Atheism

Dr_Baltar

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So to say that "I don't know" if there is a god or not as agnostics do, is intellectually dishonest to the substantial evidence that the entirety of religion is a lie.
The entirety of religion being a lie does not preclude the existence of a god, gods or similar. I find nothing intellectually dishonest in admitting that possibility.
 

UnknownUnknown

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UnknownUnknown,

You are assuming the existence of some 'thing' that is there to decide. You proof of this should be of interest to us all.
INT32
Could you expand? I'm not sure I follow - what is the 'thing' you think I'm assuming?'
and what do you mean about proof?
 
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MrRING

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For my money, if you don't know for sure what happens after death as is part of the human condition, atheism has to remain a belief the same as other religions.
 

UnknownUnknown

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I'm sure some will disagree with you MrRING but what you say does chime with my own feelings on the matter. I suspect that even if someone popped up with 100% genuine acceptable proof of some deity's existence, I'd still have a hard time actually believing in said deity in the way that a theist does.

Maybe that's the point? Knowledge and faith are after all different things. I have faith in my atheism!
 

Steerpike

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I'm sure some will disagree with you MrRING but what you say does chime with my own feelings on the matter. I suspect that even if someone popped up with 100% genuine acceptable proof of some deity's existence, I'd still have a hard time actually believing in said deity in the way that a theist does.

Maybe that's the point? Knowledge and faith are after all different things. I have faith in my atheism!
I wonder what the average person would consider to be "100% genuine acceptable proof of some deity's existence"? This was on my mind the other day; I like to think of myself as an agnostic, but I realised I couldn't think of a single thing that would convince me absolutely that there is a god. Even if some gigantic face appeared in the sky, and a thunderous voice boomed "I am your God! Bow down before me!", my first thought would probably be "that's a good effect, I wonder what they're advertising". So I guess that does make me an atheist, and I guess it means my atheism is as much a belief system as theism, if I'd be willing to cling to it in the face of contradictory evidence.
 

Analogue Boy

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The entirety of religion being a lie does not preclude the existence of a god, gods or similar. I find nothing intellectually dishonest in admitting that possibility.
Well, in that case, why not say fairies are at the root of everything? Or a God made of three trillion beetles. Or a God that is simply machine code? What are you swapping the God model for?
 

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UnknownUnknown,

...
Could you expand? I'm not sure I follow - what is the 'thing' you think I'm assuming?'
and what do you mean about proof?.
.

The 'thing' is the existence of any form of afterlife.

I think it is obvious what I mean by proof. I'll put it another way. show me something that shows there really is something after mortal death.
 

INT21

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MrRing,

..
atheism has to remain a belief the same as other religions.,,

Not really. The thing about religious belief is that the believers actually do believe that there is a God that created everything and that they should bow and scrape before this deity. What the bowing and scraping achieves is something of a mystery. Maybe it makes them feel good. Or makes them think that it will guarantee them a place in some unprovable afterlife. But it does allow some of them to have power over the others while they are alive.

You will have noticed that atheists do not feel the need to build huge monuments to celebrate a non existent God. All conventional beliefs do. There is no Great Book of Atheism. Translated into different languages by learned scholars.

We don't need all that kind of thing.

My atheism is formed from a logic that requires some sort of solid foundation for all this arse licking. If there is some God, one that can create universes at the click of a finger, why should it even be bothered what it's creations on one planet that is part of one of billions of galaxies get up to ?

It doesn't make any sense at all.

And if it turns out there really is a God, and He/She/It isn't happy with us ? Well, we were wrong. And at least we would get the chance to ask a few questions.

INT21
 

INT21

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Dr_Baltar,

I think you misunderstand.

What I am saying is that if the paranormal/supernatural happenings are actually 'real' occurrences, and there seems to be a lot of evidence that at least some of them are real, then we should be able to fathom out the why and the wherefore of it all.

In other words I am all for even more Fortean investigation.

This should be a comfort for believers as any progress in finding out where ghosts and ghoulies reside (if they exist) must give them ammunition to use against atheists to the extent that they can say 'see, you have found some realm we didn't know about. Now how can you say there is no Heaven or Hell ?'.

And they will have a point.

INT21
 

INT21

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EnolaGaia,

..
You don't have to commit to there being Murphy fairies as a condition of believing in Murphy's Law.

Agreed. The thing about Murpy's Law is that it actually states that if something can go wrong, it will. So the whole Murphy thing is in fact an exercise in probability. You know from the beginning that the chance is there. It is the 'unknowable unknowns' that catch you out. And once they have revealed themselves they are re-categorized.

...If one construes an afterlife or a progression of afterlives with karmic evolution as a natural aspect of our experience, one can accept these notions while still denying there's any imaginary super-friend overseeing things...

I like that.

Fluttermoth,

...My idea of heaven is the one I was brought up with; basically England without the crappy bits (thanks, dad!). But I don't think it exists (it would be nice though!)...

So do you see it as basically reincarnation ? Another turn around what is essentially the same barrel .

And not some other form of existence in some totally different realm.

INT21
 

INT21

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Blessmycottonsocks,

..the atheist is effectively reducing us to mere flesh and blood automata...

The difference between us and flesh and blood automata is similar to the difference between a pocket calculator and a computer.

Automata are programed, usually via cams etc. We are not. We progress via our knowledge base. A base we are adding to every moment. If an automata has a mistake in the program it will carry on making the same mistake.
A pocket calculator is similar. It can only carry out ore-programed operations.

A computer can make conditional jumps. It works on 'If-Then-Else'. If something happens, do this, Else carry on to the next line of code.

This is the basis of all AI.

Maybe you can explain why not having a belief in a deity should make automata of us.



Let me finish this with a little story of something that happened yesterday. It shows the power of the hold religion has on people.

I called in at my daughter's works for a chat. Outside the building one of her colleagues was playing around with his dogs. Two boisterous animals that were obviously happy and were enjoying the day.

A Pakistani gent came to buy some equipment. An oldish guy who we knew and had been around for years, and the dogs ran over to greet him.

Now, most people would have patted them etc as it was obvious they were not intent on harming him.

But he shooed them away. He explained why.

If they had touched him he could not have made his prayers.

He would have had to go home and wash.

INT21
 

UnknownUnknown

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UnknownUnknown,

...
Could you expand? I'm not sure I follow - what is the 'thing' you think I'm assuming?'
and what do you mean about proof?.
.

The 'thing' is the existence of any form of afterlife.

I think it is obvious what I mean by proof. I'll put it another way. show me something that shows there really is something after mortal death.

But I don't believe in an afterlife.

Sorry, I'm still confused about the proof. Do you want me to prove that I don't believe in anything after death? I can give you some anecdotes if you want, but f course that's not really proof.
 

INT21

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EnolaGaia,

..There's no basis for assuming any of one self-described as an 'atheist' has arrived at that position via reasoning (logic, etc.)...

So why did they not take the easy route and follow the religious belief of their peer group ?

Why go against the grain ?

I would suggest that anyone who looks at any of the standard religions and says 'I believe every word of this' really isn't capable of reasoning about anything.

And if they do find things they can't accept, at what point do they begin to think' maybe this stuff just isn't true'.

Then they have to face what could be life changing decisions.

I would suggest that all atheists have come to that position because they did indeed question what was being believed by their peers. And found the answers wanting.

INT21
 

INT21

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But I don't believe in an afterlife.

Sorry, I'm still confused about the proof. Do you want me to prove that I don't believe in anything after death? I can give you some anecdotes if you want, but f course that's not really proof.


You'll have to help me out here. I have lost track of the conversation.

Can you please give me the post number that started started this particular bit of discussion.

INT21

(I'm normally an Owl, not a lark. And I am trying to force myself to alter my body clock by rising early; 5 AM. So I am not altogether switched on at the moment)
 

UnknownUnknown

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But I don't believe in an afterlife.

Sorry, I'm still confused about the proof. Do you want me to prove that I don't believe in anything after death? I can give you some anecdotes if you want, but f course that's not really proof.


You'll have to help me out here. I have lost track of the conversation.

Can you please give me the post number that started started this particular bit of discussion.

INT21

(I'm normally an Owl, not a lark. And I am trying to force myself to alter my body clock by rising early; 5 AM. So I am not altogether switched on at the moment)
Morning, I think you were responding to this post of mine.

http://forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/atheism.29882/page-67#post-1719917
 

Dr_Baltar

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Well, in that case, why not say fairies are at the root of everything? Or a God made of three trillion beetles. Or a God that is simply machine code? What are you swapping the God model for?
The entirety of religion being a lie doesn't preclude any of those things either. If the entirety of religion is a lie it's proof of nothing more than what mankind has constructed and called religion is untrue. Therefore, I don't think admitting there are many possible explanations for the existence of 'life, the universe and everything' is intellectually dishonest. That was my only claim, nothing more, nothing less.
 

UnknownUnknown

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EnolaGaia,

..There's no basis for assuming any of one self-described as an 'atheist' has arrived at that position via reasoning (logic, etc.)...

So why did they not take the easy route and follow the religious belief of their peer group ?

Why go against the grain ?

I would suggest that anyone who looks at any of the standard religions and says 'I believe every word of this' really isn't capable of reasoning about anything.

And if they do find things they can't accept, at what point do they begin to think' maybe this stuff just isn't true'.

Then they have to face what could be life changing decisions.

I would suggest that all atheists have come to that position because they did indeed question what was being believed by their peers. And found the answers wanting.

INT21
That isn't my experience I'm afraid, so maybe this could be revised to 'some' atheists.
 

INT21

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UnknownUnknown,

Thanks for that.

I may have been referring to there being no point of discussing the different after lives if we can't ascertain that there is an afterlife of any sort.

I suppose the after life discussion is heavily related to the phenomena of ghosts etc. After all, if they are there they must be 'somewhere'.
Possibly they are a manifestation of what the believers would refer to as purgatory. Some kind of half way house.

Myself, no I can't imagine different kinds of afterlives for different kinds of people.

And religion depends upon these differences.

It offers three choices. Good guys go to heaven, bad ones go to hell. And then there is the possibility of oblivion.

Oblivion can have no value unless you can experience it. which is something of an oxymoron.

So if you were in a totally dark soundproofed room with no knowledge of where you were of when you would return to normality, that would be as near to oblivion as you could get. But it falls apart because you would still be reasoning in that situation. Not 'oblivious'.

INT21
 

INT21

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..
That isn't my experience I'm afraid, so maybe this could be revised to 'some' atheists...

Indeed, why not.

It is said that 'all roads lead to Rome'.

INT21
 

INT21

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Thinking on Oblivion.

You go to sleep as normal.

Then you are aware of, well, nothing.

Absolute dark. total silence. no way to tell if you are sat down or stood up. no direction.

So you wait. and wait.

And suddenly a soft voice says 'dark, isn't it ?'.



Not a nice thought.

INT21
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Thinking on Oblivion.

You go to sleep as normal.

Then you are aware of, well, nothing.

Absolute dark. total silence. no way to tell if you are sat down or stood up. no direction.

So you wait. and wait.

And suddenly a soft voice says 'dark, isn't it ?'.



Not a nice thought.

INT21

Can't be Death then - 'cos he always speaks in UPPER CASE LETTERS!
 

Shadowsot

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I tend to reject the idea that say, since we don't know why life the universe and everything exists, all options are on the table.
Mainly because it's just a restructuring of am old argument. We can't explain x, therefore god, aliens, fairies, so on.
The issue is, this isn't a new position, it's an old one. Probably the oldest one. So for me, the continuous march of knowledge has shown a trend, that tends to support more mundane and science based answers are the probable ones.
 

MrRING

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MrRing,
..
atheism has to remain a belief the same as other religions.,,

Not really. The thing about religious belief is that the believers actually do believe that there is a God...
To me the argument is as simple as that... a believer in some godform would believe that it exists, and a believer of atheism would believe that none of that exists, but both are acting out of uncertainty since there is no way to know until we all step through that doorway into whatever after death if anything.
 

UnknownUnknown

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UnknownUnknown,

Thanks for that.

I may have been referring to there being no point of discussing the different after lives if we can't ascertain that there is an afterlife of any sort.

I suppose the after life discussion is heavily related to the phenomena of ghosts etc. After all, if they are there they must be 'somewhere'.
Possibly they are a manifestation of what the believers would refer to as purgatory. Some kind of half way house.

Myself, no I can't imagine different kinds of afterlives for different kinds of people.

And religion depends upon these differences.

It offers three choices. Good guys go to heaven, bad ones go to hell. And then there is the possibility of oblivion.

Oblivion can have no value unless you can experience it. which is something of an oxymoron.

So if you were in a totally dark soundproofed room with no knowledge of where you were of when you would return to normality, that would be as near to oblivion as you could get. But it falls apart because you would still be reasoning in that situation. Not 'oblivious'.

INT21

I see. My post was bridging from the RIP thread, which was in danger of going off topic. Some posters there has begun discussing whether atheists believed in afterlife-based punishment. I don't believe in that, but thought the discussion was interesting and worth relocating here.

Has the link between belief in an afterlife, and ghosts etc, been raised here before? Strange if it hasn't.
Probably because I don't believe in an afterlife, I also don't believe that ghosts come from 'beyond the grave.' I believe that people do see ghosts, and that they are certainly something, but lean more toward thinking that they are somehow generated by the living. Stone tape theory interests me I suppose at an allegorical level, but also more psychological-based interpretations. I do believe in psychokinesis, and in precognition etc, and I believe that the mind holds a lot more to explore than science currently understands.

Regarding religion offering three choices of afterlife - I don't know enough about all religions to comment. This seems to be quite a monotheistic structure though? In which case it certainly doesn't apply to all religions, as not all religions operate under the same binary morality structure as the Abrahamic faiths. Not my specialist area though, as I say.
 

Mungoman

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I wonder what the average person would consider to be "100% genuine acceptable proof of some deity's existence"? This was on my mind the other day; I like to think of myself as an agnostic, but I realised I couldn't think of a single thing that would convince me absolutely that there is a god. Even if some gigantic face appeared in the sky, and a thunderous voice boomed "I am your God! Bow down before me!", my first thought would probably be "that's a good effect, I wonder what they're advertising". So I guess that does make me an atheist, and I guess it means my atheism is as much a belief system as theism, if I'd be willing to cling to it in the face of contradictory evidence.
This average person reckons that mathematics, chemistry, and physics are a good indicator of Something. Can I put a face to the inceptor of the above?

No.

Do I want to? No.

I think that the making of order out of the primordial chaos that was the universe in those first seconds, and the earliest changes to the prokaryotic cell to create what is, now, is stunningly brilliant. And then there is the awareness of these magnificent states of being that we can identify in our own heads...Mind.Blown.

All that comes to my mind is - there's a signature here, somewhere. Somewhere.
 

EnolaGaia

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To me the argument is as simple as that... a believer in some godform would believe that it exists, and a believer of atheism would believe that none of that exists, but both are acting out of uncertainty since there is no way to know until we all step through that doorway into whatever after death if anything.
I still have to take issue with presuming a strong linkage between the existence of deities and the notion of an afterlife (broadly defined).

The Abrahamic religions certainly play on there being such a strong linkage. This isn't a surprise, since the notion of an eventual paradisiacal state is the pretty much the only carrot they have to offer.

My problem lies with assuming the answer to the God Question necessarily subsumes or governs the answer to the Afterlife Question.
 

Shadowsot

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Yeahp. For a good chunk of time Judaism didn't have an afterlife, just the grave.
And it is certainly not the only one.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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My problem lies with assuming the answer to the God Question necessarily subsumes or governs the answer to the Afterlife Question.
Very true. There's another assumption that I find puzzling: Provided there is an afterlife, people often assume that we will get the answers to "everything".

Says who?
 

EnolaGaia

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... There's another assumption that I find puzzling: Provided there is an afterlife, people often assume that we will get the answers to "everything".

Says who?
Good point ...

A related issue relates to why anyone believes we'd arrive in an afterlife equipped to receive and understand - much less handle - such answers ...

I arrived into this life absolutely clueless and oblivious to communication attempts. If there's a follow-on realm, I have no reason to believe I'd arrive there any less clueless / oblivious.
 
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