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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6682 times)

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Offline SweetSerenade

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #275 on: July 12, 2014, 08:23:42 AM »
To Vergil - Pretty much not much to say here, as we have rounded that up nicely XP



By the way, SweetSerenade, is your Druidism related to the ancient Celtic faith?  Dagda the DozenKing, The Master of the Wild Hunt, and such?  It is a very rich mythos, much like the Norse tradition, or the Irish.  I've always enjoyed reading about Dierdre, Cu Chulain, Frey, and Balder, among others.  There is a lot of connection between those beliefs in a cultural way.  I can't remember any of the other Celtic deities at the moment; I'd have to get out my mythology encyclopedia.  One of the things, I think I remember, is the importance of...either holly or mistletoe as a significant part of Druidism.

Mhmm, Nuala of the Silver Hand - The Morrigu, Cerridwen, the history of how 'Druids' began through Taelisin, on and on and on :D Yes that is the Faith I follow. The Tuatha'De'Dannan and the rich beautiful stories they and their children wove. I am well aware it does intersect with the norse, on several occasions.

The Fomorian were the enemy of the Tuatha'De'Dannan when they first made Ireland and Scotland inhabitatble for the human race. The Fomorian are also related to the Ice Giants from Norse Mythology. Interesting connection when you think about it.

The Celtci gods are some of my favorite, a large majority of them are pretty hands offy - when it comes to humans. They pretty much shrug and go "You do not have to believe in me, but I am giving benefits to those who do" ... sort of thing. Most of the time the 'Wars' between Gods was actually wars between clans that followed a particular God/dess

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #276 on: July 12, 2014, 08:38:50 AM »
@SweetSerenade:
It would appear so :P :P

@HannibalBarca:
I agree with most of what Hannibal said, but I do want to say that he's being a tad too generous....after all, the right wing fundamentalists are a minority within Christianity, so there have to be a lot more people voting Atheists as the least trusted group than just them. There are Catholics who outright reject the popes declaration that evolution doesn't go against scripture, and who actively preach that atheists are going to burn for eternity. Most of it stems from evangelicals, but no denomination is innocent of it. Some are more guilty than others, but every denomination has its members who discriminate against people who don't agree with their beliefs...after all, the Vatican had a member come out after one of the Pope's speeches to say "he didn't really mean that."

As for Hitler, well...his actual religion is subject to debate, but he at least claimed to believe in some level of higher power, and he did teach Catholicism in schools as fact...but analysing Hitler based on his speeches and his book is somewhat difficult, and open to a lot of debate, so nothing is conclusive. Although I will agree that the Nazi Party was very much like a cult of personality.

Offline Mathim

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #277 on: July 12, 2014, 01:37:33 PM »
@SweetSerenade:
It would appear so :P :P

@HannibalBarca:
I agree with most of what Hannibal said, but I do want to say that he's being a tad too generous....after all, the right wing fundamentalists are a minority within Christianity, so there have to be a lot more people voting Atheists as the least trusted group than just them. There are Catholics who outright reject the popes declaration that evolution doesn't go against scripture, and who actively preach that atheists are going to burn for eternity. Most of it stems from evangelicals, but no denomination is innocent of it. Some are more guilty than others, but every denomination has its members who discriminate against people who don't agree with their beliefs...after all, the Vatican had a member come out after one of the Pope's speeches to say "he didn't really mean that."

As for Hitler, well...his actual religion is subject to debate, but he at least claimed to believe in some level of higher power, and he did teach Catholicism in schools as fact...but analysing Hitler based on his speeches and his book is somewhat difficult, and open to a lot of debate, so nothing is conclusive. Although I will agree that the Nazi Party was very much like a cult of personality.

And enthusiastically supported by the Vatican. Did they ever apologize for their complicity, I wonder?

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #278 on: July 12, 2014, 02:30:56 PM »
D'aww, did this just end? I LOVE to debate this topic. : <

*Nihilistic Atheist signing in*

Offline vtboy

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #279 on: July 12, 2014, 03:12:42 PM »
And enthusiastically supported by the Vatican. Did they ever apologize for their complicity, I wonder?

Well, "enthusiastically supported" may be putting a bit too fine of a point on things. Opprobrium is more appropriately laid upon the Vatican for having protested the holocaust too little and too late, and for having done much less than it might have to save the victims. The root of the Vatican's pusillanimity was in the higher priority it assigned to its own survival in Nazified Europe than to the millions whose lives were extinguished. Within six months of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933, the Holy See entered into the Reichskonkordat with Germany, in which the German government essentially purchased Church silence and acquiescence on "political" matters with promises it would permit the continued practice of Catholicism and Church management of its own internal affairs. Thus, neither for the first nor the last time in its history, did the Church place its own temporal survival above the eternal principles it claimed to uphold.

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #280 on: July 12, 2014, 05:57:31 PM »
Well, "enthusiastically supported" may be putting a bit too fine of a point on things. Opprobrium is more appropriately laid upon the Vatican for having protested the holocaust too little and too late, and for having done much less than it might have to save the victims. The root of the Vatican's pusillanimity was in the higher priority it assigned to its own survival in Nazified Europe than to the millions whose lives were extinguished. Within six months of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933, the Holy See entered into the Reichskonkordat with Germany, in which the German government essentially purchased Church silence and acquiescence on "political" matters with promises it would permit the continued practice of Catholicism and Church management of its own internal affairs. Thus, neither for the first nor the last time in its history, did the Church place its own temporal survival above the eternal principles it claimed to uphold.
Considering that the treaty included articles that
  • "guaranteed religious orders freedom for pastoral, charitable and educational work,"
  • "guaranteed, according to the common law, the properties of the church," and
  • "gave protection to the Catholic educational system,"
I think it's a bit unfair to claim that the Holy See completely abandoned its principles. In a rising totalitarian regime, you really wouldn't want all your official members being publically executed for treason, or something like that. The terms of the treaty actually seem to be targeted at not only allowing the RC church to continue existing, but also continue working. If the goal would have been to only ensure the RC church's survival, I think several articles would have been worded differently, or wouldn't have been included at all.

Also, in 1937 Pope Pius XI issued Mit brennender Sorge, an encyclical in which he not only condemned the breach of the Reichskonkordat, but also vehemently criticized several aspects of Nazism, including the Nazis' racist ideology, or the idolizing of the state. The text was written in a careful tone, and never mentioned the Nazi party, or Hitler or any other Nazi by name. Still, even reading only parts of that encyclical in RC churches during Palm Sunday resulted in harsh retaliation, including raids in all churches, the confiscation of the text, the closing of every publishing company that had participated in copy/distributing the text, proscription of diocesan newspapers, and the imposing of limits on paper availability for churches.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the Holy See would have openly called for Germans to rebel against the regime? Despite its wealth and influence, the RC church was in absolutely no position to challenge the Nazis without being utterly destroyed itself. In retrospective it's always easy to say what someone should have done differently, but considering the situation back then, I think the RC church was right in chosing its battles very carefully.

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #281 on: July 12, 2014, 06:26:42 PM »
Quote
The Celtci gods are some of my favorite, a large majority of them are pretty hands offy - when it comes to humans. They pretty much shrug and go "You do not have to believe in me, but I am giving benefits to those who do" ... sort of thing. Most of the time the 'Wars' between Gods was actually wars between clans that followed a particular God/dess

When I was a believer, I always gravitated towards those deities who were hands-off towards the human species.  Live and let live, I saw them as.

Quote
I agree with most of what Hannibal said, but I do want to say that he's being a tad too generous....after all, the right wing fundamentalists are a minority within Christianity, so there have to be a lot more people voting Atheists as the least trusted group than just them. There are Catholics who outright reject the popes declaration that evolution doesn't go against scripture, and who actively preach that atheists are going to burn for eternity. Most of it stems from evangelicals, but no denomination is innocent of it. Some are more guilty than others, but every denomination has its members who discriminate against people who don't agree with their beliefs...after all, the Vatican had a member come out after one of the Pope's speeches to say "he didn't really mean that."

I can see what you're saying here.  And as for someone coming out and 'correcting' the Pope's words, he had actually said something to the effect that 'even atheists can go to Heaven.'

Quote
Could you imagine what would have happened if the Holy See would have openly called for Germans to rebel against the regime? Despite its wealth and influence, the RC church was in absolutely no position to challenge the Nazis without being utterly destroyed itself. In retrospective it's always easy to say what someone should have done differently, but considering the situation back then, I think the RC church was right in chosing its battles very carefully.

I can very easily see what it could have (and should have) done.  It might have been attacked by Germans more entranced by Hitler and the Nazis than their own religion.  But what do you think Italy would have done had Germany tried to make a move on Vatican City or the Pope?  What about the world in general?  Appeasement and fear of another Great War may have frozen the world in responding to Hitler's aggression, but a direct attack on the Catholic Church or its members in general--and its leader and capital--would have resulted in a much greater hue and cry than Jews being persecuted.  This in turn may have led to the war beginning much earlier than in reality, in which case, Hitler's Wehrmacht was not yet up to the strength necessary to fight a two-front war.  It was still short some 50-80 divisions at the time, and if the allies--particularly the French--had been on an offensive, rather than reeling from a blitzkrieg against them, there would have been a far, far different outcome for tens of millions of victims.

And if this did not occur, and Catholic leadership had been driven in some way from the Italian Peninsula, then it would have ruled from another place after evacuating.  If England had been invaded, Churchill and his government would have fled to Canada, and ruled in absentia there; why would the Catholic heirarchy be any different?  If anything, standing up for the right side of things only would have strengthened their own reputation in all worthy places in the world.  Unfortunately, it did not do so.  It could have done as Deitrich Bonhoeffer did and fight the good fight, standing on principles, even unto death or attack...but it did not.  It either stood by and did nothing, or was implicit, out of self-interest, not the interest of others.  Selfishness.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #282 on: July 12, 2014, 06:34:22 PM »
"And as for someone coming out and 'correcting' the Pope's words, he had actually said something to the effect that 'even atheists can go to Heaven.'"
In other words, 'Atheists don't get punished for being atheists.' And the religious had a problem with that...I wonder why? :P

"I can very easily see what it could have (and should have) done....It either stood by and did nothing, or was implicit, out of self-interest, not the interest of others.  Selfishness."
I agree with everything there. Hindsight is 20/20, so I can excuse them not knowing that the Third Reich wasn't strong enough to sustain such a defensive war, but if the Catholic Church isn't going to stand up for what is morally right and defend those that cannot defend themselves from those in power, then what is it for? That was an opportunity for the Catholic Church to stand up and do something right regardless of the personal risk - as it supposedly advocated - and it failed. Spectacularly. It was more concerned with self preservation than it was with doing the right thing. As Hannibal said; Selfishness of the highest order.

Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #283 on: July 12, 2014, 06:38:30 PM »
Let's stay on-topic, please. The thread is "Do You Believe In God," and we've gone rather off-track with Hitler/Germany and the Catholic church specifically here. A discussion about Hitler and Nazi Germany as relating to the Holy See during a specific time period really needs to be it's own topic separate from this thread.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 07:11:57 PM by Blythe »

Offline LostInTheMistTopic starter

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #284 on: July 12, 2014, 11:24:37 PM »
Look, I haven't read anything since I left. I'm about to head off to my job. I work at a hospital. People have died in my arms. Their last words have been "Don't let me die."

There are three ways to deal with this. I could just go on, feeling more and more dead inside as more and more people die despite my attempts to save them.

I could drink to dull the pain. (This worked for several years before I eventally had to drink to feel normal. I went to AA to avoid losing my job.)

I could turn to God, and simply hope that they are in a better place.

I chose the 2nd option first, and when I was faced with nothing else, I turned to option 3. They still die.... It still hurts.... I can only pray that God exists, and that He accepts them into the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of any sins.

I'm not going to respond to any remarks on this post. Certainly not on any derogatory remarks to this. Damn you if you think this isn't hard. Damn you if you think that I don't hurt every time someone dies in my arms. Damn you if you think it's foolish to hope that there's some greater power out there. Because in the end, it's all I've got. Either that or I have utterly failed everyone who has ever died on my watch.... And if that's the case... what's the point in living?

Offline Dice

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #285 on: July 13, 2014, 12:44:29 AM »
The point of living is to make do with the best we have, to celebrate the joy, to feel the loss and to be the best people we can be. The point of living is to make the most of our time here and leave the world better place than we found it. Because at the end of our lives, we should be measured by what we achieved and who we were, those we lifted up and those we held. At the end of the road we should seek to find joy, not in where we may go, what we may believe or what wealth we gain in life, but by the moments we hold dear and by the treasured many we leave behind.

Death is final, but knowing we made others better for our time here is in the end what makes it all worthwhile. That is why I live, not for God, or for a nation, not for an idea or for a dream. I love to see my life make a meaningful impact on those I care for and those that need me. Don't look at the death, look at those that walk away.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #286 on: July 13, 2014, 03:07:36 AM »
I agree with Dice. I never said, Mist, that life was easy or that you weren't a good human being or that you were even necessarily wrong to believe in God. Just that I disagree. I personally think that you don't need God to be hopeful. All you can do is do your best, and accept that sometimes...there's nothing you can do. But yes, I agree with Dice. Don't focus on the ones who die; focus on who you are able to save. It sucks when you lose somebody, it really does and I've never tried to degrade what you do. But think of it like this....if you had never heard of the idea of heaven, and then were told that it doesn't exist, what have you lost? The point of living isn't to get a reward in the next life. It isn't a practice run for the next life. The point of life is what you choose to make it, to make the world better in whatever small way you can in your limited time here. This is the only life I believe that I have...so I'm going to make damn sure that it counts for something and that I enjoy myself while I'm here.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #287 on: July 13, 2014, 05:01:35 AM »
Look, I haven't read anything since I left. I'm about to head off to my job. I work at a hospital. People have died in my arms. Their last words have been "Don't let me die."

There are three ways to deal with this. I could just go on, feeling more and more dead inside as more and more people die despite my attempts to save them.

I could drink to dull the pain. (This worked for several years before I eventally had to drink to feel normal. I went to AA to avoid losing my job.)

I could turn to God, and simply hope that they are in a better place.

I chose the 2nd option first, and when I was faced with nothing else, I turned to option 3. They still die.... It still hurts.... I can only pray that God exists, and that He accepts them into the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of any sins.

I'm not going to respond to any remarks on this post. Certainly not on any derogatory remarks to this. Damn you if you think this isn't hard. Damn you if you think that I don't hurt every time someone dies in my arms. Damn you if you think it's foolish to hope that there's some greater power out there. Because in the end, it's all I've got. Either that or I have utterly failed everyone who has ever died on my watch.... And if that's the case... what's the point in living?

As a former Christian, this was the largest hurdle that stood in the way of me accepting that there was quite likely no god. Not believing in a god had serious life/belief changing consequences, namely:

  1. It meant that death is final and THE END. It is not JUST another beginning.  ( truth is bitter at times )
  2. It meant that I had better seriously reconsider how I was living my life and decide what things were most important to me.

The second biggest hurdle I think, was the fear of being dead wrong about my choice. The Catholic faith is full of "you'll burn in hell if..." These are scare tactics used to control the population though FUD - Fear, uncertainty and doubt.

If there is a god, I believe that he/she/it will respect the fact that I made the most reasonable decision I could with what I know. I don't believe that a god powerful enough to create an entire universe would be anything like the small minded and abusive god depicted in the bible and other books.

As for the sting of death:

I like to think that I was an instrument through which the universe got to see and perceive itself with for a short period of time. The atoms and energy in our bodies will always be a part of the universe - possibly until the end of time if its true that energy/matter is never destroyed. They'll just be arranged differently and will be located in different places.

If you stop thinking of yourself as an individual and consider that you (and your consciousness) are actually part of the universe itself, then while you may die, we the universe continue to live and evolve. Maybe life, death and self are not quite as they appear to be. Who knows, maybe in some unfathomable amount of time, the universe will look back in time and remember every moment of our lives.

Who am I kidding... death sucks.



Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #288 on: July 13, 2014, 05:04:42 AM »
As long as death sucks, life will be precious. A momentary blink of consciousness within eternity has far more value then just wiping your feet on the doormat of the afterlife.

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #289 on: July 13, 2014, 05:48:52 AM »
I must kinda disagree with my fellow atheists here - they're forgetting that not everyone are equally mentally strong. Existence is all about following or planning your life to reap the benefits we were all preprogrammed to want, such as food and happiness. To believe in a god may actually be part of this, if it makes you feel better. It doesn't make god more likely to exist, but if it dulls the pain, then it dulls the pain, and it serves a purpose in your life. Not enough to base laws on, but yeah.

Of course, as the rest has said, atheism also puts life into a rather beautiful perspective. I would write something pretty here, but I've got somewhat of a throat-ache right now, so I'm not in a flowery mood right now.  ;D

But, let's give things my own, nihilist, perspective:

So, "what's the point in living?" - as a nihilist, the answer is simple: There is no point. There never has been. There is no need for a point. Life exists because life wants to exist. That is all. It wants to feel the delight of food, it wants to feel the delight of friends and family, it wants to feel the delight of life. That is all life is, in its beautiful simplicity.

And, a final note:

Imagine how those people would've been off without you. And not just those that died, but also those who lived. You're doing a good thing, yes? So you of all people, you should fell less guilt than the rest of us. The only difference between you and me, is that you're there to see people die. They still die, even if I don't see them. The fact alone that you were there to make a difference, to listen to them when they were down, that should make you want to go on, yea?

Err, I know that's kind of weird of me to say without knowing the circumstances, but yeah. :P

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #290 on: July 13, 2014, 06:02:09 AM »
Well, I agree with Laa that there is no inherent point to life except the biological one; animals exist to propagate their genes and pass their genetic code onto the next generation. I would argue with the "life wants to exist," since that is misleading; life itself has no agency, and the ones around today that are alive are only alive because its ancestors had the drive to propagate genes, and the ones that didn't died off because...well, that's obvious. The simple answer is that life exists because life exists. It's a tautology. :P

But that's boring; humans inherently want more from life, but I think it's kind of beautiful that life has no inherent "higher meaning," since that means you get to invent your own rather than listening to the whims of some distant creator who may or may not be a bit of a douche (no comment on religion here, just saying that IF a deity exists, it's possible that s/he's not a very nice one). :P  It means you get to do what you want to do with your life - within reason, of course; your right to swing your arms around ends at somebodies face, after all :P - and it doesn't take any mental strength to think that way, and I'm not sure I like the implication that atheists are just "mentally stronger." I mean...if you hadn't been brought up with the idea of heaven, you wouldn't feel upset about "losing" it since you never had that notion in the first place. It's difficult to reconcile the idea, but I don't think it takes strength...just determination and a certain type of thinking.

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #291 on: July 13, 2014, 07:05:04 AM »
Well, I agree with Laa that there is no inherent point to life except the biological one; animals exist to propagate their genes and pass their genetic code onto the next generation. I would argue with the "life wants to exist," since that is misleading; life itself has no agency, and the ones around today that are alive are only alive because its ancestors had the drive to propagate genes, and the ones that didn't died off because...well, that's obvious. The simple answer is that life exists because life exists. It's a tautology. :P

You want it in written logic, here goes:

Premise A: Life began to exist.
Premise B: It is difficult to be alive - many challenges lie in wait.
Premise C: That which survives has been capable of surviving the challenges in one way or another.
Premise D: That which actively doesn't want to survive will not survive unless someone/thing else forces it to.

Therefore: Over a period of time after A, the B and D is likely to make it so that the C consists only of those who is actively driven to survive.
Hence: That which is currently alive most likely desires or is driven to survive.

'sbeen a while since I put on me logic glove, so I might be a bit rusty. Bear with me. :P
And I say "is driven to survive", because a lot of bacteria haven't got the brains to want to survive.

Also, existentialism/nihilism does take a lot of strength for a lot of people. That's why there's a whole term which describes solely the despair it can bring at first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_crisis
I don't know about you, but I went through that myself when I was younger.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #292 on: July 13, 2014, 07:26:35 AM »
Eh, I was never particularly religious. I was nominally Christian, but never really bought into it all, so I never "lost" anything. I think I'm slightly morally nihilistic in that I agree that there is no inherent "point" to life - you make your own - and that simple moral statements (Eg: "Stealing is wrong") are invalid, but I do think that in any given situation, there is always an objectively bad decision, even if that decision is a bit ridiculous to consider. Morals aren't simple, or there wouldn't be so much philosophical debate over the matter, haha.

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #293 on: July 13, 2014, 07:32:14 AM »
I was raised in an atheistic family meself, and I still went through a lot of one-night existential crisisesesss or however that is spelled in plural. Although only once did I go into a minor depression over it, which lasted a week.

But we're going off on a tangent now, and we pretty much agree on the main subject of this thread, so let us wait until someone else comes along. :P

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #294 on: July 13, 2014, 07:50:00 AM »
Well, different people different experiences, I guess. :P I'm more worried about what's going to happen during my life than after it :P

But yes, I agree :P
*sits on hands and waits for new people*

Offline Clorinda

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #295 on: July 13, 2014, 08:30:33 AM »
I suppose I believe in some sort of god.  A Neoplatonic one, but a god nonetheless.  The main reason is that I can't see how the world is not completely deterministic without there being some supernatural Will within humanity.  I don't see how a bunch of atoms, interacting, can create consciousness and free will.  Without some sort of soul able to move the body, to drive it with forces outside of those fundamental ones, I don't see how every action we take is not the result of semi-random atomic and subatomic phenomena combined with the more regular interactions between atoms and molecules.  I suppose I need to learn more chemistry, but I don't see an appreciable difference between organic and inorganic or between reasoning and non-reasoning "life."  Now, that's not to say we can predict the future, the number of variables would be astronomical and so detailed it would likely be impossible to even discover what they all are, much less collect them, but that still doesn't change the fact that, from the standpoint of physics, especially at the quantum and atomic level, I don't see how individual will can exist.

Now, this doesn't mean a god does exist.  Not at all.  It's probably much more likely that there is no god, there is no will, there is no life, that all differentiation between matter is the result of random events.  But I feel a need to reject that.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #296 on: July 13, 2014, 08:34:00 AM »
I suppose I believe in some sort of god.  A Neoplatonic one, but a god nonetheless.  The main reason is that I can't see how the world is not completely deterministic without there being some supernatural Will within humanity. 

Question. If you were to remove all sentient beings from the universe, would the world still be deterministic to you? If you answer no, then doesn't that mean you consider a point to living coming from thinking minds?

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #297 on: July 13, 2014, 08:38:55 AM »
I think you may have missed a few steps there, haha; the thing that drives the body is the brain - it controls everything in the body - via electrical impulses, and the brain evolved over millions of years to be able to do what it does effectively. Although, I suppose I don't fully understand your objection...what do you mean by "I don't see an appreciable difference between organic and inorganic or reasoning and non-reasoning?" I'm...not too sure what you're saying there, haha.
Individual will doesn't exist at an atomic level; atoms have no "will," as such, they just behave in a way that is concordant with the laws of reality. We don't fully understand those laws yet, but they certainly exist (here I am using "law" in the descriptive sense, not the proscriptive sense). As for individual will...it's just a series of complex electrical impulses within an organ that is individual from everybody else, so it is able to pursue its own desires. I'm not a neurobiologist, though, so I can't go into too much detail. :P

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #298 on: July 13, 2014, 08:40:11 AM »
I suppose I believe in some sort of god.  A Neoplatonic one, but a god nonetheless.  The main reason is that I can't see how the world is not completely deterministic without there being some supernatural Will within humanity.  I don't see how a bunch of atoms, interacting, can create consciousness and free will.  Without some sort of soul able to move the body, to drive it with forces outside of those fundamental ones, I don't see how every action we take is not the result of semi-random atomic and subatomic phenomena combined with the more regular interactions between atoms and molecules.  I suppose I need to learn more chemistry, but I don't see an appreciable difference between organic and inorganic or between reasoning and non-reasoning "life."  Now, that's not to say we can predict the future, the number of variables would be astronomical and so detailed it would likely be impossible to even discover what they all are, much less collect them, but that still doesn't change the fact that, from the standpoint of physics, especially at the quantum and atomic level, I don't see how individual will can exist.

Now, this doesn't mean a god does exist.  Not at all.  It's probably much more likely that there is no god, there is no will, there is no life, that all differentiation between matter is the result of random events.  But I feel a need to reject that.

Pushing all those question onto a god is only to push the question one step back. For in a gods reality, all those questions would be need answering yet again, leaving you with no progress whatsoever.

Offline Clorinda

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #299 on: July 13, 2014, 11:53:27 AM »
Like I said, I'm not attempting to prove the existence of a demiurge, only explain why I believe in one. 

To Sabby, what do you mean by sentient?  Do you mean reasoning (i.e. humans and maybe dolphins, octopuses, great apes, and elephants) or sensing?  I'm asking because there are different definitions of sentience.  In either case, in the absence of all living organisms, I'd say the universe is deterministic.  It exploded, moved about due to the way forces interacted based on where matter was located at the start, compiled, continued to interact based on strict laws governing that interaction, and will eventually expand until heat death.  The only thing that might be called non-deterministic aspect is the (seemingly) random movement of some subatomic particles, but since determinism is defined against will, not chaos, it would still qualify, to me, as being deterministic in the absence of sentient beings.  Who would be calling it this is a different question, though.

To Mr. Tanner, the thing is, if individuals atoms don't have will, why do a collection of atoms have will?  Basically, all the world breaks down to the fundamental forces, right?  Basically, all of the forces that we experience in our daily lives (excepting the earth's gravity) are variations on the electro-magnetic force, if I'm not mistaken.  So there is really no such thing as friction or wind resistance or hard or soft, it's just ways that matter interact with one another based on the various electro-magnetic properties of various molecules, is it not?  If that's all will is, then we don't really have choices, do we?  I suspect that the brain is little more than a complex version of a worm's ganglia or a bacteria's photo- and chemo-receptors.  But we don't attribute consciousness to those things.  We don't say they choose what to do.  So just because a human's brain is taking in more stimuli and has a wider range of potential actions we say it thinks and has will?  That sounds like bullshit to me.  I don't see how the electro-magnetic force can be used to make decisions - one phenomenon can only cause another and that another.  Where does "decision making" or "will" come in?  What tells the nerve to fire - chemicals from another nerve.  What releases those - an electrical impulse.  Where does that come from - another set of chemicals.  Where does that chain start - some external stimuli.  At what point do we have any say over our decision?  At what point can thought intervene?  I suspect the answer is nowhere.  Which means we are no more willful or thoughtful than a bacteria or the sun - we're just running processes based on what is happening around/within us.  So, I would place a soul (or call it what you will, a mind or spirit works just as well, an animus or anima) that interrupts these processes and then uses the to allow for decision making (i.e. to allow for will).

To Laa, I'm not putting the questions onto a god, I'm putting them onto the soul.  I suspect it would simply be a matter of something beyond materialistic explanation or creating another fundamental force that can be called "will" that is unique to thinking beings (the way the electro-magnetic force is unique to charged particles).  But, the assumption you make is that all universes must follow the laws of this universe, which is obviously a terrible argument from a scientific perspective.  I mean, the movements of planets cannot be predicted by the movement of quanta, and vice versa.  So how can you predict how another universe (greater, smaller, or parallel) might act based on this universe?  I would think it obvious that you cannot.  But, I would agree, based on what we have observed, there is no god and there is no soul.  I would take it further and say there is no good or bad, right or wrong, life or death, that there is nothing aside from three/four fundamental forces and energy/matter.  I'm not saying do what you want, abandon all morality, I'm saying there is no want and that all choice is gone.  I'm saying that's very likely true.  But that even if it is true, I'd rather bury my head in the sand and pretend that I do have free will, even if I have no choice in believing as such.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 11:56:53 AM by Clorinda »