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  1. #31
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Pascal's Wager?

    Either God exists or God doesn't.
    If God exists, you're totally screwed if you don't believe.
    If God doesn't exist, what have you lost by going along with the crowd?
    So, believe!

    Both conditionals are probably faulty, not least because they both describe a limp-wristed commitment to your faith.

    And atheism is a faith if "But I can imagine lots of ways you're wrong" is a substantial objection to saying that God does not exist.
    I'm glad somebody noticed CopyPaste's lame attempt to plagiarize our dear Blaise Pascal.

    Proselyte believers are predictable. They always use the same tricks.

    Frankly, it's boring. It's boring to be treated as uneducated morons.

    ---

    There are many, many ways to become an atheist. And it would take a long time to sum up these many forms. But let's say that between Spinoza, Hume, d'Holbach, Marx, Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Popper, Freud... well.... the opinions are rather diverse, to say the least.

    Most of the time atheism is not a "faith", since it's intrinsically the absence of faith. Pretending atheism is a faith, is just like explaining the absence of sugar in your coffee is a taste.

    It's absurd. But what can we expect from a devout proselytiser like Copypaste?

    His name tells all!

    ---

    I'm an atheist, because I do not need God to explain the universe.
    I'm an atheist, because I do not understand what people mean when they say "God".
    I'm an atheist, because I find the concept of God to be useless.
    I'm an atheist, because I'm not interested into mysticism or metaphysics.
    I'm an atheist, because like Euclide said, "what is claimed without proof, can be negated without proof".
    I'm an atheist, because Men are more important than Gods. Always.
    I'm an atheist, because faith is a waste of time and energy.
    I'm an atheist, because you should grow your own garden first.
    I'm an atheist, because there's nothing funnier than the face of Believers after they have listened to a big Blasphemy.
    I'm an atheist, because religions are like ideologies. They predate the human mind.
    I'm an atheist, because frankly, I consider faith or agnosticism to be intellectual weaknesses, or just hypocrisy!
    I'm an atheist, because after Auschwitz, I do not understand why my Jewish fellows would still dare to believe in something.


    And so on...
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  2. #32
    Senior Member MrME's Avatar
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    Let's please stop capitalizing "atheist." It's not a title, it's a descriptor. I am not Atheist. I am an atheist.

    Quote Originally Posted by CopyPaste View Post
    I understand what you mean here because Atheist friends of mine have the shared the same viewpoint. I've also been told Atheism is the most rational of the "faiths" (yes, I believe it takes great faith to be Atheist).
    Atheism is a faith like baldness is a hairstyle.

    Does it take faith to NOT believe in leprechauns?
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  3. #33
    Senior Member hokie912's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopyPaste View Post
    So I move on to Christianity and Islam, which make clearly clear the eternal consequences of our actions. I end up with Christianity. Why? The Christian God doesn't appear as transient or disconnected from humans as the Islamic. The Christian God is Illustrated as very loving, merciful, and gracious, just, slow to anger, etc.
    I think this is so subjective, particularly your defense of Christianity over the other major religions. I definitely admire your attempts to take a logical stance, but the inherent bias shows through here. Someone else could just as easily see the Christian concept of God as vain, arbitrary and vengeful, and find more comfort in the idea of reincarnation. I'm not saying that I do, but it bears observation.

    So why, if I were an atheist/agnostic, would I choose Christianity? Well, let's say atheists were right, Christians were wrong... no god; we all disappear when we die and that's it. Even if it were the case, what did Christians lose out on in life? Nothing. Christians still enjoyed life to the fullest, they still loved, they still laughed, they still worked, they still had families, and even more so, they did it with an uncommonly joyful heart because of the hope (even if in vain) inside of them. It's a joy that's not as clearly defined by Islam in my opinion. If Christians are right? Wow....there wouldn't be words to describe the awesomeness.

    What do atheists/agnostics have to lose if they're wrong? Even if it's not the consequence of Christianity, but of some other belief system? Wouldn't it make most "logical sense" to at least commit oneself on to some belief? Say Christians and atheists are both wrong--wouldn't that still make the Christian more rational by believing in at least Something Unknown?
    Belief for fear of consequences isn't belief at all. I don't think that you can reason yourself into feeling something that you don't inherently feel. Allow yourself to be open to the possibility of belief, absolutely, but most people can't tell themselves, "belief is logical, so I will believe."

    I would question whether it's logical at all, though. I'm an atheist, and the bottom line with the "what if you're wrong?" argument is that I don't think I could respect a deity that would damn me to hell for eternity for questioning its existence. If my options are "believe, just in case" or "risk eternal damnation," I'll choose the latter. In the words of Thomas Jefferson:
    "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
    That's not to say that God, if one were to exist, would be okay with your concluding that he doesn't, but that there's more value in thinking about it and deciding for yourself. I wouldn't want to worship a god that didn't appreciate doubt and would punish it more severely than the most egregious repented sins.

    But on the whole, as far as my personal beliefs go, I just don't think that a higher power exists. I don't believe in any supernatural elements...there are things that science can't yet explain, sure, but I don't think that's because they can be ascribed to supernatural causes. I don't feel that my life is any less fulfilled by the idea that this is all there is.

  4. #34
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    Any god that is "slow to anger" is not a god I want any part of. Anger, wrath, pettiness...those are human foibles, not qualities of a divine being. If that is god, please keep it. There's nothing rational in believing you will fry for all eternity because you didn't quite live up to your maker's expectations. How perfect is this god that makes us so fucked up and then punishes us for his inability to get the job done right? The abrahamic god is a nut and would probably be in prison or an asylum if he were flesh and bone. Believing in this guy is about as sane as joining the Manson family.

    Saner accounts of the divine, or divinity, do exist. Those I don't know enough about to rationally evaluate so I'm staying in the agnostic camp.

    OP, you may want to keep in mind that religion and belief are not necessarily connected. Many people are happy to honor the social/moral/familial practices associated with a religion and have absolutely no belief in a god at all. You don't need to be believe in a god to recognize the importance of getting along and being a decent person. It's a part of being the sort of primates we are.

  5. #35
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    Saner accounts of the divine, or divinity, do exist. Those I don't know enough about to rationally evaluate so I'm staying in the agnostic camp.
    Aristotle's De Anima - great, good stuff on the soul and divine nature!


    I also find the take the Pythagorians had about divinity extremely interesting and .... almost unfightable. They realized that before they ever discovered the Pyth. theorum, it was true then, regardless of them being unaware of it. They also realized that the Pyth. Theorum would ALWAYS be true, forever, regardless if NO ONE knew of it. Thusly they came to the conclusion that they had stubbled upon an article of PERFECT KNOWLEDGE, which could only be divine and godlike. They believed it so strongly they were described to me as almost being cult-like..... but I can't really blame them either because their foundation is somewhat solid. They thought they had achieved immortality via proxy to the divine.

    I mean think about - how could something so perfect and complete arise out of the human brain alone, always being 100% true? is the pythagorean theorum and all the pure knowledge mathematics gives us just..... a convenient coincidence for us? I don't know 'bout that.....

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    You sound atheist to me... (and agnostic, yes).
    Ah, there are liberal religious people that have no interest in their holy book's definitions on how to live. Even conservative denominations no longer adhere to racism, suppressing women, and certain dietary laws.

    I don't believe in the tooth fairy version of God that people have created. That doesn't make me an atheist. I still believe a higher power is possible, but I'm unable to say whether it's definitely true or not true.

  7. #37
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01011010 View Post
    I don't believe in the tooth fairy version of God that people have created. That doesn't make me an atheist. I still believe a high power is possible, but I'm unable to say whether it's definitely true or not true.
    +1

  8. #38
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopyPaste View Post
    I didn't want to take that other thread off onto another tangent so hence my spinoff. Here's what Fluffywolf wrote that prompted me to make this thread:



    I understand what you mean here because Atheist friends of mine have the shared the same viewpoint. I've also been told Atheism is the most rational of the "faiths" (yes, I believe it takes great faith to be Atheist). This may come across as offensive, but my personal belief is that Atheism is one of the least rational, especially to those who can't be sure there isn't a higher power. Using a simple process of elimination, if one is genuinely rational, it seems like they'd become compelled to practice a religion.

    Why? Well for sake of simpler illustration I'll start with the most populous religions out there: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. They teach about life and death. Hinduism and Buddhism relate more to cylces and apart from re-incarnation (which I see as a form of hellish existence, yet not absolute or perpetual suffering) the afterlife isn't emphasized as much as the two other religions. The hints of afterlife (ie. nirvana) honestly don't seem like that great of a reward to me... I'd prefer having more intimacy with those who are dear to me now as opposed to just an individual eternal state peace or nothingness which sounds a little lonely to me. With these two religions, the highs don't seem as high and the lows don't seem as low to me when compared to the next two.

    So I move on to Christianity and Islam, which make clearly clear the eternal consequences of our actions. I end up with Christianity. Why? The Christian God doesn't appear as transient or disconnected from humans as the Islamic. The Christian God is Illustrated as very loving, merciful, and gracious, just, slow to anger, etc. Furthermore, through my personal studies, I've seen great evidences and prophecies the Bible has fulfilled unlike the Qu'ran (both claimed divine inspiration). At the same time, Hell is a real and clearly defined consequence to those who reject Him (same goes for Islam). Now, if I were an atheist/agnostic, and could actually grasp what eternity means (for ever and ever and ever without ceasing), committing myself to avoid endless suffering/torment would be enough for me to choose one of those two religions that have the most dire eternal consequences (of course this isn't the right way to approach these belief systems--out of sheer fear--but i'm just illustrating pure rational thought here). On the other hand, the beauty, fellowship and absolute perfection described for those who keep the faith (Christianity) are second to none. So the lows are really low, but the highs are exceedingly high! It's because of it's extreme benefits, its consistency through my study, and it's irreversible consequences that Christianity makes most sense to me (remember this is just my rational viewpoint, I'm not adding what I believe by faith or personal conviction).

    So why, if I were an atheist/agnostic, would I choose Christianity? Well, let's say atheists were right, Christians were wrong... no god; we all disappear when we die and that's it. Even if it were the case, what did Christians lose out on in life? Nothing. Christians still enjoyed life to the fullest, they still loved, they still laughed, they still worked, they still had families, and even more so, they did it with an uncommonly joyful heart because of the hope (even if in vain) inside of them. It's a joy that's not as clearly defined by Islam in my opinion. If Christians are right? Wow....there wouldn't be words to describe the awesomeness.

    What do atheists/agnostics have to lose if they're wrong? Even if it's not the consequence of Christianity, but of some other belief system? Wouldn't it make most "logical sense" to at least commit oneself on to some belief? Say Christians and atheists are both wrong--wouldn't that still make the Christian more rational by believing in at least Something Unknown?

    I say all this in love. It's just what goes through my head sometimes and my true intentions aren't to belittle anyone.

    Well, maybe the title of this thread is a bit misleading because I don't have one specific question, but I welcome your opinions on this.
    (note: by "we" here I mean atheists who follow this ideology, not ALL atheists, blah blah)

    This is called Pascal's Wager, and it's most often countered by pointing out the fact that scientific inquiry points to an extraordinarily low probability of God existing in any conscious-entity form as described by popular religion today.

    Note, please, that this doesn't require faith in anything--we don't know these things for certain, but given the information currently available, we estimate the probability of the existence of Hell as described by Christianity (or any other popular religion) as so low that, as pt says, it is essentially a zero loss.

    In short, we simply don't believe in anything until shown conditions to indicate a high probability that it is true. Atheism is not faith that nothing more powerful than humans exists; it's simply lack of faith in the idea that it does.

    Pascal's Wager is also easily falsifiable by comparison to similar belief systems: I could ask the same question about the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn or any other afterlife reward/punishment system I could arbitrarily invent. We're not working with absolute knowledge here; just because I can't prove 100% that this conscious person-God doesn't exist doesn't mean I have any reason to expect that he does.

    We're working with probability clouds, not absolutes. I consider the idea that my body exists to have a high probability of accuracy because I have acted as if it does my entire life and seen constant repeated evidence to indicate that it does. It's technically possible that this could all be an illusion, but if you want to claim that my body isn't real, the burden of proof is on you--as they say, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    As such, I rate the probability of conscious-entity-God's existence so low that the threat of Hell is intuitively a non-issue.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  9. #39
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Pascal's Wager is also easily falsifiable by comparison to similar belief systems: I could ask the same question about the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn or any other afterlife reward/punishment system I could arbitrarily invent.
    "The concept of Russell's teapot has been extrapolated into more explicitly religion-parodying forms such as the Invisible Pink Unicorn,[4] the Flying Spaghetti Monster[5] and The Dragon in My Garage.[6]"
    Source:Russell's teapot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ahem.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopyPaste View Post
    Hinduism and Buddhism relate more to cylces and apart from re-incarnation (which I see as a form of hellish existence, yet not absolute or perpetual suffering) the afterlife isn't emphasized as much as the two other religions. The hints of afterlife (ie. nirvana) honestly don't seem like that great of a reward to me...
    Afterlife is not the same as nirvana/muksha. Afterlife is what one gets if they DON'T attain nirvana/muksha (i.e., freedom from the cycle of births and rebirths).

    I'd prefer having more intimacy with those who are dear to me now as opposed to just an individual eternal state peace or nothingness which sounds a little lonely to me.
    Nothingness? And, there is nothing 'individual' about the eternal state. If you understood the philosophy(ies) of those two religions, you'd notice a distinct call for the shedding of the 'self' (the individual).....in that one reaches nirvana/muksha, as one becomes part of The Truth/one with the universe.


    So I move on to Christianity and Islam, which make clearly clear the eternal consequences of our actions. I end up with Christianity. Why? The Christian God doesn't appear as transient or disconnected from humans as the Islamic. The Christian God is Illustrated as very loving, merciful, and gracious, just, slow to anger, etc.
    I'm guessing you're not meaning the Old Testement when you speak of this loving, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, god.

    Now, if I were an atheist/agnostic, and could actually grasp what eternity means (for ever and ever and ever without ceasing), committing myself to avoid endless suffering/torment would be enough for me to choose one of those two religions that have the most dire eternal consequences (of course this isn't the right way to approach these belief systems--out of sheer fear--but i'm just illustrating pure rational thought here).
    Leaving aside Pascal's Wager (which others have brought up).....this line of argument is illogical to bring to an atheist. You're asking those that don't believe (because they want proof), to then believe in 'soul living for eternity and suffering'??? Has anyone called from Hell to let us mortals know how bad it is? Why would you think an atheist, who doesn't believe in god, or hell, to even consider a line of argument talking of the existence of eternal suffering IN hell?
    And, philosophically/abstractly, I understand, quite well, what eternity is.

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