If there is no God

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
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Re: If there is no God

#16

Post by StMonicaGuideMe » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:13 pm

Spartan, I have to commend you on your comments about what REAL child abuse is. I am so tired of hearing that teaching children about religion is abuse. I was even told by someone that it is a "gross abuse of parental power".

I had to say this: "ARE. YOU. $)^*(^@^. KIDDING. ME?! "

:sargh: :soap: No child of mine will ever have the message pounded into them that they were born for no reason, will die for no reason, what they do in life is meaningless, who and what they will love in life is meaningless, that what they leave behind doesn't matter, that there is no such thing as their legacy since we all are on our way to entropy, that they are easily replaceable, that they were born only because mommy and daddy are biological machines that made them do it, that love in of itself is an evolutionary process that made mommy and daddy do it, and in fact makes mommy and daddy "love" them and that when mommy and daddy die, they will never see us again.

THAT is the real child abuse and THAT is the message of atheism. It's disgusting.

What is the problem with teaching a child that what they do is precious, that their life is precious, that everything they say and do has meaning and can affect others, that how we live our life matters, that we have responsibility to each other, that they have INTRINSIC WORTH, that God loves them, that they were made because God loved them before they were even made, that their parents made them from love...these are happy, healthy and profound messages that benefit a child. I fail to see how any of these things constitute as abuse.
To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge".

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Re: If there is no God

#17

Post by Murray » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:26 pm

StMonicaGuideMe wrote:
:sargh: :soap: No child of mine will ever have the message pounded into them that they were born for no reason, will die for no reason, what they do in life is meaningless, who and what they will love in life is meaningless, that what they leave behind doesn't matter, that there is no such thing as their legacy since we all are on our way to entropy, that they are easily replaceable, that they were born only because mommy and daddy are biological machines that made them do it, that love in of itself is an evolutionary process that made mommy and daddy do it, and in fact makes mommy and daddy "love" them and that when mommy and daddy die, they will never see us again.

Well monica that is the sad fact, and if you believe anything other than that you are a bible thumping zealot and you should be called out on it publicly. We must spread this message publicly through billboards and buses to make sure people know that believing anything other than this is dangerous and that believing in a higher power causes to people to kill and to not take responsibility for there actions.

Religion is a cancer to the world and it must be eliminated (oh, but not by force), we must fully force our views which are right and put down others because they are wrong (but we are not a religion), We must spread our views through whatever means necessary and make sure our views are taught in schools, because we all know that people with other beliefs are wrong.
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Re: If there is no God

#18

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:44 pm

Well monica that is the sad fact, and if you believe anything other than that you are a bible thumping zealot and you should be called out on it publicly. We must spread this message publicly through billboards and buses to make sure people know that believing anything other than this is dangerous and that believing in a higher power causes to people to kill and to not take responsibility for there actions.

Religion is a cancer to the world and it must be eliminated (oh, but not by force), we must fully force our views which are right and put down others because they are wrong (but we are not a religion), We must spread our views through whatever means necessary and make sure our views are taught in schools, because we all know that people with other beliefs are wrong.
Do i detect a hint of sarcasm? :mrgreen:
1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: If there is no God

#19

Post by StMonicaGuideMe » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:21 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Well monica that is the sad fact, and if you believe anything other than that you are a bible thumping zealot and you should be called out on it publicly. We must spread this message publicly through billboards and buses to make sure people know that believing anything other than this is dangerous and that believing in a higher power causes to people to kill and to not take responsibility for there actions.

Religion is a cancer to the world and it must be eliminated (oh, but not by force), we must fully force our views which are right and put down others because they are wrong (but we are not a religion), We must spread our views through whatever means necessary and make sure our views are taught in schools, because we all know that people with other beliefs are wrong.

:srofl: :srofl: :srofl:
To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge".

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Re: If there is no God

#20

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:09 am

StMonicaGuideMe wrote:Spartan, I have to commend you on your comments about what REAL child abuse is. I am so tired of hearing that teaching children about religion is abuse. I was even told by someone that it is a "gross abuse of parental power".

I had to say this: "ARE. YOU. $)^*(^@^. KIDDING. ME?! "

:sargh: :soap: No child of mine will ever have the message pounded into them that they were born for no reason, will die for no reason, what they do in life is meaningless, who and what they will love in life is meaningless, that what they leave behind doesn't matter, that there is no such thing as their legacy since we all are on our way to entropy, that they are easily replaceable, that they were born only because mommy and daddy are biological machines that made them do it, that love in of itself is an evolutionary process that made mommy and daddy do it, and in fact makes mommy and daddy "love" them and that when mommy and daddy die, they will never see us again.

THAT is the real child abuse and THAT is the message of atheism. It's disgusting.

What is the problem with teaching a child that what they do is precious, that their life is precious, that everything they say and do has meaning and can affect others, that how we live our life matters, that we have responsibility to each other, that they have INTRINSIC WORTH, that God loves them, that they were made because God loved them before they were even made, that their parents made them from love...these are happy, healthy and profound messages that benefit a child. I fail to see how any of these things constitute as abuse.

Brilliant post!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: If there is no God

#21

Post by Nomis » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:37 pm

I don't understand how people can be atheists, nor do I understand how people can be agnostics and basically give atheists/theists a chance at being right. I think it's best to quote Frank Turek when he says "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist."[/quote]

This is I think how......

This is how an Athiest, sees the world with the biblical God:

Our whole reason for existence is a little unclear. God created us - but why? To love him? Sure, but why did he want or need to be loved? Was he lonely? Was he merely Bored? Are these emotions to human to apply to God. If he made us in his image, then perhaps not, for out emotions are perhaps his. We cannot know, for he does not tell us which parts of his image he imparted. So is absolute purpose is to keep God from being lonely, or being bored, or something else? We can never know our actual purpose, for we can never comprehend the mind of god.

We have free will in the supernatural sense, so our decisions do not have to have a cause. Our lives are lead by our causeless whim.

We have morals, absolute Morals... Well, Morals as created by God. As absolute as that gets us. God may of course have arbitrarily conceived them as he wishes, for he is infinitely powerful. And if we choose to follow them we are forever rewarded, if we don't, we are forever punished. So we are only good because we are told to be.

So we don't know our ultimate purpose, we cannot make true decisions, and we must live under rule, and forced love of a lonely or bored dictator - or be punished for all eternity.

I think the Atheist therefore has their world view because they want an absolute reason/explination for existence. They want a cause and reason for their decisions (and the reasons decisions of others). They want a Morality based in the makeup of Humanity. And as such want a world where people to good, and not evil, because it is in their nature, not for fear of punishment.

I hope this post has helped answer your question.

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Re: If there is no God

#22

Post by jlay » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:18 am

Nomis,

Yes, those are all objections we commonly hear. What would you say are the greatest flaws in those objections?
Particularly in these areas:

Is God arbitrary?
Does God's demand to reciprocate love mean He is lacking, or lonely?
What is freewill? (For example, how do we even discuss freewill in a matierial universe.)
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: If there is no God

#23

Post by CallMeDave » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:06 pm

spartanII wrote:Alright so this is what atheism has to hold to if there is no God.

There is no objective purpose to life. All things ever done on this planet, or this universe, or any other universe will be eventually destroyed once all the elements wear out and the universe and it's properties cease to exist.

So therefore, meaning in life is nothing more than an illusion.

If there is nothing like a spirit or some sort of immaterial property that inhibits us (fill in any religion, Buddhism/Hindiusm/Christianity) then there is no choice, ultimately.
The universe started by some means of universal laws/materials and every succeeding action has been a proceeding action of the Big Bang. Our brains are nothing more than a cage of materials that are governed by physical laws. Even if you could find the "conscientiousness" and "choice," that finding would be an illusion because your using the very thing in question, your brain. Atheists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Steven Pinker totally support this idea but would hate to release people from jail, even though they were bound by their chemicals to be there in the first place. Life is a simulation that we have no control over.

Life is just lead by the ancient chemicals, infinite luck, and blind processes.

Morals are an illusion too. Even if you could propose something like evolutionary psychology, there is nothing objectively wrong with not wanting to following that.


I don't understand how people can be atheists, nor do I understand how people can be agnostics and basically give atheists/theists a chance at being right. I think it's best to quote Frank Turek when he says "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist."
I always find it amusing that people will say there is no purpose , no morals, and no Soul (or Self which is apart from our Brains) .

1. No Purpose...yet 'atheists' live daily having purpose in what they do or strive to attain goals which have a purpose.
2. No (absolute) morals....yet 'atheists' live daily expecting Others treat them in accordance to absolute morals and ethics and when they are morally violated, their REACTIONS are such that they demonstrate that absolute moral values were not afforded them .
3. No Soul (that is, no Mind)....yet 'atheists' live daily by animating thier human body thru their non physical Soul/Self (apart from thier physical Brain) . And if they were to have 5% of their brain removed, they would not appreciate someone declaring that they are just 95% of a human being now . Youll never hear them say that someone is 'out of their brain'....but they will say instead : 'You are out of your MIND' .

Perhaps is conclusive that 'atheism' cant truly be lived out based on atheistic based ideologies....as much as One needs these ideologies .
"I never asserted such an absurd proposition, that something could arise without a Cause" -- staunch atheist Philosopher David Hume.

"What this world now needs is Christian love or compassion" -- staunch atheist Bertrand Russell.

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Re: If there is no God

#24

Post by Nomis » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:39 pm

jlay,

I'll first answer broadly and then address the particular areas you've asked to examine more closely.

Ok, broadly speaking...

I actually think that these objections are pretty solid. I've meditated objectively on them for countless hours over the years and find them to be logically and internally consistent, and most thinkers I've talked to in my travels have agreed (I guess thats why they are commonly offered as objections).

Having said that, two different world views can lead to identical actions. I actually think this is because, as humans, we pretty much have identical wishes and desires. This is why Matthew 7.12 is so powerful.

You'll notice my summary of the Atheists desires, is pretty much what, fundamentally, the traditional Christian desires also. They both want a reason/explination for their existence. They both want free will in the sense that it explains their subjective experience and allows for moral responsibility, and they both want to be good people, and want people to be good to them.

So, broadly speaking, I guess I'd say the flaw in the objections is the inference that someone who holds the Biblical world view does not, or cannot share the same desires as the Atheist. The inverse of course holds as well.

Onto the specifics - is God Arbitrary?

The short answer is yes - and necessary so, in the full sense of the word (as most people would mean it), but he was only completely Arbitrary once...

Arbitrary is a bit of a slippery word and for clarification is best spelled out (from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/arbitrary ):

1. Subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion
2.decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by law or statue
3.having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical
4.capricious; unreasonable; unsupported
5. Mathematics. Undetermined; not assigned a specific value

Point 5 is its definition in Mathamatics and can be ignored.

Points 1 and 3, every traditional Christian would agree with because the God in the Bible is all powerful.

Lets look at 2. The God of the bible is definitely a judge and arbiter, but God also dictated the Law and Statue. It is here that it gets interesting. God had to have first created the law and statue on the universe (Which of course must include everything including the laws of nature, the Moral laws, and his overall plan), in accordance with..

...point 4. i.e of a whim, ultimately without reason, and unsupported by anything. This is Necessary for God to be God. Indeed to be all powerful he would have also had to have the power to decide his own characteristics. I can not think of anyway around Gods creation of everything being based on arbitrary decisions, whilst still fulfilling the role of an all powerful god.

If there is a flaw in the objection, it is that one must realize that once these arbitrary decisions where made, point 4. no longer applies to the God of the Bible. Part of his characteristics as understood by conventional Christians is that He is consistent and unwavering (some may argue through biblical example that he is not consistent, but this not important to the current discussion).

To a conventional Christians' worldview, it doesn't bother them God is Arbitrary. In fact it is important that he is. Indeed I appeal to my broad point about the similarity between the conventional Christian and Atheist Worldview. The Christian is forced to say I am here, Arbitrarily by the will of God, the Atheist says, I am here Arbitrarily by the process of evolution.

Now, onto "Does God's demand to reciprocate love mean he is lacking, or lonely?"

This is a tough one to argue for the negative. From a human perspective, anyone demanding reciprocate love is clearly lacking or lonely. To not be lacking would mean to have all you need and desire, and therefore don't have to demand anything (even if you where demanding something just to be hurtful to someone, it would imply you where lacking some sort of satisfaction without it).

I can see two possible ways though. The first is to take the stance that God demands it out of concern for us. You'd argue that if we love god then our lives will be better. He really wants this for us so words the advice strongly as a "demand". While this brushes over the issue of why he arbitrarily created us for this purpose in the first place, it does go some way towards countering this objection.

The only other way I can think of is of course to merely appeal to God's ultimate intentions as being unknowable. So what that God appears to us as lacking, lonely, or bored, ect, this is only a result of our mis-reasoning or understanding of Gods intentions/motivations.

How do we discuss free will in a material universe? I think by material universe you must mean something stronger still - and that in a deterministic material universe.

The short answer is that free will and even consciousness work very well in a materialist, deterministic world. Of course a convincing, well fleshed argument to support this would take a book, and indeed many have been written by minds much greater than myself. Probably the the two most easily accessible, and thorough are Daniel Dennetts' "Freedom evolves", and his "Consciousness Explained". What I particularly like about these books is that they also offer evidence from empirical facts as well as philosophical argument.

In a nutshell, consciousness is the result of incredible complexity. The metaphor is that our mind is serial software working on parallel hardware(the brain). In short, we have a material soul. Free will is granted through the ability to imagine/simulate the outcome of our actions. For example, we know that taking someone's property will cause them suffering - we can imagine that outcome to our actions. If we take there property than we are therefore responsible for their suffering. Whilst in the strictness sense we do not have "magical free will" which defies the laws of cause and effect, the vast complexity of our material soul allows us to act, and indeed subjectively experience life as if we do*.

Does this mean we should release all the prisoners because strictly speaking they where determined to commit there crimes? Not at all. We should lock up thieves and murderers to protect innocent people, more so than to punish the thieves and murderers. God (In most biblical examples through Jesus) agrees with this principle. For example Matthew 5.44 - love your enemies.

Which brings me to the flaw in the Atheists objection of a "causeless magical free will" supposedly necessarily espoused by christianity. I admit not all traditional Christians will agree - but I believe that that the Bible supports the Deterministic, Materialistic Free Will, and even Material Soul of modern philosophy (and soon to be science). Nowhere in the bible can I find that it is necessary that the soul be made of magical stuff - that the free will talked of cannot be the material deterministic freewill of modern philosophy.

Indeed, it does not even say that the necessarily immense complexity that creates the characteristics of God be made from anything other than that which is scientifically detectible by humans.

Ok, so I think I've covered everything you've asked.

Thanks for your questions jlay, hope you found this post to be a stimulating and concise answer.

I'd love to hear your thoughts/critisisms on my responses - especially on God's lacking because he demands reciprocal love. I think my arguments there are pretty weak. Do you have anything better?

* Here is a youtube link (with terrible sound but it is audible) of Dennett explaining the philosophy of compatiblist free will. If you cant accept evolution, I don't think it's a problem for the rest of his argument - just insert Gods creation at a point which suits your tastes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5Q-9uNCLU

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Re: If there is no God

#25

Post by JackEvolution » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:01 pm

StMonicaGuideMe wrote: :sargh: :soap: No child of mine will ever have the message pounded into them that they were born for no reason, will die for no reason, what they do in life is meaningless, who and what they will love in life is meaningless, that what they leave behind doesn't matter, that there is no such thing as their legacy since we all are on our way to entropy, that they are easily replaceable, that they were born only because mommy and daddy are biological machines that made them do it, that love in of itself is an evolutionary process that made mommy and daddy do it, and in fact makes mommy and daddy "love" them and that when mommy and daddy die, they will never see us again.

THAT is the real child abuse and THAT is the message of atheism. It's disgusting.
You did exaggerate a lot but i get your point. Well that is the real world for you. From my point of view it looks like you use religion to turn a blind eye on whats really going on. That's what disgusts me. Sorry to put it that way so bluntly.

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Re: If there is no God

#26

Post by JackEvolution » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:02 pm

From my experience...Religion just looks like some kind of way of life like a codec or something like that. Written by scared men in a time where humans had less knowledge of things. For example: say 2000 years ago an earthquake shook the ground. People didn't know what it was and came to the conclusion that a higher being caused it. Or the moon eclipsed the sun. People saw it like if the gods were punishing them or whatever....

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Re: If there is no God

#27

Post by spartanII » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:22 am

JackEvolution wrote:From my experience...Religion just looks like some kind of way of life like a codec or something like that. Written by scared men in a time where humans had less knowledge of things. For example: say 2000 years ago an earthquake shook the ground. People didn't know what it was and came to the conclusion that a higher being caused it. Or the moon eclipsed the sun. People saw it like if the gods were punishing them or whatever....
That's a genetic fallacy though. Religion could have very well been started that way AND still be true.
Atheist: "Science says it, I believe it, That settles it."

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Re: If there is no God

#28

Post by jlay » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:21 pm

Nomis wrote:jlay,

Onto the specifics - is God Arbitrary?

The short answer is yes - and necessary so, in the full sense of the word (as most people would mean it), but he was only completely Arbitrary once...

Arbitrary is a bit of a slippery word and for clarification is best spelled out (from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/arbitrary ):

1. Subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion
2.decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by law or statue
3.having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical
4.capricious; unreasonable; unsupported
5. Mathematics. Undetermined; not assigned a specific value

Point 5 is its definition in Mathamatics and can be ignored.

Points 1 and 3, every traditional Christian would agree with because the God in the Bible is all powerful.

Lets look at 2. The God of the bible is definitely a judge and arbiter, but God also dictated the Law and Statue. It is here that it gets interesting. God had to have first created the law and statue on the universe (Which of course must include everything including the laws of nature, the Moral laws, and his overall plan), in accordance with..

...point 4. i.e of a whim, ultimately without reason, and unsupported by anything. This is Necessary for God to be God. Indeed to be all powerful he would have also had to have the power to decide his own characteristics. I can not think of anyway around Gods creation of everything being based on arbitrary decisions, whilst still fulfilling the role of an all powerful god.

If there is a flaw in the objection, it is that one must realize that once these arbitrary decisions where made, point 4. no longer applies to the God of the Bible. Part of his characteristics as understood by conventional Christians is that He is consistent and unwavering (some may argue through biblical example that he is not consistent, but this not important to the current discussion).

To a conventional Christians' worldview, it doesn't bother them God is Arbitrary. In fact it is important that he is. Indeed I appeal to my broad point about the similarity between the conventional Christian and Atheist Worldview. The Christian is forced to say I am here, Arbitrarily by the will of God, the Atheist says, I am here Arbitrarily by the process of evolution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5Q-9uNCLU
The term arbitrary as it is most often used on this forum would be number 4, which God is certainly not. That being that God's actions are constrained by His character and nature. Some people see this as 'limiting' God. But God being constrained by His own nature is far different than God being limited by some outside source. Aseity and immutability are key elements here.

I appreciate your reply and will hopefully have more to offer later, as time is short now.
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"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: If there is no God

#29

Post by jlay » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:24 pm

From my experience...Religion just looks like some kind of way of life like a codec or something like that. Written by scared men in a time where humans had less knowledge of things. For example: say 2000 years ago an earthquake shook the ground. People didn't know what it was and came to the conclusion that a higher being caused it. Or the moon eclipsed the sun. People saw it like if the gods were punishing them or whatever....
So what? If you are right, what does it matter?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: If there is no God

#30

Post by CallMeDave » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:49 pm

JackEvolution wrote:From my experience...Religion just looks like some kind of way of life like a codec or something like that. Written by scared men in a time where humans had less knowledge of things. For example: say 2000 years ago an earthquake shook the ground. People didn't know what it was and came to the conclusion that a higher being caused it. Or the moon eclipsed the sun. People saw it like if the gods were punishing them or whatever....

Religion IS a way of life and the secular religion of Atheistic-Humanism is included . As for the Christian Faith, while it is a world religion, it is far more than than....and deeper because it is based on a historical Person who came on the scene 2000 years ago and lived, taught, fulfilled 200 prophecies make hundreds of years in advance of his arrival, and declared certain things about himself then went about proving it on a mass scale to many hundreds of eye witnesses including a ressurection from the dead which have been very accurately recorded by some of these eye witnesses and confirmed by non Christian Historians from that time period. THAT should be enough to make any person look into the evidence since Christ never backed down on his claimed Identity (Creator) and neither did his Disciples even seconds before they could have all spared their own lives from very gruesome deaths. If you want a very consise Source with this evidence in it , then obtain the book called 'I Dont Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist' from www.amazon.com which the last half of the book is devoted to, with the first half of the book closely examining the atheistic worldview to determine how much faith is required to truly believe it. Even atheists declare it is a very fair and scholarly book . If youre still going to reject Christ , then at least youll be doing so based on having unbiasedly investigated the evidence firsthand.
"I never asserted such an absurd proposition, that something could arise without a Cause" -- staunch atheist Philosopher David Hume.

"What this world now needs is Christian love or compassion" -- staunch atheist Bertrand Russell.

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