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!
Superman counts right?
Yeah I am definitely not feeling the love! Lots of anti-christian sentiment, not just logical scientific argument. So why are you mad at me?
I have written a post in this thread on why I am an evangelical christian and not a catholic, mormon or JW etc. So can I point you to that?
No, Jesus never said that chrisitans feel happy when God sends people to hell, and only a warp and twisted sick person would be happy at such a thought. Members of my family who I love dearly are not christians and the thought of them going to hell repulses me. But I believe hell is a real place and there is a judgement. My own sense of justice leads me to that conclusion. Again, that is in the same post I mentioned above, so I wont repeat it here.
Your desire for God to apologise to you over his failed experiment is because of your athiestic worldview. i have laid out my world view in that post, that leads me to a different set of conclusions.
I think the no evidence for God at all is not right. What you should say is that you think the evidence leads you to beleive that theire being a God is highly improbable, though not impossible. I think the opposite, the big bang start to the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the moral nature of humanity etc to me points to God. I find it intensely improbably that chance got us here and made the universe the way it is. And mathematically it is of course intensely improbable. A first cause, prime mover is more probable to me.
Of course you would not agree with that, and I don't expect you to. But I think honesty dictates that the evidence can certainly lead us in that direction. So I am a bit frustrated with what I read on this website that portrays theists / christians as idiots. Sure, disagree with me but I am not an idiot.
1. How literally do I take the Bible. It depends what you mean by literally and which book of the bible your talking about. The bible contains 66 books of different kinds of genre, poetry, historical narrative, didactic, wisdom, apocolyptic etc.
If I am reading poetry like the psalms, I can read of David railing against God saying why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer, and see him talk himself down into realising that judgment day is met by all. As a christian I fell the emotional roller coaster that David is on, and join him on his journey. But I don't take poetic language literally as that would be silly.
Apocolyptic genre is symbolism and not literal but conveys truth. With historical narrative and didactic, I take literally and would ask questions like:
1. What does the text say
2. What does it say in its immediate context and the context of the book
3. What did it mean to the original hearers.
4. How is that applied today.
Keneth Hagan. I don't like to speak ill of people but I think he is a fraudster.
The verse you are looking for my friend about christians enjoying people being in hell does not exist. I have read the Bible many times, and still do so. I expect its something you heard someone else say was in the Bible.
Thanks for the offer of Amida, but i'll stick with Jesus!
@ Trevor, you are a theologian, correct? There is something that has always interested me. Where are the sections in the bible that point to something being a moral story or something that is the truth? Who makes the decisions that one portion should not be taken literally and others, are in fact, fact?
What entity or group was tasked with interpreting the sections for lay people? Why are there some religions who take the entire book literally, while others only take portions as true?
@ Fred- I don't have time (at work) to look for more, but here is one that came to mind:
"IF" is the operative word here.
IF I were presented with evidence that I could live a long, healthy life subsisting on nothing but chocolate sundaes and no exercise, I would choose that lifestyle. Just show me the evidence.
IF there was a universe in which there was a god who watched over me, answered my prayers, and granted me eternal life (if I believed in him/her/it), I would choose that universe. Just show me the evidence.
If there were any credible evidence presented that supported theism, I would pay serious attention. Just show me the evidence; but not from Anthony Flew. The 87 year old presented NO new evidence for his change of heart. As death approached, he simply chose to seek comfort in the notions of some of the fringe science and philosophy that creationists had been circulating for years.
So, let me ask you: IF I could provide evidence (such as Stephen Hawking's cosmological theories) to prove that no god is necessary for the universe to exist, would you choose not to believe? Of course, you wouldn't. For you, faith is all the "evidence" you need, right?
Finally, just so we're clear: it is not incumbent upon the person who LACKS belief in something to defend the negative. It is, instead, necessary that the person presenting the affirmative prove it - Philosophy 101. Or, as Carl Sagan famously said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." For me, the concept of a god is the ultimate extraordinary idea; therefore, I would require extraordinary evidence before choosing to believe.
"IF," without supporting evidence, is a meaningless "weasel word."
The goal of my questions was not to convince people of theism or even say the evidence is weighted towards theism - even if i think it is. The main point of the questions was for me to learn how athiests tick, what they think, what they presuppose, what motivates them. I want my view of athiests to be based on what they really think on the ground, not a caricature of them. So I wasn't going near any kind of evidence ideas. Hope that helps.
Q1: In the universe of the Christian God I would most likely be damned to Hell so I wouldn't want to live there.
Q2: Sure, if there was good evidence.
Q3: There could be a God. There really is no evidence that proves or disproves the existence of deities. However, there really is no evidence that proves or disproves The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the true creator. So I don't actively believe in or worship any deities.
"1. Failures. I think the things common to man. I want to be selfless at home and put my family first in the small things as well as the big things, but I still want to take the biggest piece of cake on the plate. I'm not trying to be trivial, I think all human beings have a heart conditiion, where whatever code we may choose for ourselves, we sabotage. Tell me what yours is and I will test you on it :-)"
We at TA experience this a lot. Xtians who won't answer questions but ask a question instead. If you don't care to express/convey the things in your mind that made you feel like your in need of salvation that's OK. But I can assure you that your past contains nothing in the way of your behavior that necessitates being forgiven through a dying god and then resurrecting himself.
"2. Being a good guy. Depends what you mean by a good guy. As I said, tell me your moral code and I will test you to see if you are a good guy by your own standards. Universally I think we fail that test, more so against God's standards - so the answer is no."
My moral code is this: I do not treat anyone else differently than how I would want to be treated. Some call it the Golden Rule, some don't. It's having respect for an individual regardless of skin color or ethnic background.
"3. I would like to answer the questions on prayer but I am not God, I don't know His mind fully. I have experienced answered prayer and unanswered prayer (you would explain away the former). But prayer is much more than trying to get stuff or twist God's arm to do what you think is best - and that you would do if you were God. "
This is the stereotypical cop out that Xtains use to explain the mysteries of their god. Your god has at best poor and selective hearing. Prayer is ineffectual and probably responsible for more lost time than any other activity on this planet. There is absolutely no reason an all powerful god would not intervene to assist those in trouble if he gave a shite. The real mystery is how in this day and time people remain fixated on doing something that in actuality accomplishes nothing. Faith healing and praying for miracles are excellent examples of efforts in futility.
In closing I would like to say that if you can offer some credible evidence that is cross verifiable as to a god(s) existence I am all ears. Your ability to believe in something without evidence is a leap of faith. It's a perplexing leap but I respect your decision to be deluded.
Ive got to stop posting, Im going to get my wife to drag me away!
1.Interesting that you are assuring me that there is nothing in my post that necessitates a dying God for me. On what basis do you give such assurance?
2. Thanks for letting me know your standard. So your standard is treat others as you would want to be treated. So lets check out the your good guy question if we look at your own standard. I presume you would not want others to:
a. Lie to you.
b. Steel from you.
c. Cheat you in any way.
d. hate you
e. Act unkindly towards you
lets stop at 5. So using your own standard, have you ever:
2. stolen anything, including time at work etc.?
3. Cheated anyone in any way?
4. hated any one?
5. Acted unkindly to anyone?
Thats just the negitives, then you could ask if you ever failed to do the positive side of your rules. If your honest, I guess you have atleast broke 4 out of 5 of your own standards. So are you a good guy by your own standards? May be you need a dying God too :-)
While I don't espouse the Golden Rule myself, I don't think it's intended to be litigiously negotiated down to the minutiae. It's just a general way of thinking that encourages empathy, consideration, and compassion.
I want others to treat me as a human being who is trying to live his life as best he can, but still makes mistakes, and has ordinary human weaknesses.
I try to treat other people as human beings, who are trying to live their lives as best they can, but still make mistakes, and have ordinary weaknesses.
Incidentally, if you applied your presumptions to me, you'd get a lot of grey answers for each of the acts you've mentions. Overriding all of those actions is the condition that I want to be understood, so I try to understand.
Please see the original discussion and replies to and from Ed for the reason we went down this road.
I read it. That doesn't alter my opinion that your application of the Golden Rule is mark. It seems like you were pulling a bit of a Ray Comfort.
On a side note, I'm not overly bothered by this, but my name is spelled out right there for you. I know that some people type the 'Ch' version habitually, but that's not how my name is spelled.