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!
Thanks for taking the time to reply, The aim of my question was to see what presuppositions athiests hold. We all have them.
Although I am a christian I wasn't thinking of any particular 'god' more of a creator / designer, as a starting point.
Sorry to hear that your view of Christianity is so negitive, I guess you have had some bad experiences. I posted my experience of Christianity in this thread if your interested.
Hi Trevor, I have a question regarding the Christian God that maybe you can help me with.
Let assume that this all powerful, all knowing, loving god does exist, and of course he requires that in order for us to be "saved" we must except him into our life and asked to be forgiven of all our sins. So here's my question, why would such a powerful, caring god choose to turn up 2000+ years ago in a manger in the desert, start preaching his word, a rely on future generations of people to try an convince other people that he ever existed? What about all the people that came before him and knew nothing of him because he didn't make them aware? What about all the people in other parts of the world that never got the "word"? If your very soul is dependent upon knowing and excepting god to prevent eternal damnation, why in the world did he or doesn't he, make himself known to every living human on the planet? What's with the hide and seek...and from god no less.
I apologize for turning this into more than one question, but I have many, many more. Thanks!
I am atheist but was raised christian. I asked the same question when I was child, and my father (the deacon) explained it to me like this: If you have heard the "word of god" but have denied it, you will go to hell. Those who haven't heard the word of god will not go to hell because they never had a chance to accept it. The part that got me was that if you, as a christian, passed up a chance to witness to a person and they had never heard the word of god, they would go to hell because technically they had a chance to hear it (even though it was your fault they didn't hear it) and didn't believe. Yes, the church is good at guilt. ;-)
Thanks Jen, I've always been curious about that. Another thing is look who he is sending out to spread the word, so many diffident denonminatins, so many different views.
How gullible does this God thing I am? Shouldn't he know that I don't believe anything I hear and only half of what I see? So, how can he fault his own creation for not believing someone spewing crap about of supernatural events? He should after all since he knows everything, or not.
You're "Sorry to hear a "negative" view of christianity? WOW! Take a look in the mirror of christianity's "view" of anything, and atheism in particular, that is seen as other than christianity and tell me what you see. Speaking for myself, and I'm certain a great many other atheists we would be content to have christians behave just as the obviously illiterate holy spook instructed you and leave us the f**k alone. Why do you think we're atheist to begin with?
Atheist, as well as other non-believers, or indeed believers in any other theology or ism are vilified by christians and christianity at each and every opportunity. Could it be that one vilifies in return equal amounts of vilification one receives
If given the choice I would by far and away choose to live in any other universe that the one over which doG, whoever he, she, or it may be, supposedly rules. If one cold remove the influences of all religions, and especially christianity, as well as the one before, Judaism, and the one after Islam, from the world and misery of mankind, the world and humanity would be much further along in its trek to the future. I detest religion, all religion, and for those three in particular I reserve a special animosity and virulent disgust!
I love it!!!
"...we would be content to have christians behave just as the obviously illiterate holy spook instructed you and leave us the f...k alone."
Classic. Thanks for the giggle
I can't imagine what a universe with a God in it would be like. Can you describe such a thing?
Also, you imply that Antony Flew became a Christian because science was tending to prove the existence of God. Not so. I was because he became convinced that one form of the Ontological argument worked, which is rather silly. Other philosophers haven't exactly been lining up to join him.
My position is that there is no God. There is no such thing as a spiritual entity, either. Be it a god or a ghost (=soul). I believe this based on the lack of evidence. It's a belief, not an article of faith. I also believe there are no crocodiles in my apartment, never having seen one, and I believe that I have never stood on the surface of Mars, though I have no way of proving it.
So, if there is a God and someone can someday prove it, my mind is open enough to examine the evidence.
Thus, I call myself an agnostic atheist.
Nelson hit the nail on the head with this one..
And being in a postion of being an athiest or agnostic? either of which can take a open look at that evidence and allow that person to base there opinion based on that evidence. If for some reason god came down on a beam of light and bitch slapped me up side the head, then i would have to relook at my position :P...
There is more hard fact/evidence that aliens are real then there is god.. in fact there is no evidence of any kind that god is real. So i am left to assume that he is not.
Thanks for your reply which I found really interesting. I have heard many athiests talk about theism in sort of superman / tooth fairy language which always intriguied me.
Scientific knowledge and discovery, especially in cosmology has been mind blowing in the last few decades. I find a commitment to naturalism that ridicules anything else limited in its spirit of discovery. Science has shown we live in a universe of possibility and i'm sure there will be more discoveries that will challenge many of our pre-conceived ideas.
None of that is meant as an argument for the existence for God. Its just a comment on the attitude of naturalism. Though I think cosmology may stack the deck in favour of theism.
Fascinating! Lets explore that a bit, if we may.
Cosmologists seem to be in some agreement that all matter, space and time started at the big bang. It had a beginning. That being the case whatever caused it, it would seem is:
1. Non material - as matter didn't exist
2. Outside of time - as time didn't exist
3. Outside of Space - as space didn't exist
4. It must be intelligent because of the incredible and improbable 'fine tuning' of the universe
5. It must be immensely powerful
So far we have a first cause that is of necessity changeless, timeless, non spatial, non physical, powerful and intelligent. I think its not a leap in logic to say that it is very probable that this cause is also personal given the qualities it posesses.
Sure it doesn't take us all the way to Christianity but its God by any other name.
No most of those are speculation. Saying what happened before this universe began with the big bang can be considered like asking what is south of the south pole (Hawkins), but that is about what we can observe (at the moment) in our time. Our universe, beginning in the big bang, may not be the only universe, in fact there is many theories that say otherwise. The big bang may in fact be one of many events all occuring in their own univers in their own space and time (hence being unobservable presently). This would make the big bang not as immensly powerful or unique as was considered.
There are many lectures on youtube by theoretical physicists simply on something from nothing (god not included). They are better to answer your question above then I am.
Ok but say we discover that something with a mind created or initiated the big bang. How do you then leap to "its God" because would we be Gods if in the future we learnt how to do it? Labelling everything that is unknown as God is pointless as we learn nothing from it. Saying "I don't know what it is, lets find out" is a far better approach.
Ooh I missed your fine tuning argument.
Simply, because OUR life couldn't exist if things were slightly different, it doesn't mean NOTHING could exist in a different form. Also, it may start with one concept. If we broke down everything to the smallest possible foundation and found it's the same thing (as string theory suggests among others) then its not much of a leap to find that the other constants that we thought are unique are simply necessary because they are in a fixed ratio as they all come from the same thing. If the strings were a bigger or smaller dimension, the constants would change accordingly but still seem exactly the same to us. Alternatively, the multiverse theory has a line of thought that many universes exist with different constants, and the ones that support life have people in it contemplating the wonders of the constants; and here you are.