Faith VS Atheism

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smutek
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by smutek » Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:23 pm

H20nly wrote: Moses heard "the still small voice"
Jesus went to the dessert
Buddha sat quiet and still under a tree
Muhammad meditated in a cave

the similarity is that they all sat down, shut the fuck up and listened.

...then... they moved the hearts and minds of men.

"the Kingdom of Heaven is neither here, nor there. Lo, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you." - J. Christ

8) You sir, are a poet.

Machinesworking
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by Machinesworking » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:08 pm

H20nly wrote: Trying to view God as some grandfather or judge on the bench is a feeble attempt at putting animal/human attributes on something thats bigger than all the forms of life and debris revolving east around stars in our skewed little view.
The God concept at it's core is the attempt to put a consciousness to the universe.

That, right there is the major difference between the religious and an atheist. The religious believe the universe has a creator, and a consciousness - a personality if you will. It's no wonder that people attempt to know god, and others sell them the story than they know god and can lead them to him etc. ?

Atheists believe the universe just is, no singular consciousness. It's a much more humble approach IMO.

McQ714
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by McQ714 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:56 pm

i haven't read every post so far but here's how i see it as a once baptised former catholic. "God" was a way to give an explanation for everything that was not understood and could not be explained by ancient peoples. it was also a way to keep people in check so to speak and force them into doing what was generally accepted as the greater good by scaring them into what could be if they did otherwise.

i choose not to believe or practice any religion. i think the best reason to be religious is because you feel it makes you a better person. but if i was going to believe in something, it would be to believe in myself. have faith in myself. be the best person that i can be. and to achieve that does not require the help of a book of selected ancient texts, nor does it require me to give up 10% of my income to an institution that has lied and will continue to lie to you to stay in business. that 10% would be better served going to charities, not the church.

i think there's still things that we can't explain and that will continue to drive us to find truth and reason. unfortunately we will also have the truth hidden from us by both government and church. i'm not a conspiracy theorist, however. i don't need them to tell me what to believe. i can make decisions on my own and i really don't care if they hide things that don't really have any significance with regard to me living my life.

dum
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by dum » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:03 pm

Machinesworking wrote: Atheists believe the universe just is, no singular consciousness. It's a much more humble approach IMO.
Atheists deny the existence of god. I'm not sure that's any more humble than believing in god.
Pasha wrote:Thanks dum for being so precise.

tadpole fingers
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by tadpole fingers » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:09 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Power_Building <--this is no joke. People often criminalize a religion based on a sect or two but sadly people mostly forget that there is one religion which is criminal from the bottom up....

[edit] Here is a German movie (in 9 parts with subs) based on a true story of a German mans battle with his faith in Scientology and the consequences it had on his family http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HlG2zZ-B2E very good very real very sad movie.

slatepipe
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by slatepipe » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:13 pm

McQ714 wrote:i haven't read every post so far but here's how i see it as a once baptised former catholic. "God" was a way to give an explanation for everything that was not understood and could not be explained by ancient peoples. it was also a way to keep people in check so to speak and force them into doing what was generally accepted as the greater good by scaring them into what could be if they did otherwise.

i choose not to believe or practice any religion. i think the best reason to be religious is because you feel it makes you a better person. but if i was going to believe in something, it would be to believe in myself. have faith in myself. be the best person that i can be. and to achieve that does not require the help of a book of selected ancient texts, nor does it require me to give up 10% of my income to an institution that has lied and will continue to lie to you to stay in business. that 10% would be better served going to charities, not the church.

i think there's still things that we can't explain and that will continue to drive us to find truth and reason. unfortunately we will also have the truth hidden from us by both government and church. i'm not a conspiracy theorist, however. i don't need them to tell me what to believe. i can make decisions on my own and i really don't care if they hide things that don't really have any significance with regard to me living my life.
nice. right up my street, i wish i had the intelligence that you evidently have to put it down so clear and concise

Hypomixolydian
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by Hypomixolydian » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:33 pm

Machinesworking wrote:
Hypomixolydian wrote:I'm probably asking for trouble and common sense tells me to avoid this thread, but here goes anyway.


I am a deist.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument for atheism, yet I can think of many more arguments why there must be a creator.

I say people who are athiests either haven't really thought about the issue long enough, maybe have a limited perspective, are perhaps not comfortable with the possible moral implications or just don't care. No doubt there are other boxes that categorise atheism, but I can't think of them just now.
Logic my friend. You're not using it. You posted what you believe and didn't back it up with any reason why you think there's a creator.

Here's my take:
The most likely scenario is we have no "souls", that death is the end. That our whole fixation on an afterlife and a creator is based on our own limited existence. We cannot fathom death therefore it simply doesn't exist, our souls live on, even though there is not a shred of proof otherwise. Same with a "creator", we cannot fathom a never ending universe with multiple Big Bangs, multiple universes even, endless in both space and time, so we have to have a father for it all.

This is not a limited perspective, it's taking into account mankinds own desire for immortality an importance and saying, well maybe we aren't that important in the bigger picture? and maybe our understanding is limited at best? It's actually a much more humble take than saying "I do not die, my soul lives forever, and god is looking out for me on some level". To me anyway, that's not thinking about the bigger picture at all, and a much more limited perspective. Thing is it plays into all our childhood fantasies of power, superheros, Santa, elves, vampires, etc.

I would say that you are the one who is not using logic. I didn't back up my opinion because where do I even start? There are so many ways to defend my viewpoint. I tend to wait to hear why someone is an atheist before I try to support my argument.

In essence you are saying God doesn't exist because we are afraid of death and we invented him to prevent us from going nuts. Sorry mate, but that isn't much of an argument. The simple reason why I believe there is a God: the fact that we and everything else exist.

To pre-empt the usual where did God come from? It is a question derived within a limited empirical universe, which expects a limited empirical answer. At best it leads to the philosophical stalemate of we can never really know.

At the risk of sounding like some whacked out hippy (which is kind of what I am); God transcends our knowledge and understanding. As you say yourself, our understanding is limited. I totally agree. My limited knowledge is amazed at the intricacies of life, the universe and everything from the sub atomic to the biggest thing you can imagine and beyond. After much thought I came to the logical conclusion that there is a God out there who cares and has even communicated to us. As H2Only said:
H20nly wrote:
If you read the first part of Genesis its actually chronologically in line with evolution. Call it the hand of God or a natural selection, either way it is what it is. There's a lot of ways to tell a story but when trying to describe the profound all words fall short.
It might sound simplistic, but what other way can there be? My belief isn't based on fear of death, but what I know, understand and have experienced.

There are many ways this discussion can go and whatever arguments you come up with I am sure can be counteracted. I've given you an inkling, albeit in a simple way of what I believe. The problem is that these discussions tend to be time consuming and draining, particularly via internet. Part of me doesn't want to get involved because I have other things to do and part of me thinks it is worth talking about.

plantaginate
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by plantaginate » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:23 am

Hypomixolydian wrote:God transcends our knowledge and understanding. As you say yourself, our understanding is limited.
just to touch on this. there's not even a currently agreed apon model of our own consciousness yet, nobody knows exactly what it is, or even if an idea of 'self' can be quantified and measured. the idea of quantifying consciousness intrigues me, but i'm by no means totally aware of current research. now, i do believe in 'tiers', or levels of awareness. just look at humans relationships with other animals. no one can argue humans are less aware than, for example, a rat. i even believe plants have a sort of principle awareness, even though it's quite alien to my own. it just seems logical, then, to think that the buck of consciousness doesn't stop with me. it even seems egotistical to me that someone can think that humans are the highest form of consciousness in the universe. a god which created the universe just for humans? seems unlikely. higher forms of consciousness which exist throughout the universe, sure, whether they're viewed as a god or not, probably not traditionally. i do know i would be extremely disappointed if humans were the highest form of awareness in the universe. such a waste.

nuperspective
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by nuperspective » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:45 am

there a point here regarding religious people and non-religious [atheist if you like]. if somebody shows me proof of gods existence i will change my mind. yet in the face of hugely overwhelming RATIONAL proof religious groups continue to dig there heals in and fight against the tide of enlightenment. the latest wave of arrogance being intelligent design.

i dont see myself as an atheist. i consider myself a rationalist.

richard dawkins has the following scale:

1: Strong theist. 100% certainty and belief in God. "I do not believe, I know."
2: De-facto theist. I cannot be certain of God's existence, but I strongly believe and live my life on the assumption that it is there.
3: Agnostic theist. I am uncertain, but inclined to believe in God.
4: Agnostic. God's existence and non-existence are equally probably and improbable.
5: Agnostic atheist. I am uncertain, but inclined to not believe in God.
6: De-facto atheist. I cannot know for certain, but I think God is very improbable and I live my life on the assumption that there is no God.
7: Strong atheist. I know there is no God.

he considers himself a 6.9 [as do i]. show me the proof as an rational person i will change my mind.

the bible [or any of the other big 3 religious texts] contain absolutely no moral frame work by which we should live our lives and absolutely no knowledge that can be found to be of any value.

here are some quotes from sam harris:

"Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever."

"In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."

"If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: "Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being." Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible. (23)"

this one is my favorite:

"But just imagine how breathtakingly specific a work of prophecy could be if it were actually the product of omniscience. If the Bible were such a book, it would make specific, falsifiable predictions about human events. You would expect it to contain a passage like, "In the latter half of the twentieth century, humankind will develop a globally linked system of computers — the principles of which I set forth in Leviticus — and this system shall be called the Internet." The Bible contains nothing remotely like this. In fact, it does not contain a single sentence that could not have been written by a man or woman living in the first century."

fishmonkey
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by fishmonkey » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:43 am

UKRuss wrote:I have had some sad discussions in recent times with british adults that give me great concern about the general standard of thinking and education, particularly when rational thought is subverted by their religious beliefs.

I have a middle aged muslim colleague who recounted a trip he had been on over lunch one day. He told me about these large grave of ancient folk that had been buried somewhere near mecca. The tour guide told him that the graves were large because people were larger a lomng time ago. The6y had to be larger and stronger to fight the dinosaurs. I just felt sad.

I'm fortunate that I work directly across the road from a humanist centre which at the time had a lovely fossil exhibition particularly showing early hominid skulls, clearly much smaller than our own and tested to be millions upon millions of years younger than any dinosaur fossil.

I took him to see the exhibition to try and explain that people did not coexist with dinosaurs and that early primates were much smaller than we are now.

The confusion on his face told me what I needed to know. The parental and cultural brainwashing was so strong, that even when faced with irrefutable evidence that goes against your beliefs you cannot let go of the fallacy.

I just feld sad.

It's worth pointing out that we are friends and in all other matters he speaks intellgently and we are able to have fun debates about a whole range of issues. Just not one that relates to the orgin of man and the existence of god.

I am an atheist, moreover I think of myself as a humanist.

I choose the atheist route, not agnosticism, becasue I believe that the probability of a god existing based on the scientific evidence we already have is so low that it can be ignored.

Someone else I can quote but cannot remember the who said, when questioned by a religious colleague about his atheism and what he would do if he died and was then confronted by god about his not believing;

'Not enough evidence god, not enough evidence'

I also like this quote but again cannot recal who it is by;

'Good men do good things and evil men do evil things. But for good men to do evil things, takes religion'
classic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=936R3asa ... re=related

LoopStationZebra
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by LoopStationZebra » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:56 am

plantaginate wrote:. it just seems logical, then, to think that the buck of consciousness doesn't stop with me. it even seems egotistical to me that someone can think that humans are the highest form of consciousness in the universe. a god which created the universe just for humans? seems unlikely. higher forms of consciousness which exist throughout the universe, sure, whether they're viewed as a god or not, probably not traditionally. i do know i would be extremely disappointed if humans were the highest form of awareness in the universe. such a waste.

FINALLY.
I came for the :lol:
But stayed for the :x

Machinesworking
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:23 am

dum wrote:
Machinesworking wrote: Atheists believe the universe just is, no singular consciousness. It's a much more humble approach IMO.
Atheists deny the existence of god. I'm not sure that's any more humble than believing in god.
most all atheists are more than happy to admit that the nature of the universe is an unknown factor.
What most atheists ( I cannot speak for anybody really but myself ) believe is that our own perception of the universe our religions basically, are all very vain and centered on ideas that make us comfortable.

I would agree with you if you were saying that religious people believed in a god but no afterlife. All religions that I know of have an afterlife, basically all religions purport to have an answer to a question than has no answer. So I would say that all religions no matter how humble they approach their worship etc. are less humble than someone saying that they do not know.

Most people will argue that I'm talking more about an agnostic standpoint, but that's not clear enough of a view. I'm certain I do not know what happens to the mind or counciousness when brain death sets in, but I'm equally certain that not a single religion on this planet is right, or even close.

jeskola01
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by jeskola01 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:37 am

There's a great free book/story called God Debris, that's worth reading if you're a beliver or not - it's a conversation between two men, one a beliver and the other... well - throws questions at the other guy. Very well written and throws up some interesting questions.

Here's a chapter

Do you believe in God?” the old man asked, as if we had
known each other forever but had somehow neglected to
discuss that one topic. I assumed he wanted reassurance that
his departure from this life would be the beginning of some-
thing better. I gave a kind answer.
“There has to be a God,” I said. “Otherwise, none of us
would be here.” It wasn’t much of a reason, but I figured
he didn’t need more.
“Do you believe God is omnipotent and that people
have free will?” he asked.
“That’s standard stuff for God. So, yeah.”
“If God is omnipotent, wouldn’t he know the future?”
“Sure.”
“If God knows what the future holds, then all our choices
are already made, aren’t they? Free will must be an illusion.”
12
He was clever, but I wasn’t going to fall for that trap.
“God lets us determine the future ourselves, using our free
will,” I explained.
“Then you believe God doesn’t know the future?”
“I guess not,” I admitted. “But he must prefer not
knowing.”
“So you agree that it would be impossible for God to
know the future and grant humans free will?”
“I hadn’t thought about it before, but I guess that’s
right. He must want us to find our own way, so he inten-
tionally tries not to see the future.”
“For whose benefit does God withhold his power to
determine the future?” he asked.
“Well, it must be for his own benefit, and ours, too,” I
reasoned. “He wouldn’t have to settle for less.”
The old man pressed on. “Couldn’t God give humans the
illusion of free will? We’d be just as happy as if we had actual
free will, and God would retain his ability to see the future. Isn’t
that a better solution for God than the one you suggested?”
“Why would God want to mislead us?”
“If God exists, his motives are certainly unfathomable.
No one knows why he grants free will, or why he cares
about human souls, or why pain and suffering are necessary
parts of life.”
13
your free will
“The one thing I know about God’s motives is that he
must love us, right?” I wasn’t convinced of this myself,
given all the problems in the world, but I was curious about
how he would respond.
“Love? Do you mean love in the way you understand it
as a human?”
“Well, not exactly, but basically the same thing. I mean,
love is love.”
“A brain surgeon would tell you that a specific part of
the brain controls the ability to love. If it’s damaged, people
are incapable of love, incapable of caring about others.”
“So?”
“So, isn’t it arrogant to think that the love generated by
our little brains is the same thing that an omnipotent being
experiences? If you were omnipotent, why would you limit
yourself to something that could be reproduced by a little
clump of neurons?”
I shifted my opinion to better defend it. “We must feel
something similarto God’s type of love, but not the same
way God feels it.”
“What does it mean to feel something similar to the way
God feels? Is that like saying a pebble is similar to the sun
because both are round?” he responded.
“Maybe God designed our brains to feel love the same
14
God’s Debris
way he feels it. He could do that if he wanted to.”
“So you believe God wants things. And he loves things,
similar to the way humans do. Do you also believe God
experiences anger and forgiveness?”
“That’s part of the package,” I said, committing further
to my side of the debate.
“So God has a personality, according to you, and it is
similar to what humans experience?”
“I guess so.”
“What sort of arrogance assumes God is like people?”
he asked.
“Okay, I can accept the idea that God doesn’t have a
personality exactly like people. Maybe we just assume God
has a personality because it’s easier to talk about it that way.
But the important point is that somethinghad to create real-
ity. It’s too well-designed to be an accident.”
“Are you saying you believe in God because there are no
other explanations?” he asked.
“That’s a big part of it.”
“If a stage magician makes a tiger disappear and you
don’t know how the trick could be done without real magic,
does that make it real magic?”
“That’s different. The magician knows how it’s done and
other magicians know how it’s done. Even the magician’s
15
your free will
assistant knows how it’s done. As long as someone knows
how it’s done, I can feel confident that it isn’t real magic. I
don’t personally need to know how it’s done,” I said.
“If someone very wise knew how the world was designed
without God’s hand, could that person convince you that
God wasn’t involved?”
“In theory, yes. But a person with that much knowledge
doesn’t exist.”
“To be fair, you can only be sure that you don’t know
whether that person exists or not.”


Does God have free will?” he asked.
“Obviously he does,” I said. It was the most confidence
I had felt so far in this conversation. “I’ll admit there’s some
ambiguity about whether human beings have free will, but
God is omnipotent. Being omnipotent means you can do
anything you want. If God didn’t have free will, he wouldn’t
be very omnipotent.”
“Indeed. And being omnipotent, God must be able to
peer into his own future, to view it in all its perfect detail.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re going to say that if he sees his
own future, then his choices are predetermined. Or, if he
can’t see the future, then he’s not omnipotent.”
“Omnipotence is trickier than it seems,” he said.
Last edited by jeskola01 on Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Machinesworking
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:42 am

Hypomixolydian wrote: The simple reason why I believe there is a God: the fact that we and everything else exist.
This is a really bad line of thinking. Here let me follow through with it as well.
I believe in the Easter Bunny, because Easter exists. :)
I would say that the fact that existence in general is ever expanding, that multiple universes and multiple Big Bangs, that time has no limits... all of that points to no consciousness (god) to energy. Where you see a need for a father, I seen no need.
At the risk of sounding like some whacked out hippy (which is kind of what I am); God transcends our knowledge and understanding. As you say yourself, our understanding is limited. I totally agree. My limited knowledge is amazed at the intricacies of life, the universe and everything from the sub atomic to the biggest thing you can imagine and beyond. After much thought I came to the logical conclusion that there is a God out there who cares and has even communicated to us.
Yeah you sound like a whacked out hippy. That's cool, but religion always has this little niggle of self importance doesn't it?
So he communicated with some jews and white people 2k ago eh? JUst kinda lost touch let wwII, indian massacres, mass starvations, ethnic cleansings, libraries and scientists executed by christians just a couple hundred years after Jesus etc.. the list is endless of reasons to think that if god is communicating with people he really needs to get better operators, because he keeps on hitting up evangelists in the south and ex drug addicts in western countries, but missing places like the Congo and Gaza strip. If he cares, he has a really sick way of showing it, or he's racist. <-- not trolling with that, think about it for a second.

mikemc
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Re: Faith VS Atheism

Post by mikemc » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:04 am

Machinesworking wrote: If he cares, he has a really sick way of showing it, or he's racist. <-- not trolling with that, think about it for a second.
With any communication there is the interpretation, and I think the vast majority of the issues are with the interpreters.

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