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For the Atheists Among Us

Old 09-18-2009, 12:23 PM
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For the Atheists Among Us

Last night my husband sent me this link to a Wall Street Journal article. It's worth a gander :

Man vs. God - WSJ.com
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:08 PM
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Thanks, misty. I skimmed through it.

She certainly took readers on a long-winded path with that one.


Comments in general...not directed to anyone here:


Is it so hard for people to accept that idea that "transcendence" and "spirituality" is nothing more than chemicals and electrical impulses moving about the brain?

If people think of a god in a purely abstract way and not as a being, why not simply say "physics is responsible" or "fill-in-the-blank" instead?

Perhaps I just don't understand anymore. I used to...I felt a push to believe in something so great...and mystical. That's gone now, but I don't feel empty because of it. I just enjoy what I have. Everything important to me is tangible.
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:04 AM
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Thumbs down Richard Dawkins is quite silly, I think...

Former educated atheist of 10 years here.

I used to bash religion, theism, and spirituality all the time, and I could debate with the best of theologians, especially Christians, Wiccans, and Mormons.

I read the article and found it to be yet another silly Dawkins diatribe in which he makes a common mistake - one that I used to make: trying to define spirituality through a mathematical intellectual system.

When one examines spirituality in terms of mathematical pragmatism (as Dawkins does), it's easy to poke holes in it. I could do it right now.

However, spirituality and faith are not based on concrete facts and figures. The results are verifiable, certainly (eg. look at all of us recovering addicts out there), but not by using the scientific method of absolutes.

Finally, Dawkins also makes another mistake that is all-too-common amongst today's militant atheists (one which I did not make): making generalizations of religion from a Judeo-Christian conceptualization of cosmology and ontology.

Making statements like: "Evolution leaves God with nothing to do" is a gross oversimplification of God as a spiritual entity. It's also a classic Straw Man Argument.

If Dawkins is going to promote logic as superior to spiritualiy, he should try actually employing it in his arguments instead of logical fallacies.

--Outvoid--
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Outvoid View Post
I read the article and found it to be yet another silly Dawkins diatribe in which he makes a common mistake - one that I used to make: trying to define spirituality through a mathematical intellectual system. When one examines spirituality in terms of mathematical pragmatism (as Dawkins does), it's easy to poke holes in it. I could do it right now.

However, spirituality and faith are not based on concrete facts and figures.
He does use logic, yes. If you say God is beyond logic then I do understand the point of view but I could use that argument to believe in anything and say it is beyond question, Santa Claus, fairies, UFO's, invisible orbiting teapots, whatever. if anyone criticises my belief I just say, "you don't understand, my belief is beyond your logical arguments".
Believing in God makes as much sense as believing in the other stuff I mentioned. None. Except it satisfies a psychological need.



Originally Posted by Outvoid View Post
The results are verifiable, certainly (eg. look at all of us recovering addicts out there), but not by using the scientific method of absolutes.

The results are not verifiable, it could just be a placebo effect or another psychologcal mechanism. Belief in God may help your recovery but its doesn't prove God actually exists.
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:46 AM
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http://www.bassfiles.net/parachute.swf



edit

posted in wrong thread, lol
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by stone View Post
He does use logic, yes. If you say God is beyond logic then I do understand the point of view but I could use that argument to believe in anything and say it is beyond question, Santa Claus, fairies, UFO's, invisible orbiting teapots, whatever. if anyone criticises my belief I just say, "you don't understand, my belief is beyond your logical arguments".
Believing in God makes as much sense as believing in the other stuff I mentioned. None. Except it satisfies a psychological need.
Stone, I appreciate your response.

I didn't say, "my belief is beyond logical arguments" - check the post; you put those words in my mouth: a Strawman Argument. In other words, that's your argument, not mine.

Belief is just that: belief. It's not a statement of absolute fact. The most common mistake that many atheists (and theists, for that matter) make is confusing belief with fact. I can't speak for anyone else, but be assured that when I (Outvoid) say that I "believe" in something I am not making a statement of absolute truth or ultimate reality. I am merely making a personal statement of belief.

On to your comment that: "Believing in God makes as much sense as believing in the other stuff I mentioned."

If you were to think that fairies or invisible orbiting teapots were able to help you recover from your addiction, then certainly they would make as much sense as believing in God. That's why we have the concept of a Higher Power - which can be anything. I know people who have the wind as their Higher Power. One guy I know has gravity as his HP.

Belief in God may help your recovery but its doesn't prove God actually exists.
You're completely right. It doesn't prove anything - nor is it trying to. This is another Strawman Argument on your part.

The results are not verifiable, it could just be a placebo effect or another psychologcal mechanism.
Actually, you're wrong. The results are verifiable. What is in question in your argument is the cause of the results. But that is verifiable, too:

Premise: There are millions of people (including myself) who believe that a supernatural being they call God exists. - This is a fact.

Premise: There are millions of people who have such beliefs who are achieving sobriety in 12-step recovery programs. - This is a fact.

Now, you can certainly argue that "God" doesn't exist and that these people are deluding themselves. But even if they (and myself) are, the system still works. I choose to believe that it comes from God. You apparently choose to believe it comes from the mind.

Ultimately, though, as long as people are getting recovery, it doesn't really matter which one of us is right.

--Outvoid--
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:36 AM
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Hey nice to meet you Outvoid.

Please go and argue about 12 step programs and the existense of god somewhere else

I am sure you have lots of great points to make, but do you know what? This isn't the place.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Outvoid View Post
Stone, I appreciate your response.

I didn't say, "my belief is beyond logical arguments" - check the post; you put those words in my mouth: a Strawman Argument. In other words, that's your argument, not mine.

.... be assured that when I (Outvoid) say that I "believe" in something I am not making a statement of absolute truth or ultimate reality. I am merely making a personal statement of belief.

Are those two not basically the same? You were criticising Dawkins for using a mathematical intellectual system, I assumed the word logical to mean the same thing, therefore you were dismissing the logical argument against God. That was how I interpreted it, I wasn't meaning to put words in your mouth.




Originally Posted by Outvoid
On to your comment that: "Believing in God makes as much sense as believing in the other stuff I mentioned."

If you were to think that fairies or invisible orbiting teapots were able to help you recover from your addiction, then certainly they would make as much sense as believing in God.

Sense on a pragmatic level yes. Why "choose to believe that it comes from God"? Why not fairies or teapots?


I am not trying to be smart, I am not an atheistic fanatic like Dawkins and I do have some nebulous spiritual ideas that don't stand up to any logical arguments myself. I enjoy Eckhart Tolle's teachings and have an interest in Buddhism.....but it is not because they "work" in any way, they do not comfort me nor do they explain any success or not in recovery. I suppose they just "feel right", lol (like I say, they don't stand up to any logical arguments). In the same way I must admit I do get a gut reaction against an anthropomorphic idea of God, not that I am saying you have that.

If I contradict myself it is because I have no real deep set beliefs or anti-beliefs...beyond my gut-level reactions.

I am in AA and struggled badly with the HP/God thing for a long time, it is only when I stopped trying to understand it or adopt it and just followed the instructions that it started to happen for me. I don't have a God or HP I just follow spiritual guidelines. They could easily be called moral guidelines with meditation and mindfulness thrown into the mix.

Dawkins is a great polemicist and does destroy the anthropomorhic God idea as far as I am concerned but as for why spirituality aids (my) recovery I do not know if it is just down to psychology or because there is "something" deeper going on.

So, I don't really know what my point was if I had one! Just a lot of waffle really.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:39 AM
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Again sorry to be rude but why are you two discussing this here, there are 12 step forums and a spirituality forum.

I don't go to the 12 step forum to discuss my Smart work or the help I get from Lifering try posting appropriately, this is supposed to an aa 12/step free zone.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by allport View Post
Again sorry to be rude but why are you two discussing this here, there are 12 step forums and a spirituality forum.

I don't go to the 12 step forum to discuss my Smart work or the help I get from Lifering try posting appropriately, this is supposed to an aa 12/step free zone.

Yes you are right.

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Old 10-03-2009, 07:48 AM
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its all connected.

common human mistakes about god:
1) defining god.
2) separating yourself from god.
3) trusting in god without trusting in yourself
4) refuting the existence of god without defining existence itself.

god may be nothing more than a principle or a symbol.
i choose neither to believe in god nor believe in the non-existence of god.

beliefs usually cause expectations,
and expectations are prisons of the mind.

juxtaposing theories such as creation and evolution can co-exist quite comfortably if we remember that they are only theories, if we can conclude that we all know that we don't know who's right. Ironic how "scientists" can easily get caught up in proving theories about undefinable things like god, using analytical rhetoric. in the end, its still a theory. and if we are to be accurate and scientific about things (if that is important to us) we must catch ourselves from letting our beliefs sway our theoretical postulations and conclusions. the placebo of belief is a dangerous obstacle to all sciences.

"Convictions Cause Convicts. " - Robert Anton Wilson
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:40 AM
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Please review.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...7-welcome.html
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:19 PM
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Forget god (and how I wish you all would) my point was that that a discussion that involves any 12 step program is not appropriate for this forum.

As people working a secular recovery we are told over and over again in here to leave 12 step recovery alone.

It is like a man who wants to talk about menstruation posting in the womens forum, it doesn't matter how on topic or how civil the post is it is not right , and yes maybe that goes for the opening post as well.

To be honest I don't really see the point in religous or 12 step people being here at all, and that is not meant to be confrontational, I once heard someone in aa say keep your own side of the street clean, and this is not your side of the street.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:23 PM
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I was wrong to say that religous people shouldn't be here, I only ask that religion is kept out of the recovery equation.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Outvoid View Post

Actually, you're wrong. The results are verifiable.
Then kindly go to an appropriate forum and show facts, statistics, complete with cites, and not logically vacant generalities. Example: Millions of people believe in God. Those millions of people are alive, therefore belief in God extends life. You are the one who wants logical clarity - perhaps you should apply it to your own argument.

Now, you can certainly argue that "God" doesn't exist and that these people are deluding themselves. But even if they (and myself) are, the system still works. I choose to believe that it comes from God.
And for all the forums you might choose to bear witness to your beliefs, why on earth would you choose this forum and choose to do so in a thread in which the very subject line specifically addresses fellow atheists? What was your logic in doing so?

Ultimately, though, as long as people are getting recovery, it doesn't really matter which one of us is right.
It matters to me because this forum is very safe place for "unbelievers" to hang out and share ideas. Many of us "unbelievers" are also NOT 12-steppers. I would never be so invasive as to bring my beliefs to the "12-step support" forum because doing so would be most disrespectful.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
I have a question, and it's a serious one, I am not asking to be facetious, I really want to know




Does this make this topic inappropriate to post here, as it's an article that debunks "God" as it were, or the responses that discuss the topic inappropriate?
Since the subject line of the thread specifically engages fellow atheists, and it does appear in the secular forum - how could it possibly be inappropriate?

Some of the responses were definitely inappropriate but I sure cannot see how the original post was.

The responses, both sides are respectful and discuss the topic put forth by the OP and frankly it's an interesting discussion, the way I understood it, the 12 steps and spirituality were solely brought up as a vehicle and examples to continue the discussion, not to discuss their effectiveness in recovery per se, but as an example of "faith" as it were and the effectiveness of faith in recovery, which is certainly part of the discussion put forth by the OP.
Did not. My post had nothing to with the unmentionable topic and was simply presented as a source of moral support to those who practice the most hated belief system on the planet in a recovery atmosphere. That's all.

So if this is an inappropriate topic for this forum, wouldn't the appropriate thing to do be just move the topic to the appropriate forum?
Are you talking about the link I posted or the unmentionable topic?
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:00 PM
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I know this thread is going to get closed down but before it does I would like to ask for a little clarification.

I have seen the claim "millions of people" many times in SR.

Can someone tell me how many millions of people? How long have they been sober? How long did it take them to get sober? Are they mainly men? or white? or christian? women? middle aged? middle class? have they ever relapsed?

Any idea?
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:50 PM
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@Stone
Dawkins is a great polemicist and does destroy the anthropomorhic God idea as far as I am concerned

Freud and Nietzsche destroyed 'it' decades before Dawkins.

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Old 10-03-2009, 07:06 PM
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Doin' a dance! Eatin' some popcorn! No, really...I am...
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:09 PM
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Sorry about your thread, misty. I know you didn't intend for this to go off-topic like it has.
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