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Is there a God?

  

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  1. 1. Is there a God or Gods?

    • Yes, there is one God
    • Yes, there are many deities
    • There are no gods/God
    • I am unsure
    • Other (please specify)


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Without getting to far into this discussion, one opinion that I've held at various occasions is that if there is a god, why not believe in him? (I don't think that this opinion is incompatible with Catholicism.)

 

Let's say that religion X is correct in saying that you cannot gain entrance into heaven without believing in God. If they are right, those that believed have won, and the unbelievers have lost (for lack of better words.) Now if religion X is wrong, the believers really haven't lost that much compared to unbelievers. What, a few hours a week over the course of their life? Not really that much. Assuming that there is life after death, I'm not so sure I'd want to take the risk that there might not be a god. If you ask me, trading a few hours a week is a lot better than playing the odds.

 

Now, if you don't believe in the rewarding of the good and the punishing of the evil after death, then my point is moot.

Conveniently, that philosophy was held by Blaise Pascal (a Catholic). Theists refer to that as Pascal's Wager. The problem with that, though, is that any monotheistic religion could be correct and you may have picked the wrong one.

 

Ahhh thank you, I've never researched it before, just thought about it in the shower :P.

 

Yep, any religion can be correct. I'd start out by looking at religions that actively claim to be "correct" and then research each and decide which one is right.

There are several problems, though.

 

First of all, you're taking a stab in the dark for whatever rewards said religion gives, i assume the god wouldn't take kindly to that.

 

Secondly, theres no reason to believe that any specific religion is correct. There could even be a quite twisted god that only allows atheists into his good afterlife. Or one that awards critical thinking over pot luck. For every positive point about your choice, you can think of a negative that wouldn't be in place if you made no choice at all.

 

I never really liked that mindset. Burden. If a scientist was atheist, but had the means to empirically test whether or not a divine power existed, would they really refuse out of principle, because the "burden of proof" doesn't lie with them? Everyone, regardless of their beliefs, would like to see it proven/disproven, wouldn't they? Logically, you're completely right, but...I don't know. It gets misused far too much for the wrong reasons I think...

I only ever see it when a theist demands an atheist to disprove god, knowing full well that they don't have the knowledge to do that with absolute certainty yet.

 

It's like asking a doctor to disprove that crystals have healing powers. If he could, he certainly would, but he can't, at least not in terms agreeable with the desperate delusional crystal healer, so he shouldn't be put into the position of disproving it. The same applies to atheists.


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One last argument against Pascal's Wager: imagine there is a lottery. You can only play once. The price to play is 0.25$. You have 49/50 chances of winning 2$, and 1/50 chances of losing 75$.

The average gain is 0.21 cents, but that doesn't make the bet interesting because of our tendency to avoid risk. Mathematically speaking you should play, but practically speaking no one wants to risk that much money for a gain this small. If we had a similar bet with a possibility of losing millions, but of gaining little, and on average of being assured that one will profit, would it really be rational to play?

Yes, it would. Would people do it? No. Why? Risk aversion. Considering you can only play once (#yolo), you can't win back your loss. Yes, there is a 1/A (where A is very large) chance to go to some sort of heaven, and admittedly the average gain of the wager is (infinity)/A, but you're not going to get the chance to level out. This calls for precautions.

 

@Powerfrog: burden of proof applies to anyone who proposes anything to be true. To be an atheist is to propose that God doesn't exist, and to hold this position you need sufficient proof. Agnostics are the only ones who don't have to deal with it, because they don't propose anything. For example, if I, an agnostic, am talking to Range, and he just says "God doesn't exist", the burden of proof lies with him.


Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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^ This is true to some extent, though I agree with another poster who stated that the ultimate burden of evidence lies with theists. The original conjecture, if you will, is that God exists, and until that has been proven any atheist need only point out that God is unproven to disbelieve in him. Only strong atheistic claims such as "God can not exist under any circumstances ever" need be proven.



"Imagine yourself surrounded by the most horrible cripples and maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may understand a little of my feelings with these grotesque caricatures of humanity about me."

- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

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I say there is no god, just as I can say that there is no bigfoot. It's a statement of confidence, not an assertion that either must be true - but if there is no evidence for it, there is no reason to believe it, period.

 

If god answered prayers, there should be statistical evidence that at least one religious group has an advantage purely on the basis of prayer, but studies have shown no such advantage. If god were protecting his chosen people, at least one religious group should be spared in natural disasters, on average, more than others. Studies have shown that death tolls by religion typically match the religious demographic for affected areas.

 

And if such tests retroactively nullify divine protection, then I say god has gone out of his way to make me an atheist.

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@Powerfrog: burden of proof applies to anyone who proposes anything to be true. To be an atheist is to propose that God doesn't exist, and to hold this position you need sufficient proof. Agnostics are the only ones who don't have to deal with it, because they don't propose anything. For example, if I, an agnostic, am talking to Range, and he just says "God doesn't exist", the burden of proof lies with him.

Actually, I don't believe it does. The whole "Burden of proof" thing is just stupid if you ask me. An Atheist can claim "There is no god. How do I know? I just believe there isn't, I don't need any proof." Essentially pulling the same argument any other theist would pull. "I don't need proof, I have my faith, YOU bring the evidence!"

 

Another thing I have asked one of the local pastors/religious parents that I am friends with, is that if the human race ever achieves space colonization, and the said "rapture" does happen... Where will it happen? The Bible states only for Earth (technically)... So will all other Christians be "left behind", and all other colonized planets be left alone as Earth is destroyed?


Unfinished netherrack symbol of Khorne.

 

Never forget. ~creeper face w/single tear~

 

DO YOU HEAR THE VOICES TOO?!?!

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@Powerfrog: burden of proof applies to anyone who proposes anything to be true. To be an atheist is to propose that God doesn't exist, and to hold this position you need sufficient proof. Agnostics are the only ones who don't have to deal with it, because they don't propose anything. For example, if I, an agnostic, am talking to Range, and he just says "God doesn't exist", the burden of proof lies with him.

 

Yep. But there is no current reason to believe that god exists at all, and there is no need to disprove something that there is no inclination that is true. The person claiming he does exist, without any evidence, has the burden of proof before we even consider trying to disprove it. The fact it's impossible to disprove and would be very easy to prove should also play a part into this equation. The same can be said of SquiggleGravity or mindreading.

 

If you read my first post on this thread, you will see i am also an agnostic, in the sense that gods existence is in the realm of possibility, it would be incredibly arrogant to assume otherwise, but i don't believe it's likely, as i have no reason to.

 

Actually, I don't believe it does. The whole "Burden of proof" thing is just stupid if you ask me. An Atheist can claim "There is no god. How do I know? I just believe there isn't, I don't need any proof." Essentially pulling the same argument any other theist would pull. "I don't need proof, I have my faith, YOU bring the evidence!"

 

Another thing I have asked one of the local pastors/religious parents that I am friends with, is that if the human race ever achieves space colonization, and the said "rapture" does happen... Where will it happen? The Bible states only for Earth (technically)... So will all other Christians be "left behind", and all other colonized planets be left alone as Earth is destroyed?

As i said above, there is no reason to believe god does exist so to assume that he does not is only logical, we can't be certain about it, yet.

 

And that's just a classic case of the bible being an outdated work of fiction written over 1500 years ago. I assume the idea is that all humans would die. I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.


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I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.


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I have no reason to believe a God would exist, hence I don't believe in one.

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I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.

so many =/= most.

 

Besides. It's in the bible. Not sure what you mean by true to the teachings.


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I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.

so many =/= most.

 

Besides. It's in the bible. Not sure what you mean by true to the teachings.

 

The Bible doesn't, nor any other religious text I can think of off-hand, state that the other forms of life on our planet are our "playthings." As for what I mean when I say true to the teachings, I mean generally following the codes of morality laid out by those scriptures rather than to-the-letter adherence. (Else everyone would be stoning women and unwed mothers etc)

 

As for the "somany != most thing" I don't know what you mean to point out. Every group has their extremists. If we're basing our views only on the extremists, then this isn't a discussion worth having. As such, I don't think it's right in the least to take such an arrogant/flippant position in such a strong, difficult discussion.


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Without getting to far into this discussion, one opinion that I've held at various occasions is that if there is a god, why not believe in him? (I don't think that this opinion is incompatible with Catholicism.)

 

Let's say that religion X is correct in saying that you cannot gain entrance into heaven without believing in God. If they are right, those that believed have won, and the unbelievers have lost (for lack of better words.) Now if religion X is wrong, the believers really haven't lost that much compared to unbelievers. What, a few hours a week over the course of their life? Not really that much. Assuming that there is life after death, I'm not so sure I'd want to take the risk that there might not be a god. If you ask me, trading a few hours a week is a lot better than playing the odds.

 

Now, if you don't believe in the rewarding of the good and the punishing of the evil after death, then my point is moot.

 

I think I've made a post about this before... Pascal's Wager is admittedly a common defense of religion.

 

[hide]

Religion isn’t harmless – it stops us doubting. It stops people thinking and questioning reality. The presence of ‘God’ and his assumed communications is too often cited as justification for immoral actions. Children are indoctrinated at a young age, not at a choice of their own, but at the bidding of their parents. Children aren’t taught to question reality – instead, they’re taught to fear the wrath of the supposedly omnibenevolent deity with threats of eternal torture if they defy the teachings. What makes religious beliefs so unique is that it attempts to manifest itself into the logical centres of the brain, by compounding relatively harmless activities as ‘sin’ – evident in commandments such as ‘thou shall not covet’, or the insistence that homosexuality and masturbation is ‘morally incorrect’.

 

Our societies ostracize those who don’t want to believe in a God, or the same belief as their God, under the false pretence of committing the supposedly morally righteous act of ‘saving’ someone – an action directly influenced by their belief. It seems hypocritical that those who preach the followings of Jesus’ morality would breach their very own guidelines they impose on non-believers/believers of other religions.

 

It’s often cited that a life without God is sad and depressing, or that an atheist life is meaningless – used as a common defence in support of a religious lifestyle. It should be noted that this is not true, as life has no more meaning than one attributes to it. The meanings to life are not inherent. The benefits of an atheistic lifestyle are that we can be accepting of others without the compulsion to question another’s beliefs, and to be open to all ideas for discussion and debate. Atheists can choose to study sciences without feeling like defying God’s intentions – which comes with the extra baggage of theists feeling guilt. To be charitable, an atheist shows a respect for those in greater need out of their own sense of good-will, as opposed to attempting to appease a deity.

 

The theists I’ve encountered often argue that without God’s support, they would lose their sense of morality. My response is that of sincere concern, as it seems to imply that they don’t understand the concept of morality, and as their religious teachings assert that morals are God-given, without a God there’ll be no morals. The function of morality is to allow each-other to coexist peacefully and optimally, by agreeing that one’s actions affect one another (positively and negatively) and therefore we ought to be concerned about the welfare of others. I personally dislike the notion of absolute morality, as it prevents people from making decisions in the context of a scenario to act in the most optimal way possible – commandments such as ‘thou shall not lie’ may stop a theist from protecting individuals such as in a holocaustic situation if one was hiding individuals of persecution.

 

You may be presented with an argument which takes the form of Pascal’s wager often, where the theist asserts that if you’re wrong about the assertion that there is ‘no God’, you’ve got everything to lose because of the damnation to ‘hell’ – but if you’re right about the assertion that there is ‘no God’, then nothing happens as you’re just dead. However, if you’re right about the assertion that there is a ‘God’, then you’ve got everything to gain as you would be sent to heaven – but if you’re wrong, then you’ve got nothing to lose as you’re dead anyway.

 

This form of argument is flawed in a myriad of ways; it’s a false dichotomy between the notion that one must either ‘Choose God’ or ‘Reject God’. A problem occurs when you realise that belief is not a choice - it’s a compulsion to accept what one deems to be true on the basis of evidence, convincing arguments and trust. If it were a choice, then the choices must be presented clearly – if one could doubt if an option even exists, then it’s no longer a choice. The assertion that atheism is ‘the rejection of God’ is also flawed, as disbelief is not rejection – it’s scepticism on the basis that there is a lack of evidence, and there are an overwhelming number of discrepancies/inconsistencies within religious doctrines.

 

On a more relevant note, the notion that theists would ‘lose nothing’ to falsely believe is also a flawed – if this is the one and only life, then every moment spent worshipping/praying to a God, and every dime spent in deference to a God is wasted. Furthermore, even if we assume that believers went to heaven – it would have to assume that the God is silly enough to buy into the covering one’s ass belief in him, which is absurd as anything that may qualify for a God should have no trouble distinguishing the genuineness of their beliefs.

 

Even if we further assume that the God would buy into the covering one’s ass thing – it neglects the possibility that Christian believers would not avoid the heavens and hells of other religions if they were wrong about them, as all theists are atheists to other religions. On a slightly digressive side note, it’s possible that there exists a perverse God who only sends atheists to heaven – a situation where theists actually lose in the case of believing in a God. Pascal’s Wager also implies that the best choice for a religion would be that of a demonic deity with the worse punishments for blasphemy, and the best bribes for blind faith. Is this really optimal?

 

An additional problem with the notion that theists ‘lose nothing’ is the fact that theistic beliefs cause harm by influencing individuals to make irrational decisions – such as to ostracize and discriminate against those not of the same mind-set, to oppress scientific/medical developments, to encourage ineffective ‘faith healing’, to endorse abusive indoctrination of young children, etc. – as highlighted in the first paragraph.

 

If the theist was right and the portrayal of God was Biblically accurate, then they’d gain everything – but the possibility of the assertion holding true seems weak at best, as they defy the physical laws that we observe around us, with no evidence to hold for the assertions that ‘a God exists, and it’s the Biblical portrayal which is accurate’.

[/hide]

 

Oh, and that doesn't even cover the issue of 'even if that was a valid defense, which deity should I choose?' EDIT - I think I've briefly made a passing reference of that issue, but it's very brief. So, why should I believe your deity and not the thousands of others?

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@Powerfrog: burden of proof applies to anyone who proposes anything to be true. To be an atheist is to propose that God doesn't exist, and to hold this position you need sufficient proof. Agnostics are the only ones who don't have to deal with it, because they don't propose anything. For example, if I, an agnostic, am talking to Range, and he just says "God doesn't exist", the burden of proof lies with him.

Actually, I don't believe it does. The whole "Burden of proof" thing is just stupid if you ask me. An Atheist can claim "There is no god. How do I know? I just believe there isn't, I don't need any proof." Essentially pulling the same argument any other theist would pull. "I don't need proof, I have my faith, YOU bring the evidence!"

I've got a question for you before any meaningful discussion could be made: do you care if your beliefs are true, or do you care more about whether they are comforting? If you don't care whether or not they're true, then there's no point going any further than this.

 

The onus of responsibility for handling this burden is always on the one asserting a truth, not the one denying it. Theists make a positive claim - 'there is a God', so by definition the position makes the assertion.

 

Given the lack of evidence/argument, there is no reason to believe in a deity in the first place, so the position by default is atheism - which is not the rejection of God, but rather - an exercise of skepticism.

 

It's unreasonable to expect atheists to present evidence of absence when the purported deity is unfalsifiable by a theist's very own definitions. So, one last question: why do you think that there is a deity (presumably Yahweh)?

 

 

I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.

I'd call that an undignified personal attack. Please answer the question: if that's not what religious people think, then what do they think?

 

 

Das, science will never be capable of proving God doesn't exist because it is concerned only with phenomena (what can be known through experience) as opposed to noumena (that which is known (if at all) without the senses); a theory is considered to be scientific only if it is falsifiable, which can only be done through perception, which is something God obviously evades: that's precisely why science actually provides results, as opposed, survey aside, to this thread and any such metaphysical debate.

Voted unsure.

 

You're telling me we can split an atom, build a computer, get across oceans and fly in the air AND SPACE. and yet no one can scientifically disprove the fact that a higher power doesn't exist? Mankind has disproved MANY phenomena at many times through history. Why does one of the oldest still remain with...a rather large following.

 

I'm just saying, we can explain damn near everything - but not God..

 

It intrigues me. I do believe god exists.

By definition:

 

Omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, all-loving creator who's immaterial, outside the realm of time/space, etc. I'm uncertain how it's of any surprise that we cannot disprove the existence of deities.

 

As for your other question, it's a rather simplistic explanation for why there's a large following: it brings (false) comfort, it creates dependency, it ostracizes others who aren't of the same faith, it's easier to believe than natural explanations, it's spread by indoctrination, laws protecting them against critical scrutiny, etc.

 

 

Nothing on this Earth was just created out of mid-air. Nothing "just happened". The Earth is so diverse and complicated that the chances of that happening again somewhere else is overwhelmingly impossible. Someone had to have created it. I mean, look around you! Do you think that the tree outside and the bird flying over JUST APPEARED? Do you believe that every beautiful animal and flower and plant just made itself? God also designed everything, not just make. He designed that plant to make it's food. It designed that animal to be fast. God designed YOU and your organs and your body. All these things couldn't have "just happened". God didn't just make the Earth and step back and let things work by themselves. He is working in each person to guide them in their lives. God is not restrained to time, either. He is the past, present, and future. IS, not was or were. Yes, it's a lot to think about. It takes a lot of faith, too. Faith in something you can't see. (Like air: you can't see it, but you know you're breathing it right?)

Man says, "Give me a sign, and then I'll believe." God says, "Believe, and then you will know."

I don't know of any atheists who claim to believe in ex-nihilo creation, seems like a straw-man argument to me. It's typically 'the Universe originated from a big Bang event according to scientists, and we don't know what happens before that - if there was a before.' It seems you're presenting the watchmaker's argument too. Question - why must someone/something have created it? It sounds like a case of confirmation bias and special pleading to me.

 

EDIT - I'm backtracking, but I've made several extra responses. I didn't expect a surge in Tif activity given how dead my Religion thread was.

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It's not a personal attack: I'm talking about his viewpoint, not his character. As for what they think, you need only ask people. Most would take offense to such a viewpoint that portrays someone they hold faith in as little better than a kid with a magnifying glass over an anthill, or (sticking with the ant metaphor) ants that delight in holding superiority over others. Even if you held faith in the fact that there was no higher power, if I portrayed them to be callous and morally bankrupt people as an assumption, they would be offended because it's clearly not true for the average person.

 

That's pretty normal, don't you think? I didn't realize it would need further explanation. :/


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I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.

so many =/= most.

 

Besides. It's in the bible. Not sure what you mean by true to the teachings.

As for the "somany != most thing" I don't know what you mean to point out. Every group has their extremists. If we're basing our views only on the extremists, then this isn't a discussion worth having. As such, I don't think it's right in the least to take such an arrogant/flippant position in such a strong, difficult discussion.

 

Powerfrog was pointing out that he wrote "so many people do x" and you responded "most people do not do x", and by writing "so many =/= most" he was indicating this. As adjectives go, 'arrogant' and 'flippant' are certainly not the right ones in this situation.

 

And yes, the attitude that Powerfrog highlighted still persists among many, not most, creationists that I have come across. Saying that people would not hold such a view if they were aware of their "respective scriptures" implies knowledge of all the scriptures ever. For example, I am a Soto Zen Buddhist, and the main scripture in my life is the Shobogenzo - are you sure such a view is not expressed there?



"Imagine yourself surrounded by the most horrible cripples and maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may understand a little of my feelings with these grotesque caricatures of humanity about me."

- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

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I have no reason to believe a God would exist, hence I don't believe in one.

This is pretty much my stance on the subject. I'd like to hope there is something more to life on Earth, and I can't rule out that there isn't, but as it stands I have no reason to believe in a God.


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RIP Michaelangelopolous

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As adjectives go, 'arrogant' and 'flippant' are certainly not the right ones in this situation.

 

When you're putting traits as labels onto the average person who holds faith - it wasn't clear at the time he was talking about creationists/extremists and I personally don't feel that continually going back to these psycho-fringe groups progresses any mature discussion on the matter - that do not accurately represent that group, and continue to do so, I think they do.

 

 

Saying that people would not hold such a view if they were aware of their "respective scriptures" implies knowledge of all the scriptures ever. For example, I am a Soto Zen Buddhist, and the main scripture in my life is the Shobogenzo - are you sure such a view is not expressed there?

 

I am sure that you would act within the spirit of those scriptures, which is the point I was trying to make, so yes I think you would.


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If you're presenting that argument, you should be the one presenting the information alongside it. I can't ask any sizable number of theists how they interpret their holy scriptures, so if you're claiming to represent them - then tell us what they think. I don't see the point of being so unnecessarily evasive.

 

Unrelated note: I've wanted to edit this into my other response to respond to Omar, but it's clearly too late.

 

 

@Powerfrog: burden of proof applies to anyone who proposes anything to be true. To be an atheist is to propose that God doesn't exist, and to hold this position you need sufficient proof. Agnostics are the only ones who don't have to deal with it, because they don't propose anything. For example, if I, an agnostic, am talking to Range, and he just says "God doesn't exist", the burden of proof lies with him.

 

It's a traditional mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. The assertion 'God exists' is a positive claim - the answer 'I don't believe it' is not. It doesn't assert that one does not exist. Oh, and even if the onus was on atheists - given that it's an unfalsifiable claim, that's impossible - like the analogy Russell made with his teapot.

 

The defining differences between atheists and theists - theists tend to be gnostic; to purport that a deity, their deity, must exist as factual. Atheists tend to be agnostic, whom does not argue there is 'no God' as factual, but arguing against the arguments for deities presented to them.

 

It seems you're confused on definitions, by the way. I'll present a small glossary for your information:

 

[hide]Agnosticism makes the claim that 'I do not know'

Gnosticism makes the claim that 'I do know'

Apatheism makes the claim that 'I do not care either way'

Theism makes the claim that 'I believe in a deity'

Atheism makes the claim that 'I do not believe in the existence of a deity'

Pantheism makes the claim that 'God is nature'

Deism makes the claim that 'God created everything, but does not intervene'

Ignosticism makes the claim that 'we assume too much about the concept of god'

Dystheism makes the claim that 'if a god exists, it is not wholly good and/or possibly evil'

Misotheism makes the claim that 'if a god exists, it is a malevolent being'[/hide]

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I think it's funny how so many theists still believe that humans are god's prized creation and the billions of other life forms (and trillions of other planets that likely have live on them) are just here for the humans amusement.

 

That's really not what most religious people think at all - not those who are true to the teachings and aware of their respective scriptures. That viewpoint seems every bit as arrogant as the vilified theists this topic is portraying.

so many =/= most.

 

Besides. It's in the bible. Not sure what you mean by true to the teachings.

 

The Bible doesn't, nor any other religious text I can think of off-hand, state that the other forms of life on our planet are our "playthings." As for what I mean when I say true to the teachings, I mean generally following the codes of morality laid out by those scriptures rather than to-the-letter adherence. (Else everyone would be stoning women and unwed mothers etc)

 

As for the "somany != most thing" I don't know what you mean to point out. Every group has their extremists. If we're basing our views only on the extremists, then this isn't a discussion worth having. As such, I don't think it's right in the least to take such an arrogant/flippant position in such a strong, difficult discussion.

 

Croce has made the response better than I would've worded it, so I need not reiterate - but your point about extremism seems to downplay its magnitude. It's not unreasonable to claim that a considerable proportion of theists hold fundamentalist views - and if fundamentalism is a problem, then that is also a problem. I don't see how Powerfrog is arrogant/flippant in this discussion.

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If you're presenting that argument, you should be the one presenting the information alongside it. I can't ask any sizable number of theists how they interpret their holy scriptures, so if you're claiming to represent them - then tell us what they think. I don't see the point of being so unnecessarily evasive.

 

I'm not trying to be evasive, honestly...sorry :/ I've answered your question as best I'm able. I would think it has more to do with human nature than religious beliefs, based on how people react, wouldn't it? Truth is, I'm not sure. And since I'm mostly going off of old schoolroom lessons, personal experience, and the like, I don't have the research you want. I understand that lacking that cruicial point weakens my argument, and that you're not obligated to take it as fact, but this seems more like common sense here than anything else :/

 

It's not unreasonable to claim that a considerable proportion of theists hold fundamentalist views - and if fundamentalism is a problem, then that is also a problem.

 

Strictly speaking, fundamentalists/evangelicalists are in the minority, so I see that as unreasonable to assert those stereotypes to represent all of those who adhere to the Christian faith. :/


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As adjectives go, 'arrogant' and 'flippant' are certainly not the right ones in this situation.

 

When you're putting traits as labels onto the average person who holds faith - it wasn't clear at the time he was talking about creationists/extremists and I personally don't feel that continually going back to these psycho-fringe groups progresses any mature discussion on the matter - that do not accurately represent that group, and continue to do so, I think they do.

 

In what way is Powerfrog stating something religion based is amusing to him immature? :rolleyes: This is a God based discussion and, being able to relate to his post, it made me smile at the thought of the people he was referencing. The post was perfectly clear to me: there was nothing about labelling entire groups in the post - in the context, it is obvious he used 'so many' as a relative term to the absurdity of the belief - and the post had no relation to the average person who holds faith (again, I say this as a person who holds faith). Better adjectives would have been 'amusing' and 'relevant'.

 

Saying that people would not hold such a view if they were aware of their "respective scriptures" implies knowledge of all the scriptures ever. For example, I am a Soto Zen Buddhist, and the main scripture in my life is the Shobogenzo - are you sure such a view is not expressed there?

 

I am sure that you would act within the spirit of those scriptures, which is the point I was trying to make, so yes I think you would.

The point you made, however, was that nobody of any faith would assume human superiority over other creatures, implying a knowledge of all the scriptures. :unsure: The last clause confuses me - you think I would act within the spirit of the scriptures, I presume, but that still doesn't address how you know the teachings of the Shobogenzo and can make blanket statements.



"Imagine yourself surrounded by the most horrible cripples and maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may understand a little of my feelings with these grotesque caricatures of humanity about me."

- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

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If you're presenting that argument, you should be the one presenting the information alongside it. I can't ask any sizable number of theists how they interpret their holy scriptures, so if you're claiming to represent them - then tell us what they think. I don't see the point of being so unnecessarily evasive.

 

I'm not trying to be evasive, honestly...sorry :/ I've answered your question as best I'm able. It has more to do with human nature than religious beliefs, based on how people react. So if that's still too [citation needed] for you, I'm sorry, but I don't have the relevant research you want on-hand. :/

 

It's not unreasonable to claim that a considerable proportion of theists hold fundamentalist views - and if fundamentalism is a problem, then that is also a problem.

 

Strictly speaking, fundamentalists/evangelicalists are in the minority, so I see that as unreasonable to assert those stereotypes to represent all of those who adhere to the Christian faith. :/

 

It can still be agreed that fundamentalists are still problematic, correct? Given that belief in a deity is the requisite of religion, I'm talking about how religion is problematic as a whole - so we must not exclude the minority. I'm still interested in the beliefs of moderate Christians/theists, because we know that beliefs influence actions. If you can't present what they do believe, then how can we distinguish them from fundamentalists?

 

I'll anticipate the defense that 'atheists do bad things too' - and thus I'll present the counterargument: because atheism is skepticism of deities, it does not follow that atheism is the cause of an atheist's immoral actions. The same can't be said of theists, who may even cite their deity as their justification of their often immoral actions (if you want, I can provide an exhaustive list)

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In what way is Powerfrog stating something religion based is amusing to him immature? :rolleyes: This is a God based discussion and, being able to relate to his post, it made me smile at the thought of the people he was referencing. The post was perfectly clear to me: there was nothing about labelling entire groups in the post - in the context, it is obvious he used 'so many' as a relative term to the absurdity of the belief - and the post had no relation to the average person who holds faith (again, I say this as a person who holds faith). Better adjectives would have been 'amusing' and 'relevant'.

 

I'm not saying he is immature, just the attitude taken in regards to religion. I get his point too, please don't get me wrong, I just don't think it's necessary to use such dramatic language to make such a point, when it's perfectly clear what he's trying to say without it. They're the kind of things that make these discussions so negative to read, from my view as a user. I probably came on too harsh (and a little stupid with it), I'm sorry.

 

The point you made, however, was that nobody of any faith would assume human superiority over other creatures, implying a knowledge of all the scriptures. :unsure: The last clause confuses me - you think I would act within the spirit of the scriptures, I presume, but that still doesn't address how you know the teachings of the Shobogenzo and can make blanket statements.

 

I don't know the intricate detail of every faith and its literature in existence. I know however, that fundamentalists are statistically in the minority & that people of faith tend to hold views in line with the principles taught by their scriptures rather than literal translation, so I made my statements based on those points. My train of thought got so convoluted though, that I really failed in trying to make what little point I could make with what little facts I had. I don't engage in these sorts of debates often because I'm not very skilled in expressing my opinions, and it shows. I'm sorry for that.

 

EDIT: I realize that my second "fact" is more like an assumption and I guess it really has no point in being used to assert my belief, so help me out instead and ignore me on that point blahhh.

 

It can still be agreed that fundamentalists are still problematic, correct? Given that belief in a deity is the requisite of religion, I'm talking about how religion is problematic as a whole - so we must not exclude the minority.

 

I couldn't agree more that fundamentalism is problematic but...that's really not what this topic is about though, and that sort of debate is suited for a different thread right? Isn't this thread only to discuss whether or not there is a higher power, and whether or not the community believes in it? Is discussing religion's impact on society and its misuse really connected to that subject? I'm very confused now.


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The point you made, however, was that nobody of any faith would assume human superiority over other creatures, implying a knowledge of all the scriptures. :unsure: The last clause confuses me - you think I would act within the spirit of the scriptures, I presume, but that still doesn't address how you know the teachings of the Shobogenzo and can make blanket statements.

 

I don't know the intricate detail of every faith and its literature in existence. I know however, that fundamentalists are statistically in the minority & that people of faith tend to hold views in line with the principles taught by their scriptures rather than literal translation, so I made my statements based on those facts. My train of thought got so convoluted though, that I really failed in trying to make what little point I could make with what little facts I had. I don't engage in these sorts of debates often because I'm not very skilled in expressing my opinions, and it shows. I'm sorry for that.

It's important to note that fundamentalism is in the minority since modern times - it wasn't like this forever.

 

EDIT - It's true, this thread is just about whether a deity exists or not, but that has little discussion value. We could argue ad nauseum and it'll still end up being 'present the evidence and I'd believe you, but until then, I'm unmoved by your arguments.' I have no reason to believe that there is a 'god', and theists believe they have no reason to stop (even though I can present plenty).

 

I'd argue that the entire purpose of the thread leads onto whether religion is harmful or helpful, and as a whole - I'd argue it's harmful.

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At what point did i stereotype all Christians? I deliberately tried to avoid that.

 

Edit: I'll try stay on topic.


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At what point did i stereotype all Christians? I deliberately tried to avoid that.

 

I guess I hold too little faith in the flow of discussion - and as a result become part of the problem myself by thinking I had any right/ability to "correct" it - to trust that these discussions could be had without going down the same negativity towards those who hold faith/disagree with religion because of the actions of wackos. You're entirely right that you didn't say it, I got far too concerned whether or not it would be interpreted that way, and by doing so made the problem worse...Sorry >_<'

 

I should not have jumped to conclusions >_<

 

[hide]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxuTyXQHqkI[/hide]


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