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Thread: An experiment in Atheism

  1. #241
    Nuh uh. Every example of "God's wrath," where he commands his followers to hurt or destroy a person are group of people, was an order limited to a certain time frame and for certain, very specific reasons. To extend these isolated commandments to allowances or rule for everyday life would be long stretch, and illogical reasoning at that.
    According to who? You might be of the 'lower rank' of religious minds, but there are those vastly more religious that would disagree and indeed go to lengths to 'do gods will'. (We can argue over whether a sky being really wills it or cares less but that doesn't impact the point). Such is the inherent problem with using an openly interpretable ancient manuscript as a guide to life.

    Further than that, every atrocity is justified when god says so personally. While theists will be the first to label them mad, who is to deny and argue against, (for instance), that woman that stoned her children to death because god told her to? I remember at the time the only argument from the theists was that god would never command such thing. I then felt compelled to point out Deuteronomy where god does indeed command that exact thing. The place then went silent save for a few personal insults.

    Let me ask you honestly. If god communicated with you and told you to remove the world of homosexuals.. Would you not undertake that activity with zeal? I guess this part is all about your personal faith.. The issue is that some people have that faith in bucketloads.

    You honestly believe that a dichotomy of worldview between humans doesn't completely alter the way they live?
    We need to look at what you stated originally. To put it basically: my lack of belief in zeus means I have no reason to be moral.

    Can you not see why I have issue with such a statement?

    Religion has been ingrained in the human psyche since the dawn of man - only since the advent of the theory of evolution, have people felt intellectually justified enough to ploriforate atheism as a logical worldview. This is a drastic change in the philosophy of man, with similarly drastic implications.
    Well, that's incorrect.

    Speaking from personal experience, I went through an atheistic phase
    An "atheistic phase" heh? Lol. So what happened, one day you woke up and just didn't believe in gods anymore? Seems more pertinent to state that you woke up one day and decided to rebel against your own beliefs. You conducted your immorality - still a theist, but now try to blame it on something you clearly never were. It's ok to rebel against the system every now and then but don't for one second think it fair to blame the innocent for your own crimes. I will state right now for the record: you were never an "atheist", you were a theist in disguise.

    What about the man who jumps in a raging river to save an old woman he doesn't know? He's not acting in a way that would best ensure his survival. He's not saving a mate. What does he have to gain?
    Oh I dunno, if you survive the event you'll be a hero. The woman will put you in her will, the family will love you for your deeds, you'll be worshipped by women, admired by men.. yada yada. You know, when people daydream they often image being a hero, saving the day, saving the world, saving a stranded woman and reaping enormous benefit through doing so.

    Even the benefits regarding simple 'feeling' can outweigh the risks as seen with those conducting extreme sports - (why did you jump off that cliff, you could have died? "Yeah, but what a rush")

    if someone is pissing you off to the point where you want to hurt him/kill him, your instincts are screaming for you to cause him pain, why should you ignore that? Assuming you felt quite confident you could get away with it?
    Ask those that have murdered someone.. It seems apparent to state that, (aside from heat of the moment killing), they thought they could get away with it. In general most people realise they can't - and thus resist the temptation.

    But the genuinely religious man has not only human laws to keep him in check, but religious ones as well - which acts as a reinforcer for moral behavior
    History shows us otherwise.

    The intimation that somehow all of mankind can be atheist and perfectly moral is a utopia inconsistent with human nature.
    Well, kindly define what you mean by "perfectly moral" and then tell me one instance in the history of mankind that has adopted this be it from theists or atheists. What exactly are you trying to advocate here?

    An atheist or theist can be moral, they can be immoral they can be many things. Them being an 'atheist' is of no relevance to the issue.

    when faced with an alternative(being in a situation where hurting/killing someone will benefit you - say, a man is sleeping with your wife, and to stop the possibilty of him inseminating her you murder him) the atheist by your rational has ground, justification even, for committing violent, "immoral" acts.
    First you need to ascertain that this violence is immoral. That's a hard thing to do. I distinctly remember when god zapped onan for spilling his semen on the floor instead of up his dead brothers wife. That is clearly immoral and yet you would seemingly justify it. On the other hand you would seemingly go against a man that comes home and kills a guy that is busy raping his wife and children because... what? It's violent? Do me a lemon.

    Would I consider a woman killing a paedophile that has just abused and killed her child as immoral? Certainly not. You tell me whether that's a bad thing or not.

    So, when negative seeming traits have their uses, we are justified in fulfilling them - that's what you're saying?
    Certainly, although it's always worth weighing up the benefit vs the possible harm first.

    Seems to back up my point quite well. Atheists are justified in fulfilling one of these traits if it useful to them at the time.
    Not atheists, "everyone" - unless you would contend that you have never done anything questionable in you life and considered it justified - such as lying to your girlfriend to try and make her feel better about herself, ("No, your bum doesn't look big in that") etc etc. You see, what we have here is an immoral/negative act, (lying), fully justified: "but I was just trying to make her feel better".

    You have a brother that's addicted to cocaine. You steal that cocaine in order to help him. You have done a negative act, (stealing), and yet it is fully justified by you.

    I could go on forever.

    We haven't had many atheist nations or regimes yet(though Pot, Stalin, and Mao were quite charming, weren't they?)
    We can't use the term "atheist nations/regimes" with regards to Pot, Stalin or Mao. They weren't atheist nations, they were communist nations. There's a difference the length of the Grand Canyon and indeed communism is more in line with theism/religion than atheism.

    So I can't say you have much evidence to compare the a nation of atheists to religous
    I didn't even try to do so, and nor would I. What I meant by my statement was that the more important someone views something and the more purpose he sees in that something, the more likely others are going to suffer because of it.

    but because of things like stealing, rape, murder - all of which are outlawed and condemned in religious text
    And are also condoned in that very same text dependant upon circumstance. You'll once again probably argue that these instances were time specific and god would no longer condone such a thing - but then the weird thing is you'd go on to tell me that "god never changes", (a biblical statement). In saying, gods statements saying one should stone naughty kids to death must stand. His opinion on the matter couldn't have changed, because he doesn't change.

    (and many people do claim this, but claiming and actual behavior are very different things)
    This is used a lot by theists but is worthless. I shall state for the record, (as the prime example of an atheist), that to be an atheist one must lack belief in gods and be moral. Now.. the very second you tell me you met an immoral atheist I'll just say "nope, he wasn't an atheist.. look, he didn't act like one".

    What a copout.

    they wouldn't have been accurately following their religion
    Accurately according to whos interpretation?

  2. #242
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashura View Post
    I didn't say atheism is science. I said it's the most scientific view when it comes to religion in that there is nothing to test. It's not claiming anything, unlike a religion which claims something such as the existence of god(s). Like you said, religion is reaching conclusions without evidence, which completely goes against science.
    What cannot be falsified or tested is not science no matter how "rational" the subjective opinion is.

  3. #243
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    What cannot be falsified or tested is not science no matter how "rational" the subjective opinion is.
    I already said it's not science.

  4. #244
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashura View Post
    I already said it's not science.
    I am pretty sure scientific views fall under the purview of science, but hey, I have been wrong before.

  5. #245
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    I am pretty sure scientific views fall under the purview of science, but hey, I have been wrong before.
    sci·en·tif·ic (sī'ən-tĭf'ĭk) Pronunciation Key
    adj. Of, relating to, or employing the methodology of science.

    science (from wiki):
    In the broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge') refers to any systematic methodology which attempts to collect accurate information about the shared reality and to model this in a way which can be used to make reliable, concrete and quantitative predictions about events, in line with hypotheses proven by experiment.

    S.A.M., if my statement still doesn't make sense, I'll be happy to drop it because I honestly can't think of a way to explain it to you after this. :/

  6. #246
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashura View Post
    sci·en·tif·ic (sī'ən-tĭf'ĭk) Pronunciation Key
    adj. Of, relating to, or employing the methodology of science.

    science (from wiki):
    In the broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge') refers to any systematic methodology which attempts to collect accurate information about the shared reality and to model this in a way which can be used to make reliable, concrete and quantitative predictions about events, in line with hypotheses proven by experiment.

    S.A.M., if my statement still doesn't make sense, I'll be happy to drop it because I honestly can't think of a way to explain it to you after this. :/
    It doesn't. Pertaining to the methodology of science is exactly what I was talking about.

  7. #247
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    It doesn't. Pertaining to the methodology of science is exactly what I was talking about.

  8. #248
    SAM:

    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    He er claims that atheism is a position on lack of belief, not the nonexistence of God.

    Now I'm thoroughly confused.
    It's not that complicated. Atheists do not believe in gods. Equivalently, they lack a belief in gods. Simple.

    Perhaps you are confused because atheists leave the door slightly open. They tend not to be so dogmatic as religious people, with whom you may be more familiar. Rather than claiming to know absolutely that gods do not exist, atheists generally say that there is no reason to believe in gods, because there is no evidence that they exist. If good evidence ever comes to light, then atheists will be happy to change their minds. But, at present, there is simply no reason to believe in gods. Thus, atheists do not believe in gods, any more than they believe in Santa Claus. Does that help you understand?

    If evidence came to light that Christianity was in fact correct and Islam was wrong, would you convert to Christianity? Any thinking atheist would.

    A lack of imagination doesn't take you very far though, does it?
    You'll need to be more specific. Take you very far towards what? Writing fantasy novels? Disposing of unsupported belief baggage?

    You cannot possibly have "evidence" on the morality of people before religion.
    Actually, there is considerable archaeological evidence which allows us to draw conclusions about past societies and their mores.

    No human society has ever existed in a religious vacuum, so we can't directly compare an atheistic society with religious ones. But we can easily compare highly religious present-day societies, for example, with more secular ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Religion is faith; ie you make observations and reach conclusions without evidence.
    Sounds like a terrible way to go about getting reliable knowledge of anything.

    Science on the other hand is when you test an observation and in the absence of falsification, assume it true under the conditions of testing.
    This is a funny way of putting it. Of course, it goes without saying that you have to be careful that you're testing what you think you're testing.

    Where does atheism fall?
    It doesn't.

  9. #249
    Rational Skeptic
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    The basic rules of this thread make a reply impossible. It is like asking a person to explain why he does not believe in the existence of Leprechauns without using the word Leprechaun.

    The best reply I can provide requires bending the rules a bit:
    • I do not believe there is a god or gods, because I think that is a view closer to reality than any other view on this issue.
    I think that the above view results in my fitting the definition of atheist.

    I also beleive that most agnostics are cowardly athesits, afraid to admit their actual view on the subject.


    BTW: I only read the first 2-3 pages of replies to this thread. Sorry if I posted something similar to another post.

  10. #250
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Lets have some convincing arguments for atheism, that do NOT involve any talk about theism, theists or morality.

    Why is atheism the better option?
    Well let's see.... I'm just trying to think back to when I believed in god which was when I was a child.

    I think when you are an atheist, and have a genuine interest in life and the universe, it can give you every bit of inspiration as any false religion can give a delusional person. Which is why I get annoyed when theists act holier-than-thou, because the feeling is the same wether you be atheist or theist, the emotions are the same, but BS free.

    Dawkins and his parish priest describe the same wonder of the universe that gave them such high inspiration, yet one is religious and one is atheist. So the answer to your question, is that religion is simply not needed. I don't see what is so difficult to accept about a limited life, it just makes it more interesting and urgent. I don't see why you need to be christian to be inspired by nature, and if you see the universe without a god, then you have something with genuine mystery. With god, you have just answered all of your questions: god did it.

    So the fundamental point I have to reply, is that I am atheist, because WHY should I be theist? I don't see why life could be any better if I convince myself there is an afterlife... I don't see why my life could be any better if I suddenly believed that G W Bush planned 9/11.

  11. #251
    Come Let Us Reason Together SetiAlpha6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FallingSkyward View Post
    Ah, and the religious person has that sense, "do unto others," but also more rational basis for believing in it since they believe in the intrinsic value of humanity.

    Can I ask where you are getting this "intrinsic value of humanity" idea from?

    It cannot be from Christianity!

    The Bible teaches the intrinsic worthlessness of humanity and the worthlessness of all human effort. The Bible plainly teaches, over and over again, that all people are evil, that none have any good in them at all, that every single human that has ever lived, save one, deserved/deserves to be executed and then to be tortured for all eternity. This is what the gospel teaches, right?

    Did I miss something?

    The "intrinsic value of humanity" sounds more like Secular Humanism to me.

    Peace
    Last edited by SetiAlpha6; 06-25-07 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Clarification

  12. #252
    Dinosaur:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur View Post
    I also beleive that most agnostics are cowardly athesits, afraid to admit their actual view on the subject.
    There is a technical distinction.

    In the strict sense, an agnostic is someone who believes that whether god exists cannot, even in principle, be known. It is an open question. Whereas, the atheist bases his non-belief in god in lack of evidence.

  13. #253
    Rational Skeptic
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    James R: I know the dictionary definitions of atheist and agnostic.

    I am suggesting that some (perhaps many) who call themselves agnostics are afraid to admit to being an athiest.

  14. #254
    F-in' *meow* baby!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Why is atheism the better option?
    It gives you the option of forming a personal identify that is compatible with truth.

  15. #255
    How much is there to know? FallingSkyward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeLord View Post
    According to who? You might be of the 'lower rank' of religious minds, but there are those vastly more religious that would disagree and indeed go to lengths to 'do gods will'. (We can argue over whether a sky being really wills it or cares less but that doesn't impact the point). Such is the inherent problem with using an openly interpretable ancient manuscript as a guide to life.
    As opposed to using human judgement as a guide to life?

    Further than that, every atrocity is justified when god says so personally. While theists will be the first to label them mad, who is to deny and argue against, (for instance), that woman that stoned her children to death because god told her to? I remember at the time the only argument from the theists was that god would never command such thing. I then felt compelled to point out Deuteronomy where god does indeed command that exact thing. The place then went silent save for a few personal insults.
    It's ridiculous that they would insult you for making a point. That is not good Christian behavior, actually.

    Could you please tell me the verse in Deuteronomy where that occurs?

    The woman is most likely crazy. If there is evidence to suggest interference by God, then a second look should be taken at the issue. But if there is no evidence, you can do nothing but assume she is insane. She may as well have heard a voice from a little green lephrecaun on her right shoulder.

    Just because a person claims God talked to them is no reason for a theist to accept that claim. This would give people (pseudo)control over the voice of God.


    Let me ask you honestly. If god communicated with you and told you to remove the world of homosexuals.. Would you not undertake that activity with zeal? I guess this part is all about your personal faith.. The issue is that some people have that faith in bucketloads.
    Wouldn't you? If God, the Almighty perveyor of the universe, told someone to do this, no one in their right mind would disobey him. I would certainly do whatever God told me to. Of course all this goes against His teachings, so I can't imagine that He would. But if He did, I mean, He's freakin God, wanting me do it for some purpose. Who am I to disobey the being who created the Universe?

    We need to look at what you stated originally. To put it basically: my lack of belief in zeus means I have no reason to be moral.

    Can you not see why I have issue with such a statement?
    No, because Zeus is different god than the Abrahamic one. They encompass completely different concepts of who and what God is. Let's for one second entertain the idea that there is but one truth. This would mean that one religion is correct, and the others are wrong. The reason they are wrong is because they are different.

    You cannot lump all Gods or religions into one category, as they have very distinct differences.

    You show me what doctrine or philosophy Zeus presented that would give a basis for morality.


    Well, that's incorrect.
    Why?

    An "atheistic phase" heh? Lol. So what happened, one day you woke up and just didn't believe in gods anymore? Seems more pertinent to state that you woke up one day and decided to rebel against your own beliefs. You conducted your immorality - still a theist, but now try to blame it on something you clearly never were. It's ok to rebel against the system every now and then but don't for one second think it fair to blame the innocent for your own crimes. I will state right now for the record: you were never an "atheist", you were a theist in disguise.
    I know that I was an atheist at one point. I learned more about atheism a few years ago and thought it sounded pretty logical since there isn't any *obvious* interaction of God with the world. I started questioning my religion when I was around 12 - I was confused by many aspects of the religion(Religion can be a baffling thing, with all of it's different sects and infomercials - people distort the hell out of things - I can understand why it's unappealing to so many; I myself have found and still do find aspects of what people do to it completely unappealing). For a while, I thought I was more logically justified in being an agnostic/atheist(kinda a fine line, eh?). I argued many times for the logical merits of atheism/agnosticism. But I've been changing. As people do. You laugh at the possibility of change in worldview?


    Why, a most prominent, respected atheist - Antony Flew - did just this in the last few years of his life, after decades of adamently propagating the atheistic model.



    Oh I dunno, if you survive the event you'll be a hero. The woman will put you in her will, the family will love you for your deeds, you'll be worshipped by women, admired by men.. yada yada. You know, when people daydream they often image being a hero, saving the day, saving the world, saving a stranded woman and reaping enormous benefit through doing so.
    So, as an atheist with that viewpoint, you are not commiting a moral act by saving her, but a selfish one.

    Even the benefits regarding simple 'feeling' can outweigh the risks as seen with those conducting extreme sports - (why did you jump off that cliff, you could have died? "Yeah, but what a rush")
    Curious: Why have people like this survived the process of evolution?


    Ask those that have murdered someone.. It seems apparent to state that, (aside from heat of the moment killing), they thought they could get away with it. In general most people realise they can't - and thus resist the temptation.
    This highlights my point. The person, the atheist, who lacks a belief in an entity who knows their actions and wants them to obey His commandments, will be more likely to commit crimes they could get away with.

    But you cannot hide from the face of eternity. This is what religious people believe. They have an extra check on their natural inclinations.


    History shows us otherwise.
    Really? Christians, more than anyone, were the people who showed the Jews the most kindess in the face of extreme danger to themselves. Schindler, for instance. He valued and loved these people because he valued and loved God. Christians I've known in my own life - not the ones that just claim to be Christian, but follow Christ's teachings, what is described in the Bible(as "actions speak louder than words," you know - because there ARE people who claim to be Christians that don't ACT Christian) are the kindest and most open people that I've ever met. Kind, open, and loving are three words that describe Christ perfectly. He dined with prostitutes and spoke seriously with drunkards, when the religious figures of the day completely rejected them and looked down on Jesus for interacting with them. Jesus loved people. People that love Jesus and follow what he teaches will also, in essence, love people.



    Well, kindly define what you mean by "perfectly moral" and then tell me one instance in the history of mankind that has adopted this be it from theists or atheists. What exactly are you trying to advocate here?
    Maybe I shouldn't have said "perfectly" moral as no society can be so, but I find it hard to believe that a society in which everyone accepts and believes that there is no God will have the ability to be stable for any extended period of time.

    An atheist or theist can be moral, they can be immoral they can be many things. Them being an 'atheist' is of no relevance to the issue.
    Atheism = Lack of belief in God(and therefore purpose for existence). Purpose = reason(for living), some destination to work towards. The destination of existence in the atheist worldview is death, nothing more. All the pain, suffering, beauty, and love percieved were just illusions, lacking any purpose in the end. We're a flicker in the darkness, just the universe batting it's eye.

    People that believe their lives or actions have no ultimate purpose place less value on their own lives than people who do, and therefore place less value on the lives of others. It's logical to look at life in this way when you are an atheist. These are the facts of a worldview that believes the only reason we're here is to fulfill a few very mechanical desires and then snuff it.

    I'm not saying all atheists are like this, but when an atheist person truly delves into what their worldview really means, this is the result. Non-purpose. Non-value. Pretty depressing stuff - which is why atheists are always saying they're so much more "brave" than theists for accepting the cold, hard "facts" of reality.

    First you need to ascertain that this violence is immoral. That's a hard thing to do. I distinctly remember when god zapped onan for spilling his semen on the floor instead of up his dead brothers wife. That is clearly immoral and yet you would seemingly justify it. On the other hand you would seemingly go against a man that comes home and kills a guy that is busy raping his wife and children because... what? It's violent? Do me a lemon.
    I would again request that you would give me the verse in which this happens.

    I agree that the means in which we may employ violence in a specific situation are ambigious. I know that if I were in that man's position, I probably would hurt or kill the man raping my wife and children. If it is wrong or right, I don't know, but I think I would do it.

    In situations that are less ambigious is where the meaning of the worldviews comes into play. For instance, if a man is tempted to kill a co-worker because she has accidently stumbled upon a secret of his that could ruin him, and he is in a position where he could do so with no one finding out, which worldview would lead the man to sparing his co-worker's life: the one in which he believes that humanity is not ultimately valuable and that there is no God who cares about his behavior, or the one in which he does believe that humans are ultimately valuable and that God is actively invested in his behavior? The latter would seem to be the more logically conclusion.

    Would I consider a woman killing a paedophile that has just abused and killed her child as immoral? Certainly not. You tell me whether that's a bad thing or not.
    Would you consider the woman immoral if she killed the pedophile a decade later, after the person had completely changed his ways and became a good person who contributed to his society?

    This happens, you know. People change for the better, and often because of religion. What reason would that pedophile have to change his sexual fetishes if it were not for religion? The only motivation he has is a jury of his peers who will jeer at and punish him. They scorn him and show him no acceptance or forgiveness. God, however, loves this man. He hates his actions, but loves the man. He shows him forgiveness and acceptance if he would accept and follow the ways of Christ. The man is able to repel is desire because he believes he is wholly loved and accepted, that there is true REASON to try to be a better person.



    Certainly, although it's always worth weighing up the benefit vs the possible harm first.
    How is this "moral"? Being "moral" is not "doing what is most advantageous for yourself." Morality is an exercise in clarifying the distinctions between right and wrong. When you're making decisions based on your subjective views of what is most advantageous for you, this can hardly be construed as moral.


    Not atheists, "everyone" - unless you would contend that you have never done anything questionable in you life and considered it justified - such as lying to your girlfriend to try and make her feel better about herself, ("No, your bum doesn't look big in that") etc etc. You see, what we have here is an immoral/negative act, (lying), fully justified: "but I was just trying to make her feel better".
    You have a brother that's addicted to cocaine. You steal that cocaine in order to help him. You have done a negative act, (stealing), and yet it is fully justified by you.
    I doubt God would have us believe that "stealing" in this context is the same way as he says "stealing" in "Thou shalt not steal." The Bible says that a person's body is a temple and they should treat it as such(I.E., they should not do drugs) and to love people. In this case, the act of "stealing" the cocaine would be an act of love. Most instances of stealing are an act of selfishness.

    Following the teachings of God is not like following a recipe, there is gray area in the guidelines for the behavior of man.




    I didn't even try to do so, and nor would I. What I meant by my statement was that the more important someone views something and the more purpose he sees in that something, the more likely others are going to suffer because of it.
    A person who emphatically loves other people would not intentionally cause other people suffering.



    And are also condoned in that very same text dependant upon circumstance. You'll once again probably argue that these instances were time specific and god would no longer condone such a thing - but then the weird thing is you'd go on to tell me that "god never changes", (a biblical statement). In saying, gods statements saying one should stone naughty kids to death must stand. His opinion on the matter couldn't have changed, because he doesn't change.
    We actually have no idea what that statement means. To assume we know that he "does not change" would mean we presume to understand something of his eternal nature, which is impossible. I think it is more of a poetic, mysterious statement than something that is said to be taken literally. Perhaps it's kind of akin to saying "Eternity never changes." How are you supposed to wrap your head 'round that?

    The Bible actually shows many, many instances where God "changes," - his mind, his tone, whatever. I will again appeal to the "instance" case, but not with the subject you were referring to. God never stated that he "never" changes, for instance in v. 14, Ezekiel writes:

    I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

    Is this a general statement, or specific decision? God is saying that the final judgment and fall of Jerusalem has come about, and that there is no turning back. He will not change His mind about this, but will allow Nebuchadnezar to destroy Jerusalem. Fini. The End. No reprieve. This is not a general statement that God will never change His mind, but a statement about a specific situation.

    http://pelajus.com/godrepent.html




    This is used a lot by theists but is worthless. I shall state for the record, (as the prime example of an atheist), that to be an atheist one must lack belief in gods and be moral. Now.. the very second you tell me you met an immoral atheist I'll just say "nope, he wasn't an atheist.. look, he didn't act like one".

    What a copout.
    I would like to reiterate the point of my musings - that a person who believes that the only reason humanity exists is to proliferate the species and do whatever is most advantageous for the themselves has virtually zero basis for behaving morally(because their reason for living is to behave selfishly!). This isn't to say they necessarily DON'T behave morally, but that their justification for it is moot.

    The Christian, on the other hand, has the Bible and specifically the Gospel as a firm, rock-hard basis for their morality. Jesus tells us to be kind to one another, to love one another, to "turn the other cheek." His complete and total love for us is motivation to behave accordingly. This isn't to say that everyone who claims to be a Christian behaves morally, because you can say that you are Christian but behave alternately. Many are raised as Christians, say they are Christians, but don't do much investigating into what their religion really calls for. As I said before, "Actions speak louder than words." If everyone behaved how Christ wishes us to behave, do you think there would be any more hate, poverty, or cruelty in the world?

    If everyone behaved as an ATHEIST is supposed to behave...they'd do whatever's best for them. And whatever's best for the individual varies greatly. Some people consider what's best for them to murder another human being, some people think it's best to be cruel to weaker people in order to seem stronger. Some assuredly even think it's best to treat others fairly. But nothing will be a strong, justified conviction, because life's about doing what's best for yourself.


    All humans are fallible, you're right about that. Christians will sin, as will atheists. But my point is that the human who has a basis for believing that love is not just as a robotic flurry of feel-good chemicals in the brain, but an objective truth and existing force in the universe, will value his life and the lives of others more than a person who is absent these beliefs. And therefore have more of an inclination to be moral than a person who fervently believes that life has no ultimate purpose and that we're here to do what's most advantageous for us.

    Whew *wipes brow* I don't know how many times more I can rephrase that idea.

    You said earlier that "that the more important someone views something and the more purpose he sees in that something, the more likely others are going to suffer because of it."

    The overarching message of that statement is actually: "that the more important someone views something and the more purpose he sees in that something, the more fervently he will live by these beliefs." =)

    Which is exactly my point, mdear.


    Accurately according to whos interpretation?
    If you're a Christian, Jesus'. It's pretty hard to misconstrue His message of love and acceptance.
    Last edited by FallingSkyward; 07-04-07 at 07:02 PM. Reason: clarification

  16. #256
    FallingSkyward:

    Quote Originally Posted by FallingSkyward View Post
    You show me what doctrine or philosophy Zeus presented that would give a basis for morality.
    Does this not suggest to you that morality doesn't come from gods, then?

    This highlights my point. The person, the atheist, who lacks a belief in an entity who knows their actions and wants them to obey His commandments, will be more likely to commit crimes they could get away with.
    Got any actual evidence that atheists are more likely to commit crimes?

    Maybe I shouldn't have said "perfectly" moral as no society can be so, but I find it hard to believe that a society in which everyone accepts and believes that there is no God will have the ability to be stable for any extended period of time.
    Why was Greek society stable, or Roman? Because of belief in Zeus, Athene and so on? Will any god do?

    Atheism = Lack of belief in God(and therefore purpose for existence).
    Wrong. Just because an atheist does not believe that the purpose of life resides in God doesn't mean he or she believes in no purpose. Your "therefore" is baseless.

    Purpose = reason(for living), some destination to work towards. The destination of existence in the atheist worldview is death, nothing more. All the pain, suffering, beauty, and love percieved were just illusions, lacking any purpose in the end. We're a flicker in the darkness, just the universe batting it's eye.
    Wrong again. Life is all the more valuable when it is a one-shot proposition. If there is no afterlife, you must make the most of the life you have.

    People that believe their lives or actions have no ultimate purpose place less value on their own lives than people who do, and therefore place less value on the lives of others.
    No, for the same reason. Life becomes all the more valuable. Compare the Muslim suicide bomber who wants to die so that he gets to see God as soon as possible. There is no equivalent for the atheist.

    It's logical to look at life in this way when you are an atheist. These are the facts of a worldview that believes the only reason we're here is to fulfill a few very mechanical desires and then snuff it.
    What makes you think atheists believe we are here only to "fulfull a few very mechanical desires"? Really, it sounds to me like you have a very superficial and misguided perception of atheism.

    This happens, you know. People change for the better, and often because of religion.
    How can you establish that it is because of religion? That's just an assumption on your part, isn't it?

    How is this "moral"? Being "moral" is not "doing what is most advantageous for yourself." Morality is an exercise in clarifying the distinctions between right and wrong. When you're making decisions based on your subjective views of what is most advantageous for you, this can hardly be construed as moral.
    Correct. Most atheists do not base their morality on that principle, however.

    I would like to reiterate the point of my musings - that a person who believes that the only reason humanity exists is to proliferate the species and do whatever is most advantageous for the themselves has virtually zero basis for behaving morally(because their reason for living is to behave selfishly!).
    Correct. But this doesn't apply to atheists, in general.

    The Christian, on the other hand, has the Bible and specifically the Gospel as a firm, rock-hard basis for their morality. Jesus tells us to be kind to one another, to love one another, to "turn the other cheek." His complete and total love for us is motivation to behave accordingly.
    Or fear of going to hell if you disobey.

    If everyone behaved as an ATHEIST is supposed to behave...they'd do whatever's best for them.
    Who said atheists are supposed to behave like that? It's just your assumption.

  17. #257
    Atheism = Lack of belief in God(and therefore purpose for existence). Purpose = reason(for living), some destination to work towards. The destination of existence in the atheist worldview is death, nothing more. All the pain, suffering, beauty, and love percieved were just illusions, lacking any purpose in the end. We're a flicker in the darkness, just the universe batting it's eye.
    Why do you put it upon yourself to ignore perpetuation of genes and changing the world a little bit during that flicker as a purpose?

  18. #258
    Valued Senior Member Jan Ardena's Avatar
    Posts
    7,299
    What an excellent thread.

    James R,

    It's not that complicated. Atheists do not believe in gods. Equivalently, they lack a belief in gods. Simple.
    What exactly do you mean by "...LACK a belief in gods"?

    Perhaps you are confused because atheists leave the door slightly open.
    The want to have their cake and eat it, more like.

    If good evidence ever comes to light, then atheists will be happy to change their minds.
    What would be classed as good evidence?

    But, at present, there is simply no reason to believe in gods. Thus, atheists do not believe in gods, any more than they believe in Santa Claus.
    Then atheists believe God is not real, hence, God does not exist.
    Why not just state the truth, instead of dancing around it?

    Jan.

  19. #259
    Valued Senior Member Jan Ardena's Avatar
    Posts
    7,299
    James R,

    Wrong again. Life is all the more valuable when it is a one-shot proposition.
    .

    Do you have any evidence to validate this statement?

    If there is no afterlife, you must make the most of the life you have.
    You could also say; if there is afterlife, then you make the most of this life to secure a good one.

    No, for the same reason. Life becomes all the more valuable. Compare the Muslim suicide bomber who wants to die so that he gets to see God as soon as possible. There is no equivalent for the atheist.
    cheap shot.

    There is also no equivilent for the scientologist, the mormon, the jainist, the buddhist, etc...
    If Muslims everywhere, both rich and poor, became suicide bombers, your statement may have substance. But the fact is, there is always a political scenario in which muslims are being oppressed by the west, so the reason becomes political not religious.

    Really, it sounds to me like you have a very superficial and misguided perception of atheism.
    Is atheism the opposite of theism?
    If yes then what is so hard about defining atheism?

    Jan.

  20. #260
    Valued Senior Member Pandaemoni's Avatar
    Posts
    3,631
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    No don't tell me about theism, I'm a theist, I already know what theism is. Tell me about atheism.

    I don't want the easy convenient answer.

    What makes it better?
    There's a reason that it's called "atheism" (as in "not theism"). Constraining people to defining atheism without reference to theism is like asking people to define the word "amoral" without making any reference to morals.

    Atheism is naturalistic and materialistic view, imo. It's a life without magical thinking, or in other words, one in which you carefully try to keep in mind that correlation is not causation and that therefore sometimes the causal patterns you think you see in the world can be illusory. You then try to apply that logical truism to every aspect of the world around you.

    That will mean that your understanding of the world will come at a greater price than anyone who does engage in magical thinking (because the world is vast and there's a lot of deep and intense investigation that is necessary for you to be confident in your understanding of it), but the payoff will be this: the understanding you develop will likely be superior to the magical thinker's, because you're more likely to have distinguished mere correlations from actual causes than he is.

    Your neighbor may think, for example, that by wearing a special crystal amulet, that he is protected from disease, but you have a better chance at realizing that the amulet is worthless and the fact that he hasn't gotten sick while wearing is is due to some other factor, or even pure chance. Moreover, when he does eventually get sick, he is more likely to think that the amulet is merely "broken" and that he needs a new one (or a stronger one) than to seriously reconsider his opinions on the protective powers of magical amulets.

    Thus your understanding of the world is better than his, because he is hampered by many facile and unquestioned false assumptions. He may well be comforted by his beliefs, of course, because although his worldview is cluttered with relatively superficial nonsense, "magical" explanations are cheap and easy to invent. He may come to "feel" like he understands almost the whole of the universe, whereas your rational, non-magical worldview requires a lot of deep study and hard work in order before you would confidently draw conclusions. That, in turn, leaves you having to admit that there are a lot of things that you do not know and cannot (yet) claim to understand. Again, though, this comes with a true sense that your worldview (incomplete though it is) is likely to be more correct than his in those areas where you have spent the time and done the analysis. You've explored and expanded your views of the world logically and without the childlike errors to which he is prone.

    (One bit of good news is, that if there are a lot of people like your somewhat gullible neighbor, then you can spend your spare time making useless amulets and then selling them at a hefty profit.)

    (A second bit of good news, is that you need not investigate every aspect of the world personally. You can allow others to do the research for you if you trust in their ability to distinguish correlation from causation—but that does require that you have that trust. The more trusted, non-magical thinkers there are, the more comprehensive your world view will presumably become over time, because more rational minds will be focused on answering more and more questions. That greatly eases the burden on the poor atheist, as the more things about which one has to admit ignorance, the more dismal the cold rationality of atheism might seem.)

    One final point, is that his magical thinking may be limited to a particular area. He may think his amulet prevents disease, for example, but when your other neighbor tells you both that his house is haunted, your amulet-wearing neighbor may think that's foolish. He may be entirely rational when it comes to the ghosts (or questions of physics, or economics, or meteorology etc.), but prone to magical thinking when it comes to medicine. That's good for him (better than being generally illogical, at least), but his magical thinking still makes him more prone to committing logical errors that you would be, even if it is only on one limited area of human experience.
    Last edited by Pandaemoni; 07-05-07 at 06:30 AM.

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