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The Big Question

Are you a believer?

  • Atheist

    Votes: 21 56.8%
  • Agnostic

    Votes: 9 24.3%
  • Believer

    Votes: 7 18.9%

  • Total voters
    37

gavin

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I'm going to make a few sweeping generalisations here, based on personal experience, when it comes to the whole Christians vs. Atheists thing.

The thing that frustrates Atheists seems to be the refusal of so many on "the other side" to even look at the reasoning and/or logic of Atheism. When you get someone frustrated, they're going to go at it even harder.

The Atheists I talk to will usually have at least a basic knowledge of the Bible, some expertly so, and a lot of those are more knowledgeable about it than a lot of the people who purport to follow it.

Unfortunately, that's where the superiority aspect comes into it. "We've" gone to the trouble of understanding "your" side of the argument, while you won't budge an inch and seem unwilling to defend your beliefs with anything other than "just because".

"Just because" might be a purely valid reason for a belief system, but **** it's annoying to listen to.
 

danielfitzgerald99

Active Member
I'm doing a psychology degree at the moment so I'm familiar with a lot of what you're saying. I've studied the "consciousness" issue and read William James etc. I generally favour the dualist perspective. I don't think everything is a product of the brain though. I think it's the interaction between the biological matter of the brain and an anti-matter (call it what you will) that would call the soul.

If you have a television set and all of it's components and a television signal, in order to watch TV you need to have both. When you turn of the TV and unplug it (imagine this as death), the signal is still there (the soul).
 

marc

Well-Known Member
I don't believe in god but still say I'm a Jew.

Why I don't believe in it all is simple, there are no answers for things.

I asked one question to a friend a few years back. "god created the world in 6 days but we know things lived millions of years before us". The answer was "6 days back then is not 6 days as we see them now". So why does the bible say 6 days lol.

We evolved simple really, people need religion to live or some people have no need to live. No one can prove there is a god yet there is proof on evolution.
 

furie

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danielfitzgerald99 said:
I'm doing a psychology degree at the moment so I'm familiar with a lot of what you're saying. I've studied the "consciousness" issue and read William James etc. I generally favour the dualist perspective. I don't think everything is a product of the brain though. I think it's the interaction between the biological matter of the brain and an anti-matter (call it what you will) that would call the soul.

If you have a television set and all of it's components and a television signal, in order to watch TV you need to have both. When you turn of the TV and unplug it (imagine this as death), the signal is still there (the soul).

I see what you're saying, just don't agree :)

I think that our conciousness is like a web browser, and our brain is the internet. It's constantly being added to from all kinds of sources and we access it to produce the information we need to live. The links are obscure and almost random in placement, but we can still grab them through our own inbuilt Google.

When we die, our entire "Internet" dies with us, as well as the concious browser front end. It's all still contained in our heads.

The TV analogy doesn't work for me, because if you unplug the aerial, the TV cannot function. You need both the physical AND the spiritual to function and the physical is completely driven by the spiritual.

We also know how brains evolved from simple "stimulus/response" organisms to our complicated structure now. A snail has a very similar brain to us, yet does it have a soul?

I find Marc odd :lol: Though perhaps he's a case in point of how easy it is to be "comfortable" with a religious label if you're brought up in faith? I know people who don't really believe in God who say they're Christian, simply because it's something they just are - belief in God is irrelevant compared to the embarrassment of admitting you're not part of the general crowd you were brought up in.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
Tbh I feel I have to be proud as if not I would be **** on everything my family fought and survived for.

I just believe in it how I want to, and being gay means I am not welcome at the synagogue etc. But I was born a Jew so am a Jew lol I just don't believe in the mumbo jumbo of it all. No one knows what really happened back then yet they preach it, as said people hang on to religion as a means of life. Some are forced to be religious and I feel everyone should have a choice.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
Yep as that is the view of my mates that are religious so I turn it around on them.

To them everything is by gods design, we don't evolve god makes things happen.

So to them there is just one all mighty that makes us the way we are.

So if you apply natural evolution then there is no god.

Not sure I made myself clear tbh.
 

furie

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It's a pure counter-point to their view in other words.

They admit no grey area, so you admit none too?
 

marc

Well-Known Member
Sorry to say after years of raising questions and getting told they are ones I cannot ask I just gave up, the reason why I could ask them is just due to the fact there are no answers.

The bible is what they believe in and if it's not in there then their at a loss.

I was forced to go for 6 years, every year the same stories every year no answers apart from that's the way it is.

I just cannot believe in fiction when there is zero proof. Give me the proof there is something out there that created us and the world.

It's the million dollar question really.

Yes UC I agree but that is not how it's being put over in Jewish schools. It's their view or your wrong, you are not allowed to question.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
UC I know what you mean.

I just don't believe there is anything out there. Yes I used to but now days I don't. Getting told to leave a synagogue because I was gay was one of the lowest points of my life.

If you ever decide to read the story of Passover there is a part in the book that covers the "do not ask questions" part. School teachers refer back to this when you ask the wrong question.

Everyone has different views on it, there is no right or wrong. Well a religious person would say I'm wrong lol.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
No offence taken at all honest.

I was just the guy at class that always asked the questions they did not want asked.

Maybe I am looking at the this from the Jewish side but it's all I have to go on.

The religious people are still living the same way they did from year 1. Yes they dress different etc but all views are the same.

There is now a branch off that allows modern way of living, such as using electric on a Saturday and being allowed to drive etc.

But your not allowed to work, that's the question that really made them
angry at me. God rested on the Saturday so we have to, so why do we have to pay to get barmitvered on a Saturday? Why when I was called up at 15 years old did they want a donation?. Sorry to me that's working the people running the service are working and they are getting paid to work.

It's so hard to explain but it's the teachers and religious people that made me question everything.

What I love is seeing Jewish religious people running round Disney, it's everything they do not believe in lol.
 

Venom2053

Member
I was born and raised a catholic, that being said I don't 100% believe in God. My parents were never hardcore about it, I'm whats called a C&E catholic meaning I only go to church on Christmas and Easter. Its more a tradition really, plus I don't by the "always forgiving" aspect of God. I find that very few people actually pick a Religion they tend to have it trusted at them by their elders.

Idk both sides have points but to me Religion is more of a cult while Science can actually be proved, but hey God still could of created some stuff. I mean it all had to start somewhere.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
Yes it was strictest part of the Jewish religion, yet my family still eat bacon when out the house lol. We were not that religious so I never got why they sent me there.

After sunset on a Friday until sunset on Saturday you are not meant to work or create a spark etc hence it being the day of rest etc.
 

Pokemaniac

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I was born and raised "Christian if anything". You might want to call it Christian Secular. I remember mum reading some Christian kids' stories for my siblings and I when we were younger, and perhaps I accepted it, perhaps I doubted, I can't remember.

It wasn't until I was 14 or so when I took a stance on it. This was the time for "confirmation" or whatever it's called in English. I decided to do it the Christian way instead of the Humane-Ethical way (direct translation, not sure if the term is valid in English). I learnt a thing or two more about the entire God, Jesus, Bible, Holy Spirit, etc ordeal. I decided to look some up for myself too, thought about it for a while and decided that no, I don't believe in this. The concept of a creator is a little iffy in itself, but I saw so little logical ground in the Abrahamic tales that I could hardly believe any of them, at least not literally. Some of the rules of the devoted religious seemed so far-fetched that I was starting to wonder if they were serious about it at all. I guess you could say I made a mistake by comparing my belief to the one of the most literal believers, but I found that the principles stay the same whether you devote all your life to follow and spread the Word of God or occasionally just mumble a prayer before going to sleep. And when you can't find belief in the basic principles, the entire thing just falls down.

All in all, I'm not totally opposed to religion. I admit, I spent some time in the "idiot phase", but I think I'm over it now. Long time since I got into a debate on it, that counts for something I guess. However, I do defend my stance whenever somebody say "Atheism is stupid/a sin/bad", in the proper context and mean it. If they can form a proper argument, I'll respond. However, I won't lift a finger to defend an Atheist who goes "Lol Christians are dumb, etc". If a guy can't justify his view point, or worse yet insult the one of others, then I have no respect for him.

I think that, whenever asked about it, there are two questions I'd like to have answered before I start believing in any religion:
1. Why should I believe in the concept of a god in general?
2. Why should I choose specifically this god, when there are literally thousands of others to choose from, all with equally believable backstories?

So yeah, Atheist for me.
 

marc

Well-Known Member
The other problem I have is what language was the bible written in? Do we know what they say it means it actually does etc.

The new one was written in Hebrew.

Jewish version Jesus walked by the water, Christian version Jesus walked on the water.
 

Ben

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Yeah, I love how you notice the prepositions change and it all starts to unravel.

That's without even taking into account we don't know what was edited in the 5th(?) cenutry in Constantinople.

Also, it's all bull-shat. And how any, sane, rational, intelligent person can believe it, is beyond me.
 

Pokemaniac

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^^^Exactly. We might agree here, but I'll elaborate some to avoid misunderstanding:

The first question goes first. "Why should I believe in the concept of a god?". This is a question whose answer can be philosophical, theological or scientific. I've taken no stance of "why", but I'm asking "how". And science has provided quite a believeable answer as to how everything came to be. The current model doesn't need a sentient creator to hold true. A sentient creator can be a hypothesis (who set up the Big Bang and all that), but after things went boom several billions of years ago, we have a pretty good theory on what happened, from the forming of Hydrogen to Man building rollercoasters. We have models that explain the mechanics. There are some holes in the model, some of it doesn't appear to fit very well with the rest, but then again, we've steadily been filling in the gaps for several thousand years. I see no need to include a deity here.

Given that we've found a reason to believe in a deity, though. Then I'd be inclined to believe in deism (though, that may depend on how I was convinced to go past question one). Even if somebody could make a philosophical argument that shows a Creator is totally necessary, we still know nothing about the creator. There is a huge leap from "The world was created" to an ark full of animals, or Hargar in the valley of Mecca, or Buddha under the tree. It would put one more fact onto the pile of facts, it doesn't rule out everything we know and mean that we start from scratch. It would also raise a whole lot of new questions without answering many others.

We have a lot of stories concerning gods. Very few people believe more than one of them (the Baha'i might disagree, but anyway). And stating that any one of them is true, would be jumping to conclusions. I mean, it's not like saying that SW7 will be a Gerstlauer or a Maurer Sohne, it's like saying that the 2046 coaster for Antananarivo Fantasyworld will be a third-generation Huawei Giant Inverted Boomerang. Until 2046 rolls around, it's a guess as good as any. You could take up the argument and say that the signs point towards a B&M&T Hyper, but it would be a debate which a lot of foregone conclusions (not that I wouldn't like to read it, though).

I feel that siding with a religion is a lot like that. One takes a hypothetical possibility, picks a suggested variant of the shape of this possibility, and declare that this is what one wants to base one's life on.

If the choice of religion could be described as "If A, then B[sub]n[/sub]"[super]1[/super], where A is the existence of a deity, B is "deity" and n represents a specific deity, I feel that it wouldn't be logical to pick an n before we know if A holds true. Especially not if there is no definite signs of A being true, and the model works well even if A is false.

Until further evidence is presented, I choose not to apply A. Keep in mind the difference between "Believing there is no god" and "Not believing there is a god". The first would imply "picking an n" (0, if you like)[super]2[/super], while the second would imply A is false and n thus irrelevant. I go with the latter.

1: Read sentence as "If there exists a deity, a specific deity n must exist".
2: So B[sub]0[/sub] would be read as "A specified deity does not exist".
 

furie

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Wow Pokemaniac, that was very well put :)

UC said:
I suppose what I'd ask you is that if you believe there are many, many equally believable backstories, how in the world is the logical answer "none of them must be true?"

I do feel slightly out of my depth after Pokemaniac, but...

The issue is that the idea of God, or any deities, comes from religious texts, scripts or stories. To come to the conclusion "there is a God", then you have to believe in something that defines the God/s you're believing in.

Ben and Marc cover it to a degree.

marc said:
The other problem I have is what language was the bible written in? Do we know what they say it means it actually does etc.

The new one was written in Hebrew.

Jewish version Jesus walked by the water, Christian version Jesus walked on the water.

Ben said:
Yeah, I love how you notice the prepositions change and it all starts to unravel.

That's without even taking into account we don't know what was edited in the 5th(?) cenutry in Constantinople.

We also know that many of the Gospel tales are taken from an older religion and that they don't hold up historically (the whole virgin birth thing, lovely Christmas story is stolen and factually wrong (without the virgin birth)). So if the scriptures that define a faith are incorrect, how can you believe in a religion based around them?

Marc has already mentioned how this led to his atheism. Now, I say "religion is a guideline and belief and religion are not inextricably tied". After falling out with Christianity, I spent a lot of time wandering around in agnosticism, believing in God but having no way of worshipping as all religions appeared flawed. Is God in you and your actions? Possibly, but I live my life in a way I believe God would approve of, so why do I also need to believe in him, if there's no outlet to shout my faith?

Sorry, that got away from my point. You (UC) mention "backstories" which is the crux of this argument. Every year, thousands (millions) of new works of fiction are created by the human mind. We don't believe in Beowulf as a true tale, we don't believe in Werewolves or Harry Potter (yet some people will dedicate their private lives to studying their fictions). Why, when there are so many "tales" should we pick one as being a "truth to define God and the worship of him"? They're all very old texts and the evidence is that the human mind can create great fantasies and move the world with a story. Then which text do you believe?

UC said:
You just choose whatever makes most sense to you, and you go with it.

Yes, but if all the texts are in doubt, aren't you just, really, believing in Harry Potter? Isn't it possible?

Now there may be a single text that was given to humans by God. It may be the Jewish scriptures (they certainly believe they are the singular chosen ones of God). It may have been those of the Pharaohs or the Norse. Are you ready to meet Odin with your sword in hand, holding a hammer amulet?

As a Christian, you are saying "all other religious books are fiction". Every other religion is saying that your bible is fiction. What if they're all fiction, which seems to be quite likely? If there is no "true religion", then how is God defined? Where is the "evidence" of God? While belief is independent of religion now (IMO), God could not have been brought to mind without religion, God owes his existence to it.

The counter argument is usually that "God wants to be worshipped" and he "puts the thoughts of God into the minds of men and directs them to write works that create faith". The problem with that, is that you have to believe in God to believe in the argument :lol:

Of course, we can never prove God exists. Proof denies faith and without faith God is nothing (thanks Douglas :) )

I think all I've proven there is how hideously complicated the entire thing is. You can't trust any one religion, so you've just got to go with the one that you find suits you best, but if it doesn't, then just believe in God in whatever way works for you, even though it means hell and eternal damnation according to your old religion and... Well, it's easier just to say bollocks to it all and not believe. Any God that makes worshipping him so difficult doesn't deserve my belief ;)
 

CMonster

Active Member
I'm an evangelical Christian (one of the few here apparently).

While I was born into the church, and have been going my whole life, I wouldn't say that my parents thrust this belief on me. I made my own decision, and have confirmed it in the last couple of years as I grew wiser and started thinking for myself.
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
CMonster said:
I'm an evangelical Christian (one of the few here apparently).

While I was born into the church, and have been going my whole life, I wouldn't say that my parents thrust this belief on me. I made my own decision, and have confirmed it in the last couple of years as I grew wiser and started thinking for myself.
As much as you think you're not indoctrinated, you are.

We are all the products of our parents, me included. The chances of you being religious, particularlly that specific religion, if your patents aren't is slim.

Sent from my HTC Wildfire S A510e using Tapatalk
 
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