So today I had the utmost displeasure of debating with someone with theistic views (although they claimed not to be a theist) about why people believe in "God". There was a forum on this on another site I frequent. This was their response to the question of why people believe in "God".
"People believe because they feel it in their 'soul', God is a part of everyone. People who say they do not believe in God are denying their own feelings and will always relate back to God when they die. Even Darwin did it. Because God has always been here, from the very start of everything which we cannot comprehend.
God is in everyone from the start. Meaning, from the moment you or anyone was born they already have the feeling in their soul. Not sure if you have the same thing or not, but even before I read the bible and researched in to God I felt something that I could not explain, something that caused me to look up at the sky and think. Yes, you can argue and say this is something else that I experienced. But as I said, I cannot explain it. And no, I was not taking anything, ill or all the other scientific explanations.
What I am saying that there might not need to be proof for God to exist, I know, it sounds absurd. If he does exist then he or it will beyond any of our comprehension, as they say, people fear what they do not understand, and human beings hate to be controlled and looked down upon. This is why they call God evil and so on. And yes, I know that others think that is not the only reason why they think God is evil. I like to see two sides of the coin. Personally I think the whole world is stuck in too deep about the whole topic and need to calm their tits.
More like religious extremists think inside the box. Religious people vary greatly, some I would say, as a religious person myself are suck up their own ass while some are extremely opened minded.
Yes, some of that is flawed, but I cannot her to argue, I’ve had enough of that simple minded bullshit in my life. I just want to see what other people say.
Also, fuck facts. Think outside the box."
I went on to explain to them that just because someone "feels" something, doesn't mean it should automatically be attributed to a god or supernatural being - and that a lot of what we feel and see is a result of more physiological processes than anything. Also that many people aren't "denying" feelings if they aren't currently having them. Additionally, I suggested that if religious extremists are adhering to the fundamentals of a certain religion, then maybe there is something that has to be addressed within the religion itself.
As you could probably imagine, this did not go over well and I got attacked by the poster and their "friend" over a ridiculous amount of back & forth that I'm ashamed I got so interested in being involved in. *rolls eyes extremely hard*
Anyway, what I came to ask is - what would your response be to this poster?
Because of FEELINGS!
Belief in God (and other useless junk) is a cultural virus.
The brain is a language organ. It stores and retrieves culture, primarily as language. We are born with brains hardwired for this purpose. This is why small children are able to learn language.
A parent holds up a rock, and says "rock", and so that's what a rock is. Think of the huge survival advantage. Each generation benefits from the knowledge of those who came before.
More advanced advice, such as "avoid the leopard", was even more valuable. Kids who believed their parents didn't have to learn about the leopard the hard way. In this way, selection pressure favored young children who accept what parents tell them.
But there's a side-effect. Bad information gets stored along with the useful stuff. "Rocks make good hammers" ends up being stored alongside "spirits live inside rocks". And so on.
This is why religious indoctrination begins at such a young age. Parents were themselves indoctrinated to indoctrinate their own kids at a young age. So the cycle continues.
God is a cultural virus. It has strains: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and so on. Parents infect their kids. Then the kids grow up and infect their kids as well.
"People believe because they feel it in their 'soul', God is a part of everyone. People who say they do not believe in God are denying their own feelings and will always relate back to God when they die."
There is a difference between denial and disbelief in God. Denial is a refusal to recognize evidence. Disbelief is a result of lack of evidence.
You say there's a God. I don't believe you because you have no evidence. Likewise, for leprechauns, gnomes, souls, and your claim to know how every atheist feels. All of these claims are too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
"Even Darwin did it."
This is a lie originally told by a Christian named Lady Hope, which has been systematically repeated by Christians. Lady Hope claimed to be present at Darwin's deathbed to hear him recant his agnosticism. Darwin's daughter Henrietta, who really was there when Darwin died, said her father maintained his views until the end. Moreover, neither of them knew Lady Hope and she wasn't present when Darwin died.
"Because God has always been here, from the very start of everything which we cannot comprehend."
Of course we can. There is mounting evidence that the universe itself has always been here. God was never an explanation for the origin of the universe. It was just a feeble excuse for not having one.
"God is in everyone from the start. Meaning, from the moment you or anyone was born they already have the feeling in their soul. Not sure if you have the same thing or not, but even before I read the bible and researched in to God I felt something that I could not explain, something that caused me to look up at the sky and think. Yes, you can argue and say this is something else that I experienced. But as I said, I cannot explain it. And no, I was not taking anything, ill or all the other scientific explanations."
In other words, you still can't provide any evidence whatsoever and we're supposed to take the origin of the universe on your say-so. Once you have evidence more substantial than "something" and elaboration better than "I cannot explain" please do share it. But I won't hold my breath while I wait.
"What I am saying that there might not need to be proof for God to exist, I know, it sounds absurd."
Yes. It sounds absurd because it is absurd.
"If he does exist then he or it will beyond any of our comprehension, as they say, people fear what they do not understand, and human beings hate to be controlled and looked down upon."
I noticed we've gone from 'everyone feels God in their soul' to 'if he does exist'. Again, if God is controlling everything, then where is this evidence that's beyond all comprehension and understanding?
"This is why they call God evil and so on. And yes, I know that others think that is not the only reason why they think God is evil. I like to see two sides of the coin."
I don't believe God is evil, I just don't believe your claims that he exists. That's all. I don't believe in gnomes, but that doesn't mean I think gnomes are evil. I do, however, think religion is harmful.
"Personally I think the whole world is stuck in too deep about the whole topic and need to calm their tits. "
"More like religious extremists think inside the box. Religious people vary greatly, some I would say, as a religious person myself are suck up their own ass while some are extremely opened minded."
A few of the extremely open-minded ones destroyed the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11.
"Yes, some of that is flawed, but I cannot her to argue, I’ve had enough of that simple minded bullshit in my life. I just want to see what other people say."
Every word of it is flawed. There's essentially no argument presented at all.
"Also, fuck facts. Think outside the box."
We have a name for thought that is not based on fact: fantasy.
"Could just be gas"
I think if you tried to reason with them then you did your best. I remember a debate on the magic sandwich show where Aronra told a young creationist (who he shredded) that if he wanted to he could bring someone better (at debating) and they would do it again. The kid asked if he could bring Eric Hovind. Arona said something like "I said better! Not insane!" I try to keep this in mind.
Let's look at one of these "arguments" under the microscope:
"(1) What I am saying that there (2) might (3) not need to be (4) proof for God to exist, (5) I know, (6) it sounds (7) absurd"
1) He/she has told you they are the source of authority for his statement. Rhetoric like this often has an air of assurance as if this automatically adds clarification.
(2)The word "might" in this context is a guarding term. This weakens the argument but guards against further ridicule. It's hard to argue a "maybe".
(3) "not need to be" This is discounting the word they use next "proof". Keep in mind the discounting term directly followed the guarded term.
(4) "might not need to be proof" This is the conclusion.
(5) "I know" again siting his/herself as the source and is somehow suppose to be assuring.
(6) "It may sound" Another guarded statement "may" is guarded.
(7) The word "absurd" is a negative evaluation type.
What did this person actually say here? To sum it up: "In conclusion, I assure you that I may or may not be an authoritative source on an Idea that may or may not be true in the sense that if you buy this idea we can agree on a conclusion that may or may not seem crazy to you." or something like that.
This person also goes on to suggest that you should disregard "facts" and attempts to add a negative connotation to the word "facts". They must have felt at some point that this is what you were basing your argument off of therefore saying "What ever you say I am not listening".
How dare you use facts to make your case Reesie! ;)
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
I think it's great that you tried. Why not spread reason right? This person's payment for their ignorance will be staying ignorant which is neither a gift nor is it something that exactly makes life easier.
Here are some opinions, Reesie, that may give you some insight:
“For most of the history of our species we were helpless to understand how nature works. We took every storm, drought, illness and comet personally. We created myths and spirits in an attempt to explain the patterns of nature.”
-- Ann Druyan --
"That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject."
-- George Santayana --
"It is fear that first brought gods into the world."
-- Petronius --
"Whatever we cannot easily understand, we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues....Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination."
-- Edward Abbey --
"Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
-- John F. Kennedy --
"In our own hearts, we mold the whole world's hereafters; and in our own hearts we fashion our own gods."
-- Herman Mellville --
God is conspicuous in his continued absence. If the supernatural were real it would be natural. The God hypothesis refutes itself.
The reason so many people believe is emotional indoctrination, comfort, the fear of death, fear of the dark, and fear of the unknown. All of this handed down uncritically from savage ages. Now consider that the brain is hard-wired to seek patterns even when there are none, (as above posters have said) and now it seems to make sense with the whole 'it must have been god who sent that thunderstorm' line of thinking.
People will say we are born atheist. Not true. We are born without religion not with a specific disbelief in anything.
Do you ever actually listen to yourself? First, atheism is not a belief system, which, ergo follows, that it neither is a disbelief system. Secondly, the terms, "no gods" and "no religion" are interchangeable.
I mumble to myself all day long, but I try not to reply.
I think you meant to reply to someone else. I can't find anything I said in what you said.
I didn't call atheism any sort of system, and never would.
"No gods" and "no religion" are not interchangeable. Hinayana Buddhism, for one, has no god or gods. Gautama was simply a teacher.
If you're going for the DeNiro, "You talkin' to me?" I can't say you nailed it.
RE: "I didn't call atheism any sort of system" - and what would, "not with a specific disbelief in anything" be to you, if not a belief system? No god/gods/ means no thoughts, concepts or beliefs of gods in any form - does a baby have any of those?
RE: "Hinayana Buddhism, for one, has no god or gods" - then I would call Hinayana Buddhism an atheistic (no god/gods) belief system, or simply a philosophy of life, but not a religion.