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'm sorry, I tried to send this by reply, but something went wrong and it got sent before it was completed.
If everything in the Bible WERE proved literally true to my satisfaction, OF COURSE I would change my beliefs, since it would, by implication, render ALL science moot, irrelevant, and incorrect. Somehow, though, this is about as remote a possibility as I can imagine.
Not to beat a dead horse, but don't you use some kind of electronic spell checker on your posts? For example, you spelled it "thoroughtly" instead of "thoroughly" in your latest response. Dyslexia is an understandable reason for errors, but it suggests all the more that you should be using a dictionary, a spell checker, or those little red underlines that pop up on these posts. Even I - good speller that I am - must rely on these to catch my frequent typos and occasional examples of ignorance. When I taught language arts, I never taught spelling, because it is mostly a natural ability and NOBODY can even come close to learning the spelling of all the words in the monster vocabulary that comprises the English language. What I DID do was comprehensively teach the use of the dictionary. It's amazing, though, how many adults I run into who don't really know all the great information there is available in a dictionary. That's because they wasted all that time in school trying to memorize the spelling of 20 words a week. I say wasted, because the words they couldn't spell then, they probably can't spell now. If it is of any comfort to you, I find errors in almost EVERY post I read on this blog. And I'm sure I make mistakes that escape my notice. I once wrote to a local newspaper and pointed out to them the dozens of errors - large and small - that I found in their front page story; AND THESE WERE PROFESSIONAL WRITERS! Predictably, they did not respond. Whenever I enter a store in which hand painted signs are misspelled (which is OFTEN) I can't resist the temptation to point them out, a free service that is RARELY appreciated. In short, we ALL make mistakes; but we would be well-served to do our best to catch them before publishing them. I typically spend 30 to 40 minutes on one of these posts; and it's mostly to read, re-read, and re-read in order to catch my inevitable mistakes. Even the esteemed Nelson, in his response to you, made a small error - an error in tense that most people make. He wrote: "...it's not as if my whole identity or sense of self or my place in my community are tied up with it." His use of "or" as conjunctions between phrases requires that the singular "is tied" be used instead of "are tied" as the main predicate. If he wished to use "are" in the predicate, his conjunctions should have been "and." And to be pristine, he should have separated the phrases with commas, though wide latitude is generally afforded the use of commas. If you hadn't noticed, I am the annoying grammarian know-it-all analog to Sheldon's physics pontifications on "The Big Bang Theory."
Boy am I checking this post now! That must drive you insane or atleast your wife insane! I will try harder my friend.
By the way, I purposefully didn't say Bible or Christianity in my original questions, I was talking theism as opposed to atheism. Most of the replies here latch onto Christianity, which wasn't my intention. I have learn't from this that athiests have to overcome large amounts of predjudice (justified or not) in order to evaluate any new information objectively. One of my aims was looking at presuppositions.
I'll stop there before I accumulate too many typos and errors!
One thing you might want to keep in mind with regard to the tendency to "latch" onto Christianity is that
1. It is probably the one religion that most of us here are most familiar with. Most of the arguments here could be used for just about any religion.
2. You did reveal at some point during the discussion that this was your chosen religion, soooo, it only follows that this should be the talking point right?
We do not have to "overcome" anything at this point. We are, I think, pretty happy with where we are, but when you come here and ask our opinion this is what you are going to get. We have to remain silent for the most part due to our lack of a majority on the issue at hand. We do not have a means of outlet, but when one comes wandering into our camp so willingly we are more than happy to discuss and express our discontent with what we see is wrong with religion. If you came here expecting to convert and to hear us all say "Oh you know what you are right we should be more "accepting" and less "critical". This is not going to happen. Sorry I, and I assume most others here, have been through the critical thinking process with regard to religion and we have come to the conclusion that religion, for the most part, is simply wishful thinking.
I think you do us a wrong by saying we have "presuppositions". These are the facts and to quote someone...don't remember who..."you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts." The facts are all there laid out for you in your bible, read it carefully and, more importantly, critically and you will see what we are talking about.
Thanks for your reply. I do see your point as I did say at the start that I am a Christian and so I guess most would tailor the discussion to that end. That was kind of self defeating on my part, I wanted to be honest and upfront about that, while I was thinking in the categories of theism and atheism. So point taken.
I would say though that its a bit unrealistic to say that athiests do not have presuppositions as everyone does. Post modernism has got a lot of things wrong, but that we come to nothing completely objectively - it got right. Our childhood, feelings, experiences, the soap opras we have watched etc, all make objectivity difficult. So it wasn't meant to be a slight on athiests, I didn't come wondering IF athiests have them, but what they are in the main.
I guess I am glad to be of service when it comes to helping you in some cathartic way! as you mention. In some areas of the website that is dying down and I am able to have some discussion with people, which I appreciate. I am not unaware that I am the guest and outsider here. Hopefully, in a while I won't be the nasty chrisitan, but instead Trevor, here for a chat :-)
I meant to mention that I am not unaware of what the Bible says, I did a degree in theology and read it daily. I have obviously come to different conclusions to you though. Its not the topic if the thread but just wanted to respond on that as you seemed to think I am unaware of Biblical content.
I do not see you as "nasty" at all. I do not wish you to believe that we are nasty either. We are good people and I believe all people are good and want to do right by others for the most part. I think we have our moments of selfishness and we have temporary lapses in judgment but for the most part I am an optimist with regard to individual human beings. Now humans en mass, then I worry. But that is another thought for another day.
You are welcome to chat any time and I am sorry my comments may have made you feel that outsider but you have to admit your ideas and your world view is in contradiction with the majority of the folks on this site. So you would have to expect to hear some things that you might not like. I applaud your bravery in coming here to inquire, as well as the time you are spending on this project.
I realize you have a degree in theology and that is all well and good but I question your ability to look at the bible with a critical eye and still believe and follow it. It is not a very nice read in many aspects and I will not point them all out here, as it has been done in other posts. It is a very mancentric, not to mention it does have some pretty serious contradictions as pointed out by some other folks here.
As far as presuppositions are concerned, I agree we all come with them, but I think your initial comment meant presuppositions about Christianity and not society as a whole. Many of us here are pretty well read when it comes to the bible as well as our studies in world wide religions. One of the primary reasons for this is that many of us came here after a long journey of searching for a belief system that fit our way of thinking and after shopping the cereal isle of available religions none seem to fit the bill. So many of us come to the conclusion of non-belief by having a fairly extensive understanding of world religions.
But it does not stop here, I think that most of us also have a very hearty appetite for knowledge and the bible, I am afraid does not answer our questions.
Hey Trevor, we still love ya....after all we are all brothers an sisters here on planet earth, its just our ancestors that set us apart, and then there's that religious stuff..lol.
Kris, thanks. Point taken.
Take your shit elsewhere....
Sorry you feel that way. It was never my intention to force my views on anyone I mainly wanted to learn more about why athiests think the way they do, and engage in discussion. But I guess the posts are getting more and more along the lines of yours, Ninja chickens and all. So I will comply with your request.
Thanks to everyone who did engage with me, it was helpful.
The only way there can be change for the better in a society is if people are encouraged to try to understand each other, and the most socially reprehensible and irresponsible thing you can ever do is discourage that in the few people who are cognitively developed enough to do it.
That might well be the most sane thing I have read on this website so far. Thanks!