1. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    15 Mar '07 00:06
    Looking at the "Atheists!" thread got me thinking. Hearing how some Atheists had had religious parents caused me to speculate whether behind all this "rational" debate lies a lot of emotion and possible resentment.

    There's a lot of "bashing" going on in this forum and one thing I find fascinating is the need we all have to ridicule an opposing opinion. Some of us seem to feel this need more than others.

    On the one hand us theists can be guilty of portraying Atheism as a morally corrupt philosophy with no meaning to it. On the other Atheists seem to be guilty of portraying theists as mindless saps who have no understanding of skeptical thinking.

    This need to ridicule runs deep I feel and could flow from resentment at having had religion rammed down one's throat or a stiffling materialism. However , resentment and rebellion are not good companions to logic and it's much harder to keep an open mind than to dismiss dogmatically without thought. It's much more emotionally satisfying to maintain some imagined intellectual high ground.

    One thing that many Atheists seem to do is have a lot of emotion invested in portraying Theists as fools , brainless and figures of ridicule. Most of the people I have argued with on this forum are very intelligent and whilst I have pulled no punches with the points I have made I don't really see the Atheist position as one to ridicule , challenge maybe , but I feel little need to ridicule or belittle it.

    I think the general under currents of this emotion (which may have much more to do with past baggage than logic) often dictate the flow of a debate.

    If I get labelled a "retard" or brainless I find myself chuckling because I know I am not , but it is frustrating because I always
    suspect that much , much more is really going on underneath all this bashing.

    A short way of putting this is this...I'd bet my mortgage that an Atheist who has had Christian parents (especially fundie parents) is a heck of a lot more resistant to Christianity than an Atheist who hasn't. Of course this can also work the other way , so theists , atheists what say ye?
    (I'm bracing myself for fireworks....especially if I've hit the nail on the head)
  2. Joined
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    15 Mar '07 00:24
    I'm an atheist and have been for as long as I can remember. Recently my parents discovered religion via all kinds of emotional needs in their lives. (For the record my pop psychology says due to children growing up, dad retiring, sudden gaping holes in purpose in life and probably some 'cramming for the final' too).

    I am quite strongly opposed to religion and belief in gods, not because of my parents but because it is so illogical. In the New Year my mum asked me why I was so anti-religion as far as they were concerned (we'd often talked about the main reasons I feel religion is bad for society in general) and I answered her perhaps more honestly than she expected.

    I told her it was because I was completely unable to relate to her fundamental viewpoint of the universe. That her having a relationship with an invisible spiritual entity that no one could see, but who made everything was so alien to me that it was as though she had become mentally ill.

    It didn't go down very well, but it is the bottom line truth. It is quite frightening to see someone you love and respect taking on a belief system that you feel is fundamentally wrong and faulty in reasoning.

    Whether there is any truth in your statement for others I doubt. I'm not sure religious people come from atheist parents more than religious parents (in fact I'd bet my mortgage not) so why atheism is a 'reaction' against your truth is an argument that doesn't work for me. I'd be more inclined to think that the fundamental differences are on a level frightening to those of opposing views. I simply can't understand a religious viewpoint, in much the same way as muslim colleagues of mine are amazed that I am not afraid of god.

    There are some assumptions in your post that I'm too tired (and probably not sharp enough) to critique. I'm sure someone else will pick up on the dogmatic and open-minded comments! 😉

    Just my 2p

    T
  3. Standard memberknightmeister
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    15 Mar '07 12:37
    Originally posted by Tyto
    I'm an atheist and have been for as long as I can remember. Recently my parents discovered religion via all kinds of emotional needs in their lives. (For the record my pop psychology says due to children growing up, dad retiring, sudden gaping holes in purpose in life and probably some 'cramming for the final' too).

    I am quite strongly opposed to religion an ...[text shortened]... else will pick up on the dogmatic and open-minded comments! 😉

    Just my 2p

    T
    I simply can't understand a religious viewpoint, TYTO

    So you would dismiss something you don't understand?
  4. Standard memberAgerg
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    15 Mar '07 14:54
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I simply can't understand a religious viewpoint, TYTO

    So you would dismiss something you don't understand?
    Probably can't understand the rationale...not necessarily the concept of religion.
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    15 Mar '07 18:031 edit
    That's it Agerg.
    It makes absolutely no sense to me to come to the conclusions religion offers from the evidence around me. I don't want to rehash lots of arguments, but it's the rationale that eludes me. I don't understand the details of quantum mechanics, but I don't dismiss it.
  6. Standard memberknightmeister
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    17 Mar '07 19:35
    Originally posted by Tyto
    That's it Agerg.
    It makes absolutely no sense to me to come to the conclusions religion offers from the evidence around me. I don't want to rehash lots of arguments, but it's the rationale that eludes me. I don't understand the details of quantum mechanics, but I don't dismiss it.
    Ok , so you have no idea why anyone would believe in God and for it to be a coherent rational belief . I would guess that you probably then believe by implication that all belief in God is based on incoherence and "emotional needs" and nothing else. You have no understanding of how someone of high intelligence and perception could find the idea of God existing quite likely and for it to be a belief in good faith or genuine in some way.

    This is because you project the way you perceive the world on to others (eg your parents) and imagine that the way you perceive the world is the only way the world can be perceived. However , this may or may not be true. It is possible you may have missed a piece of the jigsaw which causes you to see your parents as "mentally ill" in some way. It cannot be that they have found out something that you have yet to find out...it MUST be because they have "emotional needs".
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    18 Mar '07 10:48
    Yep.

    I'm not a great debater so I should probably walk away before I walk blindly into some semantic trap, but I'll give this a go.

    Reason and deduction and the scientific principle are the source of theories based on evidence from the world around us. It allows us to make things like the combustion engine, planes fly and electron microscopes. It beautifully and simple explains what we can see around us, or applies principles to what we see so we can attempt to unravel the mysteries we don't yet understand. It isn't based on emotion or wishful thinking.

    When I watch Gladiator, at the end when he dies and goes to Sheol and his murdered wife and son are waiting for him, it makes me cry. It would be amazing, wonderful, incredible to know that in the afterlife all that pain and loss is gone, to know that you can spend eternity with your loved ones in peace and harmony. I can see that need as clear as day and it appeals to me very strongly. But, me wanting it to be true doesn't make it true. Knowing that it has a strong narrative appeal doesn't make it true, wishing for reason in chaos doesn't make it true.

    What I need is evidence, not emotion, not wishful thinking, evidence.

    My parents would not get into a plane without knowing through evidence that the scientific theory worked. For normal day to dy things, scientific principle is acceptable, even desirable, and yet for this thing all those principles go out of the window. It is contradictory and it makes no sense to me. That is why it feels like mental illness. I have as much evidence for fairies at the bottom of the garden as they do for the existance of their god, the difference? One has a stronger social acceptance based on tradition and shear numbers.

    If I told everyone that I talked to the fairies and made decisions about important things based on what they said (no of course you can't see them, it doesn't matter if you don't believe in them, they believe in you) I would be locked up for my own protection as someone out of touch with reality. If a President or Prime Minister did the same, even went to war based on those principles...
  8. Standard memberknightmeister
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    18 Mar '07 11:48
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Yep.

    I'm not a great debater so I should probably walk away before I walk blindly into some semantic trap, but I'll give this a go.

    Reason and deduction and the scientific principle are the source of theories based on evidence from the world around us. It allows us to make things like the combustion engine, planes fly and electron microscopes. It beautifu ...[text shortened]... resident or Prime Minister did the same, even went to war based on those principles...
    The evidence for God is not primarily scientific in nature (apart from historical accounts of jesus etc) The evidence is personal. One can get to know God not through testubes and the like but through personal knowledge and through the experience of him structuring your life. The problem you have is that your remit for evidence is too narrow.

    I absolutely agree that belief in God cannot be based on wishful thinking and emotion. This is the whole point. There is so much more to it than that. True Christianity is based on an experience of the living God as a real active presence in the world through the Holy Spirit. This is what people do not realise . Many people come to belief because they have the experience of God as a living presence in their lives and an experience of being guided by him via "coincidences". Jesus said "When 2 or 3 people are gathered in my name there will I be amongst them " he didn't mean it methaphorically or wishfully , he meant it LITERALLY . Now I have been in rooms with other Christians and have felt something of this presence and thought to myself "Whooh! What's happening here?!?" This evidence does not fit in a test tube but when you are exposed to it it certainly makes you think I can tell you. Suddenly , the idea of God changes from some conceptual "belief" into something that seems actually alive. That's the thing that makes God seem plausible , God is not supposed to be some dead concept but a living experience. This is what God promised us and it can be tested.
  9. Cosmos
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    18 Mar '07 11:59
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    The evidence for God is not primarily scientific in nature (apart from historical accounts of jesus etc) The evidence is personal. One can get to know God not through testubes and the like but through personal knowledge and through the experience of him structuring your life. The problem you have is that your remit for evidence is too narrow.

    I abs ...[text shortened]... d concept but a living experience. This is what God promised us and it can be tested.
    "I absolutely agree that belief in God cannot be based on wishful thinking and emotion."

    So you say.

    "True Christianity is based on an experience of the living God as a real active presence in the world through the Holy Spirit."

    ...but this is just wishful thinking and emotion. There is no objective proof of this "real" entity. No photos, no tape recordings. Nothing.

    "Jesus said...will I be amongst them...he meant it LITERALLY. Now I have been in rooms with other Christians and have felt something of this presence"
    ...this too is just wishful thinking and emotion. There is no objective proof of this "real" entity called Jesus. No photos, no tape recordings.

    Nothing.

    They are just concepts that you have been brainwashed into believing, when in fact there is nothing.
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    18 Mar '07 12:03
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Suddenly , the idea of God changes from some conceptual "belief" into something that seems actually alive. That's the thing that makes God seem plausible , God is not supposed to be some dead concept but a living experience. This is what God promised us and it can be tested.
    I'm not sure I follow your logic.
    I have no doubt that the feelings you describe are genuine to those feeling them, but that does not constitute proof of anything. When groups of people who share a bond get together there is often an 'esprit de corps'.

    You use the words 'seem', and 'seem plausible'. Thor seems plausible to me more than the Christian god, I see real evidence of his actions often in thunder and lightning. Seeming plausible is not sufficient grounds to declare something as a fact.

    God promised us a living experience, and you claim the experience can be tested. How? Has this been done already? What were the results? I am not averse to seeing evidence of gods and would be intrigued to see it.
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    18 Mar '07 12:06
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    The problem you have is that your remit for evidence is too narrow.
    I fundamentally disagree.
    The problem you have is that the 'evidence' you claim does not fit into the category that can be called evidence, so you'd like to widen the definition to have it included. It just doesn't work that way.
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    18 Mar '07 13:50
    You can't prove that God exists through the scientific method, therefore, to those who worship the scientific method, God will never exist.
    You can't sell God to rational people with smoke and mirrors either.
    "Witnessing" to non-believers is mostly a waste of time and often counter-productive .. irritating at best.

    I believe in God, but don't try to sell it to others. It's a personal relationship, private and nunya bidnez.

    "Debating" the existance of something you can't prove isn't rational IMO

    I believe that God shows himself to me all the time .. you may simply call it a beautiful sunrise/sunset and explain how the lightshow is produced scientificly.
    I see something else entirely. If God shows himself to me, i'm sure He's there for you too.
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    18 Mar '07 16:181 edit
    Originally posted by jammer
    You can't prove that God exists through the scientific method, therefore, to those who worship the scientific method, God will never exist.
    You can't sell God to rational people with smoke and mirrors either.
    "Witnessing" to non-believers is mostly a waste of time and often counter-productive .. irritating at best.

    I believe in God, but don't try to sell omething else entirely. If God shows himself to me, i'm sure He's there for you too.
    Jammer, I see those wonderful sunsets and I too am filled with a humbling sense of the grandeur of the universe and how lucky I am to be here.
    Nature is awe inspiring, as is the complexity of the systems within it. It boggles the mind.

    I just don't tell myself that my imaginary friend in the sky made it all for just me and a few of my friends.


    "Debating" the existance of something you can't prove isn't rational IMO No, claiming the existance of something you can't prove is irrational, asking questions is perfectly rational.

    You can't opt out of the evidence argument by saying it's impossible to prove. That's the point.
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    18 Mar '07 20:45
    Originally posted by howardgee
    "I absolutely agree that belief in God cannot be based on wishful thinking and emotion."

    So you say.

    "True Christianity is based on an experience of the living God as a real active presence in the world through the Holy Spirit."

    ...but this is just wishful thinking and emotion. There is no objective proof of this "real" entity. No photos, no tap ...[text shortened]... concepts that you have been brainwashed into believing, when in fact there is nothing.
    They are just concepts that you have been brainwashed into believing, when in fact there is nothing.HOWARDGEE

    And you have experienced what I speak of then? On what grounds do you make your assertion that Jesus is not there in the room in the form of the Holy Spirit?
  15. Standard memberknightmeister
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    18 Mar '07 20:54
    Originally posted by Tyto
    I fundamentally disagree.
    The problem you have is that the 'evidence' you claim does not fit into the category that can be called evidence, so you'd like to widen the definition to have it included. It just doesn't work that way.
    The problem you have is that the 'evidence' you claim does not fit into the category that can be called evidence, so you'd like to widen the definition to have it included.TYTO

    The evidence I talk about is not one that will stand up in court nor would it appeal to a scientist...but the evidence is for the individual. This evidence can do what no testube can . It can reach inside you and open your mind. This evidence is "proof" ..but only to the individual who experiences it. Science is a good way of trying to establish truths that can be accepted as such by large groups of people , but it is not the only way of knowing things and inquiring into life's mysteries.
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