The God Debate (split from Poll: God's Approval Rating) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-04-2011, 02:42 PM
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This discussion reminds me of one of my favourite Epicurus quotes, which you have probobly heard already, but here it is anyway:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

(emphasis mine)... I am an atheist so I don't believe in the existence of deities, but I am very secure in my atheism (and not afraid of going to hell if god does exist) because if there were a god and he was the embodiment of all things good, then there is no way he could be a jealous god and require us to believe in and worship him. If he were to judge us it would be based on our inner qualities and how we treat others, not how we use our logic (which he would have given to us) to form beliefs about the world and his existence, or how much time we spend fearing and worshipping him. And if he exists and is the way he is portrayed in all the major religions, then in my opinion he is not someone who is deserving of our worship. If he is the way he is portrayed in the christian bible, then I have no reason to believe that hell is what he says it is because the bible shows us that he is a liar, he promotes immoral actions, and that he is jealous and egotistical, choosing to test us and play games with us because of his need to be revered and feared. Why should I believe that someone like that is telling the truth about the existence of/living conditions in hell?

*end rant* =) This isn't a criticism of people who are religious in any way, just my explanation for why I'm an atheist. And btw this is a neat idea for a poll. :P

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#2 Old 09-04-2011, 02:50 PM
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I love it when atheists take it upon themselves to explain to everyone else what "god," something they don't believe in, "is" and then commence to deconstruct their own construct. Reason, indeed.
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#3 Old 09-04-2011, 06:09 PM
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I love it when atheists take it upon themselves to explain to everyone else what "god," something they don't believe in, "is" and then commence to deconstruct their own construct. Reason, indeed.

What exactly is so unreasonable about my post? I could ask for your opinion about god so I can 'deconstruct' your reasoning, but that would be rude (kind of like attacking a complete stranger's capacity for logic because they shared their personal philosophy about god).

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#4 Old 09-04-2011, 06:27 PM
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What exactly is so unreasonable about my post? I could ask for your opinion about god so I can 'deconstruct' your reasoning, but that would be rude (kind of like attacking a complete stranger's capacity for logic because they shared their personal philosophy about god).

You're right; it would be rude if that was your objective. Your parenthetic text does a good job of flushing out what others might think of a certain type atheism: a position set to debunk the beliefs and faiths of others rather than to establish what defines you as an individual. I think it's sad for a person to express his/her belief system based solely on contempt of a fantastic generalization of what he/she thinks/wants others to believe.
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#5 Old 09-04-2011, 07:17 PM
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All I was doing was explaining why I don't fear any consequences if I'm wrong about the existence of god, which is what I meant when I said I feel secure in my atheism. If god exists and s/he is a god that would have been worthy of my worship, then that god would not punish me for not believing in them during my lifetime. If there is a god similar to the god found in the christian faith, who would punish me simply for questioning their existence, then I would rather except whatever that punishment is (the nature of which I question), then align myself during life with a being who isn't compatible with my own ethics.

Atheism is simply a lack of belief in deities, it's not a claim to know all the answers (most atheists, myself included, don't claim to know that a god couldn't exist - it's merely the position that there is no reason to believe in the existence of god, and that belief in the supernatural goes against everything we know about the world). Regardless of the conception of god, whether s/he is given specific characteristics or is simply a creator of the universe, it doesn't seem reasonable to me to choose to believe in a god. We all have questions about nature and the origins of the universe, and science doesn't yet have a definitive answer for how it all began. But why do we feel the need to fill in the blanks with a supernatural explaination? It defies reason.

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#6 Old 09-04-2011, 07:26 PM
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...I am very secure in my atheism ...

You certainly feel a need for a lot of explanation in a thread that isn't about atheism.
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#7 Old 09-04-2011, 07:50 PM
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Here are some disproofs from the book "God the Failed Hypothesis":

The first one goes like this:

1. God is supposed to be the greatest being
2. Greatness includes the greatness of virtue
3. So god must be the most virtuous
4. But virtue involves overcoming pain and danger
5. So a being can only be virtuous if they can suffer pain or be destroyed
6. A god that is destructible and can suffer cannot be called the greatest being
7. Therefor, god cannot exist.

Here's another:

1. God is supposed to be perfect
2. So his creations must be perfect.
3. The universe is not perfect
4. So the most perfect being couldn't have created the universe
5. So god cannot exist

And Another:

1. If god exists, then he is transcendent
2. If god exists he is omnipresent
3. To be transcendent, he cannot be anywhere in space
4. To be omnipresent he must be everywhere
5. That is impossible because no one can be both
6. Therefor, god's existence is impossible

And another:

1. Can god create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?
2. If he can't lift the stone he can't do everything
3. If he can create the stone he still can't do everything
4. God cannot do everything and cannot be omnipotent

Theists, what would your response be to these?

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#8 Old 09-04-2011, 09:04 PM
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[theist mode] That's silly look at the Bible it's all right there! [/theist mode]

I do find the last 2 a bit iffy though.

Let me try one on morality

1. God is worthy of worship.
2. He must therefor be better than us.
3. He has committed acts more heinous than nearly anyone ever will, including genocide, and murdering of homosexuals.
4. God has lower moral character than the vast majority of the population.
5. He is not better than us.
6. He is not worthy of worship.

Oops, seems as though 1 and 6 conflict.

Disclaimer: I'm insane.
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#9 Old 09-04-2011, 09:07 PM
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I agree with everything Apocalyptica says, and think it's funny how theists think they can always talk about their faith and atheists are never allowed to talk about their lack of faith. And how they seem to believe that because we don't believe we can't talk about the possibility or what if's, especially if one of us has actually studied it all, and the only difference is this thing called "faith". Do you all believe in ghosts, vampires, witches, and werewolfs too? There are plenty of books written on them, and some people believe they exist, do you have 'faith' in those as well?
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#10 Old 09-04-2011, 10:20 PM
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You certainly feel a need for a lot of explanation in a thread that isn't about atheism.

Well, I was trying to defend my position after you attacked my reasoning. If the only response you have is to point out that my original point was slightly off topic, then... yeah, I can see there's no point in me going on.

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I agree with everything Apocalyptica says, and think it's funny how theists think they can always talk about their faith and atheists are never allowed to talk about their lack of faith. And how they seem to believe that because we don't believe we can't talk about the possibility or what if's, especially if one of us has actually studied it all, and the only difference is this thing called "faith".

Thank you. Sometimes people don't realize that atheists often put a lot of thought into the issue before they arrive at a conclusion, it's a process that (should be) based on reason and not emotion. I've considered every definition of god possible, whether it's from a religious text or simply an abstract concept of 'creator', and all roads lead to the same conclusion.

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#11 Old 09-04-2011, 10:38 PM
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@ Veg-Athei-Socialis and Obankobi - it's nice to see people using standard form. Philosophy class is where I learned to really refine my ideas and learned to evaluate the logic of different arguments. I think that, at the very least, a critical thinking class should be mandatory in every highschool.

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#12 Old 09-04-2011, 11:47 PM
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[theist mode] That's silly look at the Bible it's all right there! [/theist mode]

I do find the last 2 a bit iffy though.

Let me try one on morality

1. God is worthy of worship.
2. He must therefor be better than us.
3. He has committed acts more heinous than nearly anyone ever will, including genocide, and murdering of homosexuals.
4. God has lower moral character than the vast majority of the population.
5. He is not better than us.
6. He is not worthy of worship.

Oops, seems as though 1 and 6 conflict.

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#13 Old 09-04-2011, 11:55 PM
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^I have no idea what buddhism has to do with anything.
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#14 Old 09-05-2011, 12:15 AM
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in regard to logic, I foundsome of the ideas from Gödel's incompleteness theorems helpful

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6...eness_theorems

we can't prove anything according to that(if I understand it properly )....so how would anyone really know if there were werewolves, or not?....

Anyway, it's best to be a bit humble when looking out to space and wondering about the logic of whether God exists or not......we only live for a few years, on this speck of dust in the cosmos....best to keep an open mind, IMO.

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#15 Old 09-05-2011, 12:36 AM
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so how would anyone really know if there were werewolves, or not?....

There is absolutely no evidence that werewolves exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in werewolves.

There is absolutely no evidence that unicorns exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in unicorns.

There is absolutely no evidence that gods exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in gods.

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Anyway, it's best to be a bit humble when looking out to space and wondering about the logic of whether God exists or not......we only live for a few years, on this speck of dust in the cosmos....

Abandoning reason has no relation whatsoever to being humble. You don't simply discard logic and rational thinking because the universe is big. Belief in gods is illogical and irrational regardless of how big humans are or how long we live.

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best to keep an open mind, IMO.

The danger is in keeping your mind so open that your brain falls out.
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#16 Old 09-05-2011, 12:41 AM
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oh, my brain fell out years ago*... ironically it was because I didn't keep an open mind.


* eta: obviously I put it back later, but it had all crumbs and stuff on it....

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#17 Old 09-05-2011, 01:05 AM
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There is absolutely no evidence that werewolves exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in werewolves.

There is absolutely no evidence that unicorns exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in unicorns.

There is absolutely no evidence that gods exist. Therefore the only rational position is not to believe in gods.


there is no evidence, for me, that someone has added Marmite to custard, and then eaten it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone had....


eta: and anyway, do you consider to "...not believe in..." an actual act?

it would seem to me, that if one didn't have any evidence for something then it would be more rational to be agnostic about the matter.

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#18 Old 09-05-2011, 01:23 AM
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there is no evidence, for me, that someone has added Marmite to custard, and then eaten it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone had....

This is not remotely the same. You know that Marmite exists. You know that custard exists. You know that people exist. Any knowledge or trust you place in statements about these things will be based on evidence.

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eta: and anyway, do you consider to "...not believe in..." an actual act?

Of course not. There are an infinite number of ideas we lack belief in. It takes no effort and requires no action. You, for example, lack belief in a ridiculous amount of gods. I lack belief in all those same gods plus one more.
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#19 Old 09-05-2011, 01:37 AM
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Of course not. There are an infinite number of ideas we lack belief in. It takes no effort and requires no action. You, for example, lack belief in a ridiculous amount of gods. I lack belief in all those same gods plus one more.


but it's more than a lack of belief in just one more god, you lack the belief, I presume, in the concept of God(or gods)....

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#20 Old 09-05-2011, 01:39 AM
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Looks like that's a fail, God.
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#21 Old 09-05-2011, 01:50 AM
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but it's more than a lack of belief in just one more god, you lack the belief, I presume, in the concept of God(or gods)....

Those beliefs are very much tied together. They both go in the big box of irrational and illogical ideas.

Really, though, the difference in our lack of belief in gods is not that big. Think about the reasons you have for not believing in Thor, Nanabozho, Hine-nui-te-pō and the rest. Those reasons should apply equally to your god.
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#22 Old 09-05-2011, 01:55 AM
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I find it super odd that atheists are the ones seen as abnormal in this world.
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#23 Old 09-05-2011, 02:13 AM
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I find it super odd that atheists are the ones seen as abnormal in this world.

It'll be nice if this changes as science answers more of the remaining questions, but the problem is that the vast majority of people will continue to be ignorant of science. Ron Paul is an evolution denier. Rick Perry is in a religious organization that believes they were chosen by God to run America. There are so many more examples of this craziness and these are just people in positions of power and influence. I really don't expect my lack of belief to be viewed as normal during my lifetime.
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#24 Old 09-05-2011, 02:21 AM
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Those beliefs are very much tied together. They both go in the big box of irrational and illogical ideas.

Really, though, the difference in our lack of belief in gods is not that big. Think about the reasons you have for not believing in Thor, Nanabozho, Hine-nui-te-pō and the rest. Those reasons should apply equally to your god.


well, I don't particularly believe in Thor because I'm a monotheist, and Thor is part of a polytheist belief system, isn't it?

I'm not sure what I think of for example Allah...maybe that is related to a judeo christian God, but I'm not sure how.

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#25 Old 09-05-2011, 03:44 AM
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Those beliefs are very much tied together. They both go in the big box of irrational and illogical ideas.

Really, though, the difference in our lack of belief in gods is not that big. Think about the reasons you have for not believing in Thor, Nanabozho, Hine-nui-te-pō and the rest. Those reasons should apply equally to your god.

Thor!!! I believe in him!! (he's my cat...sorry for the off-topic-ness).
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#26 Old 09-05-2011, 12:34 PM
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I find it super odd that atheists are the ones seen as abnormal in this world.

They are (i.e. they are not the norm because most people are theists). So are veg*ans.
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#27 Old 09-05-2011, 12:39 PM
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I find it super odd that atheists are the ones seen as abnormal in this world.

I don't see that at all. Atheists who paint non-atheists as morons incapable of reason are often lumped into a general category of unliked antagonistic people, however.
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#28 Old 09-05-2011, 12:49 PM
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I don't see that at all. Atheists who paint non-atheists as morons incapable of reason are often lumped into a general category of unliked antagonistic people, however.

Lol okay, we are the ones that have a smaller group of people, therefore we are the weird ones. Not sure why you find it so odd that people would think it's irrational to think an invisible man lives everywhere and controls peoples lives, yet they still have free will.
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#29 Old 09-05-2011, 12:59 PM
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Abnormal just means against the norm, it doesn't mean bad.
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#30 Old 09-05-2011, 01:06 PM
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And we shouldn't be the abnormal ones because we don't believe in an invisible man, that's what i think is so f'd up about it.
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