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Thread: What are the reasons of Atheism ?

  1. #1 What are the reasons of Atheism ? 
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    One of the reasons why there is the atheism, is that the notion of God for a human being is an abstract notion.

    A human being can not feel or think or even imagine what it did not in its dictionary meaning. That he has not seen, not heard, not taste or not touch.

    In history, the idea to transmit an image through the air waves had not convinced a lot of people.
    Or the existence of tiny particles that did not seen by the eye called thereafter the electrons or protons, this idea was strange.

    Until we have in our hands a laptop or a calculator or keyboard on which I am currently typing ..

    When we say "the facts of God on the universe," an athe as it is easier to think in this way, called that nature.

    But the idea that such "dead" nature can creates a human being or a tree, which proved scientifically needs 5 times the age of the earth in order to reach this creation (i.e : creation of a living cell by these primary components and proteins etc. ..) . this idea is accepted by an atheist.

    It is more strange to believe at this not?! As I mentioned above, it's easier then believing in that God which is not seen.


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    I think Mitchell is going to give you a good answer. He is not atheist, but he knows better than most religious the whats and why's of being an atheist. Basically, we don't see the hand of a god in anything in nature or our lives. That certainly does not mean that we can not experience love, beauty, awe at nature, compassion, empathy for our fellow man or a proper sense of good and bad (moral code). We believe that everything in nature is fundamentally explainable through science, or at least that a god is not required for the universe to work. Your figure of the time required for life to arise was arrived at using presumptuous criteria for it to happen. The fact is that we simply do not know yet how long it would take or how it happened, but we are getting closer to an answer.


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    All bad Karma that show flow here, shall flow through me.

    Be nice people. Don't jump down sherif003's throat, slander him, whatever. Take his points seriosuly and maybe he shall take yours seriously.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I think Mitchell is going to give you a good answer. He is not atheist, but he knows better than most religious the whats and why's of being an atheist.
    Perhaps I would if I could understand what the question is exactly?
    Are we talking about the title of the thread?

    What are the reasons of atheism?

    I am not even sure what this is asking, exactly. But if we are talking about an atheist's reasons for being an atheist. I hardly think it is my place to answer such a thing. I am not sure that generalizations on a thing like this is all that useful. I do however believe that a belief in God is not a good thing for all people.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Basically, we don't see the hand of a god in anything in nature or our lives. That certainly does not mean that we can not experience love, beauty, awe at nature, compassion, empathy for our fellow man or a proper sense of good and bad (moral code). We believe that everything in nature is fundamentally explainable through science, or at least that a god is not required for the universe to work.
    Sounds reasonable. I do see the hand of God in nature and in my life, but can well understand that others do not. I would certainly repudiate arguments that suggest that the atheist cannot do these things you list as not only absurd but as indicative of a contemptable rational for bigotry. I also seek my explanations for things of nature in science and do not see a role for God or much utility for God in the explanation of anything. In fact, I would say that the whole idea of God requires considerable more effort to rationally explain in its own right and that attempts to do so have demonstrated considerably less success than science has had in explaining the things in nature. I just don't think that a belief in God is really about explaining things, at least that is not what it is about for me.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    But the idea that such "dead" nature can creates a human being or a tree, which proved scientifically needs 5 times the age of the earth in order to reach this creation (i.e : creation of a living cell by these primary components and proteins etc. ..) . this idea is accepted by an atheist.
    Your figure of the time required for life to arise was arrived at using presumptuous criteria for it to happen. The fact is that we simply do not know yet how long it would take or how it happened, but we are getting closer to an answer.
    I find very little in sherif's post that is coherent, but this at least hints at some sort of meaning. I could sympathize with sherif's thought in his first statement IF he had not used the terms "proved" and "scientifically", for at this I must denounce his statement utterly as indicative of a complete lack of understanding what these words means. Furthermore, his intimation in his second sentence that only an atheist can accept the ideas of abiogenesis is rather offensive, and this makes me wish that this portion of his post was as incoherent as the rest, so that I might avoid holding him in complete contempt.
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    I feel like taking a crack at answering the question too =3

    Why atheists chose to be atheists is possibly very different for every person, Some people for example may have been raised atheist so they believe its right (just as someone who is raised Christian is typically a Christian). I however was raised Christian my entire life, but not too long ago i chose to become atheist because i have always had a more scientific mind and just cant bring myself to believing in a "supreme being". Usually the main reason that people are atheist is because they think scientific facts/theories are more believable/ give more evidence than any religion does.

    Hope that helped ;P
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    i've said it another thread before, but on a personal level i think it still holds together well :

    my main reasons for thinking there's no god :

    - i don't have any personal experience of god
    - in the world i inhabit there's no need for a god in order to get through life
    - most claims about god are either inconsistent or contradict other evidence
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I guess that pretty much sums it up :-D Some atheists see religion as harmful too though, which is one of the reaons for why they spend a lot of time on it. I guess I'm one of those
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I guess that pretty much sums it up :-D Some atheists see religion as harmful too though, which is one of the reaons for why they spend a lot of time on it. I guess I'm one of those
    Anything can be harmful. Ever heard of assassins learning to kill with a credit card, comb or a pencil? It is all a matter of how something is used. Atheism is hardly exempt from this either. So how do we deal with this reality where nearly everything is subject to possible abuse? Outlaw everything? It is the lesson of the novel, "The Giver", that if you attempt to remove all potential for harm from our lives what is left is devoid of everything that makes life worth living at all.
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  10. #9 Re: What are the reasons of Atheism ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    One of the reasons why there is the atheism, is that the notion of God for a human being is an abstract notion.
    There is atheism, because it is the default position, the natural way, the notion or concept of god is a learnt thing, and reasonable people dont buy into irrational evidenceless abstract BS.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    A human being can not feel or think or even imagine what it did not in its dictionary meaning. That he has not seen, not heard, not taste or not touch.
    precisely, because it is irrational.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    In history, the idea to transmit an image through the air waves had not convinced a lot of people.
    Well it wouldn't, but now it's common place, because of evidence. Whats you point.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    Or the existence of tiny particles that did not seen by the eye called thereafter the electrons or protons, this idea was strange.
    But now we have knowledge of them, because of evidence. What is your point.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    Until we have in our hands a laptop or a calculator or keyboard on which I am currently typing ..
    yes science has provided us with the means to communicate, via a computer, what is your point.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    When we say "the facts of God on the universe," an athe as it is easier to think in this way, called that nature.
    what facts of god, there are none. I'm still loathed to understand what point your trying to make.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    But the idea that such "dead" nature can creates a human being or a tree, which proved scientifically needs 5 times the age of the earth in order to reach this creation (i.e : creation of a living cell by these primary components and proteins etc. ..) . this idea is accepted by an atheist.
    evolution is not an idea, it's a fact, not like you facts of god which there are none.
    Quote Originally Posted by sherif003
    It is more strange to believe at this not?! As I mentioned above, it's easier then believing in that God which is not seen.
    an atheist doesn't have a belief in a god,
    as MarnixR said so succinctly
    Atheists don't have any personal experiences of god, they have no belief in a god/gods.
    In the world they inhabit there's no need for a god in order to get through life, belief in god/gods is unreasonable.
    Most claims about god are either inconsistent or contradict other evidence, there is no real evidence for any god/gods ever existing.
    an atheist is simply a person without god/gods.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    "it's easier then believing in that God which is not seen."


    Some god certainly didn't give you the gift of good grammar or bless you with coherent writing skills.


    Leprachauns, gods, ghosts and gnomes...throw in a few trolls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Anything can be harmful. Ever heard of assassins learning to kill with a credit card, comb or a pencil? It is all a matter of how something is used. Atheism is hardly exempt from this either. So how do we deal with this reality where nearly everything is subject to possible abuse? Outlaw everything? It is the lesson of the novel, "The Giver", that if you attempt to remove all potential for harm from our lives what is left is devoid of everything that makes life worth living at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Weinberg
    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion
    I can see much truth in this. Religion want things to get/be better, it is one of its goals. But often in religion the end justify the means, which is why that quote above becomes true. Though, if I might add, I consider "ideology" and "religion" to be almost synonymous.

    And about the "outlaw everything", that's an ideology thing which I distance myself from. Not even worth mentioning. There will always be good and bad people.

    (BTW, you almost have 1337 posts! )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Weinberg
    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion
    I can see much truth in this. Religion want things to get/be better, it is one of its goals. But often in religion the end justify the means, which is why that quote above becomes true. Though, if I might add, I consider "ideology" and "religion" to be almost synonymous.
    Yep. Religion = ideology = human beings with opinions who don't know as much as they think they do = human arrogance and ignorance.

    Its not the origin of all evil but it is certainly at the top of the list. But you see this whole idea of "religion is evil" is a lot like "human beings are evil". These kind of oversimplifications of reality are the bread and butter of ideology itself. But let me ask which kind of arrogance and ignorance is more dangerous, the kind that understands and is aware of this arrogance and ignorance, or the kind that refuses such awareness pretending that it does not exist.

    Thus there is a difference between the kind of atheism that simply does not believe in God, asserts nothing and therefore does not say anything really and it is quite another kind of atheism that says all sorts of things like "religion is evil", for this latter is an ideology and by refusing to acknowledge that it is an ideology, it just makes itself the worst and most dangerous kind of ideology.

    But then what do you say to "atheism = ideology"? I have no doubt that you would object. But in fact this is not really any different from "religion = ideology". These are both half truths, and it is in the pretention to be absolutes that these kinds of statements themselves become examples of the very ideology we are denouncing. The fact is that in modern evangelical Christianity, the very word "religion" has become a dirty word, and it represents Christians striving against the negative implications of religion and ideology that amount to human arrogance and ignorance. But for this to be an honest striving we must avoid pretenses and subject ourselves to frequent self-criticism, realizing that both ignorance and an arrogance that is born from this, is something that we are all full of.


    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    (BTW, you almost have 1337 posts!)
    Does this number have some significance?
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    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    When did debate equal action? Atheism is a philosophy, not an ideal for society. It's a too huge generalization. I could go for "ideal atheism" or something similar, but not atheism as a whole.

    Many religious people seem to have a problem with atheism just by the mere fact that they are debating and challenging religion. I'm absolutely open for the fact that some atheist may provoke or even go to action against theism, but as wikipedia says:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki
    Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism[5] and naturalism,[6] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism...d_distinctions
    You would have to find another definition for people who happens to be atheists, but also have a goal or ideal for society.

    I still haven't heard about any atheists blowing up churches or anything, am I missing something?

    I see your point and I presume we think quite alike (your mentioning of human arrogance and ignorance lead me to this assumption). Disbelief in the supernatural doesn't mean you're immune to ideologies etc, but atheism in itself is defined as a philosophy, not an ideology. With a generalizations like "atheism equals ideology" you've failed to understand that atheism is merely one attribute of a person, not a cause for everything else they might believe in.

    Religion is pretty much an ideology where people share the same thoughts, ideas and sometimes goals (yes, I did say sometimes on the last part). I don't know where you got the "religion is evil, therefore humans are evil" from, but I guess I'll ignore that as a logical fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But in fact this is not really any different from "religion = ideology". These are both half truths, and it is in the pretention to be absolutes that these kinds of statements themselves become examples of the very ideology we are denouncing.
    I couldn't agree less. You are again misunderstanding the fact that atheism is just one attribute to catagorize a person, it is not a doctrine or a cause for everything else this person might think. He/she just doesn't believe in God. As for religion, you'd have a long list of things which are common like:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki
    * a notion of the transcendent or numinous, often, but not always, in the form of theism
    * a cultural or behavioural aspect of ritual, liturgy and organized worship, often involving a priesthood, and societal norms of morality (ethos) and virtue (arete)
    * a set of myths or sacred truths held in reverence or believed by adherents

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religio...ns_of_religion
    Many things fall under religion, unlike atheism. The two are not opposites. Theism and atheism, on the other hand, are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    You would have to find another definition for people who happens to be atheists, but also have a goal or ideal for society.
    I was quite clear in distinguishing nonbelief from the making of assertions. Your refusals and excuses only increases the suggestion of dangerous ideology that hides its ignorance and arrogance from itself.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I still haven't heard about any atheists blowing up churches or anything, am I missing something?
    What difference would it make? In the typical fasion of an ideologue you would simply deny that those responsible were "really atheists", just as I would deny than anyone killing atheists were "really Christians".



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Disbelief in the supernatural doesn't mean you're immune to ideologies etc, but atheism in itself is defined as a philosophy, not an ideology. With a generalizations like "atheism equals ideology" you've failed to understand that atheism is merely one attribute of a person, not a cause for everything else they might believe in.
    ...
    I couldn't agree less. You are again misunderstanding the fact that atheism is just one attribute to catagorize a person, it is not a doctrine or a cause for everything else this person might think.
    And here you reveal your insistence on a right to arrogance and ignorance in the assumption that religion is any different. Are you really so blind that you would insist that Christianity is more than simply one attribute of mine but "a cause for everything else" I might believe in? Have you really been paying so little attention - or could it be the typical perceptual filter of an ideologue that simply refuses to see what does not fit into their preconceived notions.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Religion is pretty much an ideology where people share the same thoughts, ideas and sometimes goals (yes, I did say sometimes on the last part).
    On the contrary everything you have said about atheism is also true of religon. Yes there are religious ideologues just as there are atheist ideologues. And there are fundamentalists types of these in both cases that refuse to see their own arrogance and ignorance.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I don't know where you got the "religion is evil, therefore humans are evil" from, but I guess I'll ignore that as a logical fallacy.
    I don't know where you got it from either, so perhaps this is your fallacy of putting words in someone elses mouth. What I said was: But you see this whole idea of "religion is evil" is a lot like "human beings are evil." These kind of oversimplifications of reality... The Christian will say that human beings are inherently evil - but this is only a half truth, for the Christian also says that we are created in the image of God and that God loves us. Likewise a claim that "religion is evil" or that "religion is ideology" like "atheism is ideolgy" are also only a half truths. For there are many for whom there religion is not about truth claims but only about loving and serving others. The truth is more like the fact that religion, like atheism, can be MADE into an ideology.

    Frankly, the more you deny it the more you make it clear that by swallowing a few absolutes, you yourself have turned atheism into an ideology.
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    Conformity, anti-conformity, religious hate, desire for freedom of people, wars to end, blame religion from problems, personal experiences... There are millions of reasons people are atheists, the same way there are millions of reasons people are Christians, agnostics, Islamics, Hinduists, Buddhists, deists, etc etc etc. There is no one reason, all these arguments are trivial, a more appropriate and efficient question would be to ask every person, 'What do you think the reason your are an atheist is, and why do you maintain being one?' Replacing atheist with basically anything you want, like why do you like curry, why don't you like the Cleeveland Cavaleers? Everyone has their own way of life, even if it hurts other people and it is not a crime to do it-let them to it. No one person on this Earth has dominance or superiority over another, we are all equal, hence equality and diversity. People still break that, either by an extremist religious person constraining another, or by an atheist demanding that religions be destroyed. But you tell me which is more wrong, doing what 'God' tells you and not on your own intuation, and another seeing it as a wrong doing, or someone doing something on their own (atheist) where another would perceive it wrong.

    Its this old story;

    One day two children were playing in the playground as usual. The sun was out and all the children were playing outside together. A boy kicks a ball and it goes out of bounds; where no child is allowed to go. The dominant child tells the meek child to fetch the ball as it will make the group happy again, even though he may get in trouble if caught. Anyway the meek boy gets it and gets caught by the teacher. The teacher is very cross and gives the boy detention. The boy cries and tells the teacher.

    "I didn't mean to miss, Michael told me to get it"

    The teacher replies "What makes you think Michael is right for telling you to do that?"

    "I don't know Miss, he said the group would be happy again if I got the ball back" replied the boy. The teacher looked at him and said:

    "Even if it made the others feel better, you should have asked a teacher, teachers are older and wiser than Michael". The boy went back to the playground. Later that day Michael was playing with the ball again and it went out of bounds again, the boy did not fetch it, even though he was threatened by Michael to do so. Eventually Michael fetched it himself and got caught, and was sentenced to after-school detention.

    The moral of the story is that one who believes they are dominant over another can think they are right all the time when they may not be. So who was wrong? The boy who fetched the ball out of being threatened? Or Michael for fetching the ball himself thniking he was superior to others?

    The point here is that religious people often do what atheists see as 'wrong', because they are hurting people, and forcing people to follow their 'cult'. But the relgious people are doing only what God tells them to do. God may not exist, but He/She/It does to them, therefore they are doing as they are told to avoid being hurt (if it says you will be punished in their holy books). Yet an atheist may be offensive to a religious person and not even consider the fact I just mentioned. And to me, atheists that purposfully insult religious people (not naming anyone here but you know who you are), fail to see that they are not forcing people to do wrong on their own, by the relative view of an atheist, but doing what someone higher than they are is telling them to do. Does anyone understand? There is an old Chinese proverb I learned recently:

    "Before you can taste my tea, you must first empty your cup and fill it with my tea".
    So how can you judge what someones tea tastes like, if you let your own tea contaminate it?
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  18. #17  
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    The term 'atheist' has no real meaning. Unfortunately, our society has been dominated by cults for centuries, and being a theist has become the default position, so theists had to come up with a term to distinguish non-believers of the default positions.

    Theists would deny labeling themselves as atheists, even though they are atheists in terms of believing in other cults gods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I was quite clear in distinguishing nonbelief from the making of assertions. Your refusals and excuses only increases the suggestion of dangerous ideology that hides its ignorance and arrogance from itself.
    You sound paranoid. I'm not being funny or anything, I'm serious. The definition of a-theism is quite clear. Just because you want something to be the way you want it, doesn't mean it is. (I suppose you're going to use that against me, which would be sad...)

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    What difference would it make? In the typical fasion of an ideologue you would simply deny that those responsible were "really atheists", just as I would deny than anyone killing atheists were "really Christians".
    Any maniac can be atheist, I'm not denying that at all. I'm just saying that no atheist would scream out while bombing themselves "for atheism!" or anything like that, unless they have a mental disorder? In short, atheism doesn't make people do bad things in an idealistic fashion, but people still can do bad things and be atheist. The Muslims blow themselves up for Allah, the Christians kill abortion doctors because their idealistic religious views taught them that this is the right thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    And here you reveal your insistence on a right to arrogance and ignorance in the assumption that religion is any different. Are you really so blind that you would insist that Christianity is more than simply one attribute of mine but "a cause for everything else" I might believe in? Have you really been paying so little attention - or could it be the typical perceptual filter of an ideologue that simply refuses to see what does not fit into their preconceived notions.
    Going against definitions again? Religion is a practice in which people set faith into something supernatural of some kind where they derive their moral codes and truths. Often included in religion is traditions and rituals. And you say atheism and religion is alike? Either you're arguing for the point of arguing, or you deny distinct differences in definitions and understandings of the meanings of words. I won't waste my time on semantics.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    On the contrary everything you have said about atheism is also true of religon. Yes there are religious ideologues just as there are atheist ideologues. And there are fundamentalists types of these in both cases that refuse to see their own arrogance and ignorance.
    You... don't understand a word I'm saying, do you? So you're saying that every non-fotball fan, non-music listener etc has an ideology? Is non-cheese an ideology? My God, everything is an ideology!

    (Please see my point here)

    Religion is similar to ideology. It has certain philosophies in it and an idealistic goal to achieve: Nirvana, convertions, heaven, redemption, etc, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I don't know where you got it from either, so perhaps this is your fallacy of putting words in someone elses mouth. What I said was: But you see this whole idea of "religion is evil" is a lot like "human beings are evil." These kind of oversimplifications of reality... The Christian will say that human beings are inherently evil - but this is only a half truth, for the Christian also says that we are created in the image of God and that God loves us. Likewise a claim that "religion is evil" or that "religion is ideology" like "atheism is ideolgy" are also only a half truths. For there are many for whom there religion is not about truth claims but only about loving and serving others. The truth is more like the fact that religion, like atheism, can be MADE into an ideology.
    Ah, it seems I misunderstood. Anyhow, I can agree that certain philosophies can be a part of an ideology. But then it's important to distinguish that from the actual philosophy, right? I hope we're getting closer to a conclusion/agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Frankly, the more you deny it the more you make it clear that by swallowing a few absolutes, you yourself have turned atheism into an ideology.
    It seems to me, through this post, that you are becoming the very thing you are trying to define.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Are you really so blind that you would insist that Christianity is more than simply one attribute of mine but "a cause for everything else" I might believe in?
    I can see how I might unintentionally imply that. It all depends on how idealistic the religious practice is. Do the end justifiy the means? I only said religions are quite similar to ideologies, not that they always are 100% alike.

    EDIT. Thought I might add this:

    i·de·ol·o·gy (d-l-j, d-)

    1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
    2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

    So... A religion has certain idealistic features.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Ah, it seems I misunderstood. Anyhow, I can agree that certain philosophies can be a part of an ideology. But then it's important to distinguish that from the actual philosophy, right? I hope we're getting closer to a conclusion/agreement.
    In the interest of achieving this I shall forgo responding to your coments that preceeded this, except to say that being a critic of religion myself, I could hardly be said to fear such criticism.

    But I deny that philosophy is in any way alien to ideology, but that philosophy far more than religion is the begining of an ideology for a philosophy makes truth claims. The part of religion that does the same thing is theology. Again it is when these truth claims are imagined to be absolute that ideology begins.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    It seems to me, through this post, that you are becoming the very thing you are trying to define.
    Ahhhhh!!! But I have never claimed to be free of ideology! HOWEVER, even though I am a Christian, I detest Christian ideology, and I speak rather passionately against it. But in addition to being Christian I am also a philosopher and as such I am very much guilty of ideology. Thus it is not from Christianity that my ideology comes, but from my own philosophy. However, I strive to freely acknowledge my arrogance and ignorance in an effort to keep my ideological tendencies as honest as possible.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    My God, everything is an ideology!
    Hardly! Ideology requires a great deal of rational thought in order to make ones views of the many different aspects of life and thought consistent. But of course, there is considerable difference between simplistic ideologies that attempt to force reality into its mold and more complex ideologies that attempt a more accurate conception of reality as it is.

    Fanatical ideologies tend to be of the more simplistic sort. Take the pro-life ideology that simply decides that human life is human life and a baby is a baby, and murder is murder, blah bla-blah bla-blah. It insists on simplicity of the ethical considerations of this issue, born more from an intolerance of moral ambiguity than anything else.

    But think about what this means in regards to atheism. The very simplicity of atheism means that if it is made into an ideology, it can be very fanatical indeed.

    No people don't destroy things shouting "for atheism" any more that people destroy things shouting "for religion". In the French revolution it was, "Liberty, Equallity, Fraternity", while participating in a blood bath and establishing a new social order where no one was free to dispute the right of the mob in power to do anything they pleased. This was an atheism made into an ideology whose very simplicity made it that much more bloody and beholding to nothing and no-one.
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    mitchellmckain wrote:
    What difference would it make? In the typical fasion of an ideologue you would simply deny that those responsible were "really atheists", just as I would deny than anyone killing atheists were "really Christians".


    Any maniac can be atheist, I'm not denying that at all. I'm just saying that no atheist would scream out while bombing themselves "for atheism!" or anything like that, unless they have a mental disorder? In short, atheism doesn't make people do bad things in an idealistic fashion, but people still can do bad things and be atheist. The Muslims blow themselves up for Allah, the Christians kill abortion doctors because their idealistic religious views taught them that this is the right thing to do.
    The problem is that there can be a logical path from religious belief to evil deeds. When the most important issue in someone's life is their God, and good is defined by what God says, then if one interprets a holy book to say " God wants you to kill infidels" then it follows logically that this is good move to make. There is no such path from atheism to evil deeds. Atheists ideas of good have to do with other people, as that is all there is, there's no God to worry about so it's all about people. So it nevers follows that it is ok to go kill people because they don't believe the same things, they converted to another set of beliefs, they are homosexuals. . . ect. No one is going to kill someone "because there's no God" just as no religious person is going to go kill someone "because there's no Zeus". That's just silly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    The problem is that there can be a logical path from religious belief to evil deeds. When the most important issue in someone's life is their God, and good is defined by what God says, then if one interprets a holy book to say " God wants you to kill infidels" then it follows logically that this is good move to make. There is no such path from atheism to evil deeds. Atheists ideas of good have to do with other people, as that is all there is, there's no God to worry about so it's all about people. So it nevers follows that it is ok to go kill people because they don't believe the same things, they converted to another set of beliefs, they are homosexuals. . . ect. No one is going to kill someone "because there's no God" just as no religious person is going to go kill someone "because there's no Zeus". That's just silly.
    Sorry - no dice. There is no difference.

    Yes you can argue that authentic atheism does not lend itself to such a use but I also can argue that authentic religion does not lend itself to such a use either. The epistle of James says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world". Thus the essence of religion is service to others (and not because it is your job and you are paid to do so) and there is no ideology in this conception of religion at all.

    Yet people have often made both religion and atheism into ideologies and into justifications for killing people. History makes this clear, and your denials are worthless. Just as you can deny that the ideologies of the French revolution and the numerous Communist revolutions were based on authentic atheism, just as I can deny that the Crusades and other events were based on authentic religion.

    The very fact is that I have NEVER heard a religious person claiming that "atheism is evil" or "atheism is a disease" while I hear atheists saying that "religion is evil" or "religion is a disease" all the time and that is the very rational that the communists used to commit so much atrocity. Therefore your fork tounges which speak "atheism won't hurt any anybody" out of one side of your mouth while saying "religion is evil and must be eliminated" out of the other side of your mouth makes you biggest hypocrites I have ever heard.




    P.S. I did a little research:

    I did an internet search on "atheism is a disease" and got 5,410 hits and the top of the list was a quote by Plato who said it. A search on "atheism is evil" gave 19,600 hits including at the top of the list http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/H...stkillers.html

    By contrast "religion is a disease" got 35,200 hits and it is very clear that these are claims by atheist organizations. "Religion is evil" got 17,700 hits.

    But what maybe even more telling is that a search of "eliminate religion" got 11,000 hits while "eliminate atheism" got 248 hits.

    This makes it rather clear that there are far more anti-religious atheists desiring to "eliminate relgion" than there are religious people who are anti-atheist or thinking to "eliminate atheism".
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    this BBC documentary underlines everything atheism stands for,
    and is a good watch for anyone interested in the subject of atheism,
    and how it came to be:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...arch&plindex=9

    if you don't have time for it, make time for it.
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    this BBC documentary underlines everything atheism stands for,
    and is a good watch for anyone interested in the subject of atheism,
    and how it came to be:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...arch&plindex=9

    if you don't have time for it, make time for it.
    its not as important to watch it as it is to listen to it, so you can do other
    things while running it in the background that needs to be done.
    listen to it while doing gymnastics or something.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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    Yes you can argue that authentic atheism does not lend itself to such a use but I also can argue that authentic religion does not lend itself to such a use either. The epistle of James says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world". Thus the essence of religion is service to others (and not because it is your job and you are paid to do so) and there is no ideology in this conception of religion at all.
    What the heck is authentic atheism??? I don't see why people are talking about atheism being some kind of philosophy or set of beliefs. It is nothing more than not believing in something, and, at that, it is technically quite pointless to even have that word. . . .think about it. . . . do we have a word for people who don't believe in leprechauns. . . . do we call them aleprechauners. . . does that even make sense? There are an infinite amount of things people don't believe in, but it doesn't make sense to come up with labels for all of these negative beliefs. Atheists may better well go with the term scientific rationalist or something of that nature. But, as it is, we use the term atheist. This is not, however, a license for religious believers to try to assign some sets of beliefs to us, or characterize atheists on the whole. Their arguments will fail every time, because the only thing that they can properly assign to these individuals is that one negative belief. There is simply no logical path from atheism to evil deeds. Religious believers adhere to belief systems, they have dogmas, therefore they can be characterized by them.

    Authentic Religion??? So I guess you are the one to decide which is authentic. You call yourself a Christian, I suppose it is the authentic Christianity that you adhere to. Religions in the world posits a God, and this God being "all good" sets the moral standards. If God says X is good it is good. This opens the way for a logical path to very horrible things. Argue all you want about authenticity. . . the fact remains. . . the religion in this world changes the definition of good for people such that it is possible to create this logical path. . . .that is why people blow themselves up as suicide bombers for Allah. . . http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080224...B.Xs0QWRl34T0D
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Ah, it seems I misunderstood. Anyhow, I can agree that certain philosophies can be a part of an ideology. But then it's important to distinguish that from the actual philosophy, right? I hope we're getting closer to a conclusion/agreement.
    In the interest of achieving this I shall forgo responding to your coments that preceeded this, except to say that being a critic of religion myself, I could hardly be said to fear such criticism.

    But I deny that philosophy is in any way alien to ideology, but that philosophy far more than religion is the begining of an ideology for a philosophy makes truth claims. The part of religion that does the same thing is theology. Again it is when these truth claims are imagined to be absolute that ideology begins.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    It seems to me, through this post, that you are becoming the very thing you are trying to define.
    Ahhhhh!!! But I have never claimed to be free of ideology! HOWEVER, even though I am a Christian, I detest Christian ideology, and I speak rather passionately against it. But in addition to being Christian I am also a philosopher and as such I am very much guilty of ideology. Thus it is not from Christianity that my ideology comes, but from my own philosophy. However, I strive to freely acknowledge my arrogance and ignorance in an effort to keep my ideological tendencies as honest as possible.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    My God, everything is an ideology!
    Hardly! Ideology requires a great deal of rational thought in order to make ones views of the many different aspects of life and thought consistent. But of course, there is considerable difference between simplistic ideologies that attempt to force reality into its mold and more complex ideologies that attempt a more accurate conception of reality as it is.

    Fanatical ideologies tend to be of the more simplistic sort. Take the pro-life ideology that simply decides that human life is human life and a baby is a baby, and murder is murder, blah bla-blah bla-blah. It insists on simplicity of the ethical considerations of this issue, born more from an intolerance of moral ambiguity than anything else.

    But think about what this means in regards to atheism. The very simplicity of atheism means that if it is made into an ideology, it can be very fanatical indeed.

    No people don't destroy things shouting "for atheism" any more that people destroy things shouting "for religion". In the French revolution it was, "Liberty, Equallity, Fraternity", while participating in a blood bath and establishing a new social order where no one was free to dispute the right of the mob in power to do anything they pleased. This was an atheism made into an ideology whose very simplicity made it that much more bloody and beholding to nothing and no-one.
    I quite busy lately with a musical my school is setting up called "We Will Rock You", yes as in the London musical. I won't get enough time or energy to respond elaboratly, but I think we're reaching an agreement. It's a good point that any philosophy can be turned into an ideology, and I can agree with that, but I also think Rationalist argued well that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    Atheists ideas of good have to do with other people, as that is all there is, there's no God to worry about so it's all about people. So it nevers follows that it is ok to go kill people because they don't believe the same things, they converted to another set of beliefs, they are homosexuals. . . ect.
    But even so, stupidity will always exist (along with evil). So atheists with an agenda towards religion, and who are willing to take that extra step to reach a goal like... using violence to get rid of religion (the idealistic belief that "the end justifies the means") is totally plausible. Though I would find it quite unlikely that atheists might take that extra step, I'm not denying the possibility.

    I would like to make a more elaborate response, but alas, I don't have all the time in the world (for the moment). I haven't checked dejawolfs' links, but I'm assuming they are from the "Atheism Tapes" series or something. I would highly recommend watching it. It's quite interesting :-D

    Anyhow, I see your points, and mostly agree. I will be back though after the musical-thingy It's been an interesting discussion so far :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    What the heck is authentic atheism???
    I see you answer your own question

    According to you, "authentic atheism" is defined by...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    I don't see why people are talking about atheism being some kind of philosophy or set of beliefs. It is nothing more than not believing in something,


    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    Authentic Religion??? So I guess you are the one to decide which is authentic.
    Nope. I see you are intentially trying to miss the point. "Authentic religion" was quite clearly meant to refer to a dodge that people might use to deny that religion is ever used for evil purposes just as "authentic atheism" was quite clearly meant to refer to a dodge that people might use to deny that atheism is ever used for evil purposes.

    All your misdirection and mud slinging is utterly useless. The more you deny it the more you make it true. For it simply underlines the pattern of self-justification that is the essence of self-righteousness. It is a bunch of baloney. You are not necessarily good because you are an atheist any more than I am necessarily good because I am a Christian.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    There is simply no logical path from atheism to evil deeds. Religious believers adhere to belief systems, they have dogmas, therefore they can be characterized by them.

    Religions in the world posits a God, and this God being "all good" sets the moral standards. If God says X is good it is good. This opens the way for a logical path to very horrible things.

    the fact remains. . . the religion in this world changes the definition of good for people such that it is possible to create this logical path. . . .that is why people blow themselves up as suicide bombers for Allah. . .
    yawn....

    "There is simply no logical path from religion to evil deeds. Atheists invent their own ideas of what is real and what is good, thus they have their dogmas, and therefore they can be characterized by these patterns of reasoning (beliefs).

    Atheist groups in the world posit that there is no God, and that those who believe in a God are irrational, deceived, or delusional. If reason says that X is bad then it is bad. This opens the way for a logical path to very horrible things.

    the fact remains. . . the atheist groups in the world change the definition of good and bad for people such that it is possible to create this logical path. . . .that is why communists and other revolutionaries have murdered millions of innocent people for their philosophy of bringing about social change."

    ...sigh...


    Your arguments just don't work. Not all relgion espouses a belief in God and most of those that believe in God do not agree with the kind of "divine relativism" you are talking about. Likewise we can say that not all atheists believe that "religion is evil" and like most religious, most atheists do not believe in militant action to oppose those they disagree with. This simply doesn't change the fact that both religion and atheism CAN be used is such ways.
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    Mitchell: I have looked at your arguments and I have been thinking about this issue. It's just this: I have a problem with trying to say that the lack of belief in a God is some kind of justification for an action. It doesn't make sense to try to establish a logical path to evil deeds using a simple negative position statement. Atheists all have to figure out their own morals. Different atheists get them from different places. So to say that there is a logical path from atheism to evil deeds, or that atheists change the idea of good, all this boils down to some other philosophy you are attributing to atheists. Atheism is not a philosophy. So it may be this other philosophy you wish to criticize and not atheism. People don't do good or bad things because there is no God, there is something else at work here. That is partly why I keep saying that no religious person is going to go blow themselves up because Zeus does not exist. . . but they are atheists in regards to Zeus.

    Stalin, Hitler, and other people responsible for mass murder, yes, they may have been atheists (not Hitler, though many try to use him, but that's beside the point). So what? They were probably aleprechauners too, but are you going to blame aleprechaunism for their deeds? So they happened to be atheists, and they may have killed in the name of atheism, but atheism never opened the door for that. How could it? It is like aleprechaunism. . . a single negative statement. Religious people say that religious extremists killed in the name of religion also, but they cannot say that religion didn't open the door for it, because the religion is a philosophy, a philosophy open to interpretation, a philosophy that changed their definition of good and bad, God comes first, before people, so if God is interpreted as saying that infidels should be killed then it follows that that is the moral thing to do. That is why Muslims that blow themselves do it for Allah, and paradise, and doing the right thing by killing infidels. With religion, religion is at work, making people feel like killing is ok, and that killing is justified, motivating people to kill. Atheism can't have that same effect, there are other things at work. If Stalin was telling me that atheism told him to do those horrible things I would have immediately checked my Big Book of Atheism, and there I would find that it says. . . . . wait. . . . . oh yeah, nothing.

    You pointed out that not all religions apply here. Of course not, but there are many that do.

    I don't know, I could be wrong here. This is a big debate point, and that is why I am glad to be debating it. I see the parallels you speak of. The point that atheism is used as justification for doing bad, just as religion is. It's just I don't see how atheism really justifies any action, and I do see how a logical path can be created from religion that would justify evil deeds.
    And sorry it's taken a while to get this response in. I've been busy the last couple of days.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    Mitchell: I have looked at your arguments and I have been thinking about this issue. It's just this: I have a problem with trying to say that the lack of belief in a God is some kind of justification for an action.
    James 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble" SO I also have trouble seeing how this can be the justification for anything evil.

    The problem is that there is nothing unifying about atheism any more than there is anything unifying about religion (as I have been repeatedly reminded by atheists here) and so both of these things mean many different things to different people.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    Atheism is not a philosophy.
    You can call it whatever you want. Lots of Christians claim that Christianity is not a religion. The rhetoric is just plain tiresome. Regardless of what you want call them, most atheists and religious people make truth claims that they consider to be a part of what their atheism or religion is about. As long as it is about visiting orphans and a simple non-belief well then all to the good, but as soon as it starts identifying certain other people as evil, diseased, delusional, or stupid then it begins to lend itself to being used for the worst types of human behavior.

    Frankly if you are going to make the utterly ridiculous claim that the atheists on this forum do NOT make such identifications then you are so far gone down the road of your ideology that a discussion with you is waste of time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    It's just I don't see how atheism really justifies any action, and I do see how a logical path can be created from religion that would justify evil deeds.
    Sure I can see that you can define atheism in this self-serving way so that this is true just as I can define religion properly and reject your definition of atheism so that I can say, it's just I don't see how religion really justifies any evil action, and I do see how a logical path can be created from atheism that would justify evil deeds.

    On the other hand, I see no need for intentionally blinding myself to the realities of the world where people have quite often used both religious and atheistic worldview as a justification for incredible evils. If you persist in this program of intentially blinding yourself in this way, I would see this as evidence that this is the only way you can prevent yourself from recognizing the overwhelming evidence that it is the atheist worldviews have been responsible for the greatest evils in the world.
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    the overwhelming evidence that it is the atheist worldviews have been responsible for the greatest evils in the world.
    Woah, what now? Please explain.

    I think you guys are moving away from the understanding that either atheism or religion can and have been used for justifying "evil" throughout history. There is also a distinct difference between religion/atheism as a world view of the individual and the religion/atheism used by people in power for justifying "evil".

    Atheism as such is nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god, while the "atheism" used by people in power or individual atheists actively using it for campaining a cause is one where all sorts of views and ideals have been plastered onto the bair back of atheism. In such cases the word atheism is used incorrectly by themselves and others as the driving force behind their actions.

    In the case of religion, the message contained in the holy texts are open to interpretation, spawning all sorts of religions using the same texts, but having sometimes wildly differing beliefs. With this given, religion can similarly be used to justify almost any cause or campain, either by the parties involved knowingly manipulating the core beliefs of the particular religion or by the parties involved believing in (or, again significantly, choosing) an already existing religion that has the required justification for their aims.

    It is rather difficult to know exactly which of these or yet other cases one is dealing with when looking at "evil" commited. No?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    the overwhelming evidence that it is the atheist worldviews have been responsible for the greatest evils in the world.
    Finally lost your marbles, did ya?

    However, it isn't the biggest fairy tale you've told thus far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    the overwhelming evidence that it is the atheist worldviews have been responsible for the greatest evils in the world.
    Woah, what now? Please explain.
    Well to begin with, lets put this back into the sentence that you cut it out of:

    "If you persist in this program of intentially blinding yourself in this way, I would see this as evidence that this is the only way you can prevent yourself from recognizing the overwhelming evidence that it is the atheist worldviews have been responsible for the greatest evils in the world."

    The point here is that I can certainly accept you defining "authentic" atheism as "nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god" if you can accept that religious people likewise define "authentic" religion in such a way that makes it impossible to use it for evil and violence against others. But if an atheist insists on pretending that being an athiest makes one good any more than a being a theist makes one good, or pretending that an atheistic worldview cannot be used for evil purposes any more than a religious worldview cannot be used for evil purposes, then I think this atheist is intentionally deluding himself. And then I must ask WHY is this atheist trying to blind himself in this manner, and I might conclude what I say above, for people most often blind themselves to things in order to avoid acknowledging unpleasant realities.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    While the "atheism" used by people in power or individual atheists actively using it for campaining a cause is one where all sorts of views and ideals have been plastered onto the bair back of atheism. In such cases the word atheism is used incorrectly by themselves and others as the driving force behind their actions.
    I can only see this as meaningless hypocritical rhetoric if it is applied only to atheism and not to religion as well. If it is part of a recognition that nearly anything can be used for an evil purpose and that this fact does not mean that what is so used is inherently evil, then I have no problem with it. But as a dodge to justify atheist self-righteousness and arrogance, it just will not wash, for I have heard identical arguments from the religious which would make you sound more the same than different.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    In the case of religion, the message contained in the holy texts are open to interpretation, spawning all sorts of religions using the same texts, but having sometimes wildly differing beliefs. With this given, religion can similarly be used to justify almost any cause or campain, either by the parties involved knowingly manipulating the core beliefs of the particular religion or by the parties involved believing in (or, again significantly, choosing) an already existing religion that has the required justification for their aims.
    You and Rationalist seem to want to say that theism lends itself to divine relativism and thus makes it more easily used to justify evil, but this argument has two fatal flaws. The first is that in using religion one has to work ones way around the dominant message of peace, love, brotherhood, which is generally what inspires people to follow these religions. The second is that it sets up a false dichotomy suggesting that only the commands of a God can overcome the "natural" tendency of people to peace, love and brotherhood. What natural tendency to peace, love and brotherhood? huh? Isn't the atheist world view the one based on an evolutionary doctrine of survival of the fittest - in which case, isn't the "natural" tendency of human beings simply to take what they need or want for their own survival???


    Thus the truth is that there is no difference between thesim and atheism in this. The words of respected atheist leaders can and have been used in exactly the same manner as religious texts have been misused. Richard Dawkins characterization of religion as a meme virus sounds an awful lot like the words of Mao Tse Tung that "religion is a disease", which were use to justify the murder of 30-60 million people in China and another .6 to 1.2 million in Tibet (and that is just one example of MANY). If there is a difference it is twofold: first is that these atrocities by atheist groups are generally more recent and second that the atheist worldviews did not even pretend to any restraint.

    But part of the problem is exactly who you are going to accept as being atheist. I hear this double talk from atheist who out of one side of their mouth will argue that atheism has always been around and yet out of the other side of their mouth says any non-theist evildoers of the past are not really atheists. So they will try to dig up some faint traces of religion in order to shift the blame. It is hypocritical. Take Ghengis Khan for example. Is this an example of an atheist slaughterer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Genghis Khan's religion is widely speculated to be Shamanism, which was very likely among nomadic Mongol-Turkic tribes of Central Asia. Later, Genghis Khan is said to have devolped interest in Buddhist[citation needed] and Taoist teachings from China. One Taoist monk, Ch'ang Ch'un, who had rejected invitations from Song and Jin leaders, travelled more than 5000 kilometres to meet Genghis Khan near the Afghanistan border. Genghis Khan asked if the monk had secret medicine that could make him immortal. The monk's negative answer disheartened Genghis Khan, and he lost interest in the monk thereafter.
    If there is a religion there, which is doubtful, it is hardly a theistic one.




    In conclusion, cannot we simply recognize that neither atheism nor religion have any inherent connection to the evils that men do but that people in their selfish approach to life will quite generally twist and adapt just about anything to justify what they do?
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    if you can accept that religious people likewise define "authentic" religion in such a way that makes it impossible to use it for evil and violence against others.
    Authentic atheism, as you call it, is devoid of any ideals or agendas and as such cannot be used in it’s pure form as motivation for killing and evil. Religion, on the other hand, is an all encompassing name for a plethora of belief systems. Among these are the ones that killed the Canaanites, the people in the world trade centre, the people in Jericho, etc.etc. In most, if not all, of these cases the killings were done as part of what they thought of as just and expected: their religion. I do understand that the overwhelming majority of religions do not subscribe to killing others, but there are those that do. So I will concede that defining religion as evil in one fell swoop is not justified. In fact, many people have been helped by religion where nothing before has. The one weak point of religion (and other ideologies) is that they appeal directly to people’s emotions and so can more easily get people involved in agendas that their leaders are pursuing. As for brotherhood, peace and love being part of humans default persuasions: that is true, but only for one’s OWN people. Many unsophisticated religions and their people identify other groups as “others” and then actively persecute, vilify, suppress and often fight them. This can be seen with racisms the world over, Ireland, Iraq, etc.etc. Now I know that it is not exclusively religious people than are guilty of this, but arguably religious people are more ignorant than the average atheist, not because of religion, but because generally ignorant people are more prone to religion. Of course I don’t mean that all religious people are ignorant, you are not for instance. Specifically with racism, because of the ambiguity of their texts, people use phrases from them to justify their actions. I have personal experience of this, as many of the racists I know proclaim that black people are not in fact human!
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    Ho hum..... here we go again.... round and round we go and where it stops..... nobody knows......



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The one weak point of religion (and other ideologies) is that they appeal directly to people’s emotions and so can more easily get people involved in agendas that their leaders are pursuing.
    Again atheism is no different. The Communist Manifesto inspired a hatred of capitalists and religion with a rhetoric that tried to make out religion to be a tool for manipulation by those in power. But by doing so Karl Marx and Lenin turned atheism itself into a tool for exactly the same kind of manipulation in its own right -- manipulating emotions of resentment against those in power and envy for the things that other people had, in order to get them to rebel and put power in the hands of unscrupulous tyrants, "in the name of the people".


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    As for brotherhood, peace and love being part of humans default persuasions: that is true, but only for one’s OWN people.
    Exactly! Atheism and the theory of evolution can only justify a brotherhood with those who share a close genetic heritage - fighting for the spread of their genes throughout the gene pool. But religion has inspired a belief in a brotherhood that transcends the bond of blood alone in order to see people across the world with no genetic commonality as brothers on the basis of shared beliefs and ideals.

    The criticism of of the limitation of religion in this cannot therefore point to any superiority of the non-belief of atheism in this, but can only suggest that we take a step beyond the limitations of religion to see a brotherhood that transcends differences in beliefs. The anwer therefore to the limitation of religion is not atheism which can only takes us backwards, but in the ideals of religious liberty, secularism, tolerance, and pluralism.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    but arguably religious people are more ignorant than the average atheist, not because of religion
    Only if you can call it ignorance to have a sense of brotherhood beyond the ties of blood, which is all that atheism can offer. And thus if the religious people are ignorant and small minded, then the atheist people are even more so.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Specifically with racism, because of the ambiguity of their texts, people use phrases from them to justify their actions. I have personal experience of this, as many of the racists I know proclaim that black people are not in fact human!
    Yes it is quite true that religion has only had a partial success in combating this natural prejudice of the atheist man against those with no genetic commonality. For although the religions have always taught that all human beings are a creation of God and His children and that God offers his love to all of them, members of society with a predominant religion have always varied in how seriously they take the teachings of their religion. And so it was quite confusing for the Native Americans, for example, when they would sign treaties with some (like the Quakers) who believe that all human beings had the spark of the divine within them and then meet other white men who did not take these religious ideals seriously enough to honor such treaties, or who had found scripture that they could twist to serve their selfish agendas.



    Anytime you want to get of this endless merry-go-round, just let me know....

    Religion and atheism can both be used for evil, but we can also agree that these are not inherently evil, but embracing common ideals of religious liberty, we can recognize a brotherhood of man that trancends our differences in belief.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The point here is that I can certainly accept you defining "authentic" atheism as "nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god" if you can accept that religious people likewise define "authentic" religion in such a way that makes it impossible to use it for evil and violence against others. But if an atheist insists on pretending that being an athiest makes one good any more than a being a theist makes one good, or pretending that an atheistic worldview cannot be used for evil purposes any more than a religious worldview cannot be used for evil purposes, then I think this atheist is intentionally deluding himself.
    Yeah, it's the classic No True Scotsman fallacy, which according to Wikipedia, goes as follows.

    "Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing."

    So when Pol Pot or Mao murder millions, the anti-theists say So what, they aren't TRUE atheists.
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    Hate for religion has all the potential to motivate people to erradicate it with power and violence, but surely we shouldn't exclude the fact that people that go that far often have a head full of loose chains (madness). Unless you believe you're God, or that God is behind you 100%, the chances are quite slim indeed that you will think "the end justifies the means."

    Obviously, it all depends on the confidence and certainty of the people willing to take "the extra step" to reach "the ultimate goal."

    It's also quite obvious that hate for religion (call it extreme atheism if you will, because it is very doubtful that somone who erradicates religion is himself religious) is caused by your view on it.

    "People are people."

    Anyhow, there was something else I wanted to discuss. And now I forgot. Pity... So...

    We are all dogmatic about something, always! Take me for example! I love Manchester United and hate Liverpool. I have the dogmatic belief that Man U is the best football club in the world (and that Liverpool is vice versa ), and nothing can ever change that!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Again atheism is no different. The Communist Manifesto inspired a hatred of capitalists and religion with a rhetoric that tried to make out religion to be a tool for manipulation by those in power. But by doing so Karl Marx and Lenin turned atheism itself into a tool for exactly the same kind of manipulation in its own right -- manipulating emotions of resentment against those in power and envy for the things that other people had, in order to get them to rebel and put power in the hands of unscrupulous tyrants, "in the name of the people".
    See the highlighted bit? That is what I mean by people plastering their own ideals and agendas onto the bare back of pure atheism and in doing so changes it into something other than pure atheism.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Exactly! Atheism and the theory of evolution can only justify a brotherhood with those who share a close genetic heritage - fighting for the spread of their genes throughout the gene pool. But religion has inspired a belief in a brotherhood that transcends the bond of blood alone in order to see people across the world with no genetic commonality as brothers on the basis of shared beliefs and ideals.
    Again you are equating atheism with science and evolution in particular. And further, you are grouping all atheists into this same boat, even though atheism it's self has nothing to do with any ideology or agenda. While I would agree that atheists would naturally gravitate toward accepting evolution as the answer to our origins, it is quite a leap to think that it means that ALL atheists use evolution as a justification for active racisms and segregations. That is done by atheists (i.e. no belief in a god) who add their own ideologies and agendas onto pure atheism and still calling this entirely different thing atheism, as well as the religious people being subjected to it AND the rest of the world witnessing . You speak of “close genetic heritage”. That is Homo sapiens sapiens! All of us (not bigfoot ). As to the second part: this is a lot of the time only true in principle. An American catholic, as a random example, might still harbour some abhorrence towards other nationalities, catholic or not. An atheist might too, but it is not a result of his atheism, similarly is the American catholic’s abhorrence not a direct result of his religion. But the American catholic might harbour a loathing for OTHER religions (and atheism) as a direct result of his religion, as he thinks they are all inherently wrong in their beliefs (or lack thereof). Not in their belief in god necessarily, but in the very particulars of their religion and, by extension, their way of life. Again, pure atheism in contrast does not challenge anything, except for the belief in a god. Humanism is an ethical philosophy that DOES challenge religious subjectivity of morality, but not necessarily the moralities themselves. Humanism as an example has atheism as part of it, but not as the source of anything except the disbelief in a god. I subscribe to that I guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Only if you can call it ignorance to have a sense of brotherhood beyond the ties of blood, which is all that atheism can offer. And thus if the religious people are ignorant and small minded, then the atheist people are even more so.
    Again, you cannot attack atheism for anything except it’s disbelief in a god. If you want to attack the actions of atheists, you can do so at will. But you cannot ascribe all their actions to atheism.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Religion and atheism can both be used for evil, but we can also agree that these are not inherently evil, but embracing common ideals of religious liberty, we can recognize a brotherhood of man that trancends our differences in belief.
    Yes! I agree wholeheartedly!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Yeah, it's the classic No True Scotsman fallacy,

    So when Pol Pot or Mao murder millions, the anti-theists say So what, they aren't TRUE atheists.
    Yes indeed. Everyone does it to defend the integrity of their own group, and I will not deny that it has some validity, for we can always describe a line that we have not crossed and use to say that THEY are not the same as US. And yet it is not wise to close our eyes to the fact that people are constantly crossing from our side of that line to theirs.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    It's also quite obvious that hate for religion (call it extreme atheism if you will, because it is very doubtful that somone who erradicates religion is himself religious) is caused by your view on it.
    I have variously distinguished it as "fundamentalist atheism", "reactionary atheism", "anti-religious atheism", and more vaguely as "an atheistic world view", as opposed to "pure atheism" or "authentic atheism".



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    "People are people."

    We are all dogmatic about something, always!
    We are indeed. And it is certainly a mixed heritage which is a cause for both pride and shame.

    I tend to be rather dogmatic, not so much in regards to Christian beliefs, but certainly when it comes to physics and the metaphysics which I have derived from the implications of modern physics and an understanding of life as a self-organizing process.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Religion and atheism can both be used for evil, but we can also agree that these are not inherently evil, but embracing common ideals of religious liberty, we can recognize a brotherhood of man that trancends our differences in belief.
    Yes! I agree wholeheartedly!
    Yes having already demonstrated that we can both rant endlessly against those who believe differently that we do, there is no need to continue, for it really accomplishes nothing. In the end it is only this recognition that signifies.
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    Yes having already demonstrated that we can both rant endlessly against those who believe differently that we do, there is no need to continue, for it really accomplishes nothing. In the end it is only this recognition that signifies.
    My main point is simply that if someone tells you that he is an atheist, that you would not be able to know anything for sure about that person except for his non-belief in a god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Yeah, it's the classic No True Scotsman fallacy,

    So when Pol Pot or Mao murder millions, the anti-theists say So what, they aren't TRUE atheists.
    Yes indeed. Everyone does it to defend the integrity of their own group, and I will not deny that it has some validity, for we can always describe a line that we have not crossed and use to say that THEY are not the same as US. And yet it is not wise to close our eyes to the fact that people are constantly crossing from our side of that line to theirs.
    I would still say, however, that communism was the underlying cause, making it possible for extreme atheism to occur. Without communism it would be highly unlikely that the events that did follow (mass murder, religion annihilation etc) would follow. I hope that's a point to be agreed with.

    EDIT: Is it correct to say "underlying cause"? I'm not sure, but I hope you understand what I mean
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Yeah, it's the classic No True Scotsman fallacy,

    So when Pol Pot or Mao murder millions, the anti-theists say So what, they aren't TRUE atheists.
    Yes indeed. Everyone does it to defend the integrity of their own group, and I will not deny that it has some validity, for we can always describe a line that we have not crossed and use to say that THEY are not the same as US. And yet it is not wise to close our eyes to the fact that people are constantly crossing from our side of that line to theirs.
    I would still say, however, that communism was the underlying cause, making it possible for extreme atheism to occur. Without communism it would be highly unlikely that the events that did follow (mass murder, religion annihilation etc) would follow. I hope that's a point to be agreed with.

    EDIT: Is it correct to say "underlying cause"? I'm not sure, but I hope you understand what I mean
    Considering the political opinions I've seen expressed here, there are probably some Communists hereabouts that would not agree with that. They'd probably say no TRUE communist would do such a thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    My main point is simply that if someone tells you that he is an atheist, that you would not be able to know anything for sure about that person except for his non-belief in a god.
    Such simplicity may be a little optimistic considering the different ways that people use the word, "God".

    You see my first reaction to your statement was that maybe you could not even know that much (that there is a belief that God exists) if someone says he is a Christian because their are the process theologians who say that "God does not exist, He is the ground of our being."

    That made me wonder how a conversation between such a process theologian and an atheist might turn out. Does the atheist think there is no "ground of our being", whatever that might mean? And what about the pantheist (which many Christians embracing process theology may boil down to) who believes that the universe IS God -- surely the atheist is not going to argue that the universe does not exist?



    So in any case, I can say in response that MY POINT, is that you likewise cannot really know anything for sure about the person who tells you he is a Christian (or theist?), except perhaps that he has a use for the word "God".
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    So in any case, I can say in response that MY POINT, is that you likewise cannot really know anything for sure about the person who tells you he is a Christian (or theist?), except perhaps that he has a use for the word "God".
    Well are there any prerequisites for the word “god” to apply to a concept? Consciousness? Omnipotence? Omnipresence? The creator of all things? To say the universe is god and not assign consciousness or will to it is meaningless. Even full blown atheists would agree that we all are subject to the rules of the universe. I would think that from the atheist point of view, the concept of a god would have a supernatural element to it and it is specifically this that they would not agree with. An atheist would have no problem in principle with, say, the possibility of a super advanced alien creating earth and life on it, but it would still have to have originated somewhere by wholly natural means.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Well are there any prerequisites for the word “god” to apply to a concept? Consciousness? Omnipotence? Omnipresence? The creator of all things? To say the universe is god and not assign consciousness or will to it is meaningless.
    The pantheist quite often sees mankind (and other sentient beings) as representing the consciousness of the universe.

    To be sure it is not what I would call God. But then no one made me the inquisitor or thought police and I wouldn't accept that job even if it was offered me.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Even full blown atheists would agree that we all are subject to the rules of the universe. I would think that from the atheist point of view, the concept of a god would have a supernatural element to it and it is specifically this that they would not agree with. An atheist would have no problem in principle with, say, the possibility of a super advanced alien creating earth and life on it, but it would still have to have originated somewhere by wholly natural means.
    But now what in the world does THAT mean? How do you define "natural"???

    Are you suggesting that only the contents of a box can be used to make the box itself? Will you make an oxygen atom using chemistry? Of course not. That requires a deeper physics - nuclear physics.

    So how can you make something unless you start with something outside of it that supercedes it?

    Does atheism require a rejection of the big bang and a belief in the steady state universe? Or is it only the earth that could have been created and not the universe itself? For otherwise, whatever you want to call it - alien or God - clearly it can only have created time and space if it itself exists outside of time and space and by using a "nature" that doesn't depend on the things created by the big bang itself.
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    I like the 'god is the universe, god is everything' viewpoint. God is in your salami. You just have to look very, very closely . . .
    "First we build the tools, then they build us" - Marshall McLuhan.
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    Are you testing my definitions here mitchellmckain? Trying to see if I really figured this out and are not simply repeating what others have said? I would have thought that you would have figured out the difference between natural and supernatural, being a physicist? Or are you alluding to the view that if a god existed, that he/she/it WOULD be natural? The natural view is that everything in this universe is governed by laws that have come into being in some way. The supernatural is anything outside of these laws, including a conscious creator of said laws. Did I miss something?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The point here is that I can certainly accept you defining "authentic" atheism as "nothing more than the absence of the belief in a god" if you can accept that religious people likewise define "authentic" religion in such a way that makes it impossible to use it for evil and violence against others. But if an atheist insists on pretending that being an athiest makes one good any more than a being a theist makes one good, or pretending that an atheistic worldview cannot be used for evil purposes any more than a religious worldview cannot be used for evil purposes, then I think this atheist is intentionally deluding himself.
    Yeah, it's the classic No True Scotsman fallacy, which according to Wikipedia, goes as follows.

    "Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing."

    So when Pol Pot or Mao murder millions, the anti-theists say So what, they aren't TRUE atheists.
    Actually, that last statement IS the fallacy. The argument is that Pol Pot or Mao did not murder millions in the name of atheism.

    "Anti-theists?" hehe
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    In conclusion, cannot we simply recognize that neither atheism nor religion have any inherent connection to the evils that men do but that people in their selfish approach to life will quite generally twist and adapt just about anything to justify what they do?
    Absolutely not, because many have killed and been killed in the name of religions. But, a theist will rarely, if ever, admit to that. How could any theist ever admit the cult they adore and the god they worship was responsible for the largest bloodbaths in history?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Religion and atheism can both be used for evil, but we can also agree that these are not inherently evil, but embracing common ideals of religious liberty, we can recognize a brotherhood of man that trancends our differences in belief.
    Yeah, that's silly in the extreme mitchell. Nice shot at propaganda.

    So, I don't accept your claims that your god, your heaven, your hell, your virgin births and resurrection as anything other than fairy tales , hence I can now use that information for evil purposes.

    Uh-huh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Absolutely not, because many have killed and been killed in the name of religions. But, a theist will rarely, if ever, admit to that. How could any theist ever admit the cult they adore and the god they worship was responsible for the largest bloodbaths in history?
    When you say something was done "in the name of religion" you are implying religion was the cause. You don't know that. People also do charitable acts "in the name of religion." Is religion the cause? I don't think you would admit that. But you can't have it both ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    When you say something was done "in the name of religion" you are implying religion was the cause. You don't know that. People also do charitable acts "in the name of religion." Is religion the cause? I don't think you would admit that. But you can't have it both ways.
    Religion may not have been the "direct" cause, but if not for having a religiously motivated agenda, the act may not ever have been committed in the first place.

    That too, is another several thousand arguments.

    But, I would not agree that religion does in fact invoke charitable acts. I would argue that is within the duplicity of our naturally evolved genes that exhibit altruism delicately coupled with our need to survive that fuels charitable acts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Religion may not have been the "direct" cause, but if not for having a religiously motivated agenda, the act may not ever have been committed in the first place.

    That too, is another several thousand arguments.

    But, I would not agree that religion does in fact invoke charitable acts. I would argue that is within the duplicity of our naturally evolved genes that exhibit altruism delicately coupled with our need to survive that fuels charitable acts.
    So what you are saying is that religion can lead someone to commit evil acts but never good. Is that about right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    So what you are saying is that religion can lead someone to commit evil acts but never good. Is that about right?
    Yeah, pretty much. I simply cannot see acts of altruism, compassion and selflessness spawned from the likes of Abrahamism, for example. People might fool themselves into believing they are, but I don't buy it.

    It's like the woman who was found alive amongst the rubble of 911 that claimed it was Jesus who saved her. Hallelujah for the rest of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Are you testing my definitions here mitchellmckain? Trying to see if I really figured this out and are not simply repeating what others have said?
    No. I have actually always found this dichotomy between "natural" and "supernatural" to be a put up job that no one defines very clearly.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I would have thought that you would have figured out the difference between natural and supernatural, being a physicist?
    Yes isn't it peculiar that in all my work for a master's in physics, a definition of "natural" was never offered once such that I could contrast it with what people are claiming to be "supernatural". I certainly never bought into this rational that something was only a miracle if it had no natural explanation. Being a methodological naturalist I expect things to have a natural explanation, therefore it is only natural that I would consider the word "miracle" to mean something completely different.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Or are you alluding to the view that if a god existed, that he/she/it WOULD be natural? The natural view is that everything in this universe is governed by laws...
    Well if all that is required for something to be natural, is that it be governed by some kind of external law, then I suppose you could say that I believe in a natural God. I have been in long debates with others in different forums concerning the existence of necessities. In the scholastic theological tradition the knowledge of God is divided into the that which is true by neccessity and that which is true as a result of God's decisions. As an opponent of divine relativism, I uphold the scholastic tradition, arguing that describing God as "good" or as "consistent" would be meaningless if these words had no meaning outside God decisions.

    In other words, does God teach us moral principles based on his knowledge of them or just because he decides them. The former suggests that he is simply offering what He knows to us for our benefit while the second suggests that He is just exercising some right to order us about.

    My rejection of the latter goes hand in hand with my rejection of the argument for the existence of God from "absolute morality" that declares in a divine relativic manner that the existence of absolute ethical principles requires the existence of God. Since I affirm that good must have a meaning outside of God according to natural principles then this suggests that these principles can be discovered apart from God which means that argument from "absolute morality" doesn't work.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The natural view is that everything in this universe is governed by laws that have come into being in some way. The supernatural is anything outside of these laws, including a conscious creator of said laws. Did I miss something?
    It is believed by the physics community that the universe is not steady state but came into existence a relatively short time ago (13 to 100 billion years ago) along with the space and time which are a part of it, in an event calle the big bang. Furthermore a great deal of what we call physical or natural law is reducible to the geometry of space time itself and is therefore a product of the big bang as well. Thus if there is a creator of the universe according to natural laws then these cannot be the same natural laws which operate inside of the physical universe - can they?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Considering the political opinions I've seen expressed here, there are probably some Communists hereabouts that would not agree with that. They'd probably say no TRUE communist would do such a thing.
    Ok, then let me elaborate.

    Communism began as an idea, not necessarily as a bad a idea, but still, an idea it was. The idea sought equality amongst the people, where everyone would live just as well as the other (and work just as much as any other). Many people would see this as a good idea, but they forgot the greed of human nature. Communism evolved to become a sufficating force, mostly because of the rulers (like old crackpot Stalin). The idea of desired equality proved to be hard to achieve. The problem with this idea is the fact that power corrupts, therefore, evil emerges. It comes to the point where "the end justifies the means" (I feel like I've said that a million times by now). Atheism was simply a philosophy adopted by the rulers, and because of the mostly failed idea, extreme atheism was allowed to be set in motion. Without communism, the annihilation of religion would never happen. If the communist leaders where Christians or Muslims, there's a great chance they would erradicate any other religion or non-religion just the same. It all depends on the certainty and confidence of the people at the power.

    I hope you understand now what I mean. The concept of communism allowed the people with power to take their philosophy to the extreme. And thus I can repeat what I've allready stated: without communism, extreme atheism would probably not emerge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Considering the political opinions I've seen expressed here, there are probably some Communists hereabouts that would not agree with that. They'd probably say no TRUE communist would do such a thing.
    without communism, extreme atheism would probably not emerge.
    and without religion, communism, could not emerge.
    it's all in Acts, it was posted up here quite recently.
    and communism has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
    communism is as dogmatic as religion. It is a religion.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    @ mitchellmckain:

    So let me just try and summarise your view. Please tell me if I get something wrong.

    You believe that good/morality exists outside of a god in an absolute sense. We humans are able to understand these on our own, but a god endeavours to teach us these moralities in order for us to be able to qualify for an eternal life after death in his presence. These absolute moralities require the existence of a precisely defined “good and evil”. This god created us by way of the big bang and all the laws that came from it. So from this, the god exists outside of this universe, maybe not requiring to be confined to a universe. This god mostly only observes us and seldom directly interacts with us, Jesus and some rare miracles being examples of this. So a god basically is the creator of our universe and it’s laws, but is not subject to its laws and in so being is supernatural.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    and without religion, communism, could not emerge.
    it's all in Acts, it was posted up here quite recently.
    Sounds like something Cosmo would have said. And you took that seriously?
    and communism has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
    The communist states we are talking about were officially atheistic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    So let me just try and summarise your view. Please tell me if I get something wrong.
    This is not a summary at all but a complete fabrication based on comments that I have made regarding your posts. It can also be construed as a rather dishonest dodge to avoid answering some clear questions that we were discussing about the meaning of "supernatural" as you were using the term. I shall repeat the questions at the end of this post.

    However, I also recognize that this can be construed as a form of honest query into what I do actually believe, and so I will respond to the various staments in your "summary" as I would to someone making these claims. But I should also like to say that I do not really believe in summaries like this for they exemplify attemps at simplifications that are the hobgoblins of a weak mind. Reality is not simple. Physics, along with all the other sciences, reveals this quite clearly.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You believe that good/morality exists outside of a god in an absolute sense. We humans are able to understand these on our own, but a god endeavours to teach us these moralities in order for us to be able to qualify for an eternal life after death in his presence.
    First of all I am a pluralist, which is a compromise between absolutism and relativism, that recognizes that some issues of ethics and morality like table manners and dress codes are completely relative to the standards dictated by the consensus or authorities of a community, while other issues are not purely relative but rooted in principles that fundamentally impact the quality of human life in general. It is my belief that these absolutes (whatever they may be) are thus related to natural and logical consequence of behavior and not in arbitrary divine decisions.

    Therefore I do not believe in a dictatorial God but in an informative God, who can guide us into an understanding of things which will be to our benefit. Thus eternal life is not a matter of qualifications according to some dictated rules, but something we can either succeed or fail to find, if we even choose to seek for it.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    These absolute moralities require the existence of a precisely defined “good and evil”.
    That would be the argument of the "divine relativists" as a preamble to the question of, "who makes this definition of good and evil?" But I don't see that this argument is valid. If ethics is rooted in the "natural and logical consequence of behavior" as I claim it does, then there is no need for such a definer and we can, at least theoretically, discover such principles for ourselves.

    Furthermore, I see very little evidence of the effectiveness of such a black and white view of the world. The question of ethics is not quite so trivial a question as your statement would imply. In fact, as a Christian I suspect that this question may be too difficult a problem for us to resolve adequately without the aid of God. Thus I actually don't think that God (the one that I believe in anyway) really expects us to be able to do so adequately on our own. Therefore I consider the whole idea of God as a judge as really off the mark. (Yes this is a common Protestant concept of God but not a universal Christian one. The oldest Christian chruch in the world, the Eastern Orthodox, do not hold this view.) Thus the problem as I see it is not whether God can accept us, but we whether we are willing to accept His aid.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    This god created us by way of the big bang and all the laws that came from it. So from this, the god exists outside of this universe,
    That is the common Christian perspective. Were you unaware of this?



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    This god mostly only observes us and seldom directly interacts with us,
    That is the Deist perspective and it is certainly not the Christian perspective or my perspective. I believe in a God that is radically involved in our lives and interacting with us all the time. I actually believe that if Christians really understood the theory of evolution then they would understand that this is much much more compatable with their view of an intimately involved God and that this conception of a necromancer God, creating with the power of command making Adam and Eve like golems of dust and flesh, derived from a literal interpretation of Genesis (as if it were a "Creation for Dummies" book), is more like a Deist conception of God.

    To these Christians I ask, "do you then believe that God only created Adam and Eve and that the rest of us are just a product of biology?" And I would say to them that, if that is the case, then I really don't see how this is such a great improvement over being decended from the apes.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Jesus and some rare miracles being examples of this.
    I don't think miracles are rare at all. I see miracles around me in every direction - every beat of my heart - every newborn child - every flower and bird - ever star and nebula. Maybe you just see matter and gas - but I although I quite CLEARLY see those things too, I also see wonder and beauty that is quite miraculous.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    So a god basically is the creator of our universe and it’s laws, but is not subject to its laws and in so being is supernatural.
    You are the one saying that God is "supernatural" and I have been trying to understand what you mean by this. Lets go back to how this started.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I would think that from the atheist point of view, the concept of a god would have a supernatural element to it and it is specifically this that they would not agree with. An atheist would have no problem in principle with, say, the possibility of a super advanced alien creating earth and life on it, but it would still have to have originated somewhere by wholly natural means.
    Does atheism require a rejection of the big bang and a belief in the steady state universe? Or is it only the earth that could have been created (by aliens) and not the universe itself? For otherwise, whatever you want to call it - alien or God - can clearly only have created time and space if it itself exists outside of time and space and by using a "nature" that doesn't depend on the things created by the big bang itself.
    The natural view is that everything in this universe is governed by laws that have come into being in some way. The supernatural is anything outside of these laws, including a conscious creator of said laws.
    You did not answer the questions about the big bang or the creation of the universe, leaving us hanging as to whether you would consider aliens to be supernatural if they created not just the earth but the whole universe as well. Your latest statement above about God being supernatural because He is outside the physical laws originating in the big bang continues to leave this quite unclear. You seem to be suggesting that anything that is responsible for the big bang is necessarily supernatural - is that really what you are trying to say?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    and communism has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
    communism is as dogmatic as religion. It is a religion.
    Yes and the crusades had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. The crusades were about the greed and imperialistic ambitions of those in power. It was motivated by the same things as any war in history. They just happened to be "Christians" as the Communists just happened to be "atheists".
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Yes and the crusades had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.
    Funny how history disagrees with you.
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    However, I also recognize that this can be construed as a form of honest query into what I do actually believe, and so I will respond to the various statements in your "summary" as I would to someone making these claims.
    Yeh, it was more a sort of clumsy poke in the ribs to see if I could jog some of your core beliefs. No ill intentions there. :wink:
    First of all I am a pluralist, which is a compromise between absolutism and relativism, that recognizes that some issues of ethics and morality like table manners and dress codes are completely relative to the standards dictated by the consensus or authorities of a community, while other issues are not purely relative but rooted in principles that fundamentally impact the quality of human life in general. It is my belief that these absolutes (whatever they may be) are thus related to natural and logical consequence of behavior and not in arbitrary divine decisions. Therefore I do not believe in a dictatorial God but in an informative God, who can guide us into an understanding of things which will be to our benefit.
    Ok. How I look at it, is that there are two parts to human behaviour (similar to some other animals):1} The external part (or the group’s social dynamic), that has evolved in a real sense through the ages and which has differentiated into the variety of cultures we see today. 2}The internal part (behavioural genes), which acts as sort of a toolkit for fitting in and taking part in the group. Now my first part would include things like table manners, dress codes and such as in yours, but I would say they also include relative morality. This relative (to other communities) morality would be an evolved morality that was most successful in ensuring the survival of the community, both inside the community and as rivals to other communities. My second part would be an entirely selfish genetic trait of finding the best way to further your genes. This would force the individual to conform to the existing standards or risk failure in furthering his genes (in most cases at least). I am not sure how much of this you buy into, or where the human part begins and the god part ends? My thinking is that if a god created us by way of the big bang (knowing of our impending existence), he would in essence be the creator of EVERY facet of our being, unless you maybe look at free will as the major counterbalance to everything being of a god’s doing?
    Thus eternal life is not a matter of qualifications according to some dictated rules, but something we can either succeed or fail to find, if we even choose to seek for it.
    So you are of the opinion that the default is hell after death and our conduct, choices and belief during life determines our possible acceptance into heaven? Are you of the opinion that a good man who happens to be an atheist would still go to hell, or that it is not for us to decide? I know you have said in the past that some of us are either not meant to believe or are incapable of believing. Are those people doomed then?
    ...... Thus I actually don't think that God (the one that I believe in anyway) really expects us to be able to do so adequately on our own. Therefore I consider the whole idea of God as a judge as really off the mark....... Thus the problem as I see it is not whether God can accept us, but we whether we are willing to accept His aid.
    I am having some trouble in seeing the difference here. If we are willing to accept His aid, does that not satisfy God’s criteria for acceptance into heaven (thus being judged none the less)?

    It might be worth pointing out that I used to be a strong believer myself. This belief gradually evolved from blind faith in the religion I was born into, to an irreligious theist, to agnostic, to atheist. One of my main reasons for moving from theism to agnosticism was that I came to believe that no all-knowing, infinitely wise god could allow ANYONE to go to hell, precisely because people are overwhelmingly a product of their lives (the rest genes or developmental problems). This would mean that even the worst imaginable person could never go to hell. This effectively rendered the whole idea behind religion and heaven & hell useless. The only thing left at that point was the faint possibility of a creator.
    That is the common Christian perspective. Were you unaware of this?
    Except for the young earth creationists. Also, although this might be the stance of the Christian religious authority, the individual has in many cases wildly differing ideas, even within the same denominations.
    I believe in a God that is radically involved in our lives and interacting with us all the time........ I don't think miracles are rare at all. I see miracles around me in every direction - every beat of my heart - every newborn child - every flower and bird - ever star and nebula. Maybe you just see matter and gas - but I although I quite CLEARLY see those things too, I also see wonder and beauty that is quite miraculous.
    I see what you are getting at. God has a steering hand on our lives. He was actively involved in our evolution both at the start with the creation event (big bang) and during our evolution? And he provides guidance as long as we ask for it. Let me assure you that I am constantly at awe with life and the universe. I see beauty everywhere (almost like that guy from American Beauty :P ) and often find myself totally blown away by it. I just don’t attribute any of it to a god.
    Your latest statement above about God being supernatural because He is outside the physical laws originating in the big bang continues to leave this quite unclear. You seem to be suggesting that anything that is responsible for the big bang is necessarily supernatural - is that really what you are trying to say?
    An alien would still have originated somewhere. Imagine for a moment that there is no god. The universe you see then would be my definition of natural. Everything runs fine without the need for a god. Everything in the universe is the product of the properties of space-time. Now if you add a god to this self-sustaining, self-originating universe, he would be supernatural. Even if a god created the universe, the fact that the universe could have done so by itself makes that god still supernatural. I guess in your view a god created the universe. In your view this universe could not have done so on our own. In the case of your view, god would be natural. I have to add that I know that the current accepted theory is the big bang, but I am not entirely convinced by it. I recognise that most of the evidence points to a big bang, but I am open to other interpretations and do not see the big bang as the final word. This is not a viewpoint from incredulity; I am simply keeping my options open, so to speak.

    P.S.) I think you mistrust atheists (only on this forum?) in general, but know that not all of them give justice to your bad impression of them. :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    and without religion, communism, could not emerge.
    it's all in Acts, it was posted up here quite recently.
    Sounds like something Cosmo would have said. And you took that seriously?
    and communism has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
    The communist states we are talking about were officially atheistic.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    and communism has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
    communism is as dogmatic as religion. It is a religion.
    Yes and the crusades had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. The crusades were about the greed and imperialistic ambitions of those in power. It was motivated by the same things as any war in history. They just happened to be "Christians" as the Communists just happened to be "atheists".
    to both of you:
    the communists were anti-religion, but they most certainly had a god/gods in there leaders and the dogma that is communism. So they were definitely not Atheist, not in the real sense, more likely Areligionists.
    just like a christian is Amuslimist, or a Muslim is Achristianist.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    the communists were anti-religion, but they most certainly had a god/gods in there leaders and the dogma that is communism. So they were definitely not Atheist, not in the real sense, more likely Areligionists.
    just like a christian is Amuslimist, or a Muslim is Achristianist.
    Nonsense, show me where they were actually thought of their leaders as gods. I submit that the superficial things that you are talking about was no more than a simple survival mechanism that always happens when one person has too much power, in private they may hate his guts but in public they are carefull to look like they adore him just in order to survive.

    Thus by your own usage of the a- prefix the communists were also atheist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Ok. How I look at it, is that there are two parts to human behaviour (similar to some other animals):1} The external part (or the group’s social dynamic), that has evolved in a real sense through the ages and which has differentiated into the variety of cultures we see today. 2}The internal part (behavioural genes), which acts as sort of a toolkit for fitting in and taking part in the group. Now my first part would include things like table manners, dress codes and such as in yours, but I would say they also include relative morality. This relative (to other communities) morality would be an evolved morality that was most successful in ensuring the survival of the community, both inside the community and as rivals to other communities.
    I certainly think that the idea of evolution is quite applicable because I see evolution as only another example of the learning process which include both things which are purely creative and other things which are selected by basic realities such as survival. Furthermore I even see the community as being a living organism in its own right and that moral/ethical codes are part of the organizational structure of that organism that evolves over time.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    My second part would be an entirely selfish genetic trait of finding the best way to further your genes. This would force the individual to conform to the existing standards or risk failure in furthering his genes (in most cases at least).
    However I see this treatment of genetics as a theory of everything to be vastly unwarranted and one of those ideological simplifications of reality that truly intellegent people would be wary of. Our genetic code is just a means of storing and passing information and that is all -- and just one method of doing this out of many.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I am not sure how much of this you buy into, or where the human part begins and the god part ends?
    I am not sure what you mean by this question.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    My thinking is that if a god created us by way of the big bang (knowing of our impending existence), he would in essence be the creator of EVERY facet of our being, unless you maybe look at free will as the major counterbalance to everything being of a god’s doing?
    I think that free will is actually the essential nature of living things and it is for this very purpose (to create free will and living things) that God created the physical universe. The universe is not in the least bit deterministic. Yes God created the physical universe to operate according to mathematical laws in order to give us an existence based on something independent of God's will, but God did not make these mathematical laws either absolute or closed but capable of interaction with spirit. Thus He being spirit can be intimately involved in our lives and physical processes (the life process) can actually create spiritual entities.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    So you are of the opinion that the default is hell after death..
    I think the default after death is that our reality will be ruled by our own will - the place where our dreams come true and where we will find our hearts desire. The problem is our own depth of ingorance concerning the depravity and horror to be found in our own dreams and not realizing where where our heart's desire will lead us.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    ..and our conduct, choices and belief during life determines our possible acceptance into heaven? ..
    Our choices create our spirit and thefore determine its viability in the world of the spirit.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Are you of the opinion that a good man who happens to be an atheist would still go to hell...
    I started a thread once suggesting that, who God considers to be theists and atheists, may not be the same as the distinction we make because there is a difference between what we say and how we behave. Not only can what we say be a lie to ourselves as much as to others, but differences in the way we use words can change the meaning of what we say completely.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    ...or that it is not for us to decide?
    It is all about what we decide.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I know you have said in the past that some of us are either not meant to believe or are incapable of believing. Are those people doomed then?
    My comment has to do with the fact that God has no desire to be a harmful presence in people's lives. I do believe that for many people the rejection of a belief in God is a positive spiritual development and that some atheists are more spiritually advanced that some theists. Skepticism is an improvement over institutional religion. I don't think most of us know where our spiritual development will end, and I certainly cannot say who is doomed. But I do find it somewhat curious that an atheist who neither believes in nor seeks eternal life would cry "unfair" if they do not find it.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    ...... Thus I actually don't think that God (the one that I believe in anyway) really expects us to be able to do so adequately on our own. Therefore I consider the whole idea of God as a judge as really off the mark....... Thus the problem as I see it is not whether God can accept us, but we whether we are willing to accept His aid.
    I am having some trouble in seeing the difference here. If we are willing to accept His aid, does that not satisfy God’s criteria for acceptance into heaven (thus being judged none the less)?
    Sure, if you consider the law of gravity to be judgemental for discriminating against those stupid enough to step off the top of high buildings. As I said before, heaven is not a matter of acceptance but of achievement like most other things in life. In the Eastern Orthodox view God does not treat anybody differently so the difference between heaven and hell is all inside of us.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It might be worth pointing out that I used to be a strong believer myself. This belief gradually evolved from blind faith in the religion I was born into, to an irreligious theist, to agnostic, to atheist. One of my main reasons for moving from theism to agnosticism was that I came to believe that no all-knowing, infinitely wise god could allow ANYONE to go to hell, precisely because people are overwhelmingly a product of their lives (the rest genes or developmental problems). This would mean that even the worst imaginable person could never go to hell. This effectively rendered the whole idea behind religion and heaven & hell useless. The only thing left at that point was the faint possibility of a creator.
    Well I certainly reject universalism and I agree that it contradicts one of the funamental motivations for religion. In fact I said something rather similar to this is a discussion of the universalist ideas of John Polkinghorne at http://www.astahost.com/john-polking...ty-t17626.html "However, one of the fundamental motivations in believing anything spiritual is the conviction that our actions and choices must have consequences which cannot be avoided and therefore univeralism tends to contradict this."



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I see what you are getting at. God has a steering hand on our lives. He was actively involved in our evolution both at the start with the creation event (big bang) and during our evolution? And he provides guidance as long as we ask for it. Let me assure you that I am constantly at awe with life and the universe. I see beauty everywhere (almost like that guy from American Beauty :P ) and often find myself totally blown away by it. I just don’t attribute any of it to a god.
    Yes that is correct, and yes I understand your point of view.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Imagine for a moment that there is no god. The universe you see then would be my definition of natural. Everything runs fine without the need for a god. Everything in the universe is the product of the properties of space-time. Now if you add a god to this self-sustaining, self-originating universe, he would be supernatural. Even if a god created the universe, the fact that the universe could have done so by itself makes that god still supernatural. I guess in your view a god created the universe. In your view this universe could not have done so on our own. In the case of your view, god would be natural.
    So... whether God is natural or not depends on whether God actually had to create the universe? So... "supernatural" would then be a term that atheists would call God because they don't believe that such a creator of the universe exists? Sounds about right to me.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I have to add that I know that the current accepted theory is the big bang, but I am not entirely convinced by it. I recognise that most of the evidence points to a big bang, but I am open to other interpretations and do not see the big bang as the final word. This is not a viewpoint from incredulity; I am simply keeping my options open, so to speak.
    LOL



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    P.S.) I think you mistrust atheists (only on this forum?) in general, but know that not all of them give justice to your bad impression of them. :wink:
    I am not exactly sure why you say this. I don't think I have been mistrustful in a way that is the least bit biased against atheists. I certainly don't give trust to people just because they say they are a Christian. I am not one of these saps that voted for Bush.

    Of course, I certainly have good cause for mistrusting atheists on this forum, but I have said NUMEROUS times that I refuse to consider the atheists on this forum representative, because I have known other atheists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    So they were definitely not Atheist, not in the real sense,
    No True Atheist would do such things, right? Just as No True Scotsman would.
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    Firstly, let me apologise for my poor attempt at getting my ideas across. I started on this forum last September, but before that I had nobody to exchange ideas with on this level (religious or scientific) or even speak anything other than the occasional rudimentary English with the odd customer or few English friends (English is not my mother tongue). So I might occasionally use a remote synonym of the proper word, as with “mistrust” in my last point instead of “cynicism?”.
    However I see this treatment of genetics as a theory of everything to be vastly unwarranted and one of those ideological simplifications of reality that truly intellegent people would be wary of. Our genetic code is just a means of storing and passing information and that is all -- and just one method of doing this out of many.
    Where else do think our ability to learn and become part of the community comes from? It is my contention that our genes (like other animals’) are evolved to perform one function: to pass themselves on. Think about it. Our bodies are essentially the mechanism by which this is done. Our brains are equipped to interpret sensory data in order to learn how best not to die and to pass the genes on in the process. This involves learning and incorporating the social dynamics that it finds itself in. This is what I meant and I don’t think it is contrary to current scientific thinking.
    KALSTER wrote:
    I am not sure how much of this you buy into, or where the human part begins and the god part ends?
    I am not sure what you mean by this question.
    I mean that I am not sure exactly how involved god is in the first component I mentioned, according to your belief.
    I started a thread once suggesting that, who God considers to be theists and atheists, may not be the same as the distinction we make because there is a difference between what we say and how we behave. Not only can what we say be a lie to ourselves as much as to others, but differences in the way we use words can change the meaning of what we say completely.
    Are you saying that a good atheist might not be seen as an atheist by god? Further that an atheist in the absolute sense (as judged by god) cannot exist with the same amount and level of “good” attributes as a bona fide Christian/theist? That I would have to disagree with.
    But I do find it somewhat curious that an atheist who neither believes in nor seeks eternal life would cry "unfair" if they do not find it.
    I am crying unfair, because I see a superficial understanding of the human condition on the part of the god Christians (and others) characterise as possessing omniscience.
    "However, one of the fundamental motivations in believing anything spiritual is the conviction that our actions and choices must have consequences which cannot be avoided and therefore univeralism tends to contradict this."
    I am of the opinion that religion naturally result from the need to provide a reason for behaving in a society. That is, a motivation for promoting harmony and/or as a motivation for activities against other communities seen as threats. Nowadays, with the more widespread recognition of the unity of all men, only the first part is necessary for some, while the second part is still present in many cultures where this view is not widespread. Even though I believe my convictions to be correct, I recognise the potential anarchy that might be caused when simpler people are suddenly deprived of this motivation.
    So... whether God is natural or not depends on whether God actually had to create the universe? So... "supernatural" would then be a term that atheists would call God because they don't believe that such a creator of the universe exists? Sounds about right to me.
    Let me quote Wikipedia for a more precise description: The term supernatural (Latin: super "above" + natura "nature") pertains to entities, events or powers regarded as beyond nature, in that they cannot be explained by the laws of the natural world and is deemed not to exist. Religious miracles are typical of such “supernatural” claims, as are spells and curses, divination, the belief that there is an afterlife for the dead, and innumerable others. Supernatural themes are often associated with magical and occult ideas. (I added the bold text in order for it to more closely represent my views on the subject). Should have done this earlier. So yes, the non-existence of a god/ghosts/etc. would qualify them as supernatural.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    So they were definitely not Atheist, not in the real sense,
    No True Atheist would do such things,
    correct, it is not in the atheist psyche.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by pavlos
    the communists were anti-religion, but they most certainly had a god/gods in there leaders and the dogma that is communism. So they were definitely not Atheist, not in the real sense, more likely Areligionists.
    just like a christian is Amuslimist, or a Muslim is Achristianist.
    Nonsense, show me where they were actually thought of their leaders as gods. I submit that the superficial things that you are talking about was no more than a simple survival mechanism that always happens when one person has too much power, in private they may hate his guts but in public they are carefull to look like they adore him just in order to survive.
    nonsense when a person has control over whether you live or die he is most definitely your god.
    they did what they were told like good little sheep, in fear of his wrath.
    atheist arnt sheep, but I'm sure they will act like them, so their not harmed, just like a lot of closet atheist do in america.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Thus by your own usage of the a- prefix the communists were also atheist.
    no you mean areligionist, communist Despots think of themselves as gods. so the cant be without god.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    However I see this treatment of genetics as a theory of everything to be vastly unwarranted and one of those ideological simplifications of reality that truly intellegent people would be wary of. Our genetic code is just a means of storing and passing information and that is all -- and just one method of doing this out of many.
    Where else do think our ability to learn and become part of the community comes from?
    It came from the creative response of living things to the unique challenges which they faced. This community forming process is clearly a historical stage in the development of life that began before there was any DNA or RNA and continues now that DNA and RNA is mostly irrelevant.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It is my contention that our genes (like other animals’) are evolved to perform one function: to pass themselves on. Think about it.
    I thought about this Dawkin's pseudo-scientific bull pie 25 years ago and my conclusion now is the same as then. His anthropormorphization of DNA made a cute cartoon in "Jurassic Park" but it is total nonsense in spite of this. Living organisms evove techniques for altering their own DNA (why bacteria have even evolved mechanisms to prevent their own DNA repair mechanism from eliminating all radiation damage) because the purpose is NOT just to pass on genes but to store and acquire information. This DNA method may be slow and inefficient for this purpose compared to human language but the complexity of biological organisms on this planet is a testament to the fact that it does work.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Our bodies are essentially the mechanism by which this is done. Our brains are equipped to interpret sensory data in order to learn how best not to die and to pass the genes on in the process. This involves learning and incorporating the social dynamics that it finds itself in. This is what I meant and I don’t think it is contrary to current scientific thinking.
    On the contrary it is an out-dated ideological response, clung to by those too inflexible to see the implications of new discoveries. The human race is no longer dominated by the concern for survival and hasn't been for a very long time. This is because the human being is no longer primarily biological organism but an entirely new form of life. Known as the human mind this non-biological physical lifeform experiences life on a completely different time scale and as a result the needs of the body tend to become eclipsed by the needs of the mind.

    Now keep your pants on. I am not saying that survival and the needs of the body have become irrelevant. Of course not. They are a precondition for the operation of the mind but the altered time scale I am talking about makes the hours between meals a vast emptiness to be filled and it is this which has become the dominant concern for human beings.

    Part of the problem here is that in the study of man we are examining the nature of the observer and the objectifying methods (makind observations observer independent) of science becomes difficult and even paradoxical creating blind spots and engaging self-interference.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    KALSTER wrote:
    I am not sure how much of this you buy into, or where the human part begins and the god part ends?
    I am not sure what you mean by this question.
    I mean that I am not sure exactly how involved god is in the first component I mentioned, according to your belief.
    As life develops by creative response to the unique challenges, God is the author of many of these challenges via happenstance and the holes in the deterministic web of mathematical laws. It is like this complex computer simulation where just a few of the variable depend on physical switches which a human observer can play around with. Except for these switches the simulation is mathematically deterministic which means whoever controls the switches controls the simulation. Well all living things have switches of their own, and none more than human beings, but the vast majority are in the hands of God. But His objective has always been to put more and more of these switches under our control. It is not a design process but an interactive one.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I started a thread once suggesting that, who God considers to be theists and atheists, may not be the same as the distinction we make because there is a difference between what we say and how we behave. Not only can what we say be a lie to ourselves as much as to others, but differences in the way we use words can change the meaning of what we say completely.
    Are you saying that a good atheist might not be seen as an atheist by god? Further that an atheist in the absolute sense (as judged by god) cannot exist with the same amount and level of “good” attributes as a bona fide Christian/theist? That I would have to disagree with.
    I find your disagreement meaningless. On what basis can you or I disagree when we have no idea what the criterion are? If the criterion are the precisely these good attributes you are talking about then your comparison follows by definition, doesn't it? But the essence of what I am really saying is simply that we cannot really judge at all. Furthermore, just because I suggest that there is a difference between what God might consider theist or atheist as opposed to what we think these mean doen't necessarily mean this has anything to do with any kind of judgement of worth.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    But I do find it somewhat curious that an atheist who neither believes in nor seeks eternal life would cry "unfair" if they do not find it.
    I am crying unfair, because I see a superficial understanding of the human condition on the part of the god Christians (and others) characterise as possessing omniscience.
    Non sequitur. If you see the a superficial understanding of the human condition on the part of Christians or other religious then by all means speak to this. Then we can speak to the superficialities that we see in your understanding of the human condition. But regardless of such considerations, it remains irrational to expect to find something you neither believe in nor seek.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I am of the opinion that religion naturally result from the need to provide a reason for behaving in a society. That is, a motivation for promoting harmony and/or as a motivation for activities against other communities seen as threats. Nowadays, with the more widespread recognition of the unity of all men, only the first part is necessary for some, while the second part is still present in many cultures where this view is not widespread. Even though I believe my convictions to be correct, I recognise the potential anarchy that might be caused when simpler people are suddenly deprived of this motivation.
    Yes religion most certainly does play such a role. On the other hand, modern evangelical Christianity condemns such religion. So either this Christianity is not a religion (and some claim this) OR religion is something more than what you describe.



    Seems like we are in agreement on the term "supernatural" as a term that atheists call God because they don't believe that such a creator of the universe exists? Is there anything more to discuss on that topic?
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    It came from the creative response of living things to the unique challenges which they faced. This community forming process is clearly a historical stage in the development of life that began before there was any DNA or RNA and continues now that DNA and RNA is mostly irrelevant.
    Have you heard of the field of evolutionary psychology? I am not trying to be purposefully patronizing here, but are you familiar with the fields of modern evolutionary theory, anthropology or socio-biology? Basically the thought is that all behaviour of humans has some parallel in our closest relatives, the great apes, and a lot of them in other animals as well. I am guessing you are familiar with them, but choose not to assign much credibility to them? An interesting example is Neanderthals. They actually were very close to modern humans and even shared existence with us for a while. Do you see them as animals? I am sure they had pretty complicated social structures themselves as well as a level of sophistication in their emotions that could have come close to rivalling humans’.
    On the contrary it is an out-dated ideological response, clung to by those too inflexible to see the implications of new discoveries.
    What discoveries are you talking about? You talk about the human mind being non-biological. Where are you getting this from? It is my contention (and those in the fields mentioned) that EVERY facet of our behaviour still has its roots in survival and the continuation of one’s genes. Some facets to this might have become obsolete in modern societies, but those mechanisms are still there and have taken on different roles in modern society. You are also assigning purpose to evolution (perhaps as a result of your religious view), while there are no conscious direction being taken. Quite simply, an animal that has genes (the product of RANDOM mutation) that enables it to be more likely to survive than its contemporaries, would mean it would have more viable offspring and so its genes would be more likely to advance than its contemporaries. You also seem to think that evolution requires more complexity (the acquisition of data), while it is simply viability that is the driver and so being, less could be more (and often is; possibly viruses, flatworms, etc.).
    As life develops by creative response to the unique challenges, God is the author of many of these challenges via happenstance and the holes in the deterministic web of mathematical laws.
    It would seem that the main reason behind our disagreement on this is your belief in the involvement of god in our lives and the elevation of man from nature (animals), neither of which I agree with.
    I find your disagreement meaningless. On what basis can you or I disagree when we have no idea what the criterion are?
    But aren’t these criteria defined in your religion (belief in Jesus, etc)? All sorts of criteria are mentioned in the bible. Are you questioning the validity of them?
    Non sequitur. If you see the a superficial understanding of the human condition on the part of Christians or other religious then by all means speak to this. Then we can speak to the superficialities that we see in your understanding of the human condition. But regardless of such considerations, it remains irrational to expect to find something you neither believe in nor seek.
    Of course it follows. I am directly challenging one of the basic tenets of your religion. I am contending that an all-knowing god would be able to understand the exact emotions and conditions that went into creating the monster that is supposed to go to hell. I mean, if a rapist murderer was able to fully comprehend what he was doing (fully experience the emotions of his victims and their families for example), do you think he would still do what he did? If he did understand and still did what he did, it would require the existence of manifest evil in that person. I believe NO person would be capable of committing such atrocities while experiencing full empathy for his victims. That fact that he still did it would to me mean that he was INCAPABLE of understanding, and so his actions are inevitable. You might say that he exercised free will, but I am saying that his free will is unavoidably influenced by his life, making the range of decisions he could POSSIBLY take much narrower. So how can he then be condemned to hell?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You also seem to think that evolution requires more complexity (the acquisition of data), while it is simply viability that is the driver and so being, less could be more (and often is; possibly viruses, flatworms, etc.).
    Not at all. The acquistion of information is not neccessarily an accumulation, though it certainly tends to be. Furthermore, more information does not necessarily mean a more complex realization. Sometimes the increase in genetic information serves a less obvious purpose in increased genetic stability. Regardless, learning that simpler is better is still learning. But for the most part simpler is not better because the the more complex organism makes for a greater internal isolation from the environment and thus a greater adaptability.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It would seem that the main reason behind our disagreement on this is your belief in the involvement of god in our lives and the elevation of man from nature (animals), neither of which I agree with.
    Well obviously this is a big difference in our worldviews. But on scientific quesitons, God is not required to explain anything and so our differences on such topics has nothing to do with this. I explain the role of God only because you keep asking about it.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I find your disagreement meaningless. On what basis can you or I disagree when we have no idea what the criterion are?
    But aren’t these criteria defined in your religion (belief in Jesus, etc)? All sorts of criteria are mentioned in the bible. Are you questioning the validity of them?
    No I don't think Chrisitianity or the Bible is about some criterion by which God would judge who is really theist and who is really atheist. Certainly a belief in Jesus has nothing to do with that at all. What sort of criteria are you talking about and for what?



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I am contending that an all-knowing god would be able to understand the exact emotions and conditions that went into creating the monster
    The same conditions produce both the hero and the monster. It is all a matter of how they choose to respond to those conditions.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    that is supposed to go to hell. ...So how can he then be condemned to hell?
    There is no "supposed to go to hell" or "condemned to hell", there is only those who create hell and those who create something better.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I mean, if a rapist murderer was able to fully comprehend what he was doing (fully experience the emotions of his victims and their families for example), do you think he would still do what he did?
    Are you serious? Are you that naive? The murder rapist most often enjoys the fact of what he does to his victims and their families. He enjoys the sense of power. What is missing is not the ability to sense the emotions of his victims, for this he actually savors. What is wrong is that he does care about their well being - what he cares about is the fulfillment of his own desires.

    Evil is quite simple. It is choosing to pursue ones desires at the expense of the well being of others. It is desire and the power to pursue those desires unrestrained by caring.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    If he did understand and still did what he did, it would require the existence of manifest evil in that person. I believe NO person would be capable of committing such atrocities while experiencing full empathy for his victims. That fact that he still did it would to me mean that he was INCAPABLE of understanding, and so his actions are inevitable.
    I guess you are. You take too much for granted. You do not see the chasm at our feet. We program ourself by rewarding ourselves with pleasure, creating habits of thought and action. The question is what thoughts and behaviors do we reward ourselves for? All choices are not equal some lead to greater free will and some to less, like the choice of a species to focus on brain power or muscle power as its response to the challenge of survival. So some habits of thought and action shut down our free will, diminishing our consciousness and other habits of thought and action leads to greater free will and greater consciousness. A simple example can be found in study habits - developing the habit to start on things right away or developing the habit of procrastination.

    The rapist and serial killer does not act of ignorance, he acts in fulfillment of a life long dream following endless hours of rewarding himself for certain types of thoughts, playing out senarios in their head, so that by his self-programming the desire grows and his care for others diminishes. He does become incapable of caring but all as a result of choices which he has made.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You might say that he exercised free will, but I am saying that his free will is unavoidably influenced by his life, making the range of decisions he could POSSIBLY take much narrower.
    Oh undoubtably he had his reasons but these reasons are chosen when he chooses a course of action. For the most part, the role of reason in human action is not to determine what we will choose but to think up a rational to justify what we have chosen.

    And of course our free will is influenced by all sorts of things. Whether we are a man or a worm is the result of the choice of some ancestor hundreds of millions of years ago. That is life. Fair really has nothing to do with anything. The question is whether we will take advantage the opportunities available to us or whether we will squander them. The question is, what kind of world will you create?
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    Sorry for only replying now.
    But for the most part simpler is not better because the the more complex organism makes for a greater internal isolation from the environment and thus a greater adaptability
    What is more adaptable than bacteria?
    The same conditions produce both the hero and the monster. It is all a matter of how they choose to respond to those conditions.
    I am really having trouble figuring out why you can't see my point. :? "the same conditions" meaning all of the factors involved, i.e. genetics, influences, etc.? A person's personality develops in the first 8 years of life. No two persons have exactly the same personalities and so no two persons process information the same way. There are mental diseases that cause certain behaviours and how that person processes information, like Psychosis, ad infinitum. Genetics can play a large role. Are you familiar with the various fields in Psychiatry? I apologised for coming across as patronizing earlier, but I really can’t see how you can say what you say, without a poor understanding of Psychiatry.
    Are you serious? Are you that naive? The murder rapist most often enjoys the fact of what he does to his victims and their families. He enjoys the sense of power. What is missing is not the ability to sense the emotions of his victims, for this he actually savors. What is wrong is that he does care about their well being - what he cares about is the fulfillment of his own desires.
    I am very serious and (at the risk of sounding childish) you are the one that is coming across as naive. Of course they often enjoy inflicting pain and emotional torture, but what you fail to understand is that those people enjoy it as a result of the UNIQUE circumstances details of their lives.
    The rapist and serial killer does not act of ignorance, he acts in fulfillment of a life long dream following endless hours of rewarding himself for certain types of thoughts, playing out senarios in their head, so that by his self-programming the desire grows and his care for others diminishes. He does become incapable of caring but all as a result of choices which he has made.
    He does become incapable of caring but all as a result of choices which he has made, which in turn have been influenced by the personality he has as a result of the dynamics of his life.
    And of course our free will is influenced by all sorts of things. Whether we are a man or a worm is the result of the choice of some ancestor hundreds of millions of years ago. That is life. Fair really has nothing to do with anything. The question is whether we will take advantage the opportunities available to us or whether we will squander them. The question is, what kind of world will you create?
    Let me tell you, I understand your point. But the thing is that is a very simplistic and ignorant way of looking at it. It is subjective and emotionally motivated; also it is a product of your sense of right and wrong, which is based on your common sense and your religion.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  73. #72  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    What is more adaptable than bacteria?
    A human being with technology. You see while the bacteria can "wear" a human being to get to the moon just as a human being can wear a space suit, it is really the adapatbility of the human being that makes it possible. It is the human being that makes the space suit. The bacteria cannot do any such thing. Besides there is a big difference between the adaptability of the species and the adaptability of the individual. And as individuals the adaptability of the bacteria is not really comparable to more complex lifeforms.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The same conditions produce both the hero and the monster. It is all a matter of how they choose to respond to those conditions.
    Are you familiar with the various fields in Psychiatry? I apologised for coming across as patronizing earlier, but I really can’t see how you can say what you say, without a poor understanding of Psychiatry.
    A bit actually. I am no psychologist to be sure. But I was raised by parents who graduated in psychology and had classes at seminary and read the books of Scott Peck. But you see the real problem with psychology is that this is the softest science there is, to which Kuhns talk of paradigms and scientific revolutions is supremely suited. A great deal of it is simply the warmed over philosophy of contributors, but I do take it quite as seriously as is waranted in spite of all this. However I think the current biochemical trend is a lopsided paradigm shift resulting from the dirge of evidence for most of its historical conclusions.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I am really having trouble figuring out why you can't see my point. :? "the same conditions" meaning all of the factors involved, i.e. genetics, influences, etc.? A person's personality develops in the first 8 years of life. No two persons have exactly the same personalities and so no two persons process information the same way. There are mental diseases that cause certain behaviours and how that person processes information, like Psychosis, ad infinitum. Genetics can play a large role.
    I am not unaware of these factors but perhaps I do tend to be somewhat dismissive of them, emphasizing the role of choice above everything else and in this you are encountering some of my ideological framework which I have admitted to quite frankly in ether this thread or another. I feel very strongly that this is justified on pragmatic grounds, that such an emphasis is the best for society and humanity as a whole. I am not saying that these other things should be completely ignored, but that what these other factors contribute to is the utter uniqueness of the individual, that makes judgement impossible and also suggests that the development of humanity must lie in the direction of greater flexibility and tolerance of this individual uniqueness.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I am very serious and (at the risk of sounding childish) you are the one that is coming across as naive. Of course they often enjoy inflicting pain and emotional torture, but what you fail to understand is that those people enjoy it as a result of the UNIQUE circumstances details of their lives.
    Well that is a completely untouchable (untestable) hypothesis because everyone's life is composed of "unique circumstances" so the reality is that this is just your personal philosophy which is I think is a completely bankrupt one at that. A philosophy to encourage everyone to blame everything that they do on their "unique circumstances" so that they need not take responsibility for anything, cannot be a productive one. Go ahead and believe that everyone is a victim, but I think this belief is the greatest victimizer of all. Successful psychiatric treatment most often facilitates the patient's ability to stop being a victim by taking charge of their own life.

    The fundamental philosophical issue here, is of course the question of determinism and I think the evidence of physics is that determinism is a lost cause. But I must say that this belief in determinism, victimism and non-responsiblity is of course a rather typical philosophical position of the atheist. Enough so that I long for the refreshing experience of encountering the atheist who does not believe these things. I think it is in fact this philosophical bias that makes a belief in God psychologically unheathy for such atheists.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The rapist and serial killer does not act of ignorance, he acts in fulfillment of a life long dream following endless hours of rewarding himself for certain types of thoughts, playing out senarios in their head, so that by his self-programming the desire grows and his care for others diminishes. He does become incapable of caring but all as a result of choices which he has made.
    He does become incapable of caring but all as a result of choices which he has made, which in turn have been influenced by the personality he has as a result of the dynamics of his life.
    No. I don't believe that personality differences are responsible for evil - that is a contemptable philosophy suggesting that we should identify and eliminate certain personality types. Certainly some personality types have a harder time with some things than others, but I do not believe these personalities are bad but actually have advantages in different areas of life. So yes, choices which lead to evil are influenced by personality just as these choices are influenced by all sorts of things, BUT NOT DETERMINED by them. This is why a greater flexibility and tolerance for diversity in modern society is essential for human (social) evolution, for narrow social expectations only serve to suffocate a great deal of our human potential.

    Furthermore, I repudiate this philosophy that one is not responsible for ones personality. For as bankrupt as it may be to restrict what kinds of personality we consider acceptable, personality is neverthess somewhat dynamic and to some degree a product of our choices in life. But I think the real difference between good and evil (as well as between psychological health and disease in many cases) is NOT found in personality or in brain chemistry but in habits of thought. Certainly there are psychological problems that have a chemical origin and for which medicine is the right treatment. But for others, it is traditional psychiatric counseling to identify these destructive habits of thought and to change them (a difficult process indeed).



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Let me tell you, I understand your point. But the thing is that is a very simplistic and ignorant way of looking at it. It is subjective and emotionally motivated; also it is a product of your sense of right and wrong, which is based on your common sense and your religion.
    And I think your view is a very simplistic and ignorant way of looking at it, but unlike some people around here I don't pretend that the origins of my understanding can be anything other than fundamentally subjective.

    But as for the relationship to my religion, I think it is the other way around. For I started not as religious but as existentialist and a physics student and it is from these that my convictions arise concerning the importance of human choices. Thus my religious ideas arise from these and not the other way around. This is why I am of the opinion that one of the fundamental motivations for a belief in the spiritual arises from a deep conviction that our choices have consequences that cannot be escaped.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I feel very strongly that this is justified on pragmatic grounds, that such an emphasis is the best for society and humanity as a whole.
    I see where you are coming from here, but I don't see how my understanding on this issue could not be as pragmatic. People being guilty of excessive anti-social behaviour still have to be separated from society, although the death penalty should certainly be abolished. Rehabilitation should be a larger point of focus, although I know that it would not be effective in most cases, but is still worth it for those that do benefit.
    A philosophy to encourage everyone to blame everything that they do on their "unique circumstances" so that they need not take responsibility for anything, cannot be a productive one. Go ahead and believe that everyone is a victim, but I think this belief is the greatest victimizer of all.
    You’ve gone down a slippery slope here a bit. Just because someone understands the cause of his own behaviour does not mean that their behaviour is acceptable. I don’t look at it as being an issue of being a victim, but merely that who you are is a product of the dynamics of your life. These dynamics are the cause behind good people as well. I also think that knowledge of the causes behind your behaviour can be a big help towards changing it for the better.
    I don't believe that personality differences are responsible for evil - that is a contemptable philosophy suggesting that we should identify and eliminate certain personality types........ But I think the real difference between good and evil (as well as between psychological health and disease in many cases) is NOT found in personality or in brain chemistry but in habits of thought. Certainly there are psychological problems that have a chemical origin and for which medicine is the right treatment. But for others, it is traditional psychiatric counseling to identify these destructive habits of thought and to change them (a difficult process indeed).
    Let me clarify a bit. The basic personality I am talking about is the one that develops in the first +-8 years of life. The habits of thought you are talking about are the products of the interpretation, conceptualisation and incorporation of stimulae by this personality, which is an additive effect. So from this I do not advocate the elimination of certain personality types in the least and I concur absolutely that almost all varieties are needed for a healthy society (yes, that includes personality types more prone to theism :wink.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    People being guilty of excessive anti-social behaviour still have to be separated from society, although the death penalty should certainly be abolished. Rehabilitation should be a larger point of focus, although I know that it would not be effective in most cases, but is still worth it for those that do benefit.
    Whereas I support capital punishment because I am far less optimistic about our ability to rehabilitate such problems. Failing to stop psycho-killers is another way that society can condemn the innocent to death. I don't believe in capital punishment for any vague idea of justice or as a deterent but I do believe in capital punishment as the only reasonable solution to some threats to the well being of the public. I remember when Ted Bundy escaped to kill again. That should never have happened. But it is bound to happen without capital punishment for such cases. I don't think that attempts to rehabilitate predators like this is justified.



    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You’ve gone down a slippery slope here a bit. Just because someone understands the cause of his own behaviour does not mean that their behaviour is acceptable. I don’t look at it as being an issue of being a victim, but merely that who you are is a product of the dynamics of your life. These dynamics are the cause behind good people as well. I also think that knowledge of the causes behind your behaviour can be a big help towards changing it for the better.
    NO because what you describe here is exactly the difference between a determinative cause and an influence. But perhaps you raise an important point and that is that free will is not some fixed and immutable human ability but dynamic as something that decreases with certain habituating behaviors and increases with greater self-control, self-knowledge and a greater consciousness of the possibilities.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Simple answer:

    I'm atheist by default. There's no good reason to assume that the idea of a god makes sense, or at least nobody every showed me one. So I reject the idea of a god, along with the idea of an underground army of purple monkeys on Mars, and return to my default state of atheism.

    There are claims and statements which I do assume to be true, while I'm not familiar with the reasons and arguments for them. For example I don't understand snare theory, but I still assume it's not complete bogus. The reason is that I believe the methodology used by those who propose snare theory is sound. If believers would be unable to proof the existence of their god, but could convince me that they reached their belief through sound methods of research and reasoning than I might give them the benefit of the doubt just like proponants of snare theory. But as their methods include making bizzare, contradictory assumptions, claiming to 'know the truth' while being unable to explain how they reached that 'truth' etc, I don't give them the benefit of the doubt.
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    NO because what you describe here is exactly the difference between a determinative cause and an influence. But perhaps you raise an important point and that is that free will is not some fixed and immutable human ability but dynamic as something that decreases with certain habituating behaviors and increases with greater self-control, self-knowledge and a greater consciousness of the possibilities.
    The thing is, I am pretty sure that some (if not most) people find it very difficult to think outside of the box (to use a cliché), that is the way of thinking that is sort of programmed into them from birth (let’s leave religion out of it for now), which would include the media and peers, but mostly one’s parents. Whenever a value judgement or issue of ethics comes up, these people automatically reference these standards that they have learned. A good example of this is racism. I have firsthand experience of this; most of my family members are guilty of it to some degree. The problem is that most of these standards are held as absolutes and they seldom come under scrutiny and to make it even worse, they are often associated with strong emotions. So every time one of these absolutes is called upon to make a judgement on a situation, they are reinforced and motivated by these strong emotions. In fact, the emotional aspect and the ethical concept go hand in hand. I am sure you can agree that it is very difficult to apply logic and pragmatism to an emotional issue. This is even worse when the individual is predisposed to at most superficial analysis of morals and ethics. This gets MUCH worse when the associated emotions are very strong. They will NOT even consider your point, much less think about it on their own. An example of an extreme case of this might be serial killers. As you pointed out, these people take great pleasure in hurting their victims. The thing is that the overwhelming majority of them have some kind of child abuse or some other trauma in their past. Their particular modus operandi is probably always directly indicative of this trauma. In this case, surely these are causative events?

    As you yourself stated, certain habits of thought can diminish free will. I would suggest that a person can have different aspects to them where in some they are quite open to re-evaluation of their viewpoint and others where they are not. Further, people can have healthy and pragmatic aspects to them in one area, while having unhealthy, anti-social or ethically wrong aspects to their views in other areas. For instance, most of my family members are very good people for the most part on one side, but some of them are raging racists on the other. In this case it is almost completely a consequence of ignorance as a result of their reluctance to re-evaluate their viewpoints as a direct result of the emotional connotation. This is but one example and it gets much more complex when it is considered that there is a dynamic interconnectivity between different concepts in the mind with regards to the multi-tiered influences of base personality, genetics, impacting events, habitual thought and associated or related emotions. To me, all these considerations do paint a picture of causality. This, to me, is the objective viewpoint. So I guess what I am trying to say is that this viewpoint is objective because it is not influenced by my emotions and so, by extension, that a fully objective viewpoint requires the absence of any emotional influence.

    These are then the reasons behind my move to agnosticism. When all of these things are taken account of, nobody can go to a hell. If I can see this, how much more would an all-knowing God be able to understand these “evil-doers”? In fact, a God that can see that far into our psyches is not the God of the Christians or most other religions. As you have pointed out, ultimate accountability is the basis of most religions. With the vast majority of attributes removed from the only logical God possible to me, everything remaining became wholly redundant. So I became atheist and I can’t see any way for me to ever reinvest in theism.

    So, I think, this is the point we will remain at odds with each other; the additive effect of influences being deterministic of behaviour. I think the other differences mostly emanate from this.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    Forum Freshman Elando's Avatar
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    Meh I generaly dont belive in God because:

    -Theres no physical evidence he/she/it exists, only writen "evidence".
    -Religion makes no sense to me.
    -In the world of today, where death and destruction is common place on the news, its hard to belive any merciful God exists.
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  79. #78  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elando
    Meh I generaly dont belive in God because:

    -Theres no physical evidence he/she/it exists, only writen "evidence".
    -Religion makes no sense to me.
    -In the world of today, where death and destruction is common place on the news, its hard to belive any merciful God exists.
    -True, no physical evidence at all. As there were never physical evidence the Earth was round, no physical evidence we could fly, or go into space, to talk to one antoher one side of the Earth to the other, etc etc etc. Personally I don't ever expect to see a physical form of God anyway.
    -Makes no sense to me either.
    -God is not inflicting this pain, man is upon himself. God has not mercy if it is not He who causes the pain.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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