Sunday, August 19, 2007


'Who Are You?"

In a philosophy course I once did, a Norwegian Professor, a stunning lecturer of striking appearance, maintained that no life could be authentic if it contained religious belief. He said that such a position was dishonest because it involved self-deception and complete intellectual dishonesty.

But surely, the average human has all kinds of beliefs: about themselves, about their family and friends and society, about their suburb, their state or county, their country, the world, the universe, etc, and not all of these beliefs are based upon fact or rigorous intellectual honesty. In fact many of our beliefs have no real foundation at all but are merely folklore. Should we therefore discard them all in order to lead an authentic life?

The question might well be asked could any human actually live a life that was based purely on truth, on evidence, on rational thinking. After all, we are not computers or robots. Perhaps a certain amount of self-deception is necessary for our survival! Perhaps we need to cling to our illusions before time finally erodes them all away.

Do you think it's possible to live a life free from erroneous belief and self-deception?

Is it desirable? Would you want to?


Lil Sparrow said...


I think I would be more helpful if I could read a bit about the particular lecturer.

However, he is quite correct, no one can lead an authentic life WHILE being held under a vice of religious fascism which is promoted as SALVATION.

I think the lecturer probably was discarding (or acknowledging) his own personal religious upbringing in order to free himself from a certain mode of thinking and believing.

However life itself is full of personal myth, even without the aid of religion. We play make believe games everyday and do not live authentically.

Show me a person living authentically ....where? Not even your lecturer I presume ....

Daniel said...

Your response was interesting, Lil, as always. Others will add to the solution of the conundrum I'm sure. Peace...

phil kendall said...

G'day Daniel,

I don't much like the word 'belief[1];' partly because of the religious undertones.

Shifting to 'believe,' consider:

1. to believe in some supernatural g*d. (no evidence.)

2. to believe in quarks (2ndary; i.e. trust science.)

3. to believe in one's wife. (You'd better!)

Slightly longer: if I were to say "I believe this-or-that," what I mean is that I accept that there is enough evidence to support the statement, even though I may not have personally gathered the evidence, and/or that one may usefully generalise from some sample - when used with care.

My point: that there must be convincing evidence somewhere; belief without evidence is worthless, and shouldn't even be contemplated. Hmmm?

i.e. "I believe that the world is run by crooks!" would be hard to substantiate if one had to identify all the crooks individually, and enumerate their crimes.

But since "Shock'n whore®," a lot of evidence has come to light which confirms the thesis, as applied to US/UK/Aus, with the not so side-issue of Israel. Each of these operates as if they were run by and/or on behalf of crooks, and their crimes include all the usual; lying, cheating, theft and murder. Boo! Hiss!

Ooops! Perhaps you're talking about some other beliefs?


[1] belief n. 1 firm opinion; acceptance (that is my belief). 2 religious conviction (belief in the afterlife; has no belief). 3 (usu. foll. by in) trust or confidence. [related to *believe] [POD]

Daniel said...

Certainly lying, cheating, theft and murder are the result of believing in or supporting American or Israeli hegemony, Phil.

Belief, therefore, can be positive (I believe in honesty), neutral (I believe that oranges are better for your health than apples), or negative (Iraq and Palestine).

The same thinking applies to beliefs that we have about ourselves. Cheers!

Playful Pete said...

Militant atheists are enjoying a (disappointing) revival these days in the Western world (though they are most unwelcome amongst the poor, where the under-priviledged in Philipines and many African states seem to know more about life than our own priviledged Leftist liberals).

So when atheists ask for believers to "show any scientific proof that God exists", they are really asking within a loaded context.

For example, show me "scientific proof" that it's immoral to murder babies.

You can't.

So does this mean that it's okay to murder babies? Of course not. Some things we just know, or we believe, or we speculate, or we standardize.

We cannot always judge by loaded criteria.

Live and Let Live.

Anonymous said...

Dan,Dan,Dan...ANY true study of Philosophy, Science or Theology would have rendered the discovery of the common 'belief' thread among the great thinkers of our time. Have you not studied Einstein and his 'beliefs'? What did Einstein give us? Even with the establishements' years & years of condemnation of him he went out on a limb, 'blind faith', belief in something other than the stereotypic rationale...And yes, we gained so much from it. Thats only ONE example!
Why do people not accept that there is an inherant correlation between faith(whatever the hell it is to each of us), experimentation, trial and error, and scientific thought?
Hey, before you question me. I have spent 13 years in the scientific field and have found a truth that my own and my 'lab tests' CAN'T explain.
Some things are inexplicable and thats the way they should remain. Mystery is just that and should remain beyond feeble human examination!!!!

Truth is in thought. The majority of thought on this planet is extremely shallow and limited and thats why we are facing the problems that we created. Imagination diminishes with each generation it seems.
Please don't give me a one line, general response. I think you're smarter than that.
Love Zoe XXXX

Anonymous said...

PS...There is a big difference between stereotypic religeous properganda and faith in your own self or ideas(thats my point anyway).

Daniel said...

I'll consider your comments carefully and get back to you, Zoe. Perhaps this might be an 'agree to disagree' subject!

Love and hugs. xxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Dan! I have no problem with disagreeance. What I find most often is people who are unresearched and deeply affected by social stereotypes and modern behavior.
A detailed conversation about theology or science is welcomed....since I both understand it in detail & don't find many people who study either of the above mentioned.
Since a believer seemingly results (in science anyway) from experience......I CAN send a person an extra-ordinary activity/phenomena if they ask me to. Will leave it to your decision, good judgement and curiosity (since I'm not into scaring people, unless they deserve it!).

Lil Sparrow said...

Still thinking about this ...

I agree if one follows ACCEPTED religion ... being brought up with a religion and following tis rules without question.

I disagree if one follows a religion where they have direct communion with Deity - and very little interference or control from outside sources -


Lucyp said...

I am one of those annoying people who take very little on trust or belief and always ask for proof to back up the statement.
I really do need to see evidence for myself before i agree or disagree.

ninglun said...

Do you think it's possible to live a life free from erroneous belief and self-deception?

I have been thinking about this. The answer is probably "No". Not while we are human at any rate: "to err is human" etc...

Daniel said...

Ninglun and Zoe, I suspect that if humans were forced to live a life stripped of belief, of dreams, of illusions, a life that allowed only rational consideration of the harsh reality of our world and our insignificant, mortal role in it, that most humans would buckle and break and that our evolution as a species would quickly cease.

The authentic life: who needs it?

Mary Walsh said...

Gosh you hit a deep and meaningful discussion with this question Daniel.

I can only speak from within the bowels of my being that I feel my life is authentic precisely because I am without malice.

Even though I frequently express perceived perhaps, discriminatory remarks about religion...I prefer to use the word discerning, that is "of good taste"...but I do allow others their choices as long as they leave ME alone with mine...

So yes I am happy with who "I am" but it took many years of sifting to find me under the rubble of life. I had to lose the rubbish that guilt engenders, before I could begin to shine (for my own self I mean).

Anonymous said...


This is not a serious question for a person whose main form of social interaction is writing exchanging commentary with people for whom his persona is a snarky amphibian.

dada said...

"Is your life authentic?"

Nor is it appropriate for one whose persona is based on an art movement that embraces absurdity.