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Mortal or immortal

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Joined: September 11th, 2016, 5:46 am

Mortal or immortal

#1 Post by Manel » December 4th, 2016, 11:03 am


I'd like to discuss an idea here:

A major difference between humanists, atheists, freethinkers, etc. and believers in anything is that we are mortal and they "are immortal". I think it can be very useful to define ourselves as mortals, and define them as immortals. That achieves several things:

1) Calling someone immortal can be embarrasing for her/him, if not ridiculous, but that's exactly what a believer claims. So it can be a way of making clear his claim and its irracionality. Maybe he can say he's mortal but he has an immortal soul, but that's the same as saying he's immortal. He has a body, and he leaves his body to go to heaven or hell or wherever. So he's immortal, he can't escape from that claim.

2) This can make discussions much more comfortable for us. It can be more clear and legitimate to talk about oneself than discussing if there is a god or not. If someone tells us we have an immortal soul, we can simply say: "that's what you say without an evidence, do you expect me to believe you know what I am better than me without any evidence? Why should I believe you and not buddhists, hinduists, taoists, muslims, etc?"

3) There is no offense in calling someone what he claims to be, and we can ask to be called what we claim to be in return. Nobody can prove the mortality or immortality, so you stick to your immortality and please allow me to stick to my mortality, of which I can supply tons of evidence, by the way.

4) The burden of proof is much more easily laid on the other side. It's much more comfortable for a believer to use the argumentum ad ignorantiam talking about a god (you can't disprove God exists) than talking about your soul (you can't prove you don't have a soul) In the second case it sounds even more absurd.

I think defining us as mortals, and them as immortals, can solve the problem of people feeling offended because you say there is no god. If you say there's no god, they feel attacked because you are "invading" their ground, you are denying something they believe in, and they see no need for you to "attack" them. For example, if someone asks you if you go to church and you say that you don't believe in any god, they feel offended. But if you say that you are mortal and you don't have a soul, they are less likely to be offended. Then they can try to convince you, and you can lay on him the burden of the proof, and later ask them to respect your mortality as a result of the "draw" in the discussion because he can't prove his claim.

All this can be equally or more effective and shocking for a religious person, and much less confronting, as you're only talking about yourself, not about any god or belief. Then, you can stay in your comfortable position of claiming your mortality and the believer can take the difficult and uncomfortable task of trying to convince you that you are immortal, and feel that he has no arguments, really.

What do you think? Thanks for your attention


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Alan H
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Re: Mortal or immortal

#2 Post by Alan H » December 4th, 2016, 11:33 am

Very interesting, Manel. That could be an interesting way of trying to engage believers.

You said:
the "draw" in the discussion because he can't prove his claim.
Technically, if they have been unable to prove their hypotheses, then they have lost, but I get your point.
Alan Henness

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1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
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Re: Mortal or immortal

#3 Post by Manel » December 4th, 2016, 2:44 pm

Yeah, I'd agree a draw as a starting point for a long term friendly discussion. It'd be interesting to start seeing mortals and immortals not as confronted people, but as people trying to face life in different ways who can talk about it and be amazed at each other's point of view and discuss them friendly. :welcome:

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Re: Mortal or immortal

#4 Post by Zeff » December 12th, 2016, 4:19 pm

Interesting idea and may be useful. Different arguments probably impress different believers to varying extents, so an arsenal of arguments is good. However, I find getting them to define their god and explain their beliefs and reasons for them is what works best. They often hear the weakness and flaws in their own "beliefs". They have to defend the ideas of eternal life, miracles, the Holy Ghost and any prophet they believe their god has sent.

Believers are the ones with the 'beliefs' to defend. I (for example) don't have any 'beliefs'. There are things that I believe true, things I doubt and things I think aren't real or possible, but that's not the same thing. I have reasons for what I believe to be important but having no god(s) I hold nothing sacred.

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