Debate and Discussion

The Atheists Are Brainwashing Your Children!
Faliat at 7:51PM, Aug. 15, 2008
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I have met some really genuinely nice people that have been religious. And I have no problems with that. It's a comfort for a lot of people. But there's some people who take things way too much to heart and try to do “selfless” things for another word in with the big man/woman/men/women/people, etc.

There was often occasions in which I'd end up physically and mentally abused.
All the bullies had to do to be forgiven was go have a chat with a priest every once in a while and be told by the priest that they had been forgiven. Free to go out and deal out the same abuse.

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

- Rekkiy (NerveWire)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Jellomix at 8:44PM, Aug. 17, 2008
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Product Placement
There is nothing wrong with belief I suppose. But if there is something greater then us out there that is so beyond us that we can not perceive it then wouldn't you consider it arrogant that a group of people claimed they knew it's intentions and desire?


I so so so agree with this. I don't know the exact quote but I think it went something like: “It is human arrogance to believe we can understand God.” Anyway, I think both religious and non-religious people should consider this quote more.
- The thing that bothers me about Christianity (though it applies to many religions) is that it relies on the Bible so much. Aren't people aware that humans wrote it, not God and that it's ancient- passed from church to church, language to language? Of course there's bound to be mistranslated/misinterpreted text! I'm not saying that the Bible is wrong, only that people shouldn't take it too literally.
Same with traditions. Do they really have a purpose now? And do people even know where their traditions come from?
- As for Atheists, I find that most of them don't believe in (a) God simply because God doesn't make sense to them whether it's contradictions in the Bible, silly traditions, or just scientifically impossible… but do they ever realize that God doesn't follow earthly rules? If He created all, if He created reality, you think He's going to be bound by such small things? Honestly, if anyone's trying to understand God, they'll have to throw away logic because if we were ants, and God were human, would we, as ants, ever understand what's really going on in the real world? Do ants know about the Internet, how the government works, what a table is? Sure, they may be crawling on a table, but would they understand it's more than just wood?

Therefore, I believe God is illogical and it's the reason why I understand both religious and non-religious people… God cannot be proven- real or not because to prove something, we need to use logic and like I said, we can't use logic to prove God. God may be very real (probably misunderstood) and God may be very imaginary. It's really one big coin toss here. 50/50, heads or tails.

——-
I guess I have a weird view on the whole God subject. I consider myself a Christian and even though I've gone to Protestant churches, I don't really believe in all the things they say. I believe He loves me and I do love Him. I also believe He has complete control of everything. What about free will? It's complicated. I think it depends more on what you define as free will. I mean, aren't your thoughts and opinions all fabricated by events in your life? And who causes all that?
I also think that since He has control over everything, He has the perfect plan. If you want to debate about that, just comment, because I don't want to rant about everything in one post. >_>

Anyway, my upbringing: yeah, I was raised to go to church by my mom but after we moved, she stopped attending along with the rest of my family. I think they might've stopped believing, or never did in the first place. Anyway, I never really liked church, so I had nothing against it… but I don't think my spiritual status was really forced upon me because I never lost faith. In fact, I think my biggest spiritual growth was during the churchless period. Okay, I attend church regularly now and would you believe it, my mom actually tries to get me to stop. Lol. Maybe I should. I might sound confident on my opinions about God but truthfully, my faith is pretty shaky. :\

Lol. Who read all that? .__.
Sig? Yeah, I'll get to it. >_<
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
bravo1102 at 11:24AM, Aug. 18, 2008
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If God is so unknowable and wholly other, why is there a need for Him to begin with?

If He has this beautiful all encompassing love, why does he allow such suffering; often in His name? If this love is so paramount why do so few faiths profess it? Would it not be better to believe in ourselves and love our fellows than to lean so much on a mythological unknowable spirit?

If this deity is so great and loving and unknowable (is He perfect by this definition? Or is He undescribable in which case perfection cannot describe him because he is unknowable?) In which case why is he such a bad designer? If he is so unknowable how can we know about this unconditional love?

Wouldn't it be better to beleive in ourselves and lead a good, moral life respecting and loving our fellow humans without recourse and the waste of resources on the worship of some unknowable myth?

I've studied comparative religion and faith for a long time and loving our fellows and doing right by them as we would wish they would treat us (the Golden Rule which is nearly universal across all faiths)is far more important to me than a deity.

Now the first time I tried to send this, I said it a lot better but I was booted out and it didn't post. To one with faith that is God's sense of humor, to one without it is a computer glitch.

At times I kind of like to think of it as God's sense of humor. She just loves to play jokes on us. Why? Because She loves us so much. It's a comforting thought in a world so much bigger than I am, but there is no need to build churches or have priesthoods or books full of laws when if we just respected our fellows and lead a life loving them and ourselves there would be no need for Her. I am not an agnostic because that implies I do not know(gnosis) Whereas I know as much as I can and there is no need for a deity one way or the other (a-theos- no deity so atheist)(apologies to all people who can read Greek and Latin over my butchering of it)

(The whole gender of the Deity is quite another question. I keep seeing Alannis Morrisette standing on her head from the movie Dogma and that image appeals to me as being very appropriate. Though the last thing She needs from me is my worship, just play some skee ball. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Paperspirit at 5:44PM, Aug. 18, 2008
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For me it pretty much boils down to one thing – You want me to believe in a god or angels or any of the supernatural goings-on in the bible then prove it. Show me.

I'll keep an open mind because I want to know the truth like everybody else but the writings in ONE book with no independent physical proof of even one tiny little shred of supernatural occurrences in the real world isn't enough to base your whole life on.

It's just that simple - if it's the way and the truth then show me.


I've read books upon books upon books and attended many churches and talked with many pastors but no real answers I could sink my teeth into.

~e.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
SpANG at 8:55PM, Aug. 18, 2008
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Paperspirit
For me it pretty much boils down to one thing – You want me to believe in a god or angels or any of the supernatural goings-on in the bible then prove it. Show me.
Silly. Truth denies faith.

That's the catch.

But I'll play devil's advocate (so to speak ;))
Do you believe in love? Is it just the right lighting and chemicals mixing together? Is it more?

If so, prove it.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
arteestx at 9:27PM, Aug. 18, 2008
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As a self-avowed atheist, I agree with many of the postings here. However, it seems as though most people responding here are not all that religious, so there aren't many people here to defend religion, Christianity in particular. And since this is supposed to be a “debate” and discussion board, I do feel the need to represent the viewpoint of the other side, even if I don't entirely agree with it. So I'm going to play at being the devil's advocate here….

bravo1102
If God is so unknowable and wholly other, why is there a need for Him to begin with?
Do you feel like you know your parents? I mean, yeah, you can identify them in a crowd, but do you *know* what they were like when they were your age? Do you *know* all their flaws, their secrets, their hidden dreams? One could argue that parents are ultimately unknowable to their children and yet quite necessary for those children being here. I'm not sure that the “unknowableness” of God is proof of anything one way or another.


bravo1102
If He has this beautiful all encompassing love, why does he allow such suffering; often in His name?
I saw a great cartoon once, where two people were talking. The first guy was talking about his dream of being in the presence of God and wanting to ask Him these very questions–how could you let these horrible things happen in the world without trying to do something about it all? How can you turn a blind eye to all the suffering of poverty, famine, and war? The second guy asks, so what did God say? First guy, I never asked Him. Second guy, why not? First guy, I was afraid He might ask ME the same thing.


bravo1102
If this love is so paramount why do so few faiths profess it?
Oh I think most faiths DO profess God's love. They may not profess it in a way you agree with (gays going to hell=God's love??), but they do profess God's love. But the logic of the question is essentially: If God's love is so perfect, why aren't WE perfect? But the fact that we may not be perfect doesn't inherently mean God's love can't possibly be out there. Let's face it, there are bad bad people in the world because of horrible things their parents did. And there are bad bad people who had very loving parents and tried everything to help their child. If humanity is flawed, that doesn't inherently mean God's love isn't real.


bravo1102
Would it not be better to believe in ourselves and love our fellows than to lean so much on a mythological unknowable spirit?
One might argue that believing in and trying to follow a perfect, albeit unknowable, spirit might yield better results than assuming we flawed, short-sighted, stupid people are all we need and we should believe in ourselves. Wouldn't the attempt to measure ourselves against a perfect yardstick, even knowing we'll come up short, be better than measuring ourselves against a flawed, broken, illogical yardstick?


bravo1102
If this deity is so great and loving and unknowable (is He perfect by this definition? Or is He undescribable in which case perfection cannot describe him because he is unknowable?) In which case why is he such a bad designer? If he is so unknowable how can we know about this unconditional love?
But of course, you CAN know about this unconditional love. That's what Jesus was trying to show us. That's what his teachings were about, that's what his life was about, and that's what his ultimate sacrifice was all about. And accepting Christ into your life is the….

Ok, I think I had a brain aneurysm. I've gone as far as I can.


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
bravo1102 at 6:24AM, Aug. 19, 2008
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You do realize that all your answers boil down to “God's will because that's the way it is.”

Well how do you know it's that way?

Because that's what we're told.

Who told you that?

The word of God.

How do you know it's the word of God?

God told us so.

So as Aquinas said :if you have faith God is proven, if you don't you cannot prove him logically because he is unknowable through logic. Oh thanks for the circular argument.

arteestx
Do you feel like you know your parents? I mean, yeah, you can identify them in a crowd, but do you *know* what they were like when they were your age? Do you *know* all their flaws, their secrets, their hidden dreams? One could argue that parents are ultimately unknowable to their children and yet quite necessary for those children being here.

Of course I can know my parents or any other aquaintance. I talk to them and am familar with them and can interact with them on a daily basis. With a little thought I can even predict their responses and behavior. With insight all the unknowable about those you meet can be deduced (properly I believe the term is induced but deduction is the standard use these days) To say otherwise is playing semantics.

arteestx
One might argue that believing in and trying to follow a perfect, albeit unknowable, spirit might yield better results than assuming we flawed, short-sighted, stupid people are all we need and we should believe in ourselves.

A classic argument that was conclusively disproven 0ver 2300 years ago. A person does not need a deity to be moral and ethical. It is still their choice. No deity can force them and the perfect code of conduct does exist. It's called conscience, compassion, consideration and common sense. The yardstick is quite logical and reasonable. There is also the golden rule. How would you like to be treated? Treat others the same way. Our world sets the standard and we set it for ourselves and follow it. An outside diety is unnecessary.

arteestx
Oh I think most faiths DO profess God's love.

Not true. Most profess god's indifference or a servant/master relationship where you do not matter only the diety's will. The ones with an indifferent diety often have intermediaries who are often minor gods or spirits who intercede with the god for you. The other you pray and ask, but everything is at his whim. No love there or if it is it's an unhealthy abusive relationship that people should not have to put up with.


arteestx
But of course, you CAN know about this unconditional love. That's what Jesus was trying to show us. That's what his teachings were about, that's what his life was about, and that's what his ultimate sacrifice was all about. And accepting Christ into your life is the….

And there's also the bodhisatvas and the buddha who insist life is pain and to be transcended. Or to serve the one God and his last prophet or the indifferent deities of other faiths. Conversely outside of the church and the New testament what proof do I have? Also in the history of the Christian church how many interpretations have there been of Jesus? Which one is right? Maybe we choose the wrong path and Mormonism really is the right answer (thanks to South Park) or maybe Arianism, or Gnostic Christianity or so many other heresies.

Why is something decided at Nicea in the 4th Century the true universal faith? Even if you don't follow the pope or go in for transsubstantiation you're still following the men at Nicea, not the son of a carpenter. And how do we know that he wasn't misquoted? His ministry has a good many contradictions in the four Gospels and Paul never even met him in the flesh. Paul was not the son of god why is his word the one to follow?

I won't even go into the intricatcies of the Trinity. lol!
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HippieVan at 10:38PM, Aug. 20, 2008
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I guess I'm atheist, because I don't believe in a God or an afterlife or anything, but what I really believe is that all the time and money used to figure out how we got here and everything could be put to better use. I care more about what we're going to do with the earth than how the earth was made. I also think that people should be good because of a universal human sympathy rather than a fear of God.

One of my biggest problems with religion is that nearly everyone labels their child with their religion. If you support a certain political party, you certainly wouldn't label your child as such, because they're obviously too young to understand these things or have any real say in the matter. So why do we do this with religion? My father did a very good thing when I was younger. Him and my mother are buddhists, but he took me to different churches as well as the “Dharma Centre” so I could learn about all those different religions and choose for myself when I got old enough.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
domja at 4:51AM, Aug. 21, 2008
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To me atheism makes no sense. To me it just isn't logical. There are too many strange things that happen in this world that we can't explain. How can someone who's parachute doesn't open walk away with only a broken arm? How can a lady trapped in a wheelchair be healed when struck by lighting twice? And I could go on and on.
Plus to me atheism would mean that I should make the most of this world for myself. So if I liked torturing or killing then people should be ok with that right? Granted that was an extreme example, but my main concern should just be about my joy.
I do believe in evolution though not in the way that says I came from a fish, but I do believe that all fish came from just one species of fish. And all humans come from humans.
I have plenty of non-christian friends, and at no point do I shove my beliefs down their throat. I live my life the best way I can, and if they ask about my religion then I tell them about it.
I do believe lots of good people will go to hell and lots of what we consider bad people will go to heaven. It's not about what we have done but what we have faith in. Granted once you have said faith your actions should speak of it. So killing people clearly states that you are not acting according to the faith you are espousing. But hey that's just my way of thinking.
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StaceyMontgomery at 2:51PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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domja
To me atheism makes no sense. To me it just isn't logical. There are too many strange things that happen in this world that we can't explain. How can someone who's parachute doesn't open walk away with only a broken arm? How can a lady trapped in a wheelchair be healed when struck by lighting twice? And I could go on and on.

I don't understand the logic there. You are arguing that “strange things happen” - but even if that's so, how does that prove the existence of God? It seems almost nonsensical. A guy survives a terrible fall - there must be a God! You could just as easily assume that magical pixies helped him out - atheist pixies.

I would tell you to seek a little more humility. Just because you don't understand everything that happens does not mean that the universe is beyond human understanding.

domja
Plus to me atheism would mean that I should make the most of this world for myself. So if I liked torturing or killing then people should be ok with that right? Granted that was an extreme example, but my main concern should just be about my joy.

This claim fails any sort of any test though, right? There are lots of Atheists who are law abiding and moral - but there are also plenty of religious people who have committed terrible crimes. So there's no evidence to support your idea that only having faith in a deity will provide morality.

Are you really telling us that the only reason you act morally is because of God? You have no internal moral compass at all? I honestly find that hard to beleive. Perhaps I have a higher opinion of you than you do!
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domja at 4:56PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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So saying that there are things that I don't understand out there is being prideful??? Huh? Those mysterious things could be done by magical pixies, or aliens, or any number of spiritual beings. Though I doubt atheist pixies, they don't believe in themselves.
By atheist standards we are just animals afterall. Where do these morals of yours come from? If you were raised in a cannibalistic society then there would be nothing wrong with killing and consuming another human being. Yet we consider it a crime. Why? Because we have a moral superiority over other cultures that don't agree with us. We would all need humility if that were the case. Our morality must come from a higher authority for it to have any real weight to it, otherwise we are just shoving what we think is right on other people. What gives you the right to tell other people what their morals are? We are just freak cosmic accidents by atheists standards.
I believe that my belief is the right way, but at no point do I consider myself better than anyone else. I have as much of a penchant for evil as I do for good. Every human has that in them no matter what they believe, which is why religious people can commit atrocities and non-religious people can commit acts of extreme kindness.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
HippieVan at 5:07PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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domja
So saying that there are things that I don't understand out there is being prideful??? Huh? Those mysterious things could be done by magical pixies, or aliens, or any number of spiritual beings. Though I doubt atheist pixies, they don't believe in themselves.
By atheist standards we are just animals afterall. Where do these morals of yours come from? If you were raised in a cannibalistic society then there would be nothing wrong with killing and consuming another human being. Yet we consider it a crime. Why? Because we have a moral superiority over other cultures that don't agree with us. We would all need humility if that were the case. Our morality must come from a higher authority for it to have any real weight to it, otherwise we are just shoving what we think is right on other people. What gives you the right to tell other people what their morals are? We are just freak cosmic accidents by atheists standards.
I believe that my belief is the right way, but at no point do I consider myself better than anyone else. I have as much of a penchant for evil as I do for good. Every human has that in them no matter what they believe, which is why religious people can commit atrocities and non-religious people can commit acts of extreme kindness.

First of all, atheism is a disbelief in deities. I'm pretty sure I could believe in pixies and still be an atheist, so you may be a little mixed up to begin with there.
Just because people are animals, which I believe we are, does not mean that we are horrible creatures, or even that we are uncivilized. You are confusing “animal”(anything comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli) with “beast” or “monster” or some such thing.
Atheists can be good people without religion because they believe in a universal human sympathy and in goodness all around. Just because I have no fear that a God will reprimand me does not mean I think it is okay to beat someone to death.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
arteestx at 8:44PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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domja
To me atheism makes no sense. To me it just isn't logical. There are too many strange things that happen in this world that we can't explain. How can someone who's parachute doesn't open walk away with only a broken arm? How can a lady trapped in a wheelchair be healed when struck by lighting twice?
So what about the 99% of folks who DO die in a parachute accident? Were they satanists that deserved to die? What about the 99% of those in wheelchairs who are never healed? God doesn't want them to be healed?

domja
So if I liked torturing or killing then people should be ok with that right?
Sure, just sign up with that wonderful Christian president of ours, George W Bush, and you can torture people as much as you want.

…and saracasm aside, you HAVE heard of the Spanish Inquisition, right? If you think believing in God, or being Christian, will prevent you from torturing others, then you haven't been reading much history or what's going on right now.


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
arteestx at 8:54PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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domja
By atheist standards we are just animals afterall. Where do these morals of yours come from?….Our morality must come from a higher authority for it to have any real weight to it, otherwise we are just shoving what we think is right on other people. What gives you the right to tell other people what their morals are? We are just freak cosmic accidents by atheists standards.
How can atheists come up with a moral plan equivalent to religious dogma? The greatest example is our Constitution. That wasn't a document written by God, it was written by Christians, Deists, and Agnostics who all came together, decided that no one group could be completely trusted, so they came up with a set of rules so that different people with different beliefs could all live together. It was a document written by humans and it is the greatest document ever written, precisely because it fundamentally believes that the best way to decide something is to NOT to follow the Bible or Koran or any other religious or political dogma; rather the best laws come from the support from as many different people as possible. That's how we decide leaders, and that's how we make laws and rules. It's messy and imperfect, after all we're only human, but it's far better than any theocracy or dictatorship.


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
ozoneocean at 8:58PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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He's right that atheism isn't logical. It's not about logic though, it's about limiting your scope to concrete, understandable, observed phenomena and known facts… which seems logical, but a human mind and the world in general is more complicated than our meagre store of known facts. Logic fails when it runs out of data, it gives way too theory, then to speculation and then to guess work.
So while “gods” are improbable in this universe, as we know it, they aren't completely impossible. Although highly unlikely.

To state a firm position regarding things on which you lack sufficient data is an act of faith, whichever way you decide. That doesn't diminish you or your decision, but you should realise that it is the case.

———–
Atheism should never have become some pseudo religious classification, or definition of one's self. It was primarily a philosophical position and that is where its strength lies- a different way of looking at and understanding the world, (not the only way). Philosophy has been seriously downplayed and misunderstood in today's world. It's a shame. :(
 
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StaceyMontgomery at 9:35PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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ozoneocean
To state a firm position regarding things on which you lack sufficient data is an act of faith, whichever way you decide. That doesn't diminish you or your decision, but you should realise that it is the case.

This is a typical mischaracterization of Atheism, I think. As an atheist, I simply do not believe things that I do not see evidence for. How is that me taking a “firm decision” on things where I “lack evidence” ?

It is not “illogical” or a “firm decision” to say “I do not believe in things without seeing some evidence.” The definition of “open minded” is not “to believe in all things equally, regardless of evidence” is it?

I will say in part this is based on a rather willful confusion of the words “atheist” and “agnostic.” Nowadays, people insist on using the word “Atheist” to mean “an unreasonable person” while “agnostic” means “open minded.”

But that's not what the words really mean - at least, not originally. An Atheist is simply someone who disbelieves in the existence of God or gods - the word does not imply any act of faith at all. “Agostic” actually means “One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God” which is kind of different. Agnostic doesnt mean open minded - it means being CERTAIN that you cannot know the answer.

Look, I do not believe in Ghosts. I do not dogmatically DISbelieve in them - I simply do not beleive in them. I am open to new evidence. Every atheist i know is perfectly open to looking at new evidence for the existence of god.

How many deists are equally open to the idea that there is no god?

So they aren't both being equally illogical at all, are they?

OzO, I am happy to define myself as an Atheist - a person who thinks that if something is highly unlikely (as you say gods are highly unlikely) and ther doesn't seem to be any evidence - then there is no reason to think it is true. That is quite reasonable. Of course, I could be wrong.

But that's the whole point of being an atheist - I know that I am a fallible human with fallible knowledge. Unlike other people, i do not claim to have direct experience of the divine, or to understand the nature of the Universe, or to know the face of god, or what kind of clothes he likes and whether or not he likes ham and who he wants me to kill today.

I leave that to others.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
arteestx at 9:49PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
Look, I do not believe in Ghosts. I do not dogmatically DISbelieve in them - I simply do not beleive in them.
This is the difference between strong atheism (I *know* there's not a god) and weak atheism (I don't *believe* there's a god), which is the vast majority of atheists.

Ozo, you say that “logic fails when it runs out of data” and that's the point. Logic ONLY exists within an initial set of assumptions, i.e. observed phenomena and known facts. Logic CANNOT go beyond that. Creativity can, theories can, art and music can, speculation and imagination can, but logic cannot. Once you leave the set of assumptions, you're not running on logic anymore. So limiting your scope to concrete, understandable, observed phenomena and known facts doesn't merely *seem* logical, it is the essence and the very definition of logic.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
ozoneocean at 10:35PM, Aug. 21, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
This is a typical mischaracterization of Atheism, I think. As an atheist, I simply do not believe things that I do not see evidence for. How is that me taking a “firm decision” on things where I “lack evidence” ?
Stace, Artex, you both misunderstand… -_-

The point isn't to “characterise” or define, but to come to terms with the scope of what you're talking about. If you admit there is a limit to what we know, then no matter what you choose to call yourself, that's all that is important: You are leaving the way open for new knowledge to replace the old or expand what we know if or when that becomes available.

-I don't say that as a way of leaving the door open to the religious or whatever either, rather, I'd look at those deity ideas as being at the extreme ends of the curve of possibility, but still being there, as with any other possibility.

—————————
To put it simply, it works fine when you say: “I do not see any gods in what I know of this world, therefore I will exclude that idea from all my formulations, ideas, and constructions.”


But if you were to say; "Gods or god like creatures cannot exist anywhere at all in this universe. It works in a way that leaves no room for such things."
-That sort of statement is the dodgy one. Not because it's anti religious but because it over-reaches. This is the difference I'm talking about.
 
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arteestx at 4:11AM, Aug. 22, 2008
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ozoneocean
To put it simply, it works fine when you say: “I do not see any gods in what I know of this world, therefore I will exclude that idea from all my formulations, ideas, and constructions.”

But if you were to say; "Gods or god like creatures cannot exist anywhere at all in this universe. It works in a way that leaves no room for such things."
-That sort of statement is the dodgy one. Not because it's anti religious but because it over-reaches. This is the difference I'm talking about.
And what I (and Stacey) are saying is that atheism is not exclusive to sentence number 2, atheism is more commonly sentence 1. Sentence 1 is weak atheism, and includes the vast majority of atheists. Sentence 2 is strong atheism, to which a *very* small number actually ascribe. You're really confusing the issue here. You say atheism isn't logical, then you say sentence 1 here (i.e. atheism) works fine. I don't even know what your point is about atheism not being logical.

“All that's important” is that we “admit there is a limit to what we know”? Since when has ANYone here said otherwise? Atheism doesn't generally posit that we KNOW god can't exist, atheism generally means disbelief. Period. Heck, even the religious people who post here and claim god and heaven exists, they too all acknowledge there's a limit to what we humans know. Your point is….?

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
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Ronson at 5:50AM, Aug. 22, 2008
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RE: Illogic
I don't see how NOT believing in the paranormal (or spiritual) has any illogical component. Since such things have absolutely no proof, we logically can come to no other conclusion than that those things more than likely only exist in people's imaginations.

No atheist I know or have read works from ever says that new evidence can't arise and prove that these things exist after all, but the most strident say that they do not exist because they contradict physical laws and since there is no evidence of any event contradicting physical laws it is by all intents and purposes impossible.

We aren't talking about logic or illogic, I think. We're talking about comfort. Atheism has a very uncomfortable component. Namely: You only get one chance, and when it's over it is over.

I think it's completely logical that people construct elaborate illusions for themselves so that they don't have to face that fact.

Does that mean that I absolutely, positively know there isn't a God or gods? Almost. Certainly to the point where I'm staking my life on it.

What I don't get is those who claim to believe in God who don't spend their every waking hour doing whatever their rulebook says they should. That seems illogical.

RE: Parachute and Lighting
Assuming these stories aren't false, the explanation comes down to simple physics and biology.

Surviving a parachute malfunction requires the right amount of air resistance and falling somewhere a bit forgiving. It requires not puncturing vital organs. It is not impossible, just very improbable. This is the very definition of luck.

As for the lightning lady, there isn't enough information. Whatever was causing her paralysis (psychological trauma, perhaps) was changed when she was hit by lighting. Getting hit by lightning at all is statistically unlikely, twice even more so. Surviving is unlikely and having it cure something is unlikely. But none of it is impossible. It is the right combination of events at the right time. Neither you or I have the medical expertise to conclude that this is anything but lucky chance.

Which is the prideful bit. When you assume that something you can't explain has to be caused by some supernatural element, you are assuming that you completely grasp the physical world. That is a prideful, and close-minded point of view.

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ozoneocean at 8:36AM, Aug. 22, 2008
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arteestx
And what I (and Stacey) are saying is that atheism is not exclusive to sentence number 2, atheism is more commonly sentence 1. Sentence 1 is weak atheism, and includes the vast majority of atheists. Sentence 2 is strong atheism, to which a *very* small number actually ascribe. You're really confusing the issue here. You say atheism isn't logical, then you say sentence 1 here (i.e. atheism) works fine. I don't even know what your point is about atheism not being logical.

“All that's important” is that we “admit there is a limit to what we know”? Since when has ANYone here said otherwise? Atheism doesn't generally posit that we KNOW god can't exist, atheism generally means disbelief. Period. Heck, even the religious people who post here and claim god and heaven exists, they too all acknowledge there's a limit to what we humans know. Your point is….?

lol!
You don't get it. I'm not criticising the idea of atheism, just people who see atheism as some logical alternative to other beliefs IF their understanding of it includes a conclusive, exclusive view of possibility.
- It's NOT a defence of “illogical” belief, it's a defence of rationality.

Try and rememberer that you're not arguing against someone who is defending certain codified beliefs, religion in general, belief in any sort of “spiritual” component to life, or any belief in an afterlife at all: That's NOT where I'm coming from. I really find more and more that people's knowledge of the philosophy of Atheism is rudimentary and this is very disappointing when they can only explain their ideas by defining others as a religious enemy and attacking them lol!
Artex, in that you only resemble the religious zealot I'm afraid..

———————————————————
Ronson

Atheism isn't uncomfortable in the least, unless your world rests heavily on belief in some faeryland magical hereafter. But if you use it as a way to define reality for yourself -and what I MEAN there is to go so far as make conclusive statements about all possibility, then it is a comfort system in itself, for what IS that sort of comfort but setting understandable limits and boundaries within your universe?

The most important thing I've learned as I've aged is that I'll always be learning. For many, comfort is knowledge, if you can set up solid boundaries to things ( “I know what I know” ). For me knowledge only hints at more knowledge. I try and resist any philosophy that has too comfortable or defined view of things. In my lifetime alone we've gone from believing that dinosaurs died out with the ice-age and continental drift to the paradigm shift of mass extinctions through meteorites. People are still getting over the idea that “races” are a cultural, ethnic and social phenomena and not something that makes much biological sense, we don't yet know what the fundamental building blocks of the universe are made from, how it began and why it began as it did.
-I don't say that to open the possibility to magical airy-fairy stuff, I say that to explain why I've learned not base my view of the world too heavily on what I KNOW, when I know that can change.

Now, the possibility of “supernatural”, as in myth, folklore and religion, is not very likely at all. But is there the possibility that there are things in this universe that would seem, and by seeming “be” that way to humanity?
Of course. There is that possibility. This is not an infinite universe, as we currently understand it, it has limits, but from our perspective, it does seem infinit, and within that there is much possibility.
Heh, even concepts like “supernatural” are nothing more than social constructs to positively define ideas for unknown, even when used negatively, which is surely just more comfort through setting artificial boundaries to ignorance.
————————–

I know too that people still won't get me. lol!
All I can do is reiterate that I have no belief in the “supernatural”, and try an explain better again when I get another confused response.
 
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arteestx at 9:03AM, Aug. 22, 2008
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ozoneocean
I'm not criticising the idea of atheism, just people who see atheism as some logical alternative to other beliefs IF their understanding of it includes a conclusive, exclusive view of possibility.
No one, certainly not me, is arguing a conclusive exclusive view of possiblity. You're arguing against a position no one is taking.


ozoneocean
Try and rememberer that you're not arguing against someone who is defending certain codified beliefs, religion in general,….
I know all this. I know you're not defending religion. You're making assumptions about me that are patently untrue. You're arguing about a position I have never taken.


ozoneocean
Artex, in that you only resemble the religious zealot I'm afraid..
You're arguing about positions I don't take, making assumptions about me that aren't true, and for me to ask what the #%$& you're talking about means I'm defining you as a religious enemy and makes me a zealot? I give up.


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
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ozoneocean at 10:47AM, Aug. 22, 2008
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arteestx
You're making assumptions about me that are patently untrue. You're arguing about a position I have never taken.
No I'm not! Ha!
It's just that you take what I say personally instead of in general, referring to a certain experience of atheism as it is intended.
Because you were arguing against me, you thought I was doing the same to you. :)
———
The conclusive view of possibility is one very well known version of Atheism, your yourself describe the so called “strong” version ;)

———
One of my chief bugbears is the notion that by taking this position, one is somehow getting a clearer picture of reality, uncoloured by artificial interpretation and expectation (supernatural). This is not so; all vision and knowledge is mediated by the senses, experience, language, culture, and history. Atheism as a cultural experience is chiefly a reaction against the social phenomena of religion and religious practice and not a progressive awakening from primitive belief as some would like to think of it.
-So what you have there, when you take the longer view, is not an “advance”, so much as a “change”: views and beliefs change to suit contemporary modes, as they have always done, the human being is unchanged: These same humans who mastered hunting with weapons, fire, smithcraft, chemistry, genetics, and particle physics are the same.

Does what they believe to define their reality indicate the limits to which they are able to aspire technologically, scientifically, ethically, culturally? No, it does not. We have many physicists and mathematicians who are deeply religious, the field is known for it. And so called “primitive” peoples (I'm not saying anyone here has used that term) are not precluded by their strange beliefs in comprehending and utilising “modern” technology and theory.
 
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Ronson at 6:45PM, Aug. 22, 2008
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I can only anecdotally refer to the assertion with my own experience.

I have never met an atheist who ever claimed that the belief in what is known is in any way an assertion that we know that the unknown is impossible. Maybe your experience is different, and atheists you know claim to know unknowable things all of the time.

I do claim that if something is truly unknown, then religion doesn't help actually know anything. Atheism doesn't either, but it doesn't claim to – unless they are the type of atheist you asserted claims they do … in which case they would be a zealot for atheism and equally as unhelpful in understanding the world.
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domja at 12:29AM, Aug. 23, 2008
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Wow. It's always interesting to see what points people tend to argue back on, and what they skip over.

Hippie Van
First of all, atheism is a disbelief in deities. I'm pretty sure I could believe in pixies and still be an atheist, so you may be a little mixed up to begin with there.

First off that was joke. But if you really wanna go there, yes atheism is just the disbelief in deities. But if your view point is to not believe in something that has no proof of it's existence that you have seen, then it's safe to assume that atheists do not believe in pixies. But I could be wrong, there could be an entire group of atheists that believe in the magical wonder of pixies.

Hippie Van
Atheists can be good people without religion because they believe in a universal human sympathy and in goodness all around.
arteestx
…and saracasm aside, you HAVE heard of the Spanish Inquisition, right? If you think believing in God, or being Christian, will prevent you from torturing others, then you haven't been reading much history or what's going on right now

I know I stated in my last paragraph of that post that having a religious belief does not exempt you from doing evil, nor did the lack of one mean you could do no good things. That would be dumb. So let me restate that all people have the ability within them to do great evil or great good no matter what their belief system is. Why is this always an argument? There can't be a god because people have done such horrible things in his name. People do horrible things all the time without god being involved. So this only proves that religious people are people. They have the same ability to do evil acts as anyone else.

arteestx
So what about the 99% of folks who DO die in a parachute accident? Were they satanists that deserved to die? What about the 99% of those in wheelchairs who are never healed? God doesn't want them to be healed?

The best way I can explain this is like this. God is omniscient. So if his goal is to further his kingdom then he would perform miracles that would further that goal. We as people who have a very short sight of the grand scheme of things cna't see how saving one person might effect thousands more. And this in itself could take generations to do.

arteestx
How can atheists come up with a moral plan equivalent to religious dogma? The greatest example is our Constitution.

So your example for atheists coming up with a moral plan is a document written by religious people. Huh?

StaceyMontgomery
How many deists are equally open to the idea that there is no god?

So they aren't both being equally illogical at all, are they?

I'm gonna go with yes on that one. Athiests say show me a god. Religious people say show me there isn't one. I'm completely open to your idea that there is no god, and I say prove it to me. For myself I need no more proof than I already have that there is a god, from my personal experiences.

StaceyMontgomery
But that's the whole point of being an atheist - I know that I am a fallible human with fallible knowledge. Unlike other people, i do not claim to have direct experience of the divine, or to understand the nature of the Universe, or to know the face of god, or what kind of clothes he likes and whether or not he likes ham and who he wants me to kill today.

I leave that to others.

Ok that's just being mean. We all know that you don't need a god to justify hurting or killing another person. Most people kill because of greed, whether they want oil, land, shoes or pokemon cards. Someone else has what they want and they are want it so much that they are willing to end anothers's life.

Ronson
Which is the prideful bit. When you assume that something you can't explain has to be caused by some supernatural element, you are assuming that you completely grasp the physical world. That is a prideful, and close-minded point of view.

Wouldn't that make us prideful and closeminded then? I assume those are acts of God while you assume they are just random acts. We both assume one way until proven that we are wrong. So this basically the pot calling the kettle black. We are both stubborn in our views until proved otherwise.

Ok I think that's enough responding for tonight.
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Ronson at 4:55AM, Aug. 23, 2008
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Someone
Athiests say show me a god. Religious people say show me there isn't one. I'm completely open to your idea that there is no god, and I say prove it to me. For myself I need no more proof than I already have that there is a god, from my personal experiences.

Well, first of all atheism doesn't have to be proven to anyone. If you decide to become an atheist, you become one - for whatever reasons you base that decision on. I don't have the desire or the ability to make you stop believing in something that the preponderance of evidence seems to indicate doesn't exist.

Second of all, the burden of proof on any logical theory lies on proving the existence of something (see early debates on black holes or dark matter), not on those who do not believe in such things. If we followed your logic, atheists would not only have to prove the nonexistence of God (an impossibility, since the very definition of God contradicts all physical evidence) but would also require they prove the nonexistence of all sorts of things that people believe in: ghosts, leprechauns, Big foot, compassionate conservatism … etc.

What you have as “proof” for the existence of a god is a feeling. Nothing more. It's not proof in any scientific sense, and certainly can't be used in a rational debate.

That's fine for personal behavior, but that doesn't mean anything to further a rational argument for god. I don't have your “feeling” that there is a supernatural entity in control of everything. If you want to prove to me that your god exists, you'll have to cite some physical, tangible evidence that can be evaluated by the scientific method.


Someone
Wouldn't that make us prideful and closeminded then? I assume those are acts of God while you assume they are just random acts.

I am assuming nothing of the sort. I think that if you really looked into these alleged “acts of God” you would find they have a rational physical explanation. So far, every scientifically evaluated “act of God” has had one, which means my assertion that it is not an “act of God” has a much stronger possibility than yours.

I will say that atheists often choose to refer to something as impossible instead of just very, very, very improbable because it does give a hard edge to the debate. I know that while I am very firm in my view that there is no God or gods, I cannot argue it to a degree of certainty - and I am sure that is where many atheists stand.

We both assume one way until proven that we are wrong. So this basically the pot calling the kettle black. We are both stubborn in our views until proved otherwise.

But your assumption is already predicated on another assumption. That is, you believe in God therefore you also believe in “acts of God”.

My assumption is based on the fact that no “acts of God” have ever stood up under scientific scrutiny. It is also based on the fact that when you have a world population as big as ours, very improbable things are bound to happen from time to time.

Therefore the foundation of my assumption is on firmer rational grounds than your own. This is by no means meant to imply that your assumptions are in any way worth less or inferior, just that they mean less to anyone who isn't you.
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bobhhh at 11:58AM, Aug. 23, 2008
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As I have said before, I don't dissmiss anything out of hand, I like proof. It's usually religious people who get their knickers in a twist because they think a request for proof is a blanket condemnation of faith.

Faith is fine for you folks, and I will defend you're right to practice it, I only get testy when I am forced to deal with it in my life, as when it enters politics.

And for the record, Contact was a story, not reality, and the blank instruments that betrayed Jody's cross universe sojourn were a plot device to parallel Foster's experience with faith based experience. It was a dramatic construct, not an actual factual point of contention.

It kind of reminds me of how my mom tries to give me advice based on the experiences of her soap opera characters.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
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ozoneocean at 1:35PM, Aug. 23, 2008
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bobhhh
And for the record, Contact was a story, not reality,
was it any good? Never seen it…


In the end, it's all rather amusing. people will have beliefs in one thing or another regardless, just so long and it helps their brains comprehend their reality. And it's only detrimental when their conceptualisation hinders them in their aims: “I will throw that ball through the hoop because I'm wearing my lucky underpants”, as opposed to "I'll get it in the hoop because I've trained in doing that for months and know instinctively exactly the right way to do it".

The only annoying thing isn't another's way of approaching life (there are gods and a heaven, or; I don't believe in your gods), it's intolerance to someone else's view of life.
We're probably all guilty of that to some extent, and it's something we should work on.

Rather than thinking another's view is inferior or flawed, just accept that it's different. I find that hard to do, but I'll try…
 
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bobhhh at 1:58PM, Aug. 23, 2008
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Agreed Ozzy, I respect one's own beliefs, I really do, and I believe in freedom to believe what you will, it's the most sacred right we have as citizens. If I get a little sarcastic sometimes, it's usually in response to some smug proclamations on my supposed lack of vision as an atheist.

In fact, I really I bristle under the term, because it is often used to define me based on my lack of faith. You see I really do try to live and let live when it comes to religion, but ultimately religion has a tendency to assert itself into the lives of those with either no faith or contrary beliefs, and as with most things, the people with the most power attempt to bully those around them.

That's when I get touchy. Keep it out of the people's government, classrooms and courts, and I will live beside people of faith with serenity and understanding.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
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arteestx at 8:37PM, Aug. 23, 2008
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domja
Why is this always an argument? There can't be a god because people have done such horrible things in his name.
The point you were making wasn't about proving god. The point you seemed to be making is that religion offers a philosophical basis for morality and atheism does not… or rather, that the only philosophical basis atheism offers is pursuit of personal joy with no moral rationale for doing good. Here's your original quote…

…Plus to me atheism would mean that I should make the most of this world for myself. So if I liked torturing or killing then people should be ok with that right? Granted that was an extreme example, but my main concern should just be about my joy.

But we have a Christian president who pursues torture, there are numerous historical examples of religious folks doing horrid stuff (and there are atheistic folks who are also guilty, no doubt). Atheism CAN offer as much basis and rationale for doing good as religion, that was the point.


arteestx
So what about the 99% of folks who DO die in a parachute accident? Were they satanists that deserved to die? What about the 99% of those in wheelchairs who are never healed? God doesn't want them to be healed?
domja
The best way I can explain this is like this. God is omniscient. So if his goal is to further his kingdom then he would perform miracles that would further that goal. We as people who have a very short sight of the grand scheme of things cna't see how saving one person might effect thousands more. And this in itself could take generations to do.
So when one person out of 1,000 doesn't die from a parachute malfunction, that's an example of a miracle of god. When 999 people die from a parachute malfunction, that's an example of the omniscience of god. You're certainly free to believe that, but it seems like you're seeing god everywhere no matter what happens.


domja
So your example for atheists coming up with a moral plan is a document written by religious people. Huh?
Actually there weren't all Christian, and some were agnostic, so no it wasn't written by religious people. But in any case, the Constitution is NOT a religious document, so yeah it's a wonderful example of what religious people and atheists can do to create a moral plan that doesn't resort to “because the Bible says so” rationale.


Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM

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