Faith in atheism

This one took a while. After you respond we might have to think of taking one topic at a time to save time and energy. I would suggest on taking care of truth before we can move on.

I understand that you don’t believe in God making you atheist but before you said that you weren’t convinced of his existence now i’m becoming a bit confused. From my understanding not being convinced puts you on the fence not on the other side. Also being atheist doesn’t mean that your against religion but, in my opinion, that you have your on, particularly one without God. There would be a disticnt difference between being atheist and anti-theist, don’t you agree?

The giants, i suppose it is possible that they could be a hoax none the less i believe them to still be possible. Is that not the reason you went and checked, becasue you had a suspicion of truth. I believe this again show’s that “The default position is a willingness to know.” I myself have checked many sites on this and it sounds sort of inconsistent and controversial. Last i checked i thought national geographic was doing a special. but that was a while ago. I also believe India was was another location were they found some. Look on google images.

Well you got me stummped on your uncle. I don’t think that a possiblility can become an impossiblity. To quote Chesterton “i believe in bodily miracles but not in mental imposibilities”. I suppose the answer you might be looking for is that i would want to get up and meet your uncle, and i would i would travel many a mile to see such a tall man to see this miracle. But to tell you the truth i don’t think i’d believe it until i saw it. Still i don’t believe you can treat religion this way of physical proof. I beleive the one of the many purposes of God coming to this earth was to show us what a perfect man looks like (not physicly). By doing so He proved a point, that people because they are far to into themselves will not recognize what is Great becasue they don’t want to believe that something so Great would come to town riding a donkey. You say again that your are looking for truth but how can you look for something that you have yet to define? You’ll have no clue w hat your looking for. I’ve put my propostion of what truth is on the table, it’s your turn.

“In short, I don’t think it’s foolish to believe in miracles, but I think its foolish to either have a very low threshold of proof for miracles” What is a miracle. “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” Now do you think it is foolish or were you mistaken.

If your are saying that Jesus was enhanced by folklore my response would be that Alexander the Great wasn’t really all that great. He really didn’t conquerer anything at all, actually. Many people believe that this man conquered the all of the known world and say it because it is well documented history and have faith in it. How can we accept that Alexander conquered the world and say that Jesus is folklore. Jesus came after Alexander but i’m suppose to beleive that Alexanders history was better documented. Our years are even based on the time of His birth. Do you refuse to read a calender becasue you refuse to believe his birth.

“If everything that is in motion was put in motion, then before it was put in motion it must have been not moving, right?” I believe this to be some what correct but this is different than,“that everything that moves was moved by a mover(by what mover the unmoved mover?). This statement assumes that everything that currently is moving was at one time not moving.” “You say that Aquinas’ argument is not that everything that moves was at one time not moving” what about the unmoved mover???

Chesterton’s “who lit it” is a response to an agnostic evolutionary biologist whom claims that God is an explanation of the past because we have science therefore we have no need for religion. So i believe that the “big bang” is suppose to replace God. “how was the earth created, through the big bang.” But how can one unexplainable thing replace another. “assumes that before the big bang there was nothing natural that could serve as the big bang’s cause.” Is this assuming that the big bang is real and natural. The big bang theory is harder to prove than God.

“you are using the word “God” to mean “anything I can’t explain.” This i don’t agree with because i say principles could be God’s will. Again another possiblity of course i can not give you “scientific” proof that he exist. That is why i thought were discussing the philosophical perspective and meaning behind our thoughts. How big of a role does science play in your belief system?

An apple falling can be throroughly investigated by science just as i suppose the big bang theory and God can. Just because a thing can be investigated doesn’t mean that it is natural. I don’t think apples falling can be considered all that natural in this sense because the investigation has yet to come up with a naturalistic explanation. Here though i believe we must be careful not to take science out of its orignal purpose. And what exactly are you measuring “useful” by??? If we could know anything about our origins, morals, and well being i would consider that useful. I’m sorry but a preferred reason based on simplicity doesn’t sound so apealling to me. So for the moment Occams razor is to dull to cut through my thick skull.

Naked women runnig in public uhmmm? Well that i don’t agree with. I believe in some instances it is perfectly fine for a woman to be naked and in others not so fine. Is that safe to say?

This is the type of Paradox i was trying to refer to, “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.” This is niether ambigous or contradictory. By “rigorously described” do you mean for example in parables.

Just because some people claim to be Christian does’t mean they are.(ex George Bush)The simplicity of Christianity is well I suppose that thou shalt not kill. If you are not smart engough to understand any situation that might involve killing just don’t do it. The complexity comes when one can be educated engough to find out the situation they are in and the reasons they should kill. For this question, “would it be murder for me to kill a police officer who was about to shoot my son to prevent my son from blowing up a bus?” I simply say no this is not murder due to the fact that you are in the state of ignorance but this might be considered man slaughter. Man slaughter because you might have rushed in without thinking and shot the cop on instinct.

This might sound strange but i actually don’t claim to know more “biblical morality” than you. I have yet to read the old testament and am not exactly what you could call a scholar on the Bible. I assume that the only time it would be permissible to kill a baby would be when we found out it was the anti-christ. And if i’m not mistaken he shall be born of a beast so it can’t be to hard to tell which one needs to go.

Yeah, i apologize, i think i might have gotten a little carried away with my paradoxes. If i could take it back i would but i can’t so let me add something to this statement

“Could morality be completely subjective and objective? No — those are contradictory states. I would say that morality has both subjective and objective elements.”

…i can only add that your right.

So help me on this one “the immorality of this world converted me to morality” is this not a paradox becasue it is ironic or is it just not a paradox.

Not being convinced of God’s existence doesn’t put me on the fence about God any more than not being convinced of the existence of gnomes puts me on the fence about gnomes. I see no reason to believe that either exists, and I think the possibility that one or both of them exists is so remote that I don’t let it impact my life.

You are right that being an atheist does not imply that one is against religion, but I would say that I do not have a religion. I agree that there is a difference between an atheist and an anti-theist, although the terms are not mutually exclusive and an anti-theist may not be an atheist.

I went and checked on the “giant” photo because it sounded to me like you were describing something I knew to be a hoax and wanted to confirm that I was right. I never suspected that there really might have been a discovery of giants, but I did suspect that there might have been another hoax or misidentification that I hadn’t heard about. I searched Google images as you suggested, and the only photo of giant fossils I found was the hoax I am referring to. I did find a reference to giants being unearthed in India, but again it used the same hoax photo we discussed. Since the unretouched original that was used to make the hoax are available to view online, I see no controversy here.

I agree with you that a possibility cannot truly become an impossibility just by being highly unlikely. However, I would say that something can be so unlikely that it should be treated as nonexistent. We do this all the time, and if we didn’t life would be impossible. To take a religious example, I’m sure we’d both agree that there is a chance that the Greek gods exist and are the only divine beings. I think that the odds of this being the case are so small that I shouldn’t even consider the possibility. Do you do anything different in your life because the Greek gods might exist?

Turning to truth, you said that truth is “It is an idea, concept, or thought that is eternal.” This seems a rather narrow definition, because it means that statements like “my husband has blue eyes” or “this is the tallest building in the world” cannot be labeled true (since they are not necessarily eternal). It also specifies that truth is eternal without specifying that it is unchanging — one might argue that the concept “good” is eternal but that what qualifies as good changes over time.

As an aside, you say that I haven’t defined truth, but in a previous conversation I said “I would say that something is true if it agrees with reality.” I propose this as a definition of truth.

You defined miracles as supernatural events and then asked if I thought that people who believed in them are foolish. I accept your definition but assert that it is not automatically foolish to believe in miracles. I should also point out that I think one can be wrong without being foolish.

I understand your example of Alexander the Great. You ask why I believe what is told about Alexander the Great and not what is told about Jesus. I don’t know much about Alexander the Great, but my threshold of skepticism for his deeds is lower than my threshold of skepticism for Jesus’ deeds because Alexander’s deeds likely don’t violate any known laws of physics. If an ancient document said that Alexander the Great could raise the dead, I wouldn’t accept that at face value (and I’m assuming you wouldn’t, either). You imply that stories about Jesus might be more credible because they are more recent. By this same reasoning, do you give more credence to tales about Mohammed, Joseph Smith, and Uri Geller than you do to tales about Jesus?

Aquinas: you quote me saying that Aquinas assumes that everything that currently is moving was at one time not moving but then ask about the unmoved mover. The unmoved mover is the conclusion if his argument, and I am criticizing the premises that lead to that conclusion. If the unmoved mover is both the conclusion and implicit in a premise, then the argument is circular, so I assume this is not what Aquinas intended.

The big bang: the assumption that nothing natural could have caused the big bang is false (there are several theories). Big bang theory is not harder to prove than God because there is physical evidence for it.

Science: we are indeed discussing philosophical perspective and meaning. When I said that supposing that gravity could be God’s will was like using God to mean “anything I can’t explain,” I thought that you were saying that our lack of understanding of exactly how gravity works left open the possibility that gravity could be an expression of God’s will. If instead you are saying that science is true but that gravity could also be an expression of God’s will, then I would say that this is an arbitrary distinction unless you have a philosophical argument for its truth. Similarly, I could say that gravity only works because people subconsciously expect it to work — that’s an untestable, unjustified statement and does not lead to any kind of philosophical progress (so far as I can see).

How big a role does science play in my belief system? Science plays no role in my philosophical beliefs. It is, however, the most reliable system I know of for obtaining knowledge about the physical world.

You say that a falling apple, the big bang, and god can be investigated by science. This is not the case. The concept of God is outside of science’s realm, because the properties of deities are not testable hypotheses. There are very detailed naturalistic explanations for how gravity works, so I don’t see how you can argue that apples falling are not natural. And even if there were no known naturalistic explanations, I’d say that the significant possibility of there being an unknown naturalistic explanation is enough to qualify this as part of nature.

You ask what I mean when I use the word “useful.” To me, something is useful if it can be applied to increase knowledge or draw valid conclusions. The statement “gravity fairies exist” is not useful because it gets us nowhere — it doesn’t increase knowledge since we can’t demonstrate that it is true, and it can’t be used to draw valid conclusions. I agree that knowing about our origins, morals, and well being is useful, but making up unjustified stories about these things is not useful (for example, Scientology has many stories about these subjects and I don’t find them useful).

I am very surprised that you are set against Occam’s razor. Without this concept, how do you propose we make decisions between competing theories? For example, if moments after hearing a crash you find your child standing next to a broken lamp holding a hammer and claiming that a gorilla just ran through, how do you decide whether to blame your child or the gorilla?

Naked women: Sure it’s safe to say that there are times when it is appropriate for a woman to be naked and times when it is not. What is isn’t safe to say is that there is a universal moral standard for when this is or is not okay.

In your discussion of “thou shalt not murder,” you seem to be equivocating between the legal and philosophical definitions of “murder” when you say that killing a police officer to stop him from shooting your terrorist son is not murder but manslaughter (and you seem to be implying that manslaughter is not against the Ten Commandments). I think you are assuming that the shooter does not know that his son is a terrorist, but if so then that is avoiding my question.

Sorry for assuming you knew more about Biblical morality than you do. It’s not a big deal, but thanks for setting me straight. When you read the old testament, I think you’ll find that it does permit killing of babies in some circumstances (in instances of justified genocide, for example — there’s even a psalm that mentions the glory of killing your enemy’s children). It’s things like this that highlight how ambiguous the 10 Commandments can be.

I accept your definition of paradox. The phrase “the immorality of this world converted me to morality” is not a paradox because there is no apparent contradiction. Immorality’s consequence being morality is unintended, and this makes the statement ironic.

If you’d like to narrow the scope of this conversation, I’m fine with that. If you choose not to respond to anything I’ve said in this post for the purposes of minimizing drift, I won’t take that as a sign that you are unable or unwilling to respond.

Posted on March 7, 2009 at 11:24 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: About atheism, Bible, Discussion, Morality

Leave a Reply