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The question is, 'Do Atheists Really Exist?' It's true that many people say that they don’t believe in God but that's not the same thing.

Over 20% of the population call themselves atheists, but are they?

There are a lot of people in the world who love nothing more than to tell anyone who will listen that they hate, even the idea of, God but that is not the same thing as a being an atheist. The surprising truth is that there is no such thing as an atheist - they are an urban myth. Let me explain why!

Everyone believes that their stories are unique but the truth is, like a shoal of fish or like starlings flying together as the sun goes down, those collective stories form a predictable pattern.

For most of my life, I thought of myself as something of a professional atheist so I can tell you, with confidence, those millions of reasons why people think of themselves as atheists can be distilled down to only four categories:

  1. They don’t need God to tell them right from wrong
  2. Human suffering disproves the existence of God
  3. God, as he is described in religious texts, is a monster
  4. God doesn’t exist

If you look at that list, you will see an underlying pattern:

• People don’t need a god to tell them what’s right from wrong because they believe they know best.
• They feel confident that if they had made the world there would be no such thing as suffering.
• They live with the total confidence that, if they were god, nobody would ever describe them as a monster because they are truly good people.
• They refuse to believe in God simply because they have not been presented with evidence of God’s existence that would satisfy them.

Read the full article. [thejesusofhistory.com]

JesusOfHistory 6 Feb 15
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5

so I can tell you, with confidence, those millions of reasons why people think of themselves as atheists can be distilled down to only four categories:
They don’t need God to tell them right from wrong
Human suffering disproves the existence of God
God, as he is described in religious texts, is a monster
God doesn’t exist

Hate to shake your confidence but those four categories are insufficient and redudent.
The first three fall under the moral arguement, famously argued by Epicurius millenia ago. It doesn't speak if gods are real or not, if they exist or not, merely that gods as commonly framed are not worth following due to their moral failings.

The last one falls under the ontological argument. This one asserts that god doesn't exist and thus anything said about them is suspect or can be ignored.

However, you fail to note that there are apatheists... people that are atheistic becuause they don't care one way or another about gods.... ignostics, people that are atheistic because they reject that gods can be adequetly defined for proper discussion... agnostic atheists, an epistemologica argument that says we don't know anything about god and hence there is no reason to believe in god or their cousing the gnostic atheist who claims they know god doesn't exist and hence don't believe in them.

Hence, I would suggest your revisit your conclusions based on that categorization given that that categorization is redundant and non-exhaustive.

Over 20% of the population call themselves atheists, but are they?

I will say that your skepticism of atheists is well founded. After all, we know for a fact that theist all too often do not follow their own ideology... that Christians use the bible justify doing one thing and then use the bible again to justify doing the exact opposite... that Muslims claim that they are a religion of peace while many of it's members do the exact opposite. Hence, it stands to reason that Atheists would also not follow their philosophy. We see this in evidence by discounting a god for which there is no evidence and yet be fully convinced that Aliens exist, despite no evidence, or that crystal power, reiki, or homeopathy works, despite not evidence they work (or worse yet, despite evidence they DON"T work).

4

God is dead. (Nietzsche)

Nietzsche is dead. (God)

4

I would say that many atheists are likely more agnostic than they would realize. I don't necessarily believe in a supreme being, but I also cannot prove that one exists. If one did, I doubt that a human would have the capacity to understand what it was or what it represented. Refer yourself to The Allegory of the Cave. Science has been trying to prove that God doesn't exist for some time. In the end, if we get that far, it wouldn't surprise me if turned out to be the opposite.

It's easy to prove that God exists... trivial even.
It is also reasonable to disagree over God's "traits", original intent, expectations, etc... that's all just speculation.
But to deny the existence of whatever "caused" the Big Bang that likely happened, just because you can't agree on why "it" caused it... is just irrational. It is an abandonment of the principle of causality, and an argument against Modern Science itself.
Something did that. We call that Something God.

@dentrawler most Atheists are indeed Agnostic. They answer different questions. One is a claim of belief, one is a claim of knowledge. An Agnostic Atheist doesn't believe in any god, but doesn't make a positive claim that there are none, as it is nigh-improvable.

@rway, if it is easy to prove, then why is there still so much debate? Why has no one actually proven it? If something must cause something, then where did your god come from? If it exists out of the confines of the rules, then why must it be a god that caused the Big Bang? Why can't it be something else?

People who believe in a god or gods, regardless of their belief in motivations or influence, still believe they have intelligence and sentience. This is why they use the term god instead of something else like catalyst. This cannot be proven.

@rway

I think you either misread my comment or you're spoiling for an argument. I never said an Origin of the Universe never existed, I said I can't prove what it was nor could we comprehend it. At no point did I infer the reasoning "why" about anything. And my last sentence says the exact same thing yours does...in the end, Science will actually prove that God does exist.

@rway God Of the Gaps. All that needs to be said to this.

@dentrawler I was just making a statement. You can prove that God exists with Logic. It's easy. The Assumption on which the assertion relies is the principle of causality.
And if that's wrong, then ALL of Modern Science is wrong... which does not seem to be the case.
But... empirical Science will never prove anything that can't be observed; it's incapable. It's the wrong tool for that job.

@rway

I think you can easily prove that God exists to yourself...which is all you really need to do...I believe that's called Faith. Empirical science doesn't have to prove God exists, by nature it only has to rule out all other possibilities, still a tall order. People can believe God is whatever they like it to be and founded in whichever religion they prescribe to, but they also might want to stop imagining it as the anthropomorphic version from The Creation of Adam and look closer at the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (mathematical eternity). God and Science, to include mathematics, may be synonymous.

@dentrawler Logic is not Faith.
As I described above, you can easily prove that God exists, objectively... not to yourself.
Sound Logic is irrefutable, like Math. In fact, Math is a system of Logic.
Math didn't create nature. Math is a man-made "language" of logic that merely attempts to describe nature.
Nature behaves the way it always has. Math just follows some of the same rules, to the extent that we've figured out and encoded them so far.

And, empirical science cannot rule out all other possibilities, because it cannot identify all other possibilities. It can only... theoretically... rule out all of the observable possibilities.
And so far, that list is a Null Set, anyway.
Again... it's just not the right tool.

@rway
Logic does not prove the existence of gods either. Love to see your “logic”.

It is illogical to assume just because you don’t know something, that there must a be a god to fill the gap.

@dentrawler Well said. Most people have a problem with the idea of 'Proof' as certainly in my lifetime we have been taught to just trust authority.

@JesusOfHistory

Thomas Aquinas had some insightful input on the differences between proof and faith. I'm far from a theologian, but I find that Metaphysics is a useful tool for aligning belief (or non-belief) systems. Faith aligns more with the school of Idealism while proof lends more to Materialism. I think most people are Dualists in that we know our own physical world most, but cannot deny the meta. Metaphysics opens all sorts of room for logical fallacies, but it can simplify these thought processes. Rigidity in either direction is stifling to the dialectic, as can be politics, but Dualism should not be confused with Moderatism.

@Hanno I have said it already, but let me rephrase it, I guess...

Definition0: To exist, is to be something
Definition1: "God" is what we call the Creator of the Universe
Definition2: The "Big Bang" is what we call the origin of the Universe
Axiom0: If something happened, something caused it. (Causality)
Assumption0: The "Big Bang" happened.

Assertion: God Exists
Proof:
The Big Bang was the creation of the Universe, by Definition2.
Something caused the Big Bang, by Axiom0.
The "something" that caused the Big Bang was God, by Definition1.
Therefore, God Exists, by Definition0.
QED

If you wish to challenge Axiom0 or the Assumption0, then at least that would be a valid argument.
But to accept both of those, and to still claim that God does not exist, is just irrational.
You can argue the details about God ad nauseum... indeed, as humans have and will continue to do.
You can argue that God should be called something else, if you prefer.
But, the one thing you can't argue with, successfully, is that:
God Exists

@FaolanHart God of the "ever-decreasing" Gap is a false hope, an article of Faith.
Observational Science, will never be able to explain anything that can't be observed.
We can deduce some things, by observing other things... but we have no way to know when or if we will have ever finally deduced everything.

@rway

I don't think too many people here are denying that the Universe exists. It's the difference between Creation and creation that may throw them off. I myself am still struggling with whether or not it was a Divine Intelligence or a cosmic accident, and I won't call an accident God. How is that not rational.?

@dentrawler because it's not possible. Or, ludicrously improbable would be more accurate.
In nature, you can tell at the slightest glance whether something was "arranged" purposefully.
To then examine the innumerable, mutually-dependent intricacies of the natural world and conclude that it just... "happened", is irrational; as a simple application of what we know about Probability.

@rway

Alright, I'm done with this. Please don't respond to any more of my comments.

@dentrawler ok, 🤣

@rway
Very simple:
To make a fire you use wood . Once the fire is created, the wood stop existing. It is now gone.

Their is no proof or reason to think that what ever caused the Big Bang still exist.

Poof! There goes your axioms and definitions up in smoke.

@Hanno The wood doesn't cease to exist, all you did was alter it chemically.
Matter can't be created or destroyed within the context of what we understand about our Universe.
We have no reason to think that whatever caused the Big Bang has ceased to exist. That would be a change of state from "Existence" to "Nonexistence", with no known impetus for the change.
A daydream... with no foundation. No reason... to believe it.
We don't even have any rational basis to suspect that it would even be possible...

Besides that, I don't see your point.
I don't think most Atheists believe that God did exist, He's just gone now...

@Hanno

Unless you're having fun, don't get caught up in this circular logic trap. Just my advice...

@dentrawler
I find it fascinating how people would try and spin an argument to try not to loose an argument they have clearly lost some time ago.

I have done this many times and eventually their arguments become so ridiculous that is really funny watching trying to justify themselves.

@rway has now reduced his definition of “god” to energy... haha.

@rway
No my friend, matter is destroyed all the time. It is called nuclear fusion and it also happen during nuclear fission.
That warm sun you feel, it is matter being turned into energy.

E=mC2... yeah that is exactly what describe that.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed in chemical reactions and therefore we have mass balances in chemistry, and mass-energy balances in nuclear physics.

Again, just because you don’t understand science, does not mean your proofs are correct.
It just means you don’t understand science.

@rway
We have no reason to think that whatever caused the Big Bang no longer exist?
Well, nothing we observed in nature or the universe appear to be able to create the universe.

Then, just as there is no basis to say that the causer no longer exist, you also have the same no basis to claim that it does exist.
It is unknown.

Your only recourse is to say that whatever caused the Big Bang is now the universe itself and hence you claim that the universe is your god.
Now that is pretty meaningless in terms of an atheist-theist discussion.
The universe is not sentient, good luck proving that.

The problem you have is that you included this unknown in your proof. And just there your proof fails.

@Hanno logic trap? Dude... I'm literally responding to your Strawman arguments.
I made my point long ago.

You don't seem to understand the concept of "destroyed."
"Being turned into energy" (YOUR QUOTE) is not being destroyed.
It's being altered chemically (MY QUOTE), i.e., into ashes and energy.
Energy is still a thing, it exists. You get that, right?

About the other irrelevant rabbit hole... whether God still exists:
You're making a claim, that something that did exist... now does not.
You are claiming that something happened, with literally no reason offered as to why you think it happened. That just doesn't even make any sense.

The universe and God are not the same thing...
My "basis to claim that it does exist" was spelled out in bite-size chunks above, at your request.
If you can refute it, go for it.

My apologies... but this is just getting tiresome.
Cheers

@JacksonNought sorry, I just saw your comment above.
I think I've addressed most of it in other replies above, but regarding the question:
"...why must it be a god that caused the Big Bang? Why can't it be something else?"

Well... it can, sort of. "God" is just the word we use for whatever created the universe.
Go ahead and assume it was something else that created the Universe. Whatever that thing is... is still what we call God. "A rose by any other name..."

@rway I think that's fine...that idea of yours that God is what we refer as for whatever created the universe...so long as you emphasize that this definition of God you're using is different from the term most of the world uses to define God. You'll have your definition in common with many pantheists and some agnostics, and Einstein, most likely. Most theists and atheists will say that God has to be sentient though...and the difference in definitions can result in a lot of confusion.

I don't blame you, dentrawler.

@MrShittles
Yes, he proved to himself that he is indeed an agnostic.
I wonder if he will realise it?

@Hanno Agnosticism is a cop-out. It is a "belief" that there is no way to know, so why bother...
There is a way to know whether God exists. In fact, it's irrefutable, as described above.

@MrShittles
"Does God exist?" and "Is my definition of God accurate?" are two different questions.
You can't even begin to explore the second question... without conceding the first.

@rway I agree...but I don't think that's particularly relevant to the conversation. If there's a word, and most people believe that word means X, and you believe that word means Y, that's going to create a lot of confusion.

@rway And that particular argument...the argument that God has to exist because God can be whatever the heck we want it to mean, so long as it was the source of the universe, regardless of whether it was intelligent or not, is an argument that's going to greatly annoy most people who hear it, because they'll be assuming you're talking about an intelligent God, and they'll spend time making arguments with you about positions you don't have, because you used an unusual definition of God.

I agree that Agnosticism is kind of a cop-out though. Most people, I think, have some idea of whether they're more atheistic or theistic and a true agnostic would have to be smack-dab in the center. I suppose some people could be on that line though, or believe it can't be guessed, or not know what their beliefs are. Some people will just not want to know though, I think. They prefer that mysterious quality to the universe.

@rway Your arguments about God's inevitably existence do make sense...but only if you're willing to define God as a potentially unintelligent being...and that's why things get confusing, because with your arguments you may be agreeing with atheists, or theists/deists, and nobody knows.

I would say that it's more likely that an unintelligent source created the universe than an intelligent source. That's because intelligence requires more complexity than unintelligence. So far, the only examples we have of proven intelligence come in the form of extremely rare structures called brains. That intelligence doesn't seem to be existent throughout the vast majority of the universe, and when it does occur, it's formed through other unintelligent sources, is mortal, and lacks the properties a being would need to create a universe...except through scientific innovation. I would be open to the possibility of aliens having created an intelligent ruler of the universe.

What I consider so unlikely as to label it impossible is an intelligent mind being the source of all things. If an intelligent creator of the universe exists, I'd expect it, or its ancestors, or its creators to have stemmed from some kind of unintelligent source, simply because intelligence appears to be more complex (harder to create) and rarer than a lack of intelligence.

And, because I'm not sure what your worldview is...I don't know if I've just wasted my time talking to a fellow atheist, who just happens to be a kind of pantheist who calls the universe God for whatever reason...but, you've claimed there was proof of God's existence, so I felt that warranted a challenge.

@rway
No agnosticism is not a cop out.
Just because you define god in manner that renders any discussion of the subject meaningless does not change what theism, atheism and agnosticism means.

Both theism and atheism is in the same group. People who think they know what they talk about. When in fact they don’t know.

Agnostics are in a complete seperate and group and NOT between atheists and theists.
They are people who honestly evaluated everything we know and came to the conclusion we don’t know.
That is the correct and honest answer.

Everyone else just think they know or create such vague definitions that their arguments are meaningless.

And no, agnosticism is not a “belief” that we cannot know. Current knowledge is such that we cannot know.
It does not mean we may not know.

And your definition of god is a very old agnostic approach to the problem. We just don’t call it gods, we use the correct words.

@MrShittles,
Words mean what they mean.

I can go and claim that pink uniforms exist and say I have all the evidence.
When challenges I produce a photo of a painted elephant and boldly claim that that is what I call a pink unicorn. He is just painted pink and have a sloppy horn... however it fits “my” definition.

If words don’t mean what they mean, any discussion around it becomes meaningless.

@MrShittles @Hanno
I'm not trying to define God at all. And I can't really answer for anybody else's assumptions.
Whether something "exists" is a very straightforward, Yes/No question.
All the baggage that you attribute to the idea of God... and whether any of that is true... is a whole different question. One that I have not even attempted to address.
Atheism, as far as I understand it, is the belief that God does not exist.
Not a belief that "my God" does not exist... a belief that God does not exist.
That's it. Right? Or am I wrong about that?
If something does not exist... then there is no discussion over its attributes, because it has none.
If it does have attributes... then the belief that it does not exist, is incorrect.

@Hanno well, I guess everybody is an agnostic by your definition... because everybody is aware that we just don't know for sure, everybody but a few schizophrenics.

@Hanno You've stated that atheism and theism are both in the same group: people who think they know, but don't know.

That's not the definition of atheism or theism. Gnosticism and agnosticism refer to what one knows or doesn't know. Atheism and theism refer to what one believes. So, if one is a gnostic theist, they know God exists. If one is an agnostic atheist, they believe God doesn't exist, but don't know it.

Then there are the pure agnostics regarding the existence of God who either don't mention what they believe, regarding whether or not God exists, or don't know what they believe.

@MrShittles This is why I think it's far more useful to just say what you mean, instead of relying on labels. Otherwise you end up just arguing over the definitions of the labels.
"Exists" is a pretty straight-forward concept, if you can get people to shed their assumptions...

4

I was an atheist---the real kind.

All I can say is that when you move from that to a simple belief in something more, you know it.

Kind of like stumbling into the love of your life. You don't expect it, you aren't looking, but if you're just a little bit with it, everything changes.

I think that's why you can't fault Atheists just for being Atheists.
You can't choose to believe something. You either believe it, or you don't.
If you "choose" to change your mind... that would mean that you have come to actually believe it already. Otherwise, why would you do that?

@rway I think we're on the same page. When you fall for somebody, it isn't because they check all the boxes on your list. It's because they check an infinite number of boxes you didn't know were there.

3

Nobody I know talks about their religion more than Atheists

Rubbish, some christians and all good muslims and all good jews all live, pray and even eat by their chosen religion.

Disagree

Nobody I know talks about their religion more than Atheists

Christians have their own cable channel. So unless you can find an outlet that talks about atheism 24 hours a day, this view doesn't hold.

Brilliant comment

@Forra888 You do realise that your comment has nothing to do with the post?

@Forra888, @TheMiddleWay - I guess you could call pretty much any mass media outlet as an Atheist source but I'm not sure what that that has to do with the general point of the post. I think the comment was refering to an overall feeling of evangelism felt by atheists.

@JesusOfHistory

I guess you could call pretty much any mass media outlet as an Atheist source

No, you can't.

Because they are not specifically extolling the virtues of God not existing or not believing in god 24 hours a day, the way that the Christian cable channels explore the virtues of God existing and believing in god 24 hours a day.,

You can call them secular sources because theology, be it atheism or theism, is not their focus. But being secular does not necessitate one being atheist since theists are secular the majority of their lives as well.

@JesusOfHistory

I think the comment was refering to an overall feeling of evangelism felt by atheists.

The point was one of comparison, stating that atheists are more Evangelical than the religious. And this simply is not true considering the multitude of theist outlets that evangelize (i.e., work towards extolling the virtues of their religion) compared to the deficit of atheist outlets that do the same.

@TheMiddleWay ...no, it wasn't.
Atheism is like Cross-Fit. If you know an Atheist, you know he's an Atheist.
That's not as True for most other religions. It's a tongue-in-cheek observation.

@rway
I get te tongue and cheek aspect of it, as a joke.
One of my favorites is

An atheist, a vegan, and a crossfitter walk into a bar...
I only know because they told everyone within two minutes.

But I also get the sense that you think it's more than a joke, that atheists are more effusive about their beliefs than theists and it is that sense that I challenge as simply not being true.

@TheMiddleWay no, I wouldn't make that claim. Most people just aren't very religious, but just about everybody claims one religion or another, regardless.
The adherents to any religion, as far as I can tell, pretty much follow the Pareto principle with regard to their zealotry... as we should probably expect.
80% or so of "Christians" don't seem to let it intrude on their daily lives to any significant extent.
80% or so of Muslims don't seem to be on-board with the most extreme demands of Islam.
etc...

@TheMiddleWay There's an awful lot of proselytizing from "secular" media outlets; whether they, or their consumers, realize it or not.
Anybody who controls such an outlet, necessarily imbues the content with their belief system as they determine what they will allow and what they won't, based on those subjective values.
It's inherent and unavoidable.
All such outlets have self-imposed "standards" that go beyond what the FCC demands. Even the Weather Channel and the Game Show Network have commentary, which passes through that filter.
What we try to pass off of as "secular" is often, if not always, just dogma from Atheism, Progressivism, Post-Modernism... etc. The tenets of which are the assumptions, accepted as "given"... on faith, that form the inviolable framework of the content itself.
Accordingly, there are no "non-religious" channels.
At least the Christian ones are up-front about it.

@rway

There's an awful lot of proselytizing from "secular" media outlets; whether they, or their consumers, realize it or not.

Proselytizing is an active endevour, not a passive one.

Hence, unless media outlets are actively saying or promoting that "you should not be guided by a belief in god" or "god doesn't exist", then those don't compare to the theist outlets that say "your life should be guided by my god " because "my god exists".

After all, in the USA, about 83% of the population are religious. This includes people in the media. As such, just because CNN, MSNBC, OANN, or FOX aren't promoting religion, are secular, that doesn't mean that those outlets are promoting atheism.

What we try to pass off of as "secular" is often, if not always, just dogma from Atheism, Progressivism, Post-Modernism

Except even the conservative religious are mostly secular on CNN, MSNBC, OANN, FOX et. al.... when talking of economy, or foreign politics or immigration they seldom resort to what the bible says on the matter in support of their views but rather what secular forces are at work that would make their policy better.
So it cannot be the case that secular speech in media is often progressive or atheist dogma.

@TheMiddleWay Proselytizing is an attempt to convert a non-believer into believing what you do.
It can be active or passive, overt or covert.
Those beliefs are dogma... which is not restricted to direct quotes from the Bible or from anywhere else.

@rway
Agreed on the definition.
But how then do you proselytize by doing nothing, by being passive?
It sets up a contradiction as I'll demonstrate:

Consider an atheist secularly talking about the economy, i.e., not invoking god.
As I understand your view, this act of secularism would be seen as an atheist not overtly saying gods don't exist but by not invoking them, by being secular, passively proselytizing their beliefs.

Ok.

But now consider a theist secularly talking about the economy.
Are we to assume that by being secular they are passively proselytizing atheism?
Or even more confusing, that by being secular they are passively proselytizing their belief, that gods exist?

It is this contradiction that I feel is set up by taking a view that proselytizing can be a passive affair for unless you are specific in the belief you are proselytizing, you cannot be proselytizing a specific belief!

Because religion impacts the world in some very important ways atheists are concerned about...as people should be...and because religious God-believing people often know their ideas are questionable, and they maintain them for social reasons...so they don't want to talk about them because they know they'll be getting into territory that threatens the social relationships which are the main reason they keep their religions.

@TheMiddleWay No, I wouldn't say that. Not invoking God is not necessarily a "passive" act of denial that He exists altogether. But it's awfully hard to discuss anything at all without the entire framework of your belief system influencing your side of the discussion; and arguing adamantly, even irrationally sometimes, that you are "right"... because a concession that you are wrong would challenge those more-fundamental, unspoken, maybe even subconscious, assumptions.

Some topics have nothing to do, inherently, with whether there is a God, or with which one of the myriad theist interpretations are the "most-correct". And sometimes those topics can even be discussed so briefly, or in such a matter-of-fact, superficial manner that the beliefs of the speaker remain irrelevant.
But, get more than one person involved, or let it drag out long enough to evoke opinion or speculation... and the fundamental beliefs of the participants will unavoidably influence the discussion.
If they are all from the same faith, then it becomes a tacit Church service (atheist or otherwise.) Any diversity of faith... an insurmountable disagreement; and it's almost certain that nobody involved really understands what has just happened to what they thought was a secular discussion.

In the case of disagreement:
It's quite possible for one to make assertions that sound perfectly reasonable, even "given"... in the context of their beliefs. But if they fail to recognize the underlying influence of those beliefs, they literally can't understand how this ignorant zealot in front of them could possibly still disagree.
It's because their arguments are not reasonable, or "given", in the context of the other ignorant zealot's beliefs; and are therefore simply unfounded... "wrong"... in that context.
An appeal for them to agree with your opinion, is an appeal for them to accept your beliefs upon which that opinion is founded, whether you realize it or not; quite possibly not.
Trying to get someone else to accept your beliefs, is proselytizing. If you don't even realize you're doing it, I would call that passive, or maybe just subconscious, proselytizing.

Maybe a better example of proselytizing passively, yet purposefully... should include being aware of what you are doing and why.
It's a common understanding among some Christians, for example, that they should make it readily apparent to the people around them that they are Christian, and that they should conduct themselves in their daily affairs, especially their mundane "secular" affairs, such that their lifestyle seems broadly rewarding, fulfilling, and... let's just say "good"; and therefore desirable to non-Christians.
They're not trying to tell you anything about Christianity... just hopefully inspiring you to look into it for yourself.
The other side of that coin is the hypocrite, that damages the image and turns people away from the whole idea by their actions outside of Church on Sundays.

@rway

But it's awfully hard to discuss anything at all without the entire framework of your belief system influencing your side of the discussion;

No denying that; I agree.
But influencing your personal discussion and proselytizing another person are very different. Continuing the economics example, if I talk economy as an atheist, I might not see god influencing any economic factors and my discussion may be influenced as such. Conversely, as a theist, I might see the hand of god in economy and that will influence my discussion. But it is not the case that said influence means the atheist is trying to convince the theist that god doesn't exist or vice versa.

such that their lifestyle seems broadly rewarding, fulfilling, and... let's just say "good"; and therefore desirable to non-Christians.

I get what you are saying but "Leading by example" would be a real stretch as to what we commonly mean by proselytizing. After all, by living a good life you are not trying to convert anyone... you are just living the best life possible for yourself. And if others around you see that good life and assign that good like to your theology and then want to emulate you theologically, then I don't see that as you converting others but others merely choosing for themselves what they think is best for them.
After all, atheists view christians living a good life not due to "god" or their "belief in god" but merely doing the right thing, following a universal code of morality that has nothing to do with gods. In this case, a christian living a good life would inspire an atheist to also live a good life but without adopting their theological trappings.

If you don't even realize you're doing it, I would call that passive, or maybe just subconscious, proselytizing.

Great point.
I can totally get behind "subconscious proselytizing".
I still wouldn't call that passive as you are still doing something... you just don't consciously realize you are doing it. Like a person saying "You are going to hell for doing that"... their intent isn't consciously to get you to convert to their religion to avoid going to hell... but subconciously... dare we say "passive aggressively"? 😉 ... they are trying to get you to accept their theological worldview.

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This sums up my thoughts

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The more interesting question is:
Does Christians exist?

Nowhere else would you find so many people who do not practice what they preach.

Some choice examples:
Finland is listed as having more than 50% Christians, however less than 10% attend church more than twice a year (that is due to a marriage or funeral they have to attend there).

NZ is supposed to have 40% Christians, however less than 5% goes to church more than twice a year. People don’t even bother going to church for weddings or funerals anymore.

In the US you claim to have 60+% Christians, what fraction of these Christians goes to church, read a bible or pray more than 10 times a year?

There are very few real Christians left...

“Going to Church” defines “Being a Christian”?

Here, I thought that Christianity was belief in Christ (Jesus) ... who, depending on which particular Sect of Christianity you look at May, or May Not be Synonymous with “God”.

Then, there is ...
“Whenever Two Or More of You are Gathered In My Name ...”

I think maybe you are confusing “Religion” with “Faith” and they are not synonyms.

@Bay0Wulf
You pretty much prove my point.
If you read through Acts and the letters of Paul, the exhortations to attend regular meetings and to worship and pray together is very clear.

Yet, people don’t even meet “two or more in my name”...

Then you read the requirements to confess sins to each other and live in purity etc... no one does this.

Reading the book of James, it is made very clear faith without deeds (actually doing what the bible says) is valueless.

Christians (the vast majority of them), don’t practice their faith at all.
They are practically atheists.

@Hanno
Oh ...
Personally I don’t lend much credence to the compilation and edited version of “Christianity” as determined by Constantine... or His Holy Roman Empire ... or the Council of Nicaea.

“Christianity” existed in many forms long before those “Books” you refer to were compiled ...

I would also note this Thread is not limited to “Christianity”.

@Bay0Wulf
I completely understand your scepticism of the books of the bible and how they were selected.
That is part of my journey of losing my faith.

Anyway, it would be interesting to note how you define your faith then if not on the books of the bible. Do you have another reference or source?

I just picked on Christianity because the original poster is clearly a Christian, I know a lot more about Christianity than any other religion, and it is so easy to pick on it. I actually stopped picking on Christians because it is such a unfair fight. Sometimes though a post like this one provokes me and my lesser great part comes out.
😜

@Hanno He never offers references to back up his argument. He always argues why he should offer other any help - another way of saying "educate yourself". Sounds familiar? SJW. Lol He isn't but he doesn't recognise his own hypocrisy.

@Naomi
Yes ... I never offer references ...

Well, actually I do most of the time ... including links where appropriate ... you just seem to frequently jump into conversations that are fairly well developed.

However, you are also right that I expect people to “educate theirselves” ... I feel no need to dig back some 50 years of information gathering to recall precisely which book ... or set of books ... or other sources ... to give somebody the answer so they can simply say; “Oh...” and turn the page.

I find if one does the work for oneself, not only does it ensure they are ACTUALLY Interested, but when they find the information or answer, they are likely to remember it.

When I was about 9 (NINE) and in trouble for arguing with my teacher at school over something that they’d gotten wrong ... and I could PROVE it ... my Father, after beating the crap out of me for disrupting the class and arguing with a teacher, gave me An Important Piece of Information ...

“The ONLY Important Thing You NEED to Learn from School, Is HOW TO LEARN”

I’ve known ALL MY LIFE that I’m “Smarter than the Average Bear” ...
I stopped apologizing for that when I was about 12.
I stopped “handing” people the Answer when I was about 15.

I figure that if People aren’t smart enough to find the Answer once they Know there IS one, then they’re not smart enough to use it anyway.

@Naomi, @Hanno
Errr ... do i have another reference or source ... ?
Well, I have probably dozens ... or hundreds ... or more ...
Which encompass several different religions that have occurred over the past 7000 years.

I mean, I could begin by directing your attention to hundreds ... thousands of dry clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform ... i could tell you which books by which authors in which to find the translations. I could then walk you carefully through those writings and show you how each correlates to all of the various versions of “Western” Religions including Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman and ... but ... I’ve studied the question of “Religion” and “Faith” with particular intensity since the 1960s ... I’ve not the time or patience to do so here, for you, however.

(Note: Naomi, the concept of Religion, Faith and Philosophy is all Theoretical ... not really “Fact” Based ... Facts are easily found and pointed towards ... Theories are a completely different form of thought process and never easily answered)

I ascribe to none of them.
I am a strong proponent in the concept that children should be brought up in the Judeo-Christian tradition until they reach a point of honestly questioning what they are being taught ... simply because it gives them an indelible foundation in rules for living.

I have Faith that there is ... something more ... call it God if you will ... that is beyond man’s ability to comprehend.
Something that cares not at all about mankind, Earth, the Solar System ... probably doesn’t even care about the concept of caring.

Everything that exists ... including the concept of thought ... is an expression of Energy ... is Motion ... is visible as Wavelengths ...

There is most definitely Something but I find it funny to think that people actually give it a “Humanized Format”

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So what is your point? You spend a great deal of time tearing things apart, yet no time building. You say you are an engineer; what kind? I see destruction only nothing constructive.

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God exists it just isn't what you think it is.

I gave up religion at a very early age but I know a lot of people smarter than me who are religious. What you believe has a lot to do with personality. If you are like me and you try to figure out everything you are either going to be an atheist or go insane. I have been unable to find any evidence that the religious God exists.

Scott Adams has been driving me nuts with his apparent belief we live in a simulation, not allegoricly but literally. He has an amazing amount of faith and a constant stream of "evidence" for his belief. What amuses me is it is not unlike a belief in God, something, or if you are a student of language, some sentient being had to create a simulation.

Nothing is a concept alien to the human mind, it took A Hindu to come up with the concept of zero as we understand it in Western culture. Another related concept that even scientists have trouble with is random. They are two very powerful tools that justify not believing in God for practical reasons. Other than that I really don't care what people believe. If asked I usually say I believe in God though I apparently don't.

Does that make me a hypocrite? I guess so but very few people go on to ask for a description of the God I believe in and I can just walk away from a boring conversation.

The God I believe in is a social construct just as real as any God anyone can imagine. Like all abstractions the idea of God is a useful thinking tool. It is infinity that balances zero and random. We can no more know reality than if God exists, all we have is our tools and the finite structures we can build with them.

Great points.

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Well apparently I don't exist. Yet there is still more proof of my existence than god's.
I don't believe in a god, never have. In fact I believe the only reason we even give the idea the time of day is due to the sheer number of people that claim to believe & the power such groups have.

"They refuse to believe in God simply because they have not been presented with evidence of God’s existence that would satisfy them."
I mean that's just reasonable. I don't believe in this unknowable thing, this thing with many names, many faces, yet zero proof. If I did see proof of it's existence I'd believe in it as much as I "believe" in the wind or gravity.

As for the moral arguments. It boils down to this.
I do not believe such an entity exists.
However if it did exist it would be unworthy of worship & praise.
So either way belief & religion is pointless to me.

Finally with believing myself better.
Not at all. A system with reproduction requires death.
A system with food requires death. Suffering is nature's way.
Without it we would be stagnant, never changing, never improving.
No force that governs it all could do so without allowing suffering. It's just a fact of life.

Religion is what comes from intelligent life that cannot explain the world around them.
It sticks around because it's a powerful tool for control & an easy way to think you are living a good life & being a good person without thinking about it too much.
People come to it to find purpose; people stick with it because it's all they know, how they where raised.

Atheists often appear smug because from the perspective of a non-believer we're basically dealing with adults, grown often intelligent & respectable adults who base their lives on the fairy tales they where told as children & often expect others to do the same.

Maybe you might want to save a copy of that reply and read it back to yourself in a few years time. I think you will find that it doesn't actually say what you think it does. To be honest, it sounds like something I would have said when I was your age and I wouldn't have seen that my words just proved the point of the post.

@ElAtilla, @JesusOfHistory

"Why are you wasting your time attempting to convince others of something that does not exist"
What? I'm the one trying to convince others of something that doesn't exist? What?
Read it again. You have me confused with a believer.

I've never believed, Highly doubt that I'll suddenly be indoctrinated in a few years time.
Can't argue so you dismiss. Shame really.
How did I prove the point? How do I suddenly believe in something as real as unicorns or goblins?
I know the bible is all about interpretation. But it doesn't work the same way with people.
No hidden meaning in my words. No other way to view them that fits your world view.

@ElAtilla Religious people exist. The nonsense they believe in doesn't need to be real for THEM to effect the world around them with their belief.
God is irrelevant. God cannot effect anything. The people that believe in it however can.

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I can't believe I don't exist any more. I mean, I feel like I'm alive and real but I never considered u know me better than me and know what I think and believe better than I know myself.

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Do Atheists really exist? Yes. End of story.

Atheists do not "hate God" - why would they hate something they do not believe in? Hate what people do in the name of their god, sure, but not the god itself.

Your post is a bit click-baity, as you have a controversial opening to get people to read your website. The crux of your argument is: "the god that they believe in is their 'self'...everyone worships in the Cult of the Self."

There is a difference between cult of personality and an actual belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful deity.

"Why would they hate something they don't believe in?' you ask. Excellent question, why do they?

@RaithRoguestar they don't. That was pretty simple.

If you believe that then your simply not paying enough attention to the world around you.

@RaithRoguestar you're just going to post a picture without a shred of context, and assume your meme-text will paint the narrative you choose to display?

I searched the image. The top portion actually brought up an article called How Christianity Destroyed the Pagan World... might want to look into how Christians in history have enslaved and destroyed the identities of non-Christians. But, I digress... I found another article that could claim that photo is ISIS in Syria destroying temples. Ok... they aren't Atheists, they are Theists. They actually believe in the same god as Christians and Jews, but have different interpretations on what is moral. In this case you have people who believe in a single god, but are at war with those who believe "incorrectly" - they hate those who don't worship and follow the arbitrary dogma in which they do. ISIS is also the extreme fringe, corrupting Islam. Do you want me to show you the terrible vandalism Christians have done in America, from painting swastikas on synagogues to destroying Satanic banners and Atheist holiday displays?

Now, the second photo, I will give you the context. The Ten Commandments monument shown was erected in Oklahoma City on the Capitol grounds - public, government land. As our Constitution guarantees, no one religion gets preferential treatment, so seeing as how this monument was on public land, it was turned into a "free speech zone" where other religious viewpoints could be represented. This included a monument provided by The Satanic Temple. Well, rather than let other religions be represented and be granted the equal accommodation that Christians were privileged to, the Oklahoma City Republican-controlled Legislature decided to shut the whole thing down. The Ten Commandments monument was removed and placed at a private location.

So, no, Atheists in America did not destroy the Ten Commandments. In fact, it was originally a Baptist minister who sued Oklahoma City for violating the Constitution. Do you have a problem with governments following the law?

And as I said in my original comment, Atheists do not "hate God" - they hate what people do in the name of their god, such as stripping away civil rights or murdering people.

[npr.org]

[nydailynews.com]

[slug.com]

Wow. Perfect example of why "The Left can't meme" that's like fact checking a meme of Mickey Mouse saying something and coming back with "Micky Mouse never said that and that no mouse could have since they lack language skills." and citing sources rather than speaking to the point of the meme itself. Oh and by the way NPR is not a credible source of anything, they're actually worse than Snopes and Politifact if that were even possible.
Isis actually follows the teachings of Islam as written staying true to its historical origins but thats another topic. The point is its a fact Muslims destroy any places of religious significance thats not their own with exceptions of tourists sites like the Pyramids which they use to enrich themselves. However, We are speaking of Atheism, all you have to do is go to [ffrf.org] The Freedom From Religion Foundation and browse.
You claim you hate what religious people do in the name of their God like violating civil rights and murdering people. How about Atheist's like Mao, Stalin, and Hitler? Fact is together they've killed more people in the 20th century than all religious wars combined previously. I laugh at Atheists who try take any kind of moral high ground based on Atheism. Are there bad religious people? Yes. Are there bad Atheists? Yes.

You should check out Ben Steins documentary Expelled: No intelligence allowed. It exposes Atheist cancel culture in schools and universities from years ago.

@RaithRoguestar the whole "___ can't meme" is to show that people suck at memes by creating outright lies and misinformation. It has nothing to do with people destroying your narrative. In this case, it is you who cannot meme. Also don't act all high and mighty, every time a post a left-leaning meme on this site, the right-wingers come out en masse to cry.

You are one of those typical people who see a source that doesn't fit into your preferred echo chamber, so you completely dismiss it, despite it reporting actual facts. There is no opinion in the NPR article I posted - The Satanic Temple had a holiday in Florida which was quite literally vandalized by Christians who couldn't accept it. Criticize NPR all you want, that is just a fact. It happened.

What do Mao or Stalin have to do with Atheism? They tried to stamp out religion because they wanted to be god-kings, they didn't kill "in the name of Atheism". That is different than religious wars like the Crusades, where they were killing in the name of their gods. You realize Atheism is quite literally a lack of belief in any gods. It means nothing else. There is no dogma or creeds associated with it. Atheists are good samaritans and criminals. Atheists are left-wing and right-wing. Atheists are pro-choice and pro-life. Also don't give me that crap about Hitler being an Atheist, you lose your argument right there with that spin. He was a Christian, he quite literally believed he was doing what his god and Jesus wanted, and he and Mussolini had the backing of The Vatican.

What does FFRF have to do with anything either? It quite literally proves my point. They are trying to uphold the Constitution and the plurality of secular society, protecting people who are being subjected to specific religious compliance in public life. You should be grateful for them. Even if you think your dogma should be legislated, there would be plenty of in-fighting as to which specific interpretation should win.

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#1. Yeah...people don't need a god to tell them what to do because they know best. They can look at reality and determine for themselves how best to behave. God is merely an authority figure, at best, or at worst a collection of ideas created by far more ignorant and barbaric humans of the past who were unfamiliar with our modern environment With God merely being an authority figure, we have no way of knowing whether its knowledge is wise or not, so we inevitably would be wisest to come to our own conclusions about what is most ethically sound, whether God exists or not. God is totally useless in terms of telling people what is most ethically sound.

#2. Yeah...if nearly anyone alive created the world and had the powers of God there would be basically no such thing as suffering. There'd probably be a little suffering, but there'd be no massive suffering. No bubonic plague, although we'd get the occasional paper cut or broken bone to keep things from getting monotonous, perhaps. That's because the average human would be able to relate to the suffering of others, and with ultimate power there'd be nothing preventing them from halting most of that suffering...and given that God is supposedly omniscient, even the most insensitive of us could presumably understand the pain of their fellow beings and sympathize with that pain.

#3. Yeah, God, as described in the Abrahamic texts, I think, is a monster. In other texts, god will be described as more or less of a monster, or perhaps not a monster at all in a few. Here we have a being who engages in the types of petty vengeance and abusive, controlingness that would make the most abusive humans alive blush. The Youtube channel Darkmatter2525 does a great job of describing this in detail. It's a funny channel too. I'll recommend it to everyone. When we judge Hitler, and apply the same standards to God, Hitler comes out ahead, despite Hitler having less control over his environment and being less knowledgeable (seemingly) than God. That said, God could merely be a product of his environment too. Maybe God's genetics and nature damned God to become the monster He appears to be in the Abrahamic texts just like Hitler's genetics and environment damned him become the monster he was...in the sense that free will doesn't exactly exist. We're all merely products of our environment, like clockwork...but while that would make God an inappropriate outlet for our vengeance and hatred, that still would render God as a being who the wise know is a poor source for one's ethical code.

#4. Yeah...atheists refuse to believe in God simply because they have not been presented with the evidence that would satisfy them. Believing in something without having evidence that satisfies you is called lying to oneself. You can engage in a very similar practice by looking at a red pen and attempting to repeat "This pen is blue" until it turns blue before your eyes, and you've convinced yourself it's blue.

The rest of the article attempts to use verbal gymnastics to convince people that people view Richard Dawkins and various humans as saints and Gods. That is simply false. There is nothing about having respect for a human that turns that human into a saint or a God in one's eyes. There is nothing about listening to one's own insights that makes oneself one's own God.

Atheists have been pretty clear, historically, about what they don't believe in. They don't believe a sole intelligent, sentient being rules the universe. Attempts to describe their worldview as anything else are just feeble, failing word-salad arguments.

Atheists exist. Anyone saying otherwise is just engaging in pointless semantic bickering.

Again? Your comment is wrong at the first sentence.

How can people know what’s right? If it for pleasure than vengeance is pleasurable, but it’s intent is to cause suffering? How come if we ask what to do we get different answers? How is it that people trying to achieve a goal get unintentional results?

If we follow atheist to pleasure over suffering, we could ruin our collective story since the God of Jesus said abundant life is in Him? Only following his word can we get the results predicted.

Atheism exist in many forms and it is the ruin of humanity. Religion exist in many forms and it can be the confusion of humanity. Truth exist in one form, and the Shroud of Turin proved it.

So you are antagonist to God and humanity, albeit you see your perspective of thought as just, because the pride in your years of witnessing the world.

In The written testimony of Jesus, what is flesh is born of flesh. What is spirit is born of spirit.

Have you been born of spirit? So how judge you others who have. We have a history full of collaborating saints, and though you did not know them or trust them, showed truth of their experience. Same as those who remain naturally minded, they prove the end of their methods by the confusion they create.

You think because your word was pronounced, you’re creditable? How biblical God of you. You think your able to entertain the idea you are wrong? Tell me the feeling you get when considering you’re wrong about Jesus

@MisterEdmonds

My response to your first paragraph is the following:

Remember my thread which you last commented on? That's how people know what's best: the maximization of pleasure and minimization of suffering. Yeah...vengeance feels good...but if the goal is to maximize pleasure, the harm caused by it could very well result in a net negative. One of the later lessons I'm going to talk about in that group you posted on of mine is the logic behind humanitarianism. That logic is the following: Throughout my life, my body will change. My my mind will change. My preferences will change. My relationships will change. My skills and memories will change. My taste buds will change. Everything about me will change, except for one aspect of me, so long as I exist as a being fit to be called sentient: I can gaze out from my eyes at the world around me and experience that existence, and affect that existence, and that's exact same constant part of you. In fact...there's probably a greater difference between the me I was when I was five and the current me than the me I am now and you, if you are an adult male. Therefore, In a very relevant way, I am, kind of, you. You are my afterlife. When I die, if you are still here...that's really not so different from me still being alive but with a major case of amnesia...and so, your suffering should be undesirable to me, for the same reason mine is, because there isn't much relevant difference between your suffering and mine, and my joy and yours.

Now, that's my perspective as an atheist who believes in objective morality. Most atheists don't, but they nonetheless have good responses to your statement. One of these responses is...why would the morality instructed by God be any better any other form of morality? God is merely an authority figure, but someone merely being an authority figure doesn't inherently make their instructed codes of ethics anymore worthwhile to listen to than a next-door-neighbor's. Also, aside from logic...we've evolved some pretty strong emotional motivations to behave well in certain ways. We've undergone biological evolution that motivates us to protect our children, friends, and spouses to benefit ourselves. We've undergone cultural evolution that leads to laws that punish those who cause harm, or social taboos that shame those who cause harm, and social rewards that reward those who assist their communities.

My response to your second paragraph is the following: A lot of atheists lack my views on ethics, so I would not describe striving to avoid suffering and increase pleasure as atheistic. Actually, I would describe striving to achieve pleasure and avoid suffering as no more atheistic than theistic. If you obey your god, no doubt, it's either to please your God, or to gain rewards for yourself. Either way, you're striving to increase pleasure and decrease suffering.

I don't know anything about the Shroud of Turin...nor do I care to learn. I'm already confident the existence of the God of Abraham is impossible, for reasons that I'll delve into if you have any interest in hearing about that.

Pride is, like anything else, a tool. It can be helpful or harmful. I don't see how I'm seeing things inaccurately, or doing anything wrong, as a result of my pride.

I don't really understand most of the rest of your commentary. However, regarding your question about how I feel when considering that I may be wrong about Jesus, there was a time when I reacted with fear to the prospect of being wrong about Jesus. Now, I'm more confident that I'm not wrong about Jesus, so I really don't consider that anymore, hardly at all, but on the rare condition that I do consider that I may be wrong about Jesus, how I feel is...I'm doing the best I can to perceive the world accurately, and if Jesus is a just God, he will not mind that, regardless of my conclusions...and that's my anti-Pascal's Wager argument. No matter what God exists, if it's a just God, it'll understand that I've tried my best to see reality accurately, and if it's a just God it'll never punish me for that. Now, an unjust God might punish me, but I have little interest in spending eternity around an unjust God anyway and more importantly...I see no reason for an unjust God to treat those who disobey or disbelieve in it any better or worse than those who worship it, follow its commands, and believe in it. A God who cares nothing for ethics has no reason to be kind to its followers either.

Therefore, the only hope anyone has is that no God exists, or a God who doesn't punish for nonbelief.

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Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on the post - you guys are what makes slug the best.

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You provoked a lot of thoughts here - intelligent with little bad language . It made such a good change and I thank you for that. 🙂

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Yes, I truly believe God is a man made thing to control the masses and grift for money.

Someone had to be responsible for everything that went wrong, right. Which coined the phrases: ‘God moves in mysterious ways’ & ‘It’s all part of god’s plan’. Nuts.

@Jedly No someone didn't. Throughout the universe, unintelligent sources result in extremely complicated results all the time. Intelligence appears to be extremely rare...and if an intelligent source did create the universe, that leaves the question...how or why did the intelligence come to be? If we know no qualities of our universe but that, therefore, by default, it's more likely that our universe came from an unintelligent source than an intelligent one.

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@Crikey, @N0DD, this is your kind of subject, no? How about you, @Pand0ro? Tell us what you think. JesusOfHistory, you could also have made this post in the IDW Atheists Group.

I think it is obvious from the comments and from the world we see around us that the 'Self' has been made into a God and many people see God through the prism of their idea of themselves. God can only be found in the silence that lay beneath your idea of yourself. Most never see it. It's sad.

@JesusOfHistory That silence you're talking about will be experienced by Richard Dawkins and various atheists too. Belief in God has nothing to do with whether or not people experience that.

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Boy this stirred it up!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!!!!!!!! I think God is a an alien!!!!!!! A being of higher power, intelligence and knowledge then the rest of the world population!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, that is a well founded belief.
All the Major Eastern Religions trace back to Sumer and the Sumerian Civilization.
Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, Roman, Muslim and Christian Religions all follow the same format and bear the same basic thought/story structure.

The Sumerians wrote in actual graphic detail about their Gods and where they came from ... We actually have the ORIGINAL Writings (cuneiform tablets)
The Sumerians repeatedly referred to them and worshipped them as Gods.

It makes sense that a being with abilities so far advanced as to be overwhelmingly unknowable could be considered God.

What has always intrigued me is ...
Does the existence of this Higher Being automatically dismiss the idea that there IS Something More?
Did/Does this Higher Being NOT have a belief of Its Own in a “God”?

Where did the aliens come from?

I am agnostic to the prospect of a sort-of "God" that was created by life that at least, at one time, had mortal ancestors. - perhaps the God was created as part of a computer simluation.

I am open to the possibility of extremely powerful aliens who rule the universe and merged into some kind of hive-mind, so they essentially have one brain...so they become a kind of super powerful single, universe-controlling being.

What I am not open to the possibility of is divinity - of coming into being for no reason, or always existing, because these traits don't exist in nature, and we don't really have ways of predicting what will exist in nature besides searching for things that do exist in nature, or that have ways of forming that we know exist in nature. I know of no way for eternal sentience to form in nature.

@ElAtilla I don't believe in divinity. I'm not even agnostic to a divine sort of God. Any god I might consider the existence of would have to be morally flawed and created by unintelligent processes, or much more likely, mortal beings...or at least beings with ancestors who were mortal. Any God I might believe in, I can't see considering any kid of true supreme being or something to worship. It would just be another organism or being, like a next door neighbor, although presumably a very powerful and knowledgeable one.

what I don't believe in is this kind of perfection people attribute to God. Any God I discover the existence of...I'm going to assume is flawed and wonder if my ethical code is superior to that God's ethical code. Given the state of the universe, I'll assume there's a lot I'll be able to teach it about ethical behavior.

@rway Presumably the aliens would have come from the same place as us...and they might have had several billion years to develop, and because they could have come from the same place as us, and I know beings like us can exist, I think aliens existing as a kind of God, who were formed in the same way as us, are far more likely to exist than a divine-uncreated, eternal sort of god.

@MrShittles yes, but... even if that were true, it does nothing to address where we all came from in the first place.
Nature has nothing to do with a Creator, whatever that Creator might look like. Nature, including Time, began with the Big Bang. So, whoever or whatever caused the Bang is both Supernatural and Eternal, by the very definition of those terms.

@rway I'll agree with that...more or less.

@ElAtilla I certainly never stated that I don't believe in existence...or, if I did, that was a typo. That'd, of course, be a self-refuting statement anyway, and I would never intentionally say such a thing. Maybe I did as a error at some point.

Your sentence "Someone mentions the big bang as the ultimate of creativity," doesn't make any sense. Maybe you meant the ultimate creator, or the source of creation? I'll assume it's one of those.

With that assumption in mind...nobody thinks that. Nobody thinks of the big bang as the ultimate source of creation. No astrophysicists claim it to be, and nobody believes it to be who understands much about it. The idea is that the big bang is merely the origin of the universe. The Big Bang theory, however, makes no claims about the source of the Big Bang though.

I don't understand much of the rest of your statement. I'll just say that what makes me consider a God that was created by aliens, or a god that came about as the result of unintelligent processes as being a possibility (however slim I consider that possibility) and what makes me fail to consider the possibility of an eternal and un-created or omnibenevolent or divine God...is that we have examples of organic, mortal life forms capable of creating things of power. We know they can exist. We can even think of relatable motivations for those beings to continually become more powerful over time through technological innovation. Those beings would have potentially had billions of years of time for their technology to advance making their technology potentially like magic to us. Who knows that they could do? Also, intelligence appears to be rare in our universe, and temporary. It occurs in the form of brains, and these brains were the result of very specific processes, that are rare and complex, and they don't last forever. We've got far more examples of unintelligent processes resulting in complex results than we have examples of intelligent processes leading to complex results. It seems that intelligence is extremely rare in our universe, and so it would make the most sense to me if our universe was the result of unintelligent processes, and if a god exists, it was the creation of mortal aliens, or at least aliens whose ancestors were mortal. I think the nature of reality is an argument against an omnibenevolent God. I don't think a totally good god could rule this place...which I conclude just by looking around.

In short, I think any God would be just another being...not something perfect or eternal, because we have no examples of perfect, eternal beings, but we have plenty of examples of flawed, but powerful beings.

Aside from that, I don't really understand your criticisms.

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Its strange how some people spend so much time and energy fighting against a fairy tale they know isnt true.

If you ignore rot it doesn't go away.
People mock flat earthers also. Now imagine if such a belief was wide spread & effected the lives of billions.
A god doesn't need to exist for it's influence to do harm.

Well said, Mao or Stalin couldnt of put it any better, thank you for exposing the heart of Atheism. Atheism is not a absence of belief in a God, it is against believing in any God.

How about this...why would people be concerned about pedophelia, if they aren't pedophiles?
Why would people be concerned about who the leader or their nation is, if they're not leading their nation?
Why would people be concerned about a worldview that affects the majority of the planet in dramatic ways (ways that impact those who don't follow said worldview) if those people don't practice that worldiew?

Get it now?

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I think someone bein an atheist simply means, at minimum, a lack of belief in any and all deities.

However most people I've encountered who claim to be atheists tend to actually be anti-theists. Although it might be simply that they're the most vocal and the actual atheists just go unnoticed.

They can be both atheists and anti-theists.

I would say anti-theism is more common than anti-theist. I'd describe an anti-theist person as being opposed to theists, whereas anti-theism is about being opposed to theism, rather than the believers in that theism.

I've talked with a founder of Atheist Ireland, a few times, for example. He's strongly opposed to most forms of God-belief, but describes his strategy like attempting to turn his enemies into friends. He wants to protect humanity from God-belief.

@MrShittles Well if my admittedly poor gasp of latin serves me properly, the "a" prefix in "atheism" just means a lack of theism whereas "anti" means opposed to theism.

I'm curious about that founder though. Was "protect" the actual word he used?

@MassDebater He cited Lincoln's statement in which he said, "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"

But that specific statement is unimportant. I saw his comments on a discussion forum over a period of years. He perceives most God-belief as similar to a communicable disease that he wants to protect society from.

He sees the best of religion as not doing anything that a lack of religion cannot accomplish too, and usually being harmful.

@MrShittles It's important to me, it gives me a good insight into his mindset. However you already explained it so I guess it's unimportant now... lol.

Well if I were speaking with him I'd strongly disagree.

@MassDebater He knows a lot. I've tended to be of the perspective that, while I wonder if some variants of God-belief and religious belief can help people and society, I doubt they will do much to help society more than secularism, and I definitely think there is a lot of harmful religious and god-belief out there. On average, I suspect we'd be much better off with a more secular society.

However, historically, I've tended to question his view that none of religion's worth keeping...most likely, and we've argued about that for days, with him usually making the more intelligent arguments. He's got a very unemotional, ultra-logical, sort of thought process. He's pretty hard to argue with, because he usually backs up his claims with a lot of intelligent commentary and knowledge.

I look at it like...the sense of wonder and the feelings of awe at the universe that god-based religion can provide can also come from secular sources, and that's the primary benefit of religion that I see.

For example, I have my own secular religion. I personify aspects of the universe, and that's makes it more interesting to me. I think Einstein had a kind of secular religion too. I suspect he, and various pantheists, personify the universe, and it becomes more interesting and appealing to them because of that.

And, some of them probably believe in a intelligent being sort of God, and for others, they know they're merely engaging in personification and don't believe in a intelligent ruler of the universe at all, but I suspect they both attain the same sense of wonder from their worldviews.

However, I don't believe there is an intelligent ruler of the universe...and so I see the people who don't believe in a God but personify the universe as having a way of making it seem appealing and interesting, just like the God believers, but having an advantage over the God-believers insofar as having a more accurate view of reality too. Really, whether a god exists or not, whoever's most accurate in their beliefs is going to have a pretty big advantage because of that. It always helps with everything in general to have the right worldview, or one close to that.

What I mostly wonder about is...how much does repeating "God doesn't exist" get in the way of that sense of wonder for some people. It kind of kills the fun if we're constantly reminding everyone, "That's just personification. It's fictional. God doesn't exist."

There's a kind of very interesting, magical worldview that one can obtain through one's imagination, and I think I have more respect for that kind of worldview than the founder of Atheist Ireland. That said, he's more concerned about people than I am. For example, one time he suggested that God-belief doesn't help anyone, so I tried to think up ways it did. One of my examples was that if a God exists, that God can create an afterlife, and the thought of an afterlife can comfort people. I myself, have a fear of death that I've had trouble dealing with. Of late, I think I've dealt with it fairly successfully, but it'll always be a thorn in my side now and again. I find I'm best off just admitting my fear, and then it goes away. However, I can't say I know best how to deal with the fear of death, and people each have their strategies and I'm not sure what's best.

That founder of Atheist Ireland countered with an example he went through in which he held a crying man in his arms who had lost his belief in an afterlife, because he was mourning the death of his wife a second time, upon coming to believe he wouldn't see her in Heaven. That would have been avoidable if he'd not believed in Heaven in the first place.

So, from my perspective whether religion is useful or not depends on your priorities and how religion works. If you're of the opinion that religious belief is usually something very concrete to most believers that causes them fear and lots of discomfort...it makes sense to want to be rid of religion as quickly as possible.

If you view most religious belief like I instinctively do, it can be this kind of magical, more mysterious, agnostic form of belief that can be quite interesting. I grew up agnostic, and so my religious beliefs were are very mysterious, magical-sorts of beliefs. I believed in these things because I wanted to, not because there was some judgmental deity watching my every move. Religion was something mysterious, magical, and fun to me...a choice I made for entertainment and to invent a worldview I found most interesting.

That said, a lot of atheists are raised with more concrete, definite forms of religious belief in which there is a very real deity watching one's every move, and their religions were not choices for them...not something that you choose to engage in because it feels good, but just something that just was the way things were, rather than a choice, or sometimes even something a person is scared into believing...and in those cases, where it's not a choice, I have a lot of concerns about the religious beliefs.

I'm not sure which is more common though...the magical brands of belief which are an amusing/inspiring choice, or the concrete brands which I tend to be more concerned about, especially when people get scared into them.

@MrShittles Well, I have a hypothesis that humans need some sort of cause to devote themselves to. I came to this idea when I noticed that many non-religious people treat things like politics, social causes, or even anti-theism much in the same way a religious person would treat their religion. Case in point your founder, who uses the same rationalization for his beliefs as a religious person would. They both believe they are right, and that those who don't believe as they do must be, as you said, "protected."

And I'm sure we've all seen the memes of preachy vegans or zealot feminists.

So if my theory is true, that humans need something to fill that desire, then is avoiding religion really better if it's replaced with, say, racial nationalism? Feminism? Blind political adherence? Celebrity worship?

I mean sure there are people who attack others on the basis of their religious beliefs, but try wearing a MAGA hat on the streets of Los Angeles and see if the non-religious left treat you any better.

At least with religion people tend to be aware of what it is they're using to fill that desire so it's easier to recognize and reign in. The people who concern me the most are the ones who don't realize their zealotry because they've been convinced that you can't be an extremist if you're not religious.

...which again makes me think of more groups, but I'd be here all night listing them.

@MassDebater I have some concerns about atheists bullying. They can get extremely rude online. That's my sole concern though. Offline, I can't think of any problems I'd consider likely to result from it.

Of course...that's because I believe atheism to be true. If you don't, atheists have a fictional worldview and that could lead to all sorts of problems, depending on how reality actually works.

There is stuff like communism's tendency to be hostile towards certain types of religion, but that's more a result of the government type than atheism itself. I think that happens because a communism is improved through everyone working together to assist the country, and in such a system religious belief can act like a competitive secondary government, diverting people's loyalty, energy, and attention away from assisting their country in its improvement.

I think atheists are jerks sometimes...but because I think atheism is true I have far more concerns about various religious beliefs.

To a Muslim who believes in hell for nonbelief, obviously atheism has some major disadvantages. The disadvantages I see to that Muslim's belief in hell for nonbelief aren't nearly as bad as that...but to me, that sort of thing still can lead to a lifetime of needless worry and the splitting up of families for absolutely no reason.

I also have concerns about God-belief in general encouraging a more anti-intellectual culture. To me, it looks like belief in God rewards people, through making them feel good, for not contemplating reality extensively, because I think that the more people contemplate reality the less likely they'll be to believe in God...and that's a concern I have about every form of God-belief. (And it would make sense to me if theists felt that atheism led to a more anti-intellectual culture...because presumably the more we think about reality, the more likely we'll be to conclude the truth, regardless of what that truth is).

I have various other concerns about religion, depending on the religion, and I just can't think of many negatives to atheism...because I think it's true, and it's usually just pretty good to be right about the nature of reality. That way you'll be able to plan your goals in a way that accomplishes what you intend to best. It makes all your efforts more worthwhile.

@MassDebater I also would not describe the founder of Atheist Ireland in engaging in any form of rationalization or zealotry. He had a well-thought out strategy he'd explain in a great deal of detail to me, over many hours of conversation. He was quite openminded too. He just had goals and views I didn't completely agree with.

He wanted to change the world dramatically...but I would not describe that as inherently a bad thing.

Confidence in one's views is only a bad thing if you're wrong. I don't think he was very wrong. Similarly...I think the street-preachers who wander around yelling to people about how they're going to go to hell would be behaving perfectly reasonably...if I thought their views were correct.

@MrShittles Well another non-religious devotion that I would include is Marxism. Can you not think of any offline issues that a religious-like devotion to Marxism may have caused in history...? Or national socialism perhaps...?

I'm also pretty sure by definition religions are based on concepts that cannot be verified or falsified, as that would make them sciences. If that's true then them bein eigt or wrong is nothing more than opinion.

@MassDebater I think that the reason why a lot of atheists are democrats and socialists is partly because, for some reason, the right tends to try to appeal to Christian groups a lot more than non-Christian groups. They're often opposed to stem-cell research and abortion, and more likely to be opposed to things that have to do with homosexuality...and I don't think there is any rational motivation for the levels of opposition the right often have to that stuff, unless the motivation stems from religious beliefs.

There are a ton of atheist libertarians though. I think if the right in the U.S. were replaced with a more libertarian, rather than Republican Party, we'd see a much more even split between Democrats and Republicans.

I am a gnostic atheist, so I believe that I can prove God doesn't exist. That's a matter for discussion though.

But in any case...you can certainly think about how likely the existence of a God is. I definitely think it would be a mistake just to do what some people do and think, "I can't have any idea how likely a God's existence is."

There are clues. For example, I look at the world around me and don't see patterns pointing to the existence of a being with the traits commonly attributed to a God, and if I'm to treat the existence of a God as similarly to anything else, (such as pink zebras or the prospect of the Sun disappearing tomorrow) I would then label a God's existence impossible....at least a divine version. I am open to the possibility of a God that was created by an alien civilization...just not an eternal God, or an un-created God. I see no signs of eternal intelligence in our universe, nor can I think of a way that could come to pass. I see an even bigger problem with an un-created intelligence, or an omnibenevolent intelligence, given the characteristics of the universe we live in.

Other theists talk about their view of evidence for God. Not wanting to look because one likes one's beliefs and doesn't want them changed is fine to me...but the existence of God (or lack of it) is like anything else...there are always ways to discover whether it's more or less likely to be, and if people choose to not look for those clues, I'd prefer for them to know they're making a choice, rather than them believing those clues don't exist.

Regarding your association between atheism and Marxism...in my view communism generally tends to be a bad idea. Anytime you give the government that much power, bad things tend to happen. I could see how it could be potentially useful for small societies, or if you have some system for electing particularly intelligent, unbiased, patriotic, humanitarians into the government. So far, every communism I can think of has elected tyrannical asshats into their government...and it's just a matter of degree of how asshat-ish the ruling party has been. China's recent government been about the closest thing to a success I can think of. I've never had any major problems with their limits on family size...and now that they've allowed 2 children per family, I have absolutely no problems with that. However, they still are asshats periodically, and appear to be sending Uighur Muslims off into re-education camps for reasons that are highly suspicious, and they've certainly been a lot worst in the past. They clam the Uigur Muslims were trying to rebel. The question is...do they have a good reason to though? There have been accusations that China's family size limits have been pushed on the Uigurs more than other groups. China has been one of the most brutal nations in existence in the past.

I would say Democratic socialism is a pretty healthy and sensible form of government though, and I think I'm typically a lot more concerned about the right's seeming ideological opposition to it than the left's tendency to like it more...especially when we're going to require stronger governments in the future. We'll have to deal with issues like climate change, genetic engineering, automation that might make some corporations extremely power unless the government controls them somehow, and pandemics and all that stuff is going to require taxation, and we may deal with a lot of emergencies that powerful central governments can help with a lot.

For those sorts of reasons, while I'd have a problem with nations only having one political party and having central governments as powerful as China...I don't have any major concerns with nations coming to have central governments as powerful as South Korea. South Korea, to me, is a good middle ground between the weak central governments of capitalism and a strong central government. They've got pretty free people, but they're great at dealing with national emergencies quickly, because their people are willing to accept temporary powerful levels of government control. I'd like it if the U.S. were closer to that.

You could be right about atheists having a problem with Marxism...but if so, I certainly don't think there aren't equally risky comparable possibilities amongst the religious community. Germany during World War 2 was extremely Christian. North Korea is technically atheist...but Kim Jong whatever tends to be deified, almost. He's given weird, almost supernatural qualities. The people are taught to not question is rule. That doesn't sound much like the typical western atheist attitude of "No god's, no kings."

I certainly don't think there's anything whatsoever wrong with Democratic socialism. That's been an extremely healthy government for western European nations and Canada and pretty much the whole west, aside from the U.S...and in the U.S. we have socialist programs, like public schools and the military. It's just an issue of how much socialism you want.

And in societies with voting for multiple political parties...they've tended to veer towards Democratic socialism, maintaining their voting rights, rather than sliding into communism.

@MrShittles my point is that people seem to have a need to devote themselves to something, and that if the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and possibly Mao filled that desire by devoting themselves to, say, Jainism instead of their non-religious devotions like Marxism or National Socialism, there would probably be a lot less people prematurely dead in the history books.

So in other words, without religion people fill that void with other things that they treat much the same, and both can be dangerous. For example, an atheist who thinks religious people should be killed is no better than a religious person who thinks atheists should be killed.

@MassDebater I certainly agree with your last sentence.

Religion may function as a kind of void-filler you're talking about. There's a cognitive scientist and philosopher named Daniel Dennett who might share your concerns on some level. He's made a video I liked in which he described people's craving for religiosity as similar to people's craving for sugar, and he mentioned that he didn't know what sorts of religiosity were more like sugar, and what sorts of religiosity were more like saccharine...with saccharine being the healthier replacement for sugar that fills the craving.

The implication being that, perhaps if we get rid of the saccharine, we won't be able to overcome our cravings and will go back to the less healthy sugar.

Dennett's an atheist, and his proposed solution was to think of the good things religion may accomplish, and try to find secular alternatives so people aren't reliant on religious beliefs...such as secular meeting groups that bring people together rather than churches.

However, my primary concern is regarding people having an unclear view of reality. If you see the world as it is, your whole future can be planned better. Even if there are emotional harms, and societal harms, to a lack of religion, I'd expect that a society with a pretty accurate view of reality will be able to plan better to overcome those harms. I therefore suspect veering society more towards secularism will have more long term gains, even if there are short term problems. You just can't plan as well if you lack the full picture.

But again...I have that view because I view atheism as the most accurate way to view reality. To people who don't, that worldview won't have nearly as many potential advantages.

I did, however, know a Muslim who lived in the United States who felt that an atheist would make the best President...as in, potentially a better president than a fellow Muslim. I assume this is because atheists would lack the belief in hell some religions have that can lead to a lot of strife between religious views, and the ethical goals of atheists will all be rooted in improving the physical world, which everybody lives on. I suppose that might be a redeeming factor of atheism and agnosticism and deism and those less religious worldviews in the eyes of people who believe there to be a God. It would be nothing compared to the benefits of something like achieving Heaven in the eyes of someone who believes there is a risk of not achieving that for not following one's religious tenets though.

@MrShittles Well when it comes to that I'm not a very good person to discuss it with. I have what seems to be a very unique view of religion and essentially made my own so my outlook is probably far different from the usual religious types.

Sounds like I'm going to have to read into this Mr. Dennett though.

@MassDebater I enjoy listening to what Daniel Dennett describes as "thought experiments" in which he uses brief examples of real-world situations to explain ideas what, without those examples, might be difficult to understand. If you're looking for someone to give you new outlooks about the way the world works...I've only really found two sources of useful revelations about the universe, that opened my eyes in a few ways. One of those sources was a book called "The Tao of Pooh," by Benjamin Hoff. The other source was videos by Daniel Dennett.

And I'm not talking about ordinary new knowledge...but new ways of seeing reality...nothing groundbreaking, but just little alternative outlooks that made me see the world differently.

To me, Dennett has a way of saying things that, afterward, make me think, "That should have been common sense. I should have thought that up long ago," and yet, I didn't, until I watched Dennett's videos.

One that comes to mind is a video he did on free will. He believes people would be best described as having free will and that would should stop telling people we don't.

@MrShittles I would also say if you're looking for new outlooks you should read my book, but I'm not here to shill. 😛

@MassDebater What's your book? You sound openminded and interesting. It might interest me. Also, what's it about?

@MrShittles It's about an approach towards religion I thought of one day while trying to solve the issues with Pascal's Wager, and of the religion that resulted from it.

Long story short it's basically a strong emphasis on open-mindedness to belief paired with a strong emphasis on remaining skeptical. The version on my website is a little outdated though so I'll upload an updated version this weekend and send you a link.

Also you flatter me. You're also the most open minded person on the atheist side of the discussion I've encountered in a long time.

@MassDebater Yeah, I'll look at your link. Thanks. I like seeing new perspectives. They seldom change my mind, and I seldom change anyone else's, but it gives me the opportunity to learn more about people in general, even when my mind doesn't change.

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A true Christian KNOWS that God exists. We have all the proof that we need in our lived experiences.

We are happy for you but do you notice how many pronouns you used in that one sentence. I wonder why?

@JesusOfHistory What has pronouns got to do with it? I have the evidence that I need. There are two more.

@JesusOfHistory It's called speaking English.

@JesusOfHistory 16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Psalm 50, v 16

No we don't. Nothing in our existences proves the existence of a sole sentient being who controls the universe...or...I suppose you might have some uncomprehensible way of knowing that. That's just you though. Lots of other people don't.

@MrShittles Speak for yourself. You have no way of knowing what my experience is. You are talking absolute crap.God reveals himself to those who trust in him. And why the hell should he show himself to people who hate and judge him. He is real and again I say, I and other true Christians have all the proof we need. Fact as all other Christians would say the same, so therefore also lots do have their proof. So I guess you don't believe in relative truth then? So you must have some sense in there. Or do you believe in truth being relative just not for believers in Christ? And also I sai8d "Christians" have their proof. Non believers do not have their proof hense their unbelief.

@dagodfrey27127 I was speaking for myself...hence my statement, "I suppose you might."

However, I doubt you do. I have no choice but to assume you do not, because I can't think of a way in which you could have an experience that proves the existence of a sole sentient being who rules the universe.

However, because I can't be sure about that...I'm not going to pressure you to agree with me that a god doesn't exist...and more because, it's a matter of respect. God-belief is very important to some people.

I will argue if people make claims about evidence though.

He should reveal himself because to people who hate and judge him out of respect for people who hate and judge him - respect that any ethical God would acknowledge that we deserve. Judging someone is a form of respect. Patronizing someone - mindlessly doing what they say - that's a sign of disrespect. If a God exists, I intent to judge him, her, or it, as a sign of respect. That way I can tell whether it should be trusted...just like anyone should do with any powerful leader, such as the leader of a nation, like a President or Prime Minister or King.

He should reveal himself to people who hate him, because our hate does not harm him. Only a childish fool of a God would be bothered by the hatred of mortals who have reason to be resentful of a creator who created the Bubonic plague. He should reveal himself because a lack of knowledge about whether the god exists or not has led to a great deal of chaos, in my opinion.

@MrShittles And I was also speaking for myself and other Christians. You cannot tell me or anyone else what they have or have not experienced. We know from what we have experienced. And no, if people keep telling God to but out of things then he is perfectly just to grant them their wishes and not reveal himself. He will not force himself on anyone.

@dagodfrey27127 I did not tell you what you have or have not experienced. I do, however, make assumptions about what you have not experienced...as I should.

An all-knowing, omniscient being not "forcing" himself on anyone in the ways you're talking about would be pretty comparable to a parent not telling their young child to look both ways before crossing the street, or not preventing their child from eating nothing but candy. God is the more knowledgeable being. If it does not act on it's knowledge, that's the same as causing us harm...just like a parent would be guilty of child abuse for not going out of their way to prevent their child from drinking random cleaning products.

If a god wants to assist us, but not force itself on is, the appropriate behavior would be to talk to us. That does not happen. Therefore, God's lack of attention is god forcing us to behave in certain, harmful ways we have no control over...due to our lack of knowledge, just like how a three-year-old probably doesn't know that drinking cleaning products is unhealthy.

God has spoken to us through his word in the Bible. That is fact, but I also know that will not be good enough for you. We are responsible for our own actions so we cannot blame God when we mess up. There would be absolutely no point if God stepped in on every mistake humans make and we would learn nothing. I am ending this conversation now as I see it will just go round in circles. But the last thing I will say is that the things that I have experienced through my faith is proof enough for me that God exists as he is described in the bible. And along with all other true christians we KNOW from our personal experiences that God exists. We KNOW.

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Hello. If someone says that they don't believe that gods exist, doesn't that mean that they presume that gods exist? You can't deny the existence of anything if it doesn't exist in the first place... Does that make any sense?
But then, if one doesn't even recognise gods' existence, they carry on with their lives that are truly godless, and there is nothing wrong with that. In that case, I don't know if they are classified as atheists as such. I'm just thinking aloud here. Lol!

Hi Naomi,
Even if God didn't exist, He would still exist as an idea... otherwise we couldn't be discussing Him 🤓.
That's my argument for Santa Clause too, by the way. Of course Santa Clause exists, he's just not a real person, that's all.
God, however, can not exist solely in the minds of humans; because "He" (whatever "He" is...) caused effects in the real world that predated humans by a fair bit.
You can pretend that the Universe just "happened", randomly. But that gets harder and harder the more you explore how things work. Especially Probability. That argument usually relies on the cop-out of "infinite permutations"... which is simply a fallacy in a finite Universe.
However, what you can't pretend rationally, is that The Big Bang could have happened without a cause... that Nothing spontaneously created Everything, in perfect Order, for no Reason and as a reaction to... nothing.
Now THAT is a faith-based belief system if I ever heard one.
According to literally everything that we think we know about the Laws of Nature, something caused the Bang.
Now, you could argue that the Laws of Nature didn't exist before the Big Bang either, and the whole notion of "before Time" is just a conceptual oxymoron.
But our Universe is all we know about (and embarrassingly little about that.)
We have no empirical or logical reason to abandon the principle of causality "pre"-Bang. Because we have nothing to replace it with. And if logic doesn't work outside our Universe... then we literally have no way to even speculate about it.
Any speculation, itself, assumes the validity of logic. Even if you speculate that speculation is invalid, that speculation would rely on the assumption that your speculation is valid.
You would have to be wrong, to be right.
So I'll go with the known principle of causality for now... 😁

We may ALL be wrong about what God is and what His point was... if any point at all.
But the one thing that cannot be denied rationally, is that He exists.

Hello rway, "Even if God didn't exist, He would still exist as an idea." this statement itself sounds like an Western concept to me; I grew up outside the West. So what follows in your comment is kind of wasted on me - sorry. I was brought up by agnostic parents in a secular environment. There were no religious scriptures in our house. I didn't even know the Ten Commandments until my English language teacher used it as a teaching/learning material in the classroom. So, my moral compass was developed somehow irrelevant to religious teaching. I kind of understand the concept of God existing as an idea, though. Though agnostic, my parents didn't prevent me from reading stories about various gods, but they were just stories to me and the gods that appeared in the stories were simply characters. It was kind of fantasy to think that they existed but they were no different from say, Spiderman or Batman. Those stories didn't prompt me to think seriously about the existence of gods. I still feel the same way. I don't mean to trivialise gods or be disrespectful to those who have faith in their gods, but I can only learn religions in terms of religious studies and anthropology, like you say as an idea held by humans.

@rway
Just because you don’t understand the Big Bang theory, does not mean your gods exist.

Big Bang theory never claimed the Big Bang just randomly happened. One suggested postulate is that Big Bangs are happening continuously in the “multiverse” with random outcomes. It is just a postulate because math suggests it is possible. It never states there is not a cause.
To the contrary, this one of the big questions in science, what caused the Big Bang. We don’t know due to the fact that time is not observable before that event.
All your discussion after that regarding logic etc does not mean anything as your first premise is wrong.

Your suggestion that goddidit is the worst possible one. Their is absolutely nothing suggesting that an intelligence was required to start the event.
Even less that some god did it. I can make up any rubbish that could be just as valid as the god postulate.
It was caused by a big piece of green slime and burnt up in the few first seconds. A pink unicorn shagged a purple oyster and out popped the universe... my god did it... you see all rubbish.

You are welcome to show me any “effects” in the real world caused by any god.

I do agree that god exist in exactly the same way Santa Claus and unicorns exists: invented by human imagination.

@Hanno lol... what don't I "understand" about the Big Bang?
A multiverse is a "postulate" just because it can't be discounted mathematically. It's still just a day dream. A lack of evidence against... is not evidence for.
Indeed, the word "before" has no meaning pre-Bang. I discussed that already in the post directly preceding your comment.
You're not making up a "god", you're simply making up details about your imaginary god; that's different.
You can't even consider the details of something, without conceding that It exists in the first place.

Hi @Naomi I'm not making a religious argument at all.
God exists as a logical implication, in a purely secular sense.
God is also the assumption upon which all of Modern Science was constructed.
The idea that the Universe was Created on purpose according to some system of Order, led to the assumption that it could, therefore, be figured out through a rigorous process.
God is the original, axiomatic premise. And every sound theory and repeatable experiment that has ever been conducted has been a test of that premise.
So far it's holding up pretty well.

To revere Science... and at the same time to deny God, is simply irrational.

@rway
You claimed that science says there is no cause for the Big Bang. You are wrong. That is what you don’t understand.

You defined that “god” is whatever caused the Big Bang. Fine. Since we don’t know what caused the Big Bang, you have no idea who or what your god is.
But then you argue that whatever caused the Big Bang (your god) STILL exists.
That is of course rubbish. There is no reason why the causing event or causing entity still needs to exist.

You have no proof god now exists as you cannot show that whatever caused the the Big Bang still exist.

Poof... gone is your proof.

@rway
And no, the scientific method never claimed that the universe was formed on purpose to a system of order.

The universe exist and operates to sets of laws we have discovered, mostly to our surprise. These laws does not need gods to exist. They do not need intelligence to be, however you need intelligence to discover and understand them.

If you want to claim that these laws are your god, then your god does not mean much does it?
You also don’t know if these laws existed before the Big Bang and were the causers or if they were formed at the beginning.
Again your proof falls flat.

That is what Einstein meant when he said “God” does not play dice. Of course he was wrong and later expressed his regret.

@Hanno No offense, but you don't seem to get anything that I'm saying. I'm obviously not saying it effectively...

  1. You have it exactly wrong: I claimed that "science says" there must have been a cause for the Big Bang.
  2. I never claimed to have any idea who or what God is.
  3. That's not a "claim" of the scientific method. The method is merely a process, the soundness of which relies entirely on that assumption. That's exactly why Modern Science thrived and grew out of Western Civilization, which grew out of Christianity.
  4. "These laws" are not "my god"... I don't even have a god of my own.
    These laws were created. By what?... no idea.
    But what we call it is: God.
    The "universe exists and operates to sets of Laws that we have discovered"; and also to an unknowable number of others, somewhere between 0 and infinity, that we haven't discovered.
    If you "discover" a watch on the sidewalk, you haven't disproved the watchmaker; even if you can roughly figure out how it works. The unseen watchmaker is still implied by the watch, until you can make a compelling argument otherwise.
  5. The claim of the Big Bang Theory, as far as I know, is that the event marked the beginning of our natural Laws and the dimensions in which they are relevant; including Time.
    If that were not True, it would actually simplify the proof for God.
  6. Einstein was remarking on the accepted uncertainty within Quantum Mechanics. He was merely suggesting that we should expect to find the underlying Law that resolves that uncertainty at some point, because "God doesn't play dice".
    This is actually an argument in support of the existence of God... from a guy who understood the universe better than most.
  7. "Poof" is not an argument.

@Hanno @rway
"The idea that the Universe was Created on purpose". Again, this is a very Christian/monotheistic concept to me. I'm inclined to go along with Spinoza who believed that God is “the sum of the natural and physical laws of the universe and certainly not an individual entity or creator”, and I think that this concept is somehow in line with the idea of polytheistic religions where multiple deities are associated with natural elements such as sun, water, fire, wind, etc., and therefore it goes along with law of nature; the philosophy of science, rather than the idea of God as the sole creator.

Hi @Naomi, It is most certainly a monotheistic idea.
Polytheism was the historical norm, the idea that natural phenomena were influenced by the random whims of different "gods" that we could never understand... only attempt to appease.
The monotheistic notion that a single God set up an orderly universe that behaves predictably and consistently is the very foundation of Modern Science; and the theory is holding up pretty well so far.

@rway

  1. Yes, you did explain yourself rather badly if you now claim that. Fair enough. I can accept that. I too at times explain badly due to the brevity of this communication format.
  2. That really makes your argument meaningless in terms of the atheist-theist discussion. This actually means you are a weak agnostic. Welcome to the club.
  3. Completely missed the contributions from Greek and Roman philosophers, Chinese and Arabic scholars and atheists through the Millenia to have what we have today as the scientific method. The major advance of the SM was when the RC lost its power in Britain. It is the reduced effect of Christianity that accelerated the SM. Not because of Christianity.
  4. There are no reason to believe that the laws were “created”. They are not actually things. They are merely a description of how matter and energy relate and react to each other etc.
    The compelling argument we have is from centuries of science to lead us where we are now.
  5. Correct, this is what all atheists and even theistic scientists accept.
  6. Correct, and Einstein was wrong in this case. He expressed his regret about thinking that. So much for his support.
  7. No, poof is not an argument... the words preceding the word poof were however a sound argument.

@rway @Hanno
I don't argue about the advancement of modern science in the West. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of ancient Chinese. They had many great philosophers instead of religious leaders, and the ancient Chinese idea of how the world was created was a cosmogonic or origin myth which was already more accurate than any divine creation myth, even by today's science standard. Their focus was on cosmogomy; study of the evolutionary behaviour of the universe and the origin of its characteristic features. They were already thinking that way something like the 4th century BC! I wonder if they were atheists, then. They must've been because apparently there are very few stories involving a god as a creator or divine will from those ancient times. Amazing! So, there may be a flaw to the idea that a single-god set up provided a basis for the advancement of modern science. Well, not in the East, obviously.

HI @Naomi, The West/East are observing the same natural laws. You don't need to ponder where they came from to deduce what they are.
Science is an attempt to explain what they are.
Religion is an attempt to explain where they came from.
The two are not incompatible. If the Chinese assumed the universe was "ordered" without ever wondering why, they already had a head-start on other cultures who assumed that it wasn't ordered at all.
We didn't start catching up until we realized that implication from Christianity.

@Hanno

  1. Yeah... I don't know how I could have expected you to figure out that I was saying "...there must have been a cause for the Big Bang", from this sentence:
    "According to literally everything that we think we know about the Laws of Nature, something caused the Bang."

2 thru 7... just more of the same

@rway

  1. Err... you said, that we claim it just happened randomly and without a cause... that is what I was pointing to. No atheist/agnostic who knows what they talk about will claim that.

2-7. Yes, at some point even you have to concede that you got it all wrong. Your definition of god is what most agnostics and atheists already said long long ago.

All you did with these discussions is prove to yourself that you are indeed an agnostic yourself.

@Hanno if you concede a "cause", then you concede the existence of God, because that's what we call the cause.
You'll have to get past that, in order to even begin pondering the nature of God.

You're not arguing: "God doesn't exist."
You are arguing, without even realizing it, apparently: either "God did exist but doesn't exist any more" or, "THAT version of 'God' doesn't exist."
...which is the same argument every single other religion makes in favor of their version of God.

Is God sentient?
Is God still there?
Does God care what I do?
...are all questions that assume the existence of God in first place.
And to assume that there's just no way to gain insight into the answers to any such questions, as an Agnostic would, is just a defeatist cop-out; and ironically assumes at least some of the answers already.

@rway
Your definition of god is the agnostic/atheist definition of the creation event.
You are arguing the agnostic/atheist case without realising it.

I am not pondering the nature of god at all.
I am simply explaining to you that your definition of god and the following arguments are meaningless when you are actually arguing the case of that what you try to prove wrong.

The questions you think i ask (I don’t) is to show you the basic problems you have by defining god the way you do.
I don’t ask those questions or think like that at all. I am only pointing out the logical conclusion of your definitions.
They are nothing and have been discussed by agnostic and atheists for decades.
You are just the only person trying to make that somehow god... which becomes meaningless when you discuss atheism, theism and agnosticism.

@Hanno ok, fine. And they're talking about God without realizing it.
But God isn't "the event", God caused the event... or "nothing" did.
Which is it?
If the agnostic/atheist definition of God is "the creation event", as you say... that apparently caused itself, then that's clearly not what I'm arguing.
What is also clear... is that I'm wasting my time.

0

Are we talking about Atheism as being a non believer
Of Religion?
Or ...
Of Faith?
Or ...
Of An Existing Depiction of “God”?

0

An atheist supposedly does not believe in God. So they "believe" in something, isn't that contrary to what an atheist is?????????????

You are thinking of a Nihilist.

According to Richard Dawkins there are two kinds if atheism: weak atheism, which is the lack of any belief, and strong atheism which is the belief against.

So if religion is defined as a shared belief, then strong atheism would count as a religion, but weak atheism would not.

@MassDebater everybody believes something

@rway indeed they do.

@MassDebater then we're agreed: there's no such thing as "weak Atheism" by that definition.

@rway Well I wouldn't go that far. It's a lack of belief in religion.

However that may be defined.

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