Examining Relevance

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Casper-Rigsby's picture
Examining Relevance

I am an apatheistic atheist, meaning that my position is that the idea of God is entirely irrelevant to the lives of humanity.

The purpose of this post is specifically to give anyone who would like to do so a chance to offer proof of the relevance of God. Please note, this IS NOT a debate over the EXISTENCE of God or not. This is specifically about RELEVANCE. As always, I expect REAL verifiable and provable examples of something God has done for them that could not have happened without the belief in God. If your God is real, this should be a walk in the park. Tell me how God personally gave you a home for free. Or how when you were falling off a tall building, God swooped in and saved you from dying. Good luck theists, and as you're trying to think this one through and keep drawing a blank... maybe ask yourself what the hell you're doing worshiping something which offers you NOTHING in return and is content with letting you do well or suffer all on your own merits.

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PsychoSarah's picture
God is a sort of muse to me.

God is a sort of muse to me. Even though I am atheist, I like to sometimes pass the time imagining god as I would were I writing a novel, thinking over what I would imagine god to look like, or the nature of such a beings personality.

PsychoSarah's picture
I don't use god in the way a

I don't use god in the way a theist would, but as a writer would. It makes for an interesting character basis. I have considered writing a story that would put god as the bad guy, but then remembered I don't want to be murdered.

PsychoSarah's picture
That is how god can be

That is how god can be relevant without even believing in it. And that goes beyond the hope, companionship, community, and protection from the fear of death that theists get out of their belief. God doesn't have to be real to make an impact, which is true of many ideas.

mattyn's picture
Very true! God makes an very

Very true! God makes an very big impact on many people's lives even though there is no way they can prove his or her existence. Faith is a very strong emotion.

Rob's picture
I think god is best described

I think god is best described as a powerful force that creates but is in no way concerned for what occurrs with the creations it makes.

PsychoSarah's picture
That did not really address

That did not really address the topic, but ok...

mattyn's picture
What Rob is saying actually

What Rob is saying actually points towards Casper's first sentence about God being irrelevant to the lives of mankind. He created us and them left us on our own in am manner of speaking.

Shock of God's picture
The relevance of God in our

The relevance of God in our lives is that without Him, objective moral values and duties would not exist and, therefore, there would be no foundation for "good" and "evil". Anything you want could be deemed "good", including murder. But the man who thinks murder is a good thing is no more confused than the man who claims that 2+2=5. Without God, there is no foundation for us to use to distinguish between what ought to be good and what ought to be evil. Some would disagree. They would claim that evolution has given us morals. But the thing is, evolution tells us what is socially unacceptable, not what is morally wrong. For instance, it is socially unacceptable to eat pork in Muslim countries, but this doesn't make it morally wrong. It is socially unacceptable to practice homosexuality in some parts of the world, but this does not make it morally wrong.
The second reason for the relevance of God in our lives is purpose. If there is purpose, then there must be a "purposer", somebody who gives it purpose. Everybody wakes up in the morning, but what drives you to get out of bed? Purpose. And what is this purpose? From the atheistic standpoint, there is no ultimate purpose to the Universe or to life. We are merely the accident of mindless, unguided processes. We will all eventually die and everything we've accomplished will be forgotten, and this shows us that there is no ultimate purpose to the Universe and to life.

Spewer's picture
"Without God, there is no

"Without God, there is no foundation for us to use to distinguish between what ought to be good and what ought to be evil."

Unless a god is agreed upon by all humans, it doesn't matter if one god or another lays out a "foundation." You will simply have as many foundations as you have people who can't agree on a god, and you haven't gained a thing.

Shock of God's picture
At least there is a

At least there is a foundation of some sort. From the atheistic standpoint, there is no foundation and, therefore, nothing can be really "good" or really "evil".

SammyShazaam's picture
That's entirely untrue. We

That's entirely untrue. We have empathy hardwired into our brain, as a loop between the amygdala and Broca's area 4 and 6.

Mutations of this loop are found in those on the autism spectrum, sociopaths, and probably a couple of other disorders I don't have on the top of my head right now.

But, basic morality such as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and fairness among a group are hardwired into primates (and most mammals), as well as other instinctual things like seeking social status and friend/foe identification.

Shock of God's picture
Genetics does not tell us

Genetics does not tell us that murder is wrong. Every other mammal species kills to survive... but humans. What makes us so different?
Genetics does not tell us that rape is wrong. The species which use forced reproduction are replete across this planet.
Genetics does not tell us that stealing is wrong. Taking what is necessary for survival is something recognized by practically all species on this planet. How can stealing be wrong? We were hard-wired to be selfish creatures, to worry about our own existence, which calls into question the origin of human emotions, which I am more inclined to believe came from genes than morality. Psychology tells us that all humans have a basic natural urge to be selfish, though we do not always act upon this urge. Sometimes emotions can inhibit this urge, which, as I said above, calls into question the origin of emotions. I, personally (keyword here), believe that emotions are not grounded in genetics, or at least not entirely. I have personal and scientific reasons for believing this.

If morality came from our genetics then it is still not *really wrong* to murder, it is simply not necessarily beneficial to survival... the survival of the one being killed. But, me murdering somebody shouldn't be wrong on this viewpoint, because what if they were a threat to my survival? What makes me taking their life so wrong in the first place? I mean, its the circle of life. Eat or be eaten, kill or be killed.

SammyShazaam's picture
Humans murder all the time.

Humans murder all the time. And, we kill indiscriminately, even though we now have systems that remove most of the actual slaughter from our hands, we still, on the whole, kill daily and to excess. Killing does necessarily negate compassion or empathy, in humans or non human mammals (except cats, those things are heartless, but necessity breeds certain adaptations, I suppose). For instance, a dog will kill an enemy, yet at the same time raise the abandoned offspring.

People are equally as conflicted. If you think humans don't kill to survive, go and eat your burger like a hypocrite and take that disgusting nonsense elsewhere. Before anyone gets some superiority complex thinking that they're awesomely vegan or something, let's remember that plants have feelings (and ecological function) too. And, with all the wars going on, anyone who thinks humans regard killing as fundamentally wrong obviously has quite a bitter pill to swallow.

It may be wrong for *you* to kill based on the context in which society has placed specifically you, but anyone who does not have their head completely up their ass knows that this is highly contextual. I have a religious neighbor who is a Navy Seal. How he got his head around that is so weird, but I know it posed a lot of problems to his faith - as it should. But how many believers pick up a gun and mow down civies with no qualms? So many. Even after the 10 commandments were freshly issued, the Jews fought wars and bragged about the numbers of those slaughtered all the way through Isaiah. It's disgusting - I don't mind murder, but I hate hypocrisy.

Due to our social structure, and the genetically encoding handling of such, rape is not advantageous within a social group due to several phenomena such as our system of sharing resources, the respect of natural selection, and last but not least, one of the unattractive behavioral traits primates share with cats and rodents - tendency towards infanticide (though primates are thought to do so because of the unusually long time it takes to raise primate young, which appears to be a unique consideration). Of course, these things are true *within* a social group. Watch how things differ in war situations, where people are in contact with other social groups. And, watch how animals' social group structures influence this behavior. Monkeys are an interesting example.

Stealing is regarded as wrong by the brain, in so far as "wrong" actions trigger a release of acetylcholine in the CNS when we're acting in a way that we know is wrong. This triggers a physiological stress response, that is not reversed (no acetycholinesterase is released) simply because we got away with it. Essentially we're punishing ourselves, though it's highly doubtful that the brain is putting that much though into it, ironic as *that* may be. Moreso than that, and back on a behavioral level, revenge and the fear of it are biologically necessitated and precipitated, so angering people , especially those that your brain has filed away in the friend zone, is a bad thing on many levels. As the concept of *ownership* is a very recent development on the evolutionary scale, the concept of stealing another person's property obviously came later, and these abstract processes are not concretely identified.

I could show you so many papers, but really in this day and age Google Scholar probably matches Harvard's library.

Yeah, I visited the animal lab today :) They're doing theory of mind experiments on love birds, I love those little flying dinosaurs!

Zaphod's picture
this comment of your in

this comment of your in particular makes me worry you may grow up to be psychopath for 3 reasons.

1: You think that without God there would be no morals!

2:You demonstrate total lack of consideration or understanding of others and I don't even think you know how you do so.

3: You think without God we would have no purpose. So in effect without your god you would feel like you have no purpose.

PsychoSarah's picture
Are you suggesting that

Are you suggesting that without the threat of hell, an individual is incapable of being a good person? What of those who used religion to justify evil deeds?

Shock of God's picture
The idea of Hell is not

The idea of Hell is not consistent with the concept of God, so I would disregard that part of your question and claim that nobody is threatened with Hell, nor should fear it, because you're not going there.
God does not tell us what our purpose is, but without him there can be no purpose. He wants us to find our own purpose in life, but without Him, there can be no purpose in the first place. Without God, the Universe is here by so random event, and nothing we do matters because we will all die out and the Earth destroyed by the Sun.
Those who use religion to justify evil deeds are misinterpreting their religion, or being selfish and using to to gain or accomplish whatever they want. This is what Hitler did. He used the church to rise to power, then planned to instill his own Pagan-based, Nazi-like religion which was extremely violent.

Hamlet's picture
Why, how is 'god' a 'him'?

Why, how is 'god' a 'him'? From where comes the gender and why is there a gender to god?

The Earth is destined to be incinerated by the expanding sun. That is much closer to fact than the existence of a god. I don't believe that humans will still exist when that happens.

PsychoSarah's picture
And are we truly incapable of

And are we truly incapable of finding purpose in our lives without being told what it is?

PsychoSarah's picture
So, why could it not be that

So, why could it not be that nothing matters? There is no reason we have to matter other than it makes us feel better. The universe and it's entire existence can be completely purposeless, there is nothing to suggest this is impossible. It may seem depressing at first, but we should accept it and make the most of the lives we have, and have purpose in that, even if ultimately we do not matter.

Shock of God's picture
If nothing matters, then why

If nothing matters, then why get out of bed in the morning? Why not go out and slaughter millions of innocent children? I mean, if it doesn't matter, it does't matter...

Zaphod's picture
Because its wrong to and you

Because its wrong to and you don't need a god or religion to tell you that!

PsychoSarah's picture
Also, last time I checked,

Also, last time I checked, Hitler wasn't a pagan, just evil. Lots of religious people try to say that evil people such as Hitler were not "true" Christians, that they were really nonbelievers, etc. so far such claims have no support in history; the devout are not immune to evil.

Shock of God's picture
There is a lot of historical

There is a lot of historical evidence that Hitler was not a Christian. He used the church to rise to power, and I never claimed he was a Pagan. He wanted to instill a Pagan-like religion based around his Naziism (probably not a word, but I wanted to use it anyway).

SammyShazaam's picture
There was no religion of the

There was no religion of the Nazi regime. What you're most likely being confused by is his celebration of German heritage and folklore, which included an understanding of their pagan past. But he was adamantly not a believer.

PsychoSarah's picture
Show me an unbiased source

Show me an unbiased source that says he wasn't (cannot be affiliated with any religious group). Interviews with relatives, etc.

Shock of God's picture
Read the article I have

Read the article I have provided below from wikipedia.com. "In adulthood, Hitler became disdainful of Christianity, but in seeking out and in trying to retain power in Germany, he was prepared to delay clashes with the churches out of political considerations." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

PsychoSarah's picture
And shock of god, who needs

And shock of god, who needs god to love? Who needs god for happiness? Can you not be satisfied with the glory of life as it is? It must be restrained by some purpose by a god? Isn't it better that we can choose for ourselves?

Shock of God's picture
I am not claiming that you

I am not claiming that you need God to love or to be happy, but rather that without God, these things are pointless and don't really matter, because we will all die and the Earth destroyed by the Sun. God wanted us to choose for ourselves, that is why He granted us free will.

PsychoSarah's picture
As depressing as it is, it

As depressing as it is, it doesn't make it not so. You cannot discard an idea just because you don't like it. We could have no purpose. We could simply end when we die. Some nights I lay awake in despair about that, but dislike does not disprove.

Shock of God's picture
We could have no purpose, but

We could have no purpose, but that would suggest that God does not exist. I don't know whether God really exists, but I believe He does. Therefore, I believe the Universe has a purpose. Can I say what the purpose is? No. Why? Because I'm not God.


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