The reasonable belief in God

RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
The reasonable belief in God

First let us distinguish the separate definitions of reason.  There is a scientific reason (often called empirical knowledge), there is ethical reasoning (what makes you happy?  What is the greatest good for the greatest number?), and there is logical and mathematical reasoning (absolute or tautological knowledge).  The former two use the tools of the latter in order to function coherently and provide the best answers that we, as humans can come up with.

So, here is the question: why would it be reasonable for you to believe in a God?  Obviously there is no empirical reason to do so, and this is what Atheists first point to when they discuss religion.  God is not observed with our senses, he does not speak to you (or at least most of you), there is no evidence for him, and therefore no scientific reason to believe in him.  Therefore there is no reason (either scientific, ethical, or logical) to believe that God took a direct hand in the things which science can explain.  There is no reason (of any kind), with the evidence that we have now, to believe such ridiculous notions as "God made the world in six days," or that the earth is six thousand years old.  There is no reason to believe in the absolute truth of the Bible.

 Now, skipping the second form of reason for now, there is also no true tautological reason for the existence of God.  Many philosophers have tried to prove God through "pure reason," and I will not go into a long discussion of their attempts or arguments here--because I simply don't buy them.  There simply is no way that I know of to prove the existence of God.

However, when we discuss the ethical reason for believing in God, we are faced with a much different question.  We are not asking whether there is empirical evidence for the existence of God.  We are not asking whether or not it can be proved absolutely--but we are asking the bold question of whether or not it is best for our lives and our personal happiness.  Now I am not talking about any of the bullshit spouted about that "believing in God will make you a better person" or that "taking Christ as your lord and savior will help you to lead a better life."  This is utter nonsense.  It is not religion which gives you a better life, but your ability to critically analyze what is right and wrong.   Religion is not the proper guide to either science, math, or your personal ethics, and in fact it has been used frequently to misguide large groups of people into doing very horrific things.  To put it bluntly, priests are the worst guarders of morality.  At best they can enforce it, at worst they horribly corrupt it.

However, when you ask the question: "what happens after I die" the evidence in this world suddenly becomes worthless.  We know that our bodies rot away into dust, but this does not bring us any comfort.  In fact, it is this fact, and this fact alone, which can potentially make us fear death--fear it with such an inward pain that it can ruin our life.  But wait!  If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God?  Is that not then reason to believe in an afterlife?  There may be no evidence for a God, but there is evidence of death--is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

When you honestly ask yourself this question, I think you will find that it is the fundamental one.  It was Voltaire who wrote that "if God did not exist then it would be necessary to invent him."  The reason why we would want to invent him would be so that we can live this life to its fullest--to use reason to analyze the world around us and ardently find answers to our deepest questions, while still believing that when we die, we could continue to live on.  To know that there was no reason to fear death, and to instead just enjoy life.

 ~Deist 


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
Appeal to

Appeal to consequences/Pascal's Wager. Refuted long ago -- Google it.

Thanks for playing and do come again. 


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
I don't see Pascal's wager

I don't see Pascal's wager in here. Am I missing it?

 


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
magilum wrote: Appeal to

magilum wrote:

Appeal to consequences/Pascal's Wager. Refuted long ago -- Google it.

Thanks for playing and do come again.

It has similiarities to Pascal's wager in that it asks "why not?"  However, the simililarity ends there.  Pascal's wager requires someone to forgoe reasoning and science in place of faith, whereas Deism requres someone to use reason for everything they do, every single day in their life; except that Deists have the comfort of knowing that death is not the end.  This is not a wager, as you are not loosing ANYTHING by believing in a God in this way. 


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:

However, when you ask the question: "what happens after I die" the evidence in this world suddenly becomes worthless. We know that our bodies rot away into dust, but this does not bring us any comfort.

So what. The lack of comfort doesn't change the fact that that is precisely what happens.

RationalDeist wrote:

In fact, it is this fact, and this fact alone, which can potentially make us fear death--fear it with such an inward pain that it can ruin our life. But wait! If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God? Is that not then reason to believe in an afterlife?

No. Belief in a better life than this one (or just another life than this one) trivializes the worth of the present life. If you acknowledge this life as the only one you have, each moment is far more precious than if you think there are more moments to come after expire. It is belief in an afterlife which logicizes martyrdom.

RationalDeist wrote:

There may be no evidence for a God, but there is evidence of death--is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

Yet doesn't this enable a far greater fear - that you might spend your afterlife in eternal torment?

Just smoke a joint and listen to Blue Oyster Cult. Far more sensible way to calm your fear of death than inventing an alternative existence.

RationalDeist wrote:

When you honestly ask yourself this question, I think you will find that it is the fundamental one. It was Voltaire who wrote that "if God did not exist then it would be necessary to invent him."

Maybe back in the old days. But times change. The god hypothesis -- and any corollaries on the afterlife-- have long since run any useful purpose.

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


Cernunnos
Cernunnos's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: 2007-07-04
User is offlineOffline
I see no need for a god to

I see no need for a god to allow your dishonest belief in afterlife to subsist.

Surely it would be more rational to believe in an afterlife in a way that is less corruptible and does not supplement a chimerical religious outlook.

 GAME OVER "Insert coin to continue"

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I don't see Pascal's wager in here. Am I missing it?

 

Second to last paragraph, he makes the claim that fear of death provides a 'reason' to believe in an afterlife. Incidentally, he also equivocates between 'reason,' as in motive, and 'reason' as in logical justification.

Edit: It's Pascal's Wager for belief in belief. 


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:
magilum wrote:

Appeal to consequences/Pascal's Wager. Refuted long ago -- Google it.

Thanks for playing and do come again.

It has similiarities to Pascal's wager in that it asks "why not?"  However, the simililarity ends there.  Pascal's wager requires someone to forgoe reasoning and science in place of faith, whereas Deism requres someone to use reason for everything they do, every single day in their life; except that Deists have the comfort of knowing that death is not the end.  This is not a wager, as you are not loosing ANYTHING by believing in a God in this way. 

You know no such thing. You may have all the 'reason' (as in impetus) in the world to want an afterlife, but I'd be absolutely shocked if you could provide a step by step account for why there is one, or better yet demonstrate as much.


Orangustang
Orangustang's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: 2007-11-09
User is offlineOffline
I don't know if it's just

I don't know if it's just me, but I suspect you'll find a lot of members here who feel the same way I do. I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable knowing that I will rot in the ground when I die and no part of me will live on but my memory. That memory will last for a couple of generations, more if I become famous, but eventually it will die too, and there will be essentially no signs that I ever have lived. I have no problem with losing consciousness at the end of my life and never regaining it in any sense. Death isn't scary if you have truly lived.

 Also, some other members are really on top of it with the basic logical fallacies with your post. Wanting to believe something is not in itself a good reason to believe that thing.

The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- Thomas H. Huxley

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:

So, here is the question: why would it be reasonable for you to believe in a God? Obviously there is no empirical reason to do so,

I totally disagree. There are literally heaps of empirical gaps and findings in science which justify a contingent belief in an order of things beyond the classically physical. The ancients called this area of supranatural phenomenon by many names - spirit, brahman, god, heaven, sky - but who cares what they called it, it remains empirically justified to believe in the ultimate influence of things, beyond the solid and physically tangible in ordinary terms, on our existence. If we called it Daddy multiverse instead of daddy god it might make an atheist more comfortable but it won't change the fact that it is an unseen omnipresent parent of our existence revealed in the nature of light.

But that's not even what I mean to say.

Really, I abhor this disingenious absolutism of contemporary thought. 'no' empirical reason? now just stop right there and think again!

What was empirical before the stone age? Rocks are rocks and men are men and rocks don't serve man. No, rocks didn't serve man; rocks didn't wait on us with drinks and hors doeuvres; but they did turn for us from lumps of hard earth into raw materials of the progression of civilisation, because the empirical reality of that time moved from what something was, to what it could be. 'Empirical' advanced from defining state to defining properties and tools were born. Did we get to be what we are now by hitting people intellectually over the head every for every challenge made to popular empiricism. No. And so we shouldn't, no empiricism is empirical for very long in our world, that's who we are as humans, changers of empiricism. We change it, we redefine it, we compile, compare and unify it. It's ours to decide since before a table was an empirical object, since before an internet forum was an empirical experience.

If there is any reason to believe that there is a heaven awaiting man, it's empirical reason. Full stop.

Quote:

There is no reason (of any kind), with the evidence that we have now, to believe such ridiculous notions as "God made the world in six days," or that the earth is six thousand years old. There is no reason to believe in the absolute truth of the Bible.

Separate this point from the above and I agree, Otherwise you throw baby out with the bathwater.

As for the 'ethical' reason, I agree with Magilum, Pascals wager.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


DrTerwilliker
DrTerwilliker's picture
Posts: 151
Joined: 2007-08-06
User is offlineOffline
Why does God necessarily

Why does God existing necessarily mean that there's an afterlife, let alone a positive one? And why does there being some afterlife necessitate a god?

 


BizarroAzrael
Posts: 39
Joined: 2007-08-01
User is offlineOffline
Haha, "RationalDeist" and

Haha, "RationalDeist" and "FreethinkingTheist" and all that, this place can be a real hoot.

 

Fear, such as yours of the enevitablility of death, often makes people do irrational things.  If you need to believe in someone to be there when you're in that box, on fire, why not make it someone who isn't such a collossal dick?

 

You should pray to Dr. Cuddlemonkey.  He's a cuddling monkey.  And also a doctor.  And a ninja, why not, whilst we're at it?

 

And if you're picking belief based on a fear of death, why not pick one where there is no hell at all?  One where you just get reincarnated or just get the same afterlife as everyone?  Not that these make more sense really, but shouldn't that be more compatable with your own, ahem, "logic"? 


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
zarathustra wrote: So

zarathustra wrote:

So what. The lack of comfort doesn't change the fact that that is precisely what happens.

yes, but disolving into dust doesn't tell us whether or not we have a soul.  It doesn't provide any evidence either way.

 

RationalDeist wrote:

No. Belief in a better life than this one (or just another life than this one) trivializes the worth of the present life. If you acknowledge this life as the only one you have, each moment is far more precious than if you think there are more moments to come after expire. It is belief in an afterlife which logicizes martyrdom.

"each moment is far more precious," like a can of beans is far more precious to a starving person.  They will hoard that can of beans, worry about that can of beans, fret over that can of beans, and kill people if they ever suspect anyone of taking thier can of beans.  

It would be so much better to be poor.  We would "value" what we have more! 

RationalDeist wrote:

There may be no evidence for a God, but there is evidence of death--is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

Yet doesn't this enable a far greater fear - that you might spend your afterlife in eternal torment?

Just smoke a joint and listen to Blue Oyster Cult. Far more sensible way to calm your fear of death than inventing an alternative existence.

why would you have to believe in hell?  I am not understanding your assumption.  Maybe a hell for the worst people, but for people who are ethical, why does there have to be a hell?

 

Quote:

Maybe back in the old days. But times change. The god hypothesis -- and any corollaries on the afterlife-- have long since run any useful purpose.

so you know, absolutely, whether there is a human spirit, and whether it transends the body after death?

 

Because that is the only way it would run out of "any useful purpose." 


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
magilum

magilum wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I don't see Pascal's wager in here. Am I missing it?

 

Second to last paragraph, he makes the claim that fear of death provides a 'reason' to believe in an afterlife. Incidentally, he also equivocates between 'reason,' as in motive, and 'reason' as in logical justification.

Edit: It's Pascal's Wager for belief in belief.

the motive is happiness, not reason. 


BizarroAzrael
Posts: 39
Joined: 2007-08-01
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: the

RationalDeist wrote:

the motive is happiness, not reason.

 

I think you did a pretty good job of highlighting your own irrationality in thost last two posts. 


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Orangustang wrote: I don't

Orangustang wrote:

I don't know if it's just me, but I suspect you'll find a lot of members here who feel the same way I do. I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable knowing that I will rot in the ground when I die and no part of me will live on but my memory. That memory will last for a couple of generations, more if I become famous, but eventually it will die too, and there will be essentially no signs that I ever have lived. I have no problem with losing consciousness at the end of my life and never regaining it in any sense. Death isn't scary if you have truly lived.

if you truely mean this, then I can understand your Agnosticim/Atheism perfectly, and say hi, how's it goin!  And become friends with you.  

However, I am not the same way.

 

Quote:
Also, some other members are really on top of it with the basic logical fallacies with your post. Wanting to believe something is not in itself a good reason to believe that thing.

you say this, but I don't think you really gave it much thought.  We believe things all the time in order to get on with life.  For instance, you believe that you are not going to get inot a car accident this morning, so you drive your car like you normally would.  You believe that a meteor is not going to hit your office building, so you go to work.  There are many things that we "believe" to make ourselves happier, despite the fact that there is no evidence for our beliefs--but that does not make the reason why we believe tham any less rational.  It is reasonable to live this life to its fullest extent!  Should we not try and believe things so that we may when the gaps need to be filled?


DrTerwilliker
DrTerwilliker's picture
Posts: 151
Joined: 2007-08-06
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:

you say this, but I don't think you really gave it much thought. We believe things all the time in order to get on with life. For instance, you believe that you are not going to get inot a car accident this morning, so you drive your car like you normally would. You believe that a meteor is not going to hit your office building, so you go to work. There are many things that we "believe" to make ourselves happier, despite the fact that there is no evidence for our beliefs--but that does not make the reason why we believe tham any less rational. It is reasonable to live this life to its fullest extent! Should we not try and believe things so that we may when the gaps need to be filled?

These "beliefs" you list here are quite rational. There is a low probability of getting in a car accident. Sure, it might happen, but on any given morning, the chances of it happening aren't overwhelming. Chances of getting hit my a meteor are very, very slim, almost nonexistant. These beliefs make sense based on known evidence. Belief in god just because one wants to does not.


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:

It would be so much better to be poor. We would "value" what we have more!

By this reasoning it would be better that we had neither life nor afterlife to covet or fret about. But what does it matter how little you have if you're only concerned with keeping it.

What's good about being poor is not that you value your little bit more, but that you see how little value it has if it's not shared.

If it's not dressed up with love and given away to someone who needs it, what do you get? you get poor people, you get disposable life. It's the poor who know this not the religious.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:
However, when you ask the question: "what happens after I die" the evidence in this world suddenly becomes worthless.

Here's the essential logical flaw that makes the rest of the argument come apart. 

The empirical evidence indicates that after you die, you cease to exist. The declaration that this evidence "worthless" is only supported by the claim that it "does not give us any comfort."  Last time I checked, giving comfort was not a requirement in the measuring the worth of empirical evidence.

Then that initial piece of bad reasoning leads naturally to a false dilemma--either believe, or your life will be ruined by a fear of death.  Obviously there are other alternatives. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
Like, perhaps, not having a

Like, perhaps, not having a fear of death. RationalDeist has made me feel more stupid for having read this thread.  I wonder if he'll stop defending his point of view.  There's nothing more rational about believing in god for fear of death (even if it is the deist god) than for any other reason to believe in something that, aside from almost certainly not existing, has no evidence whatsoever atributed to its existence.  RationalDeist, you might want to read some of the essays you'll find written on the forum before you post like this again.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
DrTerwilliker

DrTerwilliker wrote:
RationalDeist wrote:

you say this, but I don't think you really gave it much thought. We believe things all the time in order to get on with life. For instance, you believe that you are not going to get inot a car accident this morning, so you drive your car like you normally would. You believe that a meteor is not going to hit your office building, so you go to work. There are many things that we "believe" to make ourselves happier, despite the fact that there is no evidence for our beliefs--but that does not make the reason why we believe tham any less rational. It is reasonable to live this life to its fullest extent! Should we not try and believe things so that we may when the gaps need to be filled?

These "beliefs" you list here are quite rational. There is a low probability of getting in a car accident. Sure, it might happen, but on any given morning, the chances of it happening aren't overwhelming. Chances of getting hit my a meteor are very, very slim, almost nonexistant. These beliefs make sense based on known evidence. Belief in god just because one wants to does not.

  belief in a god, without allowing that belief to influence how you see the world, does make sense.  It can give you happiness. 

 I did not see a reubttle here, I just saw you refuting my point.  "I like Peanut Butter and Jelly!"  "No you don't!"


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Textom

Textom wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:
However, when you ask the question: "what happens after I die" the evidence in this world suddenly becomes worthless.

Here's the essential logical flaw that makes the rest of the argument come apart.

The empirical evidence indicates that after you die, you cease to exist. The declaration that this evidence "worthless" is only supported by the claim that it "does not give us any comfort." Last time I checked, giving comfort was not a requirement in the measuring the worth of empirical evidence.

except that at that point in the argument I am talking about reason seen from the perspective of ethics rather than empiricism.  You are quite right that there is no empicle reason to believe in God, I already said this.

 

Quote:
Then that initial piece of bad reasoning leads naturally to a false dilemma--either believe, or your life will be ruined by a fear of death. Obviously there are other alternatives.

You might somehow not have a fear of death.  If that is the case, then there is no ethical, empiricle, or logical reason for you to believe in a God. 


DrTerwilliker
DrTerwilliker's picture
Posts: 151
Joined: 2007-08-06
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:
DrTerwilliker wrote:
RationalDeist wrote:

you say this, but I don't think you really gave it much thought. We believe things all the time in order to get on with life. For instance, you believe that you are not going to get inot a car accident this morning, so you drive your car like you normally would. You believe that a meteor is not going to hit your office building, so you go to work. There are many things that we "believe" to make ourselves happier, despite the fact that there is no evidence for our beliefs--but that does not make the reason why we believe tham any less rational. It is reasonable to live this life to its fullest extent! Should we not try and believe things so that we may when the gaps need to be filled?

These "beliefs" you list here are quite rational. There is a low probability of getting in a car accident. Sure, it might happen, but on any given morning, the chances of it happening aren't overwhelming. Chances of getting hit my a meteor are very, very slim, almost nonexistant. These beliefs make sense based on known evidence. Belief in god just because one wants to does not.

belief in a god, without allowing that belief to influence how you see the world, does make sense. It can give you happiness.

I did not see a reubttle here, I just saw you refuting my point. "I like Peanut Butter and Jelly!" "No you don't!"

You compared rational beliefs grounded in reality to your belief in god, which you admit is motivated primarily by your wanting to believe it.  It was a flawed, ridiculous comparison, and I merely pointed that out.  You yourself stated that you have basically no evidence for the existence of a god, but feel that the belief in an afterlife makes life better somehow, so you like to believe in god.  This is a point that basically refutes itself.

Fine, belief in God gives you happiness.  This can't really be debated, as it is entirely subjective.  You offer no real evidence for a higher power, and rather just cite the benefits of belief in one.  This is no argument.  I find it fun to believe in astrology and the power of tarot cards, and even dabble in both on occasion, but I still don't really believe in them, because the pleasure they bring me is no evidence for their validity!  

  And one thing I am wondering, and stated above, is why the existence of god to you would indicate there being an afterlife, let alone a positive one, and why you feel that, for an afterlife to exist, a god must?  


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: except

RationalDeist wrote:
except that at that point in the argument I am talking about reason seen from the perspective of ethics rather than empiricism.

This is an artificial distinction that allows an escape hatch into the bad reasoning.

When I read the first paragraph of the original post, my very first thought was, "why bother making an artificial distinction between different kinds of reasoning?"  The distinguishing characteristic of reason is that it is based on evidence.  So even the so-called "ethical reasoning" should still be based on evidence in order to be rational.

The only reason for distinguishing between "ethical reason" and other kinds of reason is to build a scaffold that allows non-support to be counted as support.  Of course, if you beg the question by defining "ethical reasoning" in such a way that it allows you to count "comfort" as a criterion of validity, then you find--not surprisingly--that comfort becomes a criterion of validity under ethical reasoning.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


gregfl
Posts: 170
Joined: 2006-04-29
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote:First

RationalDeist wrote:

First let us distinguish the separate definitions of reason.  There is a scientific reason (often called empirical knowledge), there is ethical reasoning (what makes you happy?  What is the greatest good for the greatest number?), and there is logical and mathematical reasoning (absolute or tautological knowledge).  The former two use the tools of the latter in order to function coherently and provide the best answers that we, as humans can come up with.

So, here is the question: why would it be reasonable for you to believe in a God?  Obviously there is no empirical reason to do so, and this is what Atheists first point to when they discuss religion.  God is not observed with our senses, he does not speak to you (or at least most of you), there is no evidence for him, and therefore no scientific reason to believe in him.  Therefore there is no reason (either scientific, ethical, or logical) to believe that God took a direct hand in the things which science can explain.  There is no reason (of any kind), with the evidence that we have now, to believe such ridiculous notions as "God made the world in six days," or that the earth is six thousand years old.  There is no reason to believe in the absolute truth of the Bible.

 Now, skipping the second form of reason for now, there is also no true tautological reason for the existence of God.  Many philosophers have tried to prove God through "pure reason," and I will not go into a long discussion of their attempts or arguments here--because I simply don't buy them.  There simply is no way that I know of to prove the existence of God.

However, when we discuss the ethical reason for believing in God, we are faced with a much different question.  We are not asking whether there is empirical evidence for the existence of God.  We are not asking whether or not it can be proved absolutely--but we are asking the bold question of whether or not it is best for our lives and our personal happiness.  Now I am not talking about any of the bullshit spouted about that "believing in God will make you a better person" or that "taking Christ as your lord and savior will help you to lead a better life."  This is utter nonsense.  It is not religion which gives you a better life, but your ability to critically analyze what is right and wrong.   Religion is not the proper guide to either science, math, or your personal ethics, and in fact it has been used frequently to misguide large groups of people into doing very horrific things.  To put it bluntly, priests are the worst guarders of morality.  At best they can enforce it, at worst they horribly corrupt it.

However, when you ask the question: "what happens after I die" the evidence in this world suddenly becomes worthless.  We know that our bodies rot away into dust, but this does not bring us any comfort.  In fact, it is this fact, and this fact alone, which can potentially make us fear death--fear it with such an inward pain that it can ruin our life.  But wait!  If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God?  Is that not then reason to believe in an afterlife?  There may be no evidence for a God, but there is evidence of death--is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

When you honestly ask yourself this question, I think you will find that it is the fundamental one.  It was Voltaire who wrote that "if God did not exist then it would be necessary to invent him."  The reason why we would want to invent him would be so that we can live this life to its fullest--to use reason to analyze the world around us and ardently find answers to our deepest questions, while still believing that when we die, we could continue to live on.  To know that there was no reason to fear death, and to instead just enjoy life.

 ~Deist 

Hello Deist.  Basically you ask this question

Q)  why would it be reasonable for you to believe in a God?

You then provide your own answers...

A) Obviously there is no empirical reason to do so.

A)  there is also no true tautological reason for the existence of God.

A)  We are not asking whether or not it can be proved absolutely--but we are asking the bold question of whether or not it is best for our lives and our personal happiness.....We know that our bodies rot away into dust, but this does not bring us any comfort....is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

I respectfully refer you here... 

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/appealtoconsequences.html

to wit: "An appeal to consequences is an attempt to motivate belief with an appeal either to the good consequences of believing or the bad consequences of disbelieving. This may or may not involve an appeal to force. Such arguments are clearly fallacious. There is no guarantee, or even likelihood, that the world is the way that it is best for us for it to be. Belief that the world is the way that it is best for us for it to be, absent other evidence, is therefore just as likely to be false as true."

Not only do you seem to be happy resting your argument on a blatant and obvious fallacy that renders your argument without any persuasive power whatsover, you seem to suggest that fear is a rational motivator for belief.  I reject that premise outright and only agree it to be an appropriate tonic for the mentally challenged, emotionally weak, and intellectually bankrupt. 

Thanks anyway.


Ophios
Ophios's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: 2006-09-19
User is offlineOffline
Quote:

Quote:
There may be no evidence for a God, but there is evidence of death--is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

1.You assume that without an afterlife, one would be afraid of Death. You have such low views on humanity, as most people of your caliber do.

2.So what if I AM afraid. I'm afraid of comets smashing into Earth and destroying everything in a slow choke, but that won't make a giant "Earth Defender Spaceship" come up out of nothing.

3.Afterlife=/=God

4.Afterlife=/=gods

5.Continuing from for, you make an assumption that your god is the true one

6.From what I can see, Church pumps up the new fears and gives you new ones, and on top of all that, give you minorities to hate.

AImboden wrote:
I'm not going to PM my agreement just because one tucan has pms.


slightlyoddguy
slightlyoddguy's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Sorry, but I don't choose

Sorry, but I don't choose my beliefs based on emotion. I could believe an infinite numbers of things that would make me feel better, but that doesn't make them rational beliefs. Like gregfl pointed out, your argument is an appeal to consequences.

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: yes,

RationalDeist wrote:

yes, but disolving into dust doesn't tell us whether or not we have a soul. It doesn't provide any evidence either way.

So what.  The default position is not to believe in a soul until such evidence is found. You are the "rational" deist, aren't you? 

 

RationalDeist wrote:

"each moment is far more precious," like a can of beans is far more precious to a starving person. They will hoard that can of beans, worry about that can of beans, fret over that can of beans, and kill people if they ever suspect anyone of taking thier can of beans.

It would be so much better to be poor. We would "value" what we have more!

Way to try and skirt the issue with a poor analogy (and expertly laced with sarcasm).  Let's take a closer look:  I take the can of beans to represent this life, in all its comfortless finitude.  Yes, the starving person ought to cherish that can of beans, if that's all he has.  Not very comforting, but makes far more sense than dreaming of a full-course buffet (corresponding to the afterlife) which will arrive once that can of beans is finished. 

 You are the "rational" deist, aren't you?

RationalDeist wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
Yet doesn't this enable a far greater fear - that you might spend your afterlife in eternal torment?

 why would you have to believe in hell? I am not understanding your assumption. Maybe a hell for the worst people, but for people who are ethical, why does there have to be a hell?

I never said you have to believe in hell.  I simply said that belief in an afterlife holds open the possibility of things getting worse than they currently are, and not better.  Just like we don't know if there's a soul, and don't know if there's an afterlife, we don't know that an afterlife would necessarily improve on this life.

 

RationalDeist wrote:
so you know, absolutely, whether there is a human spirit, and whether it transends the body after death?

I know, absolutely, that we presently have no evidence of  a human spirit, and whether it transends the body after death.

 


 

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


gregfl
Posts: 170
Joined: 2006-04-29
User is offlineOffline
zarathustra wrote:  You

zarathustra wrote:
 You are the "rational" deist, aren't you?

 

 


 

 

His has not demonstrated that his moniker fits his writing.

 

His argument is basically, 'it is reasonable to believe in god because it helps us deal with fear".

 

This is not rational.   I have learned that once you point out a fallacious argument to someone, if they still hold onto it, they aren't interested in rationality.  He will either prove why his argument isn't fallicious or hold onto it in spite of the refutations.  Further discussion with him about it is really moot and repititious.

 

The next move is his.

 

 

 


Jacob Cordingley
SuperfanBronze Member
Jacob Cordingley's picture
Posts: 1484
Joined: 2007-03-18
User is offlineOffline
I agreed with a lot of what

I agreed with a lot of what you said. No empirical or tautological reason to believe in God etc etc. However, you didn't really give any ethical reasoning for believing in God. God is not essential to ethics, we can have ethics without God and in fact it is easier and freer to reason ethics without God as a basis for it. From Godless ethicists we have arrived at utilitarian, consequentialist and liberal schools of thought, all of which are fairly compatible and all of which rely on reason and not tradition/religion/folk ethics.

As for death. Here I think there may actually be good reason to try and believe in God. The problem is having reasoned as far as there being no empirical, tautological or ethical reason to believe in God it becomes nearly impossible to do so. You may in fact have to undo your previous reasoning on the subject and mentally force yourself to believe something you consider to be absolutely ridiculous.

Not only this but it is in fact possible to reconcile fear of death without adding an afterlife or deity of any kind. One of the problems I had for many years as an atheist was fear of death. It's about the inability to imagine your own absense from the world, and to imagine nothingness, or at least that's how I analysed it (and I went pretty deep into my own psychology to do this) although I do not rule out that other people's fear may come from another cause). The problem as I see it though is that we fear the limits of our own minds. The things we cannot explain or imagine, the same reason why many choose to believe in God in order to fill gaps.

In the 20th and 21st centuries we have science, reason and the capacity to learn and think more freely than ever before. We don't need a God of the gaps and in fact it is recognised as a big logical fallacy. One thing I realised since I started coming on here back in March is that the focus is all wrong, that we needn't pre-occupy ourselves with death, but the fact that we only have one life makes it all the more necessary to live it, to enjoy it. It is absolutely impossible to imagine our own absense from the world, the ending of our period of consciousness but another way of thinking it is that actually we have already been dead, unconscious of anything, thought, and that was for the 14 billion years (at least!! Its probably infinite) before we were born. So now, I cherish my life, I look to enjoy every moment, fill it with meaningful achievements, because at the end of the day its precious. I'm sorry that last sentence sounds like some kind of self-help guru knobhead.


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Textom wrote: This is an

Textom wrote:

This is an artificial distinction that allows an escape hatch into the bad reasoning.

When I read the first paragraph of the original post, my very first thought was, "why bother making an artificial distinction between different kinds of reasoning?" The distinguishing characteristic of reason is that it is based on evidence.

this is blatantly false.  Logic is the primary tool of reason, and it is based on tautology, not evidence.  You are off by quite a bit.

I was distinusihing between differnt kinds of "reasonableness."  Sorry for not making myself clear enough.

 

Quote:
So even the so-called "ethical reasoning" should still be based on evidence in order to be rational.

The only reason for distinguishing between "ethical reason" and other kinds of reason is to build a scaffold that allows non-support to be counted as support. Of course, if you beg the question by defining "ethical reasoning" in such a way that it allows you to count "comfort" as a criterion of validity, then you find--not surprisingly--that comfort becomes a criterion of validity under ethical reasoning.

happiness is the basis of ethics, and it was what I was talking about.  I am not guilty of any of these things that you are accusing me of.


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist- What is the

RationalDeist-

What is the difference between you believing in god because it makes you feel good and a person who kills because it makes him feel good? By your logic (it seems) because it makes him feel good it should reasonable for this person to kill.

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
gregfl wrote:

gregfl wrote:
Hello Deist. Basically you ask this question

Q) why would it be reasonable for you to believe in a God?

You then provide your own answers...

A) Obviously there is no empirical reason to do so.

A) there is also no true tautological reason for the existence of God.

A) We are not asking whether or not it can be proved absolutely--but we are asking the bold question of whether or not it is best for our lives and our personal happiness.....We know that our bodies rot away into dust, but this does not bring us any comfort....is death not reason enough to put your belief in something, so that you might live this life without fear?

I respectfully refer you here...

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/appealtoconsequences.html

to wit: "An appeal to consequences is an attempt to motivate belief with an appeal either to the good consequences of believing or the bad consequences of disbelieving. This may or may not involve an appeal to force. Such arguments are clearly fallacious. There is no guarantee, or even likelihood, that the world is the way that it is best for us for it to be. Belief that the world is the way that it is best for us for it to be, absent other evidence, is therefore just as likely to be false as true."

you have incorrectly categorized my argument. Allow me to explain by adding what you didn't quote from that site.

 

"Both of these arguments are fallacious because they provide no evidence for their conclusions; all they do is appeal to the consequences of belief in God. In the case of the first argument, the positive consequences of belief in God are cited as evidence that God exists. In the case of the second argument, the negative consequences of disbelief in God are cited as evidence that God exists. Neither argument, though, provides any evidence for Santa’s existence. The consequences of a belief are rarely a good guide to its truth. Both arguments are therefore fallacious."

As is most clearly an correctly stated in the quote above, they are fallacious, because they attempt to prove the existence of God. I am simply giving a reason to believe in God, a good reason, and am not trying to prove the existence of him. My argument is this.

1. With a belief in God, I would not fear death. (G --> ~F)

2. If I do not fear death, I will be more happy. (~F --> H)

3. I believe in God.(G)

4. I do not fear death (~F)

5. I am more happy (H)

 

As you can see, not an appeal to consequence. My argument is different from the one on that site, as I do not prove (or attempt to prove) the existence of God. To look at it as an appeal to consequence is just as fallacious to say that it is illogical to argue we should eat because hunger hurts and can cause death. What we feel, how happy we are in this life are justification enough for what we do. They are the ends--what we do and think are the means for our own happiness. When we abandon reason and do not pursue the wonders of the universe, this can hurt our potential happiness--which is reason enough not to believe in the Bible. But abandoning the notion of God for this reason is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Abandoning God because you cannot observe him, even if your life could be made better by believing in him, is just plain absurd. There is reason to believe in God, not empirical certainly, but reason enough still.

You see, it doesn't matter whether it is false or true. If believing in a Deist God does not affect this life except by making us happier, if it does not strip us of our reason, if it does not harm our ability to think critically, and if it does not cause us to do horrible things--if it has no consequence except to make our life more comfortable and contented--then there is no reason not to believe in God, and every ethical reason to believe in God.


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: I was

RationalDeist wrote:
I was distinusihing between differnt kinds of "reasonableness."  Sorry for not making myself clear enough.

Shifting the goalposts, eh? 

Reasonableness is a matter of opinion, entirely different from empiricism. I concede that you've recast your argument in terms in which your claims can be correct, so I withdraw my objections.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
gregfl wrote: zarathustra

gregfl wrote:
zarathustra wrote:
You are the "rational" deist, aren't you?

 

 


 

 

His has not demonstrated that his moniker fits his writing.

 

His argument is basically, 'it is reasonable to believe in god because it helps us deal with fear".

continuing it: "which makes our lives better.  Thins which better our lives without harming our ability to percieve reality or affecting the way we live our life are good, and therefore reasonable" 

 

Quote:
This is not rational. I have learned that once you point out a fallacious argument to someone, if they still hold onto it, they aren't interested in rationality. He will either prove why his argument isn't fallicious or hold onto it in spite of the refutations. Further discussion with him about it is really moot and repititious.

 

The next move is his.

I wholeheartedly disagree, it is quite rational to better your own life without consequence.   And I resent you baiting such a trap as this, setting people's opinions against me before I even make an argument.  I would hope that, being atheists and free-thinkers, you are all clear headed enough to see the crime he has committed here.  It is trickery, and what he wrote here has nothing to do with "reason."  He is building up public opinion in an attempt to skew what I say.

 

 

 


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: With

RationalDeist wrote:

With a belief in God, I would not fear death. (G --> ~F)

Wow, when you spell it out this way, it really is clear the way your argument depends on denying the antecedent (without belief in God, all fear death). 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


slightlyoddguy
slightlyoddguy's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: What

RationalDeist wrote:
What we feel, how happy we are in this life are justification enough for what we do.

For you, perhaps, but not for me. I refuse to believe anything on an emotional basis. It's something I've grown accustomed to.

Quote:
You see, it doesn't matter whether it is false or true. If believing in a Deist God does not affect this life except by making us happier, if it does not strip us of our reason, if it does not harm our ability to think critically, and if it does not cause us to do horrible things--if it has no consequence except to make our life more comfortable and contented--then there is no reason not to believe in God, and every ethical reason to believe in God.

You see, it doesn't matter whether it is false or true. If believing in an Invisible Pink Unicorn does not affect this life except by making us happier, if it does not strip us of our reason, if it does not harm our ability to think critically, and if it does not cause us to do horrible things--if it has no consequence except to make our life more comfortable and contented--then there is no reason not to believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and every ethical reason to believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
 Why even have the middle

 Why even have the middle man, why not just not fear death anymore?

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


Thomathy
SuperfanBronze Member
Thomathy's picture
Posts: 1861
Joined: 2007-08-20
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:

Abandoning God because you cannot observe him, even if your life could be made better by believing in him, is just plain absurd. There is reason to believe in God, not empirical certainly, but reason enough still.

And when was it that you were going to give us reason to believe in god?

You haven't presented any good reason yet.  You must know that, '... by making us happier...' is no good reason in and of itself to believe in god.  The odds are stacked almost innumerably against the existence and you can't even coherently define god in the first place.  Literally, when referring to god, there is nothing to believe in.  How about you first give a reason to believe in god that isn't based in an appeal to emotion, because as far as I can tell you are committing a fallacy if you think that merely because it may make you happier (you must know that it doesn't necessarily and that in the case of Atheists it cannot) that's a good enough reason to believe in the existence of even the deist god, which is no better off in terms of its likelihood to exist as Thor or Yahweh or fairies.

As to your original question,

RationalDeist wrote:

If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God?  Is that not then reason to believe in an afterlife?

 

 NO!

Fear of death is irrational in the first place.  I'm sure you can appreciate why that is, but I'll spell it out for you.  There is absolutely no reason for a person to fear death or to let that fear rule over their lives.  You cannot be alive while you are dead, as T.S. Elliot pointed out, so there is very little rationale to fear death.  Following your line of reasoning, an overruling fear of making left hand turns while driving (a bona-fide phobia) which is ever present in the person who has not sought counselling would justify belief in god if that belief took away the fear of making left hand turns.  Cast in this light, which is really only your argument with a term other than 'death', your argument is shown to be as silly as it really is.  Simply because it makes a person feel good, or takes away their fear of death in your specific case, does not mean that god is likely to exist, nor does it mean that god is worth believing in.  Counselling for a phobia should rather be sought, even if that phobia is fear of death.

What is also irrational is the false dilemma you present here:

RationalDeist wrote:

The reason why we would want to invent him would be so that we can live this life to its fullest--to use reason to analyze the world around us and ardently find answers to our deepest questions, while still believing that when we die, we could continue to live on.  To know that there was no reason to fear death, and to instead just enjoy life.

The options are not limited to 'invent god and believe in the existence of an eternal soul and an afterlife or fear death.'  We do not need god in order to cease fearing death, if death is feared in the first place.  Fear of death is just as irrational as a number of other fears and allowing it control over your life such that you need to invent an imaginary sky-daddy in order to quell that fear is just as unhealthy as the agoraphobic never leaving her/his house in order to avoid his/her fear. (In both cases these people are doing something irrational when there are healthier ways that don't involve the creation of an imaginary friend and afterlife or locking oneself in a house.)  I don't care if your god is a deist god, you've presented no reason whatsoever to believe in it or any of the other patently absurd things that go along with that belief.  Also, you've not presented a good reason to 'invent' god.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Textom

Textom wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:

With a belief in God, I would not fear death. (G --> ~F)

Wow, when you spell it out this way, it really is clear the way your argument depends on denying the antecedent (without belief in God, all fear death).

what, that is not the logical corollary!  From G -- ~F we know F--> ~G.  It does not say that those who do not believe in death all fear death (?).  I have no idea what you are talking about.

 

Let me elaborate further.

Modus Tollens

G -->~F

F

therefore, ~G

This is what it can say.  This is not what you said.  What you said is:

 

Denying the Antecedent

G --> ~F

~G

F

Is plainly illogical.  I am also not saying that all atheists necessarily fear death, so my argument's premises are still logical on this subject.


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Magus

Magus wrote:

RationalDeist-

What is the difference between you believing in god because it makes you feel good and a person who kills because it makes him feel good? By your logic (it seems) because it makes him feel good it should reasonable for this person to kill.

There are many differences.

Almost all humans have evolved to form some kind of empathy.  Because they have empathy, killing someone would not make them happy.  Empathy is the basis of group ethics, actually.  It makes it so that what is good for the many also makes the individual's of society happy.  

 

if someone is a complete sociopath, then there might be similarities.  But they would still have to face the consequences of other people becoming angry and seeking vengence, which would not be good for them.  They are completely separate, with very little similarities. 


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
slightlyoddguy

slightlyoddguy wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:
What we feel, how happy we are in this life are justification enough for what we do.

For you, perhaps, but not for me. I refuse to believe anything on an emotional basis. It's something I've grown accustomed to.

Quote:
You see, it doesn't matter whether it is false or true. If believing in a Deist God does not affect this life except by making us happier, if it does not strip us of our reason, if it does not harm our ability to think critically, and if it does not cause us to do horrible things--if it has no consequence except to make our life more comfortable and contented--then there is no reason not to believe in God, and every ethical reason to believe in God.

You see, it doesn't matter whether it is false or true. If believing in an Invisible Pink Unicorn does not affect this life except by making us happier, if it does not strip us of our reason, if it does not harm our ability to think critically, and if it does not cause us to do horrible things--if it has no consequence except to make our life more comfortable and contented--then there is no reason not to believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and every ethical reason to believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

what do you believe the Pink Unicorn does for you?  If he does nothing, then this comparison is false.  If you believe he helps you in teh after life, then maybe there is some reason to believe in him.  However, it seems unlikely that he would be a unicorn and more likely that we simply wouldn't be able to understand his exact form or thought process--considering how powerful he must be, i.e. God. 


Ophios
Ophios's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: 2006-09-19
User is offlineOffline
Quote: With a belief in

Quote:
With a belief in God, I would not fear death. (G --> ~F)

Unfortunatly, it's not always true.

Of course you are assuming all those who believe in a god belive EXACTLY like you. *Waves finger*

Such a black and white world you live in.

But the problem with you mathmatical genius is that you are applying it to EMOTIONS! which isn't always rational and straight forward.

Quote:
What we feel, how happy we are in this life are justification enough for what we do.
 

I think I'll become a lawyer, and use that to justify rape, and murder.

AImboden wrote:
I'm not going to PM my agreement just because one tucan has pms.


Orangustang
Orangustang's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: 2007-11-09
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: if

RationalDeist wrote:

if you truely mean this, then I can understand your Agnosticim/Atheism perfectly, and say hi, how's it goin! And become friends with you.

However, I am not the same way.

I do, and thanks. 

Quote:
you say this, but I don't think you really gave it much thought. We believe things all the time in order to get on with life. For instance, you believe that you are not going to get inot a car accident this morning, so you drive your car like you normally would. You believe that a meteor is not going to hit your office building, so you go to work. There are many things that we "believe" to make ourselves happier, despite the fact that there is no evidence for our beliefs--but that does not make the reason why we believe tham any less rational. It is reasonable to live this life to its fullest extent! Should we not try and believe things so that we may when the gaps need to be filled?

The evidence that a given person on a given day will not be struck by a meteor lies in that it is simply highly unlikely. Sure, there is always a slight chance, but that's no reason to believe that it will happen. The meteor analogy is especially bad since it could just as easily strike a home as an office building, so there's no reason to be afraid to go to a particular place. If it were raining rocks outside, I would not believe one of them won't strike me simply because that belief makes me happier. The human condition of believing something just because you want it to be true is a way of coping with a traumatic situation or something that is too difficult to understand, and nothing more.

 To quote a dinosaur, "I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through."

The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- Thomas H. Huxley

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Um, thanks for the

Um, thanks for the elementary formal logic lesson, but I knew what I was talking about when I said denying the antecedent.

This statement from the original post:

RationalDeist wrote:
If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God?

Which I take to be central to your argument, translates into this in your propositional calculus:

~F --> G (if we want no fear of death then believe in God)

or (contrapositive)

~G -->F (if you don't believe in God, then you fear death)

which is denying the antecedent of your later statement

G --> ~F (if you believe in God, then you won't fear death)

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


Orangustang
Orangustang's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: 2007-11-09
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: Magus

RationalDeist wrote:
Magus wrote:

RationalDeist-

What is the difference between you believing in god because it makes you feel good and a person who kills because it makes him feel good? By your logic (it seems) because it makes him feel good it should reasonable for this person to kill.

There are many differences.

Almost all humans have evolved to form some kind of empathy. Because they have empathy, killing someone would not make them happy. Empathy is the basis of group ethics, actually. It makes it so that what is good for the many also makes the individual's of society happy.

 

if someone is a complete sociopath, then there might be similarities. But they would still have to face the consequences of other people becoming angry and seeking vengence, which would not be good for them. They are completely separate, with very little similarities.

People do kill each other without a rational motive. The only rational motive I can think of at the moment is self defense, so that leaves anything that would legally be classified as murder, as well as most definitions of manslaughter. To some degree, all of these other motives (revenge, jealousy, rage, psychosis, etc.)  boil down to the fact that either killing makes the murderer feel better (in some cases elated) or he at least thinks it will make him feel better before the fact.

A better analogy, though, is someone believing that he didn't murder someone when he actually did because that belief makes him feel better about himself and his future as a functioning member of society. 

The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- Thomas H. Huxley

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Thomathy

Thomathy wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:

Abandoning God because you cannot observe him, even if your life could be made better by believing in him, is just plain absurd. There is reason to believe in God, not empirical certainly, but reason enough still.

And when was it that you were going to give us reason to believe in god?

You haven't presented any good reason yet. You must know that, '... by making us happier...' is no good reason in and of itself to believe in god. The odds are stacked almost innumerably against the existence and you can't even coherently define god in the first place. Literally, when referring to god, there is nothing to believe in. How about you first give a reason to believe in god that isn't based in an appeal to emotion, because as far as I can tell you are committing a fallacy if you think that merely because it may make you happier (you must know that it doesn't necessarily and that in the case of Atheists it cannot) that's a good enough reason to believe in the existence of even the deist god, which is no better off in terms of its likelihood to exist as Thor or Yahweh or fairies.

As to your original question,

RationalDeist wrote:

If our life is to be ruined by this fear of death, if we are to be afraid of what happens in the shade beyond--is that not reason to believe in a God? Is that not then reason to believe in an afterlife?

NO!

Fear of death is irrational in the first place. I'm sure you can appreciate why that is, but I'll spell it out for you. There is absolutely no reason for a person to fear death or to let that fear rule over their lives. You cannot be alive while you are dead, as T.S. Elliot pointed out, so there is very little rationale to fear death. Following your line of reasoning, an overruling fear of making left hand turns while driving (a bona-fide phobia) which is ever present in the person who has not sought counselling would justify belief in god if that belief took away the fear of making left hand turns. Cast in this light, which is really only your argument with a term other than 'death', your argument is shown to be as silly as it really is. Simply because it makes a person feel good, or takes away their fear of death in your specific case, does not mean that god is likely to exist, nor does it mean that god is worth believing in. Counselling for a phobia should rather be sought, even if that phobia is fear of death.

What is also irrational is the false dilemma you present here:

RationalDeist wrote:

The reason why we would want to invent him would be so that we can live this life to its fullest--to use reason to analyze the world around us and ardently find answers to our deepest questions, while still believing that when we die, we could continue to live on. To know that there was no reason to fear death, and to instead just enjoy life.

The options are not limited to 'invent god and believe in the existence of an eternal soul and an afterlife or fear death.' We do not need god in order to cease fearing death, if death is feared in the first place. Fear of death is just as irrational as a number of other fears and allowing it control over your life such that you need to invent an imaginary sky-daddy in order to quell that fear is just as unhealthy as the agoraphobic never leaving her/his house in order to avoid his/her fear. (In both cases these people are doing something irrational when there are healthier ways that don't involve the creation of an imaginary friend and afterlife or locking oneself in a house.) I don't care if your god is a deist god, you've presented no reason whatsoever to believe in it or any of the other patently absurd things that go along with that belief. Also, you've not presented a good reason to 'invent' god.

please explain why fear of death is irrational.  Certainly it is rational to fear death somewhat.  Fearing being in the middle of the road, or jumping out of a plane with no parachute, etc. is certainly reasonable.  But it is not rational to fear all manner of death, since such fear ruins life.  As to how you can manage to not fear death, and not believe in an afterlife, I do not know.  I do not understand the Atheist reasoning or state of mind on this. 

I would like to note that fear of turning left can be councilled by assuring the person that there is really no real difference between turning left or right.  It can be rationally explained.  But can death really be rationally explained?  Do you not dread your existence ceasing to exist?  It is a scarry thought for me, and such fear would cause me to be much too cautious to really enjoy life.


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
Orangustang wrote: The

Orangustang wrote:

The evidence that a given person on a given day will not be struck by a meteor lies in that it is simply highly unlikely. Sure, there is always a slight chance, but that's no reason to believe that it will happen. The meteor analogy is especially bad since it could just as easily strike a home as an office building, so there's no reason to be afraid to go to a particular place. If it were raining rocks outside, I would not believe one of them won't strike me simply because that belief makes me happier.

many people would believe that.  For instance, the soldiers in the trenches in world War I were continually bombarded with artillery fire, and had to accept that at any time they might be instantly annihalated into a ploom of bloody vapors.  They had to go around believing this wouldn't happen, or else they would litterally go insane (and many of them actually did go insane because they believed this).  It was only those who could believe the opposite who could remain even semi-good spirited. 

 

Quote:
The human condition of believing something just because you want it to be true is a way of coping with a traumatic situation or something that is too difficult to understand, and nothing more.

To quote a dinosaur, "I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through."

and somehow death does not count as a traumatic situation for a human?


Orangustang
Orangustang's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: 2007-11-09
User is offlineOffline
Magus wrote: Why even have

Magus wrote:
Why even have the middle man, why not just not fear death anymore?

You think as I on the subject.

The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- Thomas H. Huxley

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln


gregfl
Posts: 170
Joined: 2006-04-29
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:
[

 

1. With a belief in God, I would not fear death. (G --> ~F)

2. If I do not fear death, I will be more happy. (~F --> H)

3. I believe in God.(G)

4. I do not fear death (~F)

5. I am more happy (H)

 

As you can see, not an appeal to consequence.

 

Of course it is.

 

First, you left out the OP conclusion, which was:

 

therefore, it is reasonable to believe in god.

 

clearly this is an appeal to consequences. Even if we go with your new and improved 'argument' above, you still are appealing to the positive attributes of the belief, not the truth value.  Arguments seek truth not positive or negative attributes.  Otherwise, this is a valid argument.

 

Killing babies makes me feel good

feeling good is better then feeling bad

Therefore, I should kill babies

 


 


slightlyoddguy
slightlyoddguy's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
RationalDeist wrote: what

RationalDeist wrote:
what do you believe the Pink Unicorn does for you? If he does nothing, then this comparison is false. If you believe he helps you in teh after life, then maybe there is some reason to believe in him. However, it seems unlikely that he would be a unicorn and more likely that we simply wouldn't be able to understand his exact form or thought process--considering how powerful he must be, i.e. God.

First, let me say that I'm perfectly comfortable with the concept of death. But for the sake of argument, let's assume I am not.

Yes, I believe the Invisible Pink Unicorn will grant me life after death. And, according to you, that is apparently reason enough to believe in it.

The point is, I could come up with an infinite number of solutions to any number of fears I might have. I could then go further and make my belief in those solutions exempt from critical analysis while still maintaining a rational mindset in every other area of my life. But I don't. If you can, then by all means, go ahead. As long as you keep those beliefs personal, I don't see the harm in it.

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates