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Featured There is a god or there isn't a god

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by We Never Know, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Religion:
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    Christians believe in a god due to faith, the bible, personal experience and passed on experiences/stories, etc.

    Atheist just a lack the belief.

    To have faith in most cases requires a personal experience.

    Christians/religious people give your best personal experience of why you have belief/faith in a god.

    Atheist/non-religious give your best personal experience of why you lack belief/faith in a god.

    PS. This is key...."personal experience", not "lack of scientific evidence".

    And go....
     
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  2. Lain

    Lain An Intervallic Time Traveler

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    There are more reasons than those listed for why people believe in God, but as for personal experience: I have seen His power and been overwhelmed by His majesty which communicated to me His traits and being, in addition to the natural knowledge of God all have (in my opinion). Simple as that.
     
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  3. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there are for some. But I'm seeking personal experiences of why or why not. In my opinion thats what it boils down to the most.
     
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  4. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    The request for atheists is a bit flawed. Are you asking us for a "personal experience" such as a mystical feeling we experienced one time at summer camp in 1997, when it was late at night, and we'd been feeling guilty about the dirty magazines we'd been reading behind the bleachers at high school and we wanted to feel more purpose in life, and then the campfire burned low and we looked up at the stars, and shiver ran down our spine and all the hairs raised up on our skin, and we felt an overwhelming conviction that no gods exist? I know this is a bit tongue in cheek, but what are you asking for?

    Do I need a positive "personal experience" in order to lack a belief that dragons exist? I don't see how I would. I have simply encountered nothing that convinces me dragons are real, so I don't currently believe they are real. And for the same reason I don't believe in dragons, I don't believe in gods. Gods and dragons seem to fall into the same evidentiary category of imaginary mythological things.

    It seems like you're trying to shift the burden of proof. Most atheists are "agnostic atheists," which means we simply accept the null hypothesis until evidence is provided. It is the reasonable default posture toward every claim. To do otherwise, and instead accept all claims until evidence can indicate they are false, would lead to contradictions and an incoherent worldview.
     
    #4 AlexanderG, Oct 19, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2021
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  5. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I see no flaw. In most cases that I know of, there is a personal reason to believe/have faith or not believe/have faith.

    Example
    1. I needed a god and he helped me.
    2. I needed a god and he let me down.
     
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  6. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    I wasn't raised in a religious home and I've never believed in any gods. I wasn't indoctrinated to rely on the idea of a god for hope, meaning, purpose, forgiveness, emotional resilience, or self-worth. Rather, I developed my own emotional tools, my own meaning in life, and my own resilience. Why would I suddenly think that I need a god, anymore than I would think I need a leprechaun's pot of gold because my budget is looking tight this month? If gods seem entirely imaginary to me, how could I feel that a god has "let me down"?

    Would it make sense for me to have a personal experience that I needed a dragon but it let me down by not showing up to fly me to California, and so I bitterly refused to believe in dragons from that day forward? Why would I have believed in dragons to begin with, such that I would even expect one to fly me anywhere? By contrast, if my sister lets me down by sharing a secret I told her to keep private, could I then stop believing she exists due to my disappointment in her? I really don't think any of this makes sense at all. Likewise, your scenario #2 makes no sense to me at all.
     
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  7. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Your sis exists whether she lets you down or not.
    Dragons are mythical, but who knows they may have once existed(what people thought were dragons).
    A god is both mythcal and believed to exists, it may depend on personal experience.
     
  8. mangalavara

    mangalavara Verified Account ✔
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    When I was in my early 20s and first learning about Hinduism on my own, I read some of the Upaniṣads. They are Hindu/Vedic scriptures that are of a more philosophical genre than others. One of the concepts they expound on is Brahman. In short, Brahman is the Absolute. It is consciousness, bliss, infinite, eternal, etc. There is a method that the Upaniṣads mention for attaining the realization of Brahman: to meditate on the sound Oṃ. Why that sound in particular? According to the aforementioned scriptures, that very sound is Brahman. Wanting to try it out, I started meditating on Oṃ by sitting on the floor in a comfortable posture and mentally intoning the sound as I breathed in and out. I did that practice every morning and night for a number of weeks that I can no longer remember. One night, as I was mentally intoning Oṃ, my focus on the sound disappeared. What was left was an omnipresent consciousness that was utterly serene. The experience lasted for about two seconds. Profound moment.

    Although all that I experienced was a serene and omnipresent consciousness, I believe it is Brahman. Further, I believe Brahman is a personal god. Not all Hindus believe this about Brahman, I should add. I think some Vajrayana Buddhists who are inclined to accept my experience as real might say it was the Buddha nature that I experienced. Who knows?
     
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  9. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    Thanks, but your reply is avoiding the issue I was getting at, which is what should it take to reasonably cause us to hold a belief? Honestly, your entire challenge seems to be entertaining a common meme that apologists use to strawman atheists, rather than addressing our actual stated reason for being atheists which is that there isn't any evidence that gods exist. The apologist response should be to provide positive evidence for their god, rather than impugning the character of the person asking them for evidence. To me, it comes of as a defense mechanism to keep people in the faith, rather than something that addresses the points atheists actually raise.

    I'd recommend you look at Prophet of Zod's series on these common accusations Christians make toward atheists. In particular this short video directly addresses your #2 point in the prior post ("I needed god and he let me down"). Start around 1:25 to avoid the intro.

     
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  10. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    "what should it take to reasonably cause us to hold a belief?"

    Like I said, personal experience can either support a belief or destroy a belief. Its up to you to decide.
    You cant make the choices for anyone else so why let anyone else make your choices?
     
  11. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    I don't understand how being very disappointed in someone could make me stop believing they exist, under any circumstance. Likewise, from the other end, I don't understand how in any scenario I could be disappointed in someone who I don't already believe exists.

    These are the issues I have been trying to raise, because they seem to be assumptions embedded in your challenge which makes your challenge seem incoherent to me. In particular, you seem to be assuming that atheists secretly believe a god exists, when we really don't. Or that we started out believing in a god, when many of us never have. Since you fundamentally believe that a god exists, and I do not, I have been trying to replace the noun "god" with something like "dragon" so that you can understand how how your challenge appears to me. "Dragon" and "god" are functionally equally meaningful to me as sources of potential disappointment or of warranted belief. Namely, not meaningful at all. This is why your request for a personal experience leading to our lack of belief is inherently flawed.
     
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  12. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I wish I could. I'd have to include something that would be a rule 6 violation as part of a series of experiences as I've noted other times when similar a similar question was asked.

    So instead, I'll skip over that and offer some that I've not mentioned here that happened in 1974 during a trip to India. I had been reading and thinking about God and Meher Baba's claim to be the God Man for a few years at this point. This trip "sealed" and confirmed it for me.

    -> seeing a picture of Meher Baba taken in 1922 and feeling intensely that I had known him before.

    -> arriving in the city in India where his tomb is located in 1974 and smelling a perfume so exquisite when I arrived that it took my breath away.

    -> being in the places Meher Baba lived and having an intense feeling that he had just stepped away - the sense of his presence was so strong.
     
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  13. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    "I don't understand how being very disappointed in someone could make me stop believing they exist, under any circumstances."

    You can chose they don't exist. It doesn't mean they won't exist.
    However you cn choose to ignore their existence, then maybe in your mind they won't exist, or you at least you feel they don't exist because you don't want them to exist.

    Only you know you.
     
  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Similarly, one cannot make them exist by imagining them to exist. They will still remain a fantasy,
     
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  15. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Childhood leukemia
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  16. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    But from personal experience you know that the world is flat and the sun moon and stars go round it. You only have to go outside and look around to know this is "true".

    So I prefer the idea that the experience is just the beginning and that the real aim is to understand.
     
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  17. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
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    Mostly, people are educated into their faiths, and whilst some might question such in later years, for the majority probably they will retain the faith they were born into. So whatever else comes in their lives (as experiences) such might just mean affirming their born-into beliefs. I wasn't born into a household where religion played a large part - being the default of Christianity - and nothing in my life has ever really tempted me into any such belief system, nor any experiences I have had. All personal experiences I have found suitable and reasonable explanations for and hence have had no need to search for answers via religions - answers being more from understanding as to human nature and which can be gained more appropriately from science, psychology, and philosophy than any religious source. All other questions I try to deal with as best I can, and will leave the harder ones as I find them - as unknowns - even if such can be rather annoying. But then I can deal with failure. :oops:
     
    #17 Mock Turtle, Oct 20, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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  18. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Just a note:

    Someone as a non-religious person: The world is real.
    Someone as a religious person: The world is from God.
    Me: I don't believe in any of these 2.

    Non-religious persons are as diverse as religious persons and that also applies to atheists for which some even on this forum are religious.
     
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  19. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Though Aphrodite and Apollo are appealing concepts, I've never needed a god in any real sense. And I guess everyone has had moments of wishing for a Dumbledore to appear and solve a problem with a murmured magic word.

    I still don't know what a real God is, what a not-imaginary God could even be.
     
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  20. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    I know nothing about real other than as a belief, because the word "real" is as the word "God". Both have no objective referent.
     
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