Coronavirus - Epicurean World Report!

  • Ηi shahabgh66 good to hear that you're ok !:)

    Please keep safe and in touch !

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • On Christian atheism-- it's actually a thing, not an oxymoron at all. It is people who take the supernatural elements of the bible metaphorically, even thinking that's how the words were intended. The same as we read Venus in Lucretius metaphorically. They think literalists missed the whole point of those writings. People like John Shelby Spong. It's a fairly popular position in the progressive churches.

    When pleasure is not the goal, there is no way to keep a philosophy from going off the rails.

    It's an interesting perspective. I would not, however, call it "the same as we read Venus in Lucretius metaphorically." Lucretius himself says in Book II:

    And here, whoso Decides to call the ocean Neptune, or The grain-crop Ceres, and prefers to abuse The name of Bacchus rather than pronounce The liquor's proper designation, him Let us permit to go on calling earth Mother of Gods, if only he will spare To taint his soul with foul religion.

    Lucretius is explicitly telling us it's okay to use Neptune, Ceres, Bacchus, Mother of the Gods, etc., as long as we don't bring in "foul religion" and understand we're simply personifying the ocean, the grain crop, liquor, and earth.

    Christian atheists, on the other hand, it would appear to me, are engaging in a bit of wishful thinking and selective editing to update outdated principles and to make it so they can keep going to the same church and singing hymns with which they're familiar.

    Sorry, this topic is probably better in the "reaction to other religions" thread, but I felt it important to draw that distinction.

  • I fully agree with our friend Don that mentions these by Lucretius, and I would like to add the following.

    These were the gods of Epicurus as described by the professor of philosophy Dimitris Liantinis :

    "What defines the difference between Greeks and Christians? A difference from a certain point and beyond is being opposed, and this opposition is like the fight of fire with water.

    And what defines this difference is something else and clear, as the olive leaf. But for this reason exactly is ultimate and extreme.

    The difference between the two is that the Greeks built a world based on observation, knowledge, and understanding, while the Christians built a world based on the assumption and imagination.

    The observation of the Greeks is of such a quality that always is to be ensured in practice of what is happening in Nature, and always to be demonstrated in the tangible reality as an experiment in the laboratory.

    If we count the strong position that the gods and the religions gave birth in primarily level from the fear of human towards life, and in advanced and to the second level of this matter from the fear of human towards death, then we will find that the religion of the Greeks is an exception as it occurs as constitutes a unique mission.

    The religion of the Greeks, i.e did not come from their fear, but it came from their sorrow to overcome the pain caused by the reasonable point of view for Nature and life. In other words, the religion of the Greeks created by their honest and brave attitude to overcome their pessimism and melancholy.

    But between the fear of life and death, and the need of the Greeks to capitulate from that sorrow is what gave birth to their knowledge that the world is heavy, there is a little difference which gives the maximum effect.

    The religion of the Greeks, i.e. is not the case and offspring of the imagination, like all other religions, but it is the aesthetic representation of the phenomena of Nature.

    Thus, the gods of the Greeks are neither secret and invisible presences, nor ghosts of the mind, and wind’s constructions, hypothetical words, and abstractions as beings of awaking sleep.

    Instead, the gods of the Greeks are images made up of the natural phenomena with slender intelligence and dexterity. They made by the fluttering of the rational imagination, the whole, the simple, the non-trembling, and the prosperous.

    And above all this: the gods of Greeks are attested by sensory, touching them with the hands, facing them with the eyes, they are factual and materialistic.

    Apollo suddenly, is the sun and the music regularity of the Nature.

    Artemis is the Moon. Both these two sisters symbolize the light of the day and night and were born on the island of Delos, a word which means the same the clarity and the light.

    Neptune is the sea.

    Hephaestus is the fire and the metals.

    Athena is the intelligence of the human, for this, she is the protector of the ingenious Odysseus.

    Aeolus is the sixteen breaths of air to the seas.

    Demeter is the joy of the fruits, the wheat, the rhubarb, the apple trees, and vines.

    And Zeus is the thunder and the rain, which is falling like sperm to fertilize bravely the thirsty land. That's why the Greeks near other things, they create him as the lover of the more magnificent mortal women. Lida, Europe, Ious, Leto, Alcmene, Semele, Olympiad of Philip.

    Thus, the story goes with the thirty thousand gods of the Greeks. Everyone is also a real, functional, indestructible, beneficial real and a beautiful natural phenomenon.

    In other words, the religion of the Greeks is an aesthetic status of Nature’s elements, and in this way, are variant in their art. The Geometric evidence of this proposal is given by the fact that the religion of the Greeks is all in their art and literature".

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • Eugenios, what I am saying is that they are using it exactly that way. They are using it entirely metaphorically and they are _not_ bringing in religious belief. For instance, if they say "God", they are referring to the entire universe, just the material universe. Not to any sort of being-- it is exactly the way Epicurus uses the word Nature. It is not true that the Christian atheists have gone halfway. They do not believe at all in the literal truth of any of it.

    There is a different group you may be thinking of, just broadly progressive Christians or those who understand parts of the bible as literary devices but other parts not. They would definitely be subject to the critique you give.

    However, because I personally know some of the real Christian atheists, I assure you that they are using these terms the same way as Lucretius did. Their philosophy is a mess, but they are not in any way literalists.

  • I'm not defending their philosophy, but I think it is important to be clear on exactly how they are using language and not create straw men to criticize. There is plenty to criticize about them without doing that.

  • However, because I personally know some of the real Christian atheists, I assure you that they are using these terms the same way as Lucretius did. Their philosophy is a mess, but they are not in any way literalists.

    Oh, I understand they're not literalists in any sense of the word. Trust me. I know some literalists!

    My understanding is that those who want to call themselves "Christian atheists" are using *everything* Christian metaphorically: not taking the Bible literally, reinterpretating Christian theology, giving different significance and meaning to Christian ritual and practice, removing the "fairy tale" elements, etc.

    So, it sounds to me then that what you're saying is Lucretius allowed people to use gods metaphorically and Christian atheists are using the Christian "God" and theological terms metaphorically. Okay, I'll accept that.

    My only question for them would be: Why?

    If you're that opposed to the traditional form of theology and worship that comes with the term "Christianity" just start out fresh.

    (NOTE: I think I'm so passionate about this because I myself entertained this path a number of years ago, reading Spong, Borg, et al., and just eventually couldn't see the use. I'm glad I didn't explore more than I did. And I apologize Cassius for hijacking this thread! I'm content to let this lie now.)

    Edited once, last by Don: Added note ().

  • Don as to the question why they would do that, it seems clear to me, partly because I tried it out also. It is for the pleasure of community and the ease of familiarity. Although I didn't grow up with those myths, having been raised atheist, everyone around me was Christian. I got interested in their myth, as a metaphor, and it was 100% more available than making something new up. The beautiful buildings were already there. Some of the music is stunning. The rituals can be beautiful and pleasurable.

    For those who grew up in that tradition, however, there would be even more reason. Those hymns can be like Proust's madeleine. Lots of layers of memory and positive associations for them.

    I did participate in an "atheist church" group a few years ago, in a friend's home, and that was fun, although no one shared my philosophy. I'd actually say some of the atheist Christians came closer, because fewer of them were universal consciousness types and had less of a humanist flavor. The atheist group was kind of a mishmash of secular Buddhism, humanism, Platonism, and secular paganism. We took turns providing material for the meetings. We had many discussions in which I unsuccessfully tried to persuade them on most of the points in Epicurean Philosophy, without knowing anything about Epicurus. I might have done better, had I known how to outline things the way he did, but idk. I had the parts but they weren't all organized.

    When I tried to start a local Epicurean group, I got a few humanists. I made better arguments for Epicurus that time, but his words fell on deaf ears.

    So you see, it is not easy to build a group like that-- it isn't surprising that they want to re-purpose the existing structures. IMO the only flaws are that their philosophy is not Epicurean. Lol, I think any philosophy that is not Epicurean is a flop!

  • We don't have to make something new-- we have Epicurus already. We just need to build our community so that we revive the classic philosophy.

  • To attempt to get this thread back on track: I just read that the Ohio governor is closing all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers in the state as of 9 pm this evening:


    Gov. Mike DeWine announced Sunday afternoon that all restaurants and bars will close for the immediate future to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

    We're living through an historical event everyone.

    Ialso read that genealogical organizations are encouraging people to document their family's reactions and how they're dealing with the epidemic for posterity.

    Peace and Safety, everyone!

  • For those looking for an Epicurean handwashing "song", it takes right around 20 seconds to recite the Tetrapharmakos twice in ancient Greek:

    Ἄφοβον ὁ θεός,
    ἀνύποπτον ὁ θάνατος
    καὶ τἀγαθὸν μὲν εὔκτητον,
    τὸ δὲ δεινὸν εὐεκκαρτέρητον

    Phonetically, approximately:

    a-phoe-bon ho theos

    a-noo-pop-ton ho thanatos

    kai taga-thon men youk-te-ton

    to de day-non you-ek-kar-tereton

    Recite it 2x while you wash your hands and you'll adhere to the health guidelines.

    Stay healthy everyone.

  • Unique moment with Athens grannies with black humor. The two cheerful ladies, in house isolation due to the coronavirus, came in their balcony on Sunday evening for a morbid performance. They sang the popular Greek song : O charos vgike pagania (Grim Reaper came out for quick kill), while one of them was also playing the timbrel.

    Neighbors cheered the grannies. The ladies in Kypseli district of Athens told their enthusiastic audience that they accept requests” and “orders” as well.

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • It's great to hear an actual Greek speaking the words of the Tetrapharmakos! In my pronunciation I was attempting to use the "classical" pronunciation as opposed to "modern" pronuciation, but, from what I'm reading, there is a LOT of discussion on what classical Attic Greek sounded like. THANK YOU so much for sharing this and allowing us to HEAR the words!!