My Take on Atheism
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03-09-2015, 04:15 PM
My Take on Atheism
I somehow got involved in a religious discussion while visiting a gun forum. Here's what I came up with:

1st. It's well-known that it's impossible to prove a negative (there is no god), so demanding that someone do so is inherently a dishonest deflection of the conversation.

2nd. There is no objective evidence of the workings of a super-being in nature. All observable phenomena can be explained through natural means; where natural explanations suffice, supernatural explanations are unnecessary.

3rd. There are no known independent references to Jesus outside the Bible. Claimed corroboration such as Tacitus and Josephus were written long after the events related in the four Gospels supposedly occurred and, in fact, refer to what the early church followers believed and did rather than to Jesus himself (and evidence is strong that the relevant passages in Josephus are pious frauds, altered or added long after the original text was written). As to any Biblical references to otherwise known historical events, they are no more corroborative of biblical inerrancy than is "Ben Hur."

4th. Biblical prophecy has not been shown to be more accurate than any other kind of prophecy. It can be easily demonstrated that anyone with an agenda can bolster their position through "interpretation" of cherry - picked passages from throughout the Old and New Testaments. This is identical to the process by which various groups have repeatedly drawn from the Bible to support political and "moral" arguments. Illustrative are the pro- and anti-slavery factions preceding the American Civil War, where each sought to justify it's opinion of the "peculiar institution" through biblical interpretation.

5th. It is easily demonstrated that the Bible is abundantly internally inconsistent (conflicting accounts of Creation, the 10 Commandments, Jesus' resurrection, etc), but its believers are inconsistent, as well. They are divided into opposing factions on every conceivable aspect of Bible teaching: the Bible is to be understood as it is written, the Bible speaks metaphorically; all can be saved, some are predestined to Heaven and some to hell; there are but two sacraments, there are seven sacraments; pray to Mary, don't pray to Mary; Jesus was God *and* man, Jesus was God *in* man. And so on.

6th. Even if an individual finds it necessary to believe in "god," he is therefore faced with the perplexing necessity of choosing which faction to join or, indeed, whether to form his own. It should be noted here that this discussion is limited to mainstream Christian beliefs and does not consider Mormons, gnostic, or the more esoteric Christian sects. And then there are all of the non-Christian beliefs in the world today (Islam is the world's largest religion but it is almost as factional as is Christianity). In fact, there is no way to tell how many thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of gods humanity has believed in, and more are being born every day. The United States alone has given rise to at least three major sects in the last two centuries (LDS, Seventh Day Adventists, Scientology). Nor are the old gods necessarily giving way; Zoroastrianism, the religion of the first Mesopotamian civilizations, still exists.

7th. Most Christians and other believers will tell you that you must believe as they do in order to receive the benefits of a belief in "God." A few will allow that it is (barely/theoretically) possible to believe otherwise and still receive at least some benefit, but usually only if a stern set of (their) rules is strictly adhered to.

What, then, to believe? And why? Whether to believe at all, oddly enough, is easier to answer. Belief in a deity can help make sense of a world or universe that might otherwise be inexplicable. Belief in a compassionate god can give succor in time of trouble. Belief can foster a sense of community. In short, believing feels good. But this still begs the question, why should I believe as you do? Will it make me feel better than believing the way someone else does? How and why will it do that?

Personally I envy believers. Having once been of their number I have personal knowledge of how comforting and comfortable it can be. Having an Our Father Who Art in Heaven, in whose lap you can safely sit until life's demons leave you in peace, is marvelous. Some of us, however, have chosen to leave the nest and strike out on our own. We are experiencing the world outside the warm comfort in which the rest have chosen to remain. Yes, it's cold, wet and dangerous out here, but it's the way things really are, and through practice we are better able to handle ourselves in the wider universe than are those who remain behind in their cocoons.

What comes after this? I dunno. As with the question of god, I don't see any reason to think or believe anything comes after. I could be wrong. If I am, would a god who, as I am told, created me and gave me my reason and intellect and who, I am also told, is infinitely compassionate, really abandon me to an eternity of suffering simply because I misunderstood?

And so it is that I in my little boat bob up and down on the wide ocean. I have accepted the inevitability that I will eventually founder, but I have also determined that in the meantime my voyage will be smoother if I occupy my hands with rowing rather than with praying
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03-09-2015, 04:21 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Normally I'd say - get a blog - but there's paragraphs, and an interesting read. Was there something you wished to discuss?

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03-09-2015, 04:50 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 04:21 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Normally I'd say - get a blog - but there's paragraphs, and an interesting read. Was there something you wished to discuss?
It's hard to be specific; it's a big subject. I guess I'm looking more for reaction, in a spirit of destructive testing. I've been following this and a couple other forums (fori?) for a little while, and my OP is a compilation of my reactions to various discussions/arguments/flame wars.
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03-09-2015, 05:04 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 04:15 PM)jabeady Wrote:  It's well-known that it's impossible to prove a negative (there is no god), so demanding that someone do so is inherently a dishonest deflection of the conversation.

Minor quibble: it's widely known, but it's also false. It is occasionally difficult to prove a negative, but it can be done. If someone tells you that there is a chair in the room, for example, and you examine the room and find no chair, you have proven that there is no chair. It just requires you to have an actual coherent definition of whatever you are (not) looking for.

Everything else, though... as houseofcantor says, it's generally correct, but I'm not sure what it is that you're asking, exactly. Welcome to the forum anyway.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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03-09-2015, 05:17 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Thanks. However, it could be an invisible chair. Before this goes any further, I'm going to invoke Sagan's invisible fire-breathing dragon in the garage, just for the sake of brevity.
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03-09-2015, 05:20 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 05:17 PM)jabeady Wrote:  Thanks. However, it could be an invisible chair. Before this goes any further, I'm going to invoke Sagan's invisible fire-breathing dragon in the garage, just for the sake of brevity.

Unbeliever has a thread for that. Wink

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03-09-2015, 05:27 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 05:20 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(03-09-2015 05:17 PM)jabeady Wrote:  Thanks. However, it could be an invisible chair. Before this goes any further, I'm going to invoke Sagan's invisible fire-breathing dragon in the garage, just for the sake of brevity.

Unbeliever has a thread for that. Wink

It does seem to come up a lot, doesn't it?

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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03-09-2015, 05:38 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
It strikes me that you have listed 7 objections to theistic 'reasoning'.

Perhaps the question that could inspire some thought and debate might be...

What do you consider to be the 7 deadly sins of theistic arguments?

Yours seem to be:
  1. Burden of Proof
  2. Supernaturality
  3. Pious Fraud (false claims)
  4. Cherry-Picking
  5. Inconsistency
  6. Too many options / which is right?
  7. Compliance / Authority


Consider

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03-09-2015, 05:48 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Welcome to the forum.

I tend not to think of atheism too much. Never having been religious it is quite meaningless to me.

I despise xianity on moral and philosophic grounds. As for being unable to proven a negative, I see that as a cop out.

Anyway, welcome.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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03-09-2015, 05:51 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 05:17 PM)jabeady Wrote:  Before this goes any further, I'm going to invoke Sagan's invisible fire-breathing dragon in the garage, just for the sake of brevity.

calling it a garage dragon for the sake of brevity?
Consider
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Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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