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Author Topic: Overlap of opinions with Penn Jillette (and other atheists)  (Read 2422 times)
BranStark
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« on: August 20, 2018, 04:27:20 »

Hi again!

Seems to me like I made a habit of showing up here once a year during summer, when things get a bit less hectic and I have more time to contemplate. And once the summer is over, a new semester at med school starts, I just don't find the time. Anyone else noticed this pattern with themselves?  grin

Anyway...

Politically, I consider myself libertarian. This might seem like a random statement that doesn't really belong here, but it is the reason why I recently stumbled upon an interview with a famous magician and atheist/skeptic Penn Jillette on a libertarian YT channel. I totally identified with what he said and I was kind of drawn to learn more about his opinions, since I had never really cared about him and thus didn't know much about him, although he is famous. Obviously, I came across his atheist and skeptical opinions as well. What striked me was how similar, sometimes outright identical, his opinions were to mine. Shockingly enough, according to his definition, I would have to describe myself as atheist as well, even though I am REALLY NOT.

In short, he approaches the question of whether there is any afterlife, god, divine being etc. with a simple "I don't know." This stance, he sais, is the most humble and sensible take on the subject. He also says that he doesn't think there is a God, but is open to possibilities and that any open-minded atheist, such as him, would be the first to change his mind if presented with evidence suggesting otherwise.

I could not agree more! It indeed is the only possible stance that makes sense. Only a hypocrite would claim that he has the defintive answer to the mysteries of what happens after death, a monopoly on truth, so to speak. Also, I actually used to believe the same thing as Penn did, until I did come across evidence to suggest otherwise (although my first OOBE is hardly "solid" evidence by scientific standards). Now I am sure there is something more than meets the eye. Yet I have no idea what that really is. And anyone who claimed any different would actually have had to die, then be resurrected and remember everything. And I am not talking about NDEs, I am actually talking about being "completely on the other side." Now, that might be the case for those who claim to remember their past lives, but to say that anyone has the definitive answer to it all would raise some eyebrows even here on Astral Pulse, I am sure.

As I dug deeper, I actually realised that those atheists, that I have despised for their pseudoskepticism and that so many people on Astral Pulse are ranting randi-ing about, are actually doing a great job of exposing religion(s) for what they really are: institutions trying to impose their monopoly of truth on others and trying to enslave them in the process. And doesn't Astral Pulse serve the same purpose, among others? To provide people with a hub where narrow-minded religious belief systems are put to question in order to help and free those, who have a dogmatic fear of astral projection?  Yes, sometimes some of these atheists get carried away and attack not only the stupidity of debunked, yet still widely reverred fundamentalism, but also any idea of "supernatural" at all. Yet, even the Devil himself, Richard Dawkins evil ,said in one interview that while not a believer, he is open to other possibilites.

This might not be a popular opinion here, but I think that I have to reassess my misconceptions about some atheists and the the purpose of the movement as a whole, that I have had. They might actually have a lot in common with my opinions.

Any thoughts? smiley

Good to be back again, btw.  grin
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Nameless
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 04:45:25 »

Wow, this is such an awesome read. I love your thought patterns and agree so much with what you have said. I'll come back to this later with more.
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 04:45:25 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

Home of the best selling book Our Ultimate Reality.

Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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LightBeam
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2018, 04:57:53 »

To me, there are as many beliefs and opinions as there are people in their world. Everyone is entitled of an opinion and I don't think judgement or effort to drastically change one's beliefs by force either verbal or physical is acceptable.  I only provide guidance to those who ask for it and have similar to mine beliefs but are looking for something further that someone may have more knowledge of or experience. That's why society naturally form groups of different interests that people with similar ones can gather and discuss. I don't go to atheist forums and start arguments to prove them wrong (and wrong is just my opinion). For the most part religion is not imposed on anyone. It used to be forced in the distant past, but not anymore. So, it is a matter of choice.

I think that the important thing in life regardless what the truth is, is to find happiness and love. If faith or whatever belief brings someone happiness, comfort and joy, than that's all they need. We are not meant to know everything in this life and I believe there is a purpose of that. If knowledge naturally happens and one starts searching for more, they do discover their own truth. Always go with your instincts and don't worry about discovering exactly what's out there. This life is short and sooner or later all of us will find out, so relax, laugh, love and enjoy while the time is given to you here.

My OBEs are very stable and long with much awareness. Through them I have found my own truths. I have had many OBEs that actually validate that at times I have actually perceived things that have happened without my knowledge, but later I find out that what I perceived is what is in the physical world on the other side of the globe for example. Also, life after death, communicating with my deceased father and receiving information that only he knew, that later I found out from other family members that it was true. I have perceived the nature of God, how our the journeys continue after physical reality exit, etc.

However, despite what I have found to be my truth and maybe this is how I will have my journey when my time here ends is very very dependent on the very beiefs that we all have. The non-physical is thought, emotions and beliefs resonsive, so every single individual will experience difefrent things and will have different perceptions there for that exact reason. so I prefer to have positive and joyful beliefs, ones that exceed even my wildest imagination, because this is what I will experience. This very validation are my own APs, always magnificent, beautiful and exciting. Those who have fears may experience monsters at the same time. So, it is in our favor either way to have the best beliefs that are full with joy and love, great expectations. The other beliefs are doing us no favor neithere here in this lifetime, nor in the other if it exists.
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baro-san
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 06:40:39 »

...

Only a hypocrite would claim that he has the defintive answer to the mysteries of what happens after death, a monopoly on truth, so to speak. Also, I actually used to believe the same thing as Penn did, until I did come across evidence to suggest otherwise (although my first OOBE is hardly "solid" evidence by scientific standards). Now I am sure there is something more than meets the eye. Yet I have no idea what that really is. And anyone who claimed any different would actually have had to die, then be resurrected and remember everything. And I am not talking about NDEs, I am actually talking about being "completely on the other side." Now, that might be the case for those who claim to remember their past lives, but to say that anyone has the definitive answer to it all would raise some eyebrows even here on Astral Pulse, I am sure.

...

Any thoughts? smiley

Good to be back again, btw.  grin

Probably you didn't mean it the way I read it ... The fact that you don't know something, doesn't entitle you to believe that nobody knows it, or that it can't be known.

We may also use different definitions for some of the words you wrote: atheist, hypocrite, scientific, ...

Penn Jillette seems to be an entertainer. He lives from making people paying attention to him.
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BranStark
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 09:34:19 »

Everyone is entitled of an opinion and I don't think judgement or effort to drastically change one's beliefs by force either verbal or physical is acceptable.


Certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and no one would agree more than a libertarian. I don't think there is any physical or verbal abuse involved at all. As far as I know, this bloke wrote a book and has not forced anyone to read it. Only those willing to will do so. He also gives interviews and talks. No one is forced to go to them and listen to them, either. I believe that is the case with others as well, although maybe not all of them. There are idiots in every group.

Obviously, things tend to get heated when a zealot from one group tries to debate a zealot from the other. But again, no one forces them to engage in a debate.


For the most part religion is not imposed on anyone. It used to be forced in the distant past, but not anymore. So, it is a matter of choice.


This is just wrong. For instance, leaving the Islam religion is still punsihed by death in many countries. Also, if you are raised some way from the moment you were born, you can have a very hard time leaving that thought-pattern even when there is no danger of legal action against you. Sometimes you are just bullied by your social group. People disown their own children for things like these. In these cases, it is very good that there is a recognizable voice out there raising logical and reasonable objections without forcing anyone to do anything that people who find themselves in these rigid thought-patterns might stumble upon. It might give them food for thought, challenge their beliefs, make them contemplate, which is arguably only good. Whether they will hold on to these beliefs is then up to them. There are logical fallacies in many, if not most, religions that actually still cause harm to people, even though they have been proven wrong over and over. Condoms are worse than AIDS and all that kind of stuff.

This life is short and sooner or later all of us will find out, so relax, laugh, love and enjoy while the time is given to you here.
Agreed. I never said I am uncomfortable not knowing. I am uncomfortable people claim to know even though they don't. Just like you, I have my own "truth", which is kind of a hypothesis of what might be based on my experiences in NP so far (and which was heavily influenced by some of the forum members here btw), but I don't pretend to think that it is accurate and I am just fine with it.  smiley
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 09:34:19 »



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BranStark
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 10:03:10 »

Probably you didn't mean it the way I read it ... The fact that you don't know something, doesn't entitle you to believe that nobody knows it, or that it can't be known.


I don't think that any living person on Earth knows all the mysteries of the universe. I believe our reality was designed in such way that it is impossible to know everything, because that is the purpose of our lives: to live the best life we possible can without knowing what comes afterwards. Remove uncertainty out of the equation and it completely changes the way people's mindset with which they approach this reality. For the sake of the argument, let's suppose that Christianity is right and the Bible is indeed the truth and people know that. They will all be afraid of hell, they would all follow the 10 commandments and there will be no way of knowing whether they are doing so because they are genuinely loving people or just because they are afraid. Let's suppose we are living in a huge computer simulation that we constructed for our own amusement. Not knowing is part of the "fun" and knowing what comes after would ruin it.

This obviously just my hypothesis and I am sure I could be wrong and there might be some know-it-all out there. Prove me wrong and I will stand corrected. In any case, you are right that I should have formulated the sentence better. A hypocrite is everyone who claims to know but doesn't. But I am pretty sure that those who claim Bible is the word of God, even though it was written by people and changed drastically throughout centuries don't have the right answer.


Anyway, I think that I already demosntrated that the word atheist and its definiton is unclear by saying "according to his definition, I would have to describe myself as atheist as well, even though I am REALLY NOT."

As for scientific, I believe this word has a very clear meaning and I have no desire to revisit its definition or whether I used it appropriately. smiley I simply meant by what I said that by the means of a NP experience, I was given an impulse which led me to prove to myself that there is more than just matter. However, scientific inquiry requires reproducibility. And rightfully so. Imagine that Fleming, who discovered penicillin, didn't reproduce his results. He would have had no way of knowing that it was actually a funghus contamination that produced it.  smiley Anyway, I know for myself that I have a proof, yet I am unable to reproduce my experiences in such a manner that they would be published by a peer reviewed journal. That is what I am saying. Fingers crossed that Sam Parnia pulls it off someday though. smiley

Penn Jillette seems to be an entertainer. He lives from making people paying attention to him.


How is that either wrong or relevant? I can either pay or not pay attention to him. My free choice.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 10:08:15 by BranStark » Logged
LightBeam
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 10:51:53 »

That's ok to feel like if there is no hard evidence, than you can't form an opinion about anything spiritual. But what about your instincts, gut feeling, sixth sense? My instincts and just knowing something without evidence has been proved to be correct in physical life aspects, so just following the logic, my knowing and instincts about the spiritual should also be correct. But this truth is mine and I experience it during my OBEs. Again, the truth may different for different people. It would be sad and disturbing if at least we haven't been given abilities to at least take glimpses of what is in the beyond. I believe that everyone that has forms spiritual opinions and believes they have come from these inner knowings, that come from some place else. Most people follow their logic and conclude that this place is non-physical. Many tribes and groups around the world independently from one another back then where they were no communications have believed in the spiritual worlds. This is where all the religions come from. Whether the interpretation of the non-physical is influenced by their environment, culture, etc doesn't matter. The important thing is that there is more than the physical world. If you have that simple belief even if you don't know what exactly is out there, than you are not an atheist. But again everyone nowadays label themselves with some unique identifiers like open minded atheist, modern Christian, liberal catholic, etc, which to me is silly. I say strip the labels and follow your instincts.

I am sorry that in present day there are still some countries that force religion. I hope that changes and freedom is established. However, no one can force a belief. They can force an external practice of religious ceremonies and life style, but not what you truly believe in your heard. If in their heart someone simply does not believe certain religious dogmas, no matter where they live and what they have been told that they are, if they have the knowing in their heart otherwise, then they are free from the imposed beliefs. No one knows what is in another's heart to prosecute them. Everyone can pretend they agree, but in their heart they really don't. This is internal freedom that everyone has.

I also can not be called a hypocrite because I have a very strong opinion at least of the outlines and some main attributes of the non-physical world. No one knows exactly what have I experienced during my OBEs and what evidence and information have I gathered to conclude that these are strong evidence. If scientists or others simply are not capable of understanding, this is their own problem. No one has the right to call another a hypocrite. This name calling I don't agree with.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 11:07:17 by LightBeam » Logged
BranStark
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2018, 01:45:28 »

You are right about gut feelings, hints etc. I have had these  before  as  well. And I never said I personally demand any "hard" evidence, which is not easy to obtain in this area. I in fact am basing my own convictions on just hints and feelings. I have never had a proper "validation" moment, just some that came pretty close. Yet these are enough of an evidence to me myself. At the same time, it is not enough of a proof to Stand Up to a scientific inquiry, which would provide proof to others. And I am inclined to think we are not meant to prove afterlive scientifically. That would take all the "fun" of not knowing away. Just my hypothesis. One problem with gut feelings is that they are unreliable unless your mind is truly at peace. Otherwise you just don't know whether it is truly a "sixth sense" or your mind is playing tricks on you and you are in fact hearing your own wishful thinking for instance. Something that I certainly have to work on.

My whole statement about "hypocrites" seems to be unfortunate. Not what I meant at all. I didn't think it applied to anyone here on this forum, including you. I am sure many of you have seen glimpses of the bigger picture. I kind of have too. Yet there are many people out there who think they know for sure Bible, Qoran or whatever is the only right word and only because they were raised to believe that. If they at the same time force their beliefs on others, that certainly is hypocritical.

Yet it is not entirely their fault as your upbringing certainly plays a huge role on your future personality and beliefs. Chances are, I would now be a devout Muslim proclaiming that God doesn't want women to drive a car, had I been born somewhere in the Middle East. However, at the same time, it Is not like you are deprived of freedom of choice entirely. True that.

Also, I never said I was an atheist. This whole topic is about my realization that some of them have much in common with my own thoughts and beliefs. Recently, I thought they could not be further away from me opinion-wise. So quite a revelation for me which I thought I would like to share. I am starting to doubt my capabilities to express my thoughts clearly enough in English LOL. Cheesy but then it is not my mother tongue. Cheesy

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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2018, 02:34:15 »

It's okay Bran, I didn't take any of your thoughts as personal or as an attack on anyone specific so much as just commentary on all the crap we are exposed to daily. I think you have given an honest account of your own journey in changing thoughts, opinions and realizations. In the end that is all we have.

I hope you do have a few verifiable validations in your near future, just so you know how that feels. By validations I mean ones that validate to you personally because as you stated these things so often just can't be validated scientifically. Would that they could but then if that were possible we would likely end up with some creepy scientists cooking up 'fake' experiences in a lab and slapping labels on bottles, haha.

All in all this has been a quite well discussion that I have enjoyed reading through. Thank you.
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2018, 02:59:56 »

I've done quite some validations but I would not have needed them because I have a kind of intuitive 'knowingness' (which is not the same as knowledge).

The problem of this world is that most people are trapped in their mind boxes and there are two main boxes and for many or most people these are the only options that exist. It is also called a 'false dichotomy'. It is a kind of brainwash that society seems to have implanted into us now.

It is religionism vs. materialism/atheism/nihilism

Many here on the AP are beyond this, but we do not partake in the 'offical mainstream' narrative and discussions which is always about 'religionists' (christians, muslims, whatever) versus the 'atheist/materialist' (Dawkins type).

I personally yawn at this because I cannot relate to this. I guess many people on here at the Pulse feel a bit the same way.  wink
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 03:01:34 by Volgerle » Logged

BranStark
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2018, 06:34:00 »

I've done quite some validations but I would not have needed them because I have a kind of intuitive 'knowingness' (which is not the same as knowledge).

The problem of this world is that most people are trapped in their mind boxes and there are two main boxes and for many or most people these are the only options that exist. It is also called a 'false dichotomy'. It is a kind of brainwash that society seems to have implanted into us now.

It is religionism vs. materialism/atheism/nihilism

Many here on the AP are beyond this, but we do not partake in the 'offical mainstream' narrative and discussions which is always about 'religionists' (christians, muslims, whatever) versus the 'atheist/materialist' (Dawkins type).

I personally yawn at this because I cannot relate to this. I guess many people on here at the Pulse feel a bit the same way.  wink

I totally get what you are saying. And a couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly. But now, I no longer consider atheists, at least some of them, to be trapped in mind boxes. I always thought their stance was without compromise, just like "there is no God, end of story, f**k off."

But now I can see that some take a very humble "I don't know" stance and, in case of Penn, for example, they can be very compassionate and full of empathy. I never imagined this would be true and now that I realized this, I feel they deserve credit for that, at least. Hence this topic. smiley
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 06:40:02 by BranStark » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2018, 22:49:22 »

Quote
As I dug deeper, I actually realised that those atheists, that I have despised for their pseudoskepticism and that so many people on Astral Pulse are ranting randi-ing about, are actually doing a great job of exposing religion(s) for what they really are: institutions trying to impose their monopoly of truth on others and trying to enslave them in the process. And doesn't Astral Pulse serve the same purpose, among others? To provide people with a hub where narrow-minded religious belief systems are put to question in order to help and free those, who have a dogmatic fear of astral projection?  Yes, sometimes some of these atheists get carried away and attack not only the stupidity of debunked, yet still widely reverred fundamentalism, but also any idea of "supernatural" at all. Yet, even the Devil himself, Richard Dawkins evil ,said in one interview that while not a believer, he is open to other possibilites.

This might not be a popular opinion here, but I think that I have to reassess my misconceptions about some atheists and the the purpose of the movement as a whole, that I have had. They might actually have a lot in common with my opinions.

Any thoughts? smiley

The "New Atheists" (Dawkins, Hitchins, Tyson, Bill Nye Krauss, Harris, etc) do important work in my opinion. Technically most of them are agnostics, but that word doesn't seem to rile people up as much, lol. I feel people should be directed away from "revealed truth" and scripture, and toward a method of thinking the uses reason and evidence as the basis for evaluating statements for truth value. There are some things of value in the old scriptures (especially tucked away in places like the Upanishads, where there is a lot of old information that relates to altered states of consciousness and how to navigate those states by being aware of bodily events), but I think it is better to read them as old texts written by mostly pre-scientific peoples.

Now talking about the angst people seem to feel for folks like Randi... I think an important concept to refer to is an idea called "scientism"; scientism is a religion-like mindset where people take statements that are claimed to be backed by scientific reasoning and accept them without questioning them. It is important to note that the adherence to scientism is grossly unscientific, ironically enough.

An example of scientism is the claim that materialism is the only viable explanation for this universe we are experiencing, and that other alternative theories are not worth thinking about or investigating. This is a profoundly anti-scientific mindset, but nonetheless a majority of the scientific establishment seems to currently hold this position consciously or unconsciously. When people express dissatisfaction with Randi, I think it is concepts like this they have in mind.
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Volgerle
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2018, 00:50:19 »

I totally get what you are saying. And a couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly. But now, I no longer consider atheists, at least some of them, to be trapped in mind boxes. I always thought their stance was without compromise, just like "there is no God, end of story, f**k off."

But now I can see that some take a very humble "I don't know" stance and, in case of Penn, for example, they can be very compassionate and full of empathy. I never imagined this would be true and now that I realized this, I feel they deserve credit for that, at least. Hence this topic. smiley

They might refer to themselves as atheists but to me they are rather so-called 'agnostics'. It is a bit like a close-minded skeptic compared to an open-minded skeptic.

Most self-proclaimed atheists I know are die-hard materialists. But yes, for sure there are different kinds of them. It is just that the die-hard materialists shout the loudest most of the times.  wink
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