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Atheism discussion

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Sorry to jump in so late. I had to read from the beginning, so I'm quoting an old post. :unsure:

...

3. Human beings require (to some extent) a system of belief in order to function.

Disagree - I don't have a system of belief and I get along fine :P

...

Isn't not believing a system of belief in itself?

What I mean is, because so many do believe in a God, that leaves a big opening for a group that believes they are wrong.

(I guess you could say a "belief by default.") If it isn't a belief system, what is there to discuss? Just asking. :)

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Sorry to jump in so late. I had to read from the beginning, so I'm quoting an old post. :unsure:

Isn't not believing a system of belief in itself?

What I mean is, because so many do believe in a God, that leaves a big opening for a group that believes they are wrong.

(I guess you could say a "belief by default.") If it isn't a belief system, what is there to discuss? Just asking. :)

Makes sense, goes hand in hand with the age old question, 'if you're doing nothing does that still count as doing something?'

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Yes, a technicality ;D

What do you guys think about Richard Dawkins? He makes a lot of good points, covers a lot of typical unfounded, unresearched theist attacks on evolution, as well as does a really good job of showing why a god of any kind is extremely unlikely to exist... however his style seems almost insulting toward theists, and I think that they can turn people away, and when they see the name "Richard Dawkins" they immediately turn away and not listen to the excellent points, just cuz it's Dawkins

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The ENTIRE debate?

Wow, I haven't even read the entire debate...

I have - ow.

is there a Gnostic Atheist? I mean, I firmly believe that there is no God at all.

Yet I aknowledge that it is pretty much impossible to know for sure

Reading through the thread now :blush:

That's why this is a reply to an old post.

As the term is mine:

First off the defintions I created:

THEISM: Belief in the existence of God(s).

A-THEISM: Not a 'Belief in the existence of God(s)'. OR: Absence of belief in deities. (note: not necessarily a denial in existence of God(s), although this is included)

A-GNOSTICISM: Absence of Certainty, usually applied in regards to Gods/spirituality and religion.

GNOSTICISM: Certainty, or belief that one has knowledge

To sum up:

Theist: I Believe in God (or such and such deity or deities)

Atheist: I do not Believe in God (or such and such deity or deities)

Gnostic: I am certain (God exists, but can apply to any claim of knowledge)

Agnostic: I am not certain (God exists, but can apply to any claim of knowledge)

There are two types (sub-sets) of each of these positions:

Theist --1. Gnostic-Theist = I am certain God exists.

----------2. Agnostic-Theist = I think/believe God exists. (open to debate)

Atheist --1. Gnostic-Atheist = I am certain God does not exist.

-----------2. Agnostic-Atheist = I have no God beliefs, or I think/believe God does not exist, or I see reason to believe God exists. (Any non-belief without hard claim of certainty)

Funnily enough Agnosticism seems to have an Agnostic and Gnostic type as well:

Agnostic --1. Agnostic-Agnostic (or just Agnostic) = I am not sure if God exists or not. (50/50, no idea or no interest in the question of god)

-------------2. Gnostic-Agnostic = It is impossible to know if God exists or not, there can be no conclusive evidence either way; the position that one cannot know the answer.

Note: both forms of 'pure' agnosticism are technically atheistic, as they hold no belief in any gods (nor any for the non-existence either of course, so atheist due to a lack of belief)

Gnostic -- Has no other separate sub-types, summed up in those above.

Are there in actuality any Gnostic-Atheists, that is people who genuinely believe that they KNOW there are no gods?

Apparantly yes there are. Many who claim that distinction however tend to state that they are convinced enough to make the dertainty claim - I wouldn;t call them Gnostic-Atheist, but many of them would. But even if that set was an empty one, it is still worthwile keeping it in mind, and within the set of all possible positions.

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The only reason why "religion" exists is because the general population is weak minded and needs to believe that there is something out the that is going to save them from themselves, make everything better.

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Christianity hasn't given me anything but my favorite calender.

Except June and July can get kinda confusing ;)

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And I mean it when I say that we don't want a theist coming on here, making remarks, etc. This discussion is only for people who would stand up and proudly call themselves an Atheist or Agnostic or similar philosophy. If any theist comes on her saying stuff I'll ask to have their posts deleted (not ALL their posts of course, I meant the ones in this topic :D)

[moderating]

No one is prohibited from making on-topic posts in any threads based on their religion or lack of one and posts won't be deleted for that reason.

[/moderating]

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Excellent post itachi-san :D

I think I will address it as to both one such as yourself and a theist.

Let's see... on a more serious note. I have been thinking about my atheism lately in a very downward spiralish way. Not that I am going to believe in God ever, just that atheism kind of sucks and here is why.
Nah Atheism is just not believing in magical Sky fairies - nothing "sucky" (or "cool") in that.

No matter if I live the greatest life or the worst life, when I die I'm nothing and so is the person whose life was Great or Awful. This essentially means that our generation, whether good, bad, poor, beautiful, prosperous, etc... doesn't amount to anything except a fleeting mix of sensations.
Ah yes the good old "ultimate meaning" argument.

This is where the theist commits the Appeal to Consequences Logical fallacy by claiming that Therefore there MUST be an afterlife, because that would be preferable :rolleyes:

Yes; and the Holocaust which ended the lives of ~6,000,000 Jews and another ~5,000,000 others (and yet another ~6,000,000 if you count Russian civilians as well) was just awful, it would be much nicer if it had never happened - THEREFORE it didn't :rolleyes:

Not that surviving ones own death really solves anything does it? - So what; you will never ever ultimately die, a never ending existence? Where's the ultimate meaning in that then? Think about it. If your life has no meaning without an after-life, then what possible meaning can that after-life have. And if that after-life has no meaning then what meaning does its existence impart on this life?!

So there is no ultimate meaning. Doesn't mean we can't find plenty of meaning within our lives does it? "Meaning" and "purpose" is something one can have (and make for themselves) in one's life, many times over of course, it is not something external to, or imparted upon life.

What is the ultimate meaning of anything?! What is the meaning of chocolate? It has no ultimate meaning does it? We can impart meanings on it - It tastes good, it can be a comfort food, or a sex aid :P or whatever. But that is a meaning that we can place upon it when and as we chose, and as circumstances permit. No ultimate meaning - meaning is where we find it, were we place it. And that's a good thing, a great thing: can't find any meaning in something? Give it a meaning, a purpose then. Find no meaning in your life? Then go out and give yourself, chose for yourself, forge for yourself, a meaning, one of your own design and choosing! :D

Well now wait a second, we leave behind our collective unconscious. We leave our experience and our deeds to the next generation so they can hopefully prosper from what we've done. So that's a reason to lead a good life, but... they will die just like we did and so on and so on. When a flower dies, no one questions where it's "being" goes. I don't know too many adults who believe in Doggie Heaven, so why should humans be different? We are animals too. Just another species. I believe that when we die, that's it. Game over.
Indeed.

People fear death, its only natural. From an evolutionary perspective it is something that is "beneficial" as it keeps an organism alive by having it avoid death, at least until it can produce offspring. It is largely organised religion, and the memes it has propagated, that pump this healthy fear of, or "will to avoid", death up to unhealthy levels; to a real Phobia - an irrational fear and dread.

And yeah; one good purpose, meaning, can be found in the thought of passing something along to further generations, perhaps making things a little better for them than it perhaps would have been otherwise. Why? Because that is something that can give us pleasure. That might sound rather self-centred, but it need not be. It is basically what Purpose and meaning are all about.

It's very disheartening though to believe that life is utterly so pointless.
Only if you insist on focusing on (and certain groups of theists insist in doing - in a way if you think about it, it is ALL they are focused on) the end of your life, your death. What good is a life, any life, if all one does throughout it is worry about its ending? A life really does have no meaning if one ignores it in dwelling on losing it. That way one misses it, it passes them by as they worry about losing it. To them life is nothing but waiting to die, and worrying about losing something that one completely fails to enjoy while it lasts - that's the real loss; what kind of life is that? And for that matter; when such a life does end, what have they really lost - a lifetime of dread and apprehension?

Does one do that with a book? Are you unable to enjoy a good book because all you can focus on is the depressing knowledge that it will come to an end?

So maybe there is a generative reason to do good and propel our intelligence... science and space travel. Once we can access and integrate with the other species in our Galaxy and then maybe even the whole universe we will find the meaning to life and perhaps immortality. For what reasons? Who knows... we haven't gotten there yet. But I think that is the only goal we should focus on in respect to our species' distant future.
Immortality? Meh. Think about it; would ones life have any more meaning if it was never ending? Kinda sounds rather awful to me to be honest.

All good things come to an end. And even in the very best of them, the ending itself can eventually be welcome - it can in fact be the best possible thing to happen at some point.

Having worked in the medical industry, and my wife in rest homes, I can tell you that there are people who will say at the very end that they have had a great life but now welcome the end as well - it is time. :)

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ADP, Itachi wasn't saying he believed in God just cuz he wanted an afterlife, he knew that was ridiculous, he was just saying that he felt life has no meaning - and of course he is correct. As I explained a few pages back, that's where the beauty of life lies, in the fact that it has no meaning, something 99% of theists do not understand, or can't grasp. And, as I said earlier and as ADP said, even if a deity exists, life still has no meaning :D So enjoy it to the maximum, no matter what religion you are ;D

Edited by unreality
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Posted · Report post

My favorite quote:

"Don't take life too seriously, You'll never make it out alive anyway."

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CHUCK NORRIS CAN!

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CHUCK NORRIS CAN!

Leave that for the Chuck Norris thread please :)

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CHUCK NORRIS CAN!

hehehe, so true :P

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ADP, Itachi wasn't saying he believed in God just cuz he wanted an afterlife, he knew that was ridiculous, he was just saying that he felt life has no meaning - and of course he is correct. As I explained a few pages back, that's where the beauty of life lies, in the fact that it has no meaning, something 99% of theists do not understand, or can't grasp. And, as I said earlier and as ADP said, even if a deity exists, life still has no meaning :D So enjoy it to the maximum, no matter what religion you are ;D
Oh I know; that is why i said "I think I will address it as to both one such as yourself and a theist." in other words toward his comments (as an atheist) and toward the erroneous thinking many theists have with this.
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They haven't even fired the collider yet, they're still doing prelim tests.... hopefully the tests work out okay, it's gonna be awesome :P

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then he might like this ;D It's from the amazing site that is The Onion, hehehe

I was just thinking yesterday what I would do if a mountain lion attacked me. I should have been thinking about how the mountain lion was going to defend itself from me. God could have been there if he wasn't destroyed by those scientists Wednesday... but He wouldn't have helped either of us anyway, just the typical sit back and watch routine.

If they open up a miny-Black Hole on Earth and create a Lost Island, I call Locke.

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Excellent post itachi-san :D

I think I will address it as to both one such as yourself and a theist.

Nah Atheism is just not believing in magical Sky fairies - nothing "sucky" (or "cool") in that.

So, does God fall under that category of magical sky fairies?

Ah yes the good old "ultimate meaning" argument.

This is where the theist commits the Appeal to Consequences Logical fallacy by claiming that Therefore there MUST be an afterlife, because that would be preferable :rolleyes:

Yes; and the Holocaust which ended the lives of ~6,000,000 Jews and another ~5,000,000 others (and yet another ~6,000,000 if you count Russian civilians as well) was just awful, it would be much nicer if it had never happened - THEREFORE it didn't :rolleyes:

Um, what's with the Holocaust reference? You're comparing apples and oranges. The Holocaust happened and can be proven, God's existence cannot be proven.

Not that surviving ones own death really solves anything does it? - So what; you will never ever ultimately die, a never ending existence? Where's the ultimate meaning in that then? Think about it. If your life has no meaning without an after-life, then what possible meaning can that after-life have. And if that after-life has no meaning then what meaning does its existence impart on this life?!

So there is no ultimate meaning. Doesn't mean we can't find plenty of meaning within our lives does it? "Meaning" and "purpose" is something one can have (and make for themselves) in one's life, many times over of course, it is not something external to, or imparted upon life.

What is the ultimate meaning of anything?! What is the meaning of chocolate? It has no ultimate meaning does it? We can impart meanings on it - It tastes good, it can be a comfort food, or a sex aid :P or whatever. But that is a meaning that we can place upon it when and as we chose, and as circumstances permit. No ultimate meaning - meaning is where we find it, were we place it. And that's a good thing, a great thing: can't find any meaning in something? Give it a meaning, a purpose then. Find no meaning in your life? Then go out and give yourself, chose for yourself, forge for yourself, a meaning, one of your own design and choosing! :D

I think we agree here. There is no meaning regardless of God or not, like unreality said a couple of times already.

People fear death, its only natural. From an evolutionary perspective it is something that is "beneficial" as it keeps an organism alive by having it avoid death, at least until it can produce offspring. It is largely organised religion, and the memes it has propagated, that pump this healthy fear of, or "will to avoid", death up to unhealthy levels; to a real Phobia - an irrational fear and dread.

...I thought that a lot of what you said in this post is too obvious to say, but I guess I was wrong there.

And yeah; one good purpose, meaning, can be found in the thought of passing something along to further generations, perhaps making things a little better for them than it perhaps would have been otherwise. Why? Because that is something that can give us pleasure. That might sound rather self-centred, but it need not be. It is basically what Purpose and meaning are all about.

The whole "everything we do is ultimately selfish" idea is totally extraneous to this discussion.

Only if you insist on focusing on (and certain groups of theists insist in doing - in a way if you think about it, it is ALL they are focused on) the end of your life, your death. What good is a life, any life, if all one does throughout it is worry about its ending? A life really does have no meaning if one ignores it in dwelling on losing it. That way one misses it, it passes them by as they worry about losing it. To them life is nothing but waiting to die, and worrying about losing something that one completely fails to enjoy while it lasts - that's the real loss; what kind of life is that? And for that matter; when such a life does end, what have they really lost - a lifetime of dread and apprehension?

I think I agree here, but it has nothing to do with what I was saying. I don't fear death because I think life is meaningless. That's not an appropriate conclusion. I love life and think that it has no meaning. If I die tomorrow, I won't feel bad about having died so young, because I won't exist to think or feel anything. There's nothing depressing about things ending if you realize that it is inevitable and accept it.

Immortality? Meh. Think about it; would ones life have any more meaning if it was never ending? Kinda sounds rather awful to me to be honest.
I would love to live a very long life, even immortal maybe. I've thought about it. What's better: something or nothing? I'll take something, especially because there is always so much more to learn and experience. That's what makes life and living great. Why would anyone not want to be immortal (not that that term can even be described scientifically-so let's say 1 million years lifespan) -I know I would like that.
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Good points, and I would call upon Locke too - Jack is just a Jack@ss lol, even though Locke is the Man of Faith and Jack the Man of Science, in this case the faith is well-placed because the Island is indeed special, with evidence (Locke's miraculous recovery). So big difference between an inexistent deity and an Island :D And also the writers said how there would be a "flip" in season 5 and Locke will become an empiricist while Jack becomes more of a Man of Faith

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I would love to live a very long life, even immortal maybe. I've thought about it. What's better: something or nothing? I'll take something, especially because there is always so much more to learn and experience. That's what makes life and living great. Why would anyone not want to be immortal (not that that term can even be described scientifically-so let's say 1 million years lifespan) -I know I would like that.

Hey, I'm all for a long life too, but eternal life? That would be terrible. All of your friends and family would die, and there wouldn't be something to replace them. Also, it would depend on if you age much, because if it gets to the point where you are to old to be able to do much, then there is little point in living much longer. Though I can see how great it would be to live forever and see everything that happens, but there are some downsides to that.

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So, does God fall under that category of magical sky fairies?
Oh absolutely

It is the preferred little jokey label for all god-thingies. I prefer my own to a degree:

Magical Super Genie

- Magical: because god (whichever ones you like) is always claimed to have some kind of magical/mystical powers.

- Super: no not because they are supposed to be super-human, but rather as a short hand for Supernatural. this links to "sky" in the magical sky fairy label, which refers to god as the beardy man in the sky type idea. I first changed this to "Space" as god has been moved to space not the sky, but then realise that he/she/it as really been moved further than that (god-of-the-gaps stuff here by the way) to "beyond space and time"; in other words to some supernatural realm (whatever the hel that is supposed to mean.)

- Genie: Again I looked at "fairy" and thought; you know god is really more like a different kind of entity than a fairy, as basically if you ask hims for something he might magic it up for you - aha! Like a Genie (and like most genies he "works in mysterious ways" - you don't always get what you expect)

It also allows me t0 say this (although I didn't even spot this acronym for some months after coining it!):

The Universe: No MSG added :lol:

Um, what's with the Holocaust reference? You're comparing apples and oranges. The Holocaust happened and can be proven, God's existence cannot be proven.
Uh.. Yup :D That's the point: Shows how vapid the "I wouldn't like that if it were true, so it isn't" claim is!

I think we agree here. There is no meaning regardless of God or not, like unreality said a couple of times already.
Yeah, we are all kind of all on the same page here.

...I thought that a lot of what you said in this post is too obvious to say, but I guess I was wrong there.
:D I speak to creationists a lot (RichardDawkins.net forums) it seems that nothing is Too obvious for them :rolleyes:

To us much of this is seen as far to obvious to be worth mentioning; we all get it, don't even have to think about it. But for some it seems that every damn little minuscule detail has to be spelt out (and re-spelt out every damn time) for them - they still deny its truth-value of course, but then for the true-faith head there really is little hope of getting through - once they devalue reason itself like that (and that is what Faith really is - look at the Theist thread here) how can you really argue with them? How can they possibly see reason when they don't value reason itself?!

The whole "everything we do is ultimately selfish" idea is totally extraneous to this discussion.
Indeed. Glad you didn't jump on that argument bandwagon; I really didn't want to go their in this discussion either :D

And I don't actually ascribe to that idea either, just because we get something out of some action (like a good deed) does not mean that that is why we do it.

I think I agree here, but it has nothing to do with what I was saying. I don't fear death because I think life is meaningless. That's not an appropriate conclusion. I love life and think that it has no meaning. If I die tomorrow, I won't feel bad about having died so young, because I won't exist to think or feel anything. There's nothing depressing about things ending if you realize that it is inevitable and accept it.
Oh absolutely! I think we pretty much agree on everything said so far. My comments were on the general topic you raised; largely toward the erroneous way theists look at it, and why they are mistaken. Important because people can be swayed by such irrational rhetoric. It was my commentary on that topic, not an attempt at rebuttal to your fine post, I assure you.

I would love to live a very long life, even immortal maybe. I've thought about it. What's better: something or nothing? I'll take something, especially because there is always so much more to learn and experience. That's what makes life and living great. Why would anyone not want to be immortal (not that that term can even be described scientifically-so let's say 1 million years lifespan) -I know I would like that.
That's a tricky one. For me there are a number of issues, ones not fully answered in my own thoughts:

1. Could it be that life itself could potentially become tedious and no longer enjoyable? I don't mean the lives we lead, but the "burden" of living itself? Thinking on it; the 2nd law of thermodynamics springs to mind. all life is countering the effects of this law - we do so by taking in external energy (from the sun and food etc.) Could not this "struggle", barely noticed in a typical lifespan, come to be seen eventually as more effort than its worth?

If so, or even if only potentially so, I would hate the idea of becoming immortal to the degree of being unable to die at all! Many a tale has been told on this, when a man is "cursed" with immortality - the Flying Dutchman is one. I would say that immortality would have to be coupled with the opportunity of Euthanasia. But then I think the opportunity (legal) for Euthanasia should be allowed here and now as well. But that is another topic altogether.

2. It seems that enjoying life is really about quality not quantity. Life is only enjoyable due to how "good" it is not how long it is. To me a good short life is better than a bad (hard, painful, boring...) long one. In that vein a long life would only seem to be worthwhile as long as it remains a good one. How long would that last I wonder. I agree with you; I too would like a hel of a lot longer than we now enjoy, if I could continue to learn more and more about Life, the Universe and everything - I can't seem to find enough hours in the day as it is to satisfy that fix :D But perhaps not if it were too much of a struggle. And I tend to thing that "too much" would become less and less as time passed on. Hel; after a few millennia/millions of years/billions perhaps getting out of bed would be seen as too much effort.

3. We also have to consider the practicalities: If we are immortal, what about the rest of it (the universe etc.) What could would eternal life be if we can't leave this solar system for example? The sun is going to die in ~5,000,000,000 years, then what? Oh joy we will get to enjoy eternity floating in empty space?!

Again it comes down to quality versus quantity: more is not always better, and is only worth holding onto for as long as it is. And that is the crux of it really, and as it happens; the main thrust of my Euthanasia argument as well: When ones quality of life drops down below a certain point (what point? - I think that its a personal individual thing) with no real chance of it rising above it ever again; then what is the point, of what value then is life, no matter how long it is? Worse really; the longer such a life would be the worse it would be!

That as it happens is precisely why I had Athena (one of my dogs) Euthanized on Monday. For her (and everyone else) Nothing became better (far better) than something, at the least the only something she could ever hope to have - Hows that for a segue? ;)

What's better Something or Nothing? Well that surely depends on what that something is doesn't it? Nothing is...well Nothing"; not good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, just nothing. By the way; when you die (as far as we know) you don't have "nothing" (for all eternity.. Oh the horror! - Yes I have heard that some a few theists :rolleyes: ) you don't have anything; there is no "you" to have anything! Kind of makes it a meaningless question, as it amounts to:

What is better for you: You having something (ambiguous much?) or Not-you having nothing? "You" are simply not present in the latter, so it doesn't apply to you at all!

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Yes, whenever I try to think about after my death, I eventually come to the conclusion that since my conscious mind won't even exist at all, everything will exist, in a way. Kind of hard to fathom

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