Lamenting loss of funerals

atheist-heavenSo Ed Tomlinson, a UK Church of England vicar, has been ripping in to secular funerals. He himself is looking forward to the “gorgeous liturgy of the requiem mass. . . . Whereas the best our secularist friends (and those they dupe) can hope for is a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection.”

The TimesOnline says Tomlinson is the “vicar of St Barnabas’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, a ‘Forward in Faith’ parish that rejects the ministry of women priests.”

Sour grapes

Sounds like sour grapes to me. Because he also laments that “priests are no longer in demand.” “It is another significant sign of how Britain is becoming an increasingly secular society.” Funerals are being placed “in the hands of humanist provider(s).”

He claims to see a positive side to this:

“And yet there is a positive side to this if I am honest. In the last few years it has become painfully obvious that many families I have conducted funerals for have absolutely no desire for any Christian content whatsoever. I have then stood at the Crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner, summed up in pithy platitudes of sentimental and secular poets and sent into the furnace with ‘I did it my way’ blaring out across the speakers! To be brutally honest I can think of a hundred better ways of spending my time as a priest on God’s earth. What is the point of my being present if spiritually unwanted?”

But he reveals what are probably the real reasons for his regrets – which are no doubt shared by others in his profession:

“I am saddened to discover yet another arena of life in which the church is moved from the centre to the margins. I am equally troubled that pastoral care is being left in the hands of those whose main aim is to make money. And I am further concerned that an opportunity for evangelism is slipping through our fingers.”

We want genuine funerals

Well, Ed, I think evangelism is one of the reason for the growing trend towards secular funerals. People have got fed up with ceremonies full of irrelevant supernatual mythology, paternalistic assumptions about the “faith” of the mourners (and the deceased) and the lack of any real concern or respect for the deceased. Today we want to have a genuine celebration of that life.

Many of us now have a mature attitude towards death and find the appeals to a supernatural afterlife more disrespectful than comforting. I have certainly found today’s “secular” funerals far more genuine than the old religious ones. They provide more opportunity for the celebration of the life being remembered. And the ceremonies are therefore often more beautiful and moving for this.

It’s also a bit rich for Tomlinson to charge that humanist and other secular celebrants “main aim is to make money.” This coming from a representative of an institution that always has its hands out, that invents supernatural demands for their congregation to tithe and cynically claims tax exemption for their religious income and work.

My own funeral

Perhaps its a sign of age, but I have thought about what I would like for my own funeral. I have no objection to undertakers, caterers, etc. being paid appropriately. However, no priest or other religious official, or their church,  will get a cent from my estate. Nor will any political party. There will not be any official role for those organisations. I have no wish for such a cynical use of this occasion.

And, yes, I hope it will be beautiful and moving. I want the music to include pieces from Verdi’s Requium Mass. Sure, it has a religious content – but should we reject great music, operas, etc., because they are about fairy tales, the Greek gods, etc? It is beautiful music, part of a culture that belongs to all of us – religious and non-religious alike. Surely that is reinforced by the fact that Verdi himself was a non-believer.

And, perhaps I will even ask for it to be held in a beautiful building – like an old church. After all, I have helped to finance these building through my taxes over the years. And, again they are part of our culture.

See also:

Planning ahead
These posts from ed Tomlinson’s blog:
The death of death…
Clarification on funerals
Dealing with the press
A Humanist response: BHA defends humanist funerals

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46 responses to “Lamenting loss of funerals

  1. I find that if ever I feel a tear in my eye at a wedding or a funeral the most sure-fire way to overcome that emotion is for a religious person to start into their Amway-like promotional piece. I’ve always felt this way; even when I believed in God. It always felt like a cheap interruption.

    That said, I’m sure there can be equally tacky secular weddings or funerals but so far in my experience it’s been the secular ones that seem to be the most moving and most genuine.

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  2. I like the Amway reference.

    I can imagine what you mean by tacky secular funerals. That’s why I would hate political people to dominate mine. They can also be dogmatic and disrespectful.

    Sent from my iPod

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  3. I am equally troubled that pastoral care is being left in the hands of those whose main aim is to make money.

    This is NEWS to him?
    Does the word “collection plate” mean nothing to him?
    Has he never read Chaucer?
    Wow.
    Still, it’s not just Christian religious funerals that are feeling the pinch.
    The Buddhists are having it tough too.

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  4. In NZ now there will be provision for people to have donations subtracted from their pay at source. Like an extra tax. I can see churches latching on to this & pressuring members of the flock to sign up.

    But I guess they will still pass around the plate as well.

    Sent from my iPod

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  5. One of the strange things I have encountered in Germany is the church tithing direct from peoples pay by the tax system.

    What is weird is that people who to all intents and purposes are non religious, who still contribute the church tax. Part of this is inertia against change, as this is how it was initially setup for them, but there is also a slightly more sinister side.

    My partner works in the social sector, and she is still a member of the church tax. She says that this is really only to avoid any possibility of being discriminated against if she were to apply for a job at a private church affiliated hospital.

    Given the above, I think that there are risks associated with such a state supported donation. I would also ask whether somebody could opt to donate to any religion or group in this fashion. Perhaps a direct donation to Greenpeace. If not, then why not.

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  6. I think some other European countries have a similar church tax.

    In NZ the system is, I think, aimed at making charitable donations easier in general. I don’t think there will be restrictions. However, the legislation was championed by the United Party – who will be thinking of religious beneficiaries.

    I can just see how the churches will use this. And at a time when there is real concern about the influence of church donations on poverty in the Pacific Island community.

    And they worry about problem gamblers. Perhaps we should recognise problem god addiction as a cause of poverty.

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  7. I attended the funeral of a close & very dear friend in February this year. She was a life-long atheist. The ceremony was one of the most moving & meaningful funerals that I’ve been to: music that was chosen by my friend & her family, readings that meant something to us all, people who spoke lovingly of a life well-lived & cut far too short. It was a celebration as well as a farewell.

    How dare that man be so dismissive of ceremonies that don’t meet his particular standards, but which doubtless mean a great deal to the families & friends of those who have died!

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  8. It does sounds like he’s only considering his personal needs, not those of who is (supposedly) serves.

    To be cold-blooded about it, in business terms this guy gets a fail. In business you serve your clients, not yourself and you take pride in meeting their needs.

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  9. What I get from this (balanced?) blog above is that atheists and theists alike share a desire for their funeral to be a moving celebration and reflection on the meaningfulness of life well lived. But I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful. For what, in the end, did it matter what you did with your life? or how did living well effect the end? In fact, given the finality of death on the atheistic view, why does ones own funeral matter at all? It seems to me just a monument for ones own ego. I can understand you would want your friends and family to go on after your death and work their way through a healthy grieving process, but that leaves the meaning of ones own funeral dependant on others, and it would hardly matter what music played or who was paid to butter the scones. Why should your funeral matter to you? Why a marked grave and not a dumpster? or – to be crude – a meat-processing house for distribution as hamburgers?

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  10. Stuart – “I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful.”

    You must have a problem with your vision then. I and many people like me obviously do have meaning in our lives without believing in any sky pilot. That is your problem (and your loss) if you can’t understand that simple truth.

    Rather than express an unsubstantiated (and disrespectful) view, perhaps you could have explained why you, specifically, think you have more meaning in your life than I have in mine. What that meaning actually is. The let’s see if we can understand that.

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  11. Your response shows a complete misunderstanding of what I wrote and intentioned. Given such misunderstanding I quaver to respond, because I have no confidence that you will understand and not misinterprent what I say again. Let me first make clear what I did not say.

    I did not say you do not have meaning in your life, nor did I say that your own funeral will be meaningless or not a worth-while undertaking. Rather I said I don’t see how, if atheism is true, there can be any meaning.

    Now that point is not refuted by stating “I have meaning in my life.” Nor can it be refuted by stating that I have an inability to see how this meaning comes to be there. The idea is – on atheism (which propounds that this life is all there is, and death is the end of the human person) there doesn’t seem to be a way any meaning in life (or the worth of life well-lived) can accrue (or even exist). The argument stated syllogistically is;
    (1) There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an atheistic scheme,
    (2) but there is meaning in life and human persons do have worth, therefore
    (3) this is evidence in favour of not-atheism.

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  12. Yes, Stuart, I know you said: “I don’t see how, if atheism is true, there can be any meaning.” But that is, after all, just a admission of ignorance on your part.

    You don’t see how we can have meaning in life. I, and millions of others, have no problems finding meaning and don’t see that a sky pilot is necessary for this.

    Now, if you find this fact confusing – rather than just sticking with declarations (even if they demonstrate you can count to 3) why not investigate the issue.

    You might well find that your declaration 1 is completely wrong. Then you would be making progress.

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  13. Ken,

    Simply declaring there is meaning is not refuting (1). Rather it is only affirming (2).

    For refutation of (1) you’d need to give a reason why there is meaning or worth in life, specifically in this case, why ones own funeral has significance for oneself? That I don’t see how there can be meaning on the atheistic view is ignorance on my part (in that your are correct), but that same ignorance (an ignorance that I have – in the absence of an explanation from you – every reason to think you share) only reinforces the strength of premise (1).

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  14. No Stuart – you are the one making the claim. It is up to you to prove my life has no meaning.

    Isn’t this the old falacy of making a claim and then declaring it must be true because the victim of that claim hasn’t proven otherwise?

    I am quite happy with the meaning I’m my life. That fact must be very obvious to the casual observer. I don’t feel any need to justify myself.

    But, perhaps you should explain the meaning in your life – what it is and how it is unique to you – if you really wan’t to debate meaning.

    But that would be pointless, wouldn’t it?

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  15. Actally, Stuart, isn’t it arrogant to asume that I agree with your declaration 1.

    Surely it is ver obvious that I don’t.

    Sent from my iPod

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  16. Old creationists fallacies, e.g. atheists’ lives don’t have meanings, etc. are a waste of time, ditto for pseudo-philosophising over them.

    On to the actual questions.

    But I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful.

    That’s your problem, not ours! 🙂 We’ve got no trouble finding meaning in lives that don’t give credence to a mythology 😉

    You’ve contradicted yourself a bit when on hand you say that funerals can’t possibly have meaning for atheists, only to give them a meaning (“I can understand you would want your friends and family to go on after your death and work their way through a healthy grieving process”).

    Funerals are always about those left behind, even for the religious. Same applies to your asking why have graves.

    It seems to me just a monument for ones own ego.

    I’m sure for a small number of people it does! Christians included. Point is, that’s not about religion or not, but the person’s personality & it’s the exception to the rule regardless of religion or not.

    (Some pretty high-up Christians have some pretty pompous ass self-congratulatory funerals, don’t you think? Not trying to insult, just food for thought.)

    but that leaves the meaning of ones own funeral dependant on others

    True of all funerals, for the religious or not. Point is, this isn’t a point of difference.

    Why should your funeral matter to you?

    Why assume that the people are thinking of themselves, not their families and friends?

    As for graves, you’re making an assumption: plenty of atheists prefer cremation (& their ashes scattered someplace or whatnot).

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  17. Rather I said I don’t see how, if atheism is true, there can be any meaning.

    Well, perhaps you haven’t really thought about it properly.
    Despite you counting to three, atheists seem to get along just fine.

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  18. This is what Kerry Woodham in the Herald had to say about Ed’s complaints:

    “Boy. The Reverend Ed Tomlinson’s haemorrhoids must have been playing up something chronic when he penned his diatribe against modern funerals.

    The Anglican vicar wrote a dyspeptic blog, bemoaning the fact that he had to officiate in funeral after funeral where pop songs are played and bad poetry is read as bodies of people with no hope of resurrection are “popped into the oven”.

    “Once upon a time even funerals at the crem would have been sincerely Christian in character,” Tomlinson wrote. “But that was another England, a time when Christianity was worshipped on these shores.”

    Give me a break. The time when you could only get to heaven if you believed God was an old, white Englishman are over.

    If he feels so strongly about people using their own words and their own choice of music to say goodbye, he shouldn’t be doing the funerals. Just say no, Ed. Leave it to open-minded celebrants.”

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  19. As I predicted there is copious amount of misunderstanding in your comment Ken. I find it unfortunate that you all seem to have missed my clarification that…

    I did not say you do not have meaning in your life

    All everyone here has done is clarify that (2) is the case and fail to give a reason why (1) is not the case. In the absence of a reason why (1) is not the case all are rationally obliged to believe in (3) as it clearly follows logically.

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  20. Ken,

    You’ve linked the wrong article, you mean this one:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10605199

    The one you’ve linked is about Tamaki shifting.

    Stuart,

    I did not say you do not have meaning in your life

    You said that if people don’t believe in life after death—a religious belief—that their can’t be meaningful:

    But I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful.

    Perhaps you meant that you could not see how any funeral could be meaningful? (But like I pointed out earlier, you contradict yourself a bit on that one.)

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  21. Rats… read

    ‘that their life can’t be meaningful:’

    for

    ‘that their can’t be meaningful:’

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  22. No, no misunderstanding on my part, Stuart. I know what you are up to as I have seen it all before.

    Surely it’s obvious – as a starting point – if people do have meaning in their lives that 1 is just not true. Given that these people do not believe in any gods or fairies or goblins.

    You are wanting to use a circular argument by setting up your 1, 2, 3. You want to prove that because people have meaning then your specific god exists.

    It would be more honest, if you want to prove 1 – to stick with that and put up your evidence.

    That is – it’s not up to me to prove 1 is not the case. It’s up to you to prove that it is! After all you are the one making the claim.

    I am quite happy to believe your 1 is false – until I see evidence that it is not (and don’t quote the fact that my life has meaning as evidence – that would not be honest). So far I ahve not seen any evidence (and you are very coy about supplying any). But, evidence will always convince me – it’s no skin off my nose either way.

    Meanwhile the rest of us get on with our lives, getting stuck into all sorts of interesting things. Very meaningful lives. And some of us actually are interested in having respectful funerals.

    Your god just doesn’t come in to it for us. (Until there is evidence, of course).

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  23. Heraclides – thanks for picking that up. I have fixed it.

    It’s just a senior moment – happening quite a lot these days. Perhaps that’s why I think about funerals.

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  24. Heraclides,

    I don’t see how your can read these two statements as containing the same message. Obviously they don’t!

    You said that if people don’t believe in life after death—a religious belief—that their [life] can’t be meaningful:

    But I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful.

    Ken, I’m sorry to inform you that the syllogism simply is not circular!

    The absence of an explanation as to why there can be meaning for life is the evidence for (1). Obviously you believe (2) is the case, but asserting (2) is not a refutation of (1).

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  25. So, you can’t support your claim 1, then.

    “The absence of an explanation . . . is the evidence for 1”!

    Bloody hell – if that satisfies you you are going to believe anything.

    I am proud to say my standards are somewhat higher than that.

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  26. Stuart,

    All I can think to say in reply is that you can’t seem to read your own words! (Sorry, but I find your reply utterly extraordinary.)

    You, yourself, not me, not someone else, said:

    But I fail to see how, if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, any life can be meaningful.

    Let me re-arrange it for you, retaining the exact meaning:

    But I fail to see how any life can be meaningful if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person.

    or:

    But if the cessation of bodily function (physical death) represents the final end of the human person, I fail to see how any life can be meaningful

    I wrote that you said if people don’t believe in life after death—a religious belief—that their can’t be meaningful.

    They’re exactly the same thing.

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  27. Ken,

    Bloody hell – if that satisfies you you are going to believe anything.

    I agree. Un-be-leiv-able. The sheer lack of logic. Maybe it’s the morning sermon still affecting him?

    His logic is circular alright.

    1. Assertion by fait that there cannot be meaning or worth for atheists
    2. Assertion that there is meaning in life & persons have worth (but no statement about if this has anything to do with atheism or not)
    3. Assertion that this (what?) is evidence (haven’t seen any presented) for non-atheism (huh?)

    Three assertions, in which the last tries to assert by fait the first assertion, which, ironically, is already asserted by fait. You get the impression he thinks that by including the word ‘evidence’, irrespective of presenting any, that this makes it right.

    He seems to be trying to the “right” words (‘plausible’, ‘evidence’) without understanding what he’s supposed to do in order to use them.

    Futhermore, since the second is independent of the others and he hasn’t done anything to limit who it applies to, we could just take that on it’s own and say “yup, sounds fine” and walk away!

    Stuart,

    If you start with ‘there is no plausible’, you cannot end with ‘this is evidence’ unless you introduce actually evidence against it; you can only end ‘there is a lack of evidence for’.

    For example, if you start with ‘there is a lack of plausible mechanism for homeopathy to work’, you cannot end up with ‘evidence against homeopathy’, what you end up with is ‘a lack of evidence for homeopathy’.

    You cannot cite a lack of evidence as evidence against, it’s illogical. In order to conclude there is evidence against, you need to present some actual evidence, not cite a lack of mechanism or plausibility.

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  28. Unfortunately for Heraclides the statement, “if people don’t believe in life after death—a religious belief—that their [life] can’t be meaningful.” does not have the same meaning as “if physical death is the final end of a person I fail to see how life can be meaningful.” Any grade school student should be able to tell the difference. Let me give you a clue. The key difference is the word believe.

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  29. No, Stuart – the key difference (or key word) is “fail.”

    And the failure is yours!

    Normally people who don’t understand something sit back and investigate the issue rather than spout off and offensively characterise other humans (who deserve respect from their very existence as humans). Characterisations such as: “Why should your funeral matter to you? Why a marked grave and not a dumpster? or – to be crude – a meat-processing house for distribution as hamburgers?”

    Physical death is the end of a person – for sure. And those persons do have meaningful lives as they and their families can attest.

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  30. The syllogism is not circular,

    (1) There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an atheistic scheme,
    (2) but there is meaning in life and human persons do have worth, therefore
    (3) this is evidence in favour of not-atheism.

    The meaning in life is the evidence, and the failure of atheism to provide a reason why there can be meaning represents the inadequacy of the atheistic view.

    Your charge that you cannot cite a poor plausibility as evidence is erroneous. Courts do it all the time. While I admit the conclusion “not-atheism” is not reached by logical necessity, that is not the claim of (3) is it? (3) strikes at the plausibility of atheism and if the syllogism is sound other explanations with greater explanatory power, scope and comparative superiority should be preferred.

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  31. Let’s try this then.

    1/ There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an theistic scheme,
    2/ but there is meaning in life and human persons do have worth, therefore
    3/ this is evidence in favour of atheism.

    The meaning in life is the evidence, and the failure of theism to provide a reason why there can be meaning represents the inadequacy of the theistic view.

    After all, you have demonstrated a complete failure (as you admit – “I fail to see”) to show that theism provides a reason for why there can be meaning.

    Away with you. This is just getting silly.

    But I suppose this is what they teach you at Theology school. No wonder theology has never produced anything of use.

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  32. Stuart,

    You’re just playing games.

    In any event you have effectively confirmed that what I wrote you as meaning was what you meant.

    Your wording carries the meaning of having that belief, regardless of your trying to duck it by playing word games.

    Thank you for confirming that I got it right 😉

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  33. The meaning in life is the evidence

    If the second point is true, as I wrote earlier, then everyone’s life as meaning, religious or not, since the other points don’t alter this.

    And it’s not evidence really, it’s an assertion. Evidence is the stuff used to show if an assertion is true (or not). The assertion itself is not evidence, it’s just a statement.

    Courts do it all the time.

    Wow, what a cop-out. Hahahaha.

    Oh, sorry, but that is so silly.

    You must know perfectly well that you’ve shifted from one notion of “proof” to another! Pfffthhh!!

    Clearly, you’re just playing games.

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  34. I see your not interested in intelligent discussion.

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  35. Ken,

    For once you’ve made an argument. And its valid as well. Well done!

    1/ There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an theistic scheme,
    2/ but there is meaning in life and human persons do have worth, therefore
    3/ this is evidence in favour of atheism.

    Unfortunately, it is not sound. Premise (1) is false. There is an obvious and immediate refutation, for the theistic scheme does plausibly provide a reason why there is meaning in life and human beings are of value, namely, God provides this value and meaning. As (1) is false, (3) does not follow.

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  36. Well, that’s a sudden change. Now I am strangely itelligent?

    But why are you prepared to debate my statement 1 but couldn’t do that for your statement 1??

    I think both statements are really silly.

    But to be the devil’s advocate:

    I am not conviced by your claim because it is just a statement of belief – not a justification. You have done nothing to explain how your god (which you have not bothered to provide evidence for) provides any value or meaning. Sounds to me like the old “god did it” answers which explain nothing. In fact are just a way of avoiding the real questions.

    You are going to have to do better than that!

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  37. Stuart – I think part of the problem here is lack of definition of terms. You possibly mean a quite different thing to me when you say “meaning”. Just like the debate over “purpose” when you and Dale introduced your own definition of “objective purpose.”

    Now most of use can understand that our lives have meaning and purpose. That as humans we deserve respect in death as well as life. We don’t have to postulate a god to know this – it comes quite naturally.

    However, perhaps you and at least some other theists see purpose and meaning in a more mechanical way. Not something coming from within, but something inherent in your design and manufacture (creation) by your god. It seems implicit in the design fallacy that people see things having such a purpose, determined by the designer/manufacturer rather than the person themselves.

    This also comes naturally from the design comparison of humans and animals with mechanical objects like watches and cars which clearly have purposes determined by their designer/manufacturer.

    Of course, we have come a long way in understand living things and this mechanical interpretations seems silly to most of us. But I can see how someone committed to the design analogy argument will buy it.

    Now – when asked most of us can describe a purpose/meaning for our lives. Ideas like family, understanding, discovery, personal expression, creativity, etc., etc. None of these require gods.

    So here’s the question. What is your meaning in life? What is your purpose in life? And explain specifically how this meaning/purpose requires the existence of a god.

    (Now don’t be offended by the lower case g. I am acutely aware that every believer has there own god. Most believers will disagree with each other about the nature of that god. And I imagine most theists will have different ideas of what their god-given purpose/meaning in life is. So it would be wrong to speak of a specific god.)

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  38. You’re still confused on the design argument. Its not from analogy, but best construed as inference to the best explanation!

    Are you really denying that on the theistic system God does not provide meaning (which I take to approximately mean “worthwhile purpose” and/or “human dignity”)? Surely this is uncontroversial. That belief in God provides meaning in life on the theistic system would be true whether God exists or not.

    My premise (1) is eminently not silly, as you have consistently failed to offer an explanation that would mitigate its claim. Your failure to answer (which is understandable given atheism can’t answer) shows that the scales tip to favour the theistic view.

    While it is true, as you say “You cannot cite a lack of evidence as evidence against, it’s illogical.” It is also true that I have not claimed “not-athism.” The claim of (3) is rather “This is evidence in favour of not-atheism” (3) doesn’t logically necessitate “not-atheism” but it is evidence to favour “not-atheism” according to the criteria for the best explanation – in other words – (3) shows theism has more explanatory scope and power.

    I have at least given a reason why your premise (1) is false, yet you have failed altogether to give a reason why my premise (1) has failed. Why on the atheistic system is there meaning in life?

    Me telling you what I think my purpose in life is would only to confirm (2) which we are already both agreed on. So I don’t see the point.

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  39. Stuart,

    Dismissing me out-of-hand really just shows that you are not interested in intelligent discussion 😉

    My points are pretty clear after all, even if I couldn’t help laugh at the silliness of your trying to move to what might be said in a courtroom to defend yourself.

    I’d be inclined to agree with Ken, he’s trying to show you both arguments (the whole argument, not specifically premise 1) are silly.

    yet you have failed altogether to give a reason why my premise (1) has failed

    Erm, both of us already have, you actually said itself yourself in premise 2.

    Try remember that as you’re working from premises—assumptions or assertions—whatever you come up with at most can only be consistent with your assumptions, not a statement about “how things are”. It’s why philosophy by itself it limited…

    While it is true, as you say “You cannot cite a lack of evidence as evidence against, it’s illogical.”

    I wrote that, not Ken.

    To repeat:

    3. Assertion that this (what?) is evidence (haven’t seen any presented) for non-atheism (huh?)

    What is meant by “this”? Where is the evidence? (You haven’t presented any, but presented premises as you said. Premises aren’t evidence and can’t be.)

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  40. Stuart – haven’t you just destroyed your whole argument by saying “That belief in God provides meaning in life on the theistic system would be true whether God exists or not.”?

    In other words – premise 1 – both yours (“There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an atheistic scheme”) and mine (“There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an theistic scheme”) – is false.

    That’s exactly my point – that we can have meaning and purpose in life (based or not based on a belief in a god) whether a god exists or not. God is irrelevant to the whole issue (except for those individuals who want a deity to give them permission for things, blame things on, someone to thank, etc.).

    And, of course, this accords with the empirical evidence, doesn’t it?

    Now, I take from yuour comment “Me telling you what I think my purpose in life is would only to confirm (2) which we are already both agreed on. So I don’t see the point.” that you don’t see any real difference in the possibilities of meaning/purpose between you and me (exactly my point). There is nothing special about being a theist.

    While I agree – I am a bit surprised because you seemed to be saying the opposite – just as you did when you claimed that atheists should not criticise Hitler.

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  41. I see your not interested in intelligent discussion.

    Stuart, why can’t you abandon the waffle for once? Drop the pretentious first-year philosophy jargon. It’s getting old. It impresses nobody.

    You have some concrete evidence for your god?
    Wonderful.
    Spit it out already and let’s all move one.

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  42. Oh Stuart,

    (1) There is no plausible reason for meaning or worth on an atheistic scheme,
    (2) but there is meaning in life and human persons do have worth, therefore..

    The argument from lack of imagination? “Meaning” might evolve without the help of a bloke on a cloud as a result genes that make brains with a biological imperative to achieve goals and make the world better for their children get selected for. Or it might be an emergent property of out consciousness. Or it might arise because of social conditioning.

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  43. yeah but david all the ‘meaning’ within humanity is equally evolved. even brains that make the world a nasty place survive. you can’t argue for evolved meaning and then use a word like ‘better’ lol

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  44. fogagnog – specifically, why not?

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  45. i guess you can use whatever words you want, but not as though we knew whose version of ‘better’ to prefer 😉

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  46. Вечер добрый. У меня имеется вопрос по поводу контекстной рекламы у Вас на сайте. Вам не случалось сталкиваться со случаями блокировки аккаунта администрацией гугла за типа “накрутку”? Как защитить себя в этом случае?

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