Debate and Discussion

Religion versus atheism
ayesinback at 2:35PM, Oct. 22, 2010
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God of War
I'm horrified how much emotions this kind of debates can generate over the Internet. I mean, for me it's pointless.
The question of how much any internet discourse can be persuasive is an interesting one. And debating a question like whether or not there is a deity probably isn't going to have anyone jump the ship they're already on.

But exploring opinions, finding a new factoid here and there, can be a valuable exercise. Maybe it'll raise a doubt that needs to be examined, or maybe it makes one more comfortable in the opinion they already have.

imo, there is a point.
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
El Cid at 4:53PM, Oct. 22, 2010
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God of War
I'm horrified how much emotions this kind of debates can generate over the Internet. I mean, for me it's pointless. Question whenever God exist or not is unscientific - theres no scientific way to find an answer, so the only logical answer is “I don't know”.
“I don't know” is part of the logical response, but it doesn't answer the question of "what do you believe." I can never know with 100 percent certainty that there are no evil fairies living in my garage, but I don't believe they're in there, and I'm not going to forgo cleaning it out from time to time on the off chance that they might actually exist. It's something of a distortion to frame the question as a matter of whether you know God exists, because few would openly claim such a thing and none could back it up. The more salient question is what you believe, and to what extent you're willing to live your life in accordance with that belief.

God of War
From scientific point of view atheism equals religion as they're both regually unscientific and not really logical. But both sides are full of fanatics who claims to “know the truth” (theists) or “be more logical” (atheists) and try to enforce their beliefs on others because they're under an illusion of being right and better.
There are extremists on either end of the spectrum, but that doesn't mean everyone is a fanatic and that productive discussions cannot be had. A few days ago, I wouldn't have known the difference between a gnostic atheist and an agnostic theist. It never would have struck me to even think about such a thing. So threads like this are not a complete waste of time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
bravo1102 at 6:59PM, Oct. 22, 2010
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Genejoke
wouldn't that just make you agnostic?

That's why it's a ridiculous description. You would “know” that there is no way that you can have certain knowledge and that is the “secret” hidden and oh so profound knowledge. Therefore it is ridiculous.

Just like Confusionism. The main belief is that everything confuses you and you can never have a clue about anything because it's all too confusing. As opposed to “I think Therefore I am” it is “I don't think because it's too hard and pass the chips”

It could be said that Confusionism is what most theists are. If you try to tie them down on what they truly believe outside of a few generalities you won't get anything that won't disappear in a “puff of logic” and they are confused about what their professed faith means piece by piece.

How many Catholics really know what their catechism means? Or where it came from? Or that it was a compromise to please the emperor Constantine because for the first few centuries Christianity meant a lot of diverse things to a lot of people. How many know what Arian Christianity means or what is the difference between Orthadox and Catholic Christianity? How many theists make an informed choice as opposed to just doing what their parents did?

And take it on faith without knowing what precisely they are taking on faith.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
ozoneocean at 3:47AM, Oct. 23, 2010
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bravo1102
How many theists make an informed choice as opposed to just doing what their parents did?

And take it on faith without knowing what precisely they are taking on faith.
There's nothing at all wrong with that, in fact, that's what religion actually is. If it wasn't like that it would've died out hundreds of years ago.

People get caught up in holy books, crap about faith, whether gods exist, mythology, etc, all these separate instances and artefacts, forgetting that religion is the organised group of people who get together and share a common viewpoint, participate in a cultural experience.

Of course all religions are silly when you pick them apart and look at the bits, but you're not really meant to do that, you're just supposed to “live” them.


I personally don't like people foisting religious views on me, or religions having influence on laws, especially ones to do with various individual rights, and I don't like them being used as an excuse for yet more social division, but I'm still glad they're here because of the interesting cultural diversity they bring us.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Genejoke at 6:36AM, Oct. 23, 2010
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God of War
I'm horrified how much emotions this kind of debates can generate over the Internet. I mean, for me it's pointless. Question whenever God exist or not is unscientific - theres no scientific way to find an answer, so the only logical answer is “I don't know”. From scientific point of view atheism equals religion as they're both regually unscientific and not really logical. But both sides are full of fanatics who claims to “know the truth” (theists) or “be more logical” (atheists) and try to enforce their beliefs on others because they're under an illusion of being right and better. Whenever I admit being Catholic on the web, I'm attacked by anti-theists, and I seen theists attacking people who admit being atheists. This is stupid, disturbing and annoying. And entirely pointles, because what does come from it aside shitstorm? Nothing.


I think it depends on where you debate it, yes on a lot of forums it would just be a shitstorm. Here everyone has been pretty sensible as they tend to be on this forum so I would say this debate has been worthwhile.

Someone
I personally don't like people foisting religious views on me, or religions having influence on laws, especially ones to do with various individual rights, and I don't like them being used as an excuse for yet more social division, but I'm still glad they're here because of the interesting cultural diversity they bring us.

Well said.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
dueeast at 11:01AM, Oct. 24, 2010
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Long time, no see, folks.

It would be nice if there could be a “live and let live” approach towards people's beliefs. Unfortunately, there's always someone (a lot of someones, actually) who either doesn't understand or just doesn't believe in that philosophy/approach.

Beliefs are personal and whether someone else agrees with them or not, whatever they happen to be, that person has that belief for a reason. They may change that belief later or they may feel strongly enough to hold onto it for the rest of their life. But that's up to them. It's an individual decision and so long as they don't do anything to harm themselves or anyone else, it should be respected.

However, because of other people's experiences, some people have a very narrow view of what defines an individual harming themselves or others…and people have a tendency to act on those feelings, which usually turns out very negatively.

Wow. I think that's the most neutral, non-confrontational thing I've ever written.

This forum has mellowed out some, and I guess so have I. B)
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F Y R E 13 R A N D at 8:42AM, Oct. 25, 2010
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Genejoke
Someone
We are all atheists with regards to some gods out there. How many people believe in Thor or Zeus? If you don't believe in those gods, then in some sense, you are an atheist.

Atheism is a rejection of god(s) of all kinds, to believe in a god of any kind would make you a theist.

Well, I won't argue with you on that point, you're probably right. I was perhaps using the term “atheist” a little rigidly there, mainly just to illustrate the general mechanics of how atheism works in discussion. I was trying to show that, rather than being a claim of disbelief in any and all gods that could ever be proposed, atheism is better understood as merely a response to a claim of the existence of particular gods. Many (if not most) people erroneously think atheism is trying to make a negative claim, when really it is just a rejection of positive claims. As an atheist, I could say “I don't believe in any gods,” but it might be more accurate to say “Of all the gods I've heard of so far, I don't see any good reason to believe in them.” It may seem like I'm beating around the bush, but frankly, not everyone defines a “god” in the same way. Some gods are omnipotent, all-knowing, and benevolent, while others are mortal and vengeful, while still others aren't even anthropomorphized and are said to be some general force of creation and order in the universe. When “god” isn't even a term that is universally defined, it's easy for theists to try and justify their belief with word games. I just like to think of atheism as “You tell me what you believe and why, and I'll tell you if I buy it.”

God of War
Question whenever God exist or not is unscientific - theres no scientific way to find an answer, so the only logical answer is “I don't know”.

NO. When someone makes a claim of the existence of a God – and the characteristics of that God are either a logical self-contradiction or a mélange of supernatural mumbo-jumbo that steps all over the realm of science and ignores all natural law and everything we understand about the physical universe – the default position is not just “I don't know.” You're suggesting that belief and disbelief both have equal logical and scientific weight, when that is almost never the case.

For example, the Christian Bible claims that day and night existed on Earth before the sun was formed. Does that make any sense, given what we know about day and night?
The Bible also claims that not only is the earth somewhere between only 6000-12000 years old, but that the Earth existed at the very beginning of the universe. The scientific viewpoint, however, estimates the planet at approximately 4.5 billion years old, and the universe maybe around 14 billion years.
And of course, the Bible claims that people walked on water, were raised from the dead, or were immaculately conceived. I'm pretty sure there's at least a scientific response to this that is a little more concrete than “I don't know.”

Christianity is not the only guilty party, of course. Many religions offer tall tales as incredible as these. Sure, as long as you define god as someone who is invisible, intangible, untestable, and otherwise impossible for us to sense in any way whatsoever, then science can never disprove its existence 100% conclusively. But as soon as your god starts trespassing on established facts and contradicting scientific knowledge as it interacts with the universe, it is now YOUR job to demonstrate that this god exists, how it can blatantly ignore and deny all of physics, chemistry, evolution, etc., and why pretty much all of science is wrong, and that YOU have something better than or equal to logic and reasoning. When you can do that, then we'll talk about me being completely dumbfounded at assertions that a gods exists, and that all I can do is stand here slack-jawed and admit that nobody knows anything at all about the universe and that it's all just a big mystery we're too stupid to understand, and that we shouldn't ever talk about it.


God of War
From scientific point of view atheism equals religion as they're both regually unscientific and not really logical. But both sides are full of fanatics who claims to “know the truth” (theists) or “be more logical” (atheists) and try to enforce their beliefs on others because they're under an illusion of being right and better.

NO. You have no idea what atheism is, but your mistaken assumption is a common one.
Atheism is merely the rejection of a god claim – it is not making any original claims of its own, and it is not asserting that there is no god. I tried to explain this clearly in my last post, so if you'd like to refer to that, I'd appreciate it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
F Y R E 13 R A N D at 9:42AM, Oct. 25, 2010
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dueeast
Beliefs are personal and whether someone else agrees with them or not, whatever they happen to be, that person has that belief for a reason. They may change that belief later or they may feel strongly enough to hold onto it for the rest of their life. But that's up to them. It's an individual decision and so long as they don't do anything to harm themselves or anyone else, it should be respected.

I see what you're trying to say, but as it's worded, I disagree.

When discussing religious matters, it is easy to become emotional and take criticisms of arguments personally. We're talking about worldviews that encompass people's entire understanding of morality, the value of life and humanity, and even basic facts about what we are and how this world came to be. When discussing these things, it's important to remember to respect the person you're talking to.

But to respect the belief? No way. There's no reason I should have to respect a person's beliefs if they are irrational or otherwise held for poor reasons. If I tell you that my holy book overtly demands that I stone homosexuals to death, that slavery is perfectly acceptable, or that if you do not accept my god as your own you will be subject to eternal torture after death, should you be expected to respect that? I know you said that it is dependent on whether it doesn't “do anything to harm themselves or anyone else,” but one can't just cherry-pick the nice parts out of a religion and ignore the unpleasant bits which are nonetheless clear demands of the god in question.

When people say you have to “respect” religious beliefs that clash with your own, it's not because those beliefs deserve respect – it's out of fear of causing a fight. I agree that we don't want to cause a fight, but that doesn't mean that if I don't share someone's religious faith I should just pretend like I do and just be quiet. I mean, I don't go around starting up arguments when they aren't appropriate, or protest religious ceremonies, but I have as much right to express my opinion as they do. And if my opinion is that their god doesn't exist and their belief is based on emotional and irrational tomfoolery, I get to say so.

Whether a religion causes “harm” can't just be judged in direct or immediate terms. I consider it quite harmful to my education, skills, and knowledge base, that I attended catholic elementary and high schools, with an entire period every day devoted to having a particular faith forced upon me in place of real learning. I consider it harmful when religion places restrictions on science education, in some areas of the US in particular where evolution is being removed from science texts in favor of creationism. I consider it harmful to personal freedoms that an anti-blasphemy law has been passed in Ireland.

People have rights, and they have the right to be respected as citizens. People have a right to hold beliefs and to express them. But beliefs do not have rights. I don't have to respect a belief.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
dueeast at 10:51AM, Oct. 26, 2010
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Hi Fyrebrand,

Perhaps my wording was not clear enough. If so, my apologies.

I am talking about respecting the person, ultimately, and their right to have a belief. You don't have to respect what that belief is any more than you have to observe it. XD

Sorry for any confusion.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:18PM
bravo1102 at 3:55AM, Oct. 27, 2010
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Dueeast, how can I respect the person believes in female genital mutilation?

I'm supposed to respect that they are a person and they have a right to a belief but one that is so heinous? One that it could be argued makes them less human?

Or I suppose it's just a cute cultural ceremonial by product that makes life all that more interesting.

So was massacring of children for the worship of Moloch in Carthage. Or the mass murder on Maya pyramids where the blood flowed in a torrent down the 365 steps.

Sorry but I even have trouble respecting someone who believes in transsubstantiation and the logical gymnastics that go along with most of Catholicism. Yes I can pick it apart piece by piece but they've spent millenia explaining and defending their belief piece by piece so I'm only beating them at their own game.

Enough out of me as I know I don't convince anyone but myself. ;)

That's the wonder about debating belief. No amount of evidence will ever change it because religious belief is not based on logic but on faith. Debating faith is like spitting into the wind. Someone won't change unless they want to and their mind is open. That is the exception when it comes to faith because otherwise the mind is already made up and wrapped in the cloak of righteousness and certain in its sole access to the TRUTH. Everything else is so much hot air that can be so easily ignored.
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F Y R E 13 R A N D at 4:22AM, Oct. 27, 2010
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dueeast
I am talking about respecting the person, ultimately, and their right to have a belief. You don't have to respect what that belief is any more than you have to observe it.

Ah, okay then. I had a feeling that's what you were trying to say, it's just that so many people seem to think that “respect” means letting people do what they want in the name of their religion and not saying anything about it.

Or I hear comments like what God of War said – that no one can be absolutely sure of the truth, and that belief makes just as much sense as disbelief, so we might as well say “I don't know” and not ever discuss it.


bravo1102
I'm supposed to respect that they are a person and they have a right to a belief but one that is so heinous? One that it could be argued makes them less human?

Well, as far as the law in most developed countries is concerned, yes. You have to respect everyone's human rights, including the right to believe whatever they please, be it stupid or harmful. How are you going to stop them from believing something, if they cannot be convinced? You can't scoop out their brain with a melon baller. One can't draw a line between which thoughts and beliefs people are allowed to have, and which aren't.

Letting people act on those beliefs is another story, of course. Unfortunately, the law often looks the other way on issues of religion, as long as you're not out murdering people or blowing things up.
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El Cid at 6:08AM, Oct. 27, 2010
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bravo1102
That's the wonder about debating belief. No amount of evidence will ever change it because religious belief is not based on logic but on faith. Debating faith is like spitting into the wind.
Unfortunately, that's often true. I'm reminded of a presentation I once saw by famous biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins. A kid in the audience asked him a question about why it's any more likely that life came about without God's intervention than with it, to which Dawkins promptly gave a sufficient answer explaining just how physically improbable the creationist position is. He was then immediately hit by another question: “Well that's all good and well if it's scientifically impossible, but the laws of science don't apply to God anyway!” So… what was the point of even asking the question if you're just going to reject any logical answer?

So yes, for some people at least, it is a waste of time to argue because they just retreat even deeper into their faith. But on the other hand, a lot of people do eventually change their minds based on what they learn and experience through life. Most atheists weren't born atheists, and I'm sure that in a lot of cases it was discussions like the ones that go on here that played at least some role in them reconsidering their beliefs.
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El Cid at 6:16AM, Oct. 27, 2010
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F Y R E 13 R A N D
Letting people act on those beliefs is another story, of course. Unfortunately, the law often looks the other way on issues of religion, as long as you're not out murdering people or blowing things up.
I don't think he was talking about the law necessarily, just on how people should be judged. Even if you don't actively participate in genital mutilation or honor killings, or persecute homosexuals, if you support a belief system which encourages these things it has to reflect negatively on you.
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God of War at 6:21AM, Oct. 27, 2010
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God of War
From scientific point of view atheism equals religion as they're both regually unscientific and not really logical. But both sides are full of fanatics who claims to “know the truth” (theists) or “be more logical” (atheists) and try to enforce their beliefs on others because they're under an illusion of being right and better.

NO. You have no idea what atheism is, but your mistaken assumption is a common one.
Atheism is merely the rejection of a god claim – it is not making any original claims of its own, and it is not asserting that there is no god. I tried to explain this clearly in my last post, so if you'd like to refer to that, I'd appreciate it.

And see how many emotions my posts caused to you? You pretty much proved my point.
Also, from scientific point of view, to reject a claim you need an evidence is it false.
I'm usually bad and explinign those thing, so I'd better try to tell it as simple as I can, if you don't mind, okay? I don't wanna to cause any misunderstanding.
Somebody claim “God exist”.
If somebody says it's true without an evidence, it's unscientific.
If somebody says it's false without an evidence, it's unscientific.

And, about your previous large part - but what about people who just believe in God? Look at me, I'm agnostic theist, which means I think it's impossible to prove or dissprove God, yet I still believe in God. I follow Catholicism, but I disagree with most of things written in book of Genesis which I see as an metaphor. I'm catholic only because I like Christ's philosophy. Proving or disproving God I believe is impossible.
Well, I hope I'm not sounding pretentious if I'm, I'm sorry, every time I'm talking about those things I start soundign like a jerk.
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El Cid at 12:17PM, Oct. 27, 2010
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That's not quite correct. Just because two claims cannot be 100 percent disproved does not make them equally plausible. In this case, we have scientific theories which are falsifiable but supported by the available evidence and reason in accordance with phenomena which can be observed and replicated, versus a mystic theory which has no backing evidence whatsoever but putters on because it is not falsifiable. In a game of odds, I wouldn't rate the two fifty-fifty or even ninety-ten for that matter. The probability of a divine presence being the explanation for life as we know it is such a tiny fraction of a percentage pint that it is indistinguishable from zero, and treating anything of such implausibility as being of consequence makes little sense in theory or in practice. While we all respect your right to believe whatever you wish as a matter of faith, please don't attempt to suggest that science and religion are on equal rational footing. They are not. I don't mean that as a n affront to your belief, but you are judging it by inapplicable standards.

Also, you don't have to be a Christian in order to agree with many of the things taught by Christ. I believe a lot of Christ's teachings were virtuous and I'm sure I live by most of them. But I do not consider myself a Christian. I do not believe Christ was the son of God, for one, but rather that he was a great philosopher. There is no requirement that you be a theist in order to live a virtuous life.
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God of War at 1:27PM, Oct. 27, 2010
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You know what? I'm not skilled enough to discuss such things. I'm gonna back out from the discussion, if you don't mind.
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kyupol at 7:30PM, Oct. 27, 2010
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One thing I noticed…

Mainline churches – tend to talk about “how to behave”.

The more “underground” Christian “churches” (in quotation because these are usually run on the street corner or in someone's basement or living room) – tend to discuss more on the “WHAT IS” side of things as well as go deeper into philosophy.

There's nothing wrong with talking about how to behave. However, I think that if you talk more on “WHAT IS” (nature of reality, take into account UFOs, demons, etc.), that provides a deeper understanding as to why you must behave the right way.

Mainline churches wont even touch subjects like the New World Order with a 10 foot pole. I grilled a priest as to why he refuses to cover the G-20 POLICE STATE in his sermon and he couldnt answer me properly!!! I brought up Psalm 94:16… and he CANNOT ANSWER to the FACT that he is NOT following the Bible by refusing to talk about the POLICE STATE. >:

Meanwhile, they LOVE foaming at the mouth about homosexuals as if homosexuals are the ones at the head of the BEAST. Yes there is a valid point that homosexuals tend to overdo political correctness… however, just like most mainline churches, homosexuals are mere pawns in the bigger chessboard.

NOW UPDATING!!!
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F Y R E 13 R A N D at 9:19AM, Oct. 29, 2010
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God of War
And see how many emotions my posts caused to you? You pretty much proved my point.
Also, from scientific point of view, to reject a claim you need an evidence is it false.
I don't see how any of my responses could be dismissed as “emotional.” You clearly equated atheism to a religion, and misrepresented it as an irrational quest to disprove God. These claims were clearly wrong, and so I called you out as being misinformed about what atheism actually is. If you take every disagreement as an “emotional” tirade, and every time your views are challenged as a personal attack, no wonder you don't think anyone should discuss these matters.

As I stated earlier, atheism is not making any actual claims of its own. It does not have a belief system, it has no list of rules for how to act, and it has no morality. Atheism is only the rejection of the claim “There is a God.” Atheism is not trying to prove that there is no God, because the concept is so nebulous, ill-defined, and unfalsifiable that it's practically impossible to present any evidence a theist will accept.

I don't need one scrap of evidence to reject a God claim. All I need to do is to judge that there is insufficient evidence to believe in God. Note, again, that this is not saying that there is no God. It's just saying that a belief in God is unfounded, based on faulty evidence, or otherwise held for bad reasons, and therefore I do not share your belief.
Theists often cling to this idea that God exists in a different plane somehow, and that science can't even touch the subject because God is intangible, invisible, non-physical, infinite, or any number of other ridiculous qualities that makes him completely undetectable by anyone, ever. Well, congratulations, you've just defined God as completely indistinguishable from nothing – how is it any different from saying God doesn't exist? Unless you can indicate some way that God can be detected, then how the heck do you know about him?


God of War
I follow Catholicism, but I disagree with most of things written in book of Genesis which I see as an metaphor. I'm catholic only because I like Christ's philosophy.

As Matt Dillahunty, host of The Atheist Experience one pointed out: Take a green highlighter, and highlight in green all the passages in the Bible that are factually true. Highlight in red the passages which are just a metaphor, and in yellow the ones you aren't sure about. Now explain the method you used to arrive at that distinction.
I don't recall any point in the Bible where God said “Hey, everybody! Half of my sacred word in this book didn't really happen, it was just a metaphor.”
You can't pick and choose which parts of the Bible you like, which parts are moral, and which parts are so unbelievable or morally repugnant that you'd rather not pay any attention to them. If it's all the word of God, what right do you have to reject any of it?
Okay, so the book of Genesis is a metaphor? So God did not really create the universe, or the planet Earth? God didn't create all animals and plants, or breathe life into the first human beings? God didn't create Adam and Eve, and the whole incident in the Garden of Eden didn't actually happen? So that would mean that the concept of original sin is just a metaphor, right? That would also suggest that Jesus was eventually sacrificed for no reason whatsoever, and saved us all from nothing, right? You take out one link in the chain, and the whole thing falls apart. Theres no way to rationalize your way out of it without coming up with your own excuses or resorting to pure imagination and speculation.

God of War
You know what? I'm not skilled enough to discuss such things. I'm gonna back out from the discussion, if you don't mind.
That's totally fine, I appreciate your humility in that sense. But please know that we're not personally attacking you. I hope you don't take this experience as affirmation that these issues should be talked about openly.
Also, you can't just dismiss my points as “emotional,” declare that I've somehow proven your point for you, and expect that to be the last word. I've responded accordingly, but if you want that to be that, it's your prerogative.

kyupol
There's nothing wrong with talking about how to behave. However, I think that if you talk more on “WHAT IS” (nature of reality, take into account UFOs, demons, etc.), that provides a deeper understanding as to why you must behave the right way.

I agree completely. A lot of Catholics, for example, haven't even read the Bible. When they're told about these passages where it is commanded that gays and unruly children be stoned, or that the Bible endorses human slavery, or about stories of drunken incest and mass murders, they dismiss it as atheist propaganda and don't even bother to look into it for themselves.
Most people take their morality from only a very small fragment of their religious texts, and that fragment is just repeated over and over until it's assumed that it represents the whole. But if a God is the only one who can judge what is moral and immoral, then by what method could a human start to pick out what parts of the Bible are good, and which aren't? Wow, almost as if human beings can think for themselves, and have some understanding of morality, even when it is in direct conflict with the word of their God.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
ayesinback at 10:30AM, Oct. 29, 2010
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I don't recall any point in the Bible where God said “Hey, everybody! Half of my sacred word in this book didn't really happen, it was just a metaphor.”
You can't pick and choose which parts of the Bible you like, which parts are moral, and which parts are so unbelievable or morally repugnant that you'd rather not pay any attention to them. If it's all the word of God, what right do you have to reject any of it?

Actually I think you should pick and choose. We know the Bible is not the word of God. In fact, someone just pointed out to me that at different points in the Bible, the word of God was described as so powerful that God had to send an angel to earth to speak for him because doing so directly would smite a mere human.

The Bible is a collection of translated, edited, and re-written accounts from few first-hand observers. At best, maybe some of the authors can claim that they were inspired directly by a vision or angel from God (because, again, direct contact is deathly), just as Mohammad claims inspiration for his Koran. And on the flip side, there were some early marketeers.

imo, the Bible at its best is an archive of anecdotes from those who believed and found solace in God. And I think that these stories are the source for any proof of God's existence. The stories encourage one to pray and to believe, and give examples of when God answers prayers.

Today if someone prays to God for an incredibly unlikely event to occur - the instant cure of an illness, for example, and it does happen, is it surprising that science isn't credited but God is, especially when science cannot explain those very rare miracles? If something happens that cannot be explained, why is Personal Mind Control, for example, easier to accept than a God?

For me, I am more comfortable thinking there exists something greater than our people-created religions (and people-created science) that I don't understand than needing to prove something didn't happen because it doesn't fit into the tidy rules of logic and science. But that's me. Ironically, it's also several scientists and researchers through the centuries.

But you're right on at least 2 counts: (1) the logic of atheism is correct. Just because no other solution presents itself as an answer to those few unexplainable events proves only that there's a lack of an answer and does not prove the existence of a God. And (2) belief in God is not logical. It's a belief.

under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
kyupol at 3:48PM, Oct. 29, 2010
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I don't see how any of my responses could be dismissed as “emotional.” You clearly equated atheism to a religion, and misrepresented it as an irrational quest to disprove God. These claims were clearly wrong, and so I called you out as being misinformed about what atheism actually is. If you take every disagreement as an “emotional” tirade, and every time your views are challenged as a personal attack, no wonder you don't think anyone should discuss these matters.

As I stated earlier, atheism is not making any actual claims of its own. It does not have a belief system, it has no list of rules for how to act, and it has no morality. Atheism is only the rejection of the claim “There is a God.” Atheism is not trying to prove that there is no God, because the concept is so nebulous, ill-defined, and unfalsifiable that it's practically impossible to present any evidence a theist will accept.


A couple questions:

1) What will an atheist do in the event of an extraordinary spiritual experience? Treat it as just chemicals in your brain trying to mess up your perception of what is? I used to look at it that way because I was a former atheist. However, when I encountered TWO psychics who can read my mind – this is NOT NLP (neuro-linguistic-programming… a form of high level psychology) and about reading subtle facial expressions and listening to voice tone… as communication with them was done via email and IM. One told me things I couldnt even tell my “inner circle” friends. Another caught me lying (very small lies) two times. I can easily fill up a 10 page term paper if you want me to detail all my spiritual experiences. :)


2) “No rules on how to act”? Have you read Aleister Crowley? “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law?” This same man also wrote a chapter on ritual sacrifice.
http://raumfahrer.wordpress.com/manson/crowley-on-sacrifice/

Dont believe that link? Think its all made up? I have a copy of his book. Its on page 71 (of my copy but not sure if you buy one out there)

agree completely. A lot of Catholics, for example, haven't even read the Bible. When they're told about these passages where it is commanded that gays and unruly children be stoned, or that the Bible endorses human slavery, or about stories of drunken incest and mass murders, they dismiss it as atheist propaganda and don't even bother to look into it for themselves.
Most people take their morality from only a very small fragment of their religious texts, and that fragment is just repeated over and over until it's assumed that it represents the whole. But if a God is the only one who can judge what is moral and immoral, then by what method could a human start to pick out what parts of the Bible are good, and which aren't? Wow, almost as if human beings can think for themselves, and have some understanding of morality, even when it is in direct conflict with the word of their God.

I know a Christian guy who has studied the bible extensively from every angle since age 8 (he's 34 years old now). He has successfully converted atheists, catholics (he is one of those who believe that catholics are NOT christian) satanists, new agers, buddhists, muslims, etc (he's presently trying to convert me… I just said “look… just give me DATA and then maybe Id be convinced).

I have more respect for Christians who ACTUALLY TOOK TIME to read and study the Bible and other religions and arrive at the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the son of God – whether you agree or disagree with that, the point is, they didnt blindly follow faith and arrived at that through independent reasoning and logic.

He's one of those ”underground" type Christians. The reason I respect him is because he (and his kind) have this approach of LOVE to the non-believers. Exactly as Jesus said.

That is one thing I think the Christian (legit ones) is superior to all other religions / belief systems on. That is just an objective assessment. As I'm a non-Christian. It is the ability to reach out with LOVE to even their “enemies”. He even said “there are no such thing as enemies. We are all children of God and God wants all of us to be in heaven with him.”



Today if someone prays to God for an incredibly unlikely event to occur - the instant cure of an illness, for example, and it does happen, is it surprising that science isn't credited but God is, especially when science cannot explain those very rare miracles? If something happens that cannot be explained, why is Personal Mind Control, for example, easier to accept than a God?

Do not underestimate the power of the mind. Some people call that “psychic” but REAL psychics Ive talked to dont even want to be called “psychic” as that term assumes that they are somehow special and above the average human.

Why do you think that when people are under hypnosis, they suddenly stop the urge from smoking, from eating unhealthy foods, from irrational fears, and in some cases, HEALING and / or feeling NO PAIN when being operated on or giving birth.

If hypnosis doesnt work, why do you think it was recognized in 1958 as a legitimate medical treatment by the American Medical Association?

Why do you think hypnosis is a tool that is used in mind-control programs (MK-ULTRA, Monarch, etc.)?

Why do you think top level psychologists LOVE hypnosis? (Dr. Estabrooks, Dr. Milton Erickson, etc.)

Why do you think every hypnotherapist I talked to would tell me that majority of their clients (who ended up getting better 90% of the time) were referred to them by psychiatrists who cannot help them?
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
ayesinback at 7:21PM, Oct. 29, 2010
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kyupol
Today if someone prays to God for an incredibly unlikely event to occur - the instant cure of an illness, for example, and it does happen, is it surprising that science isn't credited but God is, especially when science cannot explain those very rare miracles? If something happens that cannot be explained, why is Personal Mind Control, for example, easier to accept than a God?

Do not underestimate the power of the mind. Some people call that “psychic” but REAL psychics Ive talked to dont even want to be called “psychic” as that term assumes that they are somehow special and above the average human.

Why do you think that when people are under hypnosis, they suddenly stop the urge from smoking, from eating unhealthy foods, from irrational fears, and in some cases, HEALING and / or feeling NO PAIN when being operated on or giving birth.

If hypnosis doesnt work, why do you think it was recognized in 1958 as a legitimate medical treatment by the American Medical Association?

Why do you think hypnosis is a tool that is used in mind-control programs (MK-ULTRA, Monarch, etc.)?

Why do you think top level psychologists LOVE hypnosis? (Dr. Estabrooks, Dr. Milton Erickson, etc.)

Why do you think every hypnotherapist I talked to would tell me that majority of their clients (who ended up getting better 90% of the time) were referred to them by psychiatrists who cannot help them?

I am not challenging the powers of the human mind. But you did not answer the question posed.
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
Loud_G at 8:49PM, Oct. 29, 2010
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I think a great deal of the confusion that comes in discussing topics of this nature comes from the fact that there are very FEW theists who actually LIVE their religion. (or know much about it beyond the basic tenants) Unfortunately those who know the least are often the most vocal. (Note: I am not calling them stupid) Therefore, the arguments between Theists and Atheists have often boiled down to points that aren't actually doctrine/cannon.

Having a sure knowledge of the truth of the existence of God, does not make you a fanatic. Fanatics tend to know very little actual doctrine, but are wildly interested in pop-theology. I believe it is completely possible to KNOW (not just believe) that God exists.

I cringe whenever science is thrown around in these discussions as the enemy of religion or a disprover of God. It is neither. Nor are atheists the sole owners of science. Science is the search for truth through observation and experimentation. I treat my religion like a science: always researching, observing, experimenting, and making decisions. I do not think that God is science-proof. I think God acts according to the physical laws that we have discovered, and perhaps ones we don't fully understand yet. (Quantum mechanics anyone?) :D

I have always maintained that our scientific instruments have not discovered God yet, not because it is impossible, but because we haven't reached that point in our technology yet. Science is not a noun, really. It is more a verb. It is constantly moving, growing. One day scientists will be able to do things that today we think are impossible (just as we currently do MANY things previously thought impossible)

There is not currently a physical device that can detect God or His presence, but I have had too many experiences in my life that have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that God DOES exist. Those who have not experienced things like that will likely claim that it boils down to brain chemistry, lucid dreams, etc. AND that is fine. However, I hold that the method of learning of God's existence IS logical, systematic, AND repeatable. In fact, by following the scientific method, I believe one CAN know of the truth. You have to have an open mind (as with all scientific discovery)…

Anyway…tangent….I do that … where was I? I don't rightly remember….

So….. Atheism….vs…religion….

Not Science vs Religion. Atheism does not equal science, no matter how you slice it. There are many marvelous scientists who are atheist, and there are many more who are theists. Science does not imply atheism. Atheism does not imply logic. Religion does not imply lack of Science or logic.

Again back to the Theists who just don't know their religion.

I have been in many a debate between Atheists and Theists where I have sided with the Atheists on many points. Why? Because a good many of their basic disputes with Christianity come down to some very basic misunderstandings by the believers themselves. The Atheists will say: “Well, x, y and z don't make any sense” and I have to agree, because x, y, and z were completely out of context or not well understood by the religious folks.

A lot of the Atheists vs Theists arguments come down to knee-jerk reactions over long held “beliefs” that are called into question. Neither side being very secure in their personal belief or disbelief, so the arguments fall into the typical mud-slinging rhetorics that are so common on the internet today.

Many passages are swiped from the holy books (by both sides of the debate) to prove one's point, but most of the time true understanding of these passages is not attained, nor context examined. Many assume that if it is in the Bible, that means God condones that act. Scriptures, while often directly giving God's will to His children, is also made up of histories of how God's children acted. These acts aren't always in line with God's will. A careful study of the material is needed to understand this. (This goes for both sides) The case of drunken incest was brought up as if the Bible condoned that act, when in fact that act was one of great shame and misunderstanding of God's will. God did not order Lots daughters to get him drunk and have sex with him. They came up with that ill-conceived plan all by themselves. They weren't very bright. They thought they were the last people alive. A close reading of the passage would show that. However, I have seen this pop up in argument after anti-theist argument….

Ok, I've gone on so long, without planning ahead, that I've actually forgotten several of the points I meant to address…. I'm sure they will come to me as people violently disagree that you can “know” of God's existence, or that religion and science can co-exist happily…. *sigh*

(Although a note here to FYRE13RAND, YOU may only reject “the belief in God” but you speak only for yourself, you cannot speak for all atheists.I have spoken with many who have DEFINITELY held the “God does not exist” belief and been very vocal about it (even attempting to convert others to that line of thinking). So, your wide-sweeping arguments on the topic of atheism do the “atheism is not a dogma or a religion” argument a disservice)

Find out what George is up to:

 
 
Go! Visit George or he may have to eat you!*
*Disclaimer: George may or may not eat violators depending on hunger level and scarcity of better tasting prey.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:46PM
Loud_G at 9:06PM, Oct. 29, 2010
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In addition to the Theists who don't know their own religion very well and make debating a chore for the rest of us, there are also the Theists who don't LIVE their religion very well (or at all). This paints all theists in bad light for these types of debates/discussions.

It often devolves into “Christians are horrible, look at the crusades” or “Atheists are horrible look at the communists” or some such lunacy. Completely missing the point that there are people who A. do not live their religion (even though they profess a belief in it) or B. people who abuse their religious/political beliefs for their own gain.

As much as I don't believe in Catholicism, I do not hold Catholicism (nor a belief in Christ) responsible for the Crusades or other atrocities. I blame bored Kings, starving nations, Greedy leaders, etc. for their actions.

Truly following the teachings of Jesus Christ will never permit the abuse of another person. Christianity is a force for good, but only as long as its members practice their beliefs. A “christian” who abuses, kills, etc. is not acting in accordance to their church/religion. They may draw up excuses, loosely based in out-of-context scripture, but the tenants of Christ's teachings clearly state that we should love ALL men. Anything less is, indeed, un-Christian.

Find out what George is up to:

 
 
Go! Visit George or he may have to eat you!*
*Disclaimer: George may or may not eat violators depending on hunger level and scarcity of better tasting prey.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:46PM
kyupol at 11:29PM, Oct. 29, 2010
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I am not challenging the powers of the human mind. But you did not answer the question posed.

Oops my bad. I missed that.

Anyway it is more easier to accept because the “God” in the bible sometimes appears to be this jealous, angry, hateful God who is more akin to a dictator or something.

There's even a website that goes through the bible and points it out
http://www.evilbible.com/

I just have a problem though with the fact that atheists seem to LOVE jumping at the Christians but meanwhile, they cannot seem to attack Islam (scared of angry Muslim mobs?) or Judaism (scared of being called anti-semitic?) or Eastern religions (ridiculed sometimes but NOT hated) with the same ferocity as they attack Christianity.

Must be all that political correctness… :)



NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
ozoneocean at 12:28AM, Oct. 30, 2010
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kyupol
Must be all that political correctness…
No it's not.
The reason why you don't get that atheists seem to hate Christianity more than other religions os because you get caught up in all the “isisms” rather than thinking about the people themselves.

Think about it-
Most of the people who identify themselves as “atheist” on the net or even in public are English speaking, the majority religion in all English speaking countries is Christianity. They don't talk about Christianity more because of political correctness, they talk about it more because it's what they know.
It's really not any more complicated than that.
 
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Genejoke at 12:39AM, Oct. 30, 2010
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also just go through the youtube comment arguments about it and you will find plenty of islam versus atheism too but as ozone is most likely correct.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
ozoneocean at 3:33AM, Oct. 30, 2010
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As to English speaking countries, I forgot Israel… I'm pretty sure they speak English there as well as Hebrew and Arabic etc.
Anyway, I'm sure most atheists there would direct most of their energy towards the religious aspects of Judaism.

The situation in Israel is a great little case study for this though, isn't it? The main state religion is Judaism. But that's not just a religion, it's also something that defines the people themselves as an ethnicity and the very idea for the founding of the nation, so there is a very strong indivisible cultural aspect to it. This is something that many neophyte atheists do not always understand, and even many religious people too: religion is NOT just about belief OR faith, for many it is simply a part of the fabric of their lives, their civilisation.

Judaism isn't a special case either- it's just very, very obvious there, but it's pretty much universal to varying degrees will all main religions.
 
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God of War at 6:54AM, Oct. 30, 2010
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F Y R E 13 R A N D
I don't see how any of my responses could be dismissed as “emotional.”

Which was never my point. I don't judge your post upon being emotional or not, I just think your post was written in a way that impies you were angry when writing it. But even if you was, it wouldn't be a reason for me to dismiss it on that grounds.

Also, you can't just dismiss my points as “emotional,” declare that I've somehow proven your point for you, and expect that to be the last word.

As my point was that tis kind of debates creates a lot of negative emotions, I seen you, being enraged by my post, as an evidence.

But please know that we're not personally attacking you. I hope you don't take this experience as affirmation that these issues should be talked about openly.

Don't worry. I'm just not skilled enough to discuss those matters. Last time i tried to explain my points and respond to arguments similiar to yours, I failed so much it ended in a flame war and nothing good ever came from it, I'm not gonna make the same mistake again. Man should know when he can't do something right.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:38PM
F Y R E 13 R A N D at 9:08PM, Nov. 5, 2010
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Well, that new website design beta ate my previous post, so here's my lazy, shorter version…

ayesinback
Actually I think you should pick and choose. We know the Bible is not the word of God.

I know God didn't pick up a pen and write a book, but the Bible is at least an accurate representation of God's will and commandments. Either God's will is to endorse human slavery and the murder of gays, unruly children, and those who work on the Sabbath, or the Bible simply is mistaken about what it is God's commanding. So, which is it, and how do you know? I don't know any place in the Bible where it admits to not being 100% factually accurate, or that any of the lessons in the Bible are not God's intentions. How can a person possibly question the truth or morality of the book that is supposed to be the one source of truth and morality?

ayesinback
In fact, someone just pointed out to me that at different points in the Bible, the word of God was described as so powerful that God had to send an angel to earth to speak for him because doing so directly would smite a mere human.

This is getting a little like trying to debate how Santa Claus could possibly travel fast enough to visit every house in the world in just one night, but you've made me wonder… just why on earth would God's voice smite a human being? Is it too loud? Is the content of what he's saying just too psychologically damaging? Is God's voice of a particular frequency which might shatter the human skeleton? This whole concept is laughable, if you ask me, and just sounds like a made-up excuse to explain away the question of why God never reveals his own existence to anyone today.
I guess if what you're saying is true, you've just proven God is not omnipotent if he's unable to even talk to a human being without destroying it outright. Heck, I can do that. Score one for me, zero for God.

ayesinback
The Bible is a collection of translated, edited, and re-written accounts from few first-hand observers. At best, maybe some of the authors can claim that they were inspired directly by a vision or angel from God (because, again, direct contact is deathly), just as Mohammad claims inspiration for his Koran. And on the flip side, there were some early marketeers.
imo, the Bible at its best is an archive of anecdotes from those who believed and found solace in God. And I think that these stories are the source for any proof of God's existence.

So a collection of anecdotes, written by authors whose identities we can't be sure of, which has been adapted, changed, and tampered with over thousands of years, is not only the only source of information on – but proof of God, Jesus, and all the miracles and supernatural claims that are contained within? You're essentially saying that we know the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible. …which you've already admitted is not the word of God, and is written by men, and is therefore not infallible. So, as should be the case for any source of information with these dubious qualities, should the Bible not be judged, at best, highly suspect?
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F Y R E 13 R A N D at 10:21PM, Nov. 5, 2010
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kyupol
What will an atheist do in the event of an extraordinary spiritual experience? Treat it as just chemicals in your brain trying to mess up your perception of what is?
1) I can't tell you what “an atheist” would do. As I said, atheism is merely a stance on a particular claim. Atheists don't all think the same way, and being an atheist doesn't automatically mean one is a lover of logic, reasoning, or science. I think logic and science are probably some good reasons to be an atheist, but you might just as well meet an atheist who thinks God isn't real because his imaginary friend Sparky the talking giraffe told him so.
2) What kind of “extraordinary spiritual experience” are you talking about? I've heard people talk about all kinds of extraordinary experiences they've had, ranging from vague beams of light or indefinable clouds, or a sudden chill, or an unidentified object hovering in the sky, or a peculiar dream, or a disembodied voice… and all of those were supposedly proof of whatever mutually contradicting spiritual/religious characters those people happened to believe in.
3) Let's say I am walking down the street, and suddenly I hear a voice that says “Hey, you! I am God, and I am totally real, and your atheism has got to stop!” I look around, and nobody is there. What does that prove? Even if I accepted that this voice wasn't just a hallucination, what does that really tell me about the characteristics of the voice? Is he telling the truth about who he is? If he's God, which God is he? Now that I know he exists, what am I supposed to do about it? This isn't going to change my life.
4) I don't just choose to deny God because it's inconvenient, or because I think atheism is some cool new way to rebel against the establishment. I reject belief in the “God” figures as presented in religions for moral, philosophical, scientific, logical, and practical reasons. The qualities of God are self-contradictory. The claims in the Bible and most other holy books of other religions are so far beyond supernatural that they display a profound ignorance of even a basic understanding of the universe and how things work (I mentioned the ridiculousness of Genesis earlier, and isn't there a Bible story where someone is standing on a mountain which is so tall he could see the “four corners of the world”?). God is often portrayed as childish; angry; vengeful; almost constantly issuing orders to murder people by the truckloads; speaking through long, self-congratulatory monologues about how incredibly powerful and great he is; and the Bible doesn't have any idea that this guy is a complete asshole. So… sorry, but if I one day had some undoubtedly vague experience that nobody else could verify for me, and which I probably couldn't be sure what it was myself, it would not turn my entire worldview on its head and reconvert me instantly to Christianity.

kyupol
I used to look at it that way because I was a former atheist. However, when I encountered TWO psychics who can read my mind –
Okay, just… no. Don't. I don't believe in psychics either, and you telling me about your experience talking to them does not mean anything to me. I can't verify your story myself, and nothing I've ever seen involving psychics has even remotely led me to think there is some credibility to their claims.
As all good psychics should know, there is a guy named James Randi who quite famously is offering a million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate under laboratory conditions that they possess supernatural powers. And you know what? Curiously, no one has met that challenge yet.

kyupol
2) “No rules on how to act”? Have you read Aleister Crowley?
I have not read Aleister Crowley, but a quick Wikipedia jaunt informs me he was “an English occultist, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for the founding of the religious philosophy of Thelema. Through this belief he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in 1904, a time when old ethical and religious systems would be replaced.” Maybe I've just looked at the wrong Aleister Crowley, but I'm not seeing your point if you were trying to direct me to some sort of atheist behavioral rule set. I know magic and occult practices aren't exactly a god, but they operate on the same wavelength.
Even if Crowley were the most skeptical and brilliant of atheists – heck, even if he invented atheism – that doesn't mean I have to do what he says.

Loud_G
(Although a note here to FYRE13RAND, YOU may only reject “the belief in God” but you speak only for yourself, you cannot speak for all atheists.I have spoken with many who have DEFINITELY held the “God does not exist” belief and been very vocal about it (even attempting to convert others to that line of thinking). So, your wide-sweeping arguments on the topic of atheism do the “atheism is not a dogma or a religion” argument a disservice)

No, I assure you, atheism is only the rejection of a belief in God. That is not synonymous with a belief in the lack of a God.
I realize I cannot speak for all atheists, and there are undoubtedly those who will try to convince you that there is definitely no God out there. There may also be atheists who think psychics are real, or who think space aliens created life on our planet. Atheists are free to believe all kinds of crazy stuff, just like anyone else – but that's their personal belief, not the belief of atheism. Taking the stance that we have evidence for the non-existence of a God is certainly closely related to atheism, but not all atheists will agree that we can make that judgement conclusively.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM

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