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?
For the most part, Bill, this discussions seems to have gravitated towards how 'We are all so different', but I would like to take a moment to step back and reflect on how we are 'yet so similar'.
One thing I've noticed is that when someone dies, all their loved ones seem to cry - Athiests and theists alike. I think this is because deep down we both know that we have just lost a loved one, that we will never see them again. It seems to be, Bill, that when it comes down to it we all know there is nothing more to come; it seems to be almost instinctual, or maybe it's just that there is a limit to how far one can go in subjugating their faculties of reason.
With a lot more information readily available on different religions the debate is much less christcentric, increasing the basis for questioning why the theist chose their particular mythology. Also, with such knowledge enlightening the contradictions between mythologies, the question of why anyone would believe in any kind of mythology at all is much clearer.
The use of science in the debate is completely new to me, and I find it strange that theists ever set foot in this circle. It used to be that they just refused to even look in the telescope, let alone allow the observations to actually reshape their mythology. I ran across a creationist argument that incorporated pangea in order to explain how Noah return kangaroos to Australia; 15 years ago they just said, "God put them back."
The biggest difference is that the debate used to be 'live', meaning you were only armed with your skull; now both sides have more reference material at their fingertips than was contained in the Congressional Library 15 years ago. Personally I feel this is the only reason that the theists have accepted engaging science in the debate, and I also feel it will be their downfall.
Hi - for those who have not seen this one I think it is worth a look. It was the debate with the last theist who stayed more than a day. Most however are still not able to see the difference between argument and evidence. Why do they always introduce themselves with a suggestion that we will think them crazy or be amazed that they are posting here. Like we don't meet them everyday? I respect the opinions of only those who try to offer evidence.
Ooo I see your point. :D
I actually agree with you on this one to an extent. But if you're right then that would mean EITHER there is enough evidence to believe or disbelieve and one of us is downright wrong OR there is not enough evidence to believe or disbelieve, which would parallel the flow if logic until it came to the pivotal point that I first described- whatever our conclusion is about God's existence.
So is there enough evidence?
No. If there were evidence, then I'd not be an atheist.
(I absolutely loathe Ning's habit of cutting off 75% of my words when I post. Ning sucks. )
If evidence were presented that demonstrated the existence of a deity, I'd believe that deity existed. However, every piece of 'evidence' that has ever been presented to me has failed to convince, because they have all been rife with logical fallacies or in many cases were straight up fabrications. From the argument from ignorance to false dichotomies, from argument ad popularum to the argument from emotion. Even totally discredited arguments like Pascal's Wager have been presented as if they were solid evidence, when they're just poorly thought out claims, not even pretenses at evidence.
So no, not only is there not enough evidence, the absolute best evidence for the existence of a god is 'Well, you can't prove there isn't one', which is irrelevant. In the absence of evidence, the only rational position is to reject the claim until actual evidence can be provided.
If there was an amazing all loving, completely just, being whom created the universe and reveled, itself to the world, with real evidence, pointed to itself as the creator. then we wouldn't be atheists.
Saying "Let's all pretend" is a poor way to come to a forum of skeptics. We don't want to pretend we prefer reality. If you can bring something concrete, and measurable you will get some interest.
As for your question of fear. Do you fear something that doesn't exist? That is essentially what you are asking us. So the answer should be self evident. One of the beautiful things about being an atheist is we don't need to conquer our fear of nonsense, we just see it for nonsense. The fact that you ask if we are conquering fear of the imaginary god, blows my mind. Is this a serious question? Are you trolling? Saying things like "the point from which logic flows is whether or not god exists." You have got to be kidding me right? if you are not a troll.... 0_0
The fact that you say you are coming to an atheist forum to study from a "theological perspective". I think, tells me all I need to know. You are set in your own ideas, or rather those you have been taught, and could care less about actual evidence.
I seem to always be asking this of theists, Why did you really come here? If you are clearly set upon your ideals regardless of the evidence, you are not looking for debate, why come and talk to skeptics?