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Atheism and Hedonism

Started by xSilverPhinx, April 30, 2019, 11:31:10 PM

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xSilverPhinx

I'm sure many of us have heard someone say something along the lines of, "if there's no god, then why not pursue a life of pleasure in detriment to all else?"

Excessive drugs, sex, games, spending...anything that gives you that dopamine rush is all fair game when there's no god or afterlife.

Besides being a childish assertion on the part of the believer who thinks they need a father figure to live a reasonable life, it's a ridiculous question. However, sometimes I have trouble putting a reply into words that wouldn't invite more ridiculous comments and questions on an average atheist's lifestyle choices.   

How do you shut down people who keep asking such things? I could go into physical changes to the brain such as cell death or alterations to dopamine receptor density which could cause tolerance and anhedonia but ...meh. :-\  I could go into how the single-minded pursuit of pleasure isn't a viable life strategy, but...meh.  :-\

I could mention that all play and no work made Jack a dull boy (or was it the other way round? :???: Oh well. :P )

Thoughts?
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


jumbojak

I tell people that I don't want to live my life like that. If they think that I should they are welcome to that opinion. If they choose to live that way then they are welcome to that choice.

"Amazing what chimney sweeping can teach us, no? Keep your fire hot and
your flue clean."  - Ecurb Noselrub

"I'd be incensed by your impudence were I not so impressed by your memory." - Siz

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: jumbojak on May 01, 2019, 01:48:36 AM
I tell people that I don't want to live my life like that. If they think that I should they are welcome to that opinion. If they choose to live that way then they are welcome to that choice.

That's a good reply. :chin:
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


jumbojak

I may not be clever but given enough time I can usually hit the nail on the head. I wind up with lots of busted thumbs on the way though.

"Amazing what chimney sweeping can teach us, no? Keep your fire hot and
your flue clean."  - Ecurb Noselrub

"I'd be incensed by your impudence were I not so impressed by your memory." - Siz

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: jumbojak on May 01, 2019, 02:28:59 AM
I may not be clever but given enough time I can usually hit the nail on the head. I wind up with lots of busted thumbs on the way though.

You are clever, you've said many insightful things before.

*looks at own thumb*

*hides thumb* :shifty:
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


hermes2015

Ask whether they would be doing all those things if they lost their faith. If not, why not, and what would be stopping them from doing all those "bad" things.
"Who is to say that pleasure is useless?"
― Charles Eames

Magdalena

Quote from: xSilverPhinx on April 30, 2019, 11:31:10 PM
I'm sure many of us have heard someone say something along the lines of, "if there's no god, then why not pursue a life of pleasure in detriment to all else?"

Excessive drugs, sex, games, spending...anything that gives you that dopamine rush is all fair game when there's no god or afterlife.

Besides being a childish assertion on the part of the believer who thinks they need a father figure to live a reasonable life, it's a ridiculous question. However, sometimes I have trouble putting a reply into words that wouldn't invite more ridiculous comments and questions on an average atheist's lifestyle choices.   

How do you shut down people who keep asking such things? I could go into physical changes to the brain such as cell death or alterations to dopamine receptor density which could cause tolerance and anhedonia but ...meh. :-\  I could go into how the single-minded pursuit of pleasure isn't a viable life strategy, but...meh.  :-\

I could mention that all play and no work made Jack a dull boy (or was it the other way round? :???: Oh well. :P )

Thoughts?
I would probably say to them that the idea had never crossed my mind but I find it interesting that they contemplate it.  :eyebrow:
Also, I would ask them if they agree with this translation of a popular saying among the religious community:


"I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe." ~Recusant

Bad Penny II

Quote from: xSilverPhinx on April 30, 2019, 11:31:10 PM
I'm sure many of us have heard someone say something along the lines of, "if there's no god, then why not pursue a life of pleasure in detriment to all else?"

Excessive drugs, sex, games, spending...anything that gives you that dopamine rush is all fair game when there's no god or afterlife.

That'd probably be a reasonable life style if your lifespan was no more than 48 hours.
It takes decades to wring maximum pleasure from a life so you have to pace yourself.

I don't see anything wrong with a pursuit of pleasure but I don't know why it should be "in detriment to all else."
It could please you to be nice to people, dolphins, trees, children, small dogs even.
Take my advice, don't listen to me.

Bluenose

The version of this question I have encountered is "if there is no god why don't you just go around stealing from people or even killing them as much as you want?"  To which I reply, I do.  Just as much as I want.  How much I want, however, is not at all.  Why do you need to be told by some magic man in the sky that it is bad to do these things?
+++ Divide by cucumber error: please reinstall universe and reboot.  +++

GNU Terry Pratchett


xSilverPhinx

Quote from: hermes2015 on May 01, 2019, 04:11:19 AM
Ask whether they would be doing all those things if they lost their faith. If not, why not, and what would be stopping them from doing all those "bad" things.

Yes, that's a good question, but in my experience the answer is usually something like "if there is no god then we're not accountable to anyone", which is incredibly childish and antisocial to fellow human beings.

At that point I usually just slowly distance myself from them and hope they don't kill me. 
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Magdalena on May 01, 2019, 05:00:07 AM
Quote from: xSilverPhinx on April 30, 2019, 11:31:10 PM
I'm sure many of us have heard someone say something along the lines of, "if there's no god, then why not pursue a life of pleasure in detriment to all else?"

Excessive drugs, sex, games, spending...anything that gives you that dopamine rush is all fair game when there's no god or afterlife.

Besides being a childish assertion on the part of the believer who thinks they need a father figure to live a reasonable life, it's a ridiculous question. However, sometimes I have trouble putting a reply into words that wouldn't invite more ridiculous comments and questions on an average atheist's lifestyle choices.   

How do you shut down people who keep asking such things? I could go into physical changes to the brain such as cell death or alterations to dopamine receptor density which could cause tolerance and anhedonia but ...meh. :-\  I could go into how the single-minded pursuit of pleasure isn't a viable life strategy, but...meh.  :-\

I could mention that all play and no work made Jack a dull boy (or was it the other way round? :???: Oh well. :P )

Thoughts?
I would probably say to them that the idea had never crossed my mind but I find it interesting that they contemplate it.  :eyebrow:
Also, I would ask them if they agree with this translation of a popular saying among the religious community:


Yes! :lol:

That "only God can judge me" sounds incredibly convenient, doesn't it? ::) 

I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Bad Penny II on May 01, 2019, 11:03:15 AM
Quote from: xSilverPhinx on April 30, 2019, 11:31:10 PM
I'm sure many of us have heard someone say something along the lines of, "if there's no god, then why not pursue a life of pleasure in detriment to all else?"

Excessive drugs, sex, games, spending...anything that gives you that dopamine rush is all fair game when there's no god or afterlife.

That'd probably be a reasonable life style if your lifespan was no more than 48 hours.
It takes decades to wring maximum pleasure from a life so you have to pace yourself.

I don't see anything wrong with a pursuit of pleasure but I don't know why it should be "in detriment to all else."
It could please you to be nice to people, dolphins, trees, children, small dogs even.

Yes, you have a point about the lifespan.

I also don't see anything wrong with the pursuit of pleasure in itself, but that's why I added 'excessive'. If someone wants to do some drugs for instance, that's their problem, but when their life becomes nothing but craving and pursuing their next fix or high, then there's a serious problem. Such people are a drain on significant others, family and society.

Also, pleasure doesn't always equal happiness.
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Bluenose on May 01, 2019, 01:50:13 PM
The version of this question I have encountered is "if there is no god why don't you just go around stealing from people or even killing them as much as you want?"  To which I reply, I do.  Just as much as I want.  How much I want, however, is not at all.  Why do you need to be told by some magic man in the sky that it is bad to do these things?

:grin:

Do you slowly add some space between yourself and them as well?
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


Bad Penny II

Take my advice, don't listen to me.

No one

If there not offering the drugs, sex, money, or games, I inform them that they can kiss my left ball, and make my right one jealous.