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Debate me about the bible


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#61 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22284

Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:14 PM


The Wiki says 96% to 98% of the world believe in a higher power of some form, which is a very high number for something to be easily dismissed as "attempts of an awaking intelligence to reconcile mushroom trips with reality." In a world of 7 billion, that still leaves about two hundred million people who share your belief, so you have plenty of company.


I call bullshit on that. Given that the worlds most populous country is predominantly atheistic, I'd say the percentage of people is a bit lower than that.


This was my reference for it: Demographics of Atheism with quite a few global studies citing 2.4% to 3.8% as atheist, and 12%-18% nonreligious/agnostic.

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#62 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 661

Posted 31 May 2011 - 02:12 PM

Thank you for providing your source. :) I looked at the reference that statistic led to and lo' and behold, we are citing the same material. :lol: I read the study a bit more carefully this time and there's actually quite a bit of interesting info on the "non-religious" portion if you dive into the details. Specifically, the number of people who answer "atheist" changes slightly depending upon how you ask them. I would wager that a lot of people label themselves as agnostic or non-religious simply because the term carries less baggage, as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Nonreligious


While I'm on the topic, I'd like to point out a common misconception between the strict definitions of "atheist" and "agnostic". Most people (including myself until a few years ago) believe that an atheist is one that asserts that there are no gods and an agnostic is one who states that they do not know whether or not there is a god, seen as a "weaker" form of atheism almost. This isn't true, because theism,which deals with belief, and gnosticism, which deals with knowledge, are mutually exclusive terms. You can be both atheist and agnostic, which is in fact what I am. I don't believe there are any gods, but I don't know that there are no gods. I used to refer to myself as an agnostic, despite that I have never believed in any gods at any point in my life, because I viewed the term atheist in the way that is commonly misunderstood. Today, I describe myself as atheist, because it more accurately represents who I am.


So there are four possible combinations when dealing with gnosticism and theism:

  • An agnostic atheist is one who does not believe in any gods, but does not claim to know that there are no gods.
  • A gnostic atheist is one who does not believe in any gods, and claims to know that there are in fact no gods.
  • An agnostic theist is one who believes in a god or gods, but does not claim to know that these gods definitely exist.
  • A gnostic theist is one who believes in a god or gods, and claims to know that these gods in fact do exist.

So if someone asks you "Do you believe that there is a god/are gods?" and your answer is anything other than "Yes.", then you are an atheist. Whether or not you choose to use that label to describe your religious views is a personal preference. And this concludes my public service announcement. :P
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#63 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:18 PM

as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.


Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

#64 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31144

Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:35 PM

as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

Stanists like the character Satan... seems pretty straightforward to me -- isn't it the same as Christians who like the character Christ?

#65 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:11 AM

as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

Stanists like the character Satan... seems pretty straightforward to me -- isn't it the same as Christians who like the character Christ?


That's not what all satanists believe in though. The majority of satanists don't even believe in a deity, but that humans should embrace their more animalistic desires.

#66 Amaz1ng   Members   -  Reputation: 131

Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:41 AM


as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

Stanists like the character Satan... seems pretty straightforward to me -- isn't it the same as Christians who like the character Christ?


That's not what all satanists believe in though. The majority of satanists don't even believe in a deity, but that humans should embrace their more animalistic desires.


Religion was originally about expression of unknown phenomena or human nature. When it rained, people had no idea WHY water would fall from the sky. When it thundered, people had no idea WHY that sound was made so they created stories about Gods and Goddesses to explain it all.

Only the uneducated or mentally ill took the stories as literal. So my point is that the satanism you describe is nothing unusual - it's much closer to actual religion than fundamentalist Christianity for example.
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#67 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:15 AM

To the OP:

You sound like a reasonably smart guy who's rationally thinking about your belief system and having a crisis because one worldview (rationality) is colliding with another worldview (Christianity).

My advice is to stop letting your "mind go crazy". The more you think about it rationally, the less you believe. This is normal, and the reason for it is that Christianity is not a rational belief system. I'm imposing no judgment on it, it's simply the case, and many Christians will admit to it ("I don't need proof, I have faith", which is tantamount to accepting that one is willfully choosing the irrational). If your logic and rationality tells you that something does not merit belief, and if you understand that logic and rationality aren't a choice but are simply the way the universe and everything in it works, then you will drive yourself crazy if you try to force yourself to believe it.

It doesn't sound like you believe, so if you stop desperately trying to hold onto something which has no basis then you will find alleviation of that burden.

#68 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:25 AM

While I'm on the topic, I'd like to point out a common misconception between the strict definitions of "atheist" and "agnostic". Most people (including myself until a few years ago) believe that an atheist is one that asserts that there are no gods and an agnostic is one who states that they do not know whether or not there is a god, seen as a "weaker" form of atheism almost. This isn't true, because theism,which deals with belief, and gnosticism, which deals with knowledge, are mutually exclusive terms. You can be both atheist and agnostic, which is in fact what I am. I don't believe there are any gods, but I don't know that there are no gods. I used to refer to myself as an agnostic, despite that I have never believed in any gods at any point in my life, because I viewed the term atheist in the way that is commonly misunderstood. Today, I describe myself as atheist, because it more accurately represents who I am.


So there are four possible combinations when dealing with gnosticism and theism:

  • An agnostic atheist is one who does not believe in any gods, but does not claim to know that there are no gods.
  • A gnostic atheist is one who does not believe in any gods, and claims to know that there are in fact no gods.
  • An agnostic theist is one who believes in a god or gods, but does not claim to know that these gods definitely exist.
  • A gnostic theist is one who believes in a god or gods, and claims to know that these gods in fact do exist.


Thank you!! I have grown so tired of trying to explain this to people that I no longer even try, it's good to see someone else understand the distinction. People rail against the term "atheist" because they think every atheist conforms to what you here have called Gnostic Atheism and which is also called Positive Atheism, Strong Atheism, and Hard Atheism, and that's simply not the case. I don't have hard facts, but I figure most atheists would consider themselves agnostic (if they in fact understood the strict meaning of the term).

Anyway, cheers for spreading the word!

#69 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:03 AM



as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

Stanists like the character Satan... seems pretty straightforward to me -- isn't it the same as Christians who like the character Christ?


That's not what all satanists believe in though. The majority of satanists don't even believe in a deity, but that humans should embrace their more animalistic desires.

Only the uneducated or mentally ill took the stories as literal. So my point is that the satanism you describe is nothing unusual - it's much closer to actual religion than fundamentalist Christianity for example.

That's not the point I was making o.O

#70 HappyCoder   Members   -  Reputation: 2843

Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:52 AM

I would first like to say that I don't athests are bad people. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints more commonly known as Mormons. I have known many good people from other faiths such as the Jehovah's Witness, Catholic, as well as Athiests. I also know that my ubringing has given me a moral foundation that will help me througout my life.

I enjoy science. I like to study it and learn from it. As I study it I don't see the need to have to pick either God or science. I don't see why I have to choose only one. I make my religion my main foundation and any knowledge that science has to offer. My knowledge of God did not come from reading a science textbook. It came through reading the scriptures and asking if it is true. (Moroni 10:3-5)

The belief of athiesm is nothing new. Not believing in Christ has been part of societies long before his coming. (Alma 30:12-16) To the Greeks the preaching was foolishness. "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;" 1 Cor:22-23. A knowledge of the truth comes to a sincere seeker with a humble heart. You my ridicule me for my beliefs. Science will contitue to progress and there will be those who will try to tell me that our knowledge disproves God. I believe that "even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44) I look around and see that there is too much order for it to be by chance. The order in the galaxies. The order in the solar system. The order in life. The order in life's basic building blocks such as protiens and DNA. The order in atoms and molecules. This is not proof to me that God lives. What is the foundation of my testimony is a witness through the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:3-5) Anybody who wants to know the truth needs to read the scriptures, ponder of them, then ask with a sincere heart if it is true. If done with faith the Holy Ghost will releal the truth of this directly to our minds. That is why I beleive.

#71 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31144

Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:19 PM




as many believers instinctively associative "atheist" with satanist and are prejudiced to think all sorts of horrible things about us.

Side point, but does anyone else think it's weird that a religion would name itself after the anti-diety of another religion and most branches of the it ask not to be associated with that deity?

Stanists like the character Satan... seems pretty straightforward to me -- isn't it the same as Christians who like the character Christ?


That's not what all satanists believe in though. The majority of satanists don't even believe in a deity, but that humans should embrace their more animalistic desires.

Only the uneducated or mentally ill took the stories as literal. So my point is that the satanism you describe is nothing unusual - it's much closer to actual religion than fundamentalist Christianity for example.

That's not the point I was making o.O

That's not the point I was making o.O

#72 Machaira   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1028

Posted 02 June 2011 - 12:13 PM

Anybody who wants to know the truth needs to read the scriptures, ponder of them, then ask with a sincere heart if it is true. If done with faith the Holy Ghost will releal the truth of this directly to our minds. That is why I beleive.

What happens though when contradictory answers are received by different people? How do you determine which is true?
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#73 Machaira   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1028

Posted 02 June 2011 - 12:22 PM

Here's a hint: no such person exists.

...

it's quite telling that there isn't a single example of this changing, in anyone, ever.

The second sentence does not mean the first is true. Unless you've become omniscient I think you meant "there has been no evidence of such a person".

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#74 cowsarenotevil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2079

Posted 02 June 2011 - 12:40 PM


Here's a hint: no such person exists.

...

it's quite telling that there isn't a single example of this changing, in anyone, ever.

The second sentence does not mean the first is true. Unless you've become omniscient I think you meant "there has been no evidence of such a person".

You're welcome. Posted Image


It is, of course, impossible to prove non-existence. However, when I assert that, for instance, "dragons do not exist" the vast majority of people will know that I really mean "there is no reason to believe that dragons do exist" rather than "I am omniscient." But then, since you apparently knew that already, I'm not sure why there is any confusion.

Also note that, as written, the second sentence does imply the first one. I said "there isn't a single example" rather than "I have not observed/seen evidence of a single example." Obviously, the latter is what I meant, but you apparently knew that already too.
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#75 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31144

Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:49 PM


Anybody who wants to know the truth needs to read the scriptures, ponder of them, then ask with a sincere heart if it is true. If done with faith the Holy Ghost will releal the truth of this directly to our minds. That is why I beleive.

What happens though when contradictory answers are received by different people? How do you determine which is true?

You have to un-ask that question. The question is based on the assumption that truth is something that exists external to yourself. If you instead assume that truth is internal, then the question makes no sense.

#76 Hedos   Members   -  Reputation: 674

Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:13 AM

The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]


I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.

This is probably not something you did on purpose, but I noticed some people constantly using this rhetoric and I thought this should be clarified.

#77 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22284

Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:40 AM


The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]


I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.


I think it is more like the Null Hypothesis.

That itself is a belief. It is just a negative belief.

Not having evidence of your test case does not necessarily prove the null hypothesis.



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#78 Hedos   Members   -  Reputation: 674

Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:52 AM



The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]


I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.


I think it is more like the Null Hypothesis.

That itself is a belief. It is just a negative belief.

Not having evidence of your test case does not necessarily prove the null hypothesis.




You might be interested in the wikipedia article on the Null Hypothesis. Quote: "It is important to understand that null hypothesis can never be proved." Thus, this is why I'm saying there is no such thing as a "belief in the Null Hypothesis". Is is a contradiction in itself, because the Null Hypothesis can't ever be proven.

This is a subtle issue, but the main point I am addressing is just that of terminology. Stop saying that "atheism must be proved", it's a contradiction. We just refuse to believe in gods because of the lack of evidence, and we can point to this lack of evidence or we can criticize the weakness of the evidence or we can show the contradictions in the proposed evidence, but we are not trying (and don't need to try) to prove atheism.

#79 Amaz1ng   Members   -  Reputation: 131

Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

Stop saying that "atheism must be proved", it's a contradiction. We just refuse to believe in gods because of the lack of evidence, and we can point to this lack of evidence or we can criticize the weakness of the evidence or we can show the contradictions in the proposed evidence, but we are not trying (and don't need to try) to prove atheism.


Checkmate. :o
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#80 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:54 PM

I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating.\

Atheists believe that there is no god-like deity.

Agnostics are closer to not believing in anything, but that's not always the same either.

Believing in nothing is not the same as not believing in anything.




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