You've all heard the claim that we aren't really atheists, we are just mad at god. (Or you will see such things as "so and so claims to be an atheist.")
Today, though I saw an argument in chat with a theist, and someone else's account of an argument they had out in public, and I stopped to wonder if maybe we aren't sometimes encouraging this line of bullshit, albeit unwittingly.
What happened in both cases was the atheist began recounting all the sorts of horrible things Yahweh is portrayed as doing or believing or commanding. In one case, I saw the atheist say "why should I love god when he won't love me back?"
The problem with this sort of thing is we usually don't take care to phrase our remarks to make it clear that god is a character of fiction. When discussing the misdeeds of Yahweh we tend to fall back on a convention we use when we talk about a fictional character in a book. We refer to him by name and talk as if the guy was real and the book was not fiction, for example, "In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith was arrested for thoughtcrime," not, "In George Orwell's 1984, the character Winston Smith..."
We know what we mean, because we both know Winston Smith (or god) is fictitious. But they don't know god is fictitious.
Talking this way with someone who believes the fictional character is real might cause him not to understand you are just following the convention. Your phrasing sounds to him like you accept god as real, he "knows" god is real, so he assumes at some level you think god is real.
What I am suggesting here is that you ever want to bring up how nasty this being is, you make it clear that you don't think he exists, make sure you put "fictitious" (or equivalent) in every other sentence at least, and not let them think for a minute that you assume the existence of god.
Yes I know that when you just said you were an atheist this shouldn't be necessary, but obviously many of these people don't understand atheism in their guts, so don't let their paradigm default you into a "believer but mad at god" box.
Lonely - Yes, Immanuel Kant did say that. Others said many other things:
"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 --
"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
-- Delos B. McKowan --
"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."
-- Chapman Cohen --
"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."
-- Gene Roddenberry --
"In our own hearts, we mold the whole world's hereafters; and in our own hearts we fashion our own gods."
-- Herman Mellville --
RE: "yes,quran and islam is a continuation of the abraham heritage"
And since there is no evidence that Abraham ever existed, where does that leave Islam without Abraham?
RE: "religion is opium of the ppl"
Nowdays, of course, television and the internet have become the opiate of the people. But religion comes in a close third.
RE: "do you really believe that is there any proof any kind of proof can support the idea of the existing god?"
Do you have any such proof? Neither the Quran nor the Bible are proof - real proof must be testable. What proof do you have that anyone can test?
No way to take this god to the lab,we can examine, test if you like, all kind of creatures and you may find the notion of god but not god, and not intentionally of course.this how god exixts if ever existed,and this is what I am trying to bring it to your respectful way of thinking and your method,and let’s say that ibraham exists one day and you find archeological proof about him ,writing in a cave or script in a stone or whatever.So you will consider his speech as evidence or you will believe him or what ?or you would ask him to prove any way the existence of the called god?? Examine the bible has nothing to do with god,it will show you that this book either was man written or was written by someone , and also it would not be a proof about his existence.
This is the logic of his existing. are we able(as human) to get it ?YES .And the moment we change this logic we lose him. We continue.
Lonely - RE: "let’s say that ibraham exists one day and you find archeological proof about him ,writing in a cave or script in a stone or whatever."
No, we can't say that, and here's why - Abraham, or as I believe he is called in the Quran, Ibrahim. is such a mythical character, no one can even say when he was born. I have seen guesses ranging anywhere from 1825 BCE to 2300 BCE, and each of these from someone claiming to be an authority, but you will never find his "writing in a cave" because the Jewish people did not have the ability to write until about 1000 BCE - nearly a full thousand years from the most recent time that old Abe was supposed to have existed. So Abe couldn't have written anything, in a cave or anywhere else, because Abe (if he ever existed) couldn't read nor write.
RE: "Examine the bible has nothing to do with god,it will show you that this book either was man written or was written by someone , and also it would not be a proof about his existence."
But Lonely, you get your own belief in god from a book, the Quran, which was also man written. Think for a second, how YOU came to believe in Allah - your parents believed in Allah and taught you to believe as well. If you had been born in America, to American parents, they would have taught you to believe in Yahweh and Jesus, and you would be arguing with Muslims that their beliefs were false and that yours were true. We are not born believing in a god, we are taught as children by our families. We grow up watching them pray and go to church or mosque or synagogue, and because we are little and don't know any better, we take their word for it and try to be like them and believe what they believe.
But where do they get their belief? From their parents, and from a book, whether its the Bible, the Quran or the Tannakh - and if those books are untrue, then their religion is untrue, and what they taught you is untrue - not because your parents lied to you, they didn't, they taught you what they truly believed, but it was based on a book that was full of lies.
When I said, "real proof must be testable," here's what I mean. The author, Arthur C. Clarke once wrote:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Electricity is invisible. If I could time-travel back to Abraham's time (if he ever existed) and show him a flashlight, a cell-phone, an iPad, or anything electronic that he did not understand, he would fall to his knees and worship me as a god. NOT because I am a god (although I AM kinda cute!), but because I could do something and he couldn't understand how it was done, therefore, in his mind, I must be magic, and since only gods can do miracles, I must be a god.
While we can't see electricity, we can take it into a lab and see it's results. We can understand how it works, and understanding it, we can find ways to use what it can do, to help us in our lives.
But the so-called "miracles" in the Bible or the Quran or the Tannakh are not "reproducible" - we cannot experiment with them as we do electricity, and reproduce the same effect. And since we have only the word of people who lived thousands of years ago, we can't question those people to determine if what they say is true or a lie, or just a product of their imagination, and therefore, until someone can say, "yes, I can create a tall tower of whirling dust that will move across the desert in the daytime and turn into a whirling pillar of fire at night, and guide people on a 40-year journey!" (that wouldn't have been necessary, if there hadn't been a man in charge who refused to stop and ask for directions) - until someone can say that, and reproduce that tower of dust and flame that someone over 3,000 years ago said happened, we have to assume it didn't - that it was a lie, or a product of someone's imagination.
If you take away all of the people from the Bible who probably never existed - just cut our any reference to them, and all of the things that didn't really happen, the New Testament and the Quran would have no foundational base - like a building with its foundation removed, they would collapse.
There IS no "logic of his existing," because as soon as one begins to use logic, we see that there really is no reason for a god, because everything that happened - (that is, everything that REALLY happened, rather than the made up stuff in our holy books) - happened naturally, and there was no need for a god to do anything.
Lonely, please believe that I do not say this to mock you, but I say it with all due respect - the only reason you believe in a god, is because you are afraid not to believe.
I too, was once like you, "but when I became a man, I put aside childish things."
@Archy,with all respect:
Ah! “the only reason you believe in a god, is because you are afraid not to believe.”
This statement is less reasonable, the same as believe in god, or not believe in him. is less rational but you are just trying your luck.
Re: the story of the parent and the previous formation, you mentioned this many times, yes many are following their parents, repeating what they said and maybe doing exactly the same. Also this argument is less reasonable because the parent’s speech and talk could be wrong and could be right. And it will remain forever debatable and questionable, because simply: there can be no proof of God's existence nor indeed of God's non-existence.
You have mentioned “light”and I think this called “light’ doesn’t -at least till now-stand the idea Think atheist! why? because we know that we still don’t know what is light, this unknowing light,” it seems to be in a realm where there is no duration; no before, and no after. There is only "Now.” even what we are seeing is not the light,
The light that strikes the eye is known only through the energy it releases. This energy is translated into a visual image in the mind.And sure you know this better than me, but as you said we can still use light and get great benefit from it. So if it’s evolutionism not creationism?this light, relativity, quantum physic, this space, time, and the beautiful butterflies …..how we could understand their laws and we answered many questions about them if We speak other or different Language from all of this “UNIVERSE”?you may tell me this is ‘Mathematics”, numbers language, yes and it’s not Swahili or Persian language.
If it was nihilism stroke, there would be NO SCIENCE.
About Abraham ,Isaac, Moses and many others ,believe me I don’t care about them all of them, if they really existed one day or not,if they existed they may be right or wrong as a simple logic ppl can say truth or lies! to address to them, questioned and investigate their lives or if they ever existed or not it has nothing to do with god, if you want to “know” about him ask him directly and not be afraid, even if we did not realize his existence.
It would appear then Lonely, that we agree about everything, except for one thing:
"if you want to 'know' about him ask him directly and not be afraid" - I have never been afraid, in fact, at 12, I stood on a hilltop in a lightening storm and dared him to kill me if he was there, he wasn't. And he isn't. There is no one to ask.
You mentioned "nihilism" - nihilism implies that there is no purpose in life. I believe there is, and that purpose is to do everything you can, during the short time you live, to make the world a better place than you found it, to accept all people as equals, to vigorously pursue the beauty and truth and mystery of the world we live in for as long we can.
No one needs a god to do that. I know a 6-year old who does it every day of her life, and if she can, so can we.
@thelonely, I think everything you say here is pretty reasonable, except that I prefer a more scientific definition of logic. Observable, reproducible/predictable results are what science is all about. That's what makes today's technology and health possible, including this ability for us to communicate world-wide, instantly.
Even if scripture could be found to be historically accurate (which it hasn't), you're right that it still wouldn't prove that words in scripture came from any god. But "we cannot prove that scripture is true" is still an important fact, because so many people believe in their god just because of dogmatic (i.e. unquestioned and unchangeable) belief in their scripture.
Yaweh is real...I am typing now.
Anyway, is that the new trend argument now for theist? I never heard that argument yet.
I've gotten this several times. After a long argument the conversation eventually goes to condescension, something like "okay, well maybe you're not mad, you're just confused. It's okay to question God, He knows you'll come back to Him. You are an agnostic, not an atheist"
I recently "came out" to my family about being atheist. Actually my sister "outted" me, but anyways I also get the whole, what happened? Why are you mad at god? thing. I think what happened is that I grew up. I used to ask my mom, how did Noah get all those animals on the Ark? My mother (like a good Catholic/Christian) replied "God helped him", but HOW? "He's God". Well I think "he's God" started to sound that a circular thing. How did God create the Earth and all the living things on it if evolution is true "He's God" REALLY!? Thats not an ANSWER! Almost like we don't condone thinking, so just don't do it, okay honey?? But I AM a thinker and circular argument turned into silly almost ridiculous claims, which turned into me doing more research, learning more about the Bible and the history of Christianity than ever before and the same answer to my questions: "he's God". Im sorry but I like to use my brain, I think controversy is healthy, I think not knowing pushes people to find the answers. Complacency is destructive, faith is educationally abusive. You know what I''m not sorry mom and "he's God" isn't going to cut it anymore.
"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."
-- Chapman Cohen --
Yes, I am angry with the brainwashing that my parents and guardians abused me with as an ignorant child only looking to understand this life. When I got older I started to question the other religions and that is what made me realize it was just people making up shit to control other people. How can there me so many gods but you are only allowed to worship the right one, how do you know which god is right for you?
I think the problem is a two level issue:
1. a lot of people (including atheists) don't know how to argue an issue with strong logical points that DO NOT INVOLVE emotional responses.
2. People who do believe in god need to be given time to understand what atheism is and how a person chose to be an atheist before having a detailed debate about God.
Say you met a religious person that is a smart and logical. Intelligent people are naturally curious about things they don't have experience with; however, being raised in a Christian household, I can tell you that talking to someone about atheism. The radical christian view is that atheists are the worst of all "sinners". The mild view is that they just "hate god" and need to be convinced otherwise. I say that every atheist should tell their "coming out" story as an ice breaker to the subject!! But in a calm manner. I came up with a good way to tell my story, while making sure I used standard logical arguments to uphold my decision. If you don't religious people could get the wrong idea about us.
When in your example, the person said, "why should I love god when he won't love me back?", I think the person was trying to talk about a subject too advanced for a first debate with a christian. I hope the person was trying to discuss how, if god exists and cares about us, why would he allow evil to exist and would test us if god already knows how we would react. Most atheist would understand that this was where the debate was going. But a christian only hears the person talking about god as if he exists. I think any good debate should start with explaining the preface of the argument to be discussed. Thats the only way I can see avoiding any confusion between atheists and the religious.