I still use Myspace but it's only purpose is to participate in a group on there called Myspace Deists. Don't let the name fool ya, it's got a good collection of people that were Deists at one time but have slowly become Atheists.

I still participate in discussions there and there are a few new members that don't exactly enjoy the presence of so many non-believers.

So, the point here is that earlier tonight I responded to a statement made by one of the deists there that tried to use a quote from Thomas Edison to support his belief. The Edison quote goes like this:

If I find 10, 000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

Yes, he was trying to use the absence of proof as proof. For me, personally, and I think many atheists think on the same page, there is no way to prove the existence of god. The more I thought about what this guy was saying and thinking of different ways to counter his failure of logic, the more I realized that what he said is a reflection of how I stopped being a deist.

There is a wealth of information that science and observation can say about god, or rather, what god isn't. Using his own logic, we can, I'm sure, find 10,000 things about the universe that could serve as a chalk-outline of god, by showing what god isn't.

God isn't moral
God isn't human
God isn't a quantifiable force
God isn't all knowing
God isn't all powerful
God isn't ...

The list can go on and on. When you're done with defining logically and empirically what god isn't, you're left with a sliver, a word that has no meaning, a concept that has no relevance to the workings of the universe.

If you're a deist, what does your heart say? What is there left to believe in? Why believe in anything? Will this impotent deistic god even care if you don't believe in it anymore?

Views: 8

Comment by Godless Girl on June 10, 2009 at 12:54am
The smaller and smaller one's possible understanding of a deity becomes, the more likely that person will eventually recognize that there is probably nothing there at all. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, especially since you're speaking out of personal experience.
Comment by Reggie on June 10, 2009 at 12:57am
Isn't a deist just a sociable atheist? As you point out, the deistic god either doesn't care, doesn't interfere, is dead, or any combination of the three. Why even bother with deism unless you just don't want to deal with the stigma associated with atheism among a religious majority? Why not also worry about the incorporeal dragon living in Carl Sagan's garage?
Comment by Jim Valentine on June 10, 2009 at 1:25am
Good questions Reggie. Here's the answer: The people that I have befriended that were deists were just beginning to take on the responsibility of actively seeking the truth out of reality. Some deists stop thinking about it once they get to deism. To them, I share this quote that I found earlier today: "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge"

Here's yet another quote from another friend of mine, one who recently outted himself as an atheist in my deist group. Him and I had some really good discussions in this group and had become one of my closer friends in that group. Here's his progression:

Irrational faith ---> Intense study, comparison and review ---> Reasonable deduction ---> Loss of faith ---> Intense study, comparison and review ---> Reasonable deduction --->Rejection of all religious authority ---> Intense study, comparison and review ---> Reasonable deduction --->Adherence to Deism ---> Intense study, comparison and review ---> Reasonable deduction ---> Atheism is the only tenable position.

I think he illustrates a common path that many follow in their quest.

The thing is that the atheist can tell the person that is seeking, what the truth is but the seeker is unwise to believe the person doing the telling. You have to come to the conclusion on your own, in your own time. Knowledge will do that but it has to be brought on by yourself.

Atheists that turn around and believe in god later in life are more likely those who were convinced of it by their friends or mentors in the first place and never actually came to the conclusions on their own. Sheeple.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on June 10, 2009 at 7:10am
Great post, Jim..
and great answers.

Now featured!
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 10, 2009 at 9:07am
How can science prove that God isn't a quantifiable force, all knowing or all powerful?
Comment by Reggie on June 10, 2009 at 9:37am
Jim - Good answers. You are absolutely correct about people coming to their own conclusions. It is the main reason I don't bother attempting to convince anyone that atheism is the best conclusion.

Also, regarding a progression of viewpoints that includes deism: I think that really answered all my questions in one fell swoop. Looking back, I can see a phase of deism in my own progression out of the darkness of superstition. I guess I didn't look at it that way at the time. Also, I hadn't considered that others may feel comfortable with it and stop asking questions. That seems a crime to me! ;)

Thanks for the great reply.
Comment by Reggie on June 10, 2009 at 9:37am
Atheist Ninja- Science can not prove that.
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on June 10, 2009 at 9:46am
It's logical thought that disproves the idea of a god who is all powerful.
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 10, 2009 at 10:11am
How exactly does logical thought disprove the idea of a god who is all powerful?
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on June 10, 2009 at 10:24am
I'll copy/paste how I approached it in a debate.

Could this god wipe me from existence, making absoluely sure I never return? Sure, you say.

After doing that, could this god bring me back again? Sure, you say.

Well, which is it? By bringing me back, it means he can't do the first thing. Not all powerful. If he can't bring me back again, again, not all powerful.

Ask any question like that which pits this god against his own nature or the laws of logic, and you see the paradox. Can this god create a rock so heavy he can't lift it, is another.

The standard response is to say that's silly. How could God challenge himself and win, one way or the other? Well, we manage to do it, and we're poor mortals.

If the nature of God is a force outside of God, or if the laws of logic lie outside God, then God is bound to them and hence, not all powerful. If the laws of logic eminate from him, or if he could decide his own nature, then he should be able to change these things to get out of the paradox.

Other objections might be:

He doesn't want to challenge himself.

The question isn't whether or not he wants to, it's if he could.

The perversity involved in wanting to do what can't be done is inherently against supreme morality.

Where's the low morality in wanting to challenge oneself? If it is somehow immoral, then you're saying morality is a force outside of God, just like the laws of logic. If God decides what's moral, he can change his mind and challenge himself.

There might be more objections, but I'm still waiting to hear them from someone else. So far it looks solid enough.

I use that when discussing the ontological argument - imagine the most perfect/maximally great being... Well, I can't. Such a thing would be self contradictory.


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