A question for atheists.
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09-03-2014, 01:20 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 01:12 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  
(09-03-2014 01:11 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Did somebody say Gilbert & Sullivan?





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Best game scene EVER!

One of my favorites for sure, but he still made me cry like a baby in ME3... Sadcryface

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09-03-2014, 01:32 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 01:11 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-03-2014 12:38 PM)docskeptic Wrote:  Demonic, are you a Gilbert and Sullivan fan too?

Doc


Did somebody say Gilbert & Sullivan?





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(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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09-03-2014, 01:37 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 01:20 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-03-2014 01:12 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  Best game scene EVER!

One of my favorites for sure, but he still made me cry like a baby in ME3... Sadcryface

Yes. ME3 did a couple things right.....a couple. That sad scene was one of them.
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09-03-2014, 02:15 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
I challenge their arguments and assertions because they're the one making the claim that a god or gods exist. As such, it's really not possible to make an argument against their beliefs without addressing the reasons they give for believing and the arguments they use. I don't believe in god not because I found some argument that proves it's impossible for him to exist, but because I found that all of the arguments for a god's existence were flawed and failed to convince me once I began actually examining what I believed and why.

That said, I would have a few things to say that might provoke a theist to think more deeply about their beliefs, which I'm not convinced most of them do (few of them even read their own scriptures).

1) Theodicy / the problem of evil: This is a oft-covered topic, but it's something that they really struggle with and was one of the things that made me start questioning. I know the responses that they use (free will, etc) and how to approach them, so I'm pretty comfortable with that argument.

2) The flawed Bible - I only really know the Bible, so this only relates to Christians, but most of the people I meet that are religious are Christian. I'd point out the many flaws of the Bible and ask how they deal with them. From contradictions within the Bible to contradictions between the Bible and known fact (the idea of a firmament, Noah's ark, etc), as well as the extreme moral flaws of the Bible (commanding and condoning genocide, condoning slavery, etc). I'd ask how they can reconcile their belief with such a book, and whether or not they're making it up as they go along and forcing the Bible to reflect what they believe for other reasons entirely or if they're living consistently with scripture. Of course, almost 100% of Christians are in the former category, as pretty much no one lives 100% according to scriptures - and they'd be arrested if they did.
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09-03-2014, 02:42 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2014 02:48 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: A question for atheists.
(08-03-2014 10:28 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  What positive argument(s) or evidence(s) do you have which may convince a theist to change their minds?

Note: I'm not asking you for reasons that COMPEL the theist to change their minds, but rather for reasons that COULD change their minds.

It boils down to a question of credibility to me. I see nothing wrong with the codes of conduct espoused by the majority of religions but when you start making bullshit promises of some sorta postmortem preservation of identity as some sorta "eternal reward" you have lost all credibility. Dualism is untenable. Many have tried. All have failed. Religion would be better off if they just stuck to codes of conduct which all distill down to the Code of StarkRaving "Have fun. Try not to be a dick." and left their infantile metaphysics out of it.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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09-03-2014, 02:49 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 02:42 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(08-03-2014 10:28 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  What positive argument(s) or evidence(s) do you have which may convince a theist to change their minds?

Note: I'm not asking you for reasons that COMPEL the theist to change their minds, but rather for reasons that COULD change their minds.

It boils down to a question of credibility to me. I see nothing wrong with the codes of conduct espoused by the majority of religions but when you start making bullshit promises of some postmortem preservation of identity as some sorta "eternal reward" you have lost all credibility. Dualism is untenable. Many have tried. All have failed. Religion would be better off if they just stuck to codes of conduct which all boil down to the Code of StarkRaving "Have fun. Try not to be a dick." and left their juvenile metaphysics out of it.

Good point.
One compelling argument against religion is that it says you live after you die. That's all I really need to hear, because that's ridiculous.

Things don't live after they die, because they are dead. I don't really need to delve that much deeper into religion than that to have it discredited in my mind.

...
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09-03-2014, 03:22 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(08-03-2014 10:28 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  What positive argument(s) or evidence(s) do you have which may convince a theist to change their minds?

Note: I'm not asking you for reasons that COMPEL the theist to change their minds, but rather for reasons that COULD change their minds.

As others have said, each of us has come to our conclusions in different ways, so this is a hard question to answer. To give you context of my current beliefs: I was raised Lutheran, and was so for about 30 years. After a while, I realized I was having trouble believing. Eventually, I realized it wasn't just "doubts", but I didn't believe. The more I read the Bible and about it, the less sense it made. It took me a few years, but eventually I became comfortable in my lack of belief.

Currently, I would say that I don't believe out of a lack of compelling evidence. I'd classify myself as an agnostic atheist. So, from that stance, I know you said we tend to challenge theistic stances and you're looking for reasons to sway a theist, but I feel you're putting the cart before the horse. What reason do you have to believe? Any evidence I've seen that God exists requires you to assume that God exists in the first place. The only non-evidence-based approaches I've seen are basically just taking it on faith. Many people take many different religions on faith.

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09-03-2014, 03:24 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(08-03-2014 10:28 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  While I know that most of you find it more appropriate to challenge the theists on why they believe that they believe, I'd like you to take the road less traveled...

What positive argument(s) or evidence(s) do you have which may convince a theist to change their minds?

Note: I'm not asking you for reasons that COMPEL the theist to change their minds, but rather for reasons that COULD change their minds.

I would truly appreciate your responses, and I hope to see some thought-provoking ones.

Thank you.


Well, the thing is that every person is different. Not everyone believes things for the same reasons. On top of this, there are various ideas on "what is correct" and what isn't, especially with christianity having as many denominations and ideas as it does.

I think the way you worded it is far more correct than how most people would word it which is, "What evidence do you have that atheism is true?" and instead "what argument(s) do you have that might change someone's mind about their position?" - I think that is directly more accurate the way you are stating this.

For me, I grew up in a family full of young earth creationists. In fact, my family (I'd say except my mom now) is still YEC. She's eventually changed her stance through interactions with me, but of course is still a believer, but she's at least open to science and how old things are and the universe.

When I was just a small kid, I really enjoyed science. I loved astronomy and space and enjoyed hearing about things like black holes and stars and planets, moons and orbits, etc. But I was told not to dive too deep into that stuff because i'd get into the big bang and "that's a bunch of hooey and it's all lies to try and get you to not believe in god." so of course, when that came up my fingers went in my ears and I heard, "LA LA LA."

As time went on and I became more interested in this stuff, I was moved to a private Christian school right before biology began. Instead of learning evolution, I was taught "creation science" and told from the get go that evolution is on part with the big bang in that they are lies to stray you from your walk with god, the earth is 6000 years old and so is the rest of the universe. I was young, still interested in astronomy, but it was tough because I wanted to learn things but felt like the barrier between learning those things really dug a dagger or wedge between being able to learn those without messing up "my faith."

Fastforward and I was essentially pushed out of Christian school due to bad grades and causing trouble. I was put back into high school and started having to learn these tough subjects. Learning about the big bang, evolution, etc. I of course regurgitated the arguments I learned in Christian school and put my head in the sand and refused to listen or understand since "I was right."

Eventually I met a teacher who was really awesome with astronomy and we started talking. I started checking out books, one of my favorites being, "A Brief History of Time" and then I started learning about the speed of light, light years, and of course the fun subject of black holes. As I started reading that stuff it really started messing with my perception of things.

The first was the problem of light... If the earth and universe are 6000 or so years old, but these stars we can see are millions of light years away, other objects being billions of light years away... and if light travels x in a year, then that means the photons to get here so we could see light took that long to get here... so... how could it be 6000 years old? The child me ran off, asked a pastor and they said, "Well that's easy. God just put the light there." which sufficed for a little while because OF COURSE, god is so awesome he just does whatever the hell he wants without explanation. Since the cognitive dissonance of the subject was so strong, and because it was driving me crazy, I accepted it as the first "this sounds good to me answer."

I went back and argued this point with a few of my friends who loved science. One day we were talking and I proclaimed that god simply put the light there and therefore the big bang couldn't have happened, so he was wrong. He then sent a verbal ninja star into the back of my mind, "How do you know god didn't use the big bang to create the universe, and that your issue with light isn't false? I mean, don't you think it's silly that you're so biased against it when god would be able to make something like the big bang? We can explain it, so that's sort of a dumb idea." I had no response to him because the teenage me went, "Holy shit dude. That... that's a really good point."

As time progressed and I simply adopted the idea that young earth creation was dumb, I adopted that god must have been responsible for the big bang, everything, time itself, the laws of physics. Obviously, if we can explain it, he was responsible for it. Slowly but surely it was easier for me to see that this was clearly obvious, but my family would have none of it as they were stuck in their ways. Alas, me being the "science buff" teen I was, I stopped talking about it with them.

Over the years as I grew up I started having moral dilemmas:

- Why does god allow terrible things to happen to good people? My grandpa helped liberate a concentration camp and came back with the horrible pictures. Piles of skulls. Dead bodies. People starving to death. People who had been abused. It made me think, "If a god exists who is responsible for free will... but knows everything that will happen but truly loves us, why would he allow millions of innocent people to die like that? If I was god and if these were my kids, I would never stand by the wayside while that happened.

So of course, I asked a pastor and god an unsatisfying, "God just allows us to make our own choices and never intervenes like that. He judges us when we're dead." but this completely contradicted prayer. Why bother praying? Why would people say their prayers are answered and pray every day in church for selfish things like someone having a smooth operation for wisdom teeth, or a bonus at work, or a raise or promotion, or the chance for some kids to go on a mission to mexico.... and then when stuff happens to them they'd proclaim, "God is so great! he answered our prayers, we're so blessed." but then proudly say, "God gives us free will and does not intervene." it felt convenient and a total blanket answer to me.

- If god knows everything, why would he allow everything to happen? It sort of brings me to the "god is all powerful" thing, since everyone proclaims god must be amazing and capable of anything and everything and is also all knowing. If I could see the future, start a family and know everything that was to happen to my kids before they were even born, that would change things quite a bit. For instance, if I knew one was going to be a millionaire, one might work at an ice cream parlor, and the other might end up getting stabbed to death before he was a teen. Would I do something to intervene so he didn't get stabbed to death? Would I change the future? Not let him be born in the first place?

Now take that to a different level. Imagine you have hundreds of thousands or millions of kids. Imagine one way they all decide to hate another kid with specific traits, beliefs and culture. The kids all get together and decide they're going to slaughter them in the millions, cause them insane amounts of torture, treat them worse than rats and toss their lifeless bodies into pits and put the suffering into things like gas chambers.... would you do anything to prevent it? If you could, would you? Completely forget worrying about changing the future, you're god. So you could do literally anything, since nothing is out of your grasp.

If you stand by the wayside and watch and do absolutely nothing, would it not make you the most heartless being ever? If you did nothing to prevent it in the first place, knowing all too well that millions would die in absolute suffering, would it not make you cold? Or perhaps god wanted to, but couldn't. Perhaps because of his own rules. But wouldn't that make god not so powerful or not so all powerful?

I asked a preacher and got the same blanketing answers about free will and god making us make our own choices because of our initial sin.

But even that eventually got to me... if god knows everything and is all powerful, then he created us then that means he knew everything we would ever do. Before we knew anything, we were innocent and knew nothing, we had no concept of knowledge. He told us to do something in pure innocence (much like a child) with no concept of consequence and then we did something with no knowledge of consequence with no reference to pain or anything else. God, being the all knowing being he is, allowed it to happen anyway and then punishes man for it. It eventually just made me go, "This doesn't make any sense. This is starting to make him sound pretty cruel."

I mean, if you tell your kid not to do something and they're entirely naive to the concept of why something is bad, having no concept of the consequences then how would they know any better? Sure, you might punish them for it so they learn a lesson. But let's say your child was going to eat some bad strawberries that allowed them to be intelligent, but you didn't want them to be. You just wanted them to be stupid forever. You tell them not to eat these bad strawberries, but you know they're going to do it anyway. So they do it, they eat it. You say bad child, now I'm going to make terrible suffering for you, create a fiery pit of hell to toss a large percentage of you in so that you literally suffer in hell fire for all eternity and uhhhh some of you can come hang out with me later on. But you are definitely going to sizzle like pork in hell for doing something I knew you'd do....

Wouldn't that make you a ridiculous sadist? Especially if you knew it was going to happen.

These are all pondering thoughts over the years that I've had. There was no one specific argument(s) that helped me grow out of my faith. It took looking at all of the contradictions that came up, asking lots of questions and being willing to admit that I could be wrong about things. It also took the discomfort of admitting I could be wrong about things and the coping mechanism that had become a crutch of religion. Whenever I wanted an easy answer, ask a preacher. If I was uncertain, ask a preacher... but when someone gives you a fluffy blanket answer and you really are curious about things, at some point you have to put caring about what is true over caring about what sounds good to you.

That is a large reason that I am not a believer anymore.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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09-03-2014, 03:42 PM
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 01:12 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  
(09-03-2014 01:11 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Did somebody say Gilbert & Sullivan?





Tongue

Best game scene EVER!

Actually, I had this in mind but yours is good too.

When I was a lad...

Doc
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09-03-2014, 04:21 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2014 04:47 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: A question for atheists.
(09-03-2014 11:10 AM)Agnostic0000 Wrote:  Do you mind my asking how you know
1) archeology proves that none of the first 5 books happened as stated?
2) The Bible is a collection of myths, as opposed to theological interpretation of history?
3) Israel was an insignificant tribe?
4) Israel was a desert tribe when the books of the Bible were composed? The authors were sitting around in the desert writing these books? From where did they get paper & ink in the desert? Or do you suppose they were chiseling it on rock in the desert -- with what kind of chisels? & what kind of hammers?
5) only gained significance after Rome became an empire?

Or read "Who Wrote the Bible" : Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman, and /or "How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel " : Dr. William M. Schneidewind.
The ancient Hebrews had no word (in archaic Hebrew) for "history". There are MANY errors that all scholars know about, and have known for hundreds of years, that prove it can't have been "history". Moses was entirely mythical, as were all the patriarch, and Noah, and of course Adam and Eve. Israel was composed of 13 tribes. 12 were "landed" and the Levites lived among the others, (originally) as priests. The Bible was assembled in Exile, in Babylon, of a number of pre-existing somewhat similar, but in some ways, VERY different documents. (See the Documentary Hypothesis). The Prophet Ezra had the "Scroll of Moses" with him, (along with the decree from the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes, about how things were to be run, post exile. That mention in Ezra, is THE first time the texts that were to end up in the Bible were mentioned in Hebrew history. There are various theories of how and when Deuteronomy was "found" (cough cough), during a temple restoration, (ie invented for a specific purpose), but some scholars now think it may have had an earlier iteration. It was about "giving (ie inventing for a "reeling" people post exile) a national story, and something to organize themselves around. All politics. Not religion.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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