citizenschallenge, your acceptance of science and rationality (at least from a practical standpoint) is commendable. It takes courage to use your head in the face of mounting religious idiocy. However, there are a number of points I’d like to make.
1) Atheism is by no means an absolutist claim. It is simply a demotion of the possibility of God to the same level as other irrational appeals to the unknown. However, I assure you if the proof presented itself an atheist’s views would be among the first to shift.
The story ends with a child admitting: “I’m terrified of not existing.”
2) I agree with Occam. Children are also terrified of the dark and the boogeyman, but there is no reason to believe these fears are justified. Basing any kind of universal interpretation off of this is neither rational nor scientific. For example, many adults fear death, which is the one event in our lives that we can be sure will happen.
Being a reason oriented seeker after the mysteries of ourselves, the world, its origins & what it all means, one is struck with moments of staggering insights leading to spiritual overtones and implications as rapturous as any church can offer up.
3) I feel the same way, but I don’t need to have a God at the beginning or end of the line to do so.
...the Biosphere and even humanity really are stupendous recycling systems.
4) So the afterlife you’re talking about is the non-destruction of the physical matter that make up our bodies? I think most people feel that an afterlife contains a preservation of conciousness, which isn’t what you are describing. On this, science is mute.
God is too big for our petty human minds to grasp.
5) Yet, you seem to know a lot about him. According to you God created the universe, has a spirit that you can connect with, doesn’t answer prayers or play any of the games other religious folk would claim, is unknowable, and most importantly exists. How can you know any of these things? PC is correct. You’ve just taken all the contradictions out of our picture of God and left a being which you can somehow selectively justify knowing but which will also, by definition, exist beyond our explanations. The problem is that the only thing that can exist beyond the known is the unknown. Your god is merely a synonym of ‘unknown’, but to call this God is disingenuous. Even if the god you describe exists, your description bares no resemblance to the god or gods of any of our “varied self-serving interpretations of ‘the true God’,” aka religions. An atheist is someone who recognizes these interpretations as irrational and understands that after this, any appeal to God is merely an appeal to the unknown.
#2 Come on, this fear of non-existence is at the root of most religiosity and it ain’t just kids.
#3 Well, maybe you: “ don’t need to have a God at the beginning or end of the line to do so.” But, it sure seems like the vast majority of American’s do need that. You guys sometimes almost sound like the Republicans - dealing in contempt rather than trying to address the real issues.
We need bridges not walls..
And I submit unless some bridges are started real soon, our kid’s future’s are going to be nothing but ugly.
It’s worth a little lightening up on the semantics, in my estimation.
But, please don’t misunderstand me.
I’m not saying science’s process and rules should change - I’m saying the way you communicate and translate your knowledge is what needs a lot of improvement.
Once again let me point out - you correct science folks haven’t even managed to convince half of thinking Americans that evolution is a fact.
Something is wrong with that - and you can’t blame it on everyone else.
#4 Yes a part of this afterlife is the non-destruction of matter (a lot of poetic beauty in that), but much more than that. We pass on thought, and after effects of actions, and memories and genetics… (a lot more poetry in that)
I don’t deny anything about the constraints of science - but there is room for poetry in the appreciate of the scientific knowledge we’ve gained.
#5 Sure I deeply believe what’s going on inside of me and the way my perception of the world pageant. I feel comfortable with my developing conception of God - though mine is nothing like the puppet master so many believe in. I even feel a need to share it. But, not as a dogma for others to grab a hold of.
My interest is in provocation - getting people to consider these thoughts and then doing with them as they will.
My interest is in finding a way to crack that shell of reinforced fear and self-certitude that the religious right propounds.
Because that is a sickness that will bring all of us down if left unopposed.
I passionately love this earth, its biosphere and all science has revealed about her. To me the earth is a real entity with whom I have a visceral, spiritually tactile relationship (one whose reality has been backed up by all the science I’ve learned). From there it is easy to embrace God as the poetic summation of it all.
You wrote - Even if the god you describe exists, your description bares no resemblance to the god or gods of any of our “varied self-serving interpretations of ‘the true God’,” aka religions. An atheist is someone who recognizes these interpretations as irrational and understands that after this, any appeal to God is merely an appeal to the unknown.
>>>>>>>> I believe the thing is that I’m way less interested in God’s “existence,” than I am in our “perception” of God, and how that perception molds our actions to each other and our biosphere.
“merely an appeal to the unknown”...... so what else is new,
Just for argument sake what’s wrong with that?