David, I had similar doubts until I realized that many of the problems we face originate in religious teachings, i.e. wife and child abuse, wars, racism, homophobia, etc.
I decided if I want to confront these challenges, I have to begin where the beliefs originate ... religion.
Sure, there may be a god who does not reveal him/herself to me; So? I see no evidence of existence of god except what religious people tell me.
The next question I have is can I be moral without god? The answer is a profound YES! Can I have compassion? YES! Can I have a sense of wonder? YES!
Therefore, what is the need of god?
|“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
I am 100% sure the purveyed as realistic truth and currently practiced faiths do not depict a verifiable god existing in our current day. Short of participating again in the group reinforced fantasy, God has not become a reality to me. So, I feel it is a choice of yes or no, where one either believes (even if such belief is 99.999 percent uncertain) or where one disbelieves (even if such disbelief is 99.999 percent certain). Belief is the uncertainty of things hoped for, where rational is the certainty of things revealed. God, so that we can agree and prove, is not a revealed truth, so god requires the creative mind. With so many minds, we get so many gods as with one sun, we have many sunsets, and many sunrises in any given day. To find the sun, one must leave the belief of minds and reach out and feel the warmth of its rays---that is 100% rational.
Certainty, including of the non-existence of gods and of invisible pink unicorns, is consistent with reason and logic. Skepticism, while appropriate when faced with an unknown assertion, is not appropriate in the face of contextually valid knowledge.
It is possible that not making the 100% claim is a social aspiration to avoid both the complete rejection of the believer and to not be rejected of the believer; furthermore, religion has a historical precedence that lingers into our modern times because it was the beginning of assimilating our place in the universe as we became self-aware from a position of ignorance that continually evolves towards understanding with our growing collective-body-of-human-intelligence. Those who have a limited access to knowledge tend to without education cling to religion as if intellectually un-evolved as our ancestors where -- repeating the same evolutionary patterns of humanity. Perhaps humans and information as a collective-body-of-human-intelligence has evolved differently such that education brings a person into the modern time and lacking that education leaves a person less evolved intellectually. Perhaps education is all that separates unfounded belief systems from the rational search of reality and reason. Maybe denying anyone an education is denying them evolution. Yet vainly with our knowledge we attack the ones denied intellectual evolution frustrated with their humanity that is similar to our own. It is possible that the uncertainty is a means by which we do not reject our own humanity which was founded on uncertainty.
I find the evidence in favor of god or gods to be unpersuasive. And I find the burdens on one's lifestyle, world view and self-image resulting from a belief in god, to be untenably onerous; for theists, "belief" alone is never sufficient; what is required is worship, obeisance and fealty to this "god". If there does turn out to be a god, he/she/it/they has done a miserable job of stimulating our human intelligence with reason to believe in him/her/it/them. Am I 100% certain, or 99% certain? No. Percentage of certainty implies a means of conducting careful, quantifiable experiments - and in the hunt for god, "careful and quantifiable" are not attainable adjectives. I live my life in the conviction that physical nature is all that there is, and all that is possible of being. Some facts about nature may be too recondite or complex for human knowledge to partake, but that is a limitation of humanity, and not of the facts. And if, by some imponderable quirk, there is a genuine "god" hiding under the mantle of those facts, I would dishonor my humanity by entertaining such belief, by craven hedging against one's own better nature.
I'm 100 percent certain that god fucked up.
Yeah, Aaron, a gnostic who's an atheist.
Thank you, and agreed. Deep down they know.
You're an agnostic. You can't simultaneously hold the beliefs that there exists gods or no gods. It's a contradictory stance.
It's like saying I believe that there exists unicorns or no unicorns. It doesn't really mean anything. Why not just say you believe in anything ever posited and call it a day?
And yes, the idea of god's existence is bat shit insane.
I was referring to his statement, "I do not believe there are no gods or gods."
That sentence means nothing. You can't both believe in gods or no gods. This is of course, separate from knowledge. As far as I know, Dawkins or Bertrand never once said, "I do not believe that there exists no god or gods." That's a confusing statement but when you correct it, it results in: "I believe that there exists a god or gods." which is contradictory to his statement which came before: "I'm an atheist because I simply do not believe in any god or gods."
Please try to keep replies to my comments within the parameters of my comments. I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I can't make you misinterpret my words.