Jump to content

Atheism


romansh
 Share

Recommended Posts

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

 ... assumed an agnostic atheistic position as a young adult, but which I now find leaves a little room for me to wonder if maybe there is something 'more' to our existence

I must admit, I find this the logical position to take. 
I am not sure how it limits us to wondering about this supposed 'more' and perhaps we should consider a supposed 'less' while we are at it. But we can be reasonably confident things are not as they seem.

As you likely are aware I am not overly fussed about any alleged gods, but I am curious as to how people ascertain the alleged properties of their god. And probably as I mention before, pantheism seems the closest position to any theism I could entertain. I can't help thinking when people point to God, in reality it is a distraction. The wonders of the universe are my 'more'.

Edited by romansh
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wonders of the universe basically are my "God". 

I have no concept of a discrete being, only a vague sense of the energy and interconnectedness of all things. Perhaps nonsense, perhaps not. I don't claim to know anything or have any capacity to define "God", nor do I think any religion has that power either. 

I find commonalities among most religions in the world, a consistent concept below the surface nonsense that I relate to. 

I can reject the details of any particular religion while still finding a basis of spirituality within them. I couldn't before, but I can now. 

I identify with Christianity not because I hold the religion in particularly high regard, but because regionally where I am, the group of people who most share my values and philosophical perspectives are Christians, but that's just a demographic thing. 

I'm technically Jewish, but not a fan of rules. I deeply connect with a lot of the teachings of Mohammed, but there just aren't Muslim groups in my area that fit with my personal perspectives. 

Buddhism is great, but it's more a way of feeling connected to the world. So it was a great gateway into spirituality. 

I am deeply and profoundly moved by much of the Indigenous spirituality, especially in how it reveres nature as equal to humans. I would say I came back to spirituality through years of trying to understand Indigenous Canadian culture. However, being a white settler, there's no way I can claim that spirituality as my own, I can be affected by it, but it's not my culture. 

However, I bring a lot of that Indigenous way of knowing to my practice of Christianity, which works really well since my particular denomination is heavily involved with and influenced by the Indigenous. 

I've also found spiritual inspiration in countless pagan traditions, and Hinduism, although I don't have nearly the level of education about it that I do about other religions and cultures. 

The official stance of my church is that God is unknowable. 

The conclusion a lot of people make is to then say that logically then there's no point in believing. I don't disagree, I don't believe in anything when it comes to God. Nor do I think any form of faith is rational. 

What I've discovered, for myself, is a sense of connectedness in the world, and a compassion and love for all living things that is constantly challenged. 

I was a staunch atheist and never wanted any part of this "faith" BS, and fought it pretty hard, but here I am. 

I don't need anyone to agree with me. I don't need to convince anyone of my version of divinity. I just enjoy talking to others who also feel it. Perhaps we're all just experiencing a collective illusion/delusion, but regardless, I'm not overly concerned. 

ETA: I should explain that I found "God" or "faith" or whatever, through pain. Severe, unrelenting, life ruining, incomprehensible, unmanageable pain. It's ironic that suffering makes most people question their form of God, mine made me find it. 

Edited by Kellerman
Added detail
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Kellerman said:

I have no concept of a discrete being, only a vague sense of the energy and interconnectedness of all things. Perhaps nonsense, perhaps not. I don't claim to know anything or have any capacity to define "God"....

I have that vague sense too, but do simply wonder if it is my imagination.  But then again, if we all came from the same big bang, maybe there is somehow a connectedness that is beyond our current comprehension.  There is something that stirs in my heart when I am in the company of people I love and we are all at peace and enjoying each other's company.  That and the stirrings that pure nature give me.

Quote

I was a staunch atheist and never wanted any part of this "faith" BS, and fought it pretty hard, but here I am. 

Strangely enough, so am I.  Perhaps not completely prepared to throw it all away, but not sure either that any of it means anything.  But comfortable enough in my not knowing.  If only Christianity was a lot more chilled about non-belief and/or lack of faith instead of belief being so desperately paramount...or else!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

I have that vague sense too, but do simply wonder if it is my imagination.  But then again, if we all came from the same big bang, maybe there is somehow a connectedness that is beyond our current comprehension.  There is something that stirs in my heart when I am in the company of people I love and we are all at peace and enjoying each other's company.  That and the stirrings that pure nature give me.

Strangely enough, so am I.  Perhaps not completely prepared to throw it all away, but not sure either that any of it means anything.  But comfortable enough in my not knowing.  If only Christianity was a lot more chilled about non-belief and/or lack of faith instead of belief being so desperately paramount...or else!

The Christian denomination I'm part of is super chill with pretty much any beliefs, even atheism. The basis of their philosophy is that God is an unknowable mystery, and what really matters is love and compassion. 

Christianity isn't a monolith, so just because you haven't found a version of it that fits you doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that some other exploration of spirituality wouldn't work for you. 

What really opened my eyes was studying Islam and seeing how vastly broad the interpretations of it could be. 

Two groups can look at the exact same writings and history and draw wildly different conclusions depending on how they choose to analyze the context. 

Once I was able to see Islam through a lense that diametrically opposed positions can be drawn from the same content, it really opened me up to the possibility of a version of Christianity that might actually work for me. 

My Church has indigenous literature study groups, they share space with a progressive Islamic group, they have a rainbow flag out front and March in the gay pride parade, and they have an openly atheist minister in one of the other congregations. They're not in the business of telling anyone what to believe. 

Edited by Kellerman
Clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/17/2021 at 5:07 PM, Kellerman said:

The wonders of the universe basically are my "God". 

For you how is this different from pantheism?
Yes many describe this in terms of transcendence ie beyond understanding.

 

On 5/17/2021 at 5:07 PM, Kellerman said:

my values and philosophical perspectives

Out of curiosity can you provide some examples of these values and and perspectives that unbelievers don't have?

On 5/17/2021 at 5:07 PM, Kellerman said:

I don't believe in anything when it comes to God.

This is obviously false ... you appear to know God is unknowable.

 

On 5/17/2021 at 5:07 PM, Kellerman said:

I should explain that I found "God" or "faith" or whatever, through pain.

I agree I found that serious life experiences can make one amenable to all sort of things.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, romansh said:

For you how is this different from pantheism?
Yes many describe this in terms of transcendence ie beyond understanding.

I suppose it isn't any different

Out of curiosity can you provide some examples of these values and and perspectives that unbelievers don't have?

I never said unbelievers don't or can't share my philosophical values and perspectives. I'm married to an atheist who shares them. 

My point was that I don't like associating with churches that don't share my values. 

This is obviously false ... you appear to know God is unknowable.

Sure...okay. I'll correct myself then and say that I have very few beliefs about God beyond that I don't think any person is capable of knowing and defining divinity, especially for anyone else. 

I agree I found that serious life experiences can make one amenable to all sort of things.

Just to be clear, I was specifically referring to physical pain, and not because I sought religion as any kind of comfort. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2021 at 10:59 PM, Kellerman said:

The Christian denomination I'm part of is super chill with pretty much any beliefs, even atheism. The basis of their philosophy is that God is an unknowable mystery, and what really matters is love and compassion. 

Thanks for the reminder Kellerman that not all Christian groups are so passionate about correct belief - maybe just the vast majority! :).  It sounds like your mob have a much healthier focus than what I was referring to in my mind as traditional Christianity.

On 5/18/2021 at 10:59 PM, Kellerman said:

Christianity isn't a monolith, so just because you haven't found a version of it that fits you doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that some other exploration of spirituality wouldn't work for you. 

No, you are exactly right.  There well may be a Christian church (or some other spirituality as you say) that I enjoy participating in but to be honest, I think that horse has bolted.  I don't really feel any desire to seek out any such church/spirituality and find my little bit here and my family/social life is all the 'community' I need really.  But as they say, never say never.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Thanks for the reminder Kellerman that not all Christian groups are so passionate about correct belief - maybe just the vast majority! :).  It sounds like your mob have a much healthier focus than what I was referring to in my mind as traditional Christianity.

No, you are exactly right.  There well may be a Christian church (or some other spirituality as you say) that I enjoy participating in but to be honest, I think that horse has bolted.  I don't really feel any desire to seek out any such church/spirituality and find my little bit here and my family/social life is all the 'community' I need really.  But as they say, never say never.

Yeah, I see no need to participate in a church unless what you are specifically looking for is a church community. I don't necessarily find community churches to be the best source of high-level spiritual discourse. 

I have a group of ministers/retired ministers that I've started talking to regularly though. Half of them are also retired scientists, engineers, etc, like myself. So that's been really gratifying, to explore concepts of spirituality with people who like to be *very* educated about the things they discuss. 

My whole point is that you don't need Christianity, but you also don't need to fully reject it or religion as a whole if you don't want to. 

There's a whole world between the crappy Christianity that turned you off versus rejecting all manifestations of religion in the world. 

The world is just too bid, filled with too many ideas for people who've rejected much of organized religion to not be able to find a space for themselves within it. 

That's not to say I have any issue with atheism. I totally support anyone who feels no presence of the divine and has no interest in it. But what I do find sad are all of the people who obviously want to connect on that front and feel that they can't because they feel there is no place for them. That simply isn't true. 

I will repeat though, I see no need for anyone to have to be part of any church or any organized religion. It's not even remotely necessary, even for those who are very spiritual. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Kellerman said:

I suppose it isn't any different (pantheism and wonders of the universe)

So effectively you are an atheist? Baring in mind Dawkins described pantheism as "sexed-up atheism".

 

16 hours ago, Kellerman said:

I never said unbelievers don't or can't share my philosophical values and perspectives. I'm married to an atheist who shares them. 

I never said you did, yet you seek out religious people in preference to say non religious ... with the exception of your atheist wife of course.

 

1 hour ago, Kellerman said:

I totally support anyone who feels no presence of the divine

"Divine" is one of these words that is bandied about, like "spirituality", I must admit I am losing my grip on the understanding of these concepts. Is the feeling of the divine an illusion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, romansh said:

So effectively you are an atheist? Baring in mind Dawkins described pantheism as "sexed-up atheism".

 

I never said you did, yet you seek out religious people in preference to say non religious ... with the exception of your atheist wife of course.

 

"Divine" is one of these words that is bandied about, like "spirituality", I must admit I am losing my grip on the understanding of these concepts. Is the feeling of the divine an illusion?

I'm currently actively seeking out other spiritual people because almost everyone in my life is atheist. I have no preference for religious/spiritual people. 

If you want to call me an atheist, go ahead. I really don't mind. I consider myself as open to everything, but believing in not much specifically. I'm just not buying that any human can tell me what God is. 

Is the feeling of the divine an illusion? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not overly concerned about it. You don't seem to feel it, which is fine. But you seem to be looking for anyone who does feel it to justify it to you in a way that you are willing to accept. 

I can't do that, and I don't care to. I don't need you to understand my spirituality, nor is there any need for you to. 

I can't relate to what parents talk about when they talk about their love for their children being different from anything they've ever felt before, and that nothing anyone explained to them ever prepared them for it. 

I don't get it, and if no one could prepare them for it, then I don't assume that anyone could explain to me in a way that I can empathize with, but I get that they experience it. 

The difference is that being a former neuroscientist who has given lectures on the hormonal and neurological changes or parenting, I can see a rational, objective explanation, but that may or may not be the extent of the explanation, that may just be what I'm able to perceive. 

I see spirituality the same way. Perhaps it's just bundles of hormonal and neurological responses that humans evolved to have over time because "faith", whatever it is, is evolutionarily advantageous. Maybe it isn't. 

I have my profound spiritual experience that gives me faith in a divinity and  interconnectedness that I can see expressed in multiple world religions. You don't. I can never explain it to you if you don't feel it, but I can easily explain it to others who experience what appears to be the same thing. 

Perhaps my experience is nothing more than vestigial neurological nonsense, perhaps it's more. I really don't worry about that part too much, because I don't think it matters, and I'm not arrogant enough to think that I know some truth that others should be persuaded to agree with. 

Edited by Kellerman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

As an engineer, I've always found the telialogical argument for a creator God pretty convincing.  The fact that the universe exists in all it's complexity is NOT self justifying, the whole thing is outrageously unlikely without some sort of guiding consciousness behind it.  The idea that there is some sort of barrier between us and our creator is also easy to accept.  There is evidence of him all around us and remaining in us, but we just can't to see him directly.  The notion that the creator would desire fellowship with us is not all that hard to buy, after all, what creator wouldn't want to converse with sentient creations?  The conclusion that we are driven to is that there is something about God's nature and ours that keeps him from doing what he want's to do, fellowship with us.   The Christian position is that our current nature is so repugnant to God that he withholds his direct presence from us to keep himself from destroying us on the spot in spite of his desire to be with us.  Hence Christ's ministry as atoning sacrifice and the Holy spirit's ministry as transforming agent.  The thrust of the Christian message is that God exists and he desperately want's to transform us into beings who can enter directly into his presence and experience his approval instead of his disgust.  Because of where we are starting from this is a painful process, so the church exists to support us during the process.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Dan said:

As an engineer, I've always found the telialogical argument for a creator God pretty convincing. 

Although I can't call myself an engineer, I do have a PhD from an engineering university department ... I find the teleological argument a nonsense.  An intelligent six year old could argue sensibly against it.

The fact the universe exists in all its complexity is a fact (as facts go). Then suggesting a god did because you have insufficient intelligence to envisage how a universe might have come into existence spontaneously is an argument from incredulity. 

I am agnostic on the matter. Having said that the the chances of it being a Christian god creating the universe I find to be outrageously unlikely ... to the point I am an atheist to the concept of a Christian god ...  I would give Zeus similar odds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To argue for a necessity of a creating God on the basis of the evidence of a staggeringly improbable universe is not an admission of insufficient intelligence on my or anybody else's part.  An archealogist posits a great deal about the past on the basis of the survival of just a few artifacts, I am sure you find that science intellectually defensible.  To maintain that an intelligent six year old could argue against it is an unsubstantiated assertion.  I assert that maintaining it was all the result of "blind luck" is more a lack of intelligent investigation than at least acknowledging that something extraordinary must account for it, something with an intelligence capable of envisaging an order that is far beyond mine or yours.  My original post used teleology to justify the existence of God.  Consider the arguments about the current apparent unapproachable nature of God to establish his Christian nature.

 

Edited by Dan
augmenting my arguement
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Dan said:

To argue for a necessity of a creating God on the basis of the evidence of a staggeringly improbable universe is not an admission of insufficient intelligence on my or anybody else's part.

Beg to differ. You claim to know that the universe is staggeringly improbable. So on top of that you claim the the existence of what at first glance would be an even more staggeringly improbable deity. 

An intelligent six year old, would understand that the universe exists and would not make up stories about how it came into existence. An intelligent six-year-old when asked how the universe come into existence would answer "I don't know." 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/25/2021 at 2:55 AM, Dan said:

The fact that the universe exists in all it's complexity is NOT self justifying, the whole thing is outrageously unlikely without some sort of guiding consciousness behind it.  

It always amazes me that some Christians find it impossible to accept that this amazing universe can somehow have come about by itself in some yet to be better understood way, and that subsequently a master creator must be behind it all, yet they don't flinch at the question about how any such master creator could have come about!  If one can accept that 'God' can just 'be' without a creator, why is it so hard to accept that maybe the universe has come about without a 'creator', we just don't understand it fully yet?  In short, if a universe cannot be without a creator, why can a God be without a creator?  I fail to see how anybody with integrity can accept these as different propositions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now THAT is an excellent counter arguement.  The answer to it is that we know from the evidence that the created order has a beginning, accepted?  If you think about it event time itself didn't exist before the current order was brought into being.  Do you accept the assertion that every effect has a cause?  If so, then if there is any activity at all in the universe then there has to be a preceding cause.  This implies the existence of a series of antecedent causes stretching back into infinity, unless you believe in a first cause that had no antecedent.  THAT is very difficult to justify based on the evidence.  The classic argument then is that God is and is the author of all antecedent cause and that by observed necessity he must be have existed at all points past in order for there to be any current reality at all.  That is my justification for a creating God.  Please review the arguments for God withholding himself from the created order for my arguments for the Christian God.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, Dan said:

The answer to it is that we know from the evidence that the created order has a beginning, accepted?

No! That is the accepted paradigm. It is a mistake or at least misleading (frequently taught) to think of the second law in terms of order.

57 minutes ago, Dan said:

If you think about it event time itself didn't exist before the current order was brought into being.

That is an extrapolation of general relativity ... to where perhaps it is unwise to extrapolate. 

57 minutes ago, Dan said:

The classic argument then is that God is and is the author of all antecedent cause and that by observed necessity he must be have existed at all points past in order for there to be any current reality at all

So what you say here is: reality could not have existed at all points in the past. Theories like the Block Universe postulate that not only all points exist in the past they exist in the future too. Of course this means this theory is wrong as it means we don't have free will and if we don't have free will, then dying for our sins becomes a nonsense. And indeed if you accept everything has an antecedent cause then you were destined to write your nonsense as I am mine. And we should bear in mind the scribes who wrote the testaments could not help but write what they did. 

See you on the free will thread!

Edited by romansh
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The concept of free will begs the question, what is the nature of sentience?  A deep question indeed.  Is pain real?  Pleasure?  Compasion?  Hate?  Some of these questions cannot be addresses by the traditional scientific method.  I certainly think I feel these things, but the evidence is all internal.  I assert that the fact that we only have internal evidences for sentience does not make them any less real.  The issue is if we only accept the internal evidence for our own sentience without extrapolating sentience in other beings we end up with a society of sociopaths.  Lets just say that for me, the same dynamic that compels me to accept sentience in other humans without the same internal evidence compels me to accept divine sentience based on external evidence in the existing order without the internal witness that only God has.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Dan said:

The answer to it is that we know from the evidence that the created order has a beginning, accepted? 

What are you defining as they created order?  Just what you can see now in planets and stars, or are you referring to the gases and substances that initiated the big bang, or does order extend beyond whatever may have caused gases etc to formulate preceding the big bang?  My point being, we don't have evidence that the 'created order' has a beginning because our knowledge only extends (at this moment) to the point of the big bang, and that is always scientifically being built on and better understood.  Unfortunately, like many times in history, believers tend to attribute the unexplained to 'God', and satisfying themselves that no further knowledge is required.  That's where it seems Christianity is largely at today with understanding the universe.  It used to be that the earth was only 7000 years young and that God physically popped two single complete humans on the earth from which we are all derived.  With science we have obviously moved past that limited understanding.  I expect we will too one day concerning the big bang, when we further understand how it initiated the present universe as we know it.  But to say it was created by some being that itself doesn't need a creator (so we can draw a fullstop there), seems lacking to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The created order is a reference to the entire physical existence, matter, energy, and whatever else we may discover.  You may have misspoken, but under the current theory of the beginning of the universe there was nothing, no gases, no substance, not even space or time prior to the big bang.  It is all postulated to have erupted from a dimensionless singularity, with any cause prior to it unknowable because it existed out side the realm of measurable reality.  Most (if not all) theoretical physicists will tell you we cannot postulate anything prior to it because nothing that we can observe through any instrumentation, current or proposed, has any property that it acquired prior to it.  Most Christians I know delight in the assimilation of new knowledge, we are not threatened by it.  There have always been schools of though in orthodox Christianity that believed in an ancient earth.  But science is not a panacea.  The universe is much bigger than we are and it is always in flux.  We do not know everything there is to know about the universe's beginning or even our own and you should let go of the notion that we ever will.  I have constructed an argument for the belief in a divine sentience in the free will thread that you may find interesting.  Check it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, Dan said:

You may have misspoken, but under the current theory of the beginning of the universe there was nothing, no gases, no substance, not even space or time prior to the big bang.  It is all postulated to have erupted from a dimensionless singularity, with any cause prior to it unknowable because it existed out side the realm of measurable reality.  

Actually, that is but one theory postulated for the big bang precursor.  Others included the possibility that the universe continually expands and contracts and was in one uch contraction phase immediately before the BB.  Another is that universes are somewhat like a radioactive nucleus decaying.  When a nucleus decays, it spits out an alpha or beta particle. In this theory the parent universe could do the same thing, except instead of particles, it spits out baby universes, perhaps infinitely. It's specualted that these universes could be "parallel universes".  Again, my point is simply that we don't kno wenough about it yet to determine causes.  I agree with you that theoretical physicists will tell you we cannot postulate anything prior to it because nothing that we can observe through any instrumentation, current or proposed, has any property that it acquired prior to it.  Yet as is evident - religion 'knows' it is God.

48 minutes ago, Dan said:

Most Christians I know delight in the assimilation of new knowledge, we are not threatened by it.  There have always been schools of though in orthodox Christianity that believed in an ancient earth.  But science is not a panacea.  The universe is much bigger than we are and it is always in flux.  We do not know everything there is to know about the universe's beginning or even our own and you should let go of the notion that we ever will.  

On the face of it, many Christians I know too embrace knowledge.  But there often is a limit - that is when new knowledge tends to threaten faith, often I have seen Christians back away from it or refuse to seriously consider the new knowledge and allow it to actually challenge their faith.  That often seems a step too far.  I know in the days when I was leaving the faith, it was scary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/26/2021 at 9:37 AM, Dan said:

Some of these questions cannot be addresse[d] by the traditional scientific method.

What?

At best you can say we have not addressed these questions.

I am reminded of Auguste Comte's prediction"
 ... but we can never known anything of their [planets] chemical or mineralogical structure;

But he was even more convinced this was true of stars. Little did he know that several years earlier the underlying physics had been developed to determine compositions of stars. So I personally am a little more circumspect about assertions regarding what can and cannot be addressed.

15 hours ago, Dan said:

Most Christians I know delight in the assimilation of new knowledge, we are not threatened by it.

Have you ever heard of the Wedge document? You may want to look it up if you have never heard of it.

 

15 hours ago, Dan said:

  We do not know everything there is to know about the universe's beginning or even our own and you should let go of the notion that we ever will.

While this may very well be true, we don't need to use this as an excuse to make up stories about the beginning of the universe and how it is unfolding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service