Author Topic: A question for theists  (Read 9083 times)

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Offline velkyn

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #348 on: March 19, 2017, 09:24:16 PM »
You have claimed that others are wrong and you are right.  You have claimed you supposedly know such things as you have claimed, that you know the right answer and everyone else is wrong.

Even if this were true, are you not doing the exact same thing? 

The only reason you would ask is if you do believe it true.  I have evidence to support my claims; you don't. That's the difference. 

I am waiting for your evidence to support your claims.  Theists make similar claims.  Why should we believe any of you about your particular versions of your gods? 

Quote
I am still waiting for the evidence you claim that I have seen and have rejected, and how the evidence you have given, say, the kalam cosmological argument, intelligent design, etc, supports that your version of your god exists, not some vague entity that is not the god you worship at all.

I have abandoned any hope that further discussions about the topics in this thread will result in any sort of agreement or resolution. Frankly, what you have offered in most of your posts is some of the oddest, illogical, deflective and un-intellectual rambling I have encountered here. The mischaracterizations and irrational rationalizations you employ seem fueled by some sort of absolute emotional hatred you have for anything 'God.' It is near impossible to argue logic and reason with someone who is propelled by pure emotion and hate.
[/quote]

You claimed you had this evidence, BS.  You are now blaming everyone else for your inability to support your own claims.  You may run away, and bear false witness against me again and again.  It does little than showing that either this god can't get good help these days, or that this god simply doesn't exist.  You have not shown at any point that my points are "odd", "illogical", "deflective" or "unintellectual" or "rambling".  Please do so, if you think your claims are correct.  Please also give evidence that your version of your god exists.  As I have pointed out, what you claim as evidence for your version of your god can be used by nearly any other theist.

Again, you have nothing to support your claims, not one quote, not one  link.  Funny how I'm the one who provides links to show your claims wrong, peer-reviewed, with criteria for evidence, etc as you demanded.   What do we have from you?  Baseless claims that are little more than personal attacks, including claims that I "hate" something which is not true and which is a common tactic by a theist when they have nothing.  It is little different from the excuse where a theist will claim that since no one would believe him, why should he provide what he promised, which makes false assumptions that no one will honestly consider what he has.  You seem to mistake hate for requiring evidence for your claims.  They are not the same.

I am still willing to wait for your evidence.  It is your choice to not provide it.     
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #349 on: March 19, 2017, 10:05:23 PM »
^^ Circular reasoning.  Assumes that reason and intuition are non-physical.  And then even contradicts itself by pointing out the physical causes for the former.


The article I linked to only describes how the logic circuitry occurs by way of electrical activity around the neural networking. That is the physical/material activity; electricity and secretions. If not a separate mind, what is performing the actual logical functions. In other words, think of it this way - if the mind were not separate from the brain, why would the mind be aware of anything other than the brain? It would seem that there must necessarily be something other than the brain to turn the neural activity into logic and reason.

I think this is badly stated, but you are voicing ideas of consciousness which are supported by Deepak Chopra, and other New Agers, so I will use their idea as basis for this reply.

They turn the [human] brain into a kind of remote control receiver. So, a super complex "soul" exists outside the physical plane brain, in a more powerful realm, say the Astral plane. Others build on this, and have a soul plane. This means that the brain is supposedly, mostly a two way communication device with the astral brain. The motivation to believe this model is incredulity that the physical brain can pull off the stunt of self referencing consciousness. They also believe the reports of those who have taken DMT, that the universe has extremely complicated other-levels of reality.

One problem for your argument, is that these other planes that make our brain work, may not be related to God, any more than our physical plane.

It is difficult to disprove this remote control idea, since we do not have logic analysers that can tell us what is currently happening in a human brain. We also don't know if the brain is some kind of elaborate hoax, and it's just a fake jelly thing which is made to look convincing, up until the year 2090, when we find out that it's a hoax.

So, how do we produce counter arguments to these ideas, when we may be being hoaxed?

One thing that stands out, is the correlation with intelligence and brain size. Different humans can be really dumb and really smart. We all have the same brain size, so what's happening here, if our brain is just a remote control? We have pretty good evidence that our intellect can be messed around with, if we damage small bits of brain, or take "upper" drugs. That really shouldn't be possible, if the astral plane is doing all the work. We also have a pretty good hunch that we could breed smarter people, or dumber people, if we put our minds to it. That activity starts to rule out a spiritual reason why some people could be born dumb.

Next we can look at animals with very small brains, that behave intelligently. Birds have nut-sized brains, but behave as if they are conscious, and sometimes very smartly. We can tell from this science bird, that the remote control part of the brain must be very small.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0E1Wny5kCk

If the remote control component is very small, then what's the rest of it for? Backfill?

You might make a case that each species is as dumb or smart as it needs to be. However, we need humans to be smarter, but half of them stubbornly refuse to have an IQ above 100.

Also, you could have the idea that astral brains reincarnate and get smarter each time. So, they start in birds or rats, and eventually learn to be humans. If that's the case, then humans should start out as smart as a rat. However, they seem to start at the bottom of a dribbling learning curve. Human babies would start out, scuttling around the room, and sniffing things. Their parents would say , "Oh yeah. He was a rat in his last life."  There doesn't seem to be any development of the astral brain, so consequently it's difficult to explain why some humans would arrive with low intelligence, or high intelligence, and be complete arseholes. You could posit that the astral brain was responsible for low intelligence, but it's more likely we would find some neurotransmitters that are a bit low, and some parts not as big.

The astral brain obviously doesn't have any memories, or it would be able to compensate for Alzheimer's.

It doesn't really jump out at us.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 10:11:43 PM by Add Homonym »
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #350 on: March 19, 2017, 10:13:59 PM »
The only reason you would ask is if you do believe it true.  I have evidence to support my claims; you don't. That's the difference.

So what are you "right" about and what am I "wrong" about?

Quote
I am waiting for your evidence to support your claims.

What claims?


Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #351 on: March 19, 2017, 10:40:45 PM »
One problem for your argument, is that these other planes that make our brain work, may not be related to God, any more than our physical plane.

You've lost me here. Consciousness is not what makes the brain work. It can influence the brain but it's believed to be the mechanism that uses the activity in the brain to shape knowledge and other inputs into decisions, contemplation, feelings, logic, etc. 

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #352 on: March 19, 2017, 11:02:01 PM »
One problem for your argument, is that these other planes that make our brain work, may not be related to God, any more than our physical plane.

You've lost me here. Consciousness is not what makes the brain work. It can influence the brain but it's believed to be the mechanism that uses the activity in the brain to shape knowledge and other inputs into decisions, contemplation, feelings, logic, etc.

Well, the brain wouldn't work terribly well, if it was a bunch of disparate units that didn't have a plan, ego, or picture of the world.

I take consciousness to be what we perceive to be the sum of our environment. So, we perceive colour, shapes, pain, noise, and we visualize our thoughts. If we didn't hear, see or feel anything, and couldn't visualize our thoughts, we would be close to nothing.

One of the problems in conciousness study, is that this model of the world seems to take a while to construct, so the pilot is not in control of any fast decisions.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #353 on: March 19, 2017, 11:13:07 PM »
Or, in keeping with what you replied:   Belief that the brain has an external driver, is rooted in not believing that the grey matter is capable of such complexity. Putting the processing power elsewhere, doesn't mean there is a God.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #354 on: March 19, 2017, 11:19:43 PM »
I'm probably going to stay out of this discussion for the most part, as I tend to butt heads with BibleStudent, and I'd prefer to avoid that.  But I did want to point out that the brain has close to a hundred billion neurons in it, each of which is connected in parallel to as many as twenty-something other neurons.  Granted, they operate at a pretty slow speed, compared to computer processors.  But the interconnectedness more than makes up for it.  I mean, we've seen that quad-core computer processors operate much more effectively than single-core processors, even when the single-core processors are much faster, and that's only four interconnected processors.  So, considering that the brain has the equivalent of nearly a hundred billion cores, it's clearly far more capable than any computer we've ever made or are likely to make anytime in the next several decades.

I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that consciousness is related to the interconnectedness of the brain, in other words.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #355 on: March 20, 2017, 03:37:41 AM »
What's this, BS, giving up and providing evidence of your god? I thought you knew this god existed and to know means you have evidence as was discussed by Velkyn above.

Of course, if you only mean by know that you have faith without any evidence then that's fine too but is hardly likely to convince anyone.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline eh!

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #356 on: March 20, 2017, 03:44:56 AM »
BS sure talks big but shuts down when he has to back his claims up with more than he "just knows".

How juvenile....theists wonder why we don't take them seriously.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #357 on: March 20, 2017, 05:45:51 AM »
Unless I have missed something we seem to have common ground with theists in that -

1. We see no evidence[1] in the world that uniquely points to a particular god. By this I mean that, for example, a Christian might point to the whole of 'creation' and say that it points to a creator god. Whilst this might have some bearing on the subject, on the basis of this sole observation we cannot say if this creator if Thor, Odin, Zeuz YHWH, Allah... So on its own, looking at what theists call creation cannot really get us anywhere.

2. Philosophical arguments for the existence of a god, whether we accept them or nor, fail, again, to point to a particular god. So the Kalam Cosmological Argument[2] could be point towards Vishnu and not YHWH and so as an argument on
its own it is useless. The same thing applies to all the philosophical arguments.

3. Prayer Studies ought to indicate the work of a healing god given all the promises in the bible about healing, yet nothing has ever been shown to be effective and might have been a good case for YHWH over Thor for example.

So with this yawning gap in evidence, atheists feel that there is no case for the existence of a god. Yet it would take one good piece of evidence to convince us and make us believers and Biblestudent has it in his power to provide this, given his knowledge. Indeed, as a Christian he is charged with converting people to Christ. So, will he live up to the challenge?
 1. I am excluding holy books from the evidence as they have no way to be shown to be the words of a god rather the words of men. Any theists reading this should remember that the evidence for the bible or the Qur'an being the words of god is the same as for the Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon, that is to say nil.
 2. with which I completely disagree
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline velkyn

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #358 on: March 20, 2017, 06:16:28 AM »
The only reason you would ask is if you do believe it true.  I have evidence to support my claims; you don't. That's the difference.

So what are you "right" about and what am I "wrong" about?

Quote
I am waiting for your evidence to support your claims.

What claims?

oh my, how sad.  So you've come to this, BS.  Trying to pretend you have no idea what we've been discussing for several pages now. 
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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #359 on: March 20, 2017, 08:23:43 AM »
Unless I have missed something we seem to have common ground with theists in that -

1. We see no evidence[1] in the world that uniquely points to a particular god. By this I mean that, for example, a Christian might point to the whole of 'creation' and say that it points to a creator god. Whilst this might have some bearing on the subject, on the basis of this sole observation we cannot say if this creator if Thor, Odin, Zeuz YHWH, Allah... So on its own, looking at what theists call creation cannot really get us anywhere.

2. Philosophical arguments for the existence of a god, whether we accept them or nor, fail, again, to point to a particular god. So the Kalam Cosmological Argument[2] could be point towards Vishnu and not YHWH and so as an argument on
its own it is useless. The same thing applies to all the philosophical arguments.

3. Prayer Studies ought to indicate the work of a healing god given all the promises in the bible about healing, yet nothing has ever been shown to be effective and might have been a good case for YHWH over Thor for example.

So with this yawning gap in evidence, atheists feel that there is no case for the existence of a god. Yet it would take one good piece of evidence to convince us and make us believers and Biblestudent has it in his power to provide this, given his knowledge. Indeed, as a Christian he is charged with converting people to Christ. So, will he live up to the challenge?
 1. I am excluding holy books from the evidence as they have no way to be shown to be the words of a god rather the words of men. Any theists reading this should remember that the evidence for the bible or the Qur'an being the words of god is the same as for the Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon, that is to say nil.
 2. with which I completely disagree

I'd agree that we have common ground with theists on two of the three points.  On the last point, it seems they are pretty certain that prayer works.  That's a big part of the reason they believe - the "personal experiences" often revolve around answered prayers.  I was once an alcoholic but God answered my prayers, or he cured my mom of cancer, and so on.  Their answer to why he doesn't heal amputees or answers all prayers is the gumball machine analogy.  He's not just going to answer every prayer, etc.

I think the roadblock you will experience with BS for now is that he has said that he simply has to believe - he can't fathom a world without belief.

"As strange as this may sound to some, I believe because I cannot do otherwise."  That's a direct quote.  So he'll believe no matter how much circumstantial evidence exists that would point to it being more likely than not that there's not a God.  I don't think it's that much different than people who felt O.J. was innocent.  There were a ton of events that occurred on that night that would point to O.J. as the murderer, but some people just can't accept it.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 08:26:16 AM by YouCantHandleTheTruth »

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #360 on: March 20, 2017, 09:32:25 AM »
You have claimed that others are wrong and you are right.  You have claimed you supposedly know such things as you have claimed, that you know the right answer and everyone else is wrong.

Even if this were true, are you not doing the exact same thing? 

Quote
I am still waiting for the evidence you claim that I have seen and have rejected, and how the evidence you have given, say, the kalam cosmological argument, intelligent design, etc, supports that your version of your god exists, not some vague entity that is not the god you worship at all.

I have abandoned any hope that further discussions about the topics in this thread will result in any sort of agreement or resolution. Frankly, what you have offered in most of your posts is some of the oddest, illogical, deflective and un-intellectual rambling I have encountered here. The mischaracterizations and irrational rationalizations you employ seem fueled by some sort of absolute emotional hatred you have for anything 'God.' It is near impossible to argue logic and reason with someone who is propelled by pure emotion and hate.
Really.... thats what you see..... the persecution complex you have is alive and well,I see
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #361 on: March 20, 2017, 09:34:29 AM »
The only reason you would ask is if you do believe it true.  I have evidence to support my claims; you don't. That's the difference.

So what are you "right" about and what am I "wrong" about?

Quote
I am waiting for your evidence to support your claims.

What claims?
more garbage
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #362 on: March 20, 2017, 10:23:18 AM »
"As strange as this may sound to some, I believe because I cannot do otherwise."  That's a direct quote.  So he'll believe no matter how much circumstantial evidence exists that would point to it being more likely than not that there's not a God. 

As the criticisms mount, I am left wondering how am I to blame for anything I believe. If materialism is true, my beliefs are the product of the random firing of neural electrical currents that I have no control over. Under materialism, there is no agency or consciousness….those functions are illusions. How am I to blame for what I believe? I am programmed with what I am programmed with by cause and effect. Correct?

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #363 on: March 20, 2017, 11:10:11 AM »
"As strange as this may sound to some, I believe because I cannot do otherwise."  That's a direct quote.  So he'll believe no matter how much circumstantial evidence exists that would point to it being more likely than not that there's not a God. 

As the criticisms mount, I am left wondering how am I to blame for anything I believe. If materialism is true, my beliefs are the product of the random firing of neural electrical currents that I have no control over. Under materialism, there is no agency or consciousness….those functions are illusions. How am I to blame for what I believe? I am programmed with what I am programmed with by cause and effect. Correct?

I would say as long as you have come to your conclusions based on what you feel to be adequate research, you shouldn't be blamed for what you believe.  I don't think anyone is blaming you per se.  I would say, again though, that you're on an atheist site.  You know going in that there will be criticisms of your belief system, and that those of us on this site didn't reach our conclusions without some serious investigation.  If there was good reason to believe we would burn in hell for rejecting the Biblical God, you can bet we'd be a lot more careful.  We just don't see it, after careful investigation, often times years of investigation, reading, thought, podcasts, etc.  We've tried to weigh all the evidence at hand, and we're not going to be in fear of some being for no reason at all.  In our minds, it's a really bad way to go through life.

However, if you've come to the opposite conclusion after years of research, ok.  I just wouldn't take the criticisms you receive to heart.  If you're firm in your beliefs, who cares what other people say, right?  That's kind of my stance.  I'm firm in my beliefs that there just isn't any really good reason to believe in any God, much less the one of the Bible.  I'm open to being proved wrong, absolutely.  But like most on here, we feel that evidence has not been presented; that, in fact, all we're hearing are assertions and hopes about a particular God or Gods.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #364 on: March 20, 2017, 11:23:41 AM »
I would say as long as you have come to your conclusions based on what you feel to be adequate research, you shouldn't be blamed for what you believe. 

You are implying that I have control over what I feel. How do you know this? What utility do I possess that empowers me to make decisions and feel that I have done adequate research? What empirical evidence is there for this implied utility that I seemingly possess?

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #365 on: March 20, 2017, 11:32:29 AM »
I would say as long as you have come to your conclusions based on what you feel to be adequate research, you shouldn't be blamed for what you believe. 

You are implying that I have control over what I feel. How do you know this? What utility do I possess that empowers me to make decisions and feel that I have done adequate research? What empirical evidence is there for this implied utility that I seemingly possess?

Well, you certainly have the same ability to research Christianity, comparative religion, etc. that we do.  I don't know that you have the ability to control what you feel.  I stated that if you feel you've done adequate research to come to your conclusion, then that's ok!  Only you can make that determination.  My point is, many don't do that, on both sides.  People are theists or atheists, sometimes, for bad reasons.  The worst reason is when you give it no thought.  That's what I love about this site - we're all involved in thought here in coming to our conclusions, and we're trying to use reason to the best of our abilities to reach said conclusions.

It could well be that you can't control how you feel.  You did mention earlier that you can't envision a world without a God, so maybe that's true.  But I'd still say it's good that you keep searching, and clearly you are!  You're here - just the fact that you're here says, at least to me, that you're searching.  I can tell you that at my old church, a site like this never would have been discussed by a good portion of the congregation.  Towards the end of my time there, I did raise this site and the question posed by the site, and it was quickly dismissed.  There wasn't much room for dissent.  But here you are - I think that's a good thing.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #366 on: March 20, 2017, 11:44:06 AM »
Well, you certainly have the same ability to research Christianity, comparative religion, etc. that we do.  I don't know that you have the ability to control what you feel.  I stated that if you feel you've done adequate research to come to your conclusion, then that's ok!  Only you can make that determination.  My point is, many don't do that, on both sides.  People are theists or atheists, sometimes, for bad reasons.  The worst reason is when you give it no thought.  That's what I love about this site - we're all involved in thought here in coming to our conclusions, and we're trying to use reason to the best of our abilities to reach said conclusions.

It could well be that you can't control how you feel.  You did mention earlier that you can't envision a world without a God, so maybe that's true.  But I'd still say it's good that you keep searching, and clearly you are!  You're here - just the fact that you're here says, at least to me, that you're searching.  I can tell you that at my old church, a site like this never would have been discussed by a good portion of the congregation.  Towards the end of my time there, I did raise this site and the question posed by the site, and it was quickly dismissed.  There wasn't much room for dissent.  But here you are - I think that's a good thing.

Do you believe that universal cause and effect and the resultant determinism are accurate assessments of reality? You seem to keep implying that something I possess motivates me to keep searching and is possibly responsible for the choice I made to b here...yet you aren't indicating what that is. Whatever it is that you think it is, can you identify it and explain how do you know that it exists?

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #367 on: March 20, 2017, 12:03:14 PM »
Well, you certainly have the same ability to research Christianity, comparative religion, etc. that we do.  I don't know that you have the ability to control what you feel.  I stated that if you feel you've done adequate research to come to your conclusion, then that's ok!  Only you can make that determination.  My point is, many don't do that, on both sides.  People are theists or atheists, sometimes, for bad reasons.  The worst reason is when you give it no thought.  That's what I love about this site - we're all involved in thought here in coming to our conclusions, and we're trying to use reason to the best of our abilities to reach said conclusions.

It could well be that you can't control how you feel.  You did mention earlier that you can't envision a world without a God, so maybe that's true.  But I'd still say it's good that you keep searching, and clearly you are!  You're here - just the fact that you're here says, at least to me, that you're searching.  I can tell you that at my old church, a site like this never would have been discussed by a good portion of the congregation.  Towards the end of my time there, I did raise this site and the question posed by the site, and it was quickly dismissed.  There wasn't much room for dissent.  But here you are - I think that's a good thing.

Do you believe that universal cause and effect and the resultant determinism are accurate assessments of reality? You seem to keep implying that something I possess motivates me to keep searching and is possibly responsible for the choice I made to b here...yet you aren't indicating what that is. Whatever it is that you think it is, can you identify it and explain how do you know that it exists?

I do believe in cause and effect, sure.  An incident causes us to react in a certain way, and then say "OK, what now?"  Now can I prove that's what is happening with you?  No.  So outside of just lively debate, which is always appreciated (to a degree, as long as it is civil), can you explain why you're here?  Since I don't know the answer, you can tell me.  I'm always curious about that with theists. 

I can tell you that as I've gotten older, I rarely, if ever, bring up my atheism in conversations with theists.  It's only when there's an insistence that they're right when I'll jump in, calmly, and start asking questions.  So for that reason, I make it a point never to go to theist threads.  I just don't get anything out of it.  Hopefully that doesn't sound accusatory; it's not meant to be.  It's just not my style.  I'm just curious why you came to the site - are you saying you didn't have any control over it?  Were you guided here by a force?  I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from here.

I think for me, the reason I'm here is to find like-minded atheists, and form a sort of community, even if it's online.  It's important for us atheists to remember that theists didn't corner the market on gatherings of communities.  We can do this too; I'm lucky that I live in a state like Maryland where there are more like-minded unbelievers.  Yet, I recognize that people like Matt Dillahunty and Seth Andrews rose to prominence because they were more invested in breaking free from religion, being from Texas and Oklahoma, respectively.  In their towns, being atheist meant potentially being shunned by the community.

So for us atheists, this is a nice forum to reach out to each other and show that we aren't alone.  I don't have the reason why you're here - what is it?  Are there a few reasons? 

Offline wheels5894

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #368 on: March 20, 2017, 12:04:38 PM »
Biblestudent,

It is no so much what we believe but what has been found about about our universe. We are far from knowing everything there is - heck we can even unite all the forces of nature together yet. So what we know consists of a partial understanding of the universe and what is in it - including ourselves, of course.

Now it is true that things might be completely deterministic (though quantum mechanics doesn't think so) and the Double Predestination of Calvinism certainly thinks so. Yet we really don't know..After all, we could be characters inside a simulation and we couldn't tell. So we are forced to live in a world when we have very partial knowledge of what the basis on the world is.

Now, one thing that religion is really good at is providing simple solutions whether by providing gods who look out for us or prepare a place in heaven for us or even why the world seems to evil. Yet most of us know that even in our daily lives, with the connections we have with all sorts of people and places, are always complicated and never simple. Which is precisely why one needs to  stop and check if simple solutions are really that simple or even good explanations for what we observe.

What keeps those of us here who are atheists going is asking questions and looking for answers for all these hard questions/ It is quite possible that we will never know how the universe came about, certainly the older members like me, yet it could be that the whole universe came about through natural causes and that the only purpose we can have in our lives is that or making our own purpose. Again there might be some gods out there though somehow they have left us along for a very long time. Jesus was the last claimant of being a god (though he only hinted at this). Some say that Jesus will descend from the clouds in a second coming and, if this happens, people will know that Christianity was true all along, though based on the bible texts Jesus is quite late arriving.

Really, though, I would be delighted if there were some real evidence of a god. After 4 years of study of the the bible in original languages and associated courses for my degree, I concluded that the bible was a very flawed book and unlikely to be the work of a divine being and became an atheist. Really, though, many here would love to know there was a god there... if there was one that left evidence....

Canb you help us, Biblestudent?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #369 on: March 20, 2017, 12:28:13 PM »
Biblestudent,

It is no so much what we believe but what has been found about about our universe. We are far from knowing everything there is - heck we can even unite all the forces of nature together yet. So what we know consists of a partial understanding of the universe and what is in it - including ourselves, of course.

Now it is true that things might be completely deterministic (though quantum mechanics doesn't think so) and the Double Predestination of Calvinism certainly thinks so. Yet we really don't know..After all, we could be characters inside a simulation and we couldn't tell. So we are forced to live in a world when we have very partial knowledge of what the basis on the world is.

Now, one thing that religion is really good at is providing simple solutions whether by providing gods who look out for us or prepare a place in heaven for us or even why the world seems to evil. Yet most of us know that even in our daily lives, with the connections we have with all sorts of people and places, are always complicated and never simple. Which is precisely why one needs to  stop and check if simple solutions are really that simple or even good explanations for what we observe.

What keeps those of us here who are atheists going is asking questions and looking for answers for all these hard questions/ It is quite possible that we will never know how the universe came about, certainly the older members like me, yet it could be that the whole universe came about through natural causes and that the only purpose we can have in our lives is that or making our own purpose. Again there might be some gods out there though somehow they have left us along for a very long time. Jesus was the last claimant of being a god (though he only hinted at this). Some say that Jesus will descend from the clouds in a second coming and, if this happens, people will know that Christianity was true all along, though based on the bible texts Jesus is quite late arriving.

Really, though, I would be delighted if there were some real evidence of a god. After 4 years of study of the the bible in original languages and associated courses for my degree, I concluded that the bible was a very flawed book and unlikely to be the work of a divine being and became an atheist. Really, though, many here would love to know there was a god there... if there was one that left evidence....

Canb you help us, Biblestudent?

Thanks for chiming in wheels.  I do agree that people need to have answers - they're extremely uncomfortable with not having security about our place in the universe.  And, of course, as late as the 1600s, earth had to be considered the centerpiece of the universe.  So we needed answers, and we needed to know that we were the most important species in the entire universe.  It all begins and ends with us.  We are dreamers, and since we have the ability to dream big, why not do it? 

You also touch upon a part of religion that was a big struggle for me, even as a believer.  Religion sees everything as black and white - there is no gray.  You are either in paradise or hell for eternity.  You're either with Jesus or against him (in Matthew 10:34).  There's no middle ground - and you must convert others according to the Great Commission.  So I guess a part of me always saw it as divisive, which others see here too when it comes to treatment of women, unbelievers, gays, other tribes, and so on.  I guess Jesus didn't think much of the Canannites either, but thought highest of the Jews, at least that is what Matthew 15:21-28 seems to indicate. 

Offline wheels5894

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #370 on: March 20, 2017, 12:52:27 PM »
The thing is that it is one thing needing answers to all sorts of things and it is quite another to have a complete and accurate answer. Many people have to live without ever learning why a family member died. It is possible to live without knowing everything, though scientists view this as a challenge and it motivates them.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #371 on: March 20, 2017, 01:23:07 PM »
Biblestudent,

It is no so much what we believe but what has been found about about our universe. We are far from knowing everything there is - heck we can even unite all the forces of nature together yet. So what we know consists of a partial understanding of the universe and what is in it - including ourselves, of course.

Now it is true that things might be completely deterministic (though quantum mechanics doesn't think so) and the Double Predestination of Calvinism certainly thinks so. Yet we really don't know..After all, we could be characters inside a simulation and we couldn't tell. So we are forced to live in a world when we have very partial knowledge of what the basis on the world is.

Now, one thing that religion is really good at is providing simple solutions whether by providing gods who look out for us or prepare a place in heaven for us or even why the world seems to evil. Yet most of us know that even in our daily lives, with the connections we have with all sorts of people and places, are always complicated and never simple. Which is precisely why one needs to  stop and check if simple solutions are really that simple or even good explanations for what we observe.

What keeps those of us here who are atheists going is asking questions and looking for answers for all these hard questions/ It is quite possible that we will never know how the universe came about, certainly the older members like me, yet it could be that the whole universe came about through natural causes and that the only purpose we can have in our lives is that or making our own purpose. Again there might be some gods out there though somehow they have left us along for a very long time. Jesus was the last claimant of being a god (though he only hinted at this). Some say that Jesus will descend from the clouds in a second coming and, if this happens, people will know that Christianity was true all along, though based on the bible texts Jesus is quite late arriving.

Really, though, I would be delighted if there were some real evidence of a god. After 4 years of study of the the bible in original languages and associated courses for my degree, I concluded that the bible was a very flawed book and unlikely to be the work of a divine being and became an atheist. Really, though, many here would love to know there was a god there... if there was one that left evidence....

Canb you help us, Biblestudent?

I do appreciate your posts. You seem very sincere and genuine and open-minded and I never feel as though you are insulting me. You seem to be the type of person I could sit down and spend hours conversing with.

To answer the question you asked at the end of your post:

I have read many accounts of people who have abandoned atheism in favor of Christianity and in just about every case, the trigger was a realization that atheism was irrational. Perhaps the most astute of these was an atheist for 40 years. When he began analyzing and applying the axioms that we use to produce the logic and rationale we rely on, he formed a rational belief in God. He is very learned and I have read his material extensively. It is enlightening to see the extent of poor logic and rationalization that goes into maintaining a materialistic, atheistic position. The point to this being that until you give yourself a fair chance at considering whether what you believe about reality can be better explained by a deity, it is unlikely you will ever see the evidence you are looking for. It may not lead you out of atheism and even if it did, it may not lead you directly to the God of the Bible, but it may help you understand why a deity makes more sense than believing otherwise. And don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that all of the answers about life and death are answered by Christianity or any other theistic belief. They aren’t. There are several things I do not understand or am capable of explaining.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #372 on: March 20, 2017, 01:34:45 PM »
I don't have the reason why you're here - what is it?  Are there a few reasons?

It started out as curiosity. I then realized it was beneficial to participate as it forced me to challenge my own beliefs. I have learned much from participating here. There are certain topics that I favor but I often do nothing more than sit in the bleachers during other conversations and observe the arguments being made.

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #373 on: March 20, 2017, 01:50:14 PM »
I have read many accounts of people who have abandoned atheism in favor of Christianity and in just about every case, the trigger was a realization that atheism was irrational.

Does it explain in the accounts how the people determined that selecting Christianity over all other religions was rational?  Did these people read through most of the texts of the major religions and decide after that the answer must be Christianity?  When I talk to Christians, they can't see a world that would be formed by natural causes, so they say "how did it all start?"  But it still doesn't get us to Christianity, so I'm wondering how they got there over all other religions that preceded it?

« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 01:52:16 PM by YouCantHandleTheTruth »

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #374 on: March 20, 2017, 01:51:20 PM »
I don't have the reason why you're here - what is it?  Are there a few reasons?

It started out as curiosity. I then realized it was beneficial to participate as it forced me to challenge my own beliefs. I have learned much from participating here. There are certain topics that I favor but I often do nothing more than sit in the bleachers during other conversations and observe the arguments being made.

I'd say that's a healthy approach.  It's great that you're willing to challenge your own beliefs.  Many just can't do that.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #375 on: March 20, 2017, 02:03:26 PM »
I have read many accounts of people who have abandoned atheism in favor of Christianity and in just about every case, the trigger was a realization that atheism was irrational.

Does it explain in the accounts how the people determined that selecting Christianity over all other religions was rational?  Did these people read through most of the texts of the major religions and decide after that the answer must be Christianity?  When I talk to Christians, they can't see a world that would be formed by natural causes, so they say "how did it all start?"  But it still doesn't get us to Christianity, so I'm wondering how they got there over all other religions that preceded it?

If there was an explanation as to why someone chose Christianity, I do not recall. I do believe I read somewhere recently that C.S. Lewis abandoned atheism but did not immediately embrace Christianity. So, I suppose that is a part of the process which could lead to just about any theistic belief. Seems some folks find something inherently wrong and disturbing in their beliefs and change direction looking for what does satisfy their need for a more rational explanation.

I don't have the reason why you're here - what is it?  Are there a few reasons?

It started out as curiosity. I then realized it was beneficial to participate as it forced me to challenge my own beliefs. I have learned much from participating here. There are certain topics that I favor but I often do nothing more than sit in the bleachers during other conversations and observe the arguments being made.

I'd say that's a healthy approach.  It's great that you're willing to challenge your own beliefs.  Many just can't do that.

The problem I run into here sometimes is that some do not believe I am actually doing that. Truth is, I have departed from here on many occasions feeling as though I had encountered a challenge that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. I fully realize that I am literally wasting my time if I do not read and consider what others are saying.

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A question for theists
« Reply #376 on: March 20, 2017, 02:19:17 PM »
If there was an explanation as to why someone chose Christianity, I do not recall. I do believe I read somewhere recently that C.S. Lewis abandoned atheism but did not immediately embrace Christianity. So, I suppose that is a part of the process which could lead to just about any theistic belief. Seems some folks find something inherently wrong and disturbing in their beliefs and change direction looking for what does satisfy their need for a more rational explanation.

Yeah I think that's why there are so many versions of Christianity.  I went to my nephew's school's basketball tournament in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago.  He goes to Saint Mary's in California, and they're in the West Coast Conference.  It's a conference which includes a lot of religious schools, such as Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, and BYU.  It's funny that a Christian conference would hold their basketball tournament in Sin City.  But that's another example of bending the rules in favor of a God you want to believe in.  I'm not sure if that's what you were talking about, but that definitely rubs a lot of atheists the wrong way.  The funny thing is, they didn't play any games on Sunday - why?  You're in Las Vegas - go ahead and play on Sunday!

The problem I run into here sometimes is that some do not believe I am actually doing that. Truth is, I have departed from here on many occasions feeling as though I had encountered a challenge that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. I fully realize that I am literally wasting my time if I do not read and consider what others are saying.

I take you at your word.  It can't be easy challenging your beliefs, especially if you've held them since you were very young.