Atheism

INT21

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I need to re-read the book, but it did seem to stay fairly true to the story line.

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PeteByrdie

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All these conversations about God presuppose our definitions of God are at least similar. Fore example, Christian scriptures at some point describe God with the term"The Ancient of Days" which implies the aging process which implies death. Doesn't that rule out God as being immortal?
I would interpret that as meaning only that a being has been around for a long time, presumably forever if we're talking of the judeo-Christian deity. But it is difficult to talk about atheism as though it's simply a lack of belief in God, while resisting the temptation of muddying the waters by pointing out it's just as much a lack of belief in Thor, Jove, Curnunnos, The Great Spirit, and whatever the hell else people have believed in, as well as the different conflicting ideas of the monotheistic deity. I think Ricky Gervais said that Christians are almost as atheistic as he is; of the thousands of gods believed in by humanity throughout history, he believes in only one fewer than they.
 

segovius

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of the thousands of gods believed in by humanity throughout history, he believes in only one fewer than they.
It sounds quite clever but if you boil it down it doesn't make sense without qualification. It's a simplistic reductionist soundbite really.

Christians - and all other religious believers - by definition are stating TWO different things when expressing their belief in a deity.

1) A belief in God in the abstract - ie the belief in a higher being

2) The belief in a God in the specific - ie Jehovah/Jesus whatever.

These two things are not the same thing and the belief in any given statement is dependent on context. And on the religion. I believe in God for example but my belief is that the Muslim God is the same as the Christian God and all other Gods - because He's God. So Gervais's soundbite would not work for me because it's quite binary: God or no God. I don't 'disbelieve' in any other religion's God at all. I think they are human attempts to quantify God. As is the Islamic one also.

Gervais either does not know of these two separate uses of the concept of God (in which case he should retire from the debate as it's basis 101 kindergarten stuff and if you want to address religion address it for what it actually is) or he is being intellectually dishonest for the sake of a snappy meme.

I suspect the latter but either is indicative of someone not to be taken too seriously. He'd probably agree on that last point.
 

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..I believe in God for example but my belief is that the Muslim God is the same as the Christian God and all other Gods -..

But it does appear that this one God has given different messages to the different groups.

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segovius

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But it does appear that this one God has given different messages to the different groups.

INT21
It might do from a certain position but I think there are two reasons for it - theologically speaking.

1) People are often very literalist. Materialist atheists suffer from this but so do religious fundamentalists - they need things 'carved in stone' and absolute for their own psychological well-being. And if they aren't that way they make them like that. So religion in this sense is 'man made' - the atheists have this right in a way. It's a construct based on something that is not a construct (imo).

In other words: the thing they have constructed is a different message but the thing they based it on (ie corrupted) is the same.

2) In Islam at least (and Christianity I think to an extent) there is the concept of different messages for different peoples and ages. So the religion HAS to be different over time. How can anything be monolithic? In this sense it evolves. It isn't that a specific religion like (say) Judaism evolves within itself but rather than Judaism is a stage in the evolution of religion.

Another factor is that God cannot (and is not) static in the Scriptures. He is reactive - He changes His mind, makes deals and evolves plans as responses to situations. IN the eyes of a literalist believer He is static, unchanging. But for the original Revelation He is not.

In the Christian Scriptures (for example), God reacts to situations on the ground. In one case Abraham bargains with Him to save members of a community slated for annihilation and God adjusts His plans. In other cases He changes His mind based on certain developments. The very concept of prayer implies that God can be petitioned and thus His plans can be adjusted in some way.

But in orthodox established religion God is seen as being static - as being unable to change His mind. His word binds Him. He cannot - say - decide to send His Son AGAIN to save the world. He cannot decide to NOT punish anyone and change the deal.

But God - if He exists - MUST be dynamic. He cannot be a static God or He would not be God. And a dynamic God can change His mind and reveal a new religion at any time. It could even contradict the last one in theory. Because He makes the rules (in this view).
 

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Atheism convention called off amid violent protest
Anuja Jaiswal| TNN | Oct 14, 2016, 23:10 IST

AGRA: The Two-day atheism convention that was to commence in Mathura on Friday was called off after violent protests by local religious leaders and public.

Confirming the cancellation of the convention by its convenor, Swami Balendu, SP city, Alok Priyadarshi said since local residents and religious leaders were protesting, the organizer called it off and assured that no such conference that hurts the sentiments of the would be held in the town.

Accusing Balendu of spreading "anti-religion" feelings residents shouted slogans at the venue of the convention and indulged in stone pelting. However, no one was injured in the incident.

The protestors also burnt an effigy of the Balendu and accused him of spreading lies and 'immorality' (adharam). Talking to TOI, Phool Dol Das Mahantsaid such conventions should not be allowed as they vitiate peace.

As reported earlier, Swami Balendu had accused religious leaders of fooling people in the name of god. He had dubbed religion as a 'business' that thrives on fear in the minds of people and said all religious scriptures are 'fictitious' and meant only for entertainment.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...amid-violent-protest/articleshow/54858288.cms
 

Ermintruder

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He just missed-out a couple of important key words, which would've had him sorted....
He had dubbed all other religions as a 'businesses' that thrive on fear in the minds of people and said all other religious scriptures are 'fictitious' and meant only for entertainment.
 

Analogue Boy

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Seems we're mainly seeing discussion on religion here, not atheism.
 

Analogue Boy

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Atheists don't believe in God. Some of them also don't believe in elves or dragons either but that doesn't make them fair game for the hard nut wing of The Lord of the Rings fan club.
Atheism shouldn't be regarded as the opposition of religion. It's so removed from the radar it shouldn't really concern those of a religious bent who should be happy to carry on with their noble belief system while not hurting anyone else.
 

INT21

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Escargot,

..Yeah, atheists don't give a stuff...

True.

But unfortunately they get caught up in everyone else s 'My god is bigger than your God; (even though there is supposed to be only one) arguments.

You see, it is really all very simple.

You are going to die.

And then all will be revealed: or it won't.

Meanwhile, at least try to have a good day.

For today is the first day of the rest of your life.

It may also be the last.


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ramonmercado

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Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman, Robin Ince, Dan Snow And More Reveal Their Very Atheist Christmas Plans
24/12/2015 07:31 | Updated 24 December 2015

Christmas isn’t just for Christians. From present-giving to spending time with the family, the winter holiday can mean a lot to atheists as well.

“I have no problem with Christmas and no desire to rain on the Christian parade,” says Richard Dawkins, who loves carols, but only “real carols about Jesus... NOT fake carols about Santa or reindeer or the loathsome Jingle Bells”.

“It’s a good story, despite not being true,” says author Philip Pullman of the story of Jesus’s birth.

“I celebrate whatever the hell I like,” says comedian Kate Smurthwaite, who celebrates the season wholeheartedly despite not being religious. “We do a real traditional fest... full on Christmas everything, sprouts, crackers, silly hats, the lot.”

Other atheists feel the meaning of Christmas is no longer Christian, and perhaps in fact never truly was, as the festival is built on a pagan celebration. “For me personally, what Christmas stands for isn’t important,” says computer games pioneer Richard A Bartle, “I just like the fact that it stands.”

The Huffington Post UK spoke to 15 notable atheists - all members of the British Humanist Association - and asked them what Christmas means to them, whether they’d go to church and if they can mark the event while staying true to their own beliefs. ...

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/12/24/atheist-christmas-richard-dawkins_n_8860248.html
 

Cochise

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It might do from a certain position but I think there are two reasons for it - theologically speaking.

1) People are often very literalist. Materialist atheists suffer from this but so do religious fundamentalists - they need things 'carved in stone' and absolute for their own psychological well-being. And if they aren't that way they make them like that. So religion in this sense is 'man made' - the atheists have this right in a way. It's a construct based on something that is not a construct (imo).

In other words: the thing they have constructed is a different message but the thing they based it on (ie corrupted) is the same.

2) In Islam at least (and Christianity I think to an extent) there is the concept of different messages for different peoples and ages. So the religion HAS to be different over time. How can anything be monolithic? In this sense it evolves. It isn't that a specific religion like (say) Judaism evolves within itself but rather than Judaism is a stage in the evolution of religion.

Another factor is that God cannot (and is not) static in the Scriptures. He is reactive - He changes His mind, makes deals and evolves plans as responses to situations. IN the eyes of a literalist believer He is static, unchanging. But for the original Revelation He is not.

In the Christian Scriptures (for example), God reacts to situations on the ground. In one case Abraham bargains with Him to save members of a community slated for annihilation and God adjusts His plans. In other cases He changes His mind based on certain developments. The very concept of prayer implies that God can be petitioned and thus His plans can be adjusted in some way.

But in orthodox established religion God is seen as being static - as being unable to change His mind. His word binds Him. He cannot - say - decide to send His Son AGAIN to save the world. He cannot decide to NOT punish anyone and change the deal.

But God - if He exists - MUST be dynamic. He cannot be a static God or He would not be God. And a dynamic God can change His mind and reveal a new religion at any time. It could even contradict the last one in theory. Because He makes the rules (in this view).
I would argue with the bold paragraph at least as far as Christianity is concerned. Christ is, as part of his mission, to declare the second covenant to all the peoples of the Earth. The first covenant has failed, and God has accepted that and adapted. I assume that if that fails also - it clearly hasn't yet , as there are still Christians - He will try again, and indeed there is suggestion of a second coming when all else has failed. He could of course just zap us all, but I assume He actually has some purpose in the afterlife for humankind. After all, He has a universe to administer. I'm hoping to end up in the Department of Transport :)
 

skinny

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The first covenant has failed
ha ha

and God has accepted that and adapted
Wait on. Wtf!? Which God? The one that is jealous and slaughters those that hold an alternative lifestyle and think for themselves? Since when is that god a conciliatory entity?

Adapted? The one that is so often referred to as 'the eternal and unchangeable'??


No way!
 

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Minister of State John Halligan found himself in Brazil as part of the great St Patrick’s Day ministerial airlift.

While he was there, he met Fr Pat Clarke, the Dublin-born priest who has devoted his life to helping the poor families and street children who live in the favelas of Sao Paolo.

The Waterford TD, along with Ireland’s ambassador to Brazil Brian Glynn, visited the Holy Ghost father in his simple church where he told them about his work. They brought good quality footballs with them for the street children, who love to play soccer but seldom see a decent football.

Fr Clarke said local politicians have never visited his church, which caters for people who live in abject poverty. No cardinals or bishops have ever come calling either.

He invited Halligan, an atheist, to speak from the pulpit during midday Mass. “I spoke about justice, fair play and the great work that the Catholic priests and nuns have been doing here for decades, standing up for these people who have no voice,” he says. Halligan is now planning a major fundraiser for Fr Clarke.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/poli...nness-tribute-not-a-time-to-wing-it-1.3024013
 

Elsupremo

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If God exists then we have to assume that he can if he or she chooses reveal itself to whoever it chooses. So if you don't believe, it can only be because God chooses not to reveal itself to you. That's if God exists. Now why would God not reveal itself to everyone is the question. The Abrahamic religions say that God has a chosen people to whom he revealed the law. Now if the one and only God has a chosen, he probably would only reveal himself to them. So in that case, if you are not one of the chosen, you cannot really believe since god has to reveal itself to you in order to really believe. I think. Now if you say you believe but haven't experienced revelation, I say that you just think that you believe because you were perhaps convinced by a logical argument which you then used to declare your belief
 

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I think that it's easy to get sucked into the prophet, holy word thing, if you don't think about it. Like all religions (except for the Quakers), the mask is placed on Gods face by those that follow the written word of God, I reckon.

I've also never known a religion that hasn't said that God is on our side, in some way or another(once again, except for the Quakers), rather than we need to be on Gods side.

I've seen some massive things happen in my life that can only leave me with the idea that there is a much higher power than mankind, and that it has a bearing on my life. I can also believe that very, very occasionally, a human born can have such a close connection to that higher power, that it manifests greatly in their life - unfortunately, when that happens, they get called a prophet, rather than something mundane like Brian.

My beliefs are fine for me, (everybody else can find their own), and the answer to the self asked question of what is it all about, and for me, what does that higher power want of me, is to appreciate the experience of living, no matter what humans (self)inflict on me, to attempt to strive for the best for me and others (animals included) without getting too serious about it, and, of course 42.
 

rynner2

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Why 'dogmatic' atheists think they are right about religion - study
Mark Molloy
28 July 2017 • 3:23pm

Atheists may struggle to see anything positive about religion because unemotional logic rules their brains, a new study suggests.
Non-religious people are more likely to be analytical thinkers, researchers say, while those who are intensely religious will have a strong sense of morality.

They also found that decreasing empathy among non-religious participants in the study corresponded to increasing dogmatism.
It suggests militant atheists “may lack the insight to see anything positive about religion [as] they can only see that it contradicts their scientific, analytical thinking”.

But while the analytical left side of the brain appears to rule the non-religious dogmatist’s mind, the opposite is true for those with staunch religious beliefs.
“It suggests that religious individuals may cling to certain beliefs, especially those which seem at odds with analytic reasoning, because those beliefs resonate with their moral sentiments,” said PhD student Jared Friedman, a co-author of the study.

Anthony Jack, associate professor of philosophy and co-author of the research, added “emotional resonance helps religious people to feel more certain”.
“The more moral correctness they see in something, the more it affirms their thinking,” he explains.
“In contrast, moral concerns make nonreligious people feel less certain.”

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/28/dogmatic-atheists-think-right-religion-study/
 

INT21

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..It's really not about lack of insight...

Agreed.

The primary problem atheists have with conventional religious belief goes right back to the believers inability to provide acceptable, nay, even reasonable, proof of the existence of a God as described in the religious texts.

That religion can bring some benefits to believers is generally accepted.

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Anonymous-50446

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..It's really not about lack of insight...

Agreed.

The primary problem atheists have with conventional religious belief goes right back to the believers inability to provide acceptable, nay, even reasonable, proof of the existence of a God as described in the religious texts.

That religion can bring some benefits to believers is generally accepted.

INT21
While I think it's easy to construct a rational argument against the existence of God, it seems mean spirited to me to kick the crutch out from under those that need their faith to get by, even if you don't believe yourself.

I also wonder where atheists get their moral foundation from - most of our moral codes are derived from religious sources.
 

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I think atheists do (loosely) get much of their moral code from Christianity. So in that respect, religion has had some positive effect. However, a significant amount of an atheist's moral code may be derived from the 'do as you would be done by' principle. No religion needed for that. It's probably why you don't generally find atheists performing terrorist acts 'in the name of atheism'.
That said, some religious people with psychopathic tendencies may also be held in check by commandments such as 'thou shalt not kill'. So, we can thank that for the nutters not routinely killing us as we lie sleeping in our beds.
 
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