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Old 08-11-2006, 04:56 PM   #76
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I'm sorry, but I respectfully have to say this statement couldn't be further from the truth. There are many things we can gather about God from creation and from the Bible, which is his word. Plus, through my relationship with him, I continue to learn about him. Yes, he relates to us each differently by meeting us where we're at as individuals, but there's many ways to understand who he is.


for the sake of argument ... let's say that the human brain is wired to believe in God, a higher being, that "God-shaped hole," but that there is no empirical/objective/independent existence of a diety.

would that make God any less powerful or important? in both the big picture as well as in your life?

what if you've created God? doesn't he still exist even if he is your own creation?
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:00 PM   #77
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The hole in this arguement is the fact that we're wired to believe in God. The fact is that we're wired to have a relationship with God. Many of us, even those of us striving to have a relationship with God, put other things in that God-shaped hole. It's never as fulfilling though. Trust me.

"What if you've created God? Doesn't he still exist even if he is your own creation?"

Nope.
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:23 PM   #78
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sulawesigirl4: THANKS for the suggestion I'm not only new to the forum, but new to the internet and am a bit 'o the techno-tard. However, I am yelling when I ask: HASN'T ANYONE READ 'THE AGE OF REASON'?
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:30 PM   #79
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:37 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
The hole in this arguement is the fact that we're wired to believe in God. The fact is that we're wired to have a relationship with God. Many of us, even those of us striving to have a relationship with God, put other things in that God-shaped hole. It's never as fulfilling though. Trust me.

"What if you've created God? Doesn't he still exist even if he is your own creation?"

Nope.


it's wasn't meant as an argument, it was meant as a thought exercise.

also, i'm not so sure you can make such declarative statements about what our brains are "wired" to do, nor can you say that nothing can take the place of God in fufilling that hole in our lives (if that hole is even there ... i can point you to many a happy, healthy atheist).

what's going to happen if you die, and then that's it? what if there isn't a God? what if the lights go out, and then that's it. nothingness.
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:59 PM   #81
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Sorry I misunderstood you, Irvine.

I'm sure there are atheists who are happy. No doubt. However, if God created us to have a relationship with us, something's missing. It's like if my parents gave birth to me and then I never talked to them. It's like that, but on a much larger scale, obviously.

To answer your last question, if there isn't a God and when I die the lights just go out, well, then I'm dead. Nothing matters.

If there is a God, everything matters.

I pose the same question to you: What if you die, and realize there is a God?

The stakes are much higher in your situation.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:10 PM   #82
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Originally posted by coemgen
Sorry I misunderstood you, Irvine.

I'm sure there are atheists who are happy. No doubt. However, if God created us to have a relationship with us, something's missing. It's like if my parents gave birth to me and then I never talked to them. It's like that, but on a much larger scale, obviously.

To answer your last question, if there isn't a God and when I die the lights just go out, well, then I'm dead. Nothing matters.

If there is a God, everything matters.

I pose the same question to you: What if you die, and realize there is a God?

The stakes are much higher in your situation.
I'm really off to bed but I'll just butt in for a moment.

If you are a happy atheist then obviously you don't feel that there's anything missing. As far as I can tell, that makes God irrelevant to the equation.

It seems to me that atheist live happy, fulfilling lives without having a divine meaning attached to their existance. Why is it so important that there be such a meaning. Don't most of our discussions about faith and lack of same end up at the same place? The religious will say that you need God to have a meaning of life. The atheists say that they don't feel that they need a God to have a meaningful life. And neither side really tries to understand the other.

Oh, and even though it's your post I'm quoting Coemgen, I'm not specificaly targeting you It's just a general question that has been perplexing me.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:15 PM   #83
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Irvine511 you modern-day Socrates you! Not to sound too much like a McDonald's ad, but, I'm lovin' it! Have you heard of Sam Harris? He wrote "the End of Faith' and is currently working on his PhD in neuroscience--me thinks you'd enjoy his work. I've also read about new studies showing that the right pre-frontal lobe is "highly active" when persons are having religious or spiritual experiences. There is also a condition called frontal lobe epilepsy in which persons with this condition are said to have extreme spiritual experiences--Mohammed was thought to have this condition (see Alper's research). That said, as I said previously, you were right on when you said it doesn't matter if god actually exists or not, it's what you make of that belief that counts and as the world can attest, some peoples' interpretation of god is a dangerous thang.
My husband is a happy atheist! So you can add him to your list. Personally, I'm an optimistic agnostic existentialist who is deeply concerned about the future of reason. We need rational minds to prevail or humanity may find out the hard way that there really is nothing.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:20 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
Sorry I misunderstood you, Irvine.

I'm sure there are atheists who are happy. No doubt. However, if God created us to have a relationship with us, something's missing. It's like if my parents gave birth to me and then I never talked to them. It's like that, but on a much larger scale, obviously.



and this gets to the crux of my question -- it isn't God that created that need for "god," but that it's the result of biology, of how the brain has been wired through thousands of years of evolution, it gives an answer to the question that perplexes any sentient being, that we are biologcially wired to seek and find meaning (and this, i think is a good thing) in the face of a universe that is inherently meaningless. and when i say meaningless, that's not to imply judgement. that's to say that it is devoid of meaning, there's nothing there that you don't put there.

so, to tie this together, perhaps the God-shaped hole is a biology-based defense mechanism, a natural adaptation that helps us, as a self-aware species, exist in a universe that has no objective meaning.



Quote:
I pose the same question to you: What if you die, and realize there is a God?
i would be fine with that. as i've said, i am a passionate agnostic, so i fully entertain the notion that there could be a God, but it's my life on earth that i'm most concerned with since it's all i know i have, and i'd rather do the best i can in the here and now, and sometimes, i think too much devotion to religion isn't a terribly good way to live life.

the world is an amazing, terrifying place. i'd rather experience all that it has to offer rather than spend a lifetime assiduously preparing for what might come next.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:22 PM   #85
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[B]Irvine511 you modern-day Socrates you! Not to sound too much like a McDonald's ad, but, I'm lovin' it! Have you heard of Sam Harris? He wrote "the End of Faith' and is currently working on his PhD in neuroscience--me thinks you'd enjoy his work. I've also read about new studies showing that the right pre-frontal lobe is "highly active" when persons are having religious or spiritual experiences. There is also a condition called frontal lobe epilepsy in which persons with this condition are said to have extreme spiritual experiences--Mohammed was thought to have this condition (see Alper's research). That said, as I said previously, you were right on when you said it doesn't matter if god actually exists or not, it's what you make of that belief that counts and as the world can attest, some peoples' interpretation of god is a dangerous thang.
sounds very interesting, i'll look it up.


Quote:
. Personally, I'm an optimistic agnostic existentialist who is deeply concerned about the future of reason.
very cool -- that might describe me as well. existentialism has plagued me since i was a sophomore in college.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:24 PM   #86
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You make a good argument, silja, but consider this.

Many of us Christians have seen the other side. That's how we can back up our argument.

Case in point, we have a guy at our church, John, who is the wealthy lawyer type. At one point in his life, when he was an atheist, he was incredibly successful in his job, yet had no relationship with his children, his marriage was on the rocks and he was snorting cocaine. At the lowest point in his life, he fell to his knees and cried out to God "If you're real, show yourself to me you son of a bitch!"
Now he's an incredibly kind man who's relationship with his family is one to model your own after, and, on top of that, he's heavily involved in evangelism. He does everything he can to share his story so others will experience the same, life changing relationship he entered into with Christ. The forgiveness. The love. The interaction with our "Mighty God." This is the new "meaning" of his life, he'll tell you.
Now, I realize that not all atheists reach a low point like John did. However, he definitely understands the other side of this argument. And yeah, he could've filled his "God-shaped hole" with things other than drugs and his job, but he filled it with God and look what happened.

Also, just because you don't think anything is missing, doesn't mean God is irrelevant to the equation. You've just left him out of it.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:31 PM   #87
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Originally posted by coemgen
You make a good argument, silja, but consider this.

Many of us Christians have seen the other side. That's how we can back up our argument.

Case in point, we have a guy at our church, John, who is the wealthy lawyer type. At one point in his life, when he was an atheist, he was incredibly successful in his job, yet had no relationship with his children, his marriage was on the rocks and he was snorting cocaine. At the lowest point in his life, he fell to his knees and cried out to God "If you're real, show yourself to me you son of a bitch!"
Now he's an incredibly kind man who's relationship with his family is one to model your own after, and, on top of that, he's heavily involved in evangelism. He does everything he can to share his story so others will experience the same, life changing relationship he entered into with Christ. The forgiveness. The love. The interaction with our "Mighty God." This is the new "meaning" of his life, he'll tell you.
Now, I realize that not all atheists reach a low point like John did. However, he definitely understands the other side of this argument. And yeah, he could've filled his "God-shaped hole" with things other than drugs and his job, but he filled it with God and look what happened.

Also, just because you don't think anything is missing, doesn't mean God is irrelevant to the equation. You've just left him out of it.


and what about the opposite? the devout who have become atheists? those who have embraced atheism and wrapped themselves up in secular humanism and become much better, kinder, more compassionate people?

also, is your story missing a line? when did God reveal himself to John? further, doesn't someone who's having marital problems and drug abuse issues strike you as someone who's seeking to fufill that "hole" we've spoken about -- and don't just as many people fill that "hole" with other things that aren't drugs, with volunteerism, love, hard work, etc. i don't think it's an either/or proposition.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:32 PM   #88
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Irvine, I'm on deadline. I'll get back to your posts here in a little while.

In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves. Here's a topic: Ancient Roman architecture.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:33 PM   #89
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i'm going to be away from the computer for most of the rest of the weekend -- so i'll get back to you monday at the latest.



have a good weekend everyone.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:43 PM   #90
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I'm off tomorrow morning for a weekend in the country so I'll have to get back to my answer to you Coemgen. I'll leave you with a question because I'm curious: Where did I claim to be an atheist ?
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