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Old 12-24-2006, 11:32 AM   #201
Spider AL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

I think you need to make one important clarification here. While you state it isn't the province of atheists to prove the existence of God/gods, neither is it their purview to make definitive statements about Him/them not actually existing.
This clarification is somewhat redundant Tot, because as has been previously stated, a rational person cannot make "definitive statements" about the non-existence of ANYTHING. You cannot disprove a negative.

One cannot absolutely prove that God does NOT exist, one cannot absolutely prove the the FSM doesn't exist, one cannot absolutely prove that the sentient cheese slices do not exist.

But when we say "God doesn't exist" or "we deny the existence of deities", this is an absolutely rational, accurate statement. Because things that have no evidence to support their existence, effectively do not exist.

This is not a statement along the lines of: "There will never ever be any evidence of God's existence", which WOULD be totally irrational. Instead, we are simply saying that "until we see some evidence that the sentient cheese slices do exist, we will say that they don't exist." Rational thought is essentially about having working principles to live your life by. And "God does not exist" is simply one of those working principles.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by igyman:

I won't deny that there are some atheists who view things that way, but I don't think that's a majority. I certainly don't think atheists should persecute religious people and make them give up their beliefs, but the same goes for some of the religious and their attitude towards atheists.
It would be irrational to claim that there HAVE NEVER BEEN any atheists who want to persecute religious people specifically because they're religious, because I'm sure there have been some. I'm sure there will be some in the future.

I have heard of plenty of religious people trying to persecute atheists. I can cite contemporary examples. But I've never met any nor heard of any atheists who persecute the religious in the US or the UK... and certainly no such person has ever posted in this thread... So I have to agree with you, such people must be a tiny TINY minority within the atheist populous.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Yes, definetly. Christians condemning homosexuals for example, if they believe in God who are they to judge others, hmm? Like I've said people should be entitled to believe and act the way they want, any way they want. When their beliefs and actions cause harm to others then it becomes a problem, but if it doesn't who cares? Not me.
The trouble is that organised religion DOES do harm, it's doing harm right now. It's trying to impede the education of our young, it's trying to scare people into joining its various factions through threats of eternal damnation, it's indirectly contributing to a lot of violent fundamentalism around the world, and furthermore, religion is a convenient tool used by the powerful to trick people into serving their interests.

So of course organised religious institutions can be publically criticised. Of course you should "care".

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

@ET Warrior--Einstein theorized/determined that matter was created, and Hawkings and a couple other scientists have asserted that time was also created. Time/matter are not eternally self-existent in that case.
"Created" in this sense means "came into being". It does not mean "was intelligently fashioned by a judaistic weather-god".

And as ET has pointed out, EVEN IF we accept the idea that matter "came into being" at some designated point, just because we don't know the mechanics behind the coming-into-being of the universe... doesn't mean your personal deity was responsible for it. It does not logically follow.


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Old 12-24-2006, 12:17 PM   #202
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And not only organized religion, although it's certainly worse than "un-organized religion".
Whenever anyone bases their beliefs on what feels right to them and/or is taught by their Holy Book, rather than on evidence and logic, their beliefs become potentially threatening.

Sam Harris, I think, brought up these two surveys done of a group of Christians. The first was presented with the siege of Jericho, and tasked with explaining why they agreed or disagreed with the actions of the besieging forces. The ones who endorsed the slaughter of the people of Jericho did so out of religious reasons.

The second group, consisting of Christians from the same environment as the first group, worked as the control group of the experiment. In their case, Jericho was replaced with a 3000 years old Chinese city, and the commander of the conquering forces was replaced with a certain General Lin. Apart from this, the scenario of massacre of innocents was the same. The result, though, differed greatly - now far fewer were in support of the evil committed.

Other real-life examples:
Quote:
Originally Posted by *
First you assume that you can use [birth control] "responsibly". There is no need to use birth control. It has been stated many times in this discussion that it is in scripture that God opens and closes the womb (therefore why do we need to do it)."
Quote:
Originally Posted by *
"God told the Israelites when they moved into the land to wipe out everybody, to spare no one, not even their cattle. Why did he do that? I don't know. That's God's call. In that case, genocide was obviously the right thing to do, because God commanded it."
Granted, the examples provided by WinAce are extreme, but they make a powerful point: A lot of people stop thinking when faced with religious statements. Where they'd otherwise reason and use logic, they blindly accept even the most horrific atrocities, such as the massacre of every first-born in Egypt by God in the Bible. How many people have the Catholic church killed so far by discouraging the use of condoms?

It makes me wonder what, hypothetically, would happen if a leader in modern-day USA proclaimed he was elected by God, who had instructed him to invade, say, Iraq...

Or if global warming was causing more and more natural disasters and a certain religion was interpreted to mean that said natural disasters were a prerequisite of the "End Times" and thus a good thing.

Edit: More examples of destructive Christianity, just to really drive the point home:
  • Believing that mental illness is in reality demonic possession and thus does not warrant medical care, only prayer sessions.
  • Opposing immigration because you're afraid of the immigrants' religion "polluting" that of your citizens.
  • Believing that contraceptives are against the will of God.
  • Believing that organizations such as the UN are the work of the Devil due to End Times prophecies and actively opposing them for that reason, with little or no rational backing.
  • Believing that homosexuality is against the will of God, and actively opposing them for that reason, with little or no rational backing.
  • Opposing animal rights and environmentalism because the Bible preaches that the Earth's fauna and flora are there solely to serve humans and do not deserve respect, and/or because you believe the Earth will end soon anyway.

Again, many of these are extremes, but they are nevertheless real.

*Fundies Say the Darndest Things by the late WinAce


Last edited by Dagobahn Eagle; 12-31-2006 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 12-24-2006, 12:52 PM   #203
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And, that, Spider, is exactly the point. You CAN'T make such statements, yet many atheists constantly do. I agree that God/gods are a hard sell to people who only accept things they can measure through scientific means. If one does not WANT to believe in a diety/dieties, I have no problem with that. All I'm saying is that it's irrational and erroneous to pontificate on the existence of such things that you can neither prove nor disprove. For that reason, it's not remotely redundant to state that atheism is a belief system, which should be accompanied with the caveat that you choose not to believe in things that you can't measure directly with your 5 senses. That's not the same as saying that something absolutely does NOT exist. It's quite obvious that atheists work from the standpoint that God/gods don't exist. It's merely a conceit to claim that they have knowledge proving such, and not merely strong suspicions. That also seems to be where a lot of the conflict in this thread emenates from in the end. One side calling the other irrational and deluded, while it, itself, is pushing a point which is neither completely rational or undeluded. That point, for the record, being that God/gods ABSOLUTELY do not exist. Saying something "effectively" does not exist is NOT the same as saying something "absolutely" does not exist. It merely demonstrates your jump off point for how you approach existential questions. You cannot say (with any credibility to rational people) that you cannot prove a negative (the nonexistence of God/gods), but then go on to unequivocally assert that in fact such beings ABSOLUTELY do not exist.
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Old 12-24-2006, 01:37 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle:

It makes me wonder what, hypothetically, would happen if a leader in modern-day USA proclaimed he was elected by God, who had instructed him to invade, say, Iraq...

Or if global warming was causing more and more natural disasters and a certain religion was interpreted to mean that said natural disasters were a prerequisite of the End Times and thus a good thing.
QFT.

The latter is a very good example indeed, Eagle. An additional example for the dangerousness of end-timers would be the fact that they find war between Israel and the Arab states to be desirable, again because they feel it fulfils some of their prophecies.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

And, that, Spider, is exactly the point. You CAN'T make such statements, yet many atheists constantly do.
I have yet to see an atheist state "there will never be any evidence produced to suggest the existence of a deity". I certainly disagree with the idea that atheists "constantly" make such claims, because I've never seen it made... once.

Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places. Please, point me towards these irrational atheists. I will join you in mocking their reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

I agree that God/gods are a hard sell to people who only accept things they can measure through scientific means. If one does not WANT to believe in a diety/dieties, I have no problem with that. All I'm saying is that it's irrational and erroneous to pontificate on the existence of such things that you can neither prove nor disprove
What one "wants to believe" is an irrelevance to the rational thinker.

And secondly, of course the existence of a deity could be proven. It cannot be DISPROVEN due to a lack of evidence, but it could be proven if there were a preponderance of deist evidence. So it's hardly irrational to point out that the existence of a deity is not even SUGGESTED by ANY evidence, much less proven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

For that reason, it's not remotely redundant to state that atheism is a belief system, which should be accompanied with the caveat that you choose not to believe in things that you can't measure directly with your 5 senses.
Sorry, but I have to point out that you're not using the proper terminology here. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. It is not a "belief system" by definition.

The idea you're describing, that one should not believe in things if one has no evidence to suggest that they exist, is not atheism, but is instead a reason for not being a theist... it is merely common sense. It's rational thought.

And the "five senses" are not the be-all and end-all. A rational thinker believes in things that have evidence to suggest their existence, and evidence can also be logical reasoning and logical argument. We do not "sense" numbers with the five senses, but with the power of rational thought alone, we can conceive of and prove mathematical formulae.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

That's not the same as saying that something absolutely does NOT exist.
If you'll forgive me, I have to point out that you are erroneously equating two ideas:

Idea 1: Gods do not exist (Rational)
Idea 2: No evidence will ever be put forward that suggests the existence of gods (Irrational)

The two ideas are separate, and you don't need to qualify the first statement in the way you're describing, because the second statement IS NOT IMPLIED in the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

It's merely a conceit to claim that they have knowledge proving such, and not merely strong suspicions.
Oh now you're descending into nonsense. I don't "suspect that God doesn't exist", god doesn't exist in the same way that the sentient slices of cheddar cheese from the island of Mandango don't exist. Because there's no evidence to suggest that they do, and there's no evidence to suggest that god does.

This is as close as we as rational people can get to KNOWING that anything doesn't exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

That also seems to be where a lot of the conflict in this thread emenates from in the end. One side calling the other irrational and deluded, while it, itself, is pushing a point which is neither completely rational or undeluded. That point, for the record, being that God/gods ABSOLUTELY do not exist.
If any atheist in this thread had claimed: "No evidence will ever be put forward that suggests the existence of gods" or anything similar, you'd be right. But since they haven't, you're wrong. I certainly have not claimed an "irrational absolute" in this thread.

What I've claimed and what others claim, is that it's as CLOSE to an absolute as we can get. Zero evidence = as close to an absolute as one can get. This is rational and not delusional.

I have to say though, though your post is largely dealing with a terminological, semantic issue... it's certainly some of the more rational material I've seen in this thread. Keep it coming please.


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Old 12-24-2006, 02:16 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The trouble is that organised religion DOES do harm, it's doing harm right now.
Yes, religion can do harm, and when it does something must be done about it. War also causes harm, as does government, video games, films, music, vehicles on the road, in fact just about anything you can point to and say it legitimately causes harm. As cold as this may sound life is risk, about the only way to avoid risk is by being dead.
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Old 12-24-2006, 02:58 PM   #206
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Sorry, Al, but as usual you missed the point and went off on a convienent tangent. I'm not wrong, b/c I didn't say that people said there would never be evidence, rather that many of you insist (almost dogmatically) that something ABSOLUTELY (your word) does not exist, due to a lack of evidence. My point still stands. You can ONLY rationally state that "I don't know".

Furthermore, close to absolute is not absolute. Also, if you acknowledge that someone could "one day" prove the existence of God/gods, then you can't hold to the nonsensical position that they/It do not ABSOLUTELY exist. All you can say is that there is insufficient empiracal evidence to give you cause to accept a theistic pov. It is ultimately your choice (and that of other atheists) to BELIEVE that God/gods don't exist. So keep this in mind, if nothing else. I am not (as you seem to misunderstand) saying that it's irrational to not "believe" in dieties, just to assert unequivocally that they in fact do not exist.

Also, no offense taken, but I don't confuse the statements that God doesn't exist and that there will never be any proof of god/God. You are the one who seems to hold these contradictory views, not me. As long as there's the possibility conceded on your part that "perhaps one day" such proof could be found, then your first statement goes right out the window (frankly, you're either pregnant or not pregnant, not "a little pregnant").

I gather that if you've read my posts, not merely selectively focused on those parts you wish to use to make your arguments, you'll notice that I agree that proving which, if any, God exists is an unenviable position. If one is approaching religion for what amounts to the first time, who does one believe in if they embrace theism? God, Allah, Buddha, etc....? It is so much easier to throw up one's hands and say how about none. Much of rational thought is dependant upon science to prove its rationality. People use empiracal evidence (hence a reliance on science) to back up the validity of their intellectual claims. Frankly, all communication is steeped in semantics. So, what religious people can "rationally" say is that there is a CONCEPT called God, but they lack the empiracal proof to demonstrate that being's existence. The "rational atheist" can merely reply that in the absence of such proof, I refuse to accept your proposition. What he/she CANNOT rationally do is what you repeatedly do, unequivocally state an absolute which you acknowledge you can't prove anyway, the nonexistence of something.
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Old 12-24-2006, 03:09 PM   #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I'm not wrong, b/c I didn't say that people said there would never be evidence, rather that many of you insist (almost dogmatically) that something ABSOLUTELY (your word) does not exist, due to a lack of evidence. My point still stands. You can ONLY rationally state that "I don't know".
You have misinterpreted what most of us have said. If I say ''God desn't exist'' I don't mean that it absolutely doesn't exist because of the lack of evidence, but I do mean that it's very unlikely that god exists considering the enormous lack of evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I don't confuse the statements that God doesn't exist and that there will never be any proof of god/God.
No, but you obviously confuse the statement ''God doesn't exist'' with the statement ''God absolutely doesn't exist.'' I believe I have explained the difference above.


Last edited by igyman; 12-24-2006 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 12-24-2006, 03:59 PM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Sorry, Al, but as usual you missed the point and went off on a convienent tangent. I'm not wrong, b/c I didn't say that people said there would never be evidence, rather that many of you insist (almost dogmatically) that something ABSOLUTELY (your word) does not exist, due to a lack of evidence. My point still stands.
Actually "absolutely" is your word, not mine, Tot. You're just lying outright if you claim that I've ever asserted an irrational absolute. I never have. I have always made it clear that the fact that I don't believe in gods (due to a lack of evidence) does not preclude my having an open mind to any and all evidence that people might want to show me on the subject.

And no, Tot, I didn't miss your point. I merely contend that your point is nonsense. That's all.

The fact is that we CAN say: "There is no god" with rational accuracy, because there is no evidence at all to suggest that there is a god. This phrase does NOT exclude the possibility that some new evidence may be discovered in the future. Therefore it's totally rational, and your point is disproven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

You can ONLY rationally state that "I don't know".
This is incorrect. I CAN rationally state that "there is no god", because as far as anyone can know anything of this nature to be true, I DO know it to be true.

Just as I can rationally state "There are no sentient cheddary slices". We all know that this statement is rational and true. But why is it rational and true? Not because I just made the slices up a week ago. No. We know it is rational and true, because there is no evidence to suggest that such slices are real. QED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

It is ultimately your choice (and that of other atheists) to BELIEVE that God/gods don't exist.
Once again you're making a very basic (and common) error.

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. It is not a belief.
Belief requires evidence, if one is rational.
Therefore a total lack of evidence = a lack of belief.
Therefore a rational man is atheist.

And it isn't really a matter of singular choice, and it's not equivalent to a religious belief in the way you're implying. I don't believe in gods. I don't have to believe in anything else in order to disbelieve in this case. I merely have to engage my innate rational faculty and follow the inevitable chain of reasoning.

For the last time: Atheism is not a "belief in the nonexistence of gods", it's a lack of belief in gods. It's a lack of belief in claims which were spurious and lacked any evidence to support them... FROM THE BEGINNING.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

So keep this in mind, if nothing else. I am not (as you seem to misunderstand) saying that it's irrational to not "believe" in dieties, just to assert unequivocally that they in fact do not exist.
If you don't believe in the existence of something, it is because you think (after viewing available evidence) that it does not exist. They are the same thing.

I do not believe in the existence of god = god does not exist. So you ARE confusing the issue when you say that the two are different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Also, no offense taken, but I don't confuse the statements that God doesn't exist and that there will never be any proof of god/God. You are the one who seems to hold these contradictory views, not me. As long as there's the possibility conceded on your part that "perhaps one day" such proof could be found, then your first statement goes right out the window (frankly, you're either pregnant or not pregnant, not "a little pregnant").
I did not say you "confused the two statements", I said you equate them to one another. I.e: you seem to believe that saying "there is no god" is the same as saying "there is no god AND THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE THERE CAN NEVER BE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY".

The two couldn't be farther from each other. You are equating a statement of working fact, with a theoretical absolute.

And I don't know what statement of mine you're referring to when you state I've contradicted myself. Please post it. I welcome any opportunity to view and correct my errors.

I would view it as a Mithras' day gift, for you to assist me by pointing out my self-contradicting sentence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

I agree that proving which, if any, God exists is an unenviable position. If one is approaching religion for what amounts to the first time, who does one believe in if they embrace theism? God, Allah, Buddha, etc....? It is so much easier to throw up one's hands and say how about none.
Here you seem to imply that atheism is merely a defeatist reaction to a difficult choice between available deities.

Now this really would be utter nonsense. Atheism is a rational lack of belief in deities, due to a corresponding lack of evidence. It really isn't a difficult choice for a rational man, and it certainly doesn't imply any sort of "giving up" on the part of the atheist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

So, what religious people can "rationally" say is that there is a CONCEPT called God, but they lack the empiracal proof to demonstrate that being's existence.
On the contrary, if religious people were to say something rational regarding their faith, they would say "We believe in Jeho... hey, wait a minute, this religion stuff is nonsense! let's stop wasting our lives!"

If on the other hand religious people (while still being irrational) were being TRUTHFUL, they would say: "we BELIEVE in the existence and omnipotence of this being we call god, without the slightest shred of evidence to support our spurious and fantastic claims".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

The "rational atheist" can merely reply that in the absence of such proof, I refuse to accept your proposition. What he/she CANNOT rationally do is what you repeatedly do, unequivocally state an absolute which you acknowledge you can't prove anyway, the nonexistence of something.
But once again, stating "there is no god" is merely a statement that there is no evidence to suggest the existence of god. Until there is evidence of the existence of a thing, logically and rationally it does not exist. Otherwise, every stupid thing that has ever been spuriously imagined would exist, from my cheese slices to the pink elephant that's currently sitting on your right shoulder, to WMDs in Iraq.

None of these things exist, and god is no more evident. So the statement is totally rational. God does not exist. I do not believe god exists. I refute the claim that god exists. They're all rational.


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Old 12-24-2006, 08:57 PM   #209
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Al,
wrong wrong wrong (as usual). The simple statement that "there is no god" is semantically self contained. It does NOT mean that maybe there's a god, but we currently lack sufficient evidence. It MEANS that there IS NO God/gods. So, perhaps in your attempt to have it both ways (ie a working definition), you seem to need a refresher course in the English language. If there really is NO God/god, there will NEVER BE ANY evidence of such, b/c LOGICALLY and RATIONALLY such an entity can never exist by thatdefinition. On the other hand, if you merely mean that you think or BELIEVE that God/god doesn't exist, that's another proposition altogether. There is a difference between thinking something and actually knowing something(rather than knowing that you think something or thinking that you know something).

Your contention that I'm mixing the two up is, once again, false. I clearly note that atheists work from the proposition that there is no god/God. Where we clearly differ is that you say, illogically, fact. You so obviuosly mix up your working definition with actual fact. While it is indeed a fact that you believe such drivel to be true, that is not the same as its actually being true. I could just as easily say that if you believe in nothing, you could also be a "pastapharian" when it comes to explaining where all the matter and energy in the universe came from. FACT is that we don't know where anything came from in the universe. We only have workng theories as to how what does exist has probably developed. I believe in no gods=I don't believe in gods. The end result is exactly the same.

Basically, no matter how much you try to claim otherwise, atheism is a belief that god's or God don't exist. It isn't a fact. It isn't even particularly rational in its conclusion. Your lack of ability to prove something does not equal nonexistence, just a big fat question mark and a desire to steer clear of things you don't have a true handle on anyway. Does God/god exist? Who knows? Certainly not you (or any of the rest of us for that matter). The only real rational and logical approach to take is to continue to ask questions and accept that we may never know the answer to some of our questions. Face it, one does not rant on (like you do) about something being delusional w/o the absolute conviction that they are correct. Hence my use of "absolute" in describing your position on faith in general. Absolute, btw, is also a word used by you. Your statement that you have an open mind on the issue is pure bollocks. On the issue of atheism, your mind is about as flexible as a solid cast iron rod. Saying you're flexible on this issue is tantamount to talking out of both sides of your mouth. It simply lacks any credibility.

So, rail on as I'm sure you will, but understand that you're not the least bit convincing. You'll get the last word here (b/c no doubt you'd try to take it anyway ), but it will be meaningless nonetheless. I have no problem with you wanting to be an atheist, but you're torrential flow of illogical dogmatic conclusions has gotten tiresome. You've proven nothing other than that you're persistent (ly wrong). Merry Mithras day to ya.
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Old 12-24-2006, 10:18 PM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Al,
wrong wrong wrong (as usual).
Perhaps so. But you've yet to demonstrate it once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

The simple statement that "there is no god" is semantically self contained. It does NOT mean that maybe there's a god, but we currently lack sufficient evidence.
Once again, the statement "there is no god" in rational terms, means: There is no evidence to suggest that there is a god, therefore, we will say that there is no god, until such time as evidence is presented that suggests that a god exists.

As a rational man, I know that absolute statements are inherently irrational. An absolute statement might take the form of "We are 100% sure that god does not exist", or "No evidence will ever be presented to suggest god's existence", or perhaps even "There is DEFINITELY POSITIVELY NO GOD". But no atheist- in this thread at least- has made such fallacious statements.

I know you want everyone to add a three-page qualification to all statements indicating that Jehova doesn't exist... but I highly doubt that you yourself would feel the need to qualify a statement like:

"The Sinister Sentient Slices of Cheddar Cheese from the floating island of Mandango... don't exist."

And rightly so. We are as certain as we can be- and as certain as we need to be, that the cheese-monsters don't exist. Likewise we are as certain as we can be and need to be, that gods do not exist. Nobody can be 100% certain that imaginary things don't exist. This does not mean that we must always speak and act as if there's an appreciable possibility that they all exist.

Harry Potter... is not a real person. He does not exist. The Cheese-Monsters are not real. They don't exist. And the gods of the major religions... are not real. They do not exist.

These statements are rationally accurate, because there is no evidence to SUGGEST the existence of these things, let alone any evidence to SHOW their existence. We do not need to say "Harry Potter may or may not be a real person, he may or may not exist". Because there's no evidence to suggest that he exists as a real person. So we say "Harry Potter isn't real".

However NONE of these statements preclude the consideration of additional evidence. None of these statements are saying "The existence of these things is 100% impossible, and no evidence will ever be found, discovered or put forward to suggest their existence". The door is always open.

The onus is on those who make irrational claims about imaginary deities to provide evidence to suggest the existence of such deities. It is not up to atheists to wander through life making constant qualifications like "Your deity of choice might exist", because frankly, ANYTHING "might exist". Such qualifications are redundant in the extreme.

If I were to wander through life always saying "I do not believe that god exists, but there is inherent in my statement a slim possibility of incalculable exact value that god might exist", I would also have to say such things as "That car is not red. But of course in my statement there is inherent a possibility that it IS red, despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that the car is red". Do you see how ludicrous your contention is now, Tot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

On the other hand, if you merely mean that you think or BELIEVE that God/god doesn't exist, that's another proposition altogether. There is a difference between thinking something and actually knowing something(rather than knowing that you think something or thinking that you know something).
Once again, as much as ANY man can "know that something doesn't exist", we know that god does not exist. This is as close as it gets to "knowing" regarding non-existence.

I do not "believe that god doesn't exist", rather I do not believe that god exists. Once again, a LACK of belief, not the presence of belief. And I lack belief, because it is up to theist adherents to provide evidence. It is not up to we atheists to provide evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Your contention that I'm mixing the two up is, once again, false. I clearly note that atheists work from the proposition that there is no god/God. Where we clearly differ is that you say, illogically, fact. You so obviuosly mix up your working definition with actual fact.
Sadly Tot, a rational man has only working principles, we rational men have no absolutes, no 100% correct factoids. Such dreamy things are claimed only by the religious and the similarly irrational.

You are equating a statement of practical logic to an irrational absolute, and you are incorrect in this. It's that simple, really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Basically, no matter how much you try to claim otherwise, atheism is a belief that god's or God don't exist. It isn't a fact. It isn't even particularly rational in its conclusion.
Ahh Tot. Go and read up on atheism.

Atheism is A-theism. That is, non-theism. The word theism describes a belief in gods. The word atheism describes a LACK of belief in gods. Atheism is not a belief in something, it's a LACK of belief in something. A lack of belief in gods.

As for whether atheism is "factual" in nature... the rational lack of belief in gods can be attributed to reasoning which places a greater emphasis on "facts" than theism can.

And frankly, with your statement that atheism "isn't even particularly rational in its conclusion", you're just showing your true colours. Atheism is a rational position. It's the natural logical position to hold. It's a position based on common sense and logical thought. Of course it's rational.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Your lack of ability to prove something does not equal nonexistence, just a big fat question mark and a desire to steer clear of things you don't have a true handle on anyway. Does God/god exist? Who knows? Certainly not you (or any of the rest of us for that matter). The only real rational and logical approach to take is to continue to ask questions and accept that we may never know the answer to some of our questions.
Are you currently afraid that a giant cucumber is going to fall on your house? No? Why not?

Could it be because... There's no evidence to suggest that such a cucumber exists, perhaps? Well by your reasoning, you don't KNOW that the Cucumber-o'-Damocles doesn't exist, so you should continue to ask questions about the cucumber, and at the same time accept that you may never know whether the cucumber is there, or whether it will fall on you.

And you can NEVER act under the operating assumption that the cucumber does not exist. EVER.

Perhaps following my analogy you can see how redundant and ludicrous your entire paragraph was.

There is no evidence to suggest the existence of deities, so as rational men we must not believe in deities, and we must act in life as though there are no deities. It is pointless to tentatively poke at theism from inside a security blanket of agnosticism. We must discard dependence on what MIGHT be and focus on what is. Enough of this "god-of-the-gaps". Be an atheist. Be a rational man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Face it, one does not rant on (like you do) about something being delusional w/o the absolute conviction that they are correct.
I hardly rant. Ranting implies a strident, emotional tone. Something you possess, but I do not. And the reason I say theism is delusional is that there is no evidence nor logical argument to support theism. If one believes something with NO evidence to support that belief... one is deluding oneself.

Show me some evidence or logical argument that suggests the existence of a deity, and I will gladly revise my position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Hence my use of "absolute" in describing your position on faith in general. Absolute, btw, is also a word used by you.
No, I've never described my knowledge as "absolute". You're the one who brought the word into the debate in that context, and frankly it was quite silly to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

Your statement that you have an open mind on the issue is pure bollocks.


And you started off in this thread... so well. So maturely. It's a shame it's come to this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

On the issue of atheism, your mind is about as flexible as a solid cast iron rod. Saying you're flexible on this issue is tantamount to talking out of both sides of your mouth. It simply lacks any credibility.
I don't see what you're basing this statement on. I'm quite open to any evidence of the existence of deities that anyone wants to present to me.

Is it my fault if all the evidence that theists have presented to me so far has been... no evidence at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf:

So, rail on as I'm sure you will, but understand that you're not the least bit convincing. You'll get the last word here (b/c no doubt you'd try to take it anyway ), but it will be meaningless nonetheless. I have no problem with you wanting to be an atheist, but you're torrential flow of illogical dogmatic conclusions has gotten tiresome. You've proven nothing other than that you're persistent (ly wrong). Merry Mithras day to ya.
And a happy Mithras' day to you too, Tot. Watch out for that giant cucumber.


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Old 12-24-2006, 11:51 PM   #211
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Ahem...

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Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Folks, please stay on topic. It'll keep me from having to delete unnecessary posts of silly banter bordering on flames and it'll save yourselves from wasting time creating posts that won't last. If there were an emerging side topic that presents itself for viable discussion, I'd sooner split the thread, but back-and-forth banter that's off-topic gets deleted.
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Old 12-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #212
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"Criticism of atheism" at Wikipedia.


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Old 12-25-2006, 08:04 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Unfortunate that those criticisms don't make much sense. "If you're atheist you lack ethics!" "If you're atheist you can't be happy!" "If you're atheist you're communist!" "If you're atheist then you believe in the (atheist) religion!"

Honestly, are those really supposed to be criticisms? Certainly none actually address the issue that really needs to be spoken about - evidence, which is the only thing that keeps many people from believing.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:03 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Unfortunate that those criticisms don't make much sense. "If you're atheist you lack ethics!"
This caught my eye. Atheists have harped on and harped on that Atheists are moral. Could it be said that it depends on the person rather than the belief? I would have thought that religion would have been more to teach morals that the non belief of religion.
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:35 PM   #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
This caught my eye. Atheists have harped on and harped on that Atheists are moral. Could it be said that it depends on the person rather than the belief?
Sure. Anyone can be moral or immoral. It's a decision people make.

Quote:
I would have thought that religion would have been more to teach morals that the non belief of religion.
I've not noticed a lack of ethics in the atheists on this thread. They use morality just as much as religion does, although theirs is not justified by a God's imprimatur.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:14 PM   #216
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I can understand if people think Atheists imply that Atheism is moral and believing in religion is immoral, in fact I think I've done that myself.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:37 AM   #217
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I've never met an atheist who implied that being religious equals to being immoral. If there are any then it must be a minority, probably the same one that thinks religion should be persecuted.

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Old 12-26-2006, 03:50 PM   #218
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Quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Dravis:

Unfortunate that those criticisms don't make much sense. "If you're atheist you lack ethics!" "If you're atheist you can't be happy!" "If you're atheist you're communist!" "If you're atheist then you believe in the (atheist) religion!"

Honestly, are those really supposed to be criticisms? Certainly none actually address the issue that really needs to be spoken about - evidence, which is the only thing that keeps many people from believing.
These are, unfortunately, the closest things to rational criticisms of atheism. And they're all utter nonsense.

I've lost count of how many times I've been assured by religious folk that I and all other atheists are going to burn in hell for all eternity with red-hot pokers up our... well you get the idea. So I suppose I should be glad when a religious bod pops up and states something like "You can't be moral without [Insert Religion Here]"

But I'm not glad.

Quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Dravis:

I've not noticed a lack of ethics in the atheists on this thread. They use morality just as much as religion does, although theirs is not justified by a God's imprimatur.
Found a nice clip relating to this point:

Noam Chomsky comments on faith and morality... with and without religion. (Youtube)

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

I can understand if people think Atheists imply that Atheism is moral and believing in religion is immoral, in fact I think I've done that myself.
I've certainly never heard an atheist say something so stupid as "atheism makes you moral and religion makes you amoral", and I don't think you have either, at least not in this thread.


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Old 12-26-2006, 03:54 PM   #219
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With the harping on about Atheism is moral and religion is deluded, what conclusions are we to draw on how Atheists see religion? How do they see religion if they believe Atheism is moral? How do they see it if they say religion is a delusion.
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:45 PM   #220
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Having delusional beliefs does not equate to immorality. I could believe that I have a giant pink elephant that lives in my garage (delusional) but still be a very moral person who performs good works.

Being Atheist does not make one moral, any more than being tall makes one moral. Morality is based on the individual person. With or without religion, good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things.

Morality and religion/non-religion are not always connected.



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Old 12-26-2006, 04:49 PM   #221
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

With the harping on about Atheism is moral and religion is deluded, what conclusions are we to draw on how Atheists see religion? How do they see religion if they believe Atheism is moral?
Atheists don't say "Atheism makes you moral". If you believe that atheists have said such nonsensical things in this thread, you are mistaken.

Atheism is a rational choice. As ET points out, atheism does not mean moral nor does it mean immoral.

Though many religious folk have claimed (some in this thread) that one cannot be properly moral if one is an atheist. Which is nonsense.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

How do they see it if they say religion is a delusion.
As delusional.


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Old 12-26-2006, 04:49 PM   #222
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Question

*Windu Chi inquisitively await Spider's response.*
Hmm...
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:12 PM   #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And as I said before, would it be such a bad thing if because of atheist logic, some religious person lost their delusion? A rational life is a moral life, it's a life that makes sense, it's a life with rational goals and purposes and the search for truth and right. It's a good life. And best of all, it's not a delusional life.
So here you are saying that Atheism is moral, and in your last post you said that people who follow religion are delusional. You give Atheism a bad name.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:16 PM   #224
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Nope, I said a rational life was a moral life. Not an "atheist life". There have been plenty of amoral atheists in history. But of course, I make no secret that I believe morality to be empathy + rationality.

And yes, religious people are deluding themselves. Care to provide any evidence to the contrary?


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Old 12-26-2006, 05:25 PM   #225
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Calling people who believe in religion deluded is bullying and condescending, and if this is how you see Atheism then I stand by my comment that you give Atheism a bad name. Care to provide any evidence to the contrary?
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:30 PM   #226
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Sure, I always enjoy providing evidence.

Here are some Dictionary.com definitions of the word "Delusion":

1. A false belief or opinion.
2. The state of being deluded.
3. A mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea.

So as you can see, the word "deluded" is an accurate description of those who hold religious beliefs.

As for your assertion that the word is "bullying and condescending", that's just nonsense, and of course it is merely your personal, subjective (and clearly biased) opinion.


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Old 12-26-2006, 05:41 PM   #227
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As well as windu's, Jae's and SkinWalker's.

bul·ly1 /ˈbʊli/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bool-ee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, plural -lies, verb, -lied, -ly·ing, adjective, interjection
–noun 1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

con·de·scend·ing /ˌkɒndəˈsɛndɪŋ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kon-duh-sen-ding] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective showing or implying a usually patronizing descent from dignity or superiority: They resented the older neighbors' condescending cordiality.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:49 PM   #228
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Do you really believe Skinwalker thinks that calling a religious person "deluded" is bullying? If so, you're wrong:

Quote:
Originally posted by SkinWalker:

Finally, Spider is saying religion is a delusion because... it is. Unless it can be empirically demonstrated that "religious knowledge" has some evidenciary basis in reality, there is only delusion left. The problem is, you're taking delusion to be a derogatory term when it is but a logical and parsimonious one that most succinctly defines the effect religion has upon the human psyche.
So Skin doesn't agree with you.

As for Jae and Windu... They may or may not think that the word "deluded" is nasty and bullying. But either way I really don't think that would make you correct.


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Old 12-26-2006, 05:54 PM   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Sure, I always enjoy providing evidence.

Here are some Dictionary.com definitions of the word "Delusion":

1. A false belief or opinion.
2. The state of being deluded.
3. A mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea.

So as you can see, the word "deluded" is an accurate description of those who hold religious beliefs.
Thats not entirely accurate, Spider.
We don't know if any of our beliefs or opinions are false about the existence of God or Gods.
Also you are really bullsh*ting yourself, to believe that these people got to be deluded to believe in a creator or creators of our universe; you are also being delusional, to hold that stubborn opinion or belief.
You keep on only considering the evidence only from our small local perspective of Earth, because it is "lacking" here.
The consideration of Earth as the only perspective for the possible existence of God or Gods is flawed.
You are really missing the bigger picture here; the infinite existence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
As for your assertion that the word is "bullying and condescending", that's just nonsense, and of course it is merely your personal, subjective (and clearly biased) opinion.
Thats is not nonsense it is true; I have seen several complaints from several people in this thread about your behavior, Spider.

Also I already know you are ignoring me, so you don't have to say, "I'm not responding to Windu's comments".
I have gotten the damn message over and over again, Man.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:59 PM   #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Spider Al,

I agree with all of your points. But Jae's criticism of your delivery is spot on. We'll be more effective at conveying reason if more care is taken to avoid condescension, though I'm probably guilty of it too.
Your reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
There is nothing condescending about my posts. If I appear condescending, it is because I always choose to debate with people I consider to be touting irrational arguments / holding irrational beliefs.
And...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And you know, often I feel as though I should be harsher in my criticisms than I currently am.
I think I can safely rest my case.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:11 PM   #231
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And what do any of those random quotations have to do with the question of whether calling religious people "deluded" is bullying?

I'll be honest, I can't see that they have anything to do with your assertion that the word "deluded" is inherently nasty and unpleasant.

Are you now just trying to imply things about me personally? If so, feel free. It won't make your arguments any less illogical, and it won't make my arguments any less logical.

Religious people are deluded. There is no evidence to support their belief, and so they are deluding themselves. This isn't an insult, it's a simple statement of rational fact.


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Old 12-26-2006, 06:23 PM   #232
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To call people names and go beyond debating Atheism and abuse those who believe it is wrong. To say that religion is a delusion and people who believe it are deluded is wrong, especially from someone who believes they take such a moral stance. If this is how you see morality, if you refuse to accept that people follow religion, then I charge that your view of Atheism is delusional and you are deluded.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:51 PM   #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL

Religious people are deluded. There is no evidence to support their belief, and so they are deluding themselves. This isn't an insult, it's a simple statement of rational fact.
As many people on this forum know by my angry red color comments about religion and God, that I extremely hate God and not to well comfortable with religion.
So, I could be seen as being two-faced with my following comments.

Give the very obvious fact that we exist now and the our local universe seem to be infinite if the curvature of it's spacetime metric is flat.
If we exist now, then how the hell we come to be without a creator ; also you have to explain every n creator before God, which will be a infinite explanation.
So, infinite supreme beings or Gods in a infinite existence.
The very idea of a beginning of time is absurd; because how could a creature create us if it has no time to start with; well from physics all matter and energy interactions have to have time already active, for processes to occur; A beginning creator creating time, can't because the define processes of creation of time can't proceed unless our current physical laws are invalid respect to the rest of existence.
No time to begin with, no motion to create something, according to relativity.
Unless, this theory have to be alter on the larger scale of existence.
Any creator will have to have a previous creator ad infinitum.
We can't exist without something creating our universe; that will in turn create us.
Well, that will be the logical argument, as I'm sure you know.

So, I can't for sure believe religious people are deluded with their beliefs, if I do so I will really be sh*ting myself.
I'm stuck on Earth the same as you, I don't know what is real out there, so I just believe all possiblities are true; a contradiction, but that is the only thing that keep me from going mad about how everything I experience come to be.
I just throw the dice every red moon about these complex topics.
Also I got to believe, base off my bias anger that God at least exist, since I hate him/her so much.

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Old 12-26-2006, 07:57 PM   #234
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I for one don't believe in any religion, but I respect others who do believe that there is
a God or creator or whatever......
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:09 PM   #235
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

To call people names and go beyond debating Atheism and abuse those who believe it is wrong.
Abuse is against forum rules, Nancy. If you think anyone's been abusive in this thread or any other, you should report that abuse to a moderator who will then censure the abusive party.

Let's be serious though, no atheist has been abusive in this thread, myself included.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

To say that religion is a delusion and people who believe it are deluded is wrong, especially from someone who believes they take such a moral stance. If this is how you see morality, if you refuse to accept that people follow religion, then I charge that your view of Atheism is delusional and you are deluded.
To say that religion is based on a theistic delusion is rationally correct. It is not "wrong", it is right.

And people who believe that there are deities are deluded, because they have no evidence nor logical argument upon which to base their belief. It's a delusional belief.

And since calling a delusion a delusion isn't abusive, but is instead logical and factual... it's not immoral. Therefore I have no moral issue with it. Therefore your contention is disproven.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Darth Reader:

I for one don't believe in any religion, but I respect others who do believe that there is
a God or creator or whatever......
I also respect the people: If the religious people are respectable, I respect the religious people. But I don't respect their delusional beliefs.

I respect their right to hold their beliefs, but I don't respect the beliefs. And all beliefs can legitimately be criticised. My beliefs, the beliefs of others... everyone's beliefs. That is the wonderful thing about a free society... we can criticise the beliefs of others, and in so doing we can logically examine them and divine their intrinsic worth. In other words, we can discover what is true.

Atheists get a lot of flak for critically dissecting religious beliefs. But considering religion's effect on society, it's our duty to do so. It's our right to do so. It's both necessary, and laudable.


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Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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Old 12-27-2006, 02:08 AM   #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Abuse is against forum rules, Nancy. If you think anyone's been abusive in this thread or any other, you should report that abuse to a moderator who will then censure the abusive party.
Now, you are being sarcastic toward her.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And people who believe that there are deities are deluded, because they have no evidence nor logical argument upon which to base their belief. It's a delusional belief.
You are really abandoning some basic logic here, how can our universe come from nowhere?
If you follow basic logical postulates strictly.
The asbsent of evidence is not evidence of absence; you are being delusional if you believe that no evidence is proof that surpreme beings don't exist.
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Old 12-27-2006, 03:34 AM   #237
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I would report abusive posts but I prefer to point out the fallacy of such posts, and how hiding behind 'oh it's not breaking the rules' and the like is a bullying tactic.

Browsing the FCC thread I found this comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The idea that showing anonymous coffins on a news report would decrease your personal safety in any meaningful way is ludicrous, bordering on paranoia.
This offended Jae greatly and when I said it was a sickening comment to make it was considered ad hominim. Would saying that religion is a delusion and people who believe in it also be considered ad hominim?
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Old 12-27-2006, 03:50 AM   #238
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Old 12-27-2006, 03:58 AM   #239
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Would my last post be fair enough Skin? Is it alright for me to ask whether or not saying that religion is a delusion and people who believe religion are deluded is ad hominim?
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Old 12-27-2006, 04:10 AM   #240
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Quote:
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The asbsent of evidence is not evidence of absence
People say that when they have weak arguments. Also, I don't believe Spider said anything about the universe coming out of nowhere.

@Nancy Allen``-
The thread's about Atheism, not the nature of Spider's (rather entertaining) posts and whether or not they're offensive.



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