Thought Provoking

I was having a talk with a high school friend about religion and such, and he made an really interesting point that I had never really considered. I mentioned that I was an atheist, and he said that he was, as well, as “all thinking people should be.” I then said something about it being really hard to reason with or debate with people that are uber, uber religious and use “because God said…” or “the Bible says…” as their explanation for things. He then said something really great:

“The only thing is – if you think about it, the atheistic paradigm can be just as exclusive. You’ll never convince a religious person that God’s not there, nor will you ever convince an atheist that God IS there. The parallel can be entertaining sometimes.”

This, I thought, was a great point. While you will NEVER change the mind of someone who steadfastly believes in God and the Bible to the extent that they live their life by it, you will also never convince me of some magically, omniscient man in the sky who will punish me for being gay or having pre-marital sex. You know? So I am equally unwavering in my beliefs. However, while I may think that my arguments contain more rational thinking and logic than theirs, its hard (or impossible) to argue with someone who’s reason is “because God/the Bible said so.” You will never change their mind. Just like they will never change mine.
I just thought that it was an interesting thing to consider.
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  1. blueeyedtawni
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    you know that is a very good point. :)

  2. twg
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    To be fair, it is entirely possible to both believe in God and not think he gives a flying fuck about not use "because God says so" as your go-to, all purpose argument. I mean, I'm just saying there's no need to lump everyone in with the fundies just because they're often the most vocal.

  3. twg
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Oops, I meant "about premarital sex, and not use …" etc.

  4. KBear
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I'm a pagan. I believe in several gods and goddesses. But I also believe that no matter who you worship, it's all the same, as all gods are one God and so on and so forth.

    I usually have the problems with religion, because i don't believe in the whole "you must believe this way, or you go to hell". I believe you live your life to the fullest,worship how you choose, make your mistakes and as long as you live and learn, you'll get to wherever it is you're meant to get to. if that makes any sense.

    if you're an atheist, I don't believe that means anything bad. It's hard to have faith in something you don't know for sure is there.

    And since the bible was written by men apparently, I can't hold any truth to what it says. Some homophobic in those times could have just slipped that stuff in there for all i know.

  5. Innocent Male
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Thinking individuals must consider the following before rejecting the possibility of a single Creator. I'm not religious. Nor am I an atheist. Just a thinker trying to figure it all out.

    Check out Pascal's Wager:

    Also, if a Creator exists, he made us capable of thinking and believing all sorts of crazy things. Maybe all those crazy things aren't so bad after all. (What exactly is marriage? Is pre-marital sex with one you love worse than loveless married sex?)

    To kbear. While there may be many gods, Socrates' dialog with Euthyphro explains why, to be truly pious, one must accept only one God (at least one over all the others). His logic agree with your statement: "all gods are one God."

    True, the Bible was written by men, but I find the fact that it was written by humans at all the most persuasive argument against it. However, we can never know where truth resides until we see for ourselves.

    So much to know and love. One day we may figure it all out, who knows.

  6. alana
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Ok first off, Pascal’s wager is a bunch of crap because an all knowing god should know your belief in him is just to keep your ass covered.

    Second, a person should never hold dogmatically to any belief, even atheism. It’s just not healthy. People need to be willing to always grow and learn. Dawkins brought up the point that atheists don’t have faith and reason alone cannot prove conclusively that anything definitely does NOT exist. Therefore we must always hold a measure of doubt that we can be wrong.

    I’m an atheist but I am comfortable enough to acknowledge that I can be wrong. Highly unlikely, but a possibility. lol

  7. M.A.D.
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Nope, sorry, your friend's logic is fundamentally flawed.

    It will always be easier to convert an atheist to religion than it will to convert a religious person to atheism.

    Simple reason – you can't prove a negative. You can "prove" that something has happened or does exist, but you cannot "prove" that it has not or does not. You can only demonstrate that there is no evidence for it, or that the evidence makes it seem unlikely.

    When you tie that into the general instinct in people to want to think that life is generally going to be good, people's "level of proof requirement" for religion is sometimes dramatically reduced.

    So basically, it is theoretically possible that you could be shown "proof" that God exists…

    Whether it's some weird old guy in a restaurant claiming to be an old testament prophet; or a bright light on the road to Damascus; or being a first-hand witness to the Second Coming, complete with wailing, gnashing of teeth and the entire Heavenly Host; or simply getting a feeling of comfort when someone earnestly explains how much Jesus loves you. You could see something that you feel "proves" the existence of God.

    However, it will always remain nigh on impossible to prove that God does not exist.

    So, it's definitely easier to persuade an Atheist that God is there.

    Sorr. Close, but no coconut…

  8. Innocent Male
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    A person bound by the shackles of reason is intimately aware of the magnitude of his/her own ignorance. That being said, what tiny truths we can know are precious and must endure a constant barrage of attacks in order to confirm or refute them. After all, a truth is nothing more than an enduring perception that has, through history, sustained all attempts to suppress it. My argument is not that one must actually believe that God (the Creator) exists. I question whether or not, assuming He does not, it is more beneficial (from a utilitarian perspective) to believe He does…particularly with eternal life now becoming a viable technological possibility. If He is nothing more than nature and natural law, how do we justify our God-like powers without appealing to a higher, deified, "all-knowing" entity responsible for creating us and all of nature. How do we prevent the intellectually weak from following corrupt humans and how do we prevent prevent corrupt humans from believing they are gods themselves?

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