Over the course of the last several months my views and knowledge and information has evolved and changed...I am now ready to be put under fire....again, lol...

I'm ready to be scrutinized, analyzed, degraded, taunted, laughed at, shamed, or whatever. I'm ready to be asked the hard questions and answer them against myself. I'm ready to find out that I'm wrong (again.) I'm ready to end up back where I started and realize that I was completely misguided. I'm ready for whatever happens as I put this out there. I'm ready for what I consider to be the ultimate test...

I am going to admit first and foremost that I may end up being wrong. I'm cool with that. But...I gotta test myself against myself and there is no better way for me to do that than to try it out here. This is after all a safe place for me...so...Here it goes...

I don't know if I am a "real" Atheist. I think that I DO believe in God. I say "I think" because I'm not entirely sure....but....

I have to say up front that I am not exactly excited about this. I don't really want to believe in God again. It shakes up everything I thought I knew. It challenges me to re-think everything AGAIN!!!

So this is a start. I didn't come to this conclusion easily.

So there you have it....

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Indeed Pope...I left out the all important peer review (common in all academia...not just science). Though you did have Dr. Bob claiming hundreds of biblical scholar, forced under the constraints of dogma and excommunication, inventing explanations behind absurd fables that made no sense...learning from and correcting each other as...peer review. If that is peer review...then a bunch of fashion magazine editors inventing the new tends and explaining fashion faux pas...are peer writers, reviewers and editors. And if that all fails...well...its a useful system that works...right?
What is daunting to me Davis is the sheer process BY WHICH research gets funded to begin with. "Peer reviewed" becomes weakened when funding becomes exclusive. Don't you think?

I am NOT suggesting that peer reviewed data isn't crucial - it is. But simply pointing out its weakness and (dare I say) limitation.

"Being uncertain is a difficult but very enlightened state of mind.

+1.  I think that sometimes, "I don't know" is the wisest thing you can say. 

@Simon Paynton: In order to be useful, it first has to be true. 

Not at all. Religion is the PRIME example of a world view that is useful but untrue. Religion promotes social cohesion (intra-community), fosters inter-tribe competition, provides a handle for the awe, and provides answers to questions we have evolved to ask (among other things).

It seems to me that religion, in its widest sense - expressed as theism or your deism, is the only reason we have to express this "higher power" nonsense. Erase religion and, not only does the higher power disappear, your "atheist spirituality" follows it down the drain.

But I'd probably need access to some of your meds or DMT or whatever to feel absolutely sure. In my opinion "universal love" is a cocktail of brain chemicals.

@Pope Beanie: The word "spirituality" won't stop irritating atheists until it somehow loses its root, "spirit" - a conscious but nonexistent being. 

@ MikeLong....pull up a chair, I got these beers in. (miracles never cease I hear you say!!)

But when we find out that those things are not true, they are no longer useful.  When something is true, and useful, it stays useful. 

The judgemental aspect of God was invented when we started living in large groups, in order to enforce group-wide cooperation, morality and ethics. 

The unconditional aspect of God is true, and it can only be the case that this gives credibility and power to the judgemental aspect.  You don't need to believe in God to say this.  I know this is some kind of paradox but I request that people wrinkle their brows in order to get their head round this. 

The unconditional aspect of God is a fundamental property of nature - the universal pressure for all organisms to flourish [and survive - pretty closely linked]. 

It is universal because it is an active force within every living being.  So it is at once universal and individual - transcendent and personal.  It can be called a consciousness because it does things and has a direction. 

As well as being active in the present time, it is also a result of evolution, which is another reason for calling it transcendent and universal. 

@mike RE: Religion is the PRIME example of a world view that is useful but untrue

If it is useful, then there must be something true about it.
It's useful to tell children that the Tooth Fairy exists, to detract from the scare of a loss of a milk tooth.

It's useful to tell children that Jesus is watching them, so as to garner a mythical babysitter that might dissuade the child from acting badly.

It's useful to tell children that Santa exists and that they'll only get presents if they are good.

It's useful to tell children stuff, but it doesn't make it true, or even commendable. Do not confuse usefulness with truth.

I think the definition of "truth" can vary too much from one person to the next. When a placebo works, does that make it "true"?

Yes, it makes it true to them.  

But not objectively true.  

That's why it's very important to always second guess your lifes positions and emotions.

It was useful to think there was the edge of the Earth where ships would fall off if they sailed too far...in a time of limited sailing technology with limited reach. They wouldn't have fallen off the edge into oblivion because it was a made up story by flawed ignorant human beings. The ships at that time could easily have faced sailors whi starved/dehydrated to death or a sunken ship unable to deal with the stress of storms and oceanic weather. The total myth of the edge of the world was useful...but was there a sliver of truth to it? No. A spheroid Earth his is one of those facts so impossible to deny that the probability of the Earth somehow having an edge we are not aware of is 0.0000000000000(...)000000000000000001 percent. Still a better probability than God or universal consciousness existing. Fill in as many extra zeros you like...it makes no difference. Useful...does not infer any truth.
Usefulness as it applies to making an inference of the physical world around is is not parallell to the usefulness as it pertains to mental health. Just sayin'

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