I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
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07-04-2015, 09:01 AM
I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
I was having a conversation with the wife person, who is a theist, and she presented me with the following evidence upon which her faith stands. Any help from the peanut gallery with these statements?

What about entropy?... God is required or else entropy would have prevented life from becoming more complex...

After a more thorough discussion of the 2LOT she abandoned this argument. (Yay!)

Creation/Time... Evolution was simply God's method to create the earth and life. Obviously, God's time is different from humankind's limited perception of time. If not God, then who?

But, while God could have done his creating by simply putting the laws of physics into motion in the universe, that doesn't require a god to exist for that to happen. But even if a god did weave the laws of the universe together, which god was it? Was it the Christian God of the Bible - or will any omnipotent god do? And, if the universe "required" someone to create it, then that someone must require a creator as well ... argument abandoned! (Yay!) But, not belief... (boo!)

The Bible... While admittedly imperfect, the Bible is still "inspired" by God.

Jesus... The Biblical account of Jesus/Christianity must be real because no one making up a religion would do such a bad job. If someone had made it all up, as I claim, why wouldn't they have a created better, more believable story? She would be more worried if it were perfect? Seriously, she is a smart person, but I know intuitively that this is a bad argument. However, I do not know how to answer it.

Ok, she admits it all seems like bunk (yay!), but is still not ready to abandon her faith. (boo!)

But wait! What about the intangibles like...
Morality... Morality is grounded by the presence of God in our lives. My recent development of potty mouth serves as adequate proof of that assertion.

Touche. My bad.

Peace and comfort... My inner turmoil is a direct result of my abandoning God - not, as I claim, the result of keeping an important secret from my wife. The sadness that I feel at giving up my security blanket (or binkey, or whatever) is not a natural phenomenon but a manifestation of my spirit longing to return to God's presence.

And, now, the grand finale!
God spoke to me personally... How do you explain that? God has provided her with guidance that could have only come from God telling her to do things that she would never have wanted to do herself, such as donate a large sum of money to the church (through a lawyer, totally anonymously) when she really wanted a new car.

She admits that sometimes these thoughts are hard to discern. Sometimes, it takes a lot of prayer and reflection to determine if it is really God telling her to do something. If not God, I ask, then who is it? The devil, of course. How do you tell the difference. By examining the message. If it is something that ultimately is for the greater good of many, or over the long term, then it is of God. If, it is ultimately something that is really for the greater good of me or my immediate family, then even if it seems kind of good it is ultimately selfish and must be from Satan. That sounds to me like a simple examination of two competing courses of action and a careful examination of your motives to choose between them. To me, that is a better argument for an innate sense of morality than for the existence of a god speaking in your head. Why doesn't he just call you on the cell phone or send you an email to avoid any confusion?

In hindsight, that last statement was probably not productive. It resulted in shutdown with an admonishment that I should speak to my pastor about my "doubts". To which I replied that I didn't have any doubts.

Help?

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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07-04-2015, 10:31 AM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
God spoke to her personally hey??? ISIS fighters are also convinced that god speaks to them personally. Joseph Smith was also convinced that the angel moroni spoke to him personally. Hindus also believe that krishna, or shiva speak to them personally, etc. How does she truly know that it is god is speaking to her and not to these other people? Answer: she doesn't because it is just a belief. It is not based on any measurable evidence.
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07-04-2015, 11:23 AM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  What about entropy?... God is required or else entropy would have prevented life from becoming more complex...


I guarantee that her faith is not built upon that. It's an apologetic talking point, nothing more.

Entropy on Earth would only be a problem if our ecosystem was an isolated system. Unfortunately for those advocating this piece of intellectual detritus, it's not. Sol, our home star, is constantly dumping energy into our ecosystem via light and radiation.



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Creation/Time... Evolution was simply God's method to create the earth and life. Obviously, God's time is different from humankind's limited perception of time. If not God, then who?


Rampant anthropocentrism and arguing from ignorance. Just because science doesn't yet know for sure, is not proof that any deity or supernatural entity was responsible; let alone your wife's specific interpretation of her god. She's also asking 'who', which presupposes someone or something; these are things that she needs to establish with evidence, not assume on ignorance.



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  But, while God could have done his creating by simply putting the laws of physics into motion in the universe, that doesn't require a god to exist for that to happen. But even if a god did weave the laws of the universe together, which god was it? Was it the Christian God of the Bible - or will any omnipotent god do? And, if the universe "required" someone to create it, then that someone must require a creator as well ... argument abandoned! (Yay!) But, not belief... (boo!)


Good form, too bad the landing didn't stick. Undecided



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  The Bible... While admittedly imperfect, the Bible is still "inspired" by God.


Ask her to both explain, and provide evidence for, this assertion. Tradition and dogma dictate and assert this as fact, but then again so does every religion. How is one supposed to tell the claims of Christians apart from the claims of Muslims or the Hindu? If only part of the Bible is inspired, which parts? And how can you tell the difference between what is and is not inspired? How can she show that the Bible is inspired but the Koran, The Lord of the Rings, or Dianetics are not?



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Jesus... The Biblical account of Jesus/Christianity must be real because no one making up a religion would do such a bad job. If someone had made it all up, as I claim, why wouldn't they have a created better, more believable story? She would be more worried if it were perfect? Seriously, she is a smart person, but I know intuitively that this is a bad argument. However, I do not know how to answer it.


She's assuming her own cultural context. and she has no understanding of how believers viewed the world and operated back in the ancient near east. There is clear evidence that the Bible, both Old and New Testament, have been edited to both add and subtract content for political reasons in the past. Also the god of the Bible originated as a polytheistic and regional Canaanite war god named Yahweh Sabbaoth, the Lord of Hosts (armies). Have fun schooling her in the consensus of archaeologist, cultural anthropologist, and mainline biblical scholarship.











(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Morality... Morality is grounded by the presence of God in our lives. My recent development of potty mouth serves as adequate proof of that assertion.


Well, that's fairly petty and fucking childish.







(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Peace and comfort... My inner turmoil is a direct result of my abandoning God - not, as I claim, the result of keeping an important secret from my wife. The sadness that I feel at giving up my security blanket (or binkey, or whatever) is not a natural phenomenon but a manifestation of my spirit longing to return to God's presence.


Comfort is not any reasonable measurement of truth. Muslims gain great comfort in their belief, does it make it just as true as her faith?



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  God spoke to me personally... How do you explain that? God has provided her with guidance that could have only come from God telling her to do things that she would never have wanted to do herself, such as donate a large sum of money to the church (through a lawyer, totally anonymously) when she really wanted a new car.


She's just assigning the label 'god' to her own internal monologue. Plenty of people have claimed that god has spoken to them or currently speaks to them, if if they're directly contradicting each other. So either god is a duplicitous and conniving asshole setting us all up against once another, there is more than one god and they're competing with each other, or everyone hearing internal voices and claiming it's their god are all mistaken (also notice how people's interpenetration of their god is very dependent on them, it's why the god of racist believers is also a racist, etc.). Only the last option doesn't assume or presuppose the undocumented existence of the supernatural, and is thus the most probable explanation. They cannot all be right, however they can all be wrong.



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  She admits that sometimes these thoughts are hard to discern. Sometimes, it takes a lot of prayer and reflection to determine if it is really God telling her to do something. If not God, I ask, then who is it? The devil, of course. How do you tell the difference. By examining the message. If it is something that ultimately is for the greater good of many, or over the long term, then it is of God. If, it is ultimately something that is really for the greater good of me or my immediate family, then even if it seems kind of good it is ultimately selfish and must be from Satan. That sounds to me like a simple examination of two competing courses of action and a careful examination of your motives to choose between them. To me, that is a better argument for an innate sense of morality than for the existence of a god speaking in your head.


Satan? Oh, he's as much of an evolved concept as her god.





First, ask her to extrapolate on her 'knowledge' of Satan. Chances are her ideas are founded more upon popular culture and tradition, based on works like Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno, more so than anything written in the Bible.



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Why doesn't he just call you on the cell phone or send you an email to avoid any confusion?


Because the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe is worse at conveying his message than my grandmother, who can send a perfectly worded and coherent e-mail to the other side of the world in under a minute.



(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  In hindsight, that last statement was probably not productive. It resulted in shutdown with an admonishment that I should speak to my pastor about my "doubts". To which I replied that I didn't have any doubts.

Help?


I have doubts, any rational person who values truth would do well to always be willing to question everything, to doubt anything if necessary.

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07-04-2015, 11:35 AM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Jesus... The Biblical account of Jesus/Christianity must be real because no one making up a religion would do such a bad job. If someone had made it all up, as I claim, why wouldn't they have a created better, more believable story? She would be more worried if it were perfect? Seriously, she is a smart person, but I know intuitively that this is a bad argument. However, I do not know how to answer it.

It's perfectly possible, if not very easy, to write a horrible story that makes no sense and not even realize you're doing it. Whoever wrote the thing might have thought they were making sense and writing something believable.

Popcorn I put more thought into fiction than theists put into reality.
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07-04-2015, 12:21 PM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
(07-04-2015 09:01 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Jesus... The Biblical account of Jesus/Christianity must be real because no one making up a religion would do such a bad job. If someone had made it all up, as I claim, why wouldn't they have a created better, more believable story? She would be more worried if it were perfect? Seriously, she is a smart person, but I know intuitively that this is a bad argument. However, I do not know how to answer it.

A book written by a number of authors over a long period of time using older myths and legends, bits and pieces of changing laws and different moral viewpoints with the occasional bit of misunderstood or poorly transcribed history thrown in is bound to be a messy, mixed-up narrative. At least we can all agree that it's a very bad job.

But seriously. If it's such an important message....why WOULD god make such a bloody mess of it? Wouldn't he consider (being omniscient) how much turmoil, death and destruction his dictating a book that would was so contradictory would cause?

it isn't a reflection of how believable it is. it's a reflection of the fact it was solely written and "inspired" by flawed humans.
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07-04-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
"Morality... Morality is grounded by the presence of God in our lives. My recent development of potty mouth serves as adequate proof of that assertion.

Touche. My bad."


Morality is a behavior that is subjective such that an individual's morality or a society's moral nature can evolve over time. God, god assumptions, god beliefs, religions, mysticism, spirituality, etc, are all as relevant to morality (as a behavior) as they are to eating. Which is to say that they play no role in morals or moral natures.

As a matter of fact, if someone is following a code or set of rules/laws under the assumption that they or their giver are moral, then that person is acting amorally. Basically, if that person inadvertently commits a moral or immoral act as a consequence of following those laws/rules, they don't fully deserve the credit or blame because it is the moral nature of the rule/law giver that is being used, not the individual's own moral nature. This is probably not entirely realistic though because it may be near impossible to do something without considering the moral ramifications of it, which makes it all the more appalling when christians are anti-gay or otherwise bigoted. Religious ideas might shape a person's definition of morality, but that person still defines it for themselves, and they may reach a point at which they are reacting instead of actively thinking about it any longer. For instance, not every anti-gay bigot goes home and reconsiders the arguments for or against their views as they have instead convinced themselves that they are morally right at some point in the past.

The subjective nature of morality basically boils down to meaning that a person should always consider the ethical and moral ramifications of what they say and do, and then judge themselves, their actions, and their words each time to decide if it is a moral view/opinion/action.

For instance, I don't think anyone here would make the black/white argument that killing is absolutely wrong, because there are instances when one might kill in self-defense. There are also times when someone may have killed in self-defense, when death was still avoidable. So, if Trayvon Martin really did attack George Zimmerman, then Mr. Zimmerman had every right to defend himself, but killing Trayvon in the process was not necessary and makes his self-defense immoral (perhaps he was indeed not guilty thanks to our laws, but laws themselves don't dictate morality, because if they did, we'd all be immoral whenever we speed in our cars and it would still have been moral to own slaves when the law permitted it).

I'm going to read the rest of the OP now.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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07-04-2015, 12:44 PM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
"Peace and comfort... My inner turmoil is a direct result of my abandoning God - not, as I claim, the result of keeping an important secret from my wife. The sadness that I feel at giving up my security blanket (or binkey, or whatever) is not a natural phenomenon but a manifestation of my spirit longing to return to God's presence."


I don't know if I even know what the hell this means, but I will assume it means your personal level of comfort after realizing your atheism. If this is the case, then that is highly subjective too, because I felt great relief in the short term after realizing I was unable to believe in a god, so I felt more comfortable rather immediately without my binky.

But that isn't to say that there are not times when I long for the desire to not be fully in control because I'd like to have fewer responsibilities so I can focus on the fun/happy things in life. But this is no different than wishing I were still 13 and could spend all day playing pokemon with my cousins instead of grading or working.

This isn't about your comfort level or your spirit, it is about the idea and the desire to reduce the amount of stress and worry in your life, and a seemingly easy way to do so is to put that responsibility on someone else. Life isn't going the way you want? Must be a conscious decision by someone else for it to go this way. It is a confirmation bias where answered prayer are god's work, but so are unanswered prayers.

It is complete horseshit. That is part of growing up and dealing with the real world.


"God spoke to me personally... How do you explain that? God has provided her with guidance that could have only come from God telling her to do things that she would never have wanted to do herself, such as donate a large sum of money to the church (through a lawyer, totally anonymously) when she really wanted a new car.

She admits that sometimes these thoughts are hard to discern. Sometimes, it takes a lot of prayer and reflection to determine if it is really God telling her to do something. If not God, I ask, then who is it? The devil, of course. How do you tell the difference. By examining the message. If it is something that ultimately is for the greater good of many, or over the long term, then it is of God. If, it is ultimately something that is really for the greater good of me or my immediate family, then even if it seems kind of good it is ultimately selfish and must be from Satan. That sounds to me like a simple examination of two competing courses of action and a careful examination of your motives to choose between them. To me, that is a better argument for an innate sense of morality than for the existence of a god speaking in your head. Why doesn't he just call you on the cell phone or send you an email to avoid any confusion?

In hindsight, that last statement was probably not productive. It resulted in shutdown with an admonishment that I should speak to my pastor about my "doubts". To which I replied that I didn't have any doubts."


You could argue a few different ways here.

1) the "words of god" seem to coincide with your own innate desires, opinions, wishes, and realities once you consider them. These seem rather inconsequential unless god is actually telling you something that not even you could know or discern for yourself. Being or feeling compelled to donate money instead of spending it for yourself, is still about balancing your own wants and desires, plus a little sprinkle of manipulation from those seeking the donation. Ultimately, it is still a selfish act to donate that money, because it makes you feel good to do so, even if it is unrecognized. Ultimately, this comes back to the subjective nature of morality, where I do good things because it makes me feel good.

2) A lot of schizophrenics are convinced that they hear voices too, but that doesn't make them real, at least not externally real. The voices are real enough inside their heads, they are convinced and no matter of argument could convince them otherwise.

3) On the less crazy end of the previous spectrum, are less severe delusions and paranoias. I think it is safe to say that we all judge and scrutinize other people, including what we think they think of us. In some cases, people take this to an extreme as well by overanalyzing every word or action such that they infer a hidden meaning where none existed. This could also be her "god voice" where she is being hypersensitive to the situations around her, and overanalyzing them while thinking that she is getting some sort of secret knowledge from a higher power. When all she is really doing is utilizing the tools given to her by evolution to seek out danger and conflict and information in the world around her in order to survive.

Basically it boils down to the fact that we live in a society where the normal stresses around survival for an animal don't apply. We tend to have plenty of food and water and shelter, but our brains never really "turn off" from looking for potential predators or threats. So we have conflicts with coworkers because their decision to use the last of the coffee is the closest thing to an inter-tribal conflict we face where we feel the need to assert dominance. We overanalyze the situations around us and then overreact. Sometimes we do so severely and other times we react more internally.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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07-04-2015, 02:57 PM
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
Many of us know the feeling and experience of attempting to nudge a believer into actually thinking about the basis of their faith. You just are hitting that wall of fear, ignorance, and comfort that can only be overcome if the willingness of the believer to ask questions is self-driven and genuine. It amazes me how my wife will put so much thought into her diet and exercise habits for example, yet will not spend 20 seconds to discuss why it is bad to not believe in god. To approach this subject is scary and confusing, and contradicts what she was taught her whole life.

I do catch her every now and then open for discussion, but I have to keep it very passive as any harsh criticisms seem to trigger a shutdown. She does understand my side though and we do not let these views interfere with our relationship at all. Good luck with nipping away at her thought process, and free her from fantasy.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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07-04-2015, 03:37 PM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2015 03:45 PM by Alex K.)
RE: I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
Potty mouth??! To paraphrase John McClane, potty mouth? who gives a shit about potty mouth? All over the world, God kills children with cancer, yet you're immoral because you sometimes say hell instead of heck?

Hellooo? priorities, people!
Just goes to show how fucking sick and useless christian morality is

Quantum Physics: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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07-04-2015, 03:39 PM
I know it was God because I wouldn't have thought of that...
It is important to note that over the last 6-7 years or so, my wife and one of my sister-in-laws have gone to atheist/agnostic. (Wife says she is more agnostic while the sis-in-law says she is atheist and both come from evangelical upbringings. Like "Jesus Camp" kind of shit).

I don't what role (if any) I played in that, but I didn't beat them over the head with any arguments, I just let the conversations come naturally and stayed respectful while pointing out the inconsistencies and problems with religious thinking.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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