Debate and Discussion

Does Atheism "make sense" to you?
mapaghimagsik at 7:46AM, Aug. 3, 2007
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Emma_Clare
So far, we have managed to disprove most of the bible which leaves people in the dark as they no longer know what to believe in.
My favorite is "If the ark landed at Mt Ararat, how did the kangaroos get to Australia?
Children and young adults tend to lean towards the same conclusion. There is a divine being out there, pulling strings and keeping things in order, yet it is not the god as described in the Bible. These days we talk about faith, but not faith in god as such, but faith in the higher power! These are only my observations so please correct me if I appear to be wrong ^-^…

I don't think you're wrong at all. I can *hope* that God/Ra/Vishnu/Flying Spaghetti Monster will grant me a puppy after I die to make up for the fact my mortal existence was filled with occasional disappointment and loss. I can *hope* that Sky Daddy will put right all the wrong that happened, and the wicked will be punished.

But its just *hope*. There's nothing of substance there. Which is a shame, because many people spend their lives hoping for what won't come, rather than trying to make things work better “down here”, so to speak.

So sure, lots of people hope, and want that. And if wishes were fishes…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 9:30AM, Aug. 3, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
But its just *hope*. There's nothing of substance there. Which is a shame, because many people spend their lives hoping for what won't come, rather than trying to make things work better “down here”, so to speak.

So sure, lots of people hope, and want that. And if wishes were fishes…

Some kids need santa clause to make sure they behave.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
TheMidge28 at 10:31AM, Aug. 3, 2007
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Memmy
I got some impression… That if you really look at the big picture. You'd realize that there isnt a sigular point (it was rather obvious) of view on Antheist, Thesist, religions or so on. Its such a broad subject that is riddled with different perpective that I have to say… That there isn't anyone who's right or who's wrong because in a nutshell there's no rock soild evidence beside your own conclusion.


I have to agree to some extent. All I know is what I experience. I try to make sense of what I am experiencing, not what you or him or her, but only what I experience, because it is so subjective and we take for granted that or put faith in that what you experience is the same as I or him or her. There are things which go through my mind and I have no idea where they came from. I can't assume you deal with the same or why should I. IMO, a great deal of psychology derives from the neurotic mess of a person trying to make sense of their reality and in turn projecting the fears and disjointed reality on their world. I think we feel all alone and try to connect and try to understand why we are here and what my life is worth. I can acknowledge that there may be those who do not, but a majority still want to belong. For Atheists this is the same. In their experience they see no God. Never experienced God. And why should they assume there is a God. I understand where they are coming from. If you had never experienced a zebra do you think you would believe such a thing existed if someone told you about one? I wouldn't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:20PM
Stain at 4:03PM, Aug. 3, 2007
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Emma_Clare
So far, we have managed to disprove most of the bible which leaves people in the dark as they no longer know what to believe in.

But being that God is described as a being with unlimited universal control, couldn't it easily create false proof against the bible? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point. I'm not even going to try to delve into why God would try to hide himself, but it is a possibility.
Dirk Zephyrs
Stain is also pretty hot.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:56PM
mapaghimagsik at 9:23AM, Aug. 4, 2007
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Stain
But being that God is described as a being with unlimited universal control, couldn't it easily create false proof against the bible? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point. I'm not even going to try to delve into why God would try to hide himself, but it is a possibility.

That argument can be used to handwave away all “facts” including the bible. The Flying Spaghetti Monster could have made this all up to make us think there's a god! You're not the first person to make this non-point, Stain, so don't think that I'm saying you're the person doing lazy thinking.

But the person who originally thought of this as some sort of point is thinking so lazily that if a heartbeat wasn't automatic, they'd be dead by now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
arteestx at 9:55AM, Aug. 4, 2007
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Maybe God is a prankster god, just listen to Bill Hicks.


Stain
=But being that God is described as a being with unlimited universal control, couldn't it easily create false proof against the bible? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point. I'm not even going to try to delve into why God would try to hide himself, but it is a possibility.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
TnTComic at 1:58PM, Aug. 4, 2007
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Stain
But being that God is described as a being with unlimited universal control, couldn't it easily create false proof against the bible? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point. I'm not even going to try to delve into why God would try to hide himself, but it is a possibility.

Absolutely. As certain as I am that there is no God, by the definition of God I have to admit that he could exist and defy all the science and logic that we have. Pain in the ass, that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
Aurora Moon at 4:39PM, Aug. 4, 2007
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Stain
But being that God is described as a being with unlimited universal control, couldn't it easily create false proof against the bible? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point. I'm not even going to try to delve into why God would try to hide himself, but it is a possibility.

Absolutely. As certain as I am that there is no God, by the definition of God I have to admit that he could exist and defy all the science and logic that we have. Pain in the ass, that.

Yeah, agreed.

and I can kinda see why (s)he would hide itself away… after all, if you were constantly out there doing godly miracles and what not, then people would come to expect you to do EVERYTHING, even the mundane tasks that they could easily do for themselves. Just take a pick from this list of selfish things that people could constantly pester god for:
1)“Hey, God, I want you to cure my HIV that I got from fucking 1,000 people out there. yeah I know that doesn't make me seem like a saint, but you did say that whole ‘go forth and reproudce’ thing. So I expect you to cure me and I can go on with my life without ever learning a lesson from it all.”
2) “God, I'm ready to settle down and have a family. But I don't want to go to the trouble of going out there and dating until I find the right person. So I would really appercate it if you would just create the perfect wife who will do everything and anything I tell her to do out of thin air!”
3) “I'm so late for work! Whine, whine, whine. God, do me a favor and part the traffic jam sea for me so that I won't get fired!!”
4) Etc, etc, etc,etc… you get the idea.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
mlai at 8:55PM, Aug. 4, 2007
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Does it make sense for me to believe more in ghosts than in God? Supernatural ghostly phenomenon I have experienced, or think I have experienced. God, I have never ever experienced.

BTW, there's a specific part of the brain that when stimulated by electrodes, simulates a “divine experience” in the test subject. Some test candidates say that had they not come in knowing they're in a test, they could swear they just had a divine experience. Some test candidates maintain they were touched by God somehow even after knowing the specifics of the experiment.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
TnTComic at 9:33AM, Aug. 5, 2007
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mlai
Does it make sense for me to believe more in ghosts than in God?

The wife knows I don't believe in god but was surprised that I don't believe in ghosts. Ghosts, god, angels, demons, vampires, zombies…
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
Ludus Pragma at 1:30PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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TnTComic
mlai
Does it make sense for me to believe more in ghosts than in God?

The wife knows I don't believe in god but was surprised that I don't believe in ghosts. Ghosts, god, angels, demons, vampires, zombies…

Every one knows the only real supernatural beings are leprechauns.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
Vindibudd at 1:38PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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April 1: National Atheist Day.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” - Psalm 14:1
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:42PM
TnTComic at 4:32PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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Vindibudd
April 1: National Atheist Day.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” - Psalm 14:1

Oooh, ouch. That really stings. Especially when you consider all the times religion has been proven incorrect by science, or when you consider all the murder that has been committed in the name of religion. Yeah. Call atheists foolish. That hurts. I don't remember atheists crashing planes into buildings or burning women at the stake.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
Hawk at 4:34PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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You know, I don't really think he was intending it as a burn.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
TnTComic at 4:58PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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Hawk
You know, I don't really think he was intending it as a burn.

You don't think he intended it as a burn when he said that fools don't believe in god? What do you think his intention was?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
dueeast at 5:03PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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I had to laugh at this! :)

Ludus Pragma
Every one knows the only real supernatural beings are leprechauns.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
dueeast at 5:21PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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Actually, he was quoting King David of Israel, who wrote Psalms in the Bible over 2000 years ago.

In all sincerity, since you don't believe in God or the Bible, why sweat it?

TnTComic
Hawk
You know, I don't really think he was intending it as a burn.

You don't think he intended it as a burn when he said that fools don't believe in god? What do you think his intention was?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
TnTComic at 5:55PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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dueeast
Actually, he was quoting King David of Israel, who wrote Psalms in the Bible over 2000 years ago.

In all sincerity, since you don't believe in God or the Bible, why sweat it?

Oh come on, you can't be that…. whatever it is you're being. If I whip out some quotes that say religious people are idiots, do I get to hide behind the fact that I didn't originally say it? No. Come on.

I'm “sweating it” because he decided to just drop all pretense and call atheists fools.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
dueeast at 6:10PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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Fair answer, TnTComic.

I don't think anyone should hide anything concerning their beliefs. And I don't advocate that. I was just being philosophical again. Since you explained why it offended you, I'll thank you for the direct answer and move on.

If Vindibudd wants to respond to any of this, I'll just kindly step out of the way now.

TnTComic
dueeast
Actually, he was quoting King David of Israel, who wrote Psalms in the Bible over 2000 years ago.

In all sincerity, since you don't believe in God or the Bible, why sweat it?

Oh come on, you can't be that…. whatever it is you're being. If I whip out some quotes that say religious people are idiots, do I get to hide behind the fact that I didn't originally say it? No. Come on.

I'm “sweating it” because he decided to just drop all pretense and call atheists fools.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
Vindibudd at 8:21PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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TnTComic
I'm “sweating it” because he decided to just drop all pretense and call atheists fools.

No, actually I did not call all atheists fools, I was quoting the Bible which you do not believe, which calls atheists fools and since you do not believe it then you should not be upset about it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:42PM
Ludus Pragma at 10:30PM, Aug. 6, 2007
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Vindibudd
April 1: National Atheist Day.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” - Psalm 14:1

First of all:

“However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

Secondly:

If you keep supporting this Yawhew chap you'll never find the pink hearts, four leaf clovers or shooting stars.



last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
Vindibudd at 2:00AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Ludus Pragma
Vindibudd
April 1: National Atheist Day.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” - Psalm 14:1

First of all:

“However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

Secondly:

If you keep supporting this Yawhew chap you'll never find the pink hearts, four leaf clovers or shooting stars.

Oohh you got me with your enlightened 21st century piety right there. Let's not talk about atheistic communism and it's murder of 200,000,000 this past century though, because we all know it is SO much better than savage Bible thumpers.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:42PM
TnTComic at 4:24AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Vindibudd
Oohh you got me with your enlightened 21st century piety right there.

What? He didn't say it! It was a quote from the bible! It didn't reflect his thoughts or feelings at all! The bible said it!

Come on, man. You're better than this.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
ozoneocean at 8:09AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Vindibudd
Oohh you got me with your enlightened 21st century piety right there. Let's not talk about atheistic communism and it's murder of 200,000,000 this past century though, because we all know it is SO much better than savage Bible thumpers.
It's a good point that institutionalised religiosity or lack of it never ensures a stable, friendly society. In fact, on balance, it's pretty much irrelevant to the equation. Whether religious or not people will still kill people and society will still be unfair.

I really hate it though when a debate about atheism turns into an argument about “religion VS science” and even worse: “Old testament Christianity VS Science”. Those arguments are stupid and pointless, they do nothing for me but devalue atheism. It's a fixed fight, the debate version of “professional” wrestling. Only people who don't understand the subject make these arguments.

The thing is that science doesn't really have that much to do with atheism, it's fundamentally a philosophy. A scientist doesn't have to be an atheist and many aren't, their feelings on such matters rarely affect their occupation (oh there are bizarre cases, but these really are exceptional), and the origins of most scientific advances in history grew up quite successfully within very religious cultures, in fact most of our greatest learning institutions wouldn't have ever existed without religious patronage. The very culture of the University and intellectual discourse between these institutions was tied to religion.

The other side is of course that Fundamentalist Christians don't represent “religion” any more than people who spend their lives investigating UFOs , perpetual motion devices, and ESP are the representatives of all science.

- I'll just reiterate that a discussion about atheism is not a debate about Religion verses Science. In fact, I would say that it's not a “Vs” debate at all really, but that depends on your attitude towards the idea of atheism and how you feel you need to frame your thoughts. I just wish people wouldn't miss-characterise and skew the idea.
 
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TnTComic at 8:31AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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ozoneocean
- I'll just reiterate that a discussion about atheism is not a debate about Religion verses Science.

Atheism isn't really a noun so much as it is an adjective. Its not an affirmative belief in anything at all, though some out there will try to paint it as such. Atheism isn't a state of mind either, as much as some militant atheists believe it is. For the majority of atheists, its not something that defines them at all. Most atheists are as defined by their non-belief in god as most believers in god are defined by their non-belief in Zeus. So in a way, you're right. A discussion about atheism is not a debate about religion vs science, until someone asks the atheist why he doesn't believe in god. In other words, if you don't want a discussion on atheism to turn to science/religion, don't let the discussion last more than one or two sentences.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
ozoneocean at 9:18AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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You're saying that is the inevitable destination of any discussion involving atheism. I disagree, such a destination is nothing but a wrong turn, detouring into a swamp of nonsense and getting irretrievably bogged. Because again; religion doesn't exclude science, so by characterising the debate in this way atheism is miss-characterised as the position of science verses the position of “non-science” which is a silly misrepresentation of religion.

So then let's try and get back to atheism then and just what it is. You define an atheist as someone who isn't religious and just doesn't think about gods at all? Or maybe someone who just doesn't have room in their view of the universe for something so indefinable as a divine power? Maybe it's just someone that rejects primarily human characterised ideas of what a divine presence would entail?

If we were to take a scientific approach it wouldn't actually lead to any conclusion either way (determining the existence or non-existence of the possibility of “divinity”, not as defined in any religious text) , there's simply not the data. In the end disproof and proof come down to the same thing.

What you get then are a set of personal rationalisations based around someone's feelings towards “science”, and those are no more than that; personal rationalisations. That's only interesting from a testimonial point of view, not really helping us to further our understanding of the idea of “no Gods, no possibility of any gods ever being able to exist in a purely physical universe”.

That idea is far more interesting to me: Atheism as a way of defining existence! :) That's where you start to get to the meat of it, none of this wimpy “oh I'm an atheist because god is mean and people die”, or “humans have some outdated ideas about things…”, this is irrelevant, it's what the idea actually means that has a real point; we go from our classical view of a universe that has room in it for things which are possibly beyond us to one where nothing is beyond us and we are able (given time) to fathom every last part of it, and so have the power to (ultimately) conquer it. We remove the possibility that there can be gods, which opens a path for US to become gods ourselves.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
dueeast at 9:36AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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OO,

I really respect everything you wrote except the following point:

ozoneocean
The other side is of course that Fundamentalist Christians don't represent “religion” any more than people who spend their lives investigating UFOs , perpetual motion devices, and ESP are the representatives of all science.

Not all “fundamentalist Christians” are crazed extremist nutjobs like you see in the movies. I am a fundamentalist Christian who is intelligent, peace-loving and generally get along with others. You never hear about or see the quiet ones because, well, they're quiet and keep to themselves or are behind the scenes, often trying to help others.

I do have a thick skin but I don't like to see such blanket statements made, because it puts ALL fundamentalist Christians in the same category as people obsessed with UFOs, to use that example. The ones who claim the name but act like psychos are CINO's (Christians In Name Only) and are not representative of the faith.

Thanks for reading. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
Tantz Aerine at 9:45AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Can I cut in for just a moment and ask what a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ is? I have not heard the term before and I would like to know if I am one.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
StaceyMontgomery at 9:48AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Ozone Ocean-

Mostly, I agree with you. However, religions often make dubious scientific claims, so inevitably, people respond and refute them. I mean, it doesn't bother me at all if the person sitting next to me is a Deist who believes all sorts of things that I do not believe. If that person tries to get science taken out of all the public school textbooks because reality and his faith collide - well, I do object to that, and I'm likely to speak up.

I agree however, that's not “atheism vs Science” thats “dogma vs science.” After all, the old USSR hated evolution just as much as creationists do, and they were atheists. The problem with science is that it often comes up with surprises. But people who want to be in charge (whether they are communists or theocrats or corporations) want to give us all the answers and they want us to believe what we're told. Science is a process of discovering the truth - that will never appeal to those who want to rule us, whether they are commies or jihadists or fascists or monarchists or popes.

There's really two threads that seem to come up when we talk about atheism: Religion and theism. When we talk about religions, we're talking about specific religions. When we talk about theism, we're talking a bit more abstractly about the idea of a god or gods. It's really easy to get these threads confused. I know, because i do it all the time.

It's hard not to do this, actually, because theism makes no specific claims. I mean, perhaps there is a God who created the universe. I'm certainly in no position to say that it isn't so. And from there, we can go on to debate the point.

But of course, I don't really encounter “abstract theism” much in my life. I encounter people who follow specific faiths and have specific beliefs.

The thing is, the abstract deity of pure theism isn't very interesting. There's nothing to talk about, not really. There's no logical reason to believe in it, but there's no real disproof either. It's a topic outside the realm of evidence or logic, really.

Of course, once you make a specific claim, then the debate is on. God doesn't like Darwin? Gay people? Ham? But Slavery is OK?

Seriously?

Of course, in some ways, it's careless of me when I switch from talking about “atheism vs theism” to talking about these specific points that different faiths bring up. But in other ways, it may be the only way to actually pursue the debate. After all, those are the points where things start to collide.

Look, I've studied the world's religions. I've quested for meaning and I've sought for truth. At some point you cannot help but realize that the world's religious thinkers have a lot of good ideas. And so does everyone else. And bad ones too.

I was watching the ocean once with a theist friend. he said “How can you believe this all just happened? Can't you open yourself up to the incredible mystery of the world around us? Where's your humility?”

I said “But of the two of us, you're the only one who claims to actually be able to answer the mystery. So where's your humility?”

Maybe there is a God. Or Gods. I'm not in a position to say yea or nay. I can only say - I don't see any reason to think so.

But when theism turns into dogma, I oppose it just like I oppose any dogma. There's always some crackpot ready to tell us who we have to hate, and who we have to silence and who we have to kill. That's not always a religious problem, but it often is.

I believe it is the job of free people of good conscience to stand up to that kind of dogma - and the evil it requires of us - at every turn. A lot of the time, that means standing up to religion. And i do.

But Alexander Pope said it better:

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!




*edited to replace “fundamentalist christians” with “creationists” because that was terribly careless of me. Not all fundamentalist christians are creationists.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
Aurora Moon at 9:49AM, Aug. 7, 2007
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Fundamentalism:
1.The interpretation of every word in the sacred texts as literal truth

fundamentalist:
1.A supporter of fundamentalism
2.Of or relating to or tending toward fundamentalism.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM

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