OK, I am new here and have no particular background in "Atheist Studies" if there is such a thing . . . but . . . a possible proof that there is no personal God came to me as I was driving to hockey practice.
It's 1:00 in the morning now, but I'll write this down before I forget. If I'm wrong, It's because it's 1:00 in the morning. DEAL?
So, to my way of thinking, there is likely a moral dimension to the universe. This moral dimension is analogous to mathematics. Somewhere written into the fabric of the universe is a set of rules that takes us toward moral progress. For instance, groups that cooperate are more successful. Something like that. Anyway . . . . The Buddhists have "Karma." I don't believe in Karma, but I want to clarify first that disproving the possibility of a personal god, would not rule out Karma or an impersonal mechanism that drives intelligent beings toward moral improvement.
So . . . The type of god that I don't think can exist is the type who is conscious and has evolving feelings of hate or love or sadness. If he is all knowing, he knows everything that has, is, and will happen--simultaneously. So he creates the world and watches it like a big TV program, feeling simultaneously happy and sad and sympathetic and disappointed about things happening simultaneously across the world, but also about things happening simultaneously in different time periods.There is no changing time or place or evolution for him. He sees it all at once. He is perfect, all-knowing, and omnipresent, so his feelings are constant. He doesn't learn or change his opinions over time or feel surprise. So how is he anything like a person? Isn't change an essential part of being a person? The conscious entity reacts to things in it's environment and "thinks" about them. How can this thinking happen for a never-changing entity outside of time. There can be no "thought process" because there is no change. And thought requires change? Otherwise, he is more like a mathematical equation.
Go ahead shoot me down. I'm not to tied to his idea.
Whoops. This morning I see a flaw in my logic. This theoretical God has given people free will, which allows for surprise. Alternatively the probabilistic nature of the universe that he creates allows for surprise. Thus the God could chose to view the world in a unidirectional timelike fashion (like becoming Jesus and living on earth) or give himself any other type of limited powers so he can relate to humans. Of course this doesn't fit very well with being all knowing, but that's a separate problem. I suppose he could be conscious.
Well that's what I get for posting a 1:00 in the morning. :?
"This theoretical God has given people free will"
Actually, the theoretical god imposed free will on people - he didn't give them the choice about whether they wanted free will or not, hence, in this regard, no free will. Paradox. ;)
At least all the GAWD's I know apparently gave me the free will to tell them they are asswipes and I do so as often as possible. Not a single one I've ever heard of is worth me bending my knees and bowing my head in adoration or groveling for. There - I said it again and no lightening strikes. Good - tomorrow is another day!
LOL. Thanks, for that convincing demonstration. Seriously. It is helpful.
Ann Norman, Welcome.
No shooting down! Before I proceed further, let me introduce myself as a strong atheist from India.
There is neither a personal god nor a creator god, There is no kind of god at all! You say that you do not believe in 'karma' either, so you are new here but not new to atheism. Don't feel shy because you have no background in 'atheism studies'. Neither do I have! So be confident and bold.
" So, to my way of thinking, there is likely a moral dimension to the universe."
The universe is too big for us to think about it's moral code. However, we are discussing here to see if we can evelve a mutually acceptable code. If you have some more ideas, join our discussions.
When an astroid or comet comes crashing into a larger body - it really doesn't care what human's 'moral' code is. Besides, each human society chooses it's own moral code. What I think is proper and moral - the person across the 'way' thinks opposite. Example would be how awful females have been treated in nearly every society for at least the past 6,000 years. There are many of us that think is is adhorant behavior...along with the bigoted treatment of homosexuals and non-believers.
Why - even among religious sect of the same 'brand' they fight like dogs and cats. This also is immoral thinking - such as Sunni's and Shite's killing each other over ideological ideas. The universe certainly doesn't care about any of this - it's totally and completely neutral. It'll take you 'out' and also me in a heartbeat without moral considerations.
We do not know about thr 6000 year old historical times, but I have read an Indian epic, The Mahabharata, which is said to be about 3500 years old. Women , in male dominated societies, frequently have had bad times. With the exception of a few such incidents, women in 3500 year old India must have been much better treated than in old Christian europe. There never have been mass atrocities on women, for any reason.
Although women were criticised as tempting objects of sex in religious philosophy, in reality approach to sex was not very different from modern day India.
3500 years ago put the time at around 1500 BCE - 1500 + years after ancient Sumerian and even Egyptian societies. I know of little 'atrocities' committed within those really old societies.
The real problems seem to be recorded by Moses - those Hebrew's - seemed to constrict a completely different standard for men/women. This seems to be the root of all this EVIL that has been perpertuated now for at least 3,000 years - Christians picked up where Judaism left off - making females even more vile and shameful. Saul/Paul added his contempt for females in the New Testament - even going so far as to threatening a woman's children with death if she dared speak or teach the gospel again. How very awful for women. Yet, this man Saul/Paul is held in high esteem by Christians. Saul/Paul is an admitted multiple mass murderer - yet Christians hold him up as a Christian 'saint'.. Go figure.
Morality is a man-made construct, like beauty. There is no objective universal morality, no objective beauty.
Like Dawkins et al I think that morality is part of the survival instinct, an altruistic aspect of evolutionary processes that helps a group to survive.
Exactly, an altrusitic aspect of the evolutionary process that helps a group survive. Altruism may evolve naturally in social groups.
'"Atheist Studies" if there is such a thing'
That's called atheology.
"there is likely a moral dimension to the universe."
Morality is a part of human culture, a set of shared concepts within groups. Like language, it evolves along with us. It does not exist outside of the human mind, and there is no moral aspect to the external universe. The universe is basically an utterly indifferent, giant (possibly endless) machine.
Morality is something that inevitably comes up once we have society. Life naturally arises in the universe, groups of animals naturally arise in the universe, so society naturally arises in the universe, so morality naturally arises. Yes, the external universe is an utterly indifferent, giant (possibly endless) machine, that sometimes gives rise to groups of intelligent beings who have to decide how to get along (i.e morality) and some rules will seem fairer than others to a group trying to get along.