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Old 01-10-2014, 08:46 PM   #1
OnTheRazorsEdge
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Question So why should I be an atheist?

What reason(s) would you give for being an atheist?


Thanks...
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:13 AM   #2
Kinich Ahau
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How about introducing yourself first.

Once you are dead, you are nothing. Graffito, Pompeii
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:23 AM   #3
ILOVEJESUS
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Why would you not believe in father christmas?....You don't right...?

A theist is just an atheist with a space in it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:51 AM   #4
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Why should I not dedicate my life to Thor and the Pixies of Paramour?

The Leprechauns do not forbid the drawing of Their images, as long as we color within the lines. ~ Ghoulslime H Christ, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Masturbator
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:33 PM   #5
OnTheRazorsEdge
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Why should I not dedicate my life to Thor and the Pixies of Paramour?
I don't know; maybe you prefer deities who wield magical swords instead of magical hammers and you prefer dryads to pixies? ;-)

Please forgive my cheekiness, but my question isn't dealing with why people should or shouldn't dedicate themselves to a deity or set of deities. I'm just looking for arguments to convince me that I shouldn't believe in any sort of "higher power."
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:55 AM   #6
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OnTheRazorsEdge wrote View Post
I don't know; maybe you prefer deities who wield magical swords instead of magical hammers and you prefer dryads to pixies? ;-)

Please forgive my cheekiness, but my question isn't dealing with why people should or shouldn't dedicate themselves to a deity or set of deities. I'm just looking for arguments to convince me that I shouldn't believe in any sort of "higher power."
You seem to have missed the implied point of my post. We are atheists, not because that is our dogmatic goal, but because it is the result of an honest inquiry into the question of gods. We are atheists because there is no evidence of any gods.

The concept of gods is a human construct. It is the result of bewildered, ignorant apes trying to explain their existence, with very limited knowledge and cognitive prowess.

I would posit that you are also an atheist, at least to a certain degree. Do you believe that Thor is a real deity? How about Isis or Ganesh? Are there any gods that you think there is any credible evidence for?

We are not trying to convince you that there is not a higher power. There is simply no evidence for this assertion.

The Leprechauns do not forbid the drawing of Their images, as long as we color within the lines. ~ Ghoulslime H Christ, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Masturbator
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
OnTheRazorsEdge
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Why would you not believe in father christmas?....You don't right...?
No, as a child, I believed in Father Christmas (btw, I live in the U.S. of A. and most folks here call him Santa Claus, but I think we're referring to the same "person") but now as an adult, I don't believe in him. Why do I no longer believe in him? Well, the reasons are many: he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys, etc.

But I'm curious why you would choose to equate the concept of F.C. to the concept of a deity or deities. The former is a concept that can easily be disproved but the latter is a concept that cannot so easily be proved or disproved, else forums like this probably wouldn't exist. ;-). Perhaps you are suggesting that both concepts have been invented by man and so therefore should be summarily dismissed?
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:44 AM   #8
ILOVEJESUS
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No, as a child, I believed in Father Christmas (btw, I live in the U.S. of A. and most folks here call him Santa Claus, but I think we're referring to the same "person") but now as an adult, I don't believe in him. Why do I no longer believe in him? Well, the reasons are many: he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys, etc.

But I'm curious why you would choose to equate the concept of F.C. to the concept of a deity or deities. The former is a concept that can easily be disproved but the latter is a concept that cannot so easily be proved or disproved, else forums like this probably wouldn't exist. ;-). Perhaps you are suggesting that both concepts have been invented by man and so therefore should be summarily dismissed?
I won't go through what Michael has already done so very well. If you are unable to grasp from that the similarities of both situations then that is your issue not mine. If you decided that you believed in a God, present the evidence that made you do that, I mean you didn't just decide to right? Something very Jerry about the way you are asking us questions and dismissing the answers you don't like to again try to set up another question you want a particular answer to. All atheism is is a disbelief in a god or gods. Nothing more. If you wish to change that round here you are going to need more than some "pothead philosophy" and ignorance to science. Just warning you.

A theist is just an atheist with a space in it.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:02 AM   #9
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OnTheRazorsEdge wrote View Post
First off, let me start by saying thank you to you and the others here for taking time to read my posts and to respond to my questions. Before starting this thread, I read through some other posts and I noted the discussions in those threads generally became, ah, heated. So I must admit, I half expected to get flamed immediately here for asking questions..

Nah, we only do that if we feel like you're being disingenuous. Or if we're hungry. Or Drunk.
Or if it's Tuesday.



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And I hope you had a good shift at work.
It was alright. Too much time out in the sun filming cricket (stupid buggers couldn't get a wicket to save their lives), and there was a tip fire that was...interesting. Otherwise relatively quiet.



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I don't think I agree with some of your statements here.

Oh dear. I think we're going to have a problem.





Nah, that's fine. noone said you had to.



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So you're saying I don't have a choice in whether or not I believe in unicorns?

Well, I actually said you don't have a choice in whether or not you disbelieve in things. You can further infer from that a statement about choices in belief of any number of absurd things if you like.


Put bluntly - and more generally for you - Yes, that is basically the gist of it.




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And I don't have a choice in whether or not to believe in gravity? I mean, a person would be foolish to believe in unicorns and not in gravity, but he/she could have those beliefs, right?
It's possible, sure. That would be weird, though. Maybe they think unicorns are responsible for pushing everything down? I don't know.



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In your example above, it seems that you are saying that my belief in gravity one way or the other will alter the result. So if I don't believe in gravity and I walk off the table, I should hang in mid-air and if I do believe in gravity then I should fall.
Apologies if my example mixed you up - No, that is not what I was saying. Actually, my point was rather the opposite.

My point was that if you believe in gravity - which you seem to, thankfully - then you cannot step off the edge of a table and expect to end up standing in mid air. You know what is going to happen, and you expect it, regardless of what you tell yourself.

That is to say that no matter what you tell yourself, you cannot choose to not believe in gravity. The whole point was to demonstrate that people do no choose their beliefs.

Secondly, even if you didn't belive in gravity and stepped off the table, you'd still fall, as reality does not reflect our beliefs, no matter how tightly we cling to them. For that reason, we should do our absolute best to ensure our beliefs reflect reality.



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But my belief won't change that outcome at all.
That is correct.


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Let's consider the two of us for a minute. I believe in a god and you do not. One of our beliefs is accurate.

Not necessarily, the way you phrased it. What if the Hindu's are correct and there are multiple gods? Then we're both wrong.

That's one of the biggest problems I've noticed with theists - they fail to see the possibilities, so they end up believing the universe must fit into this or that view. If it doesn't fit into one, it MUST be the other.



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But our beliefs themselves don't have any impact on what actually is. If you don't believe in a god and it turns out that is the correct view, your lack of belief didn't make it so.
Yep.


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Apologies if I misconstrued the meaning of your example above. I'm not looking for reasons to decide to become an atheist. Rather, I just wanted to hear from you and others why atheism "works" for you. Like Simoon said in his earlier reply, he's heard a lot of arguments and none of them present a strong enough case.
I think you'll find most atheists are that way, honestly. At least the ones interested in engaging in debate.






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I guess I've never thought of Santa as a "spiritual" being (magical, maybe).
Yeah, it's probably for the best that you don't, honestly.


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But I see the point you are making with your analogy of the firmament. But I submit the idea of the "shifting goalposts" could be used against the atheist.
Only if the atheist makes a claim and then refuses to acknowledge evidence against it.


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Someone in this thread, quite possibly Simoon again, said that the case for a god hasn't met the burden of proof. But couldn't we say the same of the atheist argument?
The atheist argument is that god hasn't met the burdon of proof. You're essentially asking us to prove that you haven't proven anything. It's nothing more than shifting the burdon of proof away from your argument.

It's on you to prove the existence of the thing you're claiming, not on us to disprove it.


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I mean, if an atheist is going to deny the existence of a god, then he/she would have to have knowledge of every place in the universe to affirm that no god exists in any of those places.

Absolutely not. Nope. No.

This is nothing more than a shifting of the burdon of proof disguised as an argument from ignorance both of which are wrong.

Once again, it's not on use to prove that a god doesn't exist. It's not on us to show that it isn't there. It's on the person claiming it is there to show that. And if they don't, then there is no reason to believe that it is.

And like I said in my last post, which I think you said you agreed with - not knowing something does not equal god. So if we don't have knowledge of all things everywhere, that does not mean you get to slip your god in there by default.

Your post shows a cognitive dissonance. One the one hand you say -



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And I agree; just because we don't know the answers doesn't mean that a god IS the answer.
but then you say

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I mean, if an atheist is going to deny the existence of a god, then he/she would have to have knowledge of every place in the universe to affirm that no god exists in any of those places.

Not knowing means simply we don't know. If we haven't got knowledge of god in the things we do know, and we haven't got knowledge of god in the things we don't know, then we haven't got knowledge of god, full stop. Therefore we have no reason to believe in god. He might be there, but until we find reason to think that, we shouldn't.


Beyond that, those bits of knowledge of the universe don't exist in a vacuum. They exist relative to everything else - including the bits we DO know, that don't have anything to point to a god, or rather even point away from one.


Here's a good comic that illustrates the point I'm making, and addresses yours.
I should note that I didn't make this, but I do like to whip it out occasionally.


Michael...you are correct
- selliedjoup
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:32 PM   #10
OnTheRazorsEdge
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I won't go through what Michael has already done so very well. If you are unable to grasp from that the similarities of both situations then that is your issue not mine. If you decided that you believed in a God, present the evidence that made you do that, I mean you didn't just decide to right? Something very Jerry about the way you are asking us questions and dismissing the answers you don't like to again try to set up another question you want a particular answer to. All atheism is is a disbelief in a god or gods. Nothing more. If you wish to change that round here you are going to need more than some "pothead philosophy" and ignorance to science. Just warning you.
My posts here seem to have put you on the defensive for some reason and for that I am truly sorry. Yes, I was intentionally vague in my original post but I did that for two reasons; one, I was hoping to promote a good discussion and two, as I mentioned in another post, I was half-expecting to get flamed and ridiculed and so I kept my initial post short and sweet.

Yes, I have disagreed with some of the views posted here, but I'm not trying to "set up" any particular question. I stumbled onto this forum the other day when I was researching something and after spending a few days lurking and reading some of the posts, I decided to register and to start this thread. So I want you to understand that I didn't wake up one morning and think to myself, "Hey, I think I'm going to stir up some sh*t with a bunch of atheists today!" And, I'm certainly not naive enough to think that any of my views are going to change yours or anyone else's minds here, nor is it my agenda to change anyone's mind. I just saw this as a good opportunity to generate some discussion and to hopefully come away from the experience with something positive.

I read your post in a different section of the forum where you were asking others to share odd things they used to do when they believed. And in one of Michael's posts in this thread, he mentions the fact that he's only been an atheist for a few years. So clearly the two of you, and maybe others here as well, had some sort of beliefs at one time and now you don't. I find stories like that fascinating and maybe one day you will share them here (or maybe you already have and I just haven't come across them yet).

As for me, I'm pretty much the opposite. I held atheistic beliefs for most of my life until just about a year ago or so. I grew up with parents who, although I think they held certain beliefs, never really talked to me about religion or if they did, it never made an impression on me. The few times I stepped inside a church growing up were for a couple of funerals and a wedding.

So when I went to school and I learned about Darwin and evolution and the Big Bang and that things were a happy accident, I just accepted that. Frankly, I was too busy being a kid to worry about why I was here - there were bikes to ride, balls to throw around, games to play. As I got older, there were girls to kiss, golf clubs to swing, and guitars to be played and I was still too busy living and enjoying life to worry about why I had it in the first place. I suppose I probably wondered from time to time about whether I had a purpose in life, but if I did, the thoughts were fleeting. And I did question why, if there is a God, does the world have so many different religions. So yeah, I guess I was an "atheist," but only because I didn't really have the time for any of it nor did I care much one way or the other.

I work as an IT consultant and as such, I need to travel to client sites quite a bit. Shortly after I started my consulting gig, I had to do some work for this client who had their own in-house IT guy. This guy was probably a couple of years younger than me and a total douche from the word go. He would talk incessantly and generally went out of his way to prove how much he knew about the IT world. I think he felt slighted that his company didn't trust him enough and that they hired my consulting firm to come in and assist with some special projects. Needless to say, the guy was like nails on a chalkboard and extremely difficult to get along with - not my favorite person in the world. Whenever I would need to work there, I would just go in, say as little as possible to him, get my work done, and then get the hell out of there.

So about 2 1/2-years ago (and by this time, our relationship with his company was over, thank God) (wait, can I say that here? ), I get word that this guy passed away in his sleep. *poof* Just went to went sleep one night and never woke up. And despite all of his douche-baggery, I couldn't stop thinking about what happened to him and it didn't make any sense. The guy was so incredibly annoying so why, at the end of the day, did I really give a sh*t about what happened to him? But for some reason, his death touched me on a level that I didn't even know I had.

After that, I started picking up all kinds of religious materials and for the next year I couldn't get enough. After studying a bunch of stuff and pondering things for a while, I decided to "take a leap of faith" and believe that a God did exist. I don't think anyone here on earth will ever have enough definitive evidence to prove his existence beyond any doubt and so I think to believe in him, faith must be required. And I think that's the way he wants it to be. A God that has his hand in my life somehow is the only way I could rationalize why that guy's demise touched me so deeply and caused my "spiritual awakening." Is this any sort of hard proof that God does exist? Hardly. I don't expect you or anyone else here to change his/her views based on this story and I'm not looking to change anyone's mind. I'm just relaying this to you so you can see where I'm coming from. And I suppose I'm really opening myself up to some hardcore ridicule now on this forum, but so be it. ;-)


Peace
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:21 AM   #11
mondrian
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A God that has his hand in my life somehow is the only way I could rationalize why that guy's demise touched me so deeply and caused my "spiritual awakening." Peace
I'll repeat part of my previous post:

god didn't create man or anything else for that matter. Man created god:

1. To explain how the Universe came into being.

2. To control and exploit the masses.

3. To help man cope with his own mortality.


It looks like you fell into the god trap because of 3).

Big Bang, as far as I understand it, wasn't a 'happy accident' as you call it. It was as close to a mathematical certainty as you can get without it being so. For all intents and purposes, it was inevitable. The only unknown was when the universe came into being. The exact form that the Universe took, when it came into being, was down to the initial conditions, which, as far as I understand it, were purely random.

As far as 'life' in the universe is concerned, was that a happy accident or inevitable? The jury is still out on that one.

As far as 'Man' in the universe is concerned, was that a happy accident or inevitable? The jury is still out on that one too.

Of all the creatures that roam this Earth, as far as we are aware, Man is the only one that seeks understanding and reason. Man is the only creature that asks why we are here and what our purpose is. That's Man all over. Full of his own self importance. Not knowing the answers, what does Man do? Invent some sky wizard god shit and some fairy tale book to go with him and then associate ourselves with him and talk bollocks about knowing him and having him in our hearts. Again, typical of Man. Just sit back and watch what people do when a celebrity shows up. They all want to be associated with them. They all want to talk to them. They all want a picture taken with them. Why? Well, maybe there isn't a purpose and maybe we are here just because. Maybe when we die, we just die. End of. What's so special about you and me that we should exist forever? Before we were born, we didn't exist. Maybe when we die, we simply cease to exist also. Fcuck me, we won't have a conscious to know anyway - just like we didn't before we were born.

In any case, we live on a complex planet in a vast universe. Isn't that enough? If it isn't, then what the fcuck is?

The middle man of last resort.
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:05 AM   #12
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I held atheistic beliefs ......

I just lost the will to shit.

Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:00 AM   #13
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But for some reason, his death touched me on a level that I didn't even know I had.
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After that, I started picking up all kinds of religious materials and for the next year I couldn't get enough. After studying a bunch of stuff and pondering things for a while
Sounds like you had an existential crisis or sorts.

Coupled with the fear of death, you searched and found something to make you feel comfortable. Too bad you don't care whether it is actually true.

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I decided to "take a leap of faith" and believe that a God did exist.
It's almost as if you think that believing things on faith is a good thing
But I'll bet in every other part of your life you don't use faith to base your beliefs on, because inherently you know it is not reasonable.

I'm also in IT. Can you imagine if we did our jobs based on faith? Yet, on one of the biggest questions you decide to give up using evidence, reasoned argument and valid/sound logic. Why?

I also find it disingenuous that in an earlier response to one of my posts, you claimed that the cosmological argument was the 'nail in the coffin' for the existence of a god, as if you were basing your beliefs on logic and reason, but now you are saying your beliefs are based on faith.

I had higher hopes that you would have more intellectual honesty than the vast majority of theists that I've encountered. I guess I am an optimist.

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I don't think anyone here on earth will ever have enough definitive evidence to prove his existence beyond any doubt and so I think to believe in him, faith must be required. And I think that's the way he wants it to be.
So, for those of us that don't have faith, or have faith in the 'wrong god', in your theology, what will happen to us when we die?

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A God that has his hand in my life somehow is the only way I could rationalize why that guy's demise touched me so deeply and caused my "spiritual awakening."
It sure sounds like your 'spiritual awakening' was nothing more than your need to find something to comfort your fear of death.

Last edited by Simoon; 01-15-2014 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 01-16-2014, 01:29 PM   #14
Michael
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A God that has his hand in my life somehow is the only way I could rationalize why that guy's demise touched me so deeply and caused my "spiritual awakening."
It almost sounds here like you are saying that you think god killed someone to give you a "spiritual awakening", which is incredibly egotistical.

Think about it - you're essentially saying that god valued your spirituality more than someone else's entire life.

Michael...you are correct
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:00 AM   #15
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A God that has his hand in my life somehow is the only way I could rationalize why that guy's demise touched me so deeply and caused my "spiritual awakening."
A strange use of the word rationalise, in this context. Several plausible and rational explanations present themselves, (as pointed out by Micheal and others) yet you continued to look for other explanations..... it's actually quite a skeptical approach to take i.e. to always question that which we assume to be rational or reasonable.

But, this is what intrigues me,...... why stop at the Deity Incorporated factory, (CEO God), why not go further, beyond that spiritual dead end ?

If you can be skeptical about rational explanations, why can't you be skeptical about the irrational and unreasonable.....?

Just curious is all........

Professor Plum - In the Dinning Room - with the Lead Pipe...
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