We've all heard this before: "atheists dont believe in anything," and of course that is not true. Unfortunately, I hear this all too often. Since beliefs are an individual thing (especially among the secular community), I pose the question to you: What do you believe in?
I'd love to hear as many thoughts as possible. Hopefully this discussion will generate a diverse enough pool that it would be worthwhile to link this as a response to statements like the one above.
I believe that if gods exist and they are infinite then we can't injure them but we can injure our fellow men. To this end then gods don't need us as we need we our fellow man.
I believe we write our bible every time we add a scientific fact to the pool of knowledge and this bible will not be finished as long as man can discover a new fact.
I believe we can't take the claim of anyone claiming to have heard a revelation from any deity, for all I care he must be hallucinating.
I believe if I take beer in copious quantities I am likely to pass out.
That sex is a beautiful thing when done right.
I believe Rick Santorum needs to taste vomit in his mouth a few hundred more times.
I don't want to 'believe' things, I want to 'know' things!
I was of the impression that 'belief' is the stupid brother to 'knowledge', but needs to treated nicely, just in case the stupid brother grows out of it.
When someone tells me that they 'believe' something, I starting wondering, 'so what is it going to be now, invisable little green persons, poisen gas coming from their ceiling, I am a bad person because I the word 'doubt' somewhere when I am talking, they just saw a UFO because they saw movement in the sky, seat belts are bad because they might die in a car crash, yada yada yada....?'
When I hear someone using the word 'belief', it almost aways maps to, 'it must be true, because I feel it/think it/read it/heard it/thought it/etc it'. Like a clear rational sceptical thought is more suspect.
People that walk around dumping their 'believing' on us, offer a insight into why we need to be on guard against crazy. Belief can be a shield against rationality, new information, knowledge, or actual understanding.
If I say that 'I believe I can', this should tell you that, I understand the theory behind it, I have experience with the problem, I have had some success with a solution, and so 'I can figure it out'. 'God', 'Angels', 'fairys' or 'little green persons' are not by neccesity involved. If you see them hovering around my head, go take your medication! If I see them, this means that I will re-evaluate my previous tirade....LOL
So, do you believe 99.9999% like most of us that God doesn't exist based on the lack of any good evidence for the hypothesis, or do you know God doesn't exist 100%? If you know God doesn't exist 100%, what proof did you use to arrive at the conclusion?
Most of us get by with a lot of believing. We believe locked our door when we left home, we believe all of our relatives are still alive, we believe we did our taxes correctly. We do not double- or triple-check these beliefs.
Most of what we "know" we actually THINK we know even if we happen to be correct. However, we all have had the experience of being wrong about something we thought we knew, so that that "knowledge" wasn't really knowledge at all, but just a firmly-held belief.
If, by "believe" you mean accept as true contrary to evidence, then I'm sorry, but I really can't think of anything I believe in. If, on the other hand, you include all permutations of the word then the things I believe in are too numerous to count, starting with love.
You might want to think about narrowing our focus for us.
I never have understood the atheist insistence upon evidence coupled with an unrealistic inclination towards science. All the evidence points to the fact that the best evidence of science regarding the failed metaphysical experimentation called evolutionary theory is that they don't have a clue and every bit of their evidence will be wrong in the future.
That is science, they say. Not like religion.
Most likely, everything you were taught in school and everything you know about science is something you believe that isn't true and contrary to the very evidence you claim to prize.
RE: "I never have understood the atheist insistence upon evidence" - I think that quite well sums up your position - thanks for playing - NEXT!
Evidence is temporal. Subjective.
And faith is what? Empirical and objective? What would you prefer we believe? Science is not perfect, but I think it's the best way we have to explain, and predict, phenomena. What I don't understand is why you have any kind of problem with our respect for science and evidence.
Speaking for myself, I can't function on faith. The cosmos has clearly demonstrated to me that I have to accept life on its terms, whether I like them or not. I know if I decided to abandon reason and let myself be brainwashed, I could develop what you call faith and what I call folly.
Diane, faith is hardly the issue if you are talking about the empirical and objective importance to correctable science, now is it? What else is faith than to assume something fact for good reason. How else can science check itself.
Science has no real speculation about how life got here. Only correctable observations on how it might have changed. Faith has very little to do with anything in my life. The atheist assumes, as atheists almost always do in error, that because I believe in the Bible I have faith. I have faith in the Bible because it has never ever failed me. In 27 years as an atheist I had faith that the Bible was nonsense. Then I began to carefully study it. After 20 years of debate with atheists I have absolute faith that they will fuck up its meaning by their assumptions and I have absolute faith in the Bible because it has never failed me.
Faith seems to me to be to assume something fact with no or little good reason. I guess what is a "good reason" must be viewed differently. You saying that the Bible has never failed you is not a good reason for me to have faith in it. It might be for you, of course, but not for me.
If a god tapped me on the shoulder and made its presence incontrovertibly known to me, then I would know there is one. I suppose what is incontrovertible varies among people too. I have, at one time in my life, thought I had incontrovertible proof that there was a god. As it turned out, when I stopped associating with certain people and filling my head full of rhetoric and filling it instead with good sense, the proof turned out to be wishful thinking and mass hysteria.
You are right. That kind of evidence is temporal and subjective. Everything is relative, but when a doctor can use scientific discoveries and knowledge to, say, visualize and remove a life-threatening tumor in a child's brain, I think it is a triumph of science and medicine, not a miracle from a deity. This does not make me a bad person. I think it shows I am sensible.
Science certainly does not know how life got here, YET. And so what? I don't need to know. And just because we do no know yet does not follow logically that a deity did it. You can believe your book and be happy about it with my good wishes, but I still don't understand what you would have me personally, or atheists in general, DO about it.
Are you promoting that I should study the Bible? I have given that book more time than it deserves in my opinion. I get more out of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. I gain more serenity and perspective by hiking in the mountains and working hard for each breath, touching the Earth, knowing how the mountains got there, how old they are, how the local topography was carved out by glaciers, etc. Why is that not good enough for you?
"Where knowledge ends, religion begins."
-- Benjamin Disraeli --