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glo
08-21-2007, 02:53 PM
Hi all

This thread is prompted by a conversation I had with an atheist friend.
You never quite know how these threads run, but personally I am interested in hearing the opinions of atheist posters, rather than discussing or debating them.

So, here goes ...

I can understand that non-believers look at the wars, the in-fighting, the atrocities committed in the name of religion, and shake their heads in despair.
I can understand that non-believers might come to the conclusion that without religion the world might be a more peaceful place.

You see, I too see those atrocities committed in the name of religion, and I too am horrified.
But I also see the good that comes from people who are driven by religion.

Having this kind of conversation with my atheist friend, I came to realise that his concerns are not just around people doing bad things in the name of God - but that in his eyes the very idea of believing in a supernatural being without any underpinning scientific evidence is what he rejects and disagrees with.The very idea of believing without proof is what disturbs him - regardless of whether this idea prompts the believer to do good, bad or whatever ...

Do any of you have any thoughts on this?
I don't really know what it is I am trying to ask, because I cannot get my head around his thinking at all!
Perhaps one of you can enlighten me ...?

Peace
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Gator
08-21-2007, 04:33 PM
I'll start with the usual caveat that each atheist has different ideas and outlooks, so the responses will be all over the map. The only thing we agree with is that we think god does not exist.

I think I see what you got out of your discussion. The "very idea of believing without proof (or evidence)" bothered him, or believing based on faith.

My views are based on what I think are reasonable due to how I perceive the world and how it works. When I don't have enough evidence of something, I have to make deductions on my own.

Christians, Muslims, Sihks, Hindus, etc. do the same thing (although there are some that feel they have been given proof through a feeling they have). Your friend has to do the same as he comes to a conclusion based on the incomplete facts that he has.

So, I'm not disturbed by a theist believing in something without evidence as they look at it and see it as a reasonable description of how the world is. With incomplete information you have to use your mind and take your best shot.

I don't know if I answered your question, but those are my thoughts sparked by your post.

Thanks.
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wilberhum
08-21-2007, 04:34 PM
Glo,
As you know, I am not an atheist; I’m about as close as you can get without crossing the line.
I believe there is a god but not a god that has much concern about my existence.

I do find the evil committed in the name of god a problem.
More importantly I find logical fallacy and contradictions in very religion.
So I am not anti-god, but I am anti-religion.

I truly believe that all religions are man made and were created to serve the creator.
That’s the creator of the religion, not the creator to the world. :thumbs_do

I don’t take issue with there being no proof, because there is no proof either way.
But, I do take issue with those that claim to have proof. :hiding:

Now I will revert to my agnostic ways and state emphatically with total resolve.
“I don’t know”. :confused:

Peace
Wilber
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glo
08-21-2007, 04:48 PM
Thanks, Gator and Wilber

Can you relate to the concept that believing in a supernatural being/god/deity of any kind would be disturbing in itself? That only trusting in what can be scientifically demonstrated or evidenced is the only true way?
Is that how you feel?
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Gator
08-21-2007, 05:00 PM
glo, I'd just refer to my previous post where I say I don't have a problem with someone believing in something if even if you can't "scientifically demonstrate" it.

No I can't relate to being disturbed by someone believing in something with a total lack of proof. It how far the person carries it is what would disturb me.

The question is oddly worded. if on the other hand you Are asking me whether I'd be disturbed if i believed in a god, to that I'd say yes, because it goes against my thought process and contemplation that resulted in my being an atheist. (I'd be believing in something I truly don't believe. an odd situation).

Thanks.
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wilberhum
08-21-2007, 05:17 PM
Of course I can relate to belief. Every one has some belief. Even if it is only the belief that the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl this year. :D

I find it frightening that many believe in a god that rewards them for harming others,
A god that conceders them superior and demands they force there beliefs on others. :thumbs_do

I find it disturbing that so many; accept so much, with such little evidence.
But I also find it disturbing when people claim alien abductions. :rolleyes:

Scientifically demonstrated or evidenced is the only true way for proof.
We can look at the evidence and evaluate it, but there is no Proof.
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Trumble
08-21-2007, 05:25 PM
I have no problem in any religious belief without 'proof'. I have no 'proof' for mine. It's a vaguely absurd idea; if you think about it we rarely have 'proof' for anything we believe. For example, some Americans may always vote Democrat rather than Republican because they think Democrats will do a better job for country - but where is the 'proof' that they have or will? I 'believe' my dog has eaten the food I left in the kitchen for him.. but I'm sitting here typing this, not looking at the empty bowl.

I can understand that non-believers look at the wars, the in-fighting, the atrocities committed in the name of religion, and shake their heads in despair. I can understand that non-believers might come to the conclusion that without religion the world might be a more peaceful place.
They may, or may not be, right (I somehow doubt it), but again I don't really see it as an "atheist" issue. If anything it's an argument for total religious freedom and tolerance, not no belief at all. You can't decide what you believe, you either believe something or you don't. The best you can do is make a conscious decision to try and examine all the facts. If, for example, you believe that there is but one God, and Mohammed is his Prophet I don't see how you can be anything but a muslim. You can't just say "well, there have been bad things done in the name of religion so I just won't believe any more" - it doesn't work that way.

The "atheistic" argument is rather different. Something on the lines of "of there really was an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God, how/why would He allow 'the wars, the in-fighting, the atrocities committed in the name of (His) religion' to happen?" It is that question that has to be answered to justify belief.


Originally Posted by wilberhum
Scientifically demonstrated or evidenced is the only true way for proof..
I'd suggest that science has never 'proven' anything. All it has done, because it is all the scientific method allows, is disprove things.
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Isambard
08-21-2007, 08:19 PM
I never liked the whole "religion is the reason for war!" arguement. Namely, because you get all sorts of battles and wars having little or nothing to do with religion. Religion is just tacted on.

If you want to be technical, politics is the reason for war. Religion is an earlier form of politics meshed with a bunch of other stuff.

If you want dig even further, the ability to de-humanize and de-personalize is the force behind any sort of crime. Think about. Atrocities done in the name of religion are commited because the opposing group as seen as animals, same goes with wars over nationalism, same with someone being stabbed in a bar. The rage blinded and removed the ability of perspective taking.

That said, religion is responsibile for a lot of naughty things in the world, even if not directly at fault. Especially in the abrahamic traditions, youll see the 'us vs. them' indoctrination making it easier to kill your neighbour. This is what I believe most atheists have a problem with, that faith may blind you to the humanity of another where as science or at least the ability to cooly and logically think out a problem prevents over-stepping of bounds and mischaracterization.

This is my 0.02$
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- Qatada -
08-21-2007, 08:32 PM
Originally Posted by Isambard
That said, religion is responsibile for a lot of naughty things in the world, even if not directly at fault. Especially in the abrahamic traditions, youll see the 'us vs. them' indoctrination making it easier to kill your neighbour.

I don't understand what you mean by that concept. Isn't it the Abrahamic religions which call to kindness towards your neighbor? No matter what religion they belong to? The answer is yes.

The issue of 'Us v Them' is also something strange since many people split up into groups outside religion anyway, infact there are many groups when one doesn't take religion into consideration. Yet when religion does come into it, then there are only two main parties - those who believe and those who disbelieve. Whereas outside this concept, there are much more, i.e. the low class, high class, racism, the wealthy and the poor etc. and Islam calls to break these barriers and to unite upon brotherhood no matter what differences you have. Your faith unites and binds you together for the better.





Regards.
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wilberhum
08-21-2007, 08:48 PM
Your faith unites and binds you together for the better.
Yes, for the better of the group.

As far as humanity, it is one of the great deviders.
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- Qatada -
08-21-2007, 08:53 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Yes, for the better of the group.

As far as humanity, it is one of the great deviders.

I think you forgot to quote this part too;


The issue of 'Us v Them' is also something strange since many people split up into groups outside religion anyway, infact there are many groups when one doesn't take religion into consideration.

Whereas outside this concept, there are much more, i.e. the low class, high class, racism, the wealthy and the poor etc. and Islam calls to break these barriers and to unite upon brotherhood no matter what differences you have.
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wilberhum
08-21-2007, 08:59 PM
Originally Posted by - Qatada -
I think you forgot to quote this part too;
No, I think we have different concepts of "one of the great deviders".
To me "One Of", does not mean the "Only One".

But all of this is [S]Off Topic[/S].

Glo said:
I am interested in hearing the opinions of atheist posters, rather than discussing or debating them.
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- Qatada -
08-21-2007, 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
No, I think we have different concepts of "one of the great deviders".
To me "One Of", does not mean the "Only One".


Okay kool. That to me is a great unifier.




Peace.
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Scruffy
08-21-2007, 11:26 PM
Glo, one of the aspects that may upset your friend is the imposition of religous beliefs on others within a society. If believers are setting policy, the non-believers in that society would be inclined to insist (and entitled IMO) on reason and evidence behind a policy - not just some vague, fuzzy indescribable feeling that is claimed as devine truth.

Isambard, I like to think of religion as an antique form of government, diminished now in many places, reduced to a political tool that dusted off and used by incompetent, lazy politicians who don't have better capabilities.

The atheist says everyone's free to practice whatever brand of religion they choose provided it doesn't impinge on those who are unconvinced. Same as theistic proponents of church/state seperation.
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Abdul Fattah
08-22-2007, 02:05 AM
Originally Posted by glo
Hi all
in his eyes the very idea of believing in a supernatural being without any underpinning scientific evidence is what he rejects and disagrees with.[/I]The very idea of believing without proof is what disturbs him - regardless of whether this idea prompts the believer to do good, bad or whatever ...

Do any of you have any thoughts on this?
I don't really know what it is I am trying to ask, because I cannot get my head around his thinking at all!
Perhaps one of you can enlighten me ...?

Peace
Yes definitely true, as a former atheist I can concur that that is actually a major problem. Good for your friend that he at least realizes the core of the issue, since a lot of people have this inclination without realizing it. Well the view is obviously biased. To deny something by lack of proof makes no sense. Such a line of thinking suggests that it is impossible for something to exist without leaving proof of it's existence. Which is a rather narrow-minded view.

Basically what this means is that he is a "disbelievers" in the sense that he is incapable of believing. You made the distinction of "believing without proof". But there is no "believing with proof"; if it's proven it's no longer a belief but a fact. So if he cannot believe without proof then that means he is not able to believe at all.

There are a broad varieties of ways to respond to this.

1.You could show that this person actually does believe in things he doesn't have proof of by asking questions like:
Do you believe your wife hasn't cheated on you? Do you have proof? Do you believe you have a brain? Have you ever seen it? etc..
Most likely he'll respond he believes those on probability whereas he finds religion improbable. The only way to counter that is debating probability of religion, which brings you back at square one.

2. Forget step one and skip to probability right away. Ask him:
"Can you Imagen for a second -just for the sake of argument- that there is a true religion among all the earthly religions, what would it take for you to recognize this truth."
This will probably get the person to state whichever objectives, restrictions or false concepts he holds that keep him from believing, at which point they'll be out in the open and easily refuted.

3. Argue by hypothetical. Ask him the following:
"Again if we imagen -for the sake of argument- that there is a true religion, but that there are no clear proofs for it, only debatable indications. If in that hypothesis you reject the idea because of the lack of proof, have you then not rejected reality?"
The idea behind this question is that by asking the person to indulge in thinking about a certain paradigm he will understand the bias of atheism better and might at that point nurture an inclination towards agnostisism (which is already closer to theism as opposed to atheism).

4. You cold use a one liner, like someone signature around here:
"For an atheist no amount of proof is sufficient, for a theist none is required."

5. Psychological approach, tell him:
There is a fine line between criticism and paranoia. Criticism leads to the truth by filtering out falsehoods; paranoia does not. Paranoia objects the acceptance of anything, even the truth. so rather then leading to it, it objects it. The same goes for not accepting anything without proof. While looking for proof might help in finding the truth, rejecting something by lack of evidence restricts the amount of "truth" one can find to "provable truths" and leaves out "unprovable truths".
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Isambard
08-22-2007, 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by - Qatada -
I don't understand what you mean by that concept. Isn't it the Abrahamic religions which call to kindness towards your neighbor? No matter what religion they belong to? The answer is yes.

The issue of 'Us v Them' is also something strange since many people split up into groups outside religion anyway, infact there are many groups when one doesn't take religion into consideration. Yet when religion does come into it, then there are only two main parties - those who believe and those who disbelieve. Whereas outside this concept, there are much more, i.e. the low class, high class, racism, the wealthy and the poor etc. and Islam calls to break these barriers and to unite upon brotherhood no matter what differences you have. Your faith unites and binds you together for the better.Regards.
Well it falls under the problem I am now coining, "problem of the first commandment" :happy:

Its basically this, God says worship him and him alone. No ifs or buts. This is fine until a person or group within the community start to see things a little bit differently. (This is something that happens whenever a pop. expands past a certain size and can be fueled by movement in location)

After a certain point and changes with this individual or group, they are regarded as 'others'. In all three major branches, you find God doesnt like unbelievers and he has a special place for them...

The society then gets divided because they view the other as blashphomus because from their perspective, the other group is promoting lies.

So you see, its not that being religious makes one inherently violent, its just the mindset of "there is only one way" leads folk to tunnel-vision. You see the same problem and mentality in some ideologies like Hittler's vision of an Aryrian nation, America during the red scare, Stalinist communism, even liberalism in extreme forms where you can be villified for not agreeing with their vision (ironic isnt it? lol).

I think though that a persons mindset also contributes too. If someone is more fundamental in their faith, they are more likely to ignore alternative modes of thinking on the simple pretext that it disagrees with their mindset. This can lead to some dangerous outcomes.
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ranma1/2
08-22-2007, 04:54 AM
I think what i find disturbing is when it becomes a source of authority.
Similar to the Kissing hanks bumm idea.
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Pygoscelis
08-22-2007, 07:55 AM
Originally Posted by Isambard
Well it falls under the problem I am now coining, "problem of the first commandment" :happy:
Indeed. It is the primary inherent problem of monotheistic religion.

As soon as you have people claiming to have the ONLY god and the ONLY way, trouble will always be close behind.
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Pygoscelis
08-22-2007, 08:04 AM
Glo, I can relate to your atheist friend.

I too am bothered by people believing in fantastic claims on "faith" - especially when their groundless beliefs then lead actions and non-actions with serious consequences for not just themselves but others as well. Picture a man who has faith that he can fly, so he jumps off the roof of a building, above a busy pedestrian area, people who may be crushed by him if his belief is indeed untrue.

Accepting fantastic claims on "faith" alone IS bothersome. Absolutely. And what could be more fantastic than religious claims?

It is one thing to say that there may be some creator being out there somewhere or there may be some supernatural beings we're not aware of. It is quite another to give them names, histories, and to claim to know that they forbid us to eat pork and forbid us to have sex with certain people or in certain ways.
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wilberhum
08-22-2007, 10:41 PM
Well Glo,
Did you find the answer you were looking for?
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snakelegs
08-22-2007, 10:50 PM
as you know, i'm not an atheist. i think religion is often very divisive.
but if it didn't exist, something else would take its place - in other words, religion is just an expression of something deeper that exists in the human psyche, when it comes to this.
so, i don't think the world would be a bit more peaceful if religion disappeared. another exuse can always be found.
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Woodrow
08-22-2007, 11:13 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
as you know, i'm not an atheist. i think religion is often very divisive.
but if it didn't exist, something else would take its place - in other words, religion is just an expression of something deeper that exists in the human psyche, when it comes to this.
so, i don't think the world would be a bit more peaceful if religion disappeared. another exuse can always be found.
Snakelegs I often find agnostics to be closer to God(swt) than those who profess a religion. I have often wondered why they do not settle down into a specific religion.

Your reply has just given me some insight in this.

I would say that your reply is quite accurate. I think the problem comes not from religion, but from the fact that many people have not found or have forgotten how to worship Allah(swt). we live in an era when few people actually practice true worship. In other words. Religion, is shoved into a back seat and has become invisible to people except those who engage in a sincere search.

From a personal view my reply is a modified version of what you say.

as you know, i'm Muslim. i think false religion is often very divisive.
but if it didn't exist, something else would take its place - in other words, false religion is just a misguided expression of something deeper that exists in the human psyche, when it comes to this.
so, i don't think the world would be a bit more peaceful if false religions disappeared. another exuse can always be found
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czgibson
08-22-2007, 11:39 PM
Greetings,
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Glo, I can relate to your atheist friend.

I too am bothered by people believing in fantastic claims on "faith" - especially when their groundless beliefs then lead actions and non-actions with serious consequences for not just themselves but others as well. Picture a man who has faith that he can fly, so he jumps off the roof of a building, above a busy pedestrian area, people who may be crushed by him if his belief is indeed untrue.

Accepting fantastic claims on "faith" alone IS bothersome. Absolutely. And what could be more fantastic than religious claims?

It is one thing to say that there may be some creator being out there somewhere or there may be some supernatural beings we're not aware of. It is quite another to give them names, histories, and to claim to know that they forbid us to eat pork and forbid us to have sex with certain people or in certain ways.
This answer echoes my feelings on this almost completely.

Having faith in something without evidence is nothing unusual - we all do it every day. It's when that kind of faith determines how you live your life that the trouble begins.

Peace
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Abdul Fattah
08-24-2007, 01:49 AM
Originally Posted by czgibson
Greetings,


This answer echoes my feelings on this almost completely.

Having faith in something without evidence is nothing unusual - we all do it every day. It's when that kind of faith determines how you live your life that the trouble begins.

Peace
If you were to do the opposite and not determine allow faith to determine your lifestyle, wouldn't that make one a very bad person? To give an example.
See there's a difference when a narcissist acts selfish and when a modest person act selfish. Both acts of selfishness are unethical, but the selfishness of the modest person is against better knowledge whereas the narcissist is convinced it's only a natural response in the given situation.

In Islam we believe each action is judged by it's intention. Therefor it's unthinkable that someone who has genuine faith does not let this influence his life.
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czgibson
08-24-2007, 03:06 AM
Greetings,
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
If you were to do the opposite and not determine allow faith to determine your lifestyle, wouldn't that make one a very bad person?
Why? It's perfectly possible to be moral without having faith.

In Islam we believe each action is judged by it's intention.
What if the intention is to become a shaheed for the greater glory of Allah, and you firmly believe you're doing the right thing? Such an attitude could lead to terrible actions, and has done on many occasions.

Therefor it's unthinkable that someone who has genuine faith does not let this influence his life.
This is so dangerous, though, because even within religions (and within sects of religions) people have different ideas about what 'genuine faith' is.

Peace
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Abdul Fattah
08-24-2007, 11:33 AM
Hi czgibson
There seem to be some misunderstanding. You said you had no problem with having faith, but you did have problem with faith determining life-choices. I replied to this that: If you were to do the opposite and not determine allow faith to determine your lifestyle, wouldn't that make one a very bad person?
To which you replied:
Originally Posted by czgibson
Greetings,
Why? It's perfectly possible to be moral without having faith.
So let me clarify what I meant. If one does have faith, but doesn't follow it doesn't that make him immoral? Because by not following what he believes he is not doing what he thinks is morally right. To give yet another (extreme) example: There's a difference between somebody who knows stealing is wrong but does it anyway because he desires some material gain as opposed to someone who steals something but is convinced that under certain circumstances (like hunger) it's ok.

That being clarified, I do think even a disbeliever can have some morality, but I think there's a huge difference both in level and in being steadfast with the believer.

What if the intention is to become a shaheed for the greater glory of Allah, and you firmly believe you're doing the right thing? Such an attitude could lead to terrible actions, and has done on many occasions.
I take it that you meant shahid (urdu for martyr) instead of shaheed (arabic for witness). Well my answer is, those people are not acting out of morality, cause then they would think of the numerous proofs in religion that forbids terroristic actions. Instead they are looking for some sort of gain, or perhaps are being blinded by hate, or maybe even other motivations can be found. In other words, it is not an action driven by morality.

This is so dangerous, though, because even within religions (and within sects of religions) people have different ideas about what 'genuine faith' is.
Everything that is powerfull is dangerous. Atomic fusion and fission is dangerous, yet it has it's advantages to. Feul is dangerous, yet we use it on a daily basis on numerous fields. Electricity is dangerous, yet we find it hard to imagen life without it. Powertools, and even knives and scissors are dangerous. When something is dangerous, that means we need to be carefull with it, it doesn't mean we need to drop it altogether
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Malaikah
08-24-2007, 12:42 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Having this kind of conversation with my atheist friend, I came to realise that his concerns are not just around people doing bad things in the name of God - but that in his eyes the very idea of believing in a supernatural being without any underpinning scientific evidence is what he rejects and disagrees with.The very idea of believing without proof is what disturbs him - regardless of whether this idea prompts the believer to do good, bad or whatever ...
I think he is wrong in this regard because,

1. We don't believe without reason. As for Muslims, we have the Quran (the best miracle of all), eye witness accounts of high authenticity of miracles, etc.

2. The argument that you can't scientifically prove that God exists is baseless since God is by definition outside of the scientifically observable realm. Stuff that we can observe, whether directly or indirectly, is called the creation, God is the Creator and is not bound by the laws of science, which He created Himself!

Originally Posted by snakelegs
so, i don't think the world would be a bit more peaceful if religion disappeared. another exuse can always be found.
That is true... it is a pretty big claim for a person to make that the world will be peaceful without religion!! As if they have the power to see into 'parallel universes' where religion did not exist.:p
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czgibson
08-24-2007, 01:08 PM
Greetings Steve,
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
Hi czgibson
There seem to be some misunderstanding. You said you had no problem with having faith, but you did have problem with faith determining life-choices. I replied to this that: If you were to do the opposite and not determine allow faith to determine your lifestyle, wouldn't that make one a very bad person?
To which you replied:

So let me clarify what I meant. If one does have faith, but doesn't follow it doesn't that make him immoral? Because by not following what he believes he is not doing what he thinks is morally right. To give yet another (extreme) example: There's a difference between somebody who knows stealing is wrong but does it anyway because he desires some material gain as opposed to someone who steals something but is convinced that under certain circumstances (like hunger) it's ok.
Yes, there is clearly some misunderstanding here. You seem to be making a necessary connection between having faith (of any kind) and being moral, when in fact no such connection exists. Beyond that, I'm afraid I don't see what you're getting at.

That being clarified, I do think even a disbeliever can have some morality, but I think there's a huge difference both in level and in being steadfast with the believer.
Why?

I take it that you meant shahid (urdu for martyr) instead of shaheed (arabic for witness).
Either will do.

Well my answer is, those people are not acting out of morality, cause then they would think of the numerous proofs in religion that forbids terroristic actions. Instead they are looking for some sort of gain, or perhaps are being blinded by hate, or maybe even other motivations can be found. In other words, it is not an action driven by morality.
I would agree, but the crucial point is that they believe they are acting morally.

Everything that is powerfull is dangerous. Atomic fusion and fission is dangerous, yet it has it's advantages to. Feul is dangerous, yet we use it on a daily basis on numerous fields. Electricity is dangerous, yet we find it hard to imagen life without it. Powertools, and even knives and scissors are dangerous. When something is dangerous, that means we need to be carefull with it, it doesn't mean we need to drop it altogether
A good argument, and one that hadn't occurred to me. I would respond by saying that the positive effects of the examples you mention could not be achieved in any other way, whereas the positive effects of religion could be achieved without it.

Originally Posted by Malaikah
I think he is wrong in this regard because,

1. We don't believe without reason. As for Muslims, we have the Quran (the best miracle of all), eye witness accounts of high authenticity of miracles, etc.
If this did actually count as good evidence, then far more people would believe in Islam than currently do.

2. The argument that you can't scientifically prove that God exists is baseless since God is by definition outside of the scientifically observable realm. Stuff that we can observe, whether directly or indirectly, is called the creation, God is the Creator and is not bound by the laws of science, which He created Himself!
The idea that god's existence is unprovable is misguided. In theory, it is certainly possible to give strong evidence that anything exists. In god's case, it hasn't been done yet.

The suggestion that god is beyond 'the scientifically observable realm' is just a 'get out of jail free' card for believers - I could say the same about any invented concept and it would be just as unconvincing.

Peace
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Pygoscelis
08-24-2007, 03:35 PM
Originally Posted by czgibson
The suggestion that god is beyond 'the scientifically observable realm' is just a 'get out of jail free' card for believers - I could say the same about any invented concept and it would be just as unconvincing.
You just lack faith czgibson. The Invisible Pink Unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Celestial Tea Pot are real. :thumbs_up
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Malaikah
08-25-2007, 01:50 AM
Originally Posted by czgibson
If this did actually count as good evidence, then far more people would believe in Islam than currently do.
Nah, not true. Firstly, one can't really appreciate the miraculous nature of the Quran if you aren't fluent in Arabic. Most people aren't. Secondly, most people haven't read the Quran in the first place. Thirdly, people don't care either way. Fourthly, people witnessed more obvious miracles, such as the splitting of the moon, and still didn't believe. So, no, I don't think that would be the case.

The suggestion that god is beyond 'the scientifically observable realm' is just a 'get out of jail free' card for believers - I could say the same about any invented concept and it would be just as unconvincing.
But you didn't produce miracles, a Holy Book to prove it, nor were you known unanimously as a trustworthy person (no offence, but the Prophet excelled in that), nor did you bring a message that was in accordance with what has come before it and also human instinct (that is, to believe in God).
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wilberhum
08-25-2007, 01:54 AM
Originally Posted by Malaikah
Nah, not true. Firstly, one can't really appreciate the miraculous nature of the Quran if you aren't fluent in Arabic.
So I guess Allah only cares for Arabs. :skeleton:
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Woodrow
08-25-2007, 02:01 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
So I guess Allah only cares for Arabs. :skeleton:
Which would explain why at least 85% of the world's Muslims are NOT Arabic?????????????
Reply

wilberhum
08-25-2007, 02:09 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
Which would explain why at least 85% of the world's Muslims are NOT Arabic?????????????
Are you telling me 85% of the Muslims "can't really appreciate the miraculous nature of the Quran"? :skeleton:
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جوري
08-25-2007, 02:14 AM
wow another reply that has no relevance to what preceded it-- this is what we call a 'non sequitur' wilbur.. pls try to focus your planes so you can have a decent landing--- with the beginning matching the end as much as possible.

peace!
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Woodrow
08-25-2007, 02:18 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Are you telling me 85% of the Muslims "can't really appreciate the miraculous nature of the Quran"? :skeleton:
Nope, telling you that 85% of us believe it is worth the effort to learn it in it's true beauty. It is much more than words. It is the total composistion and the wonder of the word flow that is written. It really is quite a wonder once you read your first Surah in the pure Arabic.

I was farily adept at colloqual Moroccan Arabic, before I ever read my first Surah in the original Arabic and I was absolutely flabbergasted, that the language could be so beautiful. Prior to that I liked the language, but thought it sounded a bit harsh and very glutteral. I did not think it could every be a pleasant sounding language.
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wilberhum
08-25-2007, 02:21 AM
edit
Offending post was deleted. Thanks.
Reply

wilberhum
08-25-2007, 02:24 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
Nope, telling you that 85% of us believe it is worth the effort to learn it in it's true beauty. It is much more than words. It is the total composistion and the wonder of the word flow that is written. It really is quite a wonder once you read your first Surah in the pure Arabic.

I was farily adept at colloqual Moroccan Arabic, before I ever read my first Surah in the original Arabic and I was absolutely flabbergasted, that the language could be so beautiful. Prior to that I liked the language, but thought it sounded a bit harsh and very glutteral. I did not think it could every be a pleasant sounding language.
You make it so difficult to attack ridicules statements. :hiding:
What can I say but “Uncle”? :confused:
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Uthman
08-25-2007, 12:41 PM
:sl:

Originally Posted by Malaikah
But you didn't produce miracles, a Holy Book to prove it, nor were you known unanimously as a trustworthy person (no offence, but the Prophet excelled in that)
Even the Non-Muslims of the time called him Al-Amin (the trustworthy one) Isn't that right? :)

:w:
Reply

Abdul Fattah
08-25-2007, 04:21 PM
Hi czgibson

Originally Posted by czgibson
Yes, there is clearly some misunderstanding here. You seem to be making a necessary connection between having faith (of any kind) and being moral, when in fact no such connection exists. Beyond that, I'm afraid I don't see what you're getting at.
Well first of all, in this case they were connected. If you trace back the origen of this argument, you'll see it started with you saying: Having faith in something without evidence is nothing unusual - we all do it every day. It's when that kind of faith determines how you live your life that the trouble begins.
So when people let faith lead their choices, they do so because of the morality derived from faith. For example religion says it's wrong to steal, so they don't steal. So you see, in such a case there is a huge connection between religion and morality. Now if a person believes that religion, and thus believes stealing is wrong, that not only makes him/her a thief, but also an immoral person because they do something while they fully realize it is immoral.

That being clarified, I do think even a disbeliever can have some morality, but I think there's a huge difference both in level and in being steadfast with the believer.
Why?
Well first the difference of level comes from faith. If muslims go as far as even avoiding free mixing for the purpose of not leading to free sexual intercourse. Or not sitting at a table where alcohol is drunk for the purpose of not being tempted to join, and not being taken by the mood. If woman go trough all those troubles and difficulties shielding of their beauty from the outside world as to not be the cause of sexual arousion and frustration of others. If we pray 5 times a day remembering our creator and remembering we will be held accountable for our actions. Remembering there are two angels with us who constantly write down all the good and bad stuff we do as we greet them at the end of prayer. And I can keep going like this for a while, but with all those things, can you still question there's a difference of level of morality? I think it's obvious that religious people (in general) are stricter in morality than non-religious. Now of course this is relative in the sense there is no absolute "neutral point" to relate those two groups to. So you can debate what the neutral point is, and wheter it's the case of one overdoing the morality or the other having a lack of moral. What you cannot debate is that three is a difference of level, because so much is obvious.

As for steadfastness. I think I can make up a whole lot of hypothetical situations where a non-believer will be inclined to forfeit his morality due to circumstances thinking it's not such a big deal whereas the firm Muslim would not.

I would agree, but the crucial point is that they believe they are acting morally.
Well some stalkers believe they kill their ex out of love, but nobody in the world seems to be having issues with love because of that. That is because we are all very familiar with love, so we immediately know that the stalker is wrong and did not act out of love but instead acted out of hate. I argue that; if in a similar way the world had an equal familiarity with Islam as they have with love; then the world wouldn't have any problems with Islam despite suicide bombers.

A good argument, and one that hadn't occurred to me. I would respond by saying that the positive effects of the examples you mention could not be achieved in any other way, whereas the positive effects of religion could be achieved without it.
I'm inclined to disagree with both point you made concerning the analogy.

First of all I do think there are alternatives with all the dangerous examples, but that the alternatives are rejected because of a lousy cost-effectiveness balance. In a similar way I would say that the non-believers would forfeit some of their morality if it's only a small immoral act with great positive benefit.

Secondly I do not think the positive effects can be that easily substituted by other things. Perhaps one could do so partially. But such substitutes simply don't cut the mustard.

The idea that god's existence is unprovable is misguided. In theory, it is certainly possible to give strong evidence that anything exists. In god's case, it hasn't been done yet.
I disagree. You seem to be implying that anything that exists must leave some sort of evidence. I think that is narrow-minded.
Reply

Sarada
08-25-2007, 05:49 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Hi all

This thread is prompted by a conversation I had with an atheist friend.
You never quite know how these threads run, but personally I am interested in hearing the opinions of atheist posters, rather than discussing or debating them.

So, here goes ...

I can understand that non-believers look at the wars, the in-fighting, the atrocities committed in the name of religion, and shake their heads in despair.
I can understand that non-believers might come to the conclusion that without religion the world might be a more peaceful place.

You see, I too see those atrocities committed in the name of religion, and I too am horrified.
But I also see the good that comes from people who are driven by religion.

Having this kind of conversation with my atheist friend, I came to realise that his concerns are not just around people doing bad things in the name of God - but that in his eyes the very idea of believing in a supernatural being without any underpinning scientific evidence is what he rejects and disagrees with.The very idea of believing without proof is what disturbs him - regardless of whether this idea prompts the believer to do good, bad or whatever ...

Do any of you have any thoughts on this?
I don't really know what it is I am trying to ask, because I cannot get my head around his thinking at all!
Perhaps one of you can enlighten me ...?

Peace
Salaam, Glo,

Before I became a Hindu, for many years I was disenchanted with religion. I too, was an atheist for a time. I don't understand why you can't get your head around his thinking that he needs proof that God exists. We live in a material world, where there has been much research, study and thinking done on cosmology and the nature of the universe. Our day to day life in Western society is based on scientific materialism. "I'll believe it when I see it"

Primitive people used to ascribe every mystery they encountered to a god of some kind. Now we know better, and have a scientific explanation for most natural phenomena. Perhaps, some day, we will have a useful scientific explanation of how the universe came into existence.

So, I believe your atheist friend is saying, that, just because we have no generally agreed upon scientific explanation for the existence of the universe, does not mean that God exists. Over the millenia, science has provided us with more logical explanations than the primitive peoples had. Therefore, I conclude that God does not exist.

You, on the other hand, are saying, because we do not have scientific proof that God exists, does not mean that s/he does not. I conclude, from my own perspective, and from my own personal experience, that God does exist.

My current position has a Hindu on the spiritual path, is that belief in God is subjective: it depends on one's own perspective and personal experiences. I do not believe that a belief in God automatically makes one a better person, nor do I believe the converse.

My belief comes down to this:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Shall I inform you of the best morals of this world and the hereafter?

They are to forgive he who oppresses you, to make a bond with he who severs from you, to be kind to he who insults you, and to give to he who deprives you.


If we could all do that, despite our religious differences, the world would indeed be a better place.

To me, whether it was said by Mohammed (pbuh) or Jesus, or Krishna, or any other messenger and/or deity, or it is a humanistic principle, is irrelevant.
Reply

Abdul Fattah
08-26-2007, 10:39 PM
I moved all off-topic conversation to a new thread here:
http://www.islamicboard.com/comparat...oly-quran.html

Sorry for hijacking your thread glo :)
Reply

czgibson
08-27-2007, 03:44 PM
Greetings Steve,
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
Well first of all, in this case they were connected. If you trace back the origen of this argument, you'll see it started with you saying: Having faith in something without evidence is nothing unusual - we all do it every day. It's when that kind of faith determines how you live your life that the trouble begins.
So when people let faith lead their choices, they do so because of the morality derived from faith.
We're still talking at cross-purposes here. Let me try and explain what I mean.

I'm sitting in my house typing away. My car is just outside, but I can't see it from where I'm sitting. I have faith that it is still there. I believe it is still there, even though I have no direct evidence for this (beyond the fact that it was there ten minutes ago and I live in a very quiet neighbourhood). I could be wrong - it could have been stolen - but I think I'm right.

Now, my belief one way or the other about whether or not my car is still there is not going to affect my moral views in any way, is it? There is no reason why any thought process based on faith should (simply by virtue of being faith) have any necessary connection with morality.

A religious person has no more evidence for god's existence than I do for the belief that my car is still where I left it. Yes, there are plenty people who have written about god, but can their words really be taken as evidence? Look at the number of religious writings which explicitly exclude other interpretations of what god is and what he wants: there is no way that all of these interpretations could be right, but they could all be wrong.
For example religion says it's wrong to steal, so they don't steal. So you see, in such a case there is a huge connection between religion and morality. Now if a person believes that religion, and thus believes stealing is wrong, that not only makes him/her a thief, but also an immoral person because they do something while they fully realize it is immoral.
There is certainly a historical connection between religion and morality, but there is no necessary connection.

What you cannot debate is that three is a difference of level, because so much is obvious.
What I was pointing to was the fact you were making a huge generalisation about massive groups of people, but since you're happy with thinking that way I think we'll just let it lie...

As for steadfastness. I think I can make up a whole lot of hypothetical situations where a non-believer will be inclined to forfeit his morality due to circumstances thinking it's not such a big deal whereas the firm Muslim would not.
Non-believers famously have no integrity at all. Don't trust them, folks!
Well some stalkers believe they kill their ex out of love, but nobody in the world seems to be having issues with love because of that. That is because we are all very familiar with love, so we immediately know that the stalker is wrong and did not act out of love but instead acted out of hate. I argue that; if in a similar way the world had an equal familiarity with Islam as they have with love; then the world wouldn't have any problems with Islam despite suicide bombers.
This is a fairly good argument, making clear the differences between the two pairs. I don't think the world has a problem with Islam, per se, I think the world has a problem with nutters blowing themselves and others up. The fact that many of them do it in the name Islam must be hugely offensive to the broad majority of Muslims.

First of all I do think there are alternatives with all the dangerous examples, but that the alternatives are rejected because of a lousy cost-effectiveness balance.
I'm not sure I believe you, but that's another discussion.
In a similar way I would say that the non-believers would forfeit some of their morality if it's only a small immoral act with great positive benefit.
Generalising again.

Secondly I do not think the positive effects can be that easily substituted by other things. Perhaps one could do so partially. But such substitutes simply don't cut the mustard.
Opinion.

I don't suppose we'll ever agree on this...

I disagree. You seem to be implying that anything that exists must leave some sort of evidence. I think that is narrow-minded.
I would love to hear of one thing that we know exists but for which there is no evidence. :D

Peace
Reply

Pygoscelis
08-27-2007, 06:03 PM
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
So when people let faith lead their choices, they do so because of the morality derived from faith.
And this "faith" can lead them to do horrible things just as easily as it can lead them to do kind things. Faith and obedience are no substitute for your moral compas. If God tells you do do something that is clearly horrible, such as killing your son (like in the story of Abraham and Isaac), do you agree to obey? Some people's "faith" allows them to rationalize horrible actions, which is why terrorists use religion so extensively.

I think it's obvious that religious people (in general) are stricter in morality than non-religious.
That depends on how you define morality. They are not more moral from my view of what morality is. They are more obedient. And they are just as prone to the negative as the positive from an objective standpoint if that is what is asked of them from their authority figures. For example I find the devout's demonization of homosexuals pretty immoral.

Well some stalkers believe they kill their ex out of love, but nobody in the world seems to be having issues with love because of that. That is because we are all very familiar with love, so we immediately know that the stalker is wrong and did not act out of love but instead acted out of hate. I argue that; if in a similar way the world had an equal familiarity with Islam as they have with love; then the world wouldn't have any problems with Islam despite suicide bombers.
One needs to step out of the black and white world of absolutes to understand the stalker's mind. Stalkers (the men chasing women or women chasing men variety) do not stalk out of hate. They are obsessed with their victim and do indeed care for them and love them - too much. And when they find their love is rejected they are hurt tremendously and that is when they get violent and do bad things. You can't label this complex mindset as just "love" or "hate".

Secondly I do not think the positive effects can be that easily substituted by other things. Perhaps one could do so partially. But such substitutes simply don't cut the mustard.
What do you see as the positive effects? That is probably the source of the disagreement. The only positive effects that are observable by an outsider are obedience, group identification (which can lead to both a sense of belonging and an in-group / out-group dynamic that can be bad), sense of eternal and inescapable justice (which may keep psychopaths in line but also may lead people not to work for real justice), and sense of immortality and this world being but one plane of existence (a bad thing in my view).

I disagree. You seem to be implying that anything that exists must leave some sort of evidence. I think that is narrow-minded.
You are of course right to find that narrow minded. There are things that exist that we can not dectect (ie, carbon monoxide). But these things, being undetectable, simply can not be acted on. Without a dectector you can't tell what invisible things may be around you and no invented idea of what is is any more ridicullous or worthy of contemplation than any other. God, a little girls invisible friend, the invisible pink unicorn, Santa, Bertrand Russel's celestial tea pot, are all equally likely when we have zero evidence of each.
Reply

barney
08-28-2007, 12:22 AM
A religious person acting on their beleif in something not provable to exist is no problem, if they are acting as a force for Good.
So whats "Good".

Well Good is pretty easy. It's actions intended to benifit others and yourself.

I find the blind acceptance by a populace of the religion of their country or their family understandable. It's socially comfortable, easy and requires no thought...just acceptance.

It's harder to be a Athiest, you have to either be a careless atheist who dosnt give a stuff about creation, the afterlife or spirituality, or you can be a inquisitive atheist who explores such matters, finding answers in science and logic.

Hardest to be is a Agnostic. You can accept a creator, but wonder what the truth is because you cant see any in scripture.
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ranma1/2
08-28-2007, 01:10 AM
Originally Posted by barney
....
Hardest to be is a Agnostic. You can accept a creator, but wonder what the truth is because you cant see any in scripture.
its sounds to me that your more of a deist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deist
In general to my knowledge agnostics usually does not create an opinion on wether a god exists or not. Agnostism covers the idea is that we can not know for sure if their is a god or not.

Now you can of course add to it being a theist agnostic. You believe in a god but you cant know if one exists or an atheist agnostic "like myself"
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barney
08-28-2007, 02:30 AM
Nope I dont respect divine revalation as the personal experiences of others.
Divine revalation is a political / personal power tool used to unify a contempory oppotunity.

The "oppressed" Hebrews in Eygpt found a Rabble rouser in Moses, they had probably had many before him, but he unified them with digging up their ancestoral God from legend to make them feel special and give them purpose.
moses became the leader of a nation and conquorer of a "promised" land.

Jo Smith found a willing audience against catholisism, he gained riches , power and influence. He gained immortality through his cult.

Jesus I veiw as a Ghandi type figure, teaching non-violence and giving the occupied Jewish lands a focus of resistance, backing that up with divine blessings from above as Moses did. it ended with his execution, but he became the ultimate martyer.
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