[Replying to William
Ok, theists, listen up !!
Here is a STERLING example of a theist asking an atheist challenging questions !!
Bravo, William !![/center]
Ummm...I don't think I have ever claimed to be a 'theist' Blastcat. I simply have questions to ask and since you put it out there that you - as an atheist - would like to be questioned, I took the opportunity to do so.
Do you think I am a theist?
How do you know this is the case?
So it is for you. Other atheist believe this to be the other way around. That everyone naturally starts off from the default position of 'Atheist'.
Well, if you mean that babies don't have any god beliefs?
I guess that's true.
We all start off being agnostics and atheists, ignorant of rocket science and political theories.
And we start off with very little math.
But most people in the world are religious.. so most people start off with parents with a god belief of some sort... not all.. but most, I think.
I was raised in a very religious family.... and schools and neighborhoods... and friends, and so on... I was "expected" to believe.
Not sure if that is 'yes' or 'no'. Specifically I was speaking about babies in relation to being fully ignorant of anything...pre-learning anything from anyone.
Based on that I would have to conclude that you are the type of atheist who believes one has to be exposed to ideas of GOD(s) and then reject those, before you can declare yourself as an 'atheist.'
Not at all.
That's just how it happened to me.
So then yes
you are the type of atheist who believes one has to be exposed to ideas of GOD(s) and then reject those, before
you can declare yourself as an 'atheist.'
Do you agree?
I've met a few atheists who never believed at all... they were born into an atheist family. My kids, for example were brought up in a family where the idea of "God" was almost never mentioned. I was an atheist by the time they were born.
They asked me if I believed in God, and I said "No", and that was about all there was to that. Parents have a HUGE influence on their kids.
Sure they do. That is why I think Jesus said;
John 3:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
You Must Be Born Again
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, â€œRabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.â€�
3 Jesus answered him, â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.â€�
4 Nicodemus said to him, â€œHow can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?â€�
5 Jesus answered, â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, â€˜You must be born again.â€™
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.â€�
Obviously then you are the type of atheist who believes that;
any GOD existed
That GOD should easily be able to be scientifically verified. The existence of the GOD should be able to be shown to exist through scientifically verifiable evidence.
Well, science is the best we got to verify claims about our universe.
SO far, right?
Physical claims, for sure. Faith based claims, no.
What is your position on this?
Q: Am I correct about this position you presently retain?
Thanks for asking.
I think you are, yes.
If we can't say that something exists by way of science... we should hold off on believing it.
To be clear here, do you mean believing it as possible, or believing it in faith?
Can you clarify and give your reason for this please.
It appears that you rejst theism on account of any and all ideas of GOD, and in learning to 'think well' as you put it, meant that any ideas of GOD were classified as something which comes about through people who have not learned to 'think well.
Q: Would this be correct?
I can't speak for other people.
Good for I am not assuming your answers are anyone else's but your own. I acknowledge that you are not speaking for any other atheists, only for yourself.
But when VERY smart people end up conclusions that don't stand up to scrutiny, something is going on. It's just that for me, learning how to think has led me AWAY from religion, not closer.
Can you give an example of something which you see as "conclusions that don't stand up to scrutiny," in relation to any idea of GOD? (you choose which one you would like to make an example of here.)
I've since made my own secular kind of "religion" of one... It works for me.
I've never thought of promoting it for someone else, though.
I mention it from time to time in here because I think it's a fine example of how people can be creative. I have a creative kind of "religion".
Hey, it's a "way".
I am unclear as to what you are saying here.
Again, this doesn't seem to really fully answer my question so I will attempt to re-frame that question.
It's sometimes really difficult to be understood immediately.
Do you think this is the case with everyone and that we should all understand this in relation to how we each interact with others, by taking it into consideration?
But first, perhaps it would be better to find out from you whether your whole anti theist position is focused upon the rejection of any idea of GOD or does it also involve rejecting the bad things you might see coming through theism - through organised religions for example.
No, my anti-theism has to do with the whole idea of the god concept. My anti-religious attitude has to do with the harm that some religious practices cause or promote.
Are you saying then that your anti GOD position has nothing to do with good or evil perpetuated in the name of any idea of GOD?
Q: Do those bad things concern you and help support your particular type of atheist position, or is the focus solely on rejecting all ideas of GOD?
Atheism is only about the non belief in gods or goddesses.
Anti-religionism would be something else.
I think I have both, but they are different.
Well it is good that this has now been established.
Can you answer the question then?
Q: Do those bad things concern you and help support your particular type of atheist position, or is the focus solely on rejecting all ideas of GOD?
I think you are repeating the same question...
Anti-theism ( atheism ) isn't the same as anti-religionism
But you admit to 'having' both, so will you answer that question?
Q: As an atheist you hate that an idea of GOD can be used not only to promote peace but also to incite war?
I just think it's about time that we take a hard look at the benefits of religion.
Okay. It is always a good thing to approach such things intelligently as possible.
It's not a panacea, and it never has been.
Specific to the subject of the reality of warfare, do you think that a potential panacea exists?
Is so, where?
Q: Do you consider yourself an atheist in terms of the political branch of human society, or is atheism not applicable in the political arena?
I don't think that religion should have a place in politics. I'm for the separation of church and state... And yes, in a way, I have to be politicized because the CHRISTIANS are politicized.
So atheism is politically applicable 'because' theism shouldn't be?
What logical reason do you have for believing that theism should not be concerned or concern itself with politics?
In other countries, other religions want to muscle into politics. I think that a theocracy is a terrible thing. I'm for forms of democracies, instead.
You have said already that the majority of human beings are theists.
In regard to that, if it is fact - then do you think democracy should not be an option for anyone who is a theist to partake in?
What do you mean by "forms of democracies"
But these are political positions.. atheism is JUST about one issue.. the belief of gods or goddesses, right?
Yes obviously, but we are specifically speaking about the reality that there are many types of atheists.
Essentially I am asking "should atheists be involved with politics, if indeed theists should not be?"
Q: Does atheism have any part to play in politics?
Not at all in a perfect world, where religion has no part to play in politics.
In part you have answered some of the above questions but in doing so you have opened Pandora's box.
Do you feel like going there and having a look into it?
But alas, the world isn't perfect. We actually have to FIGHT to keep religion out of politics, not the other way around.
I think the verifiable evidence shows that this is a concern for theists as well, and a democratic one at that.
They too do not want atheism mingling with social law and order.
My personal 'ideally run world' would be that of a benevolent dictatorship', but dreams are free right? I acknowledge that this is wishful thinking but don't apologize for it.
In a perfect world, religion or the lack of it would never come up.
What do you mean by 'perfect world'?
Why do you assume that this world is not already perfect?
It appears that you are blaming the existence of theists and ultimately the idea of GOD for human beings not being 'perfect' (whatever you mean by that) and 'if only' people would stop beliving in any ideas of GOD, everything therefore WOULD be perfect.
Is this what you are saying?
If so, would you consider that to being a claim?
Q: Is there a branch of atheism where war is also promoted?
So atheism isn't about politics at all then?
Does this indicate that because politics is involved with warfare, (your taxes support that), that it would not be the case IF theism kept out of politics, that you would be forced to contribute to acts of war?
Do you think you are engaged in warfare with theists because you have no choice?
Do you have a better way in which would bring and end to warfare other than suggesting that theist stay out of politics?
The reason I am asking is because it appears to me that you think theists are controlling how you personally have to live your life, against your will, against what you would personally rather be doing and that they make the world less perfect than you may envision in your minds eye as to what you see as a perfect world.
Is that a fair commentary on your position Blastcat?
Q: What do you think the seeds of war are sown through?
Hate, greed, power, fear.
Or as I call it "Human Frailty".
Any idea how this might be fixed Other then 'get rid of theism from politics'?
For example, are people born to hate or do they learn to hate?
Some religious thinkers say that we are "sinners" from birth, and that humans are mostly evil if not controlled. I am skeptical of the claim.
I think we come from evil and are growing into the light, as a species.
From my experience, people have to learn how to hate.
But that's not an atheist position.. just my own.
Do you know if there is an 'atheist position' about that, in any of the sub-sets of atheism?
I've had two kids... I watched them grow up from babies.
When they were little, they didn't "hate" anything at all.
I consider this to be the default attribute of a human being quintessence. I consider it also to be the default attribute of First Source
I can't love them enough... and it's mutual...
We are all crazy in love with each other... to the point of tears.
So, I "get" how people are lovers...
Hate is ... so sad.
Do you think your children could never be shown love through theism?
Is atheism concerned with love?
Was it the seed from your loins which helped to bring your children into the world?
(IF 'yes' THEN)
Do you love your children even though you helped bring them into the world which isn't perfect for them?
If so, why is that?
Q: Would you consider that argument which isn't resolved between two individuals or parties could sow the seeds for eventual war?
It could, yes.
And I think that war is the WORST possible outcome of a dispute.
We should debate the ideas that separate us.
We are all human... I don't think we have to be separated at all.
Do you think any form of argument should be regarded as an act of war?
I say that if we thought so then we might want to find other ways of trying to communicate.
I think we can love one another.
Well I love you.
Does that help?
Do you love me too?
Q: Do you consider war to be anything at all which results in physical violence or do you think it can apply to anything which is not at peace with everything else?
You are asking me to define what the word war means, and if it can be used metaphorically?
And yes, most nouns can be used metaphorically.
Shall you and I thus develop an alternative to argument, if indeed we agree that arguing is a kind of warfare?
Q: What, if anything, can atheism help to do in the way of contributing to peace?
Nothing at all by itself.
We need peaceful people to do that.
Okay - so atheism isn't about peace. People don't need to be atheists in order to be peaceful?
Q: Atheists have to have facts? Is this another understanding of atheism? The fact that there is no obvious scientific evidence of any GOD=atheism?
2. Facts. We just gotta have facts.
No, not just the atheists.
If we want to have any kind of rational conversation, we need to have facts.
I think before even that, we need to have agree-to-rules. Start on the same page, as it were, rather than from positions of polarities.
Do you agree?
Q: What about those atheists who claim that everyone starts out as an atheist? That all human babies are atheists? Atheists without facts, as it were.
Yes, I never had a theological discussion with a baby.
Is atheism about 'theological discussion'?
If I want to engage in a rational discussion with someone, I will insist on facts, and not fantasy.
Are you saying that 'theological discussion' can be 'rational discussion'?
Q: If you believe something to be fictional, then why would you demand facts?
It seems illogical.
I only bother when others are insisting that what they believe is true. Otherwise, I don't really bother. If someone believes something but cannot demonstrate that it is true, then it's most likely fiction, or as I put it... fantasy.
There's a big difference between reality and fantasy.
What do you mean when you say " it's most likely fiction"?
IF something is 'most likely fiction' what facts have you about that 'something' (whatever it may be) which allows for this assumption?
Q: Are you perhaps hoping some evidence for GOD would surface somehow through someone?
Sure, but I'm not exactly holding my breath, either. People have been claiming the "truth" of Christianity for over 2000 years now.
Are you saying specifically that you are hoping for something from Christianity to prove itself to you, that you might KNOW (by the facts presented in that 'something hoped for') that whatever you would consider to being 'evidence for GOD' would be all that could convince you?
If you died tomorrow and discovered you were still existing, would THAT convince you of the existence of GOD?
If Jesus returned tomorrow with his great army and assumed the position of benevolent dictator, would that convince you of the existence of GOD?
(I am specifically asking these questions to try and get a clearer understanding as to what you are saying in your answers so far in relation to belief and what would help you to believe.)
Q: Do you think your opinions are facts?
Of course not.
What don't you have opinions on to which you regard as facts?
It appears to me that you base your position on lack of facts.
You are being skeptical of my claim.
I am skeptical of your position and of your reasons for assuming it.
Q: Does the fact that there is no obvious scientific evidence for the existence of GODs
I wonder what your next step will be?
mean that GOD therefore does not exist?
No, but it makes it WAY less likely that any gods or goddesses DO exist.
Are you saying that science makes it way less likely any GOD does exist?
Why do you think that is the case?
Q: In demanding burden of proof for the existence of GOD, what facts would you expect to be shown?
That's up to the ones who claim that gods or goddesses exist.
If their idea of GOD cannot be shown to you to exist because it is not something that can be shown in a way that science can investigate, and they say so...do you think that is acceptable given the truth of it?
If not, why would you still wish to demand for something which has been explained to you cannot be shown to you using science?
As well as that, why would you conclude that they are at fault for believing in something that you cannot see through scientific process? What actually does it matter to you, that you would demand something which you also know cannot be provided by those from whom you demand it?
Please explain your reasoning.
Obviously from what you have said re 'why you are an atheist' you are the type who rejects all ideas of GODs.
Yes, the conclusion that I've drawn from the total lack of evidence for any God Hypothesis is that there aren't any.
Given the facts, why conclude there are none?
Evidence FOR any god or goddess would change my mind, of course.
You say it is up to the theist to provide the facts, and also assume that there must be facts that they can show you.
What do you base your assumption on?
A skeptic has an open mind about evidence.
Even subjective evidence, and especially their own subjective experience.
As a skeptic I do this myself, which is why I remain open-minded to both polarities...atheism and theism...in relation to my personal subjective experiences.
Q: Do you understand that some ideas of GODs are beyond the reach of present day scientific ability to investigate?
And that's a HUGE strike against the possibility of any god or goddess existing.
Why do you think this is so?
Science is the best method of research that we have.
Yes and I asked you " Do you understand that some ideas of GODs are beyond the reach of present day scientific ability to investigate?"
And you answered 'yes'.
Do you understand that IF some kind of GOD does actually exist that it exists NOW, regardless of the FACT that our science at present does not have the ability to investigate?
Q: In instances where this is the case, do you think it is logical to assume the position of atheism in the way that you justify doing so regardless of whether facts can actually be presented or not?
If there is no phenomenon observed, it is rational to assume it's not happening.
In relation to the idea that it is possible a GOD does exist but that present day science isn't yet able to detect that;
Is it irrational for you to try other ways in which to see if such a GOD can be subjectively verified?
I ask this because it is obvious something is occurring with theists which atheism nor being skeptical cannot do anything about but many atheists would sure like to do something about.
Q:If so, then why
That's how skeptics and scientists deal with any claim.
Scientists deal with science.
Skepticism deals also with other things and needn't exclusively use science as a yardstick in matters especially related of ideas of GOD.
Do you think it is rational to demand that the idea of GOD should even be a question of science given that you agree that GOD could exist but present scientific capabilities cannot detect GOD?
Do you think science is even useful for looking for GOD?
If so, what exactly do you think science would find which could be called GOD?
Do you understand that theists positions are established without much in the way of science, but are considered through the fact of their subjective experience - to being at the very least, evidence pointing to some idea GOD - at least in relation to what they feel is communion with their idea of GOD?
Q: Is morality important to you? Is atheism about morality or simply about lacking belief in GODs?
Atheism is simply lack beliefs in gods or goddesses.
Therefore atheism is not about morality.
Morality is extremely important.
But not in relation to atheism.
I respond to the moral claims of theists. I do so by way of my skepticism, not atheism. Atheism is NOT a method of inquiry. Skepticism is a great one.
Do you use this skepticism to support your position of atheism rather than theism?
Does it not matter. It can be used to support either?
Are you perhaps wanting theists to asks questions of you as a skeptic?
Are ALL bible stories about insane evil psychopath ideas of GOD? Obviously you are making the claim, but is it truthful?
It's my opinion.
So..not a claim then?
I can back it up by NUMEROUS Bible passages. Almost every time the God of the Bible interacts with humans, it's very bad news for the humans. Starting with Genesis... We have the second encounter.. After ordering Adam and Eve around like children, he kicks them out of the Garden of Eden.... And it just gets worse from there.
The bible is a group of stories which have the appearance of being related. Obviously the story itself is preoccupied with human behavior and I do not argue that there are numerous biblical passages which appear to be 'bad news' for humans - that in itself isn't surprising given the situation humans are in anyway. It is 'bad news' ultimately.
However, I am sure you will agree that it (the human situation) is also 'good news' - and that the polarities of nature are factual for that.
You wouldn't have helped bring children into the world if everything is bad news, would you?
Do you think it is a good practice (even by skeptical standards of practice) to focus ONLY on the NUMEROUS Bible passages which appear to be 'bad news' for humans, when indeed there are also NUMEROUS Bible passages which appear to be 'good news' for humans?
Think of the flood.
Do you take the bible literally then?
Perhaps it is more just a case of association and even for the purpose of strengthening ones position in relation to the idea you are endorsing here.
I applaud your skepticism.
You should demand for evidence.
I am not that skeptical that I think you would withhold it from me if you had it.
How do you explain those good things which have come into the world through Abrahamic organised religions influences?
People are generally good.
Why would you think this?
It doesn't matter WHAT religion, or if they HAVE a religion.
People all over the world are mostly good.
Then why do you think it is not a perfect world because theists are political and since they are also the majority, that is why the world is not perfect?
People are mostly good
The majority make it that way.
THEN the way theists do things in the world is mostly good because of the majority that are doing it
(which obviously doesn't exclude the non theists either)
With exceptions, of course.
Of course, but since they are the minority, what of that?
You claim that the use of skepticism allows you to 'tell the difference' but it certainly appears in your expression that there ARE no differences in relation to theism, and obviously especially in relation to Abrahamic theists.
Perhaps in certain cases you are leaving skepticism at the door when in attack mode re these specific types of theism?
I'm sorry, but I don't understand that.
You might be mistaking "attack mode" for doubt. Skepticism starts off with doubt.
I guess that will depend on whether you agree that any argument is something of an act of war.
Q: Do you think this is a fair observation on my part, re your position?
I think you have a way to go before you understand what skepticism means and how it works.
Here is a fun place to start:
Why do you think I do not understand what skepticism is?
Rather, I think we might have different understandings as to where it can apply. I am as skeptical of atheism as I am of theism.
Skepticism to me means 'the jury is still out' and even 'the evidence is not yet all in'.
There is a saying that theism should stay out of politics.
Q: Do you think that atheism should also refrain from being involved with politics?
Atheism has nothing to do with politics.
If atheism and theism stayed out of politics, do you believe that the world could be made perfect enough for your children to live in?
Aside from that;
Do you believe it is possible for anyone NOT to stay out of politics regardless of theist or atheist positions?
In that, it seems to me that politics hides behind whatever it can in order to achieve whatever it wants and first up most people are political and support what it is they want to achieve (by believing in the promises made).
And that is exactly what human politics are. Pockets of separate groups in various acts of war with one another.
In conclusion, it appears that it is the skeptic you are which wants to be questioned. Atheism is besides the point, as far as positions go.