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 The absolute necessity of atheism.

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Thrasymachus
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PostSubject: The absolute necessity of atheism.   Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:50 pm

Or, the necessity of absolute atheism.

Atheism is much more than a disbelief in God and theisms. Atheism is a way of believing, a pure form of subjectivity: we should state openly that we do not care if or to whatever extent theism is correct, because that question of "is God real? Is there some reality to the theistic idea?" is the wrong question. Parodites has written about this, about how theism is a structure of subjectivity and the content of that structure doesn't really matter, what matters is the form of the subject who believes; lack of theism (atheism) is also a form of subjectivity regardless of questions about the truth of some content of any theism, and the atheist subjectivity is higher than the theist subjectivity in how theistic subjectivity still grants to those questions of God and theism a kind of reality that is actually entirely absent or withdrawn from the subject itself, therefore theistic subjectivity in fact represents a kind of self-contradiction sublimated to the level of ignorance. The ignorance is one of self-ignorance in how this person doesn't understand that their own beliefs in God or theism don't actually even matter, and not just in general but don't actually even matter to that person themselves.

Pure believe in God or theism is the first stage, a stage that children are often at; if you ask them it is clear they truly authentically believe in God or their own theistic construct of cosmology (this also seems to be the stage that most Christian and Muslim fundamentalists are still at). They believe in the same way they believe in other things like tables and chairs. The next stage is pre-philosophical doubt that questions the theistic beliefs, so that one gains the further authenticity of being able to admit that one honestly does not know if God or theism is really true; this reflects an unconscious understanding that the nature of belief in God and theism is different than the nature of belief in tables and chairs, and a person can be at this stage but still retain a kind of openness and desire for God and the theistic while still admitting they do not know. The final stage is the atheist stage that openly states it does not believe in God or theism.

Now these three stages correspond to three kinds of subjectivity, and the belief itself only functions to mark those stages: 1) subjectivity is unable to identify the structural differences regarding the nature of theistic beliefs vs. beliefs in things like tables (I'll call this latter kind of belief "material belief" for simplicity sake); for this stage the self has no capacity to distinguish between the form of material belief and the form of ideological belief; 2) the self becomes capable of drawing this distinction between these teo forms into conscious reflective subjectivity and so asserts a fundamental difference here when it comes to each kind of belief, and this difference which is asserted takes the form of separating how we believe in something like God vs. how we believe in something like tables and chairs. This second stage is symbolized by doubt and uncertainty toward the ideological beliefs; then 3) this distinction goes from the unconscious to conscious level and is able to inform the self directly, so that we become capable of admitting and knowing fully that the way of believing in God or theistic ideas is totally different from the way of believing in tables and chairs. Stage 1 is hard religious, stage 2 is soft religious/agnostic, and stage 3 is atheist.

Note that these stages have nothing to do with whatever actually real content might be the case with respect to beliefs in God or theistic claims. It doesn't matter if God is real or not, it doesn't matter if a given theistic belief-set has some actual reality and truth to it or not. The stages do not at all correspond to any kind of access to true knowledge about "what God or theism really are", the atheist at stage 3 is just as ignorant about the "reality of God" as is the hard religious at stage 1, but the point is that the atheist is capable of recognizing this ignorance.

So now there is introduced a stage 4, which reflects a differentiation within atheism: stage 3 atheism is unconscious atheism, the kind of atheist like Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins that makes statements like "I know there is no God", they must instantiate their atheism with clear statements about God and theism because they are still treating the question of God like the question of tables and chairs. This means that their subjective development toward honesty and philosophic depth is still at an unconscious stage, is still unable to recognize itself except where it recognizes its rejection of theism as such; the atheist like this gives God too much credit by assuming that we can meaningfully ask "is God real?", when in fact that question is not only unanswerable but totally meaningless. Stage 4 appears when the atheist realizes that it doesn't matter if God or theism are the case. This stage 4 therefore reflects the final honest authenticity of subjectivity able to acknowledge the absolute distinction between ideological and material believing.

Pascal's wager is an example of anti-philosophy, the exact opposite of what we should be doing. We shouldn't be saying "I choose beleif in God or theism because if I'm wrong it doesn't matter, but if I'm right then I gain the benefits of that belief", we should say "I choose not to believe in God because believing in God is meaninglessness as such, and even if God exists it doesn't even matter". The point is that taking Pascal's route we abandon our own subjectivity to impotence, we remain cowards before ourselves; the further step that Pascal should have taken is "even if God exists I still have no reason to believe in God, and even if I die and go before God in judgment God will still have to admit "yes it's true you had no reason to believe in me-- good for you for rejecting believing in me!"".

Once we reach stage 4 we can begin to analyze subjectivity directly and understand the clear function of religious ideological believing. No amount of questions or attempts to answer "is God real?" ever in fact grounds any kind of religious (or agnostic or atheist) subjectivity at all. But neither should the stage 4 self fall into the trap of saying that it is impossible for a God or a theistic order to exist; it is clearly not logically impossible for such a being or beings to exist, but that was never the point anyway. Many things are theoretically possible but absolutely unverifiable, and whether or not they truly are the case is irrelevant because we couldn't know in the first place and because belief in God and theisms operates existentially at the purely symbolic level of subjective-conscious being: the fact that our kind of subjectivity is unable to authentically treat gods and theistic possibilities in the same way that we treat things like tables and chairs demonstrates that God and theisms occupy an entirely different categorical order for which "believing or disbelieving" doesn't even make sense.

I associate religious believe with ideology because I see religion as a specific form of ideology, just as I see ideology as the general form of religion. Ideology is precisely the failure to recognize this difference in the categorical orders that I just mentioned; ideology is the confusion of one order with another. Namely, ideology is displaced subjectivity.

Political beliefs can also fall into this ideological trap, not necessarily because it is always impossible that we could authentically believe in the assertions of a political belief but because how the political subject treats his or her own political beliefs is the same as how the religious person treats his or her own religious beliefs. Most people do not go about trying to philosophically or empirically verify the grounds of their political beliefs even if those grounds could in theory be verified like that; politics is a kind of surrogate religious system that is treated as if it were religious in nature when in fact it really isn't religions like that. Thus these kind of political ideologies demonstrate that a subject is unable to fully assume a stage 4 subjectivity and is still using various kinds of beliefs as a means to instantiate and ground the more fundamental displaced subjectivity. This happens because as we all probably know, ideological believing feels good, it can act at the level of pleasure and desire-excess and it can act as a subjective glue holding us together in difficult or changing experiences. Philosophy is anti-entropic, but that requires therefore a high level of energy input to maintain; much easier to at times concede to a form of limited entropy where certain beliefs are assumed in order to relieve some of the burden of that energy requirement. Stage 3 is the naive atheist (the religious atheist) while stage 4 is a continuum: the low end of that continuum is partial acceptance of the categorical divide between subjective forms of knowledge and justification while still needing to relieve psychological pressure now and then by conceding to "small ideological errors", and progresses all the way up to the high end where no such concessions are allowed.

Being capable of philosophy means that we already understand that the question of "does God really exist?" is utterly meaningless to us, to the kind of subjectivity-structure that we are. And I think politics is quasi-religious because politics is capable of engaging an ideological need even when that need is incapable of employing religion. Politics is still necessarily different from religion, but the two often go hand in hand because of how politics can give the impression of a stage 4 subjectivity method while secretly looping back into stage 3 routes of escape for our entropic discharges of high energy requirement. So in this sense the philosopher at least makes political ideology into something useful and in part justified as a release valve keeping open the active possibility of his philosophizing in different directions... Thus we see that the limit of philosophy approaching politics is the limit of losing this utility of the self, of being forced to subsist in our philosophy on nothing but those energies that can be taken from nutrients palatable to philosophy as the ultimate standard.

 

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