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How to disprove God to a believer? (no really)...

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by s2a, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Religion:
    Really?
    Well, alrighty then. In celebration/recognition of attaining my 100th-plus post within REF (woo-hoo!), it's time to kick off another topical thread.
    [Note to mods: I am unsure as to whether this topic is submitted under the proper forum heading, so I defer to your guidance as to it's proper placement. ;-)]

    In the now degraded (and more or less defunct) thread entitled "How to prove God to an atheist (no really)" [ http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16588 ]; I initially offered up (by enumerated example and specified means) what I would accept as incontrovertible and undeniable evidentiary proof of the existence of a supernatural deity that would, in effect, make me a "true believer" and "convert".

    Perhaps now is the opportunity for believers (adherents of deistic religious beliefs) to cite any evidentiary examples (as undeniable and incontrovertible) they can offer that would, in effect, "disprove" the "existence" of their professed deity - and would result in their "un-conversion" to "unbelief" (or non-acceptance of claims) of any/all supernatural god(s).

    To my knowledge, this is not some "trick question" that pre-supposes some "correct" (or final/ultimate) "trick answer". Obviously, from my perspective as an atheist, there is no compelling evidence to suggest (beyond a reasonable doubt) that any supernatural being/entity, "force", or otherwise ordained supernaturalistic course/purpose/cycle, etc. is evidentially "existent" or "real". I consider the extant "evidence" alone sufficient to draw the self-assured conclusion that all claims to supernatural cause/effect phenomena are, well..."unbelievable".

    It is well documented and accepted that believers are prone to "crises of faith" (even Mother Teresa had her moments), but that differs from abject rejections of all religious claims tendered as immutable truths. One may reject a certain religion's tenants, or dogma, or political ideology...but typically, a belief is retained (or at least, a "sense") that some supernatural deity is "real", or existent in some shape, form, or fashion (or at the very least, an "unproven possibility").

    But is there any "evidence" (beyond that which is already available) that would persuade you as a "believer" that all claims of supernatural deities are bunk? If so, please offer such prospective "disproofs".
    Would discovery of alien life forms (not of this Earth) do the trick?
    How about "proof" of UFO's (essentially the same thing)?
    Is there some element of cosmology; mathematics; elemental, particle, or theoretical physics; chemistry (akin to "proof" that "life" can spark or originate from otherwise inorganic compounds); or biology (or evolution), or some other "find" or "discovery" (either scientific or even philosophical) that would, in fact, lend you to conclude that all claims to deities are unfounded/unmerited, or certifiably "disproved"?

    Faith (religious) is defined in Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary thusly:
    "Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true
    (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and
    therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of
    faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
    "

    If the description/definition above has it's own merited "truth" itself, then certainly the converse, or (otherwise) the absence of "faith" would demand similar considerations in determining a satisfying and self-conclusive "truth" of a "disproof" of supernatural deities.

    Believers have asked me many times over the years, "What would it take (for) you to believe?". Well, in the thread referenced above, my earnest answer is tendered in reply. Now, the converse question is put to believers for similar consideration and honest reply.

    What say you?
     
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  2. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Congratulations on the 100+ posts, s2a! I'm very sorry that my answer to this is a very boring one.

    You have every right to your opinion, and I have every right to mine. The only harm comes when we try to force one upon the other.
     
  3. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    In my case at least, there are none. In fact, after "becoming" a believer many years ago, due to stuff to personal to talk about, I made the decision that a God who cares about me just wasn't true. I didn't "fall away" ~ I turned around and walked away. For part of those many years, I tries to believe there was no God at all. I tried to educate myself as to the reasons why. I used my science (biology) education to refute all "evidence" of an outside force. It never did work. I always found fallacies in the disproofs. There were always holes in the scientific explanations.
    You are certainly correct in this. As a relatively new believer (been a year and a half since I decided to accept that what God says in the Bible really is the Truth), I do have "crises of Faith." But these crises do not in any way sway my belief that God is real, exists, has a purpose for everything... the crises mostly come from not wanting to accept the cards I've been dealt 'cause they hurt too much. I find I don't want to hurt, so I want God to change His plan.... never works, but that certainly doesn't mean God doesn't exist ;)
    Again, no. Not as a true believer.
    No... If God created us, what precludes Him from creating others as well? He is, after all, omnipotent
    No. I just cannot believe that the complexity of even the simplest forms of life were a result of random chance.
     
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  4. true blood

    true blood Active Member

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    Believers and non-believers rely on what they read and hear and see. The senses. However one gains knowledge. Also possible to receive revelation of God. But, if a power can control what we are exposed to, like what we can read, what we can listen to, etc.. it could be possible to control what we have faith in.
     
  5. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Feathersinhair,

    You said:

    Thanks, and...me too. ;-)

    Excepting of course, your stated exception...

    I don't know that I would agree that all forceful attempts to impose opinion upon others is inherently or necessarily "harmful" (at least not in any permanent way - the religious indoctrination of children by their parents is certainly "forced" upon their kids, but many would argue [not me] that such mandated acceptance of "opinion" is for a child's benefit, or "their own good" - not unlike many other justifications from "well-meaning" people).

    At any rate, your input is appreciated, with qualification. I wouldn't consider your response as "boring" - just non sequitur as "answer".

    [Note: I would submit that presentation of evidence to support a given position - for consideration and deliberation - is a far cry from "forcing", or "imposing an opinion upon" anyone.]
     
  6. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    An excellent point. I merely chose the term 'force' to emphasize, for example, the difference between presenting evidence to support a given position (which I quite naturally agree with) from such things as demanding that one's own viewpoint is the only acceptable one. I'm quite sure that you would never suggest the second, so I was trying to show it use it as the exception.
     
  7. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Snowbear,

    When I presented:
    "Perhaps now is the opportunity for believers (adherents of deistic religious beliefs) to cite any evidentiary examples (as undeniable and incontrovertible) they can offer that would, in effect, "disprove" the "existence" of their professed deity - and would result in their "un-conversion" to "unbelief" (or non-acceptance of claims) of any/all supernatural god(s)."

    You replied:
    Candid and concise. Thanks.


    Hmmm. Is (was) this "evidence of an outside force" scientifically derived "evidence", or simply anecdotal claims of "miracles" and "unexplained phenomena"? To my knowledge, science addresses the natural world, and does not attempt to either validate or "refute" explanations attributed to supernatural cause/effect (by definition, "supernatural" suggests: "existence outside the natural world", or things "not physical or material"). It would indeed be pointless to bother to "refute" (by scientific means) proffered unscientifically derived "evidence".

    I'm curious. Which "disproofs" do you speak of that you found scientifically unmerited? Is there an enumerated list somewhere (that you could reference for me), detailing these fallacious "scientific disproofs" of "evidence" of an outside force."? I'd be interested (sincerely) in reading any legitimately submitted, scientifically-supported, and peer reviewed expositional "explanations" submitted with the expressed intent of scientifically disproving or refuting the validity of claims of "evidence" of an outside force." Really I would. I know of none.

    I asked:
    "But is there any "evidence" (beyond that which is already available) that would persuade you as a "believer" that all claims of supernatural deities are bunk?"

    You reiterated:
    Okay. I accept your position that there is no scientific evidence (that you can conceive of) that would certifiably disprove your faith in, or the believed existence of, an omniscient deity.

    In consideration of your stated immutable position, would it be fair then to ask that evangelizing Christians (and proselytizers of any deistic religious belief) refrain from asking unbelievers, "What would it take for you to believe in [a] god?"

    It is, after all, quite tiresome to constantly endure and subsequently fend off such an entreaty from "true believers" (and no, I'm not implying knowledge of whether or not you specifically have ever engaged in such a tactic, but surely you are aware that the question is commonplace amongst your adherent peers). I have, in fact, offered a most sincere and straightforward "answer" to such a question [as referenced in my first post in this thread].

    The question, "What would it take for you to believe in [a] god?" is not qualitatively dissimilar from the more confrontational challenge of, "Prove that God doesn't exist!".

    Well, OK. All I need to know then is...what evidence would you accept as definitive "disproof"? If you can establish no standards of acceptable evidentiary "disproof", then why should I even bother trying to falsify a conclusion that you readily concede can not (ever) be falsified to your satisfaction?

    I asked:
    Would discovery of alien life forms (not of this Earth) do the trick?
    How about "proof" of UFO's (essentially the same thing)?


    You said:
    I know of nothing in Christian Scripture that obviates the possibility...but then, I am also unaware of any allusions to such possibilities afforded by that same Scripture. If the God of the Bible had (has) created other sentient life-forms capable of interstellar space travel, it would at least have made in interesting footnote in Scripture, dontchathink?


    Not a very scientific conclusion, but as rationale from (individualized) incredulity as a justification of your personal faith, I understand. ;-)

    [It should be noted that even if such a conclusion were evidentially proven beyond and all doubt as "true", it would not constitute "disproof" of some mankind-creating deity - it would merely render such a god as...unnecessary.]
     
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  8. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello trueblood,

    You said:
    Thanks for your reply. I confess that I do not entirely grasp [how] what you offered directly relates to the question at hand.

    Your last sentence reminds me of the bumpersticker that says:
    "Why do you question why your God chooses for me not to believe in Him?"
     
  9. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    Nope. Not that I know of. I was just answering your post from my own personal journey of questioning, studying, exploring, seeking and discovering. Any scientific proofs, disproofs, evidence or outside forces that I was speaking of were those personal, individual perceptions, quotations, evangelizations, preachings and teachings that were parts of that journey. My answer was meant to be a very general synopsis.... but as one (general) example, the theory of evolution has so many holes in it that I was never able to come up with enough faith to believe it was the explanation of how people evolved from bacteria.
    Why? I'm certainly not offended by your query. I would not ask you to refrain from asking it any more than I would ask an evangelist to stop asking their questions. If you don't want to answer, just decline to do so and walk away (that's what I always did) ;)
    I don't know. How can I possibly tell you what evidence I would accept as disproof of God of I don't know of any evidence that can disprove that to my satisfation? Why should you bother? I don't know that either.... you can try, but sorry... I can't answer it for you ;)
    There's nothing in there that I've been able to find that negates that possibility either.... Just like there's nothing that negates or obviates the possibility of many, many things we know of.... like advances in medicine, technology, space travel, the planets, other solar systems, other galaxies .....
    It wasn't meant to be a scientific conclusion.... merely a personal conclusion based on my own personal journey.
    My own personal conclusion is that God has proved Himself to me beyond any doubt. It's my personal experience that He is not mankind-created, but that He is mankind Creator.
     
  10. ChrisP

    ChrisP Veteran Member

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    Hi S2A,

    I myself have no belief in a single entity who is the creator and controller of all. My beliefs centre around the common energy that flows through all things within the physical world.

    To disprove this energies existence would be difficult, as at any one point in time all energy contained within the universe remains at a constant value with energy types being converted when their present form (light, electricity, heat, kinetic, potential etc.) is used towards an end.

    So, (I'm getting to the point, honest) to disprove the existence of this energy, it would need to be proven that energy can dissipate and disappear effectively ceasing to exist (dieing if you will).

    Nice question btw. Knockout
     
  11. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello again Snowbear,

    When I inquired:
    Is there an enumerated list somewhere (that you could reference for me), detailing these fallacious "scientific disproofs" of "evidence" of an outside force."?

    You replied:
    OK. Your personal testament is noted.

    And therein we find the one true beauty of scientifically derived explanations/conclusions. None require "faith" to accept such as "most probably true", or as the best available fact-based assumptions that extant available evidence strongly suggests is conclusively "true". If you require unequivocal, and unswervingly resolute answers to questions directly relating to "Where did I come from?", then only religion retains the hubris to assert absolute and unequivocal 100% certitude.


    When I asked:
    In consideration of your stated immutable position, would it be fair then to ask that evangelizing Christians (and proselytizers of any deistic religious belief) refrain from asking unbelievers, "What would it take for you to believe in [a] god?"

    You said:
    I suppose my objections are rooted within two distinct aspects...

    First, I do not evangelize, nor seek "converts" to an atheistic perspective. While I may personally maintain that an atheistic perspective and worldview would better serve mankind, I am neither commanded nor compelled to impose and indoctrinate others to share my views, nor do I suggest that reward or punishment is imminent for those that care to espouse and practice mythology/spirituality/superstition/religion as rationale and foundation for their own stated perspectives/convictions.

    Second, if so enjoined to earnestly tender sincere reply to "What would it take for you to believe?", I retain expectation of some "quid pro quo" as acknowledgment of intellectual integrity and fairness. If I can answer your question, but you can't or won't answer the reflexive position of your own question, then a double-standard of "acceptable" consideration is implicitly imposed upon myself, with no assumption of accountability/responsibility borne by the initial questioner to bear in equal consideration.

    I am especially averse to inherently rhetorical questions/arguments "Are you a man or a mouse?", or; "Have you stopped beating your wife?" - that are both intellectually disingenuous and simplistically leading to some hoped-for (inescapably "moral") conclusion. Fortunately, when asked "Have you stopped beating your wife?", I do not readily fail to a simplistic reply of "Yes" or "No". I confidently assert that I have never (nor would ever) beat my wife, and that such an unfounded inference is both intentionally misleading and purposefully constructed to either confuse or mischaracterize fact over facile accusation of guilt to facilitate remorse (not unlike the religious concept of "sin").

    So, to pose "the question" without reflexive accountability (whilst maintaining the original claim that "disbelief" will result in undesirable personal consequence) is rationally, logically, and intellectually bankrupt in my estimation.

    I'm not (personally) "offended" when asked "the question". I just find the ensuing exchange tiresome and (predominantly) pointless in addressing within any aspects of (personal) intellectual and rational honesty and integrity. If I can't expect the same standard from my "questioner", then any "arguments" they wish to offer as unimpeachably supportive, ie. "personal testimony"; "witness"; "revelation"; or existential/dogmatic "truth"...are a waste of both their time and effort, and my own.

    [Note: It has been observed by friend and adversary alike that if I am pointedly asked, "Do you know what time it is?", I may just say "Yes"...then proceed to detail how one constructs a functionally useful wristwatch for future use. This is an acknowledged character flaw that I concede is my own to account for and bear any commensurately associated and earned resultant ridicule. If you want to know, if I know, what time it is...it may be better to ask someone else first. ;-)]

    Well, simply put...I have stated what I would consider irrefutable (and scientifically verifiable) proof of a supernatural deity/spirit/force/entity. If you can't offer the same as acceptable "disproof" of the same claim, then I find your "faith-based" conclusion both unmerited and unacceptable for equal serious deliberation/consideration.

    As you previously mentioned your incredulous nonacceptance of evolution theory (or your posited "bacteria to man" inference) as probable fact...I would ask of you the very same premised question. What evidence would you require/consider as conclusively factual beyond a reasonable doubt as most probably true and validly acceptable as best explanation?

    If you assert that evolution theory is unfounded (or personally unacceptable) based upon perceived lacking/sufficient compelling/conclusive evidence (despite the fact that virtually every disparate discipline of scientific discovery and practical application thereof supports - or even depends upon [for valid hypothesis and testing by "scientists"] - the veritably factual and conclusively unfalsified "theories" of scientifically-based assumptions, "laws" or "proofs"; or you fail to produce any evidence that categorically fasifies such an established and virtually universally accepted "theory", then...your argument boils down to little more than, "I can't/won't believe it, so it can't be true". As I said, such a validation of personal faith is understandable (absent any scientifically-derived "proofs" or "disproofs", or verifications/invalidations thereof), but is not especially compelling, or evidence of anything beyond evidenced faith itself.


    Well OK...again I appreciate your candor in reply, but...your personalized testament of faith/belief is not especially of interest as answer/provision to the question at hand...as neither would my personalized accounting/story of, "This is why I'm an atheist and don''t believe".

    OK? ;-)
     
  12. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    Neither did I. I simply answered your questions from my own persective. Implying that I do and using my response to your original and subsequest posts to further your anti-theistic agenda does nothing to invalidate my beliefs, nor does it change my answers.
    Actually, you were the one who asked. I did not and would not ask you to for the reflexive answer of your question. Just 'cause you don't like my answer doesn't invalidate it. Using my answers to further your anti-theistic agenda is getting old.
    In that case, why did you bother asking the followup questions to my original response?
    Oh... yeah... it was so you could use my answers to further your....
    Oh never mind. I'll just shut up now.
     
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  13. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Perhaps this is where I come into difficulty.

    I honor this, of course. However, if you then go on to group all theists in this category, why do you state you are not seeking 'convert's?
     
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  14. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I can mathematically prove evolution is wrong, would that count?
     
  15. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Snowbear

    When I said,
    "First, I do not evangelize, nor seek "converts"..."

    You replied:
    First of all, I think you inferred an implication that was certainly unintentional for you to assume as somehow directly personal, or somehow limited in scope to your previous reply alone. I think upon rereading (post #7 in this thread) and timely reflection, you'll concede that the commentary offered was in the abstract, and generalized - not a specified impeachment of your sincerity or personalized perspective.

    Secondly, I retain no "anti-theistic agenda", per se.

    I do not consider the supernatural claims of adherents of major theistic beliefs of any greater or lesser degree of credence that of those espoused by non-theistic beliefs, (ie. spiritualists, astrologists, superstitionists, mythologists, "whathaveyou-ists").
    I attribute no greater/lesser validity to the claims of deity/divinity/omniscience of; the God of the Bible, Torah, Qur'an, or Bhagavad Gita - of Jesus, Vishnu, or Mohammed, then I do supernatural cause/effects attributed to black cats, planetary/stellar alignments, elemental forces (wind, fire), "the Force", or popular historical Greek/Roman/Pagan mythologies. Their supernaturalistic claims are all equal bunk in my regard. No greater than, and no less than, one another.

    [Note: It is not my expectation that you have previously read my introductory post when joining REF.
    [ http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=185180#post185180 ]
    Within that post, you may read what my expressed "agenda" is, and is not (as it applies to my participation in REF). You will find upon circumspect and objective critical review of each and every one of my 100+ posts to REF - that I have not deviated from my initially stated interests/objectives. I am no more "anti" your god than any other claimed god, goddess, myth, legend, superstition...or otherwise earnestly expressed and held existential "truth" ascribed to supernaturalism.

    Put another way, I have more "faith/belief" in your (and our specie's) capacity for rational thought/discernment than I do for any claimed supernatural entity or force that controls/manifests/rewards/punishes the consequences of our own choices in a veritable mortal existence.]

    But since you brought it up (as unsubstantiated and false allegation, in fact), let's allow ourselves to be candid.

    Even if I retained and acted upon a purely "anti-theistic agenda" as sole motivation of participation within REF...then, what of it?

    I am, after all, a self-professed atheist (and skeptic). I am unlikely to espouse or support a theist's claims of supernatural cause/effect explanations of observed (and unobserved) phenomena, whether "naturally/scientifically explained", or yet to be "naturally/scientifically unexplained". I am not shy or coy in expressing my reasoned doubts regarding such unspecified/unsubstantiated claims. "Believers" (including "theists"), for the most part (in religious discussion forums) are equally unencumbered by their own sense of assumed/ascribed "purpose" (or "mission", or "agenda") in furtherance of validation/acceptance of their expressed beliefs (by very dogmatic 'command"- not only within themselves, but most especially - to the temporally "great unwashed".

    "Let me tell you of my existential (yet universal!) TRUTHS!", says the believer (of whatever).

    [Note: This is why I never question any adherent believer's earnest/sincere claim predicated upon faith or belief (or accepted dogma). If you say you believe that: trees speak; or that black cats are foretold omens of untoward events to come; or that Jupiter is in the house of Orion (or is it the other way around?), that therefore, by cheese; or that upon death, I may be resurrected as a dandelion; or that an historical carpenter/rabbi is a progeny of a supernatural deity, it's all the same to me. I accept that you believe what you believe, is true. I simply do not accept the claim as "true" [for myself.]
    If I were truly (and demonstrably) "anti-theistic", I would readily be quoted in saying things like: "There are no gods"; or, "Believing in gods is stupid"; or, "There's no point in discussing anything further with you, because you believe in a god(s); or, "Because you have faith, you can't possibly understand what I'm talking about". Interestingly enough, these are things I never say (though you're welcome to research and shame me in error). Ironically enough however, the counter of these sentiments are often expressed by theists - "God is real and alive!"; "If you don't believe in God, you'll go to Hell (or worse); "Since you have no faith, you'll never understand"; and, "By not accepting my God(s), you're against Him(them)"
    [Note: Notice that once more that I am speaking in the abstract; not specifically to any particular claim/quote you have imparted for my specific consideration.]

    I posed:
    If I can answer your question, but you can't or won't answer the reflexive position of your own question, then a double-standard of "acceptable" consideration

    You replied:

    You could have. It certainly wouldn't have offended me, or hurt my feelings in any way. ;-) Besides, my "answer" was [link] referenced for your own consideration and prospective added commentary.

    Poor projection on your part. I never suggested either favor/disfavor with your "reply", nor did I suggest that my rebuttal would invalidate any of such a narrored perspective

    Congratulations upon destroying that nasty old strawman of inference and innuendo.
    1) I offered no pro/con comment upon the favorability or "likeability" of your "answer" 2) I acknowledged every assertion, or testament of faith you offered.
    3) I offered counter opinion, not "invalidation" of your commentary.

    You impugned that:
    So are moldy and tired allegations offered without an iota of merit or substantiated fact.


    When I gently suggested...
    "...your personalized testament of faith/belief is not especially of interest..."
    ...you hoped to infer (expose?) some ulterior/nefarious motive on my part:
    Um...this is a debate forum. A forum to discuss divergent ideas; predicate opinions; postulate possibilities; argue merits of opinions/facts rendered as support/defense of a stated position. excuse my saying so, but..."follow-up questions" are um...I don't know...part of an ongoing debate perhaps? If you simply wish to offer declarations of faith and piety in search of personal validation and/or some sort of communal fellowship, then perhaps frank discussion of divergent viewpoints is not your cup of tea. If you find yourself personally offended by generalized commentaries regarding your faith/beliefs, then maybe you are not emotionally/intellectually best suited to support/defend your "opinions" in an open forum of discussion/debate.

    Odd, isn't it? I have yet to personally characterize your proffered commentary, motives, or "agenda" - yet you are most ready to allege, ascribe, and dismiss my own as: "anti-theistic"; "agenda" laden, etc.

    I'll remind you that you entered the open door. The initial predicated question was:
    "... is there any "evidence" (beyond that which is already available) that would persuade you as a "believer" that all claims of supernatural deities are bunk? If so, please offer such prospective "disproofs".

    Is there ...[anything]...that would, in fact, lend you to conclude that all claims to deities are unfounded/unmerited, or certifiably "disproved"?"

    To paraphrase (abuse?) a popular cinematic classic quote...You had me at; 'In my case at least, there are none.'"

    Your answer was, succinctly put..."NO".

    You opened the door to your personal testimony of unscientific "disproofs" of, um, "science", and your realization/acceptance of your personalized faith/beliefs. You proffered the open-ended question, and argument from incredulity...not I.

    As you hoped to inaccurately infer earlier in defense..."Just 'cause you don't like my answer doesn't invalidate it." My sentiments exactly...

    ...unless, of course...you can demonstrate why/how my answer is invalid...or undeserving of further discussion...
     
  16. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Feathersinhair,

    You quoted me in saying:
    First, I do not evangelize, nor seek "converts" to an atheistic perspective. While I may personally maintain that an atheistic perspective and worldview would better serve mankind, I am neither commanded nor compelled to impose and indoctrinate others to share my views, nor do I suggest that reward or punishment is imminent for those that care to espouse and practice mythology/spirituality/superstition/religion as rationale and foundation for their own stated perspectives/convictions.

    You replied:
    You pose a complex question of two divergent (and unrelated) thoughts ("grouping theists into a category" vs. My stated disinterest/disinclination to "seek converts" [to atheism]).

    Is there a theistic faith/belief/religion that does not suggest some form/sort of hereafter/afterlife with supernaturalistic/karmic consequence? If so, I'd like to be informed of their ascribed name, affiliation, or sect. To my knowledge (subject to correction/enhancement), even Deists accept the notion that a supernatural being/entity (as "divine providence", "Nature's God", or "Creator") is more of an instigator than facilitator within the course of human events...and that man is subject to an ultimate/divine reward/punishment consequence for each of his own choices/actions in mortal existence. A divine reason/purpose is implied for human existence. An ensuing consequence of (divine) reward/punishment is also implicit in such claims.

    Again, I'll consider any examples of a theistic belief that espouses no afterlife consequence (beyond mere inconsequential existence in some inferred/suggested afterlife, aka., a Club "Everyone Gets In No Matter What"). Barring such example, I am not uncomfortable in asserting and concluding that any organized theistic belief seeks (for an unbeliever's "own good") as many faithful to the fold as they can muster. Misery loves company (and dues-paying/tithing "members")


    [Note: I'll readily concede that there are many "believers" that align themselves as accepting of a "god entity", but reject any adherence to specified/sectarian dogma. Uncounted are the number of self-professed Christians that align/assert, "I believe in God/Jesus, but not in organized religion" (or some variant "interpretation" thereof). Within online religious discussion forums, such individualized "revelations/interpretations" are more common than evinced within the general population-at-large. Typically these claimants are the most strident "true believers" - excoriating established sects/churches for their errant ways/teachings - offering instead their own "revealed" TRUTHS whispered into their exclusive ears from God's own lips...like Jim Jones, David Kouresh, David Berkowitz, Pat Robertson, and Eric Rudolf...or any good 'ole Joe Blow seeking his own pulpit from which to preach his/her own brand/interpretation/inspiration of THE TRUTH.]

    I say that "I am not seeking converts" because...I'm not.

    From an atheistic viewpoint, there are no (Deistic) rewards/punishments to strive for, or avoid.
    What promised afterlife "rewards, or "ultimate" justice can atheists offer to lure prospective "unbelievers" into their midst?
    Atheists bear the full brunt of their own choices. Full accountability and responsibility. No gods to thank, no demons to curse. No reward or punishment but that which is earned as a matter of consequence of one's own actions (or those beyond one's capacity to either manifest or avoid).
    No happy thoughts of departed love ones frollicking in their own afterlife field of dreams .
    No satisfaction in knowing that murderous despots will be writhing in some eternal pit of fire and brimstone.
    No assigned/ascribed "purpose" to either personal existence or the cosmos - beyond what you deem and ascribe for yourself.
    [Note: This is not intended to suggest that deistic believers are beyond assuming personal accountability and responsibility for their own deeds and behavior -they can and do - it's just that their "motivations" in so doing differ in rationale from atheists.]

    Not an especially tantalizing sales pitch to offer those immersed in poverty, self-doubt, superstition, loneliness, mortal peril or impending doom, personal tragedy and loss, addiction, continual victimization, or unrealized vengeance. Tough sell indeed. Instead of "turning your life over" to a benevolent deity for His/their divine protection/comfort, an atheist must assume all responsibilities/consequences in life for themself.

    Isn't it a lot easier to say, "Don't worry. Be happy. God Loves you, and He has a "plan" for you, and this will all make sense one day, in Heaven (or some other spiritual realm)."?

    Even so, Atheists have personal conscience, compassion, developed/evolved ethics and morals, and hopes, aspirations, and yes (gasp!)...even unconditional love to share with family and friends.
    Hope in the future rests within the actions of mankind (and the consequences of personal choices one makes for themselves), not the divine interventions/machinations of a claimed omnipotent, benevolent (and let's not forget, quite invisible) god or gods.
    Anyone who claims that it's "easier to be an atheist than to be a believer", is most likely...a "believer".

    I favor atheistic perspectives regarding a mortal existence because such perspectives weigh heavily in favor of reason and critical thinking over raw emotion and superstition (beliefs predicated upon ignorance, fear, and wishful thinking).

    What we value, what we cherish, and what we deem most dear, do not much differ between believers and unbelievers...it's just that one group places their trust, hope, and sensibilities (faith?) within and upon the notion of an invisible god...overseeing an invisible "heaven" (or afterlife)...inhabited by a multitude of "deserving" invisible souls - and the other does not.

    It's not that deists (or religionists) and atheists can't or won't agree that "life is precious"...but how you live your own life (and the value you place upon all living things) will differ immeasurably when you regard (personal) existence as a "one-time shot", vs. existence with a guaranteed and promised and unending "afterlife" of existence for eternal perpetuity as either "unimaginable (good) reward" or "excrutiating (bad) punishment".

    Viewing existence as a finite quality and quanity will change how you view the world and the vast (virtually infinite) cosmos of which any of us may only claim a brief flickering moment of time and opportunity to claim as our own.
    Do we want to live by the precepts of human foibles and behavior; ancient culture and society; sectarian strife; ritualistic acknowledgments and iconic representations of invisible beings; and, fear and ignorance as tools of adherence and control...
    ...or do we choose to assume our own "ultimate" responsibility and accountability for our actions as they affect not only ourselves, but of/for the ensuing generations to come (affording them the same opportunities of personal choice and collective societal will that we strive to manifest and realize for ourselves)...
    ...or do we continue to fear the dark whilst residing in our cloistered communities...hoping the mean old cave bear won't come eat us in our sleep, on the heels of a properly orchestrated live sacrifice of some domesticated farm animals?

    I don't seek "converts" to atheism. I don't want the responsibility.

    My primary stated interest was, and remains, to engage discussions of the why of what people believe as "true". If in the course of such discussions, some people reflect upon "the why of what they believe" and consider alternative perspectives as more suited to their sensibilities, that's fine with me...but any "gain" acquired is the sole property of such a "convert" to any nascent perspective.
     
  17. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello AV1611,

    You asked:

    I'm not sure.

    "Count" as what?
    As the scientific/mathematic proof you have found that invalidates/disproves (to your satisfaction) your faith in an existent God or gods?
    Or something else?

    [If you have "mathematical proof" that falsifies evolution theory, I suggest you initiate a thread and provide such in the appropriate discussion forum. I'll alert the media as required for such a stunning revelation].
     
  18. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member

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    It certainly would in my book. I'll even start the thread for you ...
     
  19. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Hi, s2a!
    Thank you kindly for your explanation.

    I fear I get a little leery when a person suggests that all people of all faiths (or non-faiths) are the same. You clarified your position most wonderfully, and I'm afraid I cannot point to any theistic faith that does none of the things mentioned besides my own and that of several other people I know (primarily pagans).

    It does not seem like you are attacking theists, so I will respectlfully digress

    Thanks again,
    Feathers
     
  20. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    My mistake. For some reason I thought it was the discussion forum.

    I try to stay out of the debate forums as I'm far too stupid to keep up my end of actual debates. :bonk:

    Sorry.... again... I'll shut up now.
     
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