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Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive of course, the first deals with knowledge, and the second with belief. One can know or not know, and one can believe or disbelieve, but these are not mutually exclusive. Disbelief does not require proof or even evidence, belief does. Your transition is bound to have you vacillating a certain amount, that's to be expected from anyone with intellectual integrity. I'm prepared to bet that the more you question things the more your old beliefs will unravel, that was certainly my experience, though it was a long time ago, and I was quite young.
I guess you are right. There’s more unravelling to happen.
"then what harm is the belief in a non-personal, unfathomable, abstract concept like God?"
I wish that was so, because I am a strong advocate of people having the right to have their own personal opinions. But the problem is that beliefs drive decisions, and then actions. It is almost impossible to separate religious beliefs from secular decisions and actions.
For example, do you believe in abortion? I do not need an answer on that, but reach deep down inside your mind and ask yourself whether your opinion on that subject was tainted by religion or belief in a god.
And even then, a belief system that appears to be harmless may carry hidden penalties. For example, even if you believed in a god in a manner you consider harmless to yourself for others, do you extend those beliefs into the concept of an afterlife? Because if you do, then that influences your decisions and the life you live.
For example, "my mother is old and close to her end days. I should visit her frequently, but hey, I will see her in the afterlife".
If you do not believe in a god, fine. If you believe in a god, fine. If your actions are influenced by a belief in a god, I have issue with.
“For example, even if you believed in a god in a manner you consider harmless to yourself for others, do you extend those beliefs into the concept of an afterlife? Because if you do, then that influences your decisions and the life you live.”
I think that once religion is out of the window, then all the myths go with it. So it would be stupid to say that Jesus, Mohammad, Moses and so on were pedaling fantasies from their tribalistic orientations, but somehow this one tale about the hereafter is true. So, I don’t see any religious values tainting your decision even if you allow the chance for a God to be there.
"I think that once religion is out of the window, then all the myths go with it."
I divorced myself from organized religion at around the age of 20, but for the next 40years clung to the concept that there was something supernatural or spiritual out there. And I clung to the hope of an afterlife.
Since your response has raised a few questions, now comes a hard question.
Do you still believe in an afterlife?
That’s a good question. Do I believe in afterlife? Your question just made me realize that I haven’t fully rejected it. While all the fanciful descriptions of heaven and hell I have rejected, I faintly entertain the idea of some kind of justice being served for the bad guys.
I am guessing this will be a difficult concept for you to release, as the idea there is no objective justice in the world or universe is not an easy one to surrender. I have an atheist for almost my entire adult life, and I still sometimes find the idea of injustice going unpunished difficult to accept, but I have to admit that I have no objective reason to think injustices will be righted after we die, and of course the concept of justice is an entirely subjective one anyway, monotheism claims after all that a lifetime of being a decent good person can count for naught, but that even Hitler or Stalin could enter an eternity of bliss with an act of genuine contrition, belief and surrender before they died. So I find the idea of an afterlife to be something of a double edged sword.
No of course I don’t accept the idea of hell and heaven where your membership is firstly based on your belief ... but as you said I find the idea where people like hitler go unpunished hard to accept. Would it lead to nihilism?
@ROYISM: This leads to Nihilism, that leads to Nihilism. Everything leads to Nihilism if you don't give a shit about it. You are worried about an imaginary future that is completely beyond your ability to evidence. YOU ARE HERE. YOU ARE NOW. What will make you a nihilist? There is no heaven, no hell, no life after death, no punishment for the wiled. How does that change the taste of a well cooked hamburger? Do you love your friends less? Will you be late to work because of it? How much will the realm of the completely imaginary affect your day today?
I tend to look at life from a Buddhist perspective but without all the reincarnation and afterlife bullshit. Life is a process not a thing. I imagine a candle flame simply burning to the end of the candle and then going out. It provides warmth and light to the world for a while and then it returns to the atomic state from which it came. Anything said beyond that is just imagination. We imagine to make ourselves feel better and to pretend we know what is beyond our ability to know.
" I faintly entertain the idea of some kind of justice being served for the bad guys."
Yeah, I've always been peeved by the idea that arseholes get away with it, often completely.
. By that I mean that for every Harvey Weinstein or Ted Bundy who gets caught, there are probably many, many more who do not.
--in terms of the abuse of children and women, I'm convinced that world wide the number is millions. Men can be real cunts.
That leaves me faced with the reality of an indifferent world and universe.
Perspective: No religion of which I'm aware has ever been able to explain the existence of suffering and of evil in any way which survives scrutiny.
IMO ,In reality there are no universal senses of should, of justice or of goodness. Nor does any country of which I'm aware have a justice system. Countries have legal systems. From time to time justice is served by happy accident--this at best , in democratic countries.
For the problem of god and evil, I like to quote Epicurus. Apologies if you've heard it before :
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
I'm pleased for you that you have made such a difficult decision. Atheists can be treated harshly in most Muslim countries. So I urge you to take care over who you tell about your atheism.
Rejecting ones's religious beliefs is not like turning off a light. You may remain a 'cultural Muslim 'for the rest of your life. I'm a cultural Catholic , having left the church over 50 years ago.
What the hell does that mean? For me it means I have rejected both the church and the notion of a god intellectually, and I live my daily life as if there is no god. However, emotionally there are remnants. My Catholic conscience often kicks in, and emotion usually trumps thought. It's annoying.
"That leaves me faced with the reality of an indifferent world and universe."
It is, sadly. We are minuscule specks of lint on a planet attached to a star that is part of a galaxy with over a hundred billion stars. There are over a hundred billion galaxies, and there is the possibility this known universe may be a teeny part of a much larger cosmos.
In the natural world, almost every animal dies a horrible death. Even powerful predators age and weaken, to succumb to hyenas or lesser predators. That is reality and all we can do is try to enjoy our brief moment in time.
You’ve “wrapped your mind around a lot” - this will eventually “sink in”... I call them “light bulb” moments. When it’s like “aahhhh, I get it”. The kids do it all the time with math or what ever.
Anyhow, can I get a quick thought from you on this (just from your prospective). I’m in a discussion with another poster and I had wrote that the Koran is viewed as inerrant. The foretold “Comforter”...he believes the whole bible is inerrant only and I said a Jewish person of faith holds the same as the Christian, foretold “Messiah”. Simple terms, how did you prove to yourself the Koran was in error - I want to get him to do the same... you know “what helped you make it click”...
At the outset, let me tell you that it would be very very difficult to make a believing Muslim see that Quran has errors, because I had been reading it for over 25 years (as in studying it carefully) and I never once saw it, rather I was reading into it all kinds of scientific facts and miracles which were non existent.
But here is how I reasoned it out at my moment of epiphany.
The Quran basically throws 2 kinds of challenges to its readers regarding its divinity. 1. It dares its detractors to produce a chapter like it, matching its linguistic eloquence. Now, that’s such a subjective thing to judge that scholars throughout the ages have been giving vastly different interpretation of what that challenge actually means. ON that count, that challenge is meaningless.
The second challenge is this. It says that “Had this Quran been authored by anyone other than God, then there would be many contradictions in it. As is obvious, to write a book without contradictions does not call for divine powers – all you need is an average IQ. However, the author of Quran took 23 long years to write it – and most importantly – with several revisions where whole verses and chapters were removed and replaced. Therefore, asking to spot a contradiction in a text with so many revised drafts doesn’t not show its author in great light.
But it doesn’t’ end there – in spite of all this, there are still many contradictions in it. But they come up with all kinds of hermeneutic gymnastics in order to tide over the contradictions. Here is one: Quran says in 5:47 “Let the People of the Gospel (Injeel) judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein." Now, this is a verse where Allah is asking Christians to follow their bible. If you follow the bible, you will have to accept the divinity of Christ and so forth. However, at other places, Quran categorically rejects such claims and condemns those who hold such beliefs to hell.
Moreover, you have primitive cosmological ideas that’s perfectly in keeping with the superstitions of those times. Quran says that the stars (some interpret it as shooting stars) are used to pelt the devil in order to drive him away from overhearing conversations between God and angels.
That’s such an embarrassing thing to say from a modern perspective, now that we have a better grasp of the size of these cosmic bodies. For a desert nomad of those times stars and shooting stars must have been these tiny shining pebbles, small enough to throw at someone like stones. Especially the devil, who we know from other Islamic traditions, is comparable in size to a human being.
There are loads more. But trust me, your candidate will have all kinds of workarounds for these points. And nothing will help him see the light unless he is willing to cast off his colored glasses and study the quran critically.
@Royism ... thanks, that helps. And yah, I suspect it’s like with anyone who strongly believes “anything”...
I once accepted and believed in Santa Clause, jesus, and the Easter rabbit. To break free from imaginary friends, one must exercise critical and skeptical thinking. Santa and the Easter bunny were relatively easy. Religion took a bit longer, but the mental exercise was similar. It just required a more skeptical mind and deeper thought.
Will you be repudiating your past lies, self-contradictory statements, and just general non-sense that you have said related to the theory of evolution; since you're turning over a new leaf?
I have not renounced my faith in Islam because I was convinced about the theory of evolution. I have given up Islam owing to its internal flaws. Therefore, Islam being wrong doesn’t make evolution right. But yes, now the advantage is I will not be dogmatically restricted in my study of evolution. I will be able approaching it with a more open mind. But I will not be accepting it until I am intellectually convinced. And I still believe that many of the issues I had with the theory during my believing days are still valid.
How about this one:
Let me quote to you this line from Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth. “When you were conceived, what you received from your father was not a substance to be mixed with what you received from your mother as of mixing blue paint and red paint to make purple. If this were really how heredity worked we’d all be a middling average, halfway between our two parents.”
This is what I meant in that post.
Part of me wants to take it easy on you because of the title of this thread, another part of me wants to hold your feet to the fire for the piles of bullshit you have posted here over the years.
Which do you think I should do?
As I have no dogmas to defend now, I am open to ideas , be it correcting old trash or fresh perspectives on earlier points of difference. I am without constraints now. So feel free. You don’t have to be charitable at all.
Then I'll be blunt:
Is the following statement true or false?
Could you please try to give a direct answer to this very simple question? Like, can you please address the accuracy of what you actually posted?
Yes. My understanding then and now is that the child of an African and a Caucasian will not be blend of the two colours. It will be either black or white. This is what I gather from richard Dawkins quote mentioned above. Now, if that is wrong please correct me.
ROYISM: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...That is literally the funniest thing I have heard in a long time. I am truly sorry your education has been so amazingly deficient in some areas. There is no frigging way you could have gathered that from anything Richard Dawkins said. If we are talking about color specifically, the kid could come out black, white, or any shade in-between.
I gotta go read this quote by Richard. It must obviously be out of context. According to Richard we are all African and we are all related to the same ancient ancestor. Perhaps the word. Mulatto means nothing to you. "Mulatto (/mjuːˈlætoʊ/, /məˈlɑːtoʊ/) is a historical racial classification of people who are born of one white parent and one black parent, as well as mixed-race people in general. The term mulatto may be considered derogatory or offensive." Like the word "Atheist" these people should wear the word with pride. The idea that their parents were open minded enough to fall in love and break through racial barriers to create them is an amazing thing.
Perhaps the baby will eventually identify as black or white? He or she might do this for the very reason I have stated above. Mulatto is used as a derogatory slur and everyone wants to belong someplace. It's a shame we think that way in the 21st century. Ignorance is really hard to overcome. I gotta go see this quote. I can't imagine you have it right.
Cognostic... here is a pic of that page from the book.
Read the second paragraph
I expected you to repudiate that ludicrous statement, instead of doubling down on it. That statement makes it very difficult for me to take you seriously.
It will be either black or white.
What a Michael Jackson song makes an entry?
Tell your silliness to my son who is a very pleasing shade of brown....exactly between his mum and myself. But he tans better than me....but went bald as a badger very young...like his paternal grandad. LOL....
However his school bullies called him black and some of his mum's family called him whitey....so maybe it is just perception...oh and racism.
Please Royism, do some more reading....don't get me tetchy again.
@ROYISM: Why would you quote something without having read it fist? Obviously you have never actually read the Dawkins' quote or you never would have come to such a silly conclusion. Dawkins asserts, genes are not like paint to be mixed into a blur of a color between the two parents. If this were the case our identities would soon be lost. Instead, Genes are like shuffling cards. Sometimes you get the same order and sometimes you get different orders.
".... blue plaint and red paint make purple. It this was really how heredity worked (as people vaguely thought in Darwin's time) we'd be middling average, half way between our two parents." (NOT BLACK OR WHITE) "In that case all variation would quickly.disappear. No matter how you mix the paint you will never return to an original. " "It's not like blending paints. It's more like shuffling cards. Genes don't blend, they shuffle. You could say they shuffle badly with groups of them sticking together for several generations, shuffling before chance happens to split them.
I have no idea how to reduce that. Sorry. When someone says something.... it always helps to take the time to look it up. Especially if you plan on quoting it. Relax, we have all done it. I have quoted some really stupid stuff as well. Just check things out first.
Yea I get the point. It’s not true of skin colours. But wouldn’t it be true to say that if the mother had a large nose and the father had a small nose, then the child need not get a mid-sized nose, right?
@ROYISM: You are limiting your imagination. Both the mother and the father had a mother and a father and their mothers and fathers had mothers and fathers. (I can't grow a beard though my father had one. Turns out my Great, grandmother on my mother's side was Cherokee Indian. A hairless bunch of fuckers. We suspect that I inherited the hairless gene form someplace other than my big foot of a father. Cards are shuffled over multiple generations.) It's not just one nose we are talking about but 20 or 30 noses and perhaps more. The child could have any sort of nose that his genes are capable of giving him. On top of that.... there are random mutations. The kid could get some random deviation that proved to be useful for survival; a nose that looked funny but had the ability to smell colors. (Right! The child need not get a midsize nose. That, never the less, may be a possibility.)