Author Topic: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion  (Read 5858 times)

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Offline MrFriday

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Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« on: July 27, 2008, 11:54:11 AM »
Since this is a new forum, I am going to post this again and invite discussion, especially from theists.

  • There is not one iota of unequivocal evidence that any God exists.
  • God cannot explain all that exists because God itself cannot be explained. This claim just gratuitously swaps one mystery for another.
  • Religions do not explain any mechanism or process whereby God created everything. It is effectively an appeal to magic.
  • Religious faith is generally indistinguishable from gullibility. Trust and faith, as human concepts, are normally based on experience and reason. Religious faith is necessarily based on belief in unproved and unknowable things.
  • A god or anything that exists outside the realm of natural reality is necessarily unknowable, unintelligible and incoherent. It is therefore irrational to believe in something that is supernatural.
  • Religious scripture:
    • is man-made
    • contains many translation and interpretation errors
    • is often self-contradictory
    • often contradicts known facts
    • promotes conversion by violence
    • calls for punishment and death to unbelievers
    • contains virtually no specific and unequivocal predictions
    • contains only vague predictions beyond its own time
    • contains many failed prophecies, predictions and unfulfilled promises of God
  • Scripture contains too much that is vague, metaphorical and symbolic to be instructions from a divine being to humans. A perfect being would be expected to be able to communicate much better than that.
  • In order to render most of scripture useful, it must necessarily be interpreted. This makes it easily twisted to support nefarious purposes.
  • The problems with scriptures outweigh any good messages they may contain. If read at all, they should be considered opinion and philosophy and taken with a grain of salt.
  • Morals are based on human sympathy and empathy, not on divine guidance. Establishing moral codes based on theism is unnecessary, riddled with contradictions, and fraught with danger.
  • Religion is divisive in that it pits groups of otherwise indistinguishable people against one another. There are already more than enough differences for humans to fight over. And religion is the most intransigent of such divisions because many people feel it is a divine duty to revile those who believe differently than they do even if they don't see the reason in it.
  • Religions are generally intractable when it comes to substantive compromise with other religions or belief systems.
  • All suggested ways to perceive God rely on internal mechanisms that are subject to personal desires, suggestion, and mistakes. On the question of communicating with God, religion insidiously asks us all to deceive ourselves.
  • People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain. (We share 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees)
  • Abrahamic religions teach that the earth is only about 6000 to 10000 years old. All claims of a young earth are refuted by volumes of clear and mutually corroborating evidence in multiple scientific disciplines as well as a host of mutually confirming dating techniques that are not subjective or rationalized.
  • Every culture that has existed has had God myths and other superstitions. This is often used as an argument for the existence of God. Rather than indicating that there is a true God, this indicates that people are simply attracted to the idea.
  • Goodness, truth, wisdom and all other purported attributes of God are human concepts. When applied to a presumed entity so completely different in kind as to be supernatural, they are meaningless. The idea of God is thus incoherent.
  • Infinity is a concept humans cannot comprehend except in a limited mathematical sense. If God is infinite, this also renders him unintelligible.
  • Belief in an afterlife is insidious and detrimental to social responsibility and mental health. It demeans actual life and frequently leads to the notion that killing someone is, at least conceivably, doing them a favor.
  • Organized religion wastes untold amounts of money and resources that could be used to care for people, promote real knowledge, and advance the human race.
  • Theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable.
  • Religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience.
  • Theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively. It is something like the wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
  • The methods used in proselytizing for religion bear an unmistakable resemblance to the methods of confidence men. But the scriptures consider this the great commission of mankind.
  • There are many good rational and logical arguments against theism but not one argument in favor of it that doesn't rely on a fallacy or assumption.
  • There are so many Gods put forth by thousands of religions that no one could ever be certain of picking the correct one, assuming that one exists.
  • Prayer is totally subjective and cannot be shown to have any more efficacy than pure chance.
  • There is no discernable difference between believing in God and having an imaginary friend.
  • People generally rely on facts and evidence in every human endeavor except religion.
  • Unequivocal miracles do not occur.
  • God supposedly speaks directly to the human spirit. This must be, at least partly, the same concept as mind. People who receive messages in their minds are invariably delusional.
  • There is no positive correlation between belief in God and being a moral person.
  • Populations that are predominantly theistic are almost invariably poor and undereducated. The converse is almost invariably true of populations that are predominantly atheistic.
  • Populations that are predominantly theistic almost invariably have higher general crime rates, higher violent crime rates, higher murder rates, higher infant mortality rates, more disease and starvation as well as inadequate healthcare. The converse is almost invariably true of populations that are predominantly atheistic.
  • Belief in religion has spawned uncounted cults that draw people in by appealing to the concept of faith without proof and the promise of prophets to come. Some examples are: Jim Jones and the People's Temple, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Marshal Applewhite and Heaven's Gate. These groups had religious followers who were convinced to brutalize, mutilate and kill themselves and their children on the basis of this kind of blind faith.
  • Religion has an extremely violent history that includes such things as crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, genocide, terrorism and holy war. Untold millions have died in the name of religious icons and for religious beliefs.
  • Religions have a long history of misogyny.
  • Religion can be and has been used to support the concept of slavery.
  • Religious dogma is practically immune to the incorporation of new facts. The best it can do is strained reinterpretation.
  • The argument that God cannot be proven not to exist is irrelevant when one considers that to do so requires that the concept of a supernatural God be intelligible and coherent, which it is not.
  • There is a well known argument commonly called "The Problem of Evil". It basically says that if an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God exists, unnecessary or gratuitous evil would not exist in the world. Thus if God sees this type of evil and does nothing he is either not omnibenevolent because he doesn't care or not omnipotent because he is unable to stop it. There are many counter-arguments that have been used. However the only one that really could defeat the Problem of Evil is if one says that we cannot apply human standards to decide what is or is not gratuitous evil. This may well be true, but that argument renders God unintelligible and meaningless to humans. Either way, the concept of God seems to be highly doubtful.
  • Theists claim that God has given humans free will. However, this free will is anything but free. The choices are forced on pain of death and eternal suffering. It is equivalent to having a slave and saying something like: "I grant you your freedom to leave at any time. But if you do, I will torture you mercilessly and kill you as slowly as possible."

If someone wants to convince me that there is a God, it is not sufficient to quibble about one point or another. I think this amounts to a preponderance of evidence that God is imaginary.
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain

Offline Ashe

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 12:20:57 PM »
That's an awesome summary of the matter. I wish I could add to it somehow but it seems to have everything.
2 miles!
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Offline jetson

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 04:38:08 PM »
Well, just post this on the main page and shut down the forums!  I see no room for debate here.

Thank you all, and good night.

P.S.  Me likey...

Offline StPatrick

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 04:55:04 PM »
Uh...Jetson?  I wouldn't let Brain see that - he might very well do it!  :D

Mr. Friday, I believe that you've pretty well covered it.
If we come together and do not fight over religion, class and borders then we hold the key to a peaceful world. There are two possible futures in store; either a March of power and greed or a March of a unified human race.

Offline ToastyGStar

Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2008, 02:04:16 AM »
[modbreak=Moderator_011]I don't think we need to quote the whole OP every time[/modbreak]

Wow man nice list , but in my opinion you can spend all the time you like writing on reasons why you think God is a load of crap , fair play , thats your choice , its what you belive and i respect that . But in my belief God does exsits you can see it day to day , from a baby being born , to the sun shining , it all comes from God , there is no other explanation as to how and why we all came here , but hey that is my belief and i am not going to enforce it upon anyone .
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 02:34:03 AM by Moderator_011 »

Offline iJay

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2008, 02:26:42 AM »
[modbreak=Moderator_011]I don't think we need to quote the whole OP every time[/modbreak]
Wow man nice list , but in my opinion you can spend all the time you like writing on reasons why you think God is a load of crap , fair play , thats your choice , its what you belive and i respect that . But in my belief God does exsits you can see it day to day , from a baby being born , to the sun shining , it all comes from God , there is no other explanation as to how and why we all came here , but hey that is my belief and i am not going to enforce it upon anyone .
Big Bang? Fluke? Steady State theory? Soliphism? Ambrosias(think thats spelt right)  Evolution. There are plenty of theories to try and explain the existence of the universe and life.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 02:36:10 AM by Moderator_011 »

Offline MrFriday

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2008, 03:10:49 AM »
Wow man nice list , but in my opinion you can spend all the time you like writing on reasons why you think God is a load of crap , fair play , thats your choice , its what you belive and i respect that . But in my belief God does exsits you can see it day to day , from a baby being born , to the sun shining , it all comes from God , there is no other explanation as to how and why we all came here , but hey that is my belief and i am not going to enforce it upon anyone .
You may believe anything you like. I respect your right to do that. But all you are doing here is making an argument from ignorance and begging the question. These are logical fallacies. I mentioned this in my list when I said: "There are many good rational and logical arguments against theism but not one argument in favor of it that doesn't rely on a fallacy or assumption." That is precisely what you are doing. 
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain

Offline essgeeskee

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2008, 04:54:48 AM »
People generally rely on facts and evidence in every human endeavor except religion.

Really good points, but I quoted the one point that I've stated to people many times before.

Isn't is strange that in a court of law, everyone wants proof. The same people who want so much proof can't even prove their God exist, but they still make anyone who is testifying to "swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth". What's wrong with that picture?

It's time for people to wake up and start asking some serious questions about what they think they believe. This may be opening up a can of worms, but I seriously doubt that any one person exist who never has questioned the validity of the story about virgin mary getting impregnated by the holy spirit.

Does anyone know when Religulous will be released by Bill Maher?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 05:00:41 AM by essgeeskee »
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Offline MrFriday

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2008, 05:31:10 AM »
I seriously doubt that any one person exist who never has questioned the validity of the story about virgin mary getting impregnated by the holy spirit.
I'd have to disagree with you on that. I've lived with such people. Maybe they considered the question but I am as certain as I can be that their indoctrination forced them to discard the thought before it got past infancy.
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain

Offline benji

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2008, 06:23:35 AM »
Mr. Friday....excellent post...+1....I'm sorry, I forgot we can't do that anymore.  But an imaginary +1 anyway.   You pretty well covered the topic.  Now it would be nice if theists would read it and come to their senses.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2008, 07:07:08 AM »
Benji, I agree - never missed being able to "+1" so much!

Mr.F, your OP is now inside my wallet, where I will have it to hand whenever someone asks why I don't believe.....
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline truehyuga

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 08:38:18 AM »
Excellent.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2008, 03:45:21 PM »
There is not one iota of unequivocal evidence that any God exists.
Argument from ignorance.

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Religions do not explain any mechanism or process whereby God created everything.
1. This is an argument from silence.
2. Whether or not a god can be shown to create is irrelevant to whether that god exists.

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Religious faith is generally indistinguishable from gullibility. Trust and faith, as human concepts, are normally based on experience and reason. Religious faith is necessarily based on belief in unproved and unknowable things.
I have difficulty accepting your second premise is true.  My experience and reason tell me that trust and faith are quite often irrational and given with little experience.

Quote
A god or anything that exists outside the realm of natural reality is necessarily unknowable, unintelligible and incoherent. It is therefore irrational to believe in something that is supernatural.
However, one that is present both inside and outside of natural reality is possibly knowable, intelligible, and coherent to some degree.  Thus, a belief in such a being or force would have both rational and irrational attributes.

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contains many translation and interpretation errors
That's an issue for translators and interpreters, not for religion.

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promotes conversion by violence
Appeal to consequences.

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calls for punishment and death to unbelievers
Appeal to consequences.

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contains virtually no specific and unequivocal predictions
Irrelevant to whether or not a god actually exists.

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contains only vague predictions beyond its own time
Again, irrelevant to whether a god exists.

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contains many failed prophecies, predictions and unfulfilled promises of God
But if you're arguing that scripture is man-made, then this isn't a big deal.

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Scripture contains too much that is vague, metaphorical and symbolic to be instructions from a divine being to humans. A perfect being would be expected to be able to communicate much better than that.
Argument from incredulity.

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In order to render most of scripture useful, it must necessarily be interpreted. This makes it easily twisted to support nefarious purposes.
Appeal to consequences.

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The problems with scriptures outweigh any good messages they may contain.
Unsupported assertion.

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Morals are based on human sympathy and empathy, not on divine guidance.
Unsupported assertion.

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Establishing moral codes based on theism is unnecessary, riddled with contradictions, and fraught with danger.
Begging the question.  They're only unnecessary if you're already assuming theism is false.

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Religion is divisive in that it pits groups of otherwise indistinguishable people against one another.
Appeal to consequences.

Quote
And religion is the most intransigent of such divisions because many people feel it is a divine duty to revile those who believe differently than they do even if they don't see the reason in it.
Appeal to consequences.

Quote
Religions are generally intractable when it comes to substantive compromise with other religions or belief systems.
Appeal to consequences.

Quote
All suggested ways to perceive God rely on internal mechanisms that are subject to personal desires, suggestion, and mistakes. On the question of communicating with God, religion insidiously asks us all to deceive ourselves.
Appeal to fear.

Quote
People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain.
Argument from ignorance and begging the question.

Quote
Abrahamic religions teach that the earth is only about 6000 to 10000 years old.
Hasty generalization.

Quote
Every culture that has existed has had God myths and other superstitions. This is often used as an argument for the existence of God. Rather than indicating that there is a true God, this indicates that people are simply attracted to the idea.
Because...?

Quote
Goodness, truth, wisdom and all other purported attributes of God are human concepts.
Unsupported assertion.

Quote
Infinity is a concept humans cannot comprehend except in a limited mathematical sense. If God is infinite, this also renders him unintelligible.
Whether humans can actually grasp infinity or whether they just count up to it is a debated philosophical concept that is unlikely to be resolved here.

Quote
Belief in an afterlife is insidious and detrimental to social responsibility and mental health. It demeans actual life and frequently leads to the notion that killing someone is, at least conceivably, doing them a favor.
Appeal to consequences.

Quote
Organized religion wastes untold amounts of money and resources that could be used to care for people, promote real knowledge, and advance the human race.
So does nearly everyone else in the first world.
Sarcasm aside, this is begging the question as they're not wasted if the religion is true.

  • Theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable.
  • Religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience.
  • Theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively. It is something like the wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
[/quote]
Appeal to consequences.

Quote
There are many good rational and logical arguments against theism but not one argument in favor of it that doesn't rely on a fallacy or assumption.
Unproven assertion.

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There are so many Gods put forth by thousands of religions that no one could ever be certain of picking the correct one, assuming that one exists.
And no one can be certain that not picking any is correct as well.

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Prayer is totally subjective and cannot be shown to have any more efficacy than pure chance.
Define "efficacy."

I'll finish the rest later.  For now, if the reasons against God are "logical and rational," why post so many appeals to emotion?  Why not just go logical and rational?

I am convinced that you have no reason to believe in a god, but I'm not convinced that there's any good reason not to believe in one.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 03:48:04 PM by Mooby »
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Offline MrFriday

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2008, 11:02:37 PM »
What a waste of space, Mooby. A long line of theists have tried to address my reasons but you are the first one who tried without ever really saying anything except “I don’t agree”. A box of scrabble tiles thrown on the floor would do a better job. One thing you seem to be confused about is what I have done here. These are my reasons for not believing in God. I never said that they constitute proof of the nonexistence of God. But they are very good reasons not to believe. Pointing out the fact that no evidence exists for a thing is only a fallacy if it is counted as proof. I merely count it as evidence. I know you can’t prove a universal negative. I don’t’ need to do that. The lack of evidence is evidence. It points to a high probability of a lack, especially when we are talking about this God character who is described as being so deeply concerned about us and involved in our affairs. There’s nothing illogical about this. I wonder if you even know what is meant by preponderance of evidence.

Religion purports to explain how we came into existence. My statement was not an argument from ignorance. It was a statement of fact to be used as evidence that it cannot do what it claims to do and is appealing to magic. All it’s answers are begging the question. If you are looking for logical fallacies, you don’t have to go further than your Bible or Church. I guess you missed the fact that I was talking about the concepts of trust and faith and not how they are put into practice. That is precisely the problem with religious faith. You're just quibbling on this one.
 
In regards to your "knowable God" Do you really want to claim that there could be a God that exists as part of the natural universe? If it is natural, what makes it a God? Natural beings are not eternal or all powerful. Are you referring to pantheism? That's not a God. That's just awe of nature. If you are proposing that some natural being is a God, you have set the bar quite low. For you, the biggest bully in the yard could just as easily be God.

Translation errors and misinterpretations are not issues for translators and interpreters. They affect what religion teaches and how people live their lives. If your science text book has ridiculous crap in it you are going to be misinformed and if you act on it, you could kill yourself. The same goes for screwed up scriptures. What was your point in making this argument? It sounds like you had nothing to say but said it anyway.

My observation that written documents upon which religions base their actions clearly promote conversion by violence is not an appeal to consequences. It is an indictment of the nonsense religion is based on. The same thing goes for the fact that it calls for punishment and death to unbelievers. It is a document that condones violence against others and is opposed to human rights. Any honest person would count that as a mark against it.

Everything that religions teach is relevant to whether a God actually exists since there is no other evidence. But of course, you slough that off as argument from ignorance. Well, religion is ignorance alright. I'll agree with that. But remarking on the failure of its documentation to be of any real value is not a logical fallacy. If you want to call something a logical fallacy, I insist that you explain how. If for no other reason than to demonstrate you even know what it means.

I said that the Bible is man-made but the statement that scripture contains many failed prophecies, predictions and unfulfilled promises of God is a point to validate my assertion. It is not a point unto itself. Your argument makes no sense.

It is not an argument from incredulity to point out the fact that scripture is too vague and uncommunicative to be instructions from a divine being. Of course, I am completely incredulous that ostensibly intelligent people believe in this stuff and don't expect a perfect being to communicate better but that's not what I said. I note that scripture cannot be the work of a perfect deity because it is far from perfect. If you don’t care, that’s your business. But it is evidence that your God is not what you claim it is.

Following on the fact that scripture is vague, I point out, again as evidence and not proof that it has to be interpreted and therefore lends itself to being abused by unscrupulous people. Too much suffering in the world has come from this stupidity which an all knowing God should have anticipated. I am pointing out the consequences of scripture but it is not an appeal to consequences. Is noting that God looks like a complete moron an argument from ignorance? Show me some evidence to the contrary.
 
If you need to have support for the assertion that the problems with scriptures outweigh any good messages they may contain, I suggest you pull your head out of your bible and read history or just the news.

If you need to have support for the assertion that morals are based on human sympathy and empathy then maybe you should crack open a science book once in a while. Maybe you should learn to be a better observer of humans too because if you aren't busy deluding yourself, it becomes readily apparent. I don't have the time to educate you but again, this is about my reasons for not believing in God. It is not about proving that God doesn't exist. I even mention that it is pointless to try to do that.

I am using the fact that establishing moral codes based on theism is unnecessary, contradictory and dangerous as one of the reasons that theism is false, not that doing so is wrong because theism is false. Begging the question is assuming your conclusion in your premise. I did no such thing. There is clear and abundant evidence that morality does not come from God. If you have a rational mind you can see that every person decides what things they will take from their religion as morality. We all use our own morals to judge God in this sense. Therefore, morality based on religion is unnecessary because it is redundant. We already have morals that have evolved in us. If you study primate evolution you can see just how our primate cousins are now at a different point in the evolution of moral behavior than we are. Anyway, if you care to know the long version of each one of my reasons then you can ask me to expand it but in your case, you may just have to wait for the book to come out.

Tell me exactly how my point that religion is divisive is anything more than an astute observation of facts. Are you incapable of seeing the divisions it has created throughout history? If you have an argument, make it but you look like an utter nutball just naming off fallacies like that. Do you have a clue what you are talking about? You wrote "appeal to consequences" over and over. Big deal. I don't feel the need to respond to all of your non-arguments. Get an argument or go play on the freeway.

I'm in the mood for a laugh so please explain to me how you contrived the notion that my statement about how we are asked to deceive ourselves to perceive God has anything to do with fear. Again you have no argument. The point stands. You cannot wish away these reasons by labeling them.
Quote
Quote
People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain.
Argument from ignorance and begging the question.
Quote
Abrahamic religions teach that the earth is only about 6000 to 10000 years old.
Hasty generalization.
Wrong again. These are statements of fact. I have studied genetics, evolution, neuroscience, biochemistry, physics, psychology, sociology and anthropology. We are animals. You don't have to believe it. These are my reasons for not believing. They don't even have to impress you. But they are based on facts and a lot of studying. You seem to think you are dismissing my arguments by what you are doing but I can assure you that no intellectually honest and intelligent person is impressed with your game. As for the young earth point, I was born into a fundamentalist family and I have read all of these scriptures. I'm just stating a fact. No generalizations here.
Quote
Quote
Every culture that has existed has had God myths and other superstitions. This is often used as an argument for the existence of God. Rather than indicating that there is a true God, this indicates that people are simply attracted to the idea.
Because...?
Because they don't arrive at the same conclusions. There is no consistency. If God is one being and there is some way to know God, people would come to the same conclusions. The evidence points to three possibilities in my opinion, 1) there are multiple Gods 2) God is schizophrenic, 3) God is non-existent and people just feel the need for anthropomorphizing nature.

I see no evidence of even one God so 1) is out. It just compounds the problem and there is no way for there to be an all powerful God if there is more than one. I think that's the main reason humans have settled on monotheism generally. Now, if God is schizophrenic then he is just a natural being. I've already mentioned why that's not a deity. So I'm left with the last option. You might try deductive reasoning some day. It's great.

Goodness, truth, wisdom and all other purported attributes of God are human concepts. This is a statement of fact. You might quibble and say they came from a divine source but even if they did, that doesn't change the fact that they are human concepts as we use them. Applying those human concepts to a supernatural deity renders them meaningless because the deity is unknowable and by definition completely different in kind from us. You can see that in the volumes of equivocations about what it means for God to be good. It is like asking what color is a thought.

Your comment about infinity missed the point entirely. But I think that's your aim anyway. Suffice to say that the point is valid and stands as I stated.  If you have a counter argument then please present it.

Clearly belief in an afterlife is, as I stated insidious and detrimental. It not only can lead to the notion that killing someone is, at least conceivably, doing them a favor, it has often led to that. The fact that these things are the direct result of religious nonsense is not an appeal to consequences because it is not theoretical. You can't wave away facts by pretending it's an emotional or illogical appeal without showing how.

Even if god were real, the money wasted on pomp and ceremony of religion is still wasted. God doesn't need money, does he? Only people need money. And religion takes it from people with false promises and lies. This is more an indictment of organized religion and its leaders than just theism but the fruits of theism are what I'm addressing. Theism leads to an inordinate amount of waste among other things. I won't argue that other people don't waste money. But I'm not talking about other people. It's not begging the question because it's true. It's a waste no matter how you look at it.

  • Theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable.
  • Religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience.
  • Theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively. It is something like the wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
You have not addressed the claims so it doesn't matter what you think it is. Even if my statements were logical fallacies, which they are not, you have not given me any reason to think otherwise. You are a pathetic debater, in my opinion. Nothing you have said is a refutation or even an answer. If you have nothing to say, just go believe your nonsense in silence.

I don't have to prove that there are many good rational and logical arguments against theism because I know them and I’m giving them to you. Also, none of the arguments in favor of God consist of anything other than fallacy or assumption. I'm talking about my reasons, am I not? If you don't like them, you can believe whatever you like. Most people who have grown out of the phase where they need their religious binky know exactly what I'm talking about. People who don't blind themselves to the reality around them and live in a fantasy know what I'm talking about. I think you know what I'm talking about too or else you would try to refute my statements instead of saying essentially nothing.

You say that not making a choice of a god might be wrong too. If it is, we get back to the problem of this God not communicating well. If there were a God, he should be able to get that across to us. But he can't or won't. Either way, I don't need a God like that nor do I believe in it. If God wants something from us, it is his responsibility to at least ensure we have the information we need to make a decision without having to rely on hearsay and ancient tomes. I am certain that not picking a god is the correct choice given the circumstances. If the circumstances change, then I would have to reevaluate. That's what rational people do - we look at all the facts, analyze all the data and make the best choice. We follow where the evidence leads and it does not lead to God.

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Define "efficacy."
Get a dictionary.
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I'll finish the rest later.  For now, if the reasons against God are "logical and rational," why post so many appeals to emotion?  Why not just go logical and rational?
Don't bother wasting our time if all you are going to do is lie and throw up names of logical fallacies that don't even apply. There is nothing logical or rational about believing in an invisible being that is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient. It's an obvious fairy tale. Believe whatever you like but don't try to BS me. You have not made a case for anything. You also haven't refuted a single thing I said. I should add that another good reason for not believing in God is that I don't have to be around people as delusional as you.
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I am convinced that you have no reason to believe in a god, but I'm not convinced that there's any good reason not to believe in one.
How about because it's a lie? Anyway, I would venture a guess that there is nothing anyone could do to convince you so, who cares? You have bought into the myth completely and it has distorted your thinking. Maybe you are even a bit slow. I don't know. If my reasons don't impress you, oh well. I’ve tried my best. Some people are just not capable of breaking out of their cultural brainwashing. It’s sad but I have learned to live with it.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 11:05:58 PM by MrFriday »
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain

Offline Vynn

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 11:11:38 PM »
  • There is not one iota of unequivocal evidence that any God exists.
  • God cannot explain all that exists because God itself cannot be explained.

I used to have that in my sig line. (Giving you credit, of course.)

But, it's really better than that. I think i'd like to have some of these printed up in order to hand them out.  ;)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 11:14:03 PM by Vynn »

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2008, 11:19:50 PM »
[modbreak=Moderator_011]I don't think we need to quote the whole OP every time[/modbreak]

Wow man nice list , but in my opinion you can spend all the time you like writing on reasons why you think God is a load of crap , fair play , thats your choice , its what you belive and i respect that . But in my belief God does exsits you can see it day to day , from a baby being born , to the sun shining , it all comes from God , there is no other explanation as to how and why we all came here , but hey that is my belief and i am not going to enforce it upon anyone .

there are lots of other explanations, but I have no problem with your philosophy of live and let live.

Offline Pastafarian

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2008, 02:34:36 AM »
Fantastic list. Thank-you.
Don't pin that on jesus! He has enough nail holes as it is - House

Offline Mooby

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2008, 02:41:25 AM »
These are my reasons for not believing in God. I never said that they constitute proof of the nonexistence of God. But they are very good reasons not to believe.
We must have a different definition of "good."  I'm assuming that a good reason would not be one that could make a sound logical argument.

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The lack of evidence is evidence. It points to a high probability of a lack, especially when we are talking about this God character who is described as being so deeply concerned about us and involved in our affairs. There’s nothing illogical about this. I wonder if you even know what is meant by preponderance of evidence.
Preponderance of evidence requires one to be able to determine the probability of truth.  There's really no way to do this unless God can be bottled into the realm of the empirical, and we have no way of knowing if that can be done.

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Religion purports to explain how we came into existence. My statement was not an argument from ignorance.
I didn't claim it was an argument from ignorance.  I claimed it was an argument from silence.

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It was a statement of fact to be used as evidence that it cannot do what it claims to do and is appealing to magic. All it’s answers are begging the question.
And your criticism is also begging the question.

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I guess you missed the fact that I was talking about the concepts of trust and faith and not how they are put into practice.
And what are the concepts of faith and trust, exactly?  I've never seen a handbook on them.  Clearly you and I have different notions of the concepts.

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That is precisely the problem with religious faith. You're just quibbling on this one.
I'm not quibbling.  Your concepts are different from mine.  Why should I accept your word on it?
 
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In regards to your "knowable God" Do you really want to claim that there could be a God that exists as part of the natural universe?
Nope.  I want to claim that there could be a God whose existence is not excluded from the natural universe.

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Translation errors and misinterpretations are not issues for translators and interpreters. They affect what religion teaches and how people live their lives. If your science text book has ridiculous crap in it you are going to be misinformed and if you act on it, you could kill yourself. The same goes for screwed up scriptures. What was your point in making this argument? It sounds like you had nothing to say but said it anyway.
If I tell you "The cat is grey" and you tell someone else "The cat is yellow" and it affects that person's life, it's your fault for screwing it up, not mine.  I gave you the message loud and clear, but you failed to deliver it correctly.

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My observation that written documents upon which religions base their actions clearly promote conversion by violence is not an appeal to consequences. It is an indictment of the nonsense religion is based on. The same thing goes for the fact that it calls for punishment and death to unbelievers. It is a document that condones violence against others and is opposed to human rights. Any honest person would count that as a mark against it.
Why?  Isn't it possible that the correct values don't match your values?  You're rejecting the documents because you don't personally like the values they preach, and then are calling the values silly.  This is clearly an emotional rejection which clouds your judgment rather than allowing you to take an honest, logical look at the God question.  If this is a reason to not believe, it's one based purely on how the religion makes you feel rather than whether the religion makes you true.  That's why we call appeals to consequences/ridicule and other appeals to emotion logical fallacies.

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Everything that religions teach is relevant to whether a God actually exists since there is no other evidence. But of course, you slough that off as argument from ignorance.
Are we still on scripture?  Because I never called that an argument from ignorance...

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If you want to call something a logical fallacy, I insist that you explain how.
I figured you were familiar enough with them that you didn't need explanation.
I'll use an example:
"promotes conversion by violence"
-If religion is true, then it is valid to promote conversion by violence.
-Violence is undesirable.
-Therefore, religion is not true.
If you're using it as an argument, it's a fallacy.  If it's just a reason, then it's an illogical one.

Do I really need to do this for every one?

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I said that the Bible is man-made but the statement that scripture contains many failed prophecies, predictions and unfulfilled promises of God is a point to validate my assertion. It is not a point unto itself. Your argument makes no sense.
You posted them as separate bullets in a list, so I interpreted them as separate points.  Is this not the appropriate way to interpret such formatting?

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It is not an argument from incredulity to point out the fact that scripture is too vague and uncommunicative to be instructions from a divine being. Of course, I am completely incredulous that ostensibly intelligent people believe in this stuff and don't expect a perfect being to communicate better but that's not what I said. I note that scripture cannot be the work of a perfect deity because it is far from perfect.
The instructions or what was actually written down?

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Following on the fact that scripture is vague, I point out, again as evidence and not proof that it has to be interpreted and therefore lends itself to being abused by unscrupulous people. Too much suffering in the world has come from this stupidity which an all knowing God should have anticipated. I am pointing out the consequences of scripture but it is not an appeal to consequences.
If it is a reason to make a logical conclusion then it's a logical fallacy.  Or are you not claiming that reasons for not believing in God are necessarily logical?

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If you need to have support for the assertion that the problems with scriptures outweigh any good messages they may contain, I suggest you pull your head out of your bible and read history or just the news.
Ok.  How do we go about doing this?  Giving a quarter to the poor because of religion = +1 point, killing someone over religion = -2 points?  Which history textbooks and news reports are guaranteed to give an accurate picture of the ratio of good acts to naughty ones?  After all, would a good response to a challenge on my assertion that most atheists are like The Brights be to watch the news (regardless of whether my assertion is true or not)?  How exactly am I supposed to quantify the data for the assertion that you dumped on me without any evidence?

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If you need to have support for the assertion that morals are based on human sympathy and empathy then maybe you should crack open a science book once in a while. Maybe you should learn to be a better observer of humans too because if you aren't busy deluding yourself, it becomes readily apparent.
Readily apparent through... Ayn Rand?  Nietzsche?  Kant?  Aristotle?  Epictetus?  Confucius?  Thomas Aquinas?  John Stewart Mill?  David Hume?  Sure, there are principles like beneficence, non-maleficence, and stretching it maybe even altruism, but they haven't permeated strongly enough in history to make your assertion self-evident.

And I've never seen morals based on sympathy in any science textbook.  Could you point me towards the ones that would have it? 

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I am using the fact that establishing moral codes based on theism is unnecessary, contradictory and dangerous as one of the reasons that theism is false, not that doing so is wrong because theism is false. Begging the question is assuming your conclusion in your premise. I did no such thing.
Calling moral codes based on theism unnecessary requires the implied premise that morality isn't necessarily found in theism.

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There is clear and abundant evidence that morality does not come from God. If you have a rational mind you can see that every person decides what things they will take from their religion as morality.
Does this mean that every person is right in doing so?  I think we're teetering around a fundamental disagreement on whether moral absolutes may exist.

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If you study primate evolution you can see just how our primate cousins are now at a different point in the evolution of moral behavior than we are.
Is it a different point in the evolution of morality or a different point in the discovery of morality?  Is there any way to tell the difference?

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Tell me exactly how my point that religion is divisive is anything more than an astute observation of facts.
It's more than an observation because you're attempting to use it to prove a point.  You're not offering data, you're interpreting the data to reach the conclusion given in your subject line.  Or, at least this is how it appears given the formatting you used for your post.

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Are you incapable of seeing the divisions it has created throughout history?
No.

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Do you have a clue what you are talking about?
Yes.

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You wrote "appeal to consequences" over and over.
I wrote appeal to consequences whenever I found that you used an appeal to consequences as a reason why someone might not believe in God.  Which is perfectly ok if you want to not believe for that reason, but I thought I would point out to those reading this thread that it's not a logical reason.
But, since you're asking me to explain my reasoning, it appeared to me that you are rejecting a belief in God "based on whether the premise leads to[. . .]undesirable consequences." (1)

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I'm in the mood for a laugh so please explain to me how you contrived the notion that my statement about how we are asked to deceive ourselves to perceive God has anything to do with fear.
Fear that personal desires would taint the message.  In retrospect it is closer to an appeal to consequences.  You don't like the possible implications of God being real, so you don't believe.

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These are statements of fact.
No they're not, and for different reasons.  Let's take them one at a time:

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People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain.
Nonsense.  We're also special because of unciform joints, smallpox, our DNA, big boobies, Jesus' love for us, and because Barney says so.  But, of course, your assertion that we are only special due to our more developed brain must assume God didn't make us in His image to have a shot at being true, so to use this as an argument for not believing in him is a bit circular.

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Abrahamic religions teach that the earth is only about 6000 to 10000 years old.
Hasty generalization.
It's a hasty generalization.  The Catholic Church, for instance, does not teach this.

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Because they don't arrive at the same conclusions. There is no consistency. If God is one being and there is some way to know God, people would come to the same conclusions.
Not necessarily.  There have been cases of empirical data being misinterpreted, and that's a lot less vague than a god concept.

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The evidence points to three possibilities in my opinion, 1) there are multiple Gods 2) God is schizophrenic, 3) God is non-existent and people just feel the need for anthropomorphizing nature.
4) The people didn't all have the same information at the same time in the same conditions?

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Goodness, truth, wisdom and all other purported attributes of God are human concepts. This is a statement of fact. You might quibble and say they came from a divine source but even if they did, that doesn't change the fact that they are human concepts as we use them. Applying those human concepts to a supernatural deity renders them meaningless because the deity is unknowable and by definition completely different in kind from us.
You're failing to recognize that these are often applied to a deity by definition, since in many theologies the terms themselves are defined by being of God.  I don't know of which "we" you're speaking, but there is certainly a "they" out there who uses them in a theistic way.

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Your comment about infinity missed the point entirely. But I think that's your aim anyway. Suffice to say that the point is valid and stands as I stated.  If you have a counter argument then please present it.
Please explain it again.  I was under the impression that your point was contingent on infinity being something that "humans cannot comprehend" (plus exception.)  Since that premise is not something that has been firmly established, how is my calling the conclusion you draw from that premise into question inappropriate?

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Clearly belief in an afterlife is, as I stated insidious and detrimental. It not only can lead to the notion that killing someone is, at least conceivably, doing them a favor, it has often led to that. The fact that these things are the direct result of religious nonsense is not an appeal to consequences because it is not theoretical.
An appeal to consequences does not rely on the consequences being theoretical.  Even if the consequences are demonstrable, it's still an appeal to consequences.  Since I'm sure you were aware of that, I'm a bit confused as to why you brought up "theoretical."

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Even if god were real, the money wasted on pomp and ceremony of religion is still wasted. God doesn't need money, does he? Only people need money.
I completely disagree.  Pomp and ceremony are deeply routed in our culture, and if God is exists then using them is highly appropriate given our standards for pomp and ceremony.  Whether God needs them is as irrelevant as whether the dead guy at the funeral needs an expensive coffin.

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  • Theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable.
  • Religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience.
  • Theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively. It is something like the wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
You have not addressed the claims so it doesn't matter what you think it is. Even if my statements were logical fallacies, which they are not, you have not given me any reason to think otherwise.
I grouped them all as appeal to consequences (granted, with a formatting error so it may not appear that way.)

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Nothing you have said is a refutation or even an answer.
It's not worth it for me to waste my time concocting a logical refutation to something that is not based on logic.  If you make an appeal to consequences, it is sufficient for me to point out that it is an appeal to consequences and move on.  If you want me to seriously consider a point, don't make it an appeal to consequences.

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I don't have to prove that there are many good rational and logical arguments against theism because I know them and I’m giving them to you.
I must have been too busy dismissing the last few appeals to emotion to notice them.

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Also, none of the arguments in favor of God consist of anything other than fallacy or assumption.
So?  We're not discussing those arguments here.

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I'm talking about my reasons, am I not?
I thought you were talking about reasons in general, which led me to believe it had a persuasive intent.  If it's purely expository, then I misread the tone of your post.

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I think you know what I'm talking about too or else you would try to refute my statements instead of saying essentially nothing.
There's nothing to refute.  If someone says, "I have a cat.  Thus, turtles must eat deer poo," the only real refutation is "that makes no sense" or "non-sequitur."  When presented with a logical fallacy the most appropriate response is to identify it as one.  Beyond that, explanation is the most viable option, and since you're familiar with the fallacies this would be redundant.

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You say that not making a choice of a god might be wrong too. If it is, we get back to the problem of this God not communicating well. If there were a God, he should be able to get that across to us.
In a way that you'd accept as valid, I'm assuming.

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I am certain that not picking a god is the correct choice given the circumstances. If the circumstances change, then I would have to reevaluate.
Ok.

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That's what rational people do - we look at all the facts, analyze all the data and make the best choice. We follow where the evidence leads and it does not lead to God.
For you.

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Define "efficacy."
Get a dictionary.
Asking you to define the term as you are using it is not an unreasonable request, especially considering that the way in which you use it has a large bearing on whether or not your statement is true in this case.

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Don't bother wasting our time if all you are going to do is lie
QUOTE ME

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throw up names of logical fallacies that don't even apply.
Good thing I pick the ones that apply then.

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There is nothing logical or rational about believing in an invisible being that is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient. It's an obvious fairy tale.
So obvious that billions of people miss it.

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You have not made a case for anything.
I wasn't aware that I was attempting to make a case.

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You also haven't refuted a single thing I said.
I'm confused now.  Above you seemed to be saying that you're not making an argument, but rather are listing reasons for not believing in God (hence why the fallacies don't apply.)  Now you talk of "refuting," which leads me to believe you're making arguments.
-If you are making a logical argument, then me pointing out your fallacies refutes them as part of your logical argument.
-If you are not making an argument, then I am pointing out that your reasons are not based on logic.  Whether you care or not is up to you, as they're your reasons.

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I should add that another good reason for not believing in God is that I don't have to be around people as delusional as you.
I should add that this is an illogical reason to not believe in God.

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How about because it's a lie?
Sure, if convincing evidence can be found that it fits the definition of a lie.  (Clearly you have been convinced, but I have not.)

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Anyway, I would venture a guess that there is nothing anyone could do to convince you so, who cares?
This is not true at all.  I just haven't found anything that has been convincing yet.

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Maybe you are even a bit slow.
Quite possibly.  It did take me unreasonably long to write this post, even with multitasking.  It's really nice of you quick people to help the slow ones like myself.  However, because of my slowness, if I have it, it's really a bother to sort the logical reasons for not believing in God from the illogical ones.  It'd be much simpler to just go with pure logic.  Were I faster, I could keep up with both.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline essgeeskee

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2008, 05:00:37 AM »
Wrong again. These are statements of fact. I have studied genetics, evolution, neuroscience, biochemistry, physics, psychology, sociology and anthropology. We are animals.

I try to tell people this also, but they think we're separate from animals also. They think that the world consist of plants, animals, other matter and people.

All we need to do is look in the mirror sometimes. Just take any human male for example. Take his clothes, shampoo, clippers, electric razors, deodorant, toilette paper and soap away from him. What would you have? I'll tell you. You'll have a person who the majority of the world would treat less than an old stray dog.

People also kill me with this line, "Well, people...we're superior to animals because we can dominate over them. We're also smarter because we can make things such as radios, cars, guns and buildings." I stop them in their tracks with this line. I just say, "Well, since you're grouping yourself with these people who know so much, let me see you go and make a radio right now all by yourself. While your at it, why not throw a car together for me as well. Better yet, why not make a Bible for your bookshelf!!"

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Offline Pastafarian

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2008, 05:09:21 AM »

"Well, since you're grouping yourself with these people who know so much, let me see you go and make a radio right now all by yourself. While your at it, why not throw a car together for me as well. Better yet, why not make a Bible for your bookshelf!!"



Awesome! +1...  >:(
Don't pin that on jesus! He has enough nail holes as it is - House

Offline MrFriday

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2008, 06:35:05 AM »
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We must have a different definition of "good."  I'm assuming that a good reason would not be one that could make a sound logical argument.
What is logical? If observing the facts and making the best determination of the probabilities is not logical, what’s the value in logic?
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Preponderance of evidence requires one to be able to determine the probability of truth.  There's really no way to do this unless God can be bottled into the realm of the empirical, and we have no way of knowing if that can be done.
So you are hiding under the fact that God is not even defined or definable. It’s just a nebulous concept. No one can have empirical data on something for which there is no definition and zero evidence. You can’t insist on logic when the premise itself is nonsense.
 
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And your criticism is also begging the question.
Statements of observable fact are never begging the question.
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In regards to your "knowable God" Do you really want to claim that there could be a God that exists as part of the natural universe?
Nope.  I want to claim that there could be a God whose existence is not excluded from the natural universe.
There is no difference in these statements. If God is part of nature, it is a natural being, it is just someone with better technology and talents. That’s not a God. Do you think God is just some more highly advanced alien?
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If I tell you "The cat is grey" and you tell someone else "The cat is yellow" and it affects that person's life, it's your fault for screwing it up, not mine.  I gave you the message loud and clear, but you failed to deliver it correctly.
Again, God is an incompetent communicator if you overlay your example onto the real discussion. You still have not addressed the question of this in any meaningful way. Why can’t God get his point across? Are you saying you believe in a God who rode the short bus to God school?
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Why?  Isn't it possible that the correct values don't match your values?  You're rejecting the documents because you don't personally like the values they preach, and then are calling the values silly.
No, I’m calling the values they preach dangerous and stupid based on the real world. It is not emotional, it is logical. The Bible’s morality is pathetic – killing innocent babies, condoning slavery, demeaning women. It’s a recipe for tyranny and oppression. It causes suffering and strife which the Bible pretends to abhor. Sure, I’m using my morals as a basis for comparison. Whose morals should I use?
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This is clearly an emotional rejection which clouds your judgment rather than allowing you to take an honest, logical look at the God question.
Nonsense. I’m not being emotional. I’m being pragmatic. Biblical morals are detrimental to cooperative and happy society. That’s why many theists themselves reject most of what the Bible teaches as moral.

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If this is a reason to not believe, it's one based purely on how the religion makes you feel rather than whether the religion makes you true[sic].  That's why we call appeals to consequences/ridicule and other appeals to emotion logical fallacies.
The only emotional fallacies here are in your mind. It doesn’t matter what I feel about Bible morality. What matters is how many people are treated like garbage based on religious morality. My purpose is to foster a cooperative, successful and productive society. Since the Bible is in opposition to that, I find it illogical to follow it.
 
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I figured you were familiar enough with them that you didn't need explanation.
I'll use an example:
"promotes conversion by violence"
-If religion is true, then it is valid to promote conversion by violence.
-Violence is undesirable.
-Therefore, religion is not true.
If you're using it as an argument, it's a fallacy.  If it's just a reason, then it's an illogical one.
I see, it’s illogical to desire freedom from violence. OK. So when a Muslim slits your throat because you don’t believe in Allah, is that just hunky dory with you? To be consistent with your logic, you must allow that he is doing something rational. This is utter nonsense. You’re making the claim that God is good no matter what he does because he defines what is good. That’s circular reasoning.
 
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You posted them as separate bullets in a list, so I interpreted them as separate points.  Is this not the appropriate way to interpret such formatting?
I posted them as sub bullets under the main one which is generally accepted as implying that they are to be viewed as expansion of the previous bullet point. But in my attempt at brevity I will admit that it might be confusing.
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If it is a reason to make a logical conclusion then it's a logical fallacy.  Or are you not claiming that reasons for not believing in God are necessarily logical?
A vast amount of evidence against a proposition coupled with zero evidence for the proposition does not make rejection of the proposition illogical. It would be illogical to assume that no contrary evidence is possible. But until such evidence exists, it is completely logical to reject the proposition. I would be willing to bet that you use this in making determinations all the time.
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Readily apparent through... Ayn Rand?  Nietzsche?  Kant?  Aristotle?  Epictetus?  Confucius?  Thomas Aquinas?  John Stewart Mill?  David Hume?  Sure, there are principles like beneficence, non-maleficence, and stretching it maybe even altruism, but they haven't permeated strongly enough in history to make your assertion self-evident. And I've never seen morals based on sympathy in any science textbook.  Could you point me towards the ones that would have it?
Try some modern scientists and don’t put too much weight in philosophical arguments. They are notoriously short on facts and long on opinion. Hence the vast disagreements. I’d suggest a few books just off the top of my head: Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael S. Gazzaniga, The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams and God  and Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade
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Calling moral codes based on theism unnecessary requires the implied premise that morality isn't necessarily found in theism.
I didn’t say it cannot be found in theism. I said there is a lot of bad morality in theism and that theism is not the source of morality. I already explained to you why morality is not dependant on religion or God. Logically, if people always use their own morality to decide what to accept from religious teachings, morality does not come from those teachings. It must precede them. This also answers your next question. There is no such thing as absolute morality. Morality is situational, and relative. The closest we come to absolute moral rules is in those things coded into our DNA. We humans have evolved the innate understanding of reciprocal altruism. It is a survival trait. Religion recognizes the obvious fact that morality isn’t absolute because it also makes exceptions to every rule. Well, there are some absolutes like the rule that you mustn’t worship other Gods or blaspheme. Those are simply designed to perpetuate the religion itself. It has nothing to do with morality. All of this says to me that religion is a reflection of us and not a reflection of something outside of us.
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If you study primate evolution you can see just how our primate cousins are now at a different point in the evolution of moral behavior than we are.
Is it a different point in the evolution of morality or a different point in the discovery of morality?  Is there any way to tell the difference?
For that hypothesis you would have to find some source from which they discover morality. Do you want to go question begging on that one?
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Tell me exactly how my point that religion is divisive is anything more than an astute observation of facts.
It's more than an observation because you're attempting to use it to prove a point.  You're not offering data, you're interpreting the data to reach the conclusion given in your subject line.  Or, at least this is how it appears given the formatting you used for your post.
No, I’m listing facts which I think will cumulatively lead an honest person to conclude the probability of a claim for the existence of God is virtually nil. The preponderance of evidence leads me to this conclusion but I make no claim that other facts cannot supersede them. Using the scientific method, I am supporting my hypothesis with evidence and experiment. And by that same methodology I am willing to follow all evidence where it leads. If you have contradictory evidence, why don’t you provide it?
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Are you incapable of seeing the divisions it has created throughout history?
No.
Good. That’s progress. Now, take the message of religion and compare what it says to what it does. Religion purports to have a message of love and peace for all humanity. The point is not just that religion does things I don’t like. It does precisely the opposite of what it says it is supposed to do. It is false because it is a lie. Of course, there is nothing wrong with noting that what religion offers to society is undesirable but we wouldn’t want to put forth any logical fallacies.
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I wrote appeal to consequences whenever I found that you used an appeal to consequences as a reason why someone might not believe in God.  Which is perfectly ok if you want to not believe for that reason, but I thought I would point out to those reading this thread that it's not a logical reason.
Unfortunately you are misapplying it. My use of this addresses the assertion of religion that it leads to certain good consequences which it does not. In this case, the appeal to consequences is the illogical claim of religion. My facts contradict that claim. It is not an appeal to consequences but pointing out that religion is not doing what it says it does. In other words, it is lying to us. It defeats itself.
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Fear that personal desires would taint the message.  In retrospect it is closer to an appeal to consequences.  You don't like the possible implications of God being real, so you don't believe.
You’re really stretching. I don’t have any preconceived notions of what the consequences of God being real are. I’m looking at what religion is and does.
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People are animals. We are only special due to our more developed brain.
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Nonsense.  We're also special because of unciform joints, smallpox, our DNA, big boobies, Jesus' love for us, and because Barney says so.  But, of course, your assertion that we are only special due to our more developed brain must assume God didn't make us in His image to have a shot at being true, so to use this as an argument for not believing in him is a bit circular.
Nonsense right back at you. If you have no experience with comparing anatomy, function and behavior in animals, I can see how you could come up with such a nonsensical bunch of rubbish. First of all, other primates and even other animals have unciform joints. We share 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees. Besides, other than our developed brain, the other differences between us and chimps are merely superficial. There is just as much difference in DNA from one human to the next. Taken one gene at a time, we have almost no unique DNA and virtually all of it has to do with our brain. Boobies? Please! Size of anatomy is not consistent among humans so it is not useful in this context. I have no idea what species specific diseases have to do with anything here. It’s not a trait of ours. Barney and Jesus are fictional characters. A supernatural God could not logically have made us in his image because he must be completely different in kind from us. That’s just poetic anthropomorphic hogwash. A natural being with high technology and superior intellect might be able to do it but that’s not God.
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It's a hasty generalization.  The Catholic Church, for instance, does not teach this.
The Bible does and they use the Bible. But just like morality, people decide what they will and won’t believe in “God’s word”. If it was really communication from a perfect, omniscient God, it would logically be unequivocal and profound. It is not.
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Because they don't arrive at the same conclusions. There is no consistency. If God is one being and there is some way to know God, people would come to the same conclusions.
Not necessarily.  There have been cases of empirical data being misinterpreted, and that's a lot less vague than a god concept.
So you are saying that empirical data of humans is less ambiguous than the “Word of God”? Well, thanks for proving my point.
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The evidence points to three possibilities in my opinion, 1) there are multiple Gods 2) God is schizophrenic, 3) God is non-existent and people just feel the need for anthropomorphizing nature.
4) The people didn't all have the same information at the same time in the same conditions?
Very well. So whose fault is that? I’d say it was the fault of this supposedly perfect God. Like I said, he is simultaneously a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient being and an incompetent boob or he doesn’t exist. It is more parsimonious to go with the latter conclusion.
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You're failing to recognize that these [concepts] are often applied to a deity by definition, since in many theologies the terms themselves are defined by being of God.  I don't know of which "we" you're speaking, but there is certainly a "they" out there who uses them in a theistic way.
What does this demonstrate? It seems to be blatant anthropomorphism if you ask me. Do you contend that these concepts did not exist among humans until someone wrote down “God’s word”?
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Please explain it again.  I was under the impression that your point was contingent on infinity being something that "humans cannot comprehend" (plus exception.)  Since that premise is not something that has been firmly established, how is my calling the conclusion you draw from that premise into question inappropriate?
Just because you are unaware of the fact that people can’t truly grasp infinity, doesn’t make it a problem for me. This is based on my experience talking with people and reading a lot on the subject. Other than mathematics, people cannot explain infinity to any real degree. Think about it yourself. What is your understanding of the concept?
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An appeal to consequences does not rely on the consequences being theoretical.  Even if the consequences are demonstrable, it's still an appeal to consequences.  Since I'm sure you were aware of that, I'm a bit confused as to why you brought up "theoretical."
Point taken. Refer to my earlier discussion of my examples that you claim are arguments from consequences.
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I completely disagree.  Pomp and ceremony are deeply routed in our culture, and if God is exists then using them is highly appropriate given our standards for pomp and ceremony.  Whether God needs them is as irrelevant as whether the dead guy at the funeral needs an expensive coffin.
Culture and tradition have long been used as an excuse for perpetuation of nonsense and injustice. Many people argued that slavery was deeply rooted in our culture and tradition. It is still wrong. It is relevant to ask if God needs such things. The Bible specifically tells people to avoid such vanity and frivolity. The hypocrisy of religion rears its ugly head again.

The fact that theism puts God above people thereby making people subservient, unimportant and expendable is not about the truth value of God. It is about the desirability of such a God. Part of my reasoning is not just that I think God does not exist but that I don’t find the God of any religion to be worthy of worship. If such a God exists, I don’t care enough to give it the time of day. If it really is an all powerful despot like the Biblical God, I will suffer the consequences rather than lower my standards. Since God is conspicuous by his absence. I don’t see any reason to change. This also applies to my point that religion relies on guilt, fear and outlandish promises to gain obedience. It is a despicable God if it does exist but I don’t think there is enough chance of it being real to be concerned about it.

You said that my point that theism generally precludes any possibility of testing God or questioning his existence substantively is an argument from consequences. But I’m not talking about consequences, I’m talking about the veracity of the claim. It is not empirical if it cannot be tested.
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It's not worth it for me to waste my time concocting a logical refutation to something that is not based on logic.
Sure, defining my points away is much more intellectually honest. And as I said before, I don’t care if you seriously consider the points. You are welcome to the hypocrisy and lies of religion. If it makes you happy, more power to you.
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There's nothing to refute.  If someone says, "I have a cat.  Thus, turtles must eat deer poo," the only real refutation is "that makes no sense" or "non-sequitur."
So you do know the proper response to illogical claims like God.
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There is nothing logical or rational about believing in an invisible being that is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient. It's an obvious fairy tale.
So obvious that billions of people miss it.
Argumentum ad Populum
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 04:26:34 PM by MrFriday »
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain

Offline Omen

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2008, 08:15:08 AM »
There will never come a time or a be a time in which I have to disprove what cannot be proven.  Nor will there ever come a time that I need to believe by default that which cannot provide the reason for belief itself.
"Religious faith is the antithesis to knowledge, it is the opposition to education, and it has to act in animosity against the free exchange of ideas.  Why? Because those things are what cause harm to a religions place in society most." - Me

Offline Void

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2008, 08:25:11 AM »
Since this is a new forum, I am going to post this again and invite discussion, especially from theists.

I'm not a theist, but I'm not atheist either. And the topic of this thread should really by "Reasons for not believing in God as defined by major organized religions".

Because there's nothing wrong with a personal belief that there exists a prima causa, an intent behind the manifestation of our Reality. And such a belief system can exist happily without any of the items on your list. Which also means that the definition of "god" is in question here as well. Now debating the "nature" of such an "intent" and whether it should be called a "god" or something else, is entirely different topic.
--There are greater idiots than those interpreting the bible literally to prove god. Those interpreting the bible literally to deny god.

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2008, 08:29:06 AM »
TGIF   Good and patient reply Friday!   ;D

Offline Vynn

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2008, 11:51:39 AM »
Because there's nothing wrong with a personal belief that there exists a prima causa, an intent behind the manifestation of our Reality.

Hmmm.. How can you so adamantly assert this? Isn't it at least possible, that this statement is wrong?

Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2008, 12:20:43 PM »
Wow!  Mr. Friday, I am going to save this list on my hard drive and give credit to you.

Much appreciated, Sir.  You have a wonderful, wacky Wednesday.

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Offline Void

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2008, 12:27:43 PM »
Hmmm.. How can you so adamantly assert this? Isn't it at least possible, that this statement is wrong?

Of course it is (possible that the statement is wrong). But it has nothing to do with the said list.
--There are greater idiots than those interpreting the bible literally to prove god. Those interpreting the bible literally to deny god.

Offline Vynn

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2008, 12:33:24 PM »
Wha...??  How does the said list affect whether the statement so boldly asserted might be wrong?

Offline MrFriday

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Re: Reasons for not believing in God/Religion
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2008, 04:22:49 PM »
I'm not a theist, but I'm not atheist either.
A nice trick. You are probably one of those people who thinks agnosticism fits on the middle of a continuum between theism and atheism. But that's a category error. Agnosticism refers to knowledge and theism/atheism refer to belief. If you don't believe in a God, you are an atheist by definition. If you believe in any sort of God, you are a theist by definition. You can be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist. But we are all agnostic on the matter except in the case of specifically defined God's that can be shown to be impossible. It really is irrelevant though because the notion of God is either a) specific enough to show it is not logically possible, or b) vague and nebulous to the point of not being a claim at all. I am perfectly willing to address any definition of God but I don't have any responsibility for even entertaining a nonsense claim like "something powerful must be out there and that's what I think God is". It is meaningless drivel.

Because there's nothing wrong with a personal belief that there exists a prima causa, an intent behind the manifestation of our Reality.
There's nothing wrong with it except the fact that is based on wishful thinking, circular reasoning, anthropomorphizing nature and question begging.
"Faith is believing in something you know isn't true" - Mark Twain