Why don’t some atheists acknowledge Gods existence is reasonable?

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Benjboi's picture
Can I ask you why the

Can I ask you why the hostility? I have not come here seeking to force an opinion if anything I enjoy having my beliefs challenged but in the course of civil debate you construct and rebut, both sides have a burden of proof on them it's just the nature of what it means to debate. I understand that if you think I'm some sort of Catholic, Christian, Islamist nutjob you might think I'm demanding you prove your position and this must seem like an insult, after all, you guys are in the entirely logical belief camp that says there is no God. I have no evidence to support my belief in something more (I'm loathed to use the word God because it seems so emotive around here) and I don't seek to convince you. You'll note that in none of my comments have I nailed my flag to a mast one way or the other, I don't quote scripture because quite frankly I couldn't, even if I wanted to. So why am I deserving of your ire?

I am simply saying that to insist on irrefutable proof from one side of the discussion whilst not holding yourself to the same thresholds is not a debate and secondly the existence or none existence of a God is impossible to prove which kind of makes the discussion of it no more than an expression of personal opinion which therefore bears no more right to respect than someone stating their shoe size.

Is also argue that your comments about santa and unicorns is a far more childish argument than anything I've said this far.

I don't think anything I've said here is particularly controversial or deserving of hostility.

Believerbot's picture
@Benjboi. In a hypotethical

@Benjboi. In a hypothetical scenario (unfair to atheists as some of us, @Mykcob included, have tried to explain to you before); anyways, let's say the burden of proof was on us all... Where is He to be found?

- He's capable to decode our brain impulses when we send Him private messages, marked them as urgent if they're in form or prayers and answer to us on real time, while he's having other billions of conversations at the same time. Yet not a single piece of evidence in brainscanners, machines capable of distinguishing complex emotions (love, hate, sex desire, long-term love, etc.)

- He interferes in events on daily life -such saving one white child in South Dakota in a car accident, while ignoring the dozens of black children dying of hunger in Africa at the same exact minute; and to create all living beings, yet we can even grasp a single track of evidence of this supposedly superpowerful, Swiss-army-knife (several uses at the same time) energy in an era we've created a neutrine detector...

So which reliable tests should we run to confirm this entity is real?

AJ777's picture
Wouldn’t a good standard be

Wouldn’t a good standard be that which is used in a court of law? Beyond a reasonable doubt. A good philosophy 101 class will teach you why you can’t prove anything is true, including whether or not you exist. We can examine evidence in order to come to a verdict.

Keith Raye's picture
If your philosophy teacher

If your philosophy teacher has taught you that "you can't prove anything is true" he has no business being a teacher because that statement is an outright lie. Conversely, if that statement were true it would mean that you can't prove the existence of your god. What this reasoning of yours shows is that you lack the ability to separate truth from untruth, in which case there is no point whatsoever in debating anything with you.

AJ777's picture
Ok

Ok

Benjboi's picture
Totally agree about the

Totally agree about the innate potential for evil, the second you place yourself at a position that is at odds with another group and you close yourself off from all other possibilities you create that potential. The same could be said for sports fans. Religion is just better at polarising the weak but then they should be, they've had enough practice at it.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on the subject of proof. I believe that if you engage in discussion that you automatically have a burden of proof if you want to have a conclusion to the debate. I believe in nothing has no more right to be respected than I believe in something without offering some defence of your position. As I said before if you genuinely have no desire to influence or debate it then I suppose it's fine.

Algebe, believe me I'm far more on your side than you might think. Whilst not a committed atheist I am totally anti religion, some of the most horrifying things both now and in the past have been done in the name of religion and they deserve every ounce of scrutiny and ridicule they get. I can also understand how frustrating it must be to have evangelical zealots hijacking your forums in an effort to convince you that you're going to burn in hell fire. Part of the reason I'm here is that I love a good debate,
sadly the art of respectful construction and rebuttal has been lost, especially with the keyboard warriors in most corners of the Internet, so again I share your pain. Whilst I haven't experienced the ire of the religious community yet, I have had my fair share of idiots painting opinion as fact and then resorting to ugly language and slur when you attempt to engage in civil discourse.

Sorry just realised you'd been autocorrected to algebra on my last post, the irony of my phone autocorrecting you to perhaps the most logical branch of the sciences is not lost on me ha ha.

Algebe's picture
Benboi: "Sorry just realised

Benboi: "Sorry just realised you'd been autocorrected to algebra"

I was about to think up an insulting mispelling of your online name, but then I thought "Algebra" is probably a compliment, so no harm done.

For me, and I think for many others here, atheism is not a belief. It's a loss of belief or lack of belief in the supernatural. Many argue also that atheism is the default state of humans, and that religion is a learned behavior. The fact that a person's religion is generally determined by where they're born adds weight to that view. Does someone walking around with a religious monkey on his back have the right to demand an explanation from me as to why I have no monkey on my back?

And of course, the Christian god is only one of an infinite number of things that may or may not exist. An atheist is someone who hasn't seen any convincing eividence to support the god hypothesis ahead of all the other possibilities, such as Santa Claus, Odin, and Amaterasu. So if you ask me to prove atheism, I'm faced with the impossible task of disproving an infinite number of possibilities.

Benjboi's picture
The algebra comment was meant

The algebra comment was meant as a compliment.

Of course religion is a learned state, how could it not be? In the absence of an outside stimuli a child would grow up blissfully unaware of religion. Now that's not to say that the same child won't grow up interpreting what it sees in a mythical context, it probably will in the same way that the Egyptian worshiped ra and out of those ashes the seeds of Judaism formed but to say that a child might grow up Christian without being exposed to Christian influence is patent nonsense.

No one has the right to insist you prove something, if they do you've every right to tell them to f*ck off (apologies for the language) but if you then choose to engage then proof is an expectation.

If you actively engage someone you have a burden of proof (in an unwinnable argument I hasten to add) its just a simple fact of engaging in discourse.

Personally I think you're over exaggerating the issue by saying that you've got to disprove 1000 other positions, actually you haven't. If you want to deconstruct religion you have but if you want to prove your belief is right in the discussion then you simply need to disprove God, based on our current knowledge you might as well say you want to plait water.

I suppose what I'm saying in the most garbled of terms is it's an impossible argument, the existence of God cannot be sufficiently disproven nor can it be proven. So it's the single most pointless argument that could be engaged in. Deconstructing religion however, what a delightfully rich bag of atrocious ideas to attack and that is an argument where there's so much evidence you're almost spoilt for choice.

Keith Raye's picture
@Algebra

@Algebra

Are you quadratic or simultaneous?

Algebe's picture
@Keith "Are you quadratic or

@Keith "Are you quadratic or simultaneous?"

Definitely radical.

CyberLN's picture
Benjboi, I think I might

Benjboi, I think I might agree with you if I am correct it n my understanding of what you are saying. Let's find out...
Person A says X is true. Person A has made an assertion and therefore has the burden of proof. So, if a theist says there is a god, they should back it up with proof. If an atheist says there is no god they are equally responsible to demonstrate that.
Person A says X is true. Person B says they don't accept that. Person B has NOT made an assertion. They have simply said they do not accept that X is true. This is the important piece - person B has NOT said X is false, they have said only that they to not accept that it is true. Therefore the onus for producing proof is on person A but not on person B since person B has made no assertion.
Do you agree?

AJ777's picture
Due to the law of non

Due to the law of non contradiction, there are only two possibilities. Either god exists or does not exist. An agnostic or position of ignorance on the existence of god does not need to show a burden of proof. Belief and non belief in god do.

CyberLN's picture
AJ777, I absolutely agree

AJ777, I absolutely agree that gods either do or do not exist. And you can call me what ever you like. Your use of a word might be different than mine. I do not believe in god(s) or fairies. Additionally, I have no knowledge if any gods exist just as I have no complete knowledge about the non/existence of fairies.

Consider the US courts...a person is found guilty or not guilty. A finding of not guilty does NOT equal innocent. I do not accept (believe) the accertion that gods exist. That does not mean I believe they don't.

I typically identify as an agnostic atheist. But like I said, you can call me what ever you like. It makes no substantive difference to me.

AJ777's picture
Interesting you used the term

Interesting you used the term complete knowledge. I think that’s correct that none of us has complete knowledge on any subject. So none of us can say that it is a fact that God does not exist. However, if a person can know something about God, then that something he knows could be that God exists. So it seems that in order to say you can’t know if god exists one would have to have enough true knowledge about gods existence to know he exists. This is a self refuting position.

David Killens's picture
This post breaks down when we

This post breaks down when we arrive at the word "know". You are presenting it as hard evidence of an individual having something more than their imagination. Having fantasies or delusions is not "knowing".

Aposteriori Unum's picture
Claims have the burden of

Claims have the burden of proof, not beliefs.

Sheldon's picture
Do you generally believe

Do you generally believe things exist when you don't have any knowledge of their existence? You are right that the existence of a deity or deities is either possible or impossible, and that these are logical negations of each other. However if the claim is unfalsifiable we can't know whether it is possible or impossible. So without evidence there's nothing to believe.

Unfalsifiable claims are easy to create and by definition impossible to disprove. It's logically and epistemologically absurd to imply that being unfalsifiable lends validity to a claim.

If someone claimed there was invisible unicorn in front of you that was undetectable in any empirical way do you think the claim should be admitted as 'possible'?

More importantly after you acknowledge you can't know whether it's possible or not, would you believe or disbelieve the claim?

You're attempting to use argumentum ad ignorantiam to reverse or avoid your burden of proof for the claim god exists. It's a logically fallacious assertion. I do nt need to 'know' whether an unevidenced claim is true or not in order to disbelieve it. I'd no more accept such a claim about a deity than an invisible undetectable unicorn.

Sheldon's picture
"Due to the law of non

"Due to the law of non contradiction, there are only two possibilities. Either god exists or does not exist. An agnostic or position of ignorance on the existence of god does not need to show a burden of proof. Belief and non belief in god do."

Not true, the belief that something exists is a claim, not believing something is not the same as claiming it is untrue?

Do believe in garden fairies? If not why not? What if they were invisible and empirically undetectable? If someone claimed they created everything and that they were have a personal relationship with them where they spoke to them what would make you reject that claim? .

Benjboi's picture
Yes absolutely, the former is

Yes absolutely, the former is a debate that latter is not. Either is fine but the mistake I see atheists make is to engage in debate and then refuse to back it up this is not a criticism of their refusal to debate, it is a criticism of them allowing themselves to get drawn into an unwinnable position.

I was pretty frustrated yesterday because on the one hand I can feel the palpable frustration from members of this forum and understand it and on the other I'm standing here shouting 'hey guys don't debate what you cannot prove, it'll just make you look bigoted and aloof'.

It did give me the experience of being on the other side of the fence so to speak and the experience of being treated as an apologist is not all that different from being treated as a heretic by religious zealots. It's a pretty unpleasant place to be.

CyberLN's picture
Agreed, benjboi. I get

Agreed, benjboi. I get terribly frustrated with "do as I say, not as I do" in debate. To throw in another saying...what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I find it inappropriate for either side of a debate to insist on a particular behavior from someone yet not engage in it themselves.

Pitar's picture
I always admit to

I always admit to understanding that the existence of a god is reasonable to a man who wants it to be reasonable. I can't deny that any man who wants to champion such a notion can do so in the manner his imagination and psyche allows.

If I was so persuaded to expunge from my mind all sentient observances recorded in the unbiased historicity of man into antiquity, expunge from my mind the well documented and unapologetic succession of how mankind has unashamedly created god after god throughout his known existence, expunged from my mind the biblical errors one over another throughout its 700,000+ words of plagiarizing or appropriating from known myths and obvious steeping in pagan rituals and conventions, if I could erase such information from my psyche, which is a known ploy in religious memes known as Disassociation (with reality), then I might have a leaning toward embracing a god and one of the known vectors (religious memes) perpetuating its existence. I mean, so many people doing that why should I be different, right?

But, nah. I'll leave that up to reasonable men to rationalize.

AJ777's picture
Pilar, could you elaborate on

Pilar, could you elaborate on the biblical error you referred to? Do you have any evidence that the Christian Bible if that’s what you’re referring to, was fabricated?

Sheldon's picture
"Pilar, could you elaborate

"Pilar, could you elaborate on the biblical error you referred to? Do you have any evidence that the Christian Bible if that’s what you’re referring to, was fabricated?"

Sorry but error and fabrication are not the same. It's also axiomatic that the bible asserts things that are erroneous, and we have amassed scientific evidence to refute some of it's claims that is beyond any reasonable rational doubt. We were not created in our current form, this is quite simply a myth, we evolved as did all life, this is a scientific fact, with overwhelming evidence to support it converging from multiple fields of science.

Nyarlathotep's picture
AJ777 - Protestant Christians

AJ777 - Protestant Christians believe in an unchanging eternal God.

V.S.

AJ777 - ...Jesus death was the beginning of...

Death is a change.

AJ777's picture
Good question, Christians

Good question, Christians believe believe Jesus had a divine nature and a human nature. His divine nature did not change, his human nature did. Jesus added humanity to his divinity, in order to redeem humanity. Jesus loved the world so much that he suffered punishment he did not deserve, so that you and I wouldn’t have to.

Nyarlathotep's picture
AJ777 - Protestant Christians

AJ777 - Protestant Christians believe in an unchanging eternal God.

AJ777 - His divine nature did not change...

V.S.

AJ777 - Jesus added humanity to his divinity...

Surely, adding something is a change.

mykcob4's picture
@AJ777

@AJ777
You can't prove a single word of that!

Sheldon's picture
"Good question, Christians

"Good question, Christians believe believe Jesus had a divine nature and a human nature. His divine nature did not change, his human nature did. Jesus added humanity to his divinity, in order to redeem humanity. Jesus loved the world so much that he suffered punishment he did not deserve, so that you and I wouldn’t have to."

I find the concept of a blood sacrifice for atonement morally unconscionable. Even if it were true and there is now way to evidence this now, I'd want no part of it. Besides which the idea that humans need to atone from the moment of their birth is absurd, A deity that took the form of a ghost to impregnate a woman to give birth to itself in order to torture itself to death, to atone for an offence it took over someone breaking rules it created in the first place and expecting future generations to be grateful and worship it , is not a deity I'd want anything to with. If there was any evidence to support any of it of course, which I don't believe there is..

Benjboi's picture
AJ777 In response to your

AJ777 In response to your challenge to Pitar, well I can demonstrably prove that the great flood did not happen, I can also show through the fossil record that the events of Genesis did not happen, I can show you the contradiction between the vengeful old testament god and the loving new testament god (these are quite clearly not the same being). I could point to the council of Nicea where the nature of god was debated, decided upon and the gospels that supported that narrative chosen and the ones that didn't were cast asunder (this by the way is historical fact, not even the church denies that this didn't happen) and so the bible is simply an interpretation by humans of events. Since it's almost impossible for a human being to report on an event and not position it from their own personal paradigm it is entirely illogical to believe that this is a perfect document.

Take the following - (Matthew 9:18) He asked for help, saying his daughter was already dead. (Luke 8:41-42) Jairus approached Jesus for help, because his daughter was dying.

Now these are both referring to the same event and yet they contradict each other in a fundamental way which means the bible cannot be perfect truth, at best it can be human witness to an event which is in itself to be fundamentally flawed. You may not think that the above extracts are important contradictions and indeed they aren't in the context of the overall narrative but in the context of proving the frailties of the text itself they are extremely important. The bible cannot be perfect and still have this kind of contradiction in it.

Keith Raye's picture
There are other disagreements

There are other disagreements and contradictions that arise from translation, and these have occurred many times in the course of history. ( Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English ) because none of those languages are directly compatible. One that always sticks in my mind is that in the Greek version Mary is referred to as 'a young woman' but the Latin version translated that as 'virgin'. I'm not a biblical scholar but I'm sure there are many other mistranslations.

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