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I think it's time to call religion a failure

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by LesCanadiens, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Smaasnekje

    Smaasnekje Should be medicated...

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    Is our existence just coincidenses, or do we have a purpose, a meaning? why do we live? Where are the codes?
     
  2. Righteous1

    Righteous1 Chieftain

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    I'm going to attempt to avoid joining the argument here. Sounds like most parties have made up their minds on the subject at hand. I would like to ask a question or two about atheism though.

    1) What is your definition of atheism vs. agnostism?

    2) What exactly do you believe as far as the existence of a supreme being or God(s)? Is it that God does not exist at all, or that since his existance has not been proven you choose not to believe?

    3) What exactly do athiests believe as far as the existance of an afterlife? Do you believe that we are born, live and once we die that's it? You and I no longer exist after death? Or something else? What happens to us once we die from an atheists point of view?

    I've seen lots of arguments about the existance of God but have never seen a good explanation of what atheists do believe as an alternative. Please enlighten if possible.
     
  3. vonork

    vonork Emperor

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    Since God as not been proven (IMHO), god doesn’t exist (or more correct, it's highly unlikely), therefore I don't believe in god. (The same applies to Santa clause)

    There is NO afterlife, nothing, not a black void, only plain NOTHING.
     
  4. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Functional definition of an Agnostic: someone who does not know if there is a God, but is sure you do not know either. I fail to see how your expression of faith should be given a greater value than anyone elses.

    J
     
  5. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Maybe we live just to live, life doesn't really have to have any meaning in terms of our life and the universe.
     
  6. ozscott75

    ozscott75 Groper of Sand

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    An Atheist is someone who has made up their mind, an Agnostic is someone who still isn't sure either way.

    I don't believe in a supreme being as such. I am currently toying with the idea that the universe itself has some form of consciousness. I am more likely to believe in a wide smattering of fairly powerless 'local' gods. Not really big on the whole organised religion thing. More a problem with that than the idea of God(s).

    Many different things, many religions believe in various 'afterlives'. I am yet to make up my mind, but am leaning toward 'one start - make the most of it'

    Again, many different things. See first answer for some ideas.
     
  7. sween32

    sween32 The Worthless

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    if there is a God, do you think he'd let himself be proven? i would hope not.
     
  8. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Atheists do not believe in god
    Agnostics don't practice any religion, but they still may believe in god
     
  9. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

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    An atheist, unlike popular knowledge thinks, is not someone that believes that God does not exist. This would require as much faith as believing him to begin with, considering the lack of data. An Atheist is actually someone who doesn’t believe God exists.

    I know that the difference sounds too subtle, but it’s in fact huge. It’s as different as saying “I know for a fact that there is no supreme power in the universe” and saying that “to all logical and practical considerations, the idea of God existing does not make sense, and there is no intellectual reason to believe in him/her/it”.

    So there you have it. As an atheist, I don’t “believe that God does not exist”, I simply “don’t believe that he exists”. There is no affirmative claim and/or system of believes behind my take on the universe.

    I have pretty much answered that already. I don’t believe in God. Not only because it haven’t been proved yet – that is just part of the reason – but because it does not make sense as a whole. To try putting that in perspective, let me throw in a example:

    I am skeptical as for aliens visiting earth. I don’t think it ever happened, and most certainly no one have provided any reason even slightly close to good enough to change that perception, not ever. But the idea of life existing somewhere else is not absurd to me. Even considering that the conditions to life are pretty rare in the universe, well, it’s the universe we are talking about… talk about a big lab.

    Aliens, so, are not proven. However, I have no reason to claim that I believe they don’t exist. I would rather say “I don’t know”, because I really don’t, as they don’t strike me as illogical in principle.

    But God requires too much concession in terms of reason and coherence. His behavior is paradoxical, and the very concept does not fit in anything that comes close to logic. So, in fact, I won’t say “I believe there is no God”, as for due to intellectual honesty I can’t simply rule out his/her/it existence… but I DO feel comfortable to say that I don’t believe he exists.

    Obviously, the same goes for any other form of "diety" or "supreme being".

    No afterlife, we are maggot’s chow. Sorry to be the one to bring the bad news. Really, why this need to live forever? Can’t humanity come to terms with it’s own mortality? I live and will die eventually; I have no delusions that my quintessence will be here to see humanity reach a new galaxy, the sun explode or to find out the meaning of life. Nor I intend to indulge to futile attempts to enhance my chances of doing so by adhering to ancient rituals and concepts that bases themselves in nothing except our wish that they are true.

    We have just a blink of time. We better live it to the fullest, and make it worth.

    Can’t enlighten you. Atheists, at least real ones, do not think that they are “enlightened”, or bearers of a greater truth than others. We simply admit that the universe is beyond our knowledge, or at least our present knowledge, and we don’t need divine intermediaries between our admitted ignorance and us.

    Hope I have helped you to understand an atheistic head.

    Regards :).
     
  10. Cecasander

    Cecasander King

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    I think religion and gods were invented by mankind to understand who the world was created and the rain rained and the sun shined. Now we know better; the world wasn't created by god and there aren't ant rain- or sungods eather. Nowadays people who believe only believe becourse they are expected to do so. If a child is raised and his parents and religious, he will probbably be religious too. And his parents were religious, becourse their parents were religious too, etc etc etc.
    Myself I prefer to believe in science, since it helped us progress to what we are now, and perhaps even further. Without 'science', or de curiosity of mankind, we still lived in caves and hunted mammoths with wooden spears.
     
  11. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Well put Fred LC :goodjob: vey good job
     
  12. thestonesfan

    thestonesfan A Client of Ron Kuby

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    To some extent, yes. Parents influence everything. Personally, I feel it also works the other way around, as I think it is the natural inclination to have faith in something greater than yourself. Religion is good for children, I have no doubt about that. Speaking from a christian standpoint, I don't remember any lesson or story that was a bad influence. I've never attended church on any regular basis, but I have a working knowledge of the bible, and it's good stuff.

    That said, I don't believe in the book of Genesis in any remotely literal sense, nor Revelations.

    And on the subject of science, how is it something you can "believe" in? I've never seen it as a substitute for faith in anything. Science IS. I don't see how science has disproven anything in the bible.
     
  13. polymath

    polymath Tleilaxu Mentat

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    1) What is your definition of atheism vs. agnostism?

    If you are atheist, then there is no god, full stop. It's not a question of 'I don't believe'. If you say "I don't believe 'x' but it's possible" you are an agnostic. Just as a religious person 'knows' there is a god, an atheist 'knows' there isn't. It's a fundamentalist approach, there is no question, no wishy-washiness involved.

    2) What exactly do you believe as far as the existence of a supreme being or God(s)? Is it that God does not exist at all, or that since his existance has not been proven you choose not to believe?

    There is no God. Sometimes out of politeness I'll go easy, but there's no God.

    3) What exactly do athiests believe as far as the existance of an afterlife? Do you believe that we are born, live and once we die that's it? You and I no longer exist after death? Or something else? What happens to us once we die from an atheists point of view?

    What do you need an afterlife for? You've just had a life. What was it, just practice? Make the most of it, that's all there is. And none of it makes much sense anyway. The sooner one grasps that it's just a brief meaningless dance, the better.

    Religion:
    Religion is often (not always) just a tool to control the credulous. Like a cosmic version of the Nigerian e-mail scam. We all know it's BS, but some people still fall for it, unlikely as it may seem. Sometimes religion can also be a profound force for good.

    As far as upsetting religious people goes, and at the same time not remotely wanting to be confrontational, if they are allowed to say that I'm going to go to hell, I must be allowed the same liberty to say they are just plain wrong. I'll roast in the flames later, or they're silly right now.
     
  14. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Wow all these comments sound like regurgirgitation of the last science vs. religion thread at civfanatics.

    We're going to have to come up with something new guys, this copy and pasting is getting out of control.
     
  15. puglover

    puglover Disturber of Worldviews

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    Not another Creation vs Evolution thread. :rolleyes:
     
  16. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    This thread is proof of immortality. It cannot die.

    J
     
  17. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Well, divine intervention in the form of moderators and administrators can kill it.
     
  18. Mr Spice

    Mr Spice Emperor

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    Hehe, I just spent some time writing two replies to polymath and perfection and won't let it die just yet. :D
     
  19. Mr Spice

    Mr Spice Emperor

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    True, to find God you would have to search for him. Did you ever try? Your IMO quite good example of the twenty-headed monster makes me think of the following scene:

    Let’s imagine an intelligent and respected professor, living in some city somewhere. The professor has heard some old legends of a mysterious creature and would like to find out if that creature is real. As man of science he does not believe anything that can’t be proved by hard scientifical fact. He has never seen it, nor has he ever met anyone who’s been able to prove it. Since such creatures do not really fit in his worldview he regards them as highly unlikely, so unlikely that he tends to believe that the absence of those creature is a proven fact. From time to time some people stop by the professor’s office and say that they have actually seen the creature, but since the professor thinks it does not exist he dismisses their statements as nonsense. Some people bring photos, travel diaries and other things to prove their claims, but the professor still knows that such creatures do not exist and dismisses everything as ”fake evidence”. Down at the local pub, people sometimes discuss the creature. The professor’s stays true to his opinion that there are no proof for it’s existence and thus is convinced that it does not exist. To anyone who will listen, the professor states that ”people need to believe in something and will thus believe in just about anything no matter of the lack of evidence”. Proving the absence of the creature is easier, to prove its existence you would have to search for it and find one.

    Now, searching for the creature would require an expedition into the far off and unmapped lands where people say they have sighted it. The professor has never really bothered to do this, convinced that all such stories are nonsense until they can be proved to him in his office. Maybe he sometimes takes a quick walk around the block where he lives and when returning home says ”see, I looked for it and did not find anything”. On rare occasions he even walks to the edge of the forest outside town and tries to spot one. But conducting a real search never crossed his mind. A man of his repute walking off to look for things that don’t exist? What would people think? Even if the creature does in fact exist, the professor will live his entire life fully convinced that he has good evidence the mysterious creature is only a myth.
     
  20. Mr Spice

    Mr Spice Emperor

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    So believing in something that can’t be proved now suddenly requires no faith? Why? I’ll try to sum up the beliefs of atheism and Christianity in an attempt to find out why my religion should require faith while yours evidently does not.

    Atheism: There is no such thing as a god. Universe was created by chance, which is allowed by the laws of nature. Obviously, the laws of nature must have existed before the universe. This means that they have either always existed or mysteriously emerged from nothing. Neither of those options is possible for humans to explain, prove or understand. By coincidence life was created at least here on Earth. By coincidence life is constructed in such a way that it can evolve to higher levels. By yet another coincidence humans came to be aware of their own existence and developed such a curious thing as a conscience. Since we are here by chance, our thoughts and choices are only a result of chemical and electrical processes in our brain, thus we have no such thing as a will of our own. Our feeling of being aware of our own existence and in control of our life is only a complicated illusion, created by chance. (The concepts of ”free will” and ”soul” can’t be proved by hard fact. If you still believe in these things since you ”know it” or ”feel it”, then you have proved those things in the very same way as most religious people prove God.) Life has no purpose - we live here for a short period of time, then die and simply cease to exist. By coincidence humans seem to always tend to mess things up very badly here on Earth. How we can pass judgement on what is somehow “better” or “worse” is another curious result of chance. Most humans live their lives more or less in spiritual misery, wishing there was something else and better. So basically we are here because of some stroke of bad luck and are aware of it because of another stroke of bad luck. But hey, sh*t happens. Learn to live with it.

    Christianity: God created universe and everything else in it. Obviously, God must have existed before the universe. This means that he has either always existed or mysteriously emerged from nothing. Neither of those options is possible for humans to explain, prove or understand. God created life and made it develop into humans who are conscious of their own existence, have a soul, can differ between “good” and “bad” and have the ability to choose between them. He did this because he wants conscious beings with their own will to live in harmony and love with him. This harmony cannot be forced upon us, so he gave us the ability to choose between either participating or turn away from God. Mankind immediately choose the latter. The misery in our world is a direct result of this choice. God still hopes that individual beings will choose to return to him. He sent his son Jesus here to live with us, explain that choice and show us how we choose God. To prove his words are true he made lots of miracles, then let himself be crucified by us and raised from his grave. What we are supposed to do is basically to promise Jesus that we will always do our very best to follow him, then keep that promise. When we make that promise, God will send his Holy Spirit to us and through it teach us how to better live in harmony with God, to the extent we allow it. If we only keep trying we will end up in the so-called Heaven after we die, where we can live forever in the harmony and love that God intended all along. Those who choose not to bother have to face the consequence of not being allowed into Heaven since they would only wreck things again.

    From what I can see, both atheism and Christianity requires faith. In my own humble opinion, atheism is also a lot more depressing and actually requires more faith to live by. At least if it was not for the fact that most atheists never bother to think through their own world view, but instead spend all energy to dismiss every alternative as illogical and non-scientifical.
     

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