reply to post by Good Wolf
Since my background is similar to yours I can give you my thoughts and perhaps you can relate to them.
I used to be a "Born again Christian" and I decided to stop going to church in my 20's.
For me the idea of a "personal" God was never consistent with anything that I knew, throughout my entire life, although I used to hold some
supernatural beliefs such as the belief in "a soul" or the afterlife. I also used to believe that "consciousness" was supernatural and that "free
Because of exposure to science, philosophy and logic in college, I eventually found such beliefs to be hard to rationalize and eventually gave up on
Giving up on those beliefs was difficult not only because of the fear of the supernatural (death, for example) but also because it was not easy to
switch out of the "support system" of friends and family. In fact, the social peer pressure was the strongest of the two things keeping me a
So, if you care to read my present beliefs here there are:
1. There is no evidence of god and belief in god is triggered by fear and certain brain malfunctions that become obvious for some people with
epileptic seizures, but can also be induced in "meditation" or prayer. These brain patterns are well understood. Besides that, all of the remaining
belief in god is social conditioning, clearly evidenced by how many people believe in god but deep down know it's all BS. Whether god exists or not
is not relevant as long as there is no evidence. I am not compelled to "promote" the non-existence of god, and I think atheists with an "agenda"
who promote that god does not exist are full of BS just like religious people.
2. The experience of "death" is most likely like the experience of "not having been born" or put another way, no experience at all. It's nothing
to be afraid of. The experience of leaving people behind is something I am afraid of as I have a family and I believe that they continue to exist if I
3. Consciousness is an illusion that results from having the ability to contemplate ideas about ideas, or the experience of recursive thoughts. Every
single one of the outward signs of consciousness can be replicated given enough computing power. This belief is as of yet unproven because of the lack
of computing power. A machine that thinks it's conscious is not only doable, it is what we people are.
4. All of our moral code is defined and maintained by evolutionary forces, but there is nothing else outside of the material, human world that can
enforce or care for our morals. There is no "true" sense in which things are good or bad, but things are surely good for survival, including empathy
towards other fellow human beings. Killing other people is bad because evolution has made us particularly caring for the lives of others as this
benefits the species. If we really believed killing is bad in purely logical and absolute terms, then we would not feel more outraged when the victim
of crime is a child, yet we do. Children have more survival value for the species and this is encoded inside us.
5. Science itself is guided by dogmatic beliefs, although the set of dogmatic beliefs required for science are also required to do anything, so it is
perhaps the lowest possible number of dogmatic beliefs that can be held:
-Belief in some kind of "order" (an illusion created by our order seeking brains)
-belief that we can understand the rules of this order
-belief that the rules don't change from time to time or place to place
Goedel's incompleteness theorem demonstrates that our entire logic system cannot describe itself, so all of our knowledge is just conveniently self
consistent, but not transcendentally special.
These summarizes my personal belief system, or as a friend of mine lovingly calls it my "BS". We all have BS.