I should say at the start that I am a christian, but don't hold it against me! I am always interested in what other people think, and enjoing reading the posts on this website. So i'd like to throw some questions out to get more insight into atheism. Your help is appreciated.
Qn: If there were two universes, one with a God, and the other without, which one would you want to live in and why?
Qn: If scientific theory began to support theism (more than atheism) would you change your position
(like Antony Flew)?
Try really hard to avoid answers like: 'that would never happen.. etc.'
Qn: Would you describe your position as "There definitely is no God" or "Naturalism does not need a divine being and so God is improbable" or something else?
All respectful discussion welcome!
@Trevor, I was surprised to see your post here, but answered it in good faith. I have read all the answers, which I think were answered honestly to you. I wondered when reading what you had wrote in both your original post and your replies if you were being condescending, but being an open person, felt you deserve the benefit of doubt.
You describe your journey (in short) in finding your god and religion. It could be my story in reverse. You came to the place you are, after growing up in a non-religious family, studying and finally coming to the conclusion that god is real and that jesus died for your sins.
I, on the other hand, grew up in a religious family. The rituals were important to us and we attended church twice, sometimes 3 times a week while I was in school. My brothers and I went to parochial school and were taught by mostly nuns, but some lay teachers. A priest was the principal. As I grew older, I found it difficult to simply accept and began to question things, which apparently is a no no. I was told that there were many things I could not know and had to accept in faith. This was the beginning of the end of religion for me.
I simply couldn't do it. I needed answers, so I too went on a journey, but ended up in on the other end of the spectrum, the one of non belief. I went through a lot to get here, as I am sure you did, to get where you are.
Maybe you feel as if you can lead others down the path you have traveled, but I think you need to take a second and understand that we have all arrived at our beliefs in our own way and in our own time. It wasn't an easy journey for me and I know that many others feel the same. What makes our journey and subsequent conclusions not as valid as yours? (sincere question) Also, I am very interested in your true intent with your questions and replies. Are you simply asking questions (to what end/for what purpose) or do you feel that you may be able to persuade some? (again, sincere question)
To me, atheists don't all think alike, don't all believe the same things and don't all hold the same beliefs in life. Your comment that it's interesting to hear how atheist think, paints atheists in too small of a box. Unlike organized religion, there isn't a central belief. Atheism is not a cult or a club. There are certain conclusions that we all seem to find, but we come to those independently (not because it was written in an old book that tells us to)
I, personally, am of the belief that everyone if free to believe or not believe as they choose. There are others who feel differently. I am all for respectful discussion, but when it becomes condescending (or seemingly so) then there is no more discussion to be had because it becomes disingenuous.
Thanks for your reply. I am sorry if I have come over as condescending, that was never my intention. However, please read the replies that have ridiculed everything I believe in and done so with contempt and a tone that only an idiot would believe in God. Does any of that fit your definition of condescending? (some were more respectful).
My motives for asking the questions were not that I believe I can persuade anyone here of my view (that would be nice though as I think its true). Rather I want to understand what some of the motivations behind atheism are - presuppositions. I don't believe that its just 'science exclusively points to atheism. I think, as you have said, that people's experiences and journeys are in the mix. I also generally like people and like hearing their stories and ideas.
Also I am tired of the silly and often nasty athiest and christian bashing, I find it distasteful and full of straw men and caricatures on both sides. I have said that for a long time, so thought I should do something about it and enter into some polite discussion. So another reason for entering into discussion is to try and show that some christians can be reasonable and thoughtful, and try to have a fairer of view of Christianity presented.
Are other people's journeys and conclusions less valid? Depends what you mean. If there is objective truth to be known then some people's conclusions and terminus points are more valid than others. But I certainly respect people's right to think deeply, consider there own journey and draw their own conclusions.
The "bashing" is just a way to release tension. It will continue to happen, it is in our nature and it is primarily why comics make such a great living getting on stage bashing either themselves or others. Just today I was looking for some images on Google and I pulled up atheist images and there were several cartoons bashing atheists and I found some of them quite funny. Being able to laugh at yourself and your own beliefs helps a great deal with keeping your feet on the ground. Do not take it so seriously, it is a need that is fulfilled and here is a place where we can come and release a little tension.
You have to realize that we are a minority and we, especially myself ( I live in the American South), need to do some bashing from time to time and frankly it is cathartic and non violent. One thing I think most of us here realize is that we are not perfect and that life is messy and confusing and adding religion into the mix just makes it even more confusing and messy.
A: This one (The one without a god). Mainly because I find the idea of such an evil being existing and being in control highly unpleasant. I can't stand the idea of a creature who would allow a child to die of cancer as an experiment.
A: I would investigate further and become agnostic - If scientific proof ever supports theism. I'll see you in church!
A: I would say highly unlikely. and that the idea is so horrible that that is a good thing.
I've been an atheist going on 50 years now, ever since what they call the age of reason, and I find that the answers to your questions are quite simple.
If there were two universes, one with a God, and the other without, which one would you want to live in and why?
There seems a paradox here, as a finite being cannot be infinite and therefore is under the whole "why thence call it god" thing. I would say, though, if the being were benevolent in nature who would provide benefits to my well being and that of my offspring had I any I would likely live under the shelter of such a being assuming that is a provision.
If scientific theory began to support theism (more than atheism) would you change your position?
I guess I would have to say yes. The same could be asked of unicorns, Mountain Wampuses(Wampi may be the correct pluralization), Leprechauns, or the Jersey Devil. I could even take the Harris route and ask "If scientific theory began to support the idea that Elvis is still alive, would you change your position?" Can you do anything but?
Would you describe your position as "There definitely is no God" or "Naturalism does not need a divine being and so God is improbable" or something else?
Close on the second one but not quite. If I were to say there is a book that turns invisible when you look at it, but because it turns invisible nobody knows it exists save a select few, would it be prudent of you to believe me without proof? I could easily rabbit trail from there but the point is that the nonexistence of proof is not given as proof nonexistence, but it is more a rejection of a concept on the basis of it's inconsistency with experience, with evidence, and with my worldview.
I take what your saying on board. The invisible book illustration shows the difficulty of faith. Even if some people have held the invisible book, they cannot convince anyone else it exists.
I am not sure what the paradox was that your talking about. Was it that God must be finite which would mean he is not god? My take as I have mentioned already in this thread is that something or someone that created all matter must be immaterial himself, something that created time and space must be outside of both, and something that can desgin and cause a whole universe must be intelligent and powerful. So I don't call this being finite. The fact that the universe has a beginning necessitates this. I think that much is mostly established. Peter Atkins agreed but responded that the prime mover wasnt God but may be a computer - well then the computer is God. (Saying computer was tongue in cheek meaning anything but God).
If we are safe in assuming said book does not exist, then we must be safe in assuming a god or gods does not exist. I would have no justification in believing such a book existed. It's not necessarily about how difficult faith is, but how rational not believing in things that don't exist is. Faith only becomes difficult when you start thinking about things.
Nevermind the paradox, it was a misunderstanding on my part.
My answer to the first question is i wouldnt care which one we lived in because we will always have questions and people will always have to know what the answers are to the creation of the universe even if there was two or even more
my answer to the second question would be if the statics pointed more to atheism or if the statics pointed to theism im here for the winning team.
my answer to the third question is i dont believe that there has to be a god for the creation of the universe however i am open to which can point me to the truth that has scientific fact and evidence behind it.
1 All gods humans have ever talk about are deeply psychopathic, perverse and twisted. So NO.
2 I would believe in god, but I would be sure he is the description of evil and this world is doomed.
3 There's no god(s) just a big universe which we can't fully understand (yet).
Question 1. It would depend on what this God is like. Is He a loving God who will barbecue you for all eternity if you don't follow Him? Is He an omnipotent God who lets kids die of cancer? If He is anything like the God you believe in I'll take the Godless universe please.
Question 2. If facts somehow, someway supported the existence of a God I would have to except his existence. That doesn't mean I would immediately follow him (see Question 1). Of course you cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.
Question 3. I would never say there is no God. Insufficient data for meaningful response as Dr. Asimov would say. Whether or not God exists is an unanswerable question. A lot of people think they know he exists but they really just feel he exists. I've never been able to understand that. I certainly don't BELIEVE in God.
Superman counts right?