Actually no; I had no connection with a loving God until I first proved (via the historical, logical and scientific evidences) that atheism has no foundation, but God, on the other hand had a great foundation. After that time, my Biblical studies and witnessing of a great many other things showed me the Gods love through his son Jesus Christ.
So, having gone through the evidences, and not relying on what MAN did of his own recourse, and through his own proclivities, in the name of his god(s) or materialistic/socialistic worldview, I “found that God's love is indeed real and eternal, and have devoted” my “to God”.
I would like to start by saying that if finding Christ and God's love made you a better and happier person, I am happy for you. I realize that belief and unbelief are not for everyone, and it would be irresponsible of me to enforce my unbelief on a person who could be happier with God.
I also meant that theists and atheists alike did have epiphanies in those moments in their lives, and of those I heard, all were happy with the change. I do know that doesn't mean it's typical of everyone, as the unhappy ones wouldn't have posted in the websites I visited, but it is not a rare occurrence.
Actually, the “evidence” from the empirical scientific method points to BOTH “how” and “Why”; maybe mostly how, at this point, but “why” as well. But it also doesn’t always point to a whole lot of either one (yet)!
For example: We know “How” and “Why” humans procreate. It is no longer a great mystery. There is much yet to learn, but we have a good grasp on the basics of the “how” and “why”. We also know “how” and “Why” we can have a much lower mortality rate; “MUCH” lower than the 18 and 1900’s.
That's what I get for posting absolutes I was mostly thinking of the great philosophical questions when I was writing this, such as why is there something instead of nothing, the meaning of life, etc. I do agree, of course you are right, science does explain some why's, but not all.
Further, the “maybe” you attempt to assert (or force upon) the origins of all of this (the universe, life, intelligence) in a non sequitur, as ALL the logical, rational, and scientific evidence points DIRECTLY to an “Initial Causer”; this alone causes great concern for the materialistic atheist, because it renders his would-view/philosophical life’s-view as foundationless and faith filled. Also, you have absolutely NO “dispute how that creator went about his business of creating” because neither YOU nor I can even come close to fathoming HOW He did it.
I would dispute that all evidence leads to the initial causer/creater/designer/god, because if the evidence did unequivocally point in that direction, then why does the rest of the world not agree? Any creation story is a minority when compared to the creation stories of all the religions in the world. What's more, there are many troubling similarities between the creation stories of many mythologies and religions, casting doubt upon the veracity of any single one of them. Why also then does science, which is the study of the universe around us, based upon empirical evidence, come up with a radically different answer from young earth creationism?
That would not only be incorrect, but a mischaracterization as well. An atheist is someone who “believes” (or is of the philosophical bent) that there is no God (or gods etc…). A liberal, on the other hand can be an atheist, a theist, an agnostic (etc…). You can also be a liberal or conservative New York Giants fan (or even a liberal or conservative New York Giant for that matter).
Therefore, for you to make such a claim is a bit disingenuous to say the least.
Unfortunately for your descriptive sensibilities, “Atheist” is literally translated as “No God”. So I’ll give you this warning now: Equivocations are not allowed at this forum. We are all about open and honest discourse, not “conversion by definition” as a point of argumentation. So, if you want to continue along that trail, you will be doing it elsewhere.
I think we have a disagreement on the exact definition of atheism here. Before continuing to argue, I think we should agree on a definition. I do not want us to argue by equivocation, I do not want us to argue from different definitions, and I do not want to argue from a definition that I do not know is flawed. Can we agree on a definition, so that our discussion may continue? Below I submit my definition, and you can tell me if it is flawed or if you accept it (if only for the sake of this conversation).
First off, I am an atheist, however my life is not build around the central facet that there is no god, nor is it my firm belief that no gods exist nor can they possibly exist at all. By your definition, I am not an atheist.
I have made some research into the meaning of the term atheist, and though I have come to find many different (and oft-times confusing) answers, I have found an explanation that so far seems to work. It puts atheism and theism on opposite sides of the spectrum, but also includes gnosticism. Theism is the position a person takes on belief, to believe or not. Gnosticism is a position one takes based on knowledge, to know or not. From that, we can find 4 different categories, the gnostic theist, the agnostic theist, the agnostic atheist, and the gnostic theist. The gnostic theist would be someone who knows that her/his god exists, and furthermore probably knows her/his name and her/his personality. Most of the theists would fall in this category. The agnostic theist is a person who believes there is a or many gods, but that either we do not know them, or that we cannot know them. Such people as deists would fall in this category, as well as people who are uncertain as to what kind of faith exactly they have (e.g.; hesitant between protestant, catholic or orthodox). An agnostic theist can also vary into the agnostic atheist, being a person who does not know if or is unsure whether a or any deities exist. However, agnostic atheists would also include people such as myself, who do not believe, but who do not claim to know that there are no gods. Finally, there would be the gnostic atheists, who would argue that there are no gods, gods cannot exist, etc. There is also a separate class of people, the anti-theist, who go a step further in their atheism. Not only are they gnostic atheists in their disbelief, they also claim that all religions are harmful and should be wiped from the face of the earth.
Notice also that an atheist can be liberal or conservative and a fan of the NY giants or not. What is important with a person's belief is that they are internally consistent. A person cannot be a conservative and a liberal, he is either one, the other, or a mix and match from both (I believe in the US that is defined as independent, yes?) but a person cannot take all the positions of liberals and conservatives. So no, I do not think my example was disingenuous. Please do tell me if I made a mistake in my reasoning and where.
Again, we’re talking about the actions of man, not Christianity. If you could show me, in the New Testament, where Jesus (the foundation of the Christian faith) condoned such, then you might have an argument. Otherwise, you are simply attempting to perpetrate a fraud by superimposing the actions of man over that of God.
Where I mean to take that argument is that if any particular kind of religion were the one true religion, whose god is the one true source of morality for all mankind, then we should see a specific and distinct increase in morality and good actions for the adherents to that specific religion. That however is not the case, we find a uniform and consistent spread of good and bad people throughout all the religions of the world. I'm not trying to say God is doing evil acts (because, according to me, God cannot intervene in our world, unless it is in some way impossible to detect by our instruments or if he is purposefully hiding his actions from us).
Which is exactly my point, and why your argument fails on that point. Atheists like Stalin and Pol Pot were fanatical in their atheistic fundamentalism via communism in order to kill all those that they were responsible for.
My point was that you are associating their atheism with their communism, when there is no direct reason to. Atheism permits communism just as well as religion permits theocracy, and yet I am not claiming that the divine nature emperors claimed for themselves is a direct cause of their religion. All these leaders had their belief or lack thereof, and took a deliberate step further in order to form a political system that would grant them power. Stalin's USSR might have been atheist, but he replaced religion with a different kind of belief system, one that revered communism and its leaders. That is not atheism, that is something more than atheism, and for you to mention both as tough they were somehow intrinsically linked is not a logical step.
It’s always good to grow. If one is willing to do so, that is…
I am always willing to grow, I just need to be shown appropriate reason to
No, you seem not to understand that atheism IS a position FOR there being NO God. Namely, the atheistic belief that there are NO deities and all that is associated with it. Your initial argumentation began with Bradlaugh as an attempt to water down the definition of atheism; to make it more of an “agnostic” world-view. Which, again, is nothing more than conversion by definition.
I am going to go on a limb here and assume you agree with the definition I gave above. What you are describing would be the gnostic atheist position, and I agree, that is not a logically supported position. One cannot assume that deities of all kinds do not exist, because one cannot prove that something does not exist. One can provide examples to show that the existence of such an object is so terribly unlikely that it is not worth believing it does, but one cannot conclusively prove that something, be it deities or a teapot orbiting Saturn, does not exist. I disagree with your definition of atheism, but I agree with your argument against the 'gods do not exist' position. Furthermore, it is my personal belief that one cannot build a life around a negative. No matter if gods do or do not exist, I have not had sufficient evidence to convince me that they do, and thus I live my life as though they don't. I don't pray, I don't go to church, I don't do confessions. I do help others, I do good actions, and I try to make everyone I meet happy, even if it's something as small and as unimportant as holding the door for an old lady or smiling at someone. I lead a happy life and I am good without gods. I do try to make the lives of others happy, and I do realize that being good without god is not for everyone. Is that satisfactory?
Once again, you are attempting to hide from the fact that your so-called lack of a belief in God is a “belief” that there is NO God. And you may attempt to argue against simply provides the strength of your faith.
Yes, that would be the gnostic atheist position, which derives knowledge from the assumption that gods do not exist. True, it is indeed like that for others, although I do wish they would realize that theirs is not logically supported, and that they would lose their arrogance and be more humble/respectful as individuals. I am not like that however, and I need to find values I can derive from elsewhere, because my atheism provides me none. I am a humanist, although I do not objectively place humanity above all the other species in this world. I have a subjective morality, and I take my morals from a miss-mash of different sources, ranging from tales for children to my own experiences to a few treatises on morality and philosophy. I am liberal in most points, though I agree that economically sometimes a conservative position is better. I am more of a socialist in that pure capitalism is not good enough being too laissez-faire and communism is too strict. I do believe the government should out laws and regulations in place to limit the capitalist system, because investors are more tempted to go for what gives them personal gain at the expense of the system (think of the recent economic crisis). I am pro-choice, because a woman should have control over what she wants to do with her body. None of these values are derived from my atheism. All of these values are independent of my atheism, but they are all internally consistent with it.
Do you have any more questions?
That is my personal belief, but it is in no means meant as an attack on other people's beliefs. I am merely stating something that is on the same level on what my favorite ice cream flavor. Just because we do not have the same opinion does not mean in any way I wish to insult you or denigrate your beliefs. If you do feel like it, I would like to continue this conversation, because I always want to hear opinions of other people, and especially opinions contrary to mine. Hearing only opinions which agree and confirm your beliefs does not stimulate thought, I find. That is part of the reason why I am here, to hear, understand and think about different opinions and beliefs.
That's a shame you believe this. There's really nothing for me to discuss with you further. I don't believe in "luck" per se, but I wish you the best of luck and hope you find what need to find, if indeed you are seeking.
Objectively, I see that sins do have many positive outcomes, such as the 10 commandments of 'do not kill', 'do not steal', 'do not commit adultery', etc. I agree that there are many positive outcomes to the teachings of sin both to help people live among each other in peace by creating rules to follow. I also see that other forms of sin do help the Church maintain their authority, such as the three first commandments, such as 'thou shalt have no other gods before me', 'thou shall not make graven images', and 'thou shall not take my name in vain'. In essence, to me it means, do not go to other religions, do not idolize false images, and respect me. I however disagree with the doctrines of eternal punishment in the flames of hell, and with many sins which openly cause anguish or pain unto people, such as the obsession surrounding masturbation and s@x in some religious circles. I have made friends with an ex-mormon, and she has ben mentally tortured through fear of punishment for her sins of impure thoughts. She would beat herself over the simplest thoughts, such as looking at a cute person and mistaking it for adultery. She would feel terribly ashamed of herself simply for being who she was. I disagree with sins taken to that extreme.
How exactly do you view sins?