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Featured Leprechauns and Spaghetti monsters

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Unveiled Artist, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    It is hard. If Moses and John says god is X, that doesn't explain what god is just that Moses and John said it rather than 21st century Jane and Joe. So, it's deflecting the question without answering it. Most atheists know "about" what theists call god but they just don't know his nature-hence the comparing them to pixies and monsters.

    Although I don't share a lot of the criticisms some atheists with abrahamic experience quotes, the "giving the definition before discussion" is just basic discussion ethics not religious in nature. The definitions should be given for sake of conversation. So far, I got a good list of definitions of god but I wouldn't compare them to pixies nor fantastical claims. I'd just say the believer has to open up a bit without feeling threatened to talk about what god is for any atheist who wish to have a good discussion to have some basis of comparison.

    Not all atheists are materialist. Not believing in god does not mean one doesn't believe in the supernatural. They just don't believe in deities.

    Yes. It takes patience. Though, maybe both parties are coming at it the wrong way?

    Actually, no. I'm an atheist and never grown up with god or anything similar. No Pagan deities. No force. Or anything like that until I came on RF and found out there are so many ways to define reality it's ridiculous. So, the question is not is there a universal definition, but what is "your" definition. I think theist got it wrong thinking god is universal and putting everyone under that criteria of belief before discussions can begin.

    The latter part, after a good amount of time, I found that's what theists meant by god and nature of god(s), etc. Whether defined as a noun or verb, since we're all humans, the context is the same the experiences and traditions are different.

    If someone asked you to prove the mystery of life or purpose of all that is, is real how would you go about it?

    How can you justify your experiences to discuss how you believe god exists without depending on if the atheist is receptive to it or not?
     
  2. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It's difficult to be more specific about a great mystery than to than point it out. It's not like we can 'fill in the blanks'. Nor should we really have to. It's not like mysteries don't exist. And it's not like mystery of existence is not emanating from an apex. Which should, in itself, partially resolve the question, "does God exist and does God's existence affect us?" Clearly the great mystery does exist and clearly it does affect us.

    That, then, leads us to the question, does it exist apart from us? And that's where the philosophical discussion/debate really begins. And it's mostly a debate involving solipsism vs, materialism.
     
  3. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    The problem is that God is fundamentally a mystery. THE mystery. Which means we humans end up having to use all sorts of conceptual artifice to represent this great mystery in our minds, because that mystery has no content/substance of it's own (from our human perspective). Unfortunately, that means it's exceedingly easy for us to get lost in a discussion/debate about the realness/falseness of the artifice, while ignoring completely the mystery, itself, and how profoundly that mystery affects us.
    The theist needs to learn how to look and speak PAST THE ARTIFICE. To talk about how God is as real from their perspective as anything else is. While the atheist needs to let go of their blind and irrational insistence that reality is defined by physicality.

    Not all theism involves deities. Nor does it require a belief in the "supernatural". All it requires is the ability to recognize existence beyond the realm of the physical, and into the realm of the metaphysical.
    But this is exactly where we get lost in the 'artifice', and lose sight of the conceptual ideal. And where the discussion falls into "belief" (and opinion), as opposed to concept and reasoning.
    It all comes down to the great mystery. The mystery we cannot escape; atheist or theist, alike. And the mystery that determines who we are, and who we are becoming, by how we react to it.
    I don't have to prove it. It's self-evident by the fact that you just asked me to do so. To be human is to want to know. It's how and why we exist: to 'understand' (and if possible, to control). We can't help ourselves. And because we are as we are, we find ourselves face to face with the Great Mystery of Being. (The great unknown, and unknowable, that we call, "God".) And it defines us, and gives us purpose.
    I cannot control what anyone else is receptive to. That is their responsibility. All I can do is share with others how I have come to understand the subject, and why I have come to understand it as I do. After that, it's up to them to take from my perspective whatever they think makes sense for them, and to reject whatever they think does not.
     
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  4. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I heard it put in a unitarian sermon (in signature): "(God is) The unnamable and unknowable holy mystery of life that flow through all things, coursing through your veins that you may know a moment of awe so important that it would changes your life." -Aarron White

    That's as close as I can get to that. Spark of life. Breathe. Spirit. So have you. In technical terms, atheists (the term) do not believe in deities (Zeus, Yahweh, so have you) not non-defied concepts of god. So, for example, I'm not an atheist because I don't believe in a mystery/spirituality/so have you (I don't call it great and don't worship), just I don't believe in deities.

    I think that's the issue there. Theists thinking all atheists are materialists and atheists saying they don't believe in god when the term doesn't make a distinction which god that term is referring to. Just gods/deities in general. So, a lot of former christians perspective of god is clashing with theists perspective.

    Which makes a lot of sense. In believers perspective god loves, gives justice, speaks to believers, and does things-so who wouldn't think god is a deity of sorts. So, it seems like you both talking pass each other.

    I'm not sure if any atheists can challenge a mystery but they are challenging the anthropomorphize god. Can a mystery talk and give dictations?

    True. I don't see atheists and theists getting that far, though. Not more so than lack of knowledge in that philosophy (I surely wouldn't know where to start) but probably personal biases and pre-existing expectations as well.
     
  5. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Heh... if, in the same sentence, someone tells you that a thing is unnameable AND names it "God," I'd say this is a pretty good sign that they're blowing smoke up your butt.
     
  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    True. It's easier to understand when it stays a mystery. Everyone has a spark of life. Some people choose to see it as a mystery, others do not.

    When that Mystery says and does things or even have manifestations, prophets, and so forth, then it's a bit more different than a theist telling an atheist "they don't understand the mystery." It's the associations and how it is affecting people in a negative way rather than the mystery itself.

    The same sermon I mentioned in the other reply, the pastor was saying that instead of asking who god is to a person, ask "what was your awed experience?" So, instead of asking what the mystery is itself, but ask what it is through the testimony and experience of the person who believes and has their lives changed by it. While that's a good subject of discussion, but as a debate not many people if any regardless their god-religion want to be challenge for what they hold as true. Debates are uncomfortable so they stick to what's comfortable or avoid it altogether.

    True. Good way to put it.

    Which makes it a double standard there, true? Not all atheist believe there is no supernatural. Not all atheists are irreligious. Not all atheists are materialists.

    Maybe you mean more spiritualists rather than theists. We're speaking of people who disbelieve or believe in deities rather than the supernatural in general, right?

    True. Better way to put it than I did. Everything in concept and context.

    The thing is, if it's a mystery, how do you know anything about it, it's role, whether it's greater or lesser, or anything? By definition, we just don't know.

    No. It wouldn't cross a person's mind unless the other who believes it brought it up. For example, if I wasn't on RF and never met my catholic friend, I would never ask about any god cause that's not part of my reality. It has to be brought into our awareness to ask questions about it, if so interested.

    I do agree, a lot of people want to know the mystery out of life. What we don't know but want to know. It's not religious. That's the difference. You're putting religious thought and characteristics to something (not even a something) that does not exist. An absence of knowledge-a mystery.

    Some people don't share (which is more helpful than sharing John and Moses views) because they don't want their experiences to be challenged or disregarded. Which makes sense especially if someone is a new believer. Though, in a debate or discussion, it's hard to avoid if you really want others to know about god.
     
  7. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I thought it a good poetical definition of what they call god. Though, Unitarian isn't a christian religion anymore since the 80s I think. The pastor was a former christian so he use those terms as most of the congregation were christian. Interesting enough UUs, many of them, are former christians or those indoctrinated in religion who are looking for another way to express spirituality without the doctrination and "trappings" of religion.

    Do you understand the context and concept?

     
  8. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Nope.

    Anyone who thinks that "god" is an incoherent or inconceivable concept is a theological non-cognitivist... IOW a type of atheist.

    If you can't conceive of something, then you can't believe in it.
     
  9. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Take PureX's definition of god as mystery. We all know what a mystery is in the most dictionary definition of the term. This is what many theists talk about in context and concept of their given belief in god. It's something "they don't know." A great mystery. Something that can't be explained just experienced. And so forth. So, going off that definition, science and theologians, believers, etc have been trying to look into the mystery of life for ages. You can't be an atheist to it unless you feel you know everything about the world.

    The difference is scientist don't give it names, dictations, have manifestations to explain it, foreign language, and all of that for it to make subjective truth to the person looking into it. It's not "personal."

    It's another way of saying does someone look to the past/present/future. People look to the past for origin. Present for self-awareness. Future for hope for things not yet certain. Faith. What they call god.

    It's the language, religion, and subjective experience that makes god real. If you don't understand that concept, of course you'd be an atheist to it. If you did, you'd still be an atheist if you don't believe in actual deities not concepts of them.
     
  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    ... which is generally nonsense.


    Again: this is nonsense. People don't worship, pray to, or build their lives around "mystery."

    You don't get sectarianism around mystery: "'God' is an unknowable blank for me, representing nothing but a feeling of awe, but what I know about this unknowable thing tells me that what that other group claims about this unknowable thing is wrong."


    The way theists approach religion and the decisions they make tell us plenty about what they believe "God" is, thinks, and wants for humanity.

    Edit: any theist who uses terms like "revelation," "God's will," or "God's plan" is telling you that their God is at least somewhat knowable.

    ... or unless we recognize this mischaracterization as rubbish.

    There are plenty of other differences between religion and science.

    This is modern revisionism, and still a fringe viewpoint. The major religions held that God was a real figure, as capable of real thoughts and actions as you and me, until our understanding of the world showed how this assumption conflicted with how things actually work.

    Different denominations - and different theists - tackle this problem in different ways. Some just reject the science that conflicts with their traditional beliefs. Some go for a "God of the Gaps" approach.

    ... and some go for an approach like the one you're talking about: they redefine "God" as something that can't be falsified by rational inquiry, like "love," "mystery," "the universe," "awe," etc.
     
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  11. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    It's more do you understand the concept and context to judge it or is it like a foreign language, you just can't comprehend it?
    But Mystery (what can't be explained) regardless the religion is what people call god, the concept of god, or so have you. None sense as in its existence, it could be depending on the god you're referring to, but the concept makes sense nonetheless.

    That's all it is. A feeling of awe that's supported by an experience of some sort and confirmed by their traditions, books, practices, or so have you.

    As for the unknowable telling you anything, that, I don't know. Depends on the abrahamic religion you're referring to. Feelings of awe doesn't quite speak but some people do hear "the whisper of god", so who knows.

    True. That's what I "don't" understand. No theist have ever explained it to me especially in their own words.

    It has its place all throughout history. Today isn't any different.

    Science doesn't put tradition and mythology to mystery but it does accept we don't know everything.

    True. I'm not sure how that works. I understand Mystery but I don't put hierarchy to it and don't see it as a creator, if I saw "it" as that at all.

    I think god of the gaps is pretty much what religion is. Tradition, practice, scripture filling in the gaps of what we don't know. Not all religions claim they know everything just because their traditions help explain it.

    Basically. So to know their god, you have to know their experience not their definition. I ask for definition because each believer has their own. If I wanted to disprove it, though, I'd have to disprove and discredit their experience not their definition of the word.
     
  12. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    The fallacy here is making a claim something is false (god) by comparing to something ridiculous (monster) that the latter most people assume is false, therefore the former must be false: aka if a monster does not exist, then god does not exist.

    Your fallacy is in suggesting that atheist's are making a claim. They are asking a question. The question is: How, when there is the exact same lack of verifiable evidence that magical pixies exist as their is that a creator god exists can you conclude that one claim is real and the other is imaginary? Another way of asking it is: If you've determined that god is real, why haven't you also determined that magical pixies are real?

    It appears that you use a completely different standard for determining if a god is real than you do when you determine if magical pixies are real.
     
  13. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    True. That's what I thought. I've heard this from a good amount atheist. On this thread, they are saying since monsters existing is a fanatical claim so is god. So, in others cases instead of comparing the existence, they are comparing one claim is just as ridiculous as the other.

    It would conclude that both god and pixies are both imaginary, of course.

    Yes. I never went off of "if pixies don't exist, god doesn't exist" type of thing. I don't know what god is to make such a comparison. At least I have an idea of what pixies are to use the term but the word god has many definitions to make that comparison.

    In order for the argument to make sense, there needs to be a good definition of god that has something in common with pixies and monsters. However, I wasn't raised in a religious environment to know the comparison in the manner many atheists describe it. I have a good idea with many theists mean by god if not made into a person or deity that can do this or that. I only had one believer I can remember who said god is an actual person (like Zues etc) that does things and creates the world. I'm not sure if it's just his way of saying things or does he actually believe it. I think this way of seeing god is fanatical not the usually way most see god.

    And @9-10ths_Penguin There are many reasons in which that argument is used. This is quite different than what you're propose but you can't say there is only one intention behind the argument as though because one is an atheist that's the only intention behind that argument they would have when making that type of statement.
     
  14. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but you're missing the point. The idea isn't to specifically compare god to monsters or magical pixies. The idea is to compare it to ANY claim that can be made for which there is no verifiable evidence. The claim could just as easily be: There is currently a Westinghouse toaster in orbit around the planet Venus.

    Now, I can concede that it's POSSIBLE that there is currently a Westinghouse toaster in orbit about Venus, however since there is absolutely no verifiable evidence that there actually IS such a toaster in orbit that means there isn't sufficient verifiable evidence for me to believe that this Westinghouse toaster genuinely exists.

    It's the exact same line of reasoning I use when confronted with ANY claim for which there isn't verifiable evidence.
     
  15. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Why would there be a comparison (in your opinion) when there is no verifiable evidence for either defense?

    There is no evidence there's a westinghouse toaster on venus anymore than there is a yapping dog floating in Saturn.

    This just tells me there is no evidence for either but it doesn't give me the reason for the comparison. It's not based on anything to make sense of the argument. That's what I'm getting at.
     
  16. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    Why would there be a comparison (in your opinion) when there is no verifiable evidence for either defense?

    THAT'S what's being compared, ONE claim for which there is no verifiable evidence with ANOTHER claim for which there is no verifiable evidence. It doesn't matter what the SPECIFIC claim is, we're focused on the fact that BOTH claims are being made with no verifiable evidence for their defense. No one is saying that a toaster in orbit around Venus is THE SAME as a yapping dog on Saturn. What IS the same is that they are BOTH claims being made for which there is no verifiable evidence.

    The evidence to warrant belief in the orbiting toaster around Venus is JUST AS CONVINCING as the evidence that there's a yapping dog on Saturn. So IF you conclude that there is NOT sufficient evidence to warrant belief in the orbiting toaster, it would not be logical for you to conclude that there IS sufficient evidence to warrant belief in the yapping dog, when BOTH claims lack any verifiable evidence.
     
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  17. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Again, this is an objection to religion, and to specific some forms of religious artifice, not to theism. So they are not technically even "atheists". They are just anti-religious.
     
  18. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Most atheists are materialists, and base their atheism on materialism. Most theists are deists, and base their theism on deity. So both need to decide whether they are going to discuss and debate their own 'beliefs' (religiousity vs 'scientism') or they are going to discuss and debate the theist proposition that "God" exists and effects the lives of human beings. Most never get mast the former, to an actual discussion of the latter.
    Not knowing the 'substance' of it does not mean we can't know that it exists, and is real, and effects us profoundly. ('Energy' is a good example of this.) Humans are capable of asking questions that we are not capable of answering because we can know THAT we don't know something without knowing WHAT that something is, that we don't know.
    A curious person seeks out those things that they don't know about. Every culture on Earth has had their ideas of god. So it's not like the idea was not readily available to you, and all around you, all your life. You simply chose to ignore it. And in doing so it defined you as an "unbeliever".
    No, YOU'RE making it about religion. I'm trying to get religion, and religious artifice out of the discussion, so that it can be a philosophical debate, and not a debate about personal bias (belief).
    Those people should not be engaging in these discussions and debates, then. They should go to a compatible religious site where they can chat with folks who already agree with their views.
     
  19. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    A lot of them are. I'm talking about atheists, though.
     
  20. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Most theists are deists? I've got the impression most theists (I've spoken with on/offline) believe god has a personal relationship with them.

    Most atheists are materialists? So, is there a silent minority, I guess, who do not believe in deities yet hold a spiritual life?

    Well, theist and atheists are positions of god's existence by strict definitions of the terms. So, if someone says they are a theist, we can assume they believe in deit(ies) and if someone says they are atheist we can "only" assume that they do not.

    I actually like both arguments, to tell you honestly. Theists never get that far because part of that argument means they have to tell their opponent things in their own words and experiences. As per definition of any relationship within a religion. It's not about facts but by experiences.

    Energy can be tested. God cannot. Why do some theists keep using that example. It's just as silly as using monsters to compare to god.

    Of course theists know god exists for themselves but why do they assume that because it exists for themselves as an subject experience it's like science that it's supposed to exist for all people "if they don't reject it (as they say)"?

    Depends on the experience of the person you're speaking with. Some people reject or ignore believe in Islam as a former Muslim because they find christ. Some people who don't believe in deities never even encountered a deity and a religion that believes in such to ignore. That's another common argument some theists make. "Since it's true, you guys must be ignoring it."

    That's not a rational argument either because it assumes your opponent is ignorant and puts yourself as the "winner" of the debate based on that ignorance rather than assuming the other knows what he's talking about even if you disagree.

    We can take out religion and talk about just god's existence. The problem is I don't know what god is. So, if it's not the christian or abrahamic god, what is the philosophical discussion based on that we both be on the same terms of knowing the definitions before discussing it?

    In other words, if god is a mystery, in what way can we discuss it?
    What philosophical discussion can we have about god being a mystery if god has no characteristics described by a set religion?

    I mean, by definition, we don't know anything about a mystery so wouldn't it be better to have some form of reference when we talk about it?

    This site has many different options. Maybe you mean maybe DIR or Interfaith Forums but not religious debate forum or anything like that. Talking about each other's views is like talking in an echo chamber. We all know we don't believe in deities. There is nothing more to discuss about it (I'm not anti-religious).
     
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