[FoRK] Christians and atheists start a calmer dialogue

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Thu May 10 06:17:06 PDT 2007

Circularity warning.
We've already been there.

I suggested that you can derive a very productive practical philosophy 
from "fully informed rationality" and that the empty place can be filled 
with a combination of plenty of explanation that we already have, the 
scientific principle, and positivity about humanity (i.e. humanism).

Lion suggested dressing that up quite a bit for comfort and marketing 
reasons, which to some sounded like making it feel quite a bit like 
current religious subcultures.


Bill Stoddard wrote:
> It seems to me,  that for many people,  god and faith is a place 
> holder for what is unknown, not understood or explained.  That empty 
> corner in the room 'just has to be' filled.  With something, 
> anything.... in order to find peace and contentment. Plenty of people 
> can ignore that place, but many cannot and I have no idea why that is.
> Another quote ...
> "To trace something unknown back to something known is alleviating,
> soothing, gratifying and gives moreover a feeling of power. Danger,
> disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown - the first instinct is to
> eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation
> is better than none... " Friedrich Nietzsche
> Telling believers that they are idiots is not going to work. Telling 
> them their beliefs cause great suffering in the world is not going to 
> work. What are you going to place in that empty corner? Whatever it 
> is, it darn well better be transcendent or it will be ignored.
> Bill
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