SisterSalome

Chart: Gnostic, Agnostic, Theist, Atheist

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1 hour ago, Pastor Dave said:

Interesting position.

That statement suggests, to me, that, for you, molecules and atoms did not exist until recently. I say did not because it wasn't until 2013 that the first "picture" of a molecule was ever produced. First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule. We had lots of drawings but no actual pictures. We took it on faith in the scientific community that molecules and atoms were real. I'm fairly sure that is not actually the case. You likely believed scientists were right even though the best they could do was draw pictures of what they believed molecules and atoms looked like.

Yes.  It turns out that much of what they thought was mistaken.  Alright.  Not the point.

Long before we could photograph molecules, we had chemistry and math.  We also had observations of water vapor and other gasses.  There was precipitation.   There was evidence.  There were indicators.

I don't need absolute proof that God exists.  Something more than authoritarian demands that I believe would be helpful.  I hope this does not come across as mean spirited or abusive.  That is not my intent.  I'm trying to make a point.  Until somebody shows me something -- God's existence shares the same probability as the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

There are a few standard arguments that I have grown seriously tired of hearing:

Prayer.  Pray to God.  See what happens.  No.  I'm too old to be talking to my invisible friend.  When I was a young child, it was cute.  Now, not so much.  I'm also too old to ask Santa for something.  No matter how desperate for something I might get; it would never occur to me to write Santa a letter, and ask him to bring it to me.  You know.  Just in case.

The First Cause.  Why is there something rather than nothing?  I'm not going to argue Cosmology.  The simple truth is -- I don't know.  Even if there was an intelligent First Cause that created the Cosmological Constants and everything else -- then what?  At most we have the Pantheism of Spinoza or the Deism of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.  It is a huge leap to go from First Cause to the God of Scripture.

I have nothing to sell.  I am not trying to convince anybody else of anything.  I am only trying to explain why I don't believe.  I'm not angry at God.  I'm not mad at the churches.  I'm not in love with sin.  I'm not dancing to the Devil's music.   Etc. Etc.  I see no reason to believe.  Neither are the pious believers under any obligation to show me anything.  Really.  I don't expect it.  If they want me to believe, I need a reason.

There is one more question that I have grown weary of.  "What would it take for you to believe?"  Truly, I have no idea.  I expect that if God were real -- then God would know what it would take to convince me.  This has not happened.  Either there is no God; or God doesn't care what I believe.  Or God means something completely different, and there is no point in using the God word.

A note to the Polytheists on this board.  No disrespect was intended.  I was afraid if I tried to include Polytheism in this discussion, I would come off like a lawyer.

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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First cause.  I never understood that one.  If Christians can allow that there must be an exception(God himself did not have a cause), they why do they argue so vehemently that the universe could not be another exception?

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

First cause.  I never understood that one.  If Christians can allow that there must be an exception(God himself did not have a cause), they why do they argue so vehemently that the universe could not be another exception?

It is the weakness of faith based religion.  They can not endure ambiguity.  They must have answers.  Even false answers.  Other -wise, they panic.

:sigh2:

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mererdog   
7 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

It is the weakness of faith based religion.  They can not endure ambiguity.  They must have answers.  Even false answers.  Other -wise, they panic.

:sigh2:

How is that motive different than the motivation behind taking the default position that something does not exist? Isn't it all just hiding lack of evidence behind a wall of certainty?  Instead of accepting claims or rejecting claims, we can simply admit we don't know the answer. We can take a default position that revolves around "I don't know." Wouldn't that be better?

Edited by mererdog

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On 3/11/2017 at 8:50 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Yes.  It turns out that much of what they thought was mistaken.  Alright.  Not the point.

Long before we could photograph molecules, we had chemistry and math.  We also had observations of water vapor and other gasses.  There was precipitation.   There was evidence.  There were indicators.

I don't need absolute proof that God exists.  Something more than authoritarian demands that I believe would be helpful.  I hope this does not come across as mean spirited or abusive.  That is not my intent.  I'm trying to make a point.  Until somebody shows me something -- God's existence shares the same probability as the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

There are a few standard arguments that I have grown seriously tired of hearing:

Prayer.  Pray to God.  See what happens.  No.  I'm too old to be talking to my invisible friend.  When I was a young child, it was cute.  Now, not so much. 

 

So how do  I know these "pictures" of molecules  are real? I can make something that looks exactly the same in my photo editing software. Now I'm not saying that they were faked, I'm just saying that I could fake them if I tried. I believe they are real ... but I have not been given any proof that they are real. I have not seen the machinery, I have not verified the results. We all believe a lot of things that we have not taken the time and effort to seek proof of. If I had to research the validity of everything I wouldn't have time to anything.

What I'm getting at is this;

Tools

Tools, Tools, Tools

Without a microscope we would have no proof of the invisible world of virus, bacteria, cells, molecules......... Without a telescope we would have no proof that the lights we see in the night sky are not all just stars and planets but also galaxies nebulas comets and the likes. Without books you would have to learn everything through your own experiences. Yet you ask for proof that God exists while you refuse to use the tools that are necessary to obtain that proof. Prayer being the primary tool needed to experience communication with God. The Holy Scriptures being the books written about others experiences with God. The Holy Spirit being a guiding force to lead us to a relationship with the great God YHWH.

My challenge to you is to provide proof that molecules exist without the writings of men or any tools such as a(n) (atomic force) microscope.

I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but rather, I'm trying to show you my perspective when someone asks for proof of God but refuses to accept the use of the proper tools needed to see those proofs.

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Chemistry is a practical science.  It works because the ideas behind it have been verified.  Verification has been rigorous and replicated by independent observation and experimentation.  Outcomes are predictable, because we know how the chemical process work.

Are you suggesting that there is a science of God?  Can you even define God in a way that is subject to independent verification?

Prayer is a means for conditioning the mind for acceptance.  Acceptance is not proof for anything except conditioning.

Are people who believe in God, better people because of their belief?  Are they kinder?  More inclined to charity?  Less inclined to crime or cruelty?  Slower to anger?  More forgiving?   Not to my observation.  

It helps nothing that there are so many different ways to understand God.  There is -- to name a few -- Monotheism, Pantheism, Deism, and a few others that don't come to mind at the moment.  Monotheism comes in flavors.  Unity and Trinity.  Polytheism is totally different.  Vedic religion is different again.

Philosophic proofs tend to focus on the First Cause.

So, which type of God do you wish to establish?  My guess is that objectivity will continue to elude.

This leaves me with not knowing, which is Agnosticism -- and not believing, which is Atheism.

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12 hours ago, mererdog said:

How is that motive different than the motivation behind taking the default position that something does not exist? Isn't it all just hiding lack of evidence behind a wall of certainty?  Instead of accepting claims or rejecting claims, we can simply admit we don't know the answer. We can take a default position that revolves around "I don't know." Wouldn't that be better?

I would revise that.  Accept the default position of "I don't know, but I will attempt to find out".

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1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Chemistry is a practical science.  It works because the ideas behind it have been verified.  Verification has been rigorous and replicated by independent observation and experimentation.  Outcomes are predictable, because we know how the chemical process work.

Are you suggesting that there is a science of God?  Can you even define God in a way that is subject to independent verification?

Prayer is a means for conditioning the mind for acceptance.  Acceptance is not proof for anything except conditioning.

Are people who believe in God, better people because of their belief?  Are they kinder?  More inclined to charity?  Less inclined to crime or cruelty?  Slower to anger?  More forgiving?   Not to my observation.  

It helps nothing that there are so many different ways to understand God.  There is -- to name a few -- Monotheism, Pantheism, Deism, and a few others that don't come to mind at the moment.  Monotheism comes in flavors.  Unity and Trinity.  Polytheism is totally different.  Vedic religion is different again.

Philosophic proofs tend to focus on the First Cause.

So, which type of God do you wish to establish?  My guess is that objectivity will continue to elude.

This leaves me with not knowing, which is Agnosticism -- and not believing, which is Atheism.

And science is a process, something which accumulates.  One piece of knowledge leads to another, and if one piece in the chain is faulty then the entire chain must be reconsidered.  In fact, if one piece of a chain does not work, chances are good that other parts of the chain do not as well.  

If 2 + 2 turned out NOT to be 4, then a lot of math would have to be refigured.  Since the processes of science produce repeatable and predictable results, this suggests that the process of science works.  It has a track record, in other words.  Sometimes those procedures produce inaccurate results, and such is discovered after repeated testing, and through method.  What tools show that God exists and by what method?  And how repeatable are those methods?  And how is God falsifiable?

Edited by cuchulain

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mererdog   
12 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I would revise that.  Accept the default position of "I don't know, but I will attempt to find out".

Most of the time, I won't. I don't go out looking for Bigfoot. I'm not building an electron microscope and I'm not trying out the new alternative medicine craze. Good luck even getting me to take a serious look at your new friend's UFO research.

Until and unless someone or something convinces me that it is worth the effort to learn some truth, I am content with not knowing. I am not lazy, I just love napping. Luckily, I get to stand on the shoulders of giants, n'est-ce pas?

Edited by mererdog

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13 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I would revise that.  Accept the default position of "I don't know, but I will attempt to find out".

People have been looking for God for a long time.  Also claiming to have found Him/Her/It.  What they find seems to depend on what they are looking for.

I think the obvious place to start is the God of Scripture.  People have been spending countless lives searching the various Abrahamic Scriptures.  In loose terms, the Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Arabic Scriptures.  Well, look at the world.  Look at the Middle East.  It doesn't work for me, but alright.

A slightly more abstract Monotheism, derived from Scripture.  God has three basic properties or attributes.  God is all Good., all knowing and all powerful.  From this, we can infer other attributes.  For instance, God is sentient and self aware.   It doesn't work for me, but alright.

Pantheism.  In particular, the Pantheism of Spinoza.  Spinoza spoke of "Nature's God."  Alright.  I don't see the need for a personification of Nature, but alright.

Deism.  In particular, the Deism of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson.  God -- The First Cause -- started everything and then got bored and wandered off.  No revelations.  No Scripture. No responding to prayer.  No intervention.  I don't see the need, but alright.

Einstein's God.  The God of Math.  The creative force that set the Cosmological Constants into motion.  Or is the Cosmological Constants.  It doesn't work for me, but alright.

Various sub-abstractions:

I Am that I Am.

God is One.

Ocean of Life.

They obviously mean a great deal to people.  Well, alright.  I'm not at all sure any of it matters, but alright.

The New Age abstractions:.  

God is Love.  

Thou art God.

Well, alright.

And of course, the ultra specific.  God is Christ on the Cross.

All of which only scratches the surface in a simplistic way.  What happens?  True Believers and Anti-Theists rage at each other.  So much heat and so little light.  That's enough for now.  I'll climb down from my soap box.

One last thought.  Here I am.  The Agnostic Atheist.  Tell me to look for God.  Which one?

:sigh2:

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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1 hour ago, mererdog said:

Most of the time, I won't. I don't go out looking for Bigfoot. I'm not building an electron microscope and I'm not trying out the new alternative medicine craze. Good luck even getting me to take a serious look at your new friend's UFO research.

Until and unless someone or something convinces me that it is worth the effort to learn some truth, I am content with not knowing. I am not lazy, I just love napping. Luckily, I get to stand on the shoulders of giants, n'est-ce pas?

You have a great truth here.  Life is short.  There is a wonderful bit of wisdom that I would like to repeat here.

 "Learn from the mistakes of others.  You won't live long enough to make them all yourself."

As we say in the Apathetic Agnostic Church:  "We don't know and we don't care."

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mererdog   
3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 "Learn from the mistakes of others.  You won't live long enough to make them all yourself."

Oh, thank you. That one is new to me and I like it.

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mererdog   

I'm starting to like the idea of calling myself Unconvinced. As when someone asks what my religion is, I could say "I am Unconvinced." Unconviction being a religion based on the tenet "We'll believe it when we see it. Unless we don't. No promises."

Edited by mererdog

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On 3/13/2017 at 6:36 AM, mererdog said:

How is that motive different than the motivation behind taking the default position that something does not exist? Isn't it all just hiding lack of evidence behind a wall of certainty?  Instead of accepting claims or rejecting claims, we can simply admit we don't know the answer. We can take a default position that revolves around "I don't know." Wouldn't that be better?

I was late in seeing this.  I will respond now.

There is theory.  There is practice.

In theory, I don't know that God exists.  In theory, I also don't know that God does not exist.  "I don't know"  is the default position.

In practice, I need a reason to act as though something exists.  In practice, my default position is that God does not exist.

Since we don't have even a tentative working definition for God, it doesn't even matter.  Seriously, what is a higher power?  This is the kind of crap, all purpose definition, that we come up with -- as used by AA -- when we try to be all inclusive and PC.  It means nothing.

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22 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Are you suggesting that there is a science of God? 

No, and since you seem to be a reasonably intelligent person I'm amazed that you missed the analogy.

Just as you would not attempt to prove that molecules exist without the tools needed to do so, I will not attempt to prove Gods existence without the tools necessary to experience Him.

You cannot prove there are other galaxies without tools

You cannot prove radio waves exist without tools

You cannot prove bacteria exist without tools

Why would a reasonably intelligent man expect someone to prove God exists if he refuses to use the tools?

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4 hours ago, Pastor Dave said:

No, and since you seem to be a reasonably intelligent person I'm amazed that you missed the analogy.

Just as you would not attempt to prove that molecules exist without the tools needed to do so, I will not attempt to prove Gods existence without the tools necessary to experience Him.

You cannot prove there are other galaxies without tools

You cannot prove radio waves exist without tools

You cannot prove bacteria exist without tools

Why would a reasonably intelligent man expect someone to prove God exists if he refuses to use the tools?

Prayer.  Well, that tells me something right there.  When you say God, you mean the God of Scripture.

I have taken pains to pierce the vale of illusion.  You might have suggested meditation.  You might have suggested Reiki.  No.  You want me to engage in prayer.   You are suggesting that I use a form of hypnotic induction to re-enter an illusory state.  I am not inclined to do so.

 I am also not inclined to write Santa a letter, care of the North Pole.  Because I'm an adult.  Because, I would feel like a drooling moron.

You asked.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Phillipe   
21 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

You are suggesting that I use a form of hypnotic induction to re-enter an illusory state.  I am not inclined to do so.

 

 

Is that because you do not believe in the usefulness of hypnotism?  How do you know it's an illusory state if you don't try to enter it?

If you refuse to use the tool, how can you gain the knowledge, even if that knowledge proves to be negative?

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mark 45   
3 minutes ago, Phillipe said:

Is that because you do not believe in the usefulness of hypnotism?  How do you know it's an illusory state if you don't try to enter it?

If you refuse to use the tool, how can you gain the knowledge, even if that knowledge proves to be negative?

not what he said.

i however have been there,done that.and yes it is an illusory state.what you allow or don't is totally up to you.

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Phillipe   
16 minutes ago, mark 45 said:

not what he said.

i however have been there,done that.and yes it is an illusory state.what you allow or don't is totally up to you.

 

Forgive me. I thought I quoted him quite succinctly. 

YOU have been there. YMMV.

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In the follies of my youth, I decided to explore my family religion, which was Judaism.  My closest friends were Hassidic Jews.  I prayed.  I studied.  I believed.  I wound up taking a B.A. in Jewish Studies.  I spent a summer vacation in a Hassidic yeshiva.   Then I came to my senses and woke up.  To be clear, I did not "lose" my faith.  I grew out of it.  I know about faith, from the inside.  I know about prayer.  From the inside.  I look back on this part of my life as youthful stupidity.  It is an understatement to say that I find the memories intensely embarrassing.

I do not need to engage in prayer, to find out.  Been there.  Done that.  Not gonna do it again.  I have plunged into illusion and emerged out the other side.

Any questions?

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