Guest Agaib

Religion

Religion  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. Is religion...

    • The Best
      2
    • Good
      6
    • Bad
      4
    • Ugly
      10
    • Other (Elaborate)
      16


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Guest Agaib

I've started this in order to respond to a question foeofthelance asked Me in the separation of church and state thread.

In regards to this, all I will ask is one question: Is it bad to cling to those beliefs? I'm not trying to sway you from your opinion; both of us have already made our positions quite clear and simply disagree. It appears to me that you would be more than willing to deny the role faith plays in the inherent belief in those rights. Not that faith is required for them, but that for someone to believe in those rights based on their faith is wrong. There are people who live their lives according to the tenets of their religion, both for the security of mind it brings them to have answers proivded, as well as the comfort of knowing that there is something more to their existance than just the ordinary drudge. Is it wrong for those people to believe in their rights based on their faith? And if so, how is it anymore right or wrong as compared to your own philosophy. In either case the end result is the same, merely reached by different paths.

For some context, we were discussing the human rights granted to us by the Declaration of Independence and whether or not god was important/necessary/harmful to them.

I do not beleive that any god or mystical force exists (as you may have inferred from My previous posts or signature). I protest religion on the grounds that I think it involves faulty reasoning. This reasoning, I think, can cause good intentioned people to commit terrible acts. It is also an easy tool for the manipulation of the masses by those with power. Don't get Me wrong, I don't think that religion is the root of all evil, I fully recognize that secular people have committed terrible acts in the past. However, I don't think that these acts were committed because they were secular, but because they were either naturally bad intentioned people or because they had made faulty reasoning in other areas not related to religion. An example of this might be Joseph Stalin. Stalin killed masses upon masses of people and was also non religious (if I recall correctly the ideal communist state has no religion). However, I don't beleive he killed those people because of his lack of faith in god, I think he killed those people because he was a tyrant consumed with power.

I justify My faulty reasoning basis by pointing out that it is better to assume something is not true until faced with evidence to the contrary, basically the scientific method. If I tell you that there's a magical Invisible Pink Unicorn that visits Me every night, you're unlikely to beleive Me unless faced with the animal yourself. I can still justify basic, common moral precepts this way and if you disagree I invite you to post something I cannot justify using secular logic. There is no solid evidence indicating the existence of god and thus it would be logically foolish beleive in one. This is how I think truth is best established because otherwise it is possible to force any assertion to be "true."

I understand the "brain in a jar" argument and that its impossible to absolutely "prove" anything because of our limited nature as human beings. However I do thing that its best if we all assume that the things we consistently observe during our waking moments while not under the influences of drugs or illness are true. There comes a point where its unreasonable to beleive otherwise. I understand that all human beings make a small leap of faith when they state that the world around them exists but I strive in My life to make as few leaps of faith as possible. Theoretically if I was to be perfectly semantically correct every time I made a statement I'd have to add all sorts of tedious qualifiers clarifying that I do not, in fact, have access to complete truth and things that I state to be true are only true in as much as My observations of the world around Me are true, but I think we all agree that would be tiresome and pointless. So from now on when I say something is true, I mean "its unreasonable to beleive otherwise because to beleive otherwise would either be ignoring the quantity of evidence provided for the specified truth and/or to beleive it not to be true would hamper My ability to live My life as lying around comatose convinced everything is fake is unpleasant" Whew.. I'm glad I don't have to sat that every time I make a statement.

I'll admit I've made a leap of faith, I wont admit to it being equivalent to that of a theist.

I also understand that it is impossible for Me to disprove the existence of a god. However, as I outlined above, it is the one making the assertion who must make his/her case, not those who deny it. Otherwise I can invent a universe where I think fire doesn't burn people, there are just invisible pixies that stab the fingers of those who try to steal their precious flames and it would be impossible for you prove Me wrong.

I'll outright say that I think religion is problematic. It's too commonly used as a tool for tyranny, justifying needless wars, and corruption.

Don't interpret Me as being condescending to those of you who read this and are religious. I don't hate you, I disagree with you. It's an invaluable difference.

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Guest Zyx
I don't think that religion is the root of all evil

let's dwell on that notion for a moment :)

I know through experience arguing with believers is very very futile. I mean: I've become the guy who kicks anyone trying to convert him in the nuts. But I'm not an atheist. Atheist are just as much believers as Christians, they believe there is no god. (for which there is no proof) I'm agnostic, I aknowledge the fact it's possible there's a god out there. I'm actually pretty sure there is in fact a god out there. The two most probably scenarios are everything and nothing. We exist so we can say nothing is not the case. Meaning everything is in fact what's going on. Everything you could possibly imagine exists somewhere. Even GAWD. He might not be here, but somewhere he'll exist. Now one might say believing in this is a religion too, but I don't believe. I just aknowledge this is the most probable scenario and act upon it. That doesn't mean I'll exclude other possibilities.

Dear god (no pun intended) I've dwelled way too far offtopic. Religion is teh sucks because it's not based on any logic, neither does it have any positive effect on anything. It may not be the root of all evil, but I'm sure it's the most evil thing in this world.

If this post made no sense at all I apolagize, I forgot what I was trying to say.

EDIT: I voted other because "bad" doesn't quite cut it >_>

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I voted other as well. Thing is, while I am not a religious person myself (agnostic), I can see where other people can benefit from their faith. For instances where life has been ...just.... very hard for example. Losses, that sort of thing. Oftentimes a person's faith and/or religion offers him or her comfort on a different level that another person is simply unable to give to that particular individual. Sometimes people need something more, ya know? For many, many people, that something more happens to be religion.

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Guest Agaib
let's dwell on that notion for a moment :)

I know through experience arguing with believers is very very futile. I mean: I've become the guy who kicks anyone trying to convert him in the nuts. But I'm not an atheist. Atheist are just as much believers as Christians, they believe there is no god. (for which there is no proof) I'm agnostic, I acknowledge the fact it's possible there's a god out there. I'm actually pretty sure there is in fact a god out there.

As I pointed out before, one does not make a leap of faith when asserting the negative in the absence of evidence. You're right, its possible, theres a chance that, out there, there's an invisible man manipulating the world (or whatever he might happen to like doing.) I said in My post that when I say something is "true" that I acknowledged that I couldn't say anything with absolute certainty. Atheism is not a belief, its the absence of a belief. There is no point in the statement "there might be a god" because you can replace "god" with absolutely anything in that phrase.

Imagine someone born in a world with no concept of god, perhaps and alien who lives in a world without religion. How can you say that this alien has made a leap of faith? a leap of faith is a voluntary act that comes with the assertion. The alien has asserted nothing, and yet, if you tell him theres an invisible man in the sky and refuse to produce evidence, he will tell you your assertion is false. After some discussion he'll admit there theres a possibility that you're telling the truth, but he as about as much reason to beleive in it as pixies and thus will assert that it is false until he is shown to be wrong. I have made no leap of faith with regard to god. I do not have faith that there is no god. I just don't have faith in his existence. There's no point in being wishy washy about truth every time someone makes a ridiculous assertion.

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I voted Other as well, as that at least, is a provable fact. Yes, religion has inspired plenty of atrocities, from the Crusades to the current War on Terror. (I deliberately specified those two. They are exact inverses of either in all but execution.) Yet at the same time it has also proven itself to be a great tool for good, in the form of organziations such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross. The Islamic religion inspired many great astronomers, physicians, and philosophers. Heck, even the Indians managed to give us the Kama Sutra! So to try and portray religion as an absolute evil or absolute good is, to me, a flawed idea. As with all of mankind's tools it is more easy to determine its alignment based on the actions and intents of those who use it.

As for my personal beliefs, I'm a rather religious agnostic. I do believe there is at least one God, perhaps two or three. (Either that or Murphy is some sort of demi-god incarnation of chaos.) Yet I find that the regimented existance of church to be less than satisfying. That's not to say that the Bible isn't an interesting read. (I was raised and confirmed Catholic. Due to the way the ceremony was performed, I managed to get confirmed despite not agreeing with several things.) I'll still toss of a lord's prayer when I pass a church or graveyeard, and give a good word for those who have gone before, but I no longer participate in the pageantry and ceremonies.

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Religion, simply, is good, bad, and ugly. Psychologically, certain human beings need to believe in religion to live happy lives. They need to believe that there is life after death, because as animals we are scared of the unknown, and it is also comforting to believe that there is someone in charge that is absolutely right. Now, on the other hand, there have been more wars and violent acts due to religion than any other cause. I'm an atheist and I don't think that religion is a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, people put stake in the bible, but why not in greek mythology? There's the same amount of proof. I guess I'm too scientifically minded and I refuse to put stake in an idea that excludes groups of people. That, and I'm gay so it's hard to find a religion out there that won't cause people to start chasing me with pitchforks. Also, life is too short to spend in hate and superstition. But, that's my view. If thinking that God is out there makes life easier for you, go ahead, just don't descriminate against people who don't have your views. As for Church and State? Stay far away! Religion should have nothing to do with how a country is governed, especially one that prides itself on diversity.

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I've started this in order to respond to a question foeofthelance asked Me in the separation of church and state thread.

For some context, we were discussing the human rights granted to us by the Declaration of Independence and whether or not god was important/necessary/harmful to them.

I do not beleive that any god or mystical force exists (as you may have inferred from My previous posts or signature). I protest religion on the grounds that I think it involves faulty reasoning. This reasoning, I think, can cause good intentioned people to commit terrible acts. It is also an easy tool for the manipulation of the masses by those with power. Don't get Me wrong, I don't think that religion is the root of all evil, I fully recognize that secular people have committed terrible acts in the past. However, I don't think that these acts were committed because they were secular, but because they were either naturally bad intentioned people or because they had made faulty reasoning in other areas not related to religion. An example of this might be Joseph Stalin. Stalin killed masses upon masses of people and was also non religious (if I recall correctly the ideal communist state has no religion). However, I don't beleive he killed those people because of his lack of faith in god, I think he killed those people because he was a tyrant consumed with power.

I justify My faulty reasoning basis by pointing out that it is better to assume something is not true until faced with evidence to the contrary, basically the scientific method. If I tell you that there's a magical Invisible Pink Unicorn that visits Me every night, you're unlikely to beleive Me unless faced with the animal yourself. I can still justify basic, common moral precepts this way and if you disagree I invite you to post something I cannot justify using secular logic. There is no solid evidence indicating the existence of god and thus it would be logically foolish beleive in one. This is how I think truth is best established because otherwise it is possible to force any assertion to be "true."

I understand the "brain in a jar" argument and that its impossible to absolutely "prove" anything because of our limited nature as human beings. However I do thing that its best if we all assume that the things we consistently observe during our waking moments while not under the influences of drugs or illness are true. There comes a point where its unreasonable to beleive otherwise. I understand that all human beings make a small leap of faith when they state that the world around them exists but I strive in My life to make as few leaps of faith as possible. Theoretically if I was to be perfectly semantically correct every time I made a statement I'd have to add all sorts of tedious qualifiers clarifying that I do not, in fact, have access to complete truth and things that I state to be true are only true in as much as My observations of the world around Me are true, but I think we all agree that would be tiresome and pointless. So from now on when I say something is true, I mean "its unreasonable to beleive otherwise because to beleive otherwise would either be ignoring the quantity of evidence provided for the specified truth and/or to beleive it not to be true would hamper My ability to live My life as lying around comatose convinced everything is fake is unpleasant" Whew.. I'm glad I don't have to sat that every time I make a statement.

I'll admit I've made a leap of faith, I wont admit to it being equivalent to that of a theist.

I also understand that it is impossible for Me to disprove the existence of a god. However, as I outlined above, it is the one making the assertion who must make his/her case, not those who deny it. Otherwise I can invent a universe where I think fire doesn't burn people, there are just invisible pixies that stab the fingers of those who try to steal their precious flames and it would be impossible for you prove Me wrong.

I'll outright say that I think religion is problematic. It's too commonly used as a tool for tyranny, justifying needless wars, and corruption.

Don't interpret Me as being condescending to those of you who read this and are religious. I don't hate you, I disagree with you. It's an invaluable difference.

Does God Exist? I answer that the existence of God can be proved in five ways: "The first and most obvious way is the argument from motion. It is certain and evident to our senses that things are in motion in this world. Everything that moves is moved by something else, for nothing can move unless it has the potentiality of acquiring the perfection of that towards which it moves. To move something is to act, since to move is to make actual what is potential. Now nothing can be changed from a state of actuality. A fire that is actually hot makes wood that is potentially hot become actually hot, and so moves and changes it. Now it is impossible for the same thing to be both in actuality and in potentiality at the same time and in the same respect-only in different respects. What is actually hot cannot at the same time be potentially hot, although it is potentially cold. Therefore it is impossible for a thing to be both the mover and the thing moved in the same way, or for it to move itself. Therefore everthing that moves must be moved by something else. If that by which it is moved also moves, it must itself be moved by something else and that by something else again. But things can not go on forever because then there would be no first mover, and consequently no subsequent mover since intermediate things move only from the motion they recieve from the first mover-just as a staff moves only because it is moved by hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover who is not moved by anyone, and this everyone understands as God.

The second way is from the nature of an efficient cause. In the world of the senses we find that there is a sequence of efficient causes, but we never find something that causes itself, and it is impossible to do because it would precede itself-which is impossible. Now the series of finite causes cannot go on to infinity because in every series of causes the first cause is the cause of the intermediate cause and intermediate causes cause the last cause, whether the intermediate causes are many or only one. However if you take away acause you also take away its effect. If there is no first cause among the efficient causes, there will be no last or intermediate cause. But if we proceed to infinity in the series of causes there will be no first cause and therefore no final or intermediate effects would exist-which is obviously not true. Thus it is necessary to posit some first efficient cause which all men call God.

The third way is based on what can exist (possibility) and what must exist (necessity). It is the following: We find things in nature that can exist or not exist, since things are found to come into existence (be generated) and to cease to exist (be corrupted) and therefore it is possible for them to exist or not exist. Now it is impossible for such things always to have existed, for if it is possible for something not to exist, at some time it did not exist. Therefore if it is possible for everything not to exist, at one time nothing was in existence. But if this istrue then nothing would exist even now, since that which does not exist only begins to exist through something else that is in existence. But if nothing was in existence it was impossible for anything to begin to exist, and so nothing would exist now-which is obviously not true. Everything cannot be [merely] possible but there must be some necessary being in existence. Something is a necessary being either as a result of the action of another or not. However it is impossible to go on to infinity in [the series of] necessary beings that must exist because they are caused by another, as we have already proved above in the case of efficient causes. We must therefore posit a [necessary] being that must exist in itself and does not owe its existence to anything else, but is the reason thatother things must be. This all men call God.

The fourth way is based on the gradations that exist in things. We find in the world that some things are more or less true, or good, or noble, and so on. The description of "more" or "less" is given to things to the degree that they approach the superlative in various ways. Foe example a thing is said to be hotter as it approaches more closelywhat is hottest. Therefore there is something that is the most true, and best, and most noble, and consequently most fully in being, for the things that are the greatest in truth are the greatest in being, as is said in the Metaphysics. Now the superlative in any classification (genus) is the cause of all the things in that classification. Fire, for example, which is the hottest of all things is the cause of everything that is hot, as I said in the same book. Therefore there is something that is the cause of being and goodness and whatever perfection everything has, and this we call God.

The fifth way is based on the order (gobernatio) in the universe. We see that things that lack consciousness such as bodies in nature function purposively. This is evident from the fact that they always, or nearly always, function in the same way so as to achieve what is best. Therefore it is evident that they achieve their end, not by chance but by design. But things that do not possess consciousness tend towards an end only because they are directed by a being that possesses consciousness and intelligence, in the same way that an arrow must be aimed by an archer. Therefore there is an intelligent being who directs all things to their goal, and we say that this is God."

-St. Thomas Aquinas

If no one understands what I just typed above, let me know and I will explain it in more detail and understanding for you all. ^^

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Guest Agaib
Does God Exist? I answer that the existence of God can be proved in five ways: "The first and most obvious way is the argument from motion. It is certain and evident to our senses that things are in motion in this world. Everything that moves is moved by something else, for nothing can move unless it has the potentiality of acquiring the perfection of that towards which it moves. To move something is to act, since to move is to make actual what is potential. Now nothing can be changed from a state of actuality. A fire that is actually hot makes wood that is potentially hot become actually hot, and so moves and changes it. Now it is impossible for the same thing to be both in actuality and in potentiality at the same time and in the same respect-only in different respects. What is actually hot cannot at the same time be potentially hot, although it is potentially cold. Therefore it is impossible for a thing to be both the mover and the thing moved in the same way, or for it to move itself. Therefore everthing that moves must be moved by something else. If that by which it is moved also moves, it must itself be moved by something else and that by something else again. But things can not go on forever because then there would be no first mover, and consequently no subsequent mover since intermediate things move only from the motion they recieve from the first mover-just as a staff moves only because it is moved by hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover who is not moved by anyone, and this everyone understands as God.

I've heard this argument before. You claim nothing can move itself and thus everything must have been moved, and then you proceed to state that a god must be the prime mover. However, you have not stated what "moved" god. Is it turtles all the way down? Or are you going to argue that the properties of god are such that he does not need to be moved? If you argue that god does not require a mover then it could be argued that the universe itself may have a similar property which does not necessitated being moved. Regardless, even if the universe was initially moved by an outside force, none of this means that this initial mover possesses any sort of sentience or properties that we typically apply to "god." Thus, using this argument to "prove" the existence is flawed. I do not claim to know to a definitive extent how the universe was created. There are some theories, however, its perfectly likely that teaching how the universe came into existence to a human being is like teaching quantum physics to a dog. This does not prove or demonstrate a reasonable need to beleive in a divine creator.

Your efficient cause argument is flawed in the same manner. There is no reason to beleive that the first efficient cause is separate from the universe itself. Unless you can demonstrate that the universe itself and your "god" are separable ideas then there is no reason to beleive in the god aspect. And if they are not separable, then you've essentially redefined god as the universe which is meaningless.

The third way is based on what can exist (possibility) and what must exist (necessity). It is the following: We find things in nature that can exist or not exist, since things are found to come into existence (be generated) and to cease to exist (be corrupted) and therefore it is possible for them to exist or not exist. Now it is impossible for such things always to have existed, for if it is possible for something not to exist, at some time it did not exist. Therefore if it is possible for everything not to exist, at one time nothing was in existence. But if this istrue then nothing would exist even now, since that which does not exist only begins to exist through something else that is in existence. But if nothing was in existence it was impossible for anything to begin to exist, and so nothing would exist now-which is obviously not true. Everything cannot be [merely] possible but there must be some necessary being in existence. Something is a necessary being either as a result of the action of another or not. However it is impossible to go on to infinity in [the series of] necessary beings that must exist because they are caused by another, as we have already proved above in the case of efficient causes. We must therefore posit a [necessary] being that must exist in itself and does not owe its existence to anything else, but is the reason thatother things must be. This all men call God.

Your arguments are all using the same flawed logic. If it is plausible for your god to exist in itself and not owe its existence to anything else, its possible for the universe to do the same. The difference between you and I is that you claim to understand the reason and nature of the universe's existence while I do not. All of your arguments have been somewhat valid in postulating the nature of existence and the nature of movement. However, none of them require a deity to exist in the manner that you claim.

The fourth way is based on the gradations that exist in things. We find in the world that some things are more or less true, or good, or noble, and so on. The description of "more" or "less" is given to things to the degree that they approach the superlative in various ways. Foe example a thing is said to be hotter as it approaches more closelywhat is hottest. Therefore there is something that is the most true, and best, and most noble, and consequently most fully in being, for the things that are the greatest in truth are the greatest in being, as is said in the Metaphysics. Now the superlative in any classification (genus) is the cause of all the things in that classification. Fire, for example, which is the hottest of all things is the cause of everything that is hot, as I said in the same book. Therefore there is something that is the cause of being and goodness and whatever perfection everything has, and this we call God.

Hotness, nobility, and similar things are human constructs and defined by humans by things we have experienced. There does not need to be a perfect hotness, there only needs to be humans that have experienced heat in some way. Through out experiences we have now defined heat and temperature as a function of the amount of kinetic energy within the atoms or molecules of a specified system. Even this is simply an artifact of human experiences and not neccessarily an artifact of the universe. We use these ideas to organize the universe before us. They speak nothing to the existence of a divine being.

The fifth way is based on the order (gobernatio) in the universe. We see that things that lack consciousness such as bodies in nature function purposively. This is evident from the fact that they always, or nearly always, function in the same way so as to achieve what is best. Therefore it is evident that they achieve their end, not by chance but by design. But things that do not possess consciousness tend towards an end only because they are directed by a being that possesses consciousness and intelligence, in the same way that an arrow must be aimed by an archer. Therefore there is an intelligent being who directs all things to their goal, and we say that this is God.

As humans we have defined the "purpose" of the objects as what they do as a result of their existence. In that way, any given fundamental particle of the universe has no "purpose" but simply behaves in a manner consistent with its composition. Its behavior is defined simply by the nature of the universe in which we observe these particles. Why the universe behaves in the way it does, I do not know. However, simply because I do not understand precisely what causes the universe to behave in the way it does, does not mean that I should beleive in an omnipotent sentient being.

Even if these arguments "prove" the existence of god it should be pointed out that they do not prove the existence of "your" god, whatever it may be. There is no reason to beleive in the god of any religion, and there is no reason to beleive that this "god" has ever interfered with the affairs of humans. Cares about the affairs of humans. Or could care anything about the fate of humanity. As a result, we are reduced to a god which does nothing beyond creating the universe. Spiritualism is thus rendered meaningless.

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I've heard this argument before. You claim nothing can move itself and thus everything must have been moved, and then you proceed to state that a god must be the prime mover. However, you have not stated what "moved" god. Is it turtles all the way down? Or are you going to argue that the properties of god are such that he does not need to be moved? If you argue that god does not require a mover then it could be argued that the universe itself may have a similar property which does not necessitated being moved. Regardless, even if the universe was initially moved by an outside force, none of this means that this initial mover possesses any sort of sentience or properties that we typically apply to "god." Thus, using this argument to "prove" the existence is flawed. I do not claim to know to a definitive extent how the universe was created. There are some theories, however, its perfectly likely that teaching how the universe came into existence to a human being is like teaching quantum physics to a dog. This does not prove or demonstrate a reasonable need to beleive in a divine creator.

Actually, what I said was not that God does not need to be moved, but rather that he is such that he can move himself, as stated in Genesis "I am who I am." The human would have to express "I am who my genes and circumstances have made me." Perhaps you misunderstood the proof. It is not intended to be scientific proof. Do not assume so. It is merely a philosophical proof.

Your efficient cause argument is flawed in the same manner. There is no reason to beleive that the first efficient cause is separate from the universe itself. Unless you can demonstrate that the universe itself and your "god" are separable ideas then there is no reason to beleive in the god aspect. And if they are not separable, then you've essentially redefined god as the universe which is meaningless.

Oh, but I have. By necessity, the causes cannot go on into infinity, for then there would be no first cause, and no subsequent causes, and therefore no existence. Since we do, in fact , exist…well you get the idea. Also, even if I had classified God as being the universe, who are you to say that the universe itself could not be God?

Your arguments are all using the same flawed logic. If it is plausible for your god to exist in itself and not owe its existence to anything else, its possible for the universe to do the same. The difference between you and I is that you claim to understand the reason and nature of the universe's existence while I do not. All of your arguments have been somewhat valid in postulating the nature of existence and the nature of movement. However, none of them require a deity to exist in the manner that you claim.

No, it is not, as I explained, for the universe to exist there must be an outside force or God to cause it to exist, which is not influenced by the laws that govern it. Rather that being determines the laws of our reality. For the universe to exist of itself and no other, the chain would need to be infinite…. See my above response.

Hotness, nobility, and similar things are human constructs and defined by humans by things we have experienced. There does not need to be a perfect hotness, there only needs to be humans that have experienced heat in some way. Through out experiences we have now defined heat and temperature as a function of the amount of kinetic energy within the atoms or molecules of a specified system. Even this is simply an artifact of human experiences and not neccessarily an artifact of the universe. We use these ideas to organize the universe before us. They speak nothing to the existence of a divine being.

Those ideas would be no more or less true if humans did not exist to formulate them. That is the meat and potatoes of philosophy- if a tree falls ect. To say you do not believe in a divine being is one thing, To say that these things do not in any way imply the existence of God is simply a flawed argument. Simply because this philosophy holds no truth to you does not mean that it holds no truth to any of us, because it does.

As humans we have defined the "purpose" of the objects as what they do as a result of their existence. In that way, any given fundamental particle of the universe has no "purpose" but simply behaves in a manner consistent with its composition. Its behavior is defined simply by the nature of the universe in which we observe these particles. Why the universe behaves in the way it does, I do not know. However, simply because I do not understand precisely what causes the universe to behave in the way it does, does not mean that I should beleive in an omnipotent sentient being.

As I said above, just because we as humans define objects as having a purpose does not mean that there is no purpose without us to formulate one. And the very fact that you do not know how the universe works opens the door to the possibilities.

Even if these arguments "prove" the existence of god it should be pointed out that they do not prove the existence of "your" god, whatever it may be. There is no reason to beleive in the god of any religion, and there is no reason to beleive that this "god" has ever interfered with the affairs of humans. Cares about the affairs of humans. Or could care anything about the fate of humanity. As a result, we are reduced to a god which does nothing beyond creating the universe. Spiritualism is thus rendered meaningless.

Just because you do not feel you have a reason to believe in God, does not mean that I, or people at large for that matter, have no reason to. I am sorry you see the universe as such a cold, lifless place, but your point of view is not the only one, nor is it the majority. I ask that you respect my views and the views of others, and I shall respect yours.

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Guest Agaib

I don't see the universe as a cold lifeless place. I'm capable of appreciating many things in the absence of a belief in god. Please don't make this mistake around atheists as its rude to assume that people must see the universe as lifeless simply because they do not beleive in your philosophy.

Regardless, A proof is when you formulate a conclusion based on evidence or logic (Note that I'm working under the assumption that there is a central truth and things can be shown to be true to a reasonable extent). I understand that your supposed proofs are philosophical in nature, however, that doesn't make them immune to logical analysis. In several of the points you made you stated that god must be the prime mover, the example, the essential existence, but none of the properties that you've applied to god are ones that couldn't feasibly applied to the universe. The universe may well have caused itself or need no cause in the same way you've said god is. If you then proceed to simply define the universe as god, this eliminates the necessity of god having any sentience (which is typical of most common definitions of god and certainly counter to the definitions used by most religions). If god simply is the universe then this means that one needs to investigate the universe more closely (science), and not ancient books.

Ultimately, god is not a concept that is provable. The argument you presented was formulated by medieval philosopher who, while being very smart, had little understanding of how the universe worked. As our understanding of the universe is heightened we've discovered that many things we've observed seem to behave outside of what common human logic would dictate. Indeed there have been quantum sized particles that have been observed to apparently cause themselves out of nothingness.

I believe that given an equal amount of information there is generally a correct conclusion that can be drawn from the information provided. Even if the correct conclusion is "its impossible to tell." I'm not saying you have no reason to beleive in god. I'm saying you have no logically sound reason to beleive in god and that your belief in god relies on faith rather than sound logic, especially if you adhere to a specific religion. When I say you're wrong about religion, I see it as telling you that you're wrong when you say that you have a pair of socks that will make you lucky. I don't hate religious people, I just disagree.

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I don't see the universe as a cold lifeless place. I'm capable of appreciating many things in the absence of a belief in god. Please don't make this mistake around atheists as its rude to assume that people must see the universe as lifeless simply because they do not beleive in your philosophy.

I only have what you tell me to go on. Your own words implied that you thought it was lifeless (compared to how I see it)

Regardless, A proof is when you formulate a conclusion based on evidence or logic (Note that I'm working under the assumption that there is a central truth and things can be shown to be true to a reasonable extent). I understand that your supposed proofs are philosophical in nature, however, that doesn't make them immune to logical analysis. In several of the points you made you stated that god must be the prime mover, the example, the essential existence, but none of the properties that you've applied to god are ones that couldn't feasibly applied to the universe. The universe may well have caused itself or need no cause in the same way you've said god is. If you then proceed to simply define the universe as god, this eliminates the necessity of god having any sentience (which is typical of most common definitions of god and certainly counter to the definitions used by most religions). If god simply is the universe then this means that one needs to investigate the universe more closely (science), and not ancient books.

What was your statement about assumption above…? If the universe caused itself, then it is what we call God. This does not eliminate the possibility of sentience. I bet I look like a universe to a virus (not saying we are a flu God has, it's just and example).

Ultimately, god is not a concept that is provable. The argument you presented was formulated by medieval philosopher who, while being very smart, had little understanding of how the universe worked. As our understanding of the universe is heightened we've discovered that many things we've observed seem to behave outside of what common human logic would dictate. Indeed there have been quantum sized particles that have been observed to apparently cause themselves out of nothingness.

Actually, God only has non-falsifiable properties when science is applied, not philosophy. To say that in the 13th century people had little understanding of the universe is to show your own lack of knowledge. We know less now than we did then. Yes, yes, science has taken a lot of new turns and new advances, ect… but almost none of them have been factually proven. It's just a compilation of ideas based on other ideas, based on other ideas, which still cannot be definitively proven. When one of those is disproven, all the 'science' stacked upon it will come crashing down and send us back to the so-called 'dark ages'. But I digress. This is a philosophical debate, not a scientific one.

I believe that given an equal amount of information there is generally a correct conclusion that can be drawn from the information provided. Even if the correct conclusion is "its impossible to tell." I'm not saying you have no reason to beleive in god. I'm saying you have no logically sound reason to beleive in god and that your belief in god relies on faith rather than sound logic, especially if you adhere to a specific religion. When I say you're wrong about religion, I see it as telling you that you're wrong when you say that you have a pair of socks that will make you lucky. I don't hate religious people, I just disagree.

Actually there is a logical basis for my belief. I never said that my religion was based solely on faith. Did you forget once again what you said about assumption above? I am not wrong on the basis of logic. That is flawed thinking. You see, just because you think I am wrong doesn't mean I am. You are saying I am wrong because it is your opinion that I am, not because it is factual.

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Voted "other".

It's not the religion itself, which is bad, it's what organizations and power-hungry people make out of it.

TRUE! :rolleyes: And I'm trying to change that.

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Well, you guys used lots of big words and philosophies. The fact is that people may debate this topic for the rest of the millenia, but the existence or nonexistence of God will never be proven by science. Science is strictly a man made thing. It's the same as the existence of ghosts. Science will never prove that either because science and the spiritual are on completely different planes of existence.

I don't think religion is all bad, just the people who use it to manipulate others. Christianity seems to be the worst of religions (no offense to anyone out there that is a Christian). They are the ones who throughout history have made it their personal crusade to get everyone to believe as they do. Catholics and Mormons are the worst of the Christians. Those in power use God as a way to get people that follow them blindly to do what they want. I myself follow the Wiccan philosophy, and while researching this religion I read all of the horrible things Christians have done in the name of God. Wiccans were made out to be devil worshippers and slaughtered by the hundreds. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. The basic Wiccan philosophy is 'Do what thou wilt but harm none'. While they were being persecuted the Wiccans never once fought back. They believed that if they did it would give them bad karma.

I don't believe God exists, I know. I fear him. My personal belief is that if you're not afraid of God you're an idiot. He could just decide to poof you out of existence. But I guess everyone's personal view depends on their experiences. I remember some of my incarnations, and will never forget getting screamed at by God. I think you have to be REALLY bad to get screamed at, so very few souls will have that experience. If you want to know what I did, only ask if you have an open mind and won't mock me.

Ok, I've said my peace. You don't have to agree with me, just please don't treat me like I have the plague because of my views. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can't make you believe what I do, and I'm not even going to try.

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Guest Agaib

I've tired somewhat of the discussion so this will likely be the last I'll say on it.

Even philosophically all one can demonstrate is that its possible a sentient being created the universe. Its not possible to demonstrate the with sound logic or without a leap of faith that the prime mover is sentient.

Even if the philosophical arguments for the existence of a sentient creator of the universe, they still fail to demonstrate that this god exists in the way said by Christianity or any religion. Ultimately the belief in the validity of any religion comes down to a leap of faith. I beleive that making leaps of faith leads to poor judgment but you are free to disagree with Me if you will.

I've noticed many people here demonstrate a lot of skepticism validity of science. I find it perplexing that one can be so suspicious of a system whose philosophy is essentially skepticism. There isn't some basic axiom of science that will be challenged one day plunging us into a dark age filled with knights and castles. If such a thing happens your TV wont stop working. In fact, throughout the history of science, when basic ideas that had become assumed are successfully challenged it has led to great advancements (not catastrophic de-evolution).

Its true that nothing can really be proven to complete certainty, but I've personally decided that the way science establishes truth seems to be the most logically consistent. If you have what you think is a better system I'd be glad to hear about it, but I doubt I'll be impressed.

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It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.... Aristotle.

I read what you wrote and thought about it. Then I stated what I deep down in my soul know. I'm not trying to convert you. If you want to continue to believe only in science then by all means go ahead. Just don't put me down because I choose to trust something that I can't see in the physical world.

I may be wrong, but all you seem to be doing is saying the same thing over and over when someone presents a belief different than your own. It doesn't seem like you're willing to entertain anything other than science rules all.

Science is interesting. It was one of my best subject in school. I've also seen the the laws of science defied with my own two eyes. There have been times when modern medicine has done nothing for me, but buying household herbs and following a recipe created by people hundreds of years ago cured what ailed me. You could say that it was only the power of suggestion and belief, but that isn't based on science either. All I can tell you is that it works.

I suppose that that is all I have to say. One of us is right, and the only way to find out who it is is to die. And I'm not allowed to do that for a very long time.

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*hugs her biology and psychology text books and curls into the fetal position* leave me alooone, I don't wanna go to church mommy... sniff. Atheism is a religion, goddamn it! Belief in the physical world through science is also a religion. I mean, the reason why I act so weird and don't try to hesitate my weird impulses is because I believe that life is the last chance I'm gonna get to do those things. Technically, everything is rooted in science, even religious belief, so it's easier for me to believe in it. That, and it makes more sense to me. Not to put anyone down, it's just, for me, I'm a very science based thinker, I need to know why and how with something that has fact to back it up.

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*hugs her biology and psychology text books and curls into the fetal position* leave me alooone, I don't wanna go to church mommy... sniff. Atheism is a religion, goddamn it! Belief in the physical world through science is also a religion. I mean, the reason why I act so weird and don't try to hesitate my weird impulses is because I believe that life is the last chance I'm gonna get to do those things. Technically, everything is rooted in science, even religious belief, so it's easier for me to believe in it. That, and it makes more sense to me. Not to put anyone down, it's just, for me, I'm a very science based thinker, I need to know why and how with something that has fact to back it up.
Religion is a belief, atheism is a lack of belief. Athiesm is not a religion, it believes in no supreme being while a religion believes in a supreme being.

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actually, the definition of religion is just a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, therefore, my belief that the universe has nothing to do with any supreme being IS a religion. Atheism is even listed as a religion in several of the philosophical text books I've been forced to study this semester.

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actually, the definition of religion is just a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, therefore, my belief that the universe has nothing to do with any supreme being IS a religion. Atheism is even listed as a religion in several of the philosophical text books I've been forced to study this semester.
That doesn't make it a religion. Text books are frequently wrong and that is only a modern definition of religion that was remade to essentially make atheist stop complaining about not being included.

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Exactly, the modern definition, as in the definition that counts in our times. I'm not complaining that it's not a religion, that statement was made as an offhand joke, but the definition of religion that I gave is one that comes right out of the dictionary and while text books are often wrong, it was simply listing religions that are recognized. It doesn't really matter if atheism is literaly a religion, it is still a legitimate belief. I was simply replying to several people, in this thread and in real life, that state that science is not a system of beliefs, which doesn't make any sense to me. Also, it remains that you do not have to believe in a supreme being to have religion, it's just that the major religions feel that way. Religion, simply, is a way to explain thingst that we humans don't know through a system of beliefs. Shinahism is a belief that the world is comprised of spiritual energy and nothing exists outside of intellectual experience, there is no mention of a supreme being, but it is still a religion.

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Ok Agaib, you said you go by scientific theories and/or proof. Then here is my scientific proof on God existing. This was written by my lover on another debate about God and his existence.

I will start off fairly simply. I intend to Show how opposing viewpoints are flawed, leading invariably to a single conclusion: God must exist.

I will begin with Darwinism (the original evolutionary theories opposed to creationism). According to Darwinism, the following must be true:

* Nothing produces everything.

* Non-life produces life

* Randomness produces fine-tuning

* Chaos produces information

* Unconsciousness produces consciousness

* Non-reason produces reason

Wow. What a blind leap of faith it would take to believe all of that, however rationally it was explained. What faith evolutionists have! Moving on...

Now let us continue into Cosmology. Whatever begins to exist has a cause and the universe had a beginning. Based on available data, virtually all cosmologists agree that the universe began with the big bang at some specific point in the past. Even alternate theories for the origin of the universe have a beginning. Stephen Hawking's use of imaginary numbers only conceals the beginning point in his own model, which Hawking admits is not really a description of reality. The conclusion: therefore the universe has a cause. Astronomer Robert Jastrow concluded the essential elements of Christianity and modern cosmology are the same: The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.

Moving on to physics. The laws and constants of physics unexpectedly conspire in an extraordinary way to make the universe habitable for life. Physicist Robin Collins said Gravity is fine tuned to one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion. Without this fine-tuning, life (and much of the universe) would not exist. The cosmological constant is as precise as if one were to throw a dart from space and hit a bull's-eye just a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter on the earth. There are more than thirty physical and cosmological parameters which require precise calibration for the universe to support life. Patrick Glynn abandoned his atheism, saying Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God Hypothesis.

Astronomy. Very similar to physics in the way Earth's position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work in the ideal way to provide a habitable environment for humans. Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez said It would take a star with the unusual properties of our sun- right mass, right light, right age, right distance, right orbit, right galaxy, and right location- to nurture living organisms on an encircling planet. According to astrophysicist John A. O'Keefe of NASA: If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence.

And on to biochemistry. Darwin said If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. Biochemist Michael Behe demonstrated exactly that through his description of irreducibly complex molecular machines. The cilia and bacterial flagella, for example, must be fully present in order to function. These amazing biological systems point towards a transcendent creator. Behe said, in conclusion to his experiments, My conclusion can be summed up in a single word: Design. I say that based on science. I believe that irreducibly complex systems are strong evidence of a purposeful, intentional design by an intelligent agent.

Biological Information. Six feet of DNA are coiled inside each and every one of a human body's hundred trillion cells. It contains a four-letter chemical alphabet which spells out precise assembly instructions for all the proteins from which our bodies are made. Stephen Meyer demonstrated that no hypotheses has come close to explaining how information got into biological matter by naturalistic means. Whenever we find a sequential arrangement that is complex and corresponds to an independent pattern or function, this kind of information is always the product of intelligence. Meyer explained Books, computer codes, and DNA all have these two properties. We know books and computer codes are designed by intelligence, and the presence of this type of information in DNA also implies and intelligent source. In addition, the Cambrian explosion's massive array of new life forms, which suddenly appeared fully formed in the fossil record, with no prior transitions, would have required the infusion of massive amounts of new biological information. Meyer said on this that Information is the hallmark of the mind, and purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that is far greater than our own- a conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designer who is amazingly creative.

Consciousness. J. P. Moreland defined consciousness as our introspection, sensations, thoughts, emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choices that make us alive and aware. According to research which showed that consciousness can continue after a person's brain has stopped functioning, current scientific findings would support the view that mind, consciousness, or the soul is a separate entity from the brain. As Moreland said, You can't get something from nothing. If the universe began with dead matter having no consciousness, how, then, do you get something totally different- consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures- from materials that don't have that? But if everything started with the mind of God, we don't have a problem with explaining the origin of our own mind. Nobel prize winning neurophysicist John C. Eccles concluded that There is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique self hood or soul.

Identity of the Creator.(This is just to establish that if there is a God, then there is reason to believe the bible is true, though parts may be metaphor; and to establish that, the above being true, the nature of God.)

* Creator? "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands."

* Unique? "You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other."

* Uncaused and Timeless? "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."

* Immaterial? "God is spirit."

* Personal? "I am God Almighty."

* Intelligent and rational? "How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."

* Enormously powerful? "The Lord is great in power."

* Creative? "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

* Freedom of will? "And God said 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

* Caring? "The earth is full of his unfailing love."

* Omnipresent? "The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you."

* Has Given Humankind Purpose? "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him."

* Provides for life after death? "He will swallow up death forever."

I'm telling you, we both study about God as more than a hobby, we research it. So I hope this is good enough for you.

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I suppose Atheism could technicaly be considered a religion. It's the state of not believing in a higher being. I think science is interesting. I myself like to know how things work.

But here is a little food for thought.... I've watched the Harry Potter movies so much my boyfriend is threatening to burn them. When I put in the DVD and it loads, it plays a little mini movie thing and goes to the play screen. If you don't press play in a certain amount of time it just plays the mini movie thing over and over again until you do. I know this because I have gotten into arguments with my boyfriend, or he wanted help with something and I've been taken away from the TV for an amount of time.

Now sometimes I'll put the movie in and then go out to the kitchen to get myself a snack, usually popcorn with extra butter. If there is no other living person in the house, but I yell out 'can someone push play for me?' I'll come back with my snack and the movie will be playing.

If I tried to explain that using science I think my poor brain would explode. The explination that doesn't make my head hurt is that my house is haunted. There was also the time my boyfriend had to format his computer and we were looking for the discs to reinstal one of his games. We tore the damn house apart looking for that stupid box with the discs. We gave up and just went to bed. The next morning the box was sitting on top of his computer. I've also been roughly shaken awake with no one in the room. You might say I imagined it, but it's hard to imagine someone holding your shoulders and shaking you hard enough to give you whiplash. When I went downstairs to investigate why I was so rudely woken, I saw that I left the crockpot that I had chili in on. The chili was completely dried up and burnt, and it was smoking a little. If I hadn't turned it off it might've caught fire.

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Ahem.

First, I'll say I'm a Deist. That's somebody who believes that if there is a god, he doesn't have much to do with us.

I'd just like to say, if there is a God, what makes you think that He created Man in His image? No. If anything, we created Him on our image. If God created Man in his image, why does God have a penis? Its only purpose is reproduction. Ergo there must be a Mrs God, and also, all the little gods.

Godliness is relative. To Neathadrals (sp?) we would be like Gods. But when aliens come down from space, nobody calls them gods. People just scream and run.

I know if I were a friendly alien, and I saw the planet Earth, I wouldn't feel too inclined to interact with this planet and its warmongering races of hateful, arrogant pricks. Religion is often used as an excuse to do terrible things, and control people.

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I voted that religion is the BEST

Anyone who defies me gets spanked.

*writes everyone's names in little black book*

>_>

(God, do I still have to steer this damn stupid blue planet of yours, or should I stop? ....Wait till Dec 12, 2012? Okay.)

You guys are just lucky I guess. 4 more years.

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