Why I Believe
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08-04-2017, 11:27 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 10:42 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 04:12 PM)mordant Wrote:  I completely agree with Dawkins and Sagan. It is a common misbelief that atheists are, in the main, "strong" atheists who take the knowledge position that there are no deities. This allows us to be mischaracterized as "arrogant" -- which is just one of the many ad hominem critiques used against us.

Most atheists (nearly all, really) will, at least when pressed, acknowledge that no one can make a justifiable knowledge claim for OR against the existence of deities. Why? For the simple reason that invisible deities as posited are inherently not falsifiable, and therefore not (dis)provable. What most atheists do, is they do not afford belief to any deities because they think the likelihood of any such thing existing are so vanishingly small. In other words the preponderance of evidence is very much against it.

And that is just our opinion of the concept of deities generically. The more specific you get about a deity (such as, for instance, arguing for your particular one), the more difficult your burden of proof.

This issue cuts both ways; if I cannot disprove your god, neither can you prove it. Gods are the stuff of bare assertions which we are asked to "just believe" via the failed epistemology of religious faith. The burden of proof is squarely on believers, yet their deities are invariably not falsifiable and therefore not provable. Since the burden of proof is not on me, I as an atheist simply await proof that, invariably, never comes -- and is never going to come because as I said, inherently, no justifiable knowledge claim can be made about any deity.
Thank you for a very insightful reply, one with much that I agree with. I totally agree this issue does cut both ways, agreed science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.
And precisely because it cuts both ways, it is also true that religion can neither prove nor disprove god.

And proof is rather beside the point anyway. It's silly to debate proofs when the concept you are advancing is simply something asserted as axiomatic and based in the supernatural which is inherently, by definition, not something anyone can justifiably make the slightest knowledge claim about.
(07-04-2017 10:42 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I also agree that yes at times atheists are characterized as arrogant, that they are "mis" characterized is debatable based on many of the previous posts on this thread Shy But in fairness arrogant would well define the behavior of some theist's in their responses.
Humility is in short supply for both theists and atheists, quite often. It is hard for many people to understand that they suck as much as everyone else does.

On the other hand, I don't know what theists expect from atheists when they so often come here and TELL us what we think / feel and what our motivations are without asking us what they are or believing us when we tell you. It is pretty much 100% guaranteed that you are going to get your bullshit thrown right back at you in that situation. And in our experience, theists can dish it out with gusto but can't at all take it.
(07-04-2017 10:42 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I would also say the ad hominem critiques comments also cuts both ways i.e. the leprechaun/Flying Spaghetti Monster etc. comparison as the same as God. I do not believe that is rationally comparing apples to apples.
That is simply an artifact of your operant conditioning that has you so accustomed to special pleading for your deity of choice. These are entirely fair comparisons but they are taboo to you because they are (rightly) regarded by your faith as dangerously subversive concepts. When the tenets of your faith depend on being accepted uncritically as axiomatic, any sort of equivalency or analogy someone might draw as part of a reasoning process is at best suspect, and at worst blasphemous.

Religious faith has enjoyed unearned deference and respect throughout much of human history, and simply can't handle its relatively recent erosion of special snowflake status. The slightest questioning of the rationality, logic, or morality of your faith, induces pearl-clutching horror in many. Part of that is an attempt to shut us down and close off actual discussion and spare yourself actual engagement. Lest you discover that you actually don't have a leg to stand on, or a valid argument to offer in support of your faith.

It is understandable why you would be tempted to think my very remarks above are arrogant or offered in a spirit of arrogance, but to me they are simply matter-of-fact observations based on decades of observation and sober thought.

I invite you to go through the paragraphs I've written here and change "religious faith" "your beliefs" "your god of choice" to something you have way less invested in, such as "the best spaghetti recipe" or "your favorite vacation spot" and I think it will transform me from the arrogant, rebellious, hateful ogre that you may be tempted to see me as, into just another person with a considered opinion who is simply discussing that opinion and my reasons for holding it.
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08-04-2017, 11:33 AM
RE: Why I Believe
Gonna go out a limb and guess the reason you believe, OP, is that your many life experiences have confirmed it. That's fine for your personal use. Enjoy. But no way to you have anything to offer a skeptic disinclined to accept your claim. Thanks for playing.

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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08-04-2017, 11:35 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:26 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I did state that I was seeking answers as to 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.
And I repeat that I don't have the position that there IS no god, I simply see no valid reason to BELIEVE that there is. So my thought processes aren't directed at disproving the unfalsifiable.

In point of fact, if it helps, I don't regard myself primarily in real life as an atheist. I am an simply a person who does not afford belief to the unsubstantiated and especially not to the unsubstantiatable. One of the many side effects of that is that I do not afford belief to anyone's deities, including yours.
(07-04-2017 11:26 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I will state I do believe as a theist in the Creator God and that to do so is not irrational nor without grounds for belief.
Everyone has "grounds". To get Godwin's Law out of the way: Hitler had "grounds" for his beliefs and attitudes and actions. Of course you have grounds and they are probably at least in some respects even rational. The question is whether they are substantiatable, substantiated, evidenced and logically argued based on available facts rather than speculation, personal subjective experience, hopes, dreams or desires, appeals to authority or tradition, or personal preference -- however well-intentioned and subjectively noble they may be is really of no interest to someone who lives an evidence-based thought life.
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08-04-2017, 11:38 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 10:42 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 04:12 PM)mordant Wrote:  I completely agree with Dawkins and Sagan. It is a common misbelief that atheists are, in the main, "strong" atheists who take the knowledge position that there are no deities. This allows us to be mischaracterized as "arrogant" -- which is just one of the many ad hominem critiques used against us.

Most atheists (nearly all, really) will, at least when pressed, acknowledge that no one can make a justifiable knowledge claim for OR against the existence of deities. Why? For the simple reason that invisible deities as posited are inherently not falsifiable, and therefore not (dis)provable. What most atheists do, is they do not afford belief to any deities because they think the likelihood of any such thing existing are so vanishingly small. In other words the preponderance of evidence is very much against it.

And that is just our opinion of the concept of deities generically. The more specific you get about a deity (such as, for instance, arguing for your particular one), the more difficult your burden of proof.

This issue cuts both ways; if I cannot disprove your god, neither can you prove it. Gods are the stuff of bare assertions which we are asked to "just believe" via the failed epistemology of religious faith. The burden of proof is squarely on believers, yet their deities are invariably not falsifiable and therefore not provable. Since the burden of proof is not on me, I as an atheist simply await proof that, invariably, never comes -- and is never going to come because as I said, inherently, no justifiable knowledge claim can be made about any deity.

Thank you for a very insightful reply, one with much that I agree with. I totally agree this issue does cut both ways, agreed science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. I also agree that yes at times atheists are characterized as arrogant, that they are "mis" characterized is debatable based on many of the previous posts on this thread Shy But in fairness arrogant would well define the behavior of some theist's in their responses. I would also say the ad hominem critiques comments also cuts both ways i.e. the leprechaun/Flying Spaghetti Monster etc. comparison as the same as God. I do not believe that is rationally comparing apples to apples.



Yeah but that's only because the invisible, un-disprovable object of your affection feels so different to you. Substitute deities that other groups of people take seriously and your objection would be likely be appeased. The point of making the comparison to sky fairies and the like is to convey to you that we do not share the warm affection you have for your special one. Is there something wrong with making that point? Why should be treat your disprovable claim any different - just because adults in your experience put on special cloths and treat It with high regard? (We're not those guys.)

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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08-04-2017, 11:40 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(08-04-2017 10:28 AM)Paleophyte Wrote:  The following is not in the Bible:

The date of Jesus' birth. According to Christianity this is the second most important event in history but nobody thought to jot down Jesus' birthday. The date is not 1 AD since Herod dies in 4 BC. One might reasonably expect such a date to take the form of "In the 40th year of the reign of Augustus Caesar..."

The date of Jesus crucifxion and resurrection. According to Christianity this is the single most important event in history but not one of the authors recorded when it was. This in spite of the fact that several of them were supposedly there for the event.

The correct name of the main character. It isn't Jesus any more than it is "Hay-Zoose". Jesus was a Hebrew but "Jesus" is Greek. His proper name is actually fairly common.

So ask yourself, how bad a biographer/historian/storyteller do I have to be to have left out the correct name and dates of birth and death of the main character in my book? What would you think about a book on the life of JFK that didn't have that info? We know these facts about the Roman Emperors so how is it that we don't know them for Jesus Christ? Does this gross omission suggest the Hand of God?
It does seem odd but then I know what they'd say: "It's not important, it's not necessary for salvation, we don't need to know. "

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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08-04-2017, 11:43 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 11:55 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I would argue that you have presented a false premise to draw the conclusion you have presented. Your premise is that what one is taught from birth determines truth rather than applying known facts. Following this premise it would also be true that had you been raised from birth in a faith that treated the FSM or the Invisible Pink Unicorn with the same undeserved reverence as Yahweh or Allah you would be defending your belief of Pastafarianism.Consider
Well of course. As a child how would you know the difference? You would see the FSM as "deserving" and Jehovah as "undeserving" or "imaginary". It is just operant conditioning.

However he was not saying that what one is taught from birth determines TRUTH. He was saying what one is taught from birth is heavily determinative of what one BELIEVES to be true. Parody religions such as the FSM or Church of the SubGenius are meant to highlight that those beliefs are no sillier than any others, save for the fact you weren't steeped in them from the cradle, and that they are not views widely held by most of the surrounding society / culture and therefore not constantly reinforced through powerful mechanisms like social reciprocity.

Sometimes I think such parody religions are an overreach and would better make their point with something closer to the familiar Abrahamic faiths and not so openly satirical. The problem of course is that those who invent these religions would then have to cope with acolytes who actually BELIEVE the nonsense they dreamed up!
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08-04-2017, 12:03 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(08-04-2017 11:08 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  His sources are cited inn the video description, which I already told you.

Here they are, copied from Evid3nc3's video description.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism...evelopment
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of...h#Religion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh#Ear...eh-worship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En%C3%BBma_Eli%C5%A1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Ashurbanipal
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Ca...e_religion
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4191
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of..._and_Judah
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_h...references
Ok. But is wikipedia a respectable source? Not being funny, I am asking because I am not sure ho wikipedia is viewed amongst scholars.

(08-04-2017 11:08 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Yes, she is a layman, but an educated and experienced one. I've seen nothing that supports any claims that she is a crank, pushing fringe ideas, or otherwise operating outside of the mainstream. The biggest criticism I could find was Sam Harris (a neuroscientist) calling her 'naive' in regards to Islam, but considering how the primary criticism of Sam Harris is how hawkish he is on Islam, it's a horse a piece really.
Good point. I just wish there were more recognised scholars agreeing with her.

I won't reply to the rest of your replies because the points you raise for the most part are quite solid in my opinion. I don't think I can rebuff any of them.

I am going to have to study this more though but so far it looks like Evid3nc3 might have the right of it. The topic sounds interesting in its own right, never mind the theological ramifications of it all.

Thank you for replying EK

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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08-04-2017, 12:04 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(08-04-2017 08:09 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  After watching this rebuttal video I'm not sure what to think:

Skepticism is healthy. Apply it to the critics as well as the source.

Quote:I think what they are saying is yes, what's the problem here, the bible even admits to all this, and that Karen Armstrong is out there on her own and nobody agrees with her.

That would be inaccurate.

The Bible hints at a little of this but what little there is is largely glossed over. Until some nasty atheist points it out and makes them own up to it.

Karen Armstrong is an author, former nun and graduate of Oxford. Her book is not a peer-reviewed work nor is it intended to be.

The statement that "nobody agrees with her" is a pure falsehood. Her book draws on decades of scholarly work from the fields of comparative religion, archeology and anthropology. Outside of deeply religious circles the scholarly debate is not focused on whether God wrote/inspired the Bible but which humans concocted it and how we can ever possibly deconstruct this mess.

Here's a quick overview of the JEPD or Documentary hyothesis. That's from a more or less typical undergrad comparative religion course, so nothing terribly cutting edge.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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08-04-2017, 12:05 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(08-04-2017 11:23 AM)kim Wrote:  SeaJay, the tools you have been given (ingrained in your mind) to get you through life, are manipulation and distraction. These are destructive tools. You have been trained to use them. Constantly.

These tools were designed to prevent you from taking full control of your own thinking processes. These tools make you an accomplice to manipulation and distraction. Using these tools, you wind up manipulating, distracting yourself.

There are constructive tools which you can use to replace destructive tools. These constructive tools are logic and reason.

Logic and reason are powerful tools.
They are powerful enough to help you do away with manipulation and distraction.
These powerful tools can help you to stop manipulating and distracting yourself. Logic and reason are a solid foundation to stand on as you go through life and continue to learn.
****

SeaJay, there is nothing wrong with you.
You are an intelligent and bright human being whose mind is instinctively rejecting the thing trying to destroy it's continued growth.

You have been complicit in the reinforcement of your own manipulation & distraction. Being provided with only inadequate tools to get you beyond a certain point of sensibility, you fight with your own mind.

This brings anxiety and fear.
****

If one dispells an entire way of living from one's mind, what is left?
Now, don't let your heart burst out of your chest or anything - it can be pretty scarey. The answer to that question
brushes your teeth and eats your food and for some reason, has some weird Spandau Ballet fetish. Dodgy Laughat

To reject faith, is to not rely on an idea, that someone else made up to control you.

Only you control you.
Heart
Thank you for the encouraging words Kim, much appreciated.

Logic and reason. Agreed. I intend pouring over some critical thinking books soon.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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08-04-2017, 12:07 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(08-04-2017 11:43 AM)mordant Wrote:  ----
Sometimes I think such parody religions are an overreach and would better make their point with something closer to the familiar Abrahamic faiths and not so openly satirical. The problem of course is that those who invent these religions would then have to cope with acolytes who actually BELIEVE the nonsense they dreamed up!

Mormonism is too derivative... Scientology, perhaps?

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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