Why should a deity exist?
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12-01-2017, 05:29 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(10-01-2017 02:33 PM)Cypher44 Wrote:  So.. after my last posts, and the users on this site making it clear, I'm just repeating stuff. I got a good question from a couple of users on this site.

Why does there need to be an deity??
Good question.
The answer :

He may not exist at all but His apparent existence is a sort of comfort for believers
on points such as suffering, the idea of reward for it, the deity also provides a convenient and easy explanation for those hard to explain things i.e.

When you get all big and go to school, you may take a class someday, and learn that's called Utilitarianism.

It's a dangerously slippery slope.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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12-01-2017, 06:00 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 05:29 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  It's a dangerously slippery slope.

We don't need to trouble the people with the news that the king is a corrupt bastard... and so forth.

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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12-01-2017, 07:08 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(11-01-2017 05:02 PM)julep Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 11:23 AM)Cypher44 Wrote:  Yes, most people would (if they tried) live easily without belief in a Supreme Being
But they have been indoctrinated so well and it has become such an ingrained part of their reality that they just don't want to try to live without belief in a Supreme Being.

Your answer does not address the question you raised in the OP or my points about the god concept and belief in it being far from harmless, however.

As for the idea that the God concept has caused suffering.. yes it has.. I agree.. It has been twisted by others in order to solidify their own power and subjugate others. (Crusades) but I personally don't think that if everyone did away with the concept of God, all that would happen is, a new concept would be created which would be used to subjugate others.. All we can do now.. is look to the future and endeavour to ensure that the idea of God is not misused for power again.. -C

Oh no. He's here - God
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12-01-2017, 07:40 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 07:08 AM)Cypher44 Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 05:02 PM)julep Wrote:  Your answer does not address the question you raised in the OP or my points about the god concept and belief in it being far from harmless, however.

As for the idea that the God concept has caused suffering.. yes it has.. I agree.. It has been twisted by others in order to solidify their own power and subjugate others. (Crusades) but I personally don't think that if everyone did away with the concept of God, all that would happen is, a new concept would be created which would be used to subjugate others.. All we can do now.. is look to the future and endeavour to ensure that the idea of God is not misused for power again.. -C

You hardly can say that god concept has been twisted for Crusades to happen if god in question is genocidal monster. God didn't have a problem with killing so why faithful should have one?

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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12-01-2017, 07:47 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 07:08 AM)Cypher44 Wrote:  
(11-01-2017 05:02 PM)julep Wrote:  Your answer does not address the question you raised in the OP or my points about the god concept and belief in it being far from harmless, however.

As for the idea that the God concept has caused suffering.. yes it has.. I agree.. It has been twisted by others in order to solidify their own power and subjugate others. (Crusades) but I personally don't think that if everyone did away with the concept of God, all that would happen is, a new concept would be created which would be used to subjugate others.. All we can do now.. is look to the future and endeavour to ensure that the idea of God is not misused for power again.. -C

Yes, people would find new ideas to support being awful to others...which we would then debunk in turn. That people will continue being terrible to one another is a given that in no way justifies letting a false rationale stand.

I'm not sure why you bring up the Crusades, as if people stopped using god to justify atrocities hundreds of years ago. The God concept is being used today as it always has been, as a mechanism of power, terror and control.
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12-01-2017, 08:20 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 07:08 AM)Cypher44 Wrote:  As for the idea that the God concept has caused suffering.. yes it has.. I agree.. It has been twisted by others in order to solidify their own power and subjugate others. (Crusades) but I personally don't think that if everyone did away with the concept of God, all that would happen is, a new concept would be created which would be used to subjugate others.. All we can do now.. is look to the future and endeavour to ensure that the idea of God is not misused for power again.. -C
I do not think theism needs to be twisted to cause suffering. Sure, often it doesn't INTEND to cause suffering. But when unintended consequences happen, theists invariably ignore the possibility that their belief-system is INHERENTLY harmful, and instead claim it has been "twisted" or "misused" and if people would only stop that then their dream of a perfect world would come true. The BEST face you can put on this is that theism is inherently vulnerable to misapplication, sort of like children staggering around with vials of nitroglycerine -- sooner or later one of them will drop a vial and it will explode and take them out and a dozen people around them. Even in this scenario where theism has real benefits, they are rendered irrelevant.

So I think theists need to take a long hard look at history and ask themselves why they have not managed to substantively and sustainably move the needle on actual quality-of-life. Sure, they build some hospitals, but they also have ginned up some inquisitions and crusades and gobs and gobs of self-loathing and magical thinking.

To your point that if religion were removed from the world magically right now, and even if all memory and cultural influence of it were excised, it would just reconstitute itself -- I agree. But that is a commentary on where humanity is in its overall development, not on the validity or utility of theism.

I am of the belief that theism is something each individual must voluntarily pry from their brains with a crowbar, as I have done. When enough people do that, the failed epistemology of religious faith will fall into disuse and disrepute and religious faith will become a backwater edge case at best. I think that will take quite a few more generations, perhaps another millennium unfortunately. But it's the only way forward, precisely because of what you're suggesting: people invent their gods and will reinvent them in preference to embracing reason.

I suppose I could be wrong and if I had a magic button I could press to make religion go away, maybe it would speed the process up considerably because of modern man's access to better explanations for reality that are, you know, based in reality. Maybe any religion that would reconstitute itself would be far weaker and less pervasive because of this. But no one has such a magic button and is willing to push it. So we have to cope with the massive inertia of the cultural and ideological influence of religion and its durability as a meme even in the face of scientific progress.
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12-01-2017, 09:29 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 08:20 AM)mordant Wrote:  So I think theists need to take a long hard look at history and ask themselves why they have not managed to substantively and sustainably move the needle on actual quality-of-life. Sure, they build some hospitals, but they also have ginned up some inquisitions and crusades and gobs and gobs of self-loathing and magical thinking.

While they are looking they should also ask themselves why the positive things don't succeed above and beyond similar secular efforts. If your chances of survival going to a Catholic hospital were consistently higher than those when going to a secular hospital it might say something. As it is, the religion part of the work is apparently irrelevant to the outcome.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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12-01-2017, 09:41 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 09:29 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(12-01-2017 08:20 AM)mordant Wrote:  So I think theists need to take a long hard look at history and ask themselves why they have not managed to substantively and sustainably move the needle on actual quality-of-life. Sure, they build some hospitals, but they also have ginned up some inquisitions and crusades and gobs and gobs of self-loathing and magical thinking.

While they are looking they should also ask themselves why the positive things don't succeed above and beyond similar secular efforts. If your chances of survival going to a Catholic hospital were consistently higher than those when going to a secular hospital it might say something. As it is, the religion part of the work is apparently irrelevant to the outcome.
Yes, absolutely. Pick any given positive program undertaken by humanity in which theism has a significant role, and ask yourself whether theism is a necessary motivator and animating force for that role.

Not only that, fundamentalist Christians should look at the good done in the world by liberal Christians. Fundamentalists would not be comfortable for example with Albert Schweitzer's pacifism and altruism towards what fundamentalists would likely regard as "takers" -- just waltzing into a poor village with free medical care not contingent upon evangelism and therefore guilty of promulgating the dreaded "social gospel". Fundamentalism is clearly not only not necessary for altruism, but I daresay if you tallied up the altruism performed by fundamentalists compared to liberals, it'd come up SHORT.

So one can argue that certain brands of theism are not only NOT the main driving force behind charity, they can be positively CONTRARY to it.
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12-01-2017, 09:44 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 09:41 AM)mordant Wrote:  Fundamentalism is clearly not only not necessary for altruism, but I daresay if you tallied up the altruism performed by fundamentalists compared to liberals, it'd come up SHORT.

So one can argue that certain brands of theism are not only NOT the main driving force behind charity, they can be positively CONTRARY to it.

It isn't charity when it demands a fee even if that fee is just sitting through a sermon before getting the help. That isn't altruism, it's how you sell time-shares.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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12-01-2017, 09:57 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(12-01-2017 09:44 AM)unfogged Wrote:  It isn't charity when it demands a fee even if that fee is just sitting through a sermon before getting the help. That isn't altruism, it's how you sell time-shares.
This was in fact another nail in the coffin of my faith. I friend of mine and his wife were missionaries to Mexico and I managed his mailing list and the production of his newsletter.

When Hurricane Gilbert decimated crops in the Yucatan he organized trainloads of grain to be shipped there to the poor villages. He was even canny enough to bribe corrupt border officials to let the trains pass. But when the grain was delivered, it was connected with various pomp and circumstance including a requirement that the peasants watch a Spanish-dubbed dramatization of the life of Christ before taking delivery of the grain. That was a real turn off for me.

It is like what you see a lot among political conservatives who swear up and down they don't have a racist bone in their body while making clearly racist remarks or being completely blind to their own prejudice. This guy had real compassion for the people he was "helping" but just could not see the monstrous arrogance of ramrodding his ideology down their throats in the process. The main driver behind this in evangelical circles has been a teaching against the "social gospel" -- the notion that meeting people's practical needs as an act of pure compassion is as important as meeting their "spiritual needs". Evangelicals pride themselves on elevating their imagined notion of "spiritual needs" above the physical and even believe that only in meeting spiritual needs will it be possible to advance people in practical matters.

In other words, it's a fancy way of saying that people's misfortune is their own fault somehow, that god's displeasure with their sins is blocking the blessing and grace of god in their lives.

This also manifested itself in a remarkable lack of compassion for the chronically ill. My late prior wife was in terrible shape for years, but the random up and down-cycles of her symptoms made it difficult for her to commit to the church's weekly circle-jerks. As soon as a church found out she was not able to get with the scheduled program and be "committed" in a particular way, they had no use for her, since she was assumed to be some sort of uncommitted backslider, and to some extent, they suspected god was "testing" or "teaching" her some lesson that they'd be interfering with by making any accommodations for her. She lived out her final years friendless in terms of those who shared her religious beliefs because of this.
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