Thank you for the comment! I'm glad that you gave time for my questions.
I also hope that some of the readers who see this will be able to understand your positions and beliefs more clearly.
No problem. I've got lots of free time right now. I'm all for learning, and questioning is a big part of that. Sure, it would be nice if people understood my positions and beliefs. I'm trying to strike a balance between expressing my beliefs, and not terribly offending everyone. Its tough to do sometimes.
Yeah, I did give a rather vague question. Sorry 'bout that. I have more questions down below though.
Thanks for answering this anyway.
Hey, no worries! I'm sure we've all asked vague questions. Fire away!
Interesting. I believe that no one can live alone as well. However, the point you made was that you can't live without doing anything significant in this world, correct?
Well, your statement is much stronger than mine. I'm not sure I can agree with it as written. At the end of my life, I may have failed to have made a significant impact, but I'm not going to kill myself, because I believe I'm not making a significant impact. I hope that makes sense. I believe I would kill myself, if I didn't believe it was possible for me to attempt to make a significant impact. Say, for example, I wouldn't want to be kept alive if I was "a vegetable." Another example would be if I had no way to communicate. Say I had no arms or legs, and I was blind, deaf, and mute. I believe nothingness (death) is preferable to either of those states. Hopefully that helps clarify.
No offense taken, I'm sure. It was a legit question.
Oh good! I felt bad writing that, but I couldn't think of a better example where my morals disagree with my moral instincts.
Do you mean to say that when we're born, we've got our moral impulses already? Which is then compounded by our environment?
As I understand this is a psycho-social sort of explanation of morality and then you differentiate between the code and the impulses.
To some degree, yes, excepting brain damage, or "abnormal" physical development of the brain. I wouldn't say we have ALL of our moral impulses at birth (they can be changed), but we certainly have some. Yes, your environment is one of the factors that may change your moral impulses. Our morality (encompassing both morals and moral impulses), is in part psycho-social. I would argue it is more than that, but that is a big part of it. The main point I was trying to make is that our morals (what we believe
is good or bad), does not necessarily have to align with our moral impulses (what we feel
is good or bad). This is a really important point, and applies to more than just morals.
I think that we all try and search for morality whether it be objective or not; there is still that search. One could posit an evolutionary argument on the existence of this search as well but I digress.
Yes, one could, and I do.
Would you agree with the Golden Rule? I know that it's a silly question but a question nonetheless.
The "Golden Rule": Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. (Please let me know if you disagree that this is the "Golden Rule".)
Hold on here, I am offended that you "know" its a silly question. This is not a silly question! This is a very important, if not the most important
question a person can ask another person. If you had said that to me in person, I'd start cursing and chewing you out. This is also not a light question to ask. Unfortunately, it is usually viewed as such, but you are asking about what I think is a good way to treat people. That gives me pause to think. I do not agree with the golden rule at all. In fact, I think it is a terrible "rule"! Let me give you some examples why.
1. Consider the case of masochism (the tendency to derive sexual gratification from one’s own pain or humiliation). According to the golden rule, the masochist is morally right in inflicting pain or humiliation on another, because they derive sexual gratification from having pain or humiliation inflicted on them. Do I agree with that? Not in the slightest.
You don't even have to go to such extremes.
2. According to the golden rule, if someone enjoys a certain sexual act performed on them, they should perform that act on others. Again, I don't agree at all.
It doesn't even need to be sexual.
3. According to the golden rule, if someone wanted someone else to kill them (they want to die, but don't want to kill themselves), they are morally right to kill everyone they see. I object to this stronger than I object to the claim that God exists. I'd go so far as to say I militantly oppose this.
It doesn't even need to be non sexual and extreme, and it doesn't make sense.
4. According to the golden rule, if someone wanted to be taught, they should teach other people.
5. According to the golden rule, if someone wanted other people to give them more of something, they should give away what they want more of (This argument is not about morality, but just shows the logical absurdity of the claim. Some people do apply the golden rule outside of the issue of morality, though. I was taught that giving money to the poor would cause me to have more money.)
The golden rule (uck, I hate that phrase), is a very old, very basic, and very foolish ethic.
Here are some additional questions that I also gave Thadeyus:
Yay! More questions! (That is a sincere statement, not sarcastic.) Ask away!
How do you define God?
I don't. I don't believe God exists, so I don't define it. However, I will give you the answer to a question that is close to yours, and hopefully that will suffice.
Q: How would you define a god, which you could be convinced to believe, exists?
A: Some sort of matter and force outside of our universe. Not a being, not an intelligence, but some sort of matter (or even antimatter, or some other something found outside our universe) and force (the capability of change in the "something", not necessarily force as we know it).
What were the steps you took to come to the conclusion that the Being does not exist or that the evidence points that such a Being does not exist?
Oh wow, really?! The antitheist gets to preach? Awesome! Out of respect, I'll try to keep the majority of my antitheistic views out of it. I'm not sure I can honestly answer the question without saying some things that most theists would find insulting, but I'll try.
I'll answer the second part of your question first, because it is a lot easier. Scientifically, no evidence is required to point to such a being not existing, and, as you would expect, there is no scientifically accepted evidence of such a claim. Since neither side has any scientifically accepted evidence, the best we can do is apply Occam's razor to the situation. For those that are unfamiliar: "It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected." I want to be perfectly clear that this (Occam's razor) is NOT
scientific evidence. It is my belief, that the only position on the question of God's existence, which is not wrong, is that of "I'm not capable of knowing". A strong argument could be made for the position of "I don't know", but that is just a position of ignorance. I'm fine with being ignorant on a lot of topics (and I don't make claims about them), but the question of the existence of God is not one of them.
On to the first part of the question! I'll rephrase it a bit, just to emphasize how much my position has changed. How did I go from a hardcore fundamentalist Christian prayer warrior, who is an eye witness to miracles (yes, I still claim that), spoke in tongues, and prophesied, to someone opposed to the very belief of God's existence? It took considerable time, thinking, learning, changing my methodology for determining truth claims, and (then) re-evaluating claims. I like to say.... never mind what I like to say. The point is that it takes keeping an open mind, and a lot of little steps. Reversing a belief that you hold strongly, is an extremely difficult thing to do. Religion for me was much more than a belief, which made it even harder.
The first step, was coming to the realization that science (as we know it today) and God are opposed. Yes, I know this is an often debated topic, and people have differing views on the topic. However, I can only find one valid argument, which I won't state, unless specifically asked, that they are not opposed (Note that the validity of an argument, is not the correctness of an argument.) However, I could find a really convincing argument that God and science are opposed. I'm being vague here, and probably fallacious, because I'm trying to minimize hurt feelings.
After suffering from inner turmoil for a couple of years, I finally came to believe that I would rather be miserable than wrong. I picked science over God. I was very ignorant to the methods of science, and so I was miserable, for quite a few more years. However, as I learned more about scientific methods, I became more and more comfortable with the choice I had made.
As I began to replace my religious model of determining truth, with my scientific one, people kept trying convince me to "come back to God." The more my model changed, the more I disliked my religion. Eventually, I came to see just how bad it really was, so now I fight against it. I thought I was fighting for the "underdog" before, but now that I've been on both sides, I assure you, this (antitheistic) side is much harder to convert people to.
So that's the polite version of my "antitheistic testimony". Thank you very much for asking! Sharing this has greatly improved my day.
Does that mean that you disbelieve in the supernatural? Or would you say that supernatural things are just natural things that we have yet to explain?
Oy! Supernatural is a "bad" word!
I think a lot of things that are called supernatural, really aren't. I don't know what YOU mean by the term, so its tough to answer the question. If you mean that sometimes things happen that we expect not to happen, and we cannot explain them scientifically, then I believe that. Science does not, and probably never will, have ALL the answers. Personally, I call those miraculous events. I'll give you an example.
My father was hit by a steel beam, and his neck was broken in three places. The doctors told him he would most likely be paralyzed from the neck down, and would never walk again. My father replied "God is going to heal me in 3 days, and I will walk out of this hospital." 3 days later, there was no sign of any trauma (never mind the spine broken in 3 places) ever occurring, and my father walked out of the hospital. This is well documented in his medical files, with x-rays, doctors reports, etc. No one (except my father, of course) has ever offered a hypothesis of how this happened, never mind any evidence to support their claim. He still walks (among other things), to this day. I don't know if you believe this to be a supernatural event, I think the word is muddied so badly it shouldn't be used. I believe this kind of thing does happen, and I call them "miraculous events". I hope this answers your question sufficiently. if not, as always, try asking it a different way, and I'll try to provide a better answer.
Cheers, and thanks again for asking me to share!