The Athiest thread - Page 6 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-15-2004, 11:01 PM   #76
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 370
Local Time: 10:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing


No Jon, didn't offend me......just completely confused me. Maybe I'm just a simpleton, or maybe I just need to re-read what you wrote a few more times.

Can I just ask a question of those of you who are athiests.

In most of my conversations with athiests, it seems there has been a negative experience with christians/church etc. I am not saying that there has never been an intellegent well thought out and explored path that they have been on, just that it seems to me- often Atheism is a very emotive reactionary adopted position.

Please don't shoot me down in flames, I am not meaning to be disrespectful. Just want to ask if this is your experience too? Could it be that what you are rejecting is not so much God, as somebody's misrepresentative idea of God?

As I have read through the posts it seems that many of you have mentioned negative experiences with 'religion' in childhood. I have had my own too, but have been careful to sought out what was negative baggage and what the essential core of the various spiritual approahces to life.

To me, the universe is meaningless without a God

NotAnEasyThing,
Nobody is to be shot down in flames for their beliefs. I understand what you're saying and you cartainly raise points that are worth discussing.

The truth is I used to go to a protestant church in Montreal when I was younger. No, I can't say I have any negative personal experience with it. I still go to a united church, but I go for my girlfriend because it's important to her. I love her and that's far more important than any argument or belief is to me (explaining my initial rapport with U2 lyrics there). I have nothing personal against religion at all. I became an atheist - and I stress the word 'became' to highlight that it was a discovery for me, in a sense- over a long period of time. It wasn't a revelation as much as a long argument with myself. I had to weigh many arguments and positions (my church, read Lee Strobel and co.) and in the end I couldn't justify believing. That's largely because I don't see any evidence of it and have found the arguments (that I've read/heard) to date lacking cogency, either by arguing with pre-conceived notions or by committing simple reasoning fallacies. That probably answers your question about my analysis of religious arguments. That said, I'm always open to listening. Any time somebody brings up a new argument, I'm all ears.

I see your point about meaninglessness. It makes you wonder why we're here at all. I think most people who have thought about the ultimate purpose life are right in there with you...confused as anything. I am and I have no answers. I never did. Here is my take on what you saidabout meaning, though. This is not an attack (please don't take offense), just how I would evaluate it if it were my belief. Personally, I'm not satisfied by believing in something for lack of a more cogent explanation. If I do that, I subject my position to the criticism that it "begs the question". Begging the question occurs when I claim that because you can't prove a proposition to be false, that I am justified in believing it to be true. This is a problem because it doesn't force me to justify my assertions, but only relies on the weakness of yours. Even in the face of mild opposition, you still have to argue your point. Just because your counter argument is weak, doesn't necessarily mean that my original one is strong.

The other criticism that I would subject myself to is called the "false dilemma", which happens when I narrow a myriad of possibilities down to only a couple alternatives. Say I tell you that God must exist because the universe is meaningless without him. In this case, I'm assuming that the meaning of the universe is contigent upon God. I've forgotten that there may be thousands of other "reasons" behind the existence of the universe, even ones we don't yet know.

That is how I would evaluate this argument if it were mine. It's not wrong. It just lacks the qualities that make up what I would argue to to be a cogent position. You are, of course, free to argue your for your own.

If I want to add only reliable knowledge to my slate, then it has to be well justified to me. If for no other reason that's to allow room for me to accept an answer should one emerge eventually. I wouldn't want to deny a new position because of a belief. That may reveal to you that I find the best religious arguments (that I've read) to be shaky and therefore cannot add religion or belief to my slate. Reason for this, again, is that things shaky assertions are not necessarily wrong (and may even turn out to be true), but until they are shown to be true, then there is no value to me in accepting them. There's simply a risk that I could be wrong and produce knowledge for myself and others that is not reliable. I think harm can and has come from such knowledge. There are many current examples, but I don't want to stir up a bees nest here.

And you know what, NotAnEasyThing, you and everybody have the right to believe in whatever makes you happy or if the arguments lead you to a different conclusion. These are entirely possible and even likely outcomes. Ultimately, the things I've said can be reduced to what I think and how I think. But for my thoughts to have the greatest communicative value to others, I need to justify them. I make no generalizable truth claims....only my own arguments and arguments for arguments. The point I was trying to get across before was that I don't think positions arrived at through cogent arguing are just "sets of beliefs." I think they're a little more than that, while still certainly not truths. There may be many methods of knowledge production, but you have to make an argument for why you choose one. That's what I was trying to do. Still a long way to go for me, as you can see.

Like I said, please discuss further. I always find people's beliefs interesting.


JOn
__________________

__________________
Klink is offline  
Old 12-15-2004, 11:13 PM   #77
ONE
love, blood, life
 
indra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 12,689
Local Time: 11:02 PM
A couple of very good posts, Jon. I like this thread!

Unfortunately, my brain has turned to mush tonight, so I really don't have anything to say.

I'm still waiting for cookies.... That's probably why I can't think....
__________________

__________________
indra is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:14 AM   #78
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Klink

Personally, I'm not satisfied by believing in something for lack of a more cogent explanation. If I do that, I subject my position to the criticism that it "begs the question". Begging the question occurs when I claim that because you can't prove a proposition to be false, that I am justified in believing it to be true. This is a problem because it doesn't force me to justify my assertions, but only relies on the weakness of yours. Even in the face of mild opposition, you still have to argue your point. Just because your counter argument is weak, doesn't necessarily mean that my original one is strong.

The other criticism that I would subject myself to is called the "false dilemma", which happens when I narrow a myriad of possibilities down to only a couple alternatives. Say I tell you that God must exist because the universe is meaningless without him. In this case, I'm assuming that the meaning of the universe is contigent upon God. I've forgotten that there may be thousands of other "reasons" behind the existence of the universe, even ones we don't yet know.

The point I was trying to get across before was that I don't think positions arrived at through cogent arguing are just "sets of beliefs." I think they're a little more than that, while still certainly not truths. There may be many methods of knowledge production, but you have to make an argument for why you choose one. That's what I was trying to do. Still a long way to go for me, as you can see.

Like I said, please discuss further. I always find people's beliefs interesting.


JOn
Thank you so much for your well reasoned and respectful response Jon! I appreciate what you're saying about not simply settling for an insuficient and intellectually unsatisfying answer simply because a better (more cogent) arguement is unavailable. I can also agree with the problems with the "false dilemma" kind of arguement. Actually i find people who argue this way intellectually lazy.

But the question of "is there a God" seems to me, not to fall into this category. Either there is....or there isn't. And like any good scientist, isn't the best mode of operation working with the known facts and coming up with the best theory...even if it is still a theory. If you operate like you have said Jon, how would you do anything in life? What I mean is (for an example):
Will I bother getting out of bed today?
a) I could find my house as I remember it last night and it is safe to go and get breaky
or
b) The Cat may have grown into a giant fire breathing beast and eaten all the food in the house
or
c) The whole house may cave in on me if I even move
or d), e), f).....etc.

I know this is completely ridiculous but you get my point I hope. If we only ever make a choice to accept something as truth when all possible avenues have been explored we are rendered useless. To use my analogy before, I choose to get out of bed and make breakfast because based on my experience thus far, it seems very likely that my cat will still be sleeping harmlessly on the lounge and the house will probably have the strength to cope with a few footsteps down the hallway (not to mention I'm hungry! ). That is the best theory (dare I say truth).

On the other side of the ledger, wouldn't it make more logical sense to test a good theory and judge it's validity based on that experience. In the case of the existence of God, I find it strange that people have trouble seeing evidence all over the shop. I guess it depends on how you approach the subject. For me, even the fact that we have the ability to critically debate, ponder, and process these arguements is itself an arguement for an intellegent creator. Don't you find the mind/conciousness a beautifully creative thing? And what about beauty/music/art/pleasure? Where do these fit in to a world that is devoid of God? Did we just evolve on our own to enjoy these creative (none essential facilties)? To me that is illogical.

But these questions were raise by Beli which seem to be common questions that atheists raise concerning God that they feel have no good answers:

Quote:

I have thought about gods. In my darkest hour I have even wished I could believe in a god - it would make life so much easier. But I find it difficult to believe that theres an all poweful being. Why would there be? Just me, I cant fathom that one.

I also cant believe that this sucky planet we call Earth is designed this way. Why would anyone design AIDs, famine, etc?
The issue of suffering/evil in the world is often raised. To me this is not evidence against God, but evidence for God. Sound crazy?
Let me explain: Why would we view something that is part of our universe as evil or even have a problem with it if we are just some cosmic mishmash or accident. The whole thing would just be a chaotic pressure cooker. Suffering would not be suffering ... just the way it is. Of course this would also mean all human rights issues or for that matter any ethics have no basis. But I reckon as humans we can't accept that- we have an awareness that there IS something wrong. Thus our concept of suffering/evil. Of all the major religions, in my opinion all but one deal with this issue of evil unsatisfyingly and illogically. Most either minimise it (eg. Bhudism- which just says we keep coming back until we achieve Nirvana- and so there is no accountability just Karma) or they proclaim that we have to improve ourselves until we attain a more enlightened self (read perfect). My experience tells me that both of these options are inconsistent.

Christianity speaks of a creator who has given his creation free will. The ability to choose to accept or reject Him. Free will comes with a dilemma for an all powerful deity - if it is to be a truely free will then it means limiting his power. So if he was to intervene and stop the results of people's choice against him, they no longer have a choice. Result: stuffed up world. God's answer- according to Christianity- God in his grace takes the extrodinary step of satisfying the demands of his own just character. To me that is both logical and gives a satisfying explaination to the problem of evil (not to mention a satisfying answer to my own yearning for justice for the evil people have inflicted on other people).

In as far as your search for cogent arguements that prove/disprove (at least as much as that is possbile) the existence of God, I think here again, christianity is able to be put to a very reliable test. At the core of christian belief is the figure of Jesus Christ- God incarnate. Did he exist, are his claims true? It all hangs on him really. If he did not exist or is not who he claimed to be then the whole thing falls over. If he did exist and if his claims can be proven then you are left with the opposite result.

I don't want to give you all the arguements I have explored in this regard (this post is already way too long ) but just to say what have you found to be without credible basis? You mentioned Lee Strobel...in what ways does his logic not convince you? In answer to my 2 questions about Jesus, I don't think any reputable historian will question Jesus' existence. In fact many non-believers will claim him as a prophet or great moral teacher. But as C.S. Lewis has said so well, you only really have 3 options with Jesus: Liar, Lunatic or Lord. If he's a liar or lunatic then he can't be a great moral teacher. I know this is fairly simplistic but I have gone so much further than all this and looked carefully at the historicity and authenticity of the Bible. To me, one of the greatest proofs of Jesus validity is the early church. Why would so many people suffer and die for a faith they knew to be one big lie (as they would have had to being so close to the events - easy to prove/disprove then).

Thanks for reading through to the end. I guess when I boil it all down, I am still left with the choice that I have, with all available information, test the "theory". Well I have, and all I can say is I have found something real.
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:23 AM   #79
Blue Crack Addict
 
beli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In a frock in Western Australia
Posts: 15,464
Local Time: 11:02 AM
Quote:
Christianity speaks of a creator who has given his creation free will. The ability to choose to accept or reject Him. Free will comes with a dilemma for an all powerful deity - if it is to be a truely free will then it means limiting his power. So if he was to intervene and stop the results of people's choice against him, they no longer have a choice. Result: stuffed up world. God's answer- according to Christianity- God in his grace takes the extrodinary step of satisfying the demands of his own just character. To me that is both logical and gives a satisfying explaination to the problem of evil (not to mention a satisfying answer to my own yearning for justice for the evil people have inflicted on other people).
Can you explain this bit again please? Im having problems with this bit. Where you have all the "hes" could you replace them either with "God" or "Man". I think might help me. Possibly.
__________________
beli is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:25 AM   #80
Refugee
 
AussieU2fanman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 1,638
Local Time: 01:32 PM
ahhhhh, this is my type of thread.
__________________
AussieU2fanman is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:28 AM   #81
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 01:02 PM
Quote:
Christianity speaks of a creator who has given his creation free will. The ability to choose to accept or reject Him. Free will comes with a dilemma for an all powerful deity - if it is to be a truely free will then it means limiting his power. So if he was to intervene and stop the results of people's choice against him, they no longer have a choice.
Result: Self Satisfied individuals who know the "truth" and that everybody else is wrong but that is the way that it is. I swear to your God that this is why.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:39 AM   #82
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by beli


Can you explain this bit again please? Im having problems with this bit.
Sure Beli, sorry if it was a bit confusing. What I was trying to do was sum up a fairly complex concept that is at the heart of what Christianity claims and as such it is reducing it down to a few sentences- never good when trying to explain something so crucial.

To put it another way- God didn't want to create robots- ie. people who just do what he says because He made us that way. He has made us free agents, and freedom comes with consequences as we can see. If God is just, he can't just ignore that, injustice (evil) must be paid for. The Christian claim is that God himself chose to take the penality for our evil- that is the point of Jesus death according to the Bible.

Hope that is more clear, but I guess my point has been that as an intellegent Atheist integrity and logic dictates that one should search out the claims of Christianity and other good cases for God that are out there. Otherwise you are bound to come to a false conclusion. So look at these things for yourself, see if my summary does it justice!
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:42 AM   #83
Blue Crack Addict
 
beli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In a frock in Western Australia
Posts: 15,464
Local Time: 11:02 AM
Still not following. Injustice must be paid for, yes.

How does this work for AIDs victims, famine victims etc? Are you saying they are being punished for something they have done?
__________________
beli is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:50 AM   #84
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Result: Self Satisfied individuals who know the "truth" and that everybody else is wrong but that is the way that it is. I swear to your God that this is why.
Sorry A_Wanderer if you thought I was being smug or a 'self-satisfied' pompus bastard. That is certainly not my attitude. But if there is an ultimate truth to be found then someone must be 'right' and someone must be 'wrong'. However the christian position is not one for smug self serving elitists. In actual fact Jesus taught very clearly that if we want to be great we should be the servants of all. Humility was one of the defining characteristics of Jesus and something he calls for from his followers. Christianity is also all about the admission of our own short comings- how can we accept forgiveness without acknowledging our own inadequacy.

So I'm sorry if I have in anyway seemed pious or a know-it-all. Just wanting to have an intelligent conversation. Perhaps you've had a lot of "Christian" self satisfied individuals who know the "truth" treat you with disrespect- if so, please don't write off the whole Christian position because a few misguided individuals.

Cheers
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:54 AM   #85
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 01:02 PM
However what if we do not need to accept forgiveness, what if we strive to improve ourselves and aid others out of our own humanity, not in order to appease what is in my opinion a fiction.

Now prior post was poorly worded and I hold no ill will towards most who follow religion and most certainly no animosity towards you - really
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 04:01 AM   #86
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Still not following. Injustice must be paid for, yes.

How does this work for AIDs victims, famine victims etc? Are you saying they are being punished for something they have done?
Hell no! Now I see what you're asking. Man I think my brains running low on caffine or something at the moment. Jesus was very quick to speak against this view that the Jews in his time had about God, namely that people's disease/disability is a direct result/payback for their sin. His disciples once asked him if a man born blind was blind becuase of his parents or his sin. He quickly put that one to bed.

No what I was meaning is that the whole created order has been affected by our sin. Sometimes directly (ie. when one person abuses another) and sometimes indirectly (as in when someone in the developed world use our resources unfairly and someone in the developed world misses out). The Bible teaches that in some way this has cosmic implications as well. I don't completely understand this but it makes logical sense to me. Humanity's evil collectively and cumulatively impacts on the universe. I guess a way of thinking about this is the fact that all of creation is connected, and just like when you throw a pebble into water- there is a ripple effect.

Does that answer your question?
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 04:08 AM   #87
Blue Crack Addict
 
beli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In a frock in Western Australia
Posts: 15,464
Local Time: 11:02 AM
Karma - on a global scale?

Im not really liking this. I dont see why people in Eritrea should starve to death cause people in New York want two tv sets per household. (for example)

Why shouldnt the people of New York suffer for what they have done? Not that I want anyone to suffer but if anyone is going to it should be the people who caused the problem.
__________________
beli is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 04:18 AM   #88
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
However what if we do not need to accept forgiveness, what if we strive to improve ourselves and aid others out of our own humanity, not in order to appease what is in my opinion a fiction.

Now prior post was poorly worded and I hold no ill will towards most who follow religion and most certainly no animosity towards you - really
Thanks A_Wanderer!

In response to your statement about striving to improve ourselves and aid others out of our own humanity- I commend you on this. I reckon that's really cool that that's what you're doing. I guess I have just discovered in my own life that if I am honest with myself I'm not really capable of doing that with consistancy. I'm aware that this is something I need God's intervention with, ultimately I could never be 'good' enough on my own- like how good is good enough?

If you feel no need for forgiveness then I have to admire you for your integrity.
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 04:30 AM   #89
The Fly
 
NotAnEasyThing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 146
Local Time: 02:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Karma - on a global scale?

Im not really liking this. I dont see why people in Eritrea should starve to death cause people in New York want two tv sets per household. (for example)

Why shouldnt the people of New York suffer for what they have done? Not that I want anyone to suffer but if anyone is going to it should be the people who caused the problem.
Good point Beli! I agree with you, in fact that is the sense of justice that I feel (and believe is god-given). But this is not Karma. Karma = you get what you give.

But what the chistian view of sin means is that we have responsibility in what we do because ultimately it has consquences both for us and in the world. After all, we all know how our wrong choices have hurt others. This is a much more reasonable view of the world imho because it put's the responsibilty on us to seek to work to counter the effects of these choices. I am called to make loving choices that would (using your example) help people in Eritrea who are starving.

That is why I find a Bhudist position on sin/suffering so wrong. If you believe in Karma you can look at a little baby starving in Eritrea and just go "oh well, she must have been bad in a former life".
__________________
NotAnEasyThing is offline  
Old 12-16-2004, 04:44 AM   #90
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
intedomine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 7,949
Local Time: 01:02 PM
Athiesm is beautiful!

I've been a proud one since the day I was born.

What I have always wondered however is whether everyone is born an athiest, and only a few remain that way. Are many people converted from a state of Athiesm, to a belief in a type of god through their social relations.

Contentious issue really, and quite depressing in a sense that rather than young people (children) being allowed to develop their own independent ideas on whether there is a "god", they are somewhat "brainwashed" by "manipulative" parents who already have a strong belief in a god.

Whilst my use of the word "brainwashed" and my idea that "innocent psychologically vulnerable children are maniplated by theist parents" might seem harsh, its just an alternative way of looking at the issue of everyone being born an athiest.

It's late, i'm not fit for in depth philosophical discussion
__________________

__________________
intedomine is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com