I just had to send you some sort of comment after reading your site. First off, since the question your probably asking yourself (though if you aren’t already thinking about it, then I’m amazed at your moral fiber) is am I an angry Christian sending you hate mail, an atheist, or someone else? I’m going to tell you at the end, so please, don’t peek. Now, I’ll speak from an ‘agnostic’ or analytical viewpoint so as to keep everything more…fair.
One of the excellent conceptions that I think you have is that religion is NOT evil, people are…when they hurt others.
One problem with the site is-there are so many conversations that go on forever and are redundant of other conversations and in giant, hard-to-read, text blocks.
Now to the real questions…
Does god exist? From an unbiased (or as unbiased as I can be) viewpoint, god is simply an idea that embodies one of three things. 1-The omnipotent creator of everything. Problem-No solid evidence. If god really exists then why doesn’t he just openly talk to everyone? It would make more people realize that goodness is the correct path, and as children basically believe the first thing they’re told, if god taught them goodness, the world would be better. 2-The incarnation of the human fear of death. Problem-There are too many explanations that ‘alleviate’ this fear to believe one is correct, at least logically. 3-An imaginary being of ‘ultimate good’ used to teach the world to be more moral. Problem-Drop the fakeness. People who think they’re being deceived get angry. Then teach the morals without the lies.
If god does exist, will he (or she, it, or they) condemn every non-believer to hell? From an analytical viewpoint, no. In fact, a being of infinite goodness is incapable of rage or dislike/hatred. Especially the omniscient type. God would understand everyone’s actions and why each individual believed that these choices were all right. God would forgive a man who hated him and always did, if God has infinite goodness, God cannot possibly hate Satan, because he understands and forgives him.
At this point I’ve realized that trying to hide my obvious atheism is impossible for someone so well educated and experienced in the subject. Yes, I’m an atheist. Also, if you did cheat and look at the bottom to see my religion (or lack of), the answer wasn’t there.
Can someone be truly sure that god does not exist? No…of course not, you can’t say that something can’t possibly exist without being…oh, say…omniscient. Which is why science and scientists say that you can’t ever disprove something (and yes, they do) although they do say you can PROVE things. The point I’m making here is that I don’t believe anyone can be correct about ‘knowing’ there is no god because there’s no evidence to prove that he isn’t real. There is a distinct LACK OF EVIDENCE. Yeah, there’s some there, for example the millions of people who believe he is real. That’s sort of evidence, now they could be wrong, but they are there. And a religion is much more likely to be (partially) right if it has followers.
If I don’t believe God cannot exist, I believe he probably doesn’t, am I agnostic? No. Of course not. And anyone who disagrees with that statement, please, consider this… Is the world flat or round? You’ll probably say round, I hope. But, if you haven’t been in space and actually seen the round world then you’re sort of ‘agnostic’ about the world being round. Though if you have been in space, what if the roundness thing was a trick of the light? Eh? Oh by the way, by roundness i mean spherical. A flat circle would be round, technically. And to everyone saying that “Science proves the world is round!” What if A.They’re wrong (it’s happened before, ex.the atomic model) or B.Making it up as a conspiracy. Yes, B is unlikely. But there is a minute chance it’s true, so thus, you are agnostic about the spherical nature of the world, and agnostic about gravity, among many other things. If that’s your definition of agnosticism then yes, all atheists are ignorant, and as happy as me suggesting that makes them, most ‘atheists’ are agnostic by that standard. I believe atheism is the belief that the existence of god is, beyond reasonable doubt, false.
Agnostics are like a hung jury, or one that says the defendant is not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, yet probably guilty.
Atheists are like a jury with a guilty verdict, they can’t be 100% sure the defendant is guilty, but it’s beyond reasonable doubt.
I could ramble on for hours, but it’s late, and I have a movie to shoot with my friends and a party tomorrow. So I’ll finish by saying I greatly admire you for many reasons, and wish that you would contact me via email so we may discuss this further.
You’re right about the difficulty with following conversations on this blog and with redundancy. Much of the former is born from my need for an easy-to-maintain format, and I’ve put together an important conversations area to preserve some of the more difficult-to-follow threads.
Redundancy is going to come up because, to be frank, you tend to hear the same things over and over in this business. I don’t want to turn someone away or not reply just because “I’ve heard that before.”
Now to your real questions:
You ask why God wouldn’t just talk to everyone, and argue that God would not condemn every non-believer. Both of these rely on an understanding of God’s motivations, the nature of infinite goodness, and other really difficult subjects. They are not as cut and dried as they might appear on the surface. For example, you mention that God would understand why people did the things they did, but some religions (e.g., Protestantism) believe that such reasons/excuses for sin are as meaningless to God as acts of charity in terms of salvation. You also seem to be assuming that God would send only those He hates to hell, and I don’t know that any Christian religion teaches this.
A little clarification is necessary when you say (rather firmly) that scientists say that you can’t ever disprove something. Although I understand your point, the fact is that scientists disprove things — theories, for example — all the time. It’s part of science. In fact, it might be more correct to say that science says you can never prove things, which is why evolution is still called a theory even though it’s one of the best supported theories in science.
You say that a religion is much more likely to be right (at least in part) if it has follows. I would disagree. Truth, at least in this case, is completely disjoint from its popularity.
I also am not a fan of the term agnostic, and many people who use it use it incorrectly. You can be an agnostic atheist, for example.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (And, by the way, the earth isn’t a sphere. Just thought I’d mention it <G>.)