A Rational Basis to Believe in God

okno
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A Rational Basis to Believe in God

I'm sure this has been posted at sometime before, but after scanning the archives for 20 minutes or so I was unable to find a suitable post. That would also have deprived me of the opportunity to weigh in on the conversation =)

After reading some of the past threads I'd like to introduce myself a bit, to possibly avoid some rather well covered topics. I am m/26. I am a member of a rather specific and controversial religion (amongst religionist that is), but it shall suffice to say that I am a Christian. My religion does not require me to follow blindly. I know my leaders are not perfect, and make mistakes. I know the Bible contains errors, contradictions, and all sorts of “bad things.” I know a good amount about evolution, physics, and most things scientific. Most importantly, I am a pragmatic: if it has no use, why have it?

Rather than argue the intricacies of doctrine or the larger scale individual religious theology (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, itd…)(although I would love to do this later), I would rather discuss the rational basis for believing at all.

I would like to make the case that, rationally, it makes sense to not only believe in God but to do as you think He has commanded. Forgive my generalization, but it seems as though most people here seem to be atheist, believing that there is no God. This leads them to rely upon scientific proposals as to how we are all here. This may be another generalization, but this seems to be evolution.

Now for the subject at hand: As rational people we must concede the fact that we may be wrong. I may be wrong in my faith, you may be wrong in your faith (or… unfaith =) Perhaps I did evolve from a monkey, and when my time expires here on Earth I shall cease to exist in all forms whatsoever. At the same time, perhaps God does exist. Being an omnipotent and omniscient entity who cares about us (this shall be my definition of God), it would a minor undertaking for him to arrange things so to convince our feeble (by comparison) scientists that what they see is genuine. Either of us may be wrong.

I would like to single out what happens at the end of either of our lives. In my scenario (mind I am basing off of Christianity, which I believe to be true), I continue to live. I shall forever increase in power, knowledge and always enjoy the company of my loved ones. In your scenario, you are dead. All thoughts, and actions have ceased. It doesn’t even matter if you had 100 children to carry on your genetics, because you’re dead. What do you care?

A rational gambler will not trade a 1 out of 10 chance for a prize for a 1 out of 20 chance for the same prize. We are all taking a gamble with our beliefs, and since our beliefs are rather mutually exclusive one of us should be wrong. If I’m wrong: well, so what, I’m dead. But if you’re wrong…well you can ask your average southern Baptist minister what may await you =) (this is in jest).

Rationally, you should believe in God. Rationally, you should brainwash yourself to become the most faithful of all God’s adherents. Rationally, you should strive through the remainder of your days to be the most thoroughly single minded zealot you possibly can, because even if you’re wrong in this, you will still at least get the atheist’s reward: you’re dead.

I will come back and answer your posts, but as a disclaimer, it wont be for 10 or 12 hours. I should go to sleep, but I'll probably spend most of it with my girlfriend...


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascals_Wager

I wouldn't suggest using this argument...


GodStoleMyFriends
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Yada, yada, yada... My

Yada, yada, yada...

My friend there are many, many religions on this planet. The followers of each religion believe in their god or gods just as much as you believe in yours. Using the extremely flawed logic of Pascal's Wager...what if your god really isn't the one true God? Then you my friend are taking a huge risk as well. Most god's are jealous and do not like you giving your money and praise to another deity. So, still using the same logic, you better be damn sure that your God is the real one before you devote your life to him.

"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank."-Woody Allen

"Atheism is life affirming in a way religion can never be."-Richard Dawkins


MattShizzle
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Exactly. We've all heard

Exactly. We've all heard Pascal's Wager a million times. It's been totally refuted.


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Yes, this has been

Yes, this has been addressed. To say nothing of the fact that you either believe something or don't. If I just did what you suggest, I'd still be an atheist in my head, I'd just be paying lip service to your god. If there was a god that could see all spooky-like into our heads, it would probably know that. Probably wouldn't earn me those heaven points you speak of. Laughing out loud


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If I said "I believe in God"

If I said "I believe in God" because I wanted an insurance policy just in case and there was a God, I think he would know it and be upset with me. If I was scared into believeing, then I have not made a free choice as it was made under a threat or coercion. Therefore, your argument is not rational. Please try another.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca


Yellow_Number_Five
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okno wrote: I would like

okno wrote:

I would like to make the case that, rationally, it makes sense to not only believe in God but to do as you think He has commanded.

Uh, which god? Thor? Allah? Loki? Zues? Athena?

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Forgive my generalization, but it seems as though most people here seem to be atheist, believing that there is no God. This leads them to rely upon scientific proposals as to how we are all here. This may be another generalization, but this seems to be evolution.

Sure if by generization of evolution you mean theory supported by ridiculous amounts of empirical evidence.

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Now for the subject at hand: As rational people we must concede the fact that we may be wrong. I may be wrong in my faith, you may be wrong in your faith (or… unfaith =) Perhaps I did evolve from a monkey, and when my time expires here on Earth I shall cease to exist in all forms whatsoever. At the same time, perhaps God does exist. Being an omnipotent and omniscient entity who cares about us (this shall be my definition of God), it would a minor undertaking for him to arrange things so to convince our feeble (by comparison) scientists that what they see is genuine. Either of us may be wrong.

Are you shitting me? A loving and caring being would intentionally decieve us?

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I would like to single out what happens at the end of either of our lives. In my scenario (mind I am basing off of Christianity, which I believe to be true), I continue to live. I shall forever increase in power, knowledge and always enjoy the company of my loved ones. In your scenario, you are dead. All thoughts, and actions have ceased. It doesn’t even matter if you had 100 children to carry on your genetics, because you’re dead. What do you care?

Don't assume I don't care, I care quite a bit. I simply realize that life ends and have begrudgingly accepted that fact.

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A rational gambler will not trade a 1 out of 10 chance for a prize for a 1 out of 20 chance for the same prize. We are all taking a gamble with our beliefs, and since our beliefs are rather mutually exclusive one of us should be wrong. If I’m wrong: well, so what, I’m dead. But if you’re wrong…well you can ask your average southern Baptist minister what may await you =) (this is in jest).

Holy Pascal's wager, Batman!

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Rationally, you should believe in God.

Ok, which one and why? Are you not taking the same gamble I am by putting all your chips on 00? I'm not betting at all, at least that way I won't offend the croupier.

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Rationally, you should brainwash yourself to become the most faithful of all God’s adherents. Rationally, you should strive through the remainder of your days to be the most thoroughly single minded zealot you possibly can, because even if you’re wrong in this, you will still at least get the atheist’s reward: you’re dead.

And wouldn't an omnicient being know I'm simply paying him lip service and that I don't actually believe? Can you force yourself to believe in leprechauns? Is the simple act of kissing whatever god we pick ass all that matters - regardless of sincerity?

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I will come back and answer your posts, but as a disclaimer, it wont be for 10 or 12 hours. I should go to sleep, but I'll probably spend most of it with my girlfriend...

Yeah, this could be fun.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


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There 'might' be a

There 'might' be a god?

You've spent all that time and money in your life on something that 'might' be true? You're not even sure?

Well then, you 'might' owe me $10,000.

Small, unmarked bills, please.


okno
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Sorry, I'm late. I was

Sorry, I'm late. I was otherwise occupied.

Incidently, before I begin I have an ethics question I would like some imput on. I'm still in college and my professors are always going off on the evils of plagerism. I had never heard of Pascal's Wager before Voiderest pointed me to it. I thought it up independently. It seems to me that I should get to call it Okno's Wager. What do you all think?

It seems as though a refutation of the crituque of Pascal's/Okno's Wager is in order. I will use the one from wikipedia given by Voiderest.

Assumes God rewards belief: In my senario I have solved this problem. There are not only two outcomes, I can think of three, point more out if there are: 1. God exists according to the discussion's definition. 2. A God like entity exists not in accordance with the definition. 3. God does not exist. For the sake of simplicity (perhaps erronioulsy) I have omitted a discussion of the second. A God that is NOT omnipotent, omniscient, nor caring does not deserve our attention. Such a god, it seems to me, would pretty much do as he wanted regardless of any action we undertook and therefore it would make no sense to try to please him. A good example of this would be mythological Zues. He pretty much did as he pleased, blessing and smiting people pretty much at a whim. More a super powerful human than a God.

Assumes Christianity... : I personaly am convinced that Christianity is the way to go, but I must conceed that I may be wrong. A caring God (according to out definition), however, will not condemn us if we genuinely try to obey his will. Any other entity that would convict me simply because I was born in America and not Iran is niether just nor caring and therefor I cannot hope to please him with my own actions. Once again I have omitted this option becuase the fickleness of such a being would put all of this issue beyond our scope of effection.

Measure Theory: There seems to be a break in logic what is written here. Regardless, as far as I can think there really are only 3 possible outcomes with my wager. Each of my outcomes is broad enough to accept many individual results.

Statistical arguments: Basically, if the athiest's nothingness does happen after this life then nothing we do here does matter. If the atheists are right what does it matter to Pacal, Hitler, Stalin, Ghandi, or my grandmother what they did in life? They may have caused misery or created contentment, but in that reality, once they are dead it is all gone. They cannot care. Do not missunderstand me though. I enjoy life and wish for others to enjoy life as well, but these 100 odd years I have are so short compaired to eternity. Also the notion of infinity may or may not denote actual infinity, but it suffices to say that it is resonably long =)

Many-way tie: I don't see the tie. Let alone many of them. This doesn't seem to have any basis on anything. As for their example, you cannot tie a coin toss.

Assumes one can choose belief: "But, in order to believe that something is true, then that person must know and be certain that it is true." This is not so, this person should consult a dictionary. Belief is not something that is endowed from on high. It most often earned, like scientific knowledge, from hard work and observations. Once the person has put in this work it will take care of the "Does not constitute a tru belief" argument.

Decision-theoretic arguments: This is great! The decision to believe should be based on which equation yeilds a higher result. Belief is aP+b(1-P) and non belief is cP+d(1-P). Allow me to expand our numbers: a=1, to represent a good outcome, b and d = 0, because the result of there being no God is nothing in both cases, c=-1, to represent a poor outcome, P=.5, this may not be accurate but there are two choices and this helps us finish our equations. Therefore belief = .5 and unbelief = -.5. This would seem to mathmatically show that we should believe in God!

Buddhist scripture: Does this mean we've been talking about Budda's Wager this whole time =)

Whew... Now to answer personal comments:
Godstolemyfriends: We can only strive to serve a loving God that would not punish our sincere efforts simply because it's not possible to investagate all of the 1000's of religions.

Mattshizzle: 1st, my case is not exactly like Pascal's Wager. So I have refuted the arguments against Pascal's in light of my own. The last section even lending mathmatical suport to my position.

Glamourkat: I too used to be an athiest. I can tell you that with hard work you too can believe.

Randalllord: Your first statement is probably correct, that would probably make him mad. God does not coerce. A smoker who is affraid of lung cancer and quits can sometimes enjoy all the benifits of non smokers. Or if he realizes how expensive it is, or how it smells bad, or if he just gets bored of it. He can have many motivations. Just becuase God tells you what will likely happen does not mean that he is trying to "scare" you into doing what he wants.

Yellow_number_five: Which God? For the purpose of this discussion: a loving one. Which specific one is not important right now (but I believe I could point you in the right direction latter).
I know evolution works, by generalization I meant that most PEOPLE here accepted evolution as the way it happened. he is not trying to decieve us, we just might not know the whole story. People used to accept Rutherford's plum pudding model of the atom. It is possible that new evidence will show evolution in a different light. I don't mean to infer that you don't care now, I just meant to point out that if nothingness awaits you on the other side of death then you wont care then. I think I have addressed your other comments above.

Thank you all for your time and consideration. I still believe I have logically shown that a belief in God is not only rational, but rather prudent. Let's get some more posts!


okno
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Neon: While I realize that,

Neon: While I realize that, one way or another, belief in God will at least not be detremental, I'm not stupid =)


neon
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So you do, au fond, realize

So you do, au fond, realize that this is bullshit.

Still Pascal's Wager. Still nonsense.

Thank you for playing!


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okno wrote:...belief in God

okno wrote:
...belief in God will at least not be detremental...

I assume you mean belief in god isn't damaging. Um have you looked at history? How about more resent events such as 9/11? Or how about all the things you can't do to "save your soul"? What about the money you give churches? What if you decided to pray to get well instead of going to a real doctor? What if you decide faith is more important then this world and don't use your life? What if someone decides the only way to help someone is to get them to believe so the people don't get any real help? What about all the doomsday people who think we should give up on this world and "get ready" to be raptured? What about the ideas that all you have to do is believe and you "get in"? Would all these things be damaging?


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Quote:Godstolemyfriends: We

Quote:
Godstolemyfriends: We can only strive to serve a loving God that would not punish our sincere efforts simply because it's not possible to investagate all of the 1000's of religions.

Um, ok.

I'm sorry, but you didn't answer my question. What if you are wrong and one of the gods from one of those thousands of other religions is the real God. One who gets jealous and damns you to an eternity of suffering for worshipping a "false god."

And remember, the Christian God of the Bible does get jealous and commands that one must be stoned to death if they are guilty of:

1-sacrificing to other gods (Ex. 22:20 RSV)
2-serving or worshipping other gods (Deut. 17:2-5 RSV)
3-telling people to seek other gods (Deut. 13:2,5)

"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank."-Woody Allen

"Atheism is life affirming in a way religion can never be."-Richard Dawkins


Ivan_Ivanov
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okno

okno wrote:
Godstolemyfriends: We can only strive to serve a loving God that would not punish our sincere efforts simply because it's not possible to investagate all of the 1000's of religions.

In such a case this loving god wouldn't punish atheists as long as they were sincere in their efforts of beeing good and seeking truth, right?

By the way, your screenname and the way you wrote 'itd.' instead of 'etc.' kind of made me wonder - are you by any chance from Poland?


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okno wrote:I had never heard

okno wrote:
I had never heard of Pascal's Wager before Voiderest pointed me to it. I thought it up independently. It seems to me that I should get to call it Okno's Wager. What do you all think?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

That which we call Pascal's Wager by any other name would have the same logical fallacies.

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Assumes God rewards belief: In my senario I have solved this problem. There are not only two outcomes, I can think of three, point more out if there are: 1. God exists according to the discussion's definition. 2. A God like entity exists not in accordance with the definition. 3. God does not exist.

Either YOUR VERSION of the Christian God exists (option 1), some other God(s) exists (option 2), or no God(s) exists (option 3). That seems like a fair assessment.

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For the sake of simplicity (perhaps erronioulsy) I have omitted a discussion of the second. A God that is NOT omnipotent, omniscient, nor caring does not deserve our attention.

Whether or not God conforms to the standards you placed on him is of no consequence.

You describe yourself as Christian. You probably do not believe Allah can accurately be described as "omnipotent, omniscient, and caring." Therefore, based on your earlier statements, you probably don't believe Allah deserves your attention. However, it doesn't matter if you think Allah deserves your attention or not.

If Allah exists, and you do not worship him - he will send you to Hell.

(BTW - There are plenty of people, myself included, who don't believe the Christian God lives up to the definition you're offering.)

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are 10,000 distinct religions in the world today. That means there are at least 10,000 possible Gods who could torture you for failing to worship them. (Many religions are polytheistic, so the number of potential Gods may be much higher than 10,000.) Even if you find the correct God, most religions teach that he/she will torture you if you worship him/her incorrectly... or if you believe a different version of their life story.

The Christian religion is divided into 33,830 denominations. That's 33,830 different ways of worshiping the Christian God. That's 1 way to Heaven, and 33,829 ways to Hell (assuming some version of Christianity is correct).

Let's look at your options again... Either YOUR VERSION of the Christian God exists (option 1), any of the other 33,839 other version of the Christian God... or any of the at least 9,999 other Gods exist (option 2), or no God exists (option 3). Now suddenly things aren't so clear cut.

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Assumes Christianity... : I personaly am convinced that Christianity is the way to go, but I must conceed that I may be wrong. A caring God (according to out definition), however, will not condemn us if we genuinely try to obey his will.

If you've ruled out all 33,830 Christian denominations, then you've only got 9,999 other religions left to sort through.

A caring God, according to MY definition would not sit by while children are raped and tortured by human monsters. A caring God would not kill 250,000 people in a tsunami. A caring God would not allow billions of people to die from starvation.

A caring God would place no value on whether or not you believe the right story.

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Measure Theory: There seems to be a break in logic what is written here. Regardless, as far as I can think there really are only 3 possible outcomes with my wager. Each of my outcomes is broad enough to accept many individual results.

Correct... Either you're right... I'm right... or one of the other 6 billion people on the planet (most of which disagree with you about God to some degree) is right.

Likewise, if you play the lottery... Either you'll win, I'll win, or one of the other 100 million people who bought a ticket will win... Then again, I don't play the lottery... So I'll start out ahead because I won't waste my money on a ticket, and I won't waste my life dreaming of what I'll do if I eventually win.

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Statistical arguments: Basically, if the athiest's nothingness does happen after this life then nothing we do here does matter. If the atheists are right what does it matter to Pacal, Hitler, Stalin, Ghandi, or my grandmother what they did in life? They may have caused misery or created contentment, but in that reality, once they are dead it is all gone. They cannot care. Do not missunderstand me though. I enjoy life and wish for others to enjoy life as well, but these 100 odd years I have are so short compaired to eternity. Also the notion of infinity may or may not denote actual infinity, but it suffices to say that it is resonably long =)

This is an odd response. You're not doing anything to make your wager any more likely true... you're just complaining that when you're dead, you're dead. You won't find many people here disagreeing with you on that point.

What difference does it make if a dead person cares whether they are dead or not... If they're not conscious to realize they don't care, then it makes no difference to them.

Think about it, how much did not existing bother you before you were born? Have you ever experienced a dreamless sleep? How can you possibly worry about an event which you will not be around to experience?

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Many-way tie: I don't see the tie. Let alone many of them. This doesn't seem to have any basis on anything.

Either 1) Someone is right... and everyone else is wrong, or 2) Everyone is wrong.

When you die, you could find yourself facing a God which has never been heard of, spoken of, or worshipped on Earth... a God who didn't reveal himself, or who did so in a way that was misunderstood by our "petty" human minds. In such a case, all religions are wrong, as are atheists... if this God is anything like the deities theists erroniously worshipped while alive, then every human soul will be tortured.

Thus we all tie.

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Assumes one can choose belief: "But, in order to believe that something is true, then that person must know and be certain that it is true." This is not so, this person should consult a dictionary. Belief is not something that is endowed from on high. It most often earned, like scientific knowledge, from hard work and observations.

You may not have realized it, but you are defending this argument, not refutting it. If belief must be earned through hard work and observations, then it is not a choice... it is a result.

A person can not simply say: "I choose to believe in unicorns," and HONESTLY believe mystical horns horses prance through the rain forests.

Likewise, a person can not simply say: "I believe in God," just to satisfy your wager. Anyone who says they believe, when they have no evidence to support their belief, is simply being dishonest with themself. It would be more accurate for them to say "I hope God exists."

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Decision-theoretic arguments: This is great! The decision to believe should be based on which equation yeilds a higher result. Belief is aP+b(1-P) and non belief is cP+d(1-P). Allow me to expand our numbers: a=1, to represent a good outcome, b and d = 0, because the result of there being no God is nothing in both cases, c=-1, to represent a poor outcome, P=.5, this may not be accurate but there are two choices and this helps us finish our equations. Therefore belief = .5 and unbelief = -.5. This would seem to mathmatically show that we should believe in God!

Your exact same formula could be used to mathmatically show that we should believe in leprechauns.

a=1, to represent a good outcome (finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow).
b and d = 0, because the result of there being no leprechauns is nothing in both cases.
c=-1, to represent a poor outcome
P=.5 ...
Thus belief in leprechauns = .5, and unbelief = -.5.

Pack your bags and chase down some rainstorms, I have mathematically proven that we should believe in leprechauns!!

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Does this mean we've been talking about Budda's Wager this whole time =)

According to your wager, all religions have an equal chance of being right... this includes Buddhists.
Quote:
We can only strive to serve a loving God that would not punish our sincere efforts simply because it's not possible to investagate all of the 1000's of religions.

You could worship a loving God who would not punish your sincere efforts... but if that God doesnt' exist, and some other God does, then you will still be subject to whatever torments that God sees fit to punish you with.

The wager is all about avoiding the greatest negative. To truely satisfy the wager, you should become a member of the religion with the worst possible Hell. At least that way if you choose the wrong God you won't receive the worst possible punishment.

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1st, my case is not exactly like Pascal's Wager.

Yes it is. You believe your wager is different because you attempted to exclude all possible God's except your own... However, such an exclusion is intellectually dishonest. It's no more likely that God is "omnipotent, loving, caring," etc. than it is that he is hateful, malicous, and sadistic.

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Just becuase God tells you what will likely happen does not mean that he is trying to "scare" you into doing what he wants.

Let's see... who created Hell?
- God -
Who decides who goes to Hell?
- God -
Who decided Hell would be eternal?
- God -
Who decides how much each soul will be tortured?
- God -
Who decided to torture people who don't believe the right story?
- God -

There is a modern day example of this you may be familiar with... It's called extortion. The mob charges families and businesses for "protection." If the people pay up, then they have a fairly happy, uneventful life. The people have every right to turn down the protection being offered... but if they do, then the mob vandalizes, robs, and shoots up the home/business.

According to your logic, just because the mob told the store owner what would most likely happen if he didn't buy protection doesn't mean they were trying to "scare" him into doing what they want.

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Which God? For the purpose of this discussion: a loving one. Which specific one is not important right now (but I believe I could point you in the right direction latter).

Again, creating a false dichotomy doesn't make your argument any stronger. A malicious God is just as likely (or unlkely) to exist as your loving God.

Quote:
Thank you all for your time and consideration. I still believe I have logically shown that a belief in God is not only rational, but rather prudent. Let's get some more posts!

I've already demonstrated the problems with your false dichotomy, as well as demonstrated that your argument can be used in it's current form to show that belief in leprechauns is "rational" and "prudent." The argument could be rewritten for belief in faries, genies, ghosts, aliens, etc. without altering the argument itself.

Here's the major problem. Your arguing whether or not is is rational to believe in God... not whether or not God exists. You haven't provided any evidence to support a belief (although you admitted earlier that belief is not a choice, but a result of investigation and evidence).

Beleif is not a choice, therefore your entire wager is pointless. If you have evidence to support a belief in God, provide it... Don't simply say "believe or burn." (Which is really all Pascal's (okno's) Wager boils down to.)

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
-- Douglas Adams, from Last Chance To See


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okno wrote: Glamourkat: I

okno wrote:

Glamourkat: I too used to be an athiest. I can tell you that with hard work you too can believe.

You see, that's just what I'm talking about. I mean, honestly, if you have to TRY so hard to believe, or rather, to convince yourself in the existence of a higher power, doesn't that say something to you? I don't wake up every morning and try really hard to believe the sky is blue, I just know it to be a fact.
I think maybe you should try a little harder to be honest with yourself, rather than me trying harder to lie to myself. Interesting idea, though.


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God does not exist. But if

God does not exist. But if he did, he sure as hell wouldn't be worth worshipping (at least the Christian god). The guy's an inconsistent asshole!

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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I'd like to emphasize

I'd like to emphasize another aspect of this.

Even if i were to buy a ticket in this lottery, I'd certainly have detrimental effects. By accepting your god and it's rules, I wil lbe missing out on things that I like to do that the rules won't let me do, right?

What if I were a homosexual? Is that cool with your god? If it weren't cool with your god, does that mean I have to either go without sex or force myself to live a life of lying to a woman in order to appease god? If that were the case, I'd have to give up something I know is true and that I derived pleasure from just in case something I do not know to be true happens to be true (despite evidence to the contrary).

I'd rather live by what I know. I know I like certain things that, if I were to accept Christianity, I could not do without violating the Bible and its rules. This is not the reason why i reject Christianity (despite what people think about atheists), but it is certainly a reason to not accept your wager. I'm not going to live my life based on the fear of what might be coming to me. I choose to live my life based on what I know to be true. Christianity does not appear true to me. If taht ever changes, then I might become a Christian. Until that day comes, I'll be happy outside that box.

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


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GlamourKat wrote:okno

GlamourKat wrote:
okno wrote:

Glamourkat: I too used to be an athiest. I can tell you that with hard work you too can believe.

You see, that's just what I'm talking about. I mean, honestly, if you have to TRY so hard to believe, or rather, to convince yourself in the existence of a higher power, doesn't that say something to you?


Excellent point.

Quote:

I don't wake up every morning and try really hard to believe the sky is blue, I just know it to be a fact. I think maybe you should try a little harder to be honest with yourself, rather than me trying harder to lie to myself.

Killer post.

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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ShaunPhilly wrote:I'd like

ShaunPhilly wrote:
I'd like to emphasize another aspect of this.

Even if i were to buy a ticket in this lottery, I'd certainly have detrimental effects. By accepting your god and it's rules, I wil lbe missing out on things that I like to do that the rules won't let me do, right?

What if I were a homosexual? Is that cool with your god? If it weren't cool with your god, does that mean I have to either go without sex or force myself to live a life of lying to a woman in order to appease god? If that were the case, I'd have to give up something I know is true and that I derived pleasure from just in case something I do not know to be true happens to be true (despite evidence to the contrary).

I'd rather live by what I know. I know I like certain things that, if I were to accept Christianity, I could not do without violating the Bible and its rules. This is not the reason why i reject Christianity (despite what people think about atheists), but it is certainly a reason to not accept your wager. I'm not going to live my life based on the fear of what might be coming to me. I choose to live my life based on what I know to be true. Christianity does not appear true to me. If taht ever changes, then I might become a Christian. Until that day comes, I'll be happy outside that box.

Shaun


Very well said!

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
-- Douglas Adams, from Last Chance To See


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I'm just waiting for his

I'm just waiting for his attempt to defend his belief in god as rational...


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kmisho wrote:I'm just

kmisho wrote:
I'm just waiting for his attempt to defend his belief in god as rational...

I have a feeling you will be waiting a long time, my friend. Eye-wink

"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank."-Woody Allen

"Atheism is life affirming in a way religion can never be."-Richard Dawkins


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GodStoleMyFriends

GodStoleMyFriends wrote:
Yada, yada, yada...

My friend there are many, many religions on this planet. The followers of each religion believe in their god or gods just as much as you believe in yours. Using the extremely flawed logic of Pascal's Wager...what if your god really isn't the one true God?

That is why we have BRAINS, so we can compare all religions to reason and logic, then come to a conclusion which is true and which all others are false.

you have all the resources you need to compare and contrast.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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Ivan_Ivanov wrote:In such a

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
In such a case this loving god wouldn't punish atheists as long as they were sincere in their efforts of beeing good and seeking truth, right?

No, that's the whole point of worship, to save yourself from eternal torment in the next life.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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roflmao no, we have brains

Quote:
That is why we have BRAINS, so we can compare all religions to reason and logic, then come to a conclusion which is true and which all others are false.

you have all the resources you need to compare and contrast.

roflmao no, we have brains so that we can see that all religions are the same, that they all developed in the same way, and that no single religion is any more credible than any other.

it is easy for a christian to say 'christianity is the one true faith'
or for a muslim to say 'Islam is the one true faith'
because they are trapped in their own respective 'bubbles of delusion'

www.godisimaginary.com


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Quote:No, that's the whole

Quote:
No, that's the whole point of worship, to save yourself from eternal torment in the next life.

What next life? Puzzled


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the_avenging_bucket

the_avenging_bucket wrote:

What next life? Puzzled

The Hereafter where you and all mankind will come to know once we all taste death.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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Quote:roflmao no, we have

Quote:
roflmao no, we have brains so that we can see that all religions are the same, that they all developed in the same way, and that no single religion is any more credible than any other.

Im sure your an expert on every religion and have come to that conclusion

Quote:
it is easy for a christian to say 'christianity is the one true faith'
or for a muslim to say 'Islam is the one true faith'
because they are trapped in their own respective 'bubbles of delusion'

look who's talking buddy, you are in your own 'bubble of delusion', the delusion of the fact that God does exist.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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Okay, lets assume i know

Okay, lets assume i know nothing of any religion.
explain to me how your religion is any different from any other religion. What makes it true and the others false?


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okno wrote:Sorry, I'm late.

okno wrote:
Sorry, I'm late. I was otherwise occupied.

Incidently, before I begin I have an ethics question I would like some imput on. I'm still in college and my professors are always going off on the evils of plagerism. I had never heard of Pascal's Wager before Voiderest pointed me to it. I thought it up independently. It seems to me that I should get to call it Okno's Wager. What do you all think?

Well, if you did indeed reson your way to that, kudos to you. You've reasoned your way to a theological argument that is still used today - however flawed it may be.

What do I think of it it? I think you're willing to think. That says quite a bit about you.

Quote:
It seems as though a refutation of the crituque of Pascal's/Okno's Wager is in order. I will use the one from wikipedia given by Voiderest.

Assumes God rewards belief: In my senario I have solved this problem.

No, you have not. You've solved it for a particular god and given us no reason to believe your god is the only god or the only god who has sway in such matters. Your argument works if and only if the god you prefer is the god that gets to decide our fate. You need to provide solid evidence this is actually the case.

Quote:
There are not only two outcomes, I can think of three, point more out if there are: 1. God exists according to the discussion's definition. 2. A God like entity exists not in accordance with the definition. 3. God does not exist. For the sake of simplicity (perhaps erronioulsy) I have omitted a discussion of the second. A God that is NOT omnipotent, omniscient, nor caring does not deserve our attention. Such a god, it seems to me, would pretty much do as he wanted regardless of any action we undertook and therefore it would make no sense to try to please him. A good example of this would be mythological Zues. He pretty much did as he pleased, blessing and smiting people pretty much at a whim. More a super powerful human than a God.

I think we could agree upon this notion for the most part.

Quote:
Assumes Christianity... : I personaly am convinced that Christianity is the way to go, but I must conceed that I may be wrong. A caring God (according to out definition), however, will not condemn us if we genuinely try to obey his will. Any other entity that would convict me simply because I was born in America and not Iran is niether just nor caring and therefor I cannot hope to please him with my own actions. Once again I have omitted this option becuase the fickleness of such a being would put all of this issue beyond our scope of effection.

And now it all falls apart. We cannot assume anything about gods. The rest of this piece will likely be simple excuses and aplologies for the god you happen to favor.

Quote:
Measure Theory: There seems to be a break in logic what is written here. Regardless, as far as I can think there really are only 3 possible outcomes with my wager. Each of my outcomes is broad enough to accept many individual results.

No, they certainly are not. You leave out the possibility of evil, jealous and vindictive gods. Your own Scripture should warn you to be wary of such.

Quote:
Statistical arguments: Basically, if the athiest's nothingness does happen after this life then nothing we do here does matter.

Of course what we do here matters, it matters a very great deal. It matters as much to those I would leave behind as it would to those you do. The only difference is is one of wishul thinking in that something of us continues on after we are gone.

Quote:
If the atheists are right what does it matter to Pacal, Hitler, Stalin, Ghandi, or my grandmother what they did in life?

It doesn't matter to them, personally, after they are dead. That's it. It DOES matter to those who still live. It matters a very great deal.

Quote:
They may have caused misery or created contentment, but in that reality, once they are dead it is all gone.

No, it isn't. If you've ever lost somebody you've loved, you know what you say here is not true.

Quote:
They cannot care.

You're right, the dead don't care about anything - that is for the living.

Quote:
Do not missunderstand me though. I enjoy life and wish for others to enjoy life as well, but these 100 odd years I have are so short compaired to eternity. Also the notion of infinity may or may not denote actual infinity, but it suffices to say that it is resonably long =)

I DO care about what I leave behind. Any responsible, caring person should. I simply recognize that there is a phyical limit to our being.

Quote:
Many-way tie: I don't see the tie. Let alone many of them. This doesn't seem to have any basis on anything. As for their example, you cannot tie a coin toss.

Huh?

Quote:
Assumes one can choose belief: "But, in order to believe that something is true, then that person must know and be certain that it is true." This is not so, this person should consult a dictionary. Belief is not something that is endowed from on high. It most often earned, like scientific knowledge, from hard work and observations. Once the person has put in this work it will take care of the "Does not constitute a tru belief" argument.

On the simple fact that beliefs are conditioned and cumulative resposes, I can agree. I didn't choose between Catholocism and ateistism as I chose between Cap'N Crunch and Frosted Flakes this morning.

Quote:
Decision-theoretic arguments: This is great! The decision to believe should be based on which equation yeilds a higher result. Belief is aP+b(1-P) and non belief is cP+d(1-P). Allow me to expand our numbers: a=1, to represent a good outcome, b and d = 0, because the result of there being no God is nothing in both cases, c=-1, to represent a poor outcome, P=.5, this may not be accurate but there are two choices and this helps us finish our equations. Therefore belief = .5 and unbelief = -.5. This would seem to mathmatically show that we should believe in God!

Gibberish.

Quote:
Buddhist scripture: Does this mean we've been talking about Budda's Wager this whole time =)

Yes, it does.

Quote:

Yellow_number_five: Which God? For the purpose of this discussion: a loving one. Which specific one is not important right now (but I believe I could point you in the right direction latter).

Can you name a "loving" god who does not require something in return for that love? Can you name a "loving" god who does not punish is some way?

Quote:
I know evolution works, by generalization I meant that most PEOPLE here accepted evolution as the way it happened. he is not trying to decieve us, we just might not know the whole story. People used to accept Rutherford's plum pudding model of the atom. It is possible that new evidence will show evolution in a different light. I don't mean to infer that you don't care now, I just meant to point out that if nothingness awaits you on the other side of death then you wont care then. I think I have addressed your other comments above.

Of course I would still care. Just because I understand that my being has a final and physical end does not mean I don't care about such things as truth and science and love while I'm here. I most certainly do care. I care a very great deal.

Because I care, I care when the uniformed make pretend that evolution is not factual. I care, because I don't want the world to regress into the dark ages where science was edicted in courts and from pulpits, because I know this will short change those I leave behind - and I care about those people.

Quote:
Thank you all for your time and consideration. I still believe I have logically shown that a belief in God is not only rational, but rather prudent. Let's get some more posts!

Thor would disagree. Let's hope you don't meet him and Loki when you die as opposed to the gods you've invested your metaphysical well being in.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


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the_avenging_bucket

the_avenging_bucket wrote:
Okay, lets assume i know nothing of any religion.
explain to me how your religion is any different from any other religion. What makes it true and the others false?

My religion is Islam, we muslims follow One God, called Allah in arabic. We believe he is One and needs noone nor does he beget nor is He begotten (also Jesus was not God, only a messenger/prophet to children of israel).

This same God, which can be called many different names, is the One who sent to the jews the torah and to the christians the Gospel, however these two groups of people have edited their books and beliefs and it is even mentioned in Jerimiah 8:8.

Anyway, we follow the Quran and Hadith (saying of the prophet Muhammed [pbuh]).

We believe in Allah, that He created the angels, He sent many messengers and prophets to mankind, He sent down revelations (Torah, Gospel, scripture, Psalm, and Quran) {only the quran was preserved word-for-word until today}, He made ready the Day of Judgement for us after death, and His decree.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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ugh. i didn't ask for a

ugh.
i didn't ask for a brochure, i asked you to explain to me why your religion is more believable, more credible than any other.

why is your religion the true religion?


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the_avenging_bucket

the_avenging_bucket wrote:
ugh.
i didn't ask for a brochure, i asked you to explain to me why your religion is more believable, more credible than any other.

why is your religion the true religion?


It sounds like because he said so or someone else said so...


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Which is of course not

Which is of course not unique to Islam, all religions automatically vouch for their own authenticity.


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Quote:ugh.i didn't ask for

Quote:
ugh.
i didn't ask for a brochure, i asked you to explain to me why your religion is more believable, more credible than any other.

why is your religion the true religion?

first off, most polytheistic beliefs are based on myth and man-made religions.

second, the religion of truth MUST not contradict science.

third, it should be unaltered in order for you to get the facts about the creator.

fourth out of all the monotheistc religion:

Judiasm- which believe the children of israel are somehow superior to all other races, very arrogent religion.

Logically, God created all men & women equal reguardless of race, religion, or gender.

Christianity- They believe that Jesus (pbuh), the Holy Ghost, and the Father are all one entity: trinity. they also believe all man is born with sin.

First off, even a third grader can tell you 1+1+1 is not equal to 1

Nobody knows who or what the Holy ghost is (nor have anyone seen it these days). How can they claim an infant is full of sin if he/she is just struggling just to survive.

Islam- i already wrote a 'brochure' about it.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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ALMALHAMAH wrote: first off,

ALMALHAMAH wrote:

first off, most polytheistic beliefs are based on myth and man-made religions.

In point of fact, all theistic beliefs are based on myths and all are man made religions.

Quote:

second, the religion of truth MUST not contradict science.

all religions contradict science, Islam included.

Quote:

third, it should be unaltered in order for you to get the facts about the creator.

unaltered from what? the original form in which the original authors (humans) wrote it?

Quote:

fourth out of all the monotheistc religion:

Judiasm- which believe the children of israel are somehow superior to all other races, very arrogent religion.

Logically, God created all men & women equal reguardless of race, religion, or gender.

Christianity- They believe that Jesus (pbuh), the Holy Ghost, and the Father are all one entity: trinity. they also believe all man is born with sin.

First off, even a third grader can tell you 1+1+1 is not equal to 1

Nobody knows who or what the Holy ghost is (nor have anyone seen it these days). How can they claim an infant is full of sin if he/she is just struggling just to survive.

Islam- i already wrote a 'brochure' about it.


Okay so you covered three religions- how many are there?

There is nothing that distinguishes Islam from any other religion, nothing that makes it unique, nothing that makes it true.


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ALMALHAMAH wrote: First off,

ALMALHAMAH wrote:

First off, even a third grader can tell you 1+1+1 is not equal to 1

Yes, but even a third grade christian can tell you you cannot calculate gods by addition, you have to use scalar multiplication : 1 x 1 x 1 = 1


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ALMALHAMAH

ALMALHAMAH wrote:
Quote:
ugh.
i didn't ask for a brochure, i asked you to explain to me why your religion is more believable, more credible than any other.

why is your religion the true religion?

first off, most polytheistic beliefs are based on myth and man-made religions.

IOW, other religions are false, cause me magic god says so!

What evidence do you have for your claims here? I suppose you can EASILY prove Zoroastorism, Buddhism, Paganism,Wicca, etc wrong, right?

Quote:
second, the religion of truth MUST not contradict science.

Then, quite simply, you're fucked.

Quote:
third, it should be unaltered in order for you to get the facts about the creator.

Gibberish.

Quote:
fourth out of all the monotheistc religion:

Judiasm- which believe the children of israel are somehow superior to all other races, very arrogent religion.

Logically, God created all men & women equal reguardless of race, religion, or gender.

Christianity- They believe that Jesus (pbuh), the Holy Ghost, and the Father are all one entity: trinity. they also believe all man is born with sin.

First off, even a third grader can tell you 1+1+1 is not equal to 1

Nobody knows who or what the Holy ghost is (nor have anyone seen it these days). How can they claim an infant is full of sin if he/she is just struggling just to survive.

Islam- i already wrote a 'brochure' about it.

Huzzah, insulting invisible men I don't believe in makes my invisible man more powerful!!

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
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BTW, if okno and ALMALHAMAH

BTW, if okno and ALMALHAMAH are paying attention, they cannot BOTH be right. Which of you are going to burn in hell with me?

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:
BTW, if okno and ALMALHAMAH are paying attention, they cannot BOTH be right. Which of you are going to burn in hell with me?

hahaha, that depends if you think hell exists in the first place.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


Yellow_Number_Five
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ALMALHAMAH

ALMALHAMAH wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:
BTW, if okno and ALMALHAMAH are paying attention, they cannot BOTH be right. Which of you are going to burn in hell with me?

hahaha, that depends if you think hell exists in the first place.

I guess lucky for both of you I'm an atheist and think you are equally delusional.

Never underestimate the comfort that comes with knowing there is no hell. That's no small thing.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Quote:
second, the religion of truth MUST not contradict science.

Then, quite simply, you're fucked.

bwahahaa!
Classic.


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I love hypothetical To

I love hypothetical Smiling

To answer this question we must assume hell exists, so I'll play along.

:: cue that voice from all those wrestling shows ::

Jesus Son of god Christ v Muhammad The Prophet Muhammad

Who will win? Who will WIN?!?!

Also in either case everyone else is fucked

We have two options presented here:
1. Jesus!!!
2. Muhammad!!!

Wait wait what’s this over 10,000 other representatives are stepping into the ring.

Oh wait a few people just walked out of... here...

They choose number i as in they decided it was all crap.

Thank you for playing "Who’s Your Savor", your life is non-refundable and you spent it by picking. Hell may or may not be a real place we can’t tell you, but we’ll talk about it so we get paid


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Voiderest wrote: 'your life

Voiderest wrote:
'your life is non-refundable and you spent it by picking.'

Yup. Thats the other thing Pascal didn't consider- If you spend your whole life kissing Hank's ass(or wondering which imaginary ass is Hanks'), you're wasting it.


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There is no rational basis

There is no rational basis for belief in God,

there may be a rational basis to pray to God if you like it.


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Voiderest wrote:I love

Voiderest wrote:
I love hypothetical Smiling

To answer this question we must assume hell exists, so I'll play along.

:: cue that voice from all those wrestling shows ::

Jesus Son of god Christ v Muhammad The Prophet Muhammad

Who will win? Who will WIN?!?!

Also in either case everyone else is fucked

We have two options presented here:
1. Jesus!!!
2. Muhammad!!!

Wait wait what’s this over 10,000 other representatives are stepping into the ring.

Oh wait a few people just walked out of... here...

They choose number i as in they decided it was all crap.

Thank you for playing "Who’s Your Savor", your life is non-refundable and you spent it by picking. Hell may or may not be a real place we can’t tell you, but we’ll talk about it so we get paid

Unlike the christians, we do not believe Muhammed (pbuh) is our savior. He was just a prophet revealing to us the message of true monotheism.

Chrsitianity? you know they think Jesus is God, and they say God required a sacrifice... so they are implying that God came to earth to commit suicide.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


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ChristBurns2YearOlds

ChristBurns2YearOlds wrote:
There is no rational basis for belief in God,

there may be a rational basis to pray to God if you like it.

So you think Life just majically appeared on earth with no intervention whatsoever.

And also the earth majically became able to sustain life after the big bang. Out of all the planets we've seen none can sustain life except earth, and none have protective barriers to protect life except earth.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


Ivan_Ivanov
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ALMALHAMAH wrote:So you

ALMALHAMAH wrote:
So you think Life just majically appeared on earth with no intervention whatsoever.

And also the earth majically became able to sustain life after the big bang.

No, we believe that life NATURALLY appeared on Earth, and that Earth NATURALLY became able to sustain life after big bang.
You believe all this magic stuff.

Quote:
Out of all the planets we've seen none can sustain life except earth, and none have protective barriers to protect life except earth.

Yeah, out of al the planets we've seen.
All 9, oh excuse me 8, of them.
8 out of a cubic shitloadedassload of planets in the universe.


GlamourKat
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ALMALHAMAH

ALMALHAMAH wrote:
ChristBurns2YearOlds wrote:
There is no rational basis for belief in God,

there may be a rational basis to pray to God if you like it.

So you think Life just majically appeared on earth with no intervention whatsoever.

And also the earth majically became able to sustain life after the big bang. Out of all the planets we've seen none can sustain life except earth, and none have protective barriers to protect life except earth.

Hey, man, you're the one that believes in magic.


ALMALHAMAH
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Ivan_Ivanov wrote:No, we

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
No, we believe that life NATURALLY appeared on Earth, and that Earth NATURALLY became able to sustain life after big bang.
You believe all this magic stuff.

"Life Naturally appeared" = you admitting you have no clue how it happened.

Quote:
Out of all the planets we've seen none can sustain life except earth, and none have protective barriers to protect life except earth

Yeah, out of al the planets we've seen.
All 9, oh excuse me 8, of them.
8 out of a cubic shitloadedassload of planets in the universe.

it is a slim chance our planet developed life by 'accident' or 'naturally'.

Why doesn't it 'naturally' appear on other planets, and 'naturally' sustain life.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio


ALMALHAMAH
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GlamourKat wrote:ALMALHAMAH

GlamourKat wrote:
ALMALHAMAH wrote:
ChristBurns2YearOlds wrote:
There is no rational basis for belief in God,

there may be a rational basis to pray to God if you like it.

So you think Life just majically appeared on earth with no intervention whatsoever.

And also the earth majically became able to sustain life after the big bang. Out of all the planets we've seen none can sustain life except earth, and none have protective barriers to protect life except earth.

Hey, man, you're the one that believes in magic.

Nope, i believe that we were created in our mother's wombs and the first living human being was created out of dust.

Abi Musa al Sha'arai narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Allah created Adam from a handful of dust taken from different lands, so the children of Adam have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; we have good and evil, ease and sorrow, and what comes in between them." (Sahih al Bukhari).

you believe we just came about from chance or coincidence.

The Future of the World and the United States can be summed up in one verse:

Quran 61:9
{ He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâmic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religio