How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:06 pm

Johnboy74 wrote:Mr Horse, I get the feeling your clinging onto some kind of hope that there is a god out there? Maybe you have been in the grasp of religion in the past and it still has a stranglehold on you?

Meh, I was in a religion when I was very young, but it did not appeal to me, and I have been agnostic for many years (10 or so).

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that time and scientific enquiry is gradually disproving every held religious belief about a god?

IDK

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that religion is a man made concept, a human belief system born out of our need to understand the world in all its complexity before science as we know it was born? Both science and religion are manifestations of our need to find patterns in things.

I agree to both, but those statements to not disprove God.

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that we can explain the processes of the origins of the universe right back to the big bang, without needing to resort to divine intervention?

Yes, but we still cannot explain why the bang happened, or what caused it.

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that if their was a god, all powerful, all prevailing, an advanced entity, the question arises who created god?

This is as unanswerable as the previous question of what created the bang. Again, not a proof against God.

Johnboy74 wrote:I think the problem here are the words religious and atheist, they are two words in mortal battle each trying to destroy each other. Instead, If I say I am a rationalist, believing in empirical evidence for my personal understanding of my place in the universe, can you argue against that? My belief is in complexity from the breaking down of symmetry at atomic level over time, a universe created by chance, not the supernatural.

I think rationalism is a great term, and a great way to live. But in order to rationally disbelieve in God, surely you require proof that there is no God?

Johnboy74 wrote:If we as me way well do destroy ourselves and this planet, would not god die with us? Do you think god exists without humanity?

I suppose if I said yes, then I would be atheist, and if I said no, I would be religious. :)


Gelert wrote:I would have said the burden of proof's on your shoulders, bub.

Laplace wrote:The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness

The burden of proof is on those who claim to have an answer. I would demand a religious person provide proof of God, so similarly I demand an atheist provide proof of non-existence.

As for the Laplace quote, there is nothing anymore extraordinary about believing in a higher power than not believing. Both are incredible possibilities, one as unbelievable as the other. Either a super magic dude made everything, or nothing made everything. Omniscience vs. nothingness. Both are extremes.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:58 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:
Johnboy74 wrote:Mr Horse, I get the feeling your clinging onto some kind of hope that there is a god out there? Maybe you have been in the grasp of religion in the past and it still has a stranglehold on you?

Meh, I was in a religion when I was very young, but it did not appeal to me, and I have been agnostic for many years (10 or so).

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that time and scientific enquiry is gradually disproving every held religious belief about a god?

IDK

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that religion is a man made concept, a human belief system born out of our need to understand the world in all its complexity before science as we know it was born? Both science and religion are manifestations of our need to find patterns in things.

I agree to both, but those statements to not disprove God.

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that we can explain the processes of the origins of the universe right back to the big bang, without needing to resort to divine intervention?

Yes, but we still cannot explain why the bang happened, or what caused it.

Johnboy74 wrote:Is it not the case that if their was a god, all powerful, all prevailing, an advanced entity, the question arises who created god?

This is as unanswerable as the previous question of what created the bang. Again, not a proof against God.

Johnboy74 wrote:I think the problem here are the words religious and atheist, they are two words in mortal battle each trying to destroy each other. Instead, If I say I am a rationalist, believing in empirical evidence for my personal understanding of my place in the universe, can you argue against that? My belief is in complexity from the breaking down of symmetry at atomic level over time, a universe created by chance, not the supernatural.

I think rationalism is a great term, and a great way to live. But in order to rationally disbelieve in God, surely you require proof that there is no God?

Johnboy74 wrote:If we as me way well do destroy ourselves and this planet, would not god die with us? Do you think god exists without humanity?

I suppose if I said yes, then I would be atheist, and if I said no, I would be religious. :)


Gelert wrote:I would have said the burden of proof's on your shoulders, bub.

Laplace wrote:The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness

The burden of proof is on those who claim to have an answer. I would demand a religious person provide proof of God, so similarly I demand an atheist provide proof of non-existence.

As for the Laplace quote, there is nothing anymore extraordinary about believing in a higher power than not believing. Both are incredible possibilities, one as unbelievable as the other. Either a super magic dude made everything, or nothing made everything. Omniscience vs. nothingness. Both are extremes.




I feel a bit left out with no direct quote :P .
Essentially you're looking for proof in a sense that just can't exist.
I suggest you look into epistemology, can we know anything other than Descartes "I think therefore I am" or perhaps, a more accurate interpretation, "I"?
Does foundationalism or coherentism work
Can we ever get beyond our own perception?
Can the a priori give us real world facts?
Is the a priori subjective? Or do concepts not change from subject to subject?
Is knowledge subjective?
Is knowledge justified true belief?
Is knowledge justified true belief that isn't co-incidentally true?
Is knowledge beyond doubt?
Is proof the same as knowledge?

To answer questions about God you need to specify what God is.

If God is just the creator the universe, then God does not need to be conscious, God could just be the big bang, in which case someone's just confused the terminology really and need to give a fuller definition of what they mean (as it's not just going to be understood as that).

If God is a conscious being they much be a part of the universe. In which case they can't be beyond the universe, they're a part of it.

If God is everything, then God is matter, energy, and the forces (if they're separate) and the fabric of space etc.

If God is transcendent then we can't know God, or even really believe in anything specific.
God according to many definitions I come across could just be an alien, maybe a few aliens, and thus not supernatural (bizarrely some take offence at this idea, to which I say, piss off you insecure lunatics.)

I think I'm starting to show how abstract everything put forward for the last couple of pages are.

I don't think we can have knowledge (apart from 'I'), in the true sense of the word, as we can't get beyond our perception.
As a result I would talk in terms of belief and justification.
I can't find any justification in a supernatural being outside of the universe. As a result my lack of belief in such a being would appear to be justified.

I think many atheists probably feel this way but can't formulate it like this, but I'm half way through a module called 'ways of knowing'.
If this post, and the questions posed, are of interest to you, I'd look into epistemology, personally the most enjoyable chapter I've read is:
Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology by Jonathan Dancy Chapter 2.

Also see scepticism, how do we know that we're not a brain in a mad scientists vat, or not under an evil daemons spell etc.



Edit:
"But in order to rationally disbelieve in God, surely you require proof that there is no God?"
Can you give some clarification of what exactly you mean by this?
Do you mean a lack of belief in God or a belief there is no God?

In either case can we talk about this but replace God with the Easter bunny?
Or father Christmas?
I've met many humans who believe in both of these, but I do not.
I have told them they are not real beyond our own concepts, but these humans would not believe me.
Now I'm not sure if their age is relevant or not, I'll leave that out for now, no need for prejudice based on age right :P .
Last edited by Asleep on a sunbeam on Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Gelert » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:27 am

Fallen_Horse wrote:
Gelert wrote:I would have said the burden of proof's on your shoulders, bub.

Laplace wrote:The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness

The burden of proof is on those who claim to have an answer. I would demand a religious person provide proof of God, so similarly I demand an atheist provide proof of non-existence.

As for the Laplace quote, there is nothing anymore extraordinary about believing in a higher power than not believing. Both are incredible possibilities, one as unbelievable as the other. Either a super magic dude made everything, or nothing made everything. Omniscience vs. nothingness. Both are extremes.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis

I'd argue that the non-believing state would be the null hypothesis, seeing as there have been countless areas where scientific proofs of natural phenomena have displaced God-based-paradigms of explanation. On the flipside, the God-made-it-all argument has yet to displace a single scientific explanation.

If you like the idea of a God of the gaps, fine, but accept that the gaps are shrinking, not growing. And the implications of that regarding Laplace/Sagan's quote.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:05 pm

Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:I feel a bit left out with no direct quote :P .
Essentially you're looking for proof in a sense that just can't exist
........
........
I can't find any justification in a supernatural being outside of the universe. As a result my lack of belief in such a being would appear to be justified.

Edit:
"But in order to rationally disbelieve in God, surely you require proof that there is no God?"
Can you give some clarification of what exactly you mean by this?
Do you mean a lack of belief in God or a belief there is no God?

Well here is your quote :P
I agree I am looking for proof that cannot be provided, which is why I won't be atheist. :)
And I would encourage you to keep in mind that just because you can't find proof of something doesn't mean that something isn't out there.
As far as my quote, I mean a belief that there is no God.


And Gelert, you say the gap is shrinking, but I think it's staying constant. For every question science answers, another rises in it's place. That's how it will always be. So we have answered how the universe came to be (probably) with the big bang theory. But that opened the question of what was before that, and what caused that, so the big bang is an example of a theory that atheists tout, but really does nothing to disprove God.

If you can find other science-based arguments against God, I can bet that argument can just as easily be used to defend Gods existence...
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Johnboy74 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:25 pm

We can slap dicks all day long on this topic, truth is we will never know the truth, we can get a very good approximation from what we think we know, but we will never know. I'm living on the principle that there is nothingness beyond my senses so I'm trying to enjoy my senses and this life before i'm ripped apart into nothingness.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:13 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:
Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:I feel a bit left out with no direct quote :P .
Essentially you're looking for proof in a sense that just can't exist
........
........
I can't find any justification in a supernatural being outside of the universe. As a result my lack of belief in such a being would appear to be justified.

Edit:
"But in order to rationally disbelieve in God, surely you require proof that there is no God?"
Can you give some clarification of what exactly you mean by this?
Do you mean a lack of belief in God or a belief there is no God?

Well here is your quote :P
I agree I am looking for proof that cannot be provided, which is why I won't be atheist. :)
And I would encourage you to keep in mind that just because you can't find proof of something doesn't mean that something isn't out there.
As far as my quote, I mean a belief that there is no God.


And Gelert, you say the gap is shrinking, but I think it's staying constant. For every question science answers, another rises in it's place. That's how it will always be. So we have answered how the universe came to be (probably) with the big bang theory. But that opened the question of what was before that, and what caused that, so the big bang is an example of a theory that atheists tout, but really does nothing to disprove God.

If you can find other science-based arguments against God, I can bet that argument can just as easily be used to defend Gods existence...


I'm saying the belief isn't justified, keep up :wink: .
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Gelert » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:43 am

truth is we will never know the truth,



That's because you can't handle the truth, you no truth-handler you.


Fallen_Horse wrote:And Gelert, you say the gap is shrinking, but I think it's staying constant. For every question science answers, another rises in it's place. That's how it will always be. So we have answered how the universe came to be (probably) with the big bang theory. But that opened the question of what was before that, and what caused that, so the big bang is an example of a theory that atheists tout, but really does nothing to disprove God.

If you can find other science-based arguments against God, I can bet that argument can just as easily be used to defend Gods existence...



I think there is a big flaw in your logic there. I appreciate that answers in science lead to questions in science, but these questions are then in the realms of science. And not God-U-like.

And so the gap shrinks incrementally. As posited

Equally, as I pointed out, there's not been one area where a science explanation has been displaced by the alternative. It is all the other way around. Surely that tells you something when you look at the trend! People ascribe God to a given phenomenon, eg. creation and then it is disproved by a demonstrated explanation eg. evolution. The response is to open up a salvo on a smaller salient, rather than admitting they were wrong - e.g. intelligent design.

It's not a rational act for believers in an omnipotent omnipresent being. It seems clingy. Either God is, and God's a dude of his word, and it is thus, or it ain't. It isn't: "Oh, you pesky scientists, the earth is 5700 y. old, it was created with all these fossils and geology shit that makes you fools think it's much older. Yeah. What? Why didn't we say that before? Erm..."

It all reeks of the gappist brigade's bum cheeks flapping in the wind as they are edged closer to the clifftop by the implacable lynch mob of science.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby CrossleyAREsq » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:20 pm

I'm hoping not to undermine my comprehension of existence on this one, accepting and being faithful of God and all; but there is a lovely poem by A.A.Milne (author; Winnie the Pooh, and Christopher Robin) called 'Binker' in the book 'now we are six'
I read it first in R.Dawkinses God Delusion. This link has a copy 3rd poem down;
http://sites.google.com/site/garywilkes/poetry
I recommend it for it's charm. And an essay on Darkins treatment of the subject matter, being about imaginary friends and belief systems of childhood.
http://www.dukestreetchurch.com/wp-cont ... pter10.pdf
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Sat May 01, 2010 8:17 am

Johnboy74 wrote:We can slap dicks all day long on this topic, truth is we will never know the truth, we can get a very good approximation from what we think we know, but we will never know. I'm living on the principle that there is nothingness beyond my senses so I'm trying to enjoy my senses and this life before i'm ripped apart into nothingness.

I would say that's nearly agnostic my friend! :) And I think it's a great way to live...

Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:I'm saying the belief isn't justified, keep up :wink: .

And I'm saying non-belief isn't justified either. Agree to disagree?

Gelert wrote:I think there is a big flaw in your logic there. I appreciate that answers in science lead to questions in science, but these questions are then in the realms of science. And not God-U-like.

And so the gap shrinks incrementally. As posited

Equally, as I pointed out, there's not been one area where a science explanation has been displaced by the alternative. It is all the other way around. Surely that tells you something when you look at the trend! People ascribe God to a given phenomenon, eg. creation and then it is disproved by a demonstrated explanation eg. evolution. The response is to open up a salvo on a smaller salient, rather than admitting they were wrong - e.g. intelligent design.

It's not a rational act for believers in an omnipotent omnipresent being. It seems clingy. Either God is, and God's a dude of his word, and it is thus, or it ain't. It isn't: "Oh, you pesky scientists, the earth is 5700 y. old, it was created with all these fossils and geology shit that makes you fools think it's much older. Yeah. What? Why didn't we say that before? Erm..."

It all reeks of the gappist brigade's bum cheeks flapping in the wind as they are edged closer to the clifftop by the implacable lynch mob of science.

Again, agree to disagree. Science updates it's position about life all the time, so I don't see why it's poor form when religion does it as well. Sure there are plenty of ignorant beliefs out there, but I don't see anything inherently wrong with a person believing in intelligent design (as you mentioned). A higher power is currently the only way of ascribing a meaning to life, and a future after life. And I can't think of an explanation showing that those beliefs are wrong. *shrug* C'est la vie I suppose....
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Sat May 01, 2010 10:26 am

Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:I'm saying the belief isn't justified, keep up :wink: .

And I'm saying non-belief isn't justified either. Agree to disagree?

*sigh*.

No.

There are three things here:
Positive belief (something exists).
Negative belief (something doesn't exist).
Non belief (a lack of belief that something does or does not exist).

Now if we can't put a definition on something, we can't believe it exists.
If we can put a definition we can look at the evidence and decide if something exists or not.

I guess my question now becomes:
Is my belief that father Christmas doesn't exist unjustified?
Is my belief that I'm typing on a laptop unjustified?
Is my lack of belief about God unjustified?

Are you trying to claim no beliefs whatever they are unjustified?
So your belief that you're human is, unjustified?
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Johnboy74 » Sat May 01, 2010 11:34 am

Fallen_Horse wrote:
Johnboy74 wrote:We can slap dicks all day long on this topic, truth is we will never know the truth, we can get a very good approximation from what we think we know, but we will never know. I'm living on the principle that there is nothingness beyond my senses so I'm trying to enjoy my senses and this life before i'm ripped apart into nothingness.

I would say that's nearly agnostic my friend! :) And I think it's a great way to live...

But my friend this very good approximation is based on empirical evidence in which there is no god, just physics, chemistry, chance and whole lot of precious time.

Fallen_Horse wrote:Science updates it's position about life all the time, so I don't see why it's poor form when religion does it as well.

Yes our understanding of everything changes with each new discovery based on empirical evidence.
Religion does not, religion shifts itself in the face of evidence that goes against all religious ideology.

I'm beginning to think you are a closet believer :wink:
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby City_of_F » Sun May 02, 2010 8:36 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:1. We still don't know what caused the big bang, and what came before. This is unexplainable today. This could be easily attributed to a God.
2. I would like more of a proof that God doesn't exist. IMO an atheist needs to provide proof of God's non-existence, or the argument is flawed. Similarly, the religious need to be able to provide proof of Gods existence, which they cannot, therefore I am not religious. What would you say the atheist 'proof' is?



Why is it for the things we cannot explain, we have a handy "God" to thank for everything? It is easier to swallow that we're alone out here and the incredible complexity of DNA is that cells continue their evolution than there is a father-figure in the sky looking down on us an judging us. The need to worship the unexplainable is odd as once it is an object of worship, critical thought is done. it is easy to just pass everything off as "God".

One of the other reasons I tend to be athiest is that I've gone through most major religions. I was Catholic, Atheist, taoist, buddhist, agnostic and eventually it graduated back into atheism. This journey involved a great deal of study and letting go of what I WANTED to believe versus what was real. In the end, I realize that "God" was what I wanted him to be, and that applies to everyone else as well. We want a God to punish our enemies, but morality changes, so we want punishment for modern sins.

As for "God" himself, I am inclined to hope that he doesn't exist. From the bible, he is one of the most immature, petty, spiteful, controlling, hateful creatures I've ever come across. It is no wonder people say they fear God... he's a pretty scary dude!
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby toxic » Mon May 03, 2010 3:11 pm

I have kinda just skim-read the last page of this thread (because I am lazy!) but I have just started reading a great book by Robert Anton Wilson called 'Prometheus Rising' and one quote that is used repeatedly in the book, and makes total sense to me is this..

'what the thinker thinks, the prover proves'

it is in reference to us having the capacity to prove our thoughts correct and is kinda reflected in all branches of science, religion, ethics etc. I have always been wary of science (I want to know who commissions the research and if it is by those who share my beliefs, I tend to believe it. For example, if the vegan society commissioned a study on the ill-effects of milk I would choose their results as my reference material. I will discard any research on the health benefits of milk commissioned by the dairy industry because I think milk is bad!

Anyway, if one thinks that there is a Christian God, one will find the evidence to support such a belief and vice versa. Me, personally? I think orthodox religion is a means of control using fear as the stick. I also think that it is a cop-out when it comes to accountability and responsibility. It's easy to blame someone/thing else for all the misfortune. Catholicism really gets my goat! You can absolve yourselves of all consequences of action by confessing your sins. Wow!! I don't believe in a higher being. I belief in myself and if there's a god, it's a part of me, not seperate, therefore I take full responsibility for my actions and the consequences of such.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Gelert » Mon May 03, 2010 4:29 pm

toxic wrote: I have always been wary of science (I want to know who commissions the research and if it is by those who share my beliefs, I tend to believe it. For example, if the vegan society commissioned a study on the ill-effects of milk I would choose their results as my reference material. I will discard any research on the health benefits of milk commissioned by the dairy industry because I think milk is bad!


I think you're confusing science with market research.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Mon May 03, 2010 4:35 pm

Gelert wrote:
toxic wrote: I have always been wary of science (I want to know who commissions the research and if it is by those who share my beliefs, I tend to believe it. For example, if the vegan society commissioned a study on the ill-effects of milk I would choose their results as my reference material. I will discard any research on the health benefits of milk commissioned by the dairy industry because I think milk is bad!


I think you're confusing science with market research.


Market research camouflaged as science?
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