Atheist's move away from theism [Kill Em With Kindness]

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Atheist's move away from theism [Kill Em With Kindness]

Hi atheists. I am Malcolm, and a Christian. My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology, and more specifically Christianity, as that is what I am most familiar with. Was it an emotional response? Or were you guys pushed away based on some contradiction unseen by theists?

 

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Quote:My preliminary

Quote:

My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology

What makes you assume that we started as theists and moved away from theology as time passed?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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deludedgod wrote:Quote:My

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology

What makes you assume that we started as theists and moved away from theology as time passed?

Rephrased then. what is your conflict with theism? Why do you not believe in God?


 


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I imagine that for many

I imagine that for many atheists, it is simply a rejection of a priori and a posteriori argumetns for God as being unsound, so there is no sound reason to believe in God. For me, however, I think the problem runs deeper than lack of evidence. "God" is a arguably a broken and ultimately meaningless concept. What we are essentially discussing is some sort of omnipotent entity with no recognizable form, constitution or structure that somehow has limitless mental capacity and is some sort of meta-entity existing in a void independant of everything else and is responsible for the maintance of reality. This is clearly absurdity of the highest order. The problem is that, on the one hand, we are saying that this entity has perfectly recognizable properties. It is a conscious being with mental capacity which has the ability to causally exert its infleunce on the material world, and at the same time, we are denying that this being has any meaningful material existence. So to talk about such a being requires commiting a stolen concept fallacy, sort of like saying that property is theft. It is meaningless, for example, to speak of a conscious being with the ability to think thoughts, without some sort of world for it to experience. But since we are denying that God requires anything to exist, then we must deny it the property of mental capacity. When we talk about a God, what we are basically saying is "it is possible for a conscious mind to exist in the void". This is preposterous. Many of the members who agree with this position (including me) articulated this view here:

Does incoherence/meaningless lead to strong atheism, or non-cognitivism?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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deludedgod wrote:I imagine

deludedgod wrote:

I imagine that for many atheists, it is simply a rejection of a priori and a posteriori argumetns for God as being unsound, so there is no sound reason to believe in God. For me, however, I think the problem runs deeper than lack of evidence. "God" is a arguably a broken and ultimately meaningless concept. What we are essentially discussing is some sort of omnipotent entity with no recognizable form, constitution or structure that somehow has limitless mental capacity and is some sort of meta-entity existing in a void independant of everything else and is responsible for the maintance of reality. This is clearly absurdity of the highest order. The problem is that, on the one hand, we are saying that this entity has perfectly recognizable properties. It is a conscious being with mental capacity which has the ability to causally exert its infleunce on the material world, and at the same time, we are denying that this being has any meaningful material existence. So to talk about such a being requires commiting a stolen concept fallacy, sort of like saying that property is theft. It is meaningless, for example, to speak of a conscious being with the ability to think thoughts, without some sort of world for it to experience. But since we are denying that God requires anything to exist, then we must deny it the property of mental capacity. When we talk about a God, what we are basically saying is "it is possible for a conscious mind to exist in the void". This is preposterous. Many of the members who agree with this position (including me) articulated this view here:

Does incoherence/meaningless lead to strong atheism, or non-cognitivism?

I think my ignorance will show through, but I don't see how you have refuted God. We can not know what is outside the universe, can we? You do not know whether it is void or not, and I can not see how the universe could have possibly come together to create life, without some sort of guiding intelligence.

 


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Quote:I think my ignorance

Quote:

I think my ignorance will show through

 I suggest you  follow the link and spend about some time reading the discussion.

Quote:

, and I can not see how the universe could have possibly come together to create life, without some sort of guiding intelligence.

Surely you must see the stolen concept fallacy in this argument. You are supposing that life (such as intelligent beings such as ourselves) exist because of another intelligent being. Then you are essentially arguing that intelligences require some sort of guiding intelligence for its existence. This is obviously absurd for purely logical reasons, but it is also falsifiable empirically. Natural explanations for the existence of biological life (such as the evolutionary process) are sound, meaningful, and verified. Your hypothesis is not verified. You've just made an argument from incredulity.

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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Quote:We can not know what

Quote:

We can not know what is outside the universe, can we? You do not know whether it is void or not

Yet another stolen concept fallacy. Everything we know and can concieve of necessarily derives from our experience, and our experience is quite obviously limited to the universe. Thus, if we are asserting that there is some sort of thing outside the universe, then we are necessarily negating our ability to make assertions about it (like asserting that it is a conscious intelligent entity) because any properties we could attach necessarily derive from our experience, which derive from, um, well...the universe. If you tried to get around this by asserting that God is inconceivable then you are creating a useless mystery of your own devising.

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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deludedgod wrote:Quote:I

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

I think my ignorance will show through

 I suggest you  follow the link and spend about some time reading the discussion.

Quote:

, and I can not see how the universe could have possibly come together to create life, without some sort of guiding intelligence.

Surely you must see the stolen concept fallacy in this argument. You are supposing that life (such as intelligent beings such as ourselves) exist because of another intelligent being. Then you are essentially arguing that intelligences require some sort of guiding intelligence for its existence. This is obviously absurd for purely logical reasons, but it is also falsifiable empirically. Natural explanations for the existence of biological life (such as the evolutionary process) are sound, meaningful, and verified. Your hypothesis is not verified. You've just made an argument from incredulity.

 

Ah. All right, thank you for that.  How then do you explain how that the universe expanded at just the  right rate to allow for the formation of planets and stars? From what I understand, had the universe expanded only slightly faster, then planets would not have been able to form, and nothing but tiny particles would exist. By the same token, a little bit slower, and the universe would be just a huge solid mass.


 


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Quote:How then do you

Quote:

How then do you explain how that the universe expanded at just the  right rate to allow for the formation of planets and stars? From what I understand, had the universe expanded only slightly faster, then planets would not have been able to form, and nothing but tiny particles would exist. By the same token, a little bit slower, and the universe would be just a huge solid mass.

It's not the rate of expansion of the universe that determines the ability of these objects to form. It's the critical density. That the universe is expanding depends on the density of the universe, and the two constants associated, Omega (Ω) and Lambda. This is not to be confused with Lambda in physics, which represents wavelength. All material bodies have a force of attraction between them which is precisely proportional to the inverse square of the distance between them and the size of the body in question. This is Newton’s Inverse Square Law. Since Einsten’s General Relativity, we have understood that this works because gravity is caused by the distorting effect of material on spacetime, The immediately obvious problem with this is that it means that all material bodies should quickly rush towards each other and crush into a fiery pinprick. The reason this does not occur is because the universe, as in space-time itself, is expanding. As we have discovered, the universe is expanding due to Dark matter. Now, this is where Omega comes into play. The density of matter in the universe will determine Omega. Since all material bodies attract, and the expansion of space time forces them apart, the density of matter in the universe and the vacuum energy (which corresponds to dark energy in value) will determine its ultimate fate.

This will give the immediate density 10^-9s after the BB. As you can see, it is enormous. However, we are interested in the long term consequences of density:

 

If Omega is precisely zero, then the acceleration of the universe and the gravity of matter will be in precise equilibrium and thus the universe will expand at a precise constant rate. If Omega is smaller than one then the expansion of the universe will wind down, and if it is precisely one, the universe will simply wind down and stop expanding, and if Omega is greater than one, then the density of matter will be overpowering and the universe will accelerate and then crush back into a fiery pinprick, as the universe rushes backwards into a fiery pinprick by parabolic expansion and then contraction.

We have discovered by means of measuring the redshift of supernovae, that none of these things are happening. The universe is not constantly expanding, decelerating, or contracting. In fact, it is accelerating in expansion, which is given by the dotted line on the graph marked accelerating. Now, it is strictly inaccurate to state that material objects such as stars and such cannot form under other values for Omega. For example, if Omega were greater than 1, then we would still have all these objects, but the universe would start to wind down and accelerate in the other direction after anything from 15 billion to a trillion years after its formation. The particular value of omega that we have now is certainly not the only Omega value that could allow for the existence of the things you mentioned. The only thing that would not allow for it is if omega was sufficiently high for the universe to crush itself moments after its initial expansion, or if the lambda value was too small to prevent all material bodies from attracting each other. Whether it is actually possible for a universe to form initially under such conditions is not known. There are probably other sets of lambda-omega values which will have similar boundary conditions.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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You put me to shame in

You put me to shame in eloquence. Your explanation is fascinating, and I must retreat until anything approaching a reply can be found.


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Well, the only reason I ever

Well, the only reason I ever did believe is because of a betrayal of trust when I was in my most gullible state (a baby).  Growing up I never got satisfactory answers to why I couldn't see god, hear god, talk to god, feel god, detect god by radar, or otherwise even confirm the existence of god.  Around the age of ten, I read the bible not knowing that encouragement to do so was reverse psychology, and while I didn't understand much of it at that age, what I did see seemed both horrific and fairy tale-ish.  Even before the age of ten I couldn't rationalize the ideal that god is all powerful and made man how he wanted to yet it is our fault we're inherently bad and god can only forgive us by 'sacrificing' himself to himself.

Throughout school, we read other mythologies in literature class, and I was left wondering what makes a bunch of Middle Eastern tribals more correct than Greeks, Japanese, Egyptians, or native Americans giving that all of their stories sound equally preposterous.  We also learned a lot of history in school, and an alarming number of the wars we read about were religiously motivated or at least enabled by religion.  More importantly, we learned observable, provable facts that contradict the bible.

I was a closet atheist all through my teenage years, not believing, but still going to church (my dad was a baptist preacher) and playing along.  Around the age of 22 I read the bible again, and realized that it truly is horrific tribal bullshit.  A few years later, one of my older sisters died, and her shameless jeebuz informercial funeral really effected me and I just couldn't even pretend anymore.

Last year, I started studying psychiatry in my spare time because my family has a long history of depression, under achieving and suicide, and I've learned that many of the biggest fuck ups made by my parents and their parents were religiously motivated.

This brings me to the grumpy disgusted by religion 26 year old person I am today.

 

hope that answers your question.

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MCsChallenge wrote:Hi

MCsChallenge wrote:

Hi atheists. I am Malcolm, and a Christian. My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology, and more specifically Christianity, as that is what I am most familiar with. Was it an emotional response? Or were you guys pushed away based on some contradiction unseen by theists?

My lack of belief has been with me my whole life. While I attended Sunday School, I tended to ask uncomfortable questions about the nature of God, such as, "If the universe is so great and complex that it required God to create it, then God is greater and more complex than the universe. But by that logic, God is so great and complex that He must've had a creator too, who was also greater and more complex. And so on. This doesn't make sense." (Okay, I wasn't so eloquent at 10, but you get the idea.)

As those questions invariably went unanswered, I came to the conclusion that we made God up to explain the things we don't understand. Once I understood that God was not a proper explanation, reality became much clearer, and easier to understand. The parts we don't know, we simply don't know. Once you admit ignorance rather than try to plaster it over with a false answer, you realize that we might one day learn even more about our universe.

To me, that leaves me far more awestruck than God ever did. (Since I didn't really believe in God, I was never very awestruck by Him, I guess.)

Quote:

Happy to be here!

Happy to have you! I hope you stick around.

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MCsChallenge wrote:Rephrased

MCsChallenge wrote:
Rephrased then. what is your conflict with theism? Why do you not believe in God?

I was born into a secular family. We never talked about religions or Gods, and, thus, I was an atheist by default. 

Aside from that, the Bible is full of atrocities and contradicts itself, as well as history, geography, psychology, biology, physics, chemistry, and logic in general. Obviously, the same goes for the Quran, Torah, Book of Mormon, Scientology books, etc.

Also, there is virtually zero evidence for any specific God or religion, and almost all religions are mutually exclusive. None of them are more plausible than the others. On the more abstract subject of whether or not some entity created the universe, I haven't observed any good evidence that suggested this. Therefore, in conclusion, why should I believe in God?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Quote:You put me to shame in

Quote:
You put me to shame in eloquence. Your explanation is fascinating, and I must retreat until anything approaching a reply can be found.

In all seriousness, I think you win the award for the most rational thing a theist has ever said on these boards.  I'm not kidding.

Now, if only you approached your belief in god the same way... you'd be onto something special.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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MCsChallenge, any argument

MCsChallenge, any argument for God based on aspects of the Universe being somehow so unlikely to have arisen from non-conscious natural processes are inherently fallacious, since you then still require an explanation for how this God came to be, and similarly for any higher 'God' needed to create 'our' God.

No matter how theists try to argue against this by asserting that God is eternal, or more devious redefinitions of logic itself, are transparent dodges, pure assertions, without justification.

Since even believers will agree that we don't have all knowledge about reality, there is no basis for confidently asessing just how improbable it would have been for any aspect of the Universe to arise naturally.

Since we see all the time in nature that complexity can arise from simple initial conditions, requiring only a flow of ordinary energy (heat, radiation, kinetic energy, etc) as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, there is nothing intrinsically contradictory to our current understanding in the Universe arising from the tiniest quantum fluctuation, or somehow emerging from a pre-existing sea of background random energy.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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MCsChallenge wrote:Hi

MCsChallenge wrote:

Hi atheists. I am Malcolm, and a Christian. My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology, and more specifically Christianity, as that is what I am most familiar with. Was it an emotional response? Or were you guys pushed away based on some contradiction unseen by theists?

 

Happy to be here!

Anyone calling themselves an atheist because the only reason they have is an emotional reaction, to me is not an educated atheist and not grounded in logic and reason, and is a easy target for theists.

I don't reject any god claim, much less your Christian god, because good things or bad things happen to me. I reject the claim because of multiple reasons.

MOST IMPORTANT IS LACK OF EVIDENCE.

Scientific inconsistancies first and formost. But that applies to ALL god claims I have incountered throughout my life as an atheist.

Logical inconsistancies.

Moral inconsistancies.

Atheism should not be based on emotion, and if one does, solely base it on an emotional reaction, I would rather that person not use that word. Atheism is deeper than a kneejerk reaction.

Emotion is a reason people use to believe in a god or reject other gods, or claim to have no god, BUT IT IS NOT THE CORE OF ACCEPTING OR REJECTING ANY GIVEN CLAIM ON ANY GIVEN ISSUE.

EVIDENCE, that is it.

 

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I was raised a christian and

I was raised a christian and whole-heartedly believed until late in my teenage years.  At that point in time I started seeing how the practical application of christianity caused immense suffering for members of my family.  That allowed me to step back and critically examine the basis of christian belief.  I soon realized it was all based on superstitious and fascist b.s.  That then led me to question the existence of the classical definition of god  - both the father and holy spirit characterizations.  I never have found any evidence for the existence of either.  I have however learned a lot about the origins of life from both physics and biology. 

I think a fair number of theists do see these contradictions, but just don't care.  I had reasons to break from religion because it was causing suffering that did affect me.  If you don't see such suffering in your immediate world, then there isn't such of an incentive to make the shift from theist to atheist in the United States.  Much of Europe apparently has a different societal situation that I find fascinating. 

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


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Never believed

I believed as a child, but that was due to the fact that all my friends went to church (small town about 3000 people) and their parents sent them to sunday school (which i attended for 3 months because they where but I started to piss off the nun with all my questions). To me the concept of god never made much sense at all, and all the explainations that people gave to me rose more questions than it ever answered. However it wasn't until I was 12 when I started to take science seriously that at least I got far better answers about the world around us and the universe than the bible or any other religious folks could ever give to me. I knew that at 12 I never really believed in god. The whole praying thing was silly and useless (this I figured out really early on, I think I was 7 when I stopped any form of prayer), the whole contradictions of the bible to the scientific findings (6 days to create the earth and the universe yet it seems that the earth didn't form until some 10 billion years AFTER the universe began). I can honestly say that science gives us a far far better understanding and answers far more questions than the bible does, and as such until god shows up or some evdience showing god (more SPECIFICALLY the christian god) then I have no reason to believe in the christian god or any god for that matter.


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Never took religion

Never took religion seriously. An early acquaintence with science, thanks to my non-believing father, no doubt helped there.

What we find from a whole lot of accounts from different people is that when people brought up religious move away from religion it is typically a gradual process, as they come across more and more examples of the problems in reconciling religious teachings with growing knowledge about the world. I have heard several people say that it was ultimately due to an attempt to make their faith even more solid by reading the Bible more thoroughly and asking questions of their ministers/pastors/preachers, that lead them to notice even more of the logical problems and conflicts with secular/scientific knowledge that lead them to realize it was all a fairy story.

Major life events affecting belief are much more common in driving people from a casual indifference to religion, rather than a firmly intellectually based Atheism, into the folds of Religion, as religious family and friends strongly encourage them to find solace in the Church after some emotional upheavel.

It's funny how the common assumption of believers is that Atheists must have had some terrible experience which drove them 'away from God', and improved understanding of religion will gradually 'open the heart' of the unbeliever to God, whereas the opposite is much more common - the more we understand all aspects of the world and humanity, the less plausible is the religious story, whle it takes a major emotional trauma to drive a desperate person to week solace in faith.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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deludedgod wrote: As we have

deludedgod wrote:

As we have discovered, the universe is expanding due to Dark matter.

Just a wee correction - you ment to say Dark energy here.


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MCsChallenge We can not know

MCsChallenge We can not know what is outside the universe, can we?

Does not the entire premise of a god demand that we do know what is outside the universe? How do the god believers claim to know? Some people they never met wrote about events thousands of years ago whom they choose to believe were witnesses to the actions of that which is outside upon the inside. Why do you folks choose to believe such things?

Does it not also demand the unfounded assumption the universe has an outside? It is fine to say you have a special insight into what is outside but to get serious attention to have to show there is an outside and that there is something of interest there. As you cannot do that, what is the point?

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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What a strange argument

MCsChallenge
Ah. All right, thank you for that. How then do you explain how that the universe expanded at just the right rate to allow for the formation of planets and stars? From what I understand, had the universe expanded only slightly faster, then planets would not have been able to form, and nothing but tiny particles would exist. By the same token, a little bit slower, and the universe would be just a huge solid mass.

If the universe with us in it did not come into existence then we would not be having this discussion. This kind of discussion can only occur when everything is just right.

Now if you want the oracle to burst your noodle, consider you are the product of only one of millions of sperm reaching an egg. If a different sperm had gotten there first, you would not exist. The same is true for your parents, the odds are millions to one against both of them having been born.

The same is true for your grandparents, great-grandparents all the way back to the beginning. If you are a literal bible type that is 6000 years worth of ancestors or roughly 240 generations. Now if you ignore the number of eggs and multiply even just one million by itself 240 times and that is the odds against one, a one with 1440 zeros to one, against you being born.

Therefore you are impossible and I am conversing with a phantasm.

Are there any further questions?

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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Quote:Rephrased then. what

Quote:
Rephrased then. what is your conflict with theism? Why do you not believe in God?

A mountain of reasons:

1) I was raised in a secular family (my parents have recently been 'born again', but thankfully, too late to impact any developing minds).

2) I want evidence before I buy an assertion. Good, solid, 'Here it is', evidence. None has ever been presented for God, magic or the supernatural; every time somone has claimed to have said evidence, they have been shown to be frauds.

3) 'God' is a meaningless term. No coherent description has ever been attached to it, and no two theists appear to be able to independently provide a clear description for who or what God is. Moreover, very few theists can even agree on a given description for God; there is no majority consensus among the believers.

4) The Bible is an erroneous text. The Q'ran is equally erroneous. The work of L. Ron Hubbard is erroneous. The Book of Mormon is erroneous...

Every single piece of literature supposedly inspired by an awesome deity, the creator of our universe, is laden with factual errors of immense scale, characters whom were fictitious and accounts that with absolute certainty did not transpire. These are simply not reasonable records of the Earth's history.

5) The deity myths are clearly 'borrowed' from each other, carrying forward the inaccuracies of the past. Modern day 'New Age' information deities are no different, relying strictly on emotional appeal and a myriad of accompanying logical fallacies to stay afloat amidst the public.

6) There is no facet of the cosmos where a deity yields a better explanation than natural law. Evoking a deity always only offers further mystery, which a theist can only address through special pleading.

7) Goal-posts constantly shift on the theist's side of the discussion, 'God' always being pushed into the realm just outside our spheres of knowledge.

Cool Rarely will a theist ever maintain a calm, rational demeanor when defending their position. They fall back on the strength of their conviction alone and rarely are found trying to establish their argument rather than attacking the credibility or motives of their opponents.

9) The iconic, 'big league' Theistic defenders / debaters are proven hate-mongers and liars (Dinesh D'Souza, I'm looking at you). 

10) Science has a proven track record of offering tangible results to humanity, religion does not. The latter has, throughout history, always attempted to squash the former through bigotry, fear and politics.

 

Those are the most pressing things that spring to mind. Really, to be honest, I just have never been able to fathom how people could believe in such a ridiculous thing as a magical deity. It strikes me as bizarre on a very profound level.

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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I left the baptist church

I left the baptist church because I didn't have enough faith to be a christian. My family growing up was not very religious, but my mom took my sister and I to church on sundays and I remember not being very moved by the word. At 18 I was "saved" and baptised only to back slide a year and a half later. At that point I wanted to understand more about religion before I tried to re-dedicate my life back to my faith, but the more I read the more I found no good reason to believe in the god of the bible.

The god of the bible, when one reads the bible without church goggles, is terrible and at best incompetent. The OT is full of ridiculous stories and horrible acts of violence against neighboring cultures of the Israelites. The NT is just as bad because it reaffirms the atrosities and ridiculous nature of the OT. At least the OT never promised eternal torment for those that do not believe. In my own mind a god worthy of worship would not want to be, but the bible god seems to need constant affirmation of it's handy work which is a human trait.

At this point in my life I can not understand how I believed such non-sense. In church the story of Job is taught as a tale of one man's undying faith. In the world of the unbeliever the story of Job is the tale of an uncaring god making a stupid wager with it's adversary. The tower of Babel is ludicrous because ancient man could not build a tower to heaven to threaten god. If heaven exists there is no way we could build a structure to reach it. The whole bible falls apart at this point if you're not naive enough to buy into the hype. So christians began to allegorize certain parts of the bible that were once literal stories.

I find that believing in religion is more of an emotional response than not believing. Most atheists are "weak" or agnostic atheists in that we do not believe in god(s). I personally have no problem with a creator of some type, but I won't go out on a limb and say there is no god whatsoever.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:You

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
You put me to shame in eloquence. Your explanation is fascinating, and I must retreat until anything approaching a reply can be found.

In all seriousness, I think you win the award for the most rational thing a theist has ever said on these boards.  I'm not kidding.

 

I'm going to second this. I don't spend as much time around the forum as some, perhaps, but I really have to commend MCsChallenge for

 

--Lack of automatic condescending tone in very first post

--Openness to new ideas

--Civility, politeness, respect

--Lack of self-righteousness

--Appears to make no automatic assumptions about atheists (well, one forgivable one)

--Suspicious lack of appeals to metaphor and woo-woo

--Suspicious lack of appeals to scripture

 

 

And this is a visiting theist!? Wha??? Let's hope he/she doesn't change on us!

 

Can we conduct some MRIs on MCsChallenge and, say, Mephibosheth? I want to compare so we can find out where the cancer is hiding. =]

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Well, at age 7, 50 years ago

Well, at age 7, 50 years ago we moved next door to a big church. They soon came knocking, asking our family to attend. Mom nicely said no, in words I didn't quite understand. When I asked why not, thinking it would be fun hanging with the kids, she said, they teach that we are not god, and that is wrong, because we are all god, as all is god, as jesus said.  She told me, the church doesn't understand simple jesus, and insisted I was god and there was nothing to worship, and too just always be a good kid.

Well in short, I kinda wondered if my nice parents were nutty, but it wasn't long before I could feel for my self that religion made no sense.


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Oh, guys, stop responding to

Oh, guys, stop responding to it. Hamby already established earlier that MCS is an atheist. The OP was here as part of a challenge on CARM.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Why would an atheist be here

Why would an atheist be here on a challenge from CARM?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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 There is an atheist

 There is an atheist sub-forum at CARM, and there was a dispute about tolerance with atheists vs. theists. Thus, the Christians challenged some atheists to pretend to be Christians on an atheist website. They wanted to prove how hateful atheists are. 

But, I can't find the thread where Hamby posted the link to CARM. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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MCsChallenge

MCsChallenge wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

I imagine that for many atheists, it is simply a rejection of a priori and a posteriori argumetns for God as being unsound, so there is no sound reason to believe in God. For me, however, I think the problem runs deeper than lack of evidence. "God" is a arguably a broken and ultimately meaningless concept. What we are essentially discussing is some sort of omnipotent entity with no recognizable form, constitution or structure that somehow has limitless mental capacity and is some sort of meta-entity existing in a void independant of everything else and is responsible for the maintance of reality. This is clearly absurdity of the highest order. The problem is that, on the one hand, we are saying that this entity has perfectly recognizable properties. It is a conscious being with mental capacity which has the ability to causally exert its infleunce on the material world, and at the same time, we are denying that this being has any meaningful material existence. So to talk about such a being requires commiting a stolen concept fallacy, sort of like saying that property is theft. It is meaningless, for example, to speak of a conscious being with the ability to think thoughts, without some sort of world for it to experience. But since we are denying that God requires anything to exist, then we must deny it the property of mental capacity. When we talk about a God, what we are basically saying is "it is possible for a conscious mind to exist in the void". This is preposterous. Many of the members who agree with this position (including me) articulated this view here:

Does incoherence/meaningless lead to strong atheism, or non-cognitivism?

I think my ignorance will show through, but I don't see how you have refuted God. We can not know what is outside the universe, can we? You do not know whether it is void or not, and I can not see how the universe could have possibly come together to create life, without some sort of guiding intelligence.

 

It's not even about refuting God, but theists making a valid case for god.  As deludedgod has pointed out, there is no reason to believe in a Super Pixie unless someone can make a valid argument for it.

 

Perhaps instead of dumping all the points he made and moving on to another fallacious argument (Argument from Ignorance), you could address the other issues he presented.  It's not fair for us to keep jumping after you like a Mexican Jumping Bean just because you can't address each concept in depth.

 

Persoanlly, I have no desire to brush over well-worn concepts that you could find on MANY websites.  Please address his specific items and either show us if you agree with each premise or not, and WHY.

 

 

Ooops, just saw the other comments - however, I don't think I was rude at all.  I was being helpful and educational.

 

 

Either way, this would be my response to anyone who is trying to debate theism/atheism with luke-warm cliches.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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What makes you think that we

What makes you think that we had to move away from theism? I myself was never one to believe in the first place.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
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MCsChallenge wrote:Hi

MCsChallenge wrote:

Hi atheists. I am Malcolm, and a Christian. My preliminary question to you is what sparked your move away from theology, and more specifically Christianity, as that is what I am most familiar with. Was it an emotional response? Or were you guys pushed away based on some contradiction unseen by theists?

 

Happy to be here!

One size does not fit all. Some atheists were always atheists and never baught into theism at all. Some were raised in theism and gave it up. Each of us are individuals and our storys are different.

As for me, I was raised Catholic, and I did believe and did want to believe. But I never really understud how one was supposed blindly buy those magical stories. One question from a co-worker back in the early 90s got my skeptic ball rolling. I went from Christianity, to agnostic theist, to atheist over a several year period.

It was not emotional it was simply the more I thought about it the less it made sense. If anything that transition was slow because of the lifetime of indoctrination subconciously that I would be a bad person if I didn't believe. My early years of atheism I kept it to myself out of fear of being ostracised.

It was because of an atheist nurse out of Chicago, whose opinion was printed in national papers right after 9/11..........She was speaking about how non-believers were being left out of the national mourning process. It was that openness in the face of the majority that inspired me to seek out other atheists on line. BUT, I do, even now, remember that fear that maybe I was stumbling into cults, when I first typed the word in my search engine. I know now how rediculous that fear was. BUT IT WAS religion that planted that xenophobia in my head.

The bott0m line for me as far as rejecting ANY claim, is lack of evidence. I would like the word, not that it will, but I would like the word "atheist" to incorperate all superstitions, not just claims of deities.

A guy I work with is superstitious about broom bristles touching his feet, he has to spit on the britles to turn away the bad luck he things he will get if the broom touches his feet.

Another guy I worked with believed that there was something to people calling one after another and ordering the same thing after hours of no calls. I told him they called because we were open, no magic needed for that.

Lucky socks in sports, lucky bats all of that to me is the same absurdity claims of deities are. It is a false hope for magical protection that does not exist. Life is simple, either something happens or it does not. Making up answers as to why does not constitute real answers, it merely makes one ignorant.

I can't speek for other atheists, but that is my breif story. My transition was not emotional and I feel much freer now having the knowledge to know why I am an atheist beyond merely claiming it.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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butterbattle wrote:  

butterbattle wrote:

 

Oh, guys, stop responding to it. Hamby already established earlier that MCS is an atheist. The OP was here as part of a challenge on CARM.

 

So the basic premise of this thread turned out to be defective. Even so, this is where we are telling our stories. So let me tell mine.

 

Some of my earliest memories are of being sent to the church nursery where kids who were just too young for indoctrinations went to play while the “big people” went to do important stuff. I think that I may have gone to “big people” church for a while but I don't recall any details as my father had some issue right around that time. After that, the church thing was never mentioned at home.

 

Fast forward ten years. My parents were divorced and my mother decided that we were religious people. So here I am a 17 year old guy who is in full rebellion mode and I am assigned to ultra-conservative Anglicanism by my mother. Just a bit late for a proper indoctrination but whatever.

 

Eventually, I left home and drifted through a bunch of churches looking for the one that made some sense. None of them did.

 

One had a bible reading plan that stated “Read the new testament beginning with the book of John”. You don't think that they are trying to hide the dirty laundry in the corners or anything, do you? Too bad for them that my earlier upbringing left me fully aware that the crucifixion took place in four different locations and happened at four different times of day. They are playing some game.

 

Another basically forbid reading the bible at all. Pastor was a very special person and he was allowed to read the bible. Pastor would tell us what the bible said and what that saying meant. During that time, I came to learn that Jesus had short hair, no facial hair and wore a white shirt with a narrow black tie. Pastor says so and he should know, after all, he has read the bible and he knows what is in it. More games.

 

Young Earth Creationism holds a special place place for me. I already had a high school diploma, so I know what science says on that and it makes sense. Yet probably half of the churches that I tried told me that I had to pay lips service to the lie in order to be a Christian. Um, the ninth commandment says not to lie and I must lie to be one of the very special in crowd? OK, got that. Um, the third commandment say not to make use of one's religion for earthly purposes and I must knuckle under to what is basically bullshit. OK, I can get on board here too.

 

That is, of course, only what half of the churches said. How about what do all the churches say? That is much easier. You must accept Christ in order to be a Christian. If nothing else, the statement is internally logical. However, it doesn't actually say anything.

 

I have to believe that some famous dead guy existed? Well, I believe that George Washington existed, on that ground, Jesus ain't exactly a stretch. I have to believe the things that he supposedly said. Again, not much of a stretch. Most of that stuff is about being a generally decent person. Mind you, I don't need to accept Jesus to know that lying is not a great thing. Unless it is about evolution, then it appears that it is required that we lie. George Washington also has a thing to say about lying and that is not to do it. And the story is itself not true. Go figure.

 

Bother it all, religion has nothing to offer that can't be had from outside of religion. Outside of religion, the world is a complex place and nobody much minds if there were no cherry trees in Virginia in the 1730's.

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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MCsChallenge wrote:Rephrased

MCsChallenge wrote:
Rephrased then. what is your conflict with theism? Why do you not believe in God?

 

There is no conflict with theism. I don't believe in God much like you don't believe in Thor, the Ninja Turtles, or anything else you see as imaginary.


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CrimsonEdge wrote:There is

CrimsonEdge wrote:

There is no conflict with theism. I don't believe in God much like you don't believe in Thor, the Ninja Turtles, or anything else you see as imaginary.

what?  i believe in the ninja turtles!  you don't believe in the ninja turtles???  FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU for not believing in the ninja turtles!  you're gonna go to TURTLE POWER HELL, man, where bebop and rocksteady will take turns fucking you up your heathen ass while you're FORCED to watch the heretical secret of the ooze, which is evil because they didn't let corey feldman reprise the role of donatello's voice!

FUCK YOU, man!

 

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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butterbattle wrote:Oh, guys,

butterbattle wrote:

Oh, guys, stop responding to it. Hamby already established earlier that MCS is an atheist. The OP was here as part of a challenge on CARM.

The interesting thing is that it was not very obvious that this was the kill em with kindness forum when this was posted.  Due to a glitch the red warning label didn't appear on the side, and the title didn't state it clearly. 

- Brian Sapient


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