Willingness to believe
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18-03-2016, 02:17 PM
Willingness to believe
As a rationalist and a skeptic, since my deconversion I've always said that if the right evidence was there I'd 100% admit that there was a god. I do still feel that way, but something else has changed.
I used to say that I wished I could believe in God, and that I would like him to show me he was real so I could have the comfort of that belief system. But now that I've spent more time away from religion, I don't think I want that any more. I've stopped looking for God, not because I'm sure that he couldn't exist, but because a big part of me really hopes that he doesn't. Don't get me wrong: I'm still a rationalist and I will accept evidence of God if it's legitimate. But I'm not going to actively go looking for it right now.
I'm scared that I'm acting like a theist in that I only want to find things that support my worldview, and that I'm being closed minded. However, I'm cognitively willing to accept evidence, just emotionally unwilling, which seems like an important distinction.
Do any of you feel this way? (Sorry if it sounds convoluted, these kinds of topics never translate as well into words as I would like them to)
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18-03-2016, 02:34 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
Remember Winnie the Pooh and his looking for Piglet? The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there. It's the same thing with god: the more scientists look the more god isn't there. And one should remember that Piglet had advantage over god - he was adequately defined.

I would be willing to accept evidence for god, but first this nebulous something would need sensible and falsifiable definition. However I'm nearly -99.99% - certain that my willingness is in vain as there is only indoctrination and god blanky for those unwilling to face life challenges on their own. Of creator there is no sign.

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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18-03-2016, 02:52 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
(18-03-2016 02:17 PM)debna27 Wrote:  I used to say that I wished I could believe in God, and that I would like him to show me he was real so I could have the comfort of that belief system.
Why do you assume that god is a "he"? Do god's procreate? Is there evolutionary pressure for them to have a gender/procreation function?

Why do you assume that the existence of a god would be comforting?

If the god makes up demands that you are expected to obey and that you will be severely punished for transgression, how do you find that comforting? There are many people that live within such societies, us outsiders think it is horrid
[Image: USstudentkorea_620x310.jpg]
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/art...d=11607657
Quote:Otto Warmbier, 21, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp Wednesday for subversion after stealing the poster
Would it comfort Otto if we told him that Kim Jong-il loves him? and that his punishment is just and perfect?

Which belief system (that requires a god) in specific do you find comforting?



(18-03-2016 02:17 PM)debna27 Wrote:  I've stopped looking for God, not because I'm sure that he couldn't exist, but because a big part of me really hopes that he doesn't.
What does it matter whether a god exists or not. Why do you hope one way or the other. Even if there is a god, you know nothing about it. You don't know enough to have an opinion on whether it is beneficial or detrimental for a god to exist.

How can you look for a god if you don't know where to look, if you don't know what the god looks like? If you don't know what observations are predicted if the god exists?

What is the definition of a god?
How can that be observed, measured, discovered?

Is the definition sufficient enough for discovery?
If it is, then what is your incentive to discover it? Why you? Do you have the appropriate skills and resources at your own disposal in order to find the god (which no-one to date has yet found, rather than merely imagined and assumed).

Would you take it upon yourself to look for the higgs boson or would you leave that to a team of highly trained and well funded scientists and mathematicians?

Who is it that is best place to search for gods? What equipment do they need? What skills do they need? Would you trust them if they told you that they found a god? What is their definition of a god? Does that definition lead to predicted observations? Is it falsifiable? Is it verifiable?
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18-03-2016, 02:58 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
Many people are probably in the same boat.

It's good that you've stopped looking and better that you start living!

I'm open to evidence as well but even if I was on the receiving end of some evidence that supported the biblical god, i probably wouldn't worship it because I can't subscribe to a deity that I am morally superior to in almost every aspect. Arrogant? No...just honest. I'll pit the morality of my life against the god of the bible any day of the week. Now if this deity opened up full epistemology of why and how it did everything and i saw a bigger picture that made sense....maybe, I would say ok. But I don't expect that anytime soon, if at all.

**Crickets** -- God
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18-03-2016, 03:25 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
Just believe in god doesn't mean you have to follow him. Billions of people believe in the devil and still don't follow him. Jesus could appear to me now and I still could tell him to piss off. Same with Vishnu. Or Zeus. I do admit that I would like to know for curiosity's sake.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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18-03-2016, 03:30 PM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2016 03:38 PM by SitaSky.)
RE: Willingness to believe
(18-03-2016 02:17 PM)debna27 Wrote:  As a rationalist and a skeptic, since my deconversion I've always said that if the right evidence was there I'd 100% admit that there was a god. I do still feel that way, but something else has changed.
I used to say that I wished I could believe in God, and that I would like him to show me he was real so I could have the comfort of that belief system. But now that I've spent more time away from religion, I don't think I want that any more. I've stopped looking for God, not because I'm sure that he couldn't exist, but because a big part of me really hopes that he doesn't. Don't get me wrong: I'm still a rationalist and I will accept evidence of God if it's legitimate. But I'm not going to actively go looking for it right now.
I'm scared that I'm acting like a theist in that I only want to find things that support my worldview, and that I'm being closed minded. However, I'm cognitively willing to accept evidence, just emotionally unwilling, which seems like an important distinction.
Do any of you feel this way? (Sorry if it sounds convoluted, these kinds of topics never translate as well into words as I would like them to)

Sometimes I feel this same way and I asked myself if as I'm researching religion and reading spiritual texts if I'm just outright dismissing it because I know it's fake or because I want it be? It shouldn't matter what I want anyway, facts are facts and it's not like I want all imaginary beings to be fake. I think it would be great if unicorns were real but I'm not going to waste my time searching the forests of Scotland trying to find one, it has no effect on my life just as a God wouldn't effect me, I would still be a good person and try to find happiness regardless.

But I do find comfort in knowing that the Abrahamic God Yahweh doesn't exist due to his rampant immorality and bloodlust. I would hate to think our entire species is being held hostage by an ego-maniacal all powerful wizard who will eventually destroy our world in an Armageddon. I mean do we really think a being capable of creating galaxies would care who we have sex with or if we do it in or outside the bounds of marriage? A little tiny person getting down with another tiny person on a tiny planet in the middle of a tiny solar system? Would it care to read our thoughts to make sure we aren't thinking anything bad that would make us worthy of punishment? Even the thought of a being that is so powerful but "needs" to be loved or "needs" anything at all from us is a strange thought and a paradox.

All I know is the way God has been defined up until now is false, unless the religous people want to define him in some other way like "The universe is God." than we can figure out how that makes sense but until then any information you take in will only lead to "There is no God." because there isn't one and that's not your fault any more than no unicorns existing is your fault. Until you see a unicorn (and try to ride it because how great would that be?) we will continue to live in our unicornless world and that's ok.

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18-03-2016, 05:54 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
(18-03-2016 02:52 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Why do you assume that god is a "he"? Do god's procreate? Is there evolutionary pressure for them to have a gender/procreation function?

I'm using this terminology because that was the (patriarchal) religion in which I was raised. At this point in my post, I was referring to this particular "God" character rather than just a generic god.

(18-03-2016 02:52 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Why do you assume that the existence of a god would be comforting?

If the god makes up demands that you are expected to obey and that you will be severely punished for transgression, how do you find that comforting? There are many people that live within such societies, us outsiders think it is horrid
[Image: USstudentkorea_620x310.jpg]
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/art...d=11607657
Quote:Otto Warmbier, 21, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp Wednesday for subversion after stealing the poster
Would it comfort Otto if we told him that Kim Jong-il loves him? and that his punishment is just and perfect?

Which belief system (that requires a god) in specific do you find comforting?

I was specifically referring to the security that I associated with thinking that I had all the answers, and that there was always someone listening when I prayed. Regardless of whether or not anything happened (it never did, aside from what I may have thought at the time; yay confirmation bias) there was a definite psychological comfort from thinking that someone somewhere had an interest in my problems at all times. I think many current and former believers can attest to feeling this at some point in their lives.


(18-03-2016 02:52 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(18-03-2016 02:17 PM)debna27 Wrote:  I've stopped looking for God, not because I'm sure that he couldn't exist, but because a big part of me really hopes that he doesn't.
What does it matter whether a god exists or not. Why do you hope one way or the other. Even if there is a god, you know nothing about it. You don't know enough to have an opinion on whether it is beneficial or detrimental for a god to exist.

How can you look for a god if you don't know where to look, if you don't know what the god looks like? If you don't know what observations are predicted if the god exists?

What is the definition of a god?
How can that be observed, measured, discovered?

Is the definition sufficient enough for discovery?
If it is, then what is your incentive to discover it? Why you? Do you have the appropriate skills and resources at your own disposal in order to find the god (which no-one to date has yet found, rather than merely imagined and assumed).

Would you take it upon yourself to look for the higgs boson or would you leave that to a team of highly trained and well funded scientists and mathematicians?

Who is it that is best place to search for gods? What equipment do they need? What skills do they need? Would you trust them if they told you that they found a god? What is their definition of a god? Does that definition lead to predicted observations? Is it falsifiable? Is it verifiable?

Putting things in that light actually makes things clearer in my mind. I'm not sure what kind of "evidence" I was referring to (mostly because I'm almost positive it's not going to appear any time soon); I was coming from the perspective that is often presented to me by those in my life who are still religious. I actively try not to put too much stock in what they say, but I was indoctrinated well enough that there's still some lingering doubt as to whether their claims have any truth and "god will show himself to me".
I suspect that the more I move away from this mindset, the more I'll be able to automatically use your style of logic (if not the specific points) to combat this expectancy.
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18-03-2016, 06:05 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
(18-03-2016 02:17 PM)debna27 Wrote:  As a rationalist and a skeptic, since my deconversion I've always said that if the right evidence was there I'd 100% admit that there was a god.

Hi. I'm Bob.





I'm skeptical there is any such thing as certain evidence. Or even certainty for that matter.

#sigh
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18-03-2016, 06:43 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
I have no desire to look for a god for two reasons:

I do not think there is one, so I'm just not interested in wasting my time in a foolhardy quest for unicorns or their equivalent.

I do not want there to be any gods because I would dislike (hate is more like it) it/them if there were and I have no desire to live my life with unresolvable hatred.

Epicurus said it best:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

This part, "Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent." is how I feel because there are thousands of years worth of evidence that, if a god existed, he has been unwilling to prevent evil doing. For that, my disgust would be unfathomable.

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18-03-2016, 06:48 PM
RE: Willingness to believe
Even the most rigorously skeptical of us are susceptible to bias. The important thing is to acknowledge your bias, and to ensure that you are able to correct for it.

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