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Here's where you say that belief in no God gives you more utility than belief in God.  That's a lie. 

Here's something to think about: animals don't have religion, but they still have lots of violence?

Praying to Yahweh for a thousand years did not provide much utility. In the modern world people have made progress because they have realised that they have to do things for themselves. Would you rather be sitting at a computer or in a mud hut in the Dark Ages?

Here's something to think about: animals don't have religion, but they are less violent than humans.

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Forum Questions & Suggestions / Re: having a problem posting
« Last post by Nam on Today at 04:40:14 AM »
There are a whole bunch of other topics on this. Look before posting a new topic.

-Nam
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MailBag / Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Last post by Nam on Today at 04:34:45 AM »
Can't these people come up with anything but Pascal's Wager?

-Nam
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tl;dr version of DH's most recent post - Pascal's Wager.

I just read through most of your stuff and the main thing that I got out of it was that you are all spending an inordinate amount of time passionately and vehemently defending your position of disbelief in God.  You talk about the Christian wasting his or her time in "worship."  Well the same can be said of the time you spend arguing on a blog about a God that you don't even believe in.  I get that you get a satisfaction out of proving your points.  I do too, but I also get satisfaction out of worship, which I don't count as a loss.  Also, I not only get satisfaction out of arguing these things, I believe that I am working toward filling a role that God has laid out for me, which gives me even more satisfaction.  Even if it turns out God does not exist, I will never find that out because I will be dead.
You think that atheists write arguments because they get satisfaction out of it?  Sorry to burst your bubble, but in my personal experience, there isn't much 'satisfaction' in constantly arguing with people who earnestly believe they are correct, to the point where they don't even really pay attention to arguments which contradict their beliefs.  Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to do that, even if most of them don't listen, because some do.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
Here's the base fact.  You, if you believe that there is no God or afterlife, will never find out you are right.  You might find out you are wrong, but, if you are right, it wont matter because you will cease to exist upon death.  You will search and search and search for truth, only to, one day, have it all taken away from you upon death.
Your "base fact" is a thinly-disguised opening to Pascal's Wager.

Simply by interacting with other people, I have already ensured that at least part of my existence will continue to matter, even if I, personally, am not aware of it.  I am changed by other people, and they are changed by me.  Things I have learned will be carried on by them.  Therefore, it does matter, and is not all for nothing.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
The truth that you are trying to advocate for, that is, that there is no God or afterlife, is a worthless truth.  It gives you no real utility to believe it (belief in anything else will give you the same potential utility) and not only does is not give you any utility if you end up being correct, but it's truth actually precludes you from ever discovering that you were in fact correct.  It is a useless belief that does nothing for you or anyone else.
Still following the script for Pascal's Wager, I see - not believing is worthless because you won't know it if you're right.

A truth may be unpalatable, but that does not make it useless.  For example, if a person believes that once they die, that's it, they will value their life far more.  They will have an incentive to encourage other people to value their life and to see worth in the lives of others.  That hardly "does nothing for you or anyone else".

Quote from: Dante Harnz
Here's where you say that belief in no God gives you more utility than belief in God.  That's a lie.  You could easily have more utility believing in God if you chose to enjoy that belief (on the same note, I could easily have more utility not believing in God, if I chose to enjoy that belief).  You might also argue that religion messes up the world, while atheism heals it.  That is a lie too.  It is not religion that screws everything up, it is people in power positions.  You take religion out of the picture, you are still going to have a ton of war, genocide, and animosity throughout the world.  You think that religion is the cause of violence in the world?  Here's something to think about: animals don't have religion, but they still have lots of violence?
The enjoyment or satisfaction one gets out of a belief has no relevance whatsoever to how accurate or true it is, and therefore, is not a good criteria for evaluating whether it actually is true. 

As far as the world goes, yes, animals are quite violent, and there certainly would have been tremendous strife and hardship if no religious belief had ever been invented.  But this has no relevance to whether God exists or not.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
Here's my advice.  You are fighting for nothing.  Either recognize that fact and stop fighting, or decide to believe in something.  If you got your way, what would be different?  People would stop talking about God?  Stop putting their beliefs into politics?  Stop voting based on their religion?  Without religion, people will find other annoying things to talk about, they will still put their beliefs into politics and they will still vote based on their belief-set.
Sorry, but you are incorrect; atheists are not fighting for nothing.  The idea is to get away from the idea that it is somehow acceptable to act based on whether an imaginary being approves or not.  That is not 'nothing'.  It's true that some people would still do that anyway, but when it isn't considered beneficial (never mind acceptable), they have a reduced chance to mess things up for other people.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
You have nothing to win and everything to lose.
I see we're back to Pascal's Wager again.

Let me ask you a question.  Assuming that gods exist, what makes you think that your god does?  If your god does not exist, then what does it matter if you were satisfied by your religious beliefs?  If the promise of heaven that you believe in turns out to be false, what good will your satisfaction have done you?

Quote from: Dante Harnz
Also, convert to Christianity.  Fight for something that, if you are victorious, you actually have something to show for it.
Most of the people who regularly participate on this website were Christians.  They now fight to rescue other Christians from the confining delusions of that belief system, which is more than worthwhile in their books.
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I see that some atheists would disagree with an atheist who said that.

Glad you acknowledge it.

But, I bet there are some on this board who would agree with what the atheist said.

As Fiji said, what atheist?  The imaginary one?  And I note that now you're so sure that you're betting.  How much money would you be willing to bet?

They then can not get mad at this woman, who simply stated her beliefs.

So if an atheist did what she did to a Christian student, you'd be okay with that atheist "simply stating his/her beliefs"?[1]  Really and truly?
 1. This would actually be pretty hard for an atheist to do, since atheism contains no metaphysical threats to convey to a student.  No hell to threaten with, etc.
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Evolution & Creationism / Re: how can a scientist be a creationist?
« Last post by Azdgari on Today at 03:39:56 AM »
correct.  so then, why is it that some posters on this thread find it difficult to understand how a evolutionary biologist could believe in a creator...?

Where do they do that?
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So, you posted what you did, and a bunch of people responded, and now you're deriding them for taking the time and effort to respond to you.

Why should anyone take anything you say seriously, if you aren't even going to respond to the content of their critiques?  Don't pretend to respond; either actually respond, or stfu.

As it stands, the arguments brought against your original post stand unchallenged.  It is fair for readers to conclude that you have conceded those arguments.
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I do not believe anything would exist, though. I am not even sure if empty space would exist. There probably wouldn't even be empty space.

To re-word the question such that you would be willing to contemplate it, then:

What would the world look like if a god had created the universe billions of years ago, and then allowed it to evolve on its own according to natural processes[1]?
 1. If it helps to assume that the god also determined the manner in which those natural processes would behave, then go ahead and assume that.
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Biblical Contradictions / Re: Hey, Christians! Explain 1 John 5:7!
« Last post by jaimehlers on Today at 03:26:02 AM »
The statement in the Old Testament about "making man in our image" was because the story originally referred to the Elohim, a group of gods which were pretty much human in appearance.  Saying that it referred to Jesus pretty much comes across as a retcon, and not a particularly well-conceived one.  The only reason it got any traction is because the Christians wanted to believe their religious beliefs were an improvement on Judaism.

The same process happened when Islam was founded; Mohammed originally was trying to reform Christianity, and when he was rejected, he and his followers wanted their beliefs to be an improvement on Christianity.
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Hey everyone,

I just read through most of your stuff and the main thing that I got out of it was that you are all spending an inordinate amount of time passionately and vehemently defending your position of disbelief in God.  You talk about the Christian wasting his or her time in "worship."  Well the same can be said of the time you spend arguing on a blog about a God that you don't even believe in.  I get that you get a satisfaction out of proving your points.  I do too, but I also get satisfaction out of worship, which I don't count as a loss.  Also, I not only get satisfaction out of arguing these things, I believe that I am working toward filling a role that God has laid out for me, which gives me even more satisfaction.  Even if it turns out God does not exist, I will never find that out because I will be dead. 

Here's the base fact.  You, if you believe that there is no God or afterlife, will never find out you are right.  You might find out you are wrong, but, if you are right, it wont matter because you will cease to exist upon death.  You will search and search and search for truth, only to, one day, have it all taken away from you upon death. 

The truth that you are trying to advocate for, that is, that there is no God or afterlife, is a worthless truth.  It gives you no real utility to believe it (belief in anything else will give you the same potential utility) and not only does is not give you any utility if you end up being correct, but it's truth actually precludes you from ever discovering that you were in fact correct.  It is a useless belief that does nothing for you or anyone else. 

Here's where you say that belief in no God gives you more utility than belief in God.  That's a lie.  You could easily have more utility believing in God if you chose to enjoy that belief (on the same note, I could easily have more utility not believing in God, if I chose to enjoy that belief).  You might also argue that religion messes up the world, while atheism heals it.  That is a lie too.  It is not religion that screws everything up, it is people in power positions.  You take religion out of the picture, you are still going to have a ton of war, genocide, and animosity throughout the world.  You think that religion is the cause of violence in the world?  Here's something to think about: animals don't have religion, but they still have lots of violence?

Here's my advice.  You are fighting for nothing.  Either recognize that fact and stop fighting, or decide to believe in something.  If you got your way, what would be different?  People would stop talking about God?  Stop putting their beliefs into politics?  Stop voting based on their religion?  Without religion, people will find other annoying things to talk about, they will still put their beliefs into politics and they will still vote based on their belief-set.

You have nothing to win and everything to lose.

Also, convert to Christianity.  Fight for something that, if you are victorious, you actually have something to show for it.
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