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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6664 times)

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Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2014, 04:43:15 PM »
That selfish arrogance is one thing atheists do share with their counterparts in the religious sections. 

For what it's worth, I'm an atheist who is totally okay with how anyone chooses to believe, no matter my personal feelings about religion and spirituality. What others believe is not my business so long as we get along with (or can at least be tolerant of) one another. I don't push my atheism on anyone, and they don't push religion on me. It's a good balance.  8-)

There are some atheists who aren't selfish and arrogant (just as I feel there are religious folk out there who are not selfish or arrogant). To be honest, sometimes I like learning about other faiths just to see what all they're about, even though I know I'm an atheist and will not be converting. It's educational for me to learn about the ways people choose to have (or not to have!) faith, and it helps me better get in touch with and understand people. One of the reasons I had wanted to post here in this topic was to see what kind of beliefs people had.  :-)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2014, 04:43:31 PM »
Sabby, it's arrogant to tell someone to pretend like something is true for no satisfactory reason to that person.  This reminds me of when religious people would tell transgender people they are "just confused" or are "going through a phase" and to just act normal.  Just pretend you're not you.  People that are religious and deeply spiritual tie a part of their identity to their beliefs.  Simply saying, well pretend like you're not is quite arrogant and can be distressing to them.  This is especially true when the evidence that they are already confronting is no different.


Also, I do apologize that my post came out far more generalized than I would have liked.  I do hope people can forgive me and believe that I do not mean every religious person and atheist is selfishly arrogant.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 04:45:11 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2014, 04:47:11 PM »
Sabby, it's arrogant to tell someone to pretend like something is true for no satisfactory reason to that person. 

When did I say that? I'm not telling people what to think, I'm saying that beliefs held in spite of evidence are inherently illogical. Example.

"I know it doesn't make sense, but I just have to keep believing, because it's important to me" That is an illogical position. If it hurts you, emotionally, to discard a belief, then there's a problem.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 04:48:30 PM by Sabby »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2014, 04:49:19 PM »
Ok, Sabby.  You hold your beliefs and I will hold mine.  I am making reference to the arrogance of telling people to simply pretend like something is true.

Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2014, 05:13:56 PM »
I think you might have missed the point of the cogito which is to set up the idea that we can't "know" anything except that we exist as thinking things. I can't "know" that I am typing this and you can't "know" that you are reading this.

At the risk of taking us massively off-topic, cogito ergo sum may attempt to set up that idea but it fails horribly at doing it from the very start.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2014, 05:18:30 PM »
I remember there being some sort of theory crafted by a linguist that discussed how language displays a unified reality between other, thinking beings so this disproves "I think therefore I am."  I never read the actual paper though, only heard this from my ethics professor.

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2014, 05:28:08 PM »
At the risk of taking us massively off-topic, cogito ergo sum may attempt to set up that idea but it fails horribly at doing it from the very start.

But did Descartes
Depart
With the thought
'Therefore, I'm not?'

Offline LostInTheMistTopic starter

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2014, 05:31:29 PM »
And here's your problem, just because you can conceive of something doesn't mean that it exists with absolute certainty. Because you can't be certain, Descartes' methodic doubt would reject it, or if you turn your textbooks to the writings of David Hume :

You completely misread what I said. I said that it "involved the ability to conceive of things that did not exist". And you went up there telling me that just because I can conceive of something doesn't mean it exists.... Which is exactly what I said. Take a perfect circle. There's no such thing. It doesn't exist. It can't exist, because any circle, no matter how large, will have a finite number of sides equal in length to the Planck distance. (The minimum unit of distance which is incredibly small and indivisible.) And yet all of us have a concept of a perfect circle.

Just read a little more carefully in the future.



Moving on: What I mean when I say I "know" God exists, is that I have absolute unshakable faith that he does exist. I cannot prove it to your satisfaction. I cannot prove it to my own satisfaction, but this is one area where I don't NEED proof. I have faith, and faith is enough. Faith means believing, KNOWING, with absolute certainty at the very depth of your being that something is true that CANNOT be proven.

In the physical bounds of this world (or this universe), science suffices for me. Evolution is a scientific fact. Climate change is happening. Climate change is caused by humans. All this is scientific fact. Everything that happens has a perfectly logical scientific explanation, even if we don't know what that explanation is yet.

But matters of spirtuality and faith lie outside the realm of the physical universe. God's existence can neither be proven nor disproven. Not by science, not by clever philosophy, not by anything.

As for the statement that we can't know anything.... Don't take this the wrong way. In College, in Philosophy 101 (well, okay it was 115), my Professor said, "I don't want to hear any of you saying that. That's a lazy way to make a point." What he meant was that we don't KNOW anything, but using that as an argument is a lazy way to reject someone else's argument without bothering to come up with something of your own. I'm not saying that's what you were doing, but "We can't know anything with certainty", while true, lacks certain validity, because we can see, hear, feel, taste, and touch things....

So what defines reality?

The Matrix (the original one) asks some interesting questions about that, actually.

Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2014, 05:37:54 PM »
I remember there being some sort of theory crafted by a linguist that discussed how language displays a unified reality between other, thinking beings so this disproves "I think therefore I am."  I never read the actual paper though, only heard this from my ethics professor.

It doesn't need to be that complex.

The starting point for Descartes is that he doubts everything, including his own existence; in essence he has not yet proven the existence of "I". He then goes on to prove the existence of "I" (at least in the form of a thinking being) because he thinks/is thinking.

Do you see the issue?

He cannot say "I think/am thinking therefore I am" because until the end of that statement "I" doesn't exist. It's one of the purest examples of begging the question... as soon as he mentions "I" then "I" must exist but the entire point of that step of the argument is supposedly to prove the existence of "I".

But did Descartes
Depart
With the thought
'Therefore, I'm not?'

John Stuart Mill,
By a mighty effort of will,
Overcame his natural bonhomie
And wrote Principles of Political Economy

Offline LostInTheMistTopic starter

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2014, 05:40:26 PM »
Just to get it out of the way:

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya'
'Bout the raising of the wrist.
SOCRATES, HIMSELF, WAS PERMANENTLY PISSED...

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away;
Half a crate of whiskey every day.
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
Hobbes was fond of his dram,
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: "I drink, therefore I am"
Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed!

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2014, 06:17:43 PM »
I don't know that "agnostic" is the right word if you believe in god or gods. Some people would call this "spiritual". If you neither believed nor disbelieved in God, then agnostic would be the right word for it. Of course, I may have read your post wrong.

I wouldn't call it being spiritual. Spirituality is often pursuit of finding one's self or discovering their essence, it does not much associate for me in my belief in a divinity. Most agnostics center along a path of a greater existence cannot be proven or disproved.  Let me quote something that does sum them up quite well on urbandictionary.

From urbandictionary
Quote
An agnostic is a person who believes that the existence of a greater power, such as a god, cannot be proven or disproved; therefore an agnostic wallows in the complexity of the existence of higher beings.

Agnostics on religion (Christianity, Islam, Buddhists, etc): Religious zealots are often viewed as ignorant by agnostics’ because of their blind following of a supreme being which may or may not exist. Agnostics will often question the existence of a supreme power because a lot of modern religious beliefs have no basis in modern logic; therefore blind following of popular religions is viewed as an easy out for people who chose not to think for themselves.

Agnostics on atheism: On the other end of the spectrum, unlike atheists, an agnostic uses a more scientific approach to their belief system. An agnostic knows that just because there is no physical proof of the existence of a higher being, it dose not automatically mean that one does not exist. An agnostic views an atheist on the same plane as a religious zealot; often because the belief that human beings are the pinnacle of intelligence and there are few things that we do not or have the potential to understand.

The realization of knowing that “we cannot know everything” is the backbone of the agnostic belief.
Christian Zealot: God loves you and everyone. He will save you
Agnostic: Prove it.

Athiest: There is no way that a god can exist.
Agnostic: Prove it.

On the spectrum of that, I have a belief there is a higher power. I would place belief in a higher power over possible science of how we got here any day. Unfortunately it is hard to prove such entities exists, unless they may choose to visit the realm of mortals and tell us exactly what is right and what is wrong, then my sway may change if convinced.

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2014, 06:37:54 PM »
But did Descartes
Depart
With the thought
'Therefore, I'm not?'

Rene Descartes has been sat in a bar all day. The bartender comes up to him and asks "Another round?" Descartes replies "I think not." and vanishes.  ;D

As for the statement that we can't know anything.... Don't take this the wrong way. In College, in Philosophy 101 (well, okay it was 115), my Professor said, "I don't want to hear any of you saying that. That's a lazy way to make a point." What he meant was that we don't KNOW anything, but using that as an argument is a lazy way to reject someone else's argument without bothering to come up with something of your own. I'm not saying that's what you were doing, but "We can't know anything with certainty", while true, lacks certain validity, because we can see, hear, feel, taste, and touch things....
But do we? So why does the same item of food have a better taste when it is served on a white plate instead of a black one?  If the two pieces of food are made from exactly the same ingredients and have been prepared in exactly the same way, and exactly the same receptors on the tongue have the same reaction to the food, how can it have a different taste?

or



The point is your senses lie to you a great deal of the time, so how can you tell what's "real" and what isn't with absolute certainty?


The starting point for Descartes is that he doubts everything, including his own existence; in essence he has not yet proven the existence of "I". He then goes on to prove the existence of "I" (at least in the form of a thinking being) because he thinks/is thinking.
Descartes doesn't start by doubting his existence, it's a doubt of all knowledge, which is slightly different. Part of his goal was to try and get people to reason critically instead of just accepting what came before. So he doubts any information coming from his senses, because they lie, they can't be trusted with 100% accuracy and so cannot be a source of something that is absolutely true. He could be asleep and having no accurate way of discerning between waking and sleeping states, so he has reason to doubt his surroundings. And then there is the malicious demon, who could just be screwing around with what he perceives but Descartes later rejects the possibility of the demon. So Descartes is left in a position where nothing is certain, and that's when he doubts his own existence, but if he doubts his own existence then what is it that is doing the doubting? If Descartes doesn't exist then how can he doubt his own existence?
Really it should be "I doubt therefore I am" but cogito ergo sum is way more elegant

Offline consortium11

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2014, 10:12:07 AM »
So Descartes is left in a position where nothing is certain, and that's when he doubts his own existence, but if he doubts his own existence then what is it that is doing the doubting? If Descartes doesn't exist then how can he doubt his own existence?

Really it should be "I doubt therefore I am" but cogito ergo sum is way more elegant

Which illustrates the difficulty perfectly.

Up until cogito ergo sum has run its course, he cannot say "I". Yet he uses "I" as the starting point of cogito ergo sum. It's both begging the question and circular reasoning.


Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2014, 10:39:10 AM »
Just one quick question, is it possible to make the following statement and have it be true?
"I do not exist"

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2014, 11:03:29 AM »
Are we defining existence as having consciousness or as having physical form?  (Because that just made a plot-bunny.  >_> )

Offline Atarn

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2014, 09:36:53 AM »
I do not believe in gods, aliens, ghosts, Bigfoot or dragons.
And for not believing in one of those things, people would send me to eternal damnation ^^. And it's not the dragons :P.

But you know, that's nicer than being "arrogant" about demanding proof.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2014, 10:07:10 AM »
I do not believe in gods, aliens, ghosts, Bigfoot or dragons.
And for not believing in one of those things, people would send me to eternal damnation ^^. And it's not the dragons :P.

But you know, that's nicer than being "arrogant" about demanding proof.

Yeah, if someone calls you arrogant for demanding proof of a claim, they just come across as defensive. Never looks good for the claim itself.

Offline Atarn

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2014, 10:10:48 AM »
True.
Which is why I hate the "Atheist=Smug arrogant douche".
I'm not smug, not arrogant. But I demand proof about things that should not exist within the frames of the laws of physics as we know them.

Offline GypsyRose

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2014, 10:15:28 AM »
I do believe in God. 

I'm perfectly okay with those who don't -- and not particularly happy with those who want to shove their beliefs down other people's throats, or denigrate or belittle those who disagree with whatever they believe.

I am Baptist by raising, non-denominational Christian by choice, and married into a Lutheran family.  The OP's posted creed is pretty much like the one my hubby's church uses.  When I attend, I pick and choose the parts I repeat (mostly it's one particular phrase that sticks in my craw).  I do not take communion and I will never be a 'member' of the church because it would require me to agree that I believe things I do not and I take promises and oaths a little too seriously to gloss over the sticking points.   

I seem to be more conscious of the feeling of 'not belonging' than the church members.  Noone has ever given me grief for the things I don't choose to do, and nor do they do the hard press sell / condemnation to any that I've seen.  I have been made welcome there.  It has been a good lesson for me, and had the church of my formative years exercised a similar philosophy, I might not now be so adamant to declare myself non-denominational. 

Offline Hemingway

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2014, 08:59:29 PM »
I don't believe in any gods, or anything god-like. If there is a hell, I know I'll be in good company.

I don't know if this has been mentioned before in the thread, but the attitude expressed by the OP can very easily be construed as condescending. I know it's been said of atheists that they are - or can be - condescending. But the apparently charitable attitude of being on the side of non-believers does imply  that they, the non-believers, are somehow less informed. Calling your own faith "the true faith" doesn't exactly mitigate that perception.

Now, I don't very much mind this attitude, because it's not something I generally think about outside of a context like this discussion.

I think the main reason I don't really engage in these types of discussion that much anymore, except as a sort of exercise for myself, is that they're essentially futile. If someone wants to have their faith in peace, that's none of my business. But even when it's brought up for discussion, there's really very little point - and not by some failure of logic or reason. There's no point, because all ideas and conceptions of god that I've ever come across, are so vague and fuzzy that any apparent gaps or contradictions can simply be explained away. Nothing, I think, illustrates this better than the statement "god works in mysterious ways". What this means, basically, is that in any case where god behaves differently from how god is described, it has nothing to do with god and everything to do with us. Which really should raise questions about how much we can claim to know about god, but doesn't.

As our understanding of the world has expanded, god has been forced to retreat. Very few people now believe in any sort of literal creation, because we can now explain how the universe origniated. Our understanding has gaps, though. And god lives in those gaps. Whenever a gap closes, god moves out. But as far as anyone knows, there are always going to be those gaps.

Whenever an issue like the origin of life is raised by believers - and I realize that this isn't an issue for all believers - I can't help but think of how large a failure of the imagination that is. That is, rather than accept that we don't know and try to understand what might be the explanation, the people in question default to "god did it". What happens when we discover that it was not, in fact, god? Well, nothing. I keep being disappointed by this. And that's why I don't discuss religion very often anymore.

If the proof mentioned in the OP does exist, though, I'd very much like to see it.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2014, 12:18:15 AM »
I believe in Gods and Goddesses.

Offline Warlock

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2014, 07:12:59 PM »
There's many definitions of God, so it's hard to give a clear answer, even when supposedly dealing with the same deity. I would be best described as an Atheist, I lack beliefs in gods, but my approach to non-belief are many, one for each god concept presented. For some I do consider myself gnostic, I know they don't exist and have sufficent reason to believe so, others I'm agnostic since I've yet to be convienced or even lack knowledge about them and for some I'm Ignostic since the god concept is ill defined, contradictory or otherwise leaving me unable to even begin to understand it.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2014, 09:08:52 AM »
As Warlock noted, it does sometimes depend on the definition of "god," but when it comes to the common connotations ascribed to the word, I am an Agnostic Atheist. What that basically means is that I lack belief in a God - in my eyes, you either believe and are a theist/deist, or lack that belief and are an Atheist; there's not really any room for a middle ground. If you're uncertain, then you don't quite believe it yet - but I don't claim knowledge of his/her existence or lack thereof.

Simply put, I'm an atheist of the variety that does not claim that no gods exist, but reject the claim that a god exists based on the sparsity of evidence since I personally believe that the only logical reason to believe something is if I have testable evidence in proportion to how big the claim is. As it is, I don't see why any of the religious texts should be treated any differently to any other historical text, and I personally will take Tacitus or Cassius Dio over the bible any day due to the somewhat confused and chaotic historiography. I'm not about to go out and preach in the streets about how religion has failed to meet its burden of proof, but I'm not going to keep quiet about my lack of belief, especially when atheists are in some countries treated fairly poorly.

Long story short, I'm an Agnostic Atheist who also identifies as a secular humanist. *nods*. Any questions? :D

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #48 on: June 18, 2014, 07:31:47 AM »
I believe God exists, but I realized some time ago that I don't--nor should I--try to prove that He exists. To do so denies the act of faith that He asks of me The important part is that I believe He exists.

I am not a Creationist. I believe God is such an infinitely complex being that the eon's of creating the universe are as simple as speaking for him, but that's more Clarke-ian. :)

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2014, 07:37:54 AM »
So...may I ask why you believe in God? What convinced you that God exists (I'm assuming you're talking about the Christian God here?) and asked you for that act of faith in the first place? If you don't wanna answer, that's fine. I'm just curious as to what convinced you. :-)