Why I Believe
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07-04-2017, 12:21 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 09:33 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 08:50 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  > How do you define God? Do you believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent?
I do

> With that in mind, I offer the following:

Proof that God does not exist:

>The Christian God is defined by mainstream Christianity as being all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, and all just. Yet even a cursory reading of the bible reveals a God who is cruel, unjust, tyrannical, unloving and eternally vengeful. Ergo, the Christian God does not exist by reason of self-contradiction.

>An all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God, by definition, cannot create evil or permit evil to exist in the world. And yet, evil exists. Ergo, God, as he is defined, does not exist on the grounds of self-contradiction.

>The law of conservation of matter and energy states that the total quantity of energy in the universe remains the same. Matter and energy are interchangeable, but neither can be created or destroyed. Ergo, the universe has always existed and will always exist in one form or another. God is unnecessary by the Principle of Parsimony.

>The natural histories of religions are well-documented. The behavioral causes of religions are well-known. There is no evidence that religions are the products of anything other than human ingenuity and imagination. Ergo, atheism is rational and skeptically unassailable.

>There is no hell, because there is no God. Thumbsup
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07-04-2017, 12:33 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 06:47 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  ... I keep getting panicky, I'm like "What have I done/said what have I done/said!"

It's been like this since 2010 November. And it is really rough on times ...

Of all the reasons to despise conventional religiosity this has to be in the top 3 - this idea that we should be punished, severely, for sheer belief - a condition of mind we literally have no conscious control over. Only an eighth-witted depraved human mind could conceive of such a thing.

I don't believe a sane human mind capable of ACTUALLY believing it, right down to the heart, because to actually believe it would be 100% paralyzing. You couldn't do ANYTHING without worrying that it would register red on the celestial sin gauge in some unforeseen way. So those that do believe it can only do so part way, and I suppose combine it with a stronger belief that the awful and pitiless god who never forgets a slight will in the end be forgiving. Just looking at it reveals its absurdity.

And who of sane mind would willingly live life accepting a condition of constant anxiety?

Shake a fist at the sky, Yell at your god "Leave me alone you damned jackass!"

Get to where you can do that comfortably. Then you'll find it won't be necessary anymore (since there's nothing to yell at) and then the only things that'll make you cringe are the humdrum faux pas of life - which you'll be free to pay greater attention to and learn more from.
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07-04-2017, 12:41 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:01 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 10:49 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Can anyone supply a good resource for me to investigate the prophecy please? I've done an initial search but it's all a bit everywhere, so I'm hoping for a solid resource to study from a non-theistic standpoint. Preferably online only because I can research it immediately.

Here's a link to a lecture by professor Bart Ehrman which you should enjoy, since it makes sense of much of what Jesus was teaching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvjPO2LilxM
Thank you

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 12:42 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:26 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 10:41 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  ... then there is earth, and we have; plants! water! edible fruit! fridge magnets! philosophy! art! oxygen! literature! Spandau Ballet! elephants! ...

One of the most seductive fallacies of religious argument is the improbability of the configuration of our existence. The odds against this configuration are, well, not actually incalculable but so large as to make the difference between improbable and impossible too tiny to matter.

But the fallacy is in what configuration is being considered. Grab a deck of cards. Shuffle it. When you're done, calculate the improbability of the sequence of the 52 cards you end with. It's gigantic. It's more unlikely than finding the first 5 at the top are a royal flush of spades. Why? Because beneath the 5 cards of the royal flush are 47 cards whose sequence is of no consequence. Hence the number of occasions of shuffling up a royal flush of spades as the first 5 is quite large - it's greater than the number of possible combinations of the other 47 cards!

Yet the odds against getting the sequence you just did are far greater - only one chance out of all the possible sequences of 52 cards. Yet there it is, in your hands, a seemingly impossible sequence.

The question to ask is NOT how improbable is the universe's present configuration. Like the shuffled deck of 52, it is what it is. To compare it's unlikelihood to other possible configurations is to quibble over equal improbabilities.

The relevant question is this: given the configuration as it is, how improbable is the life we find within it? Those odds are not so astronomical - as the configuration as it is obviously DID give rise to life. And while the rest of our solar system is clearly inimical to earthly forms of life arising, no science I'm aware of has ruled life of some kind impossible elsewhere in our solar system. Finding intelligent worms on Neptune would be surprising, but also NOT surprising, as there are no violations of the natural laws we already understand in positing intelligent worms there.

So we can marvel at our complex existence, but without invoking impossible probabilities to do so.
That's a very interesting and thought provoking reply

Thank you

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 12:43 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:46 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 06:47 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Having a bit of a moment here, feeling a bit anxious :/

I worry I might have said something bad about Christianity in this thread so I went back through every one of my posts. Seems the worst I did was agree with folk about a few things. Like, if the bible is created by an all powerful being, then its message should perfect and clear.

That's how it is with me. I keep getting panicky, I'm like "What have I done/said what have I done/said!"

It's been like this since 2010 November. And it is really rough on times

It's perfectly natural to have the fear lurking within you. That's what indoctrination often does to people.

I'll say it for you: Christianity is a huge pile of complete arse! I've been saying it my whole life and there has been zero consequences.
Thanks Rob

That cushion on your head and the way you knocked it off Big Grin I didn't get the meaning behind it but it was funny!

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 12:44 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:58 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 10:49 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I am currently looking into the prophecy wherein Jesus says there were some who would see him return before they died. Apparently, it is a failed prophecy. I've heard about this before but can't remember delving too deeply into it.

Can anyone supply a good resource for me to investigate the prophecy please? I've done an initial search but it's all a bit everywhere, so I'm hoping for a solid resource to study from a non-theistic standpoint. Preferably online only because I can research it immediately.

Thank you

You may want to check out goodwithoutgod's resource thread He talks about a ton of stuff there and it is all referenced.

He talks about hell on page 2, page 5 has a really long list of sources (theistic and non-theistic), and he tackles religions other than christianity. I don't think he ever addresses the failed prophecies per se but it is a easy read and it you may find it interesting.
Yes, I spent some time on that earlier. I've bookmarked it and got a shortcut in my 'Atheism' folder. I saw the bit about the failed prophecy and it really made me sit up (I think I saw it on there)

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 01:17 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 12:21 PM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  >The law of conservation of matter and energy states that the total quantity of energy in the universe remains the same. Matter and energy are interchangeable, but neither can be created or destroyed. Ergo, the universe has always existed and will always exist in one form or another. God is unnecessary by the Principle of Parsimony.

This one seems helluva dodgy to me. We don't know for certain - for absolute certain - that this energy business is all it's cracked up to be. There are regularly proposed theories involving energy conservation being broken in some circumstances. Plus I don't dig your conclusion either. "Universe has always existed" sounds a bit too certain for my liking.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-04-2017, 01:34 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 12:21 PM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  >The law of conservation of matter and energy states that the total quantity of energy in the universe remains the same. Matter and energy are interchangeable, but neither can be created or destroyed. Ergo, the universe has always existed and will always exist in one form or another. God is unnecessary by the Principle of Parsimony.

Not so fast, Gwaith.
Quote:The zero-energy universe hypothesis proposes that the total amount of energy in the universe is exactly zero: its amount of positive energy in the form of matter is exactly canceled out by its negative energy in the form of gravity.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-04-2017, 03:56 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  EDIT: Thanks all very much for the considered and (quick!) responses. I am sorry that I cannot reply to every one of them fully or even at all (I think I'd go mad Smile ) but I do appreciate them, and I read them. I also copy/paste posts and/or certain parts of posts into a word document too.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Hi all

Thanks again for the welcomes (from here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...d1164883), it's much appreciated.

unfogged asked me why I believe there is a god and why it is the Christian God. I like that; straight to the point. I'll try and answer here (you might have encountered this post on another atheist website).

Fear is the key. Not sure if anyone expected that answer, but it's true. For the most part fear is the key. I mean, it's not just fear, I do have a belief it is true. But here's the situation:

I have major issues with Christianity, from slavery, brutality, misogynistic practices, the need for a human sacrifice, the threat of an eternal agonising afterlife for some, the need for any of this. But I am scared of being wrong. I have a real phobia about going to hell. I feel trapped and as I see it, there are only two ways out for me.

1. To be convinced there is no hell (not possible – as we cannot say either way for sure)

2. To, not believe. All I will say is that I have major doubts. I'm having a real crisis of faith.

I ask myself, if my thought processes were not inhibited by fear and anxiety, would I still believe? Well, having a Heavenly Father sounds great to me. Someone to love and care for you, and having the biggest and strongest Dad in the world is what every child inside us wants. Someone to pick you up every time you fall down, someone to tell you everything is going to be ok.

All that said, if I could push aside all concepts of Christianity and have a mind unfettered with Christian tradition and influences (all of them), would I still believe it was all true?

Truth is, I’m too anxious to even ask myself that, which in itself speaks volumes. I can relate to Pascal’s Wager.

I ask myself, why does an omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) creator, feel the need to create a torture chamber, where the wicked are sent to spend an eternity in unspeakable, unthinkable agony? Why not just utterly annihilate them? Not enough punishment? Ok, but why does there need to be any punishment in the first place? Surely an omnipotent and omniscient creator could just show us the error of our ways, teach us so we know why we did the things we did, and then we can all live in peace?

I see no point in it, but here is my problem:

Even if I do not see any point in it at all – it doesn’t mean it is not true. Sure it doesn't mean it is true, but that's where I am right now.

Do I only believe out of a fear of punishment? It’s probably not the ‘only’ reason, but it is a major part of it. Truth be told, I am not in a position to really answer that question yet.

I very probably will ask questions concerning biblical verses and such, but I assure you it is not to force my beliefs on anyone. As I always say, I really have no axe to grind and certainly have no agenda I want to push on anyone.

The reason for my questions (and questions to subsequent answers I may receive) is to really test what I believe, and why I believe. If my questions stand up to scrutiny, if I cannot have my faith torn down, then I will remain a Christian. Conversely, if I end up not believing because my beliefs cannot stand up to scrutiny, then I will seriously question what I believe, in fact, I may not have that option because regardless of what I want to believe, the truth is the truth.

Thanks all

Wow! What a thread. Hello SeaJay all I can say is your OP has truly opened the door to many responses. I too am new to the forum and as a Christian I too came here seeking answers and although somewhat different to yours I am seeking answers just the same - mainly the thinking processes using logic and reason as to how atheists support their position that there is no God and how they justify that claim.

Theist are charged with using circular reasoning to defend their position. Their accused of being closed minded to any other possible explanation of our existence. It is stated as fact that their belief is due to indoctrination. It is these ideas and more that I would like to explore in the coming days as to what is true and can we really know it.

as a starting point some quotes I find interesting and what some of the members responses might be:
“I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence.
Carl Sagan

As time permits I would also like to go back to previous responses, many which are quite compelling and some not so much.
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07-04-2017, 04:03 PM
RE: Why I Believe
SeaJay,

Sorry is already asked, but have you sought professional help, i.e. psychiatrist or psychologist? If for nothing else to talk through your fears? As a former evangelical, I know psychiatry and psychology are demonized (no pun intended) and severely discouraged unless you go to a "Christian" one (which is conflict of interest if they are honest). I went to one for about 3 months when I was trying to break away. It wasn't because of fear of hell, but it was to talk out issues with how I felt my family would react. It helped a great deal for me, because even though I was not given some silver bullet of an answer to solve all my problems, I was able to vocalize my problems and have an impartial 3rd party with no bias give me feedback, and he was very helpful.

Based on your postings, it sounds like you really want to let go of this but you won't let yourself. Your mind can be your greatest asset and at the same time your biggest enemy.
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