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Do atheists have a Sense of Wonder? What do they Wonder About? Are they people who are Full Of Wonder and Awe? Do they Know It All or do they ever admit that some things are Mysteries Not Known by them? How deep and strong is their Agape Love?


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Initial post: Oct 31, 2012 6:27:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2012 6:27:55 PM PDT
DRM says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012 6:35:55 PM PDT
S. Friedman says:
Individual people can be atheists. There's no defined, unified position that all atheists share.

Is your OP asking individual atheists to answer for themselves?
Or were you hoping for an answer representative of the group?

I ask because a group answer doesn't exist, and I'd hate to see your time wasted if this is what you were looking for.

Posted on Oct 31, 2012 6:55:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2012 6:59:59 PM PDT
>>>DRM says:
Do atheists have a Sense of Wonder? <<<

As for me --one of the most militant atheists you will likely ever encounter-- I have an extremely strong sense of wonder.

I look into the night sky, at the billions of stars, and I am filled with wonder.

I look at the incredible number of animal species, and the behavioral patterns they are born with, and am filled with wonder.

I look at the oceans, with their amazing array of species, and know that countless species have not even been discovered yet, and am filled with wonder.

What I do NOT do --ever-- is just look at it all, and conclude ----- "Yup. Some unseen magical Sky Daddy MUSTA done it all!"

>>>DRM says:
Are they people who are Full Of Wonder and Awe? <<<

As for me...absolutely.

>>>DRM says:
Do they Know It All or do they ever admit that some things are Mysteries Not Known by them? <<<

there are mysteries that have yet to be unraveled by science. But they will be, eventually.

EVERYTHING has a rational, scientific explanation, ........with no boogey men or faeries or gawds or demons being in any way necessary.

>>>DRM says:
How deep and strong is their Agape Love? <<<

I don't know how strong mine is.

I can tell you this; it is stronger in me than it is in virtually every religionist/superstitionist (with their indoctrinated hatred and loathing for anything and anyone who is ***the other**) that I have ever encountered.

>>>DRM says:
Do they question themselves at all or are they Very Sure of Their Position and Beliefs.<<<

I question myself about many things. Said questioning does NOT expand to the degree that I am ever moved to seriously question myself ---- "Gee. What if the magical supernatural deity described in the religious books of the Abrahamic religions IS responsible for the universe and everything in it?"

THAT is one question that is, for me, settled to a 99.9999% certainty.

No such supernatural deity exists.

>>>DRM says:
How Strong Is Their Faith in their Atheism? <<<

My certainty (iow, as it relates to an absolute lack of evidence for the existence of the Xtian gawd) is on a par with my certainty that the sun will continue to rise over this planet for another few billion years.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2012 6:32:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2012 6:37:50 AM PDT
Ataraxia says:
"Do atheists have a Sense of Wonder?"

Sure they do. Quotes from Richard Feynman, Nobel prize winning physicist (and atheist):

"Poets and mystics say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is "mere". I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination - stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern - of which I am a part... What is the pattern or the meaning or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent? "

"There are the rushing waves...
mountains of molecules,
each stupidly minding its own business...
trillions apart
...yet forming white surf in unison.
Ages on ages...
before any eyes could see...
year after year...
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
...on a dead planet
with no life to entertain.

Never at rest...
tortured by energy...
wasted prodigiously by the sun...
poured into space.
A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea,
all molecules repeat
the patterns of another
till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves...
and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity...
living things,
masses of atoms,
DNA, protein...
dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle
onto dry land...
here it is standing...
atoms with consciousness
...matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea...
wonders at wondering... I...
a universe of atoms...
an atom in the universe."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2012 6:37:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2012 6:41:27 AM PDT
Ataraxia says:
"Do they question themselves at all or are they Very Sure of Their Position and Beliefs?"

No, most of them are not very sure of anything, and are proud of it. They look down on those who just glom onto whatever cultural mythology they grow up with and accept it blindly and unquestioningly as "ultimate truth".

More quotes from Richard Feynman:

"The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty - some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don't know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against religious authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question - to doubt - to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained."

'I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don't know anything about, but I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell possibly. It doesn't frighten me. "

"God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time - life and death - stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand at all."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2012 6:47:35 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Atheism isn't a belief so no faith is required.

We also use many fewer extraneous capital letters.

Posted on Nov 1, 2012 7:02:32 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
I WONDER what mental problem is afflicting DRM, and I'm AWEfully worried he's going to hurt himself.

I'd LOVE it if he'd get some professional help. I'm VERY SURE he would benefit from a time-out and a cold drink.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2012 7:22:59 AM PDT
Yes.
Here's what my dear atheist friend, James Longmire, has to say about the way he looks at the world: "Looking upward, I can see the cosmos accelerating outwards in all directions, an ever-expanding panorama of stars and planets, comets and quasars, black holes and distant galaxies. It's a colossal time machine, taking me back millions of years, and spanning incomprehensibly vast distances. It is a precious gift, bestowed upon us by the genius and perserverance of hundreds of dedicated truth-seekers...

"Bringing my gaze earthward, I am rewarded by a spectacle of such complexity and diversity that I am staggered. How can anyone ever be bored, immersed as we are in a world so brimming with life? It's everywhere, a ceaseless drama of conflict and co-operation, always striving to fill every gap and puddle, the towering peaks or the deepest oceanic abyss. And it's all my family, kin in the truest sense of the word, whether a massive blue whale, a virus, or the seemingly lifeless lichen on the granite in my backyard. Again, I owe this to those who have rejected the false certainty and comfort of authoritarian religion and superstition, often at great personal cost, in their quest to understand the reality of Nature.

"The Rock is not just a mere platform; it is a story in itself. A history of our planet, and a narrative of the ever-evolving patterns of life, each strata of rock a page in the tale of life. What a cast of characters, from the early single-cell organisms (still the dominant form of life, despite our grandiose pretensions...) on thru the bizarre and wonderful creatures of the Cambrian Explosion, the beginnings of ourselves in the first primitive fish, leading to the next chapter with the pioneers of the land, the amphibians and the reptiles, and again branching out in a wild profusion of dinosaurs, thecodonts, therapsids, mammals, and birds. There is even a little subplot in this story, beginning with a fecund little tree-dweller, and her prolific offspring, the simians and their curiously bipedal cousins, the hominids..." - from *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 6:47:44 AM PDT
Love it.

Those couple of paragraphs are, to me, more beautiful by far than anything written in that tome of lies and superstition known as 'the Bible'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 7:11:27 AM PDT
JL is an amazing writer and thinker. (He got banned from Amazon a year ago - fortunately, in preparation for the book, I'd managed to save a lot of his Amazon posts before The Great Banning.)

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 7:29:25 AM PDT
Great discussion thread! Some great responses! Having read some of DRM's other posts, I suspect he's not really interested in hearing them, which is too bad.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 7:33:26 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
Thinker, the greatest sense of awe I've ever felt was during the two years I lived in Paraguay. I would go out at night (I lived in a small pueblo, and there were no lights at night), and spend hours just watching the Milky Way, the Southern Cross, the incredible display of our tiny corner of the universe. Who needs more?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 9:10:31 AM PDT
Music for your memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDHzOfh5Qg&feature=relmfu

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 9:47:27 AM PDT
Lessfatman says:
Every time I see a newborn baby make eye contact with his mother I am filled with awe and wonder...

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 10:21:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2012 11:14:53 AM PDT
I have a sense of wonder when I realize my own imperfection and I realize that people love me in spite of it. What's interesting is how Christian that sentence sounds. And yet I'm not a Christian at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 11:04:47 AM PDT
Hi,
I am sincerely curious to hear your opinion.

"EVERYTHING has a rational, scientific explanation, ........with no boogey men or faeries or gawds or demons being in any way necessary."

There are some things we don't understand. We understand some things. So far, our playground has been 4% of the universe (matter), the remaining 96% entirely unexplored. And, of that 4%, we have explored how much? Well, we're not entirely sure how big that 4% is. Because we are still struggling with our parameters (or lack thereof, possibly), I hesitate to believe that everything will ultimately be understood by scientific exploration. Indeed, that very thought assumes there is a limit to what can be known. These are my thoughts. I am curious to hear a strong argument explicating your position.

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 11:36:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2012 2:25:41 PM PDT
B-Jak says:
It amazes me how often it seems some christians think that because someone doesn't believe in their god that the unbeliever is somehow limited, when it seems painfully obvious to me that they are the ones limited by their belief. Belief, by definition, rules out other possibilities.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 11:52:56 AM PDT
Mens Sana says:
DRM,
I enjoy your thread titles and think of them as "Self-Indulgent Essays in Theistic Diarrhea."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 12:08:49 PM PDT
Ahem. Christian here. Note that I posted a post in support of atheistic wonder. :)
Please do not follow in DRM's footsteps and make unhelpful generalizations about large groups of people. Please do not assume to know what every Christian thinks, believes, feels, or values. We do not all share the same beliefs about stuff. I am no more like DRM in my beliefs about God than you are.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 12:09:43 PM PDT
sfon says:
DRM says: "Do they question themselves at all or are they Very Sure of Their Position and Beliefs. How Strong Is Their Faith in their Atheism?"

I am absolutely, without a doubt, 100% certain that I do not believe in any deities.

I'm not saying that the Great Goddess is impossible. I don't know for a fact that she doesn't exist. I'm not omniscient.

Maybe there is actually an infinite number of deities who all exist infinitely... and they all 'blend in' perfectly with our natural reality. Who knows? My only certainty is that I don't believe in any of them.

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 12:26:55 PM PDT
Lufer says:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RjW5-4IiSc

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 1:33:05 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
That's lovely, Music. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find that CD!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 2:26:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2012 2:29:12 PM PDT
B-Jak says:
Sorry AWK-
I fixed it. Although I stand by my statement that belief eliminates possibilities. I have my own, and I often come up against my limitations based in those beliefs. Maybe even the belief that beliefs are limiting!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 4:43:50 PM PDT
Thanks, B-Jak! Much appreciated! :)
(My beliefs include the belief that nothing is impossible... :))

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 6:08:20 AM PDT
sfon says:
B-Jak says: "I stand by my statement that belief eliminates possibilities. I have my own, and I often come up against my limitations based in those beliefs. Maybe even the belief that beliefs are limiting!"

What I believe about the nature of reality certainly causes me to dismiss many claims and propositions. Primary example: I think in terms of 'natural' rather than 'supernatural'.

Then again, I have talked to many believers who simply cannot accept that nature has the capacity to produce all that we experience, and to be self-existent. That possibility seems as unlikely to them as a 'supernatural' source seems to me.

I don't think anyone should worry about being 'limited' to what they genuinely think is true. These 'limitations' allow us to function in consistent and practical ways. Nobody can believe *everything* they hear.

Excluding the 'supernatural', nature's capacity is still larger than I will ever know or have time to explore. From my perspective, my 'limitations' may dissuade me from chasing phantoms, but do not prevent me from experiencing and appreciating reality, or from continuously learning new things. To each their own path.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  25
Initial post:  Oct 31, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 3, 2012

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