Why not hope for the best?

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Lunalle
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Why not hope for the best?

#1

Post by Lunalle » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:40 am

Hey all,

I heard a very interesting argument on an atheist show earlier today. The argument basically is "Why not hope for the best?" Now, this one comes with caveats, obviously, but I think it is a solid question, and very applicable to an average person's life.

What do you think? I'd be interested on hearing from both the theists, and atheists.

Cheers!
Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. (from Greek atheos, from a- 'without' + theos 'god').

Are you an atheist or a theist? If you're a theist, move a little closer to the truth, and become an atheist! :)

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#2

Post by RickD » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:58 am

Lunalle,

It would probably help if you presented the actual argument that you are referring to. That way, people who want to respond, can know what to respond to.

Thanks
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Lunalle
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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#3

Post by Lunalle » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:24 am

Okay, I'll try and clarify. Sorry for being vague.

Specifically, this person was concerned with an afterlife. He did not like the idea of nothing when he died, so he said he believed in an afterlife. He admitted he had no evidence for doing so, and based his belief on hope. He hoped there would be an after life, so he didn't "expire". He didn't clarify what kind of an afterlife, but I think it is safe to assume it is a good one.

I'm not so sure what it's about really matters, but I think the point is an important one. I've heard it used to defend theism many times. Most atheists, I assume, would dismiss this argument (on the grounds there is no evidence), but for "average joe", that is not necessarily a good reply. Why not hope for the best, and leave it at that? After all, if we do expire (go to nothingness) when we die, its not like we're going to be able to say "Told you so!"

This really boils down to the following question:
Why should the average person care what is true (about God or god(s) and the afterlife), and not just believe whatever makes them feel good?

Sure, some of us value truth above all, but I suspect most people do not. Furthermore, I don't expect we have a right to expect them to.
Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. (from Greek atheos, from a- 'without' + theos 'god').

Are you an atheist or a theist? If you're a theist, move a little closer to the truth, and become an atheist! :)

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#4

Post by B. W. » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:27 am

Lunalle wrote:Okay, I'll try and clarify. Sorry for being vague.

Specifically, this person was concerned with an afterlife. He did not like the idea of nothing when he died, so he said he believed in an afterlife. He admitted he had no evidence for doing so, and based his belief on hope. He hoped there would be an after life, so he didn't "expire". He didn't clarify what kind of an afterlife, but I think it is safe to assume it is a good one.

I'm not so sure what it's about really matters, but I think the point is an important one. I've heard it used to defend theism many times. Most atheists, I assume, would dismiss this argument (on the grounds there is no evidence), but for "average joe", that is not necessarily a good reply. Why not hope for the best, and leave it at that? After all, if we do expire (go to nothingness) when we die, its not like we're going to be able to say "Told you so!"

This really boils down to the following question:
Why should the average person care what is true (about God or god(s) and the afterlife), and not just believe whatever makes them feel good?

Sure, some of us value truth above all, but I suspect most people do not. Furthermore, I don't expect we have a right to expect them to.
Question: How would you define - best according to your premise?

Question: How would you define true?

Point: majority of people do believe in whatever makes them feel good, and sadly, people do live by this precept.

Please tell me of the state of the world at large, such as the crime, broken homes, divorce rates, family break ups... etc and etc... therefore, has the world improved with this wonderful y/:)2 mindset or deteriorated?
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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#5

Post by 1over137 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:58 am

When I was an atheist I was ok with "there is nothing after". If not then not.
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: Why not hope for the best?

#6

Post by Icthus » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:37 pm

Lunalle wrote: This really boils down to the following question:
Why should the average person care what is true (about God or god(s) and the afterlife), and not just believe whatever makes them feel good?
Because if Christianity (or one of many other religions) is true, then what you choose to believe in will have eternal consequences? That seems like a pretty good reason to care about the truth to me.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#7

Post by Lunalle » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:46 pm

Because if Christianity (or one of many other religions) is true, then what you choose to believe in will have eternal consequences? That seems like a pretty good reason to care about the truth to me.
Threats do not provide a good reason, ever.
Question: How would you define - best according to your premise?
Things will be as I want them to be.
Question: How would you define true?
That is quite a question. In this case, I would say it is the experience (or lack there of) that a person has after death.
Point: majority of people do believe in whatever makes them feel good, and sadly, people do live by this precept.
Yes...
Please tell me of the state of the world at large, such as the crime, broken homes, divorce rates, family break ups... etc and etc... therefore, has the world improved with this wonderful y/:)2 mindset or deteriorated?
I propose a person who is selfish enough to prefer to just hope for the best, would not care enough to find this argument convincing. Although, it is a good place to start. Thanks.
Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. (from Greek atheos, from a- 'without' + theos 'god').

Are you an atheist or a theist? If you're a theist, move a little closer to the truth, and become an atheist! :)

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#8

Post by Icthus » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:39 am

Lunalle wrote:
Because if Christianity (or one of many other religions) is true, then what you choose to believe in will have eternal consequences? That seems like a pretty good reason to care about the truth to me.
Threats do not provide a good reason, ever.
That isn't really a threat, though. It's a simple truth. If a religion requires you to be a part of it to achieve salvation or something of the sort, there is good reason for you to find out whether or not it is true.

Even if it were a threat, I don't see how it doesn't provide a good reason. The fact that one might be sentenced to a life in prison (or executed in some places) for committing murder is an excellent reason not to do it (besides the fact that it would be wrong to do so). Hoping for the best is decidedly not pragmatic.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#9

Post by B. W. » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:36 am

B. W. wrote:
Lunalle wrote:Okay, I'll try and clarify. Sorry for being vague.

Specifically, this person was concerned with an afterlife. He did not like the idea of nothing when he died, so he said he believed in an afterlife. He admitted he had no evidence for doing so, and based his belief on hope. He hoped there would be an after life, so he didn't "expire". He didn't clarify what kind of an afterlife, but I think it is safe to assume it is a good one.

I'm not so sure what it's about really matters, but I think the point is an important one. I've heard it used to defend theism many times. Most atheists, I assume, would dismiss this argument (on the grounds there is no evidence), but for "average joe", that is not necessarily a good reply. Why not hope for the best, and leave it at that? After all, if we do expire (go to nothingness) when we die, its not like we're going to be able to say "Told you so!"

This really boils down to the following question:
Why should the average person care what is true (about God or god(s) and the afterlife), and not just believe whatever makes them feel good?

Sure, some of us value truth above all, but I suspect most people do not. Furthermore, I don't expect we have a right to expect them to.
Question: How would you define - best according to your premise?

Question: How would you define true?

Point: majority of people do believe in whatever makes them feel good, and sadly, people do live by this precept.

Please tell me of the state of the world at large, such as the crime, broken homes, divorce rates, family break ups... etc and etc... therefore, has the world improved with this wonderful y/:)2 mindset or deteriorated?
Lunalle, still waiting to here your answers to these questions...

Also - what is your definition of the word believe ?

You really need to define words here as folks can have what is termed as - cross cultural misunderstanding - due to words meaning different things in a cross cultural context and two people, using the same words, mean something different to both. Any rational debate, needs to define terms.
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Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)

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Not my Circus....not my monkeys

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Re: Why not hope for the best?

#10

Post by Lunalle » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:57 am

Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your opinion. Sorry I got preachy!
Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. (from Greek atheos, from a- 'without' + theos 'god').

Are you an atheist or a theist? If you're a theist, move a little closer to the truth, and become an atheist! :)

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