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Old 07-18-2006, 03:44 PM   #211
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Originally posted by maycocksean
Wow, Amy, I just wanted to say I'm sorry your thread got hijacked like it did. You asked for atheists to share their views and they've just about been drowned out by the believers taking offense. That must be frustrating.
I've been reading this thread thinking the same thing. It's not really a conversation people of faith were invited to, guys...leave it alone.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:07 PM   #212
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways


The previous post I quoted implies that atheists can not experience emotion. Why do you think that?
I don't think that. Like you said, animals experience emotion; everyone does. However, if emotion isn't tied to the divine, then it's tied to the biological. And if it's just a chemical process, then what's the point? And I'm asking the question because I don't believe anyone views their emotions that way. I think that people aren't so much living believing God doesn't exist as much as rejecting His existence because it's the easier path.

Trevster just goes right on with his quotes to prove my point.

The human species has evolved as - and remains as - part of nature.

If everything is just an off shoot of nature, then it's that chemical process.

Human consiciousness is a function of the activity of the human brain.

ditto

Humanists do not believe that the rules of human conduct have been set or preordained by any deity or external intelligence.

It's up to their own animal instinct

If it's just a bunch of chemical processes and evolved instincts that govern us, then Love, free will, and selflessness can't exist and life is nothing more than the pursuit of our own self interest. I completely reject that and I think most others, whether they claim a faith or do not will as well. So then the question becomes the contradiction. If you reject that life is nothing more than a series of processes of nature, how can you also reject the divine?
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:18 PM   #213
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Originally posted by Snowlock


If it's just a bunch of chemical processes and evolved instincts that govern us, then Love, free will, and selflessness can't exist and life is nothing more than the pursuit of our own self interest. I completely reject that and I think most others, whether they claim a faith or do not will as well. So then the question becomes the contradiction. If you reject that life is nothing more than a series of processes of nature, how can you also reject the divine?
Because they are chemical processes based in our brains does not make the experience of them any less real or valid. These chemical processes, along with sensory experiences allow me to experience love and free will. Also, non-belief in God does not equate to only pursuing self-interests. I'm very concerned for the welfare of others. I am, because I cognizant of the factors that make life pleasant or unpleasant, and the wiring of my brain gives me the ability to reason and empathize. Since I don't believe in God, that doesn't enter into the equation for me.

Thanks for the book recommendation, Trevster.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:24 PM   #214
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Originally posted by Snowlock


I don't think that. Like you said, animals experience emotion; everyone does. However, if emotion isn't tied to the divine, then it's tied to the biological. And if it's just a chemical process, then what's the point? And I'm asking the question because I don't believe anyone views their emotions that way.
Other animals don't practice religion and still experience emotion.

Emotions are biological. If you refuse to accept that it doesn't make it any less true.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:29 PM   #215
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^ did you read the non-bold stuff?

Who says because the building blocks of nature are chemical processes like cells, amino acids and proteins, there is no beauty and value of nature. All that statement suggests is that we are a part of this world along with every other organism on the planet.

Yep, human consiciousness is a function of the human brain, not a gift from a deity. But it is this consciousness which allows us to experience our beautiful world and create wonders through art, stories and music.

The rules of conduct for societies have evolved throughout time. The events that structured the rules in 2000BC are not the same as today. In case you haven't noticed, not doing the following: murder, molestation, hate, anger, stealing and so on are not exclusively Christian morals. They are universal traits generally accepted by all human beings regardless of religious origin. The non-Christian cultures got their social rules from somewhere but it wasn't God. Empathy, caring, sharing, loving and other emotions are functions of the human brain which allow us to understand actions which are acceptable and which aren't. So where did they get them from since they worshipped a different deity? That's all that line is suggesting.

That's a mighty big assumption you make about not believing in an external deity as an easier path. Who says life is nothing more than the pursuit of our self-interests? Every person on this planet is concerned about their self-interests and has selfish traits, even you but is this is underlying reason for existing, hardly. You assume because people don't believe in a deity, they can't have emotions and view the world as a cold sterile existence. On the contrary, I view the world as a remarkable place filled with beauty and wonder. My place on this planet is to hopefully leave a positive mark on this world whether it be through my friendships, family or through other ways. Re-read the 7th point, and think about how challenging it is to try and live a life like that.

I think you misinterpret a rejection of religion as a rejection of humanity and morals. On the contrary, I feel it is embracing humans and morals on a different scale. I don't HAVE to follow doctrine and rules to be a better person, I just strive for it because it's the right thing to do.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:33 PM   #216
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Quote:
Originally posted by VintagePunk


Because they are chemical processes based in our brains does not make the experience of them any less real or valid. These chemical processes, along with sensory experiences allow me to experience love and free will. Also, non-belief in God does not equate to only pursuing self-interests. I'm very concerned for the welfare of others. I am, because I cognizant of the factors that make life pleasant or unpleasant, and the wiring of my brain gives me the ability to reason and empathize. Since I don't believe in God, that doesn't enter into the equation for me.

Thanks for the book recommendation, Trevster.
I didn't say non belief in God means only pursuing self interests. I said if emotion is nothing more than a chemical reaction then you have no choice but to be driven by your own self interest - there's nothing more to life but to acquire the sensory input that sparks the chemical reactions.

And I'm sure you're concerned for the welfare of others; but that just goes back to the original question then... If we're nothing more than a product of evolution, we're no more and no less valuable than lets say a deer. When you get right down to it, we're all made up of the same stuff, just in different combinations. So why care more if a person is run over by a car than a deer?
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:41 PM   #217
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snowlock
If we're nothing more than a product of evolution, we're no more and no less valuable than lets say a deer.
No one, besides yourself, has suggested that humans and deer are equals. Therefore, this analogy doesn't work.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #218
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've got to stop and agree to disagree here but before I do I'm just going to end with this because it kind of sums up what I've been trying to say/get at.

I never said that people who don't believe in God don't have emotions. But I did ask the question of whether true feelings can exist if there isn't God; if there isn't something more; something eternal about us that separates us from apes and blades of grass. I don't believe there are many true atheists out there.

Quote:
Originally posted by trevster2k
I feel it is embracing humans and morals on a different scale. I don't HAVE to follow doctrine and rules to be a better person, I just strive for it because it's the right thing to do.
Right, but if you fail in that struggle, for you, there are no lasting repercussions; as you believe it. And that's why I said there were few true atheists out there and rather people who reject God's existence out of convenience.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #219
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Originally posted by Snowlock


I didn't say non belief in God means only pursuing self interests. I said if emotion is nothing more than a chemical reaction then you have no choice but to be driven by your own self interest - there's nothing more to life but to acquire the sensory input that sparks the chemical reactions.

That might be true if we were purely driven by only emotion, but we're not. We also have the ability to reason, which often (but not always) overrules emotion.
Quote:
And I'm sure you're concerned for the welfare of others; but that just goes back to the original question then... If we're nothing more than a product of evolution, we're no more and no less valuable than lets say a deer. When you get right down to it, we're all made up of the same stuff, just in different combinations. So why care more if a person is run over by a car than a deer?
We're no more or no less valuable to a deer according to whom? Personally, I value my fellow humans moreso than lower beings, but then again, I'm not exactly a PETA-type. Others have different views on this, but you'd have to ask them.

Why do I care more for a human than a deer? Humans are like me. They're part of my species. That being the case, I have more insight into their experience of life than I do of a deer's. I know that they reason, they feel, and they experience emotion. They have familial, social, and intimate ties to other people. I also know that other humans have the ability to impact the life/existance of other humans to a greater extent than a deer would.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:57 PM   #220
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Originally posted by Snowlock


But I did ask the question of whether true feelings can exist if there isn't God; if there isn't something more; something eternal about us that separates us from apes and blades of grass. I don't believe there are many true atheists out there.



Right, but if you fail in that struggle, for you, there are no lasting repercussions; as you believe it. And that's why I said there were few true atheists out there and rather people who reject God's existence out of convenience.
True athiests? I can flip your last sentence by suggesting that the only reason people accept God's existence is because of the lasting repercussions of going to hell for eternity and suggest there are few true Christians out there and rather people who accept God's existence out of convenience. You're right though, there are few athiests/agnostics/humanists out there. We are the minority. We are outsiders when it comes to rituals and religious doctrine.

You are still hung up on the fact that people can't love other people and the world without an external deity to worship. Where is this written, how can you know what makes people feel what they feel? I don't need the comfort of an external deity to focus my life on. If I stated that I hate people and could care less about a nuclear armageddon and the impending deaths since we are just pieces of flesh destined to die anyway, fine, condemn me for being a cold-hearted soulless monster. But I don't remember anyone saying that here or even suggesting anything remotely close to that. Those people out there who don't feel emotions or see the difference between people and blades of grass, those are sociopaths, not atheists.

Regarding if there is nothing more to life if there is no God. On the contrary, non-theists view this life with a greater value then theists. This is it, there is no more so you have to make the best of this existence and this planet. All of the problems of this world will not be solved or sorted out by divine intervention. We have to do it, unfortunately since most of the world is theist and expect to be rewarded after death, this present life isn't always the number one priority.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:30 PM   #221
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Thank you for your post trevster2k (regarding Buckman’s book). This seems to provide the first real insight into the original questions posed.

A nice change from the atlternative.

Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman
My fellow Athiests and believers should invest some of their spare time in reading this site http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/summary.htm
It's a very interesting critique of Christianty and more specifically how God has no impact and does not manifest himself in the world in any way. It's written very simply, logically and in layman's terms.
I think this best answers my previous question.

I have seen the “messenger” issue plenty of times (thank you 80’s for responding to the underlying issues on acceptance of a Sovereign Lord. And if I recall correctly, you were charged with being defensive (so I wonder who was on the offense?)). The principle of a poor messenger invalidating the message may provide some comfort, but it is a principle that would not be universally embraced. The advantage of the “messenger” argument is that is shifts responsibility from the hearer to the speaker. No matter how true, good or important the message, it can be defeated by examples of poor delivery.

Now, I wouldn’t dispute there are bad messengers out there. All issues and groups have bad messengers. Think of all the messages that could be invalidated or dismissed by the actions of groups like PETA, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or Hamas (and knowing the FYM response, these groups are independently illustrative – not designed to draw any connection between the groups).
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:47 PM   #222
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The principle of a poor messenger invalidating the message may provide some comfort, but it is a principle that would not be universally embraced. The advantage of the “messenger” argument is that is shifts responsibility from the hearer to the speaker. No matter how true, good or important the message, it can be defeated by examples of poor delivery.


what does it say about the message itself if so many of its messangers are so poor? and that the poorest messengers speak the loudest and longest? just how worthwhile a message might it be if those who claim to follow it are so offputting to so many? perhaps it really is the message itself that is the problem? how good is a message that enables the messenger not just to justify but to make virtuous his/her own prejudices?

as VintagePunk said earlier, and as i have stated with different words in threads past:

[q]The conclusion I've come to regarding that is that I'm living my life to the best of my ability, and if I'm wrong in my views and there is a God, then hopefully that will be good enough. If it's not, than it's probably a God that I don't have much interest in, anyway.
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Old 07-18-2006, 07:16 PM   #223
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It's a great quote, irvine. I agree with you both. While this debate leaves me wondering again how anyone could seek religion when this is what it does to people, it also doesn't have any effect on me mainly because I know that I spend every day of my life trying to be a good person. This cant be judged by posts in FYM. Humans have one thing that animals dont, which is an ability and capacity to reason. I use my capacity to decide which moral ground I walk. Reason tells me that actions or words which lead to harm another are wrong. Reason tells me that encouraging love and goodwill to the people around me is sound and logic, and a pretty good basis for living. Reason tells me that I shold diligently sort my garbage every week into recycling and non. That enviro washing products are best as they still clean and help lessen one more person's impact on the environment. Reason tells me that choosing a good school for my girls is paramount to ensuring they receive a rounded and supportive environment. Reason tells me to forgive others freely and without condition as human emotion is made stronger for it. Reason tells me stealing gets me little gain but the victim suffers needlessly. Reason tells me that physically harming another causes both of us extensive emotional damage. Reason tells me that greed is shallow. Reason tells me that envy is enveloping and must be kept in check for ongoing clarity. I wont go on. I think the point has been made.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:11 PM   #224
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If it's just a bunch of chemical processes and evolved instincts that govern us, then Love, free will, and selflessness can't exist and life is nothing more than the pursuit of our own self interest.
A real world basis for conciousness and emotion do not nullify any of the things that you said, you can have love in the absence of an external supernatural force, you can make your own decisions in the absence of this foreign entity and selflessness has been demonstrated time and time again in history all without the meddling of a God. What makes the idea that we are all in this universe alone so hard for the religious to accept?
Quote:
I completely reject that and I think most others, whether they claim a faith or do not will as well. So then the question becomes the contradiction. If you reject that life is nothing more than a series of processes of nature, how can you also reject the divine?
I clearly do not have any problem in thinking and observing the world the way it is and rejecting the proposed alternatives of the supernatural, we are a concequence of the physical laws of the universe applied to an innumerably variable space and our existence need not be imbued with higher meaning or purpose to make it worth living.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:21 PM   #225
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And I'd join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah, I'd break bread and wine
If there was a church I could receive in.
Intresting lyrics for Acrobat that i think seem a bit relevant for this subject.


Do religious folk believe in evolution? or does that contradict the Adam and Eve story ?
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