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Old 02-02-2010, 09:29 AM   #31
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my first thought was

'Oh dear jesus!'
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:31 PM   #32
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The only reason that I haven't posted is because I have been on a five week holiday to Central Australia.

I had a decent amount of time to consider some issues, and one which struck me with a lot of force was the problem of evil. Not only does the world contain human evil and natural disasters, but our species is capable of feeling so much suffering. If there is a designer of the universe who has created us with the capacity for so much suffering and faulty enough to continually inflict it upon others I couldn't worship it.

I find more comfort in the idea that our capacity for suffering is an evolved trauma avoidance mechanism, one which exists due to the bottom up population pressures on our ancestors. It stops us from having to rationalise the horrors of the world with the idea of a benevolent God, and leaves the door open to alleviating suffering on an individual level.

I kept coming back to the idea of goodness which Daniel Dennett wrote about in an essay following his heart attack a few years ago, it's quite inspiring and shows a lot about how we are able to be good without God.

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/denn...t06_index.html

My attitude is one of atheism and anti-theism (although there is a very small possibility of God, if its existence was demonstrated I would just become an anti-theist). I think that there is more elegance and beauty in understanding the nature of the universe, and actively trying to find out new facts than handing credit to a creator. I think that religion exploits and infects human minds in the same way that advertising does, and gets them to accept the implausible on the basis of faith (for instance saying that there is an intelligence which started the universe is a completely unjustified statement, and any specific claims about prophets and miracles are much the same).
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:36 PM   #33
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The only reason that I haven't posted is because I have been on a five week holiday to Central Australia.

I had a decent amount of time to consider some issues, and one which struck me with a lot of force was the problem of evil. Not only does the world contain human evil and natural disasters, but our species is capable of feeling so much suffering. If there is a designer of the universe who has created us with the capacity for so much suffering and faulty enough to continually inflict it upon others I couldn't worship it.

I find more comfort in the idea that our capacity for suffering is an evolved trauma avoidance mechanism, one which exists due to the bottom up population pressures on our ancestors. It stops us from having to rationalise the horrors of the world with the idea of a benevolent God, and leaves the door open to alleviating suffering on an individual level.

I kept coming back to the idea of goodness which Daniel Dennett wrote about in an essay following his heart attack a few years ago, it's quite inspiring and shows a lot about how we are able to be good without God.

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/denn...t06_index.html

My attitude is one of atheism and anti-theism (although there is a very small possibility of God, if its existence was demonstrated I would just become an anti-theist). I think that there is more elegance and beauty in understanding the nature of the universe, and actively trying to find out new facts than handing credit to a creator. I think that religion exploits and infects human minds in the same way that advertising does, and gets them to accept the implausible on the basis of faith (for instance saying that there is an intelligence which started the universe is a completely unjustified statement, and any specific claims about prophets and miracles are much the same).

I disagree with you, but I hope you are open to considering the view that a universal God does exists.

And will search and think about this question.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:00 PM   #34
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I had a decent amount of time to consider some issues, and one which struck me with a lot of force was the problem of evil. Not only does the world contain human evil and natural disasters, but our species is capable of feeling so much suffering. If there is a designer of the universe who has created us with the capacity for so much suffering and faulty enough to continually inflict it upon others I couldn't worship it.
This is only true insofar if you believe that there is one central cause for everything else. If, however, you believe that there are (at least) three universal forces working in constant opposition to each other -- a force for good, a force for evil, with human will caught in between -- then it seems like there is room for God without believing that He is the cause of suffering.

Humbly submitted.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:39 PM   #35
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My attitude is one of atheism and anti-theism (although there is a very small possibility of God, if its existence was demonstrated I would just become an anti-theist).

Hello Wanderer


I haven't seen you for a while. I hope you have been well.


I don't recall you allowing for a small possibility before.
The more time passes the more I am convinced everyone is uncertain as to what, if anything happens after we die.


I think quite a few religous leaders know they are frauds.

And many believers are in for no other reason
than their hope that it could be true.

Afterall, what have they got to lose?
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:47 PM   #36
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I disagree with you, but I hope you are open to considering the view that a universal God does exists.

And will search and think about this question.
You do realize that most atheists have considered the view, and have searched for answers, don't you?

I hate the attitude that atheists just haven't considered the other side enough. Based on the demographics of the country, a good amount of atheists probably grew up religious. Me being one of them.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:58 PM   #37
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Peace be upon you my brother

no need to get in anyone's face


I have asked believers,
how they would feel if they learned that everything they believed was not correct. If they would have done anything different, made different choices.


I was surprised by the answer.
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:12 AM   #38
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I disagree with you, but I hope you are open to considering the view that a universal God does exists.

And will search and think about this question.

I disagree with you, but I hope you are open to considering the view that a universal God does not exist.

And will search and think about this question.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:59 AM   #39
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My statement of scientific agnosticism (in line with T.H. Huxley's) hasn't changed in years. The only change in my position is to strong anti-theism, I can't see anything decent in theism because of the horrifying ramifications of there being a designer of the world who cares about human affairs.

What designer would create humans to suffer so much emotional damage from the prevalent behaviour of rape?

What designer would create faulty human brains which lead to depression, delusions, and suicide?

What designer would infest the world with parasites and viruses, entities that only function to replicate at the expense of host organisms?

All of these problems can be reconciled with an atheistical world view. The anguish that people suffer after rape is an evolved trauma system dealing with a severe psychological shock, heritable mental illnesses can be understood in terms of how particular genes effect brain development and operation, and the existence and success of parasites illustrates how natural selection opens up exploitative niches in the world that some replicators are able to rapidly fill.

If there was a God directing the process to make humans it wouldn't only be unnecessary (evolution doesn't require agency) or anthropocentric (as if we are somehow more important to the universe than a falcon, fluke or fungus); I feel that it would make that entity responsible for all the waste and suffering which goes on in the natural world, including human suffering. Some theists disagree and embrace theistic evolution, I don't see how that is a legitimate hypothesis worthy of much respect.

The defence that God has to use natural law (i.e. guided evolution) to achieve its ends suggests that it isn't really omnipotent or it doesn't have an interest in reducing suffering (it appears that it wants to maximise it).

I have a much firmer grasp and admiration for science, and am starting to appreciate the power of philosophy, both of which continue to undercut arguments for belief in any benevolent deity. I am confident in my atheism*, I will defend human goodness and solidarity to the hilt, and I have gotten through some tough situations without ever finding or needing a belief in any higher power.

I find it mildly insulting to be told that my views are unconsidered, I find it dehumanising to be told that all that is good in the world (beauty, cooperation, free inquiry, and good deeds) require, or are indebted to, a belief in God; that type of theism robs us of our decency and is a slap in the face to anyone who thinks we can choose to be good for good reasons.

*With the implausible possibility of a God existing, something which most atheists are intellectually honest enough to admit - as opposed to theists who affirm the existence of the deity as a matter of faith.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:26 PM   #40
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Before I get into it, I just wanted to ask A_W if he would explain whether he believes his "anti-theism" is a belief system or not.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:51 PM   #41
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What designer would create humans to suffer so much emotional damage from the prevalent behaviour of rape?
The underlying assumption of this train of thought is that whatever happens is intended, which is fundamentally fatalistic. If you believe that the universe is composed of a series of wills set in opposition to each other, as I mentioned earlier, then the question of rape is not, "how could God allow it to happen?", but rather, "how could we?" Omnipotence and omnipresence doesn't mean that God fundamentally works outside of humanity/human nature; it may well be that God joins with humanity to accomplish His will.

I firmly believe that God will not do things that He has asked us to do, and a God Who created us in His image will not right injustice that He wants us to.

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What designer would create faulty human brains which lead to depression, delusions, and suicide? What designer would infest the world with parasites and viruses, entities that only function to replicate at the expense of host organisms?
Again, is what is, what was intended?

The fundamental question you're asking is, "Why would an all-knowing, all-loving God allow suffering?" It's a philosophical question as much as it is a practical one, and not one easy to answer. At the same time, as my pastor says, "Okay, let's take God out of the equation all together. Does suffering still exist?" It's an interesting rhetorical question. If suffering exists completely separate from the existence of God, then it is perhaps entirely possible that God is not the cause of suffering; it may well be that He is the cause of whatever redemption there is in it...

Does the fault lie within our stars, or within ourselves?
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:54 PM   #42
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The same god that would allow free will, must, by definition allow suffering. Does God rape women?
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:09 PM   #43
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Its easy to explain human inflicted suffering as free will, but what about the parasites A_Wanderer mentioned. What kind of God would create these?

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Old 02-04-2010, 07:14 PM   #44
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The same god that would allow free will, must, by definition allow suffering. Does God rape women?


What would you think of a God that did not create us with a free will?
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:21 PM   #45
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Its easy to explain human inflicted suffering as free will, but what about the parasites A_Wanderer mentioned. What kind of God would create these?

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Well now we're getting into pop-religion territory, in my view. It's up there with what kind of god would allow people to die in a huge earthquake. The natural world has its own processes geological and biological, and it's foolish to attribute human motive to them, isn't it. Parastical creatures and bacteria and viruses, have their place, they do what they do. The effects when they encounter us may be horrific but they have little bearing on good or evil. A virus or a parasite fish isn't evil, anymore than the lion chasing you back to your jeep is evil. And no, being a good believer won't save you from those things. I would be leery of anyone who implies otherwise.
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