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Author Topic: What atheists do not believe  (Read 3007 times) Average Rating: 0
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Čika-Gliša
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« on: September 27, 2011, 05:25:28 AM »

I am an online friend of this forum's ex-member Stick Man who you recently banned after he attempted to engage in discussions questioning religion. Like Stick Man, I am an atheist who used to be Orthodox. I was raised in the faith but when I came to form my own opinions, I did not find any truth in the notion that there is a god. But I don't want to write about my background at this point. My friend has asked me to comment on what you wrote to him when you banned him. I understand the source of your conflict (before writing serious posts, he first came to this forum and "trolled" on it under several usernames) and I am not questioning your decision not to allow him to participate any more. I wanted on his behalf to debunk the premise of your comments to him. The moderator wrote this in his last discussion thread:

"Why do you keep returning here? if you are convinced that you were created from nothing and that there is no God, then why do you persist in coming back to a discussion forum that you cannot participate in? It really makes no sense unless you are still unconvinced, despite your earlier statements."

First of all, Stick Man thought he could participate because he had asked the moderators to lift his prior ban and after several months, he tried the forums and he had access to them, so he assumed the ban had been lifted. So he started posting again. His intent was to educate Christians on what we believe to be the truth and in no way to check whether what we believe (that there is no god) is correct. We are both convinced of what we believe in.

Second, and here I speak for both of us, you are wrong as to what we believe. Atheists do not think that we were "created from nothing". We generally believe that nothing was ever created in the first place. We believe that the elements that make up the universe always existed, and that natural processes or forces of the universe have changed their form over time, very gradually evolving into what exists today. When you think about it, that is not so illogical even from a creationist's point of view: the creator that you believe in was never created either but always existed. We simply believe that it is not a creator, but things like atoms, ions, neutrons, etc. that always existed, and that their natural properties are what caused them to form the universe rather than an intelligent creator.

We just wanted you to get your facts straight.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 05:26:47 AM by Čika-Gliša » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 05:33:33 AM »

Why is it so imperative that you must "Educate" us? More so what does atheism have to offer?
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 05:40:47 AM »

Why is it so imperative that you must "Educate" us? More so what does atheism have to offer?

It is so imperative for the same reason that sooner or later, people should learn there is no Easter Bunny. We should base our lives on objective reality, not on fantasies.

Atheism offers truth and the possibility of living a full, free life. It gives one the chance to live well and to the full in the present life and not invest in a fictitious afterlife, undermining enjoyment of the present life.
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 05:41:57 AM »

This is a thread for posterity.
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 05:48:42 AM »

Why is it so imperative that you must "Educate" us? More so what does atheism have to offer?

It is so imperative for the same reason that sooner or later, people should learn there is no Easter Bunny. We should base our lives on objective reality, not on fantasies.
And what is objective reality? God's a fantasy?

Quote
Atheism offers truth and the possibility of living a full, free life.
Define this full free life for me? How can the Christian not be able to live a full free life?

Quote
It gives one the chance to live well and to the full in the present life and not invest in a fictitious afterlife, undermining enjoyment of the present life.
Again define live well and full in the present life.

Undermining enjoyment in this present life because of a belief in an afterlife? That's about to be a straw man soon, if it isn't already.
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 05:57:52 AM »

On a side note, my neighbor has been really bothering me lately and is prohibiting me from living well and to the fullest. If I was to kill him this would be entirely permissible since I would then live well, right?
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 06:07:18 AM »

Why is it so imperative that you must "Educate" us? More so what does atheism have to offer?

It is so imperative for the same reason that sooner or later, people should learn there is no Easter Bunny. We should base our lives on objective reality, not on fantasies.

Atheism offers truth and the possibility of living a full, free life. It gives one the chance to live well and to the full in the present life and not invest in a fictitious afterlife, undermining enjoyment of the present life.

I have always failed to see how believing in God (excuse me, "fictitious afterlife") causes me to not live my life to the fullest, or enjoying my present life. Truth be told, my life has been more enjoyable and more fulfilling as a Christian than when I was an atheist - I hang out with my friends, I eat, I drink, and I am merry. What more could I possibly want? Promiscuous sex with many partners sans guilt? No, thank you, I'd rather not chance getting a disease, or some one night stand get pregnant. Drug use? Again, no, I have seen the effects of those who gave their life to drugs and they are not happy, nor living a full life. Drinking? I do that already, even when I was Southern Baptist (who strongly oppose alcohol) I drank, and I still do; heck I get free wine every Sunday. I really have nothing holding me back from living a full life, my life is very full and fun!

What truth does atheism offer? That God does not exist? Evolution over creation? Please, I am interested in hearing what truth I can find from atheism, I would like to know what I missed especially as I did not find it when I was an atheist.
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 06:43:02 AM »

On a side note, my neighbor has been really bothering me lately and is prohibiting me from living well and to the fullest. If I was to kill him this would be entirely permissible since I would then live well, right?


Exactly. This is what it all boils down to.


If this "Cika Glisa" were truly an atheist, then he/she wouldn't be wasting time on this forum trying to convince others (and actually they're trying to convince themselves) that God does not exist. I have yet to meet an atheist who actually lives according to their worldview. If God does not exist, then neither does morality. In an atheistic universe there is only pleasure, pain, and then death (non-existence). So the most logical thing for the atheist to do would to be calculate how they could amass the greatest amount of pleasure for the longest possible time with the least amount of pain, and then die as quickly and painlessly as possible. But for some reason, these atheists seem curiously consumed with ethics and morality. They sure are willing to put up with a lot of stress, agony, disappointment, and pain in order to prolong their meaningless lives.


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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 06:51:42 AM »

On a side note, my neighbor has been really bothering me lately and is prohibiting me from living well and to the fullest. If I was to kill him this would be entirely permissible since I would then live well, right?


Exactly. This is what it all boils down to.


If this "Cika Glisa" were truly an atheist, then he/she wouldn't be wasting time on this forum trying to convince others (and actually they're trying to convince themselves) that God does not exist. I have yet to meet an atheist who actually lives according to their worldview. If God does not exist, then neither does morality. In an atheistic universe there is only pleasure, pain, and then death (non-existence). So the most logical thing for the atheist to do would to be calculate how they could amass the greatest amount of pleasure for the longest possible time with the least amount of pain, and then die as quickly and painlessly as possible. But for some reason, these atheists seem curiously consumed with ethics and morality. They sure are willing to put up with a lot of stress, agony, disappointment, and pain in order to prolong their meaningless lives.


Selam

Which is why you see atheists clamoring on about Transhumanism/H+; anything to extend earthly pleasures and this life. My thing is once a human achieves immortality on this Earth, wouldn't that suck up any sort of meaning and value from life itself?

Imagine knowing you were going to live forever here, that Big Mac might not taste as good because you won't worry about it not being your last.

Personally I think it would be Hell on Earth to live forever in this current world.

The thing we have to understand with atheists is they can very well be moral people, but my argument is from what basis does morality come from, if there is no objective source then it must entirely be subjective.

If there was no point to life, no after-life, no God, no chance of anything beyond, I personally would have ended my miserable existence years ago.

Thank God for Christ.
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2011, 07:07:50 AM »

Why is it so imperative that you must "Educate" us? More so what does atheism have to offer?

It is so imperative for the same reason that sooner or later, people should learn there is no Easter Bunny. We should base our lives on objective reality, not on fantasies.

Pilate asked, "what is truth?" but unlike him I'm willing to give an answer. And that answer is that atheism, at least this kind of atheism, is an adolescent rebellion against the universe. Look, the "Easter bunny" line is as old as the hills, or it would be if the Easter bunny himself were that old. Back when I was (I would guess) your age, the line was about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. It's not a particularly compelling comparison, not that inclined to argue the difference.

But the whole "objective reality" thing, well, if that kind of objectivity were possible for humans, then we wouldn't be arguing this, but we would already agree. The persistence of disagreement shows that objectivity is the fantasy, more so than the Easter bunny. And a look through 19th century philosophy, not to mention the hammering it took in the early 20th century, shows that the fantastic vision of being able to look at the world and answer all these questions on our own is false to the core.

Quote
Atheism offers truth and the possibility of living a full, free life. It gives one the chance to live well and to the full in the present life and not invest in a fictitious afterlife, undermining enjoyment of the present life.

Well, it does, if you're that kind of person, and especially if you're young, and healthy, and well-off, and have no emotional commitments. Most people lack a bunch of those, which puts a big damper on that enjoyment.
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 07:09:15 AM »

I have yet to meet an atheist who actually lives according to their worldview. If God does not exist, then neither does morality. In an atheistic universe there is only pleasure, pain, and then death (non-existence). So the most logical thing for the atheist to do would to be calculate how they could amass the greatest amount of pleasure for the longest possible time with the least amount of pain, and then die as quickly and painlessly as possible.

And the REAL objective morality is that no man is capable of living like that, because no man is capable of that calculation.
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2011, 10:38:05 AM »

I have yet to meet an atheist who actually lives according to their worldview. If God does not exist, then neither does morality. In an atheistic universe there is only pleasure, pain, and then death (non-existence). So the most logical thing for the atheist to do would to be calculate how they could amass the greatest amount of pleasure for the longest possible time with the least amount of pain, and then die as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Supposing you are correct, how do you know you haven't met such a person? Maybe part of their calculation is that it'd be best to not talk about how they live with people who would ridicule them Smiley  However, I would suggest that there is a difference between pleasure and happiness, and that it is the latter that everyone (not just atheists) strive for.
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 10:57:56 AM »

We should base our lives on objective reality, not on fantasies.

Why?

You say that belief in a

Quote
fictitious afterlife, [undermines]  enjoyment of the present life.

So are you saying that, contrariwise, basing our lives on objective reality enhances enjoyment?
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2011, 11:08:20 AM »

Since Atheists don't have a god they believe in they follow their own will.

Research "Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the law".  Look at who said that.

Anton Levey said "The purest form of Satanism is true Atheism."

These guys say this stuff because that is exactly what Satanism is.  It is not about "devil worship".  It is about "becoming God of one's self".  That is exactly what Lucifer did in Isaiah 14.  He cast himself over the thrown of God.

That is why atheism is the growing thing of this day during these end times (coupled with gnosticism which is luciferian).  People are becoming "God's of themselves".  People are following their own will and not God's.

In the end you have two choices.

1) Follow your own will which is what Lucifer did and is Sin - Do what thy wilt.
2) Do as Yeshua commanded us "Thy (God's) will be done.

Atheism is Satanism, whether or not an Atheist believes it - it does not matter.
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 11:41:02 AM »


Second, and here I speak for both of us, you are wrong as to what we believe. Atheists do not think that we were "created from nothing". We generally believe that nothing was ever created in the first place. We believe that the elements that make up the universe always existed, and that natural processes or forces of the universe have changed their form over time, very gradually evolving into what exists today. When you think about it, that is not so illogical even from a creationist's point of view: the creator that you believe in was never created either but always existed. We simply believe that it is not a creator, but things like atoms, ions, neutrons, etc. that always existed, and that their natural properties are what caused them to form the universe rather than an intelligent creator.

We just wanted you to get your facts straight.
Its interesting that you think an eternal universe discounts belief in God. In fact, from this very premise, that the universe is eternal and changing, Aristotle demonstrated that God must exist.
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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 07:45:58 PM »

Achronos:

"And what is objective reality? God's a fantasy?"

Yes. He is the mythological explanation of primitive peoples (like the ancient Jews) with no knowledge of science to speak of for how the universe came about. There is no compelling evidence that a creator exists. Science has for all practical purposes proven things like evolution, whereas there is no evidence that God exists. So I consider him a fantasy.

"Define this full free life for me? How can the Christian not be able to live a full free life?"

What I'm basically saying is that religious people believe in this omnipotent, omniscient sky goblin who will punish them if they refuse to obey his exceedingly many commands and prohibitions. Atheists are concerned with being moral (I.E. don't hurt other people) but over and above that, have no worries that they have to live a certain rigid, restrictive lifestyle or they will be apostates, go to hell etc. I don't think I need to describe this in detail here, I think you know what I'm talking about. Plus, I think that a devout Christian can be so concerned with focusing on the future life in "God's kingdom" (which I believe does not exist) that living for the present and in some cases noticing the beauty of the world around us can be undermined and take second place.

"On a side note, my neighbor has been really bothering me lately and is prohibiting me from living well and to the fullest. If I was to kill him this would be entirely permissible since I would then live well, right?"

This is just ridiculous. In fact, it is insulting. Atheists are moral people. I am an atheist and I hold to certain moral standards. I don't just do what pleases me at others' cost. You don't need religion to be moral. Morality comes from the necessity to coexist with other people, not from some divine source. In fact, you are saying that without your god, you would be immoral. Doesn't speak too highly about your character, IMO.

Regarding your comment about morality being subjective without a god. Yes, it may be so, but that doesn't mean God exists. It just means that morality is at least partly subjective and that's the way things are. Your wanting there to be an objective morality doesn't mean it exists in fact, only that you want it. The same holds true for your god. BTW, while I agree that morality is largely subjective, there is a lot of common ground. For example, most people agree that it is immoral to steal or murder. This comes from the evolutionary need to have an ordered society.

dcommini:

If you believe you are living a fulfilled life as an Orthodox Christian, well, good for you. But that's not the experience of many other practicing Christians. Religion teaches that all sorts of things are commanded/forbidden (examples: you have to fast, at times strictly, for over half the year. You have to go to church every Sunday and religious holiday if possible. You have to love God. You must not have premarital sex or even masturbate. You must not practice homosexuality. You must forgive people who hurt you...and so on and so forth). If you willfully refuse to do this and many other things, you are damned. Sorry, but this is what the church teaches and there are people who take this seriously and practice it. On the other hand, an atheist, who doesn't believe there is a sky goblin who can punish you for these so-called sins can do what he wants, as long as they don't hurt other people.

The truth that atheism offers is that there is no evidence for God's existence and no reason to believe in him. Disagree with me? Show me the evidence to the contrary.

Gebre Menfes Kidus:

What you are saying has nothing to do with reality. To me it suggests that someone indoctrinated you with lies about what atheism teaches. There is no "atheist world view" that atheists are supposed to adhere to, that there is no morality and that all we care about is pleasure. Atheism does not equal hedonism. We simply don't believe there is a god. Why should that stop us from adhering to what we perceive as moral? Morality can and does exist without God. It comes from the evolutionary need to have peaceful coexistence and a functional society, and similar sociological and psychological things. Oh, and our lives are not meaningless. We find meaning in things of this world (love, sex, food, hobbies, helping others, etc.) and not in things of some perceived other world (God, heaven, whatever).

Keble:

In all that you are writing, you are not providing any evidence that God exists. You are merely stating your psychological reasons for wanting him to exist. Other than your wish for there to be a god, is there any real proof that you can provide to us that he exists?

I think it is most unfortunate that you (and other people) seek meaning of life in a non-existent creator, whereas in truth you can find meaning in your life yourself. Look how you are limiting yourself. You don't need a god to dictate to you what meaning of life is. You can find your own meaning for your life by striving to live your life as you wish and as your conscience dictates.

JLatimer:

I'm not saying that believing in an objective reality enhances enjoyment. I am saying that by focusing on living for a fictitious god and living with a view to a fictitious future life, a Christian (by practicing the obedience and self-denial inherent to practicing Christianity) is missing out on various opportunities to enjoy life in this lifetime.

yeshuaisiam:

Your "two choices" are based on the assumption that Christianity is true. I ask again: what evidence can you give us that God, Satan etc exist? As an atheist, I believe that I have the choice to live diametrically opposite to the teaching of the Christian church, nay, even to actively blaspheme against it, and that nothing evil will happen to me in consequence, because the god I would be blaspheming against and disobeying does not exist. If you have proof that I am wrong, you are welcome to share it.

Papist:

Oh please. The teleological argument? Can you do no better than that? Really. All these "philosophical" arguments for God's existence are arguments from ignorance. How do you know that the elements that make up the universe have not always been moving? The laws of physics say that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And if there were a "prime mover", how do you know it is an intelligent spirit and not a physical process?
 
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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2011, 07:56:25 PM »

About Satanists- a few years ago, there was this clip on TV with a group of self-described Satanists. They had dark clothes, lots of makeup, pierced this and that, and so on. A few even had fake horns implanted in their foreheads. They zoomed in on one guy who said, "We don't really (worship the devil), we're atheists!"  Huh  Shocked Really? If you don't believe in something, why do you have fake horns implanted in your head?!
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2011, 07:58:14 PM »

Inane, inane, inane.

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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2011, 07:59:55 PM »

Second, and here I speak for both of us, you are wrong as to what we believe. Atheists do not think that we were "created from nothing". We generally believe that nothing was ever created in the first place. We believe that the elements that make up the universe always existed, and that natural processes or forces of the universe have changed their form over time, very gradually evolving into what exists today. When you think about it, that is not so illogical even from a creationist's point of view: the creator that you believe in was never created either but always existed. We simply believe that it is not a creator, but things like atoms, ions, neutrons, etc. that always existed, and that their natural properties are what caused them to form the universe rather than an intelligent creator.

Not only is this incredibly dogmatic (something Atheists insist they aren't), but I've known Atheists who believe in autogenesis.

By the way, I doubt there is anyone who believes you aren't stick man. Wink
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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2011, 08:00:07 PM »

About Satanists- a few years ago, there was this clip on TV with a group of self-described Satanists. They had dark clothes, lots of makeup, pierced this and that, and so on. A few even had fake horns implanted in their foreheads. They zoomed in on one guy who said, "We don't really (worship the devil), we're atheists!"  Huh  Shocked Really? If you don't believe in something, why do you have fake horns implanted in your head?!

The Church of Satan is like a dumbed down version of Ayn Rand, which is quite an accomplishment since Ayn Rand is just dumb to start with.
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« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2011, 08:14:42 PM »


Not only is this incredibly dogmatic (something Atheists insist they aren't), but I've known Atheists who believe in autogenesis.


I didn't say this particular detail was fact. I deliberately used the phrasing "generally believe". I agree with you that some atheists believe in autogenesis.

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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2011, 08:32:44 PM »

They continue to post not because they aren't convinced of Atheism but rather out of a juvenile form of pride.

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2011, 08:43:34 PM »

I think a lot of the popularity of new school atheism in recent years comes from people who either had some bad experience with church in the past, or just get a kick out of bugging religious people. I was like that for a while. Yeeps. Smiley I'm glad I got out of that.
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2011, 08:47:07 PM »

They continue to post not because they aren't convinced of Atheism but rather out of a juvenile form of pride.

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO

I think that's right, although maybe I'd put it more in terms of the old distinction between why and how. Science can tell us how things happen, and it can even tell us how one thing happens in terms of how another thing happens, but it can never tell us why anything happens.
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2011, 08:50:39 PM »

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

No one is saying atheists are smarter than religious people. But since you raise the issue, some of the stupider people I have met have been at church and among believers in general.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO

Jonathan, what is your evidence for your claim that Christianity tells the truth about "why" things happen?
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2011, 08:55:40 PM »

"No one is saying you're stupid. But goodness, you're stupid."

This type of flummery isn't going to get you far.
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2011, 08:59:30 PM »

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

No one is saying atheists are smarter than religious people. But since you raise the issue, some of the stupider people I have met have been at church and among believers in general.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO

Jonathan, what is your evidence for your claim that Christianity tells the truth about "why" things happen?

I believe it in my heart. What is your evidence that atheism tells the truth about why things happen?
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« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2011, 09:04:43 PM »


Not only is this incredibly dogmatic (something Atheists insist they aren't), but I've known Atheists who believe in autogenesis.


I didn't say this particular detail was fact. I deliberately used the phrasing "generally believe". I agree with you that some atheists believe in autogenesis.


And yet it is still dogmatic.

Religious atheism doesn't do much credit to atheism as a movement.
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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2011, 09:26:44 PM »

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

No one is saying atheists are smarter than religious people. But since you raise the issue, some of the stupider people I have met have been at church and among believers in general.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO

Jonathan, what is your evidence for your claim that Christianity tells the truth about "why" things happen?

Atheists don't think there is a superior intelligence above human beings. Natural Forces are not sentient, are they?



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« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2011, 09:32:17 PM »

Atheist put themselves at the top of the intelligence food chain. In my personal experience, the smartest most well educated people I have ever met have been at Church.

No one is saying atheists are smarter than religious people. But since you raise the issue, some of the stupider people I have met have been at church and among believers in general.

One only needs to look out the window to notice how incredibly well thought through the World is. To beleive that pressure and friction ie "Natural Forces" could bring so much together with such well coordinated synchronicity is nothing more than blindness.  IMHO

Jonathan, what is your evidence for your claim that Christianity tells the truth about "why" things happen?

Atheists don't think there is a superior intelligence above human beings. Natural Forces are not sentient, are they?





I don't think he means that. He thinks that the material world just "is", sort of in the way we believe God just "is". We believe that the material world's existence depends on God's existence, while atheists believe it does not. What the atheist position means is that there is no answer to the question of why the material world exists. Of course, we don't know why God exists, just that He does. To me atheism comes down to just a new version of pantheism (if we are thinking of God as self-sufficient existence).
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« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2011, 09:59:30 PM »

Why does he sound like he is arguing against Calvinism instead of Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2011, 10:03:57 PM »

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I'm not saying that believing in an objective reality enhances enjoyment. I am saying that by focusing on living for a fictitious god and living with a view to a fictitious future life, a Christian (by practicing the obedience and self-denial inherent to practicing Christianity) is missing out on various opportunities to enjoy life in this lifetime.

So that would be a bad thing, then, to miss out on opportunities for enjoyment?
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« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2011, 10:50:59 PM »

I am saying that by focusing on living for a fictitious god and living with a view to a fictitious future life
Our future life is already here. That's what you don't understand about Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2011, 10:53:08 PM »

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« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2011, 11:00:45 PM »

The idea that things have properties inherent to them 'just because,' and for no other reason, strikes me as similar to the theory of Greek pagan scientists that leaves fell in a particular way because 'they wanted to.'
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« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2011, 11:05:27 PM »

The idea that things have properties inherent to them 'just because,' and for no other reason, strikes me as similar to the theory of Greek pagan scientists that leaves fell in a particular way because 'they wanted to.'

Quite. It seems as reasonable and science based as "God did it."
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« Reply #36 on: September 27, 2011, 11:17:54 PM »


Gebre Menfes Kidus:

What you are saying has nothing to do with reality. To me it suggests that someone indoctrinated you with lies about what atheism teaches. There is no "atheist world view" that atheists are supposed to adhere to, that there is no morality and that all we care about is pleasure. Atheism does not equal hedonism. We simply don't believe there is a god. Why should that stop us from adhering to what we perceive as moral? Morality can and does exist without God. It comes from the evolutionary need to have peaceful coexistence and a functional society, and similar sociological and psychological things. Oh, and our lives are not meaningless. We find meaning in things of this world (love, sex, food, hobbies, helping others, etc.) and not in things of some perceived other world (God, heaven, whatever).




Whatever helps you sleep at night.



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« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2011, 11:48:52 PM »

In all that you are writing, you are not providing any evidence that God exists.

No, and I don't intend to. I don't accept your implied claim that you are competent to establish a system of evaluation and then to pass judgement. Indeed, your response is evidence that you are not, for nothing I said has anything to do with my "reasons for wanting him to exist." What I said was that I reject your claims to objectivity, and indeed I deny the possibility of that objectivity.

Quote
I think it is most unfortunate that you (and other people) seek meaning of life in a non-existent creator, whereas in truth you can find meaning in your life yourself.

For the most part I regard talk about the meaning of life as so much drivel. Nor do I regard it as something that can be successfully sought or made.

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You can find your own meaning for your life by striving to live your life as you wish and as your conscience dictates.

Well, no, you can't. The human conscience is a broken, inconstant, and untrustworthy thing, and one of the evidentia on the side of Judaeo-Christian religion is that they accept this. That all people sin, that they violate even their own moral dicta, is an objective fact.
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« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:12 AM »

Yes. He is the mythological explanation of primitive peoples (like the ancient Jews) with no knowledge of science to speak of for how the universe came about.
Now I won't disagree with you that some ancients believed that "a god" was used as an explanation for things, ie God of the Gaps. However the Jews believed in a God that was a personal one and didn't focus too much on how the universe came about. The book of Genesis is a primeval account, but it more deals with the theological rather than the exact process (which in my opinion should be left up to science, archaelogy etc).

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There is no compelling evidence that a creator exists.
What sort of evidence are you looking for? Material evidence? Maybe not, might want to talk to Papist on good arguments and his evidence for why there is a God.

It's not the job of Christians to prove a God that is the Unmovable Mover of the Greeks or whatever. They preach the Gospel of the crucified God who raised from the dead.

If you want evidence for some sort of God that is a fount of all wisdom of knowledge, power, etc. might want to go to a theism/philosophy forum.

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Science has for all practical purposes proven things like evolution, whereas there is no evidence that God exists. So I consider him a fantasy.
Who cares if science has proven evolution? Are you saying that the proof of evolution negates God? Again just curious on what evidence you are looking for.

Quote
What I'm basically saying is that religious people believe in this omnipotent, omniscient sky goblin who will punish them if they refuse to obey his exceedingly many commands and prohibitions.
You got the wrong god. Not the God of Orthodox Christianity.

Quote
Atheists are concerned with being moral (I.E. don't hurt other people) but over and above that, have no worries that they have to live a certain rigid, restrictive lifestyle or they will be apostates, go to hell etc. I don't think I need to describe this in detail here, I think you know what I'm talking about. Plus, I think that a devout Christian can be so concerned with focusing on the future life in "God's kingdom" (which I believe does not exist) that living for the present and in some cases noticing the beauty of the world around us can be undermined and take second place.
Actually the Kingdom of God is within you.

Without God, I'm not sure I would view the world in all its beauty. And the goal of the Christian isn't exactly on the future life.

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This is just ridiculous. In fact, it is insulting. Atheists are moral people.
I never said otherwise. However based upon what you said in regards to living well and better as an atheist rather than someone submitting to an "omnipotent God", I don't see what is wrong with killing my neighbor who's causing me problems that is interrupting my better life. If we disregard state/federal laws, I don't see any consquences for my decision. In fact it can only be a positive thing, I'll have someone who won't bother me again.

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I am an atheist and I hold to certain moral standards.
But why hold to certain moral standards, and from whom do you get those moral standards?

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I don't just do what pleases me at others' cost.
If my pleasure could only be derived from eliminating certain people from life, I should take the cost right? Considering there wouldn't be any eternal consequences for my decisions.

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You don't need religion to be moral. Morality comes from the necessity to coexist with other people, not from some divine source. In fact, you are saying that without your god, you would be immoral. Doesn't speak too highly about your character, IMO.
You're missing what I am getting at. I am saying under an atheistic view, I should have permission to do whatever I want, even if what you consider to be amoral, such as killing another person, shouldn't be considered amoral because from what source sould good/bad morality comes from? If I decide my own morality, then I can decide what is good or bad, it basically becomes arbitrary.

I don't see the necessity of co-existing with people if it is interrupting this great happy wonderful atheist life, do you?
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« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2011, 01:11:38 AM »

The question of morality is an interesting one. Whose Morality does an Atheist live according to?

Is it your own?

If we define what is good by our own feelings, then who can possibly be immoral, since everyone lives according to their own basic morality (from Hitler to Gandhi), only breaking it occasionally.
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« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2011, 06:57:39 AM »

In all that you are writing, you are not providing any evidence that God exists.

No, and I don't intend to. I don't accept your implied claim that you are competent to establish a system of evaluation and then to pass judgement. Indeed, your response is evidence that you are not, for nothing I said has anything to do with my "reasons for wanting him to exist." What I said was that I reject your claims to objectivity, and indeed I deny the possibility of that objectivity.

Then, why should I believe that you are anything but a deluded person prone to wishful thinking who believes in God because it serves some psychological purpose in their life? Btw. I believed in Santa Claus almost until the age of 10, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because I liked the whole story and it would have been so unfortunate if Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was not real. But finally, I had to face facts. If your god is so real, if you are so convinced that he exists, then where are the facts to support that he does?

Our future life is already here. That's what you don't understand about Orthodox Christianity.

What evidence do you have to back up this claim?

Quote
I'm not saying that believing in an objective reality enhances enjoyment. I am saying that by focusing on living for a fictitious god and living with a view to a fictitious future life, a Christian (by practicing the obedience and self-denial inherent to practicing Christianity) is missing out on various opportunities to enjoy life in this lifetime.

So that would be a bad thing, then, to miss out on opportunities for enjoyment?

Yes, if those opportunities do not harm other people.

Now I won't disagree with you that some ancients believed that "a god" was used as an explanation for things, ie God of the Gaps. However the Jews believed in a God that was a personal one and didn't focus too much on how the universe came about. The book of Genesis is a primeval account, but it more deals with the theological rather than the exact process (which in my opinion should be left up to science, archaelogy etc).

Yes, and the "personal god" of the Jews is a myth like any other, the Bible is filled with falsehoods and inaccuracies, and science has provided no evidence of God's existence, arguably even positive evidence that there is no creator (through the discovery that the universe, while appearing ordered, is actually quite random).

What sort of evidence are you looking for? Material evidence? Maybe not, might want to talk to Papist on good arguments and his evidence for why there is a God.

I am not looking for any "sort" of evidence. By evidence I mean whatever is trustworthy to back up your claims. I hope you understand that I am actually not looking for any evidence for myself. I am asking you to back up your claim that God exists.

It's not the job of Christians to prove a God that is the Unmovable Mover of the Greeks or whatever. They preach the Gospel of the crucified God who raised from the dead.

Oh, really? So what is the job of Christians? To make a claim (that Jesus rose from the dead) and not back it up? Why the heck should I believe you? Without evidence, your claims of Jesus' resurrection are as hollow, empty and worthless as David Koresh's claim that he was the messiah.

Who cares if science has proven evolution? Are you saying that the proof of evolution negates God? Again just curious on what evidence you are looking for.

Who cares!? As a minimum it negates the creation account in Genesis, you know that nonsense about the world being created in 7 days, the sun being created after the Earth, humans being created from dust, Eve being created from Adam's rib etc. And you don't care that your religion's most sacred and central texts contain myths so obviously negated by science? Your perfect god to whom faith in him is so important for the good of the human race did not see fit to put a more trustworthy account of creation in his holiest book, and you just brush it off like that? More generally, I am not saying proof of evolution in itself negates God, but it negates the necessity of there being a creator. In this context, however, I mainly gave it as an example of something that was proven by science, as opposed to the evidence-less claims made by the Church.

Quote
What I'm basically saying is that religious people believe in this omnipotent, omniscient sky goblin who will punish them if they refuse to obey his exceedingly many commands and prohibitions.
You got the wrong god. Not the God of Orthodox Christianity.

As I understand him, this is the god of Orthodox Christianity. It's what he boils down to when you look at him objectively. It's just that your priests and theologians, ever wanting to prove what a good guy he actually is, find ways of praising him and making him out to be great and wonderful (I've heard all the arguments for your god being "different", and they have failed to convince me.

If my pleasure could only be derived from eliminating certain people from life, I should take the cost right? Considering there wouldn't be any eternal consequences for my decisions.

By saying that, you are actually demeaning your own morality. You are essentially saying that you need threat of eternal punishment to be moral. But a moral atheist is moral for morality's own sake. Oh, and you conveniently forget that even in highly atheist societies, there are human laws that stop you from doing certain things (e.g. if you murder someone, you get life imprisonment or are executed). People are quite capable of stopping each other from committing crimes, without recourse to eternal damnation.

I don't see the necessity of co-existing with people if it is interrupting this great happy wonderful atheist life, do you?

Now, this is just ridiculous. One of the greatest aspects of a happy life is coexisting and positively interacting with other people. Atheists don't deny this. They affirm this. Really, you people sure are prejudiced against us.


The question of morality is an interesting one. Whose Morality does an Atheist live according to?

Is it your own?

If we define what is good by our own feelings, then who can possibly be immoral, since everyone lives according to their own basic morality (from Hitler to Gandhi), only breaking it occasionally.

Regarding this morality issue, I have extensively written about it on another thread. You don't need religion and its moral absolutes to be moral. Many atheists are honest, kind people and constructive members of society. I suggest watching these two videos. I think they very eloquently explain where atheists' morality comes from (and why it is far better than religious morality):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aCRHjH6d4Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JK9ov28pnk
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« Reply #41 on: September 28, 2011, 07:55:53 AM »

On a side note, my neighbor has been really bothering me lately and is prohibiting me from living well and to the fullest. If I was to kill him this would be entirely permissible since I would then live well, right?


Exactly. This is what it all boils down to.

Not really, if I understand atheists well enough. My son-in-law, Ryan, is a typical atheist to me, and his philosophy is like this. Humans have always lived developing certain compromises. When they were still young as a race, living in a “stone age,” they, indeed, killed each other on a slightest provocation. However, they learned that this is counter-productive: for example, what if you kill a member of your tribe and he happens to be a skilled hunter? Then your next hunt will not be successful and the tribe will starve. So, people developed a “rule” that their own kinsmen-tribesmen should not be killed. Later, they also developed “rules” prohibiting the killing of members of friendly tribes, etc.

Generally, Ryan thinks that all rules, all laws of behavior (including what is called “morality”) are based on compromise. It would be great if we accepted a speed limit of 5 mph: there would be no accidents and no accident-related deaths. But we won’t be able to get to work on time and get things done So we developed a compromise. Same thing everywhere in the life of any society (including economy, finances, taxation, laws on marriage and divorce, politics, etc.).

What I find deficient in Ryan’s atheism is the idea that there is no Last Judgment. You can live a good life, or you can be an ax murderer and child rapist – the end is the same: you die, and that’s it. Ryan, however, finds this to be quite normal.
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« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2011, 08:06:41 AM »

Well Heorhij, I'm glad you're getting the gist of what I'm saying about evolution and morality.


What I find deficient in Ryan’s atheism is the idea that there is no Last Judgment. You can live a good life, or you can be an ax murderer and child rapist – the end is the same: you die, and that’s it. Ryan, however, finds this to be quite normal.


That's because it simply doesn't exist. You may want an eternal judge to exist and punish people's sins, or you may want there to be an afterlife, but that doesn't make it true. On the bright side, it is possible to reward and punish people now on Earth.
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« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2011, 08:30:07 AM »

Well Heorhij, I'm glad you're getting the gist of what I'm saying about evolution and morality.


What I find deficient in Ryan’s atheism is the idea that there is no Last Judgment. You can live a good life, or you can be an ax murderer and child rapist – the end is the same: you die, and that’s it. Ryan, however, finds this to be quite normal.


That's because it simply doesn't exist. You may want an eternal judge to exist and punish people's sins, or you may want there to be an afterlife, but that doesn't make it true. On the bright side, it is possible to reward and punish people now on Earth.

That is not the teaching of Islam.
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« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2011, 08:35:17 AM »

Well Heorhij, I'm glad you're getting the gist of what I'm saying about evolution and morality.


What I find deficient in Ryan’s atheism is the idea that there is no Last Judgment. You can live a good life, or you can be an ax murderer and child rapist – the end is the same: you die, and that’s it. Ryan, however, finds this to be quite normal.


That's because it simply doesn't exist. You may want an eternal judge to exist and punish people's sins, or you may want there to be an afterlife, but that doesn't make it true. On the bright side, it is possible to reward and punish people now on Earth.

That is not the teaching of Islam.

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« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2011, 08:43:36 AM »

What about the underlying dread of "being wrong" and life unraveling, the looming waves of guilt, the dreams from which one wakes in utter fear and knowledge, sickness at oneself and one's ways, boredom and disappointment that can follow self-indulgence in pleasure -- if you have experienced these, what do you do with them?

Because I have experienced all of these, and seek the antidote in Holy Orthodoxy, do you look at me as a psychological cripple grasping for a crutch?

The problem with Atheism is it takes the strongest and most personal proofs of man's need for divine healing, and turns it into either an excuse to strike a heroic pose, or as a merely psychological event to be written off as a chemical misfire or wrong response to stimulus.

To me, heroic atheism is like a crippled leper's smeared and rag-wound crutch.

At least you have Hobbies with which to cork the whirling gap.
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« Reply #46 on: September 28, 2011, 09:40:28 AM »


Quote
I'm not saying that believing in an objective reality enhances enjoyment. I am saying that by focusing on living for a fictitious god and living with a view to a fictitious future life, a Christian (by practicing the obedience and self-denial inherent to practicing Christianity) is missing out on various opportunities to enjoy life in this lifetime.

So that would be a bad thing, then, to miss out on opportunities for enjoyment?

Yes, if those opportunities do not harm other people.[

Why is that? I mean, why is it a bad thing to miss opportunities for enjoyment?
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« Reply #47 on: September 28, 2011, 09:59:04 AM »

You may want an eternal judge to exist and punish people's sins, or you may want there to be an afterlife, but that doesn't make it true. On the bright side, it is possible to reward and punish people now on Earth.

Actually, if I get the idea right, the Orthodox believe that it is I who punishes me. The Last Judgment means being exposed to the "river of fire" of God's love. If I am able to respond to this love by love, I experience a bliss that cannot be even described in our earthly terms. If, however, my heart is so badly changed by my sins, of which I haven't repented, that I cannot respond to God's love by love - I experience a torment.
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« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2011, 10:12:11 AM »

Having been an atheist most of my life I can attest that the ethics and philosophies involved are pretty diverse and complex.

Heorhij's son in law is certainly one example of a way atheists formulate ethics (it can be traced to Epicurus). If you consider a range of atheist thinkers (such as Epicurus, Karl Marx, HP Lovecraft, Mikhail Bakunin, or Percy Bysshe Shelley) it's pretty clear that if someone's an atheist that in itself won't tell you much about what they believe, and the various zinger arguments employed against atheism are not so effective.

Add in the complications from not-exactly-atheist thinkers and it gets tough.

That said a lot of the more vocal atheists today seem to come from the really boorish and simple-minded mold of Dawkins et al.
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« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2011, 10:23:29 AM »

and the various zinger arguments employed against atheism are not so effective.

Thank you. This thread, never very exciting to begin with, has been overwhelmed by uninspiring zingers, IMO.
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« Reply #50 on: September 28, 2011, 11:06:33 AM »

religious people believe in this omnipotent, omniscient sky goblin who will punish them if they refuse to obey his exceedingly many commands and prohibitions.

"Religious people" - maybe, but that's not how our Orthodox faith views God. Our many wonderful, deep-thinking theologians have long time ago come to the conclusion that God can, and should, be approached "apophatically," i.e. we can only say what God is NOT, and usually cannot say what God is. Among the things God is NOT, are those things that are "anthropomorphisms:" molding God in our own image. If we experience anger and want revenge, we think that so does God (but He is NOT us humans, He is NOT His creation, so that actually cannot apply to Him "beyond reasonable doubt"). Or, we, humans, live in a society that lives by obeing certain "laws," certain "justice," and we think God "has to" obey some kind of "law of fairness" (the wicked will be punished and the righteous saved, how else?). But, again, God is beyond any set of "rules" and any human idea about "justice." So the notion that the "sky goblin" HAS to punish for this or that, or WANTS to punish because that would be "just" - does not really hold water.

The only exception from this apophatic approach is that we believe that God IS love. Everything about Him is love. And love is something that evades precise definitions, but, rather, can be experienced in a relationship. Our idea of God is very much the idea that we always have Him to be in relationship with. And the meaning of our entire life is to remain and GROW in this relationship of love. Only then we change in such a way that we become less injurious to our own selves and to other people, and to the whole world.
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« Reply #51 on: September 28, 2011, 11:37:28 AM »

religious people believe in this omnipotent, omniscient sky goblin who will punish them if they refuse to obey his exceedingly many commands and prohibitions.

"Religious people" - maybe, but that's not how our Orthodox faith views God. Our many wonderful, deep-thinking theologians have long time ago come to the conclusion that God can, and should, be approached "apophatically," i.e. we can only say what God is NOT, and usually cannot say what God is. Among the things God is NOT, are those things that are "anthropomorphisms:" molding God in our own image. If we experience anger and want revenge, we think that so does God (but He is NOT us humans, He is NOT His creation, so that actually cannot apply to Him "beyond reasonable doubt"). Or, we, humans, live in a society that lives by obeing certain "laws," certain "justice," and we think God "has to" obey some kind of "law of fairness" (the wicked will be punished and the righteous saved, how else?). But, again, God is beyond any set of "rules" and any human idea about "justice." So the notion that the "sky goblin" HAS to punish for this or that, or WANTS to punish because that would be "just" - does not really hold water.

The only exception from this apophatic approach is that we believe that God IS love. Everything about Him is love. And love is something that evades precise definitions, but, rather, can be experienced in a relationship. Our idea of God is very much the idea that we always have Him to be in relationship with. And the meaning of our entire life is to remain and GROW in this relationship of love. Only then we change in such a way that we become less injurious to our own selves and to other people, and to the whole world.



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« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2011, 02:00:14 PM »

Oh please. The teleological argument? Can you do no better than that? Really. All these "philosophical" arguments for God's existence are arguments from ignorance. How do you know that the elements that make up the universe have not always been moving? The laws of physics say that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And if there were a "prime mover", how do you know it is an intelligent spirit and not a physical process?
 
Well, before you jump up and take that condescending attitude, perhaps you should have some idea of what you are talking about. First, no I am not referring to the teleological argument. Aristotle's proof is based on change, not final causality.
Second, I agree with you. By reason alone we cannot know that the elements of the universe have not always been moving. In fact, Aquinas agrees with you. However, it is this very premise, that universe has always existed and has always been moving, that the pagan philosopher Aristotle uses as a premise for his proof that there must be a God.
Third, you don't even know what prime mover natural philosophy demonstrates. In fact, from reason alone, it is imposable to know if the prime mover is first in time. Rather, the proofs demonstrate that the Prime Mover is first in the order of causality.
Fourth, the attributes of the prime mover, such as his infinity, personality, etc. are logically derived from its nature as a prime mover. Most people who make the argument that "just because there is a prime mover doesn't mean that it is God" have no experience whatsoever with scholastic philosophy, because if they did, they would know that the scholastic philosophers logically derive all of the attributes of God from the prime mover as prime mover.
Unfortunately, your response so far has only demonstrated your ignorance of philosophy.
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« Reply #53 on: September 29, 2011, 01:14:17 AM »

What about the underlying dread of "being wrong" and life unraveling, the looming waves of guilt, the dreams from which one wakes in utter fear and knowledge, sickness at oneself and one's ways, boredom and disappointment that can follow self-indulgence in pleasure -- if you have experienced these, what do you do with them?

Because I have experienced all of these, and seek the antidote in Holy Orthodoxy, do you look at me as a psychological cripple grasping for a crutch?

The problem with Atheism is it takes the strongest and most personal proofs of man's need for divine healing, and turns it into either an excuse to strike a heroic pose, or as a merely psychological event to be written off as a chemical misfire or wrong response to stimulus.

To me, heroic atheism is like a crippled leper's smeared and rag-wound crutch.

At least you have Hobbies with which to cork the whirling gap.


Well said my friend.


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« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2011, 01:56:45 AM »

Thank you, my friend.
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« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2011, 10:25:59 AM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
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« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2011, 11:07:35 AM »

If you believe you are living a fulfilled life as an Orthodox Christian, well, good for you. But that's not the experience of many other practicing Christians. Religion teaches that all sorts of things are commanded/forbidden (examples: you have to fast, at times strictly, for over half the year. You have to go to church every Sunday and religious holiday if possible. You have to love God. You must not have premarital sex or even masturbate. You must not practice homosexuality. You must forgive people who hurt you...and so on and so forth). If you willfully refuse to do this and many other things, you are damned. Sorry, but this is what the church teaches and there are people who take this seriously and practice it. On the other hand, an atheist, who doesn't believe there is a sky goblin who can punish you for these so-called sins can do what he wants, as long as they don't hurt other people.

I agree that all these requirements and restrictions (or prohibitions) may annoy any rational human being, but only if they are taken out of their context. The "context" is, however, that all of us are "naturally" inclined to think that we are "good." Yet, also, if we are honest with ourselves, we see, pretty much all the time, that there are some seemingly simple things that we all find to be right, proper, decent and important to do - but we don't quite do them! C.S. Lewis writes very well about this in his book, "Mere Christianity." He says that we all agree with some sort of "universal law," parts of which are, for example, "I gave you half of my orange, so I expect you to give me half of your apple," or "this is my seat, because I came here earlier than you," or (more generally) "we must be fair in our relationships with each other." Indeed, writes Lewis, if we all agreed that these parts of the universal law are nonsense and should be simply ignored, we would turn into a bunch of fighting animals. But then, why is there so much misery and suffering around? Why, "knowing" that we all ought to be "fair," we are in fact so unfair that we engage in gossip, lies, violence, abuse, wars? Why over 3 billion people on this planet starve? Why GULAG, Auschwitz, Abu Graib? Why children are raped every day and hour?

The Orthodox Church answers to these questions, pointing out that we aren't "naturally" good. Our hearts are burdened with what the Church calls "passions" - unnatural, perverse use of all those mysterious "energies" that sustain our lives. We are born with a very natural inclination to enjoy delicious food and wine - and we become passionate gluttons and drunkards. We are born with a perfectly natural inclination to enjoy our partners in marriage - and we become passionate lust-bearers and adulterers. We are born with a great, glorious, wonderful natural inclination to dislike evil - and we become haters of the imagined "evil" in our brother. I am deliberately talking about extremes, realizing, of course, that not all of us do really reach such a condition when we eat 70,000 Calories a day, drink ourselves to death, cheat on our spouses, and murder our neighbor. But we have something in our heart, in our inner self, that might turn us into full-blown alcoholics, drug addicts, pathologically obese gluttons, adulterers and murderers, if this "something" is unchecked, if we do not struggle with it every day.

The Church teaches that the "passions," which are the real "engine" behind our transformation into horrible monsters, cannot be "cured" merely by education, or by economical improvements, or by changes in the social order, or by "liberation" from taboos, or by any other man-made, "natural" measures. And it is hard to disagree with Her: indeed, we see passions going amuck in all societies, in all economic strata, in groups whose education varies from zero to Ph.D., etc.

The Church also teaches that it is possible to become masters over our passions, but not by ourselves; we can conquer the passions by being joined with the Source of these mysterious "energies" that are meant to sustain our lives and that we "naturally" misuse. This "joining" occurs when we gather as a community, a body of people, and become united with each other by the mystery of mysteries, which is called the Holy Mystery of Eucharist (Thanksgiving). When that happens, this Source of every possible energy, activity, life actually lives WITHIN us and helps us, guides us, purifies us, makes us into something that is like Himself (and, again, our theology teaches us that the only thing we can say about what He IS is that He is Love).

Now, prayer, fasting, chastity (in the life of singles as well as in marriage), forgiveness, charity (almsgiving) - yes, all this is important, but ONLY in the context of living within the divine Body (the Church) and living WITH the Source (or, as we say, King of All) in us, for the purpose of becoming masters over our passions instead of gradually degrading and turning into the passions' prey. If we do all of the above as some sort of "magic," i.e. expecting that we will get some kind of "payment" from God merely for ritualistic doing of all that, we always get sorely disappointed: our passions only increase their dominion over us.

We are never perfect. We stumble and fall all the time. But sometimes we do notice that as we continue our journey within the Church, something changes in us. We should not be overly enthusiastic about this, boasting, trumpeting our virtues. And yet, we have examples of great saints, of people who lived truly righteous lives, literally radiating light, love, kindness, humility, holiness.
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« Reply #57 on: September 29, 2011, 12:01:28 PM »

I didnt read the whole thread, but is there a "Christian vs. Atheist" section in the forum?

The reason I ask, is because I wouldnt want to block this guy, unless he is blatantly offensive (in which case anyone would be blocked).  If we block atheist every time they come around here, it makes us look weak and like we are just running from the discussion.  Bottom line is, no one is going to be able to change anyones mind.  People dont convert to (or back to) Christianity because they lost an argument.  However, i would think it would be appropriate to have a place there we can come have intelligent, respectful discussion from both sides.  Just my two cents...

But to comment on something mentioned earlier, Ive never understood how people say that Christians dont live a full free life. 
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« Reply #58 on: September 29, 2011, 12:11:23 PM »

Ive never understood how people say that Christians dont live a full free life. 

Well, I think I do understand why people say it - because, indeed, many Christians live very bad lives, lives full of prejudice, hatred, envy, lust, deception, etc.

We all are fallen creatures, Christians and non-Christians alike.
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« Reply #59 on: September 29, 2011, 12:21:19 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).

Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
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« Reply #60 on: October 02, 2011, 05:19:27 AM »

Ive never understood how people say that Christians dont live a full free life.  

Well, I think I do understand why people say it - because, indeed, many Christians live very bad lives, lives full of prejudice, hatred, envy, lust, deception, etc.

We all are fallen creatures, Christians and non-Christians alike.


I agree. That's why I've never put too much stock in arguments such as "people 'x' are happier, and so their worldview must have more validity." I imagine if you asked a person who was experiencing the euphoria of a heroin induced high if he was happy, he would say yes.

That being said, I don't altogether discount the premise of such an argument. But it must pointed out that the Orthodox understanding of "fulfillment" is much different from the worldy view. In fact, I personally think that's what's wrong with much of Protestant Christianity. Evangelicals keep trying to prove their faith by demonstrating that they can be as happy as the world, according to the world's definition of happiness. They say, "Look, I am financially successful, I have a great family, my wife and I have wonderful sex, and it's all because of my relationship with Jesus!"

But the truth is that truly following Our Lord - in and through His Church - may result in the loss of financial and job security, the dissolution of family, psychological, physical, and emotional distress, and perhaps even death. Not a great evangelical sales pitch, but the truth nonetheless.



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« Reply #61 on: October 02, 2011, 08:12:32 AM »

True. Not many of the televangelist types seem to prepare people for any of the hardships of life. If just one of them preached about what happened to St. Lawrence or someone like that, my eyes would pop.
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« Reply #62 on: October 02, 2011, 12:13:47 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
True, but are there any well-known, self-confessed "atheists" (of a Western philosophical tradition) who accept the former while rejecting the latter? I'm sure there must be some, but I can't think of any.
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« Reply #63 on: October 02, 2011, 06:17:57 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
True, but are there any well-known, self-confessed "atheists" (of a Western philosophical tradition) who accept the former while rejecting the latter? I'm sure there must be some, but I can't think of any.

In my experience non-materialist atheists tend to be artists and such who tend not to be terribly invested in self-describing as atheists.
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« Reply #64 on: October 02, 2011, 07:51:08 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
True, but are there any well-known, self-confessed "atheists" (of a Western philosophical tradition) who accept the former while rejecting the latter? I'm sure there must be some, but I can't think of any.

In my experience non-materialist atheists tend to be artists and such who tend not to be terribly invested in self-describing as atheists.
I agree that there are many believers in the supenatural in the West who nonetheless reject a personal Creator Deity, but they also seem to reject the "atheist" label as well.
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« Reply #65 on: October 02, 2011, 08:24:02 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
True, but are there any well-known, self-confessed "atheists" (of a Western philosophical tradition) who accept the former while rejecting the latter? I'm sure there must be some, but I can't think of any.

In my experience non-materialist atheists tend to be artists and such who tend not to be terribly invested in self-describing as atheists.
I agree that there are many believers in the supenatural in the West who nonetheless reject a personal Creator Deity, but they also seem to reject the "atheist" label as well.

I think someone who is able to recognize supernatural realities is also willing to accept an idea of "God" even if that "God" is an impersonal or abstract force.
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« Reply #66 on: October 03, 2011, 03:58:07 AM »

The reason I ask, is because I wouldnt want to block this guy, unless he is blatantly offensive (in which case anyone would be blocked).  If we block atheist every time they come around here, it makes us look weak and like we are just running from the discussion.

The problem is that he was the very same atheist. It was his 5th account.
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« Reply #67 on: October 03, 2011, 04:26:29 AM »

The reason I ask, is because I wouldnt want to block this guy, unless he is blatantly offensive (in which case anyone would be blocked).  If we block atheist every time they come around here, it makes us look weak and like we are just running from the discussion.

The problem is that he was the very same atheist. It was his 5th account.
To piggyback on this, duplicate accounts are forbidden on this forum and will be banned. The first account this particular atheist opened got banned for egregious rules violations, which made his next four accounts attempts to circumvent the ban on his first account. On this forum, BANNED means BANNED.
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« Reply #68 on: October 03, 2011, 10:34:09 AM »

In all that you are writing, you are not providing any evidence that God exists.

No, and I don't intend to. I don't accept your implied claim that you are competent to establish a system of evaluation and then to pass judgement. Indeed, your response is evidence that you are not, for nothing I said has anything to do with my "reasons for wanting him to exist." What I said was that I reject your claims to objectivity, and indeed I deny the possibility of that objectivity.

Then, why should I believe that you are anything but a deluded person prone to wishful thinking who believes in God because it serves some psychological purpose in their life? Btw. I believed in Santa Claus almost until the age of 10, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because I liked the whole story and it would have been so unfortunate if Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was not real. But finally, I had to face facts. If your god is so real, if you are so convinced that he exists, then where are the facts to support that he does?

Well, the reason why you should not hold to your first belief is because you have no evidence for it. You have not met me; you know very little about how I think. And in any case the hypothesis that I believe only because "it serves some psychological purpose" is manifestly a rationalization, if for no other reason than psychology is not so well-developed that one should take such theses seriously.

Besides, here is where that lack of objectivity comes into play. I don't know that I ever "found out" about Santa. One year, there was Santa, and the next year there wasn't, and I do not recall and moment of revelation about the matter; there was no crisis of "facing facts". Consequently the analogy between your experience and mine does not hold. That is part of the failure of objectivity here.
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« Reply #69 on: October 03, 2011, 12:24:23 PM »

Very well-said, Heorhij.
Oh please. The teleological argument? Can you do no better than that? Really. All these "philosophical" arguments for God's existence are arguments from ignorance. How do you know that the elements that make up the universe have not always been moving? The laws of physics say that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And if there were a "prime mover", how do you know it is an intelligent spirit and not a physical process?
 
Well, before you jump up and take that condescending attitude, perhaps you should have some idea of what you are talking about. First, no I am not referring to the teleological argument. Aristotle's proof is based on change, not final causality.
Second, I agree with you. By reason alone we cannot know that the elements of the universe have not always been moving. In fact, Aquinas agrees with you. However, it is this very premise, that universe has always existed and has always been moving, that the pagan philosopher Aristotle uses as a premise for his proof that there must be a God.
Third, you don't even know what prime mover natural philosophy demonstrates. In fact, from reason alone, it is imposable to know if the prime mover is first in time. Rather, the proofs demonstrate that the Prime Mover is first in the order of causality.
Fourth, the attributes of the prime mover, such as his infinity, personality, etc. are logically derived from its nature as a prime mover. Most people who make the argument that "just because there is a prime mover doesn't mean that it is God" have no experience whatsoever with scholastic philosophy, because if they did, they would know that the scholastic philosophers logically derive all of the attributes of God from the prime mover as prime mover.
Unfortunately, your response so far has only demonstrated your ignorance of philosophy.
I have seen similar claims from someone who has airly extensive education in Thomism, or who is at least very good at feigning credentials online. Perhaps he found the arguments following from the original flawed. Could you direct me to a resource that explains how the characteristics of the Prime Mover are proven to be those of the Christian God? Ideally, it'd be brief, as while I'd like read through the Summa in its entirety some day, I don't think I'll have the time or the mental capacity for a while.
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« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2011, 01:15:10 PM »

Western atheism is so un-imaginative. They throw the baby (non-material realms) out with the bath-water (an omnipotent, omniscient, anthropomorphic Divine Person).
Even if both are rejected, that doesn't mean the former is thrown out just because of a rejection of the latter. Nice try though. Thanks for playing.
True, but are there any well-known, self-confessed "atheists" (of a Western philosophical tradition) who accept the former while rejecting the latter? I'm sure there must be some, but I can't think of any.

Yeah, you know what, I think you're right here. The idea doesn't strike me as odd, yet when I try to think of someone like that who identifies as an atheist, I can't come up with anyone. So I guess I take it back. Also, you are now entitled to slap me twice (rather than just once) for being snippy.
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« Reply #71 on: October 03, 2011, 01:15:11 PM »

The problem is that he was the very same atheist. It was his 5th account.

To piggyback on this, duplicate accounts are forbidden on this forum and will be banned. The first account this particular atheist opened got banned for egregious rules violations, which made his next four accounts attempts to circumvent the ban on his first account. On this forum, BANNED means BANNED.

If this is the case, why hasn't the OP been muted and/or banned?
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« Reply #72 on: October 03, 2011, 05:49:49 PM »


I have seen similar claims from someone who has airly extensive education in Thomism, or who is at least very good at feigning credentials online. Perhaps he found the arguments following from the original flawed. Could you direct me to a resource that explains how the characteristics of the Prime Mover are proven to be those of the Christian God? Ideally, it'd be brief, as while I'd like read through the Summa in its entirety some day, I don't think I'll have the time or the mental capacity for a while.

Well, there are at least two basic issues. The first and more basic weakness is that the ontological arguments are based upon scientific postulates about the universe that need not be true. Indeed, in quantum mechanics, some of them aren't true. Causeless events (e.g. background creation of particle-antiparticle pairs) are a feature of the theory. The second problem is that really these argument don't tell one much about the nature of God.
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« Reply #73 on: October 03, 2011, 06:09:54 PM »

The problem is that he was the very same atheist. It was his 5th account.

To piggyback on this, duplicate accounts are forbidden on this forum and will be banned. The first account this particular atheist opened got banned for egregious rules violations, which made his next four accounts attempts to circumvent the ban on his first account. On this forum, BANNED means BANNED.

If this is the case, why hasn't the OP been muted and/or banned?
Open his user profile and you will see that he has. A long-running technical issue with the banning system just hasn't applied that information to his avatar.
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« Reply #74 on: October 03, 2011, 06:26:47 PM »

The problem is that he was the very same atheist. It was his 5th account.

To piggyback on this, duplicate accounts are forbidden on this forum and will be banned. The first account this particular atheist opened got banned for egregious rules violations, which made his next four accounts attempts to circumvent the ban on his first account. On this forum, BANNED means BANNED.

If this is the case, why hasn't the OP been muted and/or banned?
Open his user profile and you will see that he has. A long-running technical issue with the banning system just hasn't applied that information to his avatar.

I just checked his profile, and it does not show that he has been banned. Apparently, only mods can see such information.
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« Reply #75 on: October 03, 2011, 10:06:12 PM »

˙uoıʇɐɯɹoɟuı ɥɔns ǝǝs uɐɔ spoɯ ʎluo `ʎlʇuǝɹɐddɐ ˙pǝuuɐq uǝǝq sɐɥ ǝɥ ʇɐɥʇ ʍoɥs ʇou sǝop ʇı puɐ `ǝlıɟoɹd sıɥ pǝʞɔǝɥɔ ʇsnɾ ı
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