religion and atheism

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Darken, May 3, 2007.

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  1. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    I know holy books are false, but as for a god it seems highly improbable. Imo the universe must have started out with a more simple process not some amazingly advanced being, if we are all descendants of some super advanced being why are we so inferior. The world doesnt seem designed at all, there is no evidence for that belief ive seen so far. Why would a highly advanced intelligence make such a badly designed world. I can think of a thousand things that I could do to make the world better if I had the power. I think the modern atheistic view is much more probable. Were getting more and more evidence to prove it is.

    Some people like to endulge in some fantasy fairy tale to help them cope with this harsh reality. Fine with me, as long as it doesnt hurt any one else(and lots of the time it does). Not as harsh as beign ruled by some evil dictator egomaniac god for all enternity imo . If some one tells me "do this it works" and it clearly doesnt Im not going to ignore them I will tell them the truth. I cant get back into religion even if it may give me some comfort, because I know its just a false hope.
  2. lebigmac

    lebigmac Well-Known Member

    More and more people are starting to figure out that, indeed, we are alone in the universe. I certainly don't deny the possibility of a supreme being. But I think the chances of "it" existing are so astronomically low that it's pointless to even think there might be one.

    It's like if someone told me there was a bag of treasure at the bottom of a garbage bin. Obviously I'm not going dig through all the muck to get to it, because I know logically that it's not there (even though it could be theoretically).

    And even if there was a god, what makes religious people think their god is the right one? I can at least comprehend the popularity of deism, in which God exists but exerts no influence over humans. Other than that, I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that there's a god, and he she is even the least bit concerned for us or even knows we exist.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  3. Flight

    Flight Well-Known Member

    Theism and atheism

    This is long and philosophical. I'm not sure how clear it will come across since I am quite tired by now, so ask me for clarity later if you are interested but I am too vague. Also sorry for spelling. --

    I think it's natural for many of us to seek ultimate knowledge of reality. This knowledge often leads to a more incomplete understanding of the world. Every answer brings with it a few questions, and so on. The simple quite evidently live in a world that makes more sense to them. Black and white, right.

    Unfortunately reason breaks down at a certain limit and can go no further. This is the cause of many philosophical differences on the topic of ethics or religion.

    But just as there is no way to prove a God, there is also no way to disprove a God. It has to be understood - we are talking about the metaphysical here. "Beyond Physics" in the realm of speculation. Atheism holds that the metaphysical does not exist, obviously because it is speculation, and not a proven fact. But if the metaphysical does not exist, then it is impossible to concretely disprove. It might lie within the realm of probability in our imaginations, but the probability of our imaginations *is not tangible* like physics is. How do you concretely disprove something that doesn't lie in the realm of what you are dealing with. Given that the world exists, how do you argue the truth or falsity of the spiritual?

    You can say "Well the spiritual is not physical." You can say "The metaphysical is not physical, and therefore it is not." But that isn't valid. You can prove that the metaphysical is not the physical, but you must argue in the realm of metaphysics to disprove metaphysics.

    Unfortunately this is beyond the grasp of humans by definition. Some try to argue concrete metaphysics through things like spiritual encounters, but those arguements deep down are just simple physics (such as the "god machine, that simulates your brain for a spiritual feeling) or opinion (such as people who claim they know that they've had spiritual encounters... how can you prove this?)

    So, atheists accept the physical and reject the metaphysical because it is by definition beyond the concrete grasp of humanity. Atheists actually have a very optimistic view of humanity's capabilities. Since nothing exists that cannot be understood by physics, humans have the capacity to know all that is, given time. The metaphysical is simply rejected as the realm of dreams.

    Theists, at their core, have a very similar view to atheists. The metaphysical is a realm beyond human knowledge, but it exists. There are truths out there that humans just cannot come to know. True philosophical theists will not attempt to prove the metaphysical, since by definition that is impossible. (Although both atheists and theists will attempt to convince you either way, I'm sure.) Both atheists and theists have a notion of infinity. Theists believe that this infinity is not only infinite in time and space, but also in awareness (and *that* is the realm of the metaphysical)

    The physical never reaching the metaphysical - or should I say, God never being proven by physical, concrete science - is not a sign of the falsity of theism. In fact, such a God would necessarily need to restrain from affecting the realm of the physical through concrete, provable acts (things that irrefutably proved Gods existence.) The Philosophical Theist's God is not a meddler. Rather, it would appear that were God to meddle, God would negate free will. (I will use some terms common to Christianity from here on)

    Theists would say that this life is a work in progress under God. Humans and this world are set up for free will to reign. We can discern that an existant God obviously does not want mindless followers. If God did, then we would most certainly follow without choice. So how does an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient being escape notice by Gods creation? By obscuring how much the creation could know, and allowing the creation to run seemingly autonomously without it's divine creator.

    Free will gives us the capacity to choose to believe anything we desired. Human brains are set up to worship some kind of deity, as seemingly every culture except our modern scientific ones have found gods for themselves to worship. But we are not capable of metaphysical knowledge, nor of proof of God's existence. So we must believe something (even if we believe in nothing). We are pidgeon-holed into faith. (I want to work more on this part, but I am losing concentration, so here's the wrap up...)

    Atheism is the belief that there is no metaphysical, nor a God. Theism is the belief that there is a metaphysical and a God. Agnosticism is not knowing what to believe. Gnosticism is believing in knowledge. So, as rediculous as theism may seem to atheists (and vice versa), once you have faith in your beliefs, you accept that as your reality. Whether God exists or not, a philosophical atheist and a philosophical theist will never be able to convince each other of their own validity. Because the metaphysical is one region where human reasoning breaks down. We are too incomplete to have anything more than faith in it's existence (or lack thereof).

    Just as we cannot perceive the future, it is never in our range of understanding until it has become the present. Things seem to move in patterns (such as the run rising in the east everyday) and we make extrapolations. But theists see the patterns that lead them to believe in a God, just as atheists see the patterns that lead them away from the existence of a God.

    I could go on and on about philosophical theism, and what we can discern, but I think I've gone on and on enough. Ask if you'd like clarity on anything here... the hours grow late and I'm pretty tired now. I hope my main point - the futility of concrete, irrefutable evidence for or against God is impossible, so we should explore our own beliefs and let others explore theirs. They are completely different paradigms, and not at all absolutely knowable like mathematics.

    As an aside - I agree with you that religion is a dangerous thing. Note that I changed the title from "Religion and atheism" to "Theism and atheism." Religion is not theism. I don't think the comparison of a type of organization is fair to a belief. That's like saying "Theism and the U.S.S.R."

    On religion. If anything, history has shown just how man-made religion is, and how seperate it is from even a theist's God. It is often simply a political tool that is weilded by manipulators to influence others. And it preys on the human urge for faith in something. Reprehensible, really, and I would advise approaching any religion carefully. However, many good deeds are done by those in religious groups, and in that way they can be an essential pillar of society and something worth getting involved in. You just have to make sure that those around you are in it for the right reasons.
  4. Smythe

    Smythe Well-Known Member

    I agree with some of the things you've said. however i disagree with :
    Regardless of human life/any life, I can think of no more perfect machine, no
    dream to match the beauty, size, and unbelievable quality of this universe.

    having said that :p
    I don't mind debating theology in general, but
    I don't like arguing religion with hard core
    believers. It's just too hard to validate your
    opinion without invalidating theirs, which goes
    both ways, and just makes everyone mad :p

    *puts the beer down, goes to bed*
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  5. ~Nobody~

    ~Nobody~ Well-Known Member

    ^^^^^ Great post Flight! Couldn't have put it better myself. :smile:
  6. sadsong

    sadsong Staff Alumni

    Great post Flight.

    Like some of you can't fathom the fact that there is a god. I can't see any other logical possibility than that a creator God made this universe. How could 6 billion unique individually thinking human beings be made by accident? The human body is intricately worked and so unbelievably clever, was this by accident?
  7. Nelka

    Nelka Member

    Currently I would consider myself an Agnostic Catholic. I also value the Atheist and Humanist Networks because I feel very strongly about the separation of church and state.

    There are studies suggesting that many of us are "hardwired" to believe in a God. (God Part of the Brain.) We have not always been highly advanced. Science has come a long way over the years and before that we had only our imaginations. And what imaginations they were!

    I can understand why so many people rely on religion. It provides a community of people who want to love and support you. It provides you with the belief that no matter what you experience in this life, something wonderful is waiting for you on the other side. It relieves doubt and offers love. (We could argue that it is indeed a crutch, but who doesn't have a crutch in their life? We all depend or rely on something to get by.)

    Religion can provide a positive and helpful experience when done properly. Sadly people get caught up in semantics, damnation, guilt and pride. For all the potential it has to be something good, it causes so much more damage and harm.

    I don't mind if someone wants to share their religion with me. I don't mind if someone wants to pray for me or introduce me to their beliefs. But I do not tolerate religon in my civil liberties. I'm also disgusted when people try to push the myth that the US is a Christian nation or founded on Christianity. I do not want Creationism taught in schools or scientific fact to be ignored because it conflict's with someone's beliefs.

    Having said all that, as difficult as it is for me to believe in a supreme power, it's equally difficult for to believe in nothing at all. So while I value logic and reasoning, I enjoy a little mysticism on the side.
  8. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments all. Religions nearly disprove their self. All the contradictions, and the false information about the origin of life and the universe that go against modern science that has a ton of evidence to back it up. All the mythological creatures in them, that are obviously fake. And the evidence that lots of them were written by barbaric superstitious people. Also the obvious negative effects they have on the world. Thats all I have to say about that lol.

    I once considered deism possible.alot of things about it dont make sense tho. Why would a god or gods create some thing for no reason and then leave and never return? who created the gods? Why does the unviverse appear undesigned?

    metaphysics is a word that is currently missed used by most people. ill just say other dimensions. If there were other dimensions how would we know they existed? and why should we believe in them when there is no evidence for them?

    guess there isnt a point to debating it any more. even if a after life existed there is no tangible way of knowing about it so I guess we just gotta die and find out whats going on. or die and rot in the grave.
  9. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    Re: Theism and atheism

    After all, Santa atheism, leprechaun atheism, fairy atheism, ghost atheism, all hold that these metaphysical entities do not exists. This is obviously speculations, as one cannot prove that Santa, leprechauns, fairies, and ghosts do not exist. Aren't we all atheists now?

    This post reeks of logic fallacies. Argument from ignorance.

    Let's put it this way. The humans body, broken down, is nothing but a clump of molecules clashing around into each other. Proteins, blood, DNA, you name it. It's all molecules clashing around. Your thoughts are nothing more than some sodium and potassium ions clashing around, and simple neurotransmitters clashing around in your brain. Honestly, no different than the molecules clashing around in a cloud, forming rain, snow, lightning, storms etc. Granted, this clump of molecules we call a human being can do many unique things such as think, metabolize, reproduce etc, however, the clump of molecules we call a cloud can rain, snow, create lightning, thunder, tornadoes, which are equally unique. However, who are you to say that the clump of molecules known as a human being is so "intricately worked and clever" (as determined by the science of biology) that it requires a supernatural force for its creation; however, clouds, of which there are probably also 6 billion unique types, whose molecules work very intricately and cleverly too (as determined by the science of meteorology) to produce rain, snow, hail, do not require a supernatural force for its creation? Your clump of molecules are "intricate and clever" and can think, reproduce, etc. So what? A clump of molecules that uniquely form a cloud can work intricately and cleverly to produce rain and snow. Can you produce rain or snow? So what makes your clump so special that it requires a god to create, however, I doubt you think that there's a god up there in the sky, creating the intricate and clever clump of molecules known as a cloud, capable of extraordinary feats of hurricanes tornadoes, and freezing rain? How can all these clouds, so intricately worked, and cleverly arranged molecules, be just "made by accident?"
  10. sadsong

    sadsong Staff Alumni

    Erebos, i'm aware of what the body is formed of, but to me i just can't fathom that it is just an accident that all those molecules etc are just accidently coliding with each other to accidently form all these different forms and matters in the world.

    I just used humans as an example. I believe that the whole world was created and everything in it. I think everything is equally amazing that i just can't imagine that it is purely a conincidence.

    I'm not scientifically minded though, and i don't know all the theories behind creation but what i seem to have gathered is that there is always going to be a point where people can ask "how did that happen" and that eventually there isn't going to be an answer other than some creator force (IMO God) created it.
  11. lebigmac

    lebigmac Well-Known Member

    There's nothing accidental or random about human existence. Evolution is a very purpose-oriented process and can explain any number of bodily "phenomena". It's not like we just appeared out of pond scum one day.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2007
  12. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    But do you believe a bunch of molecules colliding together, accidentally forming a cloud? A star? These things are also incredibly complex in their own ways, as humans are, but at the basis, we and these "non-living" entities are nothing but molecules clashing about. Clouds can perform incredibly complex tasks through the intricate interactions of their molecules. Stars can perform the very complex process of nuclear fission, of which, highly advanced physics still has trouble explaining. We see clouds being formed all the time. You can see star formation at various stages too. I'm still wondering why human complexity is so special as opposed to star, cloud, volcano complexity, that it requires a god to create, whereas I doubt you believe there to be an (invisible) cloud god responsible for the formation of incredibly complex clouds as well.
    Unfortunately, science will not resort to that unless you revamp the entire foundation of science. Turning to God or any other sort of magic for an answer in the eyes of science is an argument from ignorance, a classic god of the gaps argument.
  13. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    Yeah thats true, lots of people use gods to explain things when they cant find the real answer.
  14. sadsong

    sadsong Staff Alumni

    I believe that it's the same God that created humans as created clouds and everything else in the universe. But as i said, i don't know the ins and outs of it all and i'm not going to pretend that i do. Maybe that does make me ignorant, but never mind.

    if it's not accidental then, do you ask yourself why it's come together and those molecules bounce around and collide to form these matters/materials/life forms? It's all very well asking how, but what about why?

    Please know that i mean no disrespect, just as i have not been offended by anything any of you have said. I'm interested in this discussion and completley respect your views :)
  15. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    Ah, but clouds are being formed every minute, every second from a bunch of "random molecules" (ie air and water vapour). I'm not just talking about what "made the first cloud." What your ideas suggest is that clouds are complex, and there's a god up there right now (albeit invisible), furiously making complex clouds every minute, second every day. See my point now?

    And no, I'm not saying you're ignorant. I'm saying your argument is an argument from ignorance. A logic fallacy, much like circular reasoning, fallacy of causality, etc etc. Wikipedia it.
    A purpose, you mean. What's the purpose of a cloud? What's the purpose of a star? What's the purpose of a rock? What's the purpose of life? Do any of these things really have a purpose? Is the clump of molecules you call life so "special" that it has a purpose...yet, what about the clump of molecules we call clouds, or rocks? What sets us apart? Sure we can think, reproduce etc. But that's just unique. Who's to say thinking and reproduction is so special that it requires a) god to create, and b) it means there's purpose behind it? Clouds can do unique things too. Do they deserve a higher purpose as well?
  16. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    I totally understand how you feel tho. I always wonder why life exists. Is it just some pointless thing? When I think about a god creating the earth i wonder tho, how would a god give us any more purpose? it couldnt. I know how, But I want to know why.
  17. Syd

    Syd Guest

    I find comfort in the fact that I don't understand the origins of life and the universe. I have respect for those who can admit their ignorance and move on. The mystery of life and death is what makes them beautiful.

  18. Amen, I think just like you, you couldn't have said it better

    Anyone that disagrees with what you said is an arrogant delusioned fool

    I hate the Christian God, even if the sucker doesn't exist, because he's both very stupid and very evil

    I want Christianity to be erased and forgotten, for the sake of future generations, we must delete all evidence of past religions,
    Last edited: May 5, 2007
  19. Flight

    Flight Well-Known Member

    There is quite a few important distinctions, not the least of which is that Santa, leprechauns, fairies and (to some extent) ghosts are understood and defined in the terms of physics.

    As in they exist, or show signs of existing, physically. A philosophical theists God would not be approachable in the physical.

    So, these are indeed not metaphysical entities.

    I highly doubt it. Humans will keep pressing forth backwards through the causation of the universe. We already can go back far enough to theorize a "big bang" scenario. Possibly more "big bangs" before that. I believe that is as far as our human minds can hypothesize. Anything beyond this is conjecture - and either appears as "God is the prime causer" or "The big bang cycle is self causing."

    Although if the big bang cycle is self-causing, that meets the definition for a philiosophical theist's God. The self-causing causer.

    But like I said, whichever way you believe, it remains just that, a belief. There is nothing for us to know here, and no way to prove it.

    Ignoring the humourous irony in what was said here...

    Ad hominum attacks are not welcome in a logical debate, and I believe this constitutes flaming.

    One last thing I would like to say is that I cannot see the reasoning behind evolution disproving the existence of a God. I can see evolution disproving the existence of most of the Intelligent Design argument. Because I doubt a God that supposedly created physics would allow those very physics to draw completely erroneous conclusions about the world, while allowing virtual crackheads to magically draw the correct conclusions out of a hat. Ha. The world, either way, is most likely very very old.

    It's humanity that is young.
  20. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    You keep talking about metaphysics as if its actually true. Why do you believe that there is one or more other dimensions when there is no evidence for them. Its not much different from heaven and hell. You cant see touch smell or hear them so how do they exist?

    If evolution and the big bang are true they explain how life came to be. I dont see why life came to be, before there was any intelligence on earth what made the first life forms want to be or did they have no choice?

    I dont like the mysterys of life theyre confusing and depressing.

    did matter create intelligence or did intelligence create matter. Id say intelligence is far more complex than matter so its more probable that matter came first.

    A simple problem with believing in a active earthly god is the problem of evil. God/s would either not care about the welfare of its own creations or designed them to be the way they are or doesnt exist.
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