religion – although what kind of a bubble they think we could exist in to have not been exposed is unclear. Most atheists were believers at some point, usually childhood and teens, sometimes into adulthood. The reality is that the average atheists knows more about the different religions and about any specific religion more than the average theists knows about their own – and theists tend to be unschooled about faiths that are not their own, except to demonize them as false while not being willing to apply the same degree of critical thinking to their own faith.
Besides the opportunity to explain basic science to theists – because too many simply don’t know or believe the creationist’s creative interpretation and their tarting up religion in sciencey language – the most important myth to debunk for believers is that the basis of morality is not divine.
There are many systems of morality and none of them require divinity, that human morals are human values – and everyone has morals, just not always the same ones or on the same basis. That morals are relative and not absolute, they are often circumstance dependent and require balancing many factors. The flimsiest basis for morals is the divine model, because determining actions on the basis of punishment or reward just means following the orders of the biggest bully who’s only the biggest bully until some bigger bully comes along.
Making good choices based on the information available is the best anyone can hope to do, and good choices are often complex and not based on a simple obtain reward/avoid punishment model. Since in the short term, lying, withholding, covering up, being dishonest are the actions that lead to immediate punishment avoidance if not obtaining an undeserved reward. And, if done well enough, there’s no long term downside if the deception remains undetected.
More than that, merely avoiding punishment and reward seeking behavior has no nobility or strength of character as motivating factors – and these are their own reward. It takes courage to stand alone, to inspire others to stand with you for a cause or purpose that’s bigger than immediate gratification.
Knowing you’re capable of doing the right thing, without material gain or reward, is its own reward: earned self-respect.
This doesn’t mean risking your life to save other people, although it might, it just means not bending to peer pressure or being a bystander, but by being authentic and a participating contributor in the world.
It’s Norma Rae holding up the hand letter “union” sign and the machinists, one by one, turning off the machines and conveying to management that fair wages and treatment should be the norm, not the exception.
It is being the change you want to see in the world, it is understanding the should of things and acting as if it is.
It means your actions are as your word and holding yourself to a higher standard, despite the costs, is what being a hero or martyr or authentic regular person is all about.
It is not living small, worshiping ultimatum issuing deities for whom there is no evidence or rational by which to accept there’s force or merit to said ultimatum or deity, and living small wishing for reward and avoiding punishment with the unfounded promise that you are part of a grand plan that you are not privy to.
Especially not when there’s a clear alternative that you can live as an active participant in an actual grander plan of your own design and ability to bring about in the world. If you are going to believe in anything uncritically, then believe in yourself.
Yes, no, both, neither
Yes, maybe, no
Creation, existence, destruction, nothing
Love, sex, orgasm, true love, big bang, creation
Metaphor, everything and nothing
Rise and fall, back and forth, compromise, limbo
Everything is it’s polar opposite,
truth is everything to it’s absolute
lies are nothing to it’s absolute
truth and lies are absolute
absolute is relative to something
something is nothing
Creation, existence, destruction, nothing
Perpetual self awareness
Positive, negative, yes, no
compromise, yes, no
Choices, absent, present,
we are everything and nothing (identity)
we are relative – magnitudes of the same extremes (personality)
everyone is another version of ourselves
we are all switches for each other, off and on
molecules, solar systems
bouncing and switching
atoms, genes, cells, organisms, organs, systems, individual
individual is a part of the collective
individuals are more than the sum of their parts
we must each play a part
we are parts
we are parts of each other
all or nothing
aware, unaware, self aware, oblivious
exist, express, create, communicate
hero working through all possibilities
villain opposing at each turn
heroes are villains working in reverse
switching, switching each other
trying to take each other along
influence, manipulate, bully, corrupt
oblivion, peace, protest, up-rise, revolt, civil war, war, warfare
Mouth, taking in everything tolerable, destroying it
Digestive, extraction, selection, absorption, expellation
Excreting, anus, gas, liquid, solids
Mouth, anus, star, black hole
Something, mumble, nothing, yell
Yell, hearing, action, reaction
See, aware, conscious, self aware, enlightenment, self enlightenment, perpetual enlightenment, unenlightened
Collective, individual, compassion, individual as part, parts become whole, the whole is the sum of it’s parts, self-aware, enlightened, self enlightened, yes no, perpetually enlightened god
Erupt, disburse, nothing
Individual, Driving it opposing it, compromise; both neither; me you; me or you, yes no
Nothing, everything, no one everyone god
Driving it, helping it, mocking it, in on it, opposing it, resigned to it, bored of it
Yes maybe neither everything nothing, depressed, is that all there is
Here it comes again, orgasm
Life is sex, creation
Life is consumption and destruction
This is insanity
But I am sane
Sane is clarity, but insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results, there’s nothing sane about clarity when you have to consider everything to be right
And endless loop
Life imitates sex – missionary to kinky
It doesn’t matter which path, as long as it takes us there
Paths are interwoven patterns
Patterns of loops, forward, backwards, sideways, up, down, movement, stillness
Patterns abstract and concrete
There and not
Everything and nothing
Shift POV, left, right, centered, justified
To the side, balanced
Rhythm – music, art
Each word a beginning, an end, a branch, a joining
Patterns are a rich tapestry
Tapestry of life
Life is a journey
Journeys are made of steps
Digress, loop back, stop, move ahead
Rhythm of the night
Night day, light dark
Exist or not
To destroy is to create
Mouths nourish and destroy
Digestion blends and extracts
Expel, expunge, expose, reveal, truth
Destruction is creation
Something from nothing
We eat, we blend, extract, destroy and expel
So, are farts the big bang or is orgasm
Orgasm deconstructs, rests, sleep
Sleep is the little death
Orgasm before sleep
Life before death
Sex nourishes and consumes us
Casts us into darkness
Waking to light
Awake is walking sleep
Existence is experiencing everything
Time makes that impossible
Time is relative
Relative is absolute
All and nothing
All or nothing
Expel, express, communication, common frame, POV
Acronyms, words, phrases, sayings, expressions, thoughts, belief
Feel the pattern, see the pattern, be the pattern
The pattern collapses and pulls into itself
Push, pull, yes, no
Push me pull you switch
Me you, or and
Me and you love
Me more than you, selfish
You more than me, true love
The pattern, flipping, becomes a ling, flip becomes a dot
Dot’s shadow is a line
Shadows, light dark, twilight
Yes maybe no
Shadows, twilight, light, dark
Any light is light
No light is dark
Yes or no
Resolved is the beginning and end
but I’ve solved problems that felt big before and never experienced this
Who said that?
I’m the only one
But I heard something
There must be someone else
Only one is god
Another god is maybe one before me?
I am the only one, there can be no others before me
But there is another one
Love hate like indifferent
I wonder if men fixate on Jesus and women on Joan of Arc
And the civilization that ties to each is different, male female different
Sexuality is about who you’re attracted to, attraction is fatal, true attraction is preference for the other person over yourself, true love
Gender is part of identity, who you identify with
MtFwM straight is gay
MtFwW gay is straight
WtMwW straight is gay
WtMwW gay is straight
Yes, no, maybe, both doubled into itself, a transition in the pattern
True love is opposites
Opposites are switches, genes
You always hurt the one you love, ignorance is absence from god, so hate the minority who is closest to god
Life, death, reincarnation, eternity
The start is the beginning, stillness, looping, everywhere and no where
Life, death, reincarnation, eternity
Life Branches off into every possible experience
Death is oblivion
Reincarnation is perpetual rebirth, redeath
Perpetual is eternity
Everything is nothing
Everything exists within and without, in-between and nowhere
Everything is a building block that works both directions in order of magnitude
When everything has happened, there’s nothing left
Enlightenment is the individual process of evolution
You don’t know
You think you know
You’re sure you know
You get it
You’re in on it
You’re the target of it
You’re the push back
Gravity, repulsion, love, hate, light dark, yes no – all and nothing
Contradiction in everything, but it
Pulled back to reality from absolute abstraction
New loop within the loop
The closer you get to truth, the more limited your option
Truth is a death trap
I am self aware of the pattern
Accept, in which case, I can move on to unawareness and existence, sanity, random from pattern
Reject, in which case, I am stuck, looped, repeating, insane
If I accept, I am in on it
Accept again, and I am inside and resisting it. Mocking? Fighting?
Ah, creation again, new layer
What can I accept?
Wait, is this the new final layer
Agnostic (can’t know the pattern) clueless, doubt
Gnostic (know the pattern) clued in
Atheist (reject pattern) ignore clues, reject, negative
Theist (embrace pattern) embrace clues, accept, positive
Skepticism is resisting knowledge of all things, reality, fiction, fantasy, imagination
Skepticism is nothing
(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (Gnostic) get it, (theist) in on it
– the last thing I had to deal with was fear? Of knowledge?
Wasn’t that the garden of eden story – eating from the tree of knowledge
Apples with seeds, seeds that sprout things or not
Tree of life
(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (theist) get it, (gnostic) in on it
Joy at living forever (theist), boredom of living forever (Gnostic), confusion am I living forever (agnostic) I am not living forever (atheist)
Octave is 7 and the share/switch
6 stories and the game changer/switch
6 stories are 3 told one way, 3 in reverse
Switch changes the story direction
One switch theist – in on it Three switches – levels of awareness of it
All we can realize is that there’s always another layer
Reverence (self aware)
Respect my reverence (entitled)
Respect is not bestowed(mock) Respect is earned (admire
Theist (aka it = God)/driver/control of all
Gnostic (in on it) demands control, drives the group
Agnostic (all and none,) rejects control, submits to the group
Atheist (individual)/passenger/control of nothing
Did this just swing from
Being life itself/god that to be an atheist is to have god inside you so that there is no external evidence, Gnostic, and doubt unsure where god is
The internet is the collective brain, where we choose what we encounter to play out over and over again, like a pattern, is the pattern, aware of the pattern
When you are surrounded by all the versions of yourself you become all and none in one
Black hole, mouth, anus, pulling in expelling out, turning everything inside out and upside down, twisted at a distance and linear up close
Distance and closeness is awareness, being aware of being aware of enlightenment
Being enlightened about enlightenment is perpetual enlightenment
All paths are to understanding what god is, and god is anything we want
Majorities and minorities form as similarly enlightened people form larger groups that must tear apart and collapse on itself
People collapse into each other is sex
Orgasm is merging, elimination and creation
Each level of of unaware to enlightened is the
The higher you go, the more outside you are so can only see the surface and not the machinations
So seeing only the surface, we make assumptions about what we know
We make an ass of you and me
Self Mocking you
One man and 1++W
One woman and 1++M
One man and 1++M
One woman and 1++W
One MtF and 1++M
One MtF and 1++W
One FtM and 1++M
One MtF and 1++W
One MtF and 1++MtF
One MtF and 1++ FtM
One FtM and 1++MtF
One FtM and 1++FtM
Why do I keep being interrupted just as I think I am close to the resolve?
Everything interrelated, in all directions, in none, expanding collapsing
A funnel dimensionally – infinity and zero
Guest Blogger: P Smith with a poem:
Theists claim the world is theirs,
That they work in churches and “A priori”;
The claim false titles to land,
And false titles like monsignori.
They congregate as the aggregate,
Of mixed up minds, set like concrete;
Dogma is no more than smegma,
They repost and repeat to replete.
The monastic bombastic – fantastic,
In toilets, the cloister will loiter;
Chopping glance at glans and glands,
Hoity-toity are they and their goiter.
In drag, priests take a drag,
The cannabis of cannibal cabalists;
Fellation of fellas by a fellowship
Lip service in a hateful solipsist.
Hypocrisy and christianity,
Together they march hand in hand;
“Do as I PRAY, not as I do!”
Lockstep in goosestep, they chant.
Pedophiles peddling petals of fronds,
And fathers fondling are fonder;
Palmistry for alms through psalms,
Have a yen for a yarn from yonder.
Popes and pastors are all pederasts,
More thought for image than damage;
Display their cachet and sashay,
Cache cash as they rape and ravage.
They lie that homosexuals are conceptual,
(And religion’s fascination with feces);
They rejoice that bois made a choice”.
Specious claims that “gays aren’t our species”.
They lie that lesbians are thespian,
That such women are wicca and wacko;
Their cynicism of schism about sapphism,
Theists would burn women like tobacco.
Not infallible but maybe fellatable,
They claim to answer to higher powers;
The morally vacant vatican,
Makes kids suck ivory in their towers.
Catharsis in the cathedrals,
Sinecure in the synagogues,
Masking murderers in the mosques:
The demonically deist demagogues.
Irresponsible and reprehensible,
They blather and blame as they bomb;
Dictators dispensing dichotomy,
They appeal and appall with aplomb.
They’re unconvincing and conniving,
Unconvicted religious conviction;
And like cocaine and heroin peddlers,
They seek to hook the young with addiction.
The religious want you to believe,
“Pascal’s Wager” is a way to determine;
Religion’s game is “Snakes and Adders”,
They’re all venomous vipers and vermin.
They babble and burble the buybull,
Overdone, and overwrought;
Bigots spew “begat” and “begot”,
They would make you pay for freethought.
There’s no shame in knowing you don’t know,
But there’s ignominy in ignoring one’s ignorance;
One can’t make conclusion from occlusion,
No avoidance of evidence before inference.
The world would be lighter and brighter,
It would not be bereaved or bereft;
Enlightened and enlivened, not burdened,
If behind is where religion was left.
An agnostic is not antagonistic,
And an atheist is not anti-theist;
Repeating lies won’t make them true,
(But try telling that to christian or deist).
If you had never heard of “god”,
Not molested by your mother with religion;
You would be an atheist now,
Because atheism is the default position.
For the same reason you reject Anu,
And other “gods” through Zeus, too;
Atheists reject all those “gods”,
And the one believed by you.
Don’t be ecumenic – try acumen,
Don’t be erratic or rabid – be rational;
Atheism is not violent like religion,
It destroys faith in ways educational.