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Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:16 am
by Ironman
Matt Z wrote:Just out of curriosity do you also not believe in love? I've heard some people argue that love is merely an illusion created by brain chemicals.
What's there to believe or not believe? It's an emotion that is very real and powerful. Even if it boils down to chemical reactions and electronic impulses, you don't have to think about it like that. Just because you CAN explain something in scientific terms doesn't mean you should. Emotional type experiences are those sort of things. You just feel and enjoy them, you don't analyze them. But you also don't need any gods or spirits for it. You can still have values, fall in love, enjoy a nice piece of music and a good meal without anything supernatural.

So I still have all the usual transcendent and emotion experiences, and enjoy them just as theists would. I think the idea of a god pulling the strings cheapens it. I marvel at the wonders of the natural world. It's all just as good or maybe better than when I thought there was a god.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:26 am
by Ironman
hoosegow wrote:For someone who doesn't believe in God or a god, what is the incentive to act morally?

Hypothetically, if you don't believe in a higher power, would you kill someone for personal gain if there were no consequences to that killing? If not, why not?

When I was younger I too was an athiest and believed that anyone who actually thought there was some mystical forces acting on our lives was ignorant or stupid. To change the way I thought, I had to make a mighty big leap of faith.

We now have tons of evidence supporting evolution, the creation of the world, etc. Modern medicine has created medical mericals. What changed my mind was when I read an article about the bible. In it (you can say what you want about the many different versions of the bible, interpretations, etc.) there was a phrase that changed my life. It said, and I paraphrase, "You can't pick and choose what you want to believe in. It is an all or nothing principle." From there, after much thinking, things became easier to swallow.

How can a intelligent, well educated person like me believe, for example, that the world was created in 6 days? The evidence against it is overwhelming. The devil is also known as the great deceiver. He doesn't win by making you worship him. All he has to do is make you not believe in God. Once he does that, he wins. If the devil has god-like power, why can't he produce evidence when the world is ready for it to make people doubt what is in ithe bible? You start doubting the bible, you start doubting the existance of God. He wins.

I am not preaching and I am not testifying. I am neither ignorant nor stupid. The people I know who are athiests cannot understand my transformation. I am in no way a good person and for the most part people would not hold me up as an example of a good Christian. In fact, I find organized religon tedious and boring. I haven't been to church in over a year and I am a sinner. Call me a hypocrit, but I know what I believe in.

Even worse, I'm a conservative (right Ironman :lol: )
Your incentive to act morally, is because that is the right thing to do. No other incentive should be needed.

Are you so morally bankrupt that without a god you would just start killing people? What does that say if you can't be good without reward and punishment?

So because someone told you about god and satan the deceiver you just believe that satan makes all the evidence to turn people from god?

What if I gave you a book about a flying spaghetti monster and told you that the reason there is no evidence for him is because a demonic pirate hid it all? Or is the oral tradition of 1st century illiterate goat herders as translated by Greek scribes more reliable?

Of the thousands of religions why that one? If you lived in the middle east you would probably be a muslim.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:34 am
by Ironman
hoosegow wrote:I respect that response KPj. I think that is one of the things that makes this country great. We can have a difference of opinion without one group killing another.

As stated earlier, I am not trying to convert or condemn anyone. Everyone has the right to their beliefs or non-beliefs as it may be. I am defending my position that religious people (no matter what religion) are not ignorant. We live by a different set of rules and truths. As I am a Christian, I can only speak from a Christian's set of rules and truths.

Bottom line, how do we know for absolute certain any of this is real? Prove to me that life isn't some sort of dream or thought. Prove to me our universe is not some proton of an atom on an infinitely larger universe and that our planets and solar systems are not some quarks where out atoms make up these quarks, etc.

Out of curiosity, what do you think your conscience is? Do you think a dog feels guilty after killing another dog in a fight? What about hippos? Are we humans the only animal to feel guilty after killing one of its own even when the killing was justified? I'll take murder out of the equation. If you could cheat on your wife and never get caught (that isn't a far fetched scenario) would you feel guilty and why? Nobody got hurt. Hell, sex even feels pretty good.

Conscience come from adapting to live in groups. It is our instinctual guide. We have the most developed morals, but some other animals have them to, at least to a point. Any social animal that lives in a group has some rudimentary behaviors for relating to the group. The reason for this is natural selection. The animals who had these traits survive better because of the group. The ones that did not were excluded and they did not live to pass on their genes. It's that simple.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:37 am
by Ironman
Jebus wrote:Sorry for making that blunt statement about ignorant people, I should have also said that I too am ignorant and so is everyone else. Unless of course you know everything...

Also, about reality, I think it it's an illusion.

for example, You never touch anything. If you put your hand on a table you'r not touching it lol. I know this sounds weird but everything is made up of atoms and all atoms have electrons on the outer rim. Since opposites attract and likes repel. Then Therefore the electrons on our hand repel the electrons on the table causing it to break.

[email protected] Th3 Bl33p D0 W3 Kn0w?? lol
But that is the definition of physical contact. It doesn't matter if it boils down to an electron field. There is more to reality, but we experience part of reality.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:44 am
by Ironman
hoosegow wrote:I'll give the religious discussion a rest - though I keep waiting to be blasted (respectfully) by my buddy Ironman. I am intrigued by the whole conscience thing. So I am going to explore it further.

KPj, you said you will feel guilty for the pain you caused your g/f (agreed I would have a hard time telling Megan Fox no). Realistically, you could cheat and not get caught. Your g/f would never know about it an thus you wouldn't cause her any pain. Would you then still feel guilty? Why should you? No one got hurt. There are no negative consequences. The only guilt you should feel would be self imposed. If the answer is still you would feel guilty, then you feel you are being judged by something or someone, right? I don't think you can say you were judged by society because society doesn't know what you did. You could say you are judging yourself, but no one got hurt and what you did would have no negative consequences and it felt good. So why should you feel guilty for that?

robertscott, yah I know. I get dangerously close to a lot of stuff. I also understand the social contract concept and prison would be a deterrent to me as well. Ultimately though (and I'm going out on a limb so don't read anything into it), what is wrong with killing another human other than society has deemed it wrong? IF there was no negative consequence to murder, what keeps people from killing each other? There are over 6 billion of us. Would one life really be missed in the grand scheme of things? You say conscience has to be socialized. Do you think that if somehow you could raise a village of people with no outside influence they would have now qualms about killing or any other thing we consider a crime now? Men would go around raping women. People would steal from one another, etc.?

Jebus, thanks for the apology. I think the only true ignorance is being closed to other people's ideas. If I am not willing to entertain the thought that there is no God or that my God is the one true God, then I too am ignorant.
No, he would just feel guilty because he knew he did something wrong. You feel good or bad based on how you act on your morals. The feeling lets you know weather you are doing something that will help or hurt your survival. Or at least be a point for or against you as far as your group is concerned.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:46 am
by Ironman
Matt Z wrote:"Primitive man was probably a serial rapist, but that was probably socially acceptable at that time." - KPj

I have a very hard time believing rape was ever the norm. Firstly, sex is a lot more fun with a willing partner, and secondly just about every stone age woman or girl would have had a father, brothers, uncles, cousins, etc. who probably wouldn't have appreciated someone assaulting their loved one. The way I see it, dating for primitive man would have required a fair amount of diplomacy, otherwise one might very quickly find himself on the wrong end of a stone-tipped spear.
Yes, I think you are quite right about that.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:55 am
by Ironman
Matt Z wrote:I can understand someone being skeptical of religion in general. For example, if someone were to say "I don't believe in God because nothing I've ever seen has convinced me of His existence" I would have no problem accepting that. After all, I feel the same way about ghosts, space aliens and most conspiracy theories.

However, I have a much harder time accepting someone who tells me that the existence of ANY higher power is an absolute impossibility, and further that anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant or stupid.
That's pretty good. It sounds like you have a 99% understanding of atheism now. That is exactly why one does not believe in god, because there is no more evidence for that than there is for ghosts. We don't have absolutes. But because the lack of evidence makes the existence of god so low, it is virtually 0.

If you mean aliens visiting earth, I'm with you. But aliens at all.... With billions of stars in this galaxy and billions of other galaxies just like it, the odds kind of favor life. But you never know. Personally my opinion is that this is a typical solar system. But we don't really know yet. There is also the time factor too.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:55 am
by KPj
Yeah, i got carried away with the primitive man thing. I would hope they weren't serial rapist... Was really trying to emphasise that I believe morals and values come from what's beleived to be socially acceptable and, i'm sure that's changed a lot throughout time as we have evolved.....


Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:13 am
by Ironman
hoosegow wrote:
@ Hoosegow, As a personal opinion aside, what I find most irksome about your line of thinking is that you admit to rejecting facts but happily use/love the happiness those facts indirectly bring to your life (I am perhaps guessing with that last bit). The two largest being medicine and most technology. You can't rationally accept genetic theory when it tells you to take some medicine and then deny it when it tells you we evolved from apes. It is one theory, cohesively assembled by many scientists over many years and the theory is self consistent.
I thought I explained this already Ryan, but I'll try again. It all depends on your fact base. I don't reject facts. My facts are found in the bible. Remember I said that this was the whole key to me changing the way I thought. It is an easy concept, yet one that was hard for me to do. Your fact base is one where the facts are constantly changing (science). If I remember correctly Steven Hawking has recently proved that even the theory of relativity is incorrect.

You find it irksome? Is it any different when non-believing people readily take advantage of religious holidays or ask for help when they are in need? I'm sure you have heard the phrase, "There are no athiests in a fox hole." Many a person has turned to God when the chips are down and their lives are in danger. Would you not pray if your child was diagnosed with a life threatening disease while at the same time getting medicine developed by science?

I still maintain this discussion wasn't about the existance of God (or any god). This discussion was about how religious people are or are not ignorant. Some are, yes, but the most part, we are not. We operate under a different set of facts.

Perhaps I should explain the rejecting fact. It depends on what you see as factual. I'm not asking you to do this, but contemplate this idea. Pick the religion you are most familiar with. Take the rule book of that religion. Entertain the thought that everything in that rule book is the absolute truth. You then must reject facts from other relgions or thought lines.

I'll try to use the creation of the world from a Judeo/Christian viewpoint. There are two competing facts. One, the world was made in 6 days by a devine spirit that for some reason got bored and wanted to create something. The other, it has been around for billions of years and came from one giant ball of mass that exploded for some unknown reason then countless atoms came together to freakishly create a single cell organisms and through an almost infinite series of freakish accidents they came together to form you.

This thread is officially hi-jacked.
The bible has very questionable origins. I don't think I would call those things "facts".

Religious holidays are not just for religion. They are also culture and for spending time with families. Not to mention the traditions are based in paganism that predates the christian religion that hijacked them.

As for asking for help, what the hell does that have to do with anything. friends and family help each other, including atheists. We don't ask for religious help if that is what you mean.

Finally the foxholes. That is the most retarded tired out old myth ever. If you don't believe in god why would you start praying? That would be like you asking the tooth fairy for help. In fact there is a group call "Atheists in foxholes". It is made up of atheists that are in the military.

Do you see why we might think religious people are stupid? They think a person would turn to something they don't think exists in times of stress. That shows a huge lack of understanding.

Personally, if I was scared, mythological creatures that don't exist will be the last thing on my mind.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:16 am
by Ironman
Jebus wrote:
hoosegow wrote:

This thread is officially hi-jacked.
Damn! I was going to say that. lol

I think it was Albert Einstein who said, "Buddhism is the only religion that can cope with modern science."
Because the buddha teached letting go of attachments
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." - Gautama Buddha

If i'm a scientist I must realize that with future improvements in technology, that everything I have learned to be true, Can possibly be proven wrong.

Many buddhists that practice thier religion are not even buddhists, from my knowledge. Like tibetan buddhism, there are so many random beliefs and traditions that they still will not let go of. Also the dalai lamma is a Hypocrite (that's a seperate post). I can't say I approve of monks leaching off thier peasants.

Anyway, the teachings of the buddha have actually been agreed by modern science:
That all things are impermanent.
That the perception of a constant "self" is an illusion.
Also Buddhists do not believe in a god.(Though many believe in other weird things.)

Also Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't an atom 99% Void?
Most of their teachings are plenty silly. It is just the meditation that is real. It doesn't do all they think it does, but it is very good for your mental well being. It is just very calming and relaxing.

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:50 am
by KPj
Ryan A wrote: @KPj I can immediately understand why people are sensitive about disagreement. We are talking about the fundamental underpinnings of human origin and place in the universe. If you don't get upset about that, I am not quite sure what would upset you. People want to know they are living the right way, whatever right means, but when other people continually boast to have a superior right way, one begins to question the correctness of his position, and that become highly emotional, rapidly.
I think disagreement that leads to debate is healthy. It's when it starts getting personal. Specifically, I don't understand why people can't agree to disagree. I think that's a perfectly reasonable outcome. If there were enough facts out there there would be no disagreement. There's not, so there always will be. Specific to religion, I don't get why one person believing something bothers another person who believes something else. Just believe different things, you know.

I am a very laid back person though, so that could be something to do with it. I also think it's in my upbringing. I know non-religious people who bring up their kids but still go on about heaven etc. That sttill influences their future beliefs. It's easier to explain the death of someone close to a kid by saying they're in heaven. I never had that, I can't remember my dad ever talking about God, Heaven, Hell, etc. No memory of him being pro religion or anti religion, either. If someone died, they were gone - that was it. It just wasn't a part of my life. So, going to school and learning about it and speaking to people who clearly buy into it, I was like, "what the hell is this all about?". Going to church with our schools at xmas and things like that left me completely emotionless. I was always unmoved by the whole thing.

I don't think this is a superior view or anything. But, I think my upbringing gave me a different perspective on religion.


Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:59 am
by hoosegow
There's Ironman. It is about time you jumped in. I was getting worried about you. You never disappoint!

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:50 pm
by nygmen
hoosegow wrote:There's Ironman. It is about time you jumped in. I was getting worried about you. You never disappoint!
Yeah, he hit this thread like the fist of an angry god... :green:

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:39 am
by Ryan A
I think disagreement that leads to debate is healthy. It's when it starts getting personal. Specifically, I don't understand why people can't agree to disagree. I think that's a perfectly reasonable outcome. If there were enough facts out there there would be no disagreement.

I don't see why two people with perfect information could not come to two different and equally logical conclusion. There is no reason we can expect the solution space of some incredibly complex problem to be singular.

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:20 am
by Ironman
Hey, I had a personal reply for everybody. That's how I roll. :grin:

No other points? Are we done already?