atheist or just anti-THAT god
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25-11-2012, 05:24 PM
atheist or just anti-THAT god
I do not consider myself atheist. I believe there is something out there bigger than us. My god is more like the unified field theory than the jerk you hear about from so many fundamentalist monotheists. My question is are atheists simply reacting against the cruel god they were raised with or is there a firm belief that if it cannot be detected by the current state of science its existence is irrelevant?
Both options seem a bit limited and judgemental to me. The former is no different than so many Neopagans I have met. ie: That God is horrible so I cannot make myself believe that. The latter, well umm did radioactivity not exist before the Curies did their research? Just because science hasn't found it yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sounds like the god-of-the-gaps inverted.
Or is there something else I am missing?
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25-11-2012, 05:32 PM (This post was last modified: 25-11-2012 05:39 PM by Vosur.)
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
Being an atheist simply means lacking a belief in gods (i.e. supernatural creator). We are all born atheists, up to the point where we are confronted with the concept of god(s). Some people in this community have been atheists for their entire life (~25%*), while the majority has been religious at some point (~75%*). There are different reasons why those of the latter group have become atheists "again". Peeps like me have given up on their belief because they didn't find any evidence to support it, while others have abandoned it for purely emotional reasons. It comes down to this: The one and only thing atheists share is the absence of a belief in gods. Anything beyond that differs from individual to individual.

*according to a poll conducted ages ago

(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  Just because science hasn't found it yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sounds like the god-of-the-gaps inverted.
You're correct. I should note though, that I have never heard an atheist propose that because science hasn't found X, X doesn't exist. The problem is rather that the hypothesized god is outside of the realm of science. It's existence is neither testable, nor is it observable, as it is imagined to be immaterial.

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25-11-2012, 05:37 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  I do not consider myself atheist. I believe there is something out there bigger than us.

Why?

(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  My god is more like the unified field theory than the jerk you hear about from so many fundamentalist monotheists.

That's fine I suppose, but what is it exactly?

(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  My question is are atheists simply reacting against the cruel god they were raised with or is there a firm belief that if it cannot be detected by the current state of science its existence is irrelevant?

As a whole? No. Are some? Statistically more than likely. After all, if you were raised to believe something and then dropped it after many years of believing it, you'd probably feel a bit pissed off too. But being pissed off isn't the reason most become atheists, that usually comes after once you come to a sense of reality and then look back and feel like you were lied to. That eventually passes for the most part.

(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  Both options seem a bit limited and judgemental to me. The former is no different than so many Neopagans I have met. ie: That God is horrible so I cannot make myself believe that.

Well, logically it doesn't necessarily make sense. If there is a god, it either does not intervene, or in any ways that we can actually detect, or it doesn't care. In my opinion that either makes it incapable of doing so, doesn't care, or is a giant dick. That doesn't make me want to not believe in it, it does mean I wouldn't want to worship it. But it has nothing to do with why I don't believe in it. I don't see any empirical evidence, so I see no reason to believe in one.

(25-11-2012 05:24 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  The latter, well umm did radioactivity not exist before the Curies did their research? Just because science hasn't found it yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sounds like the god-of-the-gaps inverted.
Or is there something else I am missing?

God of the gaps is trying to squeeze a god into things that are unexplained. Things which are unexplained are just that: Unexplained. If things are unexplained it does not mean we should try and squeeze a god into it. I'm a huge fan of Occam's Razor which is that logically and rationally we should use the least amount of assumptions possible. In other words, if something can be explained without a supernatural cause, then the supernatural cause need not be included.

First off, for someone to explain something with a god, they should define what the god is in the first place. Is this a detectable god? An all knowing god? Is their god just a metaphor for something they idolize? Unfortunately most people can't really agree on what exactly it is and how it would exist and be detected. Define that first, and then we can start talking.

An attempt to explain a god from something that seems incredibly hard to believe would be an argument from ignorance. The "This seems too hard to believe so it must be supernatural" is just as bad as "Well you can't explain it therefore god."

Am I ANTI god? No. I'm open minded. But emotional appeal, god of the gaps, argument from ignorance and supernatural cause without empirical evidence is in my book, not at all credible sources for anything.

I have many pagan friends as well and they are generally more open minded than 99% of the mono-theistic people I've ran into. But still they seem to have their fair share of first-hand accounts, non-empirical things that seem unbelievable and easily dismissed. But they do no harm to me, and them believing in what they want to believe does no harm to me, nor me to them. So in my opinion... "Whatever."
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25-11-2012, 05:39 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
What are your reasons for believing what you do?

I stopped believing simply because I have no good reason to.

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25-11-2012, 06:01 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
Everyone (even KC) is entitled to their own beliefs.

BUT those beliefs need to justified if the believers what to use them as the basis of laws that effect me and those I love.

That is all.

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25-11-2012, 06:12 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
The prefix "a-" simply means "without," not "against." And it's hard to be really against something you don't believe in. So, no, I certainly don't hate god.

Quote:That God is horrible so I cannot make myself believe that.
I could understand thinking he was horrible and not worthy of worship, but I think belief is a separate issue than worship.

Quote: My question is are atheists simply reacting against the cruel god they were raised with or is there a firm belief that if it cannot be detected by the current state of science its existence is irrelevant?
Can't speak for all, but here is what I think: I have never, ever seen any kind of evidence for deities. I also have never seen any trolls, ghosts, or unicorns, or leprechauns, so I have no reason to assume these things are real.

I don't think it's that it a god would be irrelevant without detection so much as many atheists would think it's a bit foolish to believe in something with no evidence, just because a book by some ancient tribal people said it was true.

As a comparison: Why don't you worship Zeus? Is it because you think he was a cruel god? Or because he can't be detected by science? Just because we don't have proof of Zeus doesn't mean he doesn't exist.

Quote:Just because science hasn't found it yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
I can't prove unicorns don't exist, either, but that doesn't mean I believe in them. Or trolls. Or teacups orbiting Pluto. While absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence, it does make a more compelling case for absence.
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25-11-2012, 06:34 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
So if this is a matter of lack of belief rather than being sure that no god exists isnt that agnosticism rather than atheism?
As to why I believe... I went through a period of agnosticism. Eventually in an unguarded moment I caught myself thinking of god. I realized that, for me, such belief works. I do not claim to have a truth that will work for anyone else however.
I am a Neopagan and have a very different view of the divine than the loudmouths among monotheists. I suppose the labels that fit me best are panentheist and henotheist. I think that everything that exists, everything we can imagine and more are part of god. All the gods and goddesses we can imagine are simply human attempts to approach that infinite reality. They only have power insofar as humans believe in their power.
I am familiar with Occams Razor. I am not in any way arguing against science. My point is that lack of current scientific proof is as often proof of not having the right tools to investigate the question at hand as it is proof of the non-existence of the thing. ...
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25-11-2012, 06:42 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
(25-11-2012 06:34 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  So if this is a matter of lack of belief rather than being sure that no god exists isnt that agnosticism rather than atheism?
The two of them are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the vast majority of atheists (on here) are agnostic atheists.

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25-11-2012, 06:42 PM (This post was last modified: 25-11-2012 06:46 PM by amyb.)
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
(25-11-2012 06:34 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  So if this is a matter of lack of belief rather than being sure that no god exists isnt that agnosticism rather than atheism?
...
I am familiar with Occams Razor. I am not in any way arguing against science. My point is that lack of current scientific proof is as often proof of not having the right tools to investigate the question at hand as it is proof of the non-existence of the thing. ...
Well, do you call yourself agnostic when it comes to Zeus? Odin? [insert any god here]? You can't prove they don't exist.

I think it's more useful to talk about Richard Dawkins' scale, where 1 is certainty that god exists and 7 is certainty that there is no god. Most atheists (including Dawkins) are approximately 6.9 on this scale, mostly because you can't prove a negative, and to be a 7 is making a positive assertion ("there is no god" vs. "i don't believe in god(s)").

Well, Occam's razor, then: the explanation that makes the least assumptions would be that there are no gods, if you don't have proof for any, so that would be the most reasonable position, IMO (rather than making the assumption of invisible beings in the sky, or that our tools are wrong to measure things in the world, etc).
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25-11-2012, 07:30 PM
RE: atheist or just anti-THAT god
(25-11-2012 06:34 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  So if this is a matter of lack of belief rather than being sure that no god exists isnt that agnosticism rather than atheism?

Not necessarily. A strict agnosticism is usually a neutral or indifference. Since I would call myself an agnostic atheist, it means that I would side on the fact that you can't prove or disprove the existence of a god. However, since thus far things are explained just fine without one, the probability and necessity of one seems unlikely. Therefore, I do not believe one is necessary and do not believe in one. Again, with the least amount of assumptions logically, it would not be logical to insert a god if the probability is unlikely because then we enter even more questions such as: "where did said god come from? Why does said god exist? Is there a god for that god? Where did that one come from? Did things originate or did they come to be? Were they created or conceived, if so how?" and the questions go on and on. Thus far, we can explain the universe without having to dive into them, so the default stance makes more sense to leave it out of the equation, regardless if I cannot prove or disprove it.

(25-11-2012 06:34 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  As to why I believe... I went through a period of agnosticism. Eventually in an unguarded moment I caught myself thinking of god. I realized that, for me, such belief works. I do not claim to have a truth that will work for anyone else however.
I am a Neopagan and have a very different view of the divine than the loudmouths among monotheists. I suppose the labels that fit me best are panentheist and henotheist. I think that everything that exists, everything we can imagine and more are part of god. All the gods and goddesses we can imagine are simply human attempts to approach that infinite reality. They only have power insofar as humans believe in their power.

So if I am understanding correctly, panentheism is basically no "god" as most people see one (a being, or entity of sorts), you feel that a god is defined as the universe itself? I suppose I can see people believing that, I just don't know why anyone calls it "god" and instead, just the universe. To each his own I suppose. At the same time, what exactly is this "power" you speak of? The power of ideas? Motivation? Emotion?


(25-11-2012 06:34 PM)chandrashakti Wrote:  I am familiar with Occams Razor. I am not in any way arguing against science. My point is that lack of current scientific proof is as often proof of not having the right tools to investigate the question at hand as it is proof of the non-existence of the thing. ...

Occam's razor does not necessarily require science. Occam's razor is simply choosing the rational and logical choice when presented with a problem. Logic doesn't require science to work. It just requires itself.

Science is a tool and a method to understand things. If we use it to understand them, and the end result can be explained, then any other pressumptions prior that are no longer valid need not be entertained. For instance, the big bang. People say "the universe was created by god" but we know the big bang is responsible, with a good mountain of empirical evidence for it. We could go round and round about the existence of the universe, or rather, quantum mechanics prior to it. But nothing so far points to the idea of a god being. So why entertain it? Aside from sheer coping mechanism or some sort of appeal to emotion because someone feels worthless without some supernatural entity giving them some sort of personal meaning, I don't see any.

On another example, someone tells you there is a ghost in the house and supernatural things are happening. Things randomly move and jiggle. You go there to see if it happens and sure enough, some books flutter and you hear noises at night. A logical and rational person might look for the causes. A person who wants to believe it would simply dismiss it as a supernatural occurrence. Upon inspection, the logical person looks for immediate things that intervene and finds that during the later part of the evening, when a window is open, wind blows through and is fluttering pages and causing the shutters to bang which sounds like foot steps or thumps. The window is closed, and the issue goes away just as mysteriously as it came. Both people had an explanation that may be believable to people upon arrival, both witnesses it happening. However, only one of the explanations actually made any logical sense and could be explained empirically.

This is the same way that I see people end up explaining "supernatural" things. We have a lot of people who have interesting first hand accounts of things happening that other people perhaps experience. For instance we know that upon having traumatic events before we die that sometimes parts of the brain are stimulated as a coping mechanism which often result in hallucinations or bright flashes. Several neuroscientists have largely said this may very well be what is responsible for people who "see the light" before they die, or perhaps see themselves "out of their body" - other people just black out.

So does this still mean that it is supernatural? Or should we side with the rational or logical thing which we now have a beginning explanation, or at least a better idea of? From our experiences and emotions from such profound experiences, someone may want very much not to believe that it's just your brain. Others might simply want to dismiss it because they think that their confirmation bias tells them that those guys just want to disprove something "magical" that was previously explained.

We also used to think the earth was flat, and that got explained away. Stars used to rotate around us, we sure were egotistical back then. We still are now, we still want to think we're special and there are these god beings or a god of some sort. We really want some sort of "god given purpose" (at least, a lot of people do).

But in my opinion, worrying about such things takes away from the beauty of reality itself.
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