Sometimes I start to reply to posts and by the time I get my point made I have written too much. I reread it and sometimes I scrap it. I have amended my viewpoint or thought of another angle. However I am happy with that because someone has said something to make me think.
That gave me an idea. Maybe rather that debating theists (I am always doing it) I will ask them to reply in writing to my points. After all they are always giving me crap to read.
So I did an interesting experiment today with some “doubters” before I tackle the deluded ones. I have been debating with them for a few weeks now. So rather than listen to more “But what if there really is a god?” or “How can you be so sure?” I suggested that they spend 15 minutes writing down what their beliefs actual were and WHY they believed them.
This compelled them into thinking about what they were writing. They had to “listen” to their own arguments. They were not just blindly repeating some mantra type answers.
They all found it more difficult to do than they had expected. I could see a lot of lines getting crossed out. However the surprise came when I asked each one in turn to read aloud what they had written. It sounded so immature. When one said “I believe in everlasting life after death”, he started laughing.
One could nearly hear them thinking “Is this what I actually believe?” I got more doubt sown today without saying a word. It would be interesting to see if these results could be replicated. Maybe I have been spending too much time perfecting arguments and rebuttals. Ok – they are needed but I will try this with the Witnesses next weekend.
The point is that because they were asked to write down what they believed they were forced to analyze it and confront themselves, rather than confront me and argue against me. If you analyze yourself you must use Reason, not Faith and the seed of Doubt is firmly planted – which is my only objective.
PS - Put up my “Science Dog” icon just in case anyone thought I was ugly :)
More clearly we know what it's like to be dead because we sleep every night. We know what the feeling of "nothingness" is, the missing of time passing and just being completely unaware for a period of time. Sometimes we remember dreams or wake up a lot throughout the night, but we've ALL experienced the "it's morning already?" kind of feeling or just some amount of "nothingness" during sleep. It's easy to realize that "nothingness" is most likely permanent with all forms of death.
I will spend the first 10 billion years playing golf. Would god allow that? Then maybe the next 25 billion years playing Texas Holdem. Then hopefully improve my pool over the next 15 billion years. That's 50 billion years. Still don't seem to have made a dent into eternity. Now what will I do. NO there is no afterlife. Just this one. Eternity is a very long time especially towards the end as Woody Allen would say.
Also Adam if you think there is "more weight" in favor of another life after you die that lasts for infinity could you please explain this to me with some evidence (any evidence will suffice). If you can show me some I would be grateful. I don't think you are an Atheist yet. I sense a background in some hardcore religion, maybe Jehovah Witness. Let me know if I am wrong. I hope you enjoy the honesty of the people here.
This is very interesting. I may have to try this myself.
'"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."'
To be 'dead' means that one has existed. Are you saying you believe in reincarnation? 'What do you base your faith upon?'
I dont understand that question.
I have doubted in the past, but I have a healthy amount of doubt at the moment. I dont see how it is immature.
'I will spend the first 10 billion years playing golf. Would god allow that? Then maybe the next 25 billion years playing Texas Holdem. Then hopefully improve my pool over the next 15 billion years. That's 50 billion years. Still don't seem to have made a dent into eternity. Now what will I do. NO there is no afterlife. Just this one. Eternity is a very long time especially towards the end as Woody Allen would say.'
I am going to explore the universe/multiverse build a space ship and become a space pirate! (who says there cant be pirates in heaven) When I get bored of being a pirate I am going to create my own planet. Seriously you have the whole of eternity to do anything...
If God is perfect I am sure He will find something to enterain us for all eternity, my biggest problem with heaven is how are people going to be united and accept each other? We are talking about people all across the ages and cultures I dont know how God is going to make everyone happy.
'Also Adam if you think there is "more weight" in favor of another life after you die that lasts for infinity could you please explain this to me with some evidence (any evidence will suffice). If you can show me some I would be grateful. I don't think you are an Atheist yet. I sense a background in some hardcore religion, maybe Jehovah Witness. Let me know if I am wrong. I hope you enjoy the honesty of the people here.'
I am/was a Seventh Day Adventist. Anyways the evidence goes like this. Most people have a longing for something more than this universe/earth. This should make no sense if there is nothing else to hope for, yet we are not fulfiled on the Earth, the best food gets dull, the most spectacualr views get boring, the best experinces get depressing. We always long for something better and that 'something better' is heaven.
I agree Mark Twain was being funny there, we were not actually "Dead" but I think by "dead" he meant not-alive or not-existing. And in that sense he is correct.
Interesting "Evidence". But just because we want things or hope for things does not make them all true. Seriously.
And we don't always long for something better by the way. Sometimes the best food doesn't get dull, and people are happy with the life they have. I honestly cannot imagine any type of "heaven" that would be concretely "perfect". I have tried and I can't.
I couldn't agree more. I would be perfectly happy with this life were it not for religion. And, that is not hyperbole: Every truly bad thing that has ever happened to me was traceable to religion--usually very directly.
Thanks Adam for your reply.
“Anyways the evidence goes like this. Most people have a longing for something more than this universe/earth. This should make no sense if there is nothing else to hope for, yet we are not fulfilled on the Earth, the best food gets dull, the most spectacular views get boring, the best experiences get depressing. We always long for something better and that 'something better' is heaven.”
I asked for some evidence “even a scrap”. All you have offered is your perception of what you believe. Whether or not most people long for something more is irrelevant to the existence of a god. It is not Evidence.
Expecting that “there must be more” is a sense of pride fostered by religion. I am extremely lucky to be on this planet. I am nothing more than a man among 7 billion. That is enough for me. Many of the people currently alive will not “have it as good” as me. Many more will not last as long as me. I have managed to last 45 years without been killed by famine, war or disease. I have enough to survive and then some.
I enjoy new experiences but have never grown weary of looking up at the cosmos or been bored by ocean views, nature etc. I strive to relive the best experiences. I am never bored with my family or friends. There will be other new experiences - some good, some not so good – that will occur in the future. I hope to be around to experience them. If not I won’t experience anything new. That is ENOUGH for me. The enjoyment of the good experiences is my reward – in this life.
It is only the religious people I know that expect “more”. Atheists have it clear in their head: THIS IS IT. We only have one life. It is enough. We know that if we are fortunate enough to live in parts of the world that allow us the freedom to enjoy “the best food” “the best experiences” “the best views” that we are content with that. We do not demand or expect more. Atheism has allowed us to see the world for what it is whereas religions say this life is “a valley of tears”. Atheism (with science) has allowed me to see beauty in a manner that religion never could.
“The experience of the irrationality of the world has been the driving force of all religious revolution.”
Max Weber – any relation? (yes we are all related :)).
However if you are brought up with a religion that has the second coming of god at its core it is understandable that you take it for granted that there is an afterlife.
“I have doubted in the past, but I have a healthy amount of doubt at the moment. I don’t see how it is immature”
I did not mean to imply that doubt was immature. Doubt is good. It means you are thinking. A healthy amount of doubt is even better. You probably did not expect so many replies to your post. You would not be posting here if you had no doubts. Many believers are told that doubt is bad and that if they have any that they should talk to the “elders” about it. Others are told that doubt is the devil talking to them.
Have no fear of having doubts. It is healthy for your mind. Keep asking the questions. If you ask them here we will answer them and you can make your own mind up.
"Dead" simply means "not alive". Thinking you had to be alive first is a purely religious notion--based on the assumption that there is such a thing as a soul and that it is created or inserted into your body at some point at or after conception.
Longing for something more than this life is not a universal human trait. It is a sign of dissatisfaction with this life in some manner, though most people who feel this way won't admit it because they don't want to admit they and their lives aren't perfect--even to themselves.
Well I have never heard of the word "dead" being used in the context of inanimate objects. So I assumed it was a quality we gave to living things, something that could be alive is either currently alive, or dead... or not in existence yet. I do think the concept of souls and free will is too integrally tied into our culture though. So. I might have been biased by those notions despite not believing in them. I don't know.