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Thread: There is no God

  1. #221
    Senior Member LEGERdeMAIN's Avatar
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    intangible
    “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…”


  2. #222
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I always thought that proof of God is seen is how he changes individuals into his character. The existence of a compassionate God is to been seen through those who profess to be connected to him. If that connection does not produce results any different from others in a positive way, if it makes people meaner or equally condescending and judgmental as the rest of the world who claims no connection, then why should anyone believe there is such a being? If there is no power to change people for the better, but rather makes people feel superior and berate others, consider others to be stupid, fools, etc. entitled to dismiss them, then there is no proof of God.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  3. #223
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Then what role does God play?
    I'm currently processing that question.. I might have a better answer in a couple years. In one way, God plays all roles as a result of being present in the universe. The less obvious role that God plays is that I believe there is type of perfection that we can achieve and the shape of that bears a relationship to God.

  4. #224
    Junior Member Kekira's Avatar
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    Proving that there is or is not a god would require you to have knowledge and concrete evidence of how things came to be and the workings of our galaxy and universe I'm thinking. For all we know there could be a god but then there's the question of which seeing as there's hundreds out there to choose from. But there also could not but to prove that you'd have to know everything to have definite proof it's 100% not possible so long as we DON'T know something there's always a chance.

  5. #225
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    The real problem with the Bible comes with interpretation. And by interpretation, I mean the interpretation of meaning.

    There are two main means of interpretation. The first is by Tradition and the second is by the Individual.

    Interpretation by Tradition has led to the Copts, the Orthodox Churches and Roman Catholicism. And individual interpretation has led to a myriad of Protestant Churches.

    And the fight over interpretation has been long and bloody but today the various Churches live in peace.

    And interestingly the interpretation by Tradition is the spoken tradition, while the individual interpretation is the literate method. Indeed, we even have Methodism.

    In fact the literate method of interpretation had to wait for the invention of the printing press in 1440.

    Whereas the spoken method goes back 200,000 years into the mists of time. So the spoken method is time hallowed, while the literate method is the new guy on the block.

    But having just arrived the literate method is being eclipsed by the electronic method, which is very similar to the spoken method.

    And so the wheel turns around and the spoken method of interpretation of the meaning of the Bible will be taken for granted once again. And what, we will wonder, was all the fuss about literacy?

  6. #226
    Junior Member pickledoctopus's Avatar
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    I consider the best appropriate title for me is ''humanist''. What is moral concerns you, your liberties and happiness, and what your actions' effects are on others' liberites and hapiness. I give credit to the human brain for being good and intelligent, and none to the supernatural.

    Furhtermore, I fail to see the contemporary relevance of a ''God'' concept. Religion itself simply overrides your independant thought processes...

    at least, that's how I explain it every time the question is asked... I use a similar wording as well.

  7. #227
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Smile A Christian Humanist

    Quote Originally Posted by pickledoctopus View Post
    I consider the best appropriate title for me is ''humanist''. What is moral concerns you, your liberties and happiness, and what your actions' effects are on others' liberites and hapiness. I give credit to the human brain for being good and intelligent, and none to the supernatural.

    Furhtermore, I fail to see the contemporary relevance of a ''God'' concept. Religion itself simply overrides your independant thought processes...

    at least, that's how I explain it every time the question is asked... I use a similar wording as well.
    Humanism is the renaissance, the rebirth, of pagan culture in the scriptoriums of catholic monks.

    The first Bible was written in Ancient Greek so the monks kept and translated Ancient Greek and Roman manuscripts.

    And so the Church incorporated Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and poetry into catholic theology.

    And the first humanist was a catholic priest and monk called Erasmus. And he was as famous throughout Europe as a pop star is today. And today we have a university named after him, and the Erasmus Programme is sought after by students across Europe.

    So the first humanist was a christian humanist.

  8. #228
    Junior Member pickledoctopus's Avatar
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    I see. I avoided the term 'secular humanist' for a reason I cannot quite put my finger down on, but that is what I meant in my previous post.

  9. #229
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pickledoctopus View Post
    I consider the best appropriate title for me is ''humanist''. What is moral concerns you, your liberties and happiness, and what your actions' effects are on others' liberites and hapiness. I give credit to the human brain for being good and intelligent, and none to the supernatural.

    Furhtermore, I fail to see the contemporary relevance of a ''God'' concept. Religion itself simply overrides your independant thought processes...

    at least, that's how I explain it every time the question is asked... I use a similar wording as well.
    I am a humanist, I'm also a believer in God and the supernatural.

    I dont believe in the dichotomy between God and Man which is perpetuated by most secular atheistic humanism, nor do I think that the "othering", with its consequence villification, demonisation or simple denial of God, the supernatural or ineffable, is useful or helpful, despite donning the guise of being open minded and scientific it is in the main the opposite and involves becoming closed off to possibilities and involves a kind of kill switch on creativity, imagination, wonder and awe.

    Both a secular atheistic humanist and religious humanist could claim a reverence for life, for instance, although it would definitely not be the same thing, I dont believe that it is simple conceit or my own value judgement to suggest that the strength of the sentiment in a religious humanist would be greater, perhaps because it is less rational or logical, in the most positive sense or conception.

    It is easy to say that there is no relevance of a "God" and attendent concepts, it is also pretty bold, and I think for both of these reasons it will remain a popular thing to do.

    On the other hand I seriously do believe in Voltaire's maxim that if God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him, I do not consider that theism is something which mankind will abandon in due course of its maturation, I actually think that way about atheism, mankind is at a sort of "difficult stage" like the "adventurous phase" in adolescence during which young people will reject parental authority, protection or values.

    I'm less worried about the idea that God doesnt exist than the likelihood that God might simply give up upon humankind and decide it is unworthy of attention or "believing in" and the earth and humankind is left, a rock, peopled by cosmically insignificant beings, tumbling in space, without any meaning or point at all.

  10. #230
    Junior Member pickledoctopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I am a humanist, I'm also a believer in God and the supernatural.

    I dont believe in the dichotomy between God and Man which is perpetuated by most secular atheistic humanism, nor do I think that the "othering", with its consequence villification, demonisation or simple denial of God, the supernatural or ineffable, is useful or helpful, despite donning the guise of being open minded and scientific it is in the main the opposite and involves becoming closed off to possibilities and involves a kind of kill switch on creativity, imagination, wonder and awe.

    Both a secular atheistic humanist and religious humanist could claim a reverence for life, for instance, although it would definitely not be the same thing, I dont believe that it is simple conceit or my own value judgement to suggest that the strength of the sentiment in a religious humanist would be greater, perhaps because it is less rational or logical, in the most positive sense or conception.

    It is easy to say that there is no relevance of a "God" and attendent concepts, it is also pretty bold, and I think for both of these reasons it will remain a popular thing to do.

    On the other hand I seriously do believe in Voltaire's maxim that if God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him, I do not consider that theism is something which mankind will abandon in due course of its maturation, I actually think that way about atheism, mankind is at a sort of "difficult stage" like the "adventurous phase" in adolescence during which young people will reject parental authority, protection or values.

    I'm less worried about the idea that God doesnt exist than the likelihood that God might simply give up upon humankind and decide it is unworthy of attention or "believing in" and the earth and humankind is left, a rock, peopled by cosmically insignificant beings, tumbling in space, without any meaning or point at all.
    I have read your post a few times. I will observe a fundamental incompatibility between our two viewpoints that will affect our debate, and it will be impossible to discuss an irrational topic rationally.

    You believe, I don't. Simple, but we will be at each others' throats if we don't keep ourselves in check.

    I believe we are straying into emotional appeal. Your two last paragraphs give you comfort and reassurance in your beliefs. They are not arguments, but rather statements that do not affect my perception, only serving to give you a positive outlook on your theism. That is not a bad thing, but I just want to point it out. I could find quotes and emotionally appealing reasons to give me a positive outlook on my secular humanism as well.

    Furthermore, could you check in with yourself to make sure you didn't reject the possibility outright that the ideologies of industrialized countries are in a process of change? You seem to be keen on conservatism - I just don't want for that to mean you are not open to changing your ideas.

    I dislike strong language, but I believe it is appropriate -

    I simply don't give a fuck about the existence, or not, of a god! I'm not a militant atheist or a militant theist for that matter. I can't claim to know or believe in one or the other possibility, since there is no way to even provide a logical argument for either of these two possibilities. I am obligated to suspend judgement.

    All the energy wasted on religion an the cult of a god could be turned towards helping humanity advance as a species, towards being good based on helping others and helping yourself... religion today has been deformed into a relentless, delusional cult for a part of the population. Not a belief in a god. I speak of the practice of religion itself, which presents itself as a human invention.

    As for your second paragraph (I did skip around quite a bit in my thoughts, try to bear with me, please? ), I am trying my best not to let it get to me personally. However, I feel a bit hurt that you assume that belief in a god affects people's respect for life. You speak of humanism. Fundamentally, religious or not, all varieties of humanism are based on the same values: utmost respect for human life and liberty. I fail to see the connection between belief and value attributed to life. If anything, I could claim that secular humanism values life more, because it presumes that we are the ''only thing we've got'', and assumes that with no life after death, life on earth becomes even more precious.

    Also, there is no positive way to attempt to degrade rationality. I don't think I am incapable of feeling strongly about an issue simply because I desire my conclusions to be logical. If anything, I could claim I feel even more strongly about these issues, because I find rational justifications to support my ''feelings'' on the subject, creating stronger connections.

    Lastly, your assumption that without God, we would be but ''a rock, peopled by cosmically insignificant beings, tumbling in space, without any meaning or point at all'' implies humanity is insignificant and worthless from the get-go, without a superior power to guide it. Again, I feel hurt that you think of humanity in that way. For all humanity has done wrong, we've certainly been able to accomplish great things, and all the credit goes to the people responsible. Furthermore, from my point of view, the fact that we are just a small part of the whole Universe inspires me to work, it inspires awe, it inspires admiration, as much as your god would to you.

    Also, I am a composer... isn't that an expression of creativity?

    Maybe this post of mine on INTJf could be of help/general interest... it's long though. Maybe I should start a thread.

    --------------------

    The thread on INTJf: ''why is the christian notion of faith often seen as being superior to observation?'' A flawed question, but interesting nonetheless. It will maybe hep you understand me better:

    There have been some interesting points made so far in this thread. I'll try to anwser the first question.

    I'll be using this model, mostly implicitly:

    (premise)

    THESIS

    -VALID ARGUMENT
    must be pertinent (linked to the thesis)
    must be sufficient (if valid, the argument must directly support the thesis)
    must be credible (rooted in observation, or objective logical relations, free from bias)

    Starting out, I'd like to state that I don't have any disresepct for people that uphold any religious beliefs, so long as they have an individual conscience of what is good and bad - e.g.: I don't understand how religious homophobia is justified, as homosexuality in and of itself does not infringe on others' liberties. One shouldn't find homosexuality immoral, or ''bad'', simply because their religion tells them to.

    That having been said, I think the reverse of OP's question must be considered:

    Why does witholding judgement until valid (pertinent, sufficient and credible) arguments can be made to support a given thesis seem to be so negatively percieved? Furthermore, why does engaging in behaviour that is positive/pleasant for the individual, harmless done healthily and without harm for others' liberties seem to be as negatively percieved? (I could speak of homosexual relationships, sex before marriage, or to a limited extent use of alcohol and similar mind-alterating substances).

    As for the first question, I think the answer (in two parts) is directly related to human nature.


    1) The unkown, for us humans, tends to illicit a reaction of fear, of apprehension. This is one reason why we feel uncomfortable around death: it is an experience which we cannot fathom, nor can we attempt to describe it, since it effectively wipes out our conscience.

    The natural reaction to being confronted with the unknown is to attempt to ''fill the void'' with a thought, an idea, a hypothesis, an entity of some sort. In some cases, the brain aggravates its own situation: who, in their younger years, hasn't imagined the horrible creatures that lie under their own bed, unobservable from above? In the case of more complex issues, such as death, the origin of our universe and the human consciousness, it becomes harder to ''fill the void''. On the other hand, the questions related to such issues, that directly concern our collective nature and existence, when unanswered, are deeply unsettling and a source of fear - Is our existence meaningless? What purpose does my life serve? It becomes clear that the brain needs to answer these questions, to be able to function adequately and feel fulfilled.

    In the absence of any vaild (pertinent, sufficient, and credible) arguments supporting a thesis answering these questions, explaining the origin of the universe or human consciousness (whether it be because the former is unobservable and foreign to all human experience, or because, in the case fo the former, the brain is relatively misunderstood), the brain must turn to faith - that is, accepting a thesis without being able to provide any valid arguments for it. Otherwise, the prospect of the unkown becomes suffocating, and it may well be capable of taking control of our mind with fear, feelings of helplessness, of insignificance and lack of meaning.

    2) With that established, we must look at another facet of the human psyche: the affectionately termed ''law of minimal effort''. Ingrained in us is the desire to expend the least energy possible, while achieving satisfactory minimal completion of goals. Some personalities (such as the INTJ) have a higher threshold for ''satisfactory minimal completion'', and are thus driven to work harder, to seek more efficient models that produce results of a better quality. This trait transcends individual personalities, applying to humanity as a whole, and is directly related to the principles of physics as we have modeled them (inertia, movement of electrons...)

    With its enormous predisposition to abide by the ''law of minimal effort'', the brain seeks what it considers the best answers to the questions raised in point no. 1. The solution that presents itself first would appear to be organized religion: it has already been created and thought out, little personal interpretation is necessary, its principles and answers are clearly defined and very black-and-white, and it manages to answer the large majority of questions that unsettle the individual. In sum, little actual effort is required to adhere to organized religion compared to entirely personal answering of every question. Furthermore, employing the concept of ''satisfactoy minimal completion'', adherence to organized religion is justified - the brain disregards whatever faults the religion itself may present upon critical analysis, since its goal has been minimally accomplished: it has expended little effort and has eliminated the unkown, providing comfort, satisfaction and a sense of meaning - even though the answers and the meaning provided may be considered imperfect by other individuals. Thus, faith and religion are, in a sense, the most human of phenomena, and the answer that caters most to the human brain. When exposed to faith and religion as the only provider of answers and meaning, it becomes natural to the individual to adopt them.

    This means that those individuals who do not adhere to what the believer considers the ''best solution'' seem outlandish, inhabitual, and wrong to him. For the faithful individual as well as the faith-less, the difference in how one answers these fundamental questions, how one provides a meaning to their life is unfathomable - giving rise to friction and incompatibility of thought, and, in more extreme cases, to physical violence. It is extremely hard to understand how someone who has a radically different view of the world than you do thinks.

    In a society where most people employ faith to provide answers, exposed to it since birth, it is natural for the social attitude towards faith to be strongly positive. As most people rely on it, it is percieved to trump all other systems of thought and anything different is considered to be ''wrong''.

    This is why I think faith is seen as being so dominant, as better than non-faith - however, I do not expect that to be the case in very non-religious societies.

    Addendum: I have portrayed faith as the ''best'' solution that satisfies the ''law of minimal effort''. However, what happens when one manages to transcend primal human nature and expends more-than-natural amounts of effort in contemplating the Unknown? In my case, and in many others I believe, the unkown itself comes to be accepted. In the absence of valid arguments, we realize that the thesis is ultimately futile. Instead, the questions are redirected towards what is observable (taken from the questions at the beginning of my posts) - ''Is our existence as a species significant?'' ''Is my life here on earth meaningless? What will I have accomplished - will I have been 'happy'?''

    These questions have to be answered to avoid them taking over our lives, rendering us powerless, hopeless and depressed. Individuals will answer in their own ways, according to what they feel is right personally. However, once we consider the ''meaning of life'' in this light, we realize that faith is no longer necessary. Neither are judgements on faith itself necessary *. We do not need it anymore to find meaning to our lives - we give it meaning and purpose ourselves, based on what goals we set ourselves, what effect our actions have on society, and what impression we will leave when we die - ''I want to have been a good person/I want to love and to have been loved/etc.'' Furthermore, we come to the realization that ''life'' as we know it - as improbable and purely random as it may seem - is a thing of beauty in itself. We realize that for all its faults, humanity has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time - and, on a personal note, my heart swells when I think of how lucky we all are to have been ourselvs against such huge odds (formation of the earth, of life, the chance of the right sperm hitting the egg...), and my mind reels when I think of how far we have come from haphasardous gatherings of atoms spewed out into nothingess. Life itself is truly a beautiful thing, and it deserves to be admired exactly for what it is, nothing more.


    *Some people would label this ''agnosticism'', others ''humanism'', others yet ''agnostic atheism'' or ''secularism'', depending on their perception of what these terms mean. The categorization itself is irrelevant.

    Goodness. I think I teared up a bit writing that towards the end there. I'm beginning to think I may be more of a ''feeler'' than I let on :p .

    -----------------

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because the concept itself of a god is irrelevant to me, my life is devoid of meaning, or admiration, or feels insignificant. Humans are te most significant and meaningful thing I have ever witnessed.

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