Here’s a nice post from Ebonmuse that captures the feeling of connectedness with the world without the pollution of religion.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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7 Responses to Immanence

  1. Gelert says:

    A wonderful post yes. And I am not one who claims you can find or ‘prove’ God in the experience of nature. Yet … when he says this:
    ‘But it’s not God’s love surrounding us from outside, as many religious believers would have it. What it is, instead, is our own love for the world, projected outward. It’s the rapture of being alive, of realizing our true depth of interconnection and solidarity with all living beings, that priests and churches try to recapture with ritual and ceremony. But their efforts are, at best, a pale shadow of the real thing.’
    I would say it is ‘merely’ – his opinion, as much or as little as those ‘priests and churches’ give, and that he judges their experience to be a ‘pale shadow’, without any real means of judging this, as an athiest. I guess the problem is that I have experienced both states of being – the athiest and the believer, and comment on both perspectives. As ever, I find many atheists speak with a vocabulary of position – a made up mind that too often has an agenda.
    I hope you don’t mind my giving of an opposing view – it’s just that I like my debates to be as far as possible, free of agenda, and so many athiests words are weighted with decided disaproval, of something they have no experience of, but appear to have made up their minds about – usually with negative connotations. Is this correct would you say?  

  2. Geoff says:

    Well, I’m not sure what my agenda is, but I certainly try and speak with a vocabulary of position… it’s so that I can try and convey the concepts and ideas that I hold. Others may not agree with them, but that’s the starting point of debate. I really don’t see why you make this sound as though this is not the way to progress. And, of course I will often focus on decided disapproval of many aspects of religion and belief, because these are the aspects that drive me to anger or despair.
    Basically, my position is that I see absolutely no evidence of the existence of the type of theistic god as described in the major world religions. The closest I could see myself getting would be to allow for the possibility of my being a deist – if it weren’t for the fact that it still doesn’t answer the condundrum of what created god.
    Organised religion strikes me as sharing a lot in common with Homeopathy. There are positive aspects to both – which help adherents of both belief systems to feel good, and to a greater or lesser extent, feel part of a community. But there is no evidence that Homeopathy is anything more than the placebo effect ritualised. As I say, that may not be a bad thing, so long as it doesn’t overstep the boundary. But when homeopaths start to proclaim that Homeopathy is an effective treatment of diseases such as Malaria and AIDS, then it has become dangerous. So it is with religion.
    I agree with a lot of what David Sloan Wilson says in this "debate" with Natalie Anger. I put that word in quotes, because I don’t think that there is too much disagreement between the two, it’s more where the emphases are being placed. I do think that the quote that Anger leads off with is particularly apt in today’s world – and it was written back in 1927.

  3. Geoff says:

    "conundrum" – not "condundrum" Gah!

  4. Gelert says:

    come back to you on this one, its currently 2.40 am. arghgh

  5. Gelert says:

    Yes. Of course we all have a position when we enter any discussion. What I meant was that when discussing things, our position is of course behind what we say, but that I found his position aggressive in that he was not discussing in a spirit of enquiry and learning, but making personal belief statements as fact – as in: ‘…it’s not God’s love surrounding us from outside, as many religious believers would have it…’ and then: ‘…that priests and churches try to recapture with ritual and ceremony. But their efforts are, at best, a pale shadow of the real thing..’  This is closed. Decided. End of subject.
    Maybe I’m being picky, but it comes over as a definite anti – an already decided view. If he’d said for eg – ‘Personally, if I as an athiest feel the same things in nature as relgioius people claim, what does this say? Could it not be just the ‘rapture of being alive….’ etc.
    That would be a discussion, and an interesting one, that I could engage with. Religious people do this too – ‘What atheists fail to realise with their godless view of the world….’ for eg. which I saw somewhere. Its just a closed discussion then, from a closed viewpoint that comes across less as a desire to seek and examine one’s own views, and more as a slap. It means no debate is really possible. Do you understand my waffle? I do try. And I do miss the chance to talk with a receptive alternative viewpoint.

  6. Geoff says:

    Gelert, I can understand what you say, and I do have some sympathy for it. There was a time when I prefaced every statement I made with "It seems to me that…" or "It strikes me as though it might be possible to say that…". But I have to say that in the running of the sands of time that I tend to cut to the chase more directly. Part of that is as the result of living inThe Netherlands for over 20 years. The Dutch have a directness that when many people (particularly the circumspect Brits) encounter it, will take their breath away. The Dutch do not pause to call a spade a spade – they will hold it in front of your face. And yes, for many of us who have been used to more cautious language, this comes across as an affront.
    But I have to say that I have also grown to appreciate it. I now think, let’s cut the crap and get down to the nub of the argument. This is my position; now let’s hear your counter-proposal… I am tired of this flowery faux-respect. Give it to me straight.

  7. Gelert says:

    Straight I can deal with. We could have a good debate you and I on those terms Geoff.

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