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The Socratic Method takes on Atheism ...

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posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by dominicus



Ok, for the sake of this thread lets insert some definitions. Some Mystics of the past that claim to have experienced God say that God is indefinable by the the very reason of that "they" say God is Unlimited and so in anyway that you make a definition about God, limits the unlimited undefinable to a relative and limited definition. I.e. the color red, everyone has a different idea of what it is, ie. (it relative) some think apple, some think car, some think maroon, some think cherry, etc.


I have a hard time believing that one can form meaningful beliefs about something which cannot be defined. How are these beliefs expressed? How can a concept be meaningful if it is not relative and limited? If an accuate concept of god is not relative or limited, how can one tell the difference between god and non-god? If a distinction can be made between god and anything else(non-god), then one's concept of god is limited(this is necessarily true because it does not contain the non-god, meaning that it is limited in some way), and can be identified as being different than non-god concepts, giving it a kind of relativity; it stands out against the concepts that it is different from. If the god concept is indeed unlimited and non-relative, then it would be impossible to distinguish between the god concept and non-god concepts. If this is the case, the god concept refers to everything, which presents a new set of problems. Namely the fact that everyone makes a distinction between "everthing" and "god," including atheists, who don't deny the existence of "everything" but do deny the existence of "god." Also, we're back to the problem of words which is that if "everything" and "god" refer to the same set of stuff, then it doesn't matter whether we call it "god" or "everything."

Whether or not that is an issue, we will certainly have a hard time discussing something if we can't agree on the meaning of the word. It would be nice to decide on something specific so that we can speak about it precisely and both know exactly what eachother is talking about. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, though, and say, "Ok, god can't be defined well enough to do it justice using natural language. People have experiences of god, but those experiences are totally different from conventional consciousness and therefore language is not equiped to accomidate a description of the experience. We can refer to the experience as "the experience of god" but we must remember that the nature of the experience itself cannot be put into words." Fine, I'll accept that that's where we're at with the definition.



While others say omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. In both these cases we can completely discard any ideas of some guy with a beard on a cloud. I'm just putting these definitions out there because they seem to be the most universal through-out the religions of the World.


I agree; no simple concept of a bearded man in the clouds around here. Let's say any omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent being. Can we at least agree that it has to have these three features? We could get into some murky water trying to define "being" but lets cross that bridge when we come to it.



You know there was a Mystic named Kanada (2nd century B.C.) who first discussed the possibilities of Atoms, protons, molecules etc and credited this to his decades of meditation and spiritual insight.
kanada
Certainly this carries some weight with folks being that a Spiritual person was first in this area of science?


Developing a rudamentary theory of matter though contemplation alone seems to have little to do with the existence of god. I suppose that you brought this up in order to suggest that meditation is a viable method for investigating and understanding the world. There are a couple problems with that. For one thing, early philosophers produced countless theories of matter using non-scientific means(See the ancient philosophy wikipedia page. Dozens of philosophers are listed, and if you follow up you will find dozens of theories of matter). The fact that one theory out of many happens to have some superficial similarities to modern physics does not go very far to advance the legitimacy of meditation as a way to discover new information about the external world. I would say he got lucky; the details of the theory are not sufficiently accurate to say that he really somehow knew the structure of an atom. People pray for the winning lottery numbers and then go buy tickets, someone always wins, it's not a sign of anything mystical.

You use this story as a piece of evidence to support the efficacy of meditation. Yet, all told, meditation has produced barely a fraction of useful informatin about the external world that the scientific method has. Certainly science is many orders of magnitude more productive when it comes to generating new, accurate theories and pieces of information about the world. It's not even clear that meditation performs at levels above chance(I know that meditation has its uses, but I'm aguing here that it is not a good way to learn new things about the external world). Consider the rate of technological developement and successful theories during the thousands of years that people were meditating and not doing science, then look at what happened in a relatively brief period of time once people began doing science.

Also, how can what is learned in meditation ever be trusted? People came up with all sorts of beliefs using this state. As long as meditation is our only investigative method, we have no way of finding out who is right and who is wrong. At the time, nothing separated kanada's theories from anyone elses, we were only able to figure out who was right thousands of years later, with science.

What if someone meditates and says that they experienced in an ineffable way but with absolute certainty that god does not exist? Now the problem is clear; without any objective basis in external reality, we have no way of resolving disagreements. Also, if there is no basis for god in external, objective reality, then does it exist? Aren't things that exist only in the mind and don't correspond to anything external considered imaginary? If god only manifests subjectively, isn't it just like a dream or a hallucination?



Ok but Mystics call themselves spiritual scientists and claim that just like in the scientific method, if one follows that precepts of a certain number of hours of meditation a day and other spiritual exercises, one to can come to the knowledge and experience of God. They also say that logic and reason are limited and that beyond these faculties are even greater faculties that can only be understood by others who have the faculties activated. Does that not sound like a "system that demonstrates understanding of the world, these faculties and also show at least theoretical evidence of logical progress? Im simply showing the flip side to the coin you have stated here.


I disagree with how the mystics explain their experience. I think that what you have said here is just like saying, "If you can hold your breath long enough, you will experience your soul disconnecting from your body. This proves the existence of the soul, and follows the scientific method. Just following this step of holding your breath long enough, and you will experience this. In fact, your soul's bond with your body gets stronger the more you do this, so you will have to hold your breath longer each time the more you do it, which is further proof that your soul exists and is bound to your body."

In some superficial way this resembles a scientific experiment because you can identify precise conditions under which a certain, repeatable, effect emerges and anyone who brings about those conditions will observe the effect. This is just like what your mystics say about meditating. In my example, I am obviously talking about holding your breath until you pass out. While this can be interpreted as a spiritual experience and proof of a soul, a much better explanation is the one that we all know that has to do with not having enough oxygen for your brain to keep working right.

So, the question is, "what's the best explanation for the experience of god during meditation?" I think that the best explanation is neurophysiological, and that with practice and patience it is possible to bring about very intense experiences during meditation that are very different from any other experiences that one has had. I've done this myself. I used to meditate twice a day everyday, and I had very intense experiences that are hard to describe but which included a sensation of being one with everything else and directly experiencing what feels like a universal consciousness. There is ongoing research in neuroscience into what exactly happens during meditation. There is a definite change in brain state which accompanies these experiences, and the western explanation is that this brain state change is brought about by the act of meditation.

I totally accept the neurological explanation. I think that there is no reason to think that anything more is going on. I know that the brain can create unbelievable experiences for us which do not correspond to reality; think of dreams, or certain psychoactive drugs, or schizophrenia. I don't think that strange and powerful experiences had during altered mental states are evidence of god. How would the god explanation even go? "When you meditate for a while everyday, after a while you feel god, and it's really god." Is that what the suggestion is? I believe that people are having these experiences, but I don't think it's anything mystical at work.

Saying that one can experience god - the real god - during meditation, is an extraordinary claim. It implies the existence of a supreme, mystical being that is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient(accoding to our earlier definition). That's a lot to accept, based on personal testimony alone. The scientific explanation is much simpler; it doesn't involve god. It also explains the experiences just as well. I see no reason to prefer the complex and profound god theory to the simple and mundane scientific theory. If you reject the scientific explanation in this case in favor of the god explanation, why not reject the scientific explanation for passing out when you hold your breath, and accept the explanation that the soul is disconnecting from the body? Ultimately, why would you take this experience to indicate an infinite and divine being instead of just being in your head? And if you take it to be an experience of god, how can tell that it is god an not an angel or a blob of psychic energy that lives on the surface of the earth and feeds off of the meditators?




What about those who claim that beyond faith is the experience and knowledge of God or direct knowing. Doesn't that trump faith?


Yes, direct experience is a better reason to believe something than faith. But, direct experience is still not a very strong reason. For one thing, it can't be verified objectively in any way. This means that if you experience god and I experience a total lack of god, there is no way to tell who is right because neither of us have anything to show for it. Personal experience and testimony alone is the worst kind of evidence in science.



But would you say that we don't have all the facts about everything there is to know yet? Couldn't we then say, "perhaps we may one day find scientific evidence for the existence of God?"


Yes, you could say this, but it wouldn't be very compelling. You're essentially saying that "because we don't know everything, then it is possible that X exists and we just don't know it yet." In this case, you're saying that X is god. You could make the exact same statement but replace X with the planet from Avatar, or leprechauns, the Deathstar, or a floating cloud of zombie musicians. The point is that when you have no evidence and say "well we don't know everything so maybe it's out there," your assertion has such a low probability of being correct that we can ignore it. The problem is that the unknown can contain literally anything. You may remind me that it can contain god, and I will remind you that it can contain the toothfairy's makeup bag. If the unknown can contain anything, and you have no evidence for any specific thing, then literally anything goes. Since there are literally an infinite number of possibilities, the odds that god is one of them is 1/infinity, which is 0.

Ultimately, yes, you're right, maybe god's out there and we just haven't discovered it yet, but that argument is painfully weak, and doesn't do anything to strengthen the theory that god exists.



But can't we say that many states and other things are currently impossible to observe based on where we currently are in our knowledge base of science? Isn't science the study of materialism and yet we have quantum states that are immaterial? For example the Atom could only be proven until a microscope specific to see the microcosm of atoms was made.


If it's impossible to observe or detect, then we can't possibly have any evidence for it, which is why I don't believe in it.

Science is not the study of materialism, but it is premised on a materialist ontology.

The extent to which quantum states are material is debatable, but quantum mechanics is a field of scientific study so obviously quantum states are within the scope of science.

The atom was proven long before there were microscopes that could "see" it.



Then can't we say that eventually, if God does exist, God will be scientifically explained as say for example a quantum state? Can we also say the science is uncovering and explaining what once was mystical to some, and can't we say that these mystical characteristics can still hold mystical values to some?


We can say that if god exists it might be explained scientifically, yes, but we have no more reason to say that than to say the same thing about the planet from Avatar.

Yes, science has explained things which used to be explained mystically. I think that science will explain the experience of god during meditation, even though there are people who believe that it is a genuine mystical experience. Mystical characteristics are non-existant, but you're right, people still hold them to be true. I'm sure there will always be people who hold mystical beliefs, but that is irrelevant.



But, "should not be accepted" based on what criteria? Can we say that science does not look for God? If this is true then because science has not yet explained or cannot explain God than doesn't that make the reason for being an Atheist null/void?


Should not be accepted based on the scientific worldview.

We can say that science looks for the best explanation. If that ever happens to be god, science will be looking for him. How would scientists go about looking for god, exactly? The fact that science has not addressed god does not make being an atheist "null/void." Science hasn't addressed Santa Claus, the toothfairy, or Darth Vader, either. Does that mean that it is "null/void" to not believe in those things? Of course not.



But according to this logic, we have those amongst us and through out history who have claimed to experience God and we are left with systems of beliefs based on this.


Yes, that is what has happened. The thing is, they're mistaken. It's all in the head. The experiences are real, but they weren't caused by a divine being.



Isn't this relative though? I found that mystics are telling me that if I meditate for X amount of time and do X amount of training that then I will experience God. Then I find others who were once Atheists, underwent these exercises which ultimately concluded in proof for themselves that this is real. In this case the evidence is subjective and while subjectivity isn't evidence to some, others say it is to them.


Subjective experience is certainly important, but once you recognize that the source of that experience is your brain, and that you have all sort of experiences that aren't based on something out in reality but were just in your head, you have to realize that subjective experience can't be taken too seriously. What about dreams and hallucinations? Subjective experience can be intense, but it's not very compelling when it comes to proving spiritual claims. The experiences can be explained neurologically without appealling to the mystical.



How do you know that waking life is not a dream?


I don't, no one does. However, we still have to live our lives, so I'm going to think and act like I'm awake until something makes me believe otherwise. Of course, the only thing we can know for sure is that we are having the thoughts and experience that we are having. Descartes showed us this but, you won't get very far with that. The dream/matrix/general epistemological distress arguments can be used for anything, and they support the belief that god does not exist just as much as they support the belief that it does exist.



But can't it be said that having an experience of smelling a rose shows certain activity in specific sections neurologically and that those who are not smelling a rose are not having those brain activities? Can it also be said that if the brain lights up in certain ways based on real life experience, that those who show specific brain activity when experiencing God are also experiencing a real God experience?


It's true that all experiences can be mapped onto some underlying brain activity. The thing with the rose is, you can trance the brain activity back to the input from the olfactory nerves and to he sensory cells in the nose and to the rose particles that started the whole event. There is a continuous causal connection from the rose particle to the brain activity. If you see a rose in a dream, though, the brain activity can't be traced to anything external. The same is true of hallucinations, and of the god experience. They aren't caused by something external; they are purely internal brain activity generating experiences which "feel like" sensory perceptions.



Do you believe that external reality is the only reality?


That's a good question. It may be the case that mental space is a reality of its own. However, when we talk about things being real, we're talking about their existence in the external reaity, not the internal one. I believe in the thought of god, and that god can exist in peoples minds, but so can Mickey Mouse. My assertion is that god doesn't exist in external reality.



The purpose of this question is to reveal and reflect any motivations and assumptions about your train of thought. It is a fair question. For example when someone says a guy on a cloud with a beard who punishes certain folks and rewards others well then you may find unexplored childhood angst behind the choice to be an Atheist. Different answers reveal different things about your character.


I don't think that this theological Rorschach test will do very much to advance our debate, so I'll pass.



Are there areas in mathematics, philosophy, science, and many other branches where we use illogical and unreasonable principles to study a topic? If there are infinite ways/statements but our logic and reason are based on limited knowledge that we have thus far, does that conclude logic and reason to be limited?


I don't think that any branches of science use illogical and unreasonable principals to study a topic. The second question is one which I don't know the answer to, exactly. Logic and reason go on infinitely; an infinite amount of new statements can be generated given a limited knowledge base. In that sense they are unlimited. But, is it possible that they could go on forever and still fail to include everything? Yes, in fact is it guarenteed by Godel's incompleteness theorem. So, in this other sense, they are limited.

I think what you're getting at here is the issue of whether or not there is some kind of knowledge which is inaccessible by logic and reason and therefore inaccessible by science. I think that there probably is, but when it comes to god, just saying that science is incomplete is not enough. Even if there is something that is true but that cannot be understood scientifically, I don't have any reason to think that god is real.



I'm glad you mentioned that because many mystics say the "Isness"of all things is God. What would you say about this statement?


I think it's fine for them to call the "isness" of all thing "god," but I don't think that's very satisfying. It's sort of back to saying that god is everything, which have discussed already.



Would you agree then that the man made concept of something is not the actual something but is just a representation of that thing for communications sakes?


I think one would have to agree with this is one is sane. Of course concepts are not the same as the object/action/whatever that they refer to. I think that concepts are useful for both communicator and thought.



So you would say that the existence of God is man made concept? Earlier you just said logic and reason are man made concepts. So basically all of our science, logic, reason, everything we know and methods we use to know about things is all based on the concepts (man made) of logic and reason?


There is a concept of the existence of god. I think that's all there is; I don't think that concept corresponds to anything in the external world. The second question is a tricky one. I would say that what scientists know is based on the application of logic and reason, and not on the concepts themselves. Are numbers and equations concepts, or real things? I don't know.



If science is not looking for God, is it logical and reasonable to base our decision on whether or not God exists on whether or not science has proof of something it is not looking for?


All of our beliefs should be based on evidence and reason. If there isn't any evidence then we don't have any reason to believe, even if no one is looking for the evidence. We shouldn't just start believing something for no reason. Your position is similar to the idea that since no one is looking for ghosts on the dark side of the moon, I would not be justified in believing that there were no ghosts there. The fact that no one is looking does not make it any more likely that they are there.



Would you agree that these theories and explanation are built from logic and reason all of which are concepts?


No, I think that theories and explanations are based on a specific structure of information. I think that the concepts of logic and reason refer to that specific structure of information. I don't know if the concepts are the same thing as the structure of information to which they refer, but I don't believe so. The extent to which the structure of information is a concept or a real thing or something else is something that I am unsure of. Again, are mathematical expressions concepts or something else?



We have accounts of people predicting horseless carriages (cars) and airplanes in the 1700's and earlier and these folks were labeled superstitious simply for the fact of the modern day knowledge was devoid of what we know now. In which case do you agree we can entirely toss out the word and associated semantics that comes with the word being that it relatively relies on the knowledge of the day?


I'm still not exactly sure what you mean here, but yes, we can toss out the word and associated semantics for "superstition." I would say, though, that people have been imagining things for a long time. Sometimes things that people imagine turn out to come into existence. Most of the time, they don't. I don't think that this has much bearing on our debate.



So would you agree that you hold to a certain systematic set of beliefs? Would you say you believe there is no God or that you know there is no God?


I would describe my beliefs as existing in a system, yes, you could say I hold a systematic set of beliefs. I would say that I believe there is no god. I don't know anything.



So are you saying that science instead of psychology is the best way to study behavior? Would you say that instead of using mathematics (which studies numbers) we should use science? Would you say that instead of using mystics (who say they study God) we should use science?


Psychology is a science. Mathematics is scientific and is a kind of logic. I don't think we should use anything to study imaginary stuff.



In the mystics case, they say that the only faith you need is that a direct experience of God will follow if you proceed with the necessary ingrediants it takes to make this spiritual experiment repeatable. Couldn't we say that this is reason and evidence?


I would say that it is reasonable, yes, but not all reasonable beliefs are true. I would also say that the experience is evidence of something, I just disagree with what they say it is evidence of. I think it's reasonable for them to say that if you do such and such you will have this experience. I think they're telling the truth. It's just that I don't think the experience is one of a divine being; I think it's entirely neurological in origin. If a shaman takes psychadelic mushrooms and has an experience, which he thinks is of god, then tells other people that if they take the mushrooms then they too will experience god, that whole line of thinking is very reasonable. He's also not lying about his experience, he's just misinterpreting it. The same sort of thing is going on with deep meditation. The experience is evidence of the neurological effects of meditation, not of god


edit on 9/11/10 by OnceReturned because: fixed quotes




posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by Mike_A
reply to post by OutKast Searcher
 



I would question why these atheists would blame a god for the worlds problems...and why one of them sees himself as a god.


I don’t see myself as a god but if I was to create a god then I would obviously pick the attributes that best reflect me, so why not just pick me?

Wouldn’t you be your own ideal god?



No...no I would not.

To do that...I would first have to believe I am better than every other human. I don't have that kind of arrogance.

So since I don't believe I am better than everyone else...I couldn't say I would be an ideal god.

Second, I would have to believe that a "god" would have human traits...which I don't think is true...but can't know for sure.

But I would say you are not alone among atheists...I would guess this is a somewhat common thought among atheists...and I think it is because those atheists all have a common human trait.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 03:10 AM
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before science proved the existence of germs there were a thousand different explainations on the illness caused by them, yet germs have always existed. before you knock the existence of God, go to where you'll find Him for sure Church. but all of you are to scared to what you might discover. that is the essence of atheism, fear. before you blame God for all of the worlds problem, if i went to your house, waited to see what your routine was, bought a hammer and pry bar at home depot, waited to you left, parked my car, broke open the hinges, took you lcd tv, loaded it on to my car, went home, unloaded the tv, hooked up the cable and plugged it in then started watching sportscentre, who are you going to blame for the theft of your tv? every war and problem on earth is caused by people and very simple steps like i described. thats not to say that people aren't influenced by evil forces, but you have to be strong and fight them.


edit on 12-9-2010 by randomname because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:04 AM
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reply to post by OnceReturned
 


1. Why are you an Atheist?
"I do not believe in God, because I believe in man. Whatever his mistakes, man has for thousands of years past been working to undo the botched job your God has made."

2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist?
I do not believe in beating my girlfriend or wife. Has nothing to do with it existing or not.

3. Do you agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?
No, I do not. However there's enough evidence to nail Christ back on the cross for all eternity. He better stay absent.

4. What do you think about the large number of people that say they have experienced God?
Who hasn't seen Jimi Hendrix play woodstock? Who hasn't seen clips of old school Elvis shake his pelvis? Who's "God" is true and who's "God" is false? Who gets to put their "God" on top of the pedestal next? It seems every culture has their own version of "God" making all obsolete.

5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience? Whoever has more money it seems. If I have the money to get a 3 piece, a nice bible, and a pretty smile I can win people to Christ and on a flip of a coin be on the white house doorstep burning bibles.

If I was Jesus walking the streets in rags, you'd laugh at me. If I had a huge beautiful church ... I can win over thousands and serve you arsenic laced kool-aid.
So yes... whoever has more weight in their pockets... holds more weight of words.


6. (Hypothetically) if God did exist, what would your version of he/she/it be? Art.


7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned? Logic and reason grows and at times is limited based on the setting... is sometimes deprived from the masses in order to control them. There's always something beyond what has been mentioned.

It seems ... based on the type of God we let rule us... is the set logic and reason limitations.



8. (Hypothetically) if science proved the existence of God as fact, what would you do being an Atheist? Even if god was real. He'd have to be abolished.
Anti-God rallies, marches, and all direct action upon this "God" and it's foundation.


9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious. I believe we can only be knowledgable of what we allow ourselves to learn. So yes... what one finds superstitious today shows one's own closed mind.


10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known? Yes...



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:38 AM
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Originally posted by dominicus


1. Why are you an Atheist?



Because I don't believe in the existence of God.
I don't believe that a Deity created the universe and is watching over all of us.





2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist?




Nope.... the same way that believing something doesn't make it real.
The thing not existing makes it not exist.





3. Do you agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?




In some cases for sure.... in the case of invisible sky gods, not so much.





4. What do you think about the large number of people that say they have experienced God?




I think all people from all over the world and all walks of life experience many thing that are odd or paranormal and life-changing.... but as nobody knows what God is or isn't, I find it odd that people can say they've experienced God.

If people believe that God actually speaks to them or through them, then I think these people have mental issues.





5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience?




No... because nobody knows what God is.... there is no thing that is known in this world that goes by the name of God.
There are man made stories and myths and legends, but nothing based in reality.

You cannot prove a negative... one must prove the existence of a thing, not the non-existence.




6. (Hypothetically) if God did exist, what would your version of he/she/it be?




The complete opposite of what is written about in the Bible and other scriptures.


Who knows man...Whatever your imagination can conceive. That's what it looks like.
It certainly wouldn't be a specific gender.





7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned?




Of course, It's limited to the capability of ourselves our minds/brains.
There are many mysteries in this universe and in our own earth and in our own minds.... and waffling on about God just detracts from the real puzzle and mystery that is life.

God was basically invented to keep people from thinking about real issues and themselves and their own problems.... people always have an answer and a scapegoat and a reason.... and It's GOD.





8. (Hypothetically) if science proved the existence of God as fact, what would you do being an Atheist?




I personally don''t see that as even remotely possible but hypothetically speaking, I would obviously have to reconsider my beliefs or lack of.

I don't think It's possible... so It's not really even worth considering.

Unless God was an alien.... and then that wouldn't really change anything.





9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious.




No... because the masses and the Church always found EVERYTHING superstitious.... but there were always people willing to dream and willing to find things out for themselves and go against popular beliefs.

Since mankind ( and science) has been allowed to flourish (without the threat of death from the church) many of the things that were dreams have become reality..... that's the beauty of reality as opposed to religion, people just get things done and actually make things happen.





10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known?



Not really.
I base it on the fact that there is no God... If that fact changes then my own view will also change.

I don't see what science has to do (in this instance) with God?

There is no God.... science or no Science, God is a myth/legend.








edit on 12/9/10 by blupblup because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:54 AM
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I really don’t think the Socratic method is working well in this discussion. The reason for this thread was for you to substantiate the claim in the other thread that you had crushed atheists in debate about whether or not god exists; I thought you would be putting an argument for the existence of god but I’m struggling to see where you have done that.

Trying to engage every single member in a one to one discussion is going to get very repetitive and very tedious very quickly.

Could you not simply set out your argument for the existence of a god/s? Or at least a single argument why you think an atheistic position is wrong?



Originally posted by OutKast Searcher
But I would say you are not alone among atheists...I would guess this is a somewhat common thought among atheists...and I think it is because those atheists all have a common human trait.


Ability to use full stops properly?



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 08:31 AM
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Originally posted by OutKast Searcher
But I would say you are not alone among atheists...I would guess this is a somewhat common thought among atheists...and I think it is because those atheists all have a common human trait.


And that trait would be...?


Originally posted by Mike_A
I really don’t think the Socratic method is working well in this discussion.


I don't think so, either... I answered on page one and have yet to hear any response from the OP...



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 10:11 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 



I really don’t think the Socratic method is working well in this discussion.

The method takes time and many many ongoing questions have to be asked. If there is insufficient patience on your part then is that my fault or yours?


I thought you would be putting an argument for the existence of god but I’m struggling to see where you have done that.

By asking ongoing questions in a specific manner, if the person answering the questions has a weak argument for their stance then you will find it in their answers. It takes reading the whole thread to find inconsistencies, if there are any, in people's answers.


Trying to engage every single member in a one to one discussion is going to get very repetitive and very tedious very quickly.

not really, if we can skip the answers that were repeated then we can progress forward, its just about managing the thread, no big deal really.


Could you not simply set out your argument for the existence of a god/s? Or at least a single argument why you think an atheistic position is wrong?

If I was to do so it would take an entirely new thread. This one is specific to the Socratic Method vs. Atheism. If Atheism has no legs to stand on, IF thats the case, then this method of questioning will reveal that.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 10:22 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



1. Why are you an Atheist? Because I have no reason to believe in a "God". I don't believe in a "God" for the same reasons that I don't believe in pink elephants or unicorns. There's no indication that they exist.

Is there anything you do believe in? Is belief in something required for something to exist?


2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist? Of course not. Belief in something or a lack of same proves nothing.

What constitutes proof of something, for yourself personally?


3. Do you agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence? Yes

So you are willing to say that many things can exist that we just don't have the evidence for is this correct?


4. What do you think about the large number of people that say they have experienced God? They BELIEVE that they have. They are entitled to believe anything they want. I don't think about it much past that.

What is the difference between believing you have experienced and knowing you have experienced something?


5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience? No. A claim that someone experienced something unproven does not hold as much weight as MY lack of experience. However, there was a time when I would have said that I experienced God, too. (I was "saved" in the religious sense) I know now that it was my own emotion that I was experiencing. And I believe that is what people who say they experience God are experiencing.

Do you believe that all people who say the experience God are just experiencing their own emotions? Is it possible that perhaps the religion you were part of manipulated and contorted people to believe that a heightened sense of emotion was God?


6. (Hypothetically) if God did exist, what would your version of he/she/it be? I would have to learn what he or she was like.

Why would you have to learn?


7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned? I don't understand this question.

Is logic & reason relative to the amount of knowledge we have at any given time?


8. (Hypothetically) if science proved the existence of God as fact, what would you do being an Atheist? I would look at the proof and make a decision based on that. After all, people used to believe that the world was flat. When science proved otherwise, we accepted it.

So you would be completely ok with the possibility that some day science might be able to prove God?


9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious. Yes

Do you consider anything superstitious?


10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known? Yes

Are you aware there is matter and scopes of measurement completely beyond your 5 senses, logic/reason, and that currently science doesn't know everything?



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 10:49 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


1. Why are you an Atheist?
Because there is not evidence for the existence of God. And because if He did exist, he would have to be a creep.
What would you consider satisfactory evidence for the existence of God? Why would he have to be a creep if he did exist?

2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist?
I think you misphrased your question here. To answer it as it stands, no--obviously.
2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist? I think you misphrased your question here. To answer it as it stands, no--obviously.

3. Do you agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?
For all practical purposes, it may as well be.
So are you saying yes or no? When you say that it may is well be are you implying that you would like this to be so?

4. What do you think about the large number of people that say they have experienced God?
We all lie to ourselves. More often, we lie to others.
Have you ever lied to yourself or to others? Have you ever assumed some one to be lying and later found they were telling the truth? What motivates a lie?



5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience? No. Duh.

5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience? No. Duh.

6. (Hypothetically) if God did exist, what would your version of he/she/it be?
A fugitive wanted for an implausibly long charge-sheet of crimes.
From what source did you conclude the terms "fugitive" and "crimes"?



7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned? Perhaps they are limited. No, there is nothing beyond.

Would you agree that the level and scope of logic/reason that a fully matured adult academic uses completely beyond the limits of the level and scope of logic/reason a 5 year old uses?

8. (Hypothetically) if science proved the existence of God as fact, what would you do being an Atheist?
Start writing out the charge-sheet.
Why would you conclude that this God would be responsible for these certain charges?

9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious.
I never knew aeroplanes were superstitious. Does the internet believe in ghosts?
Well many people considered a round earth superstitious back in the days when the "flat-earth" theory was common place. So do you a agree the term is relative to the knowledge of the time?


10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known?

No, I base it on morality. But all that other stuff you mention supports it.
Can you define morality? Where does this morality come from?



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by dominicus
Is there anything you do believe in? Is belief in something required for something to exist?


I believe lots of things. I am open to possibilities. That doesn't mean that I believe that a possibility is true. IT's just a possibility - a dream or imagined thing. I won't believe it to be truth unless there is evidence or proof. But I am open to possibilities of all kinds. Belief is not required for something to exist. (I thought we already covered that.)



What constitutes proof of something, for yourself personally?


What I can comprehend with my 5 senses, logic and reason and what is currently scientifically known. (thanks for the wording)



So you are willing to say that many things can exist that we just don't have the evidence for is this correct?


Yes. That is correct. Possibilities. And I don't believe anything until we have that evidence, though.



What is the difference between believing you have experienced and knowing you have experienced something?


I only know I have experienced something if it's is something I can comprehend with my 5 senses, logic and reason and what is currently scientifically known. Otherwise, it's speculation, suspicion, fantasy or just thought.



Do you believe that all people who say the experience God are just experiencing their own emotions? Is it possible that perhaps the religion you were part of manipulated and contorted people to believe that a heightened sense of emotion was God?


First question: Yes. Second question: All religions manipulate and contort people to believe that a heightened sense of emotion is "God" or some outside force or entity (Satan, the Devil, Jesus).



Why would you have to learn?


Because if there is SOMETHING where I thought there was NOTHING, I would have to learn what it is before I would know what it is... That's like me asking you, "If Grumbleedorm" exists, what would it be like"? Do you have ANY clue? No. You would have to learn.



Is logic & reason relative to the amount of knowledge we have at any given time?


Sorry. It still doesn't make sense to me.



So you would be completely ok with the possibility that some day science might be able to prove God?


Absolutely. I believe in possibilities. I'm not close-minded.



Do you consider anything superstitious?


Yes. Lots of things. People's imaginations, in an effort to understand and control our lives and "purpose" here, have manufactured MANY superstitions.



Are you aware there is matter and scopes of measurement completely beyond your 5 senses, logic/reason, and that currently science doesn't know everything?


Yes. And I'm very interested in finding out more about them. Science is already tackling them, but they are not an indication of "God", by any means.

I feel like you just asked me the same questions, only with different wording and slightly different angles. Is there a time when you're going to refute my answers or something?



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by randomname
before science proved the existence of germs there were a thousand different explainations on the illness caused by them, yet germs have always existed. before you knock the existence of God, go to where you'll find Him for sure Church. but all of you are to scared to what you might discover. that is the essence of atheism, fear. before you blame God for all of the worlds problem, if i went to your house, waited to see what your routine was, bought a hammer and pry bar at home depot, waited to you left, parked my car, broke open the hinges, took you lcd tv, loaded it on to my car, went home, unloaded the tv, hooked up the cable and plugged it in then started watching sportscentre, who are you going to blame for the theft of your tv? every war and problem on earth is caused by people and very simple steps like i described. thats not to say that people aren't influenced by evil forces, but you have to be strong and fight them.


edit on 12-9-2010 by randomname because: (no reason given)


I don't see any atheists blaming God for their problem, since, you know, they don't think it exists.
Before science proved the existance of Germs, they just randomly speculated about what caused it, kind of like the universe.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by dominicus
 




if we can skip the answers that were repeated then we can progress forward, its just about managing the thread, no big deal really.


Yeah but you’ve already made the same basic points in several replies while missing counterpoints that others have brought up (mine included). Good posts are just getting buried.

Anyway you’ve asked many questions, can I ask you a few?

1 – How do you define god?

2 – Do you believe that the truth is found through the use of logic and reason?

3 – If you answered yes to 2 do you believe that you can use logic and reason to support the existence of a god/s? If yes can you demonstrate?

4 – If you answered no to 2 how else can you differentiate fact from fiction and how can you be confident that your conclusions are correct?





edit on 12-9-2010 by Mike_A because: Clarity



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 



Thanks for the invite. However I would like to point out that as an atheist I do not make any claims regarding god, I merely react to the claims of others. I should probable also point out that I already accept the possibility of god, in case that’s where you’re going.

So your claim is that you are an atheist that accepts the possibility of God? Other than that you have non of your own claims about God?

1 – I simply see no reason to believe in a god therefore I do not.
What would qualify for you, a reason to believe in one then? Is there anything you do believe in?

2 – No and in answer to your follow up to Edews I know this because of prior cases where non belief in something has turned out to be the incorrect position.
Is this the reason why you accept the possibility of a God?

4 – I think that just because someone interprets something as being godly in origin does not necessarily make it so.
Can you elaborate as to why you think this?

I also think that the wide variation in people’s experiences and the contradictions that they bring up would tend to preclude anything supernatural.
Would you agree that there is a wide variation in people's experiences in all matters of life? And if you do answer yes, do these contradictions preclude the arena/subject that they took place in? If you answer no then I have a different question.

5 – As Daniem said without a clear understanding of what god is then how can you know if you have experienced it. Ultimately claims are meaningless until one party defines what god is but I would think that to do that the question of whether there is a god would have to have already been answered.
Well hypothetically for the sake of discussion, lets take the most prominent definitions in popular theology spanning a number of different religions i.e. (Christianity, Islam, Judiasm) which say (omipresent, omniscient, omnipotent)

So you are saying that in order to experience something, anything, it has to first be defined?

6 – He would probably be me. That would be my ideal god!
What that make you happy the possibility that you are God?

7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned?
7 – Yes and possibly but we can’t know what that is if there is.
Would you agree that your logic and reason and 5 years of age was much more limited than it is today? Would you agree that what you didn't know at 5 years old, you now do know?

8 – I wouldn’t be an atheist.
So you not being an atheist in this hypothetical sense would that in anyway change the lifestyle, morals, and knowledge in the light of science proving there is a God? (hypothetical)

9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious.
9 – It’s an interesting point but ultimately I would say no, not if superstition is taken to mean a belief for which there is no logic or reason.
But wouldn't you agree that for the longest time there was no logic and reason to conclude that the earth was round so for the longest time we lived in a prominently flat-earth theory world?

However I would say that if the same person came to this belief through logic and reason then it would not be a superstitious belief.
There are folks who say that through logic and reason they concluded that there must be a God, what do you think about that?

10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known?
10 – Yes.
Do you believe there is substance and matter that exists that is out of the range of our 5 senses such as as certain frequencies of sound and spectrums of light?


edit on 12-9-2010 by dominicus because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 




Yeah but you’ve already made the same basic points in several replies while missing counterpoints that others have brought up (mine included). Good posts are just getting buried.

Not really, I will be getting to all the counter-points eventually even if I have to repeat myself for the simple sake of making sure nothing gets buried. Plus since you bring this up, if you do find anything buried please do bring it up and I will ask the next appropriate question in regards to counter-points.

Also please bare with me. I just recently responded to your thread on the 1st page, see post above this one and I am trying to get to everyone, although I think I will keep this down to 10 Atheists that I would correspond with to help manage things.



Anyway you’ve asked many questions, can I ask you a few?

Well my role here is as the socratic method questioner. I myself am not an atheist so in a sense asking me questions would seem to derail the thread. I am guilty of derailing a few threads here and there but thats irrelevant at this point.

Like Socrates at this point I am claiming to know nothing and ultimately the answers given here if they are substantial and hold relevant weight will have an ultimate impact as far as where I myself stand on these matters.

Also please be aware that a Socratic method based debate just with one person can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours so I figure by the time we get about page 5-7 is where we will see if the stance of Atheist holds any bearings in substance.




1 – How do you define god?

I don't know. Perhaps undefinable. Although perhaps something undefinable can still be experienced, of course this is just a possibility I am putting out there. For example before losing my virginity, I had ideas and definitions about it, but the actual real life experience of losing my virginity was completely beyond the definitions of it.


2 – Do you believe that the truth is found through the use of logic and reason?

Can you define truth first?


3 – If you answered yes to 2 do you believe that you can use logic and reason to support the existence of a god/s? If yes can you demonstrate?

It depends what the definition of truth is. If we can all agree to a definition than certainly it should be easy to answer # 3.


4 – If you answered no to 2 how else can you differentiate fact from fiction and how can you be confident that your conclusions are correct?

Again depends on the definition of truth. What is the definition of fact and fiction and are they relative to anything? Can I be confidant that my own personal conclusion are correct .....I would have to think about that very deeply. Perhaps the only real way I can answer right now is that at least a curiosity about things suits me well. I know thats not necessarily an answer one might want, however we need to be able to first come to some sort of conclusion about certain principalities that we are working out here through the Socratic questioning.




edit on 12-9-2010 by dominicus because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 12:21 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 



So your claim is that you are an atheist that accepts the possibility of God? Other than that you have non of your own claims about God?


Yes however when I say god I mean the concept of a deity. I have plenty of opinions about the gods of various religions, these opinions being based on what these religions say about their respective supreme being.


What would qualify for you, a reason to believe in one then? Is there anything you do believe in?


What have you got? Something testable, observable, something that would allow predictions to be made and tested; something like that.

As for what I believe in, many things but none without reason.


2 – No and in answer to your follow up to Edews I know this because of prior cases where non belief in something has turned out to be the incorrect position.
Is this the reason why you accept the possibility of a God?


The reason I accept the possibility is because it is impossible to know everything or be absolutely certain about anything.


4 – I think that just because someone interprets something as being godly in origin does not necessarily make it so.
Can you elaborate as to why you think this?


Not sure how else to put it, if I see my curtain move I could interpret that as the act of a poltergeist but that wouldn’t necessarily be the cause would it.


Would you agree that there is a wide variation in people's experiences in all matters of life? And if you do answer yes, do these contradictions preclude the arena/subject that they took place in? If you answer no then I have a different question.


What do you mean “do they preclude the arena they took place in?” What I was saying was that if you take these godly experiences at face value one set of experiences would contradict another and so preclude another being true thus leading to a paradox.


Well hypothetically for the sake of discussion, lets take the most prominent definitions in popular theology spanning a number of different religions i.e. (Christianity, Islam, Judiasm) which say (omipresent, omniscient, omnipotent)

So you are saying that in order to experience something, anything, it has to first be defined?


No I’m saying that in order to know what you have experienced that thing must first be defined. For example I can’t say I have experienced smelling a rose without knowing what a rose is.

So going back to your question someone can say that they have experienced god but without knowing what god is it is a meaningless statement. But equally someone saying they have not experienced god doesn’t really mean anything because without knowing what god is they could have experienced it without knowing.

The problem is can you define god? You can assign arbitrary qualities such as omniscience but how do you know if that is an accurate reflection of god?


What that make you happy the possibility that you are God?


I think it would have its pros and cons.


Would you agree that your logic and reason and 5 years of age was much more limited than it is today? Would you agree that what you didn't know at 5 years old, you now do know?


My ability to use logic and reason was more limited but logic and reason as abstract concepts were not.

I also think it is important to make the distinction between these two concepts and knowledge.

If your point is that at some point we may come to understand god then I’ll save you time and just say that I agree. However this doesn’t mean I should believe in a god now does it.


So you not being an atheist in this hypothetical sense would that in anyway change the lifestyle, morals, and knowledge in the light of science proving there is a God? (hypothetical)


That would depend entirely on the god.


But wouldn't you agree that for the longest time there was no logic and reason to conclude that the earth was round so for the longest time we lived in a prominently flat-earth theory world?


No, logic and reason have always existed, perhaps not formally but without these two tools humans would be totally none functioning.


There are folks who say that through logic and reason they concluded that there must be a God, what do you think about that?


I ask them to demonstrate how they came to this conclusion, as I did with you. Can you tell me?


Do you believe there is substance and matter that exists that is out of the range of our 5 senses such as as certain frequencies of sound and spectrums of light?


Yes but these can be detected or inferred by other means.


In relation to your answers to my questions I think you’re playing semantics so I’ll reword question two.

2 – Do you believe that to determine something’s objective existence it must be done through the use of logic and reason?

You can also substitute “fact from fiction” in Q4 with “what is real and what is not”

Perhaps you can now answer the questions.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by dominicus
Inspired from a previous thread, which I admit got derailed a few times based on the ever present Atheist Vs. God debate;

However this one will be inclined using the Socratic method to investigate the claims of an Atheist. So as in the original technique of Socrates, I will ask a series of question for the purpose of learning about your perspective as well as deepening your own understanding of your point of view. Help me to understand you and also remember the questioning will go beyond these original ten questions.

1. Why are you an Atheist?
2. Does not believing in something prove it does not exist?
3. Do you agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?
4. What do you think about the large number of people that say they have experienced God?
5. Does one's claim to have experienced God hold as much weight as your claim to not having had that experience?
6. (Hypothetically) if God did exist, what would your version of he/she/it be?
7. Is logic and reason limited? And if the answer is yes, is there something beyond the aforementioned?
8. (Hypothetically) if science proved the existence of God as fact, what would you do being an Atheist?
9. Do you agree superstition is relative to the knowledge of the times? i.e. airplanes and internet were once considered superstitious.
10. Do you base your Atheism specifically on what you can comprehend with your 5 senses, logic/reason, and what is currently scientifically known?



The Scientific method demands evidence in advance of reaching a conclusion. There's no evidence that God exists. Specifically looking for evidence of God to prove your preconceived ideas is backwards. You're supposed to take observations, produce a hypothesis, test that hypothesis by trying to prove it wrong, and then reach a conclusion.

Every time someone makes one of these atheism attack threads, I ask them to produce evidence of God. They never have before and they won't be able to this time. Why don't you superstitious religious zealots trying scrutinizing your own beliefs for a moment and discover that they were instilled in you at a young age and you've been attempting to justify them ever since? You believe in God because someone in authority told you to. If you grew up in another country or on an island by yourself, you would not believe in God or you would practice a different religion. If your religious beliefs are simply a result of your parents and/or community, then they lack any external worth because they aren't constant. They're just another trait passed down from your parents, much like political philosophies.

I'll save you the time of telling me to prove God doesn't exist. That's a fallacy. No one can prove a negative. You might as well ask me to prove that that unicorns don't exist anywhere in the universe or that the world wasn't created by 100ft tall invisible elephant drinking a cup of coffee. Science would go nowhere if we spent all our waking hours disproving cockeyed guesses that aren't based on observations or experimentation.

You people are hypocrites. You take advantage of scientific advancement every day of your life and yet you disregard the method that was utilized to drive that advancement. You fly in planes, drive cars, watch TV, and use your computers. You stand on the shoulders of generations of hard-working people with little to no understanding of any of your electronic toys or medicines. You thank God for successful Chemotherapy but never ask about why you got cancer in the first place.

If you people were so confident in your beliefs, we would not have cops, courts, and jails. If God was taking care of justice, these services would be absolutely unnecessary.



edit on 12-9-2010 by andrewh7 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 01:03 PM
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edit on 12-9-2010 by andrewh7 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 01:37 PM
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I think the crux of this is that atheism requires just as much faith as Christianity or any other monotheistic religion.

We can't even agree on how "God" would be defined.


The people who think science has disproven the idea of God: Whaaaaat?!?!?

Can anyone show me scientific literature that proves a God doesn't exist scientifically?



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 01:39 PM
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1. Because Theists have not met their burden of proof.
2. No, and the same goes for the ontological argument for a deity.
3. No.
4. A better question would be "what do you think of people who have experience God, Zeus, Thor, Brahma and aliens?" The answer to all three is that it was a delusion. The Christians experience is no more valid than the Hindus experience.
5. No since personal revelation is not considered a form of evidence. If I said that I was abducted by aliens, does that prove that I was? No. It's circular reasoning.
6. If a deity existed, then I would not have a personal version of the deity since they are, what they are (for lack of better words). What i'm saying is that if a deity reveals themselves, there's not much room for personal interpretation.
7. Yes, natural laws. Logic is a concept, and as such is contingent on thought. Thought is fallible, and as you no doubt know, is not perfect.
8. Which God? If you mean the God of the OT, then I would not worship the genocidal, infanticidal, megalomaniac. Might does not make right. Perhaps you should read your book to see what sort of evil monster you actually worship.
9. People consider the internet and planes supernatural? Like this example, superstition is not contingent on the era, but on the reason of the person. Look at modern times, look at how superstitious people are (the religious, etc). Man kind is doomed to the superstitious unintelligent that is the average Joe. That is why I do not think the world should become atheist, it would still be the same, except those idiots would be atheist idiots. There are far too many dumb people in the world. To quote George Carlin, "think of how dumb the average person is, and realise half of them are even dumber than that".
10. No I base my atheism on the fact that theists have not fulfilled their burden of proof. Accepting superstitious nonsense is the gateway to all illogical thinking. My atheism is not based on what I can see or smell, it is based on the simple fact that there is no conclusive evidence to prove the existence of any deity.


edit on 12-9-2010 by Jerry_Teps because: (no reason given)




edit on 12-9-2010 by Jerry_Teps because: (no reason given)



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