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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First of all, I want to say that it's good that although you're christian, you are open enough to want to learn about the other side. As long as you are not coming in with so much of a bias that you cast aside everything we say, then you are completely welcome here. It's good to have a two sided argument.

 

Here are my responses, which are probably quite similar to most others' on this site:

 

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

 

I agree completely with Nelson's response to this. The belief in a god is so utterly arbitrary that it completely depends which god you are referring to. It isn't obvious either, as there are hundreds, even thousands of gods in purported 'existence' as claimed by religious people for tens of thousands of years. There is absolutely nothing that states that one god has more of a chance of existing over any other.

But, assuming you're referring to the Christian god, I would much rather live in the universe without him. The natural world is overshadowed by this belief in the divinity of god and all 'his creations'. The beauty and complexity of the natural world as it is without a creator is even more amazing in my opinion. It's easy to say "Oh, this is all so great, it must have been made by someone." The world is far more complicated than we know, and to accept it as a result of an old man pulling some strings seems a little farfetched and close-minded to me.

Also, the god in so many religions is ruthless and unkind. He punishes his creations for the flaws that he supposedly gave to them. He forces people to live in fear of being eternally punished in the afterlife for failing to please his bipolar expectations and morals. I would much rather live in the natural universe and know that when I die, nothing happens, and that the universe I live in is amazing without having a creator.

If there were a utopian god who was completely fair and just and did all the good things that are said of him without all the punishment and torture and killing, then I would give it a serious thought.

 

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

 

Of course I would change my position. The reason I'm an atheist, and I would venture further to say the reason most people are atheists, is simply because of the lack of scientific evidence supporting the existence of a god. It's because science and reason guide us away from theism that we are atheistic. If some sort of sudden breakthrough were to come in science saying there was a god and providing hard evidence for it, I would certainly amend my atheism because there would now be a solid foundation for having such beliefs. Until then, I'm sticking with the evidence.

 

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?

 

Richard Dawkins has an interesting way of scaling the level of 'atheism' someone has. He suggests a scale from 1 to 7 - 1 being "There absolutely without a doubt is a god" and 7 being "There is absolutely 100% no god." 7 is obviously a hardcore atheist, but even Richard Dawkins, one of the most famous and 'militant' atheists there is, considers himself a 6.9 on the scale.

This is because it is actually unscientific to be a 7. It goes against reason to state that there is 100% no god, because that is actually taking it on faith. Once an atheist says there is 100% no god, he steps across a line of 'justifiable skepticism' into faith.

With this being said, I would say I'm somewhere between agnosticism and atheism. I assert that there is no god in my arguments and discussions, but I acknowledge that there is a possibility that there is a god. Of course there is a possibility, I just assert that possibility is extremely minute, and the evidence is against it. So, I would agree with the latter statement you put forth; the natural world does not require a god in order to exist. The argument that 'god is necessary' for the world we see today to have come into being is simply not true. Yes, the chance of a planet such as Earth existing and harboring such a complex array of life and providing all that is necessary for life to exist is small; minutely small, infitesimally small; but it happened, and that is the 'miracle' (I use that word very carefully) of this universe. After all, the universe is HUGE (I can't even come up with enough adjectives to emphasize how huge it is) and when you take that into consideration, it isn't too much of a wonder that somewhere, one planet developed to such complexity and harbored life. In fact, it becomes a wonder how we haven't come into contact with more planets like ours.

 

Anyways, that's my two cents. I'd be interested to hear your point of view. No one on this site will hold it against you that you're christian, just keep an open mind and don't be preachy (it's okay to state your point of view as long as you acknowledge that it isn't the only point of view and that it is feasible that people don't believe what you believe).

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

 

I was catholic, and I enjoyed the feeling that "something" was protecting me and I could say my wishes to with much hope that they'd come out. It would depend what kind of god it is and which rules there are, I think I would prefer the universe without a god, I don't like the feeling that someone is always looking over my shoulder and that there are other spiritual fantasy beings like angels, demons etc. I don't like to follow rules I want to live my life like I want. So, I'm glad that I'm on the right universe, the one without a god! (Excuse me for my bad english sentences)

 

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

     

It would take hard evidence to convince me 100%

 

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?

 

There definitely is no god (thousand's of reasons for it)

 

I respect you that you look on this website as an christian!

Wow, Trevor;  Your entertainingly obtuse response to Alex, especially your tortuous (that means twisted) rationalization of the total incompatibility of the genealogies laid out in Matthew and Luke, leads me to request that you attempt to provide a rational interpretation of the demonstrably preposterous Noah's Ark saga; that should bring a good laugh.  

For that matter, do you regard the Book of Genesis as metaphorical, or does some of it make sense to you as literal  truth?  Do you find, for instance, some kind of saving grace for Abraham's obsequious willingness to brutally sacrifice his unwitting son's life to appease God?   And don't try to suggest that he KNEW God wasn't serious - just testing his faith. Nothing in the Biblical account even hints that Abraham was knowingly playing along with God's sick, little joke.  Some of the things you've written suggest that perhaps you don't regard the Old Testament on the whole as believable.  Then why does it constitute the bulk of the Bible you carry around?   

By the way, if you want to be more credible to educated people, you should be more careful in your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax.
For instance, here is a partial list of your misspellings in your response to Alex...

...isnt, christian, testement, its, geneology, plane, beleiving, i'm, madicinally

They should have been...

...isn't, Christian, testament, it's, genealogy, plain, believing, I'm, and medicinally.

I am particularly amazed that an apparently thoroughgoing Christian like yourself would not know that Christian and Christianity are ALWAYS capitalized.

 

Hi Dale

 

I should admit then that i am dyslexic.  I work hard at it not being a problem and will try and check everything more thoroughtly.

 

Sorry if I gave the impression that I believed any part of the Bible was not to be believed.  I haven't said that any where.  I have said the Bible has different kinds of genre and you have to interpret passages based on its genre.

 

I don't have time now to reply to the Noah stuff etc. I may be tired but I am not seeing the point.  If I answered every question, what would it change?  If the Bible's historicity and consistency were firmly established to your satisfaction, I assume it would not change your athiesm one iota.  So what would it change for you?

 

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."       

Hi Dale

 

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!

 

Trevor

Trevor,

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.   

 

Hi Aimee,

 

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 :-)

Aimee

 

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.

 

Trevor

Trevor,

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.

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