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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings!

I'm sure this post will probably be VERY unpopular around here, which won't really make me lose any sleep or anything.... however I do look forward to the replies with great interest... and hope this will stimulate some thinking and personal reflection.

I am an Atheist. I do not believe that there is no God, but rather I have no belief in God. There is a subtle (yet important) distinction there, I leave it to you to understand the difference between the two.

I am sickened by the perversions, lies, murder, and other assorted atrocities perpetrated in the name of God, regardless of whether they be in the name of Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Zeus, etc. etc. etc. HOWEVER..... this is not the reason I am Atheist.

I grow weary of arguing with Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews, Etc. regarding the nature and existence or lack thereof of the deity in question, trying to unravel a never-ending loop of self-referential nonsense where the believer always says something like "See... if you JUST HAD FAITH" or "Just read the bible/torah/koran/whatever" or "Just believe" then you will suddenly see that God/Allah/Whoever and their love CLEARLY exist. I am PARTICULARLY tired of this occurring OVER and OVER again with boundless energy and fervor EVEN THOUGH I seldom bring up the subject, most often it happens when someone has brought up the subject and is professing their religion to ME then asks me what I believe and just HAS to suddenly try and waste the next few hours of my life trying to convince me of their glorious "truth". HOWEVER... this is not the reason I am Atheist.

I am an Atheist because it is the only religious viewpoint that actually MAKES ANY SENSE to me. I have always held the view that belief is the enemy of knowledge, and that as long as a person believes something they will have a closed mind with respect to any evidence that appears to the contrary. People seem to hold their beliefs NOT because they have any overwhelming evidence to support their beliefs, but rather because they have a deep seated NEED to believe. Any viewpoints that don't fit with their particular "angle" on things are either dismissed outright or attacked with a savagery that is typically reserved for wartime aggression against the enemy.

The KNOWN universe is composed of in excess of 100 BILLION galaxies, each of which contains somewhere around 1/2 TRILLION stars each. From what astronomers have been able to deduce, it has existed in excess of 15 BILLION years, and appears to be expanding in all directions. We have no hard evidence that it will ever "end" or "go away" any time in the future, on the contrary it seems that most modern physical theories tend to support the idea that the universe (or at least the underlying framework) has existed forever and will continue to exist forever. Big bang, big crunch, big bang, big crunch, etc. etc. etc. forever and ever.

Or... maybe some REALLY magnificent and intelligent being made it all appear from nothing with a few inscrutable actions... but what created HIM or HER? If nothing did, then does this mean that this being exist forever? If so, he/she exists in WHAT? A different universe? A place with no time or space? Isn't this exactly the previous idea, that the universe or the framework from which it arose has existed forever and always will? Isn't this exactly what most of the world's various religious scriptures say... that God has existed forever and will always exist? Then what is the difference between a UNIVERSE that has existed forever and a GOD that has existed forever? Intent? Conciousness? How is this any different from the natural laws that GOVERN the universe?

These are the sort of questions I've asked myself my whole life. I've talked with numerous common men, religious scholors, leaders of churches, priests, nuns, etc. In my life, I've been a devout Christian, I've been a member of fringe Christian "cult" followings, and I've preached door-to-door as a Jehovah's Witness, and I've participated with Native American shamens in sacred rituals. I've even studied with Hindu and Islamic scholors in an attempt to once again find the "true" religion... yet I've always come up "short" in this whole-hearted, time consuming, and often very painful quest.

Overwhelmingly, I've found that it is all the same thing... a request for me to suspend my rational, critical thinking process and give my mind over to an unseen, mystical "reality" and "feeling" without ever seeing a scrap of evidence or common sense for why this is expected. I reached the point several years ago where I finally said "enough is enough" and examined the idea of whether or not the concept of "GOD" had any value or benefit to mankind.

My conclusion is this:

If a "God" does exist, then religion and faith are his deepest, most hated ENEMIES and the primary things that he/she will eventually find it ESSENTIAL to extinguish and destroy at all costs. Religious belief systems have been one of the greatest enemies of mankind throughout history, causing incalculable suffering, war, bigotry, and destruction of human achievement. If "God" does exist, then he/she is an ABSOLUTELY EVIL being for allowing this destructive and dehumanizing farce to continue for so long.

I personally do NOT believe in God, Gods, or any variations of "intelligent design" or other hocus pocus. These questions do not bother me any more, I am finally TRULY happy with who I am as a person and how I relate to this vast and majestic universe. I love the fact that I am a temporary being in a temporary world, it gives my life more richness and meaning that it ever had when I thought this was some sort of temporary "passing through" imperfect and often miserable experience on the way to some perfect "heaven" somewhere else in the future. I'm not writing this to convince anyone else that you should see it how I do, or change anyone's beliefs (which I KNOW that I don't have or want the power to do!), but rather to humbly request that you ASK YOURSELF if what you believe is really bringing you happiness, or just putting your fears temporarily at a distance.

Best wishes,
Bawko
 

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chicken.

Thank you for sharing your view.
No you will never change anyone's mind, so you get an "attaboy" for being intelligent.

I fully understand you're contempt for religion, I feel somewhat like you do but not to your extremes.

You are free to believe what you want.
I feel man bastardized religion and comitted foul deeds in the name of God.

I don't see that as God's fault.

Religions have matured over time with exception of one of he world largest which still sees fit to commit random murder.
 

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Well thank, UNIVERSE, you did not say you were a liberal or democrat; that could have started some real controversy.

Personally I have long felt that the purpose of religions are humanities attempt to explain the unknown, provide assurance in the face of the unknown, and to provide a, “higher” authority to the social conventions enacted by a group’s leadership to justify their governance of the group.

Any discussion of the basic tenets of a religion in a logical or rational manner are doomed to failure, as the premise of any discussion are predicated upon “divine revelations” that subsequently become “holy scriptures”. Thus debate is framed in terms of proving the existence or non-existence of “God”, due to the fact that any discussions of inconstancies or contradictions will be dismissed on the basis of, mistranslations, use of allegories, reading out of context, or my personal favorite, the critical reader is not inspired by the divine or holy spirit, in other words, one must believe to believe or understand.

If one should question the existence of a divine intelligence or God, by appeals to logic and rationality, this to is curtly rejected. For Instance, if one ask the question:

If God is complete, omnipotent, and perfect, why did God create? Which in turn leads to at least two other questions; was God lonely, was God bored? These are always ultimately dealt with by, “we can not know the mind of God”, “a mystery of faith” or some such similar “answer”. In situations were there is no logical explanation the believer can always rely upon at least two “irrefutable” proofs, it was a miracle, it was God’s will.

To those that have chosen to reject the divine, the believer will eventually offer their ultimate retort, “If God did not create the universe, than what did?’ to which the non-believer in all honesty can only answer, “I do not know”.

The existence of God is one of those unique paradoxical questions, to which, whatever conclusion one arrives at, it can neither be sustained, nor rejected, based upon logic, rationality, or experience. Thus we believe what we believe, as it is all we can do in the absence, of verifiable, observable, objective facts, or knowledge. In other words we rationalize based upon our limited perception, to justify our intuition.

So in this case to be politically correct:

May your God, Gods, Goddess, Goddesses, Universe, or Universes be with you and you with your God, Gods, Goddess, Goddesses, Universe, or Universes.

jon
 

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"The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic."

"I think an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind. The whole subject [of God] is beyond the scope of man's intellect."

-DARWIN
 

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fe:
"If God is complete, omnipotent, and perfect, why did God create? Which in turn leads to at least two other questions; was God lonely, was God bored? These are always ultimately dealt with by, “we can not know the mind of God”, “a mystery of faith” or some such similar “answer”. In situations were there is no logical explanation the believer can always rely upon at least two “irrefutable” proofs, it was a miracle, it was God’s will."
Then throw in there that the Bible is the irreverent word of god and is to be taken literally in all ways.
The Bible says if your eye offends thee, pluck it out, if thy right hand tempts thee, whack it off.
Don't see a lot of religious folks with one eye called 'lefty' though. :)
 

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The problem with the questions brought up is man trying to understand God or think like God or reason with God or reason like God. Kind of like me doing higher math, I just don't get it.
I do know there is a God but He is above me.
It would be frustrating to me also, if I thought I had to answer every question, had to figger it all out because there was no God to turn to to console me in the face of adversity or frustration.
In some ways it would make life much more simple. I could do as I pleased without any thought of "wrong" or caring about my fellow human co-horts as there would not be any rules to guide me and if man made them up I could ignore them if I wanted.
Life makes much more sense knowing there is a God who is omniscient and in control.
Blessings
 

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williamlayton,

I see the problem as man trying to pull God down to his level.

Qtip
Soli Deo Gloria!
To God Alone Be The Glory!
 

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“I do know there is a God but He is above me.”

Not to be argumentative, but this exactly why rational discussions concerning the existence of God are doomed to failure. How does one know? If one concludes that God exists, is there independently verifiable, object, observable, evidence, which is discernable to the non-adherent, or does one first must believe in order to “know”. Ironically, the atheist, who “knows” there is no God, is faced with the same burden of proof as the believer.

The fact that one finds comfort in explaining or accepting the un-explainable by relying upon the super-natural is not, in itself, irrational. However by refusing to acknowledge the possibility that there is an explanation, to explain it all, in the absence of the super-natural is irrational, just as a refusal to acknowledge the possibility of the super-natural is also irrational.

Both atheist and religious adherent are bound by their presumptive beliefs. The atheist cannot accept the possibility of a God, and the religious adherent cannot comprehend the possibility of there not being a God. Both are prisoners of their faith and belief. For the religious adherent to question their presumptive belief is a sin as they are denying their religion, for the atheist it is a lack of conviction.

While it would be rewarding to figured it all out, I have found that the quest of figuring it all out to be equally rewarding. I fully acknowledge that I will never figure it all out, however except in matters of religion, humanity, by in large, has rejected the super-natural and continues to seek rational explanations to explain the circumstances in which we exist. In societies, that continue to accept super-natural explanations, for which rational cause have been found we ironically label them as being superstitious and primitive.

The belief that codes of conduct or behaviors require an element of the divine can also be ascribe to rationality and self-interest. In common vernacular, you do for me and I’ll do for you. Considering humanities behavior throughout recorded history we have chosen to ignore or reinterpret these “moral absolutes” when ever they have become bothersome to us.

Some may find comfort in the idea of an omnipotent entity being in control, however experience brings into question the extent of the entity’s omnificence, natural disaster, disease, and birth defects, to name but a few. Naturally the believer can explain these as divine retribution or dismiss them with phrases, such as “God has his reasons” or “we cannot no know the mind of God”, while the atheist can with equal certainty, claim them as proof, that there is no omnipotent being.

Does God exist or not? I do not know definitively, nor am I likely to in my lifetime. But I am open to either possibility, without predisposition

May your God be with you and you with your God

jon
 

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You will eventually know there is a God for sure. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

I can't show you proof of God, other than by faith what His word tells me, but He is real.
 

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Again I do not wishing to demean or sway your beliefs, however your proposition, “You will eventually know there is a God for sure” and the citing of a scriptural verse, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, followed by your closing statement of, “I can't show you proof of God, other than by faith what His word tells me, but He is real”, illustrates the point, that a belief, any belief when not supported by perceivable evidence, is in fact, faith.

God exists because the book, written by man inspired by God says so. Which of course begs the question how do you know he inspired the book? Because the inspired men who wrote the book, said so in the book. If this is a valid proof than every scripture of every religion is not only equally valid, but also must be considered the word of God. Considering the difference between “holy scriptures” belief becomes a confusing issue indeed.

There is a God, there is no God; both are suppositions and with the addition of faith both become equally valid conclusions.

There is a God, because you believe.
There is no God because you believe.

Both of these positions require faith, as the only “proofs” that proponents of either side can offer in support of their positions is their faith in their belief.

May your God be with you and you with your God

jon
 

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Like I said before in another post: every man has gotta believe in something; I believe I'll have another beer...Peace and God bless, Wolfsong.
 

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fe352v8 said:
“ but this exactly why rational discussions concerning the existence of God are doomed to failure. How does one know? If one concludes that God exists, is there independently verifiable, object, observable, evidence, which is discernable to the non-adherent, or does one first must believe in order to “know”. Ironically, the atheist, who “knows” there is no God, is faced with the same burden of proof as the believer.
That is called faith.
 

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Quite true just as faith is a requirement of the believer, it is also required of the atheist.

May your God be with you and you with your God

jon
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Greetings again!

Some interesting replies to this thread, the conversation has been far more reasonable than I expected! :)

There is one underlying set of comments, however, which seems to be based on an underlying misunderstanding of Atheism... expressed in several ways on this thread, this being probably the best example:


fe352v8 said:
...any belief when not supported by perceivable evidence, is in fact, faith.

There is a God, there is no God; both are suppositions and with the addition of faith both become equally valid conclusions.

There is a God, because you believe.
There is no God because you believe.

Both of these positions require faith, as the only “proofs” that proponents of either side can offer in support of their positions is their faith in their belief.

Quite true just as faith is a requirement of the believer, it is also required of the atheist.

This comment, and others like it, assume that Atheism is defined in a certain way - mainly "The belief that there is no God or Gods". Most people are under the false impression that this is what Atheism means, when in fact the combined roots that make up the word "Atheism" mean something quite different. Atheism is actually the ABSENCE of a belief IN God or Gods, in otherwords it is the lack of (thus the a- prefix) theistic beliefs (theism), NOT the "positive" belief that something does NOT exist.

Let me put it another way. Let's replace the idea of God with the idea of a last remaining beer in the fridge (inspired by the gentleman who replied that everyone has to believe in something, he believes he'll have another beer!). Saying that you DON'T believe that there is a beer left in the fridge is absolutely NOT the same thing as saying that you BELIEVE there is no beer left in the fridge. In the first case (not believing that there is a beer left), it is up to someone else to prove to you that there is/isn't a beer in the fridge, and up to them to give you the evidence for why that is so. You have no burden to prove anything, having not stated a belief to begin with. You are only saying that you DON'T have any belief that there is a beer in the fridge. On the otherhand, if you state that you BELIEVE that there IS NOT a beer in the fridge (maybe because the last one is currently in your hand and the 6-pack carton is in the trash), then it is ABSOLUTELY up to you to offer evidence as to why you hold that belief, and to offer up evidence (for example the empty 6-pack carton).

As an Atheist, I am simply saying that I have NO belief in the existence of God. I am not saying that I have faith, evidence, or any other support for this lack of belief - I am only saying that if anyone claims there IS a God, then it is up to them to offer proof to me as to why they believe this and maybe why I should also. I don't personally take the view that either side (those with belief that there IS a God and those with a belief that there IS NOT a God) can presently offer any conclusive evidence to support their viewpoint and effectively demonstrate that their position is correct... so until such a time as someone CAN show me this type of evidence for either position, I will remain an Atheist.

Some people would claim that this viewpoint is actually Agnostic, but again by going to the root definition of the word, Agnostic means someone who does not have a belief that something (in most cases "God") can be "knowable"... quite a different proposition from Atheism, which makes no such claim. Being an Atheist, I am perfectly open to the possibility that God CAN be known (if he/she exists), and conversely I also am open to the possibility that it is possible to know that God does NOT exist (possibly by some method as of yet undiscovered).

Essentially, what I'm trying to say here is that Atheism, in it's proper (and usually misunderstood) essence, is the lack of a belief system, not a belief system itself. Being that Atheism is the LACK of belief in God, it requires no "faith" that God doesn't exist... just an open mind to accept that he/she does or doesn't exist depending on whatever evidence is eventually uncovered.

Other than that, I need to make a quick comment on the previous idea regarding "moral" standards and having something to guide believers vs. having no such guidance if you are a non-believer. I do try to live my life as if there WAS some kind of oversight by a superior being, usually thinking of this as cause/effect or as laws of nature that will hit back if I step out of line and commit fraud or coersion. I don't do this out of fear of a God that may or may not exist, but rather because it is in my nature as a human being who interacts with other human beings to be aware of others and not take actions that would have negative repercussions on my own life. Some religions call this "the golden rule", but in my case I just call it common sense. That's currently enough guidance for me... until such a time that I might be shown that something else is required.

Best wishes,
Bawko
 

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A.C.
Great post ol' man! Very defining and clear.
No one can 'prove' in the usual scientific terms that a 'god' does or does not exist.
It's based on 'faith', like feelings they are not facts.
However as a subjective statement " feeling are facts if you believe they are".
Such is the human mind.
 

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well now, lets see here.
Your position is argumentative, FE, but in such a sweet tone.
Faith in faith is a position of unsound faith.
Faith without revelation is unsound, the magic of the mind.
I can believe in God intellectually but that is faith without revelation or that is revelation from another source that would convict one of an untruth-obviously for the benefit of the revealer.
If I were to confess that God is who he said he was/is (read, believe) then I am confessing (agreeing) with God who revealed it too ME. It is not for your benefit, or your belief, that I confess this.
Only God can reveal (read, the Holy Spirit) himself. Scripture says that God has revealed himself to all, in many ways (read, universally). Specifically God has revealed himself to me, however; this is not a confession for your benefit, it is a confession of a revelation but I cannot import that faith, only God can.
You/All/Everyone has the free will to listen and decide who to believe.
OK, what benefit is MY confession to any/all??
Maybe to confirm/support a revelation God is revealing to someone.
It is certainly not for my glory, as I have nothing to do with the revelation.
Blessings
 

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Romans Chapter 1, 20-. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE." (Caps are my additions).

Everytime I hold a newborn baby, or look at the stars on a cold winter night, or walk in the autumn woods, or stand by a mountain stream this verse comes to mind. God's attributes are so clearly seen how can one deny them?
 

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Not trying to be augmentative, philosophically I find it difficult to see any difference in the role that faith plays in one either rejecting or accepting the existence of God, when viewed from their extremes.

In contemplation of the cosmos, those who accept God, will take a position that its’ creation, was at the very least, the result of an action by a God that “always was and always will be”, those who deny the possible existence of God must take a position of “something from nothing” and explain how, nothing became something, to create the cosmos.

Those that accept the existence of God can rely upon the omnipotent nature of God to explain, “Always was and always will be”. Those that reject the possible existence of God, can rely upon a yet to be found scientific discovery to explain, “something from nothing”.

The former requires faith in the omnipotent being and the latter faith in a future discovery, to explain the unexplainable.
Both are presumptive beliefs neither is provable nor disprovable and I find neither to be satisfying, as one relies upon the super-natural and the other violates all known laws of physics.

May your God be with you and you with God

jon
 

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My proof is documented in a book that has survived for thousands of years. And a large amount of whats recorded in that book has been scientifically proven to be true. At least I have that much proof.

On the other hand, what proof do you or other non-believers have? Seems to me there is more proof that God exists and created all things than there is that "something came from nothing'?

Just my two cents!
 
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