1. Standard memberKnightWulfe
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    21 Oct '06 18:50
    An essay by Penn Jillette as part of NPR's This I believe segment.

    Quote:

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

    So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.

    But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

    Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

    Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

    Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

    Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

    Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

    I think that he makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    21 Oct '06 19:23
    Originally posted by KnightWulfe
    [b]An essay by Penn Jillette as part of NPR's This I believe segment.

    Quote:

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? M ...[text shortened]... e makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?[/b][/b]
    But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

    This is similar to the “leap of faith” that the theist must make. But I’m not sure they’re quite equivalent, since the theist must assert an “extra-natural” category for which the only “real” evidence must also come from that category—in the form of some kind of extra-natural revelation. To the theist who owns up to making such a leap for the same kinds of pragmatic and aesthetic reasons, I can mount no argument against such grounds.

    Nevertheless, both ought to be able to say, with Jillette, that recognition of such a leap “lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.”

    It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more.

    Is it so small a thing
    To have enjoy'd the sun,
    To have lived light in the spring,
    To have loved, to have thought, to have done?

    —Empedocles on Etna

    Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do."

    I still think that theists can get past this stuff too, but for anyone it takes giving up a lot of emotional security.

    No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

    That’s a pretty big leap: I’m not convinced.
  3. Territories Unknown
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    21 Oct '06 22:04
    Originally posted by KnightWulfe
    [b]An essay by Penn Jillette as part of NPR's This I believe segment.

    Quote:

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? M ...[text shortened]... e makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?[/b][/b]
    He says:

    "I'm not greedy. I have love..."

    To which I ask, based upon what?
  4. SubscriberAThousandYoung
    Just another day
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    22 Oct '06 00:18
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    He says:

    "I'm not greedy. I have love..."

    To which I ask, based upon what?
    What does your question mean? Love is a feeling, and as a feeling, it is self evident.
  5. Cosmos
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    22 Oct '06 00:36
    Originally posted by KnightWulfe
    [b]An essay by Penn Jillette as part of NPR's This I believe segment.

    Quote:

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? M ...[text shortened]... e makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?[/b][/b]
    Spot on.

    This essay should be read out in every place of worship, every day until people stop coming to be brain-washed by the usual lies.
  6. Standard memberDavid C
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    22 Oct '06 12:53
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    He says:

    "I'm not greedy. I have love..."

    To which I ask, based upon what?
    How many times do you have to be told? Based on the fact that we exist, have consciouness, and are sociable animals by nature. You can decide this is unattainable without "God" if you wish, but this only speaks to your conditioning to accept the spurious notion that we are created evil due to the transgression of "Adam and the woman". I, personally, do not need an external mechanism to value life or feel love.
  7. Standard memberDavid C
    Flamenco Sketches
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    22 Oct '06 12:56
    Originally posted by KnightWulfe
    I think that he makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?
    Penn & Teller's HBO show is classic. There's a great episode where they take on Mother Theresa and Ghandi. I agree with Howie...spot on.
  8. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    22 Oct '06 15:09
    Originally posted by KnightWulfe
    [b]An essay by Penn Jillette as part of NPR's This I believe segment.

    Quote:

    I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? M ...[text shortened]... e makes some very good points in this essay.
    Thoughts?[/b][/b]
    I agree with what most of what Penn says, but I think it is unwise for him to unequivocally state that "I believe that there is no God." By committing himself to that proposition, he is forced into sharing the theist's burden of proof. He has moved himself off the neutral implicit-atheist starting ground and into a competing, active, counter-claim to the theists' one. In other words, instead of having the thiests' claim be the only one in play that needs to be examined, he has set himself up as a competing claim, the truth of which would also need to be examined. The value of such a move is highly questionable and is fraught with pitfalls.
  9. Joined
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    22 Oct '06 15:42
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I agree with what most of what Penn says, but I think it is unwise for him to unequivocally state that "I believe that there is no God." By committing himself to that proposition, he is forced into sharing the theist's burden of proof. He has moved himself off the neutral implicit-atheist starting ground and into a competing, active, counter-claim to the th ...[text shortened]... be examined. The value of such a move is highly questionable and is fraught with pitfalls.
    i think trying to prove that there is no God is kind of dumb; what do you get out of it? satisfaction i guess? if i didnt believe in God i would let everyone else believe what they wanted.
  10. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    22 Oct '06 15:57
    Originally posted by EcstremeVenom
    i think trying to prove that there is no God is kind of dumb; what do you get out of it? satisfaction i guess? if i didnt believe in God i would let everyone else believe what they wanted.
    Trying to prove there is no god is, as you say, dumb. But trying to demonstrate that belief in god is illogical is quite another thing. In this age of encroaching theocratic tendencies, it is a worthy undertaking.
  11. Joined
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    22 Oct '06 22:37
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Trying to prove there is no god is, as you say, dumb. But trying to demonstrate that belief in god is illogical is quite another thing. In this age of encroaching theocratic tendencies, it is a worthy undertaking.
    there's nothing wrong with theocracy, cuz the religions they come from usually have good values, whether you believe in God or not you probably agree with the ten commandments, for example. but if there were laws about who you have to worship then that would be wrong.
  12. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
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    23 Oct '06 12:54
    Originally posted by EcstremeVenom
    there's nothing wrong with theocracy, cuz the religions they come from usually have good values, whether you believe in God or not you probably agree with the ten commandments, for example. but if there were laws about who you have to worship then that would be wrong.
    You mean like in Saudi Arabia where women are not even allowed to drive? Or having to wear a cloth space suit in the middle of summer because some sex-crazed fundamentalist can't take even the sight of female flesh? Or the idea in so-called christianity that we all live in 'original sin', a twisted filthy concept worthy of Hitler? To me the worth of a religion is defined by its lowest common denominator. If women are subjugated, it is not a religion worth having. If we are condemned from birth to be somehow defective when it is admitted we are created by an infinitely loving god, there is something twisted at work in the fundamental underpinnings of such a religion and is to be avoided at all costs. NOTHING good can come from such filth as that.
  13. Sydney
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    27 Oct '06 18:031 edit
    I believe god does exist. Not God, but god. I believe god is the definition of all that there is (which, for all intents and purposes, means everything that exists which we can see--or the effects of which we can see). In short, god is the universal collective consciousness.

    This definition satisfies the points made in the essay, as well as satisfying every religion, ever (assuming one removes the IGNORANCE from religion). The only way in which religious institutions (as advocates of THE ONE TRUE GOD) were ever able to disagree with each other to the point of mass murder was through each side's respective lack of perspective of the other's point of view.

    Evidently, god IS love, and god is everywhere. God can also do anything.

    On the innevitable down side, god also happens to be hate, and, as man so often sets limits on his own consciousness, god can stop himself from doing things.

    While observing religious debates between atheists (vehemently announcing, "GOD DOESN'T EXIST" ) and Christians (replying with the bulletproof: "DOES TOO!" ), I heard the following argument:

    A: "If God can do anything, can he make a rock so big that he himself cannot move it?"

    An excellent argument, closely followed by:

    C: "...but the Bible says..."
    A: "God doesn't exist."
    C: "Does too!"
    A: "Nuh-uh!"
    C: "Yah-huh!"

    So far, my conclusion has been the only one that can conceivably satisfy both conceptual arguments (unless ofcourse, you don't want it to).
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