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Why believe in God?

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Topic: Why believe in God?
Posted By: Carcharodon
Subject: Why believe in God?
Date Posted: 04-Jun-2009 at 16:43
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The premise for many theological and philosophical discussions seems to be that there is a God (or gods or godesses). But why should there be a God? Is there any tangible, convincing, unambiguous proof that there is such a thing?
 
What makes people in todays world, with it´s scientific worldview, still believe in a God (s)?



Replies:
Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 04-Jun-2009 at 19:23
To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.


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"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.


Posted By: xristar
Date Posted: 04-Jun-2009 at 21:14
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.

I disagree. Science cannot explain some things. These things are perhaps things that do not NEED an explanation, for example a unique coincidence. Of course you can call it a coincidence, someone else may call it divine intervention.
Science may take fear of the unknown away from human hearts, but it also takes hope. Often there is no logical reason to hope, so one turns to the non-explicable unscientific for hope. That's what's happening when you are in desperate situations.
I think religion is part of the human spirit. It may change form, but won't die.  


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Defeat allows no explanation
Victory needs none.
It insults the dead when you treat life carelessly.


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 04-Jun-2009 at 22:24
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.


At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: es_bih
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 05:11
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.
At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.-Akolouthos


Good read Ako!

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Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 06:13
Originally posted by es_bih es_bih wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.
At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.-Akolouthos


Good read Ako!


Why thank you, es_bih. Smile

By the way, would you mind swinging by the "what makes a god a god" thread and clarifying the Muslim concept of Allah? I tried to explain the idea a bit as it relates to Christian apophatic theology, but I might have been woefully mistaken.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: docyabut
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 06:21
In my opinion if man does`nt have something to worship he worships himself that can be seen through out history. but still there is the univisable  that all in a quest to find.


Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 16:05
Sometimes I wish I could believe more than I do - one part of me say yes, but the other part won't negotiate.
 
There can be many reasons to believe, and maybe even more reasons not to believe.
For me - there are overwhelming many reasons not to belive - though, let me share an experience I had 3 years back during one of my visits to friends in US.
 
A family member, an aunt of my friend, an old woman was very close to the end (old age) - and we went (a 20 minutes drive)  to visit her a few days in the morning for half an hour or so. They have tight family bonds.
Two days in a row she told us, that her past parents and brother had come during the night to take her "home". She was eager to go with them, but she told them she wasn't ready - her son had to come home first to say goodbye.
He came the second day at noon, and after he left, she called my friend and said there was no reason to come tomorrow morning - she was all set to go.
She died that evening.
 
So yes - if we believe as strongly as auntie did - there might be a reason to believe.
I'm sure auntie came "home".
 


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Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 18:39
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.


At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.

-Akolouthos


While I have the greatest respect for what you are saying, I dislike your suggestion (Or implication perhaps?) that I haven't thought it through properly. I am not prepared to tell a person of religious belief that I think 'you simply haven't thought it through' and I expect the same courtesy in return. We each have our own path in the cosmos, don't think that just because I'm following a different one that I'm missing out.


-------------
"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 18:59
The best work on answering this question is Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion. It provides the most comprehensive review of the topic which psychology and evolutionary biology can provide us. And the most convincing I have yet read of any book.

It is not convenient for your ordinary person to carefully evaluate a scientific explanation of the world. The story of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve will take less than an hour or so to read through. Compare this to understanding the theories of evolution, our understanding of the human genome and the role of DNA in determining traits and mutation, the Big Bang, the formation of life on early earth where radioactive compounds developed from self replicating molecules into active life forms as we know them. Seriously, one form of analysis takes only hours, the other takes years of intensive study to grasp.

So one reason we believe in God is because it is more convenient than the alternatives in term of grasping the basics.

Another reason is the comfort and social inclusion we receive by accepting a commonly held ideology. Religions have had A LOT of time to compete with eachother and experiment through trial and error in order to make themselves appealing and attractive. As the centuries (many many many of them) progressed, they had the opportunity to hone their marketing, PR and compensation policies (to put it in corporate terms, as I am inclined to do). So you have a religion such as Chrisitianity, for example, which became very appealing during the later Roman Empire. It appealed to people because of its promise of forgiveness, paradise and rebirth - even for the most downtrodden ( in fact, especially for the most downtrodden). It provided hope and solace for many, and even extended its reach to material benefits in the form of charity and almsgiving (no small contribution in the absence of any form of secular welfare). Religions also encouraged people to be nice to eachother and develop a sense of community and shared values. Again, this was no small achievement. Simply getting people to behave and treat eachother nicely despite many incentives to the contrary has actually proven very challenging throughout history.

Another reason is that religions have often found a place within established power structures, to be used as a control mechanism by the establishment. The Romans understood its power to control a deeply disenfranchised populace, and used it in the form of Christianity. Arab leaders understood the electrifying power of Islam on the Bedouin tribes, and used it to rapidly conquer one of the most impressive landholdings in all history. Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.

That is basically a summation of the most important points, which I find myself agreeing with.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 22:14
Believers live a more complex and pleasantful life than atheists.

But believing should not be the goal. You should check what you believe, you should ask God to show you if he is or is not existing.

A proof for the existence of a living Absolute Being is that humans are self-conscious rational beings. Such thing could not appear from hazardous material evolutions. We have free will and that is one of the proofs that not everything is mattery, because we chose between ways of acting.

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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Cryptic
Date Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 22:21
In a practical sense, religion is needed. As Constantine alludes to, religions offer common cultural reference points and provide for a stable society. They also set limits (sometimes very broadly interperted) on human authority. Past secular alternatives such as communism to religious systems have failed badly and have led to huge loss of life once religous limits on authority were discarded (Pol Pot's year zero, cultural revolution etc). 
 
The progressive secularism advocated by President Obama and many European countries is functioning, but it has not been subject to extreme stress yet. The various religious systems have been subjected to stress and have survived. Abandoning them for an unproven system is very risky.
 
 
 
 


Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 03:18
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

That's just faith in science.
Quote
Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.

Men have never required clarity. Nor has religion tried to provide it. (Well, thats not really true, some men do require clarity, and will happily invent whatever they please to satisify themselves. But those people do not descrimate their "skills" to either the religious or non-religious, and are happy to provide us with mind destroying disinformation no matter which field that grace)
Originally posted by Ako Ako wrote:


At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.

Well said Ako.
I think it also needs to be pointed out that humans have learnt very little about the universe in comparision to what is available, and nearly all of that information is not available to people who aren't researching that field.
The ordinary person is simply star-struck at what a handful of people can do with a couple of materials. The ordinary people then get the idea that there is more benefit ascribing supernatural powers to that handful of people (mostly Physicists, Engineers, Chemists) than ascribing supernatural powers to their previous belief. That's what Parnell said when he said science kills religion. People who have no understanding of either science, technology or religion simply shift their belief from what theologians tell them to belief in how good man is.
Of course, now there are plenty of "atheist-science" theologians, so people are simply shifting from one group of theologians to another. The athesit theologians take technology as their miracles to impress the masses.
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

A family member, an aunt of my friend, an old woman was very close to the end (old age) - and we went (a 20 minutes drive)  to visit her a few days in the morning for half an hour or so. They have tight family bonds.
Two days in a row she told us, that her past parents and brother had come during the night to take her "home". She was eager to go with them, but she told them she wasn't ready - her son had to come home first to say goodbye.
He came the second day at noon, and after he left, she called my friend and said there was no reason to come tomorrow morning - she was all set to go.
She died that evening.

Great story North.
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


While I have the greatest respect for what you are saying, I dislike your suggestion (Or implication perhaps?) that I haven't thought it through properly. I am not prepared to tell a person of religious belief that I think 'you simply haven't thought it through' and I expect the same courtesy in return. We each have our own path in the cosmos, don't think that just because I'm following a different one that I'm missing out.

Its easy enough to take that implication out of what you wrote too. I think that implication is impossible to avoid in this discussion.
So I hope you know that whatever I say I mean you know ill feelings, and I'm sure Ako didn't either.
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

It is not convenient for your ordinary person to carefully evaluate a scientific explanation of the world. The story of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve will take less than an hour or so to read through. Compare this to understanding the theories of evolution, our understanding of the human genome and the role of DNA in determining traits and mutation, the Big Bang, the formation of life on early earth where radioactive compounds developed from self replicating molecules into active life forms as we know them. Seriously, one form of analysis takes only hours, the other takes years of intensive study to grasp.

So one reason we believe in God is because it is more convenient than the alternatives in term of grasping the basics.

Given the massive amount of scientific ignorance in the general community. I can easily say that people fail to believe in God because it is more convenient than the alternatives in term of grasping the basics.
People generally fail to grasp the basics of both religion and measurement, regardless of which they believe in.

Your last sentence relies on the assumption that intelligent people are more likely to be atheist. Which is obviously false. Dawkins himself is guilty of what he preaches.
Quote Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.

That is true for atheism in the strict dictionary definition, but it is not true for modern western atheism.
It has its preists (like Dawkins), its adherents, and its religious duties. It certainly both unites and controls people, and most certainly is a source for both inspiration and fear to motivate. It has prophets (Darwin), its places of pilgrimage (Galapagos, Natural History Museum), its body of religious knowledge, and it is completely detached from science. I mean, how many people have ever heard of Lamark?

People don't change because their beliefs change.

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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 04:08
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


That is true for atheism in the strict dictionary definition, but it is not true for modern western atheism.
It has its preists (like Dawkins), its adherents, and its religious duties. It certainly both unites and controls people, and most certainly is a source for both inspiration and fear to motivate. It has prophets (Darwin), its places of pilgrimage (Galapagos, Natural History Museum), its body of religious knowledge, and it is completely detached from science. I mean, how many people have ever heard of Lamark?

People don't change because their beliefs change.


Nice to see you guys again, Omar Northman, and Ako.
Also, never really saw you before Parnell (kudos to your name, Charles Parnell is one of my favorite figures in Irish history), but you seem to be pretty cool Irishman. You remind me a lot of Paul.

There is no religion of atheism. Sure, some atheists like to think that we are some sort of club, but we are not. Alright, there are some trendy people who think atheism is the new "cool" fad. But the mainstay of us don't believe because we don't believe. We don't believe because God was never actually proven to us, He was taken for granted. We believed in God because our friends did, our families did, basically because we were taught to. Why complicate things? People believe in religions because they want answers to questions that mankind might never know the answers to. It's easier, and it's more comforting thinking that you have an omnipotent guy up the sky on your side. I can understand why people believe, but that's why I don't believe. It's simply the easier way out. It's harder to say you don't know than it is to say you do.

We don't look at the world looking to know the answer, we just look at the world and cherish it for all its worth. We don't want a religion to replace our old one (I was raised Catholic). You have to be joking when calling Darwin a religious prophet, or the Galapagos a pilgrimage. Darwin was a brilliant scientist first, and never actually wrote a book about religion. But he did write two great books about science. Atheism is not Islam or Christianity. We do not even meet on a day of the week. What would we worship? Dawkins? Heck, most atheists have come up with half of his arguments on their own, they just aren't cashing in for it. Most of us really do not care what other people believe, and unlike other systems of belief (or for this one, the lack thereof), we are not starting wars over it. I have a couple of friends who are atheists, but about 80% of my friends are Christians. I just cannot see the connection between a religion in which you are a confirmed member where you meet with people every week for the sole purpose of talking about your religion and worshipping a supreme being, and a rag tag group that doesn't meet, have any sort of bureaucracy or hierarchy structure, and is only connected by their disbelief/dislike of something. It's like comparing Star Trek haters to Trekkies.


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Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 04:27
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

To put it simply, there is little reason to believe in God.

In the days when science was unable explain the existence of the sun, or the moon, or Volcanic eruptions, or oceans, or anything else, it all seemed so very clear and simple - There simply must be an all powerful being that created all this. Religion has always struggled against science, and as science slowly begins to explain all the things religion takes for granted it kills religion.

Religion is man made, just like any philosophy. We needed clarity, now we have it, and we no longer need religion.


At the most basic level, there is something to what you have said here. We can, indeed, explain many things that were once considered divine mysteries. Still, I think it all depends how deeply you wish to question. For instance, if you are satisfied with a rather superficial understanding of the physical happenstances in the universe, bravo; you may never even think about questions having to do with the divine. If you wish, however, to question the contingency of these events, the idea that there might be a sort of pattern to it all, etc., then you will have to turn to questions dealing with God and other theological concepts. The more abstract -- and consequently the more penetrating -- your questions, the more they will inevitably lead to things that are difficult to categorize and quantify.

-Akolouthos


While I have the greatest respect for what you are saying, I dislike your suggestion (Or implication perhaps?) that I haven't thought it through properly. I am not prepared to tell a person of religious belief that I think 'you simply haven't thought it through' and I expect the same courtesy in return. We each have our own path in the cosmos, don't think that just because I'm following a different one that I'm missing out.


I'm sorry for giving offense, as it was not my intent. I certainly didn't mean to implicate that you hadn't thought things through -- although, upon reflection, I do see how one could take my post that way; mea culpa. Please accept my apologies for the poor phrasing.

What I was suggesting, rather, was that whether or not one has all of their questions answered -- by the physical sciences, or any other field -- depends on what sort of questions they are asking. If you are asking questions that can be quantified -- let us call them the "whats" of the universe, although this doesn't capture entirely what I am speaking of -- then the physical sciences suffice. If you are asking the "whys" of the universe, they do not. Of course there is some overlap between the "whats" and the "whys" -- and here we have not even discussed the "hows" -- but I hope this clarifies my earlier comments somewhat.

I do have the greatest respect for you, Parnell, as you are aware from our other discussions. Smile I apologize, once again, for the unintended offense. Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything I have written above.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 04:44
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

It is not convenient for your ordinary person to carefully evaluate a scientific explanation of the world. The story of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve will take less than an hour or so to read through. Compare this to understanding the theories of evolution, our understanding of the human genome and the role of DNA in determining traits and mutation, the Big Bang, the formation of life on early earth where radioactive compounds developed from self replicating molecules into active life forms as we know them. Seriously, one form of analysis takes only hours, the other takes years of intensive study to grasp.


And here, I think, is a prime example of an invalid assumption we make in the postmodern era. Certainly, if one wishes to take the events recorded in the Book of Genesis as a simple storyline and look no further, I suppose it could be gone over in several hours. The same is true of any scientific textbook; the basics of any system are easy enough to pick up. If, however, one wishes to understand the fallen state of Man, the purpose of the Creation to begin with, etc., going through Genesis, and the thousands of pages of commentary that have been written on it down through the ages, takes a bit more work. One of them most popular subjects of commentary in the early post-Nicene Church was the Hexaemeron. Once again, it all depends what sort of questions one seeks to answer.

Quote Another reason is the comfort and social inclusion we receive by accepting a commonly held ideology. Religions have had A LOT of time to compete with eachother and experiment through trial and error in order to make themselves appealing and attractive. As the centuries (many many many of them) progressed, they had the opportunity to hone their marketing, PR and compensation policies (to put it in corporate terms, as I am inclined to do). So you have a religion such as Chrisitianity, for example, which became very appealing during the later Roman Empire. It appealed to people because of its promise of forgiveness, paradise and rebirth - even for the most downtrodden ( in fact, especially for the most downtrodden). It provided hope and solace for many, and even extended its reach to material benefits in the form of charity and almsgiving (no small contribution in the absence of any form of secular welfare). Religions also encouraged people to be nice to eachother and develop a sense of community and shared values. Again, this was no small achievement. Simply getting people to behave and treat eachother nicely despite many incentives to the contrary has actually proven very challenging throughout history.


Largely valid, although to take the various periods of persecution into account would bear some fleshing out. I don't know that one could view embracing religion today as a way of gaining wide acceptance and inclusion in Western culture.

Quote Another reason is that religions have often found a place within established power structures, to be used as a control mechanism by the establishment. The Romans understood its power to control a deeply disenfranchised populace, and used it in the form of Christianity. Arab leaders understood the electrifying power of Islam on the Bedouin tribes, and used it to rapidly conquer one of the most impressive landholdings in all history. Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.


It does not become a powerful motivating factor or system unless the issue is cast in terms of "us vs. them", which is precisely what individuals like Dawkins, and in a more deliberately humorous way Hitchens, are seeking to do. When a group of individuals is united against another group, they achieve a stronger group identity. In this sense, the system -- or even "religion" -- of atheist prosyletizers bears a strong resemblance to that of the most narrow-minded religious dogmatist.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 04:49
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

Nice to see you guys again, Omar Northman, and Ako.
Also, never really saw you before Parnell (kudos to your name, Charles Parnell is one of my favorite figures in Irish history), but you seem to be pretty cool Irishman. You remind me a lot of Paul.

There is no religion of atheism. Sure, some atheists like to think that we are some sort of club, but we are not. Alright, there are some trendy people who think atheism is the new "cool" fad. But the mainstay of us don't believe because we don't believe. We don't believe because God was never actually proven to us, He was taken for granted. We believed in God because our friends did, our families did, basically because we were taught to. Why complicate things? People believe in religions because they want answers to questions that mankind might never know the answers to.


Great to see you again too! It's been too long. Smile

If your beliefs are still the same as they were when last we discussed the topic, then yes, I do understand where you are coming from here. I would generally characterize your position, for the purposes of simplification and wider understanding, as "agnosticism", but I do understand the sense in which you use the term atheist. Indeed, I believe you use it validly, when reflecting back on our conversation several years ago; I just don't know that it would be understood in the proper sense by someone who hadn't discussed the issue with you previously. My criticisms above are directed more at the people who do view it as a sort of club.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 06:14
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Given the massive amount of scientific ignorance in the general community. I can easily say that people fail to believe in God because it is more convenient than the alternatives in term of grasping the basics.
People generally fail to grasp the basics of both religion and measurement, regardless of which they believe in.

Your last sentence relies on the assumption that intelligent people are more likely to be atheist. Which is obviously false. Dawkins himself is guilty of what he preaches.


I think most people fail to grasp the basics in most, because most people don't care enough to investigate either option.

You are incorrect in your second praragraph though. I never made any assumption about intelligence. The key word there was convenient: it is simply more convenient and easy to go along with a book you can read in under a week than spend many years taking the classes, exams and practical experiments in the natural sciences which refute claims of the existence of a divinity.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

That is true for atheism in the strict dictionary definition, but it is not true for modern western atheism.
It has its preists (like Dawkins)...


Please explain how Dawkins is equivalent to a priest. I disagree that he is the equivalent to one.

Quote its adherents


So do rock bands, McDonalds and the nice designer shirt I wore out today. Those things are as comparable to religion as orange juice or facebook.

Quote and its religious duties


Please name them. I certainly can't think of any enforced duties that I am required to undertake. I disagree here.


Quote It certainly both unites and controls people, and most certainly is a source for both inspiration and fear to motivate.


But in a way comparable to a force which permeates the whole of society and dictates what we eat, who/when/where/how of the sex we have, our personal hygiene? As a force which dictates and justifies the type of government we have? (no, Communism does not count, as that is based on Marx's theory of material inevitability, not on the need for Atheism). Nope. Virtually no one takes it that seriously. Maybe some like to imagine a great big regiment of militant atheists scheming in their amphetamines dens, but it is simply untrue. There is virtually no atheist sub-culture (this fantasy is instead an invention fo conservative individuals who believe an us vs. them world simply must exist), and atheism has virtually no scope to control, unite or inflict fear on people in a way comparable to theist belief systems.

Quote It has prophets (Darwin), its places of pilgrimage (Galapagos, Natural History Museum), its body of religious knowledge, and it is completely detached from science. I mean, how many people have ever heard of Lamark?


How is Dawkins a prophet? Is the man who reads me the news everyday also a Prophet, for stating observed facts?

Galapagos is not a place of Pilgrimage. Darwin came up with something important there, but no one venerates the place compared to the Ganges, Jerusalem or Mecca. It is just a place where a landmark theory was developed. Nothing more, nothing less.

What makes its body of knowledge religious rather than just regular knowledge?

Atheism itself is just the one belief that there is no God. So it isn't really related to anything. But justification for it as an alternative to theist belief systems is abundant in the natural sciences. It is no coincidence that Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist.

I studied Lamarck's theory, and while it would appear logical to a 19th century mind it does not stand up to what we know about DNA sequencing, mutations and the genome of species. Darwin's theory, on the other hand, complements our 20th century understanding of the role of the genome beautifully. So what if Lamarck's less convincing theory is less well known.



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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 06:25
Religions and the atheist doctrine are all belief systems. Religious people believe in what they don't see, atheists believe only in what they can touch.

For this reason, atheists are more limited and biased because they reduce the sources of knowledges at the posibilities of their five senses.

Why should we believe in the atheist doctrine?

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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 06:36
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

And here, I think, is a prime example of an invalid assumption we make in the postmodern era. Certainly, if one wishes to take the events recorded in the Book of Genesis as a simple storyline and look no further, I suppose it could be gone over in several hours. The same is true of any scientific textbook; the basics of any system are easy enough to pick up. If, however, one wishes to understand the fallen state of Man, the purpose of the Creation to begin with, etc., going through Genesis, and the thousands of pages of commentary that have been written on it down through the ages, takes a bit more work. One of them most popular subjects of commentary in the early post-Nicene Church was the Hexaemeron. Once again, it all depends what sort of questions one seeks to answer.


You could also argue that the Mona Lisa is more complex than all the books on physics ever written, or any religious text. Not because this is true, but because the substance and nature of the Mona Lisa is determined esoterically and can be reinterpreted so many times as to mean almost anything. The same is typical of religious belief systems (hence the vast number of them which exist and compete with eachother). Sure, we could reinterpret the same passage over and over again until it means anything and everything. But people will generally go for the literal meaning of what they read.

This is what happens in the natural sciences which compete in providing evidence for creation and the existence of divinity. Plenty of complicated jargon, but the literal meaning of the text is what is important, not whatever esoteric interpretations we wish to attach on extra after we have read it. So at the end of the day we do have two bodies of knowledge, and one is simply more vast than the other, and hence requires more patience and sheer work to properly understand even at the basic level. Of course if we each started ascribing our own personal esoteric non-literal 'takes' on passages written by Darwin and Dawkins, then we could be here until the end of time.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Largely valid, although to take the various periods of persecution into account would bear some fleshing out. I don't know that one could view embracing religion today as a way of gaining wide acceptance and inclusion in Western culture.


The transition from primate hunter gatherer to civilised human being was never going to be easy. Hence, even a good belief system would make errors. And in any case, persecution was a feature of a strong and successful belief system. The Abrahamic religions were especially big on persecuting heretics and enforcing dogma, which is one of the reasons they simply defeated the less strict pagan belief systems around them.

As for the modern era, well if you go to church you then have an especially well disposed sub culture to welcome you and make you feel part of something. If you are an atheist.... well, so what? No one hosts atheist dinner parties, or gives random strangers a hi5 when upon learning they are also an atheist. The incentive to be part of a group is still here in today's world, perhaps even stronger since most people in your church are likely true believers rather than simply dragged along by their families to conform as has been more common the case in the past.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


It does not become a powerful motivating factor or system unless the issue is cast in terms of "us vs. them", which is precisely what individuals like Dawkins, and in a more deliberately humorous way Hitchens, are seeking to do. When a group of individuals is united against another group, they achieve a stronger group identity. In this sense, the system -- or even "religion" -- of atheist prosyletizers bears a strong resemblance to that of the most narrow-minded religious dogmatist.


No, we do not need an us vs. them complex for this to work. You want to create stable family units which are cohesive households (easier to tax in ancient times) - tell people god will kill them for adultery. Your enemies are attacking you and you can't raise the cash to equip an army - tell people they will go to heaven if they die fighting for a god given mission. You want to remain in power even though you are a languid and unattractive ruler - tell people that god put you there and defying you means also defying the divine.

So you see a control system does not need an adversarial competition going on, it just needs someone who is imaginative and really wants to get people to do things they ordinarily won't do.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 06:43
Why to believe in God? Why not?
 
Actually, i am agnostic. Which simply means I don't know the answer if God exist or not.


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Adalwolf
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 07:59
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

The premise for many theological and philosophical discussions seems to be that there is a God (or gods or godesses). But why should there be a God? Is there any tangible, convincing, unambiguous proof that there is such a thing?
 
What makes people in todays world, with it´s scientific worldview, still believe in a God (s)?


Why believe in  gods? Because you can see their work in everything. You can feel their presence. And frankly, because it is right.




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Concrete is heavy; iron is hard--but the grass will prevail.
     Edward Abbey


Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 10:59
Quote That's just faith in science.


No its not. I'm not a scientist, and I cannot properly discuss science with people who know it, who work with it or study it. I suppose in a way this does make me a 'believer' in science as opposed to someone who truly understands it.

I look at it as a matter of reason. Over time people needed answers to questions far beyond their capacities to answer. Religion filled that gap. Now science has offered reasonable answers. Therefore religion is no longer required. Thats how I view it.


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"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.


Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 11:01
I should probably add that I'm 10% Christian, 80% agnostic and 10% Atheist, depending on mood. Somedays I see something which makes me think there is a pattern to everything - sort of like fate.

Then all I have to do is remind myself of times when I took pretty strong weed or ecstasy, when I was convinced that the world had a pattern and that I was somehow an integral part of it...

So yeah, I view religion as an illusion. Don't get me wrong, a very comfertable illusion I'm sure but not one I've ever found myself really believing.

P.S- Barbarossa: It is impolitic to compare me to Paul LOL


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"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 13:17
I'm worried somewhat by the phrasing of the question. 'Why believe in God' seems to indicate a choice is being made - it implies that there is some motive or reason for believing in God - some expectation of gain in doing so. But surely anyone who 'believes in God' simply for some reason or another doesn't really believe in God at all?
 
This isn't to deny there are people who profess belief in God in the expectation of some kind of gain, emotional or otherwise, because there obviously are.
 
There's another way of reading the question in which it asks for the causes of belief in God- as one might ask what evolutionary benefits does the belief in God provide, or discuss how far it is a question of nurture or nature or both combining. In that case however there is no question of choice involved, and I'm kind of interested in how far someone who chooses to believe in God (or anything else) can be said really to believe.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Cryptic
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 14:13
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

. Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.
Sure it does. The environmentalist movement is heavily atheist / agnsotic. The gospels of environmentalism,  global warming and the purported concequences are used to advance political and social agendas. At times, violence is used against blasphamers.  (Environmental terrorism). Some believers make extreme sacrifices (Italian couple that sterilized themselves for the "sake of the planet"). The high priests of atheism / environmentalism continously solicit donations from the faithful using the same psychological leverages as theists.  Some of the high priests of Atheism undoubtably embezzle or misuse the donations sent by their faithful.   
 
Some Atheist high priests are guilty of hypocrisy by using science to "disprove" a belief in a divine being while pushing the psuedo science of global warming as their own "gospel", a gospel that is not subject to question or rejection. Those that do, are of course, guilty of blasphemy.  
 
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


It has its preists (like Dawkins), its adherents, and its religious duties. It certainly both unites and controls people, and most certainly is a source for both inspiration and fear to motivate. It has prophets (Darwin), its places of pilgrimage (Galapagos, Natural History Museum), its body of religious knowledge
Well said.  
 
 


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 15:18
[quote=Cryptic]}
Sure it does. The environmentalist movement is heavily atheist / agnsotic. The gospels of environmentalism,  global warming and the purported concequences are used to advance political and social agendas. At times, violence is used against blasphamers.  (Environmental terrorism). Some believers make extreme sacrifices (Italian couple that sterilized themselves for the "sake of the planet"). The high priests of atheism / environmentalism continously solicit donations from the faithful using the same psychological leverages as theists.  Some of the high priests of Atheism undoubtably embezzle or misuse the donations sent by their faithful.   
 
Some Atheist high priests are guilty of hypocrisy by using science to "disprove" a belief in a divine being while pushing the psuedo science of global warming as their own "gospel", a gospel that is not subject to question or rejection. Those that do, are of course, guilty of blasphemy.  {/quote]

provide evidence for your claims, then we can discuss them (one couple getting sterilised does not count as evidence for a demographic which encompases an average of 15% of the developed world's population)


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 15:28
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

. Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.
Sure it does. The environmentalist movement is heavily atheist / agnsotic. 
No it isn't at least not particularly. In fact a whole swathe of it has overt religious associations including a lot of New Age and Gaian believers as well as adherents of more established religions.
 
In fact I have no idea where you get the idea from. Most of the environmentalists I meet, especially the fundamentalist ones are heavily religious. Very little of the movement seems to be concerned with the immmediate practical issues that on the whole one would expect from the irreligious or the humanists, like me.
Quote
The gospels of environmentalism,  global warming and the purported concequences are used to advance political and social agendas. At times, violence is used against blasphamers.  (Environmental terrorism). Some believers make extreme sacrifices (Italian couple that sterilized themselves for the "sake of the planet").
That's pretty religious behaviour. Sounds very like the cult of Cybele. Or indeed some early Christian examples. http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw - http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw  
Quote
The high priests of atheism / environmentalism continously solicit donations from the faithful using the same psychological leverages as theists.  Some of the high priests of Atheism undoubtably embezzle or misuse the donations sent by their faithful.   
Same point. And to conflate atheism with environmentalism is simply ridiculous.
 
Why you should claim that only religious people pollute the atmosphere or destroy the forests or use up inordinate amounts of plastic I have no idea. Personally I know lots of religious people who are very meticulous in that regard.
 


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 15:37
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

...The key word there was convenient: it is simply more convenient and easy to go along with a book you can read in under a week than spend many years taking the classes, exams and practical experiments in the natural sciences which refute claims of the existence of a divinity.

 
Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


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Copyright 2004 Seko


Posted By: Cryptic
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 16:54
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

In fact I have no idea where you get the idea from. Most of the environmentalists I meet, especially the fundamentalist ones are heavily religious.  
The ones I have met are very secular. Likewise the literature that I read presented by these groups did not contain any religious messages. Of course, here in the the USA, declared atheists are rare. So that raises the question of when does a very nominal Christian etc become a de facto atheist or agnostic.  
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

That's pretty religious behaviour. Sounds very like the cult of Cybele. Or indeed some early Christian examples. http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw - http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw  
You are right, it is religious behavior. The followers simply substituted subserviance to theistic beliefs with subserviance to science /  environmentalism. As Omar pointed out, the underlying concepts are the same.
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Same point. And to conflate atheism with environmentalism is simply ridiculous.
I did not conflate it. I simply stated that enviromentalism is heavily atheist or agnsotic.


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 16:57
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

Nice to see you guys again, Omar Northman, and Ako.
Also, never really saw you before Parnell (kudos to your name, Charles Parnell is one of my favorite figures in Irish history), but you seem to be pretty cool Irishman. You remind me a lot of Paul.

There is no religion of atheism. Sure, some atheists like to think that we are some sort of club, but we are not. Alright, there are some trendy people who think atheism is the new "cool" fad. But the mainstay of us don't believe because we don't believe. We don't believe because God was never actually proven to us, He was taken for granted. We believed in God because our friends did, our families did, basically because we were taught to. Why complicate things? People believe in religions because they want answers to questions that mankind might never know the answers to.


Great to see you again too! It's been too long. Smile

If your beliefs are still the same as they were when last we discussed the topic, then yes, I do understand where you are coming from here. I would generally characterize your position, for the purposes of simplification and wider understanding, as "agnosticism", but I do understand the sense in which you use the term atheist. Indeed, I believe you use it validly, when reflecting back on our conversation several years ago; I just don't know that it would be understood in the proper sense by someone who hadn't discussed the issue with you previously. My criticisms above are directed more at the people who do view it as a sort of club.

-Akolouthos


I'm actually more atheist than I was a couple years ago (I went from 50% chance of divine powers, purely agnostic agnostic, to a more atheist belief through equating it the chances of ghosts, fairies, etc. ~1%). Actual atheism is simply the disbelief in theism, so I think almost anyone that does not believe in a god qualifies.

Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

Sure it does. The environmentalist movement is heavily atheist / agnsotic. The gospels of environmentalism,  global warming and the purported concequences are used to advance political and social agendas. At times, violence is used against blasphamers.  (Environmental terrorism). Some believers make extreme sacrifices (Italian couple that sterilized themselves for the "sake of the planet"). The high priests of atheism / environmentalism continously solicit donations from the faithful using the same psychological leverages as theists.  Some of the high priests of Atheism undoubtably embezzle or misuse the donations sent by their faithful.  


How is the environmentalist movement atheist? Al Gore, if you want to call him the "high priest" of environmentalism, is religious. Besides, many religious people are environmentalist because they view destroying this world with destroying God's own precious and special creation.

Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:


Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


I think the fact that the natural sciences do not directly confirm and show that divinity is not necessary does not help divinity's claims. I mean, time after time natural science has replaced the absurd divine myths that man used to explain the world in ancient times.

Originally posted by Omar al Hasim Omar al Hasim wrote:


That's just faith in science.


Faith in science is about the same faith as the faith in my senses. When you can sense something, it's not faith, it's real, it's tangible, it's there.

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


P.S- Barbarossa: It is impolitic to compare me to Paul LOL


I meant it in the best way possible. Smile


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Posted By: Cryptic
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 17:08
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:


How is the environmentalist movement atheist? Al Gore, if you want to call him the "high priest" of environmentalism, is religious.
I did not say that it was atheist, I said that it was heavily atheist or agnostic. This is especially so as one moves towards the more extreme groups. There are exceptions (Al Gore). The core concept is that these people have simply substituted faith in science as expressed through environmentalism for theistic faith.  Read the material of the environmentalists. They have in effect created their own secula religion.


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 17:49
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

You could also argue that the Mona Lisa is more complex than all the books on physics ever written, or any religious text. Not because this is true, but because the substance and nature of the Mona Lisa is determined esoterically and can be reinterpreted so many times as to mean almost anything.


And, in fact, I would argue that -- although I'd probably pick a different painting. I've never seen what the big deal was with that smile. Wink

Quote The same is typical of religious belief systems (hence the vast number of them which exist and compete with eachother). Sure, we could reinterpret the same passage over and over again until it means anything and everything. But people will generally go for the literal meaning of what they read.

This is what happens in the natural sciences which compete in providing evidence for creation and the existence of divinity. Plenty of complicated jargon, but the literal meaning of the text is what is important, not whatever esoteric interpretations we wish to attach on extra after we have read it. So at the end of the day we do have two bodies of knowledge, and one is simply more vast than the other, and hence requires more patience and sheer work to properly understand even at the basic level. Of course if we each started ascribing our own personal esoteric non-literal 'takes' on passages written by Darwin and Dawkins, then we could be here until the end of time.


Methinks thou wouldst make a good fundamentalist were you an adherent. Wink Yes, people, if left to their own devices, or what Luther optimistically called "evident reason", will generally go to the most literal interpretation of any given passage of Scripture first; whether or not they choose to remain there is up to them. It certainly doesn't present a very broad application. If you wish to find someone to argue for a basic, literal interpretation of Scripture with you, I'm not your man.

With regard to Darwin or Dawkins, I think you might have missed the dichotomy I was -- albeit in a poorly phrased manner -- trying to establish between the different sorts of questions one might ask. When one is seeking to establish and quantify data, a basic, literal reading will usually suffice. When one is seeking to apply a metaphysical or cosmological system, it will not. Darwin is the former, Christianity is the latter, and Dawkins is somewhere in between, depending on what you read. Wink

As for which body of knowledged is more vast, it would depend whether you were speaking of vastness in terms of application or in terms of assertion.

Quote The transition from primate hunter gatherer to civilised human being was never going to be easy. Hence, even a good belief system would make errors. And in any case, persecution was a feature of a strong and successful belief system. The Abrahamic religions were especially big on persecuting heretics and enforcing dogma, which is one of the reasons they simply defeated the less strict pagan belief systems around them.


I was referring more to the time period at the beginning when the Church did not have the apparatus of the Roman state behind it; when it was, quite often at odds with that state, and often persecuted. I think your explanation holds well for the post-Nicene Church through the Early-Modern era. I think it is less applicable to the period after, and wholly inapplicable to the period before.

Quote As for the modern era, well if you go to church you then have an especially well disposed sub culture to welcome you and make you feel part of something. If you are an atheist.... well, so what? No one hosts atheist dinner parties, or gives random strangers a hi5 when upon learning they are also an atheist. The incentive to be part of a group is still here in today's world, perhaps even stronger since most people in your church are likely true believers rather than simply dragged along by their families to conform as has been more common the case in the past.


Atheist culture in Australia might be different than it is here in the States. Suffice it to say that there are dinner parties, discussion groups, high-fives, and occasionally even quasi-churches formed. This is largely the result of the prosyletizing of individuals such as Dawkins coupled with the fact that, in America, atheists are still existing in a cultural context which emphasizes religious belief -- albeit less so than it has in the past. To these two factors, add the increasing dogmatization of our political ideologies, and you have your separate subculture. I'd be interested to hear a bit of analysis as to how things are over there.

Quote No, we do not need an us vs. them complex for this to work. You want to create stable family units which are cohesive households (easier to tax in ancient times) - tell people god will kill them for adultery. Your enemies are attacking you and you can't raise the cash to equip an army - tell people they will go to heaven if they die fighting for a god given mission. You want to remain in power even though you are a languid and unattractive ruler - tell people that god put you there and defying you means also defying the divine.

So you see a control system does not need an adversarial competition going on, it just needs someone who is imaginative and really wants to get people to do things they ordinarily won't do.


I think you misread me here, which is likely a result of my legendarily imprecise writing. I was taking your basic assumption as a given under certain circumstances, and then applying it to the context in which we -- or at least I -- live, where this assumption does not apply. Thus, I was not saying that Christianity requires a certain context to become a system of motivation and authoritarian control -- although this is a broader issue which we could flesh out in another thread. I was explaining the circumstances which need to exist -- and do, in the postmodern era -- for atheism to become a system of motivation and, to a lesser extent, authoritarian control. Feel free to re-read what I wrote above in that light, and ask me for clarification if need be. I don't want to respond yet, seeing as we were speaking past each other, for fear we might get a bit further off track.

Always a pleasure, Cosntantine XI. Smile

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 17:56
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I'm worried somewhat by the phrasing of the question. 'Why believe in God' seems to indicate a choice is being made - it implies that there is some motive or reason for believing in God - some expectation of gain in doing so. But surely anyone who 'believes in God' simply for some reason or another doesn't really believe in God at all?
 
This isn't to deny there are people who profess belief in God in the expectation of some kind of gain, emotional or otherwise, because there obviously are.
 
There's another way of reading the question in which it asks for the causes of belief in God- as one might ask what evolutionary benefits does the belief in God provide, or discuss how far it is a question of nurture or nature or both combining. In that case however there is no question of choice involved, and I'm kind of interested in how far someone who chooses to believe in God (or anything else) can be said really to believe.


You have touched, here, on the deeper question of what, precisely, faith is. In fact, that would be a wonderful topic for a sister thread to your thread dealing with what God is -- although the Scriptures teach us simply that He Is.

I would say that you've dealt with the question fairly well; faith and belief -- two separate, inseparable aspects of our spiritual makeup. Faith is not antithetical to doubt; rather is doubt necessary for faith, which leads to belief. Faith and belief are united in a matrix which includes nature, nurture, and, if you believe in Elfland, external action. Wink

-Akolouthos


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 19:42
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

In fact I have no idea where you get the idea from. Most of the environmentalists I meet, especially the fundamentalist ones are heavily religious.  
The ones I have met are very secular. Likewise the literature that I read presented by these groups did not contain any religious messages.
Again I have the opposite reaction. I would certainly have thought humanism was much more common among atheists and agnostics than environmentalism would be, at least fundamentalist environmentalism. http://home.earthlink.net/~wodensharrow/earthlinks.html#gaia - http://home.earthlink.net/~wodensharrow/earthlinks.html#gaia  for intance
Quote
 Of course, here in the the USA, declared atheists are rare. So that raises the question of when does a very nominal Christian etc become a de facto atheist or agnostic.  
I don't see why it particularly raises that question. The question that seems to arise is what do you class a religious behaviour? Fervent devotion to the environment would seem to be a classic case of religiousness.
Quote
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

That's pretty religious behaviour. Sounds very like the cult of Cybele. Or indeed some early Christian examples. http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw - http://tinyurl.com/oszqsw  
You are right, it is religious behavior. The followers simply substituted subserviance to theistic beliefs with subserviance to science /  environmentalism. As Omar pointed out, the underlying concepts are the same.
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Same point. And to conflate atheism with environmentalism is simply ridiculous.
I did not conflate it. I simply stated that enviromentalism is heavily atheist or agnsotic.
I was referring to your reference to "The high priests of atheism / environmentalism " as if atheism and ebvironmentalism were the same thing.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 19:46
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:


Actual atheism is simply the disbelief in theism, so I think almost anyone that does not believe in a god qualifies.
Actually I disagree with that, since it seems to me that the concept of 'atheos' - godlessness - was coined before 'atheism' which is therefore better parsed as 'athe(o)-ist' someone who positively believes in the state of being godless, and not as 'a-theist' implying someone who is not a theist.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 19:48
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

They have in effect created their own secula religion.
I can see that many of them have created their own religion. I just don't see what is secular about it. It's religious, that's all.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 19:50
People have always believed in God and always will.

Why believe in God? to a believer the world, universe, nature, our ability to think, basically everything you can think of is proof of God as everything was created.


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      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 19:54
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

People have always believed in God and always will.
I doub t that is justified. Drop the capital G and add an 's' and you'd have a better chance. Make it 'people have always believed in supernatural beings and always will' and you'd be really close.
Quote
Why believe in God? to a believer the world, universe, nature, our ability to think, basically everything you can think of is proof of God as everything was created.
Possibly, but it doesn't answer the question. To a non-believer that isn't true, so why should he change his mind?


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 20:23
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:


Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:


Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


I think the fact that the natural sciences do not directly confirm and show that divinity is not necessary does not help divinity's claims. I mean, time after time natural science has replaced the absurd divine myths that man used to explain the world in ancient times.




The fact that natural sciences do not confirm divinity? That's what I'm trying to find out. How? So what you're saying is that because absurd divine myths have been replaced by natural sciences that means, in your assumption, there is no divinity? Please continue.


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Copyright 2004 Seko


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 22:03
I seems that more and more religious myths are being debunked by increased knowledge and science. That makes religious people inventing new myths or just put their heads in the sand and deny the scientific results (as the creationists do). Such things make their claims less and less believable and also makes the belief in divinty more questionable. If the myths doesn´t hold for any further scrutiny why should the claims of a divine being(s) do so?


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 22:55
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:


Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:


Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


I think the fact that the natural sciences do not directly confirm and show that divinity is not necessary does not help divinity's claims. I mean, time after time natural science has replaced the absurd divine myths that man used to explain the world in ancient times.




The fact that natural sciences do not confirm divinity? That's what I'm trying to find out. How? So what you're saying is that because absurd divine myths have been replaced by natural sciences that means, in your assumption, there is no divinity? Please continue.

I'm not saying that the natural sciences reject divinity, just that they definitely do not confirm divinity. Is there the divine? I don't know, do ghosts exist in haunted houses? Do aliens exist? Has science anything to say about these things? The answer is no. Divinity is not science, just as aliens and ghosts aren't. Sure, not all mythologies have been replaced by the sciences, but many of them have. And there is a difference between looking at a natural scientific to a question and basically making one up and using the fact that the made up story cannot be proven false as evidence.


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Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 08:32
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:

Sure, some atheists like to think that we are some sort of club, but we are not. Alright, there are some trendy people who think atheism is the new "cool" fad. But the mainstay of us don't believe because we don't believe. We don't believe because God was never actually proven to us, He was taken for granted. We believed in God because our friends did, our families did, basically because we were taught to. Why complicate things? People believe in religions because they want answers to questions that mankind might never know the answers to.

Gooday EB! Great to see you again.
Yes, of course there are many simply non-religious people. I didn't mean to include them. Like an idea or religion, deciding who's in and who's out is a very hard task.

My point is that the behaviour of the atheist community and logic behind the atheism they practice, is just as religious as that of a religious community.
Of course there are slighly different rituals and manifestations, but the underlying behaviour is identical.

As to proof, there is enough proof to fill all the pages in the world. If you look for proof you will find it, if you demand proof you will not. The idea that Allah has never proven his existance is total rubbish.
You must also realise that an atheist, personally, doesn't have any proof for any (or most) of the measurements he may believe in instead of God. He simply believes that someone in the scientific community has the proof.

Athesim is a faith based religion (or pseudo-religion at the very least). That's my point.
Quote You have to be joking when calling Darwin a religious prophet, or the Galapagos a pilgrimage. Darwin was a brilliant scientist first, and never actually wrote a book about religion. But he did write two great books about science.

That's just fact. I'm talking public perception. If Darwin was just a scientist in peoples minds, he'd have the same reputation of Plant or Rutherford, or at the very most Einstien.
People (athesits & anti-atheists) ascribe things to Darwin that are not true, and argue over his example (dare I say his sunna?). For example, people - even on this board in previous years - have argued over Darwin's religious beliefs. As if that has anything to do with biology! Darwin is mentioned more in discussions about religion than in discussions about biology.
Quote Most of us really do not care what other people believe, and unlike other systems of belief (or for this one, the lack thereof), we are not starting wars over it.

Bullshit. Athesits are the number one evangelisers in my experience. Christians wish (literally often) they could prosetylise like atheists.
Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

I think most people fail to grasp the basics in most, because most people don't care enough to investigate either option.

You are incorrect in your second praragraph though. I never made any assumption about intelligence. The key word there was convenient: it is simply more convenient and easy to go along with a book you can read in under a week than spend many years taking the classes, exams and practical experiments in the natural sciences which refute claims of the existence of a divinity.

That is true, excepting that the convenience is to go along with the majority opinion in the circles you mix in. It is not more convenient to believe in God in a society of atheists or vice versa. You will be forced to defend you beliefs to an extent that the intellectual convenience is definitely with the majority (Trust me. I know! I've been living this most of my life)
Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:


Please explain how Dawkins is equivalent to a priest. I disagree that he is the equivalent to one.

A preacher or a scholar is probably more accurate. He advocates his religious views, and sets the norm for his religious community. He wrote a religious book, which people read for religious inspriation (or arguments against his religion).
Quote
Please name them. I certainly can't think of any enforced duties that I am required to undertake. I disagree here.

Funding research.
In Australia the people and the government spend huge amounts of money into funding research into science and technology, however, when there is a result from that research suddenly neither the government or the people give a damn. So if they aren't interested in the results, why the hell are the funding the research in the first place?
Because having good science is pious, having good industry is secular. So they fund research but don't actually care, or even actively prevent, anything coming out of that research funding. I can name examples if you wish.

Another duty is to the medical industry. People believe science favours alopathy, and are prepared to fund it and use it even for conditions that it is not suited for. They aren't interested in what gives results, in fact they are prepared to fund medical research into diseases (like ADHD) that we know how to cure.
That is not results based behaviour, that is religious behaviour.
Quote But in a way comparable to a force which permeates the whole of society and dictates what we eat, who/when/where/how of the sex we have, our personal hygiene? As a force which dictates and justifies the type of government we have?

Yes absolutely. Why do you think every beauty product ad mentions "science" and some "scientific ingredients".
Quote unite or inflict fear on people in a way comparable to theist belief systems.

! I take it you've been paying attention the last 8 years? They [Greater Athesits] unite and inflict fear the instant they think another religion is challenging their dominance. (Just like everyone else)

I think I've already answered the middle of your post when replying to EB.
Quote I studied Lamarck's theory, and while it would appear logical to a 19th century mind it does not stand up to what we know about DNA sequencing, mutations and the genome of species. Darwin's theory, on the other hand, complements our 20th century understanding of the role of the genome beautifully. So what if Lamarck's less convincing theory is less well known.

Well actually that completely reinforces my point about convenience, and the point that people ascribe incorrect things to Darwin.

In terms of the measurements we have made, actually, Lamarck's theory is superior. Not Darwins. That's been true since 1978. Its religious devotion, not science, that keeps Darwinism alive. Its convenient not to actually research and keep up things. It is simply more convenient and easy to go along with a book you can read in under a week.

(Actually it is impossible for any person to fully research everything. Its not really a matter of conveinence, we are limited by our intelligence and time, and have to, at some point, resort to faith)
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2009/2445180.htm - http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2009/2445180.htm
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Religions and the atheist doctrine are all belief systems. Religious people believe in what they don't see, atheists believe only in what they can touch.
They don't, that's my point. They just choose the believe one set of preists over another.
Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

No, we do not need an us vs. them complex for this to work. You want to create stable family units which are cohesive households (easier to tax in ancient times) - tell people god will kill them for adultery. Your enemies are attacking you and you can't raise the cash to equip an army - tell people they will go to heaven if they die fighting for a god given mission. You want to remain in power even though you are a languid and unattractive ruler - tell people that god put you there and defying you means also defying the divine.

As I said to Northman in the other thread. The idea that the powerful enforce and create religion is only true for a very narrow historical and geographic area. Globally, there is no correlation between religious laws and states interests.
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

No its not. I'm not a scientist, and I cannot properly discuss science with people who know it, who work with it or study it. I suppose in a way this does make me a 'believer' in science as opposed to someone who truly understands it.

That last sentence is exactly what I meant.
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

I simply stated that enviromentalism is heavily atheist or agnsotic.

I don't think that's true.
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:


Faith in science is about the same faith as the faith in my senses. When you can sense something, it's not faith, it's real, it's tangible, it's there.

No its not. Its faith in an idea, represented by an institution you probably can't even identify, comprised of arguing and disagreeing individuals, who use their own intelligence (or lack there of) to make a theory from measurements they got by overcoming the limitations of their senses, or often, by ignoring the measurements of individuals that don't fit their theory.
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

I seems that more and more religious myths are being debunked by increased knowledge and science.

That just means you don't know your religions well enough. Don't make the mistake in thinking that religion means narrow fundamentalist Christianity.

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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 08:33
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:

I'm not saying that the natural sciences reject divinity, just that they definitely do not confirm divinity. Is there the divine? I don't know, do ghosts exist in haunted houses? Do aliens exist? Has science anything to say about these things? The answer is no. Divinity is not science, just as aliens and ghosts aren't.

Ah good, I was hoping someone would say that. In the words of penguin, why not believe in God?

Lets analyse the risk.
If you believe in God, and are wrong
You die, nothing happens.
If you don't believe in God, and are wrong
You die, get judged, and don't have a resume as good as it could've been. You risk eternal damnation.

In terms of a cost-benefit analysis it makes sense therefore to believe in God, and follow the rules of whichever religion you think is most likely. If you are wrong and there is no God you've lost nothing, if you are right you might just increase your chances of a better afterlife.
You may not be the best of believers, but you may get some benefit out of adhering. You have nothing to loose, and plenty to gain. If you really do believe in the value of logic, maths, and science. You'd go down to your nearest mosque and convert tomorrow.

Why believe in God?
Because the gain of believing is something/nothing = infinite.

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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 10:23
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Ah good, I was hoping someone would say that. In the words of penguin, why not believe in God?

Lets analyse the risk.
If you believe in God, and are wrong
You die, nothing happens.
If you don't believe in God, and are wrong
You die, get judged, and don't have a resume as good as it could've been. You risk eternal damnation.

In terms of a cost-benefit analysis it makes sense therefore to believe in God, and follow the rules of whichever religion you think is most likely. If you are wrong and there is no God you've lost nothing, if you are right you might just increase your chances of a better afterlife.
You may not be the best of believers, but you may get some benefit out of adhering. You have nothing to loose, and plenty to gain. If you really do believe in the value of logic, maths, and science. You'd go down to your nearest mosque and convert tomorrow.

Why believe in God?
Because the gain of believing is something/nothing = infinite.
 
Why believe in somethings whos existence in no sence is proven? Whats makes people think that there are such a thing when nothing (no tangible evidence whatsoever) supports such a belief? Maybe religious belief is a phsycological mechanism for holding groups together but that doesn´t make religious statements true.
 
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Lets analyse the risk.
If you believe in God, and are wrong
You die, nothing happens.
If you don't believe in God, and are wrong
You die, get judged, and don't have a resume as good as it could've been. You risk eternal damnation.
 
These so called risks are just a part of the power propaganda and scare tactics that are used by priesthood and leaders to scare and intimidate people so they will stay loyal and not question anything. Such scare tactics doesn´t provide any real tangible reasons to believe in God(s).


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 10:56
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

My point is that the behaviour of the atheist community and logic behind the atheism they practice, is just as religious as that of a religious community.
Of course there are slighly different rituals and manifestations, but the underlying behaviour is identical.
 
There is no organized atheist community. There are atheistic individuals but they have nothing more in common with each other than the fact they don´t believe in God.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


As to proof, there is enough proof to fill all the pages in the world. If you look for proof you will find it, if you demand proof you will not. The idea that Allah has never proven his existance is total rubbish.
 
The idea that Allah (or any other God) in any sence have proven his existence is total rubbish.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

 You must also realise that an atheist, personally, doesn't have any proof for any (or most) of the measurements he may believe in instead of God. He simply believes that someone in the scientific community has the proof.
 
Some atheists are in fact scientists who in their daily work has participated in gaining knowledge that helped in debunking religious myths.
There is no single phenomena that needs a God to be explained. There are of course unknown phenomena in the world but history has learned us that many earlier unknown phenomena have been posssible to explain. That gives us hope that todays unknown and unexplicable phenomena also one day will be possible to understand without resorting to God(s).

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

t's just fact. I'm talking public perception. If Darwin was just a scientist in peoples minds, he'd have the same reputation of Plant or Rutherford, or at the very most Einstien.
People (athesits & anti-atheists) ascribe things to Darwin that are not true, and argue over his example (dare I say his sunna?). For example, people - even on this board in previous years - have argued over Darwin's religious beliefs. As if that has anything to do with biology! Darwin is mentioned more in discussions about religion than in discussions about biology.
 
The high esteem that many scientists hold for Darwin is that he discovered a good, working explanation for many phenomena in the biological world that earlier thinkers (including the religious ones) were unable to understand. His explanations have also been reaffirmed over and over again by newer evidence. This is ofcourse a threat against some religious people who see their mythology and image of themselves falling apart. It is mostly they who drag Darwin into religious discussions.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

  Funding research.
In Australia the people and the government spend huge amounts of money into funding research into science and technology, however, when there is a result from that research suddenly neither the government or the people give a damn.
 
The knowledge gained by science can sometimes be rather hard to understand and sometimes it´s immediate use can bee hard to see. Experience, though,  teach us that sooner or later such knowledge becomes useful.



Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

  That just means you don't know your religions well enough. Don't make the mistake in thinking that religion means narrow fundamentalist Christianity.
 
Ofcourse that goes for other religions too.


Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 11:51
For the evidence of all other readers I present Carcharodon. His last two posts clearly demonstrate pure - fundamentalist even - religious thinking, demonstrated by the fact that he apparently thinks that simply stating his religious position he is going to convince me of flaws in my argument. His argument demonstrates that he is ignorant not only of religious thinking, but also of analytical thinking and scientific knowledge.
The best demonstration of this is his scientific defence of Darwinism, without even attempting to address my information about meta-Lamarckism. (Did you even read it I wonder?)

Seriously Carcharodon, you didn't apply your reason when you replied to my post. Instead you just read out of the textbook of atheism (as if I hadn't heard all of your arguments thousands of times before). When you actually think about what I said, I'll give you your reply. Otherwise I don't see any point in replying to you if you are going to give me pre-conceived religious answers. If I wanted them I'd read a book.

Just accept this: atheists aren't superior people because of their beliefs. That's what I always get out of these discussions, atheists act as if religion is an inferior evolutionary stage that they have transcended, without realising that they are identical to all other humans in their capacities, and their abilities to make right decisions


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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 12:51
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

For the evidence of all other readers I present Carcharodon. His last two posts clearly demonstrate pure - fundamentalist even - religious thinking, demonstrated by the fact that he apparently thinks that simply stating his religious position he is going to convince me of flaws in my argument. His argument demonstrates that he is ignorant not only of religious thinking, but also of analytical thinking and scientific knowledge.
The best demonstration of this is his scientific defence of Darwinism, without even attempting to address my information about meta-Lamarckism. (Did you even read it I wonder?)


Now, Omar; if he read everything ignorant theists such as you and I posted, he wouldn't have any time to study his scriptures, so leave him be. After all, I'm still waiting for an exegetical analysis of Dawkin's book -- we have plenty on Darwin's work already -- and I'm curious to see what hermeneutic is applied. Wink

Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

The high esteem that many scientists hold for Darwin is that he discovered a good, working explanation for many phenomena in the biological world that earlier thinkers (including the religious ones) were unable to understand. His explanations have also been reaffirmed over and over again by newer evidence. This is ofcourse a threat against some religious people who see their mythology and image of themselves falling apart. It is mostly they who drag Darwin into religious discussions.


Hm. I could've sworn I noticed people commemorating the man's birthday this year, and in terms that any saint would have been proud -- or mortified, given their humility -- to own, but I might have been mistaken. Wink Come to think of it, I'm not sure Darwin would have been all that happy with the semi-religious devotion people have to his work these days but, once again, I might be mistaken. It has been known to happen.

And yes, there are many who view his work as just another breakthrough in our scientific understanding of the world around us, both theists and atheists. The type of people we are referring to are those who view him as something more. When you develop a cult of sainthood around anyone, you have a religion.

As for who drags Darwin anymore, it depends -- like so much else -- on whom you happen to be having a conversation with, and what you are conversing about. Here it was Omar, to establish what I view as a valid analogy. In many other threads on this forum, in many others, and in daily conversations around the world he has been brought into a variety of discussions by a great number of individuals of various theological and philosophical persuasions. Part of the reasn for this is the revolutionary nature of the mans work, and part of it is the rather emotional time we've had fleshing out what it means for us on a cosmological level -- which is a worthy task, to be sure.

Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

I'm not saying that the natural sciences reject divinity, just that they definitely do not confirm divinity. Is there the divine? I don't know, do ghosts exist in haunted houses? Do aliens exist? Has science anything to say about these things? The answer is no. Divinity is not science, just as aliens and ghosts aren't. Sure, not all mythologies have been replaced by the sciences, but many of them have. And there is a difference between looking at a natural scientific to a question and basically making one up and using the fact that the made up story cannot be proven false as evidence.


I'm with you entirely until the last part, and partially even there. I would say that what you term "made up stories", while they cannot be proven true or false, may be supported or left unsupported by an examination of the world around us. Part of the reason I adhere to Christian doctrine is that I feel it accounts for so much more of reality on a metaphysical and cosmological level than anything else. I'm sure Omar and es_bih would say the same. While our conclusions are not the same, the underlying methodology is. There are many who do not approach the various faith traditions in this way, just as there are many who do not approach the scientific tradition in this way; so much of life, due to the limited nature of our time here, must be taken on faith. Much of it may be supported --some, even quantified -- in various ways for those who wish to take the time. The methods of validation are often different, but the basic principle carries throughout.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 13:01
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

For the evidence of all other readers I present Carcharodon. His last two posts clearly demonstrate pure - fundamentalist even - religious thinking, demonstrated by the fact that he apparently thinks that simply stating his religious position he is going to convince me of flaws in my argument. His argument demonstrates that he is ignorant not only of religious thinking, but also of analytical thinking and scientific knowledge.
 
It seems that you react similar to many other religious people when their belives are questioned, with recentment and anger. Talking about fundamentalism.
 

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

  The best demonstration of this is his scientific defence of Darwinism, without even attempting to address my information about meta-Lamarckism. (Did you even read it I wonder?)
 
Why can I not defend a scientific knowledge that again and again has proven it´s value? It seems that we still live in a world where reason and proof always must be defended against people not trained in the scienes but still with a lot of opinions about scientific results (as for example the results of evolutionary research).


Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

  Just accept this: atheists aren't superior people because of their beliefs. That's what I always get out of these discussions, atheists act as if religion is an inferior evolutionary stage that they have transcended, without realising that they are identical to all other humans in their capacities, and their abilities to make right decisions
 
Noone said anything about superior, maybe they just got a somewhat more critical approach to things than many religious people have.
 


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 13:40
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Lets analyse the risk.
If you believe in God, and are wrong
You die, nothing happens.
If you don't believe in God, and are wrong
You die, get judged, and don't have a resume as good as it could've been. You risk eternal damnation.
Pascal's wager mistates the position, because it depends on which God you are talking about..
 
If you believe in the Aztec god and the Christian one[1] is true, you face eternal damnation.
If you don't believe in any god and the Christian one[1] is true, you face a rather pleasant sounding eternity after death
If you believe in the Christian one, and the Zoroastrians are correct, then you're in trouble, and you could be in worse trouble if the Muslims[2] are true.
 
And so on.
[1] Well, several of the ones claimed to be Christian.
[2] Well, several of the various groups of Muslim believers.
 
On the other hand, whether you turn out to be right or wrong, if you've modelled your behaviour on giving primacy to helping other people, you in general have the best chance of getting away with things no matter who is right, and at least you'll have a clear conscience.
 
Best bet: take the Roman/Greek attitude and try and avoid offending anyone's god(s).
Quote
If you really do believe in the value of logic, maths, and science. You'd go down to your nearest mosque and convert tomorrow.
Nothing in what you said leads to that conclusion. In fact when Pascal originally formulated the wager, he came to rather the opposite conclusion. Putting all your eggs in an Islamic basket is no more justified by the wager than putting all your eggs in a Christian basket, or any other.
Anyway, you can't just choose to believe. 


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 13:42
Quote Gcle
I doub t that is justified. Drop the capital G and add an 's' and you'd have a better chance. Make it 'people have always believed in supernatural beings and always will' and you'd be really close.


It usually always started with one God, even some of the oldest shamanist and animist have the God of Gods, the supreme deity who created everything. For example Hinduism was likely originally a monotheist religion and the other deities were aspects of God in easier to understand portions.

Quote
Possibly, but it doesn't answer the question. To a non-believer that isn't true, so why should he change his mind?


I just wrote what a believer perceives, believers and non-believers are the same, to not believe is a belief. A believer accepts everything to be a creation of God and life, nature the planet etc all to be miracles of the creator, a non believer believes the opposite.

Both are beliefs, infact atheism is a religion, there is no "proof" that God doesnt exist so to believe so is a belief.



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      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: Hypocrisy
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 13:46
Religion was an indispensable guide to lecture people about what lies ahead of them back in the day. But its era has already passed away. People are able to reach pertinent answers which puzzle out their problem easily, of course, through the aid of science.

Religion is mostly substituted for manipulation of the bigoted masses nowadays. The notion of a lofty power or simply god which leads the system that consists of an organic loop and interactions amongst the living beings doesn't dazzle people anymore.

I see a sickening harm in letting religion flourish as is, since it has a tremendous influence upon the majority. Otherwise, we ought to trace back why it is used as a route to hegemony in order to settle issues with religion.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Just accept this: atheists aren't superior people because of their beliefs. That's what I always get out of these discussions, atheists act as if religion is an inferior evolutionary stage that they have transcended, without realising that they are identical to all other humans in their capacities, and their abilities to make right decisions


You're right. Atheists must give up acting as if they are pre-eminent imbeciles. As the fundamentalists keep debating over the issues (For instance, the abortion, the gay rights and/or the death penalty) that have been contemplated by less theist individuals way before, atheists have a right to look down on them.



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 14:16
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:



I just wrote what a believer perceives, believers and non-believers are the same, to not believe is a belief. A believer accepts everything to be a creation of God and life, nature the planet etc all to be miracles of the creator, a non believer believes the opposite.

Both are beliefs, infact atheism is a religion, there is no "proof" that God doesnt exist so to believe so is a belief.
 
Isn´t it so that the burden of proof falls on the one claiming the existence of something? If you say that there is a unicorn in your garden then it is upon you to proove it´s there. It´s not up to me to proove it´s not there. So if I don´t see any reason just to believe in your words that doesn´t make my doubts a religion or a belief.


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 14:27
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


As to proof, there is enough proof to fill all the pages in the world. If you look for proof you will find it, if you demand proof you will not. The idea that Allah has never proven his existance is total rubbish.
You must also realise that an atheist, personally, doesn't have any proof for any (or most) of the measurements he may believe in instead of God. He simply believes that someone in the scientific community has the proof.

Athesim is a faith based religion (or pseudo-religion at the very least). That's my point.


There is enough proof to fill all of the pages in the world? Then why does not Allah not actually show himself? How can Allah, or any Abrahamic god exist whenever they willingly send people to hell through not revealing themselves? They are all omni-benevolent right? Atheism is not a faith based religion because atheism lacks faith, and religion for that matter. Atheism is formed from the lack of faith in gods, not the faith in them.

Originally posted by Omar al Hasim Omar al Hasim wrote:

]
That's just fact. I'm talking public perception. If Darwin was just a scientist in peoples minds, he'd have the same reputation of Plant or Rutherford, or at the very most Einstien.
People (athesits & anti-atheists) ascribe things to Darwin that are not true, and argue over his example (dare I say his sunna?). For example, people - even on this board in previous years - have argued over Darwin's religious beliefs. As if that has anything to do with biology! Darwin is mentioned more in discussions about religion than in discussions about biology.


Why is Darwin mentioned so much in discussions about religion? Were the atheists of his time so intrigued by the lack of religion in his books. No, the religious people of his time were outraged at this, and even made up a story that he recanted on his death bed. If anything, it is the fault of religion that Darwin is always brought up more in religious debates than in scientific ones.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Bullshit. Athesits are the number one evangelisers in my experience. Christians wish (literally often) they could prosetylise like atheists.


Because we atheists have a growing number of converts from Africa. Oh, wait, that's Catholics in Africa. Besides, atheists don't argue because we want to convert you, we argue just to argue. We argue to sharpen our own arguments and debating skills. How many atheists do you see on the streets shouting "There is no God" and "Convert or there shall be punishment!"? I have never seen any. However, when I was in New York, a Jamaican woman told me that Jesus loves me, and I faked Christian because I didn't feel like getting into a long, drawn out, and pointless argument. Now, if I was one of the "religious" atheists, which I don't think represent a substantial number of non-believers, I would have sat there and tried to "convert" her over to my "religion." But, I didn't. I had better things to do. And I think a majority of atheists would have done the same in my situation.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


I take it you've been paying attention the last 8 years? They [Greater Athesits] unite and inflict fear the instant they think another religion is challenging their dominance. (Just like everyone else)


Examples? The Greater Atheists inflicting fear on religions? Who are we talking about? Trendy groups of emos and goths who associate godlessness with Satan? Please explain, because I have never come across this.

Originally posted by Omar al Hasim Omar al Hasim wrote:


No its not. Its faith in an idea, represented by an institution you probably can't even identify, comprised of arguing and disagreeing individuals, who use their own intelligence (or lack there of) to make a theory from measurements they got by overcoming the limitations of their senses, or often, by ignoring the measurements of individuals that don't fit their theory.


But for many scientific concepts, such as gravity, I have already observed. I do not have a faith in these concepts because I have seen them work. Faith is not believing something, it's believing something with no proof for it. If you have proof, you don't need faith to believe something. If you don't have proof, then you need faith. Take religion. I have come across times where religious have told me that in the end that they cannot prove their gods using reason, but that they can only get so far with reason and they must take the "leap of faith" to believe. Science is nothing like this. Science has been observed, tested, and can always be brought back again to show proof for things. There are no leaps of faith in science, only observable truths.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Ah good, I was hoping someone would say that. In the words of penguin, why not believe in God?

Lets analyse the risk.
If you believe in God, and are wrong
You die, nothing happens.
If you don't believe in God, and are wrong
You die, get judged, and don't have a resume as good as it could've been. You risk eternal damnation.

In terms of a cost-benefit analysis it makes sense therefore to believe in God, and follow the rules of whichever religion you think is most likely. If you are wrong and there is no God you've lost nothing, if you are right you might just increase your chances of a better afterlife.
You may not be the best of believers, but you may get some benefit out of adhering. You have nothing to loose, and plenty to gain. If you really do believe in the value of logic, maths, and science. You'd go down to your nearest mosque and convert tomorrow.

Why believe in God?
Because the gain of believing is something/nothing = infinite.


I know, Pascal's wager. Problems with it are: 1) If you believe in a god just to get into heaven, then he will send you to hell anyways. 2) Since none of this has been proven, why should I even care? Eternal damnation cannot be proven since nobody has been able to come back from it.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Just accept this: atheists aren't superior people because of their beliefs. That's what I always get out of these discussions, atheists act as if religion is an inferior evolutionary stage that they have transcended, without realising that they are identical to all other humans in their capacities, and their abilities to make right decisions


I agree, though I don't see many atheists with a superiority complex (I have seen some, but also some religious people with the same attitude). Sure, I think I'm right, but I don't I think I'm superior to you Omar. I don't think religion is some sort of "selection" for intelligence. There are unintelligent people on every side of the debate. I don't think anyone in this thread is one of those people. However, atheists usually tend to be represented higher than they should be in universities. That's all I'm saying. Does that mean atheists are smarter than religious people? No, it just means that some very intelligent people are atheist.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I'm with you entirely until the last part, and partially even there. I would say that what you term "made up stories", while they cannot be proven true or false, may be supported or left unsupported by an examination of the world around us. Part of the reason I adhere to Christian doctrine is that I feel it accounts for so much more of reality on a metaphysical and cosmological level than anything else. I'm sure Omar and es_bih would say the same. While our conclusions are not the same, the underlying methodology is. There are many who do not approach the various faith traditions in this way, just as there are many who do not approach the scientific tradition in this way; so much of life, due to the limited nature of our time here, must be taken on faith. Much of it may be supported --some, even quantified -- in various ways for those who wish to take the time. The methods of validation are often different, but the basic principle carries throughout.


When I said "made up stories" I am sort of equating say, the Native American myth of the World on the Turtle's Back to the creation myth of Christianity. Both were made up, could be true, but probably aren't. I see what you are saying though. Science is sort of like this, but the original theory is tested to see if it is true, and if it is not, then it is discarded.


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Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 14:50
Quote Carcharodon
Isn´t it so that the burden of proof falls on the one claiming the existence of something? If you say that there is a unicorn in your garden then it is upon you to proove it´s there. It´s not up to me to proove it´s not there. So if I don´t see any reason just to believe in your words that doesn´t make my doubts a religion or a belief.


Religion is faith, a believer believes, a non believer chooses not to believe, as neither can be or has been scientifically proven the believer and non-believer are in the same category.

To "not" believe is a belief, to be indifferent and open to the possibility of either is having an open mind, something some atheists have a hard time understanding.





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      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 15:44
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Religion is faith, a believer believes, a non believer chooses not to believe, as neither can be or has been scientifically proven the believer and non-believer are in the same category.

To "not" believe is a belief, to be indifferent and open to the possibility of either is having an open mind, something some atheists have a hard time understanding.
 
It is okay to be open to reality but it´s no point in believe in a lot of lose claims just because someone articulates them.


Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 16:22
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:


Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:


Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


I think the fact that the natural sciences do not directly confirm and show that divinity is not necessary does not help divinity's claims. I mean, time after time natural science has replaced the absurd divine myths that man used to explain the world in ancient times.




The fact that natural sciences do not confirm divinity? That's what I'm trying to find out. How? So what you're saying is that because absurd divine myths have been replaced by natural sciences that means, in your assumption, there is no divinity? Please continue.

I'm not saying that the natural sciences reject divinity, just that they definitely do not confirm divinity. Is there the divine? I don't know, do ghosts exist in haunted houses? Do aliens exist? Has science anything to say about these things? The answer is no. Divinity is not science, just as aliens and ghosts aren't. Sure, not all mythologies have been replaced by the sciences, but many of them have. And there is a difference between looking at a natural scientific to a question and basically making one up and using the fact that the made up story cannot be proven false as evidence.


I get it. Confirmation is key. Good to know that cause we wouldn't want to wander aimlessly thinking that life has no puzzles, direction or meaning, until our intelligence has gathered certainty. Since some (even many) myths have been supplanted by scientific theory and proofs (which I certainly believe by-the-way), what happens if a myth, story or prophesy holds true? Are they void of impact or held in high scientific esteem? For there surely are many religious statements and predictions that held true. Remember my first question? How do natural sciences reject divinity?  Where is the so-called proof of reputing divinity? Is it by refuting religious myths and then making generalizations that if one fails under duress that the rest (myths) must fail, even when some were proven true?


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Copyright 2004 Seko


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 17:16
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

For there surely are many religious statements and predictions that held true. Remember my first question? How do natural sciences reject divinity?  Where is the so-called proof of reputing divinity? Is it by refuting religious myths and then making generalizations that if one fails under duress that the rest (myths) must fail, even when some were proven true?
 
There are no religious myths that holds true in such a way that they prove any existence of gods or other supernatural beings. Some religious myths have some ground in historical events, that actually happened, but the supernatural interpretation of those events are wrong.


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 19:06
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:


I get it. Confirmation is key. Good to know that cause we wouldn't want to wander aimlessly thinking that life has no puzzles, direction or meaning, until our intelligence has gathered certainty. Since some (even many) myths have been supplanted by scientific theory and proofs (which I certainly believe by-the-way), what happens if a myth, story or prophesy holds true? Are they void of impact or held in high scientific esteem? For there surely are many religious statements and predictions that held true. Remember my first question? How do natural sciences reject divinity?  Where is the so-called proof of reputing divinity? Is it by refuting religious myths and then making generalizations that if one fails under duress that the rest (myths) must fail, even when some were proven true?


I don't disagree with you that science does not completely refute divinity, at least not yet. But what I, and some other people in this thread, are saying, is that just because science does not answer the question does not mean that the divine answer for it is true.


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Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 19:12
The existence of God cann't be proven in scientitical manner as atheists expect.

You need to pray, to ask Him with humbleness.

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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 19:20
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

When I said "made up stories" I am sort of equating say, the Native American myth of the World on the Turtle's Back to the creation myth of Christianity. Both were made up, could be true, but probably aren't. I see what you are saying though. Science is sort of like this, but the original theory is tested to see if it is true, and if it is not, then it is discarded.


I understand, and I even agree to a point. I suppose my main problem would be that I see the Genesis narrative as speaking to an underlying spiritual reality; thus, I find the subject of how our modern understanding of evolution plays into it as fascinating as anyone could. To me the whole thing represents a puzzle where I already have a basic idea of what the eventual image will be. The validation or "testing" -- the really interesting part -- consists of the process of trying to apply the basic philosophical principles to reality, and seeing how, or if, they will fit. So far they always have, at least better than anything else I've found, and I do occasionally read. LOL I will certainly grant that the scientific method is more easily quantifiable; then again, my method was never meant to be. Wink

The interesting thing will be to see whether or not, when all of the popular polemicism of this age calms down, the two disciplines are able to dialogue and work the puzzle together. Right now there are precious few people willing to do so, but when they do manage to get together, the dialogues, however imperfect, can be fascinating. Smile

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 01:53
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


The interesting thing will be to see whether or not, when all of the popular polemicism of this age calms down, the two disciplines are able to dialogue and work the puzzle together. Right now there are precious few people willing to do so, but when they do manage to get together, the dialogues, however imperfect, can be fascinating. Smile


If I am misinterpreting what you are saying, then I apologize. But, if what I think you are saying is correct, then I agree. I think the civil, welcoming dialogues between intellectuals from both sides of the debate are enlightening.


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Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 02:57
Originally posted by Emperor Barbarossa Emperor Barbarossa wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


The interesting thing will be to see whether or not, when all of the popular polemicism of this age calms down, the two disciplines are able to dialogue and work the puzzle together. Right now there are precious few people willing to do so, but when they do manage to get together, the dialogues, however imperfect, can be fascinating. Smile


If I am misinterpreting what you are saying, then I apologize. But, if what I think you are saying is correct, then I agree. I think the civil, welcoming dialogues between intellectuals from both sides of the debate are enlightening.


You hit the nail right on the head, my dear Emperor Barbarossa. Smile The problem is, that in this age of controversy and vitriol we so seldom see it; when we do, it is truly something to behold. There is fault on both sides, to be sure; the problem with polemicists of all stripes is that they're just so blasted much louder than anyone who has an ounce of common sense. There will always be spirited discussions, but I do wish everyone -- and this includes all the theists -- would stop viewing everything in the strict terms of debate. When someone is simply rehashing polemical rubbish that anyone could hear in a coffee shop or at a rally, of course they must needs be refuted as simply as possible. But when someone really comes to the table of intellectual dialogue with an investigative spirit of intellectual honesty, the scholar in me gets all tingly. Wink I've had several conversations with people with whom I disagree with in almost every particular that have been more fruitful than conversations I could have with your run of the mill Christian catechist, simply because there was an atmosphere of intellectual honesty -- even vulnerability -- present. The problem is, once this is violated, it is far too easy for us to crawl back into our controversialist shells like so many tortoises. All it takes is one disreputable scholar for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down. On the few occasions where people manage them, though, true dialogue is something to behold -- not so much for what ideological doors are closed as for what ideological doors are opened. Smile

We may hope that the next generation won't make such a mess out of things as we have. Eventually everyone will have to return to civility, or there won't be anything we recall left worth discussing.

-Akolouthos


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 12:11
Not believing is not the same as believing not: by which I mean that not believing, say, there is a god, is the same as believing there is no god. That I do not believe there are planets around Alpha Centauri does not mean I believe there are no planets around Alpha Centauri. It just means I haven't the foggiest idea whether there are planets around Alpha Centauri or not.
 
I posted something somewhere recently about the difference between parsing 'atheist' as 'a-theist' and 'atheos-ist' which is also relevant.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: eaglecap
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 20:54
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:


The best work on answering this question is Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion. It provides the most comprehensive review of the topic which psychology and evolutionary biology can provide us. And the most convincing I have yet read of any book.It is not convenient for your ordinary person to carefully evaluate a scientific explanation of the world. The story of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve will take less than an hour or so to read through. Compare this to understanding the theories of evolution, our understanding of the human genome and the role of DNA in determining traits and mutation, the Big Bang, the formation of life on early earth where radioactive compounds developed from self replicating molecules into active life forms as we know them. Seriously, one form of analysis takes only hours, the other takes years of intensive study to grasp.So one reason we believe in God is because it is more convenient than the alternatives in term of grasping the basics.Another reason is the comfort and social inclusion we receive by accepting a commonly held ideology. Religions have had A LOT of time to compete with eachother and experiment through trial and error in order to make themselves appealing and attractive. As the centuries (many many many of them) progressed, they had the opportunity to hone their marketing, PR and compensation policies (to put it in corporate terms, as I am inclined to do). So you have a religion such as Chrisitianity, for example, which became very appealing during the later Roman Empire. It appealed to people because of its promise of forgiveness, paradise and rebirth - even for the most downtrodden ( in fact, especially for the most downtrodden). It provided hope and solace for many, and even extended its reach to material benefits in the form of charity and almsgiving (no small contribution in the absence of any form of secular welfare). Religions also encouraged people to be nice to eachother and develop a sense of community and shared values. Again, this was no small achievement. Simply getting people to behave and treat eachother nicely despite many incentives to the contrary has actually proven very challenging throughout history.Another reason is that religions have often found a place within established power structures, to be used as a control mechanism by the establishment. The Romans understood its power to control a deeply disenfranchised populace, and used it in the form of Christianity. Arab leaders understood the electrifying power of Islam on the Bedouin tribes, and used it to rapidly conquer one of the most impressive landholdings in all history. Atheism, on the other hand, cannot be used to unite or control people. It is simply the belief that there is no God, which in itself cannot be used as a source of inspiration or fear to motivate. It is not a belief system, merely a single belief, and as such has no utility for powerbrokers in getting people to do what they want them to do.That is basically a summation of the most important points, which I find myself agreeing with.


I have not had the chance to read his book and should sometime, although, I am have heard some of his views and he does have some good points, although I do not agree with him. It is still his opinion and he is not a god who knows everything about the universe and if someone wants to believe in a creative power then it is their right. I spend a lot of time in the wilds of North America - USA/Canada- and I cannot help but see the hand of a creator in nature. I just do not like dogma or religions who say they are the only way but still it is their right to believe. It is also someone's right not to believe in a god/creator but I have never known anyone who knew all the secrets of the universe- only theory. Even if one were to live 1,000 years they still would not know enough to prove or disprove there is a creative force 1000% and it would still add up to theory.

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Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 22:48
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Not believing is not the same as believing not: by which I mean that not believing, say, there is a god, is the same as believing there is no god. That I do not believe there are planets around Alpha Centauri does not mean I believe there are no planets around Alpha Centauri. It just means I haven't the foggiest idea whether there are planets around Alpha Centauri or not.
 
I posted something somewhere recently about the difference between parsing 'atheist' as 'a-theist' and 'atheos-ist' which is also relevant.
 
That's actually the distinction Emperor_Barbarossa and I discussed in the conversation I referenced earlier. Smile
 
-Akolouthos


Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 23:25
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Not believing is not the same as believing not: ....... It just means I haven't the foggiest idea ..... .
 
 
I am sorry, please explain something to me.
Why not stating it like that in the first place (no foggy idea) to help us simple minded people not to get confused - or to get confused not? Smile
 
To me, "believing" is negated in both cases - and in logic teachings, a negation is a negation. Normally you would put the negation in front - like, NOT (A).
There can only be three possiblities.
- not believing in the existance of God  
- believing in the existance of God
- no foggy idea (all possibillities open)
 
It's probably my school english failing me again.... Ouch
 
 
 


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Posted By: eaglecap
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 23:58
Why not believe in God???

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Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.


Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 02:19
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Why can I not defend a scientific knowledge that again and again has proven it´s value? It seems that we still live in a world where reason and proof always must be defended against people not trained in the scienes but still with a lot of opinions about scientific results (as for example the results of evolutionary research).

Read the Occams Razor link I posted.
My whole point was that defending evolutionary research does not mean defending Darwin. In fact, when I'm responding to a comment like this, defending evolutionary research even means attacking Darwin. You are letting your religious feelings about Darwin blind you to the observed results.

You are proving my point better than I ever could about religious-atheism. In your rush to defend Orthodoxy you have contradicted modern science. The reason you can't defend scientific knowledge is because you don't know what it is!
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Pascal's wager mistates the position, because it depends on which God you are talking about..
 
If you believe in the Aztec god and the Christian one[1] is true, you face eternal damnation.
If you don't believe in any god and the Christian one[1] is true, you face a rather pleasant sounding eternity after death
If you believe in the Christian one, and the Zoroastrians are correct, then you're in trouble, and you could be in worse trouble if the Muslims[2] are true.
 
And so on.
[1] Well, several of the ones claimed to be Christian.
[2] Well, several of the various groups of Muslim believers.
 
On the other hand, whether you turn out to be right or wrong, if you've modelled your behaviour on giving primacy to helping other people, you in general have the best chance of getting away with things no matter who is right, and at least you'll have a clear conscience.
 
Best bet: take the Roman/Greek attitude and try and avoid offending anyone's god(s).

An excellent answer and a better conclusion. Actually following the advice in the last two paragraphs is much better & safer in my opinion than dishonestly attaching yourself to a religion you don't believe in.
And your right in that you can't just choose to believe too.

Incidentally, I hadn't actually heard of Pascal's wager before your reply.
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:

Atheism is not a faith based religion because atheism lacks faith, and religion for that matter. Atheism is formed from the lack of faith in gods, not the faith in them.

Atheism doesn't lack faith at all. Agnosticism could be argued to, but Athesim doesn't. Think about it, atheists put a great deal of faith in peoples ability to solve problems, and they put alot of faith into the non-existence of God.
If they waffled about and said "I don't know, I'll just get along with my life and see at the end", that is a faithless position. Saying "there is no God" is a faith based statement.
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:

Because we atheists have a growing number of converts from Africa. Oh, wait, that's Catholics in Africa. Besides, atheists don't argue because we want to convert you, we argue just to argue. We argue to sharpen our own arguments and debating skills. How many atheists do you see on the streets shouting "There is no God" and "Convert or there shall be punishment!"? I have never seen any. However, when I was in New York, a Jamaican woman told me that Jesus loves me, and I faked Christian because I didn't feel like getting into a long, drawn out, and pointless argument. Now, if I was one of the "religious" atheists, which I don't think represent a substantial number of non-believers, I would have sat there and tried to "convert" her over to my "religion." But, I didn't. I had better things to do. And I think a majority of atheists would have done the same in my situation.

That's identical to how Islam spreads.
Quote Examples? The Greater Atheists inflicting fear on religions? Who are we talking about? Trendy groups of emos and goths who associate godlessness with Satan? Please explain, because I have never come across this.

For one example, have you been following Turkish politics recently?
Quote But for many scientific concepts, such as gravity, I have already observed. I do not have a faith in these concepts because I have seen them work. Faith is not believing something, it's believing something with no proof for it. If you have proof, you don't need faith to believe something. If you don't have proof, then you need faith.
...
Science is nothing like this. Science has been observed, tested, and can always be brought back again to show proof for things. There are no leaps of faith in science, only observable truths.

You have just taken a massive leap of faith in thinking that science or the scientific community is anything like you just described. You have faith that science can provide a proof, and you have faith that scientists can - or want to - interpret measurements correctly.
Its an extremely idealised version.

Its similar to saying that Shariah law is derived from the Quran and Sunnah. In one sense, yes its correct, but when you really look into it these basics only provide the fundamental ideas. Legal theorists, and scientists provide a huge number of different versions, all vieing for dominance and all claiming to adhere to the basic rules.
At the end of the day, the science is only as good as the scientist, and the law is only as good as the theorist. The ordinary person only notices once Engineers or Judges get involved and start applying theories.
Quote
I know, Pascal's wager. Problems with it are: 1) If you believe in a god just to get into heaven, then he will send you to hell anyways. 2) Since none of this has been proven, why should I even care? Eternal damnation cannot be proven since nobody has been able to come back from it.

(2) isn't actually a problem with it's logic. It doesn't need any proof or faith.
Quote However, atheists usually tend to be represented higher than they should be in universities. That's all I'm saying. Does that mean atheists are smarter than religious people? No, it just means that some very intelligent people are atheist.

Not really true. A friend of mine* once said "if you want a religious scientist, ask for a physicist, if you want an atheist, ask for a biologist", and even that was meant to be an overexaggeration**. Certainly in Engineering where I am you can't make any religious or ethnic categorisation of most of the researchers. It is very diverse.
Quote the Native American myth of the World on the Turtle's Back to the creation myth of Christianity

Isn't that Indian? (East Indian) Or has one of us got our indians muddled?
Originally posted by Carchardon Carchardon wrote:

There are no religious myths that holds true in such a way that they prove any existence of gods or other supernatural beings.

So says you. Who I suspect is ignorant to what Seko is alluding to.

*Incidentally, this friend is a Catholic who hangs around the university atheist society just for fun.
**And any truth in it would reflect who goes into the field
 

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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 02:43
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

My whole point was that defending evolutionary research does not mean defending Darwin. In fact, when I'm responding to a comment like this, defending evolutionary research even means attacking Darwin. You are letting your religious feelings about Darwin blind you to the observed results.  
 
The principles of Darwins teachings are just fine also today. But of course modern evolutionary research has complemented his teachings with new elemnts, as genetic research and similar.
Many biologists are using these principles in their daily work to explain different phenomena in the nature and that is working splendidly. If you studied some biology you would notice that.

And as I stated before, more and more myths are being debunked by science but some religious people can´t accept that so they just do like in the old tale about the ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and just deny reality.
 

 


Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 02:56
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

My whole point was that defending evolutionary research does not mean defending Darwin. In fact, when I'm responding to a comment like this, defending evolutionary research even means attacking Darwin. You are letting your religious feelings about Darwin blind you to the observed results.  
 
The principles of Darwins teachings are just fine also today. But of course modern evolutionary research has complemented his teachings with new elemnts, as genetic research and similar.
Many biologists are using these principles in their daily work to explain different phenomena in the nature and that is working splendidly. If you studied some biology you would notice that.

And as I stated before, more and more myths are being debunked by science but some religious people can´t accept that so they just do like in the old tale about the ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and just deny reality.
 

 


It must be nice to have no sense of shame or sensation of fatigue when caught constantly regurgitating, almost verbatim, the simplistic arguments of a group of polemical malcontents, and responding to any critique by simply repeating what you have said several times over. LOL

-Akolouthos


Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 04:20
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Atheism doesn't lack faith at all. Agnosticism could be argued to, but Athesim doesn't. Think about it, atheists put a great deal of faith in peoples ability to solve problems, and they put alot of faith into the non-existence of God.
If they waffled about and said "I don't know, I'll just get along with my life and see at the end", that is a faithless position. Saying "there is no God" is a faith based statement.


I'm using the broad definition of atheism, simply not believing in a god. How does "As far as I know, there are no gods" a faith based statement? You aren't putting faith in anything.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


For one example, have you been following Turkish politics recently?


I'm ignorant as to how they do atheism out in Turkey. In the U.S., it's nothing like you describe.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


You have just taken a massive leap of faith in thinking that science or the scientific community is anything like you just described. You have faith that science can provide a proof, and you have faith that scientists can - or want to - interpret measurements correctly.
Its an extremely idealised version.

Its similar to saying that Shariah law is derived from the Quran and Sunnah. In one sense, yes its correct, but when you really look into it these basics only provide the fundamental ideas. Legal theorists, and scientists provide a huge number of different versions, all vieing for dominance and all claiming to adhere to the basic rules.
At the end of the day, the science is only as good as the scientist, and the law is only as good as the theorist. The ordinary person only notices once Engineers or Judges get involved and start applying theories.


Science is not as you describe it. I am not simply "believing" the things they say are true. Have you studied the sciences? Many scientific experiments can be done again, and not through faith, but observation, the findings can be proven true.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Isn't that Indian? (East Indian) Or has one of us got our indians muddled?


To be specific, it was an Iroquois myth.


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Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 04:20
I was going to reply to Carcharodon by pointing out that "the principles of Darwins teachings" are not just Darwins, but belong to 19th century biologists in general, and to prove my point I opened up my copy of the Origin of Species sitting on my bookshelf beside me and looked in the further reading section. Instead of finding a list of academic papers or their 19th century equivalents, I found a list of post 1985 popular science - that is not science - books. Including Richard Dawkins. Part of the atheist body of religious knowledge as I said earlier to Constantine.
The publishers certainly know why people buy copies of the Origin of Species

Before you reply again Carchardon, I would really appreciate it if you would read the link to the Occams Razor show I posted earlier. Currently you don't even understand what I am talking about let alone how to make a reasonable argument against me.


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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 04:32
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Regardless of the learning curve, how do the natural sciences reject divinity?


A very worthy question. The most direct and valid answer is that despite everything we have learned about the natural sciences, none of that provides evidence for a belief in the existence of a divinity. To believe something in the absence of any evidence is simply flawed.

While most of these belief systems will claim an interventionist role played by a divine power (i.e. an example of its manifestation), we are yet to have reliable evidence to observe such a thing. Until someone can demonstrate a valid and realiable manifestation of divinity, we must conclude that everything we have learned about the natural sciences points towards their operation occurring within universal laws but not with the design or intervention of a divine power.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Methinks thou wouldst make a good fundamentalist were you an adherent. Wink Yes, people, if left to their own devices, or what Luther optimistically called "evident reason", will generally go to the most literal interpretation of any given passage of Scripture first; whether or not they choose to remain there is up to them. It certainly doesn't present a very broad application. If you wish to find someone to argue for a basic, literal interpretation of Scripture with you, I'm not your man.


Well what can I say, I like to sink my teeth into an area of study rather than dance around it Smile. I think a belief system which not only instructs people on the nature of the universe, but also provides them with a myriad of commands and instructions on how to live a good life, should necessarily be straightforward and literal. But then the Christian Bible can be especially convoluted at times, just take it and put it next to a Koran, see which is slimmer and take a wild guess at which says what it wants to say more concisely and directly haha.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

With regard to Darwin or Dawkins, I think you might have missed the dichotomy I was -- albeit in a poorly phrased manner -- trying to establish between the different sorts of questions one might ask. When one is seeking to establish and quantify data, a basic, literal reading will usually suffice. When one is seeking to apply a metaphysical or cosmological system, it will not. Darwin is the former, Christianity is the latter, and Dawkins is somewhere in between, depending on what you read. Wink

As for which body of knowledged is more vast, it would depend whether you were speaking of vastness in terms of application or in terms of assertion.


Metaphysical questions, which simply pertain to that which is too abstract to be expressed in any objective way, of course require extremely vague communication and reasoning. Because such questions refer to little which can be positively identified in an objective manner, they inevitably must be highly vague and ambiguous so that multiple people can interpret them esoterically. Though where metaphysics has any practical use in determining the nature of the universe, I am at a loss to explain. I have always viewed the field as being a big fuzzy and ill defined myst of intangible thoughts.

I must ask, why should cosmological questions be better answered with non-scientific and non-direct methods? Our study of the natural sciences has been made using literal and direct language, and this approach has yielded us great advances in understanding the universe.

Also, could you please explain your application versus assertion comment further, thanks Smile

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I was referring more to the time period at the beginning when the Church did not have the apparatus of the Roman state behind it; when it was, quite often at odds with that state, and often persecuted. I think your explanation holds well for the post-Nicene Church through the Early-Modern era. I think it is less applicable to the period after, and wholly inapplicable to the period before.


Rome in the 1st century was not like Rome in the 4th century. Rome in the 1st century was a booming, dominant and financially solvent empire. It was full of vim and vigour, and its manpower relied heavily on slaves who could be coerced into doing whatever you wanted from them. The established Roman religion worked just fine at that stage, and the establishment felt little need to change it.

Rome in the 4th century was different. The increasingly defensive empire captured few slaves, and so many had received their liberty that numbers were dwindling overall. Added to this, Caracalla has extended Roman citizenship to the provincials. Rome was poorer, the system of coinage was collapsing under the strain of stagnating economy and an increasingly expensive and unrealiable military. Your average person needed to be coerced into making the best of a bad situation, and a religion like Christianity (itself an offshoot of a religion stubbornly adhered to by an often persecuted people) proved to be a much better alternative to controlling a huge pool of unenfranchised citizens. The Romans felt Christianity a threat to the establishment in the early years when it undermined Caesar worship and the Olympian Gods suited most people fine, in the later years the Emperors saw the value this hardy religious sect had and so adapted it to serving the Roman ruling order.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Atheist culture in Australia might be different than it is here in the States. Suffice it to say that there are dinner parties, discussion groups, high-fives, and occasionally even quasi-churches formed. This is largely the result of the prosyletizing of individuals such as Dawkins coupled with the fact that, in America, atheists are still existing in a cultural context which emphasizes religious belief -- albeit less so than it has in the past. To these two factors, add the increasing dogmatization of our political ideologies, and you have your separate subculture. I'd be interested to hear a bit of analysis as to how things are over there.


People in Australia are pretty relaxed over the atheism and religion thing, which is great. Australians have rarely had to deal with religious fundamentalist groups the way America has (e.g. the Mayflower, the Mormon Wars). But the difference is simply culture. No one here really ascribes to you status or endearment based on your religious affiliation or atheism (maybe a little, but not much).

From what I have seen of the USA, things are quite different over there. In times of a lot of media fear mongering and insecurity over the future, many in society look to those who are religious as automatically possessing the moral characteristics which make them reliable and safe. This is reassuring for a society whose confidence and sense of safety has been badly shaken (too much, in my opinion). My understanding is that people with atheist beliefs are often demonised and that being an atheist carried the stigma that you will also embrace certain dysfunctional and anti-social behaviours. Here we can see this subtly held attitude expressed by a recent Presidential candidate, and controversy mongering by a major news station:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twoXZE9U0Io - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twoXZE9U0Io

I am also sure you no doubt remember the Militant Atheism thread we had, and how there are people who are so well motivated as to demonise atheists  in the way one would to terrorists.

So it does not surprise me that atheists in the US will develop a support network and sense of brotherhood in the face of this sort of demonisation. Let me put it this way. Some young people wear baseball caps, some don't. Society decides to decry and demonise young people who wear baseball caps. Some young people might stop, others I guarantee will band together and form a new identity and sub culture around a behaviour that previously did not exist. If society persecutes individuals for something that causes the world no harm, those individuals will first form a group and will then form an entire sub culture out of that persecution. In some ways the atheists of today have quite a lot in common with the Christians of pre-Constantinian Rome.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I think you misread me here, which is likely a result of my legendarily imprecise writing. I was taking your basic assumption as a given under certain circumstances, and then applying it to the context in which we -- or at least I -- live, where this assumption does not apply. Thus, I was not saying that Christianity requires a certain context to become a system of motivation and authoritarian control -- although this is a broader issue which we could flesh out in another thread. I was explaining the circumstances which need to exist -- and do, in the postmodern era -- for atheism to become a system of motivation and, to a lesser extent, authoritarian control. Feel free to re-read what I wrote above in that light, and ask me for clarification if need be. I don't want to respond yet, seeing as we were speaking past each other, for fear we might get a bit further off track.


Ok I think we may need to back track a little as I am having difficulty seeing how the lack of belief in a divinity can be used to motivate and control people. I am not perfect either so please be patient with me Smile.

Would you please provide some examples of how atheism can be used in such a way, comparable to how theist belief systems have been used historically.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


Always a pleasure, Cosntantine XI. Smile


For sure! I love getting the grey matter moving through intelligent discussions with my fellow hyper nerds Big smile


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 05:12
Originally posted by EB EB wrote:

I'm using the broad definition of atheism, simply not believing in a god. How does "As far as I know, there are no gods" a faith based statement? You aren't putting faith in anything.

I'm probably using a more narrow definition. "As far as I know, there are no gods" is faithless, or pretty close to it anyway, because you have said As far as I know, and recognised that you are limited by what you know.
Quote
I'm ignorant as to how they do atheism out in Turkey. In the U.S., it's nothing like you describe.

The US is still a majority christian country, and the christians are in power. In Turkey, the secularists (who are more accurately state-atheists, people who believe that the religion of the state should be atheism, rather than people who believe that the state shouldn't interfere in religion or vice versa) are currently trying to do everything they can think of to remove the AKP government.
That's like, people trying to overthrow Bush because he appealed to the Christian vote. (Sort of, I've simplified it)
Quote Science is not as you describe it. I am not simply "believing" the things they say are true. Have you studied the sciences? Many scientific experiments can be done again, and not through faith, but observation, the findings can be proven true.

I have studied the sciences all my life, and even at this moment am writing here while I (should be) working on my thesis.
You are still thinking in an ideal case. Take the example of homeopathy. Medical researchers (alopaths) have a vested interest in "proving" that homeopathy doesn't work, while homeopaths swear it does. The alopaths refuse to acknoledge experiments that show that homeopath does work, and homeopaths refuse to acknolodge experiments that show it doesn't.
Anyone who does an experiment which shows that it works is critised and discredited by the Medical Industry. Arguments are often as stupid as "our scientific theories don't explain how it could work, therefore it doesn't".
Collecting data and interpreting data are two distinct things, you have to understand all the limitations and poltics behind it at the minimum.

Experiments alone have no faith and have no bearing on religion. But when people start believing people who they believe form their views on experiments without investigating them, then you have faith. Faith that what the scientists [preist] is telling you is correct.

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"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 05:54
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:


That is true, excepting that the convenience is to go along with the majority opinion in the circles you mix in. It is not more convenient to believe in God in a society of atheists or vice versa. You will be forced to defend you beliefs to an extent that the intellectual convenience is definitely with the majority (Trust me. I know! I've been living this most of my life)


What you say here might be true if we were living in 1970s USSR and China, but in today's world a majority of people in virtually every country are theist rather than atheist.

It also depends on which theory you are debating. If you are claiming there is no God, you can except majority opinion to be against you. If you are claiming the validity of DNA determining evolution, or earth being roughly several billion years old, then you can have an easier time of it in arguments since most theists I know accept the validity of these theories.

In terms of the sheer volume of literally taken study, for sure the natural sciences require much longer study.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:


A preacher or a scholar is probably more accurate. He advocates his religious views, and sets the norm for his religious community. He wrote a religious book, which people read for religious inspriation (or arguments against his religion).


Yes, he is a scholar, I would hope an Oxford Professor can claim that sort of a title Smile. It is true he mounts the lecturn and argues his case (preaches as you call it), but that doesn't make him religious. Attorneys and product marketers do the same thing daily, that doesn't make their work religious. Simply arguing your case in public does not make you equivalent to a priest.

You claim he wrote a religious book. Well lets take a look at what that word means:

Originally posted by dictionary.com dictionary.com wrote:


–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with religion: a religious holiday.
2. imbued with or exhibiting religion; pious; devout; godly: a religious man.
3. scrupulously faithful; conscientious: religious care.
4. pertaining to or connected with a monastic or religious order.
5. appropriate to religion or to sacred rites or observances.
–noun
6. a member of a religious order, congregation, etc.; a monk, friar, or nun.
7. the religious, devout or religious persons: Each year, thousands of the religious make pilgrimages to the shrine.

Origin:
1175–1225; ME (< OF) < L religiōsus, equiv. to religi(ō) http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=religion&db=luna - religion + -ōsus http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=-ous&db=luna - -ous

Related forms:
re⋅li⋅gious⋅ly, adverb
re⋅li⋅gious⋅ness, noun

Synonyms:
2. reverent. Religious, devout, pious indicate a spirit of reverence toward God. Religious is a general word, applying to whatever pertains to faith or worship: a religious ceremony. Devout indicates a fervent spirit, usually genuine and often independent of outward observances: a deeply devout though unorthodox church member. Pious implies constant attention to, and extreme conformity with, outward observances. It can also suggest sham or hypocrisy: a pious hypocrite. 3. devoted, unswerving, meticulous.


So I have included not only the defintions, but also the synonyms. Out of that entire fleshing out of possible characteristics, I must conclude that your assertion that what he does is religious is invalid. His book does not espouse faith or worship, but instead argues a case based on scientific evidence which can be subject to refutation, correction and revision. As an evolutionary biologist, he naturally admits the possibility of better methods being developed in the future which may render redundant the claims he is making.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Funding research.
In Australia the people and the government spend huge amounts of money into funding research into science and technology, however, when there is a result from that research suddenly neither the government or the people give a damn. So if they aren't interested in the results, why the hell are the funding the research in the first place?
Because having good science is pious, having good industry is secular. So they fund research but don't actually care, or even actively prevent, anything coming out of that research funding. I can name examples if you wish.


Please name them. We recently discovered a preventative measure to stop women getting cervical cancer, and our government went so far as to subsidise this treatment for every woman willing to undergo the procedure. From this example your claim seems to not reflect reality.

Also, if there are examples of research breakthroughs occurring and not being capitalised on, how exactly is this an example of an atheist duty? Even in times where everyone was theist, the powerful still patronised talented alchemists and physicians. Having worked in the research sector for a bit, I would put wastage of research funding down to pork barrelling and mismanagement rather than an atheist inspired faith in simply throwing money at research projects.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Another duty is to the medical industry. People believe science favours alopathy, and are prepared to fund it and use it even for conditions that it is not suited for. They aren't interested in what gives results, in fact they are prepared to fund medical research into diseases (like ADHD) that we know how to cure.
That is not results based behaviour, that is religious behaviour.


While some people believe that allopathic methods are superior, there still exists substantial support for homeopathic medicine, both in terms of research and public usage. Allopathic medicine is usually resorted to as a first course, but few people who suffer a protracted illness will not also try homeopathic medicine.

Last year during a protracted illness I tried allopathic, when it failed I tried a couple of homeopathic techniques, before I conducted my own study and found that allopathic research did in fact have a cure for the obscure illness I had. The doctors had simply been relying on stuff that was 20 years old, when all the best research on the topic was made in the last eight years. The homeopathic techniques I tried were, as many doctors had rightly sneered, little better than placebos. The reason the correct allopathic cure was not readily employed was because not enough publicity had been made about the issue to get the government to take notice of it and restructure medical training. However a book next year will come out on the illness, and seminars by a leading gastroenteroligical clinic which did pay attention to the scientific evidence will take place throughout Australia soon after. In this case, it was not wrong for research funding to be pumped into the illness, because it did actually produce scientific results which will cure the problem. What occurred after is a lack of publicity and logistical support for getting the upper echelons of medicine policy makers to change the structure of how GPs and specialists deal with the problem. There was no automatic scientific faith based system here, just a good system which unfortunately had some delays and logistical difficulties.

We don't know how to 'cure' ADHD, I would love to hear how you think this is possible. Considering this behavioural disorder is based largely on genetic neurological considerations.

Again, I am not seeing any tangible link between atheist beliefs and enforced duties. Simply a justifiable nationwide healthcare system that gets research funding and inevitably doesn't function 100% effectively due to logistical difficulties.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Yes absolutely. Why do you think every beauty product ad mentions "science" and some "scientific ingredients".


Again, not really comparable. Wanting to look pretty compared to wanting to have a good afterlife.... smells a bit like apples and oranges. And this isn't science or atheism dictating that people do this, just a marketing team which knows people are too lazy to go and verify the scientific merits of said beauty products. The ultimate human authorities in theistic belief systems, on the other hand, do make such definite statements.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

! I take it you've been paying attention the last 8 years? They [Greater Athesits] unite and inflict fear the instant they think another religion is challenging their dominance. (Just like everyone else)

I think I've already answered the middle of your post when replying to EB.


Again, I require examples. I dispute that atheists are dominant, because as I have said a majority of people in almost every country is theist and so are most people in executive positions of power.

Your reply to EB dealt with what you perceived atheism as being, a religion which can't be verified through personally acquired proof. It did not touch on how it was comparably useful to the establishment in inflicting fear or motivation on a ruled populace, which is where our discussion of that point originated from. So if you could please address that point, that would be great.


Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:


Well actually that completely reinforces my point about convenience, and the point that people ascribe incorrect things to Darwin.

In terms of the measurements we have made, actually, Lamarck's theory is superior. Not Darwins. That's been true since 1978. Its religious devotion, not science, that keeps Darwinism alive. Its convenient not to actually research and keep up things. It is simply more convenient and easy to go along with a book you can read in under a week.

(Actually it is impossible for any person to fully research everything. Its not really a matter of conveinence, we are limited by our intelligence and time, and have to, at some point, resort to faith)
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2009/2445180.htm - http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2009/2445180.htm


Lamarck's theory rests on the premise that changes to an individual as a result of environmental interaction will be passed on to their offspring. This case been clearly shown to not be the case. A common example of cutting of the tails of mice and then letting them breed. 100 generations later, the mice are still born with perfectly normal tails.

Darwin's theory is amply evidenced through empirical testing, on the other hand. In the case of laboratory experiments on microbes, the process of Darwin's theory of natural selection can be clearly observed and explanation discovered through the change in the organism's DNA sequence. This is probably the most appropriate example, but others can be found.

The link you gave me didn't provide any evidence of the validity of Lamarck's theory, it just talked about a radio broadcast where it was discussed. Lamarck's theory remains unconvincing, and you will have to provide strong evidence to resurrect its credibility as a superior theory to Darwin's.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

As I said to Northman in the other thread. The idea that the powerful enforce and create religion is only true for a very narrow historical and geographic area. Globally, there is no correlation between religious laws and states interests.


Actually religion as a control mechanism and tool of state interests is as old as history itself, and definitely as good deal older. From the close ties between temple and palace in the Ziggurrats of Mesopotamia, to the claims of the Republican Roman aristocracy to be descendents of Olympian gods and heros, to the Medieval church tithe, right down to our own day with the need to define the enemies of one's state as a religious adversary - the examples are simply abundant enough to be considered the norm.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 07:53
Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.


You claim to look for signs of God but you look for them in the material which is created ex nihilo, so any such sign can be only designed by God. Logically, if you want to find if God exists or not the most direct way is to ask His help, not to look into His creation.


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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 10:10
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


It must be nice to have no sense of shame or sensation of fatigue when caught constantly regurgitating, almost verbatim, the simplistic arguments of a group of polemical malcontents, and responding to any critique by simply repeating what you have said several times over. LOL

-Akolouthos
 
Sometimes one just have to repeat oneself since some people obviously don´t pay attention enough to understand what one says in the first place.


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 10:28
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.
 
Buildning your life on something that can be defined as a lie cannot be so good for your phsycological health either.


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 10:38
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

I was going to reply to Carcharodon by pointing out that "the principles of Darwins teachings" are not just Darwins, but belong to 19th century biologists in general, and to prove my point I opened up my copy of the Origin of Species sitting on my bookshelf beside me and looked in the further reading section. Instead of finding a list of academic papers or their 19th century equivalents, I found a list of post 1985 popular science - that is not science - books. Including Richard Dawkins. Part of the atheist body of religious knowledge as I said earlier to Constantine.
The publishers certainly know why people buy copies of the Origin of Species
 
Maybe better you try to read some scientific reports rather then getting upset by a list of popular science.

 
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


Before you reply again Carchardon, I would really appreciate it if you would read the link to the Occams Razor show I posted earlier. Currently you don't even understand what I am talking about let alone how to make a reasonable argument against me.
 
If you have a statement that someone gives but he cannot give any whatsoever substantial, tangible or even intellectual proof that his statement is true, than by using Occams Razor you can draw the conclusion that he is not telling the truth.
 
 


Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 10:46
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.


You claim to look for signs of God but you look for them in the material which is created ex nihilo, so any such sign can be only designed by God. Logically, if you want to find if God exists or not the most direct way is to ask His help, not to look into His creation.
Hi Menu
I have seen and heard people ask for, pray for, cry for His help to no end - without the "hoped" result whatsoever. "God works in mysterious ways" is explained as reason.
Then when good things incidently happen, the explanation is "God is good to us".
 
Please take time to http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=21914 - read this thread - it isn't very long.
 
 


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Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 11:01
I think it was Dawkins who once said that the way the world looks is exactly how a world without a God would look. So maybe one is not to illogical in drawing the conclusion that there is perhaps no God (or gods).


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 11:20
It´s alway interesting to observe how some religious people react on Darwins teachings about evolution and natural selection. They are constantly attacking it, many times with an amazing zeal. At the same time most of them has nothing to say about Newtons principles of gravity or about Einsteins thoughts about relativity. It is as if the teachings about evolution is a personal insult to them, as if Darwin and later scientists, who use his principles in their daily work, are attacking the fundaments of their beliefs and try to destroy everything they consider holy. The fear and recentment against evolutionary work and theory is really on the verge of blind superstition.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 12:30
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Not believing is not the same as believing not: ....... It just means I haven't the foggiest idea ..... .
 
 
I am sorry, please explain something to me.
Why not stating it like that in the first place (no foggy idea) to help us simple minded people not to get confused - or to get confused not? Smile
Would you believe poetic licence?
Quote
To me, "believing" is negated in both cases - and in logic teachings, a negation is a negation. Normally you would put the negation in front - like, NOT (A).
It's a question of what you are negating.
Define the relationship B(X) as 'I believe X is true'.
The possibilities are actually at first sight four: B(X), NOT(B(X)),  B(NOT(X), and NOT(B,NOT(X))
I believe X is true
I don't believe X is true
I believe X is false
I don't believe X is false.
However if I believe X is true then I don't believe X is false So B(X) -> NOT(B(NOT(X)) and if I believe X is false then I don't believe X is true and B(NOT(X))-> NOT(B(X)).
But those are implications not identities, and therefore there reversals don't apply:
NOT(B(X)) does not imply B(NOT(X))  and NOT(B(NOT(X)) does not imply B(X).
So NOT believing something does not logically imply believing the opposite, even though believing something does imply not believing the opposite.
 
Try a Venn diagram.
Quote
There can only be three possiblities.
- not believing in the existance of God  
- believing in the existance of God
- no foggy idea (all possibillities open)
Your third and first possibilities are not mutually exclusive. If you don't have any idea whether God exists or not, then you also do not believe in his existence (nor do you believe in his non-existence.
 
I always wonder why people don't see this. If you plucked an Indian oborigine from the Brazilian jungle, can you say he believes that the Hegelian dialectic is a valid hisrotical process? Obviously not. Does that mean you can safely say he believes the Hegelian dialiectic is not a valid historical process? Obviously not. 
Quote  
It's probably my school english failing me again.... Ouch
 
I don't think it's a matter of language. Take German: "Ich glaube nicht dass er existiert", "Ich glaube dass er existiert nicht". Not the same things at all.  Or French: "Je ne crois pas qu'il existe", "Je crois qu'il n'existe pas".


-------------
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 12:44
Quote Carcharodon
I think it was Dawkins who once said that the way the world looks is exactly how a world without a God would look. So maybe one is not to illogical in drawing the conclusion that there is perhaps no God (or gods).


And has he proved this? No
Its nothing more than a belief, if you wish to "believe" there is no God fine, your no different to a religious person because you are "believing" in something that is not scientifically proven.

I never understood why Atheists got so worked up about people who believe in God, when Atheists assumptions are a belief aswell.






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      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 13:05
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

  And has he proved this? No
Its nothing more than a belief, if you wish to "believe" there is no God fine, your no different to a religious person because you are "believing" in something that is not scientifically proven.
 
He just noticed that most of the phenomena we see in the world can be explained without resorting to any supernatural powers.
 

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

  I never understood why Atheists got so worked up about people who believe in God, when Atheists assumptions are a belief aswell.
 
Atheist don´t get especially worked up by people beliveing in God. What can annoy atheists though is when religious people are trying to impose their beliefs on others (sometimes by force), something that has been just to common through history.
And some atheist are also somewhat surprised by how some religious people just ignores all facts that are speaking against religious and supernatural explanations of different phenomena in the world.
 


Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 13:47
Quote He just noticed that most of the phenomena we see in the world can be explained without resorting to any supernatural powers.


And how exactly does this "prove" there is no god.

Quote Carcharodon
Atheist don´t get especially worked up by people beliveing in God. What can annoy atheists though is when religious people are trying to impose their beliefs on others (sometimes by force), something that has been just to common through history.
And some atheist are also somewhat surprised by how some religious people just ignores all facts that are speaking against religious and supernatural explanations of different phenomena in the world.


Atheism is a faith, they have "belief" that they're faith is correct and that they can use science as proof. However, science can constantly change, its not set in stone and the evidence its based upon always changes. Religion is based on the existance of an almighty creator of the universe, earth, life etc to the religious person this view cannot change or be altered.

Atheists shouldn't give religious people such a hard time, they are "believers" themselves.





-------------
      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 13:52
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Not believing is not the same as believing not: ....... It just means I haven't the foggiest idea ..... .
 
 
I am sorry, please explain something to me.
Why not stating it like that in the first place (no foggy idea) to help us simple minded people not to get confused - or to get confused not? Smile
Would you believe poetic licence?
Quote
To me, "believing" is negated in both cases - and in logic teachings, a negation is a negation. Normally you would put the negation in front - like, NOT (A).
It's a question of what you are negating.
Define the relationship B(X) as 'I believe X is true'.
The possibilities are actually at first sight four: B(X), NOT(B(X)),  B(NOT(X), and NOT(B,NOT(X))
I believe X is true
I don't believe X is true
I believe X is false
I don't believe X is false.
However if I believe X is true then I don't believe X is false So B(X) -> NOT(B(NOT(X)) and if I believe X is false then I don't believe X is true and B(NOT(X))-> NOT(B(X)).
But those are implications not identities, and therefore there reversals don't apply:
NOT(B(X)) does not imply B(NOT(X))  and NOT(B(NOT(X)) does not imply B(X).
So NOT believing something does not logically imply believing the opposite, even though believing something does imply not believing the opposite.
 
Try a Venn diagram.
Quote
There can only be three possiblities.
- not believing in the existance of God  
- believing in the existance of God
- no foggy idea (all possibillities open)
 
It's probably my school english failing me again.... Ouch
 
 
Whoa - maybe we should open a thread on booles algebra instead. LOL
But I can see my common sense serves me well as I came to the exact same conclusion as your algebra did, even without a Venn diagram.
 
Our results:
 
My possibilities (common sense) Your possibilities (algebra)
- not believing in the existance of God   I believe X is false
- believing in the existance of God I believe X is true
- no foggy idea (all possibillities open) I don't believe X is false AND I don't believe X is true
 
I can see we are in total agreement, so I still think it would be best to say "no foggy idea" Wink
Incidently, the Set Theory and its Venn diagrams was abandoned here from grade three to 10 back when the teachers wore puple diapers (mid 80'es). It was agreed that it didn't serve a higer purpose, except from explaining basic relations of groups in 1'st and 2'nd grade. 
I'm aware it's still practised elsewhere - also in higher educations.
 
Sorry - we are off topic - but thanks anyways.
 


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Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:01
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.


You claim to look for signs of God but you look for them in the material which is created ex nihilo, so any such sign can be only designed by God. Logically, if you want to find if God exists or not the most direct way is to ask His help, not to look into His creation.
Hi Menu
I have seen and heard people ask for, pray for, cry for His help to no end - without the "hoped" result whatsoever. "God works in mysterious ways" is explained as reason.
Then when good things incidently happen, the explanation is "God is good to us".
 
Please take time to http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=21914 - read this thread - it isn't very long.
 
 


I didn't know that God was our slave and answered every direct beck and call!

There are psychological problems with expectations of God. Maybe a good place to start would be in trying to understand Gods will.




-------------
Copyright 2004 Seko


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:08

Somewhat naughtily I edited my earlier post after taking a break. I didn't realise you'd come back so fast. I added a bit you might like to take a look at.

I still don't think 'not believing in the existence of God' equates to 'I believe X is false' (i.e. I believe God doesn't exist'. The latter does imply the former, but the former does not imply the latter.

I think Venn diagrams are also taught pretty early on nowadas in Britain. But that doesn't mean they're supposed to be forgotten afterwards. They're especially good at illustrating the difference betweem implication and equation, which is the commonest logical mistake people make. Even adults.


-------------
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:38

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:


And how exactly does this "prove" there is no god.

 

Noone has actually come up with anything that even resembles a proof of the existence of any god. Noone has came up with a phenomenon that craves the existence of any supernatural power to be explained. So why should anyone beleive in a God?


Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Atheism is a faith, they have "belief" that they're faith is correct and that they can use science as proof.

However, science can constantly change, its not set in stone and the evidence its based upon always changes.

 

One can rather say that many atheists are more critical in their thinking than most religious people. Atheists demands some kind of evidence before just believing something. That is a difference.

 

Science at least gives proof, or at least indicaments of things. Religion is just loose statements with no backing in the real world.

 

 

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Religion is based on the existance of an almighty creator of the universe, earth, life etc to the religious person this view cannot change or be altered.

 

As long religion cannot offer a shred of an evidence of the existence of some God one cannot say that religion is based on the existence of anything more than it´s adherents own dreams and delusions.

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Atheists shouldn't give religious people such a hard time, they are "believers" themselves.

 

The nuiscence that some atheist might give to religious people dwarfes in comparison to all the persecution the religious has bestowed upon people who have disagreed with their beleifs.

 

 

 

 



Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:42
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Somewhat naughtily I edited my earlier post after taking a break. I didn't realise you'd come back so fast. I added a bit you might like to take a look at.

I still don't think 'not believing in the existence of God' equates to 'I believe X is false' (i.e. I believe God doesn't exist'. The latter does imply the former, but the former does not imply the latter.

I think Venn diagrams are also taught pretty early on nowadas in Britain. But that doesn't mean they're supposed to be forgotten afterwards. They're especially good at illustrating the difference betweem implication and equation, which is the commonest logical mistake people make. Even adults.
Thank you - I read it and I think it boils down to our view on expressions.
 
You provide these two examples in German to emphazise the difference:
"Ich glaube nicht dass er existiert" = "I belive NOT that he exist"
"Ich glaube dass er existiert nicht" ="I belive that he exist NOT"
 
The former is plain to me - and if I were a non-believer, I could say it that way - or maybe rather - I do NOT belive that he exists (meaning, there is no God).
There is also a difference if you state "I don't believe...." vs "I don't think...."
 
The latter german sentence seems like an artificial construction to me - at least I would never state any opinion like that - and I never heard it from a german either.
 
I have no idea -  would of course imply that everyting is possible.
 
 


-------------


Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:55
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.


You claim to look for signs of God but you look for them in the material which is created ex nihilo, so any such sign can be only designed by God. Logically, if you want to find if God exists or not the most direct way is to ask His help, not to look into His creation.
Hi Menu
I have seen and heard people ask for, pray for, cry for His help to no end - without the "hoped" result whatsoever. "God works in mysterious ways" is explained as reason.
Then when good things incidently happen, the explanation is "God is good to us".
 
Please take time to http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=21914 - read this thread - it isn't very long.
 
 

I didn't know that God was our slave and answered every direct beck and call!
There are psychological problems with expectations of God. Maybe a good place to start would be in trying to understand Gods will.
In praying, we do not demand (like from a slave) but we ask humbly. If a child asks humbly, we are likely to consider the question.
If we ask God humbly, we hope that he would consider our question.
 
So my question is - how much does it take, if possible at all?
 
According to Janus in the thread I linked to, God has a predefined plan for all of us - so why pray if everything is pre-determined (Gods will, as you say).
Yes, we can try to understand, but why bother when the outcome is set in stone?
 
 


-------------


Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 15:35
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:


Buildning your life on something that can be defined as a lie cannot be so good for your phsycological health either.



I agree. My idea is that you should not reject or accept anything because anyway is just your belief, a phenomenon bounded to your mind. But I extend this to the belief in materialist empirism too because I consider relative the experiences of our senses.

Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:


Hi Menu
I have seen and heard people ask for, pray for, cry for His help to no end - without the "hoped" result whatsoever. "God works in mysterious ways" is explained as reason.
Then when good things incidently happen, the explanation is "God is good to us".

Please take time to read this thread - it isn't very long.


I remember that thread and the idea. I don't believe in the power of prayers. God has free will but cann't be influenced in any way because He knows perfectly what has to be done.

But in what I said is something different. Is not reasonable to supose the existence of a creator Being and to look for his traces firstly in his creation because He must be infinitely more real than it.

In what you say you sugest that God cann't be observed to intervene in the problems of the world so He shouldn't exist.

First, the problems of the world are mostly the result of His planning. The relation between the free will of the men and his planning and actions are another topic.

What is to know here is that God cann't act plainly as a supernatural power in the affairs of the world because then He would appear as some unidentified and not absolute force.


-------------
http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 16:01
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:


I agree. My idea is that you should not reject or accept anything because anyway is just your belief, a phenomenon bounded to your mind. But I extend this to the belief in materialist empirism too because I consider relative the experiences of our senses.
 
Of course I can disregard what my senses tell me and tell myself that those things only exists in my mind. But such strategy can be dangerous, for example, if my senses tell me that I´m walking right into a fire I better trust my senses.
 
Much scientific results are based on our senses or at least the physical expansion of our senses (through various instruments). Of course these results need interpretation and theoretical analyze and that is also something scientists struggle with every day.
 
Religious doctrins are are not connected to the senses (at least not in ways that are repeatable) but are mostly based on what some people tell you without being able to back up their statements with something tangible that your senses can register.


Posted By: Bulldog
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 18:07
Quote Carcharodon

Noone has actually come up with anything that even resembles a proof of the existence of any god.


And nobody has come up with anything that proves the opposite.

Quote

Noone has came up with a phenomenon that craves the existence of any supernatural power to be explained. So why should anyone beleive in a God?

I don't think you understand the mind of somebody that believes in God.
There is proof everywhere for the believer, our very existence, the world, the universe, to the believer it was all created.

Why should anyone believe in God? you could also ask, why should anyone not "believe" in God.

The Universe was created at some point, a believer in God believes God was the creator.

Quote Carcharadon

One can rather say that many atheists are more critical in their thinking than most religious people. Atheists demands some kind of evidence before just believing something. That is a difference.



Atheists don't demand evidence, they reject the existence, the possibility of God, what evidence is there to support this view?



Quote Carcharadon

As long religion cannot offer a shred of an evidence of the existence of some God one cannot say that religion is based on the existence of anything more than it´s adherents own dreams and delusions.



Religion offers plenty of evidence for the existence of God, just depends on whether you have faith or not.







-------------
      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine



Posted By: Emperor Barbarossa
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 18:30
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:


And nobody has come up with anything that proves the opposite.


And nobody has come up with any proof to the opposite for my invisible best friend. But for some reason nobody believes that he exists, ie: burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim for existence, not the skeptic. Can you disprove Queztlcoatl, Zeus, or Thor? Why don't you believe in any of these gods as well? You don't, you're almost atheist, but you happen to just believe in one god more than us.

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:


I don't think you understand the mind of somebody that believes in God.
There is proof everywhere for the believer, our very existence, the world, the universe, to the believer it was all created.

Why should anyone believe in God? you could also ask, why should anyone not "believe" in God.

The Universe was created at some point, a believer in God believes God was the creator.


Our existence, the world's existence, the universe's existence, are all proof for their own existence. None of these prove that a creator exists. Just because you keep saying and wishing that something is real doesn't make it any less imaginary.

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:


Atheists don't demand evidence, they reject the existence, the possibility of God, what evidence is there to support this view?


Not all atheism is 0% chance of God. De facto atheism is ~1%, incomparision to agnosticism's 50%. Atheism does not reject evidence, it has never been given any serious evidence that would make it conclude that there are higher powers.


Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Religion offers plenty of evidence for the existence of God, just depends on whether you have faith or not.


Again, believing that something is real is not evidence that that something is real. I can believe that my invisible best friend exists all I want, but it still does not exist. Faith is belief in something, not evidence in any sense of the word.




-------------



Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 18:53
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

And nobody has come up with anything that proves the opposite.

 
It is usually up to the one who claims something (as the existence of supernatural powers like gods and similar) to prove those claims.

Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

I don't think you understand the mind of somebody that believes in God.
There is proof everywhere for the believer, our very existence, the world, the universe, to the believer it was all created.

As long that there is no things in the world which cannot be better explained in other ways (through science) there is really no tangible reason to believe in supernatural powers. The fact that some people claim that such things exists is no proof.


Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

 Why should anyone believe in God? you could also ask, why should anyone not "believe" in God.

The Universe was created at some point, a believer in God believes God was the creator.
 
Without hard evidence that is just an assumption.


Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

Religion offers plenty of evidence for the existence of God, just depends on whether you have faith or not.

 
True evidence can be seen and evaluated by everyone without preconceived notions.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 20:26
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Science at least gives proof, or at least indicaments of things. Religion is just loose statements with no backing in the real world.

Better to say 'science accepts disproof' rather than 'gives proof'. The difference with religion is that religion does not accept disproof.
 
Science accepts falsifiable hypotheses that have been tested and not been falsified. Religion accepts untestable hypotheses.
 
Pretty well everyone is scientific about some things and religious about others.


-------------
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 21:52
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Why being an atheist? Building your life on a negation is not wise and healthy, not only in religion but in everything. It can lead even to some psychological problems I think.


You claim to look for signs of God but you look for them in the material which is created ex nihilo, so any such sign can be only designed by God. Logically, if you want to find if God exists or not the most direct way is to ask His help, not to look into His creation.
Hi Menu
I have seen and heard people ask for, pray for, cry for His help to no end - without the "hoped" result whatsoever. "God works in mysterious ways" is explained as reason.
Then when good things incidently happen, the explanation is "God is good to us".
 
Please take time to http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=21914 - read this thread - it isn't very long.
 
 

I didn't know that God was our slave and answered every direct beck and call!
There are psychological problems with expectations of God. Maybe a good place to start would be in trying to understand Gods will.
In praying, we do not demand (like from a slave) but we ask humbly. If a child asks humbly, we are likely to consider the question.
If we ask God humbly, we hope that he would consider our question.
 
So my question is - how much does it take, if possible at all?
 
According to Janus in the thread I linked to, God has a predefined plan for all of us - so why pray if everything is pre-determined (Gods will, as you say).
Yes, we can try to understand, but why bother when the outcome is set in stone?
 
 


Hello North. You have some good thoughts and questions on this thread and the one about what makes God a god. I'll answer you but the spirit of my thoughts are for everyone. If I sounded brash it may be that I spoke (wrote) before I checked my manners. There are some principles laid out in the world that are universal. Laws of math and physics come to mind. We have thought processes that allow us to interpret information and give it meaning. Some of these laws are observable and testable so we can better understand ourselves and our surroundings. We use the very same laws to help us measure and make decisions. When in doubt we also rely on logic, and rational thought. The so-called universal laws govern our life and planet we live on. Whether its about the number of days in a year (rotation of Earth on its axis as it moves around the Sun) or disease (pathological organ or harmful condition). These universal laws govern our reality. Some may ask who created such laws? Some may take them for granted. Positive empiricism attempts to help our understanding through the use of our faculties. Things we are comfortable with - senses. Yet something falls short with such a method. There are many things that we can't sense and do not comply with logic. Like, the existence of anything unknown or unprovable - spirits, soul or the thought - why doesn't money grow on trees? Actually it doesn't but we can sell the apples off of the tree and make money. We may have even assumed that God is or was or should be a tangible entity. Something that could be understood by our sensible awareness. Something with physical dimensions. Even if we could gather as much information about a tangible God, would it be enough? Enough for us to accept the reality of a God?

Since we may not have attained enough personal satisfaction to meet our inquisitive needs of God, we end up having doubt. Doubt about God's existence. Though we are dependent on our surroundings (planet, land, sea, air, etc.) we didn't create the very thing that we depend on. We just grew up with them. We have our homes and we live in them. Yet, we didn't  create the laws that govern the safety of those homes and hence our lives. We can test for how things are measured. But we seldom test for why things exist. If we can even test that at all! As we grow older, think then gain experience we may wonder that there appears to be a cause and effect for everything in our lives. For example, if we have a house very near a river that tends to flood every spring then we may expect our home to be flooded as well during that time. If we don't watch our diet we may become susceptible to disease. Why? Cause that is just the way it is. Say's who? I don't know but it still is that way. It's not hard to believe that we live in a fixed set of laws that directly affect us. We experience that every day.

I noticed in this, and the other thread, you wondered why praying for a cure to an illness  are sometimes met to no avail. My question to you would be: Does there exist a fixed set of laws, and does nature and her living organisms comply with such laws? Logically we can say yes and feel certain. We all fall under its jurisdiction. Why? Just because. Regarding the three year old girl who had the heart ailment and passed away despite numerous prayers for her well being, logically we know that she was ill and her chances of survival were limited. That is the law. Could she have survived? Sure, why not, as long as something enabled her to do so where her heart could function in a healthy manner. The new heart may have been a good start but it was not sufficient to keep her alive.

For many of us who believe, when things go wrong we sometimes doubt God. We wonder why he didn't break his laws just once so that our dear friends could have survived. However, as every coin has two sides, what is the other side in this case? Can there be anything good to come from such a loving, yet distant God? A God that we give human qualities to (perhaps a mistake). Maybe, just maybe. In the girl's case a number of well wishers met and shared a common cause with love in your (their) hearts. As far as we know that is something that God teaches us in his books. Love. In a round-about way you all shared and experienced that at that point in time.

Many of us ask, then 'why doesn't God present himself so we don't have to go on asking who he is? We need to satisfy our senses. Otherwise we just don't understand'. That is true. We are, after all, human. God does share something though. Something we can evaluate and test. That is his word, his law. Our laws. He shares his attributes. Religious books in monotheistic faiths describe these attributes of God.

Regarding predetermination and the effect of prayers thing, my hunch is that this could end up in a circular debate yet here goes nothing. Whether events are preordained or not doesn't really matter to us. We go on surviving as best we can. With or without prayer. Surely. the good books tell us that there is merit in prayer. I don't have the foggiest as to how its supposed to work other than God is aware of them and us. That's what we are told anyway. Now here goes the circular argument - things may or may not be wrapped up in destiny yet we are encouraged to have our say anyway. If we have our say (prayer) we are told that we have a listener. How anything comes out of that is anyone's guess. That leads to this next thing. Whether by prayer or destiny events unfold. Either way something gets set in motion (or was waiting to be set in motion or had already been set in motion) - God willing. The events that unfold follow universal laws. We read about such events, for example, in the holy books.

This post got a bit long as I tend to think the more I write. To cut it short, we all have choices to make everyday. We have evaluations to make. That's a great thing. We live in uncertainty about ourselves too. Yet, there just may be something that is certain for us after all...


 - post updated to correct for grammatical errors.


-------------
Copyright 2004 Seko



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