God is redundant. A Theory

  • Thread starter Sintwar
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  • #51
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No, he's saying people's belief in god proves nothing. You need some other evidence. So in his example, convincing others I breached the contract is meaningless. You'd need to produce the evidence (the contract) and show I breached it.
 
  • #52
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loseyourname said:
I was thinking more along these lines:

That's the thing. Any possible world has an equally low a priori probability of being an actual world. There is no more reason to be surprised that our world is the one that exists than there would be over the existence of any possible world, whether or not it could support intelligent life.
I agree. I was just making the point that saying the odds of a 25 year old winning the lottery is more analagous to the existence of life than saying "someone will win the lottery". Because the latter statement has a 100% chance of being correct which is not the case for a 25 year old nor life on earth. So it requires the assumption that life has a 100% chance of existing eventually somewhere. Your new analogy is better :biggrin:

It is not miraculous that someone wins the lottery because the odds of that are 100%. It is not miraculous that someone gets dealt a royal flush because that arrangement is no less likely than any other. To make this analogy with life, we are making the assumption that a world that includes the existence of life is just as likely as a world that doesn't. A person arguing on the grounds of "odds" could make the argument that this is not the case.
 
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  • #53
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Fliption said:
I agree. I was just making the point that saying the odds of a 25 year old winning the lottery is more analagous to the existence of life than saying "someone will win the lottery". Because the latter statement has a 100% chance of being correct which is not the case for a 25 year old nor life on earth. So it requires the assumption that life has a 100% chance of existing eventually somewhere. Your new analogy is better :biggrin:

It is not miraculous that someone wins the lottery because the odds of that are 100%. It is not miraculous that someone gets dealt a royal flush because that arrangement is no less likely than any other. To make this analogy with life, we are making the assumption that a world that includes the existence of life is just as likely as a world that doesn't. A person arguing on the grounds of "odds" could make the argument that this is not the case.
I was thinking about this yesterday. I came to this.

I don't think that our world being the way it is, is highly improbable.

What I do think is improbable, is another world being exactly like ours.

Just like any system really. I think you would have a VERY hard time finding an identical system in this universe. Although it might be possible, it is EXTREMELY improbable.

Take a hand full of rocks and toss them on the ground. Now look at one of them very carefully. It is almost impossibly unlikely that you can pick those rocks up, and drop them again and have even one of them land in the same exact location, at the same exact angle at which it landed. But, the chances of it landing exactly the way that it did the first time are probably about as likely as our planet being the way it is. But guess what? It happened didn't it?

But just because it is improbable for another system to be identical to ours, does not mean that it is improbable that another system will contain life in some form. Or even intelligent life for that matter. It just probably won't be exactly like what you see on earth.

It is just a matter of something evolving and adapting to its environment.

Take a look at fish for example. I was in the pet store tonight, looking at the salt water fish. I am amazed at how different those things are even from the weirdest mammal I have ever seen.

They are from another world. Even though they share the same planet as us, they have adapted to a word that we could never in our lives imagine adapting to. But they did it. Not only do they live under water, some of them live so deep under water that they even live in temperatures that we could never imagine adapting to.

I assure you. Anywhere in this universe that life is capable of evolving, it will most likely happen. And you, me and anyone else living on this planet might never understand it, until we catch one of them suckers and cut them open for examination.. >=)
 
  • #54
My rational self questions all aspects of reality, and can't understand to any certainty why or how I exist. My aestetic self doesn't question reality at all, and can't understand why my rational self has a problem. The left and right hemispheres of the brain are like evolution's check and balance system, without this symbiotic dichotomy, life can't ameliorate. The consciousness will either destroy itself by seeing no purpose and therefore not striving for anything, or destroy itself by becomming too appreciative of it's purpose and miss out on living. Both viewpoints must be balanced in order to ensure survival.
 
  • #55
loseyourname
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Fliption said:
It is not miraculous that someone wins the lottery because the odds of that are 100%. It is not miraculous that someone gets dealt a royal flush because that arrangement is no less likely than any other. To make this analogy with life, we are making the assumption that a world that includes the existence of life is just as likely as a world that doesn't. A person arguing on the grounds of "odds" could make the argument that this is not the case.
That's why I was careful to say that every possible world has an equal a priori probability of being an actual world. As we cannot view any other worlds that might exist nor any worlds that might have existed before ours or will exist after ours, we have no way of calculating a frequentist probability. The best we can do is to perhaps calculate a Bayesian probability, but even that would require knowledge of how universe's form and what it is that causes physical constants to become what they do. As we do not have that knowledge at the moment, the best we can currently do is assign equal probability to all possible worlds, in which case there is no reason to think anything special was required for our particular world to become actual.
 
  • #56
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loseyourname said:
That's why I was careful to say that every possible world has an equal a priori probability of being an actual world. As we cannot view any other worlds that might exist nor any worlds that might have existed before ours or will exist after ours, we have no way of calculating a frequentist probability. The best we can do is to perhaps calculate a Bayesian probability, but even that would require knowledge of how universe's form and what it is that causes physical constants to become what they do. As we do not have that knowledge at the moment, the best we can currently do is assign equal probability to all possible worlds, in which case there is no reason to think anything special was required for our particular world to become actual.
Agreed. (I'm putting this sentence in because my message was too short to post otherwise :wink: )
 
  • #57
Les Sleeth
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Sintwar said:
Proof is proof beyond the shadow of a doubt. Proof cannot be dis-proven if it has truly been proven. Proof is fact not opinion as you would have it. Yes if something has been proven and I am denying it, then I am an idiot. As well as anyone else denying it. Until that moment, anyone claiming that something is fact without proof is an idiot.
I've read all your comments in this thread. I want to address the idea of proof before responding (in a second post) to your original point about the redundancy of God.

As someone who became an atheist at age 11, I have heard and expressed most of your complaints. Like most atheists, your biggest objections appear to be about the beliefs and practices of religion. You make the mistake of assuming religion represents whatever evidence there is for what's been called "God." Yet what if there is evidence, but theology has nothing to do with it?

A point which is related to something Fliption said is that the modern standard for all so-called "proofs" (excepting tautologies/pure math) are subjectively achieved (empiricism). All scientific proof is based on subjective observation first, and then the ability to share that with others so they too can subjectively experience (observe) what's been claimed. So you cannot escape subjectivity for what we label "proof."

Now, do you believe you know all varieties of subjective experience that have ever been attained? Have you studied all the practices of this world to find out what's been done? For example, the Buddha meditated for many years and then achieved something called enlightenment. Do you know what that is? How many atheists do you think have a clue what that is? Is it pure nonsense, or did he really realize some new level of consciousness through that? If he did realize some new level of consciousness, then how do you know it didn't make him aware he was, for example, part of some greater consciousness?

If that seems far fetched you might consider some of the claims of people who've taken psychedelic drugs. In my youth I took such drugs (mostly peyote) a couple of hundred times over a period of twenty years treating the experience reverently. My impression was that the drug released my consciousness from a sort of "constriction" the brain causes, and expanded it (and no, I don’t recommend drugs, especially since I now know a better way). In that expanded condition I was acutely aware of some sort of "field" all around me which, over time, I came to feel was conscious. I can’t claim to actually know if it is/was, but the impression was there nonetheless.

I always wondered if I could get that expanded experience without the drug, because I came to love it, but every time the drug wore off the expanded experience disappeared. Then someone taught me to meditate, and I've practiced daily now for over 30 years. I have in fact achieved the expanded experience through that, and I now continuously feel like I am existing within some greater consciousness. Is it God? I don’t know. I can only report what I experience, which is that it feels conscious and loving. However, I also could provide you (as somewhat of an expert in this field) with lots of similar reports from inner practitioners taken from many cultures and times over the last 3000 years or so.

Now you, without that experience and having never researched the long history of people who practiced this experience (including a lot monastic Christians . . . I think Canute mentioned Meister Eckhart, for instance), you speak of there being "no proof." But to those of us who have the deeper inner experience, it is being proven to us (or confirmed at least) over and over each day. We just can't prove it to you, and (as Fliption astutely points out) most people don't give a rat's behind whether they can or not. The proof is subjective, not inter-subjective, and that’s just how it works.

You can investigate or not, it’s nobody’s business but your own, but you can’t demand something that doesn’t yield to the objective methods of science do so or you claim it’s bogus. The problem arises when you speak from what you know, and seem to think that because you haven’t experienced it, then no one has. That my friend is an egocentric opinion and not worthy of anyone hoping to acquire a truly objective and informed perspective about all this existence has to offer.
 
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  • #58
Les Sleeth
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Sintwar said:
Proof Existence. The essence of all that is, was and shall be. Existence is the purest form of any force, because without it, nothing would exist. Including existence its self.

Because of this, I have a theory that the force of existence is infinite. This theory is based on the fact that existence could not exist without existence.

With that in mind, lets move onto the god thing.

If god exists, he exists under the rules of existence. Meaning that even god cannot exist without the force of existence.

God cannot have created existence, because he would have to exist first to create it. And because he cannot exist without existence, he is not the ultimate power. Existence is above him.

If existence were to cease to exist, so would everything else. Including god.

So my conclusion is that if existence could create god ->

(I use the term "create" loosley. Much in the same way that gravity (and a series of other factors) "creates" diamonds from coal. It is simply an "effect" of its presence.)

It could also create the universe, everything in it, and then some without the need of "god".

This theory of course does not dis-prove god. It does however render him useless in a sense. The idea of god is that he is all powerful. If god has no power over his own existence, he is not all powerful.
I generally agree with your idea of existence as “The essence of all that is, was and shall be. Existence is the purest form of any force, because without it, nothing would exist. Including existence its self. Because of this, I have a theory that the force of existence is infinite. This theory is based on the fact that existence could not exist without existence.”

To your list I would add the qualities of eternal, uncreated, indestructible, highly mutable . . .

But I don’t see why you say God, and if you don’t mind I am going to substitute “consciousness” for God, is redundant. There are aspects of this universe which so far cannot be explained. We cannot explain, for example, how chemistry can self-organize itself into the complex, self-sustaining systems of a cell (sure, we can provide an explanation, but we can’t demonstrate it is true). People are trying to do it in a laboratory, but guess what, it is consciousness that is doing the vast majority of the organizing.

We also cannot demonstrate how physicalness produces consciousness (again, we have our theories, but we can prove none of them).

Now, if we throw out the tired, old worn out theological and purely speculative concepts of an omniscient and omnipotent creator, is there any reason to consider consciousness might have evolved first (i.e., before the physical universe) out of that pure existence you spoke of? And that being in an infinite and eternal medium, this conscious was able to evolve for unimaginable eons (if necessary), and then participate in the formation of the universe?

One reason to at least consider it is because it would help explain the organization of matter found in/behind life and consciousness which physical principles alone cannot be shown to produce. If such a consciousness does exist, there is no reason to imbue it with omnipotence (logically, it only has to be powerful enough to have helped with creation to the degree it did), nor omnipotence (it just has to know whatever it needed to know to make its contribution to creation), nor with supernatural ability (creation appears totally natural, so this consciousness would be seen as having to obey the more basic rules of existence, just like everything else, and therefore be “natural”).

That, like physicalism, is just a theory. Is there any evidence supporting the idea of some universally omnipresent consciousness? By golly there is! I mentioned it in my last post to you. Are you going to research it? Well, if you are like most atheists and physicalists I debate, you won’t, and you will also continue to proclaim to everyone “there is no evidence.” But then, I could be wrong, maybe you are different. :smile:
 
  • #59
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Les Sleeth said:
Are you going to research it? Well, if you are like most atheists and physicalists I debate, you won't, and you will also continue to proclaim to everyone "there is no evidence." But then, I could be wrong, maybe you are different. :smile:
One thing about my atheism is that I did not just pop from a believer to a non believer over night. I am sure there have been quite a few atheists out there who did exactly what I did.

I have experience the "Christian" side of theism. I have been saved a few times, and yes while I was in church, listening to the preacher I "felt the presence of god". There was no denying it. I had so much blind faith in god that there was no way that anyone could have convinced me otherwise.

Somewhere along the lines of that stage in my life, I began to learn that there are literally thousands of different beliefs, and religions. This bothered me. I began to think to myself "Self? How is it that there are so many beliefs in the world, but mine is the only "true" belief?"

Well this was overwhelming to me. All of the sudden my belief was outnumbered by thousands of others and mine seemed somewhat insignificant.

I began to explore and research a little about other beliefs. At that point I still believed in "a higher power" such as god.

I found out about Wicca. An interesting religion based on multiple deities.

But what really sparked my interest in Wicca was that they practice "manipulating" the energy around us. They call it "Magik". "Well this makes sense" I said. We are surrounded by energy, why wouldn't Christianity observe this and do the same? So I actually converted to Wiccan, and my beliefs were 100% shifted to that belief. I researched and actually cast spells, and meditated on a daily basis "religiously". The funny thing was, that same "presence of god" feeling came over me when I was worshiping the Wiccan goddess Vs. worshiping the Christian god.

After that realization I came to the conclusion that religion is just a tool to be in touch with the 1 and only "diety" or "higher power". No matter what way you look at it, there is no wrong or right, it is all the same.

So that was the point that I released religion from my life all together. I wasn't an Atheist yet, but I considered myself to be "Spiritual". I believed there was something, but that nobody was really capable of explaining it, so we all just made up our own versions of what we think this "higher feeling of presence and comfort" really is.

After so many "conversions" in my life, I really began to explore the idea of "god". I began to logically question the base of my beliefs.

Essentially, why do I believe that there is a god? Because I was raised that way. The same reason I believe that chewing with your mouth open is repulsive. I have had it engrained into my mind that this is the way it is.
The same goes for my parents, and their parents and so on.

Have I ever REALLY whitnessed a "miracle" (like the ones described so vividly in the religious writings)? Or could everything that I considered to be a miracle in the past possibly be confused with a coincidence? No, I cannot say that I have ever REALLY whitnessed a "miracle". Everythig I have ever whitnessed that would be considered a miracle by believers, could really be boiled down to logical coincidence.

Am I able to induce the feeling of "the presence of god" by simply using my imagination to visualize, without being in church, praying, meditating, etc. ? Yes I can. I am an artist, and I do have a fairly good grasp of visualization, and how to control it. I can very easily visualize the presence of someone standing behind me, breathing and watching me. I can visualize it so well that I can even visualize the scent of cologne, the sound of his breathing, and even the feeling of the breath on the back of my neck. I can visualize it so well that I will actually look behind me to make sure it isn't real. It is a matter of being in tune with the senses that you take for granted every day.

So, once I began to realize that the "idea" of god was planted in my mind by my parents, I have never actually whitnessed a miracle, and that I can actually visualize the presence of something being there when it really is not, I began to REALLY question the validity of this whole god business all together.

I then became an agnostic.

I still had the idea that "There COULD be something out there, after all this universe is "too perfect" to be anything other than the creation of some form of intelligent being... Or is it?

I then began to read up on the scientific views of our universe. Don't get me wrong, I did not get into any in depth, hard core study about it, but I have picked up bits and pieces along the way. Things such as theories about why Earth is the way it is, how chaotic the universe really is, and how evolution does make a lot of sense, etc, etc...

I have also payed attention to the nature of theists, and their history. Not only did my father force me to go to church, and force the idea of god into my mind, entire civilizations have come under attack and been forced into certain beliefs by threats and means of violence.

Now with all of this flooding through my head, I have simply boiled it down to this:

Idea of god was forced on me (and billions of other people) by other men, not a god, I have never whitnessed a miracle, I can invoke the presence of "someone" with visualization, the universe IS chaotic, and we are not as "perfect" as many think. We are simply a product of our environment, due to a process of evolution.

Wow... Now I am beginning to really open my eyes, and my mind a little wider. No longer trapped by the forced limited beliefs that I was raised on, all of the sudden, I feel "enlightened". More awake, more aware and more alive than ever in my life. All of the sudden life is no longer a simple insignificant stepping stone. It is the most unbelievable thing that I could possibly ever imagine. With all odds against us, we exist.

BAM. Now I am a full fledged Atheist. I say Atheist, because as a former theist, there is really no other way. I imagine there is a state of mind in which god does not exist at all. Throughout someones life, they have never been introduced to the idea of a god, and therefore it does not exist. That has to be the absolute purest state of mind that anyone could ever achieve.

I have a 1 year old daughter. That is her mind. Unfortunately I will need to raise her as an Atheist because the idea of god will be shoved down her throat from the moment she can form sentences.

I think that if you really want to "prove" that god exists, let it go. If there is a god, I am sure it will show up and prove it in its own way. Rather than consistently brain washing people with the ideas of god, and forcing it on our children and other people, I think that we should focus more on teaching our children the reality of what we do know about the universe.

Now that we know that the sun is not god, the Earth is round, and it is not the center of the universe. Now that we know what stars really are, and what gravity is, and why it rains, and what lightning is.

Or we can continue to embrace ignorance and continue to tell our children that the sun is gods face, the earth is the center of the universe, the rain is gods tears, the thunder is god walking, and the stars were hung in the sky by god to light the earth, when we know it not to be true.

Now that I am an Atheist, I am trying to move toward that pure state of mind as my next step. This is why my focus has been narrowed down to "existence". I have some ideas, but nothing truly convincing yet. Hence this post. You have all become a part of the next step in my life. Any of you trying to convince me that god does exist is doing so in vain. I have come too far. There is no turning back now.
 
  • #60
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Sintwar said:
Now that we know that the sun is not god, the Earth is round, and it is not the center of the universe. Now that we know what stars really are, and what gravity is, and why it rains, and what lightning is.
Unfortunately for u, science is starting to indicate that our universe is an illusion.
 
  • #61
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Sintwar said:
Any of you trying to convince me that god does exist is doing so in vain. I have come too far. There is no turning back now.
Don't be too sure.
 
  • #62
Les Sleeth
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Sintwar said:
One thing about my atheism is that I did not just pop from a believer to a non believer over night. . . . I have experience the "Christian" side of theism. I have been saved a few times, and yes while I was in church, listening to the preacher I "felt the presence of god".
Your journey toward atheism sounds similar to my own, except I started out an atheist and then became agnostic, figuring that to be logical, I had to admit I never know for certain there was NOT a God, but at that time the evidence I had did not demonstrate there was one. I also put my "faith" in science and physical theory as the basis of existence. But then I had a crisis of faith there too because there are crucial places where physical evidence is lacking. The physicalists ask for more time saying one day they will get that evidence needed for a comprehensive physical theory of existence. I am just as sure physicalists won't get that evidence, but if they do, then I might accept that life and consciousness can evolve without the aid of "something more."


Sintwar said:
After that realization I came to the conclusion that religion is just a tool to be in touch with the 1 and only "deity" or "higher power". No matter what way you look at it, there is no wrong or right, it is all the same.
That's what people believe religion is, a tool. I am of a different opinion. Say someone believes sacrificing a goat will heal their ailing relative. They can be very sincere in the ritual, they can be devoted to the practice, they can believe with all their heart. Just the sincerity, devotion and deep belief alone can sometimes make one feel better, or want to be a better person, so we can't completely fault the person involved in the ritual.

However, whether or not sacrificing a goat heals relatives is a completely different issue. I think there are a lot of sincere people in religion, but personally I don't see all that much progress toward God realization. So my opinion is that religion might be useful for certain things, but not for God realization.


Sintwar said:
Have I ever REALLY witnessed a "miracle" (like the ones described so vividly in the religious writings)? Or could everything that I considered to be a miracle in the past possibly be confused with a coincidence?
But see, this is religious belief. Why should miracles have anything to do with God? Because some religion says so? It is not easy to trace how supernaturalism got into, for instance, Christianity. I am convinced Jesus was not some supernatural being, no miracles happened, he did not raise from the dead. Instead, I believe he was "enlightened," and since no one in that area had ever seen someone fully alive within that experience, and because his followers after his death were trying to win converts from very superstitious populations, they enhanced all the stories and rumors about Jesus.

Is there evidence Jesus was enlightened? If you study the history of the pursuit of enlightenment, it is always associated with turning one’s attention inward. Those who practice this way will say that if God exists, it is inside oneself where God is found. So what you look for are people who are trying to get away from the insanity of the world so they can practice this “inner prayer” or deep meditation.

Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t long after Jesus’ death that the great desert monastic populations sprang up. Numerous solitary monks lived in caves and cells in the vast desert wildernesses of eastern Palestine, Sinai, and particularly northern Africa. (The following interpretation of Jesus is from a historical perspective . . . I am not a Christian and am not recommending Christianity.)

A quote from a seventeenth century collection of the life and works of these monks describes their lifestyle: “[One such] place . . . [is] a vast desert . . . reached by no path, nor is the track shown by any landmarks of earth, but one journeys by the signs and courses of the stars. Water is hard to find . . . . [in such a place] those who have had their first initiation and who desire to live a remoter life, stripped of all its trappings, withdraw themselves; for the desert is vast, and the cells are sundered from one another by so wide a space that none is in sight of his neighbor, nor can any voice be heard. One by one they abide in their cells, a mighty silence is among them . . . .”

As difficult as it is to imagine, by the fourth/fifth century, thousands of monks and nuns lived in monasteries from Syria to the Nile. It seems fairly clear that the route all this took was from the desert ascetics and then into the monastery. The desert ascetics were by their own proclamations followers of Jesus, but is there evidence to conclude that Jesus began that pattern of inner prayer with his best devotees?

Yes. Scriptural evidence may point to what someone had to do to receive the inner teaching from Jesus. Besides the twelve closest disciples, Jesus also had quite a few other people following him wherever he went. It is possible that one of the conditions for receiving the inner teaching was a person had to join this full-time following.

The gospels refer on several occasions to Jesus telling people to leave behind their various involvements and follow him. In the “rich man story,” for instance, Jesus tells a rich man who is interested in winning eternal life to, “go, sell everything you have . . . and come follow me.” On the road a man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go,” and Jesus warned him, “Foxes have their holes, and birds their roosts; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” meaning if the man followed he must be prepared to leave behind his comforts since Jesus was perpetually on the road.

To another man Jesus said, “Follow me,” but the man replied, “Let me go and bury my father first,” to which Jesus replied, “Leave the dead to bury their dead; you must go and announce the kingdom of God.” Another potential follower said, “I will follow you, sir, but let me first say goodbye to my people at home.” Jesus replied, “No one who sets his hand to the plough and then keeps looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In particularly revealing passages Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not renounce his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of mine . . . . So also none of you can be disciples of mine without parting with all his possessions.” Also, according to Luke, there may have been at least seventy full time followers who Jesus “sent . . . on ahead in pairs to every town and place he was going to visit himself.” (Luke 10:1)

So while Paul was diluting the teachings of Jesus for the masses, it seems a few people were relating to Jesus in an entirely different way. I highly recommend studying this other class of inner practitioner and the conscious experience some of them were able to achieve.


Sintwar said:
Am I able to induce the feeling of "the presence of god" by simply using my imagination to visualize, without being in church, praying, meditating, etc. ? Yes I can.
I know people can visualize, some better than others, but again -- what does this have to do with the experience of God? It doesn’t matter what one relies on that doesn’t work – ritual, chanting, “believing,” speaking in tongues, trance, visualization -- if one is employing some method which doesn’t bring the experience of God, then you can’t go on to conclude no God exists.


Sintwar said:
I think that if you really want to "prove" that god exists, let it go.
Personally, I don’t think God can be proven or disproved. If a person can learn an actual way to experience this evolved consciousness people like to call God, then they might develop a personal certainty within themselves. But how can someone who is lacking the experience be convinced without his own experience? Only a fool would believe without experience (IMHO) so I think it’s huge waste of time to try to prove to others anything about God.

My efforts here are not to prove, but to get the best evidence before the public. Everybody looks at religion, and that is too bad because I don’t think the evidence is there. Study what university religion departments call “mysticism.” That’s where you find the monks and nuns who turned inward, and that’s where some pretty impressive people and reports are found.


Sintwar said:
Any of you trying to convince me that god does exist is doing so in vain. I have come too far. There is no turning back now.
Well, I feel compelled to say that’s nonsense. You can turn back, left, right, or any other way any time you want.

You know, you don’t have to be anything! Not an atheist, or theist, or physicalist, or alchemist. . . You could be a seeker of truth, open to any and all evidence, and let that naturally shape your perspective. After debating around here extensively, I find it very rare indeed that someone isn’t arguing from something they already think is true.

They’ve DECIDED yet they don’t really have enough evidence to support it. So to maintain their argument, they only look at what bolsters their a priori beliefs, they try to “dismiss” anything that doesn’t fit, and they spend most of their time trying to “win” debates.

The could instead openly look at all aspects of existence in a sincere search for truth, no matter what that turns out to be. To be that kind of seeker takes real guts. :cool:
 
  • #63
No reason to think for yourself when you can simply trust scientists and thier conclusions about how things work. I mean, after all, they're right, and those religious people are wrong! The religious people talk of something underneath reality, so they must be wrong because there isn't anything beyond reality right? Of course! thats what scientists say! So why should you believe religion when you can believe science? Why haven't all those stupid religious people figured this out yet? Man Sintwar, you're right, can I hang out with you?! Don't you just hate all those people who believe in something beyond reality? They totally suck!!! they're all mindless automotons. They're the ones who go into a battle with no chance of survival for the sake of others... what morons!!! They're so stupid for putting others in front of themselves. Another thing, They're all boring to be around, they're interested in corney meaningless garbage and can't stop themselves from caring about other people's beliefs. Scientists are way cooler to be around, they're always playing twister and football and stuff, and they would never try to persuade me to view reality they way they do.
 
  • #64
of course, you're not trying to persuade anybody to be an atheist are you? I mean, you don't really care about what other people believe right? hmm, I'm confused. You're confusing Sintwar! You probably can't see all the problems in your logic, and thats why you're so sure of yourself.
 
  • #65
Les Sleeth
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
of course, you're not trying to persuade anybody to be an atheist are you? I mean, you don't really care about what other people believe right? hmm, I'm confused. You're confusing Sintwar! You probably can't see all the problems in your logic, and thats why you're so sure of yourself.
I didn't sense he was trying to convince anyone in his last post, but rather he was explaining how he came to his belief.

I have to say that if one just observes how many of the religious behave, and judges that that's all there was to Jesus or the Buddha or Mohammed or . . . then, atheism seems a reasonable position to take.

A lot of people are very upset with the actions done in the name of God. That's why I think any legitimate discussion about evidence of God has to be done apart from religious dogma and theological supposition. If we can't find some sort of evidence of people who actually have/do experience something behind/underneath physical reality, then the discussion is nothing but one uninformed, speculating side fighting the other uninformed, speculating side.

Another option is to consider the theme of this thread, which is whether God is a redundant concept. It's sort of like the reverse question of the other ongoing thread in this forum "Can Everything be Reduced to Physics." That is, do we need "something more" to account for every facet of existence. In a prior post, I argued that as of now physicalness alone cannot explain everything, and if consciousness evolved first out of the raw stuff of existence, then that would help account for the organizational quality found in biology, and the emergence of consciousness from the nervous system.
 
  • #66
I would argue that God is not redundant, and in fact is the prime motivator of all behavior. If we lived in a universe where all things are known and understood fully without the need of God, and humans were 100% rational, then there would be no disagreements since everything is provable. There would be no need to explore the universe since it would all be completely mapped out, and most importantly there would be no need to research theories since theory itself wouldn't exist because everything is factual. If there was no such thing as possibility, the scientific method would become usless. There would be no reason to experiment if the outcome is 100% certain, no reason to continue the persuit of knowledge, no reason to communicate to each other our findings since there is nothing to find. If there is no reason to do anything at all (because in this universe a human is 100% rational), then there is no reason to live, and hence no motivation to behave in any particular way.

If I take out the constraint that humans in this universe are 100% rational, then there is motivation to live even when everything is certain. The only reason to live would be to experiance each other. Even this would be ruled out if all humans in this universe are given the ability to know everything in existance, even each other. Then people wouldn't need to be 100% rational in order to have no reason to live because there would be no need to listen to music since all songs are known, no reason to see a movie since all movies are known, no reason to communicate since all people are known, no reason to taste since all tastes are known, no reason to see, smell, touch, hear, or think. In this situation, there is no motivation to do anything... even if you only would want to do something because you like doing it, you would know exactly why and how you like things, and would understand why you develop interests... nope, I can't get around that. I guess there is still motivation to behave in particular ways even in that case because of the desire to do something.

What causes desire?

hmmm... ok, forget the idea of desire for the moment. Suppose in this universe, humans don't have free will, but are (in short) chemical reactions, then there is nothing driving a human to feel a desire of anything since everything is equally known. For example, I'm studying physics because I desire to learn and understand that particular subject, but if I'm in a position where I know all physics, then there is nothing more to know, and my desire is fully satisfied.

back to this hypothetical universe... if a human is given the constratint that he/she has no free will, and lives in a universe that he/she fully knows and understands (no known god that can't be understood, or a fully understood and known god). Then there is nothing that would drive the human's desire to do anything since everything is already done.

So in short, God (or at least the idea of God) is the main motivator of all human behavior. If we didn't have a concept of perfection we wouldn't have a desire to persue that goal.
 
  • #67
So I guess thats why I'm so sensetive when someone makes the claim that God is redundant. I personally believe that God (wether he/she exists or not) is the opposite of redundant. If life had no conception of a goal, how does it seemingly strive for it? Evolution keeps making more and more complex living things to what end? God? Then again, no two numbers can add up to infinity... So the whole effort that life makes in it's path towards perfection is futile, but nevertheless we exist. We exist, for what reason? To strive for perfection? To know and understand everything? seems futile...

In my opinion, that must not be the case. There are two sides to everything. There is a dark side (where everything is meaningless) and there is a light side (where everything has a reason). So thats why I choose to live as if my purpose is to experiance others and have experiances with others, rather than to try to be perfect.

sorry for being such a freakin thorn in all of your sides. I know I'm a total hypocrite for saying some of the things I said above like:

"You probably can't see all the problems in your logic, and thats why you're so sure of yourself."

because this goes both ways, I'm also too sure of myself to see the flaws in my logic. I'm sorry for saying such rude things.
 
  • #68
I totally agree with you. I don't understand much on here because I'm only in 7th grade. I've been pondering this my whole life but I could never put my gut feelings into words, but you did it. It's interesting...pats for you!
 
  • #69
Yes, have you ever thought that religion and God were created to explain what is truly unexplainable? In my mind, cavemen were curious about where they came from (the first philosopers, perhaps?) and so they couldn't explain it. They had to make up something, and an all powerful figure, (God,) was the best explanation. For our knowledge, it could be the biggest myth ever! Think about it. Isn't it more comforting to think that no matter what someone loves you even if you cant see Him? Isn't it more comforting to think that when you die you will go somewhere nice and live forever, instead of rot in the ground?
Truth is, we could be a teeny part of another organism for all we know!! It's so mind-boggling
But don't pay any attention to me; i basically have no idea what i'm babbling about! =) =P
 
  • #70
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totallyclueless, you aren't all that clueless... ;)

*watches as your innocence dwindles*

I can relate to you, I'm still young, and I can remember coming up with those sorts of ideas a few years ago...the infinite possiblilities and theories.

Though around here, people like facts, from what I've observed anyway, which is probably how it should be, usually. :smile: I'm the lurking kind...hardly ever post...but I do see what goes on. :cool:


And to contribute something to this thread, when jonnytrig said "So in short, God (or at least the idea of God) is the main motivator of all human behavior.", I believe that if you replace the word God with hope, you'll see a lot.

To me, God is nearly synonymous with hope. Hope is why we live, it is why we go on. You only see people kill themselves if they don't have any hope, right? Hope was the only good thing Pandora ever let out of that box amongst all the terrible things there are in this world.

Perhaps God is only the name given to hope o so many millenia ago...
 
  • #71
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The topic that been touched on in the last few posts is motivation and how the concept of God plays a major part in people's motivation. I think this is an interesting statement / observation. I do agree that for most of the people on Earth, their belief in some kind of supernatural being is a motivation for living, for achieving whatever "greatness" he or she aspires, and gives their life a purpose.

To pose a counterexample I have a friend who is a very devout Christian and goes to Church everyday before school. I know as well as I can know that she truly believes in God and that she is going to heaven yet she acts like her life has no purpose. She is depressed all of the time and lives in a kind of mopey state all the time. It's really saddening. My point question is, why does this person with so much purpose have no motivation for life? Is she an anomaly? Why does her God not give her life the purpose she needs to live happily and with motivation? Is believing in God right for everyone?

I guess the more general question is why do some people place their drive for motivation in untangible things? Do we all need a reason to live? Some people live for God, others seek truth, others "greatness". All of these aren't really concrete, and many times are unatainable.

I agree with many of the other posters, pick your "god" and you will find someone worshipping it and living for it.
 
  • #72
God n Science

Hmm...after some thought, I discovered this:
I beleive 100% in science and 100% in "God"
But its in a different sense....

God and Science are two things that are totally and completely different, like the different dimensions..God would be 4 dimensional, beyond our minds comprehension. but God is not a person, it is just...er...duurr.....a THING...:-p See what I mean?! There's no way to prove/disprove God! Because god IS science.....sort of....ya know?
MY BRAIN HURTS!!!! :cry: I need to stop thinking about this....

The universe must have been created by something....somehow...and just because we don't understand it, or can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't possible!
 
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  • #73
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totallyclueless said:
Hmm...after some thought, I discovered this:
I beleive 100% in science and 100% in "God"
But its in a different sense....

God and Science are two things that are totally and completely different, like the different dimensions..God would be 4 dimensional, beyond our minds comprehension. but God is not a person, it is just...er...duurr.....a THING...:-p See what I mean?! There's no way to prove/disprove God! Because god IS science.....sort of....ya know?
MY BRAIN HURTS!!!! :cry: I need to stop thinking about this....

The universe must have been created by something....somehow...and just because we don't understand it, or can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't possible!
4th dimensional? If I'm not mistaken that would be time, but I think I get your point. To say that the universe must have been created is an exclamation of emotion, not a proof in any sense. Many people would agree with you in your statement that God cannot be proven or disproven, although I would not say this is true. I guess that makes you an agnostic theist.

What is the significance of your statements of God vs. Science? Why are these different and why is that important?

Jameson
 
  • #74
I was personifying life as a whole as if it has it's own mind and behavior, and interpreting that behavior as if it's predictable. I tagged on my own conception of this entity's characteristics (because I can't view it objectively), and reasoned that it's history should dictate it's future (this is a major problem for stock traders). Who could have predicted that Enron was gonna fall when it was soaring skywards? So I see this as a problem... What if evolution fails? Perhaps I was thinking too positively. then again, right now I'm assuming that "it" has a goal that is wants to achieve. Did Enron have a goal? To make a lot of money, to make a specific ammount of money, to help others with thier own lives, or to hurt others' lives? This is a problem, actually, it's an unfalsifiable claim. I can think whatever I want about life, I have simply thought of it this way in this particular conversation.

I think that I assumed in that universe, desire is induced from external things and people only... that should probably be the constraint i was looking for. Desire could also come from within ourselves too, or why not both at the same time. When I use the word desire, I mean "the urge to take an interest in something or someone" or "the process of liking or disliking something or someone" or "the activation of aestetic perception of something or someone".

Jameson, In Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace, he mentioned that the 4th dimension was originally interpreted as what now is known as the 5th dimension until Einstien showed that time is the 4th dimension. The idea of the space outside of space-time ("Hyperspace", of which in a multiverse theory is the space that contains all the possible universes), now defined as the 5th dimension or "4th spacial dimension", was originally termed "the 4th dimension".
 
  • #75
"To pose a counterexample I have a friend who is a very devout Christian and goes to Church everyday before school. I know as well as I can know that she truly believes in God and that she is going to heaven yet she acts like her life has no purpose. She is depressed all of the time and lives in a kind of mopey state all the time. It's really saddening." - Jameson

perhaps your interpretation of her is an unfalsifiable claim.
 

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