Hi folks,

 

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!

     

 

 

Tags: Belief, God, in

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Phil, sorry, I am not ignoring you.  I want to engage with you on this - though to do so thoughtfully I need to do some more research.  I am also fielding a lot of questions and struggling for time.  Please be assured though I am not dodging or ducking your questions.

I am amazed by your persistence!!

We have something in common here. I am from an evangelical church too but its in India, so our churches might have a slightly different interpretation. ( I have to go for the sake of my folks. Its also helps me understand how Christians think) Assuming that the teachings in your church is somewhat similar to the one I go to, you must celebrate Christmas or Easter. You would also not believe that as true believers we are supposed speak in tongues. These two aspects are contradictory to the Bible as there no clear date for Christmas or Easter and Jesus did infact say in Mark 16:17 that true believers would speak in tongues. These aspects are better dealt by the Pentacostals who speak in tongues and mostly not celebrate Christmas or Easter. So it turns out that the pentacosts have understood the Bible better. And each of them strongly believes that only they will get to heaven. If Pentecostals are right, every one else is wrong. Going by that, how can you be sure that you are right?

And talking about people contradicting the Bible, have you not found the Bible contradicting itself? One case for example is that the Genealogies of Christ in Matthew & Luke mostly contradict each other. Jesus seems have been born from the lineage of two different sons of David. There are several more and this video can help you find them. I know that answering so many posts must leave you with no time. But do watch the video as it might be something that you are missing.

Tail bone.  I don't see any conflict with what you have said with belief in God.

My point was to promote the hard evidence for Evolution. I might have mistaken you for an evolution bashing creationist. If you are one of the guys who thinks that God took his time over 3.5 billion years to create us through the process of Evolution with several imperfections, thats fine with me.

 

Your mistaken here on what Christianity is and teaches. It doesn't teach that were not responsible for our sin.  It teaches exactly the opposite - personal accountability.

I agree that Christianity does teach that we are responsible for our sins. It even goes a step ahead to say that we are responsible for the sins of our forefathers too. That is what is taught to children in Sunday school. I would like to know if you think that it is right?

I do not agree that Bible teaches personal accountability. They might say this in the church but Bible is contradictory about this. There are many people who explain their supposed sins like anger and lust as the works of the devil and they can justify this using verses like Luke 8:12. Moreover if a child molesting priest is genuinely sorry and asks for forgiveness from Jesus, he will be forgiven according to the laws of the Bible. Where is the justice and personal accountability in that?

 

I don't want what I believe to be judged on the basis of Pat Robertson.

What you believe is the Bible. The same book from which you might derive your peace and calm might interpret differently for others. I am not against taking good teachings from the Bible. But telling kids that it is a literal truth opens it up to grave misinterpretations. Take for example, Bible does teach that faith healing is possible. Hence, some believers do believe in it and stop going to a hospital. Just in today is a news about three deaths due to claimed faith healings. We must understand that Bible is just another book like Quran, Torah or The Alchemist. It was written by man for the good of other men and should not never be interpreted literally.

 

Is it unreasonable of me or misguided to hope that Christianity could be evaluated by its best, most consistent forms rather than its worst?

If we go by that philosophy, we should evaluate Hamas by its best rather than its worst. For the Palestinians, Hamas does more good than worse. So Hamas should not be judged for its terrorism. 

All thanks to your money and mine, there might be a lot of social work being done by Christians, (and most is done by the Catholics). There is equal amounts of social work also being done by institutions like the MSF  with no strings attached unlike the Christian agendas. Leaving aside the missionary works, the Christians actively make life hell for LGBTs and cause hindrance to scientific research like stem cells, which can save a smokers life like mine some day. We really cannot place a finger on how much Christianity does good vs harm, but the question to ask is, Can we not treat it like a philosophy rather than the literal truth, when there is no clear evidence for it being the only truth?

Hi Alex

 

My persistence is waning only in trying to dialogue with so many people at the same time.  I guess I bit off more than I can chew!

 

Again, your understanding of christianity and the biblical interpretation is leading you to false assumptions and conclusions.  Of course Christmas and Easter are not 'commanded' to be observed in the Bible, but do they really need to be?  Is there anything contradictory in marking the birth of Christ and His death and resurrection.  The Bible doesn't say eat doughnuts either - but i'm rather partial to them.

 

Pentecostals, atleast sane ones do not beleive that they are the only true christians in the world.  They believe, like myself, that salvation comes through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  What they teach is that speaking in tongues is a sign of being baptised / filled with the Holy Spirit.  A post conversion experience.  Its a finer point of theology that some agree with and others don't, but nothing hangs on it in terms of who's a christian and who isnt.  I could tell you why I believe that its not necessary but are you really interested in the finer points of theology when you don't even believe there is a God?

 

2.  Responsible for the sins of our forefathers.  Nope.  In the Old Testement it says that God treated a family tribally and that responsibility was shared, but then the old Testement taught that there was a new covenant coming where that would no longer be the case and each person would only be responsible for their own sins, and there would be a clarified way of personal salvation.  Thats not open to interpretation its the plain reading of the scriptures.  So no one should teach children that - if you know someone who does tell them to stop it!  I would also be happy to explain it to them - its very basic.

 

3.  Bible contradictions.  Your making the mistake of treating the Bible as a scientific text book which is does not claim to be.  The two accounts of the geneologies are different because the authors are wanting to demonstrate two different things.  Point is, they don't contradict each other, they just don't both include the same information.   If I said, Jim is related to John's autie, and then later said Jim is related to my friends cousin - both statements are true but say different things.  The reason I would say different things is because I am talking to different people about different things.  Matthew is demonstrating Jesus legal claim to the throne of David emphasising his legal descent, while Luke shows David's biological descent from David and Adam.

 

Such 'contradictions' are easily latched onto by people who want to find errors.  But there are reasonable explanations.

 

4.  The Bible cannot be sincerely used to excuse sin, or to blame it on the devil.  Luke 8v12 is describing why some people do not become Christians not describing why people sin.  No where in the Bible is there justification for what your saying - its just plane wrong.

 

5.  Tail bone.  I don't think man evolved, but i'm agnostic on things like the age of the universe.  I just don't see a problem for people having goose bumps and the like, I see no need to say its an evolutionary hang over.

 

6. Child molesting priest.  Being forgiven by God, which he could be if he turned away from beleiving the silly things he does and puts his faith in Jesus death to pay for his, is not the same as temporal justice.  The Bible affirms strongly the use of civil justice.

 

7.  LGBT, homosexual issue?  I'm guessing so.  Yeah sure, Christians are never going to win a popularity contest on that one.  Acts of homosexuality are not just against nature but immoral.  I'm not and never would point my finger at them though, as there are trillions of things that are immoral and I have done many of them at one time or another.  So standing in a glass house, I am not about to throw stones.

 

8.  Nothing in the Bible would tell a person not to go to the doctors if they are ill.  Paul instructs Timothy to drink madicinally because of his ailments.  Some people are just plane daft.  I cannot defend their actions, because they are indefensible.  But neither does it mean that Christianity is not true because people do stupid things that the bible does not say.

 

I may have missed some things but really need to get on with some work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have time to debate just two points here. I hope to show you that like if 'contradictions' are easily latched onto by people who want to find errors, there is also the possibility that people do not want to open the bible and frankly accept the errors.

 

In the genealogy given in Matthew, the lineage follows from David to Solomon.

In the genealogy given in Luke, the lineage follows from David to Nathan. 

Now Nathan and Solomon are both sons of David and both cannot be part of Jesus' paternal lineage. 

--------------------------------------

Paul actually asks Timothy to drink a little wine according to 1 Timothy 5:23. U can call it medicine, as wine was also used as a medicine at that time. I wonder how it helped, though. So bible has this one verse promoting Wine while numerous other verses strongly endorsing faith healing only. Jesus never said, you should also eat some medicine after he healed the lepers. How can one not blame the Bible when people believe solely in faith healing?   

 

You believe in the history according to the Bible but fail to recognize the history written all over your body which can never be explained by the Bible.

"Is it unreasonable of me or misguided to hope that Christianity could be evaluated by its best, most consistent forms rather than its worst?"

 

Yes.

 

It is unreasonable.  You have to understand you are talking to a bunch of rationalists here. And to speak for myself, I have learned over time to be critical of all the arguments.  I have learned from experience that is to my best interest to evaluate any claim with a little bit of skepticism and if it does not hold up against this then it needs to go in the trash bin.  Religion is simply a construct of the human mind.  It has its good points but to simply evaluate it based on the good points would not be prudent. You would not use this approach when purchasing a house or a car, so why would you use this approach when deciding what your world view should be?  I have found serious flaws in what the bible teaches and I have some major problems, being a woman, with what it says my place is.  If I am going to have a belief I want it to be based in some pretty sound evidence.  So far I have not heard a convincing argument to believe and until I hear that argument I will continue where I am.

 You suggested that perhaps living as a Christian means you are turning away from selfish immoral activity.  Please explain what you are implying by this, because it is suggesting to me that you think that without your religion you cannot be moral and that you are selfish. 

 

I can only speak for myself but I do not live an immoral life and frankly being a little selfish is part of our evolutionary make up.  If we weren't able to protect our needs through some selfish acts we would not survive.  Now pathologically selfish is quite another thing altogether, there are those out there who are in another demographic who are terribly selfish and it is to their own detriment as well as those around them.  In my experience with most people, I see mostly good and well behaved human beings.  There are the occasional jack asses but that is generally a temporary condition.

 

I do not believe we are inherently bad and in need of redemption.  I believe we are good for the most part but make bad decisions from time to time.  To ask forgiveness of a 2000 year old cult leader is a bit of a stretch for me.  But to forgive myself and go on then that is more realistic.  

So believe in something because it sounds good, makes you feel better about life, death, etc? Throw away rational, logical thinking in order to have some peace within yourself because of all the many injustices in the world?

I can't fault you for that if that's what you need to get you through life. I think that's one of the main reasons people seek religion, feeling empty inside, afraid of death, afraid of life, a need to feel loved, a need for answers to the unanswerable....after all we are all only human. I guess it's better than drugs and alcohol, (of which I do neither).

You may one day come to realize, if you don't already that these feelings of divine intense love you mentioned are simply a product of your mind, stimulated by the practice of the religion, thus a way of coping with the world around you and all its problems.

I was a church going Lutheran until my mid teens so it's not like I haven't walked the walk.   It wasn't easy risking burning in hell for all eternity by forsaking God, but it turns out it was well worth it. Good luck to you in your search for truth brother.

 

Qn:  If there were two universes, one with a God, and the other without, which one would you want to live in and why?  

This is a tough one because I don't know what your definition of god is.  I will go with the god I was brought up with, for the sake of this question.  I was raised in the catholic church and that god was a pretty mean dude.  He killed off everyone, had people raped and maimed. Didn't spare women or children.  He was very nasty and an ego?  Unbelievable..  He never answered any prayers, just kept telling us he would help us, if we helped ourselves? (never understood that one).  So based on my past experience with a god who was hands off, unless he was mad, I would say the universe without.  At least there, people wouldn't have to live in fear of pissing off god and his "holy" retribution. 

 

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.

I think most here would support absolute proof.  If there was hard evidence one day of a god, then why wouldn't I believe?


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?  

My position is that there is no god. 

 

1: If there were two universes (and you were talking about the christian god) I would rather be in the universe without a god. I know only think god doesnt exist but I also believe his character is very immoral.

2:Yes I would change my position if there was an evidence to point in that direction. But that doesnt mean I would worship this god. Like I said I think hes a bit of a brat.

3:In my opinion there is no god. Based on my logical analysis. If my brain told me something else was more likely I would adhere to that. You will never hear me say "There is no god." even among atheists.

Qn:  If there were two universes, one with a God, and the other without, which one would you want to live in and why?

This is definitely a tricky question... As other have stated, it kinda depends on which god? (By the way, god has a capital only when it is someone's name... e.g. "God caused a global flood". as opposed to "a god caused a global flood"). Another interesting point on this question which I haven't seen discussed yet is in the universe without a god, are there religious people? Are these religious people as bigoted as some of the religious people in our current universe?.... OK, I think I am ready to answer... assuming the god(s) of the universe with god(s) have built the universe in such a way that it is better (less war, famine, bad things than the other universe) then I would probably go with that universe.

 

TL;DR: It's not that I don't want to believe in the supernatural, I just can't because there is nothing which even leads me to believe in its existance.

 

Qn:  If scientific theory began to support theism (more than atheism) would you change your position

       (like Antony Flew)?

As stated above in my TL;DR: section...I currently can't believe because of the lack of evidence. In this question you are talking about scientific theory....what about scientific practice with repeatable experiments and consistent results? For the sake of this question, I will assume that is what you meant. Yes, if there was some evidence pointing to the probability of a gods existence, then I would almost definitely change my stance. Just for the record here, the amount I would change my stance by would be proportional to the amount of evidence I can see....If a god was likely to exist but science wasn't able to determine which god(s), I would probably become a deist. If the evidence pointed a specific god(s) then I would probably become a theist or poly-theist depending on how many gods were evidenced to exist.

 

TL;DR: Yes.

 

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?

Two of the labels I apply to myself are agnostic atheist. I reject belief in god(s) but do not know with 100% certainty that god(s) do not exist.

 

I am always interested in what other people think, and enjoing reading the posts on this website.

You sound like a reasonable person. This is my main reason for debating and discussing with other people. Please feel free to also comment on some of the discussions you are reading, allot of them would benefit from comments from various viewpoints and yours (I am currently guessing is moderate Christian) would certainly provide some interesting insights. Thanks for some interesting questions.

It would be cool if I could live forever - this is why religion is such a powerful crux for people (to appease the fear of death for one's self and to help cope with the deaths of loved ones) but I cannot and will not believe in a celestial dictator just because I wouldn't mind living forever - that is intellectually and logically irrational and stupid.

Hi Sassan

 

Thanks for the answer.  I find your description of God really interesting, a celestial dictator.  If thats how I saw God then I would want to be an athiest too!

 

It does help me though in understanding why some are so passionate about their athiesm. 

What else is the concept of god in the three monotheistic religions? IT is a celestial dictator. One who judges who goes to heaven and goes to hell is a celestial dictator. But again, my atheism has to do with being intellectually honest and valuing science as well as realizing the fact that religion has been used from the beginning of civilization to keep a control of populations - nothing more and nothing less.

BTW: I can respect Christians to a level as most Christians are secular and non-religious. I can respect the loving and benign teachings of Jesus compared to that of Muhammad and Islam. I feel that secular Christians and atheists can be allies in the fight against Islamic radicals.

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