Believing That God Doesn't Exist
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12-11-2013, 05:14 AM
Believing That God Doesn't Exist
Those of you who have heard me speak about the belief and/or lack of belief in gods are probably familiar with my views. Reasonably-held beliefs/lack of beliefs should be based upon the available evidence either for or against them. A belief that unicorns exist is unjustified because we have no evidence that they exist. Thus, the belief in unicorns is not reasonable. The same goes with deities. We have no discernible evidence that any deity exists. Thus, the belief in deities is unjustified and not reasonable.

But as of late, I've been wondering a little more about the belief, as opposed to a lack of a belief, that these things don't exist.

I'm a reasonable person. This means that I do not adhere to beliefs without sufficient supporting evidence. When someone informs me of something, I seek validation. I check to ensure that the evidence supports the claim before investing a belief in it. But when it comes to the existence of a deity, as I stated, we have zero evidence that one exists. Now, this is where I'm getting hung-up. Instead of evidence for the existence of deities, we have a blatant lack of discernible evidence for the existence of deities. When a believer tells me they believe God exists, they are basically pointing to empty space and saying "There is a thing there." But all I (and any other clear-sighted individual) am seeing is empty space.

Does this lack of evidence, in itself, serve as enough evidence to justify a positive belief that God does not exist? Being reasonable, (and oh-so humble) I'm concerned that maybe my increasing tendency toward a belief that God doesn't exist is not sufficiently justified. For a long time, I've been of the "I don't believe God doesn't exist, I just lack a belief that he does" camp. It seems reasonable. But when I look out at the empty space, I'm inclined to deduce that absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence of absence.

Again, because I tend to ramble: Does this lack of evidence, in itself, serve as enough evidence to justify a positive belief that God does not exist?

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12-11-2013, 06:23 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(12-11-2013 05:14 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Those of you who have heard me speak about the belief and/or lack of belief in gods are probably familiar with my views. Reasonably-held beliefs/lack of beliefs should be based upon the available evidence either for or against them. A belief that unicorns exist is unjustified because we have no evidence that they exist. Thus, the belief in unicorns is not reasonable. The same goes with deities. We have no discernible evidence that any deity exists. Thus, the belief in deities is unjustified and not reasonable.

But as of late, I've been wondering a little more about the belief, as opposed to a lack of a belief, that these things don't exist.

I'm a reasonable person. This means that I do not adhere to beliefs without sufficient supporting evidence. When someone informs me of something, I seek validation. I check to ensure that the evidence supports the claim before investing a belief in it. But when it comes to the existence of a deity, as I stated, we have zero evidence that one exists. Now, this is where I'm getting hung-up. Instead of evidence for the existence of deities, we have a blatant lack of discernible evidence for the existence of deities. When a believer tells me they believe God exists, they are basically pointing to empty space and saying "There is a thing there." But all I (and any other clear-sighted individual) am seeing is empty space.

Does this lack of evidence, in itself, serve as enough evidence to justify a positive belief that God does not exist? Being reasonable, (and oh-so humble) I'm concerned that maybe my increasing tendency toward a belief that God doesn't exist is not sufficiently justified. For a long time, I've been of the "I don't believe God doesn't exist, I just lack a belief that he does" camp. It seems reasonable. But when I look out at the empty space, I'm inclined to deduce that absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence of absence.

Again, because I tend to ramble: Does this lack of evidence, in itself, serve as enough evidence to justify a positive belief that God does not exist?

This would seem to depend on whether you hold that belief is absolute or certain.
That is, whether using the term belief means being 100% certain or just mostly certain.
Can we admit to degrees of belief? "I'm sure" vs. "I'm pretty sure".

For me, belief is not always certainty - usually it is provisional to some degree.

I also take into account not just the lack of evidence, but the lack of evidence that reason tells me should be there.

And there is also the counter-evidence. The world simply doesn't appear to work the way it would if there were any gods intervening.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-11-2013, 06:38 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
Respect the ramble.
Perfectly fine to wish for an Architect, but with the mountain of info to imply the book gods are manmade.
Pondering if a Christian type god is out there is batshit bonkers.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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12-11-2013, 07:17 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(12-11-2013 05:14 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  ...
But when I look out at the empty space, I'm inclined to deduce that absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence of absence.
...

Yeah, well... me too.


(12-11-2013 05:14 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  ...
Does this lack of evidence, in itself, serve as enough evidence to justify a positive belief that God does not exist?

Nope.

There still might be an infinitesimally small possibility that a genie will eventually be found in one of the lamps I rub.

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12-11-2013, 07:45 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
I don't understand this. If we do find solid evidence of a unicorn, gnome or leprechaun for all to see on a dissecting table I'll believe it. As of now, I don't. Ain't my job to look for these things.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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12-11-2013, 07:55 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(12-11-2013 07:45 AM)grizzlysnake Wrote:  I don't understand this. If we do find solid evidence of a unicorn, gnome or leprechaun for all to see on a dissecting table I'll believe it. As of now, I don't. Ain't my job to look for these things.

If there was any solid evidence for "magic" (in any form or intensity) in the first place, than every single magical being or creature imagined throughout all of human history can be almost said to be completely possible and all but validated. Considering the very definitions of magic and supernaturalism.
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12-11-2013, 08:22 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
I just want to be logically consistent. I don't want to tell a theist he's unjustified in believing in God if I'm equally unjustified in believing in NO god. (Edit: I'll have no trouble telling him, but I want to be justified in my belief regardless.)

But that's where I'm having trouble, because I feel like I have more evidence than he does.

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12-11-2013, 08:23 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
Here's a unicorn...

[Image: black-rhinoceros-7.jpg]

..but it is not the expected unicorn. It is not a question of, "does something like god exist?" Rather, "does God exist?" The answer is no.

At least, that's how I feel about it. Big Grin

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12-11-2013, 08:54 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
(12-11-2013 08:22 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I just want to be logically consistent. I don't want to tell a theist he's unjustified in believing in God if I'm equally unjustified in believing in NO god. (Edit: I'll have no trouble telling him, but I want to be justified in my belief regardless.)

But that's where I'm having trouble, because I feel like I have more evidence than he does.

You do have more evidence. Thumbsup

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-11-2013, 09:16 AM
RE: Believing That God Doesn't Exist
The OP brings up a good question. There seems to be NO evidence for "a god". But there have been many things that humanity has thought "impossible" and found to be not only possible but quite do-able. Of course, these things still obeyed the laws of physics, . . . but the lack of evidence for "a god" won't be an absolute final word. Having said that, until/unless that time comes, . . . for what it's worth, . . . there IS no reason to believe that "a god" [or plural thereof] actually DOES exist.

I really liked this comment: "When a believer tells me they believe God exists, they are basically pointing to empty space and saying "There is a thing there." But all I (and any other clear-sighted individual) am seeing is empty space."

Yes, . . . most definitely, . . . "empty space". And the vastness is undeniable.
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