Conversations with atheistspage 9
From ZC to AM:
I appear to have come in late, but I am enticed to toss in my two cents. I don't know whether the universe was "created" by some extra-universe entity. I don't know if there is any "existence" after death. I do know that both points are unknowable in my life.
Does god as described in the Bible exist? No, simply because such a god would not exist. The god of the Old Testament is an ass, setting up his new creations for damnation and punishing others for not worshipping him the right way. No god worth his salt would bother with such "human" foibles. (Would you want your goldfish to grovel before you and set aside some of their fish food to offer back to you?) The interpretation of the New Testament -- believe in Jesus as a deity and get to heaven -- don't believe and don't get to heaven -- regardless of behavior -- is absurd. I wouldn't want to have anything to do with an egotistical god who rigged up such a game. (An eternity with the "born agains" would be hell for me, so maybe I'm going to heaven.)
Many atheists, IMO, support their outlook in part on the rejection of the god of the Bible. In my view, though, the fact that the Bible is so flawed (when taken literally) is not a valid basis to assert that there was and is no god (meaning, there was and is no extra-universe creator and there is no existence after physical death). Just because the attempted explanation in the Bible -- and in all of the world's religions to date -- is so preposterous does not negate a creator or an existence after physical death.
At a basic level, believers and unbelievers look at the injustice, even horror, of the world and find solace from adopting one of two alternative world views: The believers hope that all of this life is not meaningless, that its not all random bs and that somebody somewhere has a plan and is in control. The unbelievers hope the opposite, that it is all random, because if there is something out there controlling all this, then that something is a monster, to put it mildly. Either world view involves faith, since there is no "reason" that can prove either view with certainty.
In a simplistic way, a two-part question could be posed: (1) If you knew, for sure, that there was a god and an existence after death, would you change the way you live your life? (2) If you knew, for sure, that there was no god and no existence after death, would you change the way you live your life? When you're able to answer both questions "no" simultaneously, you're living life the way you should -- the way any good god would want you to. As for me, I thank god I'm an atheist.
From AM to ZC:
> (1) If you knew, for sure, that there was a god and an existence after death, would you change the way you live your life? (2) If you knew, for sure, that there was no god and no existence after death, would you change the way you live your life? When you're able to answer both questions "no" simultaneously, you're living life the way you should -- the way any good god would want you to. <
This kind of response demonstrates more your personal dislike for the notion of the biblical God, and I won't ever dispute your right to that opinion (in human terms), although I think God himself certainly would. In any case, you cannot consistently make any comments about how anybody should live their lives, for in an atheistic universe the notion of should, at least in the sense implied here, is arbitrary or empty. You have no standard of absolutes by which shouldness can be measured. As for me, it makes a huge difference how I live my life. And the only way you could know what God would want is if he revealed it. Your idea of what God should or would do is purely your own preconception as well. Why don't you ask him to tell you himself?
From IL to Alan M:
Message text written by Alan Myatt
> I never said that my position is not based on faith. What I
said was that the definition of faith is simply to believe in a proposition.
At least that is the Bible's definition. The word "faith" is the
noun form of the verb "to believe" in the language of the NT. I reject
the definition that says that faith is belief in the irrational. <
The sad thing is that you do not see the contradiction in your statements.
If I look at the evidence I can detail, explain, predict, and work with gravity. That is a rational position. If I say I just don't believe in gravity - that is irrational, even if I say it is the effect of the letter 'G' that holds it all together.
>> It appears that you do not understand the nature of your own position. <<
Really? And what is my position, pray tell?
>> All world views, including the varieties of atheism, are founded on presuppositions or axioms that are not the conclusion of other arguments and are therefore unproven.<<
Atheism is not a denial of dieties. Atheism is a conclusion from available evidence. No evidence exists to indicate dieties.
>> But the belief that empirical facts provide knowledge cannot be empirically proven and, in fact, it relies on several non-empirical presuppositions.<<
Let me guess, next you'll be asking me about the tree in the forest thing, right?
>> He has not even thought critically about his own position, so why should he be taken seriously as someone who has thought critically about the problems of theism?<<
I love it. Fine, here's my position: "I have thought critically about everything and therefore I am correct in all things. Just ask me"
>>Hence, all world views, including atheism, start with axioms that are statements of faith (belief).<<
Only if the person making the statement is a moron.
>>Finally, your statement that there is no empirical evidence to support a religious belief presupposes your own omniscience, since it means that you must have examined every case of empirical evidence that ever has existed or ever will exist in all parts of the universe.<<
Well, that's not my statement. My statement is that the conclusion from available evidence is that there is no proof of dieties. Notice the word 'available' in the sentence? That indicates, 'on-hand,' 'known,' 'current.' What part of that is unclear? (1)
>> Of course, you could say that you got your information by revelation from an omniscient being, but then you would be admitting to the existence of God.<<
I would never admit the existence of God. I would say that I believe God exists. I would say that it is my opinion that God exists, I would even say that I feel God exists, but I would never demean my faith by declaring it fact without evidence. since there is no evidence, I will never pretend my faith is something it is not.
Me, I believe in an honest relationship between, not only myself and God, but between my faith and the world. If I proclaim opinion as fact I do my faith and God no good.
>> So we see that the assertion of your position requires that you presuppose that theism is correct after all. <<
Some people might say that was a stupid thing to say, but I am more polite than that.
>> I think it would be more accurate to say that your presuppositions . . .<<
LOL! You are one to talk about presuppositions Alan. I am a Christian. Since you are wrong in the basic construction of your argument, it is further indication that you couldn't recognise a clue were it to burrow into your brain and explode.
>>Anyway, since you assert so confidently that there is no evidence, I am left wondering exactly what you might be willing to accept as evidence.<<
How about some evidence? How about you show me anything which could prove God such as gravity can be proven?
How about this. God tells me you are wrong and that She left know evidence.
How about you prove God wrong?
--IL (Stand back folks, he's gonna blow!)
From AM to IL:
Really IL, your replies get more and more bizarre each time. And your insults are really petty. I'm sorry that you feel that you must respond in such a manner. But, it doesn't bother me personally. I just see that you are unable to offer any rational response to my arguments, and you cannot defend rationally your empiricism, so you result to ridicule. I suppose there is not much left to say.
As for your claim to be a Christian, it makes me wonder what on earth your definition of a Christian is.
And finally again, you ought to go back and study some about the nature of world views. There is plenty of material in anthropology and philosophy dealing with this. It is a delusion to imagine that you have no presuppositions or axioms underlying your thought. And those who are unaware of their own assumptions are at the mercy of those very assumptions. They don't even understand why they reach the conclusions they reach. It's pathetic really.
Peace and blessings to you,
From RD to AM:
>>>>>>>>> Finally, your statement that there is no empirical evidence to support a religious belief presupposes your own omniscience, since it means that you must have examined every case of empirical evidence that ever has existed or ever will exist in all parts of the universe.
nonsense -- no one claims perfect knowledge (except those who claim they know their religion is the only one). no atheist claims anything like those ideas. all an atheist says is they know of no evidence for a god -- you don’t have to have omniscience to break that claim -- just show ONE shred of evidence for god's existence.
>>>>> Otherwise you could never know that such evidence does not exist.
that's the difference between science and faith -- science understands that no knowledge is ever perfect; all science ever says is that X is the best explanation for the facts as we know them today. faith claims it has a lock on truth
>>>>>> you got your information by revelation from an omniscient being, but then you would be admitting to the existence of God.
no -- you would just be admitting to a belief in the existence of a god
>>>>>> Personally, I find the events surrounding the death of Jesus, the empty tomb, and the founding of the Christian church to be inexplicable on a naturalistic basis.
me too -- but then much of that story is unsupported by any facts.
(1) Actually, he said that there is no empirical evidence to support a religious belief, which he repeats in this post by saying there is no empirical evidence to indicate the existence of a deity. He did assert that non-believers base their conclusions on available evidence, but it did not appear to me that he qualified his proclamation that no evidence exists. In any case, my objection still applies either way.
Alan Myatt, Ph.D.