Author Topic: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?  (Read 4305 times)

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #116 on: April 10, 2012, 08:50:33 AM »
I apoligize for the short answers and oft out of order. I'm posting from work and get enterupted lately as we're busy as hell.

To address the issue though. I see what youre saying, however youre more concerned, it appears, with agent detection and what occurs after, than the cause of agent detection or god creation (since theyre not necessarily the same). Your post still doesnt tackle the issue which is humans naturally look for answers to unknowns, that is =/= to humans naturally making gods. It may result in that, as to whether god making or simply listening to our fellow man is more responsible we'll probably never know. But we do know by looking at new religions how they spread. One man came up with this Mormon business, it wasnt a bunch of different people that dreamt up these golden plates. Makes me think its more likely that one man here or there created this notion of a god, and spread it.

Which supports the idea that we are naturally atheist, but prone to listen to others. We naturally look for answers to unknowns, now even disproving the god character which again suggests that we're not prone to making up gods, rather looking for answers. The problem comes up because we are prone to listen to those who raised us.
Okay, fair enough, humans trying to figure out the answers to things that happen for "causes unknown" isn't the same thing as inventing gods.  But that's because the second follows naturally from the first if someone can't find an answer based on what we already know.  Take my example of lightning; people undoubtedly did try to figure out what it was, but it was beyond their understanding (due to limited knowledge and methodology).  Therefore, they imagined that a mighty human lived on a mountain and threw lightning down at the earth (misplaced agent detection; if something doesn't seem to have natural causes, it must have been done by an actor).  The formal explanation that this human was actually a god followed later, as a consequence of imagining the attributes of someone so mighty that they could throw something like lightning.

I still hold that regardless of technicalities, humans start out too ignorant to be able to reject bad knowledge.  It doesn't matter that a newborn doesn't start out with a god-belief, because it has no way to reject the idea of a god if it occurs to them, either because someone told them about it or because they came up with it themselves.  I think if you took a hundred newborns and put them in a situation where they were cared for, but had no chance to have beliefs communicated to them, that you would end up with a hundred different god-beliefs from them.  But if you took some of those children and taught them to think critically and methodically about things, they would be far less likely to come up with a god-belief in the first place, and would be much quicker to reject it if contradictory evidence came to light.

Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #117 on: April 10, 2012, 11:35:37 AM »
so johnny, show that your claims are supported by evidence.  If you can't, you are just delusional along with every other theist and get the ridicule someone who is so desperate for external validiation deserves.

Correct. I have no evidence and I am delusional.

« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 11:37:33 AM by Alzael »
I'm not here to defend my views. I'm here simply to give my two cents.

Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #118 on: April 10, 2012, 11:36:29 AM »
This does not answer what you were asked.

Ok which question are we talking about?

You know very well which one it is. The one that you quoted.

No I don't. That was all yesterday. If you remind me, I'll address it.

« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 11:58:37 AM by Alzael »
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Offline Dante

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #119 on: April 10, 2012, 11:57:14 AM »
If someone was an atheist but based it on nothing more than looking around and feeling that it's all just material and that there's nothing else, who here would consider that a wrong reason?

Is the existance of what we can observe made easier or harder to explain by suggesting the existance of things we cannot observe?

Please answer.  Easier, or harder?


No I don't. That was all yesterday. If you remind me, I'll address it.

You're welcome.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #120 on: April 10, 2012, 11:58:27 AM »
I'll answer the question.

If someone was an atheist but based it on nothing more than looking around and feeling that it's all just material and that there's nothing else, who here would consider that a wrong reason?

Is the existance of what we can observe made easier or harder to explain by suggesting the existance of things we cannot observe?

Please answer.  Easier, or harder?


Option 1: the universe is easier to explain using the man behind the curtain trick, because then you don't have to figure out the real reasons.
Option 2: the universe is easier to explain using the man behind the curtain trick, because the man behind the curtain is unfathomable in a different way, which transmogrifies your responsibility to find a reason for existence, into a reason for something unfathomable existing. This cancels out, since unfathomable/(more unfathomable) = 0.
Option 3: the universe is easier to explain without acknowledging that it actually exists. The universe cannot possibly exist, therefore it doesn't, so we cannot be observing it. So, no explanation necessary.
Option 4: physicists always use things we cannot observe as an explanation for things we can observe. Right now, physicists are looking for strings and dark matter. Since this is the way we always proceed, inverse Occams Razor implies that it must be easier than explaining things by using things we can observe, or we would tend to do this more often.

Option 5: explain the universe by thinking about how it came from nothing, and coming up with bupkus.
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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #121 on: April 10, 2012, 05:31:27 PM »
Quote
Whereas people like us understand that if comic book/sci-fi/fantasy/etc. style magics were real they would not actually be supernatural. They would be natural because they are verifiable and testable, however extraordinary they may seem.
(Sorry I can't remember whose post I pulled that from.)

This is why I argue that God cannot possibly exist. To support this claim I need to make one assumption: everything that exists can be proven via scientific methods. There may be questions man can never answer due to physical limitations -- our species will become extinct within a finite amount of time. Moreover, it may not be physically possible for us to examine phenomenon such as parallel universes, even if there was an infinity in which to try -- however, God is on trial here, not man.

Forget our limitations and consider the consequences if we were able to experiment on God himself. If we could explain how he created the universe and performed miracles they would no longer be miraculous and God would cease to be a god. Therefore, proving the existence of God would require unmasking the very mystery which gave him his Godly status to begin with!

I conclude that not only is proving the existence of God impossible, but God is the only thing that cannot possibly exist. God is not merely "mysterious", he is mystery in persona: the veil of ignorance. God is not the man in the mask but the mask itself, which once removed reveals no identity.

God is nothing more than a collection of unknowns, the absence of knowledge. The nature of God changes in-time with the acquisition of knowledge, the rate of which, unfortunately, is unique to the individual.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 05:50:06 PM by Strawman »
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #122 on: April 10, 2012, 05:37:50 PM »
^^^^ I was from me. And it's ok.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #123 on: April 10, 2012, 05:45:39 PM »
Quote
Whereas people like us understand that if comic book/sci-fi/fantasy/etc. style magics were real they would not actually be supernatural. They would be natural because they are verifiable and testable, however extraordinary they may seem.
(Sorry I can't remember whose post I pulled that from.)

This is why I argue that God cannot possibly exist.
I agree with the spirit in which this was intended.  However, as a deist, I tell you that it falls short of being a convincing argument.

edit: I'm not arguing that the deist God exists.  Only that your argument is aimed at a subset of the definitions for "god"
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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #124 on: April 10, 2012, 07:56:31 PM »
This is why I argue that God cannot possibly exist.
I agree with the spirit in which this was intended.  However, as a deist, I tell you that it falls short of being a convincing argument.

edit: I'm not arguing that the deist God exists.  Only that your argument is aimed at a subset of the definitions for "god"
The only assumption I made about God is that he/she/it must be supernatural. I can't see how any definition of God could be formed without an imbued preternaturalism, otherwise how is it a God? If your image of God is something natural, and so in theory can be explained by science, I would say it doesn't fit any possible definition of God.

If God exists he[1] must have some measurable presence or effect on the universe, otherwise what on earth are we worshipping him for!? Even if the only act of God was to snatch away your soul as you died, surely this act would leave a trace of some kind? Or if one held the belief that the human spirit is also supernatural then there must be some link between the physical and metaphysical world which can be examined. (I imagine something akin to studying a black hole by observing its event horizon.)

If there is any interaction whatsoever with the physical world, there must be an accompanying physical effect which can be examined and explained in scientific terms. After the effect is explained it ceases to be supernatural.
If we knew all there is to know about the universe, God would become technology.

If I've detracted from your intended point then I may have misunderstood you.

Edit: I realise I did detract from a deistic god after the first paragraph. The God of deism doesn't sound like a god to me at all, it's just something immensely powerful. It is a being that created life but has no interest in it and does not impose its will on us, you could say the same about the Sun.
 1. I will call God "he" or "him" for brevity's sake, but this includes all forms of deity not just the God of Abraham.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 08:24:39 PM by Strawman »
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #125 on: April 10, 2012, 11:37:51 PM »
must have some measurable presence or effect on the universe, otherwise what on earth are we worshipping him for!

Giving us some immeasurable goodies in the non-physical afterlife.

Quote
If there is any interaction whatsoever with the physical world, there must be an accompanying physical effect which can be examined and explained in scientific terms. After the effect is explained it ceases to be supernatural.

If you wrote a computer VR, you could do it in a way that you could extract data from it, without the participants knowing.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 11:39:40 PM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #126 on: April 11, 2012, 06:45:05 AM »
Edit: I realise I did detract from a deistic god after the first paragraph. The God of deism doesn't sound like a god to me at all, it's just something immensely powerful. It is a being that created life but has no interest in it and does not impose its will on us, you could say the same about the Sun.
As long as it's a sun capable of spawning universes capable of supporting life, then yes.

Again, I'm not advocating deism.  I think merely that the assumption of "supernatural" is significant.  For example, maybe the Christian God exists, but the Bible describes him as accurately as ignorant sheep herders were capable of.  That might mean Jesus was an alien (for example), or that it's possible to accomplish the things he was said to accomplish via natural mechanisms.

The assumption of supernatural is practical, because most of the Gods you'll hear described supposedly are supernatural.  However, when talking about "gods" generally, it's good to remember there are ideas beyond the Judeo-Christian concept, most notably the ones which assume our popular concepts are flawed.
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Offline Aceluffy

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #127 on: April 11, 2012, 07:50:29 AM »
From my personal experience, the strongest drive toward atheism really boils down to curiousity.
Once that curiousity sets in, I pursued further to see what's truly behind religion & the rest is history.

In my opinion, the wrong reasons to be an atheist is if it has something to do with hatred toward religious group or people, or just going with the flow without at least doing any research to find more facts to ascertain your point of view.

It still baffles me that even today, I still have many friends & co-workers that doesn't even kow that their holey bable contains so many contradictions, craziness & horrible verses. It is the same case when I was young, nobody told me ! My priests just preached all the good verses over & over again.

I guess if all the priests are being honest about religion, the monthly tithes will decrease significantly, huh ? We know they don't want that :)

If we were made in His image, then why aren't humans invisible too?

Offline bertatberts

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #128 on: April 11, 2012, 08:32:31 AM »
In my opinion, the wrong reasons to be an atheist is if it has something to do with hatred toward religious group or people
This you will find is anti-theism, not to be confused with atheism, atheism is merely without god, it has no other connotations.
A person can be both atheist and anti-theist, the same as a person can be both liberal and atheist.
So anti-theism isn't a wrong reason to be atheist. it is just what it is anti-theist.
 
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #129 on: April 11, 2012, 08:41:47 AM »
A person can be both atheist and anti-theist, the same as a person can be both liberal and atheist.
So anti-theism isn't a wrong reason to be atheist. it is just what it is anti-theist.
If a person uses their anti-theism as justification for being an atheist, that would (according to Ace) be a "wrong reason", because it wouldn't in-fact justify that position.
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Offline Dante

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #130 on: April 11, 2012, 08:43:52 AM »
If a person uses their anti-theism as justification for being an atheist, that would (according to Ace) be a "wrong reason", because it wouldn't in-fact justify that position.

You're right. It would depend on their justification for being anti-theist.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #131 on: April 11, 2012, 08:46:07 AM »
You're right. It would depend on their justification for being anti-theist.
Agreed.  I was just taking the positions (atheist, anti-theist) at face value; there certainly could be underlying reasons for each that would justify the other.
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #132 on: April 11, 2012, 10:20:33 AM »
A person can be both atheist and anti-theist, the same as a person can be both liberal and atheist.
So anti-theism isn't a wrong reason to be atheist. it is just what it is anti-theist.
If a person uses their anti-theism as justification for being an atheist, that would (according to Ace) be a "wrong reason", because it wouldn't in-fact justify that position.
Sorry no. That is nonsensical, they are atheist because they lack belief in deities, they are without god, nothing more can be taken from the term atheist.

An atheist is not something you are, it is merely something you are labelled from a theist perspective.

They are anti-theist because they chose or dislike gods/religions. The two, are two very different terms.

We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #133 on: April 11, 2012, 10:49:35 AM »
They are anti-theist because they chose or dislike gods/religions. The two, are two very different terms.
We're talking past each other.  I'm telling you that you actually agreed with what Aceluffy wrote.  For the reasons you've listed above, using anti-theism to justify atheism would be "wrong", because the two are unrelated.
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Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #134 on: April 11, 2012, 10:58:11 AM »
alzael has asked me to answer a question that I was asked.

The question is (unless he's referring to another question) :

Is the existance of what we can observe made easier or harder to explain by suggesting the existance of things we cannot observe?
Please answer.  Easier, or harder?

My answer is :

Suggesting the existence of things that we can't see makes explaining the the existence of what we can see harder. Your question to me was relevant to my original question, whereas my question to you (after you asked yours) wasn't relevant.



I already answered this before. alzael, if there's something you think is missing do let me know, it's just that I feel my answer is satisfactory.

Peace.
I'm not here to defend my views. I'm here simply to give my two cents.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #135 on: April 11, 2012, 10:58:55 AM »
They are anti-theist because they chose or dislike gods/religions. The two, are two very different terms.
We're talking past each other.  I'm telling you that you actually agreed with what Aceluffy wrote.  For the reasons you've listed above, using anti-theism to justify atheism would be "wrong", because the two are unrelated.
Ok then, my apologies I misunderstood.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #136 on: April 11, 2012, 11:10:05 AM »
Suggesting the existence of things that we can't see makes explaining the the existence of what we can see harder.

The question didn't mention things we can "see", rather, things that we can observe.  For example: many very dim christians will often regurgitate the tired old yarn that "We can't see the wind, yet it's real!"  ...and therefore draw the conclusion that their particular god too is real.

Science has provided us with some fantastic tools for observation, yet nothing has yet suggested the existence of deities; in fact the opposite, that all there is is the natural world/universe.
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Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #137 on: April 11, 2012, 11:15:47 AM »
Ok then, observe. Things that we can observe.

Peace.
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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #138 on: April 11, 2012, 12:52:21 PM »
Giving us some immeasurable goodies in the non-physical afterlife.[1]
 1. In response to Strawman: "[God] must have some measurable presence or effect on the universe, otherwise what on earth are we worshipping him for!?"
But how are we delivered to this after-life without God interacting with the physical universe? I addressed this in the quoted post.

Quote
If you wrote a computer VR, you could do it in a way that you could extract data from it, without the participants knowing.[2]
 2. In response to Strawman: "If there is any interaction whatsoever [of God] with the physical world, there must be an accompanying physical effect which can be examined and explained in scientific terms. After the effect is explained it ceases to be supernatural.
By "VR" I assume you mean "Virtual Reality"? In that case, yes the participants may be unaware of the interaction, but it is still happening. Hence the reason I stated "God is on trial here, not man." We may be unable to detect God's interaction with the physical world, but that doesn't mean there is none. In this case, to argue whether god does or doesn't exist can only be an argument from ignorance. However, if there is a being who could detect God's interaction, and explain it scientifically, God would no longer be perceived as a God -- God would cease to be supernatural. This is the crux of my argument: there is no possibility for the supernatural to exist in the natural world. (@Whateverman - is this a more desirable wording for you?)


Edit: I wanted the notes of the quotes to be at the bottom of the post. Is there a way to do that?

Edit 2: To further attempt to clarify my argument: If the universe was created, there was some cause which effected its creation. This "creator" may be an entity that exists beyond the parameters of our universe; it may not obey the same physical laws as everything inside the physical universe, but this doesn't make it supernatural; it is only our limited perception which declares such a being "supernatural". We used to believe the Sun was supernatural, because its nature was beyond our perception, but now we know it is a very natural entity. True, there may be things that are forever beyond our scope, and the creator of the universe is a fine candidate, but this doesn't prove supernaturalism. Even a being existing outside our physical realm must exist in some sense, it must obey some laws even if they are mutually exclusive to our physical laws. The only alternative is that the creator of the universe is a singularity[3] which both exists and does not exist simultaneously -- and so it can have no attributes of a Theistic god -- and by obeying no laws, having no space or time to exist in, holding no parameters or characteristics it is the closest thing to supernaturalism I can perceive, but I still don't think it qualifies. I think this singularity would be the root of all physics, and if all physics can one day be explained we will have also explained the singularity behind the event which was our universe.
 3. A single point without form or substance.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 01:36:12 PM by Strawman »
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #139 on: April 11, 2012, 02:20:26 PM »
Well, to use the VR example, wouldn't an admin be god-like, without it being even slightly supernatural?  In other words, a god wouldn't necessarily have to have powers that didn't fit within the framework of nature.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #140 on: April 11, 2012, 02:33:54 PM »
Well, to use the VR example, wouldn't an admin be god-like, without it being even slightly supernatural?  In other words, a god wouldn't necessarily have to have powers that didn't fit within the framework of nature.

The issue is, when the laws of nature are the operating system...the moving of pixils, and the admin is not governed by those laws, he is, as far as the VR world goes, supernatural.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #141 on: April 11, 2012, 02:46:07 PM »
The issue is, when the laws of nature are the operating system...the moving of pixils, and the admin is not governed by those laws, he is, as far as the VR world goes, supernatural.
Perception isn't reality.  He wouldn't actually be supernatural, which is the point.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #142 on: April 11, 2012, 02:49:18 PM »
Perception isn't reality.  He wouldn't actually be supernatural, which is the point.

Then how is he a god if we could do the same things he can?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #143 on: April 11, 2012, 02:53:04 PM »
Then how is he a god if we could do the same things he can?
You might as well ask why VR constructs couldn't become administrators and do things in the world beyond the VR.  In this case, being a "god" is entirely relative.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #144 on: April 11, 2012, 02:56:55 PM »
You might as well ask why VR constructs couldn't become administrators and do things in the world beyond the VR.  In this case, being a "god" is entirely relative.

Translation: A god that can do what any being could is not a god. It's just a very powerful (and presumably also very smart) being.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.