18th July 2012

“None of the atheists I know would say absolutely that there is no god. Both the existence and non-existence of god are impossible to prove, so the rational atheist says simply: there is insufficient evidence to support belief in a god, therefore I don't believe in god. This is not an absolute position, just a logical conclusion.”


12 Responses to “18th July 2012”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Nice one.

  2. Capt'Z Says:

    I like this one as well. Since I became an atheist, the proofs I used to be impressed by seem so paltry.

  3. Dan Says:

    However, if you give a little bit more description to “God,” it does become possible to state with a good bit of confidence that that God doesn’t exist.

    For instance, most people in Western society who believe in God insist that God is almighty and good. That kind of God definitely doesn’t exist.

    So theists open the range of possibilities to what God might be like to accommodate anything at all. It’s impossible to characterize God, they say, which to us makes it sound as though they’re saying that God is unreal, self-contradicting, and so abstract a concept as to be useless in the real world.

  4. TIGERLILY Says:

    Skepticism versus Cynicism

  5. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    I don’t claim to know there is nothing that could be classified as supernatural. But to label it a “supreme” being – no – and to further specify Christian or Muslim gods with all the little check boxes – I absolutely reject that. It is quite liberating – I see friends struggling with loved ones who have cancer – they will say “god is good” please pray for healing… They believe god directs everything and if they pray hard enough or get enough people involved god will create a miracle… and save their loved one… and when it doen’t happen it is because god needed them in heaven.. Somehow god gets a pass on all the torture and ugliness the person was put through in the process of dying. I just sat through the funeral of a friend I hadn’t seen in years. It became annoying then disgusting as the man conducting the funeral at the behest of the family went into his “come to jesus” speech and was actually using this friends death as a “come and confess your sins and be saved” opportunity… I left angry – It was known that the only time my friend sat foot in the church was to go to his son’s babtism… he was not religious – yet they had to tell the “death bed” coversion story – which I have heard before for a non-religious cousins death… I told my husband – if I die and you have some idiot preacher tellign people I was”saved” on my death bed I will come back from the grave and stink up your life… of course he just looked at me and smiled and said -what do you care you will be dead!

  6. Atheist MC Says:

    What Dan said. The more specifically you define a god the more falsifiable it becomes. This is why the whole NOMA thing is rubbish, science can disprove any given claim for the supernatural affecting the material world. In order to make a god truly unfalsifiable it has to become so amorphous and ineffectual it may as well not exist even if, in fact, it does.

  7. Xhim Says:

    Kittie: It doesn’t always work the way you described. In fact, what you described, even I as a religionista would find kind of disgusting. My brother-in-law died of esophogeal cancer about 18 months ago. He was so comfortable with God being there through it all that he was still cracking jokes 5 hours before he died (after that his systems shut down and he wasn’t able to communicate). As for the “come-to-Jesus” funeral: I was asked to do a funeral once for a guy I didn’t know who was so nasty I couldn’t find even any relatives who had anything good to say about about him. No death-bed conversions for that guy! It wouldn’t have been credible (especially since there were witnesses). But what do you say about somebody like that at a funeral? The only thing I came up with was to not really talk about the deceased at all, just to point out that most of us don’t really want to die that way.
    If anybody responds to this, I’m sorry I won’t have the last word. I’m just about to leave town for the day. I really would like to respond to the rebuttals, but it just won’t happen.

  8. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim always has a story where he knows some bad atheists, or someone who converted from atheism, or hoow in his little world religion is something other than what it is everywhere else. It is an enderlying comedy that exists in our little forum.

    By the logic of today’s quote you could posit that anything could exist: Santa, Jesus, the spagheti monster, Harry Potter, vampires, et cetera.

    Prove for me that vampires don’t exist absolutely!

    Dan’s point accepted, but there really is no necessity to say absolutely that god doesn’t exist for one to operate upon that basis.

    We don’t need to prove beyond any doubt that the Loch Ness monster doesn’t exist in order to accept the fact.

    God doesn’t exist, proving the fact doesn’t change any outcome.

    Were God to actually exist, proving that as fact would make all the difference in the world.

  9. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    When does it work that way? Sounds like your brother in law had a great pain manager/drugs on board. As for the funeral of the horrible guy – I would ask why did the family have one? What was the point of it? What was the point of asking a religionista like yourself to speak for someone who didn’t believe? Why accept the assignment?

    It is hard to discuss this issue with people who believe because most of them have never questioned or researched anything in regards to the history of thier belief. They drank the Kool-aid shoved at them as children and have never cared to pull back the curtain and learn about anything beyond what the preacher says to them in church – So to have a discussion about Sam Harris’ ideas on free will – kind of goes nowhere with the typical Christian. Does that describe you Xhim?

  10. Bob Jenkins Says:

    When a central characteristic of a christian god is claimed, i.e. prayer and a favorable answer to prayer is promised by scripture ( when christians gather in the name of christ) science has decidedly spoken when it showed that prayer groups can only achieve a result consistent with chance. It settles the matter of the existence of god. when science shows that creation and intelligent design are bogus. There is little else that need be said. This atheist says there is no god

  11. Xhim Says:

    Kittie: I don’t know if you will see this, because the new quote has been up for hours already (such are the joys of being gainfully employed). You are right about my brother-in-law. He had some excellent medical care. He had his share of suffering, but there is no doubt he was well cared for.
    As for the funeral, a distant relative went to our church. She was under no illusions that the guy was heaven-bound, but felt that no one should just be put in the ground totally without ceremony, so when she asked me to do it, I did. A lot of people feel that way; I know a lot of people who have done “funerals” for the corpse, the funeral director, and nobody else, usually when the corpse had been homeless. I’ve even done a few. Funerals are for closure for the living, so in a way that seems kind of pointless, unless later some relative pops up and can be assured that the deceased was dealt with respectfully.
    And I’m afraid you are also right about most believers never questioning what they were spoon-fed in Sunday School. At least in some contexts. However, it’s not just believers who don’t question. When I was in college I watched a lot of fellow students jump on the “free thinking” band wagon because it was cool, and following the lead of your parents / church was definitely uncool. It wasn’t reason. It was just a different kind of conformity. (Not to rule out some who DID reason their way into unbelief, but it wasn’t universal by any means.) I spent most of my adult life in Germany, the last 8 yrs in Dresden in formerly East Germany where atheism had been the party line. Only a few of the atheists I got to know there had really thought through their position. They were accepting what they had been taught.
    As far as me personally, my first serious faith challenge came – unsurprisingly – in college. I didn’t immediately throw my faith overboard because I had already had too many positive experiences to give up without a fight. I did my homework, read both sides, talked to a whole lot of people from both sides, and came out more firmly convinced I was right. For the following 40 years I have been intentionally interacting with people who believe differently than I do. This forum is the first time I have interacted with committed, intelligent atheists (not the first atheists, but the others could not hold a candle to you guys!) And I remain a religionista!
    Thanks for the question(s). This sort of discourse helps keep me humble, thinking, and keeps me from saying some of the simplistic things that some of my dear co-believers (who just hang with their own) say.
    Is it totally out of place for me to say “God bless you!”?

  12. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    Its ok – I won’t take it personally… I use lots of phrases like that – I have kids… I will say holy cow… or even god bless you when they sneeze sometimes – because I grew up in it culturally I am Christian – I like Christmas – not because of baby jesus, but because of Santa and Rudolph… Our Easter is the bunny not the cross.. .I can appreciate the traditions and not accept the guilt and fear. I have had some connections that may seem to defy an explanation at times.. but Christianity wouldn’t offer that explanation either.. I think that people cannot help what they believe, which is why you are still a Religionista and I am not.