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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6683 times)

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Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #125 on: July 05, 2014, 03:14:12 AM »
A simple way to explain this is with simple elementary school mathematics where you assign a "variable" a "value" and then use it in an equation. Here's an example that works quite well:

A = 1

Given this, we can do this:

A + 1 = 2
1/A = 1

When the variable is NOT assigned a value, it becomes unusable in this way.

A =

The following cannot be computed as a result because we have not defined the value of A.

A + 1 =           
1 / A =             

Simply put, you cannot do math like this with a variable that DOES NOT HAVE A VALUE. When programming, we say that this value is "unassigned" - which is NOT the same as saying ZERO value. We are saying quite literally, it has NOT been assigned A VALUE.

Because it has no value, its of no use to us.

If we knew the answer to the problem, then we could derive the value of A. In this case, we would have enough information to do something with it.

A + 1 = 2
Great, we can say A = 2-1 and come up with 1.

The problem with the whole god argument is that religious folks fail to assign a value to "god". When they do assign a value to "god" and it is disproven or shown to be illogical, they are forced to either admit that their god definition was incorrect or else to assign a different value to "god". This latter move is called moving the goal posts. ie. "I'll just keep changing the definition of god until my agnostic and atheist friends get tired of disproving them all."

Those religious folks who are smart enough to avoid this dilemma will argue that "god cannot be defined" or "god is unfathomable".  When this is done, the variable "god" becomes as useless as any other variable that has not been assigned a value.

I'm not saying that there is no god, but I AM saying that the definitions that I've heard for what "god" is have been severely flawed, undefined as explained above, flat out wrong or unsubstantiated and unprovable.

ie.     god = "the almighty flying spaghetti monster". He likes salami sandwiches and despises non believers.
Disprove that.

This is why it is important to have a correct definition of what god is or some reasonable, believable proof that it exists. Without it, it's just a useless variable that points to nothing or some ridiculous jibberish. This I believe, is why the bible and Torah are loaded with tall tales about the things that Jesus and the prophets did (or witnessed or whatever). Without this "meat", their words would mean nothing and fall upon deaf ears. Nobody in their right might would have taken these tales seriously if they didn't believe in all this mythical stuff.  The belief that these fantastic stories are true are the foundation and bedrock of their faith.

Likewise:

L. Ron Hubbard's fantastic tales are the bedrock of Scientology.

Joseph Smith Jr's fantastic tales about his interaction with angels and whatnot are the foundation of Mormonism.

Marshall Applewhite's fantastic tales about Dee and Do ( the aliens behind the Hale Bopp comet ) is the foundation of the Heavan's Gate cult. ( These are the web designers with matching black outfits and Nike shoes that killed themselves )


This leads to a critical question:  How do you decide who's fantastic tales are true, and who's fantastic tales are bullshit?


If your answer is "Well, I think they're all kinda right", then I ask, can you say the same about Jim Jones, Aum Shinrikyo, and Charles Manson? You can't just just say everyone is kinda-right and walk away.  These three folks told a fantastic tale and lead people to terrible ends. My point here is that their tales were just as unsubstantiated as any other mainstream religion.

This in my opinion, is how people actually judge whether or not their religion is "true" and "sound"

A. "It makes me feel good/happy/right, so it must be true."
B. "Everyone around me says its right, so it must be true."
C. "I'm afraid to not believe that its not true, so I'll just assume that it is"
D. "I was told that there would be negative consequences if I doubted this, so I'll assume its true"

« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 03:18:40 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #126 on: July 05, 2014, 04:08:26 AM »
I never fully understand why people place science as oppsed to religion and/or God.
Fanatic: def Someone who won't change their mind and won't change the subject.

And the exist on both sides, and all of them seem to lack the intellectual capacity\imagination to allow for the possibility that both might be right.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #127 on: July 05, 2014, 04:34:45 AM »
Fanatic: def Someone who won't change their mind and won't change the subject.

And the exist on both sides, and all of them seem to lack the intellectual capacity\imagination to allow for the possibility that both might be right.


Please, lets not screw around with the definition of fanatic.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fanatic
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/fanatic?q=fanatic


Quote
and all of them seem to lack the intellectual capacity\imagination to allow for the possibility that both might be right.

This is as illogical as saying that "Jack" lacks intellectual capacity/imagination because he won't allow for the possibility that both 1+1=2 and 1+1=3 could be right. We don't just start imagining things or making shit up because we don't like reality. That's what crazy people do. Creativity is a beautiful thing but this is one place where it does not belong.

Artists make shit up all the time and that's perfectly cool. The problem occurs when you confused the made up shit with reality.


Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #128 on: July 05, 2014, 05:38:44 AM »
We don't just start imagining things or making shit up because we don't like reality. That's what crazy people do.

We do this all the time. To take a semi-relevant example, we don't like reality with regards to there seemingly being the effects of mass without mass seeming being present... so we made up dark matter. There's no direct proof of dark matter existing, it was simply something people came up with in an attempt to get around something they didn't like... yet it remains utterly central to our understanding of cosmology.

Now, dark matter (and other such theories) may be subjected to constant testing in a way that a belief of God isn't but none of that changes the fact that at its base dark matter is something we can't see, can't sense, can't detect, can't understand and can't prove exists, only "invented" because we didn't understand what was happening and needed an explanation and is now central to out understanding of things.

That's not too different to how God can be viewed...

Offline Qt

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #129 on: July 05, 2014, 06:14:57 AM »
We do this all the time. To take a semi-relevant example, we don't like reality with regards to there seemingly being the effects of mass without mass seeming being present... so we made up dark matter. There's no direct proof of dark matter existing, it was simply something people came up with in an attempt to get around something they didn't like... yet it remains utterly central to our understanding of cosmology.

Now, dark matter (and other such theories) may be subjected to constant testing in a way that a belief of God isn't but none of that changes the fact that at its base dark matter is something we can't see, can't sense, can't detect, can't understand and can't prove exists, only "invented" because we didn't understand what was happening and needed an explanation and is now central to out understanding of things.

That's not too different to how God can be viewed...

That's the major issue with the word god. The fact that we don't even have a consensus on what it means. Essentially, anyone could have their own definition of god, so when people say they believe in god, they could very well be believing in all sorts of different things.

And what exactly is the link between god and religion? Other than the religious people claiming there is a connection? I mean sure, god can exist, there's still no way for people to prove all the other nonsense that religions come up with.

What I believe is, all that fluff around major religions is just dressings of an invisible person. There to hide the fact that the person behind the clothes is so vague it might as well not exist.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #130 on: July 05, 2014, 06:32:49 AM »

Interesting point, Consortium. The two are indeed similar, but there are still some glaring differences. I think the main difference is between treating "dark matter" as a theory versus treating "god" as an absolute reality and attaching to this "god" all sorts of rules laws and morality and so on. 

To quote your link: ( emphasis, mine )

Dark matter is a type of matter in astronomy and cosmology hypothesized to account for effects that appear to be the result of mass where such mass cannot be seen. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. It is otherwise hypothesized to simply be matter that is not reactant to light.[1] Instead, the existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.


Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #131 on: July 05, 2014, 06:36:16 AM »
In this latter example, belief flows from knowledge, not from blind trust or from being gullible.
You would have to define what "god" is for me to answer that. There are lots of wacky definitions out there to choose from.
Pro tip - "If it smells like bullshit, it probably is."
We don't just start imagining things or making shit up because we don't like reality. That's what crazy people do.
Artists make shit up all the time and that's perfectly cool. The problem occurs when you confused the made up shit with reality.
This is why it is important to have a correct definition of what god is or some reasonable, believable proof that it exists. Without it, it's just a useless variable that points to nothing or some ridiculous jibberish.

I find it always helps the discussion when people bring such open minds along.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #132 on: July 05, 2014, 07:02:24 AM »
Mind explaining how he is wrong? He hasn't targeted specific beliefs, he's describing how faulty beliefs work.

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #133 on: July 05, 2014, 07:19:44 AM »
So do you think implying that people of Faith are "crazy" and\or "gullible" or that thier beliefs are "wacky", "bullshit", "ridiculous jibberish" or just plain "made up shit"; is in any way helpful or open minded?

Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #134 on: July 05, 2014, 07:54:39 AM »
That's the major issue with the word god. The fact that we don't even have a consensus on what it means. Essentially, anyone could have their own definition of god, so when people say they believe in god, they could very well be believing in all sorts of different things.

And what exactly is the link between god and religion? Other than the religious people claiming there is a connection? I mean sure, god can exist, there's still no way for people to prove all the other nonsense that religions come up with.

What I believe is, all that fluff around major religions is just dressings of an invisible person. There to hide the fact that the person behind the clothes is so vague it might as well not exist.

Indeed, "god" (or "God") means very different things to different people even within the same religion (and same sub-set of a religion). We only have to look at this topic to see the variety of beliefs that people who do believe in something they refer to as "god" have and how different they can be.

Moreover, your second point is also considerably strong; a belief in god and religion (primarily organised) are different things. People should always remember that in debates; just as the good things done by religion don't necessarily have a connection to "god" (or "God") neither do the bad.

Interesting point, Consortium. The two are indeed similar, but there are still some glaring differences. I think the main difference is between treating "dark matter" as a theory versus treating "god" as an absolute reality and attaching to this "god" all sorts of rules laws and morality and so on. 

To quote your link: ( emphasis, mine )

Dark matter is a type of matter in astronomy and cosmology hypothesized to account for effects that appear to be the result of mass where such mass cannot be seen. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. It is otherwise hypothesized to simply be matter that is not reactant to light.[1] Instead, the existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.



I think this is a misuse of the scientific term "theory". The existence of dark matter (and dark energy for which the same issues arise) was invented because otherwise the general theory of relativity (and like Newton's theory of gravity, although already outdated) fall apart. Yet those theories are in essence taken as being true despite having the term "theory" attached to them... and also having alternative theories that don't require us to invent dark matter/dark energy out there (notably MOND and TeVeZ for dark matter). A theory does not become a fact or an "absolute reality" in science regardless of how much proof there is of it; a theory is an endpoint in itself. To quote the standard definition, a theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses". The theory of dark matter exists and from it a whole load of scientific laws are formulated... but it was invented without proof of its existence; we merely infer it from our understanding of other things... which is the same way that many of the philosophical argument for the existence of God operate.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #135 on: July 05, 2014, 10:13:51 AM »
I could be wrong here but there seems to be a demand for God to be quantified.  While this is certainly a noble goal, science already concedes that many concepts and realities in this world cannot be quantified with simple measurements and values.  Much of this allowance is encapsulated by the notion of an operative definition, which is an agreed upon standard and a notification that this is how the subject will be measured and quantified.  To seek a universal consensus on the nature of a higher being and/or beings through the centuries of human civilization and the myriad of human culture would be quite impossible.  Qualitative studies in scientific research are given equal weight with a quantitative paper for this very reason.  Not all things in this reality can be measured.   This does not detract from the importance of the variable, but simply means that use of the variable is handled differently than say distance.

There are many concepts and realities in this world that lack a definitive measurement.  Intelligence, beauty, money and health are among a few of these concepts.  There is little consensus globally and often little consensus throughout a single nation.  An expectation of a quantified reality is one that will be quickly disappointed with even a cursory study of science or philosophy.  This desire to perform such a task dates back to Platoís forms where he saw commonality among not only objects but thoughts. 

Offline KalebHyde

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #136 on: July 05, 2014, 12:00:24 PM »
I am not truly religious myself, but I do find it amusing how much of a religion atheism has become and a fundamentalist one at that.  Those in this thread who have beliefs in differing gods have not once, to my knowledge, attempted to force their faith on non believers.  To the contrary, atheists seem so often compelled to hammer away as if they seem threatened by the mere thought that a god or gods might exist.  This is no court of law, no laboratory.  There is no reason any believer should have to prove anything.  God, if he exists, is beyond full mortal explanation as it is.  It comes across quite arrogant for any one person or denomination to claim to know everything.  There are mysteries beyond human comprehension, beyond science's grasp.  I am definitely not an expert, but has science ever proven what initially gave spark to evolution, what caused life to appear where none existed a second before?  It is all conjecture, a faith in science rather than a higher power.  Neither side should demand that their way is the only way as no one can honestly know all that exists.

Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #137 on: July 05, 2014, 12:08:14 PM »
I am definitely not an expert, but has science ever proven what initially gave spark to evolution, what caused life to appear where none existed a second before?  It is all conjecture, a faith in science rather than a higher power.  Neither side should demand that their way is the only way as no one can honestly know all that exists.

There's a number of different theories out there, although none seem to offer a quite satisfactory answer. On the whole most modern theories base themselves roughly on the idea that lightning (or some other form of electrical activity) caused amino acids to form and from there evolution (which can occur in molecules as well as organisms) caused it to develop until "life" (as we know it) appeared.

This wiki article is a decent starting position to read up on the various theories and the history of them.

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #138 on: July 05, 2014, 12:10:42 PM »
I never fully understand why people place science as oppsed to religion and/or God.  There seems to be this desire for the two to be at war when there is no reason for them to be at odds at all.
I think the issue stems from both claiming to answer the same questions.

For example, the bible claims to know how Earth was created and where humanity comes from. Science does the same. However, the resulting views and explanations are contradictory, incompatible, and mutually exclusive. One bases its assumptions on a 2000-something year old book that's been written by humans, and where any criticism is verboten because it was "the word of God" and God was perfect, so it had to be the absolute truth. The other side bases its assuptions on experiments and observations, deducting a most likely chain of events from that data, while welcoming criticism and more observable data to further refine the used methods and the resulting gained knowledge. Naturally, only one of the two views can eventually be correct, but which one? The one based on what is basically a fairy tale, or the one based on observation and scientific method?

I think the discussion of Bill Nye and Ken Ham took that very topic to an extreme, but also presented the core differences between both approaches. Especially their answers to the question, "What, if anything, would ever change your mind?"

Thousands of years ago people believed in Ra and Osiris and Bastet. Others believed in Zeus, Hades, and Aphrodite. Again others believed in Odin, Thor, and Freyja. All claimed to be the "true faith," whose gods "were real and powerful." All of those turned out to be nothing but myths and tales, so what makes people assume today's belief in God and Jesus (or whatever else you believe in) would be any different? Faiths and gods are a dime a dozen, they come and go repeatedly through the ages. Science, however, doesn't disappear - it evolves, it learns, it is refined. The Giza necropolis is over 4500 years old. The architectural science, and the mathematical and physical principles, that made the pyramids' construction possible back then are still valid today, while the ancient egyptian faith withered away into nothingness.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #139 on: July 05, 2014, 12:16:24 PM »
I think, Kaleb, you miss the point of Atheism. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is simply a position; atheism means you lack a belief in God, no more, no less. Nowhere in this thread have atheists tried to "convert" believers. From what I've seen, there have been questions but no attempt at conversion. You claim that believers shouldn't have to justify their beliefs, but if they seek to claim that this is true and accurate, then they have a burden of proof. They can rightly say that they don't have evidence, but if they want other people to believe them, they have to provide evidence. If there is no evidence, why believe a claim?

As for the whole evolution thing, there was no "spark" that started evolution. It's a natural process that happens automatically; the organism that has a survival instinct will survive, and the one that doesn't....doesn't. If you're talking about how life got here in the first place, then you're right. Science hasn't discovered the exact mechanism, but there are a mixture of various hypotheses. The current working hypothesis is Abiogenesis, which has some interesting evidence suggesting that life can indeed come from non-life, but nothing conclusive yet. And you know what? That's fine and dandy. Religions go "we don't know, therefore God," whereas Science goes "we don't know, let's try to find out." Not knowing doesn't invalidate science as you seem to suggest, it just means we haven't found the answers yet....but we're still looking. How is that a bad thing?

As for "faith in science," again, you're misunderstanding what science is. Science is just investigation using the scientific method; evidence, study and continued rigorous study. There is no such thing as "faith in science." Faith, as used by the religious, is belief without evidence. Science is belief with evidence. Unless you want to play with definitions, but either way, the use of the scientific method is miles away from the blind faith often exercised by the religious. Tell you what. I can demonstrate gravity right here at my computer by dropping a pen. That's testing. If God/s was/were half as demonstrable as what I can do with that pen, this conversation wouldn't even be happening. That's the difference between faith and the scientific method; faith is the reason people give when they don't have good evidence. The Scientific Method stresses investigation and extensive evidence. The two are nowhere near equivalent.

Offline KalebHyde

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #140 on: July 05, 2014, 12:19:20 PM »
There's a number of different theories out there, although none seem to offer a quite satisfactory answer. On the whole most modern theories base themselves roughly on the idea that lightning (or some other form of electrical activity) caused amino acids to form and from there evolution (which can occur in molecules as well as organisms) caused it to develop until "life" (as we know it) appeared.

This wiki article is a decent starting position to read up on the various theories and the history of them.

Thank you for the article, it goes to show science can no more pinpoint the origins of life than religion can specifically define God.  Both are left to theories that can likely never be fully proven.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #141 on: July 05, 2014, 12:21:30 PM »
At the moment, yes....but considering how fast science is evolving, there is always a point where we can say "this is as close to a fact as you can get." Evolution, for example, or gravity. And just because we don't actually know for sure, doesn't make the alternative hypotheses or guesses any more accurate. Science and religion are nowhere near the same thing. One relies on evidence and investigation, and the other relies on effectively guesses and blind faith. I fail to see how the two are equivalent.

Offline KalebHyde

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #142 on: July 05, 2014, 12:44:25 PM »
I think, Kaleb, you miss the point of Atheism. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is simply a position; atheism means you lack a belief in God, no more, no less. Nowhere in this thread have atheists tried to "convert" believers. From what I've seen, there have been questions but no attempt at conversion. You claim that believers shouldn't have to justify their beliefs, but if they seek to claim that this is true and accurate, then they have a burden of proof. They can rightly say that they don't have evidence, but if they want other people to believe them, they have to provide evidence. If there is no evidence, why believe a claim?

Atheism may have started as a position, but modern day practitioners hold to it as fundamentalists do their own.  I don't quite understand why anyone would demand another 'prove' their beliefs if they weren't having them forced upon them.  If others feel they are doing right for themselves and not harming others, I don't see how any one should try to tell them they are wrong when no one can truly know.

As for conversion, to constantly demand answers and attack what others hold dear is an attempt to force them to abandon their views and 'convert'.  If one is truly comfortable being an Athiest, they shouldn't question others in a way to convince themselves they are right.  To each their own and there is only one way to know who is right.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #143 on: July 05, 2014, 12:55:00 PM »
Again, atheism is just a position. There's nothing to "hold to," so your comparison is fundamentally (pun unintended) flawed. Some atheists may well be more aggressive with it than others, but it is still just a position by definition. The only thing to hold to is the fact that sufficient evidence for belief in God has, in their opinion, not been provided. As for demanding proof, I think it's a very justifiable thing to ask for if somebody brings it up. "I believe this." "Can I ask why?" "Oh, it's because of this." "Oh, do you have any evidence?" As for it being forced on them, the sad truth is that atheists are attacked in a lot of places, and particularly in the States, Christianity is forced down peoples throats. Is it wrong to ask for evidence before you believe what somebody else is claiming? And most atheists aren't telling the religious that their belief is wrong, they're saying that it's unjustified. Slight difference. If you believe what you believe for bad reasons, I fail to see why it is "rude" to point that out. For the longest time, religion has had a privilege of immunity...not so any more, and religious practitioners are still getting used to that fact. Religion, like everything else, is open to criticism, and people should not be condemned because they dare to criticise the established dogma. As it is, religious belief IS harming people in a lot of places, so religion SHOULD be challenged as much as possible.

Not really. If asking questions is deemed "attacking," then fine, we're attacking. But surely if they are so sure of their beliefs, questions shouldn't be a problem, no? Nobody is trying to force people to abandon their ideas, they are just asking questions. I, for one, ask for clarification because I'm a curious person, and to be honest, your ideas of an atheists motivations are completely out of whack. We ask questions because a lot of the time, these beliefs are foisted on us by society at large, and the only way to know who is right is by investigation...which includes questions.

Nothing is above criticism or questioning. Not even religion. And I apologise if you take offence at questions being asked of these dogmas, but it isn't going to stop....religion has a lot of questions to answer, and they will get asked one way or another. *shrug* It's the way of the world. Somebody makes a claim, questions get asked. Don't want questions? Don't make the claim.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #144 on: July 05, 2014, 04:00:15 PM »
Science and religion donít attempt to answer the same questions though.  How is at the crux of science as observation and experimentation lies at the center of what science does and seeks to do.  Religion revolves more around a why of the universe, seeking to understand the why of what is going on in this universe.  I think people enjoy the two clashing since this gives either side an enemy.  If science is about observation then a religious person should view this as observing Godís creation.  If science is about questioning the purpose of existence, then this is simply another line of questioning and mental exercise.

Atheism is a belief system.  To say there is nothing without evidence is just as definitive as saying there is something without evidence. 

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #145 on: July 05, 2014, 04:35:20 PM »
They do. Science seeks to answer everything about the universe. Science is the study of the natural world, and that necessarily dictates that we try and figure out why and how everything happened. Religion seeks to answer the same thing. The simple fact of the matter, Pumpkin, is that the two frequently DO clash because they seek to answer the exact same questions, but Science doesn't necessarily grant the existence of a God until it can be proven....which is surely the reasonable thing to do. If you accepted every claim that was made without evidence that it was true, you'd wind up believing absolutely everything, regardless of how absurd it was. The simple flaw in your first paragraph is assuming that the two inhabit separate spheres, when in fact their domains overlap. Science seeks to explain the natural world with natural explanations through rigorous testing and investigation (NOT just observation), and Religion seeks to explain it by appealing to an unfalsifiable God. If a claim is unfalsifiable, it is also unverifiable, and any claim that can be presented without evidence can be discarded without evidence. A good overview of that "separate spheres" argument was given (and rebutted) in Richard Dawkins excellent "The God Delusion," and no, I'm not about to quote the whole chapter. :P

As for your second paragraph...you're wrong. I'm sorry, but you are. You are right in that there are atheists who claim that no Gods exist, and if one should make that claim, they have to provide evidence because they're making a positive claim, but that is not necessarily atheism. Atheism is simply the lack of a belief in God. Saying you don't believe a claim until you've seen sufficient evidence is not the same as saying that you think that claim is false. It's like a court case; the verdicts are Guilty and Not Guilty, because the question is not whether the defendant committed the crime, but whether there is sufficient evidence to convict. In the court of existing, I am finding the God Claims that I have been presented thus far Not Guilty of existing. I am NOT saying he is innocent of existing, just that the evidence presented to me is not enough to convict him. Now, there are degrees of belief/disbelief. You can be an Agnostic Atheist (like myself) who says "I don't believe in God, but I don't claim knowledge either way." I personally think that this is the most justifiable position; I don't believe the claims that have been presented based on the insufficiency of their evidence, but I do NOT make the positive claim that no Gods exist. Then there are Gnostic Atheists, who DO make the claim that no Gods exist. Similarly, you can have Agnostic Theists (who believe, but don't claim to know) and Gnostic Theists (who believe, and claim to know). However, having no belief is NOT a belief system. Atheism is the LACK of a belief, therefore, the lack of a belief SYSTEM. The difference is this:

A belief, as defined by every dictionary I can get my hands on, is a conclusion based on personal feelings and emotions rather than scientific evidence and critical thought. Most atheists base their lack of a belief in God or Gods on scientific evidence (or lack thereof) and critical analysis. Therefore, atheism is not a belief but a conclusion. Atheism is NOT a belief or a belief system. It is DEFINED as the LACK of a belief. And even IF one had the belief that a God did not exist, that would STILL not qualify as a belief system, because ONE belief cannot a system make.

http://atheism.about.com/b/2007/06/11/atheism-is-not-a-belief-system-does-this-really-need-repeating.htm
http://atheistfoundation.org.au/article/atheism-belief/


And even if it WAS a belief, so what? Not all claims were created equal, and in my eyes, it would still be more justifiable than the belief in a God, simply because there is no good evidence that we have access to to say that a God exists. Therefore, which is more reasonable: To believe on no evidence, or to reject the claim based on the fact that no evidence has been offered and verified to be legitimate?
Extraordinary claims (Eg, the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient supernatural being) require extraordinary evidence.
No evidence has been offered...so atheists are justified in rejecting the claim.

Simples.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 04:37:16 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #146 on: July 05, 2014, 04:37:02 PM »
Atheism is a belief system.  To say there is nothing without evidence is just as definitive as saying there is something without evidence. 

To be fair, though, some atheists don't do that. Some atheists (like me) are defined by a mere lack of belief, not a denial of the possibility deity/deities exist. The difference between those two positions is like this:

1) I don't see sufficient evidence to warrant belief in deity(s), therefore I do not have belief in deity(s). With sufficient scientific evidence, I would change my mind. (<--my position...which is not a belief system, only a reliance on factual evidence)
2) I don't see sufficient evidence to warrant belief in deity(s), therefore deity(s) cannot be real. (<--technically a belief, because for it to be factual rather than a belief, evidence to prove a lack of deity(s) existence needs to be given for a sound denial)


Online Dhi

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #147 on: July 05, 2014, 04:43:51 PM »
Blythe, I believe people who fall under the first category typically identify as agnostic, rather than atheist.

Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #148 on: July 05, 2014, 04:44:42 PM »
Blythe, I believe people who fall under the first category typically identify as agnostic, rather than atheist.

Huh, do they?

*wonders if he is actually an agnostic then....*

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #149 on: July 05, 2014, 04:47:39 PM »
@Dhi:

Nope. Agnosticism is not a middle ground between theism and atheism. There IS no middle ground. You either believe or you don't, and people do often get confused over that.

See, agnosticism refers to knowledge, whereas Atheism refers to belief. Knowledge is a subset of belief; you can believe without knowing, but you can't know without believing. So rather than being mutually exclusive, agnosticism or gnosticism is just a qualifier. Agnostic doesn't make any comment on what you believe. What Blythe and I are are Agnostic Atheists. We don't believe, but we don't claim to know for certain that a God doesn't exist. Likewise, you can be theistic and agnostic. It's a common misconception, but agnosticism is not a middle ground between theism and atheism. It is, in regards to belief or non belief, a qualifier to declare whether you think you know or not.

See:

http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/Atheist-vs-Agnostic-Difference.htm