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Old January 17th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #1
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Atheism, organized religion, and a higher being

I was wondering how the atheists on this forum feel about a higher being. Do you simply believe no God or higher force exists? Perhaps even a force that unintentionally created this universe?

I know that a lot of people feel that organized religion is manipulative, including me to an extent, but that does not necessarily mean that a higher being does not exist.

Also, how does everyone (those who are religious or not so) feel about Spinoza's idea of God and nature essentially being one? Would you agree with Einstein when he said, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
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Old January 17th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by myp View Post
I was wondering how the atheists on this forum feel about a higher being. Do you simply believe no God or higher force exists? Perhaps even a force that unintentionally created this universe?

I know that a lot of people feel that organized religion is manipulative, including me to an extent, but that does not necessarily mean that a higher being does not exist.

Also, how does everyone (those who are religious or not so) feel about Spinoza's idea of God and nature essentially being one? Would you agree with Einstein when he said, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
Leaving my "faith" out of it, I don't think we will really know until it is too late to do anything about it.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 09:58 AM   #3
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Leaving my "faith" out of it, I don't think we will really know until it is too late to do anything about it.
I agree, but I am just asking what people think on this matter as of right now.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #4
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I agree, but I am just asking what people think on this matter as of right now.
I understand. I do know more and more people act like you have peed in their soup if you believe in God.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #5
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I was wondering how the atheists on this forum feel about a higher being. Do you simply believe no God or higher force exists? Perhaps even a force that unintentionally created this universe?
How do you define "atheist"?
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Old January 17th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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How do you define "atheist"?
Really, I just want to know how those who aren't religious feel about this. In hindsight I realize that atheist might not have been the best word, but there is some grey area there.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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IMO there are many forms of belief that ultimately result in people believing in a higher power without surrendering their consciences to the distasteful aspects attached to modern "religion". Some do not consider themselves "religious" because they impose a higher standard on religion than they see in the world. In a sense they refuse to acknowledge a belief in an imperfect model of perfection. This implicit admission that there is "something" is kinda like a cold person inching towards a hot fire, wanting the warmth but afraid of getting burned.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #8
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IMO there are many forms of belief that ultimately result in people believing in a higher power without surrendering their consciences to the distasteful aspects attached to modern "religion". Some do not consider themselves "religious" because they impose a higher standard on religion than they see in the world. In a sense they refuse to acknowledge a belief in an imperfect model of perfection. This implicit admission that there is "something" is kinda like a cold person inching towards a hot fire, wanting the warmth but afraid of getting burned.
An entire post when just saying 'agnostic' would have meant the same thing.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #9
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An entire post when just saying 'agnostic' would have meant the same thing.
Not necessarily. There is Deism:
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Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion. Deists tend to, but do not necessarily, reject the notion of divine interventions in human affairs, such as by miracles and revelations. These views contrast with a dependence on revelations, miracles, and faith found in many Jewish, Christian, Islamic and other theistic teachings.

Deists typically reject most supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God (or "The Supreme Architect") has a plan for the universe that is not altered either by God intervening in the affairs of human life or by suspending the natural laws of the universe. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, most deists see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.

Deism became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenment, especially in what is now the United Kingdom, France, United States and Ireland, mostly among those raised as Christians who found they could not believe in either a triune God, the divinity of Jesus, miracles, or the inerrancy of scriptures, but who did believe in one god. Initially it did not form any congregations, but in time deism strongly influenced other religious groups, such as Unitarianism and Universalism, which developed from it. It continues to this day in the forms of classical deism and modern deism.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism
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Old January 18th, 2010, 10:38 AM   #10
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An entire post when just saying 'agnostic' would have meant the same thing.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm yes, isn't writing fun? Unless you're the kind of person who won't go to hockey games because they can read the score tomorrow. But what if we are not all clever enough to take the message I intended from the word "agnostic"? Wicki defines "agnostic" as:
... the view that the truth value of certain claims?especially claims about the existence of any deity , but also other religious and metaphysical claims?is unknown or unknowable. [1] Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the differences between belief and knowledge , rather than about any specific claim or belief.

Thomas Henry Huxley , an English biologist, coined the word agnostic in 1860. However, earlier thinkers and written works have promoted agnostic points of view. They include Protagoras , a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher, [2] and a creation story in the Rigveda , an ancient Hindu religious text. [3] Since Huxley coined the term, many other thinkers have written extensively about agnosticism, ranging from Albert Einstein to Pope Benedict XVI .

Defining agnosticism

Demographic research services normally list agnostics in the same category as atheists and/or non-religious people. [4] Some sources use agnostic in the sense of noncommittal. [5] Agnosticism often overlaps with other belief systems. Agnostic theists identify themselves both as agnostics and as followers of particular religions, viewing agnosticism as a framework for thinking about the nature of belief and their relation to revealed truths. Some nonreligious people, such as author Philip Pullman , identify as both agnostic and atheist. [6]

Thomas Henry Huxley defined the term:

Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable. [7]
Given that there are several definitions, how would anybody know what I meant?
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Old January 19th, 2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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The burdenof proof is on them to convince me - until then, i take the logical step of presuming it doesn't exist. Considering the infinitely miniscule chance of a "higher power" existing, that is only reasonable.

By the by, to save everyone the argument which invariably follows mentioning "God" and "Einstein" in one sentence, Einstein was a pantheist - as, i believe (but am not as aware of), is Stephen Hawking.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #12
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The burdenof proof is on them to convince me - until then, i take the logical step of presuming it doesn't exist.
That's kind of an egotistical post. It reads to me like a rather pathetic attempt at control? Who cares whether you believe?

By my belief system it is God who decides who will be offered the choice to believe. He works in a great many ways to exercise His decisions and usually not for the benefit of just one recipient. If He sends someone to save you it will be for the benefit of that person too, certainly for more than just you. If you choose to decline, a choice He lets you have although He could force you, you may do so freely. If you decline to spite Him, He won't hold it against you.

Feel free to decline, but don't be so obvious in seeking attention. It demeans you.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:16 AM   #13
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That's kind of an egotistical post. It reads to me like a rather pathetic attempt at control? Who cares whether you believe?

By my belief system it is God who decides who will be offered the choice to believe. He works in a great many ways to exercise His decisions and usually not for the benefit of just one recipient. If He sends someone to save you it will be for the benefit of that person too, certainly for more than just you. If you choose to decline, a choice He lets you have although He could force you, you may do so freely. If you decline to spite Him, He won't hold it against you.

Feel free to decline, but don't be so obvious in seeking attention. It demeans you.
I'm not saying someone has to convince me individually. I mean that i await convincing. I do not find arguments in favour of God convincing. And so i presume that he doesn't exist. It's that simple. There is nothing egotistical in it, i assure you.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #14
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I'm not saying someone has to convince me individually. I mean that i await convincing. I do not find arguments in favour of God convincing. And so i presume that he doesn't exist. It's that simple. There is nothing egotistical in it, i assure you.
That is absolutely fair. That's what freedom to think means. I believe that if you use the mind God gave you to disbelieve in Him, that by itself does not bar you from God. That's why He gave you your mind and free choice.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #15
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I'm not saying someone has to convince me individually. I mean that i await convincing. I do not find arguments in favour of God convincing. And so i presume that he doesn't exist. It's that simple. There is nothing egotistical in it, i assure you.
I once held, well do still, that view.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 12:17 AM   #16
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I'm not saying someone has to convince me individually. I mean that i await convincing. I do not find arguments in favour of God convincing. And so i presume that he doesn't exist. It's that simple. There is nothing egotistical in it, i assure you.
Right, and possibly it is more egoistically to claim total knowledge of God, when there is none to be found "intellectually". There is no proof for or against. I have long given up in trying to figure those kind of things out with my mind, as I do believe that faith is something that cannot be fathomed or comprehended with the mind. True faith is something where you just believe what you believe, end of story. No arguments necessary.

I sometimes "believe" that our intelligence can trip us up in a very nasty way, as most of us "in our thinking" tend to mirror our own personal thinking on the world. Like Plato's shadows in a cave, and our hands being bound and us not being able to really see in the darkness.

Last edited by deanhills; January 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 AM.
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