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Old 06-20-2013, 10:22 AM   #16
Darth InSidious
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Canderis, I don't know what I can add to what TKA and Sam have already said. Belief is not something that gets dropped into your lap fully formed. It requires work, like everything else. It's also not enough to simply want some nice benefits from belief. Unless it's for the sake of truth, I really don't see the point, myself.

For my part, the most convincing argument for the existence of God is not that there is something rather than nothing but that everything remains consistent.

To me, the problem is not so much a choice between religion and atheism, but a choice between God and a kind of solipsism. (Of course, in life such 'choices' must be made up of many little decisions; nothing is every quite this binary).

I would caution you against following anecdotal answers: the experience of life is useful, but merely because one person couldn't answer a question, it does not mean that no valid answer exists.

Finally, a point Sam made to me a long time ago is that belief has a practical dimension. If you wish to believe, make an act of belief (i.e., pray, if the mood strikes you); nothing will come of nothing.

On the question of death and dying, what is it that alarms you? (Personally, I find the judgement rather more terrifying.) The end of your existence? This may be a rather stark answer, but all of our existences have been in the process of ending from the moment we were born. We can't avoid death. There are no tricks to get around it. We can try to accept and prepare ourselves for it.

Originally Posted by Alexrd View Post
You died or your heart stopped on that day for moments?

Either way, many reports from people (many of them atheists) who had NDEs claim to have a vision of afterlife.
Private revelation and/or vision does not present a very convincing argument one way or the other, IMO. It puts rather too much stock in the eye of the beholder for my liking.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
If it helps as an illustration, I am comfortable being atheist (I am not uncertain in any way about God's existence) and yet I am certainly not a nihilist, instead preferring modern Aristotelianism.

Nietzche may get a bad rap sometimes, but he was dead on that most of the time people just pay lip service to Christian values. What is lost when you declare yourself atheist at that point?-- not much. But it would be a terrible mistake to assume that rejecting religion means necessarily embracing nihilism, a point which he was specifically critical of.
Is that Neitzsche's point? The Madman seems to suggest a certain ambiguity about what is lost:

Originally Posted by The Madman, "The Gay Science"
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
(Emphasis mine.)

Perhaps his point is that non-belief, on its own, is not enough? Or perhaps it's simply a recognition that man is a ritual creature.
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That's what Control said.
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