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  1. #1
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    Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Hello Everyone, this is my first post. Thought I'd get something out there to talk about.

    I'm an atheist, and have been since the age of 16. I live in the UK. I was brought up with a dad who was very much what I'd consider a 'New-Ager' i.e. believes in spiritual healing, tarot cards, different spiritual dimensions working on different frequencies and guardian angels. I was never baptised, as my parents (fortunately) gave me the opportunity to choose my own faith / lack of when I arrived at an age when my beliefs would matter.

    My little background aside, can anyone give me a convincing argument for why I should believe in god?

  2. #2
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Are you familiar with the Cosmological Argument? One of our members has done a nice summary of it here.

    Welcome to ODN!
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  3. #3
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Hello Squatch347, I'm a (well-read) atheist. I don't mean that to sound arrogant, but what I wish to express is that I know, and have read many of the arguments for and against the premise of an almighty dictatorship - as well as spending countless hours reading books by authors such as Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins etc..as well as reading the bible and the Qu'ran and reading various theists work. ( I also study Religion and History at University.) I write this just to express that I'm not an atheist for the sake of it.

    What I'm here for is to here other (regular Joe's) opinions and thoughts and how they could (possibly) influence me to think otherwise.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Hello Everyone, this is my first post. Thought I'd get something out there to talk about.

    I'm an atheist, and have been since the age of 16. I live in the UK. I was brought up with a dad who was very much what I'd consider a 'New-Ager' i.e. believes in spiritual healing, tarot cards, different spiritual dimensions working on different frequencies and guardian angels. I was never baptised, as my parents (fortunately) gave me the opportunity to choose my own faith / lack of when I arrived at an age when my beliefs would matter.

    My little background aside, can anyone give me a convincing argument for why I should believe in god?
    I think the best approach is to accept that there are people that believe in a god - it's largely irrelevant that there is a god. As an atheist, the position is that there isn't, so now what? You still have to deal with the overwhelming majority of people that do and not only the Christian God(s) but all the other deities out there too.

    Deities and religions are human cultural frameworks just like communism or capitalism or patriotism are ,so the only important thing is that whether they are good systems or not. In this sense God definitely exists - but as a human concept/idea rather than something physically real.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    In this sense God definitely exists - but as a human concept/idea rather than something physically real.
    I agree, Ludwig Feuerbach said that god only exists (in laments terms) in the mind of the believer. I don't dislike people of faith either, I accept 'he' is here to stay until people are ultimately able to overcome their personal fear of death/dying.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    So I'm a bit confused, you are looking for more basic arguments for a divine entity? Or do you mean simpler to defeat arguments? If the CA does not fit your request, perhaps you could refine it a bit, what type of argument are you looking for specifically? A personal one? An emotional one? An evidential one? What?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #7
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Simply put, I need an evidential argument for the existence of a deity. As that's why I hold the position of an atheist; I 'see' no proof of an all-loving deity.

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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Simply put, I need an evidential argument for the existence of a deity. As that's why I hold the position of an atheist; I 'see' no proof of an all-loving deity.
    That's a very specific kind of deity (all-loving). Why would a creating force need to be all-loving for you to believe in it?

  9. #9
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Sorry, I was perhaps too specific with that statement. I'll retract and say 'I see no proof of a deity.'

  10. #10
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Not to sound rude, but you are baiting. You open a thread where you do not posit any argument, but rather ask for arguments.

    I also find what you are asking to be very confusing. You ask for an evidential based argument, but you dismissed one such claim (Cosmological Argument) when it was presented to you.

    This sounds to me like you are looking for (as Squatch said) easier arguments to simply smack down.

    Maybe another theist will bite. I wont.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  11. #11
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Hi Chad, this is my first post and wanted to get something quickly out there. I didn't dismiss it, I mentioned that I have read all of the 'documented' arguments for and against. I'm asking for someone to come up with something I haven't heard to discuss. I, by no means want to 'beat' anyone. I'm not that sort of person, I just wish to discuss an argument presented to me.

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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Sorry, I was perhaps too specific with that statement. I'll retract and say 'I see no proof of a deity.'
    Lets try this out....

    Observation: The universe is ordered in so much as we understand it, things happen in an ordered way. Each action has a necessary reaction than cannot be circumvented by wishful thinking of people etc...

    Observation: The chief characteristic of any God is supremacy of control. That is to say that a God is defined by its absolute power over other entities. This is common to almost all religions and conceptions of God.

    Connection: The inescapable order of the natural universe is itself the supreme authority of all mankind and all the cosmos that cannot be violated or circumvented by other agents no matter their intent. This force of order then is supreme, it is God.

    Are you convinced?

    ---------- Post added at 12:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:01 PM ----------

    Moved to formal discussions due to insufficient OP (does not meet debate criteria)
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  13. #13
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Hi Chad, this is my first post and wanted to get something quickly out there. I didn't dismiss it, I mentioned that I have read all of the 'documented' arguments for and against. I'm asking for someone to come up with something I haven't heard to discuss. I, by no means want to 'beat' anyone. I'm not that sort of person, I just wish to discuss an argument presented to me.
    ...well how is anyone supposed to know what you have or have not heard?
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  14. #14
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Simply put, I need an evidential argument for the existence of a deity. As that's why I hold the position of an atheist; I 'see' no proof of an all-loving deity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    Hi Chad, this is my first post and wanted to get something quickly out there. I didn't dismiss it, I mentioned that I have read all of the 'documented' arguments for and against. I'm asking for someone to come up with something I haven't heard to discuss. I, by no means want to 'beat' anyone. I'm not that sort of person, I just wish to discuss an argument presented to me.
    Given that you reject the CA, I would imagine you haven't heard all of our arguments for it. Can you tell me which part of it you reject? The premises or the structure?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  15. #15
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Lets try this out....

    Observation: The universe is ordered in so much as we understand it, things happen in an ordered way. Each action has a necessary reaction than cannot be circumvented by wishful thinking of people etc...

    Observation: The chief characteristic of any God is supremacy of control. That is to say that a God is defined by its absolute power over other entities. This is common to almost all religions and conceptions of God.

    Connection: The inescapable order of the natural universe is itself the supreme authority of all mankind and all the cosmos that cannot be violated or circumvented by other agents no matter their intent. This force of order then is supreme, it is God.

    Are you convinced?
    How can something be pre-determined or already 'set' and unchangeable if we then say we have 'free will' as a species.Life seems pointless to me if it is all pre-determined for me.

    ---------- Post added at 08:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:18 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    ...well how is anyone supposed to know what you have or have not heard?
    Hi apok, as I stated I said I've read all of the 'documented' arguments, of which I mean the standard i.e. the theological argument, the cosmological argument, design etc. blah blah.

    ---------- Post added at 08:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:20 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Given that you reject the CA, I would imagine you haven't heard all of our arguments for it. Can you tell me which part of it you reject? The premises or the structure?
    I agree with the first premise of the CA ' All things have a cause. ' I feel that god is considered the 'first cause' for the Big Bang from a theists stand-point. Although I argue that I feel people say 'god did it' because science hasn't yet answered -how- it was caused. - which to me sound counter intuitive, just because we don't understand how it happened does not mean god did it.

  16. #16
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    How can something be pre-determined or already 'set' and unchangeable if we then say we have 'free will' as a species.Life seems pointless to me if it is all pre-determined for me.
    I didn't say we have free will. Its irrelevant to my argument. (and for the record I suspect our sense of free will is a human perception rather than a reality)

    All I am asking is if you recognize the supremacy (and therefore god status) of the observed order of our cosmos.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  17. #17
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I didn't say we have free will. Its irrelevant to my argument. (and for the record I suspect our sense of free will is a human perception rather than a reality)

    All I am asking is if you recognize the supremacy (and therefore god status) of the observed order of our cosmos.
    You didn't say 'We have free will' but you arguing that the cosmos is ordered in a pre-determined state. I agree free will, (to me) does feel like a human perception rather than an actual reality. Although I don't recognise the supremacy.

  18. #18
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    I agree with the first premise of the CA ' All things have a cause. ' I feel that god is considered the 'first cause' for the Big Bang from a theists stand-point. Although I argue that I feel people say 'god did it' because science hasn't yet answered -how- it was caused. - which to me sound counter intuitive, just because we don't understand how it happened does not mean god did it.
    Yeah, I kinda figured. I believe you are laboring under the Dawkin's version of the CA which is a strawman of the real argument.

    The actual CA is thus:

    1) All things that begin to exist have a cause.
    2) The universe began to exist.
    3) Therefore the universe had a cause.

    I take it you agree with 1. I doubt that you disagree with two, so unless you are debating the overall structure of the argument you must accept three.

    It seems though that you are arguing against the conclusions of the CA, I would imagine again that this is because you have read Dawkin's take on them, not the theist take. Dawkins has attempted (as you mention here) to dismiss the CA as a "god of the gaps" argument. It is no such thing.

    The conclusions of the CA are that the First Cause required by the argument is: a) atemporal, b)enormously powerful and c)sentient. Each of these characteristics is required of our first cause by the logical necessity of the argument.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  19. #19
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Yeah, I kinda figured. I believe you are laboring under the Dawkin's version of the CA which is a strawman of the real argument.

    The actual CA is thus:

    1) All things that begin to exist have a cause.
    2) The universe began to exist.
    3) Therefore the universe had a cause.

    I take it you agree with 1. I doubt that you disagree with two, so unless you are debating the overall structure of the argument you must accept three.

    It seems though that you are arguing against the conclusions of the CA, I would imagine again that this is because you have read Dawkin's take on them, not the theist take. Dawkins has attempted (as you mention here) to dismiss the CA as a "god of the gaps" argument. It is no such thing.

    The conclusions of the CA are that the First Cause required by the argument is: a) atemporal, b)enormously powerful and c)sentient. Each of these characteristics is required of our first cause by the logical necessity of the argument.
    My problem is with the first clause, and not with the conclusion. I disagree, I don't believe that I'm arguing the 'straw man' version of the CA.

    The first clause states that: All that begins to exists has a cause.

    In other words, what started the start?

    What I'm hearing is an atemporal deity that transcends time and space started the start.

    I'm asking -
    Where is the proof that the first clause is caused by the almighty, transcendent dictator.
    How do we know this?
    Why do you think this?

  20. #20
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    Re: Can you convince an Atheist (me) that there is a God?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadell View Post
    My problem is with the first clause, and not with the conclusion. I disagree, I don't believe that I'm arguing the 'straw man' version of the CA.

    The first clause states that: All that begins to exists has a cause.

    In other words, what started the start?
    Do you agree with the premise? IE that all things that begin to exist have a cause?


    Quote Originally Posted by cadell
    What I'm hearing is an atemporal deity that transcends time and space started the start.

    I'm asking -
    Where is the proof that the first clause is caused by the almighty, transcendent dictator.
    How do we know this?
    Why do you think this?
    So if you agree with the structure of the argument we have to ask a couple of questions of our necessary cause. Since it creates space and time, it certainly can't be a spacial and temporal being itself can it?

    ---------- Post added at 12:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:46 PM ----------

    And PS, the use of the term dictator is a pretty thinly veiled appeal to ridicule.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 
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