Not an atheist

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Chesterton
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Not an atheist

Post by Chesterton » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:55 pm

I am not an atheist. I am suffering from an infectious condition called faith. You guys would probably say that I am just delusional or soft minded. Maybe I am. If I am I am only mildly so as my faith is not that strong but I cherish it all the same.

I am just curious how atheists can be so certain that God does not exist. From my delusional position you just don't have faith. That's all. As a sufferer of this thing I might be a little paranoid as I detect you have no small hostility towards those of us poor people who suffer from this delusional state. I especially note that Catholics come off the worse. Is this a pre-requisite for me to become an atheist? Can't my recovery start with a little agnosticism?

Seriously though why all the effort debunking and ridiculing something that isn't real? I guess I can expect a plethora of abuse for this posting. Go easy on me I could be one of you one day.
ctr
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by ctr » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:28 pm

Hi Chesterton

First off welcome to the forum. You are very welcome. You will be expected to back up your "faith" and "beliefs" with sound points. Saying it is because the bible says so wont cut it here.

Now why we are atheists...there are as many answers as people logging in here.

For me it is because there is none, not a shred, of evidence to back up any suspension of the laws of physics to allow for a god or supernatural being.

Saying that if you provide such proof I will change my mind and be a believer.

And the burden of proof is on the religious not Atheists so IMHO it is you that need to convince us not the other way around.

Anyway welcome and if you obey the simple rules of honest debate then I look forward to your posts.
Each of us is here on earth for a reason, and each of us has a special mission to carry out - Maria Shriver
Dev
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Dev » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:42 pm

I'd like to reiterate again that you are very welcome to the forum. I doubt you will find any hostility towards you here, the institutions and arguments you present will definitely be criticized and broken down till it is said in the most simple and elegant fashion where a logical fallacy or false assumption becomes obvious. Certainly it is not against you personally. Atheists welcome a rational discussion and interesting debates.

I have the same opinion as the guy above.
Chesterton wrote: Seriously though why all the effort debunking and ridiculing something that isn't real?
If you know it to be not real then how can you believe in it? Assuming that something is a divine entity.
Last edited by Dev on Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Beebub
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Beebub » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:56 pm

Hi Chesterson,

Welcome.
my faith is not that strong
Care to expand on that? Are you religious, as in a follower of a particular religion or do you just believe, to paraphrase The X-files, there's something out there?
I am just curious how atheists can be so certain that God does not exist.
I'm as certain that God does not exist as you are that Thor doesn't exist (assuming it's not Thor you beleive in). Again assuming that you don't belive that Thor exists, how can you be so certain he doesn't? I think you'll find the answer you give to this will probably be similar to the answers you'll get from Atheists. I just don't believe in one more god than you. I'm also with ctr on the whole evidence bit.
you just don't have faith
I do. I have faith in many things. Just not in the existence of a supernatural overlord.
Is this a pre-requisite for me to become an atheist?


I don't understand this question. Is what a pre-requisite of becoming an Atheist? Having hostility towards religious people and in particular Catholics?
If you know it to be not real then how can you believe in it?
In fairness to Chesterson, I think he/she was asking of atheists why put all the effort into 'debunking and ridiculing something that isn't real' for us. Not that it's something that's not real to him/her? Am I right Chesterson?
Dev
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Dev » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:53 pm

Beebub wrote: In fairness to Chesterson, I think he/she was asking of atheists why put all the effort into 'debunking and ridiculing something that isn't real' for us. Not that it's something that's not real to him/her? Am I right Chesterson?
Ok, that makes more sense if thats what he/she meant. Anyway, I'll attempt an answer.

Religious people often want their beliefs to be recognized at a political level. Take for instance Irelands new blasphemy laws. These are religious in nature and offend the concept of free speech. By debunking these superstitions that we are offending God by taking his name in vain we are ensuring a more secular Ireland.
Hemingway
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Hemingway » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:37 pm

Hi Chesterton,

Welcome to the site my faithful friend.

What is faith anyway? Well to me and most people, it is believing in something without any evidence. You believe it because you have faith in it.

For the record, I am NOT certain that god (I assume you mean the Christian god) does not exist. I think its very unlikely though to the point that I would say I am somewhat certain that there are no gods.

However, I am perfectly convertable, as are most people here. Just show me the evidence why I should think there is a god. Be careful though..... you'll find we smart arsed hoors here at AI have a good counter argument for most of what you will attempt to classify as evidence and in the end I'm guessing you'll tell us its a faith issue with you.

You see? We always end up back at square one (faith) because of lack of evidence.....

I dont debunk religion per se. I am of the opinion that everyone has the right to believe what they wish. But when someone claims what they believe as fact.... well then they have to prove their position with... yes.... you guessed it.... evidence!!!!

If no evidence is provided, then how is one to accept what you state as fact to be belived? On faith alone? Oh dear..... we're back to that again.......

You'll find that most of us here were catholics in a former life, but just couldnt swallow what we were taught anymore. Remember, if 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

Welcome on board though. Looking forward to the debate.....
Dont try to fix me, I'm not broken
Chesterton
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Chesterton » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:51 pm

Thank you for your warm welcome to the forum. I posted a reply but it seems not to have made it to the site. So I'll try again and maybe say less this time.

I'd better tell you all something about myself as there were a few questions and comments that need to be addressed. Firstly I am a 41 year old man, married and have two children. I am a Christian, Roman Catholic and I live and work in the Dublin area.

Like many of the members of this forum I had a Catholic upbringing but drifted from the faith in my late teens and early twenties. It was in my twenties working as a engineer that I met my first big intellectual influences in a couple of engineers who were atheists and they introduced me to reading philosophy and science. I was greatly influenced by these two men and also by my reading. You could say I read myself into atheism. It was also around this time that I met the woman who was to become my wife, got married and started our family. It was while I was in my early thirties that I started to have doubts about my atheism and it was over a period of years that my atheism started to unravel. My story is an intellectual and existential one which is very personal and would take too long to describe here. But I hope over time I will share it in the proper context.

It wasn't an easy process and I had many difficulties with the Catholic Church and its teachings especially on moral issues but I eventually resolved these and about 4 years ago I returned home to the Church. I went in the opposite direction to most of the members of this forum. It isn't easy being a Catholic at this time especially in light of the abuse scandals. But I can tell the difference between the Church itself and the sinfulness of some of its leaders and indeed many of its members (including my own sinfulness). But I hang in there because I have come to believe that the Church is true and that has been my life's mission to seek the truth and to be faithful to it. It's what made me an atheist and its what brought me home.

My first posting on this forum was meant as a little teaser. I wanted to see what kind of a response I would get. I am not trying to convert or be converted. I'm hoping for interesting and stimulating discussion. I am not here to give rational definitive proof for my faith in the the existence of God. Most the cleverer debaters of this subject (on both sides) concede that even if there were a God that He cannot be scientifically proven. That does not mean that belief in God is necessarily unreasonable. The God debate lies outside the discipline of the sciences and in the realm of philosophy.

Being honest I feel a little weird being on this forum, its a bit like being behind enemy lines. I don't consider myself your enemy or vice versa. I hope the feeling is mutual. No, I consider you all lost little children of God . . . . (just a little joke there to lighten things up).

I am really looking forward to talking with you on some of the subjects that come up on the forum and maybe even sharing my views on why I believe that religion has its place in society. Again I am grateful for your warm expressions welcome and impressed that your interpretation of free speech extends to those who hold different views from your own.
Hemingway
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Hemingway » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:33 pm

We get people of faith on here from time to time and although the debating can be eventful, it rarely gets rude or out of hand.

Here is a link to a thread a Christian from an Intelligent Design/Creationist Science background started some months back. ID proponents of the creationist science ilk claim that all the universe was created on the same day 6000 years ago. They also claim that evolution is false despite Pope John Paul II stating that it occurs.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2300

It might be worth your while reading through the first five or six pages of the thread. It may give you some insight as to the type of debate that goes on between ourselves and people of faith and some of the familiar arguments we get recurring over and over again from the religious community.

Maybe you'll see something in there you'd like to pick up on and discuss. Its pretty typical of the arguments put forward by Creationists and the counter arguments presented by Atheists.
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Chesterton
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Chesterton » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:41 pm

Thanks Hemingway.

I had a quick look through the discussions on the link you posted. I got the general sense of where that was going. To be honest I don't know how you put up with some of the "evidence" being cited as proof for the Creationist view of the origin of the universe. I have had similar discussions with a colleague at work who also happens to be an Evangelical Christian. Although he is a good man and well intentioned he is poorly informed and easily mislead regarding matters of science.

Just for the record I am do not accept the arguments from either Creationists (New Earth or otherwise) nor Intelligent Design. I still believe that God is the uncreated Creator, but as stated previously before the Big Bang we leave science behind and enter into the world of philosophy.

I recommend to Creationists and supporters of Intelligent Design (God of the gaps) that they read a book by Francis Collins director of the Human Genome Project, "The Language of God". In this book he investigates and rejects both creationism and intelligent design in favour of his theistic evolution model. I tend to support that theory which compliments my understanding of the scientific explanation of the origin of the universe and my personal faith in God.

Incidentally you mention Pope John Paul II, I would like to quote him quoting his predecessor's Pius XII encyclical Humani Generis (1950) when addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996), at which he stated that "there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation". I support this view and oppose the fundamentalist side of Christianity in the mainly US Evangelical communities.

I appreciate your difficulties in fathoming the mind of believers especially when they naively support new earth beliefs in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary. These are the unreasonable ones who give the rest of us a bad name. In the same manner it appears to me that Dawkins has abandoned his rationality to embrace an embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism. Just for the record Dawkins was one of my heroes before I defected. Thankfully others like Anthony Flew had a more balance, well thought-out and a less commercial approach to their atheism. What is needed is a more open dialogue so that atheists and believers can understand each other better and maybe be less prejudiced towards each others views.

Is it fair to say that your conversations have been with the more extreme or fundamentalist Christians like that guy from Brazil? Or have there been more intelligent dialogues on the forum to date?
Dev
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Re: Not an atheist

Post by Dev » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:19 pm

I think it is fair to say that you reject certain passages of the Bible (Genesis) in favor of the scientific explanations. I assume you also reject the Lev and Deut parts of the Bible. However you also seem to believe that other parts of Bible are true.

What criteria do you use to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you believe to be true?

Do you read the Bible as the Jefferson Bible (The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth)?
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