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The Atheist Dilemma


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#1    markdohle

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:28 PM

I don't know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party: "But how do you know what the Bible says is true?" By age 11, my atheism was so widely known in my middle school that a Christian boy threatened to come to my house and "shoot all the atheists." My Christian friends in high school avoided talking to me about religion because they anticipated that I would tear down their poorly constructed arguments. And I did.
As I set off in 2008 to begin my freshman year studying government at Harvard (whose motto is Veritas, "Truth"), I could never have expected the change that awaited me.

Continue:  http://www.christian...ts-dilemma.html


#2    redhen

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

From the article;

"He prodded me on how inconsistent I was as an atheist who nonetheless believed in right and wrong as objective, universal categories."

Yes that is inconsistent. But she doesn't explain why took a leap of faith rather than deny objective moral values? /shrug


#3    Zaphod222

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:18 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 11 April 2013 - 12:28 PM, said:

I don't know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party: "But how do you know what the Bible says is true?" By age 11, my atheism was so widely known in my middle school that a Christian boy threatened to come to my house and "shoot all the atheists." My Christian friends in high school avoided talking to me about religion because they anticipated that I would tear down their poorly constructed arguments. And I did.
As I set off in 2008 to begin my freshman year studying government at Harvard (whose motto is Veritas, "Truth"), I could never have expected the change that awaited me.

Continue:  http://www.christian...ts-dilemma.html

I followed the link, and I find the statements by this woman sophomoric. Go to Youtube to see any of the many discussions between for example William Lane Craig and Sam Harris, and you will find all of the points that she brings up addressed in much more depth and with much more intelligence.

There really is nothing new here, in fact, I find that there is nothing there. Religionists simply do not have an intellectual leg to stand on.

So I wonder: what is the point of posting this link?

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." (Salman Rushdie)

#4    markdohle

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:37 PM

View PostZaphod222, on 11 April 2013 - 01:18 PM, said:

I followed the link, and I find the statements by this woman sophomoric. Go to Youtube to see any of the many discussions between for example William Lane Craig and Sam Harris, and you will find all of the points that she brings up addressed in much more depth and with much more intelligence.

There really is nothing new here, in fact, I find that there is nothing there. Religionists simply do not have an intellectual leg to stand on.

So I wonder: what is the point of posting this link?

Everything that is posted here, if it related to God, God's existence or non-existence has always been stated elsewhere here on this site.  There is really only so much that can be said.  She is merely stating how she came to deism and then to theism.  I think this is replayed many times, from both sides of the fence.  In the end, no arguments can sway anyone, yet people find some agruments helpful in make a choice for or against.  So in that regard I find this interesting and well worth posting.

I believe we come to some conclusions on the God question, and then use data to back it all up, be it for theism or atheism.  There are men of science who are devout and those who are atheist, and they sometimes fight, which is a waste of time.  Still stories are important, this being one of them.  I am sure there are other stories that show the journey the other way around, from belief to unbelief.

I believe she was also explaining her journey, how she came to where she is at and I found nothing immature about how she expressed herself.

Though you do have have a point as well.  I find some of the things posted from the atheist side a bit tiring as well, so maybe I won't in the future post things like this ;-).  I am old however and may forget :whistle:

peace
mark


#5    markdohle

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:45 PM

View Postredhen, on 11 April 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:

From the article;

"He prodded me on how inconsistent I was as an atheist who nonetheless believed in right and wrong as objective, universal categories."

Yes that is inconsistent. But she doesn't explain why took a leap of faith rather than deny objective moral values? /shrug

The moral sense comes before the God question.  All men have the tendency to do the right thing, though some follow through and others don't, be they atheist or believers.  The only difference is when you get to the bottom line, an atheist can change his or her mind without any bother about God, or God's law, or the commandment to love etc.  In the end, when two atheist talk about morality, one can give an impassioned speech about why treating others justly is a good thing, but in the end, the other atheist can say, I don't agree.  If I can get away with it, there is no wrong done.  Either humans have a soul, and or made in the image and likness of God, or they are not.  Happily the moral sense is alive and well in most humans, though on a cultural level things seem to be falling apart.

peace
mark


#6    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:52 PM

View Postredhen, on 11 April 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:

From the article;

"He prodded me on how inconsistent I was as an atheist who nonetheless believed in right and wrong as objective, universal categories."

Yes that is inconsistent. But she doesn't explain why took a leap of faith rather than deny objective moral values? /shrug
Buddhism teaches right and wrong as objective, universal categories quite successfully without God.  It's called karma.  I think the only person who cannot have such belief and be consistent is the physicalist (aka materialist).


#7    Zaphod222

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:54 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 11 April 2013 - 01:45 PM, said:

The moral sense comes before the God question.  All men have the tendency to do the right thing, though some follow through and others don't, be they atheist or believers.  The only difference is when you get to the bottom line, an atheist can change his or her mind without any bother about God, or God's law, or the commandment to love etc.  In the end, when two atheist talk about morality, one can give an impassioned speech about why treating others justly is a good thing, but in the end, the other atheist can say, I don't agree.

Yawn.... so can theists. A Christian can cite the New Testament and say you should love your enemies, and a muslim can cite the Koran and state firmly that Jews and Christians that don´t pay the submission tax have to be killed, and polytheists in any case.

So, pick your god and argue what you want.

The tired old "morality" argument is a non-starter.

Edited by Zaphod222, 11 April 2013 - 01:54 PM.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." (Salman Rushdie)

#8    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:54 PM

I might add that Kant thought his ability to do the same thing without God demonstrated God's existence, that last part is a non sequitur.


#9    Rlyeh

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:07 PM

Perhaps you mean an atheist's dilemma? Many atheists have no such dilemma.


#10    redhen

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:36 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 11 April 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

Buddhism teaches right and wrong as objective, universal categories quite successfully without God.  It's called karma.

That's true for some schools of Buddhism. There are others though (Chan/Zen) which teach that the goal is to transcend good and evil. In Bodhidharma's sermons (and others) it is taught that as long as you see you Buddha nature it doesn't matter if you make your living as a butcher or not.

The Five precepts, when read in Pali, sound more like the 5 suggestions or training rules.

Karma though does sound a lot like objective moral values, something that is right or wrong independent of what I or others think.


#11    Frank Merton

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:44 PM

Well, I suspect all schools teach that at least a goal is to transcend good and evil, and frankly I don't think it matters if your living is as a butcher or not, nor even an executioner, but then I don't claim much Buddha nature.

The thing is, if you do something good, you get merit; if the opposite you lose it.  Most acts have complicated and hard-to-measure effects, but they are there all the same, and it is all objective and universal and categorical, but also without a deity or someone making judgments.


#12    eight bits

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:34 PM

Too bad Ms Monge hung with the strangely fascinating Mr Porter, instead of joining the Harvard Libertarian Forum,

http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hlf/

These are Ayn Rand's people. Ayn Rand used to eat two of those objective-foundation-for-morality "dilemmas" for breakfast every morning. Ayn Rand was an atheist.

Anyway, good for Monge that she has found an "objective" foundation for her morality, based upon how she reads a book that no two people who have read it have ever agreed on what it says. Objective just ain't what it used to be.

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#13    markdohle

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:19 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 11 April 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

Buddhism teaches right and wrong as objective, universal categories quite successfully without God.  It's called karma.  I think the only person who cannot have such belief and be consistent is the physicalist (aka materialist).

I am not sure that is true, there is a system that can't be escaped for the buddhist, karma as you called it.  Buddha did not deal with God, he did not answer that question since he thought it impossible to answer, nonetheless, they have a strick moral code and failure leads to another turn on the wheel.   To say that Buddhist are atheist is not a good term I believe, since it is a western term with undertones that Buddhist would not follow at all.  There is an afterlife, reincarnation and the possiblity of enlightenment are part of it, this not true in western atheistic thought, so I believe your anology is not that good.  For an atheist in the west, there is no justice for evildoers, nor reward for those who do good, is is oblivion for all.

Thanks for your reply.

peace
mark


#14    markdohle

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:23 PM

View PostZaphod222, on 11 April 2013 - 01:54 PM, said:

Yawn.... so can theists. A Christian can cite the New Testament and say you should love your enemies, and a muslim can cite the Koran and state firmly that Jews and Christians that don´t pay the submission tax have to be killed, and polytheists in any case.

So, pick your god and argue what you want.

The tired old "morality" argument is a non-starter.

Well perhaps all the arguments are becoming a non-starter LOL.....

peace
Mark


#15    Zaphod222

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:41 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 11 April 2013 - 11:23 PM, said:

Well perhaps all the arguments are becoming a non-starter LOL.....

peace
Mark

Not really. Arguments are a great thing, if people bring up new and valid angles. But the theists keep bringing up the same old line of arguments ("the need for a creator", "morality", etc.) over and over. No matter how many times they have been discussed and dealt with.

Kind of feels like watching an endless reel of "Groundhog Day"...

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." (Salman Rushdie)




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