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Six Questions to Ask An Atheist

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  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Many times, as Christians, we find ourselves on the defensive against the critiques and questions of atheists. These questions, then, are meant to be a part of a conversation. They are not, in and of themselves, arguments or "proofs" for God.  They are commonly asked existential or experiential questions that both atheists and theists alike can ponder. 

      1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life?  If there is meaning, what kind of meaning and how is it found?  Does human history lead anywhere, or is it all in vain since death is merely the end?  How do you come to understand good and evil, right and wrong without a transcendent signifier?  If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong?  If you are content within atheism, what circumstances would serve to make you open to other answers?

      2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault?  These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes.  Without God, there is a crisis of meaning, and these three thinkers, among others, show us a world of just stuff, thrown out into space and time, going nowhere, meaning nothing.

      3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it.  In other words, what set of actions are consistent with particular belief commitments?  It could be argued, that these behaviors – of the regimes in question - are more consistent with the implications of atheism.  Though, I'm thankful that many of the atheists I know do not live the implications of these beliefs out for themselves like others did!  It could be argued that the socio-political ideologies could very well be the outworking of a particular set of beliefs – beliefs that posited the ideal state as an atheistic one.     

      4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer?  Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable.  It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort.  Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?

      5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most?  Whose voice will be heard?  Whose tastes or preferences will be honored?  In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway?  Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong?  Where do those standards come from?  Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy.  Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.

      6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world? 

      I am submitting the above questions for serious discussion, dialogue and debate. No trolls please.

       

      Source: http://www.rzim.org/community/engagingconversations/tabid/105/entryid/14/default.aspx

  • alize's Avatar
    3,369 posts since Dec '10
    •  1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life? If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong?

      A: Why must everything have been created by something else, and if so why must it be God? If so, who created God? Are there one or many? Whose God's morality should we follow?

      There being a God does not mean his values are better, best or even good. It is not established he is a good God.

      All good comes from God and all evil conveniently from Satan. So in the beginning, there was nothing. Along with the heavens and the seas, God created Satan.

       

      2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault?  These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes. 

      A: It is not physically compulsory for meaning to exist. It is meaningless and self-defeating to imagine a meaning where none exists.

      Does every trivial or tragic occurrence have a divine meaning?

       

      3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it.

      A: Who was killed in Pakistan last May?

      Has more harm been caused or cured by religion? The question is about men who embrace God and not God himself, but if he is unwilling to show himself, what have we left to follow?

       

      4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer?  Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable. It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort.  Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?

      A: The existence of God does not solve the problems of evil and suffering. Nor does it provide proof of ultimate justice.

      It is contradictory to expect justice when an evil believer can ask for redemption from an all-forgiving God.

      Again, are there one or many Gods? Whose God's morality should we follow? Amputate or absolve? Which regulates society best?

       

      5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most?  Whose voice will be heard?  Whose tastes or preferences will be honored?  In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway?  Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong?  Where do those standards come from?  Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy.  Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.

      A: If God loves us and wants salvation for us, and makes His way the only route to salvation, why did he give us the ability to not follow his opinion?

      How do we apply God's law when it is woefully simplistic and inadequate to cover modern society? Must we govern ourselves, or did he not intend us to be modern and to live in tents?

       

      6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world? 

      A: Human values such as love and hate, good and evil cannot be denied to exist. Why must they emanate from God? If God ceased to exist or He stopped making his presence felt in the world, would these values cease to exist?

      Edited by alize 04 Apr `12, 2:26PM
  • βέτά's Avatar
    2,497 posts since Jan '10
  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by alize:

       1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life? If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong?

      A: Why must everything have been created by something else, and if so why must it be God? If so, who created God? Are there one or many? Whose God's morality should we follow?

      There being a God does not mean his values are better, best or even good. It is not established he is a good God.

      All good comes from God and all evil conveniently from Satan. So in the beginning, there was nothing. Along with the heavens and the seas, God created Satan.

       

      2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault?  These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes. 

      A: It is not physically compulsory for meaning to exist. It is meaningless and self-defeating to imagine a meaning where none exists.

      Does every trivial or tragic occurrence have a divine meaning?

       

      3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it.

      A: Who was killed in Pakistan last May?

      Has more harm been caused or cured by religion? The question is about men who embrace God and not God himself, but if he is unwilling to show himself, what have we left to follow?

       

      4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer?  Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable. It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort.  Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?

      A: The existence of God does not solve the problems of evil and suffering. Nor does it provide proof of ultimate justice.

      It is contradictory to expect justice when an evil believer can ask for redemption from an all-forgiving God.

      Again, are there one or many Gods? Whose God's morality should we follow? Amputate or absolve? Which regulates society best?

       

      5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most?  Whose voice will be heard?  Whose tastes or preferences will be honored?  In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway?  Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong?  Where do those standards come from?  Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy.  Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.

      A: If God loves us and wants salvation for us, and makes His way the only route to salvation, why did he give us the ability to not follow his opinion?

      How do we apply God's law when it is woefully simplistic and inadequate to cover modern society? Must we govern ourselves, or did he not intend us to be modern and to live in tents?

       

      6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world? 

      A: Human values such as love and hate, good and evil cannot be denied to exist. Why must they emanate from God? If God ceased to exist or He stopped making his presence felt in the world, would these values cease to exist?

      1. The universe exists. So there must be a cause. This is simple logic. Every effect has a cause. The universe has a beginning and thus it is an effect and begs a cause. Either the universe created itself, or it was created by another being. This being is refered to as God. Asking who created God is NOT the question that atheists should ask, since atheists declare that there is no God. Remember, the point of the above questions is to get the atheists to answer them from their own atheistic viewpoint. Atheists cannot deflect, shirk or avoid the questions simply by asking "so who created God?"

      2. What do you mean by physically compulsory for meaning to exist? The fact is that humans attach meaning to things and events. The question is whether in the atheist viewpoint there is even such a thing as meaning. Of course you have already answered it, that being an atheist there is no meaning at all in life. At least you concede this point. But then, do you HONESTLY live as though life has no meaning? Why do you do what you do? Why do you bother to get up in the morning and do anything at all? Why do you pursue goals and purpose if there is no purpose? In other words, are you a consistent atheist?

      3.  The point being made, which I think you missed, is that atheism cannot point a finger at religious violence while it itself is guilty of the greatest atrocities in the last century alone. The death of millions in atheistic regimes in the last century alone is more than all deaths purportedly attributed to religion.

      4. You missed the point of the problem of evil. If there is no God, then how can an atheist talk about good and evil? Remember, for an atheist there is no meaning. Good and evil are meaningless terms in your own atheistic worldview. Again the point of the questions is to ask the atheist to answer the questions that he thinks is a problem for those who believe in God.

      5. Like the above you also missed the point. You need to answer from an atheist viewpoint on how to objective mediate between right and wrong, good and evil. I can of course answer your questions from my theistic point of view, but that in no way absolves you from answering the questions from your atheistic point of view.

      6. It is good that you do not deny the existence of IMMATERIAL things like love, hate, good and evil. But the question is, if there is no God, then there is no basis for all these things. If man is nothing but evolved pond scum and our thoughts are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain and genes interacting, then what is love, hate, good or evil?

      Please understand that all the above 6 questions must be dealt with by BOTH the atheist and the theist. In my experience, most atheists avoid answering these questions but instead focus on attacking the theist. It has to be a level-playing field otherwise there is no intellectual honesty or integrity at all.

    • Originally posted by βέτά:

       

      Who created god? icon_lol.gif

       

      Like alize I think you have also missed the point of my first post.

      Asking "who created God" does not absolve the atheist from providing answers to the 6 questions at all.

  • alize's Avatar
    3,369 posts since Dec '10
    • I will provide the Atheist answers then. As you wish both Atheists and Christians to answer the questions, I have rephrased my response to clearly delineate the two.

      1.    Atheist answer: There need not have been a cause of the universe, and the cause need not have been God.

      It cannot be argued that there must have been a cause that was God, because then God would need to have a cause. Therefore God, who is supposedly without cause, cannot exist. It can be argued that any number of possibilities might have caused the universe.

      Question 1 talks about good and evil which is repeated in Question 4. Let’s deal with the cause argument here, and good and evil in Question 4.

      Question to Christian: Why must everything have been created by something else, and if so why must it be God? If so, who created God?

      2.  Atheist answer:  I challenge your notion that “in the atheist viewpoint there is no meaning” or the consequent notion that meaning in life can only come from God.

      One can find and create any motivation for oneself in life, independently of any God. There is no conflict between finding meaning in life and being atheist because meaning is not the exclusive province of God.

      I challenge the notion that a meaning has been ordained by another being towards which we should live our lives. It is meaningless and self-defeating to say “there must be a pre-ordained meaning” and then imagine one where none exists. Also, do not confuse “there is no pre-ordained meaning” with “there cannot possibly be any meaning”.

      Question to Christian: Is it certain that our lives MUST have a meaning? If so, why? Must everything else, including every trivial or tragic occurrence, also have a divine meaning?

      3Atheist answer:  I challenge the notion that your "atheist regimes" have killed more than religious ones throughout himan history. Atheist states came into existence only in the last century, and except for North Korea are all gone, religious wars have been fought since antiquity and will continue to be fought. While I contest the aggregate number of dead, it is irrelevant because wars are fought with the technology of the day. Had they been available, the most destructive weapons would have been used in religious wars with religious zeal. Non-religious wars have been fought for resources; religious wars have been fought with the aim of slaying non-believers.

      Question to Christian: I challenge believers to challenge this.

      4.    Atheist answer: I will say here that good and evil can exist, having said above that there can be meaning. Like meaning, good and evil are again not the exclusive province of God. They can exist independently of him. They are values which society has come to share, ills we come to abhor, nothing more.

      Question 4 also speaks of suffering and ultimate justice. I can say that even assuming God exists today, it does not solve the problems of evil and suffering. Nor does it provide proof of ultimate justice.

      Questions to Christian:  Is it contradictory to expect justice when an evil believer can ask for redemption from an all-forgiving God?

      If there are Gods, are there one or many? Whose God's morality should we follow? Should we amputate people’s limbs or absolve them of their sins? Which regulates society best?

      Even if there is a God, I question if we should follow his values because no one has established that his values are better, best or even good. It is not established he is a good God.

      Why do Christians say that all good comes from God and all evil conveniently from Satan? According to them, in the beginning there was nothing. Along with the heavens and the seas, God created Satan. Why was he created?

       5.    Atheist answer: The standards in society need not necessarily have come from God. Some standards are good and God does not have a monopoly on good standards. If we live by “do unto others only what we would like done unto ourselves” it is a good yardstick for determining what is good and evil. It need not be divine.

      Questions to Christian: If God’s standards are to take precedence over man’s, how do we apply God's law to areas where it is woefully simplistic and inadequate to cover modern society? Must we then govern ourselves with our own standards, or did he not intend us to be modern and to live in tents?

      If God ceased to exist or He stopped making his presence felt in the world, would these values cease to exist?

      If God loves us and wants salvation for us, and makes His standards the only route to salvation, why did he give us the ability to very possibly not follow his standards and not be saved?

      6.    Atheist answer:  The question is “If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?”

      The first flaw is that exposed above: we can find meanings to our lives and we can make sense without God. The second flaw is the question attempts to say “we long for there to be transcendence or we long for there to be a God, therefore there is a God.” This is fallacious.

      Thirdly, do not confuse a person “having questions about meaning and purpose” with “having a longing for the spiritual or transcendent”. The two are quite separate.

      We need to define “spiritual” and “transcendent”.

      Transcendent can refer to transcending times we are alive and times we are not (which can be done by achieving fame and leaving a memory) or refer to transcending life on earth and in another world (which I don’t know how can be done).

      Spiritual can refer to one’s concept of oneself or refer to the divine. One may long for his self to be consistent with the meaning of life he has selected for himself, do not confuse it with having a longing for the divine.

      Edited by alize 04 Apr `12, 6:50PM
  • βέτά's Avatar
    2,497 posts since Jan '10
    • Originally posted by BroInChrist:

      Like alize I think you have also missed the point of my first post.

      Asking "who created God" does not absolve the atheist from providing answers to the 6 questions at all.

       

      You seem to have also missed my point. icon_lol.gif

       

      Not seeing the forest for the trees. icon_lol.gif

       

       

       

       

  • laffin123's Avatar
    186 posts since Aug '09
    • 1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered,

      A: Yes, the science community is working on this. They may not be able to answer all questions now, but they are trying.

       

      2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning,

      A: I don't think why there should be a crisis of meaning. We are just transcient people in this world. Just be happy and live a well meaningful life.

       

      3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be     

      A: You have forgotten history. There are so many horrific events equally arising on religious conflict.

       

      4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way

      A: Looking for redemption of evil and suffering ? To me, fairness does not exist. If yes, why don't the religious people ask for the re-growth of amputated limbs? It does not happen.

      5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique

      A: To critique religion and religious people ? This is your business, why ask the Atheist? Not quite understand this question.

      6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense,

      A: If you need spiritual support, please put your faith on your god. Why you pose this question to Atheist ?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by βέτά:

       

      You seem to have also missed my point. icon_lol.gif

       

      Not seeing the forest for the trees. icon_lol.gif

       

       

       

       

       

      In what way have I not seen the forest? Please elaborate.

  • alize's Avatar
    3,369 posts since Dec '10
    • Meanwhile let's continue at the other thread http://sgforums.com/forums/4163/topics/448275?page=15

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by alize:

      I will provide the Atheist answers then. As you wish both Atheists and Christians to answer the questions, I have rephrased my response to clearly delineate the two.

      1.    Atheist answer: There need not have been a cause of the universe, and the cause need not have been God.

      It cannot be argued that there must have been a cause that was God, because then God would need to have a cause. Therefore God, who is supposedly without cause, cannot exist. It can be argued that any number of possibilities might have caused the universe.

      Question 1 talks about good and evil which is repeated in Question 4. Let’s deal with the cause argument here, and good and evil in Question 4.

      Question to Christian: Why must everything have been created by something else, and if so why must it be God? If so, who created God?

      2.  Atheist answer:  I challenge your notion that “in the atheist viewpoint there is no meaning” or the consequent notion that meaning in life can only come from God.

      One can find and create any motivation for oneself in life, independently of any God. There is no conflict between finding meaning in life and being atheist because meaning is not the exclusive province of God.

      I challenge the notion that a meaning has been ordained by another being towards which we should live our lives. It is meaningless and self-defeating to say “there must be a pre-ordained meaning” and then imagine one where none exists. Also, do not confuse “there is no pre-ordained meaning” with “there cannot possibly be any meaning”.

      Question to Christian: Is it certain that our lives MUST have a meaning? If so, why? Must everything else, including every trivial or tragic occurrence, also have a divine meaning?

      3Atheist answer:  I challenge the notion that your "atheist regimes" have killed more than religious ones throughout himan history. Atheist states came into existence only in the last century, and except for North Korea are all gone, religious wars have been fought since antiquity and will continue to be fought. While I contest the aggregate number of dead, it is irrelevant because wars are fought with the technology of the day. Had they been available, the most destructive weapons would have been used in religious wars with religious zeal. Non-religious wars have been fought for resources; religious wars have been fought with the aim of slaying non-believers.

      Question to Christian: I challenge believers to challenge this.

      4.    Atheist answer: I will say here that good and evil can exist, having said above that there can be meaning. Like meaning, good and evil are again not the exclusive province of God. They can exist independently of him. They are values which society has come to share, ills we come to abhor, nothing more.

      Question 4 also speaks of suffering and ultimate justice. I can say that even assuming God exists today, it does not solve the problems of evil and suffering. Nor does it provide proof of ultimate justice.

      Questions to Christian:  Is it contradictory to expect justice when an evil believer can ask for redemption from an all-forgiving God?

      If there are Gods, are there one or many? Whose God's morality should we follow? Should we amputate people’s limbs or absolve them of their sins? Which regulates society best?

      Even if there is a God, I question if we should follow his values because no one has established that his values are better, best or even good. It is not established he is a good God.

      Why do Christians say that all good comes from God and all evil conveniently from Satan? According to them, in the beginning there was nothing. Along with the heavens and the seas, God created Satan. Why was he created?

       5.    Atheist answer: The standards in society need not necessarily have come from God. Some standards are good and God does not have a monopoly on good standards. If we live by “do unto others only what we would like done unto ourselves” it is a good yardstick for determining what is good and evil. It need not be divine.

      Questions to Christian: If God’s standards are to take precedence over man’s, how do we apply God's law to areas where it is woefully simplistic and inadequate to cover modern society? Must we then govern ourselves with our own standards, or did he not intend us to be modern and to live in tents?

      If God ceased to exist or He stopped making his presence felt in the world, would these values cease to exist?

      If God loves us and wants salvation for us, and makes His standards the only route to salvation, why did he give us the ability to very possibly not follow his standards and not be saved?

      6.    Atheist answer:  The question is “If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?”

      The first flaw is that exposed above: we can find meanings to our lives and we can make sense without God. The second flaw is the question attempts to say “we long for there to be transcendence or we long for there to be a God, therefore there is a God.” This is fallacious.

      Thirdly, do not confuse a person “having questions about meaning and purpose” with “having a longing for the spiritual or transcendent”. The two are quite separate.

      We need to define “spiritual” and “transcendent”.

      Transcendent can refer to transcending times we are alive and times we are not (which can be done by achieving fame and leaving a memory) or refer to transcending life on earth and in another world (which I don’t know how can be done).

      Spiritual can refer to one’s concept of oneself or refer to the divine. One may long for his self to be consistent with the meaning of life he has selected for himself, do not confuse it with having a longing for the divine.

      1. To say there is no need for the universe to have a cause is an absurd and unscientific proposition. It is also illogical and irrational. Every effect has a cause. As an atheist you may not wish that God is the cause, but that is not the same as denying that the universe has a cause. But just because the universe has a cause it does not mean that God must have a cause. The universe begs a cause because it has a beginning. God is eternal.

      2. Militant atheists like Richard Dawkins concede that there is no ultimate purpose and meaning in life. You can of course try to find your own meaning in life, but like I said it is INCONSISTENT with being an atheist. Meaning in life is CONSISTENT with there being a God who created us for a purpose.

      3. It is a FACT that millions have been killed by atheistic regimes in the last century alone, more than all that were killed in the name of religion in all previous centuries combined. It could then be argued that atheism is far more dangerous since it could do so much worst in such a short time. Whether the ancients had better weapons compared to the present is a moot point really. Better weapons mean easier killing, it doesn't necessarily mean more killing.

      4. Again militant atheists like Dawkins or Sam Harris or Daniel Dennett will say that there is no such thing as meaning, good or evil. For you to say there all these exist is really inconsistent with atheism. Why? Because atheism supplies NO rational basis for these at all. If you are affirming them at all it would be not be because of atheism.

      5. If you affirm good and evil, what is your basis? Good and evil presupposes the existence of objective moral values. How does atheism ground these things? My argument is that objective moral values exist because God exists. This is coherent and logical and consistent. God gave us free will. Our failure to obey God's laws is not evidence against God's existence.

      6. Again the fact that you insist that you can find meaning in life as an atheist, is simply because you are not being consistent with what atheism is. You are BORROWING your values from another worldview. 

  • alize's Avatar
    3,369 posts since Dec '10
    • 1. Why do you maintain that everything must have a cause but then say God is the sole exception?

      2, 4, 6. Let me quote you twice on your use of "meaning".

      • Do you HONESTLY live as though life has no meaning? Why do you do what you do? Why do you bother to get up in the morning and do anything at all? Why do you pursue goals and purpose if there is no purpose?
      • Militant atheists like Richard Dawkins concede that there is no ultimate purpose and meaning in life.

      Here you have confused your earlier use of "meaning" with the sense in which Richard Dawkins used it: "reason" "purpose" or "rationale". Indeed atheists and followers of other religions do not believe there is a rationale to our existence as part of a greater "plan."

      Your earlier use of "meaning" is very different. It referred to the object in life that the individual makes it to be and lives toward. Dawkins never attacked this. Atheists believe it is not something benevolently bestowed and emanating exclusively from God.

      Now that you are clear about this definition of meaning, you have to agree that there is nothing to prevent one finding this kind of meaning independently of God's existence.

      Have you heard Descartes' saying, "I think, therefore I am?" He meant that while a supremely powerful being might be able to deceive him about everything in the world, by the simple fact that he can think, he cannot be deceived about the existence of himself. Nothing, not even the fact that there is no God to prescribe His meaning, can prevent individuals from finding meaning to their lives, as they are able to exist and to think.

      3a. "Better weapons mean easier killing, it doesn't necessarily mean more killing." This is very dubious.

      3b. We cannot say that those killed by religious or atheist states were killed in the name of religion or atheism. But we can say that those killed by religious wars were killed in the name of religion. Who has heard of atheist wars or atheist fundamentalists?

      3c. I'm a student of military history, I will tally the dead if you think it relevant to the debate.

      5. Here we are in fundamental disagreement. I do not agree that good and evil can only "exist because God exists." I repeat my quote below:

      • The standards in society need not necessarily have come from God. Some standards are good and God does not have a monopoly on good standards. If we live by “do unto others only what we would like done unto ourselves” it is a good yardstick for determining what is good and evil. It need not be divine.

      If people can find meaning in their lives independently of God's existence, there is nothing to stop them arriving at a common meaning of such general concepts as good and evil.

      Edited by alize 05 Apr `12, 3:47PM
  • βέτά's Avatar
    2,497 posts since Jan '10
    • Originally posted by BroInChrist:

       

      In what way have I not seen the forest? Please elaborate.

       

      It would be challenging for your feeble mind to comprehend. icon_lol.gif

       

    •  

      3. When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific.

      I suppose Hitler was a atheist too? icon_lol.gif

       

       

    •  

      All your arguments & reasoning is laden with holes like a swiss cheese. icon_lol.gif

       

       

  • Lucifer_tan's Avatar
    25 posts since Dec '11
    • The most common rationalization for the lack of scientific evidence is the "God must remain hidden" argument. See for details.

      Many believers try to rationalize God's existence by saying something like this: "The existence of the universe proves God's existence. Something had to create the universe. Science has no explanation for the universe's creation. Therefore, God created it."

      The way to understand that this is a rationalization is to look back in history. Ancient people, before they had science, explained many things that they did not understand with "gods." There have been sun gods, thunder gods, fertility gods, rain gods, etc.

      The Bible works the same way. It tries to explain many things that its ancient authors did not understand by attributing them in God. For example, if you read Genesis 9:12-13 you will find this:

      And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth..."

      This is the Bible's explanation of rainbows. Of course we now know that rainbows are a prismatic effect of raindrops. In the same way, Genesis chapter 3 tries to explain why human childbirth is so painful and Genesis chapter 11 tries to explain why there are so many human languages. These are myths, nothing more.

      In the same way, Genesis chapter 1 contains the Bible's creation myth. The creation of the universe and life is attributed to God. We already know that God had nothing to do with the creation of life, but religious people still try to attribute the creation of the universe to God.

      The fact is, God had nothing to do with the creation of the universe, in the same way that God has nothing to do with the sun rising or rainbows appearing. Science does not have a complete explanation for the universe's creation, yet. While it is true that science does not yet know everything there is to know about the universe, scientists will eventually figure it out. When they do, what they will find is that nature created the universe, not an imaginary being.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by laffin123:

      1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered,

      A: Yes, the science community is working on this. They may not be able to answer all questions now, but they are trying.

       

      2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning,

      A: I don't think why there should be a crisis of meaning. We are just transcient people in this world. Just be happy and live a well meaningful life.

       

      3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be     

      A: You have forgotten history. There are so many horrific events equally arising on religious conflict.

       

      4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way

      A: Looking for redemption of evil and suffering ? To me, fairness does not exist. If yes, why don't the religious people ask for the re-growth of amputated limbs? It does not happen.

      5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique

      A: To critique religion and religious people ? This is your business, why ask the Atheist? Not quite understand this question.

      6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense,

      A: If you need spiritual support, please put your faith on your god. Why you pose this question to Atheist ?

      1. To think that science can answer all the questions in the first post is to misplace your confidence in science and also fail to understand the nature and limitations of the scientific method. But think about this, why can we even do science at all? Why is the universe capable of being studied and understood by humans? Again only the theist has the answer. It is because God made the universe and endowed us with the rational faculties needed to explore His creation.

      2. The point is that if God does not exist, then there is no meaning in life. This is what atheists like Dawkins has conceded, if you have read some of his works. You insisted that you can still live a meaningful life. But why even bother? Why seek meaning in a meaningless world according to atheism? That's rather inconsistent, isn't it?

      3. You missed the point here. I am not denying that horrors have taken place in the name of religion. What I am pointing out is that atheism should look back at their fruit in the last century alone before pointing fingers at religion. Fact is, atheism is every bit as religious!

      4. Indeed, as an atheist the idea of fairness is moot. There is no such thing. If you suffer and die that's just it. If you were a victim of a murderer, that's just too bad. He's fitter than you. You did not survive his attack you are not fit. That's atheism for you. There is no justice, no fairness, no righting of any wrong. But of course in reality you don't live like this at all. Which is why I argue that atheism is not the right worldview to hold. Atheists are notoriously inconsistent.

      5. Let me explain clearer. Whenever atheists tries to argue a moral point, they will fail. Simply because apart from objective moral values which presupposes a moral lawgiver, there is no standard of morality to judge, no standard of right or wrong. Only might counts. If something is good or true in your eyes, that's just your opinion. You can't insist that you are right.

      6. You missed the point. The point is that if God does not exist, then nothing makes sense at all. There is no meaning in chemicals simply jostling around in our brains. There is no meaning in chance random processes. In atheism nothing ought to make sense because matter is all there is. No soul, no spirit, no God, no morals etc. And the fact is, atheists do not live like that at all. Again this is because they BORROW their values from theism, but then suppress that knowledge in denial.

  • Lucifer_tan's Avatar
    25 posts since Dec '11
    • But so many people believe in some form of a Creator, it must be true.

      Not so. There was a time when everyone believed that the world was flat, but they were all wrong. The number of people who believe in an idea is no measure of the truth or falsehood of that idea. The only way we can tell whether an idea is true or not is by looking at the facts and examining the evidence. If people continue to believe in God, they do so through faith, and faith is simply holding on to a belief when reason, logic and the evidence says otherwise.

      There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have God's words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand God's nature, that their God exists and that the Gods of other religions do not. Some claim that God is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their God but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another God. For centuries, men have prayed to God for protection from war, from natural calamities and disease. Yet till today, these prayers remain unanswered. This is not surprising. Even less surprising is that so many different religions having spent so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their God there remains no real, substantial or irrefutable evidence.

      A case in point for ponder

      "He who has eyes can see the sickening sight, Why does not God set his creatures right?


      If his wide power no limit can restrain, Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?


      Why are his creatures all condemned to pain? Why does he not to all give happiness?


      Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail? Why triumphs falsehood -- truth and justice fail?

      I count your God one among the unjust , who made a world in which to shelter wrong."

       

       

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by βέτά:

       

      It would be challenging for your feeble mind to comprehend. icon_lol.gif

       

      I asked you to explain further and you respond with a personal attack? I suppose my "feeble" mind is stronger than yours if that's all you've got. If this is the character of your postings then you are merely trolling here. If so, please refrain from posting here.

    • Originally posted by βέτά:

       

      3. When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific.

      I suppose Hitler was a atheist too? icon_lol.gif

       

      I spot a red herring. Anyway, Hitler may not have been an atheist but it would be a worst lie to claim that Hitler was a true Christian. Besides, the point wasn't whether Hitler was an atheist, but that millions died in atheistic regimes.

    • Originally posted by βέτά:

       

      All your arguments & reasoning is laden with holes like a swiss cheese. icon_lol.gif

      Is that so? Please elaborate or else refrain from further trolling here.

    • Originally posted by Lucifer_tan:

      The most common rationalization for the lack of scientific evidence is the "God must remain hidden" argument. See for details.

      Many believers try to rationalize God's existence by saying something like this: "The existence of the universe proves God's existence. Something had to create the universe. Science has no explanation for the universe's creation. Therefore, God created it."

      The way to understand that this is a rationalization is to look back in history. Ancient people, before they had science, explained many things that they did not understand with "gods." There have been sun gods, thunder gods, fertility gods, rain gods, etc.

      The Bible works the same way. It tries to explain many things that its ancient authors did not understand by attributing them in God. For example, if you read Genesis 9:12-13 you will find this:

      And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth..."

      This is the Bible's explanation of rainbows. Of course we now know that rainbows are a prismatic effect of raindrops. In the same way, Genesis chapter 3 tries to explain why human childbirth is so painful and Genesis chapter 11 tries to explain why there are so many human languages. These are myths, nothing more.

      In the same way, Genesis chapter 1 contains the Bible's creation myth. The creation of the universe and life is attributed to God. We already know that God had nothing to do with the creation of life, but religious people still try to attribute the creation of the universe to God.

      The fact is, God had nothing to do with the creation of the universe, in the same way that God has nothing to do with the sun rising or rainbows appearing. Science does not have a complete explanation for the universe's creation, yet. While it is true that science does not yet know everything there is to know about the universe, scientists will eventually figure it out. When they do, what they will find is that nature created the universe, not an imaginary being.

      I wonder who you are responding to since I did not appeal to the allegedly common  "hidden God" rationalisation. Anyway I shall offer some comments to your post.

      Most atheists who pride themselves as being scientifically minded do not deny that the universe has a beginning. Do you agree that the universe has a beginning? If yes, then you must also logically agree that what has a beginning must also have a cause.

      You are insinuating that I am guilty of the God-of-the-gaps argument, that because we don't know something, therefore God did it. But here you are mistaken as well. I am not arguing from ignorance, but from what we know about cause and effects. An effect cannot be greater than its cause, qualitatively speaking. If you deny that the universe has a Creator, then you must offer something in its place that is adequate as a cause. Saying you don't know is to appeal to ignorance, an atheism-of-the-gaps argument aka we don't know what causes it but it sure ain't God.

      You claimed to know that God had nothing to do with the creation of life. Then pray tell what is the cause of life? Or the universe for that matter? Do you really KNOW that God had nothing to do with it, or you ASSUME because of your dogmatism of atheism presumption? On what basis do you say God is an imaginary being? Have you proven it? Or are you just merely asserting it?

      Like many others you hold onto some form of scientism, the BELIEF and FAITH that science will one day answer all questions. Like I said, this betrays an ignorance of the nature and limitation of science. Nature is an abstract noun, nature does not create anything. It is as absurd as saying that chance can create something. Nature is NOT a thing. Nature has no mind, no powers to create anything. In fact, you are committing the fallacy of reification here, and also deifying nature.

  • alize's Avatar
    3,369 posts since Dec '10
    • Originally posted by BroInChrist:

      1. To think that science can answer all the questions in the first post is to misplace your confidence in science and also fail to understand the nature and limitations of the scientific method. But think about this, why can we even do science at all? Why is the universe capable of being studied and understood by humans? Again only the theist has the answer. It is because God made the universe and endowed us with the rational faculties needed to explore His creation.

      2. The point is that if God does not exist, then there is no meaning in life. This is what atheists like Dawkins has conceded, if you have read some of his works. You insisted that you can still live a meaningful life. But why even bother? Why seek meaning in a meaningless world according to atheism? That's rather inconsistent, isn't it?

      3. You missed the point here. I am not denying that horrors have taken place in the name of religion. What I am pointing out is that atheism should look back at their fruit in the last century alone before pointing fingers at religion. Fact is, atheism is every bit as religious!

      4. Indeed, as an atheist the idea of fairness is moot. There is no such thing. If you suffer and die that's just it. If you were a victim of a murderer, that's just too bad. He's fitter than you. You did not survive his attack you are not fit. That's atheism for you. There is no justice, no fairness, no righting of any wrong. But of course in reality you don't live like this at all. Which is why I argue that atheism is not the right worldview to hold. Atheists are notoriously inconsistent.

      5. Let me explain clearer. Whenever atheists tries to argue a moral point, they will fail. Simply because apart from objective moral values which presupposes a moral lawgiver, there is no standard of morality to judge, no standard of right or wrong. Only might counts. If something is good or true in your eyes, that's just your opinion. You can't insist that you are right.

      6. You missed the point. The point is that if God does not exist, then nothing makes sense at all. There is no meaning in chemicals simply jostling around in our brains. There is no meaning in chance random processes. In atheism nothing ought to make sense because matter is all there is. No soul, no spirit, no God, no morals etc. And the fact is, atheists do not live like that at all. Again this is because they BORROW their values from theism, but then suppress that knowledge in denial.

      4. I don't see how you keep saying that pure atheists are without morals because only God can provide them. Are not living peacibly, freely and with the right to do things short of interfering with the rights of others, secular concepts that we can well adopt without God's help? This is your most indefensible argument.

      Empirically, in the middle ages there were fewer atheists in the world, in absolute and percentage terms, but it was a rougher and crueler place with no respect for rights. In fact the Church was a big oppressor that maintained its place through very rough ways. Being an atheist or even a questioning believer was a very brave thing back then.

      6. Chemical processes on their own do not give us concepts and shared values. They only provide the ability to discern them.

      They would be of no value if we each lived in the world in solitude. However, in this world, they provide us the ability to comprehend the order of our civilisation.

      Edited by alize 05 Apr `12, 4:02PM
  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Lucifer_tan:

      But so many people believe in some form of a Creator, it must be true.

      Not so. There was a time when everyone believed that the world was flat, but they were all wrong. The number of people who believe in an idea is no measure of the truth or falsehood of that idea. The only way we can tell whether an idea is true or not is by looking at the facts and examining the evidence. If people continue to believe in God, they do so through faith, and faith is simply holding on to a belief when reason, logic and the evidence says otherwise.

      There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have God's words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand God's nature, that their God exists and that the Gods of other religions do not. Some claim that God is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their God but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another God. For centuries, men have prayed to God for protection from war, from natural calamities and disease. Yet till today, these prayers remain unanswered. This is not surprising. Even less surprising is that so many different religions having spent so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their God there remains no real, substantial or irrefutable evidence.

      A case in point for ponder

      "He who has eyes can see the sickening sight, Why does not God set his creatures right?


      If his wide power no limit can restrain, Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?


      Why are his creatures all condemned to pain? Why does he not to all give happiness?


      Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail? Why triumphs falsehood -- truth and justice fail?

      I count your God one among the unjust , who made a world in which to shelter wrong."

       

      It is a strawman argument you have here, since I did not argue that a Creator exists because many people believe He does. In any case, to argue this way would be just as fallacious since majority does not determine truth.

      Was there a time when EVERYONE believed in a flat earth? The answer is no, and you are so guilty of perpetuating the flat earth myth here. A real shame, really. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

      You defined faith as simply holding on to a belief when reason, logic and the evidence says otherwise. This definition finds no home in Christianity so I shall not comment further because it is merely your own strawman definition.

      Why do so many people believe there is a Creator God? Simple answer: because it makes sense! Now that in itself does not prove there is a God, but that it is RATIONAL to believe that there is a God.

      You asked why there is suffering, death, injustice. But do you know that all these only makes sense if God exists? If there is no God, you have no basis to even ask such moral questions. Atheism is IMPOTENT to give a response. The Christian has the answer, the question is, does the atheist have the intellectual integrity, honesty and openness to really listen to the answer?

       

    • Originally posted by alize:

      4. I don't see how you keep saying that pure atheists are without morals because only God can provide them. Are not living peacibly, freely and with the right to do things short of interfering with the rights of others, secular concepts that we can well adopt without God's help? This is your most indefensible argument.

      Empirically, in the middle ages there were fewer atheists in the world, in absolute and percentage terms, but it was a rougher and crueler place with no respect for rights. In fact the Church was a big oppressor that maintained its place through very rough ways. Being an atheist or even a questioning believer was a very brave thing back then.

      6. Chemical processes on their own do not give us concepts and shared values. They only provide the ability to discern them.

      They would be of no value if we each lived in the world in solitude. However, in this world, they provide us the ability to comprehend the order of our civilisation.

      Please understand that I am not saying that atheists have no morals. This is a common mistake that atheist make when they encounter our argument. It's a knee-jerk reaction along the lines of "How dare you say I have no morals! I am morally better than that Christian jerk who just stole something from the CD shop!"

      Please read carefully what I wrote. I am saying that the atheist have NO BASIS for objective moral values. Can you explain what is the source of your moral values? Your parents? What the government says? What society at large says? Or is it the evolutionary survival of the fittest ethics?

      If your gripe is with the inquisition then you have to take it up with the Roman Catholics. But most people would agree that no where in the Bible did it sanction the use of force against those who choose not to believe, or to compel people into belief.

      You said chemicals provide you with the ability to discern values? How do you know that? That same chemicals tell you that? See the conundrum you are in?

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