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  1. #1
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    I'm uncomfortable.

    And that's why religion started.

    You pray to God because something has gone wrong, or you pray to him because you're worried that the food sitting at your table may go away. You're scared. It's ok, I understand. I was scared too when I was fifteen years old. Scared that when I lie to my father I'm going to get punished. Scared that when I jump over this car I'm actually going to break something on it and it's going to cost a lot of money... but when I'm scared, I just pray and hope that God will give me strength I need to do these things so I don't get punished. But, he never helped. In time, I found that believing in myself was better. I was actually able to succed and conquer more things than when I was just asking someone else to help me. I didn't need a "God" to help me through my day, I could do it myself. I didn't need it because I don't need help, I just need to trust in myself. Some things in life you do need help you say? Well, it hasn't happened yet. And it hasn't happened to my father, who's 65 now and worked from a dollar in his pocket when he came to the US to a million dollars in 30 years. He believed in himself and always hated any sort of religion that was preached to him, so don't even give me that crap about how God may have been helping him from the sidelines.

    Why don't you all try living, at least for a little while, thinking you know there is no afterlife? Not pleasant is it? Few things in life are pleasant. It's a reality check you all need to come to see.

    I'll tell you what, if on some of the trillions and trillions of planets that we may discover in the near future where there is intelligent life, if on those planets people are worshiping your "God" I'll start believing in him? Ok?

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Other than the emotional appeals, what's there to actually discuss here?
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    And that's why religion started.

    You pray to God because something has gone wrong, or you pray to him because you're worried that the food sitting at your table may go away. You're scared. It's ok, I understand. I was scared too when I was fifteen years old.
    And now that you are 16 you have it all figured out and are no longer scared?

    I find it a bit pretentious to claim that you know why I (or others believe) or that they only pray for one reason or another.

    I for one do not believe out of fear (in fact, it would be the last reason for me to do so) nor do I only offer prayer requests (in fact, most of my prayers are that of thankfulness). I believe because it is the most reasonable position. I find that atheists have a sort of faith that I could never have nor understand...that of complete and utter blind faith...one that requires irrationality to hold.

    I didn't need a "God" to help me through my day,
    While some may, many others do not. We choose not to believe because we need to, but because it makes more sense logically than the alternative.

    So, if you are going to argue against the existence of God, then you should do so using logic, not emotional appeal (which is what you have done here). I'm going to assume however, that you have absolutely no logical arguments against the existence of God and that is why you have not posted any (in this thread or any other thread as far as I can tell). That being said...why should anyone be compelled by a non-logical argument?

    Your post, in short, is nothing more than an emotional rant, erroneously attempted to take a few jabs at those who do believe...and it misses its mark every chance it gets. Next time, provide a sound argument, one grounded in reason and thus, one that can be evaluated on its form and strength of its propositions.
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    And now that you are 16 you have it all figured out and are no longer scared?

    I find it a bit pretentious to claim that you know why I (or others believe) or that they only pray for one reason or another.

    I for one do not believe out of fear (in fact, it would be the last reason for me to do so) nor do I only offer prayer requests (in fact, most of my prayers are that of thankfulness). I believe because it is the most reasonable position. I find that atheists have a sort of faith that I could never have nor understand...that of complete and utter blind faith...one that requires irrationality to hold.
    Wait... what?

    I'm not following. Maybe you are using a different definition for atheist than most I've heard. Your description of atheist behavior sounds more like how an atheist might describe a religious person. When you start mentioning things like blind faith and stuff like that it confuses me a bit how you are tying that into atheism. Maybe if you gave your definition of an atheist it would make more sense to me what you are saying.

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    Other than the emotional appeals, what's there to actually discuss here?
    Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I'm saying religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death.

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I'm saying religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Support or retract please. Show us the historical evidence.
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    And now that you are 16 you have it all figured out and are no longer scared?

    I find it a bit pretentious to claim that you know why I (or others believe) or that they only pray for one reason or another.

    I for one do not believe out of fear (in fact, it would be the last reason for me to do so) nor do I only offer prayer requests (in fact, most of my prayers are that of thankfulness). I believe because it is the most reasonable position. I find that atheists have a sort of faith that I could never have nor understand...that of complete and utter blind faith...one that requires irrationality to hold.


    While some may, many others do not. We choose not to believe because we need to, but because it makes more sense logically than the alternative.

    So, if you are going to argue against the existence of God, then you should do so using logic, not emotional appeal (which is what you have done here). I'm going to assume however, that you have absolutely no logical arguments against the existence of God and that is why you have not posted any (in this thread or any other thread as far as I can tell). That being said...why should anyone be compelled by a non-logical argument?

    Your post, in short, is nothing more than an emotional rant, erroneously attempted to take a few jabs at those who do believe...and it misses its mark every chance it gets. Next time, provide a sound argument, one grounded in reason and thus, one that can be evaluated on its form and strength of its propositions.
    I'm 24, and yes I have it all figured out. That's not true at all. Although my post does have many "emotional" rants or whatever, the main point I am trying to make is that people started religion because of uncomfortablness. Praying for thanks is also out of fear. An example is, if you're praying for thanks for money that was given to you... ok so money is there, you've been given the money by some person... right? Well you're then thanking or I guess praying thanks to God for the money... but why would you do this? Because you're in fear that if you don't something is going to happen. You might not think it. You might not know it. But it does make sense.

    ---------- Post added at 11:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:05 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Support or retract please. Show us the historical evidence.
    All you need to do is think about it. That's your evidence. It's true for every prayer.

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    All you need to do is think about it. That's your evidence. It's true for every prayer.
    It doesn't work that way. Please familiarize yourself with our community rules. When challenged like this, you are obligated to support your claim, concede it, or walk away from it (vs maintaining it in a thread).

    You need to provide actual support for your argument here and "think about it" is not evidence of its veracity nor validity. If it were, we could just say "God exists...think about it."
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    It doesn't work that way. Please familiarize yourself with our community rules. When challenged like this, you are obligated to support your claim, concede it, or walk away from it (vs maintaining it in a thread).

    You need to provide actual support for your argument here and "think about it" is not evidence of its veracity nor validity. If it were, we could just say "God exists...think about it."
    *sigh* Fine. Be ready for some obnoxious posting....

    I don't know... I got some things from the bible...

    And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. 21And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.


    Praying due to fear.

    This is by Hitler... I'm certain he prayed things like this. Why would you want to conquer and kill thousands of people and "defend" yourself against the Jews, who did very little to him if not for fear that they might hurt him further?

    "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." - Adolf Hitler

    1 Samuel 1:26-26
    "[Hannah to the Priest Eli] As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."

    Well this is a little obvious... praying so that the child would believe and do God's will... out of fear that they would not be saved or whatever...

    There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying -Wikipedia, Constantine.

    The first Roman Emperor to 'accept' Christianity. He prayed out of fear of death. Obviously, he wanted to go to heaven. He was scared, So he prayed.

    Eh... I could post a million more examples but I have work I need to do.

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    *sigh* Fine. Be ready for some obnoxious posting....

    I don't know... I got some things from the bible...

    And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. 21And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.


    Praying due to fear.

    This is by Hitler... I'm certain he prayed things like this. Why would you want to conquer and kill thousands of people and "defend" yourself against the Jews, who did very little to him if not for fear that they might hurt him further?

    "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." - Adolf Hitler

    1 Samuel 1:26-26
    "[Hannah to the Priest Eli] As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."

    Well this is a little obvious... praying so that the child would believe and do God's will... out of fear that they would not be saved or whatever...

    There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying -Wikipedia, Constantine.

    The first Roman Emperor to 'accept' Christianity. He prayed out of fear of death. Obviously, he wanted to go to heaven. He was scared, So he prayed.

    Eh... I could post a million more examples but I have work I need to do.
    There are so many problems with your reasoning here that I don't know where to begin...so I'm just going to jump right into it w/o any particular order and without it being exhaustive...

    1) SOME examples of people praying out of fear in no way supports the claim that ALL prayer is done of fear. That's called the hasty generalization fallacy.

    2) To suggest that the motivation for ALL people for ALL prayer requires magik mind reading skills...I don't believe in magic (or mind reading) and neither are admissible as evidence.

    3) The Hitler reference is nothing more than speculation. It is not evidence. To submit it is a red herring fallacy as it doesn't address either issue (I'm assuming you know how to identify issues of arguments, if not, then reading this essay will help)

    4) You have not demonstrated that asking for a blessing nor displaying gratitude is done so out of fear. It's like hoping the best for my children or thanking a community leader or teacher for the work they do because I fear something bad will happen to them otherwise. It's highly illogical and definitely not supported.

    5) Most importantly, I asked specifically for you to support your claim that "religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death". Instead, you addressed the separate issue of "all prayer is motivated by fear." So in no way have you actually addressed the formal challenge.
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  13. #11
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Serand:

    Your opening post is unwarrantedly unkind towards theists, who may believe in deities because of the early life indoctrination of having grown up in a theistic environment, or because they enjoy the ritual and social benefits of being part of a group who worship a deity together, along with all sorts of other reasons such as finding religious texts persuasive. For a religious believer the act of praying, even if in an atheist's opinion is nothing more than talking to oneself, may confer psychological and physical benefits, like any kind of positive thinking. If religious believers aren't subordinating women, attacking other faiths, condemning homosexuals, vilifying the non-religious, shuffling paedophiles from parish to parish so's they can reoffend, bombing abortion clinics, trying to get creationism taught in science lessons, preaching that birth control is evil and all those other things that certain extreme factions of them do, what justification do you have for this mode of attack? Leave them alone I say, they're not hurting anybody, any more than are model aeroplane enthusiasts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I find that atheists have a sort of faith that I could never have nor understand...that of complete and utter blind faith...one that requires irrationality to hold.
    I'd take slight issue with this statement. Atheism is simply an absence of theism, usually from being unconvinced by arguments proposed by theists. Atheist opinions are varied and may not involve any sort of faith—defined in a dictionary I checked as belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. An atheist may be sufficiently apathetic about the true nature of reality and any possible role played by deities not to even know they're an atheist. Just like an animal that doesn't have the intellectual equipment to ruminate about such things, the atheist may not give them much thought. I think my dad might have fit this description. He liked his beer, his fags and his betting on the horses, but never did I hear a theologically charged opinion pass his lips as long as I knew him. Perhaps he was an apatheist. I'm not sure. Not everyone is a towering intellectual driven by passion or curiosity who thinks these things through for him/herself. For my own part as a self defined atheist, I do not have an irrational faith that god/s do not exist, but am merely unpersuaded by theistic arguments, while at the same time being open to some sort of evidence turning up, such as god/s dropping in for a cup of tea, or appearing to warn world leaders of impending doom and volunteering to hold seminars and explain themselves, like Klaatu out of The Day the Earth Stood Still. In fact with the possession of personal qualities such as omnipotence and omniscience that theists sometimes attribute to their god/s, I'd speculate that a being so endowed could quite easily contact every individual person on earth personally to convey their message—perhaps by sending an angel or something.
    Last edited by clarencec; May 13th, 2013 at 10:38 AM.

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarencec View Post
    Serand:

    Your opening post is unwarrantedly unkind towards theists, who may believe in deities because of the early life indoctrination of having grown up in a theistic environment, or because they enjoy the ritual and social benefits of being part of a group who worship a deity together, along with all sorts of other reasons such as finding religious texts persuasive.
    Or even because it is the most reasonable conclusion to come to upon weighing all the evidence.

    I'd take slight issue with this statement. Atheism is simply an absence of theism,
    No, it is a philosophical position. You are referring to pop culture understanding of atheism...which is philosophically incorrect. What you are referring to is a psychological state of mind. My cats Tango ans Scout would be atheists if we used so loose an understanding of the term. Likewise, all babies are atheists. This is philosophically meaningless.

    I've explained this error in reasoning in other threads, I'll copy/paste for convenience (slightly edited for this conversation):

    -------------------------------------------

    To posit that atheism is merely "lack of belief", is an abuse and misuse of the philosophical term.

    It's merely an attempt by "popular atheism" (not to be confused with traditional or academic [philosophical] atheism) to muddy the waters of dialog by ignoring not only the many variants of agnosticism, but its propositions. It ignores the contributions (and positions) of Kant, Hume, Russell, and several other prolific philosophers.

    And to redefine atheism (from actual, philosophical atheism) is to reduce atheism to a meaningless term. Atheism then, no longer becomes a viewpoint or position, it becomes just a psychological state of being (which is contrary to philosophical atheism). Through this newly revised definition, all babies are atheists...as well as my cat Tango. It is not an accepted definition in any academic circle, only that of amateur bloggers inexperienced and ignorant in philosophy and those who have contributed to its study. It is the inexperienced atheist here, who by changing the definition, is really saying "Atheism cannot be proven to be true"...which is a position that no serious (academic) atheistic philosopher of current or past would accept. They do argue for the non-existence of God. The reason you don't see arguments against God often on ODN, is because the atheists in this community are largely "pop-atheists" with little to no education in philosophy or the contributions that atheist (and non-atheist) philosophers have made to the discussion.

    Furthermore, it is likewise philosophically incorrect that agnostics are merely "without belief" in regard to God for the same reasons described above.

    To discuss the existence of God, which requires reason, is a reference to possessing "knowledge of"; the philosophies concerning the existence of God are best illustrated as follows (each of which make truth claims about God's nature [existence] or knowledge of, using reason):

    "Does God exist?"
    Theism: "God exists" Non-theism: "I don't believe in God"
    Agnosticism: “I don’t know if God exists” Atheism: “God does not exist”
    Hard Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists and no one else can
    know either."
    Soft Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists, but it's possible for
    someone to know."

    -----------------------

    In another post that shut down this mistaken and fallacious claim (of pop-atheists) that atheism merely is the lack of belief...


    ....it's been argued already how this is fallacious reasoning as it says 2 things:

    1) "Atheism" (your attempt at redefining the term) cannot be argued to be true (or even a competing position) because it disallows reason, ignores knowledge, is not an actual position (something which academics throughout history adamantly disagree with).

    2) "Atheism" is just a psychological state of being (vs an actual position on the knowledge and nature of God or gods...likewise, something which academics throughout history adamantly disagree with).

    It doesn't magically dissolve the fact that:

    1.) there are actual positions described above ("There is not a God or gods", "It is not possible to know" or "It is possible but it is currently unknown at this time"), etc...
    2.) there are arguments against the knowledge of God
    3.) there are propositions and arguments that exist that compel one to not believe in God

    You are redefining terms, erroneously (and against all academic understanding).

    So for sake of the argument, we can use 2 distinct terms. One for how you want to define atheism (what you have described it to be) and one for how atheism and agnosticism have always been understood philosophically.

    Let's say that your concept is called "pracatheism" and mine is called "philatheism".

    What is being argued against here by theists, is not the psychological state of being known as "pracatheism", but rather the philosophical position "philatheism".

    It is philatheism that is argued to be true. It is philatheism that is said to be compelling. It is philatheism that contains propositions which form into arguments that allow that compulsion. It is philatheism that reason is used.

    It is for this reason, that philatheism is discussed in philosophical circles by using philosophical methods. It is for this reason that philatheism poses a threat as a competing position to other world views. And it is for this reason, that the theist, agnostic and others discuss and challenge philatheism (vs pracatheism, which is not a position, but merely a psychological state of being; it is not philosophical whatsoever, it contains no propositions, compulsion, evidence, etc...).

    In other words, theists don't care about pracatheism...it isn't a "position" so it does not compete with theism in the least. Theists do not defend their arguments against pracatheism, but rather philatheism. Pracatheism cannot be attacked (on the grounds of it being a position), whereas philatheism can be (and has been throughout the centuries).


    -----------------------------------------

    In short, your use of the term here is one done with equivocation. A psychological state of mind has no place in a philosophical debate of positions.


    Perhaps he was an apatheist.

    I'm pleased you are aware of this term (it is one that unfortunately, many atheists have never heard or seen before).

    As far as my statement re: atheists having nothing but blind faith, it was a tongue in cheek response to show how silly statements like these are when we try to apply them with such broad strokes across entire groups and philosophies (as the op clearly did). I do maintain personally however, that it requires more faith to be an atheist (in the philosophical sense) than a theist, but this is not the thread for that discussion.
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  16. #13
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. 21And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
    What book of the Bible is this from, and what chapter is it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    This is by Hitler... I'm certain he prayed things like this. Why would you want to conquer and kill thousands of people and "defend" yourself against the Jews, who did very little to him if not for fear that they might hurt him further?

    "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." - Adolf Hitler
    ...so...you would argue that Hitler was a devout and faithful Christian and NOT a psychopathic mass murderer? Because I'm not seeing a connection between the unrepentant slaughter of millions and Christian teaching.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    1 Samuel 1:26-26
    "[Hannah to the Priest Eli] As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."

    Well this is a little obvious... praying so that the child would believe and do God's will... out of fear that they would not be saved or whatever...
    Not be a dick or anything, but that's not even remotely close to what happened there. The woman in question was infertile. Her sister (who could have children and did) repeatedly flaunted her children and child bearing ability in front of her to shame her. So she went heartbroken into the temple and prayed. Eli (the prophet at the time) found her and counseled her. God gave her a child (Samuel) on the condition that (as she had prayed) she give him to God and allow Eli to raise him as a successor. She's telling Eli, in the passage you quoted, "Hey, it's me the lady who came here roughly a year ago sobbing and so heartbroken I couldn't even speak when I prayed. THis is the child I promised God I would give him if he allowed me to bear a child."
    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying -Wikipedia, Constantine.

    The first Roman Emperor to 'accept' Christianity. He prayed out of fear of death. Obviously, he wanted to go to heaven. He was scared, So he prayed.

    Eh... I could post a million more examples but I have work I need to do.
    At best that's an instance of someone converting due to fear. That's not actually evidence of your claim: I'm saying religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    There are so many problems with your reasoning here that I don't know where to begin...so I'm just going to jump right into it w/o any particular order and without it being exhaustive...

    1) SOME examples of people praying out of fear in no way supports the claim that ALL prayer is done of fear. That's called the hasty generalization fallacy.

    2) To suggest that the motivation for ALL people for ALL prayer requires magik mind reading skills...I don't believe in magic (or mind reading) and neither are admissible as evidence.

    3) The Hitler reference is nothing more than speculation. It is not evidence. To submit it is a red herring fallacy as it doesn't address either issue (I'm assuming you know how to identify issues of arguments, if not, then reading this essay will help)

    4) You have not demonstrated that asking for a blessing nor displaying gratitude is done so out of fear. It's like hoping the best for my children or thanking a community leader or teacher for the work they do because I fear something bad will happen to them otherwise. It's highly illogical and definitely not supported.

    5) Most importantly, I asked specifically for you to support your claim that "religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death". Instead, you addressed the separate issue of "all prayer is motivated by fear." So in no way have you actually addressed the formal challenge.
    From reading your post it sounds like that no matter what he provides you will not find it acceptable evidence to support his claim. Thus, you feel his position is completely unprovable. If something someone says is unprovable then isn't it clear to everyone that it is just his opinion... at least in the eyes of the person that feels it is unprovable?

    Personally, I think religion came about as a way of explaining things that were beyond our understanding. I think we have a basic need to fill in the blanks. Now days we have advanced to the point that we can fill in a ton of those blanks with actual knowledge/facts. Way back I think they filled it in with religion. What he is saying is basically a subset of all of this. To me this seems like a common sense notion. It doesn't mean it is all wrong though... there are still lots of blanks we have not been able to fill in with actual facts yet. While many may feel it is extremely unlikely that you could fill in those blanks with God... you technically can't rule God out either imo.

    ---------- Post added at 03:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:41 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I for one do not believe out of fear (in fact, it would be the last reason for me to do so) nor do I only offer prayer requests (in fact, most of my prayers are that of thankfulness). I believe because it is the most reasonable position. I find that atheists have a sort of faith that I could never have nor understand...that of complete and utter blind faith...one that requires irrationality to hold.
    I'm still confused by your comment on atheists. In a later post you point out that many that call themselves atheists are not actually atheists in the traditional sense. So, why are you referring to non theists as atheists in this post? Or at you just referencing atheists and not all non theists? If so then why are you doing that in this post? I'm just not following what point you were trying to make here.

    Unless this is just random rambling on your part, on the surface it sounds to me like you were trying to pigeon hole all non theists into your definition of an atheist... which seems a bit out of line.

  18. #15
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    From reading your post it sounds like that no matter what he provides you will not find it acceptable evidence to support his claim.
    How is that a reasonable conclusion to draw? Be specific. What are you reasons for believing so? What points that were offered in my post, leads you to believe such a thing? It would seem that you are not making a distinction between argument and opinion.



    Thus, you feel his position is completely unprovable.
    Not at all. It just simply hasn't been proven to be the case for the reasons explained in my post.

    If something someone says is unprovable then isn't it clear to everyone that it is just his opinion... at least in the eyes of the person that feels it is unprovable?
    Opinions have no place in debate. This is a debate thread. Opinion pieces (where it is not required to provide an argument (a conclusion supported by reason(s)) are posted in the Formal Discussion Forum. It is possible that he meant to post his thread in that forum. If so, then I'll move this thread to that forum and cease posting in this thread (as I'm not interested in discussing opinions, I'm interested in argument evaluation).

    Personally, I think religion came about as a way of explaining things that were beyond our understanding.
    I believe that there are some religions have were spawned in such a way. But to make the claim that ALL religions were, is again, to commit the fallacy of hasty generalization and requires substantial support. It is a very naive (and IMHO, ignorant - in the sense that it merely lacks knowledge/experience/education in history and anthropology) position to have and definitely unsupported.

    I'm still confused by your comment on atheists.
    Are you referring to the comment re: atheists have more faith than theists? If so, that was explained:

    Apok: As far as my statement re: atheists having nothing but blind faith, it was a tongue in cheek response to show how silly statements like these are when we try to apply them with such broad strokes across entire groups and philosophies (as the op clearly did).

    So I'm not entirely sure what needs clarification here.


    Or at you just referencing atheists and not all non theists?
    Exactly. Atheists in the philosophical sense (which is explained in my previous post).

    If so then why are you doing that in this post?
    Consistency of course.

    1) I'm referring only to atheists (as classically and philosophically understood).
    2) It was a tongue in cheek response to show how silly statements like these are when we try to apply them with such broad strokes across entire groups and philosophies (as the op clearly did).
    3) It is not the case that all atheists (philosophical) or even non-theists "have more faith than theists" (as per #2).

    Unless this is just random rambling on your part, on the surface it sounds to me like you were trying to pigeon hole all non theists into your definition of an atheist.
    Nope.
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  19. #16
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Or even because it is the most reasonable conclusion to come to upon weighing all the evidence.


    No, it is a philosophical position. You are referring to pop culture understanding of atheism...which is philosophically incorrect. What you are referring to is a psychological state of mind. My cats Tango ans Scout would be atheists if we used so loose an understanding of the term. Likewise, all babies are atheists. This is philosophically meaningless.

    I've explained this error in reasoning in other threads, I'll copy/paste for convenience (slightly edited for this conversation):

    -------------------------------------------

    To posit that atheism is merely "lack of belief", is an abuse and misuse of the philosophical term.

    It's merely an attempt by "popular atheism" (not to be confused with traditional or academic [philosophical] atheism) to muddy the waters of dialog by ignoring not only the many variants of agnosticism, but its propositions. It ignores the contributions (and positions) of Kant, Hume, Russell, and several other prolific philosophers.

    And to redefine atheism (from actual, philosophical atheism) is to reduce atheism to a meaningless term. Atheism then, no longer becomes a viewpoint or position, it becomes just a psychological state of being (which is contrary to philosophical atheism). Through this newly revised definition, all babies are atheists...as well as my cat Tango. It is not an accepted definition in any academic circle, only that of amateur bloggers inexperienced and ignorant in philosophy and those who have contributed to its study.
    I'm definitely an amateur blogger. Is that bad? I noticed the traffic here seems slow, despite the repository of past posts. Is it a professional forum for professional bloggers who know philosophy? Also I'm wondering about theists I've talked with online. If they haven't studied philosophy either and don't fully understand the niceties of why they hold their theistic stance plus those of the alternatives available, does this make them merely pop theists and not the bona fide kind? It occured to me a while ago that if God or god/s intended humans to believe in them because of sophisticated philosophical arguments they would have pitched average human intelligence at a higher level. Is this a good argument?

    It is the inexperienced atheist here, who by changing the definition, is really saying "Atheism cannot be proven to be true"...which is a position that no serious (academic) atheistic philosopher of current or past would accept. They do argue for the non-existence of God. The reason you don't see arguments against God often on ODN, is because the atheists in this community are largely "pop-atheists" with little to no education in philosophy or the contributions that atheist (and non-atheist) philosophers have made to the discussion.
    You make being an inexperienced atheist sound bad, but even if ODN contributors aren't generally acquainted with the history of philosophical thought on the issue, isn't it still correct that the burden of proof for arguing the existence of exotic entities of a non-specified nature rests on the one making the extraordinary claim?

    With this thought in mind, I'm rather fond of a definition of atheism put forward by Gordon Stein in a debate with presuppositional apologeticist Greg Bahnsen:

    ***

    B. Definitions

    1. Atheism


    Now, first of all, let me make clear what atheism is and is not. I think this has been a very commonly misunderstood subject. Atheists do not say that they can prove there is no God. Also, an atheist is not someone who denies there is a God. Rather, an atheist says that he has examined the proofs that are offered by the theists, and finds them inadequate.

    Now, if I were to say that this gentleman sitting in the front steps could fly by flapping his arms, I'd be making a kind of unusual statement. And it would be up to me or him to demonstrate that he can fly. If he can't demonstrate it, then we don't believe that he can fly. Now, if he doesn't demonstrate it right now, it doesn't mean that he can't fly; it just means that he can't fly right now. So, we do not deny that he can fly because he can't demonstrate it right now; but you see, he has not proven his case. And therefore, we do not believe that he can fly until he proves so.

    And this is what the atheist says about the existence of God: He says the case is unproved not disproved. So, an atheist is really someone who is without a belief in God, or he does not believe in a God. It is not someone who denies the existence of God, or who
    says that one does not exist, or that he can prove that one does not exist.

    http://www.bellevuechristian.org/fac...Transcript.pdf

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Furthermore, it is likewise philosophically incorrect that agnostics are merely "without belief" in regard to God for the same reasons described above.

    To discuss the existence of God, which requires reason, is a reference to possessing "knowledge of"; the philosophies concerning the existence of God are best illustrated as follows (each of which make truth claims about God's nature [existence] or knowledge of, using reason):

    "Does God exist?"
    Theism: "God exists" Non-theism: "I don't believe in God"
    Agnosticism: “I don’t know if God exists” Atheism: “God does not exist”
    Hard Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists and no one else can
    know either."
    Soft Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists, but it's possible for
    someone to know."

    -----------------------

    In another post that shut down this mistaken and fallacious claim (of pop-atheists) that atheism merely is the lack of belief...
    No, I like the "pop atheist" stance, if that's what it is, and I notice all that HTML code above in those cute diagrams is taken from reasonable faith.org, which is the home of that fellow with the annoying voice who thinks the slaughter of Canaanite children in the Hebrew Bible was perfectly justified by how it would result in the little mites all being consigned to a better place residing in the loving bosom of his (Lane Craig's) chosen deity. The titles on your diagrams all refer to "God," which is the unimaginative name given to a deity believed in by Christians, which if I might say so seems a bit disrespectful to the other 3700 gods or so conceived by humans over the course of recorded history.

    I suppose I'll now have to look up Philatheism and Pracatheism.
    Last edited by clarencec; May 13th, 2013 at 03:14 PM.

  20. #17
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    There are so many problems with your reasoning here that I don't know where to begin...so I'm just going to jump right into it w/o any particular order and without it being exhaustive...

    1) SOME examples of people praying out of fear in no way supports the claim that ALL prayer is done of fear. That's called the hasty generalization fallacy.

    2) To suggest that the motivation for ALL people for ALL prayer requires magik mind reading skills...I don't believe in magic (or mind reading) and neither are admissible as evidence.

    3) The Hitler reference is nothing more than speculation. It is not evidence. To submit it is a red herring fallacy as it doesn't address either issue (I'm assuming you know how to identify issues of arguments, if not, then reading this essay will help)

    4) You have not demonstrated that asking for a blessing nor displaying gratitude is done so out of fear. It's like hoping the best for my children or thanking a community leader or teacher for the work they do because I fear something bad will happen to them otherwise. It's highly illogical and definitely not supported.

    5) Most importantly, I asked specifically for you to support your claim that "religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death". Instead, you addressed the separate issue of "all prayer is motivated by fear." So in no way have you actually addressed the formal challenge.
    Hm, it's interesting you don't see how this pertains to anything. I'm saying fear is the motivation for all prayers, therefore it would only be logical to assume that religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death... because that's called fear. Everyone prays out of fear. Whether you know it or not. Like I said before I could provide a million more examples. These were just a few.

  21. #18
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarencec View Post
    I'm definitely an amateur blogger. Is that bad?
    Not at all.

    I noticed the traffic here seems slow, despite the repository of past posts. Is it a professional forum for professional bloggers who know philosophy?
    Yes, traffic has waned over the last year or so, however it has increased by around 12-16% each month since Jan 2013. It's one of the reasons I'm slowing down in my debate participation and instead, focusing on the backend of the site (to help boost more traffic).

    It is not a professional or academic forum. It is however, a rather unique community in that we expect a certain standard to be met in the threads (arguments presented, arguments attacked not their posters, those who are unfamiliar with such practices, terms and concepts be willing to learn, etc...). It is also true that most people unfamiliar with philosophy, theology, logic, debate, etc... find our community expectations too rigid. Those that stay are usually serious students, academics, or professionals. So while it is not our intent to be so narrow...it is often the case that it attracts those sort. Which is fine because we desire a higher standard of discussion and expect our members to have at least a rudimentary understanding (or ability) in the principles of reasoning.

    Also I'm wondering about theists I've talked with online. If they haven't studied philosophy either and don't fully understand the niceties of why they hold their theistic stance plus those of the alternatives available, does this make them merely pop theists and not the bona fide kind?
    No. It is not the "why" that defines the philosophy, but rather the "what." It is true that some theists merely 'believe' and would simply say "because." Very few of them find their way here to ODN because we don't discuss feelings or opinions in debate forums here...we do not consider them to be proper forms of support as they cannot address argumentation. But this does not make them any less theist. It merely means they do not understand the theistic arguments (they merely have faith).

    But they have It occured to me a while ago that if God or god/s intended humans to believe in them because of sophisticated philosophical arguments they would have pitched average human intelligence at a higher level. Is this a good argument?
    This is irrelevant. The issue is not "How does God intend for humans to believe in Him?" but rather "What is it that makes a theist?" as well as "What is it that makes an atheist"?

    You make being an inexperienced atheist sound bad,
    It is not my intention. It is true however, that if the atheist argues that atheism is merely an absence of belief, then they have just exposed themselves as lacking a proper understanding of atheism, history, philosophy and even logic. We do not debate psychological states of mind. When a theist argues against atheism, it is always an argument about a position...not about a "state of mind." So to respond to said theist from the position of a state of mind, would be a) commission of the fallacy of equivocation, b) strawman, c) display of lack of knowledge of the argument and actual positions. We do not debate states of mind...we debate positions as described through their supporting arguments.

    "Atheism" is the negation of theism. Theism is the metaphysical position that "God does exist." Therefore, its negation is "It is not true that God does exist" (or "God does not exist"). It is not "I don't know if God does exist" nor is it "I don't believe that God exists" (for that is a statement about the self, not a metaphysical position. Both theism and atheism are metaphysical positions.

    but even if ODN contributors aren't generally acquainted with the history of philosophical thought on the issue, isn't it still correct that the burden of proof for arguing the existence of exotic entities of a non-specified nature rests on the one making the extraordinary claim?
    The burden of proof lies with anyone making any claim. The claim could be "God does exist" as well as "God does not exist." It is also important to be able to draw out the "issues" of an argument properly. I provided a link in a previous post. The issue of this thread is not "God does exist."

    With this thought in mind, I'm rather fond of a definition of atheism put forward by Gordon Stein in a debate with presuppositional apologeticist Greg Bahnsen:

    ***

    B. Definitions

    1. Atheism


    Now, first of all, let me make clear what atheism is and is not. I think this has been a
    very commonly misunderstood subject. Atheists do not say that they can prove there is no
    God. Also, an atheist is not someone who denies there is a God. Rather, an atheist says that he has examined the proofs that are offered by the theists, and finds them inadequate.
    Context is key, as it is what truly defines the concepts being described.

    1) It is an error to make the claim he made. He's demonstrating that he has not had much exposure to philosophy. It ignores the contributions (and positions) of Kant, Hume, Russell, and several other prolific philosophers.

    2) The concept he is referring to is skepticism (which is very similar to agnosticism here). How do we know? Well, look at what he says his position is: "I'm not convinced of the arguments for or against God." He is saying he cannot commit to one position or the other. The positions being of course, that "God does exist" and "God does not exist."

    He is not describing atheism in any meaningful sense. He is describing skepticism/agnosticism.

    And this is what the atheist says about the existence of God
    No...the more accurate statement would be "The agnostic does not know one way or another about the existence of God."

    No, I like the "pop atheist" stance, if that's what it is
    That's great...but that would mean you are a skeptic/agnostic, not an atheist.

    I notice all that HTML code above in those cute diagrams is taken from reasonable faith.org, which is the home of that fellow with the annoying voice who thinks the slaughter of Canaanite children was perfectly justified by how it would result in the mites all being consigned to a better place residing in the bosom of his (Lane Craig's) chosen deity.
    You have read too much Dawkins (not a very good source of understanding any theological or philosophical argument btw). Furthermore, you are dangerously close to committing the ad hominem there (another error in reasoning).

    The titles on your diagrams all refer to "God," wich is the unimaginative name given to a deity believed in by Christians, which if I might say so seems a bit disrespectful to the other 3700 gods or so conceived by humans over the course of recorded history.
    This is a gross misunderstanding of theism. Nowhere in the diagram is any particular deity being argued for. Theism is not synonymous with Christianity, Islam, or any other religion.

    I suppose I'll now have to look up philantheism and Pracantheism.
    Definitions are already provided for you.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; May 13th, 2013 at 03:25 PM.
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  22. #19
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    What book of the Bible is this from, and what chapter is it?

    ...so...you would argue that Hitler was a devout and faithful Christian and NOT a psychopathic mass murderer? Because I'm not seeing a connection between the unrepentant slaughter of millions and Christian teaching.

    Not be a dick or anything, but that's not even remotely close to what happened there. The woman in question was infertile. Her sister (who could have children and did) repeatedly flaunted her children and child bearing ability in front of her to shame her. So she went heartbroken into the temple and prayed. Eli (the prophet at the time) found her and counseled her. God gave her a child (Samuel) on the condition that (as she had prayed) she give him to God and allow Eli to raise him as a successor. She's telling Eli, in the passage you quoted, "Hey, it's me the lady who came here roughly a year ago sobbing and so heartbroken I couldn't even speak when I prayed. THis is the child I promised God I would give him if he allowed me to bear a child."

    At best that's an instance of someone converting due to fear. That's not actually evidence of your claim: I'm saying religion started because people felt uncomfortable with the idea that there is no life after death.
    To your last comment, yet, he converted to fear, therefore he prayed out of fear. Everyone does this. If it's at the beginning, the end or otherwise. Not necessarily out of fearing they are about to die. Out of fear of ANYTHING.

  23. #20
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    Re: I'm uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serand View Post
    Hm, it's interesting you don't see how this pertains to anything.
    It is interesting that you are failing to support your argument despite being challenged to do so.

    That is a violation of community rules and results in a trolling infraction. Again, please familiarize yourself with the rules, particularly re: "Challenge" policy.

    For your convenience:

    Supporting Claims
    Any argument posited as the subject for debate, regardless of being a positive or negative claim, must be supported with evidence and logic. Failure to substantiate the claim may be viewed as trolling at the staff's discretion.

    For claims made within the thread that are related to the topic, they too must be supported. If not supported initially, but issued a Challenge to support a claim. to do so later, the claim must be supported or all subsequent, repetitive arguments will be considered to be an act of trolling.

    The principle is simple: "Make a claim, support it."

    To be clear, there are 3 options a member has when challenged.

    1. Support the argument being challenged as per the above.
    2. Retract (or drop) the challenged argument. This may be done either by acknowledging the retraction or by merely not using the challenged argument again in the current thread.
    3. Concede the challenged argument.



    I'm saying fear is the motivation for all prayers,
    Yes, that is your unsupported claim. I object to it for reasons already explained...none of which you have addressed. You are new, so you are given another opportunity to familiarize yourself with our community policy with regards to challenges.
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