The God Question

Column by Jim Davies.

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Why does it matter, to market anarchists, whether or not God exists? Surely all would be able, in a free society, to believe whatever they wish about religion?

That was the thrust of Paul Bonneau's recent article here, and he added that it's counterproductive for the libertarian spokesman to ridicule the religious. His point is well taken. In the comments appended to what he wrote, some felt that ridicule doesn't hurt much, but I tend to agree that it probably does--if it's directed at the person holding the belief being scorned. That might well offend him, and stop him listening to us further. In any case, it's bad manners.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure it hurts to ridicule a ridiculous belief itself--indeed, it's sometimes hard not to. I see quite a difference between saying "Jones is an idiot, he believes in God" and "Here's why a belief in God is idiotic, and I hope Jones will stay clear of it." The first brands Jones as a fool in himself, perhaps permanently unable to remedy his condition, while the second offers him help to avoid a pitfall, or to climb out of one.

But still, why does it matter?

It matters because the prime task of those wishing to bring a free society about is to move our statist neighbors away from their belief in the need for, and efficacy of, government; to show (as Larken Rose has, in his remarkable book The Most Dangerous Superstition) that the belief that government rightly exercises authority over us is a complete myth, and even that government itself is a complete myth, that the State doesn't actually exist. This can only happen when our statist friend begins to think straight; to rid his mind of pre-judgments, of non-rational premises. To grow up, intellectually. Then of course, having understood the real nature of human beings and of government, to resolve never to work for the latter; only then will it disappear.

So first and foremost, we have the task of changing our friend's mode of thought; to move him from faith to reason. Until that's done, any apparent "conversion" to a rational view of the world--to an acceptance of the self-ownership axiom and so of market anarchism--is likely to be shallow. It's unlikely that he will be able or willing to bring along any of his friends with him, and of course, if that one-to-one teaching process ("going viral") doesn't happen, we won't see any free society in our lifetimes, and given that WMDs exist and are proliferating, that may well mean, not ever.

Now, can a properly thorough makeover of the mind encompass rejection of the government myth, yet retention of the god myth? For the two are very similar. Both involve believing a proposition that is plainly not true when examined dispassionately. In the first case, the irrational belief is that someone else can order one's life better than one can order it oneself (or as I noticed somewhere recently, "A politician is someone able to spend your money better than you can"), which is obvious nonsense on its face. In the second case, the irrational belief is that there exists an undefined and undefinable entity that nobody can see, hear, touch, smell or taste, and yet who created everything that exists and who is closely interested in the conduct of each of seven billion individual humans; a proposition that has m-y-t-h written all over it in huge letters.

Further, we mustn't forget Old Nick, the furnace operator with horns, green skin and a long tail. He was invented to "solve" the problem that evil exists in a world created by one allegedly both benevolent and omnipotent. But wasn't Nick created, also? So he doesn't really solve the problem at all? Yes he was, say the mythcrafters, as a very senior angel; but in a moment of pride, he exercised free will and fell to Hell. So is free will reluctantly included in their world view, and neatly associated with evil. Still, Lucifer's big tumble solves nothing anyway, because if God created free will, responsibility can be left on mere humans who exercise it, and where it belongs; no copout is available, such as "the Devil made me do it."

That free-will thingie has incidentally given a lot of trouble to Calvinist theologians, who are no strangers to reason. They concluded that there really isn't much, and that some people are predestined to damnation. That repugnant result springs directly from their false premise--so let's be careful, always to check our premises.

In a more rational world view, evil is what may happen when humans acquire power over other humans. See more here.

Both myths, about government and god, are totally absurd; if a person comes to his senses fully enough to abandon the first, why would he not also abandon the second? And if he does retain it, why should not his statist friend, whom he is trying to turn into a clear-thinking person, accuse him of gross inconsistency and say, for example, "if you keep your religious fairy tale, I'll keep my government fairy tale"? That would be a response extremely hard to gainsay.

That's why it matters.

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Jim Davies's picture
Columns on STR: 243

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?"

Comments

Suverans2's picture

the·ism noun 1. the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism). 2. belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism). ~ Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2012.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Jim Davies: "The universe may or may not have had a beginning; the evidence (AFAIK) isn't in."

Ah HA! A FIRST!! This is the very first time I have found ANYTHING written by Jim Davies with which I disagree!

The following article is short and I would have copied it here except for the number of italics and the bother it would be to recreate them here. I date MY atheism from when the article arrived in my mailbox in 1962.

In addition to correcting Jim's statement quoted above, it may be of value to others who are still mentally wrestling with the deliberate misdirections (i.e. lies) that the culture surrounding us has pounded into each of us since our birth.

Dennis

http://tinyurl.com/First-Cause-article

Objectivist Newsletter-Vol 1, No 5, May 1962, page 19--The "First Cause" article

Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is God? ...

Jim Davies's picture

Thanks Dennis, I'm very gratified that you have found only this single subject hard to digest.

Let me push my luck, remarkable though it is: might you perhaps have mis-read what it says? - for Nathanael Branden wrote that article well and discusses the first cause argument, not whether or not the universe had a beginning. I fully agree with him; the first-cause argument is circular and powerless.

But "beginning" as I was using it refers to _time_, not cause. I meant that nobody really knows, yet, whether or not the universe had a start date. It might have existed for ever, or it might be oscillating (a big bang every thirty billion years or so, perhaps with the laws of physics changing each time...) or something else. If Tzo is right, we will never know that; I like to hope that eventually, reason will lead humanity to an understanding. But so far, the evidence is not in.

That's all I meant. So are we yet still in sync?

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Branden does indeed address whether or not the universe had a beginning.

From Branden's article:

Just as the concept of causality applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole--so the concept of time applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole. The universe did not "begin"--it did not, at some point in time, "spring into being." Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is "in" the universe; the universe is not "in" time.

I admit that in 1962, it took me a week of reading and re-reading to fully grasp, understand and integrate the entirety of his short article and to abandon my agnosticism. But I found the above paragraph about "time" to be the cleanest and purest of logical constructs. If that is not so with you, then we are indeed NOT in sync.

Dennis

Jim Davies's picture

Thank you Dennis, and I apologize. I'd missed that.

It's profound, certainly; that time is "in" the universe, and not vice versa, because time is a function of motion - which presupposes entities that move.

You took a week to grasp it, and I may take longer. There may have been no Big Bang at all, but just a steady-state for ever, but suppose that the fairly well supported theory of a Big Bang is correct; that everything that exists was once the size of a pin-head, and exploded. Note that that might not have been a "beginning", because it might have been one of a(n infinite?) series of big bangs, in an oscillating universe. Or, it might. We just don't know. Yet.

How in that case does this definition of "time" work? - and how would you answer the objection that time is not really a function of moving objects but occupies an independent dimension, with moving objects like clock pendula and planetary orbits merely _measuring_ its passage? And what do you make of Einstein's idea that time is relative to speed; presumably the exploding universe would start traveling at "c", so would time pick up only as the expansion proceeded? Or should we write off Einstein as a typical Princeton man, along with Bernanke and Rumsfeld?

Admittedly if no thing exists, it would be tricky to construct a clock. Can a dimension exist, if it can't be measured? Do unobserved trees fall down?

DennisLeeWilson's picture

"...how would you answer the objection that time is not really a function of moving objects but occupies an independent dimension..."

If you want to use your statement (quoted above) as a definition of the concept "time", perhaps you would explain the nature of this "independent dimension" and how it differs from the nature of time in Branden's article...: "Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move."

"Admittedly if no thing exists, it would be tricky to construct a clock."

I think the word you want instead of "tricky" is the word "impossible". Keep in mind the closing statement in Branden's short article...:

Existence is all that exists, the non-existent does not exist; there is nothing for existence to have come out of--and nothing means nothing. If you are tempted to ask: "What's outside the universe?"--recognize that you are asking: "What's outside of existence?" and that the idea of "something outside of existence" is a contradiction in terms; nothing is outside of existence, and "nothing" is not just another kind of "something"--it is nothing. Existence exists; you cannot go outside it, you cannot get under it, on top of it or behind it. Existence exists--and only existence exists: there is nowhere else to go.

Suverans2's picture

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." ~ Existential Willie

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

I'm not so sure about your analysis. See my write up on the last page of this thread. You make an exception to causality that many people do not buy-into.

Darkcrusade's picture

From The "First Cause" article> then on what grounds is it denied that the universe has existed eternally?

It is called the second law of thermodynamics, or the law of entropy. Everything is going from order to disorder. Time is the perception of decay. Some 1,800 years before astronomers’ discovery of entropy, the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “The whole creation groans…subject to its bondage to decay.” We operate in the everpresent now. But God is not constrained by
his creation. He is not subject to gravity or time. He made them>

Isa 57:15 ¶ For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place],
http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/62/

Actually it is correct to call it space-time.Time does not pass at the same rate in all places in the universe.(remember the story of the twins one stays on earth and one travels near the speed of light to the nearest star and back?) We operate in 4d,that is 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension. 3.1 dimensions would be correct as we can only move forward in time and not backwards.But for the universe to function the way it does requires ten dimensions. (10d) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu5URbh-Lh0

If the universe had existed eternally it would be of uniform temperture. This is why the universe had a start.
Maybe 13.7+ billion years ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsKhhIQJiaI
http://www.reasons.org/articles/entropy-of-the-universe

The Bible is the only Holy Book that tells how God creates everything from nothing.(space-time,matter.)
While the other holy books design within the already made creation.
http://www.reasons.org/about/i-disbelieve

DennisLeeWilson's picture

"No combination of logic or facts is effective against a deeply-held belief."
--Chris Martenson

THANK YOU, Darkcrusade, for providing PROOF that Paul Bonneau is right and Jim Davies is wrong regarding the ability--and the need--to convert religious people to rationality.

There is NO NEED to convert religious people AS LONG AS they agree to forego the initiation of physical force. Once a person does actually initiate physical force, it matters not what their religion or their rationality.

Dennis

Jim Davies's picture

I'm still pondering your good argument about time, Dennis, but meanwhile must reject the shocking accusation that I am "wrong." Don't you know that I'm _never_ wrong? Just ask my wife.

I will accept though that here, there is a hair to be split, albeit an important hair. Paul is right in one sense; provided a theist does nothing to impose his belief or standards on others, there is no need to convert him to rationality in a free society. They normally don't fit that profile (Santorum, and any Islamist on the street) but if we find one, yes - leave him be, to enjoy his freedom.

The burden of my article, however, was that it matters a whole lot in the process of _getting_ a free society in the first place. If I may ask, please re-read its fifth para, under "But still, why does it matter?" It is of paramount importance that people _begin to think straight_. Otherwise, they will never, en masse, ditch their absurd, superstitious belief in government. We have to change their _mode of thought._

Huge task, I know. I don't see any short cut.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Jim,

I understand the "shock" of "being wrong". I thought *I* was wrong once, but luckily I quickly realized that I was in error to think such....

>>"But still, why does it matter?"

>>"It matters because the prime task of those wishing to bring a free society about is to move our statist neighbors away from their belief in the need for, and efficacy of, government;..."

It DOES NOT matter to me because MY prime task is BEING FREE. [ http://tinyurl.com/Individual-Sovereignty ] I don't need a "free society" in order to be free. What you are describing is at best, a SECONDARY task for me. I would NEVER reverse the priority of the tasks. MY secondary tasks can never be sacrificed to MY primary task. It is actually not even a secondary task to me, nor a "huge" task. It is an UNnecessary task. See below.

>>"This can only happen when our statist friend begins to think straight; ..."

>>"It is of paramount importance that people _begin to think straight_. Otherwise, they will never, en masse, ditch their absurd, superstitious belief in government."

But THIS (understanding that government is a myth) is ALREADY happening! And it is happening without statists (not MY friend) changing their thinking "en masse". It is happening partly because of other things that YOU have written.

>>"We have to change their _mode of thought._"

Arrrgghhh. The "WE" thing again. NO! WE do NOT have to change their mode of thought. "Billions of humans making trillions of decisions could never be harnessed or thoroughly theorized by even the most brilliant voluntaryist thinkers or free market economists." Chris Dates [ http://tinyurl.com/There-is-NO-WE ]

And, as I point out below, it doesn't matter to me what a man thinks or how straight or convoluted his thinking, as long as he respects MY right to exist as per the five Precepts by which I deal with other humans. I have NO desire whatsoever to meddle with the way most other people think. It is like wrestling with pigs. You ALWAYS get dirty and it only annoys the pig. I spent many hours as a youth attempting just what you recommend--and learning about "pigs".

To paraphrase your own statement in Help Wanted, It is futile and a thankless waste of my time "...to try to impose ["MY version of what *I* consider to be rationality"] on people who do not want it and who made their preference lethally clear.". I look for those INDIVIDUALS ONLY who have already indicated by word and especially be deed that they are thinking and acting in a manner I can admire and possibly help or support with what I have learned.

Minimum requirements for living peacefully amongst other people do not require a person to be "fully rational". Education levels vary enormously as do levels of rationality! The basic or minimum requirement is understanding and adhering to the Non Aggression Principle (NAP), a very simple MORAL/ethical concept that is even readily apparent to children.

But sometimes moral statements are not sufficiently explicit or not easily applied to particular situations. Because of varying education levels, understanding the full consequences of moral statements and/or applying them consistently can become problematic. Enter from stage right: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent. [ http://tinyurl.com/Index-to-Covenant-Articles ]

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a Political statement [ http://tinyurl.com/Political-Statement ] explicitly derived from the Non Aggression Principle, which is a Moral statement. A characteristic of political statements--and a reason why they exist--is that they are more explicit and do not depend as heavily on education level as do moral statements and they are less subject to "interpretations".

Education is a wider, more encompassing thing than is religion (i.e. religion is a subset of a person's education). And education continues throughout an individual's life and is a primary cause of behavior changes during that lifespan.

Free State/county/town movements are examples of people with varying levels of education--and varying religious views--agreeing to conduct their interpersonal relationships by the simple principle of live and let live. Personally, I am disappointed that NONE of the "popular" movements has adopted some EXPLICIT political pledge such as the Covenant provides. The closest thing to a pledge of personal conduct has been the Shire Society which needlessly plagiarized the Covenant and then REMOVED what I consider the most important part for a Free State/county/town movement, the Supersedure section!

You, me, Paul Bonneau, Darkcrusade and many (most?) of the contributors to this site--without resolving ANY of our differences--COULD conceivably agree to the entire Covenant and live in close proximity to each other in a "Supersedure Zone" and even trade with each other, without engaging in physical conflict. This is possible because the contents of the Covenant are the COMMON ROOT of everything that each of us considers to be important with regard to interpersonal relationships.

AND, as I pointed out in my article [ http://tinyurl.com/Objectivism-to-Agorism ], people who--for whatever reason--refuse to sign the Covenant, could still live amongst us and trade with us, knowing full well what to expect should THEY (the non-signatories or "dissenters") violate our Covenant's Precepts in their dealings with us.

Dennis Lee Wilson
Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent.

Suverans2's picture

Like!

Jim Davies's picture

Dennis, congrats on discovering that you were not, after all, wrong. And I'm glad we can disagree without acrimony.

That difference hinges, I think, on your "I don't need a 'free society' in order to be free." There's truth there, but IMHO falsehood also. Let's imagine a situation where you are in all appearance as un-free as possible; you're in a concentration camp, barely existing on gruel, grossly overworked, clinging on to life. Are you "free" with no need of a free society?

In one sense you are, because your mind is still free. They can mistreat your body, take your life even, but your spirit is not shackled and with any luck it never will be. I understand that, and agree with it. In that important sense, everyone is free the moment we realize that no master has a _rightful_ claim on our obedience. (I could have illustrated this with a slave plantation. You'd agree that with that proviso, even a 100% slave is actually free?) I don't know if you've reviewed the "Benefits" page of TOLFA but you'll find this there; http://tolfa.us/ben.htm at para (a).

In the other sense (which I perceive as much larger) however I suggest you are _not_ free, and that you _do_ need a free society before enjoying the great potential of liberty; the actual, practical freedom to go and do wherever and whatever you want, while harming nobody. Para (b) on the same page spells that out, summarized as "getting your life back." The need for this much extended liberty is, it seems to me, strikingly obvious. Nobody _has_ to help work to bring it about, of course, there can be no obligation, but in your own self-interest (to obtain that much larger measure of freedom, and the strong satisfaction of helping liberate others) I encourage you to undertake the work. It's very light.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Jim,

>>There's truth there, but ....

I'm disappointed. I thought we were BOTH too old for "buts".

>>Let's imagine a situation where you are...

Nope. Sorry. My imagination works differently. [ http://tinyurl.com/Individual-Sovereignty ]

*I* imagine myself NEVER EVER allowing such conditions as you describe to be thrust upon me. (You supply the details, I will not spell them out). Perhaps the differences in our imaginations is because of differences where each of us was raised and/or the differences where each of us now chose to live...

>>...in your own self-interest (to obtain that much larger measure of freedom, and the strong satisfaction of helping liberate others) I encourage you to undertake the work.

I HAVE done what *I* think needs doing in order to attract the kind of people *I* can admire (i.e. liberated individuals) and I am quite satisfied with my work. Like you, I have expressed my views and shared my insights to hopefully help individuals liberate themselves. I have published articles (in The Libertarian Enterprise) and I built an on-line shop and two public websites with various collections of articles and projects--including several links to YOUR websites and articles. At this time, I have written more about The Covenant of Unanimous Consent than has the author, L. Neil Smith--who seems to have given up on his brainchild in favor of petitioning the government and blocking "illegal" immigration.

http://www.cafepress.com/artemiszuna <<--the shop

http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php
http://atlasshruggedcelebrationday.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php

I encourage you to explore the sites. I won't guarantee light reading, but you may find things you have not considered.

Best regards,
Dennis

Jim Davies's picture

The obscene growth and intrusiveness of the State is a fact, whether or not we like to imagine where it may rather shortly lead. I'm sorry therefore that you decline to imagine yourself in a concentration camp. That, or a gulag, is where governments put dissidents when they have the power to do so; and ours very nearly has. Fixing the mind on more wholesome subjects is all very fine, but it will not stop them. If and when it does take place, you will have your inner peace and sense of freedom, we've already agreed that; but you will not have much else. You'll not line up and wait to be transported in a cattle car, but that will not stop them finding you and caging you, if and when they decide to do so.

Quite obviously, living in a government cage is not "freedom" at all except in that important but limited sense. Equally, I am not attracted by taking the trouble to live low-profile, to become as hard as possible for government to see; that may be "freedom" to you (and if so I don't mean to challenge your choice) but to me, it is not. It's a prison of a different kind. To me, freedom means doing whatever I want, wherever and whenever I wish - without, of course, aggression. Looking always over my shoulder is not my idea of fun. Therefore, since there is a way to abolish the State and liberate everyone, I choose to take it.

voluntaryist's picture

I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement. Actions speak louder than words, and betray actual belief, as opposed to stated belief. If I had to choose an association I would do so first on stated belief, but watch closely to determine if actions matched. But as a preliminary guide to association I would consider attitude and demeanor. I have met self described libertarians who made me nervous with their aggressive, confrontational manner. I sensed a lot of anger and need to "act out". I'm not sure I would want to live in a community filled with these heavily armed people. I am considered confrontational by many statists. But I use words, in a respectful way, without attacking the person. That said, if at a social gathering where someone wanted to introduce me to a highly respected authoritarian type such as Harry Reid or just a sell out like Alan Greenspan, I would refuse. I would/could not smile and shake their hand. I hold society and the individuals who support it in contempt. I do not know how I am perceived by the general public. I am probably considered to be a malcontent who complains about everything. I feel like I am living in an alien world. I do enjoy the people at Libertopia.

In conclusion, I care less about what a person says, but more about what he does, e.g., does he "live and let live"?

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Excellent point. You may want to see my analysis of the faults of atheists on the last page of this thread. Too many atheists and Christians have never studied theology or medieval philosophy and are thus simply not equipped for the task.

Suverans2's picture

"Existence exists"????????????

So now "existence" is a being instead of the state of being?

Circular Reasoning?

Allen's picture

S2,I find this formulation somewhat humorous, too, especially when people take it far too seriously and become agitated over it. Taken apart etymologically, it becomes even more funny: "setting-out, sets out," or "standing-out, stands out" (depending on how far back you go). People tend to forget that the rest of reality doesn't care squat about the structure of our language, our inability to communicate "it" (reality), language's inherently metaphorical nature, and that logic depends on regulative beliefs, fictions as well as reification.

Note I'm not accusing anyone here of taking "existence" too seriously.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

"Existence exists" is NOT circular reasoning.

It could be accurately called a "tautology" because it is a redundant use of words--as is ALL identification of reality! "I am me" and "I am a man" are identifications and, as such, they are also tautologies. But they are NOT circular reasoning.

Existence exists and man's mind is CAPABLE of knowing it--even though there is overwhelming evidence that the capability is grossly underused.

Dennis

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tautology

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

The existential  nature of medieval Christian philosophy was explored by Etienne Gilson at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies in Toronto--where he explored that "I am...I am" statement in Exodus 3.

voluntaryist's picture

Wow! I forgot how much I enjoyed thinking about important issues. And how much I owed to Branden. It was his "First Cause" article that helped me understand the "Existence exists" point of Rand. This is essential to the foundation of Objectivist metaphysics. And very useful in life. For example, a sound metaphysics leads to a sound epistemology which leads to a sound ethics.

I know that all superstitions must be confronted and opposed at every opportunity. Doing so without denigrating the individual is tough. The temptation to ridicule is hard to resist (for me) sometimes. When I do, I am not giving into my own insecurities and being petty. I am at my best. I noticed Ayn could take either tact. I admired her most when she was not so defensive, but stood her ground eloquently. As for the futility of arguing with a theist I agree it does appear that way sometimes. But it must be done. It is not a waste of time. 1. It is good for you. 2. Silence can be taken as moral weakness or cowardice or doubt. That encourages the superstitious and gives them the appearance of credence. 3. Other more open listeners may be given "food for thought". This may not bear fruit for years and you will never know when it does. But it does happen. Standing up for truth is never a waste of time.

The most effective teaching method is by example. It is observed and taken in subconsciously. It moves without pain. And it is long lasting. For this reason I would like to see a libertarian community founded. The danger from outside is real. But what of the danger now? It is greater. And time is running out. Doing less than the most effective effort is a luxury we cannot afford without high risk. It would refute collectivism in a non confrontational way. It is our best chance for total freedom in our time. And besides, it would be fun.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

I am an agnostic and find atheists to be as absurd as most poorly educated Christian believers. Most atheists have never studied either medieval philosophy or theology and are simply not up to the task. The philosophers (so called) who address diety usually are the cookie-cutter types that skip from Aristotle to Descarte wthout so much as a pause. They are simply too ill trained to know what they don't know. See my post on the last page of this thread for a bit more detail.

Samarami's picture

Voluntaryist:

    I know that all superstitions must be confronted and opposed at every opportunity.

Why?

Sam

AtlasAikido's picture

~To see superstition for what it is, is to be free of it.

..."The root cause of most of society's ills--the main source of man's inhumanity to man--is neither malice nor negligence, but a *mere* superstition--an *unquestioned assumption* which has been accepted on *faith* by nearly everyone, of all ages, races, religions, education and income levels. If people were to recognize that one belief for what it is--an utterly irrational, self-contradictory, and horribly *destructive myth*--most of the violence, oppression and injustice in the world would cease. But that will happen only when people dare to honestly and objectively re-examine their belief systems.

Larken Rose's '"The Most Dangerous Superstition" *exposes the myth for what it is, showing how nearly everyone*, as a result of one particular unquestioned assumption, is directly contributing to violence and oppression without even realizing it. If you imagine yourself to be a compassionate, peace-loving, civilized human being, you must read this book". http://larkenrose.com/store.html

~I personally have found that Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an UNFree World" and L Neil Smith's "Covenant of Unanimous Consent" have provided a simple way to live in an UNFree world. Including seeing thru and solving the assumption that others need to be changed (Identity and Group Traps).

References:
Dying for a Lie
Thursday, 14 July 2011 08:00
http://larkenrose.com/blogs/tmds-blog/2091.html

Harry Browne's Freedom Principles
http://www.escapeartist.com/Roger_Gallo/Harry_Brownes_Freedom_Principles/

what's up - A discussion about The Covenant of Unanimous Consent
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=42.msg125...

Samarami's picture

Atlas:

    ~I personally have found that Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an UNFree World" and L Neil Smith's "Covenant of Unanimous Consent" have provided a simple way to live in an UNFree world. Including seeing thru and solving the assumption that others need to be changed (Identity and Group Traps).

(Emphasis mine in what I think was a quotation by Atlas from somebody else. As Jim Davies stated in a recent post, this thread has become so lengthy it's hard to know where you're wading into it. That happens, I surmise, when "we anarchists" let ourselves get sucked into the business of judging any belief system practiced by others).

To attempt to answer "The G-d Question" as it pertains to libertarians is tricky at best -- sociopathic inquisition at its worst. Bill W and Dr Bob (Bill Wilson, co-founder with Dr Bob Smith, of Alcoholics Anonymous) discovered that conundrum. What they had set out to do was to help as many hopeless drunks as possible to get sober and stay sober -- as they had helped each other at the very beginning, 77 years ago June 10th. The result was the most libertarian "movement" (I know, "movement" is really oxymoronic to genuine libertarianism) I've run across.

Didn't you mention that recently, Atlas? We drunks seemingly can only tolerate genuine libertarianism. I didn't recognize that or make the connection in that manner until well after I had been exposed to STR and Mr. Davies' and many others' excellent essays early on in my quest for liberty.

Many (most) of us guys and gals who straggled into AA for help had been so sullied by organized religions and the superstitious edicts thereof that we could not even conceive of a Higher Power without suspecting that some sort of "religion" would become involved. Yet we knew to a man (and woman -- the original text of Alcoholics Anonymous is slanted to the male) that our own best thinking inevitably led to one more drink and one more drunken debauchery. And insanity or death -- the latter preferable to the former.

Harry Browne was probably most responsible of anybody for my coming to libertarian thinking and anarchy..although he ran for "potus" under Libertarian (note upper case "L") auspices, and as such would have to be considered "mini-statist".

"How I found Freedom.." is the most concise and complete outline for liberty I know of. Not once does Harry call somebody else's faith "foolishness", although he does include religion as a part of "the group trap" -- primarily because organized religions often advocate the practice of proselytizing in one form or another.

I don't think liberty can be proselytized, and implying somebody's faith is "foolish belief" is, as I see it, unbecoming to us.

Sam

PS: I received my 28 year medallion Sunday from Steve F, my AA sponsor of 35 years. I can say that because I'm anonymous except for a couple of guys on here who know my "real" handle.

AtlasAikido's picture

Yes Sam,

I look at Harry Browne like Ron Paul as great educators. As Harry put it in the Afterword to the 25th Anniversary Edition of How I Found FREEDOM in an UNFREE WORLD: "You have to decide for yourself whether to participate in any group endeavor. And one thing to weigh is whether you will consider your participation to have been worthwhile even if the group doesn't achieve its main objective".

Ron Paul Is the Future
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/109404.html

Ron Paul on Self-Government or Tip-Toeing Into Panarchism
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/109298.html

Best Regards and congrats,
Atlas

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

I'm an agnostic, but I find most atheists to have as silly a notion of higher powers as most Christians -- and for the same reason. They never studied it seriously. See my note on the last page of this thread.

voluntaryist's picture

Samarami:

Falsehood kills. It may kill you. Superstition is destructive of life. Opposition is life affirming. Silence in the face of evil does not appeal to me. I don't go out of my way to look for trouble but went it's right in my face I stand up to it. Why would you find that strange or in need of an explanation?

Samarami's picture

Voluntaryist, I've been gone for a time and just saw your response to my simple question, "why"?. What I was getting at back then was the danger of focusing on things I can't control. Your belief system would fit that category.

If you espouse a belief that I label in my brilliant, all-knowing, libertarian head as "superstition" I'd make better use of my emotional energy going out and shouting at the north wind in January than I would attempting to "reason" with you to change to conform with what I know is "logical". At least I won't insult or offend the north wind -- she'll just keep a'blowin'. Blowin' is what north winds believe in. I think.

If it turns out you're new around here and just testing the libertarian h2o to see if there's any veracity to it, and I ridicule and/or offend you, that will probably cost me my chance to be an example for you in the event you're sincerely trying to achieve what we here at STR think we "have". You'll throw me out with the baby's bath water.

Doesn't mean I should be a pansy and fail to speak boldly about what I believe. I believe, for instance, that as long as there are elections in which even a small portion of "eligible voters" participate there will remain ensconced out in the District of Collectivism agents of state ("elected officials" -- presidents, senators, et al.) who will claim the election as their "mandate" to take our sons and daughters to war. In my case it's grandchildren and soon my great grandchildren -- thankfully all 4 of my boys missed being enslaved ("drafted") like happened to me when I was as a dumb kid in the early 50's.

Like the blowin' of the wind, that's what agents of state do -- they make up excuses to send "their" young men and women ("citizens") to war. And I've spent 60 years unlearning the killer mentality instilled by my enslavement.

Abstain From Beans

Sam

AtlasAikido's picture

Some of the preceding discussions reminds me of the following excerpt from Harry Browne's book: Why You Are Not Free, Ch. 11: The Burning-Issues Trap

http://www.ultimatefreedomquest.com/harry-browne-burning-issues-trap/

All right, it’s time to move on to the eleventh chapter of the book, “How I found freedom in an unfree world” by Harry Browne

Harry is going to talk about the myth that you must fix social issues before you can be free.

I will simply be adding the parts of the book that I highlighted.

By no means is this the entire book or even the best way to sum up each chapter, it’s just what I excerpted so that I could review the book quickly later.

Chapter 11 [For the bankrupt society]: The Burning-Issues Trap.

To be free, you must know what you’re doing and why. Otherwise, slight setbacks can cause you to discard your plans and give up.

The Burning-Issues Trap

THE BURNING-ISSUE TRAP is the belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation.

*You can enslave yourself by assuming* a responsibility to observe, judge, and correct any social problems. For the problems will continue indefinitely. They’ll never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The demands upon your time, energy, and money can never cease.

Campaigns for social change are excellent examples of the indirect alternative—working through others to get what you want. Your success depends on the responses of literally thousands of people. Your control over the situation is minute.

The existence of evil isn’t a claim upon you. “Evil” will always exist in the world. To accept as a principle that you must fight something because it’s evil is to believe you must fight anything that’s evil. There’s no end to the number of evils that could command your attention. Is that all your life is for—to spend it fighting evil?

Questions:

But you can get a better perspective on the issue if you ask yourself a few questions:

1. How much do you really know about the issue in which you’re about to get involved?
2. How do you know the solutions sought will end the problem?
3. Is the issue really of significance to you?
4. Is it possible that you’re responding to social pressure rather than genuine concern over the issue?

Solving Problems

If an issue concerns you, there are both direct and indirect alternatives available to you. The indirect alternative is to try to change the prevailing social trend—which involves changing others. The direct alternatives are the ways by which you can handle the problem so that it doesn’t affect you personally.

Ask yourself what you’d do if you were sure you couldn’t change the attitudes of others. What then would you do by yourself to keep the problem from affecting you? If you approach it on that basis, you usually find that there are many more direct alternatives available than you’d noticed while you were busy trying to change others.

You’re not going to live forever. With the years ahead of you, why not start now to concentrate on making your life as meaningful, free, exciting, and joyous as possible?

You are the most important issue in the world. What happens in the social issues is only incidental; to concentrate on them is to approach the matter much too indirectly. What you do directly for yourself will have a far greater impact on your life than what you do in response to the burning issues of society.

voluntaryist's picture

AtlasAikido:

I can respond to the burning issues of society, and live my life. I do both. The two are not mutually exclusive. You do the same. Your post here is an indirect approach. From it I assume you also take the direct approach, "making your life as meaningful, free exciting, and joyous as possible".

I am self centered, so I prefer the direct approach. Looking back over the last 70 years I can see the social issues were certainly not incidental. Although, it is difficult to ascertain the full importance of living in an unfree world without doing it over in a free one, I can get some idea by considering past events. It has recently been revealed that the Cuban Missile Crisis almost killed over a hundred million. We dodged a bullet. Go to many parts of the world where the landscape is dotted with military cemeteries. They caught the bullet. Is the world the same without them? We will never know how many Teslas or Einsteins were lost. The dead don't complain. While most are civilized they support an uncivilized elite who kill and exploit until social collapse. Then a restart occurs with the same system.

Do you think Rand or Rothbard sacrificed for social change? Or did they live their life fully? I knew them both. They lived fully.

AtlasAikido's picture

Hello voluntaryist,

That is good company to be in!! Wow! I imagine being with them when I listen to their students Stephan Molyneux at Freedomain Radio and Lew and Jeffrey Tucker or Thomas DiLorenzo's podcasts at Lewrockwell.com.

Your points are well made. And I concur. I was discussing Tesla and Einstein with a friend recently...

Jeffrey Tucker of Mises.org beautifully explains the importance of ideas and how ideas work (no mention of Tesla or Einstein here but certainly of Ludwig Von Mises).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw_oDcRN3gI&feature=related

I am perusing this, which I just found: http://www.atlassociety.org/atlas-shrugged/atlas-shrugged-plot-synopsis

In Part III the heroes leave the world to those in Part I and II whose world has collapsed because of the contradictions they continue to hold. It was in that regard that I was using the burning issues trap. It took a few days to think this thru again, hence my non-timely reply.

I just finished this ** Stateless but not Lawless: Myths of Violence in the Old American West ** Exclusive Interview with Dr Thomas DiLorenzo

I will never be able to hear the words, 'Wild West' again without saying to myself "No, it was not!".
*Law and Order did not (and does not) require a Government at all.

*The Old West was mostly Peaceful UNTIL the US Government arrived and perpetrated the genocide of the American Indians.

*Unlearning what we [I] have been taught through television and movies; a foundational show. Hosted by Michael McKay.

I read Dr. DiLorenzo's scholarship
Here
http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_15_02_04_dilorenzo.pdf
Or here
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=803

Or Listen
http://www.radiofreemarket.com/archives/stateless-not-lawless-crucial-in...

eugenedw's picture

It seems to me the issue here is not about whether anarchists should believe in God or not. It is a simple issue of tactics. If we are going to bring down the government, we'll need the support of a very substantial majority of people. Most of them are religious. The vast majority of the religious ones are going to remain religious irrespective of what arguments you throw at them.

Thus, it will be necessary to convince huge numbers of religious folks that they should turn to political anarchism. I know this from personal experience: with many of them, if they even suspect that you are an atheist, they no longer listen to a word you say. Make atheism an indispensable part of anarchism, or even just word your arguments in such a way that they think that is what you are saying, and the vast majority of people will never accept anarchism. Therefore, however silly we may think religion is, in my opinion it is imperative that we stay clear of that subject, or risk alienating literally millions upon millions of potential supporters. Religious folks will never in a million years support a political theory that advertises itself as atheist.

It seems to me that anarchism in fact holds many advantages for religious believers, simply because it quite explicitly allows you to think and believe as you wish. Large number of religious folks specifically want to the government out of their lives, e.g. in America lots of parents who home school do so in order to keep their kids away from the godless teachings of public schools. The complete dissolution of public schools will suit them just fine, and perhaps it is a good idea to point this out to them instead of trying to turn them away from religion.

Here's another example: the Amish is a profoundly religious community. What do you think: do they want more or less government interference in their lives? It seems to me they are already in some respects an anarchist society, despite their religion.

Consider that in most of western Europe, home schooling is illegal, as are private schools. I can well imagine that in those nations, religious people will be far more open to anarchism than the socialist majority.

It is of course true that there are grouping of religious fundamentalists who very much want a powerful state to ram their religion down everyone else's throats. But they also tend to be the least likely to abandon their religion; it will once again be a far better idea to simply convince them of the desirability of separation between church and state than to try to get them to abandon their religion.

I spent a good fifteen years on a mailing list where they debated creationism versus evolution. The evolutionists made absolutely watertight arguments. In all that time, perhaps two hundred creationists joined the list and participated in the debate. Two of them eventually abandoned their religion. The others ended up believing even more firmly (because the attacks on their beliefs made them feel like martyrs!)

Trying to get religious believers to abandon their religion is for the most part a pointless waste of time, and from a tactical viewpoint extremely misguided, if you ask me. If we really have to turn everyone into atheists before we can get rid of government, then I fear we will all remain governed for the rest of eternity. Do not alienate potential supporters simply because they hold eccentric personal beliefs. Anarchism = individualism: we will never all believe exactly the same things, and that is kind of the whole point. If we first have to make everyone into perfect clones of one another before we can be free, then what kind of freedom do we get?

Darkcrusade's picture

The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Psa 14:1

For those who seem to have an interest>
http://whomadegod.org/2011/08/god-science-and-evolution-part-2/

The divorce between science and religion is one of the most significant aspects of our modern philosophical scene. The unity of truth and knowledge, which has always been a prime objective of thinkers down the ages, has been all but aban­doned by our Western culture. It has been replaced by a schizophrenic world-view which divorces the ‘real’ pragmatic world of science (the material universe) from the insubstantial thought-world in which philosophy and religious belief are permitted to function, like birds imprisoned in a cage of sub­jectivity.

This dichotomy between our inner and outward lives is bound to introduce serious tensions on both the per­sonal and social levels. The ‘real’ world of social intercourse and political decision is no longer regulated, as it once was, by considerations of a philosophical and religious character. Legislation and morality alike are guided by a doctrine of blind pragmatic convenience rather than by moral absolutes, however dimly perceived. We do not today mould our social and political institutions by reference to God’s moral laws, or even to the nature of man as a being created in the image of God. All is empirical and the only guiding principle we recognize is the law of cause and effect

It is quite unfair, of course, to blame this state of affairs upon ‘science’. Rather, science has merely provided an excuse for the rejection of spiritual principles and a belief in the moral authority of God. The founders of modern science actually saw the new ‘natural philosophy’ as demonstrating the order and harmony of creation and thus the existence and power of God. Today these same scientific disciplines are used by many to urge the redundancy of the spiritual dimen­sion and banish God from His own universe. The god of evolution has replaced the God of creation and revelation.

That this has been allowed to happen is the fault of religious leaders rather than of scientists. In our own ‘Christian’ society the churches have themselves largely rejected the concept of objective revelation and a belief in the authority of the Bible, in favour of pragmatism. They have tried to carry over the scientific method into theology, not realiz­ing that empiricism, which is a proper basis for physical science, is entirely inappropriate in our approach to God. This is not to say that Christianity is not experimental. In­deed, it is. But, unlike the physical world, God cannot be known by a humanistic methodology which begins with our­selves and our unaided senses. His transcendent nature together with our human blindness to spiritual truth require God to make Himself known, that is, they necessitate revelation, a concept both unknown and inappropriate to scientific endeavour.

Other Christian leaders, while clinging to biblical authority, have erred by withdrawing from the real world of practical experience into subjectivism. By confining the gospel of Jesus Christ to the purely personal realm, they have inadver­tently underwritten the very dichotomy between the natural and spiritual worlds upon which materialism thrives. Admit­tedly, Christianity is a personal issue, involving the reconcili­ation of the individual sinner to God through the death and resurrection of Christ. But it is more than a personal matter since it involves a unified world-view in which man, nature, society and God are set in their proper relationships to one another. Starved of this philosophical unity, the Christian message becomes emaciated and the individual believer is forced, by default, to accept an essentially humanistic and even materialistic interpretation of the ‘real’ or natural world in which he has to function day by day. The tension between his inner beliefs and his practical life can become well nigh unbearable and may lead to demoralization and tacit with­drawal from the warfare of faith.

Perhaps I have overdrawn the picture, but the problems described are undoubtedly genuine. It would seem, then, that those who are both scientists and Christians have a special responsibility to do all in their power to correct the mistakes that have been made in these matters. Negatively, they must expose and reject the misuse of science as a handmaid of materialistic philosophy. They must refute the claim that science demonstrates the irrelevance and subjectivity of religious faith. They must argue that materialistic and evo­lutionary world-views are just as much philosophies as are Christian and religious world-views, that science no more authenticates the one than the other. They must show that science of itself is incapable of providing a complete philo­sophy of life and being; indeed, that science can only be understood in terms of ultimately spiritual principles. Posi­tively, they must present an alternative biblical philosophy of nature and man that is true to both science and revelation and that will enable ordinary men to appreciate the essential unity of truth, both religious and scientific. They must offer a framework of thought in which the glories of God and man (as His special creation and the object of redeeming love) may be appreciated and in which also the individual, sinner though he be, may discover a dignity, liberty and purpose which materialistic humanism denies him absolutely.

This book is offered as a modest contribution to the fulfil­ment of these responsibilities. A collection of lectures and essays is not, perhaps, the best means of doing this, since it runs the risk of being disjointed and incomplete. On the other hand, the lectures and writings reproduced here have proved helpful to the few who have received them and may therefore be of value to a wider audience.

The chapters have been arranged to give a progression, from statements of broad principles and options, to much more detailed arguments on the nature of science and creation and the interpretation of miracles and providence in an age of science. Next the question of theistic evolution is considered and rejected as a means of reconciling biblical teaching with a scientific view of origins. The positive alternatives are then brought forward once again. Finally, almost as a postscript, there is an essay on the age of the earth, a subject fundamen­tal to the evolutionary world-view which is so totally inimical to the biblical outlook.

What is nothing? Existence exists.

The accuuracy of the declaration that God created the cosmos out of ''nothing'' depends on which definition of 'nothing' the statement implies.

There are five.

1) Lack of matter.

2)Lack of matter and energy.

3)Lack of matter, energy and the four large expanding space-time dimensions of the universe.

4)Lack of matter, energy and all ten space-time dimensions of the universe.

5)Lack of any entity,being,existence,dimensionality,activity,or substance whatsoever.

The bible says God created the universe, we detect and measure, from that which no human can detect or measure.In other words the universe came from nothing as defined in #4 above.

A recent scientific discovery which is of great import is that the universe is finite!

AtlasAikido's picture

Pseudo science--the appearance or pretense of science is based on the quick sand of wish and whim instead of the hard rock of reality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition

Apparently some are attempting to ride on the coat tails of those that have been successful using science. The credibility of science is based on reason not wishes based on superstition (not in contact with reality).

Logic is based on the non-contradictory identification of reality using reason. The following may be of value to others who are still mentally wrestling with the deliberate misdirections (i.e. lies) that the culture surrounding us has pounded into each of us since our birth. http://tinyurl.com/First-Cause-article Objectivist Newsletter-Vol 1, No 5, May 1962, page 19--The "First Cause" article Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is God? ...

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Some good stuff in there. Too few people have studied the "history" of either philosophy or science to look at either discipline with any kind of adult perspective! And that goes double for Molyneux, whom I like for so very much of what he does for freedom--and does much better than I ever could.

Glock27's picture

I will conceed that I believe in a "Divine Creator" I see the evidence of the Deitys existance everyday, but what does it have to do with the search for Liberty. Nothing. But I must agree that it is being awful nasty to be so perverse with someone who believes. To attack anothers belief system I believe negates that individuals honesty with Liberty.
I get the feeling that someone who is so ardently hateful towards Christianity says there is a problem somewhere. Christian, atheist and Jew all die in a fox hole.

AtlasAikido's picture

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers."

Do You Own Yourself?
by Butler Shaffer
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/shaffer9.html

Does anyone here also read the articles/blog at Lewrockwell.com?

It is full of individuals--Catholics (Lew Rockwell, Jeffrey Tucker, William Grigg, Tom Woods), Christians (Gary North), atheists (Stephan Molyneux (Freedomain Radio), Doug Casey, Walter Block, Harry Browne) and Jews, Muslims and Taoists and even an ex-treasury secretary http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/ spreading the ideas of Liberty (not God and not religion).

I don't know what religion Thomas DiLoenzo is and I don't care. I do know he IS the author of "The Real Lincoln"--a break thru for understanding history--and I know Butler Shaffer is no lover of Ayn Rand (although he gives her credit where due as does Stephan Kinsella who broke thru the monopoly of The Intellectual Property thicket).

Every issue has been put to bed in our time regarding the need for government. I think Kinsella solved the last standing leg on the IP issue. http://c4sif.org/2012/02/history-of-copyright-part-1-black-death/

I can search for many of these authors when I tag them with my avatar pseudonym on strike-the-root.com or use the trackback feature as they pertain to issues I might have commented on such as:

"Atlas Shrugged" is about spreading the ideas of Self Ownership and Liberty (It is not about God and not about religion)
http://www.atlassociety.org/atlas-shrugged/rearden-metal-not-sale

Darkcrusade's picture

This is important for perspective.

1) Lack of matter.

2)Lack of matter and energy.

3)Lack of matter, energy and the four large expanding space-time dimensions of the universe.

4)Lack of matter, energy and all ten space-time dimensions of the universe.

5)Lack of any entity,being,existence,dimensionality,activity,or substance whatsoever.

Has something come from NO-THING?

Effects are not greater than their cause.

1)Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence.

2)The universe began to exist.

3)Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

Einstein was startled that his equations pointed to a beginning and to God. He later attempted to re-work his numbers and insinuate an ''Einstein's repulsive force'' which he latter admitted to being
the greatest mistake of his life.

The Law of Entropy provides confirmation that the universe had a beginning.This well established principal indicates that the energy in the universe is being dissipated,and a time will come when
thermal-equilibrium(all locations in the universe manifest the same temperture)will inevitable result
and all physical activity will cease.If the universe were eternal this 'heat death' would already have occured.Therefore the Law of Entropy points to the fact that the universe has only been around for a finite period of time.

Einstein fought the idea of a beginning.The drive to keep God out of the picture was/is an agenda.

“Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me … I should like to find a genuine loophole.” ~Arthur Eddington

http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/origins/quotes/universe.html

The battle is to protect a certain fragille belief systems,evolutionism(the belief that inorganic material evolves into simple cells and latter into advanced life without any input from a Divine Being). Further the myth of the 'simple cell' is bankrupt. The simplest cell is more complex than a city or the biggest automated factory.

It takes information(intelligence)to run the hardware.The software(code/intelligence) is the DNA that tells the hardware(cell) how to function. The cell cannot function without the DNA. The DNA cannot survive outside the cell.For those who understand computers,The computer is hardware and software.Think.(hint-the software requires a programmer,...)

AtlasAikido's picture

I am not interested in assertions that attempt to use Existence WHILST denying it! Assertions--stolen concepts--that use such are illogical and are not productive nor profitable and certainly not helpful information, or a basis for non-contradictory knowledge or a way of life. But again I was very clear at the outset and thru out this thread that I am not interested in fixing other people's belief that they can use reality to step outside of it.

This is an anarchist site and apparently some have rid themselves or never did get infected with "The Most Dangerous Superstition" that Larken Rose so eloquently summed up and expands on in his book. Good for you!!! Not only is anarchy rational but so is atheism.

Moving along...(nature to be commanded must be *understood*, you can't have cake and eat it, and so on...).

Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies *two corollary axioms*: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.

Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two—existence and consciousness—are axioms YOU cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.

To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was—no matter what his errors—the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence AND the *rule of all knowledge*: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.

Existence...
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existence.html

Amen!

Suverans2's picture

G'day AtlasAikido,

Please define "existence" for us.

1st man: "Assuming, for the moment that existence is a thing rather than the condition, or state, of a thing, where did it come from? What color is it?"

2nd man: "It exists."

1st man: "Okay-y-y-y...assuming it exists, how big is it?"

2nd man: "It exists."

1st man: "Did it have a beginning?"

2nd man: "It exists."

1st man: "Will it some day have an ending?"

2nd man: "It exists."

1st man: "Is my car part of existence?"

2nd man: "Yes, it exists."

1st man: "Did it have a beginning?"

2nd man: "It exists! It exists! It exists! It exists!"

1st man: "Did life have a beginning?"

2nd man: "Life is alive."

1st man: "Yes, I know that 'life is alive', just like I know that things that exist, exist, but did 'life' have a beginning?"

2nd man: "Life is alive. Existence exists."

1st man: "Um-m-m-m, I see. Just one more question. Were you at the Emperor's parade?" ;)

AtlasAikido's picture

Some miss the simplest application of logic let alone the excerpted definition and article *I* provided in the prior posts. Not what to think, but how to think IF one wants to work things out for themselves....

Those that say they need a "dictionary" to *exist* and a referent to refer to. But ask what is existence? How does one address a non-entity (they tell us they do not know what existence is)? This is demanding I tell them how they can have their cake and eat it. This is just another variant of what statist and religious supporters do. Replacing one authority with another...

Dear Reader, no wonder, no worries, they count on those around them to fill in their blank outs for them. Living in a world, universe, (existence) they cannot intellectually grasp by their own admission--but for their ex post facto stories, quaint little homilies and mixed premises they use in place of non-contradictory thinking....

THANK YOU, Darkcrusade, AND Suverans2 for providing PROOF that Paul Bonneau is right and Jim Davies is wrong regarding the ability--and the need--to convert religious people to rationality.

"God" is really the fear of others...(that others will ostracize one for pointing out the emperor (god) has no clothes).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVI4kzoZmy0

Proofs for God Destroyed by a Philosophical Atheist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB4vi6gRM70&feature=relmfu

Agnosticism -- The Incomprehensible Halo...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isk6Tf5JyM4&feature=endscreen

Suverans2's picture

I refuse to "play along with the pretense" that that makes sense, though some may think me "just hopelessly stupid". So be it.

AtlasAikido's picture

Is this what was done to you? IS the above what passes for intellectual honesty in your book and your reference to "existential willie" in a prior post? And the link you supplied with it?

Frankly I am not interested in your unsupported conclusions. Where is the support for your conclusions? You might want to hold yourself to the same standards you attempt to hold others to. Apparently the exceptionalism card works for you. Not for me.

If you really don't know what "existence" is perhaps you should tell the strikers here why the definition I clearly already provided does not make sense. And why your definition does! And the same with the article I clearly provided.

Best regards,

Atlas Aikido

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Suverans2's picture

G'day AtlasAikido,

Is this what you are referring to as a "definition" of the word existence, my friend?

    "Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists..." ~ http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existence.html

If so, maybe I am "just hopelessly stupid", as you seem to be implying, because to my mind that definitely does not define the word existence, rather it tries to explain the statement "existence exists".

If not, please, show me where you have defined that word, I must have missed it.

AtlasAikido's picture

Two things. Actually three.

I and another poster already provided Two links.

One: An Article: http://tinyurl.com/First-Cause-article
AND
Two: A Definition: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existence.html

And in a prior post I *excerpted* the definition, which has (three) short supporting paras posted with ** emphasis to what you excerpted in your post...And it would appear you have not read them given your response.

I see that you posit circular reasoning as a flaw when in-fact the definition is a http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tautology
as already explained and teased out in a prior post.

The article is also VERY short, clear and to the point and Dennis Wilson walked thru the issues with Jim Davies....And it looks very favorable...so far. I point that out because that is where I would go back to address any issues (if I was wrestling with this).

The article AND definition are in the prior posts on this thread and only a few day old...carried forward from the beginning of this thread.

Three: I see no refutation from you on the article nor the definition. No definition of existence as you are using it and how it is different than what I provided nor an article supporting YOUR position and how that is different.

Best Regards my friend,
AtlasAikido

eugenedw's picture

Somehow, wherever you go on the web, sooner or later you run into a creationist. But Darkcrusade, assuming that he agrees with the general goal of a stateless society, kind of illustrates the point I made earlier: you do not have to be an atheist to be an anarchist, and if we insist that you have to be, we achieve nothing more than to alienate gazillions of potential supporters.

Samarami's picture

eugenedw:

    sooner or later you run into a creationist.

More astounding than that, eugenedw, is the fact that you will find people here on STR who accept "evolution" whole-hog -- without much question. In my mind that takes considerably more "faith" than the acceptance of creationism. Because virtually all "science" and intellectual blackmail that gives rise to the evolution superstition is funded by thieves of state -- in government ("public" ha ha) universities.

But the religion controversy in "libertarianism" is a great divide-and-conquer tactic. On that we will have to agree. Keep 'em fighting over religious crap so they don't have time to expose the illegitimacy of state.

Good thinkin'.

Sam