I'm a Christian, with questions!
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How much energy does it take to make a raft of claims, and sate you think objective evidence is useless? Just before you claim there is evidence for your deity.
One wonders what it is you are basing anything in your view of reality on if it i not evidence? Your rejection of all evidence as "circular reasoning" suggests you have bigger problems here than a delusional belief in archaic superstitions.
"I acknowledge the unfalsifiability of God, because I acknowledge the fallibility of man."
Why does that sound like you're not including your superstition in with the rest of mankind's falibility? Or are you somehow infallible? Let me guess as I may have encountered this line in apologetics before, you deny evidence and don't need it as you are fallible and all humans are so evidence is useless, but since a perfect deity has shown you it exists you don't need evidence anyway?
Was I close?
And this post illustrates the evil of religion. It stunts emotional and intellectual growth, self-confidence, and independence. Instead, followers have to bow down to the concept that we are pitiful and incompetent organisms who must have a hand on the tiller or we all go bust.
Yet, man has been to the moon, is exploring deep space, and the sciences are advancing at a very pleasurable rate.
@Evan G Wilson, "Agnostics are half atheist."
I have to disagree. According to your faith "Revelation 3:16, But since you are lukewarm and not hot or cold, I'm going to spit you out of my mouth. New American Standard 1977"
In addition, Salvation comes to all those who 'BELIEVE'. John 3:16. Think about it. The agnostic goes before God and says "I don't know." What do you imagine your God is going to do? Agnostics are atheists. You can not "BELIEVE" in a god and not know if he is there at the same time. Not according to your faith. Do you think your God will not know the difference between a true believer and someone faking it? (Pascal's Wager - enters here.)
Never much liked Pascal's wager as an argument. St. Paul sez, "For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. 1 Cor 15:16-19
Let put the "half-atheist" thing this way, because at this point I think we are having an argument over semantics. All I meant by it is that some people don't want to get into an argument so they say, "I don't know. Can anyone really know? Who are we to say what we know?" and then they try to leave it alone. The only problem is that belief in God includes a judgment of the ignorant. If that fact doesn't scare them enough to find out once for all whether or God exists then they really are a "functional atheist" who wants to be left alone. All I am saying is that I don't want to talk to these kinds of people because they want sign their name to anything.
As to the recurring argument that came up immediately in this thread: I also never was comfortable agreeing that atheists don't claim to believe in anything. This is a word game. The atheist begs the question, because the assumption of the claim is that atheism is the simplified occam's razor explanation and is the default view for the cosmos. For Christians it is the exact opposite, since we agree with St. Paul when he says in Romans 1:19, "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
What do we know, what don't we know? I'm sorry, word games like that reek of evasion.
We can each begin by listing what we know for sure. The sun rises every day. I drop a pencil, it falls in the same direction and at the same rate of acceleration as always. The interest on my mortgage is x%.
There is a lot we know, and a lot remaining to be learned. But when it comes to religion, all of it falls into the category of "we cannot prove it".
And please, quotes from the bible carry zero weight. I may as well offer up "When she travels, Freyja drives a chariot drawn by two cats. She is easily approachable for people who want to pray to her.... She delights in love songs, and it is good to call on her in matters of love."
Does that quote make any sense? Of course not, just like a quote from the bible.
"belief in God includes a judgment of the ignorant. I"
You mean it claims to include this, but then it would wouldn't it. Unless you can properly evidence the claim why should I care? Most religions make threats, and have been happy to lend their deity a helping hand in carrying them out in the here and know.
What kind of deity hides from me then tortures me for not seeing through its deception? If it were real I'd still not worship such a being. Luckily There is no real evidence it's real, and I'm still waiting for you to offer anything approaching objective evidence for it or any of your claims.
Having glanced through this thread up to this point, I would like to ask you for your questions! The word "atheist" means different things to different people. I use "atheist" to refer to someone who consciously rejects all god-claims. Rejection may be for positive reasons, which carry a burden of proof, or because the god ideas appear to lack any credibility (as in Bertrand Russell's orbiting tea cup). Rejection could also be on the basis of having the better argument. A strong proof, in that case, may be wholly absent if one argument is not totally overwhelming. However, showing that good reasoning favors one's position is not to be taken lightly. The rational mind would have to accept that conclusion as the "best bet" based on present evidence. Finally, an atheist may reject god-belief for no particular reason at all. No burden of proof is entailed there.
Evan G Wilson,
"since we agree with St. Paul when he says in Romans 1:19, "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Why do you believe in Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews and the God of the armies, when the people who supposedly saw his miracles didn't believe in him? And as for Yeshua, his own family including his mother thought that he was nuts and she had supposedly gotten the skinny straight from the Holy Ghost.
Are you saying that you aren't smart enough to answer the questions in Job chapters 38 & 39?
@Stone Jade While I think Sheldon did a fine job explaining I would like to insert this.
If you tell me that the number of blades of grass on the planet is even (God exists) and I tell you "I don't believe you." I am not asserting that the number of blades of grass on the planet is odd. I am only asserting that I do not believe your assertion.
To convince me that the number of blades of grass on the planet are even, you must show me the evidence you have to prove your assertion. To convince me that your version of God is real you must also show me the evidence. Not believing your assertion is not the same as saying your god does not exist.
God is a non-falsifiable claim. It can neither be proved or disproved. The person making the claim has the burden of proof. A Christian claiming God exists must prove his position. An atheist asserting a God does not exist must prove his position. An atheist simply asserting that the Christian has not met the burden of proof is simply asserting the null-hypothesis. There is no reason to believe until sufficient evidence has been produced to justify that belief.
Thanks for this. This was a helpful illustration. It makes sense to me that many of the atheists here (including myself) are what CyberLN called "agnostic atheists." We can see that its impossible to falsify the claim that god exists. But I'm wondering how useful that description is outside of debate and on the ground in our actual lives. I'm guessing that many of us actually believe that no gods exist, even though we know that it's impossible to prove that. Or am I wrong in that?
While I get the grass example, it's limited since the claim that there is a god is not a 50/50 chance sort of thing where I am simply saying "there's no way you could know one way or the other." It is a specific claim for which it seems there should be lots of evidence, but for which there is none. So while I cannot disprove that gods exist, the possibility that gods exist and there is absolutely no evidence of it seems so incredibly unlikely that I effectively do not believe they exist. The same goes for unicorns.
Thoughts on this?
Well, that depends on what comes with the god-claim. If it's an inerrant Bible, supposedly written by God himself, then we have the strongest possible grounds for testing the claim! That god is clearly falsifiable by any reasonable standard. You are perfectly correct, of course, in those cases where God is separated from any kind of evidence. A claim that can't ever be tested (non-falsifiable) is worthless! It's akin to the Giant Green Spider of Jupiter who survives by magic. No beef, no reason for belief!
@CyberLN "Term for someone asserting God does not exist."
The term is "Anti-theist" Anti - against Theism - belief in gods. The "anti-theist" is also known as "strong-atheist." Atheists seem to have a preference regarding terms. Many do not like the "anti-theist" label. I love it and wear it proudly if I am debating the non-existence of God or gods. I do not like the "strong-atheist" label. To me it just misses the point. I am a strong atheist regardless of the position I adopt.
Most atheists seem to fluctuate between Anti-theism and Atheism depending on the conversation. It is really important that you know and understand the position you are taking in any conversation. The anti-theist position is adopting a burden of proof and so you had better be up on your bible verses and apologetic to adopt it, less the religious run right over you. It is an un-falsifiable position. At the same time we have 10,000 years of debunked gods and no evidence that can withstand critical inquiry for the current versions. It is a logical position to take, but it does take a "Leap of Logic" to get there.
“CyberLN "Term for someone asserting God does not exist."
The term is "Anti-theist”
That’s IYO, Cognostic, orthat May be how you would use it. Not everyone uses it that way. Not everyone has to.
@Stone Jade: "If that fact doesn't scare them enough to find out once for all whether or God exists then they really are a "functional atheist" who wants to be left alone."
And this IS Pascal's Wager. You are using it while asserting that you do not like it. "If you don't believe, hell awaits. Choose to believe." I fully agree with you, this version of the Agnostic is a functional atheist.
I want to assert that any AGNOSTIC, is a functional atheist, even if they accept Jesus into their heart. As long as they profess that they do not know, they are actually believing in nothing. Or they are believing just in case hell is real so they can get to heaven. In short, if your version of God is real, they will be sorted out for their pretense at belief on judgment day. Agnostics are functional atheists. You can not tell god "I don't know." That is a functional atheist.
If I agree to your interview can I use racy language? Are they late teen or young adults?
The entrance requirements to get past the pearly gate has been changed to reflect modern times. Now, you must lay down a killer rap.
@ David Killens
I had a better chance before. Are you sure some wicked air guitar would not suffice?
@Dave & NewSkeptic Re: Rap and air guitar
Aw crap. I'm screwed either way. Do you think lip syncing to Beethoven would work? And instead of air guitar, maybe air bagpipes? My musical skill sets are limited, to say the least. Hey! Maybe I could juggle kittens.
As long as it's Van Halen. God loves Van Halen.
@David Re: "As long as it's Van Halen. God loves Van Halen."
Wonder how "Panama" would sound with bagpipes? Hmmm.... *scratching chin* Oh, and what type of kittens should I juggle?
Re: what type of kittens should I juggle?
Short hairs. Do not attempt long hairs, you'll miss. PUT THE PERSIANS DOWN, TIN MAN! AND GET AWAY FROM THE RAGDOLLS! NOW! DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE!
@ TM & Sushi
God help you if you try to juggle siamese, they will never forgive you, and hunt you to death. Did you not see the original Lady and the Tramp or "that Darn Cat"?
late late teen but we prefer minimal language. it is a school assignment after all.
Well, if I were to be interviewed I prefer not cushioning my language. When it comes to discussing fornication I prefer another word beginning with the letter F! The Bible is very concerned with fornication and so are most atheists! I would want to be as blunt as possible.
That is fine and dandy isobel. But in here, you are in the company of adults.
i am aware. thats why i said preferably. mature adults can have self control though
This guy sounds like a Presuppositionalist. Get ready to run around in circles. He is going to tell you that you can't know anything without God. The interview will not be worth it. How do you know that. You can't know anything without God. bla bla bla....
i promise we do not want to do that. we ask questions and sometimes ask for clarification, but even if we have a debate style question like that, we will refrain because it defeats the purpose of our interview
edit: i mean in the interviews, not in the thread
I'm inclined to agree, I think you have him precisely, and I get the same impression. His verbiage about evidence being no more than circular reason had alarm bells ringing straight away, it is obvious where he's heading from there..
@Stone Jade: Lack of belief in god would be like not believing that unicorns exist? But saying "No gods exist" would be like claiming that absolutely no unicorns exist (which I couldn't be certain of)?
One way to look at it is to consider how many people need to search for gods and for how long before we can conclude that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. People have been searching for the Loch Ness Monster for centuries, but all they've found is fake photos and tall stories. So that legend is pretty much dead in the water. The search for gods has gone on much longer and on a much wider scale without finding anything at all. All we have is fables and fakery. For me, absence of evidence over such a long period is evidence of absence. That's why I affirm that there are no gods.