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#25084 - 03/11/08 04:03 PM To all Atheists:
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
There are many questions Ive been wondering since I start believng God is not real. If any of you have wondered the same and come up with satisfactory answers, please let me know. Also, feel free to reply with a question of your own which I may think about/answer.

My questions:

1. If there is no God, and we are random creations, then what is the meaning of life? What do we plan to achieve while we are alive? Why even live, if life has no point?

2. What proof do you require in order to start believing in God? (What kind of events would need to happen for you to belive in him)

3. Are there any scientific way or ideas of experiments to prove or disprove god?


Edited by Amaranth Rose II (03/13/08 01:19 AM)
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#25088 - 03/11/08 04:52 PM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
1. a. We don't understand the nature of "random."
b. Evolution is not entirely random.
c. We have to ascribe our own meaning - there probably is no "cosmic meaning." Just because the universe doesn't care about or even notice us doesn't mean that we can or shouldn't care for ourselves.

2. Personal introduction. None of the fancy speeches, none of the emotional blathering, none of the pseudo-intellectual fake philosophizing.

3. Science is not capable of addressing the subject of God.

I reject the idea of god not because I have evidence there is no god, but mostly because the idea is silly to begin with.

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#25092 - 03/11/08 06:18 PM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
1. Whatever you may feel about the randomness of our appearance in the cosmos, the meaning or lack thereof that one perceives in one's life is entirely personal. The absence of a god does not deprive life of meaning. All the realities remain intact. No less real are love and beauty and all of the other poetry of human experience, whether or not one ascribes them to a Zeus or Ptah or Indra or whoever. These realities are accepted for what they are by the many of us who see them as fully sufficient unto themselves. When you experience 'purpose', you don't need to give it a name, or dress it up in mythology.

Regarding the feeling of purpose: on a practical level, meditation is of great benefit to many people in becoming conscious of purpose - including atheist scientists.

2. There need be no search for proof of God.

3. Quote TFF: "Science is not capable of addressing the subject of God."
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#25093 - 03/11/08 06:23 PM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
On one hand, almost all the cultures which have thrived in the last 2000 - 5000 years have had a strong support of religous background. It is obvious from this that religion played a big role in uniting men and brining them under the lawfulness (I dont think thats a word, but it gets the point across) of society. Even today, it gives men moral standards to live by. On the other hand, aethists, such as you and me, know that god doesnt really exist and it is really silly (and hard) to believe in a relgion which is based on something fake. So..

Do you think men in general are better off without religion? Do you think YOU are better off without religion? Or would you rather have a religion which does not entail a God, but only a set of moral standards to live by? Why or why not?
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#25098 - 03/12/08 12:48 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Kevat wrote

Or would you rather have a religion which does not entail a God, but only a set of moral standards to live by? Why or why not?


There is no such thing as a religion that does not believe in something- whether a God or the divine. That is the meaning of "religion". There is no "only" with regard to moral standards. We all have them. Religions help to codify them, but it is possible to behave in a sociable way, that does not disgust other people or yourself, without any divine interference or adherence to any religion. Bear in mind however that some people have horrible anti-social moral standards and profess to be religious- though some in that situation do not. It's a matter for choice, and religion is as optional as anything else.

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#25100 - 03/12/08 01:47 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
KS: "religion played a big role in uniting men and brining them under the lawfulness...of society."

- Systems of ‘divine law’ such as sharia law still exist, but we can do very much better without them.

KS: "Even today, it gives men moral standards to live by."

- Manifestly, religion encourages not only ethical behaviour, but also incites extremely unethical behaviour. Human beings are capable of ethical behaviour without indulging in the superfluous fantasies of religion.

KS: "Do you think men in general are better off without religion?"

- Yes; but if you're interested in what's true rather than what's expedient, then the question is irrelevant.

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#25108 - 03/13/08 02:39 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: redewenur]
Mike Kremer Offline

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Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: redewenur
KS: "religion played a big role in uniting men and brining them under the lawfulness...of society."

- Systems of ‘divine law’ such as sharia law still exist, but we can do very much better without them.

KS: "Even today, it gives men moral standards to live by."

- Manifestly, religion encourages not only ethical behaviour, but also incites extremely unethical behaviour. Human beings are capable of ethical behaviour without indulging in the superfluous fantasies of religion.

KS: "Do you think men in general are better off without religion?"

- Yes; but if you're interested in what's true rather than what's expedient, then the question is irrelevant.


KS:said "religion played a big role in uniting men and bringing them under the lawfulness...of society."
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer

Are you certain of that? I think Religion has played an even bigger part in causing wars, progroms, misery, and anihilations of peoples and tribes all over the World.
Religion has a powerful influence upon some people, but when in the hands of a despotic ruler, has caused untold misery.

The influence of religion upon people today, is very much less than before. Since the influence of rule, has largely been replaced by the democracy of Government.
Greed, Oil, and money can still cause misery, but hopefully migration and education will still allow one to live in relative comfort and peace.

Religions are not the Moral standard we believed we should live by, anymore. There are thousands of different beliefs, ways of life, and ideas in our modern world, they almost all practise at least some of the Ten Commandments,
The best human moral codes for living, ever invented.


Lets hope religion is kept Earthbound, if it ever gets to the Planets, or Stars, we are lost.
Any comments re last sentence?

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"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#25109 - 03/13/08 03:34 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Mike Kremer]
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
I agree it has caused wars in the wrong hands. But that should not take away from the fact that it united men in the beginning. I agree that you dont need religion for morality, but I think having it will help install morality at a better level. Take for example the following analogy:

We dont need schools to study. We can learn to read and write on our own, through our parents, just as we would learn moral values from them. But having an education system obviously improves our learning abilities. The way an education system affects learning is the same way in which religion affects morality.

Religion has a smaller role now, but it had a great role once. When it wasn't being misused, it lead to socities which still exist today after thousands of years. Like from the analogy beofre, you're not gonna be a bad person by not being religious. But having an organized method of teaching children morals (or even adults), specially aethists who have no means of doing so other than their parents and what they learn themselves, would prove much more advantageous.

I also agree that religions in wrong hands can cause a great deal of misery. If you notice, much of the misery actually comes from the NAME of your god rather than its values. Like you said, everyone practices, to some extent, a part of the ten commandments. What is different for most part is what they call their god. What I was getting at is this:

What if you had an organization, like a religion, which said nothing about God or what his name was, but simply how men should live, what should be important in our lives, what is right and what is wrong. This would reduce the wars over what God's name is (Allah? God? Krishna?) and also allow a STRUCTURED way for aethists to build their moral values without being forced to believe in something you know doesnt exist.

Let me know if that makes sense, or if I should explain it further. I hope you take this matter seriously, because this is something I have really thought about for years and am convinced is the right way for us to go.
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#25110 - 03/13/08 04:25 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
Ellis Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Most religions are divisive. They teach that there are a god's rules to be obeyed. These rules then become the rules of the secular society, and will be also obeyed. There is no longer need for social reform, inequality and poverty are able exist, but that does not matter because in the sight of God (whichever one you are referring to) all of us are equal and we will all get our reward in the afterlife. This idea of reward AFTER death still is a powerful motivation for many people. I suppose when you are at the bottom of the heap any chance of redemption and paradise would be enticing. Religion stultifies social progress in every area, as questioning and change is frightening to those who are religious . When the fact of the overwhelming patriarchy of most of the powerful organised religions is also considered it is easy to see how alienating religious behaviour really is.

Religions are divisive in every area of life. Many preach that their religion is the only one that is right. Within each particular religions the religious heirarchy is superior to the rest of the congregation. Most religions have a male priesthood, some are so afraid of female contamination they have a celibate clergy advising women on the daily conduct of their lives, and they separate the men and women as much as possible, even in their place of worship. Some teach about 'sin', and condemn 'sinners' to wretched lives, not only now, but also throughout the eternity that they promise to believers. All religious priests will bless the soldiers of their country as they set off to fight and kill the children of their enemies. (who incidentally, are similarly blessed).

We pay a very high price when we allow someone else's invisible friend to dictate rules of conduct. There is only one real rule- it is-- "Treat others as you would have them treat you". It always works, without any divine inspiration.


KS wrote:
What if you had an organization, like a religion, which said nothing about God or what his name was, but simply how men should live, what should be important in our lives, what is right and what is wrong. This would reduce the wars over what God's name is (Allah? God? Krishna?) and also allow a STRUCTURED way for aethists to build their moral values without being forced to believe in something you know doesnt exist.


I am a bit worried by discussing this para:, however I will stick my neck out--here goes! Here in Australia we have a government, elected by us, that tries to do what you suggest. It makes secular laws, in Parliament, to help us all to live a happy and peaceful life, all of us, that is everyone who lives here -- Isn't that what is supposed to happen?

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#25112 - 03/13/08 04:53 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
KS: "What if you had an organization, like a religion, which said nothing about God or what his name was, but simply how men should live, what should be important in our lives, what is right and what is wrong."

- Sounds like Humanism to me:

http://www.humanism.org.uk/site/cms/contentChapterView.asp?chapter=309

Which says a lot about those things, e.g. -

"Thus it is not humanist values that are parasitic on religious ones, but the reverse. True human values are rooted in our need to live fulfilling lives and to share them with others. These values are to be found at all periods of history and in all parts of the world. Unsurprisingly, they are also found in all the great world religions, but there they are always combined and overlaid with other values which are either absurd and trivial (such as insisting that everybody rests from work on the same day of the week or eats only certain kinds of meat) or actively pernicious (such as persecuting gays or stoning adulterers). The core, rational values are humanist ones."

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#25113 - 03/13/08 05:55 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: redewenur]
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
Damn it! I wanted to found humanism...j/k. On a more serious note though, this is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I didnt even know something like this existed. Thanks for the help red.

Ellis: The part of AFTERLIFE which works is that it gives men hope and something to live for. It kind of gives meaning to life, which otherswise would be pointless. There are other real meanings to life, such as quest for knowledge and happiness, and that is what religions should really offer instead of some fake belief in heavens that dont exist. If religions preached "Live and let Live" or like you said "Treat other like they treat you" then this world would be a MUCH better place. That is what a real religion should be doing in order to bring peace to this world.

As for the government, it does provide us with an outline of what we should do. But again, it would be like the Board of Education providing you with an outlineof class materials and saying, this is what you should know and learn. That is completely different from going to schools/universities where you learn through guidance and conversations. Thats the difference between government and the religion which I would like to see.
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#25115 - 03/13/08 07:57 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 962
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
KS "What if you had an organization, like a religion, which said nothing about God or what his name was, but simply how men should live, what should be important in our lives, what is right and what is wrong."

The basic tenets of Buddhism are that one should follow a moral life but it says nothing about god. Is that what you are trying to describe?
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If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#25118 - 03/14/08 03:12 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
KV wrote
Ellis: The part of AFTERLIFE which works is that it gives men hope and something to live for. It kind of gives meaning to life, which otherswise would be pointless. There are other real meanings to life, such as quest for knowledge and happiness, and that is what religions should really offer instead of some fake belief in heavens that dont exist. If religions preached "Live and let Live" or like you said "Treat other like they treat you" then this world would be a MUCH better place. That is what a real religion should be doing in order to bring peace to this world.


Life is not meaningless because there is no belief in an afterlife. In fact life seems to have more meaning if it is acknowledged that this is absolutely all there is ever going to be. We live on, if that is what we wish, in the memory of our family and friends- and if we are lucky enough to have children, in the lives of our descendants. The 'do as you would be done by' thing is at the original core of most religions, as well as the core thinking of any reasonable human. My point is that there is no need to ginger it up with silly rules, supposedly divinely inspired, but in reality supporting the idea of unchanging regulation. Religions always stifle change, even progressive change, and it is ironical to realise that the ideas of the founders of many of the successful religions were in fact revolutionary in their day.


Rose: Whilst I think that Buddhism has some attractive beliefs I have some difficulty with the idea of reincarnation and successive lives. One reason is that I think it is, well, actually really silly, and secondly, because I loath the idea of disease and misfortune being the result of personal sin -instead of a chance meeting with, for eg, a virus, or a speeding car. I especially hate the idea of the parents' sins being taken as the reason for children's illnesses and unexpected deaths. It's a horrible suggestion. I understand Buddhism is not alone in this doctrine.

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#25119 - 03/14/08 05:20 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Ellis]
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
Thanks for the reply Ellis. I think you and I are trying to say the same thing. You see, I figured this out when I was 11; the true meaning of life isn't to search for heaven, but live life happily cause you only live it once. At the same time, if you want anything you do to matter, then your deeds should be so great that they remembered and more importantly people (humans) must be alive to remember them. If mankind were to die out a few years from now, then I would certainly feel a sort of helplessness and futileness about life. Because I want things I do today to matter, saving man's future becomes the important task at hand, almost as if that was the meaning of my life. It seems as though you are going along the same path ("we live on...in the lives of our descendents").

The problem is not with you and me. We are intellectual enough to be discussing god on a science (or not-so-science) forum. They question is about people who may not be intellectually inclined enough to reach that conlcusion themselves, but at the same time are smart enough to see through religion and see the idea of God for what it really is. You've figured out that your memories will live on, and will sooner or later figure out mankind must live on for your memories to live on. But there are many out there who cannot figure that out. I am saying this, cause I know people who were like that, and I used to be like that myself. They are simply lost, cause they know God doesnt exist, but can't really answer the question of life themselves. Who's there to show them the way? No one really, they're left to figure it out on their own. People like you and me who understand the concepts of live and let live and the importance of living on through the lives of our dependants should be there helping others find the way as well. Maybe then people would see why spending money on science to protect our future makes more sense than spending money on a pointless war.

Rose: Buddhism was not what I was getting at for the exact reason Ellis said. Humanism is actually damn close to what I am trying to describe.


Edited by Kevat Shah (03/14/08 05:24 AM)
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#25122 - 03/14/08 11:06 AM Re: To all Aethists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
A few thoughts on Humanism and Buddhism.

Humanism may be described as a way if life and as a philosophy, i.e., a conclusion, devoid of metaphysics, with regard to perceived truth and values by which one tries to live. The same may be said of Buddhism, except that it's not entirely devoid of metaphysics. That is perhaps is the main difference between Humanism and Buddhism (generally speaking). Humanism is simpler and less encumbered. It has no dependence upon historical events and artefacts, nor upon sacred texts, canonical or otherwise. Nowhere is there to be found the worship of a god or of divinities. All of these are to be found within the various forms of Buddhism, either in the theory or the practice. Buddhism has been prone to significant modification by the various cultures into which it has been introduced. Thus there many and diverse beliefs and practices throughout its domain. The practices are less consequential, and no doubt beneficial, since they are concerned with harmless ritual which probably serves several purposes such as recollection of the 'truth' and promotion of fellowship within the community. The beliefs however, although perhaps mostly innocuous, are inevitably divisive. One therefore finds Theravada Buddhism (The Lesser Vehicle) and many versions of Mahayana Buddhism (The Greater Vehicle) having mutually exclusive beliefs.

I should add that the eastern philosophy with which I can most identify is that held by the Dalai Lama who, quite typically, said that if there's any dispute between science and Buddhism, then science wins. Humanism, however, appears to have totally shed all the inherited paraphernalia of religion, and takes a fresh look at reality from a truly scientific, yet human, perspective.

As I said, those are just a few thoughts, and I would be interested to read the thoughts of anyone else on the comparison of Humanism with Buddhism.
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#25182 - 03/25/08 04:44 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Kevat Shah]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
KS, please define what you mean when you write "God".
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#25191 - 03/27/08 03:21 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
KS, or for that matter any sceptic: Tell us what you have in mind when you write "God". This will help provide a basis for helpful dialogue.

BTW, I accept that all sincerely-held beliefs are valid. So are opinions. Meanwhile keep in mind: For me, GØD is a far greater concept that a personal being who looks somewhat like a super human-like male being.
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#25193 - 03/27/08 02:59 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
did you know that there is a midget living in the center of the earth? what??? don't believe me? its so obvious!! why ele would the earth be spinning? there MUST be a midget living there... plus, what evidence do you have to disprove this?

classic... need i say more?
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#25195 - 03/27/08 06:20 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
BFP, so you are backing the dogma that there is "midget living at the center of the earth" as your definition of "God".

BTW, he is not a midget. The "True Faith" declares that He is a GIANT. But, because we believe He is a friendly and loving Giant, you have no need to fear that we will harm you because of you do not have the True "faith", yet. For your edification, we do not require proof, one way or the other--just unquestioning belief. laugh

No doubt you have heard of Bertrand Russell's pararable of the celestial tea pot orbiting between the Earth and Mars. See pages 51-52 of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. After a brief period of agnosticism he and all his followers became a-teapotists. Sad, eh? laugh
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#25196 - 03/27/08 08:18 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
Kevat Shah Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Grenada
God, from what I gather, represents any entity which makes the universe work. Often, God is also associated with creating the universe and everything in it. A majority of the people who believe in god, also believe that god has some control over their life and can make things happen if God so wishes. The idea of God is almost always coupled with the idea of afterlife. Often, people who believe in God also believe that their life right now is just a passage into the afterlife. This gives more meaning to their lives and makes them behave appropriately (try to commit less sins in order to get into heaven, for example). That is what I have in mind when I say God.
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