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PsiSeeker

The astonishing uselessness of refuting God

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What we come to realise as knowledge is actually surprisingly useless in aiding our ability to gain a richer appreciation and understanding of the nature of anything.  We attribute the result of knowledge to a fantastic ability to think or explore however this is false.  Knowledge is the result of a person's demonstration of understanding of something or simply the result of giving a thing a name.  The development of one's intellectual ability in interpreting the meaning of a body of knowledge and examining its facets, becoming familiar with it, is no different to becoming knowledgeable and examining the facets of a massive body of fiction of similar size.

The thing to realise about knowledge is that understanding it is no different to understanding anything.  There is absolutely nothing that says that one needs to believe in something in order to understand it.  The believability or status of truth of a thing is also not indicative of the usefulness of one's understanding of it.

Most of us don't realise how phenomenally little we understand.  We go hither and tither based upon the way we feel about what we interact with.  The vast majority of our thinking goes into determining how we fit into society and our worth and self confidence and general happiness in relation to what we perceive of everyone else.

The mistake people make with thinking is using it to become certain about what they know by reference to evidence of oneself and of the world.

Now, drawing reference to being asked to believe in the existence of God.  This is, as far as I'm aware of, the first instance in a person's life where one is asked to consciously come to believe a thing.

Being asked to believe in the existence of God is literally doing nothing more than being asked to believe in literally anything.  It doesn't ask whether or not one believes, it just says believe.  There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of crap we believe about ourselves and society and come to believe through advertisement and media etc.  Coming to believe anything is a very automatic process for us and drives the states of our being.

Once one has determined to believe in God being asked if one believes in God is about as useful as being asked if one believes one has 2 arms.  All one does from this point is determining how one feels about it.  Being told God is omnipotent, created the universe etc is all useless knowledge about God.  This is the mistake most people make in coming to think of, or think about, God.

It is absolutely unbelievable to me how much people tip toe and dance around this thing based on how they perceive it, and not by how they understand it.

It's been 2000 years and we're still stuck on the believing it and bible part.  An atheist doesn't even know what he doesn't believe.

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I take it you mean "believe in the Christian god"?  People have been believing (very strongly) in deities for thousands and thousands of years.

And, having hung out on many a Christian and apologist board, I think you are probably not aware that most atheists come to that position after reading the Bible and are in many cases more familiar with the Bible than most Christians are.   The main difference is that Christians tend to read in small chunks (verse by verse) and look for understanding rather than reading the whole book and seeing it as a unit or reading the individual chapters and seeing them as complete documents.

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23 hours ago, Likely Guy said:

I'm an apatheist. I simply don't care about God.

Now I'm waiting for the obligatory, "Why did you post then?"

May I ask...what's the difference (for you)  between I don't believe in G and I don't care about G?

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19 hours ago, Kenemet said:

I take it you mean "believe in the Christian god"?  People have been believing (very strongly) in deities for thousands and thousands of years.

And, having hung out on many a Christian and apologist board, I think you are probably not aware that most atheists come to that position after reading the Bible and are in many cases more familiar with the Bible than most Christians are.   The main difference is that some Christians tend to read in small (verse by verse) and look for understanding rather than reading the whole book and seeing it as a unit or reading the individual chapters and seeing them as complete documents.

Fixed that(bolded letters)...now I agree with all you have said

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On 14/12/2017 at 2:38 PM, Likely Guy said:

I'm an apatheist. I simply don't care about God.

Now I'm waiting for the obligatory, "Why did you post then?"

Apatheist?  Nice!  I wonder who comes up with these terms and why there should be a need to identify as something other than who you are.  I think it takes away the personal-ness of a thing.  One is stronger as a group than as an individual I suppose.  Hmm, I identify as an Australian I guess.  But when I do that what I'm doing is playing a certain role, and I recognise that.  The moment you identify as a thing you recognise that you're playing a certain role within a group that values the group's integrity for the sake of the group and not necessarily for what the group stands for or variance that might exist on an individual scale within the group.  Once you identify another group it causes you to behave towards that group in a certain way based upon what you know about that group as a perception rather than recognising that the individual, and what they say, isn't an embodiment of that group.  Interaction exists where the primary concern is making sure that whatever comes about does not attack the integrity of one's group.

Why is this is important?  Because once you've stated that there is a group that you identify as the perception you're trying to bring across is simply, "I have many friends who think the following and agree with me"  That is, justification for why you think what you think.  Evidence for why you think what you think.  That in and of itself is more important to most people than actually understanding why they think what they think.  Like I said, most people don't really understand anything.  They simply say how they feel.

Why am I saying this?  Because saying only, "I don't care about God"  (without first telling me you're an Apatheist) would be an indication of a stance arrived at on a personal, individual basis.  Knowing that, the discussion that will follow will be a discussion of thought based upon an underlying body of reason that caused that stance to be taken.  However, once you tell me that you've taken a stance based upon learning about a particular group and ascribing to it?  Well my friend.  Then what we're talking about is belief.  Feeling.  Dealing with things on an emotional level.

So what should I do about this?  Well, since I can't deal with you on a personal basis I need to figure out where you fit in based upon the other groups that you perceive, which is really difficult considering that I have to see the underlying emotion behind anything that looks reasonable that you might say.

I like that you let me know that you have an expectation for "my sort" or "my type".  This is good, it means that I know that there is a stereotype you identify me with.  It means that you see me as belonging to a particular group.  It means that everything I said is heavily biased based upon a mental perception of a group you believe me to belong to.  What it means is that you will loosely generalise what I say based upon perception of how you perceive my status.  Anything you say therefore is said not in response to what I write, but in response to my status.  That is, you aren't capable of becoming open minded and perceiving things from my perspective simply for the fun of it.  Because why not?  What could it hurt?

I like you though.  So I won't talk about me and what I think!  I'll give you what you want!  Validation.  Approval.  Belonging.  Understanding.  But I won't identify by it.  Why?  Because it's not based on feeling.  It simply makes sense.

I don't care about God either to be perfectly honest with you.  I care about my fellow human!  My fellow human does and says very perplexing things that I try and make sense of.  That I wonder about endlessly!  Some say God!  Some say not God!  Some says who cares!  Everyone has good points!  They all say they are best!  Well, that can't be right.  What to do?  Analyse.  Reason.  Ask why.  Determine first principles.  Transcend.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I don't like it when people argue.  So draining.

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On 12/14/2017 at 8:15 PM, DebDandelion said:

May I ask...what's the difference (for you)  between I don't believe in G and I don't care about G?

Sorry Deb, I missed your post somehow.

I've come to the conclusion, in my mind, that God may or may not exist which is essentially agnosticism. But, I've also made the decision not to waste my time struggling with the question since, in the end, I wouldn't lead my life any differently than I do right now. For me, trying to find the answer to the 'great question' is a waste of my time.

I do however fully support those who have found their faith, as well as those who reject faith. On a personal level, I just can't be bothered anymore.

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On 14/12/2017 at 6:21 PM, Kenemet said:

I take it you mean "believe in the Christian god"?  People have been believing (very strongly) in deities for thousands and thousands of years.

And, having hung out on many a Christian and apologist board, I think you are probably not aware that most atheists come to that position after reading the Bible and are in many cases more familiar with the Bible than most Christians are.   The main difference is that Christians tend to read in small chunks (verse by verse) and look for understanding rather than reading the whole book and seeing it as a unit or reading the individual chapters and seeing them as complete documents.

My introduction to God came by way of christian methodology.  The way I think about God is like a meta awareness of the idea that seems to be universally present across all systems of belief that reference deities.  Though, I've identified it in systems that don't have deities or certain beliefs as well.

I quite like atheists.  I know that many of them take matters very seriously.  It doesn't take reading the bible to know how unbelievable far fetched and ridiculous God is if you actually think about it though.  Every atheist should appreciate how obvious this is and that it's not something a religious person is unaware of as a result.  My general thinking regarding religion, holy scriptures and the like, is that they exist as mechanisms of guidance.  All of philosophy, in my eyes, is guidance.  There is a point in one's spiritual/intellectual development where one's hand is no longer held.  Where one must walk the path alone.  All fields of knowledge, science, etc is like this.  There is only so much that can be learned before one begins to push the boundaries of the understanding that drove the inception of those things.

I must say though...  My faith in humanity rests with the religious folk.  Things are so incredibly linear, and straight edged, and logical, and deterministic, and thoughtless, and easy without it.  I have once thought that religion came about simply because existence is so unbelievably boring.  The soul screams in agony!

Can anyone really imagine being alive in a time where nothing has changed, or is changing, for 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 2000 years?

 

Edited by PsiSeeker

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Just now, PsiSeeker said:

My introduction to God came by way of Christian methodology.  The way I think about God is like a meta awareness of the idea that seems to be universally present across all systems of belief that reference deities.  Though, I've identified it in systems that don't have deities or certain beliefs as well.

I quite like atheists.  I know that many of them take matters very seriously.  It doesn't take reading the bible to know how unbelievable far fetched and ridiculous God is if you actually think about it, and not when you believe it.  My general thinking regarding religion, holy scriptures and the like, is that they exist as mechanisms of guidance.  All of philosophy, in my eyes, is guidance.  There is a point in one's spiritual/intellectual development where one's hand is no longer held.  Where one must walk the path alone.  All fields of knowledge, science, etc is like this.  There is only so much you can learn before you begin to push the boundaries of the understanding that drove the inception of those things.

 

My understanding of your words is a bit off, I'm afraid.  When I read "Christian methodology" I think of the great thinkers of the Reformation and before, but what they wrote was colored by the belief system they used as their metric (Protestant, Catholic, Cathar, etc) and I was curious about which one you were using.  I think it's Protestantism because it seems a bit "off" for the others though I could be mistaken.

Your analogy with science is... interesting.  In science, they have a metric that says "Okay, you've studied deeply on this.  Now go forth and find out."  While it may seem restrictive, it also prevents misunderstanding (as happens in many cases where a scientist in one discipline tromps over to another field and starts speculating.  In religion there seems to be almost no guideline within the Protestant faith (there are millions of small churches led by inspired people) while the Catholic branch has more formal requirements for who understands the material well enough to lead and proclaim.  The Internet is full of people who believe they understand well enough to proclaim truths for the world.  

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49 minutes ago, Likely Guy said:

Sorry Deb, I missed your post somehow.

I've come to the conclusion, in my mind, that God may or may not exist which is essentially agnosticism. But, I've also made the decision not to waste my time struggling with the question since, in the end, I wouldn't lead my life any differently than I do right now. For me, trying to find the answer to the 'great question' is a waste of my time.

I do however fully support those who have found their faith, as well as those who reject faith. On a personal level, I just can't be bothered anymore.

That's very interesting! 

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I don't care if people want to believe in a god,s,ess's or whatever. I only care what they do because of their beliefs. Human decency doesn't require a religious packaging,

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1 hour ago, PsiSeeker said:

I must say though...  My faith in humanity rests with the religious folk.  Things are so incredibly linear, and straight edged, and logical, and deterministic, and thoughtless, and easy without it.

:mellow: ...What?

Are you saying that you support religious dogma cause the alternative is too easy, boring, and correct all the time?

Not really following your logic here...

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5 minutes ago, Aquila King said:

Not really following your logic here..

Welcome to the religious section of UM. Grab a seat and a cup of coffee. It's going to be a long day.

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@PsiSeeker

I just got done reading your OP and post #6 in full, and I think I understand where you're coming from.

I will say though, I feel like all this could be simplified into a debate over idealism versus realism, or subjectivity versus objectivity. As well as a discussion of what role human language has to play in limiting our understanding of the world and others.

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17 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

My understanding of your words is a bit off, I'm afraid.  When I read "Christian methodology" I think of the great thinkers of the Reformation and before, but what they wrote was colored by the belief system they used as their metric (Protestant, Catholic, Cathar, etc) and I was curious about which one you were using.  I think it's Protestantism because it seems a bit "off" for the others though I could be mistaken.

Your analogy with science is... interesting.  In science, they have a metric that says "Okay, you've studied deeply on this.  Now go forth and find out."  While it may seem restrictive, it also prevents misunderstanding (as happens in many cases where a scientist in one discipline tromps over to another field and starts speculating.  In religion there seems to be almost no guideline within the Protestant faith (there are millions of small churches led by inspired people) while the Catholic branch has more formal requirements for who understands the material well enough to lead and proclaim.  The Internet is full of people who believe they understand well enough to proclaim truths for the world.  

I'm not drawing reference from any particular Christian denomination.  I attended the old apostolic church in my early life though.  I see what you're saying though.

When I say "God" I'm referencing a meta level "thing" apparent across all deities.  You know what I mean when I say, "Ra is an Egyptian God."  It's synonymous to "Ra is an Egyptian Buddha".  This is a mild misunderstanding of what I mean though.  I.e the statement, "God the father, God the son and God the holy Ghost is a Christian God" or "God, the Christian God" isn't correct understanding of what is meant.  I feel like I need a better working knowledge of the rules of grammar to explain this.  My knowledge of the English language seems to be failing me here.

Anyway.  There's no need to understand particularity of reference to such a specific level.  What you bring to mind when I say "God" is the correct understanding of what I mean.

I understand the nuances within formal systems of function.  I'm not drawing reference to those systems however.  Or trying to come up with a system of my own.

The development of well defined formal understandings spawn from idle speculation.  Those systems didn't come about because the logic was available and drilled into existence.  Idle speculation is underappreciated and underdeveloped.  People are too scared to say what they think, and would rather say how they feel.  I understand what you mean when you say proclaiming truth however what's wrong with this?  I think people should be way way more open about proclaiming their truth.  It's the easiest way to learn about holes in one's thinking.  The level of rigour required before people will open up and begin speculating alongside others is absolutely ridiculous.

I like that metric.  It's what I meant when I said that knowledge of fiction is no different to knowledge of non fiction.  What one studies and what one knows and remember is unimportant.  What did Einstein say?  "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned at school."!

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7 hours ago, XenoFish said:

I don't care if people want to believe in a god,s,ess's or whatever. I only care what they do because of their beliefs. Human decency doesn't require a religious packaging,

So do I.  People believe all sorts of stupid **** fed to them through media about how they should behave, how they should perceive themselves in relation to others and how they should identify as a part of 7billion other individuals.

Those beliefs are all caused by the state of humanity one is born into.  One's whole life is a preplanned package to engage with before being kicked out.  Where was your say in all of this?

Giving people the awareness that they can choose to believe something is a very very powerful idea.  It's exceptionally difficult to consciously do this.  Most of the why behind what one does and how one feels is driven by subconscious automatic mechanism.

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7 hours ago, Aquila King said:

:mellow: ...What?

Are you saying that you support religious dogma cause the alternative is too easy, boring, and correct all the time?

Not really following your logic here...

I'm saying that we're placing way way way too much importance and awe on driving our environment into a hyper modern construction driven by the ideas, opinions and belief of a very small minority of humanity.  I don't want to live in a world that has been meticulously constructed for me to turn a cog and receive some paper I can trade for my car to go and turn the cog some more.

I support the ability to arrive at belief under will.  Consciously arriving at belief requires a whole lot more authentic intellectual power than playing the highest perceived role in society.

Doing so even once gives one the ability to evaluate all of what one previously doesn't recognise as being carried within as belief within the system constructed for you.

Im mostly just idly speculating here.  I think there's a lot to be learned about ourselves regarding God and religion.  But taking the preliminary steps is insanely counter-intuitive.

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Psi, what you say sounds highbrow but means very little.

Why is it useless to refute God?

Speak with me in plain English, please.

"What we come to realise as knowledge is actually surprisingly useless in aiding our ability to gain a richer appreciation and understanding of the nature of anything." < That was your opening statement. What in the hell does that even mean?

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1 minute ago, Likely Guy said:

Psi, what you say sounds highbrow but means very little.

Why is it useless to refute God?

Speak with me in plain English, please.

"What we come to realise as knowledge is actually surprisingly useless in aiding our ability to gain a richer appreciation and understanding of the nature of anything." < That was your opening statement. What in the hell does that even mean?

 

It means that certain kinds of 'knowledge' can get in the way of being true to one's spiritual insight. This is a different kind of knowledge that's based on trust and experienced through living faith.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Will Due said:

 

It means that certain kinds of 'knowledge' can get in the way of being true to one's spiritual insight. This is a different kind of knowledge that's based on trust and experienced through living faith.

 

 

I trust your personal interpretation.

 

Edited by Likely Guy
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Just now, Likely Guy said:

I trust your personal interpretation.

And I trust yours.

 

 

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Just now, Will Due said:

And I trust yours.

 

 

That not to say I believe you. I just trust your personal interpretation.

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On 12/13/2017 at 8:28 PM, PsiSeeker said:

Most of us don't realise how phenomenally little we understand.  We go hither and tither based upon the way we feel about what we interact with.  The vast majority of our thinking goes into determining how we fit into society and our worth and self confidence and general happiness in relation to what we perceive of everyone else.

Nice OP.  It gives us something real to talk about. 

The way we understand things is certainly an interesting topic, as is the nature of reality itself.  

The title of the thread is a bit odd; since it's impossible to refute something you can't prove exists in the first place.  WE exist, that seems pretty self apparent.  I get with God there's a special case to be made, and probably a realistic special pleading.....but when you say God, i mean....that word can't even be defined.  Sure, you can offer a definition that suits your own preconceptions, these flavored by the culture in which you were raised....but yeah, you can't refute something you can't even explain.  

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8 hours ago, Aquila King said:

@PsiSeeker

I just got done reading your OP and post #6 in full, and I think I understand where you're coming from.

I will say though, I feel like all this could be simplified into a debate over idealism versus realism, or subjectivity versus objectivity. As well as a discussion of what role human language has to play in limiting our understanding of the world and others.

It could be.  I have to provide a lot of context before I can begin driving at the primary thing I want say though.

Refuting God is an absolutely useless way to spend one's time.  Religion can be picked to pieces if that is one's will.  God can not be.  Many people have all sorts of unique and poorly arrived at beliefs.  Anyway, regarding God I think there is really only one thing to consider which is that one is asked to believe.  To believe anything consciously it has to be reasoned out in subjective terms and requires honest appraisal.  And that is all one is asked to do.

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4 minutes ago, Likely Guy said:

That not to say I believe you. I just trust your personal interpretation.

 

Trust is a funny thing. There's something real that happens when it's implemented. 

Belief however is usually problematic. Especially when trying to share it with another person.

We're not intended to be uniform in belief, but in trust and faith, we are able to be united.

 

 

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