Greetings! I am just going to come out and say that I am what you might call I crazy, die hard, delusional Jesus freak, though I do not discourage any discussion about how wrong I am. That is essentially why I am here. I have somewhat become addicted to looking into religious discussion and anything and everything related to it. I want to acquire as much knowledge as I can, and I think this is an excellent place to do so. I am not here to offend anyone and I would love to be able to stay in this community for a while. I don't kow how accepting you guys are of outsiders, but judging by what I have seen on this site so far, most of you are pretty open. So, without further adieu, I would simply like to state how intrigued I am by atheism! From a theological perspective, you and I are polar opposites! I mean to the ends of the earth OPPOSITE. I as a christian believe what I have read in the book of Proverbs: that fear of God is the beginnig of wisdom. With that, my entire life is constantly in pursuit of God and this wisdom! I don't fear him because He is evil, but because He is all powerful. Surely this makes sense? If an all powerful God did exist, it would be foolish not to be afraid of Him. I read somewhere in the quote of the day section, that the beginning of wisdom is the "conquering of fear". Obviously this quote was intended to directly oppose the verse from Proverbs, but I am curious nonetheless whether all or most of the atheist community agrees with this. This would have intriguing implications! Does your life center upon eliminating fear? Fear of the imaginary God, fear of man, fear of death? Do you strive to live a fearless life in the sense that you don't allow fear to control your actions? I would too if there were no God. But instead I WANT fear to control my every thought! I am completely aware of how foolish that is, but I am completely okay with that too!
I want to get on the same page with you here. We are all human beings. We are all more or less equally able to think logically. I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists. Let me start by saying that if God does not exist, then I would completely agree nearly atheist based ideology-everything that has anything to do with the secular world view, I would LIVE by. Now assume for a moment that you were on the same side as I am, all evidence aside. There is a God. He is the perfect King. Everyone loves Him and everyong respects Him and admires His wisdom. Everyone also fears Him, for if they are on the wrong side of the law, He can justly punish them. Who would respect a Ruler who was a pushover and didn't care about justice? Now, if this God was perfect in the absolute sense, would it not be logical to dedicate your life to trying to be like Him? And if you weren't afraid of Him, would you be able to do that? I just want to try to clarify that if what I believe is true, then I am following the logical course of action by allowing this fear/love combination to take over my life. Do you agree with me? Yes? Then the pivotal point I established earlier must be real, and all ideology flows in two general directions starting from whether you believe God is real or not. No? Then lets continue.
If you disagree with me, then twe have arrived at a second pivotal point in our differences. First being whether you believe in God, and the second (being on the belief side) whether you want to follow this God or not. What do you guys think about these pivotal points? Which one is more important?
Bill, I hope you don't mind me jumping in on the tail end of your conversation here.
I've been reading through your comments and arguments, and I have a few questions of my own that I'd like to ask.
God wants us to become fools to men in oder to become truly wise! God wants christians to live an illogical life (in men's eyes) to testify that we believe in Him!
1. God wants us to be illogical? Why? Why would God create (or enable the evolution of, whichever is your flavor) a being with the ability to be rational and logical- and then demand that man NOT use his mind to explore the world, galaxy and universe? Why can't we have proof of him? Would it be so hard to make evidence of his own existence? Why tease us like that?
As Thomas Jefferson said, "Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear".
Why would God want mankind- his special project- to go about as dumbly as the cattle?
2a. You have said that you don't want to get into why you believe in God. As an atheist, I can tell you exactly why I don't believe in God. I know you probably have replies to most of these reasons, but why not share? If anything, I do want to understand which variety of Christian you are (since so many different people under the label 'Christian' believe so many different things.)
2b. You were asked these three questions by Nelson:
what makes you think god exists?
what's your evidence for his existence?
what's your argument for his existence?
You didn't answer any of the questions directly, but you did give this list:
1. The Bible. 2. Extra biblical evidence supporting the Bible. 3. Bible prophecies fulfilled. 4. Constant basis of morality throughout history that came from God. (NOT from religion). 5. Universal constants fine tuned to support life. 6. My mom told me. (this one has less weight than the others)
Which of these answers go to which question? Do they all apply? And I'm sorry to tell you that your list only gave me more questions.
A) The Bible- What about it? It was written by more than 40 authors, over hundreds of years, and most of it before then was passed down as an oral tradition. What about the Bible do you find is more accurate concerning our existence than modern science?
Aside from those points, if the Bible were truly written by God (or written by man through divine inspiration, depending on how you have it), why wouldn't it contain information about the cosmos that we didn't know at the time? Don't you think that the author of the universe would want us to appreciate everything, from the largest galaxies to the smallest atoms? Why isn't there any science in these books? Why isn't there any information about germs (that could have saved a lot of lives), physics (that could have helped us grow more quickly into an advanced civilization), agriculture (how to hybridize plants for greater crop benefits, how to protect crops from insects etc), and- perhaps most important of all- why isn't there any information about God?
Why is this book about goat herding tribes killing each other, buying and selling slaves, raping and plundering women and villages, and generally not being any different than all of the other bronze age stories and myths? If this is the handbook given to us by the One True Creator, I'm of the mind that it's a prank. There isn't anything of worth in there.
B) Extra-biblical evidence supporting the Bible- Like what? Examples please? We're quite rational people here, if you present evidence that is supported, we won't have fits. But we also need to see the evidence.
C) Bible prophecies fulfilled- This is a tricky one. Be careful that you're not looking to prophecies fulfilled that could have been self-fulfilling (as in, the prophecy was known and available, and anyone could be able to make the facts match) or manufactured altogether. Remember that most of these prophecies are very old, and there would have to be amazing proof for this amazing claim of prophecy- so what proof do you offer?
D) Constant basis of morality throughout history that came from God- Again, what exactly are you talking about? We do like sources to be shared. What morality comes directly from God, how do you know it comes directly from God, and how is that different from any religion?
E) Universal constraints fine tuned to support life- This is purely speculation as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to borrow from Douglas Adams and his puddle fallacy:
Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!"
Just because we do manage to survive on this rock doesn't mean it was made for us. We formed ourselves to our environment. We have evidence for this phenomena called evolution. (If you're interested in learning about evolution especially in this sense, I'd suggest Talk Origins).
F) My Mom told me- Well, you're able to see the impact our parents/caretakers have on our religious beliefs, though I know many people who have deviated from the religious paths of their families.
I do have more, but I'll wait until you've caught up with everyone else. :)
Thank you, Heather. You seem to be the ONLY one here who is blatantly attacking me with what sums up to "your wrong because God isn't real".
And you opened the debate with:
"I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists"
And have dodged that question repeatedly. So I will reiterate that you are here to do nothing more than propagating your mythology.
Welcome to the site Bill.
I wouldn't say that I as an Atheist strive to 'live without fear'. I strive to live my life by what is logically and scientifically understandable, but feel that fear can be quite the beneficial emotion at times. I only ask that it be rational fear. Like in situations where your fear response will keep you safe from injury. Life 100% without fear would be reckless and dangerous. I will say that back when I was a Christian I did fear hell, but I'm not sure that I'd say I feared God. At that time I accepted the sugar coated version of God that the church was spoon feeding the congregation. It didn't matter if he had infinite power if he was a just and loving god. Thus, no worries. Now I know that his character in the Bible is far different than that which was advertised. Still no fear for him though, as I don't believe he's even real (hell either for that matter).
As for it being logical to for you to follow your god fear do to your belief... It's only logical if you are right. However the odds are stacked against you. You could have the wrong god (there have been thousands followed through the years) or there may be no gods at all. Also, I can tell you that my disbelief stems not from whether I wanted to follow said god (I actually did want to follow when I began losing my faith), but from what is verifiable. If any god were verified to exist, I would amend my worldview. Until then, I shall stay where the evidence leads.