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Old 12-13-2006, 05:11 PM   #1
Jae Onasi
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Why Atheism?

This may be a limitation of religious discussions, but I see a lot of discussion on why people dislike or like the idea of God/religion. What I don't get to see from that is why atheists/agnostics like to believe in atheism/agnosticism (for lack of better phrasing at the moment). What is it that is attractive about this particular worldview? How do you resolve some of the moral dilemmas that religions solve easily with the presence of God (e.g. explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world? How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment)? What benefits/advantages are there? How do you replace some of the tangible and intangible benefits of religion and a community of believers (e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.). What's great about atheism that those of us who are religious are missing out on (besides sleeping in on Sunday )?
Sure, I could look this up on the atheist websites, but it's much more interesting hearing answers from 'real people'.


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Old 12-13-2006, 05:42 PM   #2
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One obvious advantage I can think of -- fear of God's judgement and eternal damnation. It's empowering to live your life without feeling like you're being judged at all times. You, in effect, become your own judge. That's not to say that morality is subjective or that you need religion to make moral judgments.

Maybe another would be the ability to separate one's self from the entanglement of religion vs. religion conflicts that take place daily (ie. there's no Holy Land to fight over). Plus atheists don't have any tension between scientific beliefs and religious beliefs that Catholics like myself have to reconcile (eg. creationism vs. evolution).

But you were asking the atheists, so I'll shut up.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world?
Thats all due to the empathy humans feel, call it an accomplishment of mankind if you want. I've been accused of social Darwinism before (Several times really) and I don't see a problem with it, the success you have in life should be relative to how fit you are to live in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment.
We base that on Natural rights. I've always found this to be one of the sadder arguments for the existence of god.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
What benefits/advantages are there?
I see things as they are, Uncle Sam is the only one taking my money and running, and I don't feel restrained by a bunch of silly laws that make no sense.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How do you replace some of the tangible and intangible benefits of religion and a community of believers (e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.)
Self reliance, no need of anyone else on this planet.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
This may be a limitation of religious discussions, but I see a lot of discussion on why people dislike or like the idea of God/religion. What I don't get to see from that is why atheists/agnostics like to believe in atheism/agnosticism (for lack of better phrasing at the moment). What is it that is attractive about this particular worldview? How do you resolve some of the moral dilemmas that religions solve easily with the presence of God (e.g. explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world? How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment)? What benefits/advantages are there? How do you replace some of the tangible and intangible benefits of religion and a community of believers (e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.). What's great about atheism that those of us who are religious are missing out on (besides sleeping in on Sunday )?
Sure, I could look this up on the atheist websites, but it's much more interesting hearing answers from 'real people'.
Personally, my problems with atheism is that it requires the same faith put into believing God as it does believing distinctly that God doesn't exist, but at the same time leaving a rather dreary conclusion.

I'll describe it from agnosticism, as that's really the only spiritual idea I subscribe to. For me, agnosticism is the most passive you get can get about the subject; you acknowledge that one can neither prove or disprove God, and go on living life happily with that belief. It's the "I don't know" bubble on the religious answer sheet, and it's justified by the fact there's no conclusive evidence about the existence of God. The key thing to remember is that not we're not atheists; I would very well acknowledge, and readily accept, God if it wasn't for the fact I would have no sure way to know I was right in that belief.

From a social standpoint, agnosticism and atheism is not detrimental to leading a moral life; one could very well support humanism through the fact that humans are very real, and just as easily support altruism considering the act of humbleness is far and away from being a purely religious tradition. I'd go so far as to say that secular thought ideally leads to the same morality as good religion, only through the process of self-conscious thought rather than blindly following what you are told as is often the case with religion. It's a much tougher path, yes, but at the same time it leaves less evil to be committed in the act of blind faith.

That's my take on it, anyway.



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Old 12-13-2006, 07:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
What is it that is attractive about this particular worldview?
With atheism, I'm not attracted to spirituality, happiness, and whatnot. Only cold, hard, logical facts. I certainly find the idea of an eternal bliss later in life to be more attractive than simply ceasing to exist, but as I see it, that's what happens when you die. I don't like to hide from what (I think) is real.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How do you resolve some of the moral dilemmas that religions solve easily with the presence of God (e.g. explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world?
The lack of belief in a deity does not mean one cannot believe in altruism or humanity. Just because atheists have no faith in the supernatural does not mean we can't have any in other matters. Throughout the times you've discussed religion, you've seemed to imply Christians are more moral, to put it bluntly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment)?
Name how religion call explain what's right and what isn't better than atheism can. It's universal principle that killing is bad, it's not good to steal things, etc...

You've argued before that Christianity has examples, and that God loves it when you're good, etc. But how does this provide an advantage over humanism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
What benefits/advantages are there?
I don't look for benefits at all, actually.

In the book I'm reading right now, reality and religion to some extent was mentioned. I think this paragraph sums it up fairly well, though you might it somewhat offensive.

"Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking - that the mind is one's only judge of values and only one's guide of action - that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise - that a concession to the irrational invalidates one's consciousness and turns if from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality - that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind - that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wash for the annihalation of existence and, properly, annihilates one's consciousness."

"Indepencence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judegement and nothing can help you escape it - that no substitute can do for your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life - that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence."

The whole book goes into more depth. Over 1,000 pages, to be specific (though part of that is devoted to the story).

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
(e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.).
Er, atheists have friends and families too.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
What's great about atheism that those of us who are religious are missing out on?
I've never bothered to think about that, and haven't seen much of a reason to. I don't look for benefits in my spiritual beliefs.


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Old 12-14-2006, 01:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
"Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking - that the mind is one's only judge of values and only one's guide of action - that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise - that a concession to the irrational invalidates one's consciousness and turns if from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality - that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind - that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wash for the annihalation of existence and, properly, annihilates one's consciousness."
Depending only on rationality is flawed, in my opinion.
There is a infinite existence out there.
The chaos of all existence can alter the perception of what is the truth to the individual societies of existence.
The mind of the individual can't be trusted fully 100%, until we understand the conscious mind and soul relation to the physics of our universe and of the infinite existence.
The contradictions of logic might be found to be a fact in one the infinite universes of existence.
Like for example, existing both dead and alive at the same time.

Quote:
that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wash for the annihalation of existence and, properly, annihilates one's consciousness.
I'm sorry, Devon but that is straight bullsh*t.
We have no idea what the hell is out there and I'm not talking about intelligent E.T; I already believe intelligent extraterrestrials exist.
For example, our universe maybe be a wavefunction of a electron that fluctuate around an atom in another universe that is a googolplex(a number represented as 1 followed by a googol of zeros (ten raised to the power of a googol; 10^100) times the size of ours.

So, even though I extremely hate God with a extreme passion.
I won't choose atheism over the existence of God(he/she) or the possible infinite Gods of the infinite existence.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:11 AM   #7
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Depending only on rationality is flawed, in my opinion.
Rationality would tell you to come out of the basement once in a while.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
Depending only on rationality is flawed, in my opinion.
There is a infinite existence out there.
The chaos of all existence can alter the perception of what is the truth to the individual societies of existence.
The mind of the individual can't be trusted fully 100%, until we understand the conscious mind and soul relation to the physics of our universe and of the infinite existence.
The contradictions of logic might be found to be a fact in one the infinite universes of existence.
Like for example, existing both dead and alive at the same time.
You have to work with what you've got, you know. Doubting everything might be possible, but it sure isn't useful. You make assumptions and you just have to realize that's what they are. If you find they're wrong you'll just have to start over.

Quote:
I'm sorry, Devon but that is straight bullsh*t.
I think that quote was trying to illustrate that simply following any moral code without actually thinking about it removes your free will from the equation, essentially making you an amoral creature. If you just did what god told you to do only because he told you to do it, you wouldn't be living up to your potential - which is demeaning. I recently read Gulliver's Travels again, and this is the exact same thing it talks about - people who have the capability of reason but refuse to use it are worse than those that lack the ability (people meaning the so-called 'civilization' of 17th century england and her contemporaries). Similarly, I think Rand meant that people who have the ability to make moral judgements but refuse to do so are also contemptible.


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Old 12-14-2006, 02:33 AM   #9
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Similarly, I think Rand meant that people who have the ability to make moral judgements but refuse to do so are also contemptible.
Last time I checked ED was a Communist, incompatible with Rand.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samnmax221
Last time I checked ED was a Communist, incompatible with Rand.
Heh, who IS compatible with Rand?

Oh, I definitely disagree on most of her economic views. I do, however, like what she has to say about blind faith, and some of her principles regarding possessions, rights to them, earning things, and senseless looting.

Of course, my views on her would take a while to explain. There's lots of aspects I don't like, but there are some I do. But I'm not a completely traditional Communist, and this isn't totally on-topic.

Quote:
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I think that quote was trying to illustrate that simply following any moral code without actually thinking about it removes your free will from the equation, essentially making you an amoral creature.
Summarized, yes. You should trust your own mind and hard evidence over faith.

@windu6, I disagree. I'd be happy to elaborate in a thread other than this one.


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Old 12-13-2006, 09:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
This may be a limitation of religious discussions, but I see a lot of discussion on why people dislike or like the idea of God/religion. What I don't get to see from that is why atheists/agnostics like to believe in atheism/agnosticism (for lack of better phrasing at the moment). What is it that is attractive about this particular worldview?
I'm not sure how it's attractive more so than any other view. AFAIK, it'd be like thinking that invisible purple unicorns don't exist is "attractive." It's more of a functional thing.

Quote:
How do you resolve some of the moral dilemmas that religions solve easily with the presence of God (e.g. explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world? How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment)?
Survival of the fittest is species wide, and it doesn't neccessarily apply to any given individual - people have free will. If they feel that it is good to help out someone, then they can. ED's mention of Ayn Rand's view of personal selfishness is one possible solution to morality; I'm sure you've seen Spider AL's version of empathetic morality here as well. In any case, morality and religion clearly aren't inseperable and an atheistic morality need not be relative.

Quote:
What benefits/advantages are there? How do you replace some of the tangible and intangible benefits of religion and a community of believers (e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.). What's great about atheism that those of us who are religious are missing out on (besides sleeping in on Sunday )?
I don't see anything particularly "great" about atheism (at least the lack of belief part). It simply is functional. Of course, any POSITIVE statement by someone that such and such god doesn't exist is pure bunk. They don't know enough to make that assumption and they're behaving exactly like that which they despise.

Anyways, I'm not the best person to ask as I'm not atheist. I've just picked up some stuff from some people I've talked to. Hope it helps.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:45 PM   #12
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The fundamental concepts of many religions are things we should all strive to live by, however, the bull**** that surrounds mainstream religion now is something I'd prefer not to be a part of.

Church/Mass/whatever is also really early in the morning - I can only assume god isn't in the same time zone as me.



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Old 12-13-2006, 11:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
This may be a limitation of religious discussions, but I see a lot of discussion on why people dislike or like the idea of God/religion. What I don't get to see from that is why atheists/agnostics like to believe in atheism/agnosticism (for lack of better phrasing at the moment).
Because I find it far more rational than believing in a deity without any evidence whatsoever. With respect, I might as well believe in unicorns or dragons (which would also be far more cool).

What is it that is attractive about this particular world-view?

Quote:
How do you resolve some of the moral dilemmas that religions solve easily with the presence of God (e.g. explaining altruism in a naturalistic setting--why can that happen in a 'survival of the fittest' world?
First of all, saying that God causes animals to look out for one another doesn't solve anything, as it's only an hypothesis without evidence - "God-gapping" if you will.

Quote:
How do you definitively define right and wrong, and is it possible to do that in a purely naturalistic environment)?
Since morality and altruism are not derived from religion in the first place, but inherent in nearly all species in nature, including predators such as hyenas, lions and wolves, I have no problems at all being moral and altruistic without religious Scripture.

Quote:
What benefits/advantages are there?
As you said, there's sleeping in on Sundays, amongst others. But either way, I definitely do not choose atheism because it's more beneficial to me - it'd be far more beneficial in the long run to go to Heaven and be happy ever after, or to be reincarnated, or to live on in some other way after death. Whereas as an atheist, I'm anticipating at most a life 100+ years, and then nothing, and at worst, death earlier than that and then nothing.

Quote:
How do you replace some of the tangible and intangible benefits of religion and a community of believers (e.g. prayer support, supporting each other in faith, supporting each other in times of need, etc.).
Again, altruism is not a religious invention.

I care about my buddies because it's natural for me to do so. They need me, I make them feel better, and they'd do the same for me. I don't need a God to tell me to be nice, and quite frankly, Jae, I don't think you do either.

Quote:
What's great about atheism that those of us who are religious are missing out on (besides sleeping in on Sunday )?
I don't believe what suits me the most, I believe what seems the most rational.

Quote:
Church/Mass/whatever is also really early in the morning - I can only assume god isn't in the same time zone as me.
But it's early-morning in all time-zones. It's more likely He's an A-person... I mean, A-God.

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Old 12-14-2006, 12:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Whoever made Jae on mod'? Better watch myself from hereon.
Only in SWKnights. That's why I've abandoned that forum and moved here.


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Old 12-14-2006, 02:31 AM   #15
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Let's keep it on topic, guys.


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Old 12-14-2006, 04:06 AM   #16
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The initial question has been answered accurately several times during the thread: Atheism is logical and rational. End of story really.

But the terms of the initial question are interesting enough to analyse in some depth.

"I see a lot of discussion on why people dislike or like the idea of God/religion. What I don't get to see from that is why atheists/agnostics like to believe in atheism/agnosticism (for lack of better phrasing at the moment). What is it that is attractive about this particular worldview?"

Now, the terms of that question imply several things. First, they imply that the (religious) questioner formulates his or her beliefs based on whether they "like" those beliefs, or because those beliefs are "more attractive" to them. Their beliefs are not based on logic or evidence, in other words, but on the arbitrary emotional gratification that those beliefs provide.

Therefore there is also an inherent implication that the concept of "right" or "truth" is taking a serious back-seat in the mind of the religious person. As a rational person, I care about discovering the truth of any given matter. A staunchly religious person on the other hand quite simply cannot care in any meaningful way about what is "right" or "true", otherwise they would be incapable of maintaining their delusional world-view.

Secondly, they imply that the questioner has not taken the usual statements of atheists on board at all. In nearly every discussion on religion vs. atheism, atheists routinely state that their atheism is based on a lack of logical/tangible proofs that there is any god or gods. This is a concept that religious people seem to be literally incapable of processing.

Now this provokes an interesting thought. If one were to universally believe things without evidence to support those beliefs, one would live in an extremely strange world, full of goblins, pink elephants and giant twelve-headed mice. So even religious people have a limiting factor SOMEWHERE in their psychological makeup that stops them from believing in say... the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There is a line beyond which even the most devout religious follower will not go, in terms of holding arbitrary beliefs.

In my opinion, this limiting factor has already been described in this very post, namely that religious people believe what is palatable for them to believe, that which bolsters their self-image, gives them a sense of superiority over the rest of humanity, and a sense of belonging to an elite group. Whatever is emotionally/psychopathologically attractive to a religious person, they will believe. And in general terms, this mindset is unlikely to be limited to purely theological areas of thought.

This chain of reasoning would suggest that being religious is to be self-serving in an extremely obstinate way. It also explains why religious people will NOT see reason in the matter: Their level of self-investment in their delusion is simply too great to allow them to stray from the path.


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Old 12-14-2006, 12:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The initial question has been answered accurately several times during the thread: Atheism is logical and rational. End of story really.
There are limits to what we can logically determine. Where did the universe come from? Has it always been there? Ontologically, the creation of the universe from nowhere makes no sense unless there was something outside the universe...and something to cause that cause... ad-infinitum. So if existence of an infinite regression of causes is something modern logic is okay with, it seems to me, there is nothing precluding existence of God in the same manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Secondly, they imply that the questioner has not taken the usual statements of atheists on board at all. In nearly every discussion on religion vs. atheism, atheists routinely state that their atheism is based on a lack of logical/tangible proofs that there is any god or gods.
Why is mathematics and logic true? What caused 2+2=4? What caused pi to be 3.141596... ? Are these nonsensical questions? Are they nonsensical because we can't step outside our own logical/mathematical set of rules to answer them? Is this the same reason we can't prove the existence of a transcendental being?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
In my opinion, this limiting factor has already been described in this very post, namely that religious people believe what is palatable for them to believe, that which bolsters their self-image, gives them a sense of superiority over the rest of humanity, and a sense of belonging to an elite group.... And in general terms, this mindset is unlikely to be limited to purely theological areas of thought.
This same critique could also apply to many atheists who don't have a sense of humility.

@Mace MacLeod: Your words resonate with me greatly, though I tend towards Hinduism's "both-and" dialectic.

Another question for atheists: Do you dismiss then all accounts of near-death experiences, ghosts, possessions, electronic voice phenomena, auras, ESP, and, I guess, The Force? (last one was a joke ) I mean, you almost have to dismiss them outright, don't you?

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Old 12-14-2006, 07:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
What caused 2+2=4? What caused pi to be 3.141596...?
Numbers are a human invention, the universe doesn't give a damn how we measure it or its contents - humans caused two plus two to equal four and pi to equal ~3.14.



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Old 12-14-2006, 09:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jmac7142
Numbers are a human invention, the universe doesn't give a damn how we measure it or its contents - humans caused two plus two to equal four and pi to equal ~3.14.
You know, Jmac most mathematicians, I bet
believe the mathematics we discover here is the same everywhere else in our universe, at lease.
The same mathematics for every civilization in our universe.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:29 AM   #20
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Why is mathematics and logic true? What caused 2+2=4? What caused pi to be 3.141596... ? Are these nonsensical questions? Are they nonsensical because we can't step outside our own logical/mathematical set of rules to answer them?
What caused God to be there? Why is he a single deity? Or are there more? Is he alife?

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Another question for atheists: Do you dismiss then all accounts of near-death experiences, ghosts, possessions, electronic voice phenomena, auras, ESP, and, I guess, The Force? (last one was a joke ) I mean, you almost have to dismiss them outright, don't you?
What does this have to do with the possible existence of a god? I could have like a ton of explanation why ghosts exist without that there must be a god. If would be a god, then he surely has better things to do than creating auras. Do non-atheists dismiss possible rational explanations for those "phenomenas"?


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Old 12-14-2006, 05:17 AM   #21
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On Atheism, why do some Atheists seem determined to destroy the beliefs those who choose to follow religion have? Is there something so offensive about them building a few hopes around some God, regardless of his existence, that they have to scream that everything that they have been taught is a lie? Atheists have done this in the Religious Beliefs and God Answers Prayers threads, so could they explain their need to not just present themselves as Atheists but to destroy people's faith?
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Old 12-14-2006, 05:59 AM   #22
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Pointing out that a belief is irrational may well "destroy" that belief, Nancy. But that's a good thing. Unless you believe that people should run around deluding themselves...


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Old 12-14-2006, 06:17 AM   #23
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What about people 'deluding' themselves into saying there is no God? If it is proven that there is a God then would Christians, Jews, Muslims, whichever religion may be the case, pointing out to Atheists that their disbelief is irrational be a good thing?

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Old 12-14-2006, 07:15 AM   #24
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If, if in some hypothetical otherworld the existence of a deity was proven rationally through tangible evidence and logical reasoning... then yes, people who denied this conclusion would be well served by their theistic counterparts pointing out that they were being irrational in their atheism.

But as regards THIS world, the real world... no religious person has ever presented one shred of evidence to support their assertion that their own personal Flying Spaghetti Monster is real.

No religious person has ever presented a logical argument to support their assertion that the skydaddy of their choice is actually up there.

So the only rational opinion to hold is that there is no god or gods. In other words, to be atheist.


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Old 12-14-2006, 02:36 PM   #25
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If, if in some hypothetical otherworld the existence of a deity was proven rationally through tangible evidence and logical reasoning... then yes, people who denied this conclusion would be well served by their theistic counterparts pointing out that they were being irrational in their atheism.

But as regards THIS world, the real world... no religious person has ever presented one shred of evidence to support their assertion that their own personal Flying Spaghetti Monster is real.

No religious person has ever presented a logical argument to support their assertion that the skydaddy of their choice is actually up there.

So the only rational opinion to hold is that there is no god or gods. In other words, to be atheist.
And that gives Atheists the right and duty to tell Christians they arn't going to heaven, that when they die they'll be worm food in the ground? That's kind of forcing your beliefs on others.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:49 PM   #26
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And that gives Atheists the right and duty to tell Christians they arn't going to heaven, that when they die they'll be worm food in the ground? That's kind of forcing your beliefs on others.
Not so much a duty, just a right called freedom of Speech. I'm not going to stop speaking my mid just because some whiney cultist is offended by it.
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:51 AM   #27
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Well, from my own standpoint, I don't believe in God or Jesus or Jehova or Allah or whoever else simply because I don't think any of the world's religions have it right, frankly. I'm not an atheist per se; I believe that there certainly could be a God or overarching consciousness to the universe, but there are just too many gaping logical flaws in modern religion for me to want to subscribe to any one particular faith. IMHO, eastern religions like Buddhism come close, but this angry, vengeful God some Christians and Muslims spout about is a real turn-off. If history has shown us anything, it's that religion can be used as a tool for oppression and destruction just as easily as it can be used as a force for good.

For me, it's really not that agosticism or the new-agey hodgepodge my wife's into are attractive to me personally, it's that the Church has made itself very unattractive through its negativity, hypocracy, primitive threat-devices and paranoia. Just as an example, take some of the anti same-sex marriage arguments made by hardcore bible-thumpers (in the media in general, not anyone here). I just can't follow people who preach "God is Love" and will also turn around and act like this same God fellow is a frightened, ignorant bigot whenever it suits their agendas or ambitions.


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Old 12-14-2006, 10:36 AM   #28
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As a pretty short answer I'd say: When I grew up, noone ever showed me or taught me that I'd need something like a god or faith to feel good have benefits of the group and whatnot. I simply learned that being nice to other people is nice, that helping others is something good, grandma has the best cake, mum loves me, I should take care of my things and should always have a critical thought, no matter if it's against others or myself. Where I grew up religion never ever was even a topic. The time I'd need for a prayer can be easily taken to think about a problem, or do something about it. I don't need to "speak out" my wishes and hopes and call it a prayer. I can "see" the value of a lesson or the result of a happening with speaking it out and call it a prayer. The time I'd need to be religious is better used to teach or play with my daugther or do anything to have fun, get things that need to be done done, whatever. Also, If I am a good man, religion is a waste of time. If I am a bad man, it is a waste of religion.

Explanations? What? Where? Why? How? I don't need religion for that. Moreover, I think there is much more about it all than a grumpy little man with a beard, who runs the universe from a hidden place. It's simply too easy to limit it all to "just that". I want sub space anomalies and white holes for transuniversal traveling. Even if there's a grumpy man with a beard somewhere, I don't want him to be alone. I want him to have a nice grumpy house with a beard on a grumpy lake with a beard, a lovely grumpy wife with a beard and a grumpy cat with a beard. Not to forget lovely grumpy children with a beard and nice grumpy friends with a beard, who will download "warez" for him because his grumpy DSL with a beard is not working because he forgot to pay the grumpy bill with a beard.
I'd also like invite him over from time to time, to discuss about why I had to kill his grumpy cat with a beard, again, in order to save the school bus from going downhill, to a lovely grumpy cup of tea with a beard. Religion is not capable to give that to me. :PPP

Oh, and speaking of sundays. I think if I'd go to church on sunday instead of having an almost 4 years old girl, I would definitly be able to sleep muuuuuuuuuch longer. =)



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Old 12-14-2006, 12:59 PM   #29
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The only real rational or sane conclusion is not the delusion of nonexistence, but rather the admission that b/c one has no empiracal evidence, they refuse to entertain the notion of God or gods. Ultimately, science is ill prepared to deal with metaphysical questions. There is also the problem, hinted at in Mace's post, that there are soooo many religions. If you don't grow up in one and stick with it, how do you pick the right one in the end? Sometimes disillusionment is enough to sour people on the concept of God/gods. Sort of like JJ's "what have you done for me lately.." lyric. SA's menagerie of little beasties notwithstanding, the perceived absence of a benevolent otherwordly being is often enough to make people decide that it CAN'T exist, not merely that it doesn't. And ultimately, in a modern society of anything goes if it makes you "happy", it's no wonder many would shed a belief in religion b/c such things are too limiting. Also the sense of "empowerment" that one can live life more or less on their own terms w/o having to worry about there being some kind of reckoning in an afterlife.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:53 PM   #30
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I can accept freedom of speech but do Atheists believe they do not have responsibilities that go along with those rights? For example making jokes about bombs and hijacking on an airplane is not only an abuse of that freedom it's illegal. Would the way some people on both sides of the religious fence go on also be considered an abuse on freedom of speech?
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:01 PM   #31
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Quote:
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I can accept freedom of speech but do Atheists believe they do not have responsibilities that go along with those rights? For example making jokes about bombs and hijacking on an airplane is not only an abuse of that freedom it's illegal. Would the way some people on both sides of the religious fence go on also be considered an abuse on freedom of speech?
Calling Religion Bull**** is not the same thing as joking about an explosive device on a plane.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:04 PM   #32
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So you are saying Christians can go up to Atheists and go "because of your unholy acts YOU WILL BE CAST OFF INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE!" You would be able to wear that?
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:06 PM   #33
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So you are saying Christians can go up to Atheists and go "because of your unholy acts YOU WILL BE CAST OFF INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE!" You would be able to wear that?
Hear it from my Grandma all the time, she doesn't know I'm an athiest, but the point is that even though she thinks I'm still a practicing Lutheran she still thinks that I don't have enough respect for family values, as thus will go to hell.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:08 PM   #34
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Do you believe she has a right to say it to you?
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:36 PM   #35
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Do you believe she has a right to say it to you?
Of course, and I invoke my right not to give a damn.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:46 PM   #36
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Of course, and I invoke my right not to give a damn.
I always implement that right, not to give a damn or as I like to say it, ''I don't give a flying f**k''.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:40 PM   #37
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Good, that clears that up then. You don't think it's one rule for you and another for everyone else the way some others do.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:24 PM   #38
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That answer fails jmac. We invented the symbols, we discovered mathematics. I suppose you'll say circles are a human invention also.

However, that aside, I'd rather hear more responses directly related to the topic of this thread.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:59 PM   #39
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That answer fails jmac. We invented the symbols, we discovered mathematics. I suppose you'll say circles are a human invention also.
I was going for the whole "is the circle really there, or is it just the cones and rods in our eyes telling us it's there" thing, because in that case, the circle is a human invention.



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Old 12-14-2006, 08:21 PM   #40
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I'm responding to Chase's comments in the Swamp in this thread, to stay on-topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Windu in this thread:

But if no person knows everything. In the vast amount that people don't know, which is a whole f***ing crap load, there still could be proof of god. I'm under the impression that a true athiest would know everything and still come to the conclusion that there is no god. That's the point I was trying to make. Or are you just saying that from what you know and have seen you have come to the conclusion that there is no god without knowing everything?
Once again, I have to say (and I'm not trying to be unpleasant here) you are missing the point that I and others have made.

The point is: I don't need to know everything in order to rationally be an atheist. Because as a rational human being, I only believe in something when its existence can be demonstrated through tangible evidence and/or logical reasoning. There is no evidence that deities exist. There is no logical argument that supports the assertions that deities exist. Therefore, rationally, one must be atheist- that is, one must not believe in the existence of deities.

Let me try to make this position as clear as I possibly can. Bear in mind that I am not being flippant, I am merely making a point in the most stark, clearly delineated way that I can:

Say I tell you that our planet is truly ruled NOT by humans, but by super-intelligent, psychic and sentient slices of cheddar cheese who all live on the floating island of Mandango somewhere above Manhattan!

You would naturally reject this assertion. Why? Because there is no evidence nor logical argument to suggest that we are lorded over by nefarious portions of fromage. I have made an assertion based on no logical nor tangible evidence.

Therefore, if you believe in a god or gods without ANY evidence to base this belief on, logically speaking, you MUST also believe in the sentient slices of cheese. And the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Why? Because logically they are the same thing. They are beliefs without basis in fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Windu in this thread:

If one needs proof that god exists then I, as a believer, say that everything is a testimony of god. Like how did everything come into being? If there was a big bang there would have to be something for it to explode into. It's hard to think about there being absolutely nothing. That's why in scripture god says "I am that I am". He probably says that because the human mind isn't capable of conceiving something so great and has no beginning or end or that doesn't have any physical form in this dimension, the heavenly dimension, or any other state. Which is probably one of the reasons god said to let everything testify of him, which from what I've seen it does in many cases from what I know from scripture.
No offence Chase, but with this paragraph, you have just stated almost literally that "there are lots of things we don't know and can't explain... so there must be a god."

This is a total non-sequitur, and it is NOT a logical argument for the existence of any deity. I could say- just as easily- "There are lots of things we don't know and can't explain... the sentient slices of cheddar cheese must be behind it all."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Windu in this thread:

This has been an educational conversation. I can't make you change your beliefs and I don't want to force my beliefs down your, or anybody else's, throat. I'm merely trying to get behind atheist beliefs.

I just have a few questions for any atheist here. You don't have to answer but I am just curious and don't really want to debate it and I'll just leave things as they are. The question is, do you celebrate Christmas, or whatever, and why? considering what Christmas is.
I personally don't celebrate Christmas. I spend time with my family who do celebrate Christmas, but I don't buy presents for anyone and I refuse to receive any. This is because I don't believe in the commercial side of Christmas, and I don't believe in the religious side of Christmas.

As for the moral spirit of Christmas... I try to have goodwill for all men throughout the year, not merely in the month of December. Therefore while I quite like the Christmas spirit, it is something of an irrelevance.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102:

There are limits to what we can logically determine. Where did the universe come from? Has it always been there? Ontologically, the creation of the universe from nowhere makes no sense unless there was something outside the universe...and something to cause that cause... ad-infinitum. So if existence of an infinite regression of causes is something modern logic is okay with, it seems to me, there is nothing precluding existence of God in the same manner.
First of all, once again, atheism isn't the idea that "The existence of a God is impossible", any more than the existence of the sentient slices of cheddar cheese is "impossible".

Atheism is the rationally arrived at opinion that deities don't exist. There's an important and instantly identifiable difference, that many religious people confuse. Why do we say that God and the sentient slices of cheddar cheese don't exist? Because there's no evidence to suggest that they do.

You use the words "there is nothing precluding the existence of God", but rational thought in this matter isn't about "precluding" the existence of anything. I don't have to find evidence that "precludes the existence" of the sentient slices of cheddar cheese before I state that they don't exist. Why? because there's never been any evidence to suggest that they DO exist.

Furthermore, though the esoteric disciplines of astro-physics and cosmology are almost entirely theoretical in nature, they CANNOT be compared to religious theories. Because these scientific disciplines are at least attempts to understand the universe in a rational and logical manner. Religious theories are not. End of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102:

Why is mathematics and logic true? What caused 2+2=4? What caused pi to be 3.141596... ? Are these nonsensical questions? Are they nonsensical because we can't step outside our own logical/mathematical set of rules to answer them? Is this the same reason we can't prove the existence of a transcendental being?
Why is the truth true? Why is what is... what is? That's an interesting question. It's not nonsensical.

But such questions do NOT suggest or imply the existence of a deity. I fail to see how they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102:

This same critique could also apply to many atheists who don't have a sense of humility.

@Mace MacLeod: Your words resonate with me greatly, though I tend towards Hinduism's "both-and" dialectic.

Another question for atheists: Do you dismiss then all accounts of near-death experiences, ghosts, possessions, electronic voice phenomena, auras, ESP, and, I guess, The Force? (last one was a joke ) I mean, you almost have to dismiss them outright, don't you?
As regards ghosts, possession and EVP... there's never really been any serious evidence to suggest that they're real phenomena. So I am quite comfortable in saying that I don't believe in their existence.

I'll be totally honest, I'm not sure what you mean by "auras". You could mean several things.

ESP... That's an interesting question. There's certainly subtle communication between people that is non-verbal, most of which we don't fully understand. But it's still standard sensory communication. There has never been replicable, tangible proof that truly extra-sensory communication is possible. As long as it remains merely anecdotal I cannot comfortably say that I believe in it.

As regards humility... humility isn't relevant to the question of whether a person is thinking rationally, so no, the same critique would not be applicable to atheists.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

I can accept freedom of speech but do Atheists believe they do not have responsibilities that go along with those rights? For example making jokes about bombs and hijacking on an airplane is not only an abuse of that freedom it's illegal. Would the way some people on both sides of the religious fence go on also be considered an abuse on freedom of speech?
Personally I don't think "jokes" or other innocuous mentions about bombs or hijackings should be illegal anywhere. I don't think jokes will ever cause panic anywhere, so they're never an abuse of free speech. I DO think that someone who tries to stir up a panic on a plane by actually CLAIMING that there are bombs or hijackers on a plane should be charged with something, because trying to cause a physically dangerous situation or actively, directly inciting people to commit violence IS the ONLY abuse of free speech.

But as regards the free speech of atheists... Atheists have the absolute inviolable moral right to puncture any illogical delusion that they come across, no matter who the religious person might be, or what erroneous beliefs they hold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Good, that clears that up then. You don't think it's one rule for you and another for everyone else the way some others do.
"Some others"? What others? The people I've seen holding a double standard on this matter are uniformly religious. I've never seen an atheist try to restrict the free speech of religious people. I HAVE seen religious people try to restrict the free speech of atheists.


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