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why are you an atheist?

Started by randomvim, September 11, 2016, 03:14:56 AM

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Gawdzilla Sama

Not going to argue with a fanboi.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Mike Cl

Quote from: SGOS on March 12, 2017, 07:52:01 AM
Absolutely. I was an agnostic, during the years of my religious quest.  I cared deeply about answering the question of God's existence.  I could think of no greater question that needed an answer at the time.  My position on agnosticism has never changed.  I intuitively knew the big question could not be answered when I started, and I am at the same place today.
Interesting.  I have been your position for most of my life.  I questioned religion from the beginning.  The answer I hit upon was that there was no answer--at least not one that anybody could prove.  I figured that a negative such as 'there is no god' really could not be proven.  So, I was agnostic.  Maybe even a militant one in that I had such disdain for organized religion in general, but still felt that it was unproven either way. 

Now I have come to the conclusion that there is not god.  And the total and complete lack of proof of the existence of Jesus, or the Christian god, leaves me no choice but to conclude there is not god.  I understand the default human setting is there is no god--or Easter Bunny--or Santa--or Invisible Pink Unicorn;  one cannot make an assertion that any god exists without some actual proof.  So far nobody in the history of humankind has produced any proof whatsoever.  There simply is no god(s).   
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?<br />Then he is not omnipotent,<br />Is he able but not willing?<br />Then whence cometh evil?<br />Is he neither able or willing?<br />Then why call him god?

SGOS

#182
Quote from: Mike Cl on March 12, 2017, 10:59:29 AM
Now I have come to the conclusion that there is not god. 
I'm much the same way, I've come to the same conclusion, but not from evidence.  It's more like the lack of evidence.  However, the old adage says, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," and I get that, but it can't be written off so easily.  God could be hiding, as indeed the lack of evidence would suggest, but maybe that's all that it is.  He is simply hiding, and leaving no evidence or footprints behind (much like a unicorn).  In truth, that was always part of the problem for me.  A perfect being could hide perfectly, so why should I expect to find evidence if he didn't want to be found?

But there is a rub.  Supposedly, he wants to be worshiped and loved.  It would make no sense to hide.  He might have reasons for this.  While it isn't illogical for him to hide, it's kind of nuts, actually quite nuts, like "way out there" nuts.  At least for the Christian god, so I did dabble in entertaining other gods, gods of my own creation that operated totally illogically, but there were too many to consider, and the other more fashionable gods of the current millennium are just as equally nuts.  So while I can't prove anything, I'm quite sure there is no god, and I'd bet my soul (if I even have one) on that.

And what if I'm wrong?  Well, the universe works in such a way that it is exactly the kind of universe I would expect without a god.  Therefore, a god, if he did exist, is too inconsequential to matter, and I can see no evidence that he rewards or punishes living things depending on whether they guessed right about his existence or not.

So yeah, I believe there is no god, but ask me for proof?  Nope, can't do it.  However, I can offer evidence, but it's only evidence much like a lawyer would offer in court.  It doesn't prove anything, but it may get you to render an opinion on the matter, and you could use the evidence to justify your opinion, but it's not proof.

Mike Cl

Quote from: SGOS on March 12, 2017, 12:19:39 PM
I'm much the same way, I've come to the same conclusion, but not from evidence.  It's more like the lack of evidence.  However, the old adage says, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," and I get that, but it can't be written off so easily.  God could be hiding, as indeed the lack of evidence would suggest, but maybe that's all that it is.  He is simply hiding, and leaving no evidence or footprints behind (much like a unicorn).  In truth, that was always part of the problem for me.  A perfect being could hide perfectly, so why should I expect to find evidence if he didn't want to be found?

But there is a rub.  Supposedly, he wants to be worshiped and loved.  It would make no sense to hide.  He might have reasons for this.  While it isn't illogical for him to hide, it's kind of nuts, actually quite nuts, like "way out there" nuts.  At least for the Christian god, so I did dabble in entertaining other gods, gods of my own creation that operated totally illogically, but there were too many to consider, and the other more fashionable gods of the current millennium are just as equally nuts.  So while I can't prove anything, I'm quite sure there is no god, and I'd bet my soul (if I even have one) on that.

And what if I'm wrong?  Well, the universe works in such a way that it is exactly the kind of universe I would expect without a god.  Therefore, a god, if he did exist, is too inconsequential to matter, and I can see no evidence that he rewards or punishes living things depending on whether they guessed right about his existence or not.

So yeah, I believe there is no god, but ask me for proof?  Nope, can't do it.  However, I can offer evidence, but it's only evidence much like a lawyer would offer in court.  It doesn't prove anything, but it may get you to render an opinion on the matter, and you could use the evidence to justify your opinion, but it's not proof.
100% agree.  Well, almost 100%.  I guess I go one more step in the no-god direction.  It seems to me that lack of evidence is evidence when it is in the extreme.  Jesus is an example.  There is a total lack of  citations for him by 1st. cent. writers and historians.  Its not like only a couple mention him, or one--it is none, zippo, nadda, not a one!  That is not strange, it is beyond comprehension.  There is more 'evidence' for bigfoot/yeti then there is for Jesus.  So, when the lack of evidence is so loud, I regard it as evidence that at least borders on proof.  The same for god, only more so.  A god by any definition that wants to be worshiped cannot simply disappear or never appear and be factual.  This is the stuff of myth and fiction.  Again, in this instance, the total lack of evidence is at the very least strong evidence if not proof of the non-existence of god(s).  I regard nonbelief as the default thinking of humankind.  Believers bear the responsibility of proving that default wrong.  Jesus was not and god never was. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?<br />Then he is not omnipotent,<br />Is he able but not willing?<br />Then whence cometh evil?<br />Is he neither able or willing?<br />Then why call him god?

SGOS

#184
Quote from: Mike Cl on March 12, 2017, 01:11:48 PM
100% agree.  Well, almost 100%.  I guess I go one more step in the no-god direction.  It seems to me that lack of evidence is evidence when it is in the extreme.  Jesus is an example.  There is a total lack of  citations for him by 1st. cent. writers and historians.  Its not like only a couple mention him, or one--it is none, zippo, nadda, not a one!  That is not strange, it is beyond comprehension.  There is more 'evidence' for bigfoot/yeti then there is for Jesus.  So, when the lack of evidence is so loud, I regard it as evidence that at least borders on proof.  The same for god, only more so.  A god by any definition that wants to be worshiped cannot simply disappear or never appear and be factual.  This is the stuff of myth and fiction.  Again, in this instance, the total lack of evidence is at the very least strong evidence if not proof of the non-existence of god(s).  I regard nonbelief as the default thinking of humankind.  Believers bear the responsibility of proving that default wrong.  Jesus was not and god never was. 
I guess it doesn't meet my slam dunk requirements of proof as demanded in the application of formal logic.  This doesn't mean lack of evidence is not a serious issue in my belief that no god exists.  It obviously is, and given that it is all we have to go on, I believe I'm closer to your position than you think.  It's just that given the strange caveats Christians use to apologize for God, including some weird caveats such as Him being incomprehensible, despite the fact that they simultaneously claim to have an extraordinary comprehension of his ways, which is a paradox in itself, I'm unable to create a simple syllogism that proves his absence, just as they cannot create a syllogism that proves his presence.

They will deny their logic is unassailable of course, but I can't do anything about their vacuous self confidence.  I'm left to my own devices, which is considering the evidence (or lack thereof), and then moving on to a "common sense" conclusion.  Common sense being the same fallacy they use, while bolstering that with claiming knowledge of something or other, which they claim is logical.  Using logic, I can only claim no knowledge, which is the essence of agnosticism.  This is not the same as my belief that there is no god, which makes me both agnostic, and depending on how one defines it, possibly a strong atheist, but that's more like a semantic quibble that I'm not heavily invested in.

Edit:  And yes, I agree that lack of evidence is extreme, and I weigh that heavily in my belief, which is separate from my knowledge.  My knowledge is only that the lack of evidence is extreme.  I don't take my knowledge any further than that, but it counts big time in my belief.




Solomon Zorn

There is no proof that God does not exist? Irrelevant. I have no obligation to seek any. There are in fact an infinitude of things that do not exist, and I could spend my life trying to prove they do not exist, but it would be futile. That doesn't make me agnostic about leprechauns. It just means, I'm not the one who has to waste my time researching claims, which offer no basis in evidence. My only obligation, is to examine what is offered as evidence, by someone making a claim. The confusion is created, by specially designed definitions of God, which are deliberately formulated to be unfalsifiable. It makes theists think their claims don't require evidence, and they can shift the burden to someone else, of proving them false. I try not to fall for it.

I would never refer to myself as "agnostic." The colloquial use of "agnostic," indicates you are undecided, and for a lot of Christians, that sounds like a perfect opportunity to "witness" to you, about their beliefs, to try and help you decide.
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
Poetry and Proverbs of the Uneducated Hick

http://www.solomonzorn.com

SGOS

Quote from: Solomon Zorn on March 12, 2017, 03:09:23 PM
There is no proof that God does not exist? Irrelevant. I have no obligation to seek any.
I'm at that point now.  I wasn't years ago when societal pressures were strong enough (on me) to begin a quest.  After years of futility, I feel no obligation to seek further.  Was I making a mountain out of a mole hill?  In retrospect, yes.  It didn't seem that way at the time.  I could have saved a lot of time that would have been better devoted to other ways of improving my life, and now I realize I should have done that.  But we learn at different speeds, often dictated by training early on.

Quote from: Solomon Zorn on March 12, 2017, 03:09:23 PM
I would never refer to myself as "agnostic." The colloquial use of "agnostic," indicates you are undecided, and for a lot of Christians, that sounds like a perfect opportunity to "witness" to you, about their beliefs, to try and help you decide.
I refuse to accept the colloquial definition.  I prefer the original meaning as it was intended.  The colloquial meaning fails to separate belief from knowledge and sometimes precipitates an irrelevant debate.

Baruch

Ah ... but that is how culture operates.  It is a shared bull shit delusion.  A nation doesn't exist, there are no lines on the ground that correspond to the lines on a map.  Please apply your skepticism to other cultural artifacts, not just religion.  Please disregard what side of the road they drive on, in your area.  Disregard your taxes ... the state is a shared delusion among idiots, just like religion.  Go full David Hume, and disbelieve that you are even Scottish ;-)  Part of what drove the Enlightenment, and brought us the French Revolution, was cultural nihilism.
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ Å,a’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Mike Cl

Quote from: SGOS on March 12, 2017, 04:23:39 PM
I'm at that point now.  I wasn't years ago when societal pressures were strong enough (on me) to begin a quest.  After years of futility, I feel no obligation to seek further.  Was I making a mountain out of a mole hill?  In retrospect, yes.  It didn't seem that way at the time.  I could have saved a lot of time that would have been better devoted to other ways of improving my life, and now I realize I should have done that.  But we learn at different speeds, often dictated by training early on.

I have learned that bemoaning all that wasted time and energy, you should accept it for what it was--necessary for your own peace of mind.  If you had not tackled the question in your own way, you may well be wondering now if you'd missed something.  Now it is settled.  That's how I view the periods of searching in my life. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?<br />Then he is not omnipotent,<br />Is he able but not willing?<br />Then whence cometh evil?<br />Is he neither able or willing?<br />Then why call him god?

SGOS

Quote from: Mike Cl on March 12, 2017, 08:23:39 PM
I have learned that bemoaning all that wasted time and energy, you should accept it for what it was--necessary for your own peace of mind.  If you had not tackled the question in your own way, you may well be wondering now if you'd missed something.  Now it is settled.  That's how I view the periods of searching in my life. 
You're right, and wouldn't describe it as regret.  Sure my energies could have been directed elsewhere, or wasted, or whatever.  But the important thing, as you point out, is that the matter was settled, with the result being peace of mind today.  Can't disregard that.  It's not a small thing.

Mike Cl

Quote from: SGOS on March 13, 2017, 02:58:42 AM
You're right, and wouldn't describe it as regret.  Sure my energies could have been directed elsewhere, or wasted, or whatever.  But the important thing, as you point out, is that the matter was settled, with the result being peace of mind today.  Can't disregard that.  It's not a small thing.
I like the way you think.  Don't often take the time to say so--just hit the 'like' button--but it seems we say and think much the same thing usually.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?<br />Then he is not omnipotent,<br />Is he able but not willing?<br />Then whence cometh evil?<br />Is he neither able or willing?<br />Then why call him god?

etienne

#191
I am an atheist because--no God.  I was born that way.  Everyone is an atheist, whether they know it or not, because--no God.
The Revolution does not fall like an apple when it is ripe:  you have to MAKE it fall...

Hijiri Byakuren

Actually I lied, I'm not an atheist. I'm something far more terrifying: a human with critical thinking skills.
Black lives matter, feminism is good, religion is bullshit, and if you disagree with me on any of these points you are a fucking moron.<br /><br />Sargon The Grape - My Youtube Channel

Mr.Obvious

Quote from: Hijiri Byakuren on March 13, 2017, 12:02:23 PM
Actually I lied, I'm not an atheist. I'm something far more terrifying: a human with critical thinking skills.

KILL IT WITH FIRE!
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.

etienne

Quote from: Hijiri Byakuren on March 13, 2017, 12:02:23 PM
Actually I lied, I'm not an atheist. I'm something far more terrifying: a human with critical thinking skills.
Please elaborate.
The Revolution does not fall like an apple when it is ripe:  you have to MAKE it fall...