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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:33 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I was told by a Franciscan monk that you cannot bargain with God. I was buying art from him and tried to get a better deal. He said he was God's representative. I think everybody tries to bargain with God.




posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen

The key difference, though, is that, when we bring God into the equation, which I do for reasons that have nothing to do with the creation of the Universe, the theist believes that God is option B, the Universe is option A. God, not the Universe, has existed eternally and will exist eternally, and created the energy that became the Big Bang.


Again, you're still requiring creation as part of the formula. I am still forced to ask who created the creator.

If we reckon the universe will exist eternally and has existed infinitely there is no need for anything to have been created at all. Invoking a creation/creator of any kind only introduces an unending recursion.


Yes, God creates the Universe. No one created the creator, he exists under the aegis of Option B, which you support.

Let me help by changing your statement, since you still seem to be missing the logic.

If we reckon that God will exist eternally and has existed infinitely there is no need for anything to have been created at all.

What you apply to the Universe, the theist applies to God. It doesn't prove anything, it merely disproves your claim that God necessitates infinite recursion. If you say that God cannot be Option B, you will need to come up with a rationale for that, as you accept Option B as a valid proposition.



There is so little evidence favoring the existence of a deity (no evidence at all actually) that refusal to form a certitude on the lack of evidence is irrational and illogical.


Intolerance aside, you've left out a key phrase. "that I've seen". As in, "There is so little evidence, that I've seen, favouring..." I have seen evidence of God's existence in my own life, which you would not accept as evidence, but I am neither irrational not illogical, so it stands to reason that I do accept it.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:42 PM
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The same thing can be said that there is NO evidence favoring the existence of intelligent life forms outside the planet earth, but most people in science (that I know) believe it's likely and logical that we are not the only intelligent life forms out of the billions of galaxies that exist. Just because there is no evidence, thereby does not lead me to believe that there are no intelligent lifeforms in the universe. I use the same logic to deduce that based on science... there most likely is an intelligent energy that is everything and I apply the name God to it. Just because we can't prove there is such a thing as "intelligent energy" doesn't mean it doesn't likely exist.

The other aspect that I attribute to my beliefs are my paranormal experiences along with my mother's experiences. When you have encountered and interacted (seen and been touched) with intelligent plasma energy (ghosts).... you become a believer very fast. Also, the fact that I solved a crime in "real time" by an out-of-body experience witnessing the crime in action and then immediately calling the police to tell them about it, describing the car, and the people in it, along with their clothing, when I was not there....means there is a part of me that lives outside my physical body. (Obviously, the police were baffled how I knew this information....and they caught the criminals within a couple blocks of where the crime was committed because of my immediate report...called astral projection).



[edit on 21-7-2010 by ptmckiou]



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by earthdude

I was told by a Franciscan monk that you cannot bargain with God.


Agreed. You can't bargain with a rock either.

But the rock actually exists.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
What you apply to the Universe, the theist applies to God.


Except I am not requiring creation as part of the equation. Creation implies the beginning or inception of something: this is in conflict with the concepts of eternal and infinite. You claim the creator requires no creator, I insist that it must require one. The best way out of this paradox is not to assume any creator or creation.


Intolerance aside, you've left out a key phrase. "that I've seen". As in, "There is so little evidence, that I've seen, favouring..." I have seen evidence of God's existence in my own life, which you would not accept as evidence, but I am neither irrational not illogical, so it stands to reason that I do accept it.


Fair enough: I should have qualified my statement with the term "objective evidence" instead. I do not believe you irrational or illogical not that you have no reason for your beliefs. By your subjective experience you have rational reason for your beliefs. I have neither a subjective experience or objective evidence so I fail to share a belief in deities.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by ptmckiou
The same thing can be said that there is NO evidence favoring the existence of intelligent life forms outside the planet earth, but most people in science (that I know) believe it's likely and logical that we are not the only intelligent life forms out of the billions of galaxies that exist. Just because there is no evidence, thereby does not lead me to believe that there are no intelligent lifeforms in the universe. I use the same logic to deduce that based on science... there most likely is an intelligent energy that is everything and I apply the name God to it. Just because we can't prove there is such a thing as "intelligent energy" doesn't mean it doesn't likely exist.


True, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However, you still appear to be inventing things about your god(s) and their location. Most of it has to do with deficiencies in human knowledge. I find it irrational to simply make up things in order to accommodate your belief in the supernatural.


The other aspect that I attribute to my beliefs are my paranormal experiences along with my mother's experiences. When you have encountered and interacted (seen and been touched) with intelligent plasma energy (ghosts).... you become a believer very fast. Also, the fact that I solved a crime in "real time" by an out-of-body experience witnessing the crime in action and then immediately calling the police to tell them about it, describing the car, and the people in it, along with their clothing, when I was not there....means there is a part of me that lives outside my physical body. (Obviously, the police were baffled how I knew this information....and they caught the criminals within a couple blocks of where the crime was committed because of my immediate report...called astral projection).


These accounts are of subjective experiences and since they involve aspects of the physical world they're probably worth investigating. It's my contention still that though that no matter what you've experienced it does not imply supernatural intervention or require it as an explanation. I also have had similarly weird, unexplainable events happen to me but I don't satisfy my need to understand them by invoking superstition.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by ptmckiou
The same thing can be said that there is NO evidence favoring the existence of intelligent life forms outside the planet earth, but most people in science (that I know) believe it's likely and logical that we are not the only intelligent life forms out of the billions of galaxies that exist. Just because there is no evidence, thereby does not lead me to believe that there are no intelligent lifeforms in the universe. I use the same logic to deduce that based on science... there most likely is an intelligent energy that is everything and I apply the name God to it. Just because we can't prove there is such a thing as "intelligent energy" doesn't mean it doesn't likely exist.


True, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However, you still appear to be inventing things about your god(s) and their location. Most of it has to do with deficiencies in human knowledge. I find it irrational to simply make up things in order to accommodate your belief in the supernatural.


The other aspect that I attribute to my beliefs are my paranormal experiences along with my mother's experiences. When you have encountered and interacted (seen and been touched) with intelligent plasma energy (ghosts).... you become a believer very fast. Also, the fact that I solved a crime in "real time" by an out-of-body experience witnessing the crime in action and then immediately calling the police to tell them about it, describing the car, and the people in it, along with their clothing, when I was not there....means there is a part of me that lives outside my physical body. (Obviously, the police were baffled how I knew this information....and they caught the criminals within a couple blocks of where the crime was committed because of my immediate report...called astral projection).


These accounts are of subjective experiences and since they involve aspects of the physical world they're probably worth investigating. It's my contention still that though that no matter what you've experienced it does not imply supernatural intervention or require it as an explanation. I also have had similarly weird, unexplainable events happen to me but I don't satisfy my need to understand them by invoking superstition.


Apparently, your "weird" experiences weren't that weird. However, had you been sitting in your living room watching TV, when your Aunt suddenly appeared to you in form and said "good-bye to you (and others in the room witnessed the same thing) and then disappeared--then 10 minutes later the hospital calls to tell you your Aunt just passed away.... is more than just "weird".



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:13 PM
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reply to post by earthdude
 


Times of high duress people grab for anything to help, no matter how remote they feel the odds are. People are not always rational.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by ptmckiou
Apparently, your "weird" experiences weren't that weird. However, had you been sitting in your living room watching TV, when your Aunt suddenly appeared to you in form and said "good-bye to you (and others in the room witnessed the same thing) and then disappeared--then 10 minutes later the hospital calls to tell you your Aunt just passed away.... is more than just "weird".


To me it's not that weird. I am in no way attempting to diminish your experience but reports of things like this are not uncommon, particularly in times of great emotional strife or grief - such as when someone is in a hospital dying. Such experiences are extremely common in young children when dealing with death. Our minds make us experience truly bizarre things.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by ptmckiou
Apparently, your "weird" experiences weren't that weird. However, had you been sitting in your living room watching TV, when your Aunt suddenly appeared to you in form and said "good-bye to you (and others in the room witnessed the same thing) and then disappeared--then 10 minutes later the hospital calls to tell you your Aunt just passed away.... is more than just "weird".


To me it's not that weird. I am in no way attempting to diminish your experience but reports of things like this are not uncommon, particularly in times of great emotional strife or grief - such as when someone is in a hospital dying. Such experiences are extremely common in young children when dealing with death. Our minds make us experience truly bizarre things.


We were not under duress...we didn't know our Aunt was dying or in any danger. I find it more illogical to think that multiple humans can somehow program their minds to see and experience the exact same phenomenon at the same time. The more logical explanation is that the multiple people actually witnessed something that truly existed and not something everyone made up at the same time...that is truly illogical and doesn't make any sense.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 03:27 PM
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You are right in there are many cases of "weird" things, which is something that compels people to believe that we are larger than our physical bodies. One event that has always stuck in my mind is a case of death on the operating table. Yes, there have been many but this one was truly unique. A guy was having open heart surgery and briefly died. He remembers floating above near the ceiling while they were reviving. Later the doctor didn't believe his story, and the patient stated "By the way, there is a wrench laying on top of the storage cabinet in that operating room. I could see it while hovering at the ceiling." They had the maintenance man put a ladder up to the storage cabinet (the top was above eye level withing 6" of the ceiling). Sure enough there was a wrench laying up there. They pulled the maintenance reports and the AC had been worked on several weeks earlier and the crew had left a tool up there.

[edit on 21-7-2010 by ptmckiou]



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
What you apply to the Universe, the theist applies to God.


Except I am not requiring creation as part of the equation. Creation implies the beginning or inception of something: this is in conflict with the concepts of eternal and infinite. You claim the creator requires no creator, I insist that it must require one. The best way out of this paradox is not to assume any creator or creation.


There is no paradox, because you are insisting that, if God exist, he has to fall into Option A. Yes, creation requires a creator. That seems sensible, but your argument works the same, whether the Universe, in and of itself, is Option B and there is no God, or if the Universe falls under Option A, the creation of God, who is Option B.

Again, you seem to simply be arguing because you don't believe in God, or you naturally want the "simplest" scenario. I'm not arguing that point at all, I'm simply pointing out that your infinite regression problem is wrong. It isn't a matter of me conveniently claiming that God falls under Option B, God's eternal nature is an core part of the Christian faith.

There are three possibilities:

1) There is no God, Universe is Option B
2) There is a God, Universe is Option A, God is Option B
3) There is a God, Universe is Option A, God is Option A

You believe scenario 1. I, and every theist I know, believes scenario 2. No one, that I am aware, believes scenario 3. Given that Option B is an integral part of Christian theology, in order to make your point, you need to invalidate our beliefs, in which case, why bother making your point at all? If I make a point about atheism which requires that I invalidate your non-belief and say that you really do believe in God, you're just in denial, are you going to accept my point? You've demonstrated in this thread that is not the case.

Is it your belief that if anything is created, everything must be created? That the existence of Option A, in any form, negates the possibility of Option B?



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by earthdude

I was told by a Franciscan monk that you cannot bargain with God.


Agreed. You can't bargain with a rock either.

But the rock actually exists.

It is hard to define the word "exists". So we have God for that.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 04:42 PM
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Interesting that we have a poster's "religion" as agnosticism, not to be confused with my spiritual beliefs of gnosticism.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by earthdude
 


I don't find it to be that hard. Here is the definition:

i.word.com...



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:17 PM
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TD

First, thank you for giving a straight answer to one of my questions,


True, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

But the very fact that it had to be asked twice, by two different posters, illustrates the problem that I have been talking about.

ptmckiou


Interesting that we have a poster's "religion" as agnosticism, not to be confused with my spiritual beliefs of gnosticism.

Different etymology, from the same root.

The word agnostic was coined by Thomas Huxley in the 19th Century, consciously and for the purpose of describing his own personal beliefs. It's just a for "not" and gnostic for "knowing." No reference to any other religion was intended.

Although the meaning of the word has generalized as more people have used it, I've never seen it used to mean "not gnostic" in the sense of not being your co-religionist.

Hope that helps.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:19 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Agnostic is "not knowing" right, or so you're saying, so what do you Gnostics know that we Agnostics and Atheists don't or can't?


[edit on 21/7/10 by awake_and_aware]



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by awake_and_aware
reply to post by eight bits
 


Agnostic is "not knowing" right, or so you're saying, so what do you Gnostics know that we Agnostics and Atheists don't or can't?


[edit on 21/7/10 by awake_and_aware]


Actually to be more accurate, I'm a cross between a Gnostic and Rosicurcian, although Rosicurcian is not a religion.

To "Know" something is not based on proof (since science really knows little of how the universe functions). So what is there left? Intuition. Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived by the way of interior, intuitive means. In the Gnostic view, there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God, who is beyond all created universes and who never created anything in the sense in which the word “create” is ordinarily understood. While this True God did not fashion or create anything, He (or, It) “emanated” or brought forth from within Himself the substance of all there is in all the worlds, visible and invisible. In a certain sense, it may therefore be true to say that all is God, for all consists of the substance of God. This is where the term "All is One" comes from. There is nothing but God. Collectively, everything in the universe is God. I AM is all that IS. Consequently, I am god, you are god, everyone is God, trees are god, rocks are god....everything that IS...is GOD We see God as divine energy - intelligent energy. In the big bang he subdivided himself (itself) so that everything is made of him. There is nothing but God in the universe. WE are not apart from God...we ARE god. We are minute specks of energy from his clump of massive energy...which has always been and will always be... the nature of energy.

I would also have to say for those that say they "know", its because of intensive meditation. Many who meditate reach altered states of consciousness in which they are in touch with other dimensions. We are inter-dimensional beings. To master it you have to practice it. You are given information (that you can later research) from Ascended Masters on the other side. There are actually several Ascended Masters that are working with scientists. Not all scientists separate science from spirituality. Eventually, I think quantum physicists will make the connection between our physical world and other dimensional states and "God"....or the divine consciousness. However, we are just in the infancy stage of studying these things and many well known scientists are working on bridging the two together by experimental proof at the quantum level.





[edit on 21-7-2010 by ptmckiou]



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:26 PM
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Going with the theory that ALL that is..IS GOD-- I read a great article on the God Particle - the elusive Higgs Boson particle.

Will the "God Particle" Replace God?

If you went to church in the 18th century, you would have heard God described as a celestial clockmaker who had wound up the universe and left it to run itself. Today, the wind-up is the Big Bang and the clock's parts are subatomic particles. But the problem of creating matter out of emptiness remains the same.

How does matter form from the immaterial? What gives particles their mass, and how do they stick together? The physicists at the CERN facility in Europe are busy using the massive multibillion-dollar Large Hadron Collider to try to answer those questions by hunting for the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle."

The search takes place between the visible and the invisible. The hypothetical Higgs boson is a virtual particle, which means it can be coaxed to enter spacetime for the tiniest flash of a millisecond. It operates at the Planck scale, which is millions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom.

The excitement over finding the Higgs particle is that physical science will have uncovered the mechanism for how the tangible world arises from the intangible. That's as close to the divine act of creation as physics can get. Yet there's an irony in basing the solid physical universe on -- nothing. Could this in fact be where materialism destroys itself from within? The Higgs boson may be the key to unlocking the mystery of creation by affirming very different things than materialism dreams of.

Assuming that the particle allows itself to be discovered, the second step is the exploration of the invisible domain. It is literally nothing, and yet everything comes from it. Centuries ago the wisdom traditions of the world compared creation on a small scale to creation on a massive scale. The great sages noted that our minds are nothing, too. Before a thought appears, there is emptiness and silence. And yet once the mind produces its creations, they are potent, meaningful, and coherent.

Creation doesn't move from the invisible to the visible with random particles like foam on the surface of the sea. They look random in the Large Hadron Collider, but the scientists running the machine, who are themselves part of creation, don't have bodies that fly apart into a cloud of particles. Rather, our bodies, like the human brain and DNA itself, are exquisitely ordered creations, the farthest thing from random events.

Physical forces cannot explain such exquisite order, much less the meaning we derive from it, which is why God came into being. The God particle delivers the tiniest bits of the clock but not the maker. I do not mean that an actual person in the sky made the universe. Keeping strictly with the scientific worldview, the maker must be impersonal, intelligent, universal, invisible, yet manifest in the visible world. The only viable candidate is consciousness.

The Higgs boson particle represents a tiny stepping stone toward a theory of creation that rests upon consciousness as the primal stuff of the cosmos. Many theorists are already getting there; it's been several decades since the concept of a self-aware universe has been in play.
Someday it will be commonplace to concede that the intangible, immaterial domain of quantum physics is conscious. In that world of virtual particles, non-locality, and indeterminacy, things don't exist with shape, hardness, or color. Their existence is a fleeting display of tendencies, and the superposition of possibilities. It will be a major realization for science to recognize that all of these tendencies and qualities are tendencies of consciousness.

Part !



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:27 PM
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part 2

The third step to a full comprehension of the universe will be connecting the consciousness, which is the ground of the cosmos, to our individual experience of consciousness. Our ground of existence is the same as the ground state of the universe. This is the message of Vedanta: Atman is Brahman. Individual consciousness fully awakened is the same as the essential nature of the entire cosmos. Somehow our consciousness participates and is integral to the creation of the universe. Sadly, by the time we realize our true creative role, our ignorant actions might have already destroyed our planetary home.

The creative function of consciousness in quantum mechanics was originally outlined in the Copenhagen Interpretation which says that an observer is required in order to collapse the wave function into a single occurrence and produce a measurable outcome. Without a conscious observer, the wave function remains a superposition of eigenstates that are not real in a measurable way.
The Many Worlds theory of quantum mechanics seeks to avoid the need for an observer and the collapse of the wave function by positing enough parallel universes to contain all possible states of the wave function. But in the end, to solve the measurement problem without an observer, a measuring apparatus is needed that is physical yet when analyzed quantum mechanically would not itself be a wave function, or superposition of eigenstates. No one can explain what kind of matter that would be.
The Transactional Interpretation describes quantum interactions in terms of a standing wave formed by retarded (forward-in-time) and advanced (backward-in-time) waves. Here it is assumed that the interaction with the measurement device somehow activates the emission of a possibility wave going backward in time. This is a way to avoid the need of an observer, but like the Many Worlds theory it too implies a dualistic universe that takes us outside of the rules of quantum measurement. Again, the equipment that measures the wave function would have to be made out of matter that does not obey quantum physics with the superposition of possibilities.

A more promising theory of quantum mechanics is David Bohm's paradigm of Implicate and Explicate Order where primacy is given to wholeness over the parts which include space, time, particles, and quantum states. In this view, the parts unfold from the whole.

Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, PhD. have evolved the Orchestrated objective reduction model (Orch OR) and this I find to be the most progressive theory to bridge universal consciousness and individual consciousness. Penrose starts with the position that consciousness is fundamentally non-algorithmic and therefore incapable of being duplicated by a computer or machine. He proposes that consciousness could be explained through quantum theory with a new type of wave function collapse in the brain. Hameroff's expertise in the field of neurophysiology provided a likely quantum link in the microtubules in the neurons. Instead of the conventional view is that consciousness emerges from complex computation among brain neurons, they propose that consciousness involves sequences of quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons, not between them in the dendrites and synapses. The quantum computations in the brain are also ripples in fundamental spacetime geometry, the most basic level of the universe.

Penrose suggests that quantum wave function collapse happens by itself above the Planck scale. He postulates that each quantum superposition has its own spacetime curvature and these bits of curved spacetime form a kind of blister in spacetime maintaining superposition. But when it gets larger, beyond the Planck scale, gravity's influence makes it unstable and it collapses. That is the objective reduction or collapse of the wave function into a measurable particle.

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