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Interfaith Dialogue
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AhmadJoyia
 
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bullet Posted: 21 November 2007 at 1:01am

Hi Diagoras, Thanks for your reply.

Originally posted by Diagoras

AhmadJoyia you are in bold.

I guess it is futile to ask for the proof of the existense/non-existense of God. This is simply because both are based upon faith. If I can't provide the proof of existense, the same goes for proving non-esistense. Isn't it? So, I call the aethiests also as the people of faith.


Russel's Teapot


If I postulated a teapot floating out somewhere between Earth and the Andromeda Galaxy, and then asked you to prove it was not there you could not. If I then tried to claim that since you could not prove it didn't exist it existed, I would be incorrect. The burden of proof is on the presenter of a claim.

My dear, it is really hard to say who is the 'presenter of a claim'. To me, athiest faith is the challenger to the already existing religious faiths. Hence the burdon of proof is on them for presenting this new idea. However, as I said, in order to avoid this futile discussion, I don’t argue on who has the burden and have gone beyond this rudimentary argument. 

Originally posted by Diagoras


There is no science in it. So no aethiests should consider themselves as the sole 'champions' of science. Rather, if I am not wrong, most of the scientists in the present world are not athiest. Kindly correct me if you have any statistics against this claim.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
70% of scientist lack belief in God. Keep in mind that atheist are 5% of the American public and thus this is proportionally huge.

Kindly note my remarks "scientists in the present world ". I don't think America represents whole world scientific community. Isn’t it? Therefore, statistics on the selected sample are not true representative of the population. Secondly, the percentages shown on your referred website for some of the years don’t add up to 100%. Either there is a typo or something actually missing in the data.

Originally posted by Diagoras



People having faith in God have some moral principles (good or bad is not the issue here though they are debtable within various religions) on which they base their whole life. These are the principles on which societies come in existence and humans are differentiated from the animal kingdom. Without such a concept of God, I have real difficulty in defining what is morally 'right' and what is 'wrong', the very basic building blocks of any society.

http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm
Atheist make up a minority of the prison population.

 Your reply misses the point of the argument. The question was how to define what is good and bad without the concept of God and not who is more or less law abiding.

Originally posted by Diagoras



Personally, I think morality both arises from some basic genetic impulses (ie. Don't kill other humans unless you are threatened) and are social constructs.

Again, both of them doesn't provide any distinction of humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. So your reply again misses the mark. Many animal species live in societies with their own set of rules. I don’t think they are based on any moral codified ethics but through evolutionary program of ‘survival of the fittest’.

 

Originally posted by Diagoras


A common challenge to the idea that God is required to dictate morality is the following scenario: If God commanded you to kill a baby, saying that it was moral, would you? I hope the answer is no. Yet, if God defines morality then if he said killing babies was good it would be good. Hence, I conclude that we draw our morality from something within ourselves.

 Your conclusion from your own examples is not logically linked up. If for someone, God defines morality, how can you conclude that it was drawn within himself? Secondly, the very basic question of discussing what is right or wrong comes under the perview of religions debating whose teachings are more closer to serving the humanity and thus universal than the others. For that, discussion are made within these religious faiths. But I don’t see on which basis an atheist can put forward his moral/ethical laws etc?

Originally posted by Diagoras


In the same way, existence of God enable humans to work selfless service to fellow human beings (for the reward in the hereafter) whereas on the contrary, the non-existence of God doesn't provide impetus for such a service.

No, but natural human altruism does compel us too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism

Thanks for your reference to wikipedia. There are two issues with your reply. Firstly, kindly note the words “selfless service” in my post where as according to evolutionary biology “reciprocal altuism” is not un-conditional. Therefore it is hard to equate the two. Secondly, the evolutionary sciences dealing with social behaviors of homo-sepians has been unable to delink / decouple religious faith based behaviors/attitudes from those purely based upon the process of natural selection. This is simply because history has been predominantly baised towards religious influences. There is hardly any society discovered as yet which was purly aetheist in their beliefs. Hence, all studies carried out on the behavioral evolutionary processes of homospeians, the baises of some sort of religious faith always exists. Here is a small example that I found interesting from your own references. While discussing Setting up altruistic partnerships the author quotes very famous religious text “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as a favourable approach. Now it is really hard to prove that this approach towards others  is based purely on evolutionary processes or through religious teachings indoctrinated throughout the history of mankind.

Personally speaking, even if it is through the science of evolutionary process, the credit must be given to the people of that religion who first applied it in times when there was no such science known per se. Isn’t it? But the question remains, who told them to do follow it and why it remained hidden from the people of other faiths, espcially from the aethiests of that time (if there were any).

 

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herjihad
 
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bullet Posted: 21 November 2007 at 6:23am

Salaams,

Diagoras,

You have cleared something up for me, thanks.  You intended this thread for people who are curious as to how you can live as an atheist, not as a discussion on why we believe don't "believe" in atheism. 

But you haven't gone into that, have you?  This idea seems to be more visceral and emotional rather than intellectually based.  What are the motivations in life for an atheist?  Also, you say you are a weak atheist. 

I studied a bit about agnosticism, and it's not as simple as "believing in a superior power".  I had the wrong idea about it for many years also. 

But if your point is that you believe in a power that created us rather than the idea that we were created by chance, then these recent discussions are merely for the sake of argument and not touching on your sincere, true feelings about the nature of the world.  Why don't you start a topic based on your belief because that would lead in a different direction entirely.

I could guess about what you mean by "weak atheism", but why do that when you could explain it yourself. 

Thanks



Edited by herjihad
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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minuteman
 
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bullet Posted: 21 November 2007 at 10:22am

 

 Yes, discussion could be more useful if Diagoras explained the nature of  belief in plain words. Otherwise it is is no use wandering in the randomland. Let us have some concrete base to go on or off, please.

 Is it the problem about the belief in the creator?? Then there will be a definite question about the belief in the creation too. Diagoras please explain your belief in some easy detail so that we can understand it better.

Do you have a problem about the existence of God?

Do you feel that there is no God, (The Creator) ?

Thanks.

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Diagoras
 
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bullet Posted: 21 November 2007 at 12:50pm
Woah! Lots of posts!

It'll take me a bit to get back to you all on this, what with Thanksgiving, and I want to make sure I respond fully to all your points. I'm happy about the turnout though!
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zakarianz
 
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bullet Posted: 22 November 2007 at 4:15am

Hi to my athiest new friend (hopefully)

As far as I know there are 3 basic principals that all human would view and hold as correct and these are:

1- Nothing can not create a thing,

2- the act is a mirror of the capacity of the doer and of some of his/her characteristics, and

3- S/he who hasn't got something (say object ''A'') cannot give that thing (the object''A'')

Now my question is: do you accept these 3 principals?

Kind regards

Zakaria

Zakaria
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Diagoras
 
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bullet Posted: 22 November 2007 at 3:17pm
Well, here I go. Bear with me it may take me a while to get to everyone.

Originally posted by seekshidayath

Now, if the world is lawless in its inherent constitution and if everything which is born out of it is also in its nature without law, it means  that the formulation of any laws by human beings, whether those laws are scientific or ethical or political or economic, would be violation  of human nature and nature of the world itself. But human beings cannot exists without law. Therefore, they are bound to give up the athesitic hypothesis  of the existence of the world  inorder to live. If they don't  and if they carry the atheistic hypothesis  to its logical  consequences, the only law which they can establish for themselves would be law of jungle in political administration and rule of expediencey in moral life.

Whereas, when we speak affirming the existence of God, if we believe  God exists and HE is the Creator, it means the world came  into being thru planned Creation, is fucntioning  under a system of law and is moving towards a purpose. In other words, plan, purpose, and law are inherent in the very constitution of the world. This, in turn provides the ground for every branch of human law.

Hope u shall ponder over it.



Humanity did not come around by chance, it came into being due to the laws of Evolution. These shaped our species physiology and psychology. Thus, as social animals, we evolved complex social institutions to monitor ourselves and maintain order. That's all there is to it in my opinion, whether the Earth was created by chance or a divine architect has little effect on it.
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Diagoras
 
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bullet Posted: 22 November 2007 at 3:36pm
My dear, it is really hard to say who is the 'presenter of a claim'. To me, athiest faith is the challenger to the already existing religious faiths. Hence the burdon of proof is on them for presenting this new idea. However, as I said, in order to avoid this futile discussion, I don’t argue on who has the burden and have gone beyond this rudimentary argument.

Nah, that's not my position at least. It consists of you saying "God exists," and I reply "prove it."

Kindly note my remarks "scientists in the present world ". I don't think America represents whole world scientific community. Isn’t it? Therefore, statistics on the selected sample are not true representative of the population. Secondly, the percentages shown on your referred website for some of the years don’t add up to 100%. Either there is a typo or something actually missing in the data.

Well, America is the leader of the modern scientific world. However, other heavily scientific areas such as Europe and Japan are all very secular themselves.

In stats, when percentages don't add up, the remainder are unknown answers (lost, never responded, etc.)

Your reply misses the point of the argument. The question was how to define what is good and bad without the concept of God and not who is more or less law abiding.

I was just pointing out that the Atheists, whom apparently can't tell the difference between right and wrong, make up a minority of the prison population.

Again, both of them doesn't provide any distinction of humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. So your reply again misses the mark. Many animal species live in societies with their own set of rules. I don’t think they are based on any moral codified ethics but through evolutionary program of ‘survival of the fittest’.

I concur. Human morals are the product of years of natural and artificial evolution.

Your conclusion from your own examples is not logically linked up. If for someone, God defines morality, how can you conclude that it was drawn within himself? Secondly, the very basic question of discussing what is right or wrong comes under the perview of religions debating whose teachings are more closer to serving the humanity and thus universal than the others. For that, discussion are made within these religious faiths. But I don’t see on which basis an atheist can put forward his moral/ethical laws etc?

No, my point was that if you claim that we get our morals from God, then if God commanded one to murder and infant would it be right? Since God is the giver of morality, is not his will the only judge of what's good?

Religions are nor the only source of morality, there are a multitude of secular moral traditions ranging from the European Enlightenment to the Chinese Confucianist teachings and even the United States Constitution and government. See Secular Humanism for a recent moral philosophy.

Thanks for your reference to wikipedia. There are two issues with your reply. Firstly, kindly note the words “selfless service” in my post where as according to evolutionary biology “reciprocal altuism” is not un-conditional. Therefore it is hard to equate the two. Secondly, the evolutionary sciences dealing with social behaviors of homo-sepians has been unable to delink / decouple religious faith based behaviors/attitudes from those purely based upon the process of natural selection. This is simply because history has been predominantly baised towards religious influences. There is hardly any society discovered as yet which was purly aetheist in their beliefs. Hence, all studies carried out on the behavioral evolutionary processes of homospeians, the baises of some sort of religious faith always exists. Here is a small example that I found interesting from your own references. While discussing Setting up altruistic partnerships the author quotes very famous religious text “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as a favourable approach. Now it is really hard to prove that this approach towards others  is based purely on evolutionary processes or through religious teachings indoctrinated throughout the history of mankind.

Personally speaking, even if it is through the science of evolutionary process, the credit must be given to the people of that religion who first applied it in times when there was no such science known per se. Isn’t it? But the question remains, who told them to do follow it and why it remained hidden from the people of other faiths, espcially from the aethiests of that time (if there were any).

I'm confused as to what your asking, but I'll try to answer your point.

There have been very few atheist societies, but there have been quite a few secular ones. Earlier I cited the Enlightenment, China, and the United States but even the pre-Socratic traditions of Ancient Greece had secular roots.

Humans have acted out of altruism not because of religion, but because of basic evolutionary mechanisms and more complex social mechanisms that evolved over millions and thousands of years respectively.
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Diagoras
 
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bullet Posted: 22 November 2007 at 3:38pm

You have cleared something up for me, thanks.  You intended this thread for people who are curious as to how you can live as an atheist, not as a discussion on why we believe don't "believe" in atheism. 

But you haven't gone into that, have you?  This idea seems to be more visceral and emotional rather than intellectually based.  What are the motivations in life for an atheist?  Also, you say you are a weak atheist.

Weak atheist lack belief in God, because they do not see enough evidence for His existence. Sorry if that wasn't clear.


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