Senate Atheism 4.0 - Now Discussing: Religiosity and intelligence

Discussion in 'Community' started by Lowbacca_1977, May 18, 2010.

  1. danmcken Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2003
    star 3
    What has the understanding of science got to do with being an atheist ? All you need is common sense and a life free of indoctrination to know that Gods are nothing more than a man made myth.
  2. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    You just typed the examples on the previous page in the discussion. You must think that what, people are only one post at a time attentative? Shall we go through your post history and show everyone your ridiculous attitude? Knock it off. No one is fooled. This is the 2nd time in a week you piss on me then act all innocent.
  3. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    The issue as I understand it is that the modern steroetype of "atheists" as propounded by anti-atheists is that atheists are no different to those of religious faith in terms of their devotional fervour, except atheists worship at the alter of 'science' rather than 'deities'. So the anti-atheist crowd simply turns all religious criticisms around and basically say that atheists are kettles calling the pot black because they worship science and scientists without really understanding it. So, there is no necessary link between scientific understanding and atheism but "sciencism" seems to be the stereotype of atheists these days.
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Nov 5, 2013
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    No discussing users here.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Right, well, VLM I'm as surprised as you are but for entirely different reasons. I already explained I have literally - yes, literally, not figuratively - no idea where the warp drive comment came from originally as "proof" of something profound and scientific/unscientific; and I didn't intend offense when quoting from Vivec's post. You are seeing Jesus in tea-leaves and diving meaning from it, honestly.


    Religion, however, was our primitive attempt at cosmology and an explanation for the natural order. It offered a set of explanations for the origins of life, the planet and the stars and we have learned over time that these explanations were probably more to imbue their respective authority figure with infallibility and divine power, thus ensuring compliance with the laws on fear of eternal torment.

    Religion has not abandoned these explanations wholly, and where it's conceded ground - say, on evolution - it's insisted that a God was the creative spark that capped it all off. Which is akin in many respects to eating your cake and having it too, but whatever. So it's accepting evidence in support of a theory or conclusion and then, for comfort, tacking God onto the equation.

    Understanding the natural order and how religion used to fit into it is I think a key "new atheist" tenet, in that it forms a weapon in the arsenal to combat and dismantle religion.
    timmoishere and LostOnHoth like this.
  6. danmcken Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2003
    star 3
    So its basically religious people not being able to grasp the concept of non belief in deities.
  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Well yes, but that's an over-simplification.

    Part of the problem is that religious people simply do not need any level of proof to secure their beliefs. I can't relate to this, but I understand it to be the case.

    Religious people, I think, are taking the view that if religion goes, what about morality? They may already be doubters but they fear that abandoning religion, in its capacity as a check and balance against wholesale "evil", would be too dangerous to contemplate.
  8. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Well, let me speak as a former theist (Catholic). To a believing Christian who has secure in his faith, the idea of God not existing is quite foreign. It's an axiom; it's taken for granted. Which is why, as Ender says, it's not necessary for there to be any evidence.
    EvilQ likes this.
  9. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    Theists don't require what some would call objective evidence, but that doesn't mean they don't require any evidence.

    Subjective evidence is good enough for them.

    I was almost too bored to write this, because i know I've said it like a thousand times. still, i had to do it for accuracy's sake...
    Last edited by wannasee, Nov 5, 2013
  10. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    For the existence of god? Neither subjective nor objective evidence is needed. It's the assumption that god exists.
  11. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    1) What is "it"?

    2) Are you saying there is only assumption, and there is no subjective experience that corroborates said assumption?

    If yes, then i would have to disagree. In my experience, people tend to drop their assumptions if there is nothing at all that corroborates it.
  12. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Actually I think you mean "faith" by subjective evidence, no?
  13. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    No, i try to stay away from using words like "faith", since they rarely mean the same thing to two different people.
  14. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    But what is subjective evidence? Either something is evidential or it isn't?
  15. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    Subjective evidence is just a person's sense experience. Here's an example:

    Someone witnesses a murder and no physical evidence is left behind. How does the witness know that a murder was committed?

    Well, he has "subjective evidence", which is the recollection of his sense experience..

    Of course, this "subjective evidence" isn't valid for anyone else, but it is valid for the person who has had the experience. :D
  16. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    It really irks me when theists say "Evidence for God is all around you! You're just refusing to see it!" I fail to see how a pretty flower is evidence for the existence of a deity.

    If you claim a pretty flower exists, sure I'll believe you. A simple investigation shows indisputable evidence that the flower exists. I can examine it with all five of my senses, its dimensions, colors, and its location can all be measured and documented. So it is not unreasonable for me to apply the same criteria when you claim the existence of a god. Can this god be seen? Heard? Felt? Tasted? (ew) Is there any irrefutable proof of this god's existence? If the existence of a god cannot be satisfactorily demonstrated using the same methods by which we confirm the existence of everything else, why should any rationally thinking person believe in it?


    Edit: If a murder is committed and absolutely no physical evidence is left behind, we're talking about one pretty crafty murderer. Like, Chuck Norris-level skills.
    Last edited by timmoishere, Nov 6, 2013
  17. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Okay, I'm here to do a little derail, but first I thought I'd just respond to the current discussion too! Having my cake and eating it too, as Ender said. :p

    It isn't that religious people can believe with no proof. Well, actually, let me say "spiritual" people instead of "religious" people. I'm not really "religious" and so can't really speak for them. Or, I could, but it would be uncharitable and I don't want to do that. But a spiritual person, like me, does not believe in spite of the fact that there is no evidence; the fact that there is no evidence is the entire point. The point of spirituality is faith. And what is faith? Well, as said above, it means different things to different people, but let's see what the Bible says:

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So, when people attack Christians for having wishful thinking . . . well, to some degree that's true: my faith is the substance of what I hope is true. And when they attack Christians for having no proof . . . well, that's definitely true; my faith is the evidence for things I can't see. If I could prove God existed, I wouldn't have faith in Him. And without faith, there is no point to the spiritual life. When there's no faith, that's just a normal life. This isn't to say that I'm just making a decision of my will to believe in God; I honestly, sincerely believe in Him. But the point I'm making is that Christians trying to come up with all kind of "proofs" that God exists is stupid. And so is atheists attacking Christians because they can't provide said proofs. The point is faith.

    Or, as Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" The whole point of this exercise is . . . can faith exist on the earth? Can humanity genuinely have faith by believing in something they can't see? For God to prove Himself would be to destroy the entire exercise. And, whatever Voltaire said or Sam Harris said, I foresee the answer to Christ's question being yes.

    Now, on to the derail, what is this deal with atheist churches? I saw some news articles on Yahoo and such, but I generally disregard those as just manufactured, fluffy trend pieces, you know? But then I saw Ethan Emery dedicated an episode of Ardent Atheist to it, so I downloaded that episode and listened to it and it seems like a real topic of discussion in the atheist community judging from that podcast (and that podcast is typically neither fluffy or trendy for the sake of being trendy). So I'm curious to hear if its a real thing going on where any of you are. Are there atheist churches around any of you? Do you think it's a valid enterprise or is it kind of weird? Anybody participate in them?

    P.S. You may reply to my above rambling about faith if you like. I don't want to start a huge argument as I'm skeptical about those, so I probably won't follow that thread of conversation very far in this thread (besides, I don't want you to feel that the Christians are invading your thread; I know to some degree this thread ought to be a place for you guys to discuss issues about atheism without people attempting to refute everything you say). But I'm very interested in the atheist churches thing so that's the real reason I'm here.
  18. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    How on Earth does this make any sense? Really think about what you just said here. You believe in things specifically because there is no evidence for it. How do you justify which things that have no evidence to believe in and which things to not? How is it even possible to apply this principle in remotely a consistent matter?
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Okay, I was hoping for a response more about the atheist churches ( :p), but to clarify. I don't believe in everything (or anything for that matter) "specifically because" there is no evidence. I never said that I did and to do so would be patently absurd, as you say. I don't believe in God because there is no evidence; I believe in God because of my personal experiences. But the reason there is no evidence to prove that the God I believe in exists is because the point of my belief in God is to believe with no evidence.

    Okay, I feel that went circular.

    Step 1: I have a personal experience with God.
    Step 2: I believe in Him.
    Step 3: I search for objective evidence that He exists.
    Step 4: I find none.
    Step 5: I continue to believe in Him with no objective evidence.

    All of those steps are good and necessary, but step 5 is the point. I hope you can see now how believing without evidence can be the point of my belief without being the reason for it. The reason for something comes at the beginning; the point generally comes toward the end.

    Atheist churches
    Last edited by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 27, 2013
  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I don't know if I touched upon this here or in my blog, but I think it's simply about the sense of community religion brings. I believe it's called communion; the bond between religious people and churches?

    (Not to be confused with the rite).

    In my view this is fine, because I would argue that communion is not the dominant purpose of religion but rather that what happens when any group of like minded individuals get together. In terms of the shared experience, purpose, and connection - what, in practical terms, separates a church, an AA meeting, or wargame enthusiasts recreating historical battles in 14mm scale? Nothing, really - that thing that brings them together is different but what forms as a result of that, and because of that, is very much the same.

    Atheists want to bond, share and talk and in many cases in the US, as I understand it, it's a lot harder to get together because it's a less secular society (at least, that's how Lawrence Krauss positions it). Calling it church is either irreverant, or a calculated move to devalue the importance of a church as anything more than a place where people hang out.
  21. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    How does this actually make sense? Why would you need to even search for objective evidence if you were going to believe without the evidence anyway? There is literally no need for steps 3 and 4 in your method. The evidence or lack there of have zero effect on your continued belief by your own admission.
  22. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    In my experience Steps 1 & 2 are usually reversed and there is a preceding Step which is normally a viariation along the theme of "I suffered a major trauma" or "I was in a dark place".
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Right, that's kind of what I thought. And it's because, like you say, that kind of deep bond of community happens lots of other places besides a church, that I wondered why they specifically feel the need to call it a church. I agree that atheists want to bond, share and talk and should most certainly be able to do so. But I live right here in the Bible belt and there are two "atheist societies," (their words), within about twenty minutes of my house.

    So, yeah, I definitely think there's an agenda there in calling it a "church." Probably the agenda of getting publicity (which has worked) and of tweaking religious people (also worked). From just about every dictionary I've looked at "church" has a built-in religious connotation, which is interesting since atheists have always resisted it when people have called atheism a "religion." But by using the word church, they're kind of opening the door to all that again since a "church" is by technical definition (not that technical definitions necessarily rule the day or anything) affiliated with religion of some kind or other.

    Anyone attended a "service?"

    And thanks for actually addressing what I wanted to talk about.

    Well, believing without the evidence is a decision you have to make after you've found there is none. I mean you can't just say that you're going to believe even though there's no evidence when you don't actually know whether there's evidence or not, can you? Plenty of people have a spiritual experience and then think about it and decide that there's no proof it was anything other than . . . brain chemistry or emotional manipulation or whatever. And they thus don't go on to really embrace Christianity or whatever religion we're talking about; or they leave said religion. So, people hang up at step four all the time. It didn't make a difference to me that there was no evidence, but it certainly does to a lot of people - so, yes, you have to factor those steps in. Plus, there are a ton of Christians who just kind of live on step three, always arguing about some kind of "evidence" they've found. You know, Kirk Cameron and the banana and all that nonsense. I'm sure you guys have dealt with plenty of people like that in this thread. These Christians will never actually admit to you (or to themselves) that there isn't any evidence. So, yes, steps three and four exist; a lot of Christians never move past them. I did move past them; that doesn't mean that they didn't exist for me or that they don't exist for others.

    But, you know, your argumentative tone reveals a desire not to understand my position but to tear it down. That's why I don't come to the Senate very often. You've stated that I'm not making sense twice, that I haven't thought about what I believe once and that I am "literally" incorrect once. I don't think you're trying to understand where I'm coming from; you're just poking holes. Let's have a discussion, not an argument.

    The preceding step you mention is certainly one that is often there. I hope you're not trying to diminish that fact. People have bad experiences in life that lead them to God, sure, but that's not any better or worse than having a generally happy life and meeting God. The negative wasn't my experience. I was plenty happy and satisfied with my life when I became a Christian.

    I'm not sure I understand the first point though. Could you clarify? I don't think I know anyone who would say they believed in God before they had a personal experience with him. But then I'm in a pentecostal denomination; we love experiences. I guess other denominations are different. Okay, never mind, no clarification needed, I get it. Yeah, I'll allow that. Hmm, I'll have to allow that some religious people (not spiritual, but religious) actually omit step two entirely. They genuinely just choose to believe. But then I'm not speaking about religious people, but rather spiritual ones (as I stated above).
  24. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    What.

    How is my tone argumentative? Because I asked a lot of questions? And where did I say you were "'Literally' incorrect?"

    As for not making sense, you're still not making sense. Why would you choose to believe when you've found no evidence? That completely invalidates your entire search for evidence.
  25. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    I have a simple question, Rogue. What makes you so certain that what you experienced was a god? I'll grant that you had an unusual experience, I can't discount that. But what led you to jump to your conclusion? I would think that the rational response to something like that would be to classify it as "unknown until more information is revealed." Automatically assuming that what you experienced was a god just seems like a lazy conclusion to me, without actually giving it any thought.