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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    I don't believe atheism is a simple contradiction. I have a lack of belief in the paranormal, but I don't use a word to describe myself as one who lacks belief in the paranormal. I think there is a political aspect behind the usage of the term atheist. So whilst yes it is merely a word to describe the state of lacking belief in God, I believe is also carries a lot more meaning beyond that.
    What would convince one that they simply lack a belief that the paranormal exists rather than believing that the paranormal does not exist on the lack of strength of evidence for it, and strong evidence against?

    Both positions accept that there is no certainty. Both accept that there is not sufficient reason to believe the paranormal to be true. The latter rejects the paranormal, arguing it is probably false. Does the former reject it for the same reason?

    If so how do we differentiate.

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    What makes you think there is a god. The problem in the word god is, I think how it is defined.
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    (Original post by Scrappy-coco)
    What would convince one that they simply lack a belief that the paranormal exists rather than believing that the paranormal does not exist on the lack of strength of evidence for it, and strong evidence against?

    Both positions accept that there is no certainty. Both accept that there is not sufficient reason to believe the paranormal to be true. The latter rejects the paranormal, arguing it is probably false. Does the former reject it for the same reason?

    If so how do we differentiate.

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    This reminds me of the whole "God spoke to me in a dream" and "I dreamt God spoke to me" issue. How does one distinguish between one and the other.

    I would say if one lacks a belief in something, they simply don't have the evidence that would convince them to believe in it. Whereas believing something doesn't exist would require some sort of evidence. For example, I don't simply lack a belief in Santa, but rather I genuinely believe Santa doesn't exist.

    What is your position in regards to other Gods, that is, all Gods but the God of Christianity? Would you say you lack belief in those Gods, or that you believe those Gods don't exist?
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    What is your position in regards to other Gods, that is, all Gods but the God of Christianity? Would you say you lack belief in those Gods, or that you believe those Gods don't exist?
    According the the Bible, the Christian god believes other gods exist. He is jealous of them and forbids worship of them. You'd imagine Christians must believe in them too, wouldn't you?
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    What is your position in regards to other Gods, that is, all Gods but the God of Christianity? Would you say you lack belief in those Gods, or that you believe those Gods don't exist?
    I suspect the standard relgious position on this is that it's the same God, just under different guises, which is very convenient.

    They have all the answers wrapped up, due to having some brilliant minds on their side over many many years working these answers out, whether it be wordplay, circular arguments, or simply smokescreening. That's why it's sometimes hard to debate with them.

    If they don't claim this, then the argument is simple.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    This reminds me of the whole "God spoke to me in a dream" and "I dreamt God spoke to me" issue. How does one distinguish between one and the other.

    I would say if one lacks a belief in something, they simply don't have the evidence that would convince them to believe in it. Whereas believing something doesn't exist would require some sort of evidence. For example, I don't simply lack a belief in Santa, but rather I genuinely believe Santa doesn't exist.

    What is your position in regards to other Gods, that is, all Gods but the God of Christianity? Would you say you lack belief in those Gods, or that you believe those Gods don't exist?
    It's quite interesting that you use Santa as an example, it's not uncommon to see atheists compare God to Santa but I agree with you that, with the Santa situation, the justified position is to believe he doesn't exist.

    Would a lack of belief also mean you don't have enough evidence against the contrary or good enough reasons to reject the belief? So atheists who lack a belief in a God, haven't got enough to say they genuinely believe God doesn't exist?

    Hmm. Great question.

    I think the immediate answer is that it should be done on a case by case basis. Some God's I reject because they don't really seem to be God. Thor and Zeus for example (if my Greek and Norse theology is not mistaken!) are not eternal. They had a beginning and were preceded by the Universe. I think that it's central to the idea of God to be eternal, among other reasons for the fact that something which begins to exist must be contingent. I thinks it's almost coherent to think of God as contingent. When atheist bring up the thousands of Gods that have been worshipped, it's to my understanding that the vast majority have the same characteristics as Thor and Zeus. I find it quite interesting that the major world religions all have the idea of a transcendent, eternal God. So I don't believe those God's exist.

    With the ones that fit the basic outline of a Deistic God, I tend to reject them based on theological problems within the religion, rather than the characteristics of their God's (perhaps with Hinduism the exclusion - though it's more like a mix). So with Islam, I don't believe there's any reason to think it is true - just based on that you could say I lack a belief. But I find theological problems with the religion that give me confidence to reject it.

    Broadly speaking, I would say I don't believe the other God's of religion exist. Though there could be cases where I simply lack a belief.


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    (Original post by Scrappy-coco)
    It's quite interesting that you use Santa as an example, it's not uncommon to see atheists compare God to Santa but I agree with you that, with the Santa situation, the justified position is to believe he doesn't exist.

    Would a lack of belief also mean you don't have enough evidence against the contrary or good enough reasons to reject the belief? So atheists who lack a belief in a God, haven't got enough to say they genuinely believe God doesn't exist?
    For me, it all depends on what is meant by the term God as I don't believe all competing God claims can be treated equally. For example, if we look at the Book of Mormon and the character of Joseph Smith, I wouldn't consider it too far of a stretch to claim that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is evidence against the existence of the Mormon God. If Joseph Smith got in trouble for banking fraud, it doesn't require a stretch of ones imagination to ask the question as to whether the creation of Mormonism was merely another example of him committing fraudulent activities.

    Hmm. Great question.

    I think the immediate answer is that it should be done on a case by case basis. Some God's I reject because they don't really seem to be God. Thor and Zeus for example (if my Greek and Norse theology is not mistaken!) are not eternal. They had a beginning and were preceded by the Universe. I think that it's central to the idea of God to be eternal, among other reasons for the fact that something which begins to exist must be contingent. I thinks it's almost coherent to think of God as contingent. When atheist bring up the thousands of Gods that have been worshipped, it's to my understanding that the vast majority have the same characteristics as Thor and Zeus. I find it quite interesting that the major world religions all have the idea of a transcendent, eternal God. So I don't believe those God's exist.

    With the ones that fit the basic outline of a Deistic God, I tend to reject them based on theological problems within the religion, rather than the characteristics of their God's (perhaps with Hinduism the exclusion - though it's more like a mix). So with Islam, I don't believe there's any reason to think it is true - just based on that you could say I lack a belief. But I find theological problems with the religion that give me confidence to reject it.

    Broadly speaking, I would say I don't believe the other God's of religion exist. Though there could be cases where I simply lack a belief.

    TSR no longer has the quality of debates it used to
    I think the main issue with raising the point that there are thousands of Gods is that to research each and every one of them and to come to a final conclusion on each God would require so much time and effort. It would be too arduous a task to undertake. If for example we were to take a God from some secluded tribe in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, we would surely have little evidence to present against their God due to knowing too little about their God.

    Is it not the case that with most of the major religions such as Christianity and Islam, that there is no one single theological understanding of the concept of God? So what you might find to be a theological problem with the God of Islam may not be present in another school of thought of Islam.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    I wouldn't consider it too far of a stretch to claim that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is evidence against the existence of the Mormon God. If Joseph Smith got in trouble for banking fraud, it doesn't require a stretch of ones imagination to ask the question as to whether the creation of Mormonism was merely another example of him committing fraudulent activities.
    That, surely, just demonstrates that our knowledge of modern religion creators leads us to discount them. We don't know who invented Judaism, for instance, so cannot look at them forensically. I would put money on similar records of fraud.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    For me, it all depends on what is meant by the term God as I don't believe all competing God claims can be treated equally. For example, if we look at the Book of Mormon and the character of Joseph Smith, I wouldn't consider it too far of a stretch to claim that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is evidence against the existence of the Mormon God. If Joseph Smith got in trouble for banking fraud, it doesn't require a stretch of ones imagination to ask the question as to whether the creation of Mormonism was merely another example of him committing fraudulent activities.



    I think the main issue with raising the point that there are thousands of Gods is that to research each and every one of them and to come to a final conclusion on each God would require so much time and effort. It would be too arduous a task to undertake. If for example we were to take a God from some secluded tribe in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, we would surely have little evidence to present against their God due to knowing too little about their God.

    Is it not the case that with most of the major religions such as Christianity and Islam, that there is no one single theological understanding of the concept of God? So what you might find to be a theological problem with the God of Islam may not be present in another school of thought of Islam.
    Certainly. I agree with your reasoning regarding the Mormon God. In the example you gave, you've got evidence which both takes away evidence for it being true and provides evidence that argues it isn't true. I think it follows that the rationally justified position is to reject that God exists, rather than simply lack a belief.

    With regards to the point about unknown Gods from secluded tribes, I think there is at bottom a mind of separating process that helps sift through the Gods that I completely reject and the ones I think have plausible characteristics but problematic religions. So, if you start with a clear picture of implausible characteristics of God, it helps whittle them down.

    Let's take Islam as the example. The bare bones characteristics of Allah is very similar to Jehovah. There aren't identical, though. Within Christianity, it is fundamental that Love is part of God (or to be more precise God is love). This isn't the case in Islam. Now, it would be question begging to simply say 'I prefer a God that loves than one that's doesn't. Therefore I will believe in Christianity over Islam.' I think Islamic God and its central ideas on Allah's love and morality have very problematic implications with ethical theories and theories on morality. One example would be the Euthyphro dilemma. As notable Islamic scholars through history have come to see, they have to choose one of the horns of the dilemma and them the implications that follow (you'll find a surprising number of Muslims who will say morality is subjective, or that Allah arbitrarily chooses what is 'objective' right). Christian philosophers have come to argue that it's a false dilemma, that God is good. This raises some interesting thoughts that I've been wanting to follow up. God example, when Plato mentions this dilemma he talks of the God's in the Zeus and Thor sense, seeing that they are inadequate for the dilemma, but with a ready answer in his Platonic theory of forms. Specifically the Good. It's been noted how similar the Good is with the classical theism's idea of God, which chronologically speaking (quote loosely I should add) parallel the the Islamic engagement with the dilemma. Looking at the developments side by side showed the startling contrast in which each religion could address the dilemma. Central to this contrast was the differing views of morality and love as characteristics of God in Christianity and Islam.

    This is of course just one example. There absolutely are schools of thought in Islam which I find more powerful than others. I'm not sure of any differ in this rather core understanding of Allah though.


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    (Original post by Scrappy-coco)
    Within Christianity, it is fundamental that Love is part of God (or to be more precise God is love).
    But that flies in the face of the Old Testament evidence that his characteristics include vabity, jealousy, vengefulness, a desire to control and micro-manage behaviour, cruelty and a predisposition to commit mass genocide.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That, surely, just demonstrates that our knowledge of modern religion creators leads us to discount them. We don't know who invented Judaism, for instance, so cannot look at them forensically. I would put money on similar records of fraud.
    "Which is more likely: That the whole natural order is suspended or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?" David Hume
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    (Original post by chemting)
    "Which is more likely: That the whole natural order is suspended or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?" David Hume
    Quite!
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    (Original post by Scrappy-coco)
    Certainly. I agree with your reasoning regarding the Mormon God. In the example you gave, you've got evidence which both takes away evidence for it being true and provides evidence that argues it isn't true. I think it follows that the rationally justified position is to reject that God exists, rather than simply lack a belief.

    With regards to the point about unknown Gods from secluded tribes, I think there is at bottom a mind of separating process that helps sift through the Gods that I completely reject and the ones I think have plausible characteristics but problematic religions. So, if you start with a clear picture of implausible characteristics of God, it helps whittle them down.

    Let's take Islam as the example. The bare bones characteristics of Allah is very similar to Jehovah. There aren't identical, though. Within Christianity, it is fundamental that Love is part of God (or to be more precise God is love). This isn't the case in Islam. Now, it would be question begging to simply say 'I prefer a God that loves than one that's doesn't. Therefore I will believe in Christianity over Islam.' I think Islamic God and its central ideas on Allah's love and morality have very problematic implications with ethical theories and theories on morality. One example would be the Euthyphro dilemma. As notable Islamic scholars through history have come to see, they have to choose one of the horns of the dilemma and them the implications that follow (you'll find a surprising number of Muslims who will say morality is subjective, or that Allah arbitrarily chooses what is 'objective' right). Christian philosophers have come to argue that it's a false dilemma, that God is good. This raises some interesting thoughts that I've been wanting to follow up. God example, when Plato mentions this dilemma he talks of the God's in the Zeus and Thor sense, seeing that they are inadequate for the dilemma, but with a ready answer in his Platonic theory of forms. Specifically the Good. It's been noted how similar the Good is with the classical theism's idea of God, which chronologically speaking (quote loosely I should add) parallel the the Islamic engagement with the dilemma. Looking at the developments side by side showed the startling contrast in which each religion could address the dilemma. Central to this contrast was the differing views of morality and love as characteristics of God in Christianity and Islam.

    This is of course just one example. There absolutely are schools of thought in Islam which I find more powerful than others. I'm not sure of any differ in this rather core understanding of Allah though.


    TSR no longer has the quality of debates it used to
    I remember a Muslim member called tazarooni89 (I'm not sure if he still posts) argued against the Euthythro dilemma by essentially arguing for I would call psychological egoism. To quote what he said:

    "The events that happen aren't categorically either "good" or "bad". They're just events, or alternative configurations of the atoms in the universe, none of which are any better or worse than another as far as logic is concerned. The only reason you'd label some as "bad" is because you personally find it displeasing. That is, it's not the event that's "bad", rather it's you who dislikes the event. Someone else may not."

    If morality was just merely that which pleases oneself, how would that effect your perception of the God of Islam? If there is no such thing as "good", then wouldn't the concept of "God is good" also collapse?

    I must say I struggle with this concept of morality and I find myself unable to argue against it, but neither do I wish to agree with it.
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    (Original post by chemting;[url="tel:63322999")
    63322999[/url]]Well we all have unfairness in life. How is it fair that if you were born in the "right" religion, you have a higher chance of getting into heaven.
    Anyhow, surely this is an incentive to right the wrongs of the world and reduce unfairness? For example, instead of praying for rain (http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016...ying-for-rain/), it is better to go out there and built water pumps and water transportation measures to villages and take steps towards reducing global warming. Another example is instead of praying for victims of gun violence (http://www.piconetwork.org/pages/pra...d-gun-violence), it is better if we tackle the root causes of it and try to solve the mental health issues and a lack of gun control to rectify (or at least decrease the effect) such problems.



    Not really, everyone who has been born will die. Again, it is also an incentive to make our lives and the lives of other better as this is the only life we get. It also gives a big incentive to leave a legacy, and try to do good so you can inspire further generation to do good and solve problems. This was the original message of Carpe Diem (Yolo) before it got hijacked by certain groups of people. Forget Jesus, stars died so you could be here.



    Occam's razor. god does not help, in fact it adds more questions than answers. We may not have a full answer, but we have a good basis to hypothesise models and test. If you look at what has been achieved in the field of cosmology during the last century, I am confident that we can get closer to an answer. This answer will be far more fascinating and inspiring than can be found in books about sky-gods. Old men in the desert had wild imaginations, but as Lawrence Krauss said "Mother nature is far more creative than humans could hope to be."




    No, but religious people forcing dogmatic beliefs down my throat is also a thing. The word "atheist" is also problematic and is designed for such purpose though. Why should I go round saying "I don't believe in a non-existent something" - why should I define myself by something I am not? Do you say, I am "anti-racist" or "a-dragonist".



    Probably, but likelihood is probably not. Let's put it this way, I don't think someone who is religious will want to be with me so I'm only doing them a favour.


    Great! Do you being "spiritual" contains a set of superstitions and rituals that you abide by?
    You can pray AND actively try and reform gun law for example. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

    The US will never ban guns imo (not soon anyway) so praying for the families of victims is no less stupid/pointless than campaigning for change.

    Glad you have that attitude mate.
    However, what stops someone being bad then? If there is no karma, no heaven/hell, where is the punishment if said person can evade the law? Or bend the law...

    Most people could get away with small/moderate drug dealing on the side. They could be incredibly selfish if there is nothing after this life.

    Of course you do not beed belief in a god to have a moral compass. However, to me, there seems like less risk in being bad if nothing will happen to you... If this life is all we have then surely everyone is out for their own personal gain at all times.
    A 'realist' perspective some would say...

    I'm glad you are optimistic bro
    Ultimately, that is just your opinion though. Just as valid as someone who believes in god stating that he is beautiful and that in the future there will be more evidence for his existence etc.

    I agree with you on that. Aggressive atheism and theism annoy me.

    A fair answer tbh.
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    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    However, what stops someone being bad then? If there is no karma, no heaven/hell, where is the punishment if said person can evade the law? Or bend the law...
    Moral compass is built into us, and has evolved slowly, like all our other systems. It is based on the empathic part of the brain IMHO. It is a subtle, complicated piece of software.

    However, for people with no moral compass (e.g. sociopaths/psychopaths) punishment is necessary to protect other people. Not so much to teach the perpetrator right from wrong.

    The reason I don't go out murdering people is because I have no interest in murdering people. Nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with the law. (Also, I need to sharpen my axe).

    Punishment doesn't teach people right from wrong per se. It simply prevents them from wrong-doing by means of fear. Not doing wrong for fear of punishment is certainly one way of running society, but it fails to actually teach anyone anything.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown;[url="tel:63323363")
    63323363[/url]]It wouldn't matter if no other viewpoint were being put forward, that would not justify saying "God did it" which is nothing more than the God of the Gaps fallacy.



    No, most scientists have no clue what happened before the Big Bang. Many people have also highlighted that asking this question may not even make sense given that time originated with the expansion. These multiverse and black hole musings are hypotheses, not theories.



    What's ridiculous is asserting things which have no evidence to back them up. There is no current proof for a cause nor does there need to be as there is no inherent reason why the singularity needs a cause other than religionists' and theists' desire for there to be one. But once again, wanting something to happen or have happened does not make it true or plausible. The singularity may have been eternal or arisen out of fluctuations or caused by natural laws which are not sentient nor magical.



    And if you know anything about quantum physics you'll know that at the subatomic level logic as we know it completely disintegrates, never mind the possible properties of a singularity. And once again, this cause, if there were one, need not be supernatural nor sentient.



    What do you mean by what caused us? That is perfectly and extensively explained by biology, specifically evolution.



    And inserting God to solve this doesn't help as that just creates more questions and once again is nothing more that the God of the Gaps.



    How do you know there is an answer to it?
    I disagree. We were created by something. There was an initial cause.
    So if there was no big-bang, evolutionary argument put forward then it would be logical to believe in a higher power of some description.

    Ok, fair enough. The idea of a 'singularity' is the hypothesis of some scientists, not everyone in the scientific community.
    Well the question becomes 'what caused the big bang?', 'what was before it?'.
    It is possible that a supreme being set the initial conditions for the big bang to occur. Another theory....

    I read a book talking about 'theistic evolution' in relation to why some scientists believe in a higher power. That would describe the above.
    Not that i'm wholly convinced by this...

    'There is no inherent reason' for a singularity to have a cause...
    Something cannot come from nothing.
    It's mind boggling to suggest that it arose from nothing.

    It is nothing to do with 'wants' or 'desires' with regard to the cause of a 'singularity'. It seems nonsensical to suggest that it 'just was' so to speak...

    I thank you for your articulate response.
    However, what you have said is pure conjecture. It has not been proven or is even remotely close to being so.
    It requires faith to believe that (if we assume a singularity even existed).

    I apologise for the confusion. I meant right at the start ie what we have been talking about. I accept the evolutionary argument.

    I don't understand what you mean by 'how do you know there has to be an answer?'. I understand the sentence but not the meaning. How can there not be a cause? It's preposterous (imo) to think there was not a cause.

    Furthermore, if there was a cause (which i cannot accept there not being) then the possibility of there being a higher power is most certainly there.

    The scientific community are not united (as you have covered re hypotesis vs theory) on what happened pre big bang. The science is also highly abstract and unproven. It requires a good deal of faith to believe.

    I will re-iterate, i appreciate your response mate



    (Original post by chemting;[url="tel:63323665")
    63323665[/url]]Sure, cya tomorrow

    Do you think there is a "super-natural force" constantly interfering with day-to-day natural affairs?

    I am a bit confused at what you're refering but science does not claim to answer all of everyone's questions... another set of ideology does, do you think it does a good job?. It's almost like trying to judge a fish by its ability to climb trees.
    No. I don't think i do. My 'faith' is more for when we die. What happens thereafter...
    Tbh you could easily waste your life away by focusing on whether a god hears and/or answers you.

    What is 'good' for one person could be 'bad' for another, so many 'prayers' would result in harming someone else etc for a start... So how could a god grant them in the first place?

    Has science done a good job?
    Yes, thus far. Certainly until the big-bang. It has shaped the world we live in. However, it cannot provide us with the answers that so many crave.

    Or did you mean: Do ideologies do a good job?

    No. Far too utopian in viewpoint and often based on fallacies.
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    (Original post by frankieboy;[url="tel:63345243")
    63345243[/url]]Moral compass is built into us, and has evolved slowly, like all our other systems. It is based on the empathic part of the brain IMHO. It is a subtle, complicated piece of software.

    However, for people with no moral compass (e.g. sociopaths/psychopaths) punishment is necessary to protect other people. Not so much to teach the perpetrator right from wrong.

    The reason I don't go out murdering people is because I have no interest in murdering people. Nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with the law. (Also, I need to sharpen my axe).

    Punishment doesn't teach people right from wrong per se. It simply prevents them from wrong-doing by means of fear. Not doing wrong for fear of punishment is certainly one way of running society, but it fails to actually teach anyone anything.
    Good post.

    Disclaimer: I am not saying religion is true just because we need some kind of punishment like system etc. I am simply playing devil's advocate here.


    If there is no god. No karma. No heaven/hell. No justice (outwith police, etc on this earth).
    And we only have one life. Our sole aim is maximum enjoyment and legacy.

    Why not be a venture capitalist? Why not be very 'individualist'?
    Why not sell some drugs on the side? Sell dodgy cars? Do stuff under false pretences...
    Why give a **** about the environment?

    Why be a good person? If it makes you happy... Sure but if it doesn't, why do it?

    I truly hope there is a karma type thing after we die. I'm not sure i 'believe' it but i'm not contemplating what it would mean if there wasn't.
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    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    You can pray AND actively try and reform gun law for example. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
    That's not really the intention of a lot of people who pray for the victims. They intend their favourite supernatural being to actively stop the next one and give comfort to the victims - well philosophically anyway (or you also have "the only way to counter bad guys with guns is good guys with guns" argument). Anyway, there has to be a supernatural being interfering with natural order for this to be effective. Don't get me wrong, I day-dream and wish impossible things top too so I am as guilty as them. (But I admit my life is going to be the way it is!)

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    The US will never ban guns imo (not soon anyway) so praying for the families of victims is no less stupid/pointless than campaigning for change.
    They won't, its against the constitution of United States. Control isn't banning (the 2nd Amendment mentions a well "regulated" militia). Personally I'm for basic controls but not as far as some people are suggesting, I think mental health and other issues have a factor but I digress. Anyway, again the families are not stupid for campaigning as Obama recently issued an executive order on it (granted its a water-downed version of what people wanted but its something).

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Glad you have that attitude mate.
    However, what stops someone being bad then? If there is no karma, no heaven/hell, where is the punishment if said person can evade the law? Or bend the law...
    Well, to go hard-core... there are some evolutionary explanations for a large part of our behaviour (in fact evolutionary psychology has become a field of its own), there are neurobiological aspects of human morality (neuroethics). I guess one of the biggest evidence of there being a scientific evidence of "morality" is morality and empathy shown by animals who are not cognitively advanced enough to understand concepts of "heaven", "hell" and "supernatural beings" (and "afterlife" - except cats I presume, they're happy with their 9 lives!). I am no expert in any of these fields, but what I can say is that is morality and laws are based on a very complex equilibrium system that is trying to balance out the rights and welfare of the individual vs the rights and welfare of a society whilst increasing both - hence you have an "evolution of morality".

    I hope you don't take this as me attacking you but I'm interested in your karmic system of "governance". Where will this "being" draw the line? For example, cheating in a test is bad, but is it Karmic hell bad? Furthermore, when does this event of you being put into heaven/hell takes place, morality is not the same as it was 500 years ago nor it will be the same 500 years later. For example, I am a tad overweight as I like to eat meat... but I can fully accept the fact that in 200 years, eating meat could be a disgusting thing to do. Would I go to this Karmic hell? I'm not sure a Karmic system of belief would also stop committing bad deeds, as there are too many grey lines and you can easily bend your morality to do bad things (for example, many murderers, rapists and corrupt exploiters think they are doing good things). I'll give you some examples, the Islamic Development Bank or the King of Saudi Arabia are extremely corrupt and I doubt their belief in "god", however they think they are doing good things by giving money and establishing control and order to the lives of impoverished people (all whilst exporting a vile form of Islam and ideology in the process). The kingmakers of American politics think they are doing good by establishing order in the system, they think they are helping the American people in the long run even though they are "corrupt". The bureaucratic leaders of the European think they are doing great things by uniting Europe, getting rid of their problems and letting poor people have a decent living (but maybe not go up the social scale), others think it comes at a cost. They are also perceived to "corrupt". Gaddafi thought he was doing amazing things by trying to unite Africa, provide food and welfare for his people, giving people in Libya a social safety net - all whilst inhibiting social mobility and silencing his "critics". Hitler (despite being a Catholic) thought he was doing good things and being patriotic. The Clinton Foundation is a haven for corrupt money (for example Saudi Arabia donated to it) and even alleged money-laundering, but it does good things for poor people and minorities. Parents sometimes beat their kids and do horrible punishment, to "man them up" - this may be a good technique but it might leave the children psychologically damaged (regardless, the parents think its a good thing).
    All these people can be morally justified in their endeavours. How would this supreme being judge. Religion was a great trick to manipulate people's behaviour, but organised dogmatic orthodox religion will not work anymore, but a Karmic hell/heaven alternative also doesn't sound useful to me. It is oversimplifying a complex system in my opinion.


    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Most people could get away with small/moderate drug dealing on the side. They could be incredibly selfish if there is nothing after this life.
    Again, Karma may not be any better.

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Of course you do not beed belief in a god to have a moral compass. However, to me, there seems like less risk in being bad if nothing will happen to you... If this life is all we have then surely everyone is out for their own personal gain at all times.

    A destruction of the entire society and our civilisation system is not in the interest of every individual in the world - therefore, even by your "people will just be selfish", we will be refrained (or make illegal) to do actions that will lead of to such outcomes.


    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    I'm glad you are optimistic bro
    Ultimately, that is just your opinion though. Just as valid as someone who believes in god stating that he is beautiful and that in the future there will be more evidence for his existence etc.
    Yes but I have a basis for my claim, if we plot a graph of "scientific achievements/knowledge" vs time, you would find that it is increasing (exponentially). I could say that I am merely following the trend, whilst also being aware of the trend *may* not continue. This trend will not continue if we see a complete destruction of the secular world, if that happens I will admit the trend won't continue. Could you draw a graph of "evidence of god" vs time? I don't think it is equal to say that imo.

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    I agree with you on that. Aggressive atheism and theism annoy me.
    I agree with you on the whole, but to play with semantics here - it depends a lot of your definition of "aggressive". Although, I will be the first to admit that some atheists are just outright dicks (including myself sometimes unfortunately, although I try not to be ).

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    A fair answer tbh.
    Thank you Your Karmic idea is also a food for thought (sorry if I seemed aggressive)
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    (Original post by Unistudent77)

    No. I don't think i do. My 'faith' is more for when we die. What happens thereafter...
    Tbh you could easily waste your life away by focusing on whether a god hears and/or answers you.
    Fair enough, but the supernatural being raises questions though.


    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    What is 'good' for one person could be 'bad' for another, so many 'prayers' would result in harming someone else etc for a start... So how could a god grant them in the first place?
    Why not pray to get rid of climate change? who does that hurt? It sounds like the Christian fall back of "you just haven't prayed hard enough" or "you prayed for the wrong things". Plenty of religious people pray for things that are "bad" for others.

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Has science done a good job?
    Yes, thus far. Certainly until the big-bang. It has shaped the world we live in. However, it cannot provide us with the answers that so many crave.
    It doesn't claim to, religion does. If people stopped craving answers, the scientific method would stop existing.

    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Or did you mean: Do ideologies do a good job?

    No. Far too utopian in viewpoint and often based on fallacies.
    Yes, I meant do you think religion does a good job in answering our questions and solving all our (moral) problems as it claims? I agree with you on your answer.
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    (Original post by chemting;[url="tel:63346641")
    63346641[/url]]That's not really the intention of a lot of people who pray for the victims. They intend their favourite supernatural being will actively stop the next one - well philosophically anyway (or you can have "the only way to counter bad guys with guns is good guys with guns). Anyway, there has to be a supernatural being interfering with natural order for prayer to be effective. Don't get me wrong, I day-dream and wish impossible things top too so I am as guilty as them. (But I admit my life is going to be the way it is!)



    It won't, its against the constitution of United States. Control isn't banning (the 2nd Amendment mentions a well "regulated" militia). Personally I'm for basic controls but not as far as some people are suggesting, I think mental health and other issues have a factor but I digress. Anyway, again the families are not stupid for campaigning as Obama recently issued an executive order on it (granted its a water-downed version of what people wanted but its something).



    Well, to go hard-core... there are some evolutionary explanations for a large part of our behaviour (in fact evolutionary psychology has become a field of its own), there are neurobiological aspects of human morality (neuroethics). I guess the biggest evidence of there being a scientific evidence of "morality" is morality and empathy shown by animals who are not cognitively advanced enough to understand concepts of "heaven", "hell" and "supernatural beings" (and "afterlife" - except cats I presume, they're happy with their 9 lives!). I am no expert in any of these fields, but what I can gather is that is morality and laws are based on a very complex equilibrium that is trying to balance out the rights and welfare of the individual vs the rights and welfare of a society whilst increasing both - hence you have an "evolution of morality".
    I hope you don't take this as me attacking you but I'm interested in your karmic system of "governance". Where will this "being" draw the line? For example, cheating in a test is bad, but is it Karmic hell bad? Furthermore, where does this grand event takes place, morality is not the same as 500 years ago nor it will be the same 500 years later. For example, I am a tad overweight as I like to eat meat... but I can fully accept the fact in 200 years, eating meat could be a disgusting thing to do. Would I go to this Karmic hell? I'm not sure a Karmic system of belief would also stop committing bad deeds, as there are too many grey lines and you can easily bend your morality to do bad things (for example, many murderers, rapists and corrupt exploiters think they are doing good things). I'll give you an example, the Islamic Development Bank or the King of Saudi Arabia are extremely corrupt and I doubt their belief in "god", however they think they are doing good things by giving money and establishing control and order to impoverished people (all whilst exporting a vile form of Islam and ideology in the process). The kingmakers of American politics think they are doing good by establishing order in the system, they think they are helping the American people in the long run even though they are "corrupt". The bureaucratic leaders of the European think they are doing great things by uniting Europe, getting rid of their problems and letting poor people have a decent living (but maybe not go up the social scale), others think it comes at a cost. They are also perceived to "corrupt". Gaddafi thought he was doing amazing things by trying to unite Africa, provide food and welfare for his people, giving people in Libya a social safety net - all whilst inhibiting social mobility and silencing his "critics". Hitler (despite being a Catholic) thought he was doing good things and being patriotic. The Clinton Foundation is a haven for corrupt money (for example Saudi Arabia donated to it) and even alleged money-laundering, but it does good things for poor people and minorities. Parents sometimes beat their kids and do horrible punishment, to "man them up" - this may be a good technique but it might leave the children psychologically damaged (regardless, the parents think its a good thing).
    All these people are morally justified in their endeavours. How would this supreme being judge. Religion was a great trick to manipulate people's behaviour, but organised dogmatic orthodox religion will not work anymore, but a Karmic hell/heaven alternative also doesn't sound useful to me. It is oversimplifying a complex system in my opinion.




    Again, Karma may not be any better.




    A destruction of the entire society and our civilisation system is not in the interest of every individual in the world - therefore, even by your "people will just be selfish", we will be refrained (or make illegal) to do actions that will lead of to such outcomes.




    Yes but I have a basis for my claim, if we plot a graph of "scientific achievements/knowledge" vs time, you would find that it is increasing (exponentially). I could say that I am merely following the trend, whilst also being aware of the trend *may* not continue. This trend will not continue if we see a complete destruction of the secular world, then I will admit that it won't. Could you draw a graph of "evidence of god" vs time? I don't think it is equal to say that imo.



    I agree with you on the whole, but to play with semantics here - it depends a lot of your definition of "aggressive". Although, I will be the first to admit that some atheists are just outright dicks (including myself sometimes unfortunately, although I try not to be ).


    Thank you Your Karmic idea is also a food for thought (sorry if I seemed aggressive)

    If there is a 'higher being' then it can't intervene. The gunmen think they are right so it can't rank one person over another.
    Anyway, i don't think 'it' intervenes in daily life.

    I agree with you on Obama being in favour of trying to change things but with the Republicans holding power in the other houses then he is effectively powerless...

    Thanks for your answer re 'morality', a good one i think...
    I still think without the fear of a higher 'judgement' then that innate predisposition to do 'good' could be easily overrun.

    No, you aren't 'attacking' me haha.

    A fair critique.
    I think it would come down to whether you harmed others. If so, what were your intensions... Were they malicious? What was the result.

    If there is a supreme being, surely it would be intelligent enough to discern the honesty of the person.

    I don't envisage some gate which either opens or sends you elsewhere... I just hope there is some kind of reward, leveling of the playing field.

    In the form of another life or a good time elsewhere (heaven idea). Idk. Nobody does.

    I agree there is ambiguity with this 'karma' idea. I concede it may well be optimistic thinking but it's certainly what i hope.

    If i get into the police post uni, i could join the firearms say and have to kill someone. I'm not fearful of that.
    Ultimately, i'll do the best job i can. Protect people, make myself as happy as possible, make as many people as possible happy and then i'll see what happens when i die. I'm not scared.

    I'm on the fence and i'll believe what i want to, since i think the rational arguments are at loggerheads and that is holding a hope of somethimg post death.

    Again, fair point.
    I accept that. Evolution has destroyed most mainstream religions, certainly they can no longer be taken literally.

    However, imo, the root cause is a huge problem. It's an issue i don't think we will ever properly understand and one which pushes me towards a creator, certainly makes me 50/50 anyway.

    Science is very black and white, which is great. However, i think there is definitely some grey with this issue.
    Many people report spiritual experiences, prayers being answered and such like.
    Is that real evidence? No. Does it make the picture less clear? Imo, despite not experiencing any 'spiritual' experiences, it does.
 
 
 
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