"The same people that believe in god and those that keep a special little place in their brain open to the impossible both use the law of noncontradiction and causality to survive, daily."
I think the point is not that some people (incl atheists) keep a little part of their brain open to the impossible, but that they keep their brain open to the possible that we do not yet know about and not to the silly idea that the current and primitive expressions of 'higher intelligences' may eventually be proven. I'm sure that being able to converse in the way we are doing now would have been considered impossible in, for example, Greek antiquity. In fact, it probably wouldn't have even been considered at all.
Again, it's do with the exact expression that is to be tested by the laws of logic.
I disagree. I think it is a blatant disregard for the law of identity and its true implications. You can be certain there is no god and still open to technological discovery and advances in cosmology and physics. We may even meet difficult to understand powerful interdimensional beings, but 2+2 will still be 4 and god will still be 100% impossible. I think what you are suggesting is nothing more than a chair may not be a chair because it depends what people call it. Or that 2+2 could be 5. Useless evasion. You explicitly deny the entire process from perception of identity to concept formation and definition. And of course possible things are possible. I have no problem with the recognition of this fact. It is when people say that there is a greater than zero chance that the impossible and identity-less exist. It shows a lack of understanding of the foundations of reality and fosters mysticism and new age phantasmagoria.
The question posed in the original post asks about certainty of god's non-existence. It does not ask, if we are certain that amazing things won't happen in the future. It specifically asks about god. If you cannot define it, other than giving it contradictory, supernatural qualities, then what do those 3 letters g-o-d represent and is language good for nothing then since it can mean anything at all.
I think what you are suggesting is nothing more than a chair may not be a chair because it depends what people call it. Or that 2+2 could be 5.
What about the defining of a mindstate such as 'feeling pride' or 'experiencing beauty' as opposed to a 'tangible object', such as something obvious like whether a chair is a chair? How do the laws of logic prove/deal with these mindstates?
I'm not trying to oppose, I'm just interested. I think it's probably an old theological argument, but I'm not sure how to answer.
"language good for nothing"
I'm actually in semi-agreement with that. Language is limiting. As William Burroughs proclaimed 'language is a virus'. ;)
And I think Dawkins said the same of cultural information.
Of course there is a God, for the Bible tells me so! LOL :)
Mystery? Doubt? Unknowable? Uncertain? Not knowing? Truth? Theories? Error? Question? These are invitations to wonder and not know and move on to new mystery, doubts, and questions, to live in the question, not in the answer.
Feyman says it so much better than I.
There is no need of god. Belief and faith in stories of the past, imagined or remembered and repeated generation after generation with accidental or deliberate changes, inspire killing and destroying in the name of god.
Domination and oppression in the name of some ancient story provide no more evidence than the story remembered verbally or written that results in repetition of the past.
Stories generate fear in people who have no access to alternatives; individuals self-emulate in the name of some untestable myth.
There are alternatives that offer options and hope and transformative thinking, such as internal wisdom, empowering one to think and act and observe if good or bad consequences occur as a result of realistic, testable, carefully thought out reason.
Through critical thinking, one can move beyond the attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values based on Bronze Age cultures and imagine a preferred future. Obedience to old ideas maintains and perpetuates the status quo. Imagination becomes a means for human evolution.
Carl Sagan stated:
Forces we don't understand in the universe.......most likely?
Bearded bloke who created the world in a week.....100% certainly not!
Joan, I think you wrote some of the following in haste and with out re-reading what you wrote. But I will respond to it as is.
You say theism(should be atheism) does not have principles and has nothing to offer the world.
I think you made a typing error here, and yes I still think atheism has no principles.
Most people are not honest, dependable, loyal, responsible, and compassionate because of a deity, they think and act with these attributes out of enlightened self-interest and an innate sense of morals and ethics.
If they have an 'innate sense of morals and ethics' how can they act 'not honest', 'not dependable', 'not responsible' and 'not compassionately'?
I think you wrote the above two paragraphs in haste.
They learn very young about getting what they need by getting along with others and working with others.
Some who do not believe god exists give time, attention, care and money generously to others because they care and have compassion.
I agree. I've met many Christians, here in Australia, who also give generously, in time, attention, care and in money. One of my aunties is a Christian, she did voluntary work from the age of 13 until she was about 80 years of age. She helped return soldiers from WW2 when they first started to come home traumatized by war and she helped heroin addicts by preparing meals for them until it became too dangerous for her to do so. And she is not the only Christian to do this.
But your example and my example have nothing to do with atheism or christianity. People help others because of their own moral code that they develop over time.
Children learn by observing parents and others; their values grow as they develop into adulthood and they pass social skills on to their next generation. Parents, siblings, family, friends, teachers and community live according to values of the community and teach by doing and by shaping behaviors. No god is necessary.
I agree. And I'd like to add that atheism and christianity have nothing to do with what children learn.
In some families the godly men beat their wives and children in the name of god.
There are probably atheists who also beat there wives.
Enlightened parents realize there are other ways to raise healthy children. They do not believe in "spare the rod and spoil the child".
Agreed. And just because somebody is a Christian doesn't mean they are not enlightened.
Atheists don't rob or rape or murder or embezzle because they do not believe god exists; they commit crimes for similar reasons as people who believe god does exist.
Great minds and talents exist in those who believe there is no god. I won't bore you with the long list of outstanding people who do not believe god exists ... you can look them up yourself.
Just because an Atheist has done something great doesn't mean atheism has great principles. And by the same token, if a Christian does something great, it doesn't mean God exists.
Atheism is the non-belief in God. That's it. If you are anti-religious or a person high high moral values, and I think you are a person with high moral values after reading many of your posts, it doesn't mean your morals came from atheism. They came from you.
If all our morals came from atheism, then we would all have the same morals and the same level of morality. But this isn't the case. We have different morals and different levels of morality. This is because our morals come from us. They have nothing to do with atheism.
I get your point that my examples did not address the question. Atheism is non-belief in a supernatural being or events. I do think that atheist have a moral foundation upon which to stand, not left adrift to go hither and yon, or to flounder in storms or be rudderless when facing challenges. It seems there is an internal compass that can guide us. It is not supernatural but very natural. I am having problems finding the language for what I want to say, but I am pleased you brought this to my attention.
I think I know what you mean. For example: Why do I believe it wrong to take another persons life, or steal money? Why do I think it important to have children be able read and write and to learn and think for themselves. There is no heaven or hell. If I murder and/or rob somebody, I'm not going to hell. If I help somebody, I'm not going to heaven.
I am having problems finding the language for what I want to say
Me too. I can give examples or anecdotes about what I think my/our innate moral codes are. But ask me to explain them, or why I/we have them, in concrete terms....well, I wouldn't know where to start.
How are things?
Leveni, if atheism consists of the single principle that gods do not exist, it still offers a tremendous boon to society. This single realization frees the mind from generations of useless structures which have drastically hamstrung society.
If you look at most of the oldest surviving buildings in the world, what are they used for? They are used for religious purposes. Maybe it was religion that allowed people to amass in great numbers to form the populations of our first cities, and because of that, great buildings were able to be built, firstly religious buildings and later on administrative buildings. And from that, the birth of architecture, mathematics and astronomy. Religion may have been a necessary step, to what we have become today. But this doesn't mean what religions preach is true. And it doesn't mean religions are in anyway good. If you look at the Aztec's, their religion was evil, not that the Catholics were any better. or any other religion. Personally, I think religion was one of the major instigators of the mind we have today. But that instigation occurred thousands of years ago.
Today I agree with you, in that religion stops people from developing their minds. It stops so many poeple from seeing the beauty in nature and the universe, that people like Carl Sagan saw. Believing in religion today is like trying to use classical mechanics in the quantum world.
The Christian Dark Ages (roughly 1,000 CE to 1,500 CE) and Muslim Dark Ages (roughly 1,500 CE to now) can be blamed entirely on the mind-numbing effects of belief in the supernatural. Sure, this intersected with cultural and political effects, but the basic idea is that God is all we need concern ourselves with. This is a powerfully harmful meme. If eroding this meme is all that atheism offers, then that is one of the most important principles in history, and not something to overlook, as you appear to have done.
Religion certainly was the tool used by the leaders of those times to force their own personal value systems onto others. But do you honestly believe if everybody in the world became atheists, the world would suddenly become a nice place? If it did that would be great but I don't think it will. But no harm in hoping.
Further, as a principle, the absence of god-belief leads almost directly to other important principles, such as the practical, socially-driven nature of morality, the importance of living well in this life, rather than postponing one's happiness to an afterlife paradise which isn't there, the elimination of the fear of a hell which isn't there, and the embrace of actual reality and personal responsibility, since there isn't anything else to be concerned with.
You are seriously short-changing atheism if you think it has nothing to offer,
I disagree. Atheism still has nothing to offer.
In my mind, you are just replacing 'religion' with 'ethics and morals'. You are not discarding religion but replacing it with something else. You are trying to justify your atheism.
I believe all of our morals and everything else come from ourselves. They are all man-made. They have nothing to do with religion and nothing to do with atheism.
and it's a little weird that you'd bother hanging out on an atheist website if you truly believe that.
I truly believe atheism has nothing to offer. What you are talking about is a consequence of suddenly becoming free to think anything and everything you want.
But maybe you are right. Atheists are people who don't believe in God. For me, this is not good enough. For me, there is no God, never has been, never will be.