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A Response: The Socratic Method Takes On Theism

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posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:55 AM
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Alright, first question for theists:

What is God?

I can't really ask anymore questions, as Socrates didn't like to ask more than one question at a time, preferring to make further questions based entirely on the answers to previous questions.




posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 08:35 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


I'll bite.

"What is God?"

By popular defintion God is supposed to be an omnipotent, all present being that created the universe and all of it's contents. God is also supposed to control an after life commonly referred to as Heaven and his nemesis Satan is supposed to control the negative alternative to heaven usually referred to as Hell.


edit on 13/9/10 by Death_Kron because: Spelling



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 09:15 AM
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Bump.

Because I think this thread could be potentially interesting.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:32 AM
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reply to post by Death_Kron
 


Since you're the first to respond, I'll go from your answer:

You have defined God to be omnipotent and omnipresent. Does this mean that the aforementioned deity is also omniscient?



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
reply to post by Death_Kron
 


Since you're the first to respond, I'll go from your answer:

You have defined God to be omnipotent and omnipresent. Does this mean that the aforementioned deity is also omniscient?


I'm charmed!


I'd say that yes, if God is omnipotent and omnipresent then he has to be omnisicent otherwise it wouldn't be possible for him to be the aforementioned two descriptions.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


What is God?

Well I don't attempt to define or describe God. People have tried...and people have failed...and some seem to think that since humans attempted definition of God have failed then that must mean God does not exist.

How do you define something that isn't knowable? I would have to be God myself to define God...because to define something in complete and accurate detail...you need to understand it. I don't pretend to have that knowledge.

Can you define quantum physics before you have learned about it? Can you define it before you understand it? If you tried...do you think it would be accurate? If it isn't accurate...does that mean that quantum physics does not exist...or just that your understanding of it isn't yet complete?

There is a "concept" of God that I think of...but it is a vague general concept that doesn't attempt to define attributes. The concept of God I think of is a higer being...or you could say the highest being. But that is as far as I go in trying to define something that in my mind is unknowable.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 12:52 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
Alright, first question for theists:

What is God?

I can't really ask anymore questions, as Socrates didn't like to ask more than one question at a time, preferring to make further questions based entirely on the answers to previous questions.


God is Spirit. Better question would be ,What is Spirit?


edit on 13-9-2010 by oliveoil because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 04:55 PM
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reply to post by OutKast Searcher
 


If you cannot put forth an adequate definition than you have no idea what you believe in ergo there is no reason involved.

reply to post by oliveoil
 


Alright, than what is spirit?



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


A spirit is a non-material being. There are humans which are composed of matter and spirit. there are angles which are composed of spirit, then there is God. The infinite spirit. The only way we can examine what spirit is , is to start with the human spirit. Ours is finite.(Knowledge,intellect,Will) Knowledge serves love,Which God is...infinite love.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:00 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 



If you cannot put forth an adequate definition than you have no idea what you believe in ergo there is no reason involved.


This is simply not true. You believe in many things that you can't describe adequately...why must I have to accurately describe God to believe? To describe something...you need a reference point...what reference point would you like me to describe God? Can you describe how the color blue looks without using a reference point? Do you still think that the visual color blue "exist"?

And who said anything about reason? We are dealing in faith here...it's an exercise in freeing myself from the constraints of reason.

I do find it telling though that you choose to attempt to end the conversation when you don't get an answer that fits your needs.

Why is that? Are you unable to think abstractly in terms of concepts and not in absolute definitions?



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:36 PM
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Originally posted by OutKast Searcher
This is simply not true. You believe in many things that you can't describe adequately...


Not really, pretty much everything I believe in has an adequate definition. Can't think of anything that doesn't have one.
And even if I were unaware of one, someone else would have one that I could easily access through either the internet or a book or asking someone.



why must I have to accurately describe God to believe?


Because you must be aware of your own belief.



To describe something...you need a reference point...what reference point would you like me to describe God?


Well, Cogito Ergo Sum (I am thinking therefore I exist) was a good enough place for Descartes to start. You could simply use any reference point you choose. It depends on your conception of the universe and whatever notions you have about your deity.



Can you describe how the color blue looks without using a reference point? Do you still think that the visual color blue "exist"?


The concept exists and that which we give a label to exists. You can describe it various ways: through a direct reference point like "the color of the sky the most of the day" or a scientific way: 440–490 nm wavelengths of light.




And who said anything about reason? We are dealing in faith here...it's an exercise in freeing myself from the constraints of reason.


And you lost me...
How is reason a constraint? Reason is the ultimate liberator in the world, freeing humanity from disease and squalor, lighting the way past the darkness of ignorance.



I do find it telling though that you choose to attempt to end the conversation when you don't get an answer that fits your needs.


I'm not attempting to end a conversation, I'm just stating there's nothing to discuss and you're simply left with an irrational belief when you say you cannot define that which you believe in.



Why is that? Are you unable to think abstractly in terms of concepts and not in absolute definitions?


Please do not participate in argument ad hominem.

I'm quit obviously able to think of abstract concepts...I'm using a language, am I not? I understand mathematics to a certain level (got up to pre-calc, never decided to make it further).
I'm a philosophy minor, I deal with the abstract all the time.

Faith is not something that is 'abstract'
It's quite concrete: it's a solid and unchanging belief.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:38 PM
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reply to post by oliveoil
 


If your deity is infinite love, then why is there suffering in the world?

Suffering can manifest in many forms: The direct actions of humans or the entirely indirect 'freak accidents' of the world that cause suffering such as natural disasters and disease.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


Why is there suffering? Suffering is a result of going against law. Here is an example. If one stays out in the sun to long one will get burned.God can not "blot"out the sun so you dont get burned.That would be "breaking" Law.However God does break "LAW" from time to time (if you pray real hard)...this is called a miracle.



posted on Sep, 14 2010 @ 06:02 AM
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reply to post by oliveoil
 


What about incredibly healthy people who get heart attacks and strokes? People who are struck by lightning? People who get a disease from a blood transfusion? People who catch life threatening diseases.

Which law did these people break?



posted on Sep, 14 2010 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


Perhaps the man who was struck by lighting was at the wrong place at the wrong time.All disease, Viruses and normal are living.Example; when a cancer cell attacks a healthy cell, both cells are living.Who is to say which cell gets to live and what cell does not.Natural law takes its course. Having God intervene would be breaking natural law. God is a God of law and order.



posted on Sep, 14 2010 @ 10:06 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 



Not really, pretty much everything I believe in has an adequate definition. Can't think of anything that doesn't have one.
And even if I were unaware of one, someone else would have one that I could easily access through either the internet or a book or asking someone.


So all is known to you??? That seems a little arrogant...don't you think so? I am fine knowing I don't know everything...or even that I don't know anything. I don't feel the need to think everything I believe is fact and defined.


Because you must be aware of your own belief.


I am...at a concept level...which I gave a vague description of...because that is all I believe can be done. But you completely ignored the concept...I assume because it doesn't server your purpose of trying to find a flaw with a human definition.


Well, Cogito Ergo Sum (I am thinking therefore I exist) was a good enough place for Descartes to start. You could simply use any reference point you choose. It depends on your conception of the universe and whatever notions you have about your deity.


I could use any reference point...but none of those may be the correct reference point to start from.


The concept exists and that which we give a label to exists. You can describe it various ways: through a direct reference point like "the color of the sky the most of the day" or a scientific way: 440–490 nm wavelengths of light.


Yes...but I asked you to descrive the color of blue without using a reference point. Your first uses a direct reference point...your second (wavelength) tells nothing about how the color blue looks. Could you tell a blind person who was about to get their eyesight back through surgery that blue is 440-490 nm wavelenghts and he will be able to identify it after his eyesight returns?

Would you like to try again? Pretend you are describing it to that blind person...describe it so fully with no reference points in a way that they know exactly what blue looks like.


And you lost me...
How is reason a constraint? Reason is the ultimate liberator in the world, freeing humanity from disease and squalor, lighting the way past the darkness of ignorance.


I never said reason was a bad thing...but it is for sure a constraint. No one lives a perfectly reasonable and logical life...we are all outside of reason at some points. Unless you live your life like a robot...you are too.

Being able to free yourself from any constraint is a good thing. I'm not saying to never use reason...but to be able to not use it at times isn't a bad thing.


I'm not attempting to end a conversation, I'm just stating there's nothing to discuss and you're simply left with an irrational belief when you say you cannot define that which you believe in.


I can not define it...and I don't care if anyone thinks that my belief is irrational. I have never claimed it was.

Again...we do irrational things all the time...I just do one more than you do



Please do not participate in argument ad hominem.

I'm quit obviously able to think of abstract concepts...I'm using a language, am I not? I understand mathematics to a certain level (got up to pre-calc, never decided to make it further).
I'm a philosophy minor, I deal with the abstract all the time.


I did not use an ad hom...I asked a question...didn't make a statement. I'm sorry if you feel like a simple question to you is a personal attack...I can't control your emotions.


Faith is not something that is 'abstract'
It's quite concrete: it's a solid and unchanging belief.


Faith in an abstract idea...if it was a concrete idea...I wouldn't need faith now would I?


Let me ask you a question...start my own socratic method.

What is your goal in this thread?



posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 06:05 AM
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reply to post by oliveoil
 



Originally posted by oliveoil
reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


Perhaps the man who was struck by lighting was at the wrong place at the wrong time.


But that doesn't explain why such suffering should be allowed. If a man is hiking through the woods and comes upon a clearing and is suddenly hit by a thunderstorm and then struck by lightning before he can reach shelter, what fault is it of his? Being 'at the wrong place at the wrong time' doesn't excuse a divine being for random suffering. 90 people every year die from lightning strikes. Why would a god allow for a universe in which this occurs to exist?



All disease, Viruses and normal are living.Example; when a cancer cell attacks a healthy cell, both cells are living.


But a cancer cell is an aberrant human cell. It's not a separate entity. Why would a divine creator put in humanity a way for our bodies to destroy themselves at early ages? Why would such a deity even allow a virus like Spanish flu to exist? It wiped out 5% of the world's population in two years. Surely a deity could have prevented a disease like influenza from existing in the first place.



Who is to say which cell gets to live and what cell does not.


I'd say that the deity who claims to be all powerful and sovereign over the universe would be.



Natural law takes its course. Having God intervene would be breaking natural law. God is a God of law and order.


Then why did he set up the laws in a way that would cause 5% of the world's population to die for no fault of their own? Why would god set up laws that would allow 90 people to die every year from being struck by lightning? What about the tsunamis and hurricanes? Why would god set up laws of the universe that would allow for massive catastrophes like those to happen?


reply to post by OutKast Searcher
 



Originally posted by OutKast Searcher
reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 



Not really, pretty much everything I believe in has an adequate definition. Can't think of anything that doesn't have one.
And even if I were unaware of one, someone else would have one that I could easily access through either the internet or a book or asking someone.


So all is known to you??? That seems a little arrogant...don't you think so?


No, I said all could could be made known to me. I can access that which I don't know. I also pointed out that the things in which I believe have an adequate definition, not that I necessarily am all knowing all on subjects in which I believe.



I am fine knowing I don't know everything...or even that I don't know anything.


Well, I'm fine with knowing I don't know everything, but I would think it quite silly to think I don't know anything. I clearly know how to use the English language and how to operate a computer and type on a keyboard.



I don't feel the need to think everything I believe is fact and defined.


Then you don't care about the reliability of our water treatment facilities, electric grids, medical science, aerodynamics, internal combustion engines, farming techniques etc? If you care about a single thing you believe in being fact and defined you should care about everything, should you not?



I am...at a concept level...which I gave a vague description of...because that is all I believe can be done. But you completely ignored the concept...I assume because it doesn't server your purpose of trying to find a flaw with a human definition.


A concept is something you can shift around. It's called changing the definition. If I say that there is no God and someone says:
I believe God is love, I love my wife, therefore God exists.
That isn't an argument.




I could use any reference point...but none of those may be the correct reference point to start from.


Descartes' starting point seems to be good enough by me. There's really no way you can contradict it.



Yes...but I asked you to descrive the color of blue without using a reference point. Your first uses a direct reference point...your second (wavelength) tells nothing about how the color blue looks.


Well, the way the color blue looks is a total creation of the human mind. Colors are merely wavelengths of light as interpreted by the brain.




Could you tell a blind person who was about to get their eyesight back through surgery that blue is 440-490 nm wavelenghts and he will be able to identify it after his eyesight returns?


Well, if I were to explain to him the progression of colors based on an entirely scientific point of view I would be able to. Especially if I explained the entirety of the visual spectrum with a point by point system.



Would you like to try again? Pretend you are describing it to that blind person...describe it so fully with no reference points in a way that they know exactly what blue looks like.


For one thing, this is a topic for a philosophical discussion. And if I have no reference points I can't even acknowledge that I exist or that the color itself exists.

This has no bearing on the existence of a deity. If you truly believe in an all powerful deity that created the universe you would consider yourself a living reference point as is the whole universe




I never said reason was a bad thing...but it is for sure a constraint. No one lives a perfectly reasonable and logical life...we are all outside of reason at some points. Unless you live your life like a robot...you are too.


I would disagree with a totally reasonable life being robotic. If I lived an entirely reasonable existence I would still be free to choose personal preferences and recreational pursuits. Being entirely reasonable would still leave me to make a good number of decisions in a non-robotic manner.



Being able to free yourself from any constraint is a good thing. I'm not saying to never use reason...but to be able to not use it at times isn't a bad thing.


When would not being reasonable be a good thing?



I can not define it...and I don't care if anyone thinks that my belief is irrational. I have never claimed it was.


I challenge that you merely have a wish then, not a belief. And just because you never claimed your belief was rational doesn't mean it shouldn't be subjected to challenge for being irrational. Irrational beliefs are what land people in insane asylums.



Again...we do irrational things all the time...I just do one more than you do



I try my best to not do irrational things. You're actively allowing yourself to continue your irrational belief.



I did not use an ad hom...I asked a question...didn't make a statement. I'm sorry if you feel like a simple question to you is a personal attack...I can't control your emotions.


It's alright. I was not personally offended, I might not have understood the tone in which you were writing. We have very little control over how other read the tone of our writing.




Faith in an abstract idea...if it was a concrete idea...I wouldn't need faith now would I?


You just used a recursive argument. Faith is an abstract idea because I need faith.
I just defined faith, but I'll be more specific. Faith is an unchanging belief in that which is irrational.



Let me ask you a question...start my own socratic method.

What is your goal in this thread?


To use the methods of Socrates to gain a better understanding of how people believe and possibly to arrive at some sort of truth about something.



posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 



No, I said all could could be made known to me.


So all could be known to you...but it is not...so you currently believe things on faith that the knowledge is out there?


I can access that which I don't know.


Can you? I would think if you know that it is out there to access then you would already know it yourself. How do you know what is out there to access if you haven't already checked to see if it is there to access?

Again..there is much faith in that statement.


I also pointed out that the things in which I believe have an adequate definition, not that I necessarily am all knowing all on subjects in which I believe.


Again...you are putting faith in the things you believe in...because you don't have complete knowledge of them. I know atheists don't like that word "faith"...but you have just given many examples on how you use it.


Well, I'm fine with knowing I don't know everything, but I would think it quite silly to think I don't know anything. I clearly know how to use the English language and how to operate a computer and type on a keyboard.


So you "know" tasks that have been defined and created by humans. As I would expect you to...because these are things that can be "known" because they were created by other finite minds. I hold a similar belief...in that I know that I can get the right answer to any math problem...I know that I can programm a computer to do what I want it to do...but what does that gain me? What do I know about the universe or myself because of my ability to do these tasks?


Then you don't care about the reliability of our water treatment facilities, electric grids, medical science, aerodynamics, internal combustion engines, farming techniques etc?


Maybe the wording was off...but when I say I don't feel the need to think EVERYTHING I believe is fact and defined...I mean that I'm ok with somethings being defined and others not...hence...everything I believe is not fact and defined.

It does not meant that some things I believe are fact and defined...just not EVERYTHING. So I don't understand your questioning...I absolutely do care about some things being defined...and others not so much.


If you care about a single thing you believe in being fact and defined you should care about everything, should you not?


Well that seems like a bit of a false choice (false dilema/false dichotomy)...don't you think?

I can only care about all or nothing???

Does that honestly make logical sense to you?


A concept is something you can shift around. It's called changing the definition. If I say that there is no God and someone says:
I believe God is love, I love my wife, therefore God exists.
That isn't an argument.


I agree that isn't an argument...which is why I don't use it.

A concept is something that you can shift around...you are correct. Most scientific ideas are concepts...so they can be refined and tuned when more knowledge is gained....do you not believe in scientific concepts either???

Or do you not think things in science are not concepts...do you think they have a definite definition and can never be changed?

Right now I have my definition of my concept of god...a higher being...maybe even the highest being.

The only reason you don't like this is because you want me to put forth a definition which gives god human attributes so you can try to "disprove" god. Even if I did that, or someone else was foolish enough to think they understand god in a way that they can describe them using a very limiting english language, and you could find some flaw in the definition and prove them wrong...what have you accomplished? Did you prove that god does not exist? Or did you simply prove that the person attempting to define god did a poor job?



Descartes' starting point seems to be good enough by me. There's really no way you can contradict it.


This would be a wonderful starting point if I was trying to prove that I exist. And I have no interest in trying to contradict it.

Why is it that you think this is a good reference point to define god from?


Well, the way the color blue looks is a total creation of the human mind. Colors are merely wavelengths of light as interpreted by the brain.

Well, if I were to explain to him the progression of colors based on an entirely scientific point of view I would be able to. Especially if I explained the entirety of the visual spectrum with a point by point system.


Then why don't you do so..right here...to describe how the color blue looks. I would love to hear it.


For one thing, this is a topic for a philosophical discussion.


Is this whole discussion not a philosophical discussion?


And if I have no reference points I can't even acknowledge that I exist or that the color itself exists.


You know the color exists...you have reference points to verify that. We all know the color exists...and we all know what it "looks" like.

All I am asking you to do is to define it...with no reference point.


This has no bearing on the existence of a deity. If you truly believe in an all powerful deity that created the universe you would consider yourself a living reference point as is the whole universe


It is true that it has no bearing on the "existence" of a deity...I never suggested it did.

What it does have a bearing on is that you are asking people to define something that they have no logical reference point for. And I am just trying to show you the difficult in that.

Now you can say that I can use anything as a reference point...or myself as a reference point...but none of them may be a good logical starting point to define "god". You can say that since "god" created it...it should be a valid reference point...well how is a car a good reference point to describe or define the engineer that designed it? Additionally...if you remember my definition of the concept I believe in...I never said anything about creating anything. That in itself is an attempted definition made by some other human.

I could allow you to use many reference points to describe blue...but if I don't give you a valid one...then it will do you know good. And this is what you are doing...you are suggesting reference points...but none of them may be valid.

So I'll let you try to describe blue again...and the only reference point I am going to allow you to use is a dust mite. So you now have a reference point...and you seem to think that any reference point should do...so you should now be able to describe how the color blue looks.

But if you can't describe a simple thing like how the color blue looks without using a VALID reference point...something that we all see everyday...we all know exactly what it looks like...then how do you expect people to describe or define "god"?


I would disagree with a totally reasonable life being robotic. If I lived an entirely reasonable existence I would still be free to choose personal preferences and recreational pursuits. Being entirely reasonable would still leave me to make a good number of decisions in a non-robotic manner.


Do you claim to live an entirely reasonable existence? Do you believe you do nothing that is outside of reason?


When would not being reasonable be a good thing?


Is it reasonable/logical to jump out of a perfectly functioning airplane? Is it reasonable/logical to not look out for only your own interests? Is it reasonable/logical to think that the cars will stop at a red light or a stop sign?

I could go on and on...our lives are filled with decisions and actions that are not logical or reasonable. You can justify or rationalize those actions and decisions...but that does not make them logical or reasonable.


I challenge that you merely have a wish then, not a belief. And just because you never claimed your belief was rational doesn't mean it shouldn't be subjected to challenge for being irrational. Irrational beliefs are what land people in insane asylums.


You can choose to call it whatever you like...it doesn't change what I believe. I have faith in my belief...no more or no less...and I'm comfortable with that. Call it what you will...it makes no difference.

You can challenge my belief for being rational if you like...but you can't with 100% certainty say that I am wrong...just as I can't say with 100% certainty that I am right.

It appears that I am ok and comfortable with this...and that you are not.

If you believe that irrational equals insane...then you have a long hard road ahead of you in life. Irrational things are done all the time...and many of them are done by some of the most successful and powerful people in the world...I don't see them in an asylum.

Something only seems irrational to those that can't see the rationality in it...there is no universal law on what is rational and what is not. Rational does not equal logical.


I try my best to not do irrational things. You're actively allowing yourself to continue your irrational belief.


You may try...but do you honestly think you don't? Do you honestly think you don't do anything irrational (from someone else's point of view) that you actively and knowingly do?


You just used a recursive argument. Faith is an abstract idea because I need faith.


I think you misread what I wrote. I said Faith IN an abstract idea...I never said Faith IS an abstract idea.


I just defined faith, but I'll be more specific. Faith is an unchanging belief in that which is irrational


From your perspective...this is your definition of faith.

As with anything...there are multiple definitions of a word. I just looked up a few...ironically I couldn't find your definition anywhere. It seems that from others perspective you may be irrationally believing in that definition of "faith"...but to you it is completely rational...do you see how that works.

Here is the definition of faith that I think of when I use the word:

merriam-webster

firm belief in something for which there is no proof


So forgive me...but I will use this definition of faith rather than the one you just made up.


To use the methods of Socrates to gain a better understanding of how people believe and possibly to arrive at some sort of truth about something.


Truth? What do you beleive to be the "truth"? You won't arrive at some sort of "truth" from me...because I don't claim to hold any on this subject.

But I will ask you some more questions.


You seem very proud to be an ahteist...you have three threads in your sig about it...and a quote in your avatar about it. What does being an atheist mean to you? Do you have "pride" in being an atheist? Is atheisim a big part of who you are?



posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 08:51 AM
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reply to post by OutKast Searcher
 


Sorry for the delayed reply.



So all could be known to you...but it is not...so you currently believe things on faith that the knowledge is out there?


Do not put words in my mouth. I accept scientific concepts that I don't personally understand 100%, though I could obviously spend the time necessary to understand them through the resources of books and the internet and experts on the subjects, which I see demonstrable proof of in such things as this laptop that I'm typing on.



Can you? I would think if you know that it is out there to access then you would already know it yourself. How do you know what is out there to access if you haven't already checked to see if it is there to access?


Well there must be a massive resource regarding pyrotechnics somewhere, as I've seen plenty of fire works. It's out there to access, but I don't already have the knowledge. There's a lot I don't know about computer science, yet I'm using a laptop, so there must be a way to gain access to information about computer science or I wouldn't be able to use it. Same for medicine, physics, etc. I see proof that people are applying knowledge so there must be a resource for this knowledge to be transferred from one generation to the next.



Again..there is much faith in that statement.


Nope, just a lot of simple logic.



Again...you are putting faith in the things you believe in...because you don't have complete knowledge of them. I know atheists don't like that word "faith"...but you have just given many examples on how you use it.


Simply stating that I'm putting faith in something doesn't actually mean I am. You have to demonstrate that I have faith. Just because I don't have complete understanding of my laptop doesn't mean that there's any faith involved. Merely a logical leap that the knowledge I don't have is had by someone else.



So you "know" tasks that have been defined and created by humans.


If it hasn't been created by us and it hasn't been defined by us it isn't something we are aware of. So of course I do.



As I would expect you to...because these are things that can be "known" because they were created by other finite minds.


Electricity wasn't created by a finite mind, it's a natural phenomenon. But I still have some level of understanding of it and a physicist specializing in electricity would have a possibly complete understanding of it.
Same with fire, chemistry, etc.



I hold a similar belief...in that I know that I can get the right answer to any math problem...I know that I can programm a computer to do what I want it to do...but what does that gain me? What do I know about the universe or myself because of my ability to do these tasks?


Well, you know that there is a way to create order and structure. And then you can apply mathematics to the world around you and it works. Surprised? If you apply simple mathematics to simple observations of falling objects you get a basic understanding of gravity. If you need to understand the even more complex aspects of it you can take more complex knowledge of mathematics and computing and then put them together with complex observations to figure out the rate at which any objects would fall under any condition through simulations!

That's the sort of thing that's really good to know about the universe.
As for yourself...well, you should know that you're good with problem solving.



Maybe the wording was off...but when I say I don't feel the need to think EVERYTHING I believe is fact and defined...I mean that I'm ok with somethings being defined and others not...hence...everything I believe is not fact and defined.


Then where do you draw the line? How do you separate things that don't have to be fact and defined from the things that do?



It does not meant that some things I believe are fact and defined...just not EVERYTHING. So I don't understand your questioning...I absolutely do care about some things being defined...and others not so much.


Again I say: Where is the line drawn? You seem to be making an arbitrary judgement, a compartmentalization of your reasoning faculties. If it matters that our knowledge of engineering is based on the fact and defined why doesn't some concept like God have to be fact and defined?



Well that seems like a bit of a false choice (false dilema/false dichotomy)...don't you think?

I can only care about all or nothing???

Does that honestly make logical sense to you?


Unless you can provide a clear line of demarcation, I don't see how there's a lack of sense. Especially when we're dealing with something that would change the very nature of how we see the universe. The universe in which a deity (or more than one deity) exists is a significantly different universe from the one in which deities are fictional.



A concept is something that you can shift around...you are correct. Most scientific ideas are concepts...so they can be refined and tuned when more knowledge is gained....do you not believe in scientific concepts either???


They are only refined and tuned as facts that challenge them are discovered. They aren't refined and tuned on a whim to get rid of a problem or to make arguments moot.



Or do you not think things in science are not concepts...do you think they have a definite definition and can never be changed?


If we have the correct definition it should never be changed. The term itself speaks to the definite. We can be wrong in our definitions, but we'll notice when we're wrong through scientific advances.



Right now I have my definition of my concept of god...a higher being...maybe even the highest being.


Then what is your understanding of a 'higher being'? What makes a deity 'higher' than a human?



The only reason you don't like this is because you want me to put forth a definition which gives god human attributes so you can try to "disprove" god.


Not at all. I don't care if you give the deity purely abstract attributes so long as you put forth a demonstrations that you have an understanding of what you're talking about.



Even if I did that, or someone else was foolish enough to think they understand god in a way that they can describe them using a very limiting english language, and you could find some flaw in the definition and prove them wrong...what have you accomplished?


I'd object that the English language is very limiting. Language can be used to describe any concept we can conceive, you just have to make slight changes to it or use a slightly roundabout way of describing things. What would I have accomplished: the dispelling of an irrational belief would be the ideal.



Did you prove that god does not exist? Or did you simply prove that the person attempting to define god did a poor job?


It is not up to the skeptic to disprove the claim, it is up to the claimant to disprove the skeptic.
As for the job they did, I'd hope they'd do the best possible job, not a flawed one. I'm using the Socratic method because it takes individual questions to challenge an idea that someone holds and then forces them to do their best possible job in explaining it.



This would be a wonderful starting point if I was trying to prove that I exist. And I have no interest in trying to contradict it.

Why is it that you think this is a good reference point to define god from?


Well, a definite starting point is always a good place to start from. However, Descartes believed that he had proved the existence of God from his starting point. Though I disagreed. Anyway, I was just offering a suggestion. It's not up to me to provide you with a starting point to prove or define your irrational belief.



Then why don't you do so..right here...to describe how the color blue looks. I would love to hear it.


I would, but it's entirely off topic, unless you're saying that I'm the equivalent of a blind person and you're a person with sight due to your belief in a deity.



Is this whole discussion not a philosophical discussion?


Yes, but it's a different type of philosophy. It's like asking me to come up with the nature of beauty in the middle of a discussion of linguistic logic.



You know the color exists...you have reference points to verify that. We all know the color exists...and we all know what it "looks" like.

All I am asking you to do is to define it...with no reference point.


Again, my existence is a reference point. Everything that exists is a reference point. You're asking me to abstract the color blue from thin air.



It is true that it has no bearing on the "existence" of a deity...I never suggested it did.

What it does have a bearing on is that you are asking people to define something that they have no logical reference point for. And I am just trying to show you the difficult in that.


Like that wasn't bleedingly obvious? You're just deflecting from the main point. You have a reference point, we all have a reference point to anything we can conceive. The fact that you're talking about the color blue has nothing to do with this because you're not talking to a person that is impaired in any way.



Now you can say that I can use anything as a reference point...or myself as a reference point...but none of them may be a good logical starting point to define "god". You can say that since "god" created it...it should be a valid reference point...well how is a car a good reference point to describe or define the engineer that designed it?


Another philosophically empty proposition. It would have to be an engineer that also handcrafted it to follow the logical form. And if a person hand crafts something you can get all sorts of information about them. Maybe not a complete definition, but you'll have a level of understanding. Now, in something like a universe you should have a plethora of data points.



Additionally...if you remember my definition of the concept I believe in...I never said anything about creating anything. That in itself is an attempted definition made by some other human.


I didn't actually say you did. I was giving an example. Unfortunately you haven't provided what a 'higher being' is.



I could allow you to use many reference points to describe blue...but if I don't give you a valid one...then it will do you know good. And this is what you are doing...you are suggesting reference points...but none of them may be valid.


With blue the blind person would automatically have reference points beyond sight. They'd have mathematics, language and all of its literature, the sciences, etc. Your analogy crumbles under its own weight several times over.



So I'll let you try to describe blue again...and the only reference point I am going to allow you to use is a dust mite. So you now have a reference point...and you seem to think that any reference point should do...so you should now be able to describe how the color blue looks.


Except the color blue is a very definite thing. It's a single concept that has no nebulous concepts attached to it. I don't seem to have been given the reference point of language or physics or the electromagnetic spectrum or literature.

However, were I given the basic reference point of a dust mite and physics and the English language I could define the color blue. I'd explain how light reflects off of its shell, the wavelengths and whatnot. Move on to how it would appear differently if light reflected off of it differently. If a person had an absolute understanding of the physics I was talking about they wouldn't have a problem conceiving of the color 'blue'.



But if you can't describe a simple thing like how the color blue looks without using a VALID reference point...something that we all see everyday...we all know exactly what it looks like...then how do you expect people to describe or define "god"?


You have reference points. You have a language (or more than one), a plethora of literary references to draw on (even those that don't refer to deities, just whichever ones you'd choose to refer to, mountains of science, and more and more and more. You have reference points.



Do you claim to live an entirely reasonable existence? Do you believe you do nothing that is outside of reason?


I clearly stated that I didn't live an entirely reasonable existence. I used indefinite words like 'if'. The things I do that are outside of reason are typically bad. Like drink too much or overeat. Then there are the things that are reason neutral, like the color of the shoes I wear, unless you'd count an attempt to look aesthetically pleasing in an effort to increase people's perceptions of me reasonable.



Is it reasonable/logical to jump out of a perfectly functioning airplane?


If that is the entire situation, yes. However, if you have a parachute and you're doing it for recreation, social bonding, or one of many other reasons one would 'sky dive', then there is quite a bit of reason,.



Is it reasonable/logical to not look out for only your own interests?


Not particularly, but that's quite obvious. If you look out purely for your own interests you're actually failing to look out for your own interests as a negative stigma will be attached to you.



Is it reasonable/logical to think that the cars will stop at a red light or a stop sign?


If you've ever heard of 'defensive driving' you'd know that drivers aren't supposed to assume that the other drivers will follow the rules.
However, if the social convention is that we follow the rules and those rules lead to safety and regularity, yes it is quite logical.



I could go on and on...our lives are filled with decisions and actions that are not logical or reasonable. You can justify or rationalize those actions and decisions...but that does not make them logical or reasonable.


...except that you haven't provided a single example that lacks reason. Or logic. And you didn't address if the world would or would not be better if we chose to act reasonably.



You can choose to call it whatever you like...it doesn't change what I believe. I have faith in my belief...no more or no less...and I'm comfortable with that. Call it what you will...it makes no difference.


But what does this faith add to anything? It's a pointless gesture in a universe that has no need for it. And don't continue to say that I have all sorts of faith. I've clearly shown that you saying I have 'faith' in something is merely me continuing my existence based on observations and logical assumptions derived from them.



You can challenge my belief for being rational if you like...but you can't with 100% certainty say that I am wrong...just as I can't say with 100% certainty that I am right.


That doesn't make it a valid belief. In fact a lack of testability makes it tantamount to the same as me saying 'there is an Invisible Pink Unicorn manipulating everything in such a way that it mimics what we think of as physics' In a sense you're spouting off completely unchecked nonsense.



It appears that I am ok and comfortable with this...and that you are not.


I prefer that people hold rational beliefs as the basis for their lives. Just the same way I get a bit of a twitch when people pull out their 'good luck charms' and think that they actually change the outcome of events.



If you believe that irrational equals insane...then you have a long hard road ahead of you in life.


I never said they did. And I don't appreciate the condescending tone. I do however say that irrational beliefs are detrimental.



Irrational things are done all the time...and many of them are done by some of the most successful and powerful people in the world...I don't see them in an asylum.


Argument from authority/celebrity. Tom Cruise is a member of a cult that commits child abuse, that doesn't mean it's a good thing. John Travolta's son died as a direct result of the irrational belief that psychiatry is an insidious scheme because he's a member of the same cult. Just because someone is successful doesn't mean that their irrational beliefs and actions aren't harmful.



Something only seems irrational to those that can't see the rationality in it...there is no universal law on what is rational and what is not. Rational does not equal logical.


Yes, yes it does. A rational action is one that is based on (typically) inductive logic. Crack open a dictionary



You may try...but do you honestly think you don't? Do you honestly think you don't do anything irrational (from someone else's point of view) that you actively and knowingly do?


When I say "I try my best" it clearly means that I fail. I drink too much sometimes, I smoke on occasion, I overeat other times, I don't exercise often enough, I spend a bit too much money. But I try to use a level of logic and reason in my day to day life.



I think you misread what I wrote. I said Faith IN an abstract idea...I never said Faith IS an abstract idea.


Except that it is. Faith is purely abstract. It's an illogical belief in an illogical idea.



From your perspective...this is your definition of faith.

As with anything...there are multiple definitions of a word. I just looked up a few...ironically I couldn't find your definition anywhere. It seems that from others perspective you may be irrationally believing in that definition of "faith"...but to you it is completely rational...do you see how that works.

Here is the definition of faith that I think of when I use the word:

merriam-webster

firm belief in something for which there is no proof



...Exactly. That's exactly what I just said. It's worded differently. A firm belief (ie unchanging) in something for which there is no proof (ie something that is irrational).

If there's no proof the belief is irrational.



So forgive me...but I will use this definition of faith rather than the one you just made up.


Alright, it agrees perfectly with the one I provided.



Truth? What do you beleive to be the "truth"? You won't arrive at some sort of "truth" from me...because I don't claim to hold any on this subject.


I believe truth is something derived from the facts of the universe and their application.



You seem very proud to be an ahteist...you have three threads in your sig about it...and a quote in your avatar about it.


I'm not really proud of it, I'm just open about my identity as a skeptical individual. However, the threads in question are:
1: A place that's supposed to be open for atheists to simply have a place to discuss atheism without aggressive theistic intrusion.
2: A place where theists can politely ask questions of atheists without things going into an all out aggressive discussion.
3: A thread in which someone can provide proofs of the existence of god or reasons to believe in the existence of god so I can attempt to invalidate them. However, I'd accept those proofs if they were logically sound.

As for the quote, it's just something that's there because there are so many quotes about how 'awesome' a particular deity is. I like how 'awesome' reality is.



What does being an atheist mean to you? Do you have "pride" in being an atheist? Is atheisim a big part of who you are?


Being an atheist means being someone who doesn't accept the existence of a deity.
No pride in that.
It's not really a big part of who I am. What's a bigger part of who I am is being a skeptic. My atheism is really just a logical extension of skepticism.



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