What makes a person atheist?

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#46

Post by 1over137 » Wed May 18, 2011 2:08 am

Two things I do not understand:
MarcusOfLycia wrote: Well... if God and hell exist, then atheism wouldn't be a particularly good choice I wouldn't think.
I am thinking about what such an atheist should do. Should he say: "Well God, I do not know if you exist, but rather I'm going to believe in you, since the atheism wouldn't be a partucularly good choice if you exist." Is this fair to God? Or another question: Isn't this insane? (no offence here, just contemplating)
MarcusOfLycia wrote: First is about the purpose of the world in the first place. God created human beings to worship Him. God loves us, and so gave us the freedom to choose between His way or our way. Worship, after all, is pretty meaningless if it is forced. We screwed up and sin entered the world. God, being -Perfect- can have nothing to do with sin; its against his very nature. However, He still loves -us-, so He gave us a way to be free from it. He gave us a Messiah to save us.
It seems to me that sin entered not at the time when we screwed up but already before because you say that God gave us the freedom to choose between His way or our way. So, reading that sentence it seems to me that God created "our way". So, creating "our way" he created the sin.

P.S.: I may be off for several days. Get back to you then.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#47

Post by CeT-To » Wed May 18, 2011 6:25 am

He created choice which allows the actualisation of sin but thats up to us if we want to actualise sin.. its like saying i gave you a gun to protect your family but then you shoot them and kill them... are you going to blame God for giving you that gun or are you going to be held morally responsible? Clearly the latter...
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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#48

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Wed May 18, 2011 8:49 am

1over137 wrote:Two things I do not understand:
MarcusOfLycia wrote: Well... if God and hell exist, then atheism wouldn't be a particularly good choice I wouldn't think.
I am thinking about what such an atheist should do. Should he say: "Well God, I do not know if you exist, but rather I'm going to believe in you, since the atheism wouldn't be a partucularly good choice if you exist." Is this fair to God? Or another question: Isn't this insane? (no offence here, just contemplating)
Well, the argument itself is a rewording of Pascal's wager, and no, it isn't insane, it is pretty logical. I might not have been clear so I'll try to clarify:

Suppose God exists and the atheist doesn't know about Him: The atheist should spend all his time -trying- to know Him!
Suppose God exists and the atheist doesn't want to know about Him: That seems 'insane', as you put. This is the scenario I was talking about. There is a subliminal acknowledgement that the atheist already has some inclination that God exists in this scenario (or at least could), but they don't want anything to do with Him.

In any scenario where God exists, He is the ultimate standard for Justice and Love. Trying to say God is 'unfair' is like howling at the moon in its vanity. In any scenario where God doesn't exist... Justice and Love can't really even be rationale concepts. Again... howling at the moon. At least that's the way I see it.
1over137 wrote:
MarcusOfLycia wrote: First is about the purpose of the world in the first place. God created human beings to worship Him. God loves us, and so gave us the freedom to choose between His way or our way. Worship, after all, is pretty meaningless if it is forced. We screwed up and sin entered the world. God, being -Perfect- can have nothing to do with sin; its against his very nature. However, He still loves -us-, so He gave us a way to be free from it. He gave us a Messiah to save us.
It seems to me that sin entered not at the time when we screwed up but already before because you say that God gave us the freedom to choose between His way or our way. So, reading that sentence it seems to me that God created "our way". So, creating "our way" he created the sin.
Freedom and sin are not the same thing. We can do multiple things that are right and multiple things that are wrong. There isn't a specific set of things that we have to do to please God with any variance leading to his displeasure. If you lean towards equating sin and freedom, then maybe an example of law would help: Is a person breaking the law every time they do something that isn't pre-scripted by the law? The answer is obvious enough, I think. Why would it be any different for our relationship with God?


If you see the granting of freedom as just one step towards human sin, you are probably right. The only issue is blame, and it can't rest on God because He didn't make the choice for people (remember, He gave us freedom). He knew it would happen, sure, but going back to the law example, an officer can't arrest someone just because they might at some point in the future murder someone or rob a store. Before they're guilty of it or in the process of it, they haven't done anything wrong.

Hope this helps.
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“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#49

Post by B. W. » Wed May 18, 2011 9:07 am

One other thing, if God denied choice - freedom of choice - then would he really be just?
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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#50

Post by 1over137 » Mon May 23, 2011 1:15 am

MarcusOfLycia wrote: Well, the argument itself is a rewording of Pascal's wager, and no, it isn't insane, it is pretty logical.
The wager (from Wikipedia):

1. "God is, or He is not"
2. A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
4. You must wager. It is not optional.
5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

And now my question: Do you think that God accepts a person who is going to believe just because of the wager? Would God be pleased by that? Shouldn't people come to God from other reasons?
MarcusOfLycia wrote: hell can be seen as a completely justified place that a loving God would create.
Well, ok, it may seem justified, but I have the problem with the word 'loving'. Couldn't people get another chance when finding themselves in hell and asking God for mercy? Wouldn't loving God help them? Is just more than love?

I'd like to also ask what remains from a person when going to hell? Will God take back what belongs to Him?
MarcusOfLycia wrote: If you see the granting of freedom as just one step towards human sin, you are probably right. The only issue is blame, and it can't rest on God because He didn't make the choice for people (remember, He gave us freedom).
I'd like to ask about the origin of lie, hatred, disobedience and so on. The love originates from God (created by God), so, what about the other mentioned things?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#51

Post by neo-x » Mon May 23, 2011 2:49 am

@1over137, just to point somethings
And now my question: Do you think that God accepts a person who is going to believe just because of the wager? Would God be pleased by that? Shouldn't people come to God from other reasons?
Yes and No, really depends on whether it is about admitting that someone exists beyond our natural and scientific realms. God accepts a person in faith, doesn't matter if the faith was born of a logical conclusion or rational wager or by reading John 3:16. what matters is that one should not be cheating his own self into faith. Faith comes by hope, hope that exists because of a choice, the choice can be born out of any set of events or circumstances. The choice is only, you believe or you don't. There is no formula involved. It doesn't matter by what reason you come to God, either you believe or you don't, however if you come, just come in faith.

On a side note, try trusting God (even if it makes you feel embarrassed or illogical, try it), if he is out there and you wanna really know about him, you'll probably cross paths, at least I hope so.
Well, ok, it may seem justified, but I have the problem with the word 'loving'. Couldn't people get another chance when finding themselves in hell and asking God for mercy? Wouldn't loving God help them? Is just more than love?
Why?
if you screw your neighbor's wife instead of your loving wife, should you get a second chance? not on merit obviously, since you don't qualify for any in your present state, only by grace or compassion of your wife, will you get a second chance. And if she refuses to give you that second chance, would you have a problem with her being "less loving or non-loving" would the idea of being "Just" be in direct opposition to love. No, it will be in accordance of whats fair of how much she loved you. You screwed up, your problem, if she decides to forgive you, you didn't deserve it, not on your own merit, in other words you didn't earn it.

Unconditional love doesn't automatically overrules fairness and justice. It is not contradiction, it is mutual system that balances itself out. People who think that
God should never punish anyone are mislead by suppositions. God's mercy is infinite, but God is not a soda machine that you can pop a coin in and get the soda out. God as we know, have a mind and a heart and it is his sense of judgement and love, his priorities and agenda that can ascertain where love and fairness should be applied.

If you are ever loving God, a God who always love, and you believe in second chances, would you give a second chance to a child molester, whom you know will be doing the same thing once he is out. There is a reason we have juries and parole boards. They at length determine whether a person is sound or qualified enough to be allowed into society. But should they base their actions on emotional pleas, they are bound to be wrong. I only hope that if you get in their shoes, you can feel the weight of their decisions. Now that being said, God is never happy when his creation suffer, not even the sinner in hell. There is no merry making in that. Sin is by choice, and if in hell, someone realized, he was wrong, then It is literally unfair to justify his wrong at that moment. because then it will out of pure fear, cheating themselves in the idea that they love God, you can't do that. it won't take faith, it will be a hard shock and it will produce a tormented confession, not by free will but by fear. And if indeed God justifies and lets them aboard in his grace, then the whole point of free will, justice and fairness, love and grace is mute. And you can very well argue that God should just forgive about anyone. Because if it is for one, then why not for others.
I am not saying that second chances are not allowed or unfair, just saying that there is a line where loves is over ruled by fairness and justice it also happens vice versa, as in the case example of the prodigal son.
I'd like to ask about the origin of lie, hatred, disobedience and so on. The love originates from God (created by God), so, what about the other mentioned things?
Choice, it is the simplest answer if you rationally look at it. What is truth? God is. What is lie? he isn't. simple. Love originates from God, the choice to reject that love is with us, free will. you choose. if you don't love, you hate, hate is no original entity in itself, rather it is the choice of disregarding love and hope and that is the feeling you call hate. Choosing to not obey, results in disobeying. These are not dynamic attributes to begin with because they are alternatives to certain feelings. They can originate wherever there is free will.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
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And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#52

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Mon May 23, 2011 1:43 pm

1over137 wrote:And now my question: Do you think that God accepts a person who is going to believe just because of the wager? Would God be pleased by that? Shouldn't people come to God from other reasons?
Well, what makes one 'reason' better than another 'reason'? Does it matter to the government why I pay my taxes as long as I do? Probably not. The point is, coming to God is the easy part - having God work on you is a very difficult thing to endure. God is pleased whenever we move towards Him. There are a ton of different ways He has gotten people's attention. Sometimes its a good argument, sometimes an event, sometimes a change of heart; doesn't matter. The point is God draws people to Him and accepting Him is a pretty simple next step if people are willing.

I am curious though, what reasons do you think would be good ones to come to God?
1over137 wrote:Well, ok, it may seem justified, but I have the problem with the word 'loving'. Couldn't people get another chance when finding themselves in hell and asking God for mercy? Wouldn't loving God help them? Is just more than love?
How do you define love? If God exists, wouldn't it be better to use His definition? The only scenario that includes hell is the one where God exists... so we should probably use His definition. A proper answer to the question of "why doesn't God rescue people from hell" would take volumes of material to explain, so this won't do it much justice, but: The whole point of this life is that its God's merciful chance for us to choose ourselves who we will serve!
1over137 wrote:I'd like to also ask what remains from a person when going to hell? Will God take back what belongs to Him?
That would be unloving according to God's definition :D (which includes not choosing our destinations for us). Remember, the best definition of hell is eternal death, and the best definition of death is separation from God. So "eternal separation from God" is basically what hell is. Much harder for God than for those enduring it. Remember, He loves us! Yet, He lets us have our way because our love that comes in response to Him cannot be force, lest it not be love.
1over137 wrote:I'd like to ask about the origin of lie, hatred, disobedience and so on. The love originates from God (created by God), so, what about the other mentioned things?
There is a TON of discussion about this through the history of Christianity. I'd suggest reading from some of the great Theologians if you are interested. My own belief is that they are the natural byproduct of choice - if you have a good option, you'll have lots of less than good options. Remember that the first sin was the sin of trying to be like God. By coincidence, all sin is an attempt to be God: wanting to set our own rules and breaking His, wanting our own way and following it instead of His, etc.
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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#53

Post by 1over137 » Tue May 24, 2011 1:00 am

neo-x wrote: On a side note, try trusting God (even if it makes you feel embarrassed or illogical, try it), if he is out there and you wanna really know about him, you'll probably cross paths, at least I hope so.
I cannot do it right now, since
neo-x wrote: one should not be cheating his own self into faith
I need to do more research. But there are people (e.g. Dr. Ehrman) who became agnostics after deep studying of the Scriptures.
(I read about Ehrman here: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... ption.html)
So, I am afraid that one could study his whole life and does not become a Christian.

We are talking about second chances and I want to point out the following: I envy Jesus's disciples since they could speak directly to Jesus. So their chance was bigger than the chance we have now, therefore I was thininkg whether people could not get one more chance. Only one more, since I also think that God is not a 'soda machine'.

You, neo-x, said that
neo-x wrote: It is literally unfair to justify his wrong at that moment. because then it will out of pure fear, cheating themselves in the idea that they love God, you can't do that. it won't take faith, it will be a hard shock and it will produce a tormented confession, not by free will but by fear.
I am thinking about whether it will out of pure fear only. What about out of sorrow?
MarcusOfLycia wrote: Does it matter to the government why I pay my taxes as long as I do?
What are the taxes Christians must pay?
MarcusOfLycia wrote: There are a ton of different ways He has gotten people's attention. Sometimes its a good argument, sometimes an event, sometimes a change of heart; doesn't matter. The point is God draws people to Him and accepting Him is a pretty simple next step if people are willing.
I am curious though, what reasons do you think would be good ones to come to God?
The best would be to see a miracle. Even better, to see God and talk to Him (but then it would not be about believing but about knowing that He is.)

I still have something to say to the topic of this thread.

My father is an atheist. His mother was very strong believer. When he was a child he was sent to live with one priest for several months. He did not have good experience there. The priest was strict and closeminded. My father is a very smart person. When he was about 12 he built his own radio. Being smart and having strongly believing mother who could not answer questions, who was strict, well. There are very smart and curious children, and a smart person needs a smart Christian.
I also know that mother of my father was refusing medicine. She would pray instead. Then, she died.
A word 'dissapointment' is now on my mind. People may be disapointed and may move away from God.

I have one friend who is little fanatic. When I see fanatics, I wonder whether they think at all. Now my friend is in a group where people think they can heal. When I visited her, her husband told us a story about how he healed his father's foot. Do they think that I am going to believe just because they said that? No. My friend also sent me links where some priests in Africa healed people. One even raised a dead person. Am I supposed to believe that? Even Christians that commented the video accused the priest of cheating. I asked my friend whether they can heal a person on a wheelchair. She was silent then.

Speaking about doubts about miracles, well, I think that some dose of scepticism is neccesary. Otherwise, one could end up in a sect for example. Very dangerous. And I remember what my Christian friend (that missionary) told me once: "Even Satan can do miracles."

That's all for now. By the way, thanks for talking to me.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#54

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Tue May 24, 2011 3:14 pm

To be honest, my biggest request of God used to be "send me a miracle". In time, I've come to know that I have seen some miracles in my life, and after they fade I stop considering them miracles. I spend my time trying to rationalize them (in much the same way that I try to rationalize bad behavior I do to make it seem like good behavior) until they don't seem like miracles at all.

But two miracles keep coming back to me again and again, each time with more veracity and I cannot rationalize them. The first is the miracle of self - I exist! The moment this clicks in my brain I can't get over it. I am alive. It makes me laugh that sometimes people think they need to search their whole lives and say incredibly wordy things to convey something profound, but just realizing one's own existence is one of the greatest things you could do.

The second miracle is the existence of anything. Without cause, there is nothing. To rephrase: There is nothing without cause. Nothing happens without cause. Yet we have a universe. We have matter, energy, and forces. We have people (each person a miracle, remember!) and we have things that science can't explain sufficiently like selfless love and philosophy.

Perhaps you've noticed these miracles too, or like myself for a long time just kind of skipped over them. Anyway, they might be a good place to start, but remember that lasting effects on people don't typically come from events, they come from changes in character... and character takes a whole lot of time to change.
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#55

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Tue May 24, 2011 3:15 pm

Also, thank you for sharing some of the details of your family. That isn't always a fun thing to do (to open up a bit), but I know I appreciate it and others probably do too!
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#56

Post by 1over137 » Wed May 25, 2011 12:40 am

MarcusOfLycia wrote: Also, thank you for sharing some of the details of your family. That isn't always a fun thing to do (to open up a bit), but I know I appreciate it and others probably do too!
I do not have a problem being open.

Now I need to make a small advertisement.
I am looking for someone who would dialog with me (via email). Maybe you wonder why I just do not include myself in other threads. It's because I feel a need to correct things which I consider not totally right and therefore I would sooner or later go offtopic. I have unanswered questions (some are already posted - I know that answering them would be offtopic).

Concerning the comments to the Keller's book (which someone told me to bring it on): I lost the file, but my friend has it and will send it to me when he returns home.

Nice day!
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#57

Post by 1over137 » Wed May 25, 2011 1:27 am

One more thing:
... we have things that science can't explain sufficiently like selfless love and philosophy
Something I find very interesting (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_in_animals)

1. Dogs often adopt orphaned cats, squirrels, ducks and even tigers.
2. Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time and pushing them to the surface so they can breathe.
3. Wolves and wild dogs bring meat back to members of the pack not present at the kill.
4. Gibbons and chimpanzees with food will, in response to a gesture, share their food with others of the group.
5. Chimpanzees will help humans and conspecifics without any reward in return.
6. Vampire bats commonly regurgitate blood to share with unlucky or sick roost mates that have been unable to find a meal, often forming a buddy system.
7. etc
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#58

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Wed May 25, 2011 1:44 pm

1over137 wrote:One more thing:
... we have things that science can't explain sufficiently like selfless love and philosophy
Something I find very interesting (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_in_animals)

1. Dogs often adopt orphaned cats, squirrels, ducks and even tigers.
2. Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time and pushing them to the surface so they can breathe.
3. Wolves and wild dogs bring meat back to members of the pack not present at the kill.
4. Gibbons and chimpanzees with food will, in response to a gesture, share their food with others of the group.
5. Chimpanzees will help humans and conspecifics without any reward in return.
6. Vampire bats commonly regurgitate blood to share with unlucky or sick roost mates that have been unable to find a meal, often forming a buddy system.
7. etc
Interesting point, but I don't know that it ties fully with 'selfless love'. I think there's a difference between keeping your 'pack' healthy for your own mutual benefit and giving up something that cannot help you in any way (for instance, your life).

Dogs and wolves, being pack animals, are certainly likely to take other animals in (they take humans in all the time) as part of their packs. Don't know myself as much about primates and dolphins, but I still don't know if I'd go so far as to call 'altruistic animal behavior' an equivalent with 'selfless love'. If animals have something that points to love existing (which they do, most certainly), then I think its just that - a pointer. What it points to is of greater interest, I think.
-- Josh

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1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#59

Post by neo-x » Wed May 25, 2011 9:22 pm

Please note that altruism always go against natural selection, since it may demand more than reciprocal benefits.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: What makes a person atheist?

#60

Post by 1over137 » Fri May 27, 2011 12:28 am

Some stories with bottlenose dolphins:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/3-stor ... viors.html#
http://www.assortedscribbles.com/posts/ ... d_Altruism

One story ends with the words:
"In addition, fantastically, to protect the lives of individuals from a totally different species. A selfless act; is this a golden example of altruism?"

Reading the stories, I wonder whether the behaviour of dolphins points to love or whether it is already the act of selfless love.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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