Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why the absence?


I have been absent without leave. I apologise for the absence.  It has been a bit of time between posts. 


Director, Julie Edwardson (centre) takes rehearsal with the father, Richard and daughter Kat

Unforgiveable really but here is my paltry excuse.  I feel bad for my loyal and loved bloggers.
Apart from marking essays, I am engaged in a play about death.  You may recall a play reading was conducted in February and the full season will be run in September.  Here are some photos of the cast in rehearsal and in a cemetery.  The play uses poetry and music to elucidate the issues of death.
Harry is dying, his wife has just died and he is desperate to engage with his daughter Gracie, still damaged by her mum’s death. As Gracie and Harry talk, their conversation is sprinkled by excerpts from Requiems by Mozart, Verdi and Faure. Harry tries to tear Gracie from her screens to chat to her about death through the poem, Thomas Gray’s “Elegy written in a Country Churchyard” completed in 1750. He employs Dorothy Gray, Tom’s mum (herself dead 250 years) to assist. Together they unlock the nature of death for Gracie and for himself.
Death stalks the father and daughter in Death by Elegy.

The Requiems will be sung by a quartet of Emotionworks singers.  Directed by Julie Edwardson, this production will be performed in the St Kilda Uniting Church (near the corner of Chapel and Carlisle Sts) in September.  I will provide you with more propaganda closer to the event.  That is something you can believe.  Self promotion is a bit of a personal weakness as you all know.
In the interim, you may like to re-start a conversation on the issue of death.
Can atheism ever console those in grief or fearful of their own inevitable death?
Can atheism ever match the ritual and music of the Church?
Are the godless forever in fear or can they be strong in the face of the inevitable?
The father in the play is not only stalked by death but by conflict with his daughter.

31 comments:

  1. What do religion offer for all eternity sitting on the right side of god . Ones bum would get quite sore after just a few millennium .
    What we could ask is what do you like to do after a hard days work. The answer would be a nice dreamless snooze. No burning in hell or being bored shitless by the types who make it to the other place . Just complete peace. Also the thought that all your atoms will go on hanging about to end up all together in the center of the next universe.
    Brian Robb

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    Replies
    1. RalphH 24/068:10 PM

      “What do religion offer for all eternity sitting on the right side of god . Ones bum would get quite sore after just a few millennium .” (Brian Robb2:48 PM)

      Brian, eternity is not measured by time - it’s a state of being so don’t worry about your rear-end getting sore. I’m sure if it did it wouldn’t take a "few millennium" to do so. Where, by the way, does it say (in the Bible I guess) anything about “sitting on the hand of (G)od”?

      “What we could ask is what do you like to do after a hard days work. The answer would be a nice dreamless snooze. No burning in hell or being bored shitless by the types who make it to the other place .”

      Where do you get your idea of heaven (“being bored shitless”) and hell (“burning”)? I believe in heaven and hell and neither is like that. Heaven is described in the Bible as a place/state of “abundant life” (John 10:10) and hell is the ‘pit’/pits - “outer darkness … weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13)

      “Just complete peace.”

      If there’s no heaven and hell, there is no peace, only complete nothingness or non-existence. If you’re looking for peace, heaven is the place to aim for because heaven is a (mental) state of peace. Peace is not nothingness, it’s a fulfilled and happy life.

      “Also the thought that all your atoms will go on hanging about to end up all together in the center of the next universe.”

      Gotta admit, that’s a weird one (not Biblical by the way). The afterlife (heaven/hell) does not involve physical stuff like atoms. It’s all about the inner life of the mind/spirit.

      Delete
    2. No changes to pensions.
      No cuts to health.
      No cuts to education.
      No cuts to ABC or SBS.
      Now no afterlife.
      It's hard to know who to believe any more.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS10:22 PM

      RalphH: "The afterlife (heaven/hell) does not involve physical stuff like atoms"

      I think you need to reread Revelation.

      "It’s all about the inner life of the mind/spirit"

      Our mind/spirit is of thisworld Ralph and dies with the body.

      Just like the hole disappears when you eat the donut.

      Delete
    4. RalphH 25/063:18 PM

      RalphH: "The afterlife (heaven/hell) does not involve physical stuff like atoms"

      “I think you need to reread Revelation.” (MalcolmS10:22 PM)

      I assume you mean the Biblical book of ‘Revelation’ Malcolm. Can you be more specific? There are 22 chapters.

      “Our mind/spirit is of thisworld Ralph and dies with the body.”

      If there is need to label the physical world “thisworld”, the implication is that there is an ‘other’ world. Can you point me to any scientific research that demonstrates that the “mind/spirit …… dies with the body?”

      “Just like the hole disappears when you eat the donut.”

      If this is meant to be an analogy it’s a poor one. I can see no relevance whatsoever.

      Your assumption is that non-physical/spiritual things, which cannot be sensated physically, are created by and dependant on the physical. There is another possibility - that physical things are created by and dependant on non-physical things. Given the transient nature of physical things, this latter is a real possibility.

      Delete
    5. RalphH 25/063:26 PM

      “No changes to pensions.
      No cuts to health.
      No cuts to education.
      No cuts to ABC or SBS.
      Now no afterlife.
      It's hard to know who to believe any more.” (goblin shark8:14 PM)

      Your confusion, goblin shark, is in conflating things of different categories i.e political promises and the nature of being.

      Delete
    6. @RalphH
      "Your confusion, goblin shark, is in conflating things of different categories i.e political promises and the nature of being."

      Now that I think about it, you're absolutely right.
      How could an afterlife, based on such dodgy documentation, be considered a promise?

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS7:04 PM

      ""The afterlife (heaven/hell) does not involve physical stuff like atoms"[RH] I think you need to reread Revelation.” (MalcolmS10:22 PM) I assume you mean the Biblical book of ‘Revelation’ Malcolm. Can you be more specific? There are 22 chapters"

      The account contains numerous entities which are "physical stuff." Rather embarrassing for a world which is supposed to be a perfect spiritual realm and revealing that a world of disembodied spooks does not/cannot exist despite the pleadings of snake oil purveyors such as yourself. Consciousness conscious only of consciousness[Heaven] is a contradiction - before consciousness can identify itself as consciousness it must be conscious of something *other* than consciousness.

      "“Our mind/spirit is of thisworld Ralph and dies with the body.” If there is need to label the physical world “thisworld”, the implication is that there is an ‘other’ world"

      There is no such implication. I refer to "thisworld" in order to contrast your dualism for which there is no evidence. I could just as easily call thisworld *onlyworld* and would still be correct.

      "Can you point me to any scientific research that demonstrates that the “mind/spirit …… dies with the body?”"

      I have already pointed out that brain enables consciousness [as eyes enable sight]. If you want evidence then study the science of anaesthesia. A chemical substance[physical] reacts with brain[physical] and reduces brain function until consciousness ceases/goes out of existence. Provided the brain is kept in a healthy state during the proceedure brain restores consciousness as the anaesthetic wears off and is metabolised by the body.

      "“Just like the hole disappears when you eat the donut.” If this is meant to be an analogy it’s a poor one. I can see no relevance whatsoever"

      It's an excellent analogy which is perfect for the dull-witted. Even you know that a donut is an integration of dough and hole. Eat the donut and the hole goes out of existence even though transforming dough still exists. There is no hole-heaven Ralph :)

      "Your assumption is that non-physical/spiritual things, which cannot be sensated physically, are created by and dependant on the physical"

      Correct. I have never observed a disembodied consciousness yet my consciousness is both aware of the world and of itself. Consciousness is not "sensated physically" - but is *self* conscious. The existence of consciousness is enabled by brain and is not possible without its enabler.

      ""There is another possibility - that physical things are created by and dependant on non-physical things. Given the transient nature of physical things, this latter is a real possibility"

      To refer to something as a "possibility" means that you have *some* evidence for it and none that contradicts it. You have no evidence for your assertion. Your position is not a possibility but, rather, is entirely *arbitrary* and can be dismissed without discussion.

      Delete
    8. The afterlife (heaven/hell) does not involve physical stuff like atoms. It’s all about the inner life of the mind/spirit.

      And yet according to you sperm are required to carry the soul into life.

      So what carries it to heaven/hell? hmmmm?

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS2:40 AM

      magicsausagetosser: ".. yet according to you[Ralph] sperm are required to carry the soul into life"

      Yeah, but the sperm is already *alive.* Where does it get its soul from? Ralph refused to answer! Does the ovum have a soul too? Not according to Ralph! Apparently the ovum does not need a soul to live. Our soul comes from the sperm, apparently, according to Ralph's revelationary channeling! Mind you he cut the conversation very short at this stage :) So he could have something up his sleeve :) Spare souls anyone??

      "So what carries it to heaven/hell? hmmmm?"

      The "spiritual body"!!! LOL Don't you ever pay attention? You'd learn so much from Ralph if you did! :)

      Delete
    10. Spare souls anyone??

      You love it dont you tossrag.
      Go on... Soak em up.

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS12:44 AM

      magicsausagetosser: "Go on... Soak em[sic] up"

      LOL You're the self confessed disembodied soul soak around here dopey! Not me!

      Delete
    12. RalphH 27/067:43 AM

      “I have already pointed out that brain enables consciousness [as eyes enable sight]. If you want evidence then study the science of anaesthesia. A chemical substance[physical] reacts with brain[physical] and reduces brain function until consciousness ceases/goes out of existence. Provided the brain is kept in a healthy state during the proceedure brain restores consciousness as the anaesthetic wears off and is metabolised by the body.” (MalcolmS7:04 PM)

      Brain (and eyes) only enable in the sense of being contributory causes. At the top of the ladder it’s the mind that enables. Without the ‘inner-life’ the brain would be as dead as a dodo (which is what happens when the connection to the physical body eventually ceases). Consciousness does not “go() out of existence” under anesthesia. We just temporally lose physical awareness because the brain goes to sleep.

      "“Just like the hole disappears when you eat the donut.” If this is meant to be an analogy it’s a poor one. I can see no relevance whatsoever"

      “It (the hole in the donut)’s an excellent analogy which is perfect for the dull-witted.”

      Then I guess that’s why I don’t understand it, I’m not “dull-witted” enough.

      “Even you know that a donut is an integration of dough and hole.”

      The hole is never part of the donut. It’s simply a by-product of the shape/form of the donut.

      “Eat the donut and the hole goes out of existence even though transforming dough still exists.”

      The hole never existed as part of the donut so cannot be said to “go() out of existence”. It’s the donut that goes out of existence - when it goes down your gullet.

      “There is no hole-heaven Ralph :)”

      I guess not, whatever a “hole-heaven” might be. Heaven on the other hand is something that everyone has experienced if they’ve ever experienced true peace of mind and contentment. It has nothing to do with the structure or consumption of donuts.

      “I have never observed a disembodied consciousness yet my consciousness is both aware of the world and of itself. Consciousness is not "sensated physically" - but is *self* conscious.”

      There is no such thing as “a …. consciousness”. It’s not a thing or entity, it’s an attribute. We are conscious/physically aware of the physical so there is something outside of/apart from the physical that is being aware. It’s what I call the spiritual - the real essence/being/substance of a person, i.e. the “*self*”. This separateness is demonstrated in NDE (near death experiences) where the body (including the brain) is seen as separate and remote.

      “The existence of consciousness is enabled by brain and is not possible without its enabler.”

      It is only physical consciousness/awareness that is enabled by the brain, as demonstrated by NDE’s.

      “*”"There is another possibility - that physical things are created by and dependant on non-physical things. Given the transient nature of physical things, this latter is a real possibility”* (RH)

      To refer to something as a "possibility" means that you have *some* evidence for it and none that contradicts it. You have no evidence for your assertion. Your position is not a possibility but, rather, is entirely *arbitrary* and can be dismissed without discussion.”

      You have no more “evidence” for your assertion, so if my assertion is “*arbitrary*”, so is yours.

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS7:48 AM

      Part 1

      RalphH: "Brain (and eyes) only enable in the sense of being contributory causes. At the top of the ladder it’s the mind that enables"

      Thank you for your enthusiastic agreement that brain enables consciousness. Although I'm not too certain what you think mind enables. Ladders?

      "Without the ‘inner-life’ the brain would be as dead as a dodo"

      Of course! Death is the only alternative to life. Not sure how you think the "inner life" differs from life. Without life consciousness no longer exists also.

      "Consciousness does not “go() out of existence” under anesthesia"

      It most certainly does. What remains in existence is brain thanks to the skills of the the anaesthetist. Consciousness returns when the anaesthetic wears off provided brain function is unimpaired. FYI a consciousness which is conscious of nothing is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. All consciousness is conscious of something or what you refer to is not consciousness.

      "We just temporally lose physical awareness because the brain goes to sleep"

      Once more that is a very confused formulation. All "awareness"/consciousness/spirit is *mental* and not "physical." In fact "physical awareness" is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. Awareness of the physical exists but "physical awareness" does not. Awareness *is* conscious awareness. Also the brain never "sleeps" but functions less during sleep. The *person/individual* is the one asleep.

      "Then I guess that’s why I don’t understand it, I’m not “dull-witted” enough"

      Don't underrate yourself :)

      “The hole is never part of the donut. It’s simply a by-product of the shape/form of the donut....The hole never existed as part of the donut so cannot be said to “go() out of existence”. It’s the donut that goes out of existence - when it goes down your gullet"

      Without a hole there is no donut - at least the kind I specified. As an attribute of the donut the hole is real. As real as your arse-hole :) When you eat the donut the hole goes out of existence just as surely as your arse-hole goes out of existence when you die[and decay].

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS7:52 AM

      Part 2

      RalphH: “Heaven on the other hand is something that everyone has experienced if they’ve ever experienced true peace of mind and contentment"

      Observe how sensible you become when you join the secular? :)

      “There is no such thing as “a …. consciousness”. It’s not a thing or entity, it’s an attribute"

      Of course consciousness exists! What makes you think an entity exists but its attributes don't? What makes you think that traffic lights exist but *redness* and *greenness* don't?

      "We are conscious/physically aware of the physical so there is something outside of/apart from the physical that is being aware. It’s what I call the spiritual"

      Yes, of course there is. It's what I call consciousness. Or awareness. Or mind. Or the self. Or spirit. Or soul. But why refer to it as "outside of/apart from the physical"? It's enabled by, and integrated with, the physical.

      "It’s what I call the spiritual - the real essence/being/substance of a person, i.e. the “*self*”

      Consciousness/self is no more "real" than brain or big toe. Although you can say consciousness is more important than big toe.

      "This separateness is demonstrated in NDE (near death experiences) where the body (including the brain) is seen as separate and remote"

      Strictly speaking so-called NDEs are not examples of consciousness but, rather, hallucinations. Furthermore they tell you nothing of death as they always occur in life. Spirit/body are integrated and inseparable in life. Both go out of existence in death although body simply changes its form in death.

      “"To refer to something as a "possibility" means that you have *some* evidence for it and none that contradicts it. You have no evidence for your assertion. Your position is not a possibility but, rather, is entirely *arbitrary* and can be dismissed without discussion”]MS] You have no more “evidence” for your assertion, so if my assertion is “*arbitrary*”, so is yours"[RH]

      No, I have given evidence for my assertion, viz., that you have provided not a shred of evidence for "physical things are created by and dependant on non-physical things"! Until you do I dismiss your statement as arbitrary.

      Delete
    15. RalphH 01/075:42 PM

      “…. Death is the only alternative to life. Not sure how you think the "inner life" differs from life. Without life consciousness no longer exists also.” (MalcolmS7:48 AM - Part 1)

      The “inner life” is the life of the “inner mind”/the spirit (where the soul resides) - the loves that motivate and drive all thought and action. The “outer life” is the life of the body which is directed by the ‘outer mind’ by means of the brain. Consciousness (of physical things) arises where the two meet.

      “*”Consciousness does not “go() out of existence” under anesthesia”* (RH)

      It most certainly does. What remains in existence is brain thanks to the skills of the the anaesthetist. Consciousness returns when the anaesthetic wears off provided brain function is unimpaired. FYI a consciousness which is conscious of nothing is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. All consciousness is conscious of something or what you refer to is not consciousness.”

      I agreed to it’s being dormant while the brain was out of action. Saying it “go(es) out of existence” gives the impression that it is gone for good.

      “….. "physical awareness" is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. Awareness of the physical exists but "physical awareness" does not. Awareness *is* conscious awareness.”

      Argumentative! I meant “awareness of the physical”. It’s just a different way of saying it.

      “Also the brain never "sleeps" but functions less during sleep. The *person/individual* is the one asleep.”

      Good of you to recognise that the “*person/individual*” is distinct from the brain. Dr. Eben Alexander (a neurosurgeon and hence scientist) claims that his brain shut down completely when he experienced an NDE.

      Delete
    16. RalphH 01/075:50 PM

      “*RalphH: “Heaven on the other hand is something that everyone has experienced if they’ve ever experienced true peace of mind and contentment”*

      Observe how sensible you become when you join the secular? :)” (MalcolmS7:52 AM
      Part 2)

      You wish Malcolm!! It’s a state of mind that becomes permanent (if that’s what is really wanted) after the physical body is dispensed with.

      “Of course consciousness exists! What makes you think an entity exists but its attributes don't? What makes you think that traffic lights exist but *redness* and *greenness* don’t?”

      You really are picking at straws. I didn’t question that consciousness exists, only calling it “a consciousness” as if it were a thing/entity as is implied when you say it ‘goes out of existence’.

      “*”We are conscious/physically aware of the physical so there is something outside of/apart from the physical that is being aware. It’s what I call the spiritual”* (RH)

      Yes, of course there is. It's what I call consciousness. Or awareness. Or mind. Or the self. Or spirit. Or soul. But why refer to it as "outside of/apart from the physical"? It's enabled by, and integrated with, the physical.”

      Consciousness = awareness but mind, self, spirit, soul are much more than mere consciousness. It’s the soul acting on and within the body (which it creates for itself) that draws influx/sense impressions from the physical world and brings consciousness to and of the physical body in the process of building the spirit within (which is the real person/the true self) which,in turn, continues it’s existence in the spiritual/mental world when the physical body has played it’s part and is no longer needed. At that point consciousness switches from the physical world to the inner spiritual world.

      “Consciousness/self is no more "real" than brain or big toe. Although you can say consciousness is more important than big toe.”

      You’re confusing consciousness and self. If one is conscious/aware of self then consciousness cannot = self. The essence of self is the soul embodied by the spirit and for a short time by the physical body also.

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS5:59 AM

      RalphH: "I agreed to it’s[consciousness] being dormant while the brain was out of action"

      There is no agreement. It is not dormant. It is *nonexistent* during anaesthesia. As I said and you ignored: "..a consciousness which is conscious of nothing is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. All consciousness is conscious of something or what you refer to is not consciousness." I meant it.

      "Saying it “go(es) out of existence” gives the impression that it is gone for good"

      It does not. No more so than the fact that vision is nonexistent when your eyes are shut. The larger point is that all consciousness is enabled by the physical. Which is why there is no such thing as disembodied consciousness.

      "“….. "physical awareness" is a contradiction in terms and does not exist. Awareness of the physical exists but "physical awareness" does not. Awareness *is* conscious awareness [MS]” Argumentative! I meant “awareness of the physical”. It’s just a different way of saying it[RH]"

      No, it's not the same! It's just your latest pathetic attempt at obfuscation and fantasy re your false inner/outer mind distinction. You have been sprung!

      “Good of you to recognise that the “*person/individual*” is distinct from the brain"

      I have never taken that position! Don't be condescending Ralph.

      "Dr. Eben Alexander (a neurosurgeon and hence scientist) claims that his brain shut down completely when he experienced an NDE"

      Then the "experience" didn't last long or he would be dead! Nor was it an NDE! In fact it was a no-where-near death experience or he could hardly write about/discuss the experience! There is no such thing as an NDE.

      ""Observe how sensible you become when you join the secular? :)[MS]” You wish Malcolm!! It’s a state of mind[heaven] that becomes permanent (if that’s what is really wanted) after the physical body is dispensed with[RH]"

      Heaven is a "state of mind"?? LOL Then it's entirely secular. There is no such thing as a disembodied state of mind.

      "“Of course consciousness exists! What makes you think an entity exists but its attributes don't? What makes you think that traffic lights exist but *redness* and *greenness* don’t?[MS]” You really are picking at straws. I didn’t question that consciousness exists, only calling it “a consciousness” as if it were a thing/entity as is implied when you say it ‘goes out of existence’"

      I did not speak of “a consciousness.” I spoke of "a disembodied consciousness"[MalcolmS7:04 PM] which, in the absence of body, could only ever be an entity[if it actually existed]. Another of your spooks! If you want to argue that consciousness is an attribute, then, that implies that there is an entity of which it's an attribute. Another contradiction you have got yourself into by making stuff up.

      “It's what I call consciousness. Or awareness. Or mind. Or the self. Or spirit. Or soul. But why refer to it as "outside of/apart from the physical"? It's enabled by, and integrated with, the physical[MS]” Consciousness = awareness but mind, self, spirit, soul are much more than mere consciousness[RH]"

      All are aspects of consciousness from different perspectives. Consciousness is the broadest perspective and is usually used by philosophers. Mind or self are usually used by psychologists. Spirit or soul are most common in literature. When used by most religionists they reduce to BS.

      "You’re confusing consciousness and self. If one is conscious/aware of self then consciousness cannot = self"

      Self [the 'ego' or the 'I'] *is* consciousness. Consciousness *is* aware of itself. Where do you think you got the concept? You got it by introspection - by consciousness being aware of itself!

      "The essence of self is the soul embodied by the spirit"

      So, consciousness "embodies" consciousness!?!? You're a wacko Ralph.

      Delete
    18. lol
      If a brain farts in the forest, and no one bothers to read it, did it really fart?

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS1:36 AM

      Handy hint to magicsausagetosser.

      If your brain has started farting please check you are not standing on your head.

      If so, please re-orientate.

      It won't stop the farting but at least you'll be able to exit the forest before you bathe it in acid rain :)

      Delete
    20. Yes Rob, I feel that the ancient characterisations of the afterlife reflect the aspirations for happiness of ages past. No movies, no cartoons, no imported foodstuffs and etc. I imagine that people from past eras would find modernity to be heaven.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Dick

      Delete
  2. RalphH 27/068:49 AM

    “In the interim, you may like to re-start a conversation on the issue of death.
    Can atheism ever console those in grief or fearful of their own inevitable death?” (Posted by Dick Gross at 8:11 PM)

    Dick, I think the short answer to that question is “No.” and so is the long one. And, if death is the end, does it really matter because one won’t be around to worry about it or regret the loss. The best one could do is shut it out somehow because it would be impossible to come to terms with it.

    “Can atheism ever match the ritual and music of the Church?”

    The ritual and music of “the Church” is part and parcel of worshiping (acknowledging the worth of) God (by definition the being and source of all creation and perfection and hence eminently worthy).

    What have atheists got to worship? Themselves? The human race? The first is horribly short of the mark, the second, given some of the atrocities of which humans have been guilty, is no better.

    “Are the godless forever in fear or can they be strong in the face of the inevitable?”

    There is nothing to fear if one believes the truth. It’s a choice to disbelieve in God and not make the mental journey to iron out the difficulties of understanding. The only ”inevitable” (i.e. that can be proven) is that the physical body (a bunch of atoms organised into a physical human form) ceases to be sustained and animated and is said to 'die'.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ralph. Interesting answers. I too think that church ritual can be so uplifting. Requiem Masses can be simply amazing.
      However, the notion of "worship" is a complex one. The "W" word implies taking the human outside to find succour. The theist worship involves God (but not exclusively - community, congregation, charity and other things are important). The atheist must pursue those other things in worship. If we don't we risk becoming isolated and self absorbed.
      Thanks again.
      Dick

      Delete
  3. MalcolmS8:45 PM

    Dick: "Can atheism ever console those in grief...?"

    Yes, but not because they are atheists which only addresses one issue. People in grief are usually mourning a loved one. The focus should be on the virtues which caused your love in the first place and gratitude for the rewarding lives shared. The only advantage I see for atheists is that they usually know that all men are mortal and that death is inevitable.

    "Can atheism ever console those... fearful of their own inevitable death?"

    Maybe or maybe not. I would point out that our own death is not something we ever experience so is not to be feared. The only death we may experience is the death of others. It has been my experience that often the ones who have the worst problems dealing with death are those who have never really lived. Such people don't need an atheist or a priest - they need a psychologist.

    "Can atheism ever match the ritual and music of the Church?"

    Much "religious" music is magnificent but the Church certainly doesn't monopolize the field. My favourite Renaissance sculpture and several paintings are religious.

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    Replies
    1. RalphH 03/074:51 PM

      “People in grief are usually mourning a loved one.” (MalcolmS8:45 PM)

      They’re mourning a love but not necessarily a “loved one”.

      “The focus should be on the virtues which caused your love in the first place and gratitude for the rewarding lives shared.”

      Virtues do not ‘cause’ love. One may love someone or something because of their/it’s virtues or they may consider something a virtue because they love it.

      “The only advantage I see for atheists is that they usually know that all men are mortal and that death is inevitable.”

      You don’t think theists know this Malcolm? Death of a (physical) body is not death of a person. The Bible, for example talks, about the ‘second death”’ Jesus said “….. My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, ……. Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4,5) Being “cast into hell’ is the death of goodness.

      “I would point out that our own death is not something we ever experience so is not to be feared.”

      Unless it’s sudden and unexpected we certainly experience the lead up to it and it may be long and painful both physically and mentally.

      “The only death we may experience is the death of others.”

      We don’t experience another’s death, we experience our response to it.

      “It has been my experience that often the ones who have the worst problems dealing with death are those who have never really lived.”

      Who are we to judge if another has “really lived” or not. The only people who need to fear death are those who have been selfish and/or unkind- because that’s the day of reckoning. (note, the distinction is not between theist or atheist - these are just labels - it’s the heart that counts).

      “Such people don't need an atheist or a priest - they need a psychologist.”

      Why would anyone need an atheist (as an atheist) at death when they have nothing positive to say about the subject?

      ——

      To anyone who’s interested: I just looked at the forward programming for ABC1. At 8:30 PM on Wednesday 9th of July, Billy Connolly looks at ‘our attitudes towards death” (‘Billy Connolly’s Big Send-Off’). I don’t expect anything in depth from BC but it could be interesting.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:30 PM

      RalphH: "Billy Connolly looks at ‘our attitudes towards death” (‘Billy Connolly’s Big Send-Off’). I don’t expect anything in depth from BC but it could be interesting"

      Wonder if he's related to Billy the idiotcat :)

      Actually I'll watch if I remember as Connolly's an expert on religion.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xwPVgRaROA&feature=player_embedded

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    3. MalcolmS10:53 PM

      RalphH: "They’re mourning a love but not necessarily a “loved one”"

      There you go again. Disembodying the lover from the beloved.

      “Virtues do not ‘cause’ love. One may love someone or something because of their/it’s virtues or they may consider something a virtue because they love it"

      To love *is* to value. Where do values come from? For human beings they are *chosen* and obtained by the practise of virtue. Virtue is not its own reward Ralph. It's the means to obtaining values in life. Romantic love is the greatest of these.

      "“The only advantage I see for atheists is that they usually know that all men are mortal and that death is inevitable”[MS] You don’t think theists know this Malcolm?[RH]"

      Theists don't know it. They claim life in the grave is superior to this life.

      "Death of a (physical) body is not death of a person"

      Death means the end of the body, consciousness and the "person." All men are mortal and nothing is more final than that.

      "“I would point out that our own death is not something we ever experience so is not to be feared[MS]” Unless it’s sudden and unexpected we certainly experience the lead up to it and it may be long and painful both physically and mentally[RH]"

      Thank you for your enthusiastic agreement! What you describe is true but a part of life - not death.

      "“The only death we may experience is the death of others[MS]” We don’t experience another’s death, we experience our response to it[RH]"

      Of course. A response which takes place in life.

      “Who are we to judge if another has “really lived” or not"

      Typical of one who claims "judge not less ye be judged"! For those with an objective ethics and who know that one should "judge and be prepared to be judged" it's a cinch!

      "The only people who need to fear death are those who have been selfish and/or unkind- because that’s the day of reckoning"

      Isn't your quest to obtain eternal life selfish Ralph? :) My quest to remain alive for as long as possible and to enjoy life certainly is!

      “Why would anyone need an atheist (as an atheist) at death when they have nothing positive to say about the subject?"

      How about if it was the love of your life and you could thank the person for spending their life with you?

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    4. RalphH 05/077:45 AM

      “Actually I'll watch if I remember as Connolly's an expert on religion.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xwPVgRaROA&feature=player_embedded “
      (MalcolmS9:30 PM)

      What a moronic display. I guess I haven’t seen that side of Billy Connolly before, only a couple of travel documentaries. I hope he’s on his best behaviour and thinking more rationally next week.

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    5. RalphH 05/078:57 PM

      “There you go again. Disembodying the lover from the beloved.” (MalcolmS10:53 PM)

      You’ve got a real thing about disembodiment Malcolm. I can make no sense whatever of that sentence/idea. Care to explain!

      “To love *is* to value. Where do values come from? For human beings they are *chosen* and obtained by the practise of virtue. Virtue is not its own reward Ralph. It's the means to obtaining values in life. Romantic love is the greatest of these.”

      Looks to me as if you’ve made value and virtue entirely subjective i.e you’ve removed all objective meaning from them. Our choice is to value things that are truly valuable and virtuous i.e. to value the good and unselfishness of another i.e. by not valuing them in terms of their worth to us/our desires but in their own right by an objective standard.

      If virtue were not “it’s own reward” then it would have no objective value. IMO, romantic love is not the highest virtue because it’s basis is emotion. True love, which is also additionally based on reason and commitment, is.

      “Theists …… claim life in the grave is superior to this life.”

      Don’t kid yourself. There is no “life in the grave”, only a dead and decaying (or decayed) body. The (real) person has long exited the body/cocoon.

      “Death means the end of the body, consciousness and the "person." All men are mortal and nothing is more final than that.”

      I’m sure we could all agree and prove that death means “the end of the (physical) body but that’s all we could ‘prove’. The same cannot be said about the person.

      “Typical of one who claims "judge not less ye be judged"! For those with an objective ethics and who know that one should "judge and be prepared to be judged" it's a cinch!”

      It’s only a particular judgement - the judgement of the person/their final mental state for good or evil that cannot be judged - because we cannot read the heart of another. People can be confused and their behaviour may not mirror their inmost desires

      It is permitted, possible and imperative to judge moral and ethical behaviour. Why else would the Bible spell out what is right and wrong in this regard? Jesus also said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” - John 7:24)

      “Isn't your quest to obtain eternal life selfish Ralph? :) My quest to remain alive for as long as possible and to enjoy life certainly is!”

      Definitely not. The only way to obtain eternal life/true and lasting happiness is by being unselfish rather than putting one’s own intellect and desires above others (including God - the objective and ultimate source of truth and life).

      “*“Why would anyone need an atheist (as an atheist) at death when they have nothing positive to say about the subject?”* [RH]

      How about if it was the love of your life and you could thank the person for spending their life with you?”

      I’m sure the “love of our life” doesn’t need to hear negative things about death when they’re dying. They need a friend which may well be an atheist provided they keep their negative opinions to themselves at such a time.

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    6. MalcolmS7:33 AM

      RalphH: "I haven’t seen that side of Billy Connolly before, only a couple of travel documentaries. I hope he’s on his best behaviour and thinking more rationally next week"

      What part did he get wrong? :)

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    7. MalcolmS6:24 PM

      RalphH: "“There you go again. Disembodying the lover from the beloved.” (MalcolmS10:53 PM) You’ve got a real thing about disembodiment Malcolm. I can make no sense whatever of that sentence/idea. Care to explain![RH]"

      It's really quite simple Ralph. Any act of love involves two parties. The subject/lover and the object/beloved. You can't have one without the other. Get it?

      “Looks to me as if you’ve made value and virtue entirely subjective i.e you’ve removed all objective meaning from them"

      On the contrary. Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. Virtue is the means to obtaining life-furthering values necessary for life. Without such knowledge happiness in life and even life itself is impossible. That's objective.

      "Our choice is to value things that are truly valuable and virtuous i.e. to value the good and unselfishness of another i.e. by not valuing them in terms of their worth to us/our desires but in their own right by an objective standard"

      You have begged the question. Why presume that the "unselfish" is the good? If *life* is your "objective standard," then, the pursuit of life-furthering values *is* the good and is in your interest[i.e., is selfish].

      "If virtue were not “it’s own reward” then it would have no objective value"

      False. Virtue is the means to obtaining the values your life requires. Without virtues such as rationality, independence, integrity, honesty and productiveness you could not even feed, clothe or house yourself. Virtue is not “it’s own reward” but, rather, the means to obtaining the values required for life.

      "“Theists …… claim life in the grave is superior to this life[MS]” Don’t kid yourself. There is no “life in the grave”, only a dead and decaying (or decayed) body. The (real) person has long exited the body/cocoon[RH]"

      You have a very low opinion of your own body Ralph. I can assure you that without it there would be no you! Body enables consciousness. No brain = no consciousness = death.

      “I’m sure we could all agree and prove that death means “the end of the (physical) body but that’s all we could ‘prove’. The same cannot be said about the person"

      What fantasy you live in! A "person" without a body is a spook, Ralph, and *not* a person. A "person" without a consciousness is a corpse and *not* a person. Both are symbols of death and do not exist in life or in reality.

      "“Typical of one who claims "judge not less ye be judged"! For those with an objective ethics and who know that one should "judge and be prepared to be judged" it's a cinch![MS]” It’s only a particular judgement[RH]"

      Sure it is! *All* judgment is particular and there is no other kind of judgment.

      "“Isn't your quest to obtain eternal life selfish Ralph? :) My quest to remain alive for as long as possible and to enjoy life certainly is![MS]” Definitely not. The only way to obtain eternal life/true and lasting happiness is by being unselfish rather than putting one’s own intellect and desires above others[RH]"

      If it was genuinely your belief that "eternal life/true and lasting happiness" was desirable and obtainable, then, it would be in your own self-interest to pursue it. Which means its pursuit and achievement would be *selfish.*

      Delete

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