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  1. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    I'm reminded of my philosophy classes now.

    Any of you atheists ever consider Pascal's Wager?

    If you truly believe there's no God, then life, by definition, is nothing more than trivial events and simple pleasures until you die.
    I'd say its the opposite. If there is no afterlife, then life is all the more meaningful and precious because its all we get. One shot, no more than 100 trips around the sun beginning to end. And then all that's left of you is the impact, good or ill you left for those after you.

    In a universe with a heaven, what is life expect another version of the womb? A short, limited experience before eternity. Heaven gives us a place to fix our regrets, settle old grudges, tell people we love them. But if its not there, then we have to use our life for that.
    My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging. -Hank Aaron




  2. #26
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    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Quote Originally Posted by ActualSpamBot View Post
    I'd say its the opposite. If there is no afterlife, then life is all the more meaningful and precious because its all we get. One shot, no more than 100 trips around the sun beginning to end. And then all that's left of you is the impact, good or ill you left for those after you.
    That's not the opposite of Pascal's Wager. That's precisely what Pascal was trying to say. Most atheists, according to Pascal, praddle on through their one life without ever really accomplishing much at all.

    This is their (your) one shot and then it's all a big nothing so you must, by definition, live an incredibly full life.

    Quote Originally Posted by ActualSpamBot View Post
    IIn a universe with a heaven, what is life expect another version of the womb? A short, limited experience before eternity. Heaven gives us a place to fix our regrets, settle old grudges, tell people we love them. But if its not there, then we have to use our life for that.
    For one, I do not believe in a so-called heaven, so no, I don't consider me simply being in another womb nor do I believe that it will be a place of settling regret and grudges.

    The concept of heaven and hell is a religious concept, created in the minds of a finite being. It's an extension of the same vein attempt to explain the unexplainable.

    This is a journey and death is a mere door into the next journey. I don't assume that once I leave this world, I am going to go to a place that has all the answers.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  3. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    .

    The concept of heaven and hell is a religious concept, created in the minds of a finite being. It's an extension of the same vein attempt to explain the unexplainable.
    I agree. In my mind hell is the direct result of humans thinking in terms of retributive logic.

    Hell, along with predetermination/predestination, and biblical literalism, are the biggest reasons why I distanced myself from Christianity. Jesus was anything but a biblical literalist. In fact, it's what got him into so much trouble. It's troubling to try and understand how a religion that dons the man's name doesn't follow what he preached. Of the many men and women -who I would consider very intelligent and eminent voices of the faith- that I've spoken with about the Bible, all of them flirt with equivocation with their pick and choose approach to how they interpret the bible.
    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

    –Eleanor Roosevelt




  4. #28
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    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Here's some sad news that has to do with this thread.

    Rick Warren's son committed suicide. He was on 27 yrs old. He had mental disorders for quite awhile and was seeing the best doctors in the country. He hinted of suicide a decade ago and told his famous father, I know I'm going to heaven so why don't I just kill myself now.

    Suicide is usually equivalent to murder but in this case only God knows if he was truly saved. He had a disease so he might get off. I know I wouldn't want to face God on my judgement day shortly after killing myself.

    This is a tough issue.

    Warren is the famous pastor of the Saddleback Church in California and wrote the famous Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church books. They sold more copies than just about any book in history and made skillions for Warren. He gave back every cent his church paid him during the last 25 years and tithes 90% of his book receipts while living on 10% but that still comes to about a couple of million pr yr for him.

    He's also a leader in the so-called Emergent or Emergencing Church and leader of the post modern era. He sends millions to third world countries as well as to Aids research and victims.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...ef=mostpopular
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  5. #29

    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Like Sir, I too believe in God but no particular religion.

    Too much evidence in nature and, oddly enough, in science for me to think otherwise.

    Organized religion, to me, is the vein attempt by the finite to explain the infinite. By simple definition, we cannot begin to understand or explain the infinite.
    wow... that is an almost PERFECT explanation fo my beliefs as well. Religio? No, pass... but God. I can't seem to wrap my head around a way that the universe and all things could begin to exist without one.




  6. #30

    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirdowski View Post
    Thomas Jefferson said it best, and I'm inclined to agree. "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."
    This is a fantastic quote and thank you for sharing.

    First off, I think we need to separate organized religion with the idea of God. I do not believe in prophets, I believe no man has any extra perception of the divine. Religion is rule of law for society in its origin.

    When I was a freshman in college I embroiled myself in spirituality, meditation, God. I actually became delusional, I thought I was connected to the divine. My thoughts were not inherently mine, I thought. internal and external perceptions melded into melody. In this way I found patterns in my walking life, it became mentally unhealthy when I couldn't stop creating patterns of numbers, sequential numbers, I attached emotions to numbers leaving my emotional responses quite irregular during this time period. I would walk alone in the woods and read animals, the movement of water, it all spoke to me because I thought god existed in everything and I thought I had a medium of communication. It was quite a bizarre situation.. (No I was not tripping), this occurred for I'd say 4-5 month period

    Ultimately I think that the idea of God is interesting and it captivates man. Man wants answers and perception and continual change play roles in our development as humans. God is an idea, and one that man will be talking about long after we're dead and the reasons are clear. We have no definite solutions just our perceptions.
    Last edited by conviction; 04-15-2013 at 11:08 PM.




  7. #31
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    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Showtime is running it's movie "Borgias" (the original crime family) about a corrupt Pope who actually had a hit man and actually used him. It shows how corrupt the early church was and the abuse of power by the early popes. There were tons of illigitimate kids from the early popes and today we have the scandals from the priests. Not much has changed.

    http://www.sho.com/sho/the-borgias/h...borgiasgeneral


    The Pope in 1960 said the incense from the force has infiltrated the walls of the vatican. He was putting the cardinals and priests on notice that he knew about their satan worship and it spread to France and eventually the south east of the U.S. The term was never used again.

    The Force is a old testament Jewish term for Satan and George Lucas used it in his Star Wars
    movie when they said may be force be with you. He was actually talking about Satan and nobody knew it. Lucas is Jewish and well familiar with the old testament and the term.

    I really don't think God intended the church to go from the Upper Room to the Catholic Church and a pope. When Cornelius bowed to St Peter, Peter said no. You bow to no one except God.

    I'm really this close from dropping out of church and worshipping God in my own way. I get better sermons on TV anyway.
    Last edited by AirFlacco; 04-16-2013 at 02:44 AM.
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  8. #32

    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Just going to bump this thread because it was very interesting. Also, what a representation of atheists here! I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm a proud one myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by AirFlacco View Post
    Can you see where the wind comes and where it goes? Of course not.

    If you can't understand earthly things, how can you understand heavenly things. CHRIST TO DISCIPLES

    He also said you believe because you see, blessed are those that believe but cannot see.
    I hate to jump right in and say something like this, but wind/air/oxygen is a typical example given by believers and it is truly a very bad one.

    Wind is not transcendent. While it cannot be seen, it can be felt on the skin, it can be heard, and if it is carrying the right particles it can be smelled. It can be detected irrefutably and scientifically. Nothing about god or gods--timelessness, mysteriousness, needing to rely on faith to know it's there--applies to wind. Or, really, to any force of nature that simply cannot be seen but can be proven in myriad other ways, e.g., gravity, magnetic waves, radiation, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by ActualSpamBot View Post
    Trap has a point, ultimately this debate comes down to faith. No amount of logic will convince the faithful that god is not there, and no amount of exhorting will convince a skeptic to take it on faith.
    Hi there, ASB! Along with Dade and a few others I have long liked your postings here. Always well thought out.

    Matt Dillahunty is the most famous host of a show I like on YouTube called "The Atheist Experience." (Perhaps a few posters here like HoustonRaven have even heard of it? It's based in Austin, TX.) Anyway, one of Matt's most famous sayings is, "Faith is the reason people give when they don't have a good reason."
    Thoughts on Ray Rice: http://brafootball.wordpress.com/




  9. #33

    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Any of you atheists ever consider Pascal's Wager?
    My understanding of it is this: Better to believe in god and be wrong (no consequence) than to not believe and be wrong (potential consequence, depending on which/what kind of god you believe in [Christian god, for example, MAJOR and INFINITE consequence]).

    Is this the concept you're referring to, HR? If so, yes I have considered it. 1) I can't force myself to believe for the sake of a bet. I don't believe in god/gods because my mind does not allow me. It is illogical to me. 2) If a god is worth my worship, it shouldn't be able to be tricked this way. Because really, this is a hedging of bets that amounts to working the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Too much evidence in nature and, oddly enough, in science for me to think otherwise.
    Pardon the flippancy, but please explain this evidence that is apparent to you but not apparent to the thousands of scientists who would love to publish a paper that proves or even strongly suggests god with natural and scientific evidence, which would bring them fame, fortune, and probably a Nobel Prize.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Organized religion, to me, is the vein attempt by the finite to explain the infinite. By simple definition, we cannot begin to understand or explain the infinite.
    If you cannot begin to understand or explain the infinite, then why believe in god? The only way this is not a direct contradiction on your part is if you don't think god is infinite. If he is, then you believe in something you "cannot begin to understand or explain," and you are not being logically superior in any way to organized religion.
    Thoughts on Ray Rice: http://brafootball.wordpress.com/




  10. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by akashicrecorder View Post
    Is this the concept you're referring to, HR? If so, yes I have considered it. 1) I can't force myself to believe for the sake of a bet. I don't believe in god/gods because my mind does not allow me. It is illogical to me. 2) If a god is worth my worship, it shouldn't be able to be tricked this way. Because really, this is a hedging of bets that amounts to working the system.
    I don't believe Pascal was suggesting anything like what you're intimating. He was simply postulating it would be wise to err on the side of belief. I don't think he was taking some sort of strong stand or formulate a faith based on his philosophy. I don't necessarily believe in this concept of his. I was merely posting it to the room as a discussion point.

    Quote Originally Posted by akashicrecorder View Post
    Pardon the flippancy, but please explain this evidence that is apparent to you but not apparent to the thousands of scientists who would love to publish a paper that proves or even strongly suggests god with natural and scientific evidence, which would bring them fame, fortune, and probably a Nobel Prize.
    I see God when I look at my unborn daughter via our 3D sonogram. Her face, her hair, her eyes, the way she twitches when I touch my wife's belly. I see God when I am at the Grand Canyon, when I read up on the process of chlorophyll, when I watch a program about nuclear energy or black holes, etc

    What scientists don't know proves to me the existence of a higher being just as much as we have been able to prove. For every time a scientist figures out why something happens, there's 5 new doors opened leading Man in another direction. The more we study the vastness of space or the vast world of microbiology that we're just now beginning to discover, let alone explain, the more we realize that what we don't know as a race is far more than what we actually do know.

    Quote Originally Posted by akashicrecorder View Post
    If you cannot begin to understand or explain the infinite, then why believe in god? The only way this is not a direct contradiction on your part is if you don't think god is infinite. If he is, then you believe in something you "cannot begin to understand or explain," and you are not being logically superior in any way to organized religion.
    Logic is about definitions. For there to be a finite, you must also have the infinite. The infinite is unexplainable, undefinable and something you cannot personify. Then, by definition, the infinite must be a higher being. It is "God" per se? Who knows? I happen to believe there is a God who got this whole ball of wax started.

    I don't look at Faith as a competition of who's right or "logically superior" to someone else. Perhaps there's our fundamental difference. Faith (or lack of) is a deeply personal issue, and while it's being discussed openly here, isn't something one should force on to one another.

    Faith is the absence of logic so of course, as someone who sees Faith through the prism of logic, cannot understand.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  11. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by akashicrecorder View Post
    My understanding of it is this: Better to believe in god and be wrong (no consequence) than to not believe and be wrong (potential consequence, depending on which/what kind of god you believe in [Christian god, for example, MAJOR and INFINITE consequence]).

    Is this the concept you're referring to, HR? If so, yes I have considered it. 1) I can't force myself to believe for the sake of a bet. I don't believe in god/gods because my mind does not allow me. It is illogical to me. 2) If a god is worth my worship, it shouldn't be able to be tricked this way. Because really, this is a hedging of bets that amounts to working the system.



    Pardon the flippancy, but please explain this evidence that is apparent to you but not apparent to the thousands of scientists who would love to publish a paper that proves or even strongly suggests god with natural and scientific evidence, which would bring them fame, fortune, and probably a Nobel Prize.
    Easy. Look at something as fundamental as energy. Scientists have no idea what energy is. It can neither be created nor destroyed, and that's about the extent.
    It's common to hear the moment of the big bang referred to as an Infinitely dense, infinitely small ball of energy. There is no such quantity as "infinite." It's not a number, it's a direction you count in. Calling something "infinitely small" or "infinitely dense" tries to call a counting process a quantity. It's a slick trick to paper over the fact that if there ever was any point of origin of "the universe," physics completely lacks the tools to describe it. All it can even try to describe is events after the origin. It is ridiculously comical when someone points to something like M-theory or String theory (Theoretical mathematical iteration masquerading as if it could ever be more than just that, theoretical.) as exhibit 'A' as to why theism/deism should be mocked and is unnecessary mysticism.


    In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawkins eludes to the idea that science will know the answer to all questions worth asking. The operative words here being "worth asking". In order to set things straight, in classic western-scientific triumphalist fashion, he proclaims "philosophy is dead". Ignoring the enormous hubris of such a statement, thinj of the irony alone; itself of course being a philosophical statement, subscribing to its own philosophy. The reason for dismissing philosophy is simple. It rids of all questions that do not admit a scientific answer as simply non-questions, or psuedo-questions. The error in this thinking is simple, Said best by Sir Peter Medawar, "Scientists must however never be tempted into mistaking the necessity of reason for the sufficiency of reason. Rationalism falls short of answering the many simple and childlike questions people ask: questions about origins and purposes such as are often comtemptuously dismissed as non- questions or pseudoquestions, although people understand them clearly enough and long to have answers. These are intellectual pains that rationalists-- like bad physicians confronted by ailments they cannot diagnose or cure-- are apt to dismiss as "imagination." it is not to rationalism that we look for answers to these simple questions because rationalism chides the endeavor to look at all."
    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

    –Eleanor Roosevelt




  12. #36

    Re: How can anyone still believe in God

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    I don't believe Pascal was suggesting anything like what you're intimating. He was simply postulating it would be wise to err on the side of belief. I don't think he was taking some sort of strong stand or formulate a faith based on his philosophy. I don't necessarily believe in this concept of his. I was merely posting it to the room as a discussion point.
    Pascal's Wager is often defined exactly as I laid it out: a hedge-betting that basically fools god (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager). But it was indeed just a discussion point. Hopefully, I've made you a little more familiar with a common interpretation of Pascal's Wager.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    I see God when I look at my unborn daughter via our 3D sonogram. Her face, her hair, her eyes, the way she twitches when I touch my wife's belly. I see God when I am at the Grand Canyon, when I read up on the process of chlorophyll, when I watch a program about nuclear energy or black holes, etc
    Our children and the beautiful features of Earth are all breath-taking and awe-inspiring, but they do not prove god. If you see some higher power in those things when you look at them, then all I can say is, respectfully, "I understand. Good for you." You see the higher power (unless you are delusional) in a poetic and metaphorical sense, which cannot be proven in a natural or scientific sense, which are both words you used.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    What scientists don't know proves to me the existence of a higher being just as much as we have been able to prove. For every time a scientist figures out why something happens, there's 5 new doors opened leading Man in another direction. The more we study the vastness of space or the vast world of microbiology that we're just now beginning to discover, let alone explain, the more we realize that what we don't know as a race is far more than what we actually do know.
    Because we don't know something doesn't mean god did it. Because we don't know something doesn't mean ANY [noun] did ANY [verb]. That is an argument from ignorance, which is a classic logical fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Logic is about definitions. For there to be a finite, you must also have the infinite.
    Totally agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    The infinite is unexplainable, undefinable and something you cannot personify.
    Higher math deals with infinity quite often, but sure, in the sense you probably mean, the human mind in its current state is probably not equipped to grasp something that extends eternally.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Then, by definition, the infinite must be a higher being.
    But here I must disagree on both points: "higher" and "being," but especially "being." The first assumption is that something infinite is better ("higher") than something finite. But that's very philosophical. The easier route is to contest the term "being," which implies sentience, intelligence, etc. This you have firmly not demonstrated, and probably no one can or ever will.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    I happen to believe there is a God who got this whole ball of wax started.
    Not a problem, we are all entitled to our beliefs. But we are not entitled to our own logic. And as you have pointed out, "faith is the absence of logic." I do not think it is a stretch then, and I'm sorry if this is personally offensive, that your faith-based belief is illogical.
    Last edited by akashicrecorder; 05-21-2013 at 06:43 PM.
    Thoughts on Ray Rice: http://brafootball.wordpress.com/




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