Do Atheists ever doubt their belief?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Captain Kremmen, Nov 20, 2008.

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  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I have recently read an article that says that Mother Theresa suffered great doubts in her belief in God for many years before her death.

    Do atheists ever find themselves doubting their beliefs.

    The article is at:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/23/eveningnews/main3199062.shtml
    There is a forum below the article, in which the first poster sets out a two point method by which Mother Theresa could have solved all her difficulties.
    If only Invitingall had been able to chat to her.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, doubt is what draws me to atheism. One cannot be 100% certain about these things.

    ...the Church should have had the elementary decency to let the earth lie lightly on this troubled and miserable lady, and not to invoke her long anguish to recruit the credulous to a blind faith in which she herself had long ceased to believe...​
     
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  5. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    well, since most atheists don't strongly hold a position, but rather just look at the evidence, there is plenty of room for doubt. if one is not constantly re-evaluating the evidence, then one would fall into the same fallacy that monotheists do.
     
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks Spidergoat.
    Nice link. http://richarddawkins.net/article,1582,n,n
    I often wonder if Mr Dawkins is just a little too fanatical in his disbelief.

    I liked this quotation in the link:
    After being lectured on doctrinal matters by the ultraconservative convert Evelyn Waugh, the pope is said to have concluded the audience by murmuring, "Yes, Mr. Waugh. I am a Catholic, too."

    Whoa, Pope. Good Burn!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    It was written by Christopher Hitchens.
     
  9. CheskiChips Banned Banned

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    Maimonides wrote about a round earth in 1100 BCE, where Galileo Galilei was public in 1640 BCE or so.
    And Maimonides was just writing about what someone else had said at least 1000 years earlier. In fact, the Talmud refers to the Earth as being round several times..and that was maybe around 500 BCE. Not to mention the word for Earth in Hebrew is "Eretz" translated as "To Move"

    Does that strengthen anyones faith in Judaism over science? Who got there first?
     
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    atheism is backed by evidence?

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  11. jpappl Valued Senior Member

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    "Captain Kremmen; Do atheists ever find themselves doubting their beliefs"

    No, wait maybe sometimes, no, yes, never, I don't know, maybe, yes, no.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  12. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

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    i often have doubts in my belief of God because of confusion sometimes because both atheist and theist make complete sense to me, I like being able to see both sides.
     
  13. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    Embracing the idea that there are other possibilities has increased my faith. As a willing christian, I find I am able to work within the bounds of anyone's religious preferences, or at least the legal ones. Human sacrifice is hard to condone, IMO.
     
  14. scorpius a realist Valued Senior Member

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    not at all,
    any neanderthal could figure out that the earth must be round..
    after seeing the round moon rising/moving in the sky..

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    this roundness can also be seen by looking at the horizon of an ocean or big lake,no doubt thats how people figured it out before science confirmed it true.

    same with the heaven fantasy,it looks nice up there with clouds like soft pillows,while some volcanic eruption looks just like a LAKE of fire doesnt it?

    I have a feeling thats how the beliefs in those started!
     
  15. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Do atheists doubt WHAT beliefs?
    1111
     
  16. scorpius a realist Valued Senior Member

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    cant say Im surprised,with the "allegedly" Loving god out there doing nothing.
    I have no beliefs,
    I know xian god isnt real,nor can be, anymore then square circles can exist.

    http://www.evilbible.com/Impossible.htm

    Why the Christian God is Impossible
    by Chad Docterman

    Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth that no sane man could deny. I strongly disagree with this assumption not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory.

    Proving a Universal Negative

    It is taken for granted by Christians, as well as many atheists, that a universal negative cannot be proven. In this case, that universal negative is the statement that the Christian God does not exist. One would have to have omniscience, they say, in order to prove that anything does not exist. I disagree with this position, however, because omniscience is not needed in order to prove that a thing whose nature is a self-contradiction cannot, and therefore does not exist.

    I do not need a complete knowledge of the universe to prove to you that cubic spheres do not exist. Such objects have mutually-exclusive attributes which would render their existence impossible. For example, a cube, by definition, has 8 corners, while a sphere has none. These properties are completely incompatible: they cannot be held simultaneously by the same object. It is my intent to show that the supposed properties of the Christian God Yahweh, like those of a cubic sphere, are incompatible, and by so doing, to show Yahweh's existence to be an impossibility.

    Defining YHWH

    Before we can discuss the existence of a thing, we must define it. Christians have endowed their God with all of the following attributes: He is eternal, all-powerful, and created everything. He created all the laws of nature and can change anything by an act of will. He is all-good, all-loving, and perfectly just. He is a personal God who experiences all of the emotions a human does. He is all-knowing. He sees everything past and future.

    God's creation was originally perfect, but humans, by disobeying him, brought imperfection into the world. Humans are evil and sinful, and must suffer in this world because of their sinfulness. God gives humans the opportunity to accept forgiveness for their sin, and all who do will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven, but while they are on earth, they must suffer for his sake. All humans who choose not to accept this forgiveness must go to hell and be tormented for eternity.


    One Bible verse which Christians are fond of quoting says that atheists are fools. I intend to show that the above concepts of God are completely incompatible and so reveal the impossibility of all of them being true. Who is the fool? The fool is the one who believes impossible things and calls them divine mysteries.

    Perfection Seeks Even More Perfection

    What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely? God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete--it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing that elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.

    Perfection Begets Imperfection

    But, for the sake of argument, let's continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God's image and have the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.


    What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, and yet this "perfect" God created a "perfect" universe which was rendered imperfect by the "perfect" humans. The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot become imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.


    The Freewill Argument

    The Christians' objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God's originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.


    Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.


    Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.

    Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?

    The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.
     
  17. jpappl Valued Senior Member

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    Good one.
     
  18. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    You contradict yourself. Knowing something with 100% certainty qualifies as belief.

    On a side note, are we going to derail this thread into a theist/anti-theist shooting war as well? I know that this is asking for peacefulness after the first shot has been fired, but why not just let the question stand as a simple question and not an attack?
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I don't. I believe that the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observation of its past and present behavior. That is the fundamental premise upon which science is based, although it's not customarily stated in this language.

    That the natural universe is a closed system means, specifically, that there are no supernatural forces, such as deities, meddling with its behavior.

    My belief in this premise is based on the fact that it has been tested thoroughly and constantly for about 500 years by tens of thousands of people, many of whom would be delighted to go down in history as the person who disproved science, and it has never been falsified.

    It would not be incorrect to say that this is faith in science. But it is a reasoned faith based on the high and constantly increasing probability that it will never be falsified. This stands in stark contrast to the unreasoned faith of the religionist, which is based on nothing more than hope, instinct, tales passed down orally from the Stone Age, and more recent alleged observations that have never stood up to proper scientific scrutiny.

    Like any good scientist, I will happily entertain challenges to this belief when and if they satisfy the various rather generous criteria of the scientific method, such as logical deduction and peer review. Until then I will invoke the Rule of Laplace, which allows me to treat extraordinary claims with total disrespect if they are not supported by extraordinary evidence.

    I continue to feel insulted when asked to defend my "belief" in the absence of gods, as though this is an extraordinary assertion that requires defense. I also believe that there are no monsters under my bed, that my dog and parrot are not plotting to take over the world and enslave me, that my wife is not a Martian in disguise, and that leprechauns did not shoot JFK. Do I have to also defend each of these "beliefs" as though there is any valid reason not to hold them?

    It's really time for the religionists to simply fuck off. They're the wackos here, regardless of how badly they outnumber us.
     
  20. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    I continue to feel insulted at the attempted application of science to the question of God. You choose your beliefs, allow me mine. As long as I don't try to ram my beliefs down your throat, what do you care if I believe that your dog and parrot are conspiring to take over the world and enslave you?
     
  21. jpappl Valued Senior Member

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    Ham,

    I don't have a problem with believers as long as they don't as you said try to ram it down my throat.

    I guess that is where the rub is especially for us Americans, because it is placed into everything.

    I recently went to a wedding and then a few later a funeral.

    The preacher basically took over in both cases and made it all about god.

    The funeral was scary because he asked everyone in the audience to bow thier heads, then he said if anyone wishes to be touched by god and convert to be a believer all you have to do is glance up at me. Apparently some did and he said bless you or something like that and I thought it was over, then he said does anyone in this section over here and I thought holy crap he is trying to separate the believers and non-believers during the funeral service.

    To me that is just strange. That is really arrogant. I also feel the man who passed away was being neglected and treated as unimportant and that it was god who we should be thanking.

    I felt that was disrespectful to him, he was important to me he helped me as a young man with a job that allowed me to do quite well financially. The place was packed, he was important to many people. He was a christian but very private in that sense.

    So that is a case of it being rammed down many throats, a few people got up and walked out and waited for the next phase in the service.

    So many atheists are overly sensitive to the god stuff.
     
  22. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    Maimonides was born around 1135 CE not BCE. Regardless, he was hardly the first person to write of a spherical Earth. The earliest writings are Greek and possibly Indian. Plato (ca. 400 BCE) and Pythagoras (ca. 570 BCE) both wrote and taught that the Earth was a sphere.

    Moreover, I don't think anyone is suggesting that Galileo "discovered" a "round earth." Nor is this anything he's known for or associated with.

    With regard to your claim that the Talmud was written 500 BCE, I think you've got it backwards. The earliest part of the Talmud, the Mishnah, was written at around 200 CE (not BCE) and it was the Gemara that was written at around 500 CE.

    Since the rabbinic authors used Greek and Persian words throughout the Talmud, it stands to reason that they were educated in Greek and aware of the much earlier mathematics of Greeks like Pythagoras.

    This is why "belief" for many atheists is a very different word than that used by theists. Many atheists believe that which they can test or has a potential for being falsified. Theists just believe whatever fits the conclusions they were told to accept. Rather than critically examine your words before pressing post, you believed them to be accurate and, thus, strengthening your faith in cult doctrine over science and facts.
     
  23. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    bleah. Next you'll say that philosophy is useless because it can't be examined properly using the scientific method. Belief is accepting something as true regardless of evidence or lack thereof. I can point to nature as proof of God, and the response is that God is not a prerequisite for nature, and really both statements are true and valid, because nature does not preclude God. You believe in only what can be proven, and yet you believe in things that you can only see the effect of. This is different how, exactly?
     
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