Carbon in different forms...

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Re: Carbon in different forms...

Postby Og3 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:51 pm

spongebob wrote:
Og3 wrote:When I find a former Christian who has become an atheist, I seldom find that he has reasoned too much to be a Christian, and I often find that he has not reasoned enough to be a Christian.


I would challenge those assumptions. I know from experience meeting and conversing with other atheists that it's not a routine things for atheists to go around sharing their life story and how they deconverted from religion. It's a particularly difficult thing to communicate to a Christian because there are so many assumptions. So I question what you really know about this. And this is buttressed by the many Christians that have shown up here demonstrating how little they understand the thinking process that leads from Christianity to atheism. How many atheists do you really know well enough to speak confidently about their life?

It has been one of the defining aspects of my life that I have, from time to time, lived in the presence of large ephemeral groups, and it is a characteristic of such groups that people talk, and often about religion. It thus has happened that I've known a goodly number of self-professed atheists. I'll change names to protect the guilty:
"Mark" stated that he simply couldn't believe that stuff (meaning religion). Beyond that, he wouldn't consider the logic of the subject.
"Mike" stated that he saw no evidence for God, and denied that evidence for God could exist, but wouldn't investigate whether any existed.
"Rich" stated that he had been allowed to argue from an anti-theist position in a church play (an RCC play, when he was High School age) and because the arguments for the Theists in the play seemed weak to him, he concluded that they were wrong, and would not consider that stronger arguments might exist. and so forth.
Not reasoned positions; merely gut feelings with a quasi-plausible bone to pick. Not one of these did any research; not one of these could have stated his position formally in a manner that would hold water. But they had become convinced.

Of course, anonymous people whom I have known do not permit you to cross-examine the witnesses, so allow me to give some further examples from literature: Leo Tolstoy describes his own deconversion: He had no substantial faith to begin with, and when an older child announced to him that there was no God, he took that as proof (argument from dubious authority). Cited in My Confession. He also cites another man who went hunting with his brother. When he knelt to pray before getting into bed, the brother said, "Oh, you still do that?" and then went to bed himself; from that day onward the man never had another religious moment and never said another prayer. C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life) cites several factors, the biggest of which was that he was afraid of God, and found it comforting to deny that one existed. Bertrand Russell lays out a ridiculous set of arguments in his book, Why I am not a Christian, and to what I'm certain is universal surprise, not one single argument he uses is rational.

So I believe that I have a sufficient number of case studies to state that atheism is not often a product of reason.
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Re: Carbon in different forms...

Postby spongebob » Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:53 pm

Og3 wrote:
spongebob wrote:
Og3 wrote:When I find a former Christian who has become an atheist, I seldom find that he has reasoned too much to be a Christian, and I often find that he has not reasoned enough to be a Christian.


I would challenge those assumptions. I know from experience meeting and conversing with other atheists that it's not a routine things for atheists to go around sharing their life story and how they deconverted from religion. It's a particularly difficult thing to communicate to a Christian because there are so many assumptions. So I question what you really know about this. And this is buttressed by the many Christians that have shown up here demonstrating how little they understand the thinking process that leads from Christianity to atheism. How many atheists do you really know well enough to speak confidently about their life?

It has been one of the defining aspects of my life that I have, from time to time, lived in the presence of large ephemeral groups, and it is a characteristic of such groups that people talk, and often about religion. It thus has happened that I've known a goodly number of self-professed atheists. I'll change names to protect the guilty:
"Mark" stated that he simply couldn't believe that stuff (meaning religion). Beyond that, he wouldn't consider the logic of the subject.
"Mike" stated that he saw no evidence for God, and denied that evidence for God could exist, but wouldn't investigate whether any existed.
"Rich" stated that he had been allowed to argue from an anti-theist position in a church play (an RCC play, when he was High School age) and because the arguments for the Theists in the play seemed weak to him, he concluded that they were wrong, and would not consider that stronger arguments might exist. and so forth.
Not reasoned positions; merely gut feelings with a quasi-plausible bone to pick. Not one of these did any research; not one of these could have stated his position formally in a manner that would hold water. But they had become convinced.

Of course, anonymous people whom I have known do not permit you to cross-examine the witnesses, so allow me to give some further examples from literature: Leo Tolstoy describes his own deconversion: He had no substantial faith to begin with, and when an older child announced to him that there was no God, he took that as proof (argument from dubious authority). Cited in My Confession. He also cites another man who went hunting with his brother. When he knelt to pray before getting into bed, the brother said, "Oh, you still do that?" and then went to bed himself; from that day onward the man never had another religious moment and never said another prayer. C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life) cites several factors, the biggest of which was that he was afraid of God, and found it comforting to deny that one existed. Bertrand Russell lays out a ridiculous set of arguments in his book, Why I am not a Christian, and to what I'm certain is universal surprise, not one single argument he uses is rational.

So I believe that I have a sufficient number of case studies to state that atheism is not often a product of reason.


Well, all I can say is that I'm not convinced you've experienced a representative sample of atheists, regardless of what you might think. From my own experience with other atheists, with the exception of one or two, I usually feel intimidated by the amount of study and research into religious ideas and logic that they have engaged in. Be that as it may, though, it doesn't take that much in the way of study or examination to dismiss most religious claims. Every religion in the world makes supernatural claims and a great many of these can be dismissed simply because of their contradiction with known laws of the universe. With supernatural magic gone, we are left with the claims that cannot be evaluated scientifically and frankly, those can all be replaced with other methodologies that have nothing to do with religion. So it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to dismiss most forms of religion. If you really want to burn some brain calories, you can try and fit the Christian narrative into the known universe without breaking any laws as some Christians (Mitch would be an example) have done and I have a degree of respect for that, but again, when the bottom line values aren't that profound, I don't really need religion anyway. It doesn't offer anything that can't be figured out without it. This may seem obvious now but it was quite a revelation to me at some point along the way.

And using your same argument, I've rarely met the Christian who's given alternative religious ideas more time that it takes to read the morning paper. Given that so many Christians in America are indoctrinated into it from early childhood, the only thing most of them can offer in the way of a logical argument in favor of Christianity is whatever Bible versus they've memorized or sermons they could remember. I grew up in a Baptist church; logic was not encouraged. Why would it be when all one really needed to know the truth was what they felt in their "heart"?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Carbon in different forms...

Postby Og3 » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:45 pm

Spongebob wrote:Well, all I can say is that I'm not convinced you've experienced a representative sample of atheists, regardless of what you might think.
...
Be that as it may, though, it doesn't take that much in the way of study or examination to dismiss most religious claims. Every religion in the world makes supernatural claims and a great many of these can be dismissed simply because of their contradiction with known laws of the universe. With supernatural magic gone, we are left with the claims that cannot be evaluated scientifically and frankly, those can all be replaced with other methodologies that have nothing to do with religion. So it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to dismiss most forms of religion. ...
Now, after just saying that my sample is probably not representative, you've just said roughly what "Mark" said, though you've fleshed it out a bit.

Science can say nothing about supernatural events. That does not make the supernatural events any less real; it merely makes then "super" -- above -- the "natural." Metaphysics is "Meta" -- beyond -- the "Physical." That does not mean that either physics or metaphysics is wrong; merely that they address different points. Now you may argue (as you have implicitly) that science is catholic, and that anything outside the all-encompassing science is therefore heresy, to be disbelieved and burned; but this viewpoint dismisses all non-tangibles in a single go. Loyalty, fellowship, joy -- well, all emotions -- love, peace, satisfaction... these are all intangibles, and if we would dismiss all that is not science, then out they go with the bathwater.

Hence my statement.
And using your same argument, I've rarely met the Christian who's given alternative religious ideas more time that it takes to read the morning paper. Given that so many Christians in America are indoctrinated into it from early childhood, the only thing most of them can offer in the way of a logical argument in favor of Christianity is whatever Bible versus they've memorized or sermons they could remember. I grew up in a Baptist church; logic was not encouraged. Why would it be when all one really needed to know the truth was what they felt in their "heart"?
I hear you, and I agree.

Would God that Christians, and Baptist in particular, would get up off their pew-sitters and start using the brains God gave them. Would God that they would read and understand the great thoughts of the great church leaders. Would God that they would, as Paul instructed, "Work out the details of your own salvation, with fear and trembling."

O, for Christians who can explain what they believe, and more importantly, why!
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