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Carrier on Spirituality 
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Post Carrier on Spirituality
I didn't see a thread for Ch. 10, but it makes as much sense to just start a thread on this particular topic. Carrier here has the audacity to suggest that you can be spiritual without being religious. This is one of those passages that hit home with me. I've tried to say some of the same things myself.

I especially like Carrier's advocation of the well-examined life, which he touches on frequently in this book.

Carrier wrote:
In Part I (“How I Got Here”) I described my own spiritual experiences with the Tao, which I later came to realize were entirely natural. Though most people assume being “spiritual” entails being “religious,” this isn’t a necessary connection. When people talk about a spiritual life, they point to someone who has his mind on higher things, who is not obsessed with property or gain, and who is passionately devoted to a belief about the meaning of life and the path to happiness. But this describes any devoted philosopher. When people talk about a spiritual “experience” they point to the combined sensation of awe, inner peace, and enlightenment, which culminates in a reverence for life and nature, and a sincere self-reflection about these things and oneself. And yet that, too, is the experience of any true philosopher. I live a spiritual life, because I live a self-examined life of the mind, I care deeply about my beliefs, I care more about my ideals and human happiness than about material things, and I experience awe, inner peace, and enlightenment when I fathom human minds and the natural world. Spiritual experience leads to and reinforces the spiritual lifestyle, and in that respect my path to Metaphysical Naturalism through Taoism was fortuitous. For Metaphysical Naturalism does not have a developed spiritual tradition, even though there have been many spiritual atheists, from Robert Ingersoll to Carl Sagan and Corliss Lamont.


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Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:57 pm
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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Harris's new book is Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

http://www.samharris.org/waking-up

Of course "spirituality" is a loaded term, and he talks about this, but obviously he decided to keep using the word.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
This is where it gets interesting when spiritual materialists sometimes claim that the awe, splendor, and wonder of dumb, blind, and chancy mother nature cam make them feel "at one" with the universe.



Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
ant wrote:
This is where it gets interesting when spiritual materialists sometimes claim that the awe, splendor, and wonder of dumb, blind, and chancy mother nature cam make them feel "at one" with the universe.


Except he explicitly states that that's not what he's talking about, maybe you should inform yourself if you're going to comment on it.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/chapter-one

Quote:
Authors who attempt to build a bridge between science and spirituality tend to make one of two mistakes: Scientists generally start with an impoverished view of spiritual experience, assuming that it must be a grandiose way of describing ordinary states of mind—parental love, artistic inspiration, awe at the beauty of the night sky. In this vein, one finds Einstein’s amazement at the intelligibility of Nature’s laws described as though it were a kind of mystical insight.

New Age thinkers usually enter the ditch on the other side of the road: They idealize altered states of consciousness and draw specious connections between subjective experience and the spookier theories at the frontiers of physics. Here we are told that the Buddha and other contemplatives anticipated modern cosmology or quantum mechanics and that by transcending the sense of self, a person can realize his identity with the One Mind that gave birth to the cosmos.



Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:10 am
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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Carrier addresses this tendency to marginalize a materialist's sense of wonder as somehow inferior to one infused with supernatural beliefs. "Though I am a determinist," Carrier writes, "this does not commit me to thinking that the only reason I love my wife is because I was biologically and environmentally “cursed” by fate to really, really like her a lot. For there is more to it than that. And determinism does not entail fatalism anyway . . ."

The very fact that nature is governed by matter moving in accordance to blind and dumb laws, shows how precarious and how incredibly awe-inspiring our existence actually is. it's also stunning to understand how on this blue-green planet the forces of evolution brought about at least one species that gives the universe a way to know itself (at least to some small degree). So perhaps not so blind and dumb after all.


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Last edited by geo on Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
You going to read Sam Harris' book, Dexter?


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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Richard Carrier presents himself as a scholar,yet it is evident to me that his whole Jesus myth thesis is extremely poor scholarship. He adopts and adapts Earl Doherty's Jesus as celestial being theory, and in my view then attempts to hack and hew the new testament into shape to fit his ideas.
He then maintains that the gospels are later attempts to fictionally historicise the mythical celestial being he claims is found in Paul's letters.
This is doomed to failure,and in fact demonstrates his hostile attitude to Christianity in the absurd unreasonableness of his claimed "scholarly" approach, methods and conclusions.
Here's a link to a review of a talk Carrier gave titled; Why Jesus never existed; which shows how poor and botched his use of the new testament really is. http://www.scienceandotherdrugs.wordpre ... er-review/ This link is imperfect.Type in Richard Carrier review: in the search box on the page to find the article.

To critique the further arguments mythicists like Carrier use with their pagan gods parallels,here's an article by Ronald Nash titled; Was the new testament influenced by pagan religions? http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-pag ... ianity.htm



Last edited by Flann 5 on Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:30 pm, edited 6 times in total.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Dexter wrote:
ant wrote:
This is where it gets interesting when spiritual materialists sometimes claim that the awe, splendor, and wonder of dumb, blind, and chancy mother nature cam make them feel "at one" with the universe.


Except he explicitly states that that's not what he's talking about, maybe you should inform yourself if you're going to comment on it.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/chapter-one

Quote:
Authors who attempt to build a bridge between science and spirituality tend to make one of two mistakes: Scientists generally start with an impoverished view of spiritual experience, assuming that it must be a grandiose way of describing ordinary states of mind—parental love, artistic inspiration, awe at the beauty of the night sky. In this vein, one finds Einstein’s amazement at the intelligibility of Nature’s laws described as though it were a kind of mystical insight.

New Age thinkers usually enter the ditch on the other side of the road: They idealize altered states of consciousness and draw specious connections between subjective experience and the spookier theories at the frontiers of physics. Here we are told that the Buddha and other contemplatives anticipated modern cosmology or quantum mechanics and that by transcending the sense of self, a person can realize his identity with the One Mind that gave birth to the cosmos.



you're right. my bad



Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:34 pm
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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Flann 5 wrote:
Richard Carrier presents himself as a scholar,yet it is evident to me that his whole Jesus myth thesis is extremely poor scholarship. He adopts and adapts Earl Doherty's Jesus as celestial being theory, and in my view then attempts to hack and hew the new testament into shape to fit his ideas.
He then maintains that the gospels are later attempts to historicise the mythical celestial being he claims is found in Paul's letters.
This is doomed to failure,and in fact demonstrates his hostile attitude to Christianity in the absurd unreasonableness of his "scholarly" approach, methods and conclusions.
Here's a link to a review of a talk Carrier gave titled; Why Jesus never existed; which shows how poor and botched his use of the new testament really is. http://www.scienceandotherdrugs.wordpre ... er-review/ This link is imperfect.Type in Richard Carrier review in the search box on the page to find the article.

To critique the further arguments mythicists like Carrier use with their pagan gods parallels,here's an article by Ronald Nash titled; Was the new testament influenced by pagan religions? http://www.ukapologetics.net.htm



Based from experience here on BT, i THINK neither Geo nor Interbane are strong on the entire mythicist issue, whereas Dexter has refrained from commenting on the issue at all.

I have taken the side of the existence of Jesus as a historical figure (fist and foremost) and have given my reasons why, going back 3 years here on BT.

I've grown tired of the entire debate to start from scratch. Some of it boils down to the complete double-standard that's place in relation to the criteria for historical evidence, historiography, mastery of ancient languages, etc, etc.
That and the fact that the mythicist argument is a total non sequitur.

Mythicists are deaf to some of the outrageous claims they make and the fallacies they commit: the planting of documents to corroborate the existence of Jesus by Christians (conspiracy theory # 1), current scholarship is suppressing the truth espoused by mythicists, refusal to attempt to falsify any evidence claims, ad hoc explanations, refusal to use the same analysis to debunk other figures of ancient history (did Socrates exist? Answer: yes - because people wrote about him!)

Also, mythicists conflate the historical jesus with miracles attested to him.
Their fallacious reasoning is that if you support the existence of of Jesus, then you also believe in all miracles attributed to him Therefore, you are crazy.
I've explained my position on the attestation of miracles before.
But of course they fell on deaf ears because there is nothing that makes mythicists foam at the mouth more than hearing somebody say they believe Jesus walked the earth.


As I've said before, destroying the existence of the historical Jesus is akin to going after "the poster boy" of Christianity itself.
Christianity is what is actually detested more than Christ himself.



Last edited by ant on Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:56 pm
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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
I appreciate what you say about the mythicist question being worn out here,ant.
I'm just a bit tired of world renowned author and speaker Carrier, presenting his work as scholarship and am calling into question his standards of scholarship here. I think it's plain bias and bad scholarship in this area.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Does Carrier talk about Jesus as myth in this book? If so, I haven't got there yet.

It does seem to me that mythicists have an agenda to prove that Jesus was a mythical figure, but I've never seen much evidence to support this position. On the other hand what we have about Jesus is tainted because he is seen through the prism of religious belief. Throughout history folks have believed in Jesus not only as a historical figure but as the son of God who performs miracles. It becomes difficult if not impossible to separate the fact from fiction. Though I'm hardly a Biblical scholar. But I have observed that the mythicist position is fairly controversial and because most historians accept Jesus as a historical figure, I'm inclined to go with that.

Carrier has fairly impressive credentials though. A BA (History), an MA (Ancient history), MPhil (Ancient history), PhD (Ancient history). Flann it would be interesting to see some examples of his "absurd unreasonableness of his "scholarly" approach, methods and conclusions."


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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
geo wrote:
You going to read Sam Harris' book, Dexter?


Hopefully I didn't hijack the thread. But yes, I've already started it. I had a meditation routine going for a while and kind of slacked off with it, so I'm hoping this will motivate me to pick it up again.

I've dipped into Carrier's book after skimming some parts of it, and I'm planning to come back to it.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Dexter wrote:
geo wrote:
You going to read Sam Harris' book, Dexter?


Hopefully I didn't hijack the thread. But yes, I've already started it. I had a meditation routine going for a while and kind of slacked off with it, so I'm hoping this will motivate me to pick it up again.

I've dipped into Carrier's book after skimming some parts of it, and I'm planning to come back to it.


I'll go off topic too. I'm surprised how long Carrier's book is. It's a bit heavy and I'm taking my time with it. One thing I don't like about the Kindle is that you can't flip through to see how many pages are left. I want to go back to THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY, but meanwhile I've read two novels at the same time. Part of the reason I'm so slow I guess.

It sounds like Harris isn't going to dwell too much on the misguidedness of religious belief in his new book, and I like the idea of that. It's part memoir, part personal exploration. Looks like a good read.

Even more off topic, it appears that Carrier's book is self-published, but I can't seem to confirm this anywhere.


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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Hi Geo,
In the book he presents methods and standards of determining reality and truth.He doesn't go into his mythicism in this particular book.
Fact is though, he has written several books attacking and "debunking" Christianity and dedicates an extraordinary amount of time and effort to this.
Because I have some knowledge of the bible I can see very easily what he is doing and how he mishandles it.The link I gave to a review of a talk he gave shows exactly that.He is mishandling it and ignoring things in it that glaringly contradict the thesis he is supposing. Bad scholarship.
I showed also previously how his scientific reasoning on fine tuning was abysmal, in cosmologist Luke Barnes critique.Carrier also I think, relies heavily on Victor Stenger's ideas on cosmology and Barnes does a good job critiqueing and falsifying some of Stenger's notions,if anyone cares to look it up.
In short, if he wants to claim scholarship for his mythicist theory it will have to be an awful lot better than it is,which is very bad. You can look up that review and you will see what I mean.



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Post Re: Carrier on Spirituality
Flann 5 wrote:
I appreciate what you say about the mythicist question being worn out here,ant.
I'm just a bit tired of world renowned author and speaker Carrier, presenting his work as scholarship and am calling into question his standards of scholarship here. I think it's plain bias and bad scholarship in this area.


you bring to my attention good points and I think there is something to be said about common strong atheism polemics and how much, if not all, theological doctrine is totally dismissed.
For instance Saint Augustine's doctrine regarding the book of nature and scripture is totally and arrogantly dismissed by types like Carrier.

The body of theological doctrine regarding faith and reason is immensely rich and complex, going back thousands of years. And yet we have religious naysayers versed only to the extent of Richard Dawkin's shoddy biblical scholarship and men much like Carrier claiming to be well versed on the corpus on theology.

It's ignorant arrogance and a religious like devotion to the philosophy of scientism.



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