You are right that they have wildly different implications.plouiswork wrote:I had to give this a lot of thought, because the problem isn't I know I'm not a Christian quite yet (and could become one a bit later) but that while I could already be a Christian, I'd rather not jump the gun and claim I am only to realize I misunderstood what it means to be a Christian.Kurieuo wrote:Only, I've never come across someone like you whose blinders just fell off short of them coming to Christ.
Perhaps you were truly seeking with an open heart, and God opened your eyes so you could at least see the truth of his existence?
The question I ask myself is "where am I?" About a week before joining this forum, I felt I stepped into something (or perhaps it'd be more accurate to say something stepped into me). It reminded me of many things of my childhood. Nothing extraordinary or miraculous needed to be assumed, this something could even just have been an overactive imagination my part, one neuron reaching out to another or something. But the important thing is that it was my experience, and I decided to make up my mind what I would call this.
This attitude, as I've read about and questioned people here and elsewhere, seems to be one that atheists either reject or are largely uninterested in. They seem only interested in what they need to know. If they have doubts about something, they try to avoid having to have a belief about it at all. If they have beliefs in one area and beliefs in another area, connecting those beliefs with plausible, but unprovable, beliefs is "irrational." They avoid doing so as long as they can function without it, even if it means being inconsistent. (Any atheists reading this do feel free to object to my understanding of you.)
So I think in light of all that, you're quite right. I'm not here trying to disprove or dismantle anyone's beliefs, I am merely seeking to see what the inner experience is of both sides. What is it like to be an atheist? What is it like to be a theist? Was what I experienced a short time ago what Christians, specifically, experience? I still don't know the answers to any of these, but in all this seeking I came to read your words and saw a great philosophical difference in attitude between your position and of those you hoped to argue against. The more I read, the more I realized all the "data" so to speak is justifiable either way, just with wildly different implications. And from there, all I can say at the moment is your attitude struck me as truer.
What we have a two different lenses at looking at the world.
Perhaps a reason why my words struck you as truer is because of a large criterion I have in accepting my beliefs.
That is, a worldview must for me explain what we intuitively accept and find impossible to reject.
For example, "I" really do exist. Some actions really are morally wrong. Fairness and justice are true concepts.
Truth exists and can be known such that I am at least able to live my life in a stable, predictable and practical manner.
To not accept these things, well the fabric that glues any society together, indeed allows us to live our lives, would just become thoroughly torn.
Grant for example, that I do not exist, that an "I" is ultimately not responsible for making choices (epiphenominalism).
Well now, there is no justice, no fairness, no goodness. No one is responsible for their actions. "We" don't really exist.
Determinism for me therefore must be rejected. Any view of the world that necessarily leads to Determinism therefore must be rejected.
Therefore, Physicalism or Materialism must be rejected as I see them, and eventually so too Atheism.
Yet, many Atheists will embrace such things regardless, and without providing any metaphysical foundation or explanation other than it's obvious. BUT, I know its obviously, so I'm interested in how a worldview can coherently and logically support such things.
So a big test for me, is that a worldview must explain what is more intuitive to us
-- in other words, explain that which strikes us as true.
Another thread you might be interested in, where is did turn up the heat more than here is:
Can Atheism Stand On Its Own Two Feet?
It seems to me Atheism is just hung in mid-air. Beliefs exist in a vacuum without any explanation.
The moment an explanation is put forward, empiricism rules the roost regardless of what is otherwise a sensible explanation.
Never mind, that empiricism itself may not even be justifiable within the position, but we'll make an exception there so says many an Atheist I've had discussions with. Our rational faculties and physical experiences are a priori and so don't need an explanation.
But, such neglects that not every world view might be compatible with such.
Indeed, some positions lead to absurdities anyone with any ability to think ought to reject out of hand.
For example, if Determinism is true, then there is no room for an "I" in making decisions...
Anyway, evidently I got involved in my post here.
But, I highly recommend my other thread to you.
You know, I thought that perhaps the point sunk in.plouiswork wrote:There does seem to be a great difference between what makes something a god (of many gods) and God (of which philosophically there can be only one), regardless if we may disagree on the exact nature and teachings of God. This I think is the main area I yet have much to learn.Kurieuo wrote:There is also another topic discussed there on how vastly different "belief in gods" versus "belief in God" is.
And yet, many Atheist-leaning people cry foul of Theists who write of Atheism as a more positive belief and assertion,
and then they quite freely love to talk about gods and God in the same breath (as though they're the same) to Christians.
This is also why I find it unfortunate that Ed dropped out of that discussion without comment. I'm quite curious to know what Atheists make of the distinction between gods and God.
And then I saw Ed around a fortnight later talking about his absence of belief in God.
Make me that my words appeared wasted on him.
It is interesting that in another thread, Kenny could develop quite a clear picture of God and what such a being ought to be like. And you know, I can agree with his picture of a good God. Many Christians can, which is why theodicies (explanations to the problem of evil in the world, pain and suffering) has always been a main area in philosophy of religion.
This suggests to me, that there is some picture we have of what we all intuitively expect God to be. And when the world doesn't conform to that picture, it strikes us as odd, wrong and so many decide to reject that God exists. Because what they expect of God, and what they see actually is, cannot be reconciled in their minds.
HOWEVER, the important point I think is this: we all appear to have a concept of a supreme being (God) who has always existed, and what such a being ought to be like. It seems rooted in our very nature. This doesn't prove such a being exists, but it should give one pause. Certainly God is qualitatively different from very anthropomorphic gods.