# Why do you believe in God?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Tnerb, Jan 8, 2007.

1. ### TnerbBannedBanned

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...

Last edited: Mar 26, 2007

3. ### draqonBannedBanned

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I dont believe in God

I wish to believe in God, because I know it will bring me power and purpose in life...but before belief I must see actual scientific evidence...there is none.

5. ### AyodhyaRegistered Senior Member

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Someone else will be thinking the same thing so I'll be the first to ask:
What is the definition of God you wish to work with in this thread?

7. ### John ConnellanValued Senior Member

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Most people believe in God because of a deep-rooted fear of the annihilation of their own existance after death.

8. ### Baron MaxRegistered Senior Member

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With that kind of an set, sure, certain attitude, how is anyone else's beliefs going to make any difference to you or to your beliefs?

Baron Max

9. ### heliocentricRegistered Senior Member

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I dont even need scientific data to believe in god, just a direct meeting of 'minds' with the fellow would be enough for me.
Sometimes i wonder how much those who claim to 'believe' in god really believe in him though, surely belief is dynamic and inconsistant by its nature. Even the pope must have days where he thinks 'fucking hell, is this all just a load of bollocks or what?'.
Although thats another thread in itself..

10. ### Rolling_StoneRegistered Member

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Why I believe

How, I wonder, can a “freethinker” be a free thinker if inquiry is not allowed to go where thinking and reason leads, I.e., into the realm of religious ideas? I’m a classic case of Bacon’s aphorism, “a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.” I used to believe in God because I was taught to believe. Later in life I became a freethinker and atheist. Now, I believe precisely because I was a free thinker and not afraid to investigate unexplored areas of religious thought. Thanks to freethinking, I can comfortably say that atheism no longer poses a challenge to my theology. Everywhere I look, atheism employs either irrational arguments or wrong concepts of God to make its case. Mostly, though, the problem with atheism is not disbelief in God, but wrong belief.

Assuming that atheism is the default position because we are born atheists, we learn as children that things are not random. They are caused. A little more experience and we discover that the cause is always greater than the effect. Further investigation, investigation into the sciences, reveals that everything from the finely tuned universe to the complexity of a living cell appear to have some kind of intelligence at the helm. Appearance certainly does not make it so, but it does shift the burden of proof to those who posit mechanism as the sufficient cause. Failing to prove their case, they are constrained by reason to limit their arguments to the refinement of religion’s rational (theological) foundation--putting the religionist’s feet to the fire, so to speak--as they continue their search for evidence of their sufficient cause. This is good. “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.” (Pope John Paul II)

This is a variant of argument from design, putting the burden of proof on atheism rather than accepting it as its own. And why not? Atheists have long complained that it is impossible to prove a negative--that God does not exist. I'm simply giving atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris the opportunity to what they want. If they succeed, the rational foundation for belief in God collapses. By proving their assertion that God is not necessary, they disprove God. Until then, well, they have a problem. They have to accept the premise of a godless sufficient cause on faith, the very thing they claim to abhor. (At this point I can only hope that someone amuses me by offering "chance" as an explanation for the way things are.) Meanwhile, there is no rational reason to disbelieve in God and we are at liberty to explore all avenues of religious thought that a rational and free inquiry takes us.

My radar is on (open to new information), but until there is some indication of how things like consciousness, mind and will can emerge from something in which they are entirely absent, I will deem atheism and agnosticism as irrelevant, irrational and hypocritical: irrelevant because anyone who asks who made God or compares God to something like a unicorn don’t know what they are talking about no matter what their credentials; irrational because they say miracles lack sufficient cause and therefore don‘t happen, but assume without evidence of any kind that consciousness, mind and will can emerge from something in which they are entirely absent; and they are hypocrites because they do not hold themselves to the standards of proof and reason they demand from non-atheists.

Now, having said all that, atheism does religion a tremendous service by insisting we are all born atheists. It is the supreme challenge for ecclesiastical and authoritative religion. It forces open the door to new and unexplored areas of religious thought, challenges people to think for themselves, and, by forcing the advancement or evolution of theology, is the harbinger of it own demise.

But what of agnosticism? I hold agnosticism in utter contempt. The professed need for certainty is a recent development in human thought. It is an unhealthy addiction and one that is out of touch with the real nature of the human condition. Virtually everything we believe is based not on certainty, but on the preponderance of evidence. Agnosticism is fear of commitment to something for which there is no certainty. One might as well never go somewhere new for fear of taking a wrong turn or never commit to a relationship with another person for fear of being disappointed somewhere down the line.

'Nuff said?

11. ### heliocentricRegistered Senior Member

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Im agnostic and agnosticism is just acceptance of a lack of knowledge or evidence either way - would picking a side for the sake of it (atheism or theism) suddenly remove me from contempt? For all the lip-service towards rationalism, i really fail to see the rationalism at work in that type of thinking.

Agnostics/nihilists arnt a bunch of fence sitters, its not about inertia through lack of conviction - its about acknowledging your best guesses as simply *best guesses*
You can still stick your flag in the mud next to what views you choose to align yourself with.
Agnosticism/nihilism is just a process of reminding yourself not to be lazy and convince yourself you know more than you actually do.

12. ### Mosheh ThezionRegistered Senior Member

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THERE IS EVERY REASON to believe that the universe was created by the application of energy from an outside source.... to cause the big bang.

science.. and all the evidense of... are my reasons to believe.

i dont believe because of the bible... or koran... or bagvad gita.. no.

i believe... because the evidense... suggests it.

it is a very clear possibility......

that source.... (as oprah calls it.).... for lack of a better term is GOD.

THAT BEING SAID.... we must also agree that, we have absolutely no knowledge or evidense...ABOUT GOD.....

all we can study is its creation..... the universe and us.

THATS WHY ITS SO EASY TO DIS-BELIEVE.....

because we cannot study or know god directly.... at all.

-MT

13. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

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Argumentum ad God of the Gapsum. Nobody knows it all; therefore, 'God' did it.

14. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Welcome to sciforums, Rolling_Stone:

I think you'll find most self-declared "freethinkers" have thought about religious ideas quite a bit.

Atheism, or certain atheists?

What is the cause of God? By your argument, God must have a yet-greater cause. God cannot be random or uncaused.

What is there other than "mechanism"? If you dispense with "mechanism", you're not longer doing science; you're doing philosophy. Aren't you?

Atheists would argue that the greatest "false absolute" is God himself.

Neither Dawkins nor Harris, as far as I am aware, has ever attempted to disprove the existence of God. They recognise that there will always remain a small possibility that some kind of god might exist. This is only a "problem" for the atheist who holds the irrational belief that God, as a vague notion, can be disproved.

But, it is also important to distinguish the general from the specific. It will never be possible to prove that there is no God of any kind. But the available evidence speaks quite strongly when it comes to particular notions of God. For example, there is no evidence to support the idea of a God who answers human prayers. There is no evidence of a God who demands blood sacrifices or the rains won't come. And so on.

Sounds like you're trying to set up a false dichotomy with that one, by implying that there are only two possible explanations for "the way things are" - either pure, blind, "unlawful", unadulterated "chance", or a supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent God. Obviously, there are many many more possibilities than just those two.

Why do you expect consciousness, mind etc. to arise from something in which they are absent? Wouldn't that be a contradiction in terms?

For example, consciousness is most commonly associated with brains, or at least nervous systems of some sort. Do you agree that it "arises" when a suitable substrate exists to house it (like a brain, for instance)? Or do you require that it exists in some kind of vague, independent form? If so, do you have any evidence for that proposition?

Why not?

Previously, you stated that an effect always has a greater cause. If the effect is the universe, and the cause of the universe is God, then by your own argument, God is an effect that needs a further, greater cause. Why stop with God? And if you're going to stop at God, why not stop a little earlier, with the universe, instead?

This is a simple evidential matter. There's no point trying to establish the "cause" of a thing before you've established that the thing itself exists. The usual argument is not that miracles are uncaused, but that there are no miracles in the first place.

Or religion's demise, perhaps.

I think you may be confusing agnosticism with weak atheism. The weak atheist says "There is no good evidence for the existence of God, so there's no good reason to believe in God." The agnostic says "The question of whether there is or is not a God is impossible to resolve. Either possibility is equally likely. Therefore, it makes no sense to take a position on whether God does or does not exist - i.e. to either belief or to disbelieve in God."

Agnosticism is as much a commitment to a position as theism or atheism. The difference is that both theists and atheists think that the question of God is resolvable one way or the other, while the true agnostic disagrees.

15. ### everneoRe-searcherRegistered Senior Member

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Should anyone need to believe or disbelieve on something when one does not want to end up a fool eitherway unnecessarily ? There are other better commitments in the world.

16. ### Rolling_StoneRegistered Member

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Thanks, James.

I'm responding to you because you had the strongest arguments so far.

You are right, self-declared "freethinkers" do think about religious ideas quite a bit, but only from within a frame with which they are familiar.

I said atheism employs either irrational arguments or wrong concepts of God to make its case and that's what I meant. I also said that the opinion of someone who asks what is the cause of God is irrelevant because they don't know what they are talking about. They are employing a wrong concept of God rather than making a valid point.

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By your argument, God must have a yet-greater cause. God cannot be random or uncaused.
You are employing a wrong concept, not making a valid point. God is not a being, but being itself--self-existent, uncaused, and totally self-sufficient. The argument goes something like this: Something exists, therefore, something exists that cannot not exist and, as a cause, it issufficient to give rise to human consciousness--consciousness must be intrinsic to its nature or we have to assume consciousness emerges from something in which it is entirely absent.

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If you dispense with "mechanism", you're not longer doing science; you're doing philosophy. Aren't you?
That's precisely my point. Thank you. You (as an atheist) are obligated to explain mind, consciousness, and will in terms of mechanism or accept it as an article of faith. I, on the other hand, am saying that mechanism is there but is not alone.

It is true that neither Dawkins nor Harris has ever attempted to disprove the existence of God. But neither have they shown sufficient cause. They do that and, like I said, they disprove God.

Dawkins himself employs the "multiverse" theory to show that chance is one possible explanation. (Time magazine, Nov. 13) And he's a scientist? Ultimately, to deny the personality of God leaves you nothing but mechanism (materialism) or pantheism.

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Why do you expect consciousness, mind etc. to arise from something in which they are absent? Wouldn't that be a contradiction in terms?
Uh, that's my point. Who's side are you on, anyway?

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Do you agree that [consciousness] "arises" when a suitable substrate exists to house it (like a brain, for instance)? Or do you require that it exists in some kind of vague, independent form? If so, do you have any evidence for that proposition?
Either consciousness is intrinsic or arises from something in which it is entirely absent. You know my position and it gives me a sufficient cause. The details are a matter of personal interpretation and of no consequence here.

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“ irrelevant because anyone who asks who made God or compares God to something like a unicorn don’t know what they are talking about no matter what their credentials...  ”

Why not?
Because unicorns are emergent properties of that what cannot not be.

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Previously, you stated that an effect always has a greater cause. If the effect is the universe, and the cause of the universe is God, then by your own argument, God is an effect that needs a further, greater cause. Why stop with God? And if you're going to stop at God, why not stop a little earlier, with the universe, instead?
Again, that's employing a wrong concept. I never said, implied or even hinted in the slightest way that God is an effect. Infinity itself is the "Uncaused Cause."

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“ ...irrational because they say miracles lack sufficient cause and therefore don‘t happen...  ”

This is a simple evidential matter. There's no point trying to establish the "cause" of a thing before you've established that the thing itself exists. The usual argument is not that miracles are uncaused, but that there are no miracles in the first place.
Please (or thank you?) Taking things out of context doesn't help your case. Is it rational to criticize belief in miracles and at the same time believe consciousness can emerge from something in which it is entirely absent? Don't you first have to establish that it exists as something more than an illusion using mechanistic terms?

I'm familiar with the different forms of atheism and agnosticism...remember, I was an atheist. I suspect the person who implimented the multifarious distinctions took Dwight David Esienhower's words to heart: "Dazzle them with bullshit." In any case, the philosophical and practical consequences are the same.

17. ### GodlessObjectivist MindRegistered Senior Member

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So you were once an atheist, so you say, now your back to fantasy & fairy tales, not much of an atheist then were you?

Show evidence of your version of god, we seen thousands around these forums, and don't claim that you can't, you sound very confident that we atheist don't know what the hell we are talking about, or that our concepts of god is wrong. Show evidence of this god of yours, or eat your words right back.

There are literally thousands of versions of god, so we must assume you are talking of the christian one, Zeus maybe, I don't know enlighten us with your wisdom why don't you?

Oh! do please explain your version of consciousness, we seen that around here many times as well, every theist seems to come up with their own little nonsense to tell!

I think you need to re-read what he wrote, I doubt that you have a problem with reading comprehension, but it's obvious to me that you did not understand well what he said.

Oh! BTW welcome to sciforums!

18. ### Rolling_StoneRegistered Member

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Why I believe

It is my understanding that this is basically a forum for science-minded people. I therefore tried to limit my expressed reasons for belief in God to the need for a sufficient cause and the inability of science to show one. Mine is a theory and until there is evidence to the contrary, it is not unreasonable or irrational to hold on to it, any more than it is unreasonable or irrational for a scientist to hold on to an explanatory theory so long as available evidence does not make it untenable. There are practical and experiential reasons for my belief in God, too, but those are for another forum. My question is this: why are string and multiverse theories--neither of which are demonstrable even in theory--respectable and the God-theory isn’t?

The man asked why I believe in God and I answered with a relatively long though in fact a very brief summary of my reasons. The responses were overwhelmingly pathetic and predictable. Not one posited a reasonable alternative and virtually all either showed fear of being wrong or defined God as an emergent property. It may very well be that my belief is ultimately based on ignorance in want for answers, but reason and the existing preponderance of evidence points to an infinite God--that consciousness in evolution is a transition from the potential toward a self-existent Actual.

I am going to keep tabs on the proceedings here because I find them interesting, but please don’t insult your intelligence by likening belief in God to belief in tooth-fairies (or other imagined emergent properties) or attempt to dignify fear of being wrong with agnosticism.

19. ### SnakeLordsnakeystew.comValued Senior Member

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That might be why it is called "sciforums". Very observant of you.

A 'theory' in science does not mean 'complete guess'. Check it out sometime.

What exactly is the difference? Please, I'm intrigued.

20. ### SandozGirl Named SandozRegistered Senior Member

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Because I have decided that the best hypothesis is the most likely.

21. ### imaplanck.BannedBanned

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Again, sooooo why do you believe in god?

22. ### EndLightEndThis too shall pass.Registered Senior Member

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Well if there is a god I would argue that all current forms of worship are wrong given the histories of previous religions.

23. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

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Wow, that was uncanny. I find the first post in this thread: