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Old 12-22-2006, 10:40 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Try taking all the atoms in the universe, mark 1 of them, and then pick that one out from a universe-size container the first time. For anything else except abiogenesis, we'd declare that impossible. For some reason with abiogenesis, that kind of statistic is accepted as possible, regardless of the ridiculously low probability.
Having seen only "our own" planet, can you surely say that this probability is really that low?

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I'd love to see more solar and wind power because it's far better on the environment, and I detest the fact that OPEC and the oil companies have us all by the throat.
No, I'd hate to have more solar fields and wind power, as it clearly has an impact on the development of the climate. Wind power fields effect the near ground winds by taking much, much energy from them, which cannot be any good. Solar fields take a huge amount of the energy that would otherwise go into the earth. That cannot be any good, too. I highly doubt that wind and solar based energy will give proper future solution to our energy problem. Neither does "oil", though.


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Old 12-22-2006, 11:47 AM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Now when asked earlier in the thread whether Atheists had the right to persecute religion the reply was yes Atheists did. Now it's time to put your money where your mouth is, put up or shut up. Now that I've made it clear what I mean by persecute do Atheists, straight answer, believe they have the right to persecute as in Al Qaeda style, Nazi style, hell, American style persecution?
This is the sort of strawman I've no interest in. Sorry.


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Old 12-22-2006, 01:28 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Not being an atheist, I wouldn't expect you to have a clue as to what atheism could offer you with regard to your "purpose" in life. But I would hardly hold that against you.
Which is why I asked the questions I did in the initial post. I wanted to learn how it's viewed outside the theistic paradigm, and from people who are actually living and dealing with these kinds of things. Texts can only go so far.


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Old 12-22-2006, 02:34 PM   #164
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I can't believe I didn't see this thread earlier.

First of all, atheism, as I see it, is not something you believe in. It is a label invented by religious people of the late 18th century Europe that is used to designate people who do not believe in god.

When I chose to designate myself as an atheist, I considered that moment as a moment that made me more mature. An atheist, as people have mentioned before, believes in things that can be backed by real evidence. I personally believe in science. It's rational, it's realistic, it consists of proven facts and it's here to help mankind's progress.

Moral dilemmas - morality is not religion. Being moral means that you can distinguish proper and improper behavior, or rather socially acceptable and unacceptable behavior. As far as I know, sociology doesn't have anything to do with religion either.

Right and wrong - I think everybody is capable of distinguishing right from wrong, religion is not a requirement for that. Why some people choose to do wrong things instead of the right ones (by this I mean things like robbery, murder, drug dealing...) is a discussion for another thread.
If by this question you were referring to controversial topics like abortion, cloning, artificial insemination, vasectomy, etc. I base my views on them according to scientific facts.

Benefits - there is only one benefit and that's that you feel more mature, more serious, more evolved, if you will. There are no downsides, at least not for me. You mentioned something about supporting each other in times of need. I can do that without being religious, because it also has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with how good of a friend you are. For example, a friend of mine was in a really rough spot back in September. My friend didn't have a place to live, so he slept at the same place where he worked. He didn't have a place where he could wash up and do the laundry. He asked me if I could help him with that and I did. He would come over once a week to wash the laundry and take a shower. A few weeks later he found and rented an apartment. You'll probably ask why didn't I let him stay at my place until he found an apartment, the answer is because it isn't up to me. I still live with my dad and he's a rather... difficult man. My friend understood my situation and never asked for anything more than what I could do to help him.

What's so great about atheism? I already partially answered that question above, but besides feeling more mature, you actually become more mature. If you want something, you don't pray to get it, but you work hard in order to achieve your goal. You gain more self-confidence, believe more in yourself and your own abilities, instead of relying on some deity to help you through a rough spot.


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Old 12-22-2006, 02:44 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Spider AL
I've already supplied you with the dictionary definition of the word "fanatic", and no atheist in this thread remotely qualifies as a fanatic. You're just trying to be insulting.
I may as well ask this even though it'll probably cause more trouble than it's worth. Do you consider you have the right to be insulting while others don't?

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Originally Posted by Spider AL
This is just an outright lie. No atheist has said "yes" to your irrelevant and ludicrous question in this thread.
Actually there is, yours. Quotes below.

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Originally Posted by Spider AL
And as I said before, would it be such a bad thing if because of atheist logic, some religious person lost their delusion? A rational life is a moral life, it's a life that makes sense, it's a life with rational goals and purposes and the search for truth and right. It's a good life. And best of all, it's not a delusional life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
And what gives you the right to do that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
What gives me the moral right to speak rational truths? Why, that would be... the inviolable moral right (and responsibility) to speak rational truths.
There is another train of thought on the issue of Atheism. Tell me, as Atheists, how do you feel when people discuss religion? Does it bother you?
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:02 PM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
There is another train of thought on the issue of Atheism. Tell me, as Atheists, how do you feel when people discuss religion? Does it bother you?
It depends on the situation in which religion was mentioned. Of course it would bother me if those people were trying to impose their beliefs on me and call me all sorts of things for being an atheist. It bothers me when religious parents convince their still very young children to follow their religious beliefs. I think they should raise that child religious-free and let it make his/her own choice when he/she's mature enough (meaning puberty or end of puberty, most likely). It bothers me to hear politicians exclamate religion as very important during their political campaigns, but that's mostly because I hate politicians and I know that it's just a bunch of lies to gain political points with the people which is why I have a low opinion on them.
Otherwise, I can't think of any more particular situations when religion related discussions bother me.

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Old 12-22-2006, 03:02 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igyman:

What's so great about atheism? I already partially answered that question above, but besides feeling more mature, you actually become more mature. If you want something, you don't pray to get it, but you work hard in order to achieve your goal. You gain more self-confidence, believe more in yourself and your own abilities, instead relying on some deity to help you through a rough spot.
Quite correct. In essence, discarding delusions and becoming atheist is to take responsibility for your own life.

Religious people dodge responsibility for their own lives, dodge their responsibility for defining their own purpose in life and dodge responsibility for making their own moral judgements with reason and logic.

Which is not to say that atheism makes one perfect in these respects, but it certainly puts one on the right path, in a way that theism simply cannot do.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

I may as well ask this even though it'll probably cause more trouble than it's worth. Do you consider you have the right to be insulting while others don't?
You're the only one who's insulting anyone else around here, Nancy. Mild insults, to be sure, but insults nonetheless. Calling people "Fanatics" specifically. An inaccurate label, not applicable, merely insulting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Actually there is, yours. Quotes below.
Here you go with the random quotes again... Once again, these quotes don't show what you seem to think they show. Nowhere in those quotes do I answer "yes" to your ludicrous question as to whether certain people should be "persecuted". QED, you're wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen`` :

There is another train of thought on the issue of Atheism. Tell me, as Atheists, how do you feel when people discuss religion? Does it bother you?
No discussion bothers me.


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Old 12-22-2006, 04:20 PM   #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Not at all. I am under the assumption that some Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Prove me wrong please.
If the fact that not a single Atheist in this entire thread has suggested anything like persecuting people for their religious beliefs, then I don't know what you're expecting to see that might satisfy you. This "assumption" is defying all common sense and logic in its persistence as there is no substance whatsoever to your repeated claims of persecution. Your desire to make Atheists into nasty people trying to force you to recant your religion in order to justify your own attitude is obviously the problem here, not the Atheists themselves.

Nobody should face persecution for their religious beliefs or the lack thereof providing they do no harm to those who do not share their beliefs.

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Reply to post impossible. Reason: arrogant and condescending tone too great.
Well, stop saying irrational and hysterical things, and I'll stop telling you to stop saying irrational and hysterical things.


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Old 12-22-2006, 04:45 PM   #169
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What about people believing and practicing religion. Do you, as Atheists, believe they have the right to do so?
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:11 PM   #170
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Insofar as they do no harm, then yes. You hardly have to be atheist to agree with that. It's called "freedom of religion," and it's a constitutional right in this country...


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Old 12-22-2006, 05:40 PM   #171
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Nancy, your question has been answered several times by several atheists in this thread already. Please re-read the thread in its entirety to re-acquaint yourself with every atheist's opinions before asking any more repetitive, unoriginal, already-answered questions.

Answer again: People have the right to believe in whatever they want. But is delusional uncritical belief GOOD for them? No. Is it good for the state of the world? No. Is it beyond criticism? No.


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Old 12-22-2006, 05:46 PM   #172
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Would you say Atheism is beyond criticism?
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:48 PM   #173
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NOTHING is above or beyond criticism, Nancy. People have the right to criticise EVERYTHING they want to criticise. That's part of how the truth is found, by people's criticisms being rationally evaluated.

And that's another question that you've asked before, and that has been answered before. Please follow my recommendation and re-read the thread. Chances are your NEXT question will also have already been answered.


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Old 12-22-2006, 06:28 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Because you are the eternal optimist, and also can forgive me for having an acute and rather serious attack of Life right about then.
Depends on how serious it was... I don't like typing all this up for nothing.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Hey, at least it's an answer,
And an insufficient one. When I deal with questions like these, I look for complete ones. Otherwise, my side of the issue is the only one that can sufficiently explain why it knows it's correct.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I suspect there's not enough room in all our brains to fully understand it, however.
So you have no evidence or theories as to how God even came to exist in the first place, then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
We're still learning how the eye sees something more complex than the orientation of 1 line, so the fact that we can't completely understand everything about God or the universe doesn't bug me.
If we don't try to understand something, we never will. Can you name any research being conducted into the origins of God? I can't. The only reponse I've ever gotten to the question I asked you is 'we're not able to understand it.' Well, we never will be able to understand it if we don't try to. But is it impossible to attempt even that? If you can't even try to guess at how something came to exist, I would doubt it actually does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
It's more satisfying than saying it just appeared out of nothing.
Saying something appeared out of nothing seems much more rational to me than saying 'there is something which never even started, but exists.' If God is totally infinite, He would have no starting point, correct? How can you say that something exists if it never began? That's nothing but a giant contradiction.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
That's speculation--we don't know which will happen first, though it's unlikely either will happen in our lifetimes.
It probably won't happen in our lifetimes. However, I think scientists will be able to explain how something could emerge out of nothing far better than they could explain how something which never began actually exists.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I don't know how He did it, either. Do you think we'd even be able to understand it at this point?
Example time: I can tell you that rain falls, for instance, because of a process involving precipitation. If you wanted me to go into a lecture about what every single quark does in the process, I couldn't tell you very much. However, mentioning precipitation would provide you with more depth and a better understanding than if I just said 'water falls out of the clouds'. Why can't this same concept be applied to God, then?

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
We don't even have particle and quantum physics anywhere near mastered yet.
Very true. However, we can still provide partial explanations. Again, why can't you do the same thing for God?

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Try taking all the atoms in the universe, mark 1 of them, and then pick that one out from a universe-size container the first time. For anything else except abiogenesis, we'd declare that impossible.
However minute, it is still a possibility. Technically quintillions to one odds don't constitute as an impossibility, but a low probability.

I find low odds to be more believable than contradictions, though.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
So you'd prefer I just said 'I was put here for a purpose.' I can live with that.
It probably sounds bleak, but mankind didn't come to exist because of a purpose. Not to say that we can't have on now that we do, though.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Simple hypotheses, not facts. Atheism is a philosophy in itself.
Samuel addressed this, so I won't bother echoing him.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
And depending on the weather in the Midwest, the sky sometimes really _is_ green, {snip}
Discussing that was the intent of my example, and you probably realize it. Would you mind going back and addressing my main point?

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Pasteur 'felt' bacteria existed before people could actually see them under the microscope. Watson and Crick 'felt' DNA existed before we could actually see it with an electron microscope.
They had a cause to believe in that, however. God does not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
We don't have adequate tools to 'see' God, but to be honest, would we not still have doubters even with all the physical evidence in the world staring them in the face?
Just a crazy minority. If there was proof God existed, I would believe in Him. However, when there is no proof of something, I seen no reason to consider it fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
A good chunk of those laws are based on a Judeo-Christian foundation. Don't kill, don't steal....
The Ten Commandments were delivered to Moses, supposedly, after the Hebrews escaped from Egypt. I imagine you're aware that the Egyptians, by that point, had a system of laws?

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
and doesn't answer my question.
Your question can't be applied to anyone other than an anarchist. Laws don't exist to be open to individual levels of empathy.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Tell that to insurance veeps and former Enron executives. It apparently was/is common sense to take whatever they want at the expense of others, so long as they don't get caught.
Insurance isn't what I'm discussing here, which you probably realize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
The very thing you condemn as too vague is an advantage when you're talking about disseminating core values.
Laws and core values had existed long before the Ten Commandments. If God actually sent them down to us, He was really just reiterating what we'd already thought up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Why does it need to? It provides the basic values that we then adapt to our specific problems.
In which case you have contradicted yourself. You condemn humanism for being up to interpretation, but so are the Ten Commndments. The specific instances would be left to the individuals.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I don't believe I used the term 'outdated'.
I thought you considered the concept of a wife being her husband's property outdated?


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Old 12-22-2006, 06:54 PM   #175
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So is there a "debate" left? Hard to say. Was there ever a real debate on the cards, when one "side" can't agree on the necessity of logical argument?
Jae and I have been having one so far. There's been logic in most of her arguments.


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Old 12-22-2006, 07:02 PM   #176
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No Devon, they've all been the usual stock religious arguments: "We don't know much about the beginning of our universe, therefore the Hebrew God is real", "Morality can't be objective without religion"... etcetera etcetera. There's no logic there, it's all shockingly fallacious. I've responded to all of it.


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Old 12-22-2006, 07:52 PM   #177
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And Mace, I think the logic behind atheism has been demonstrated fairly extensively. So is there a "debate" left? Hard to say. Was there ever a real debate on the cards, when one "side" can't agree on the necessity of logical argument?
Well, that's kinda it. The topic wasn't intended as a theism vs. atheism debate, as Jae stated both when she started the thread and a couple of pages ago. It was to explore why people have embraced atheism and agnosticism rather than following a religious path. Anyway, it's obviously wound up as religion vs. atheism. This whole illogical "persecuting", "forcing" and "condemnation" bit just got more annoying than usual...oh well. There's an easy solution.


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Old 12-22-2006, 07:57 PM   #178
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The PM system is an excellent place to continue verbal sparring on fanaticism....

@igy--nope, wasn't meaning to bring up controversial topics like abortion etc., though I have to admit I did have a little chuckle at the idea of vasectomies being as controversial as, say, embryonic stem cell research. The naughty part of my mind had to be extricated from the gutter....

right/wrong--I think God made (nearly) all humans able to distinguish right/wrong as part of their makeup.

Help in times of need--I was meaning on a psych/spiritual level--sorry if that was confusing. I had a couple wonderful atheist friends rescue my family's butts when we went through some extraordinarily difficult times in Texas. When one of my best friends was dying of AIDS, I did whatever I could to support both him and his partner, both of whom were/are atheist. I agree that religion does not have the corner on kindness, joy, and love and in fact those things transcend any philosophy.

I don't pray 'to get something'. More often it's just communication and gratefulness that He provided the strength for me to do the hard work I need to do to take care of my family and friends. The concept of using prayer instead of work, if you're looking at it in a specifically Biblical context, is not appropriate, because James says 'faith without works is dead.' We're not supposed to sit around eating bon-bons and say 'oh, I prayed about it, God will provide.' God raps his knuckles on their heads and says 'Uh, hello? Did I not give you a healthy body and a brain to learn how to do a job? Get up and go do something constructive for your family, your own life, and the people around you.'

Kids and religion--I've seen too many kids grow up with not a whole lot and have this totally confused mishmash of whatever happens to be their friends' and family members' beliefs/non-beliefs. I don't want my kids to believe in whatever happens to be blowing in the prevailing spiritual wind at any given moment. I'd rather give mine a definitive base in 1 thing and if/when they want to go explore something else when they are cognitively able, then they can.

Whew, the thread went a little nuts while I was replying to igyman....

@SA--the arguments may be old and tired to you, and you may look upon them with a bit of a jaded eye and be dismissive about the entire thing and pigeon-hole me as yet another religious fruitcake.
However, it's not old and tired to me, and it may not be old and tired to others. I do not have formal debate experience (as you've no doubt ascertained) and I'm relatively new to the apologetics field and therefore don't have a polished presentation along the lines of Zacharias, Craig, or Geisler. I'm OK with that. My field is eyes, not theology, and my skills are organized accordingly. However, sometimes the only way to get better at something is to just keep working at it. Sometimes the only way for me to learn what makes an atheist 'tick' is to ask a zillion questions that might be dumb to you, or bring up points where I have difficulties with the philosophy and see how others respond. It's doubtful I'll ever 'convert' to atheism, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to understand it as much as I can. Undoubtedly I have some misconceptions on some things about atheists, and I don't want to harbor those wrongly. If I understand atheism/agnosticism better, I can understand some of the issues important to atheists/agnosticists better, particularly in those issues where we might end up on opposite sides of the fence ordinarily (e.g. embryonic stem cell research). You may have to suffer through some of what you think is my foolishness, but I'm just trying to learn. Sorry if that makes you more angry.


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Old 12-22-2006, 08:28 PM   #179
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Darn you, Jae! I spend time typing up all my points, and you proceed to ignore them all. This must be the 4th time this has happened.

@Spider Al, you could probably phrase it better than 'fallacious'.


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Old 12-22-2006, 08:33 PM   #180
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In my experience, unless you're pushing your kids and they like it, more than likely they become disillusioned in the teens. You either get the hardcore zealot or the disillusioned kid. Personally, I'm going to let my kids decide for themselves. I'll take them to church and whatnot, but it's up to them.

Quote:
right/wrong--I think God made (nearly) all humans able to distinguish right/wrong as part of their makeup.
The whole thing about human right/wrong is that it is completely possible for man to develop that on his own. Man clearly can adapt from his environment; can he also see what causes suffering and pain to other beings? It'd be easy to determine right from wrong according to how it affects others and what biological consequences or social consequences may stem from said right/wrong action.




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Old 12-23-2006, 12:01 AM   #181
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Folks, please stay on topic. It'll keep me from having to delete unnecessary posts of silly banter bordering on flames and it'll save yourselves from wasting time creating posts that won't last. If there were an emerging side topic that presents itself for viable discussion, I'd sooner split the thread, but back-and-forth banter that's off-topic gets deleted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
No Devon, they've all been the usual stock religious arguments: "We don't know much about the beginning of our universe, therefore the Hebrew God is real", "Morality can't be objective without religion"... etcetera etcetera. There's no logic there, it's all shockingly fallacious. I've responded to all of it.
I, too, find some of the arguments I encounter here and in other venues occasionally tiresome, but then I remind myself that, quite frequently, they're being presented by someone that is only just now examining and inquiring for the first time. I have to remind myself to patient and allow myself to be willing to accept their newness to the arguments. If I find myself too unwilling to argue points I've argued and debunked time and time again (on topics that beyond just religion), I simply choose not to participate in the discussion. Often times I choose not to even read it.

I realize you may have no hope that your words will convince a believer, as I recall, you were rightly skeptical of my own anecdotal claim of having observed change in believers, but my own reasons for participating in public discussions of this type is to educate. I hope to offer enough food for thought for the believer (in any supernatural or pseudoscientific idea) to mull over that they might eventually consider reasoned arguments over ones of faith and belief.

But even if my words and those of others fail to bring reason to the mind of a single believer, I know that there are a multitude of lurkers, fence-sitters, and others that really haven't formed an opinion one way or the other and will be swayed by the arguments of one side or another. For that reason alone, I'm often willing to restate and revisit tired and worn arguments again, hopefully with a better understanding and improved presentation from the last time.


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Old 12-23-2006, 12:01 AM   #182
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I'll keep the other comments out of this post if the mods didn't like them and just pose my question.

As Atheists, do you see Atheism as simply the non belief of religion or the belief of having the moral right to prove the deluded fallacy of religion wrong to those who follow it?
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:29 AM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
As Atheists, do you see Atheism as simply the non belief of religion or the belief of having the moral right to prove the deluded fallacy of religion wrong to those who follow it?
I think this is an important question and I'll answer it as best I can.

Atheism is simple without gods. The atheist does not have a belief in gods. Beyond that, it must be said that there are atheists who simply find no reason to believe in the supernatural and could give two peas in a bucket about gods or not. They just don't mull over the idea and don't generally concern themselves with it.

On the other extreme, there are atheists who go out of their way to disbelieve in gods, specifically the Christian God, because of whatever reason.

But whether it be a lack of belief or a disbelief, the atheist is without gods in his or her life.

There are those among atheists who believe it is their duty to speak out against religious ideology and criticize the religious for their beliefs. If this means demonstrating their "deluded fallacy" then so be it. I'm one of these atheists. I don't speak out and criticize because I'm an atheist, nor am I an atheist because I speak out and criticize. And it isn't just religion that I'm vocal about when it comes to deluded thought. If you visit my blog, you'll see some fine examples, in fact, very little of the content of my weblog is anti-religious. But I *do* find it a duty to speak out against deluded thought.

And here's the reason: I've encountered and observed too many people who were willing to take advantage of the unsuspecting. People who make bad decisions based upon a horoscope; people who give thousands of dollars to con-artists pretending to be psychics; people who buy hundreds of dollars of books written by pseudoscience/pseudo-archaeology proponents; etc.

But I take special umbrage to religion for the reason that religion is oft cited as the reasons for policy decisions and desire for certain social changes that affect society as a whole and those that don't subscribe to a given religion specifically. These are all reasons (and more) that I've stated previously in this thread and others.

I would have zero problem with the religious if they would keep their superstitions private or, at least, don't share them unless inquired. However, the religious make it their special duty to publicly wear their superstitions and oft impose them upon secular (which doesn't equate to atheist) society. Not only that, but the religious feel it is their duty to tell me that I'm going to burn in the pits of hell and be impaled on hot pokers for eternity simply because I see no reason to accept their particular brand of superstition.

For that reason, among many others, listed here and not, I feel, and even demand, the right to be critical of religion. Particularly if I'm asked. And most particularly if the religious are bold enough to make a public claim. I even feel, that I have the right to <gasp> ridicule religion on some occasions. If someone tells me in public that I'm going to hell, you can best bet a zinger will be fired back. If someone criticizes me in public about needing to accept their furry-faced friend on a stick (a.k.a. Jesus), don't think I'm not willing to be funny and ridicule their comment.

So, do I believe I have a moral right to "prove the deluded fallacy of religion?" What I believe is that it is my duty to speak out against public claims that are bunk if I'm able.


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Old 12-23-2006, 01:53 AM   #184
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But why go after God when you Aheists dont even have evidence to
disaprove him? Spider Al has stated in a way and probally you yourself Skin
that you dont believe in God or anything else due to there is no evidence
that states he exists. So you simply go stating that he musnt exist
if there is no evidence. So there is untruth there due to you cant disaprove
he exists just based on no evidence. If you or others do if any is just reject
that he exists instead of stating that its a fact that he dont exist.


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Old 12-23-2006, 02:00 AM   #185
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I'll go over a couple of points you've raised.

First of all is people using religion, psychic voodoo, ect as part of a scam. If anything I'm more incensed about people who do this than you are, and the people who pull these stunts should be subjected to very unreligious forms of punishment. How much of the blame is to be placed on religion and psychics? I'm no gypsey, nor do I give things such as tarot cards much credit. I know that religion considers such things evil so to lump the two together is a bit like trying to apply the positive force of a magnet against the negative force. You are right in what you say however, I have seen psychic predictions used in fraud and I'm sure scammers would use religion as well. They also use banks to try and get your details, Internet viruses that hide on your computer and record passwords, ect, stories about Saddam Hussein's wife having millions in riches that she will give you if you send ten thousand dollars.

An issue with religion I would raise is how there's a large number of priests and religious people who turn out to be pedophiles. These people are meant to be the holiest of the holy, pillers of the community, and they rape children. i don't mean to attack religion in saying this but an...unfair i would say, amount of reliious leaders are rotton to the core and the lowest of the low. Child predetors come from all walks of life and it is very much a community problem, but that does not let the church off the hook.

The other issue you raised was in regards to publicly wearing their religion. Some would even go so far as to become moral police and believe they have the moral right to go after what doesn't agree with their religion. This is the other extreme of the problem I have with Atheists believing they have the moral right to go after religion. I believe there's a time and a place for people to preach what they practice, but certainly your comments about keeping their superstitions private, there are times where this is a very good thing. Two immediate examplea I can think of is in terms of not offending those a religion condemns (homosexuals for example) and those who follow diffirent religions, especially in how people interpret the same religion diffirently. Such as how select Muslims believe they have the moral duty to wage war on unbelievers. You can quote me on this and say that that belief of Islam is as full of bull**** as the belief that Islam is terrorism, but the point is the problems someone of one religion might encounter if they were confronted on their beliefs by someone who believes in a diffirent religion.

On that note right there is something Atheists can point to and say that it's further evidence that their way is the one true faith. I think we should allow people to believe what they want to believe, even if it is flying spaghetti monsters. I mean, we don't tell kids there's no Santa or Easter Bunny, surely.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:06 AM   #186
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Quote:
But why go after God when you Aheists dont even have evidence to
disaprove him? Spider Al has stated in a way and probally you yourself Skin
that you dont believe in God or anything else do to there is no evidence
that states he exists. So you simply go stating that he musnt exist
if there is no evidence. So there is untruth there due to you cant disaprove
he exists just based on no evidence. If you or others do if any is just reject
that he exists instead of stating that its a fact that he dont exist.
But it isn't the burden of atheists to prove the existence of a god. The burden of proof is upon those that claim there *are* one or more gods. If you claim that your decisions are based upon appeasing a supernatural agent, it isn't up to me to disprove that agents exists for me to say I don't believe in it. Moreover, not believing your supernatural agent isn't exactly the same thing as denying it, at least not in the sense that I think you mean.

I deny only that there is any evidence to support the existence of any of the hundreds of deities that current religions claim. Sometimes I get the feeling that when religious adherents use the term "denying god" they mean that atheists "know there is a god, but choose to deny it."

Finally, the very first part of your statement above is incorrect, for me at least. I don't "go after God," nor do I know any atheists that do. I criticize theistic claims that gods exist or decisions based on perceived requirements needed to appease a supernatural agency. I can't "go after" that which doesn't exist.


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Old 12-23-2006, 02:17 AM   #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
On that note right there is something Atheists can point to and say that it's further evidence that their way is the one true faith. I think we should allow people to believe what they want to believe, even if it is flying spaghetti monsters. I mean, we don't tell kids there's no Santa or Easter Bunny, surely.
The only real criticism I have of your post is that atheists don't have a "faith."

And I, too, believe people have the right to believe what they want. I only draw the line when they make public statements of fact about their beliefs without demonstrated them via evidence. I think you might have misconstrued my examples about psychics and scam artists. I was trying to show that I don't just hold the religious to this standard, but all who have extraordinary claims. In fact, I would even expect to hold scientists accountable to the same standards. If a scientist makes an extraordinary claim, you can best believe there are a dozen other scientists waiting put her feet to the fire.

And I'm teaching my daughter the skills she needs to figure out the truth about the Easter Bunny and Santa on her own.


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Old 12-23-2006, 02:22 AM   #188
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Quote:
I don't "go after God," nor do I know any atheists that do. I criticize theistic claims that gods exist or decisions based on perceived requirements needed to appease a supernatural agency
Ya but critiscism is a form or
going after is it not? It basically goes that you dont go along with what
he/she/it is,does, means etc.

I feel as though forcing beliefs is an overstatement you people take.
People that go and preach religion dont go at it by force. And if they
do they are taking evangelize the wrong way or not what it was intended
to do. I take preaching and evangelizing the word of God by sharing teachings of love one another,teachings of goodwill etc to other people. Not by force at all.
they dont go saying you better believe this or im gonna kill you etc. ( now thats force)
And I dont go with that you think that trying to get public schools to go teach inteligent design as a base for your 'forcing there beliefs' or any other argument that you come up with thats forcing beliefs.I think
that would be incorrect due to people get to vote to teach this in public schools and get to vote on the person that chooses to vote on these schoolboard people that make these descisions.


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Old 12-23-2006, 02:39 AM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
to lump the two together is a bit like trying to apply the positive force of a magnet against the negative force.
...The irony here is so delightful it actually hurts.

I know you were trying to say the two comparisons were incompatible, but the positive and negative forces of magnets are what stick together.

And in this case I think your mistake is spot on. I don't see any difference between religion, astrology, or tarot card reading. They all attempt to explain the inexplicable with mysticism and pseudoscience, and not a one of them can hold up to any real logical scrutiny.



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Old 12-23-2006, 03:42 AM   #190
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I missed a lot of science when I was in school, but what I meant was that religion sees psychics, tarot card reading, ect, the same as witchcraft. I think everyone knows aboutthe Salem trials.
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:51 AM   #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
I missed a lot of science when I was in school, but what I meant was that religion sees psychics, tarot card reading, ect, the same as witchcraft. I think everyone knows about the Salem trials.
What ET is getting at is that none of these things have any basis in reality. You attempted to misdirect to persecution again.
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:27 AM   #192
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No...doesn't religion think of such practices as evil? In any case the thought was there, and I agree that you shouldn't place faith in psychics, tarot cards, ect.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:02 PM   #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

right/wrong--I think God made (nearly) all humans able to distinguish right/wrong as part of their makeup.
Your original assertion was that objective morality cannot exist without religion. This sentence would seem to contradict it. Either people have innate morality, an innate capacity to distinguish "right" from "wrong" independent of religious guidance, or they do not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

The concept of using prayer instead of work, if you're looking at it in a specifically Biblical context, is not appropriate, because James says 'faith without works is dead.'
Well you miss a rather important point here, which is that works without faith... WORK.

You don't need blind faith in a deity or prayer to that deity to accomplish anything. Just hard work. Prayer, faith... these things might be useful placebos or psychological or sociological curios... but they're essentially practical irrelevances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Kids and religion--I've seen too many kids grow up with not a whole lot and have this totally confused mishmash of whatever happens to be their friends' and family members' beliefs/non-beliefs. I don't want my kids to believe in whatever happens to be blowing in the prevailing spiritual wind at any given moment. I'd rather give mine a definitive base in 1 thing and if/when they want to go explore something else when they are cognitively able, then they can.
Atheism is a set position. It's rationalism. You really can't get any more concrete than atheism. If anything, atheism is totally outside the "spiritual wind" as you describe it. So if you want to offer your kids a grounded method of understanding the world, logic is it. Religion is not.

And the idea that kids who are indoctrinated into religion when they're young will be "able to explore other avenues when they're older if they want to" is naive. Kids who are brought up with religion are essentially having their logic-gland crippled. If they're brought up to believe that belief without evidence is a VIRTUE... It's likely that they'll never be able to appreciate fully the difference between reality and fantasy. At the very least, it'll make it more difficult for them to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

the arguments may be old and tired to you, and you may look upon them with a bit of a jaded eye and be dismissive about the entire thing and pigeon-hole me as yet another religious fruitcake.
The arguments are old and tired, but far from dismissing them I have made a herculean effort to respond rationally to each and every one of them. This is because I believe that it is extremely bad form to ignore questions and points that people have taken the trouble to type in.

As for pigeonholing you as a "fruitcake", I've never said anything remotely this insulting, and frankly with this sentence you're just trying to misrepresent the positions of others again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

I'm relatively new to the apologetics field and therefore don't have a polished presentation along the lines of Zacharias, Craig, or Geisler.
The problem with your arguments isn't that they're unpolished, Jae.

As I'm sure you're aware, Zacharias comes out with the same arguments that you have come out with, on a regular basis. They are the only arguments he seems to have, frankly. They're the only arguments ANY religious person seems to have. I've certainly never seen much variation from this "party line" for want of a better term.

Yes, Zacharias' presentation may be more "polished" in that his arguments are couched in more hyperbole and are presented in a suave, affable fashion... but they're still utterly flawed arguments. Utterly illogical.

This idea you seem to have that changing the presentation of an argument affects its validity is ludicrous in the extreme. If an argument is logical, that logic shines through regardless of how the argument is couched, how it's presented, regardless of how affably it's vocalised.

Which would you rather have? The affably presented, deftly polished excrement of a blatant lie, or the jagged-surfaced diamond-in-the-rough of truth? I know which one I've chosen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

You may have to suffer through some of what you think is my foolishness, but I'm just trying to learn. Sorry if that makes you more angry.
While I laud the sentiment you're expressing (the desire to learn) I have to question your seriousness.

I mean, in order to learn anything, you have to first accept that logic and rationality are at all times necessary. Then you can reason out the truth. And you've absolutely refused to engage in anything close to logical debate throughout this thread, persistently ignoring logical rebuttals of your assertions and moving on to new assertions which are in turn rebutted. It'd be nice if for once you actually addressed a logical train of thought and followed it to its inevitable conclusion.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon:

@Spider Al, you could probably phrase it better than 'fallacious'.
Umm... you do know what fallacious means, don't you Dev?

fal·la·cious /f?'le???s/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[fuh-ley-shuhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective 1. containing a fallacy; logically unsound: fallacious arguments.

So it's an absolutely 100% accurate way of describing all the arguments that religious people have put forward in this thread. Including, but not limited to, Jae's. There is no "better" way of describing them.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker:

I realize you may have no hope that your words will convince a believer, as I recall, you were rightly skeptical of my own anecdotal claim of having observed change in believers, but my own reasons for participating in public discussions of this type is to educate. I hope to offer enough food for thought for the believer (in any supernatural or pseudoscientific idea) to mull over that they might eventually consider reasoned arguments over ones of faith and belief.
To make things totally clear: I never said that I didn't believe that your anecdote was true. I merely stated (and state) that such occurrances are SO rare that we can discard them as irrelevant random aberrations. The fact that one faith-head in a zillion might have a change of heart after reading our debates is not sufficient grounds for altering our arguments in an attempt to pander to him/her.

Secondly I used the analogy of the diamond-in-the-rough earlier to describe the truths we're expressing. When you polish a stone, you're removing part of that stone. And if you polish too much, you lose what made the stone valuable in the first place. I always err on the side of under-polishing, because I believe purity of truth and fact is much MUCH more important than palatability when it comes to composing an argument.

Lastly as to the "multitude" of undecided parties that you believe are out there... You know, I'm not entirely sure that the number of genuinely undecided people is as large as you think. I've said it before, I think that people are either rational or irrational, and rational people will naturally gravitate towards atheism with or without my (or your) interference.

Yes, I'm sure there IS some sort of middle-ground between those who accept the obvious and become atheist and those that cannot accept the obvious and remain irrational... but in my estimation the middle-ground must be so thin a strip of land that it simply cannot hold that many people.

Maybe I'm being too cynical, I don't know.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08:

Ya but critiscism is a form or
going after is it not? It basically goes that you dont go along with what
he/she/it is,does, means etc.
"Going after" implies that atheists are pursuing religious people, accosting them and forcing them to defend their beliefs. That is far from the truth. Religious people come to us, in our schools, in our politics, in our media. When someone comes to you and makes spurious assertions, you have a right and a responsibility to point out their lack of logic. That's not "going after" them. It's defending yourself from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08:

And I dont go with that you think that trying to get public schools to go teach inteligent design as a base for your 'forcing there beliefs' or any other argument that you come up with thats forcing beliefs.I think
that would be incorrect due to people get to vote to teach this in public schools and get to vote on the person that chooses to vote on these schoolboard people that make these descisions.
Whether the decisions of school boards are truly democratic in nature (as you suggest) is another debate.

But we're not talking about religious groups just "offering the alternative" to the school boards, we're talking about constant lobbying, political pressure and dissemination of propaganda into the public domain. It's very much trying to "force" a ludicrous faith-based belief onto impressionable schoolchildren.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

On that note right there is something Atheists can point to and say that it's further evidence that their way is the one true faith. I think we should allow people to believe what they want to believe, even if it is flying spaghetti monsters. I mean, we don't tell kids there's no Santa or Easter Bunny, surely.
If your child asks you whether there is really such a thing as "the easter bunny", of course you should say "no". Lying to your children isn't the moral thing to do.


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Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:25 PM   #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
But it isn't the burden of atheists to prove the existence of a god. The burden of proof is upon those that claim there *are* one or more gods. If you claim that your decisions are based upon appeasing a supernatural agent, it isn't up to me to disprove that agents exists for me to say I don't believe in it. Moreover, not believing your supernatural agent isn't exactly the same thing as denying it, at least not in the sense that I think you mean.

I deny only that there is any evidence to support the existence of any of the hundreds of deities that current religions claim. Sometimes I get the feeling that when religious adherents use the term "denying god" they mean that atheists "know there is a god, but choose to deny it."

Finally, the very first part of your statement above is incorrect, for me at least. I don't "go after God," nor do I know any atheists that do. I criticize theistic claims that gods exist or decisions based on perceived requirements needed to appease a supernatural agency. I can't "go after" that which doesn't exist.
I think you need to make one important clarification here. While you state it isn't the province of atheists to prove the existence of God/gods, neither is it their purview to make definitive statements about Him/them not actually existing. By that I mean that the inability of science to address a specific issue, in this case that of a supernatural being, does not prove anything. It may give atheists room to say that they will not BELIEVE in a God/gods till given empiracal evidence, but doesn't ACTUALLY prove that such an entity or entities truly don't exist.

As to the denying god part, I have a question. Have you run into that in the form of "....in order to deny the existence of God, you have to aknowledge His existence first"? I, at least have gotten this one, or a slight variation. My response has been that such a denial only proves an awareness of a concept called "God" and not the entity "Himself". I suspect that there must have been a lot of skepticism early on in the case of Christianity b/c one of the Beatitudes states something like ...Blessed is he who believes, yet does not see. I seriously doubt this issue will be addressed in our lifetime in a way that gives closure. It will merely rage on till all life is extinguished or goes on to meet its maker, with neither side giving any real ground to the other. Sort of like here.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:54 PM   #195
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Whoa, things have went along since I last posted. Let's go one at a time:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I have to admit I did have a little chuckle at the idea of vasectomies being as controversial as, say, embryonic stem cell research. The naughty part of my mind had to be extricated from the gutter....
Didn't think of that one at the time I was posting, but it is a very controversial topic. I'll leave it at that so not to go off-topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
right/wrong--I think God made (nearly) all humans able to distinguish right/wrong as part of their makeup.
That's your belief, but I have to agree with Mike Windu when he said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Windu
The whole thing about human right/wrong is that it is completely possible for man to develop that on his own. Man clearly can adapt from his environment; can he also see what causes suffering and pain to other beings? It'd be easy to determine right from wrong according to how it affects others and what biological consequences or social consequences may stem from said right/wrong action.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
More often it's just communication and gratefulness that He provided the strength for me to do the hard work I need to do to take care of my family and friends.
But what I don't get is this - why do you need a god to provide you strength, instead of giving yourself credit for your own success where it's due? I'm sorry if this question sounds a little attacking, but it's the best form I could think of at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
As Atheists, do you see Atheism as simply the non belief of religion or the belief of having the moral right to prove the deluded fallacy of religion wrong to those who follow it?
SkinWalker already answered this one in great detail and all I could possibly add to that would be my own personal point of view, but I'll pass. I only have to say that you might want to try to ask your questions without attacking, or accusing others outright, I mean look at the ending of your question: ''belief of having the moral right to prove the deluded fallacy of religion wrong to those who follow it?''. You outright accuse atheists of having one sole purpose in life - to fanatically pursue all religious people and force them to give up their beliefs. I don't know what instigated such a negative opinion, but I don't believe you'd post on a thread that discusses atheism solely to attack atheists and their view on the world, or am I wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08
But why go after God when you Aheists dont even have evidence to
disaprove him? Spider Al has stated in a way and probally you yourself Skin
that you dont believe in God or anything else due to there is no evidence
that states he exists. So you simply go stating that he musnt exist
if there is no evidence.
There is no evidence of the existence of a god and there is no evidence of his (her?) non-existence, but there is real hard physical evidence that proves theories presented in bibles of various religions wrong. One typical example are proven scientific theories of how Earth came to be and how life on Earth came to be and how humans came to be that have proven biblical references on these topics quite wrong.
We know now that humans didn't come from Adam and Eve, unless you want to either consider the fact that all humans are related and that it's all just one big incest (no offense intended), or you want to call the first evolved primates Adam and Eve.


Last edited by igyman; 12-23-2006 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:16 PM   #196
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Simple, because some Atheists have clearly stated that religion is a delusion and believe they have a moral right to prove the fallacy of believing in religion. These are the words of Atheists, not my own. If you disagree with that notion of Atheism...frankly I agree with you, Atheism should not be the belief of having the moral right to disprove religion, but if you disagree with the notion of Atheism being believing you have the moral right to disprove the delusion of religion raise it with the Atheists who believe it.
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:39 PM   #197
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I won't deny that there are some atheists who view things that way, but I don't think that's a majority. I certainly don't think atheists should persecute religious people and make them give up their beliefs, but the same goes for some of the religious and their attitude towards atheists.

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Old 12-23-2006, 05:26 PM   #198
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Yes, definetly. Christians condemning homosexuals for example, if they believe in God who are they to judge others, hmm? Like I've said people should be entitled to believe and act the way they want, any way they want. When their beliefs and actions cause harm to others then it becomes a problem, but if it doesn't who cares? Not me.
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Old 12-24-2006, 01:07 AM   #199
Jae Onasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Darn you, Jae! I spend time typing up all my points, and you proceed to ignore them all. This must be the 4th time this has happened.

@Spider Al, you could probably phrase it better than 'fallacious'.
Naw, not ignoring them at all. I was replying to igy's post, and by the time I saw yours, my youngest had reached Screaming Mimi stage and needed to be fed and then put to bed. She's not been feeling well all week, so her coping resources are in the toilet. I've been looking stuff over, but this weekend is just really busy with Christmas celebrations. I haven't ignored the other issues you raised elsewhere--I've been busy reading/researching.

@ET Warrior--Einstein theorized/determined that matter was created, and Hawkings and a couple other scientists have asserted that time was also created. Time/matter are not eternally self-existent in that case.


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Old 12-24-2006, 04:14 AM   #200
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If you accept the random postulations of a handful of people, then certainly. Of course none of their postulations can even begin to be in the realm of hypothesis or theories because they are untestable. Sure, they're really smart people making these statements, but really smart people are fallible.

I ask you, as a critical thinker, to examine your unquestioning acceptance that there can be an infinite omnipotent being that has always existed, while seeming to be of the belief that matter and energy itself had to have some sort of beginning. I'm not saying for certain that matter and energy always existed, I really don't know. But is it not just as likely, and perhaps MORE likely than for some infinite deity to have created them out of nothing?



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