I wanted to put this question out there to see how strongly everyone feels on this subject. Being that most of us trust in scientific fact and reasoning, I was wondering if everyone is absolutely, undeniably, 100% sure that a god doesn't exist.  I personally take into account that there is no proof of any cosmic creator so therefore I am about 99.9999% sure that there is no god. However we all agree that science is an ever evolving field and I don't think that there will ever be any proof to support the existence of a supreme being, but I can't be 100% sure until there is concrete proof against one. I would like to know what all of your thoughts on this.  

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Leveni, you wrote, "I truly believe atheism has nothing to offer. What you are talking about is a consequence of suddenly becoming free to think anything and everything you want."

I don't understand your meaning that atheism has nothing to offer.  Becoming free to think is a wonderful thing.  No puppet strings coming from moms or dads or dogma or traditions.  Being free to think means one has the ability to use all the senses to input data unlinked with shoulda or oughta or gotta. Yes, that leaves the possibility for wild abandon, and that has its pros and cons.

For example, when a man or woman reveals his/her homosexuality and experiences rejection, the problem lies, not in homosexuality, but in not being able and willing to see reality. 

Thanks for the distinctions. It seems my experiences are more complex than I thought.  Now I shall clear up my understanding of each concept.  I learned something today and appreciate your input.

Hi Jaon. 

I wish I wrote what Aaron said. But he beat me to it. And thanks for putting the time and energy it to understanding my point of view. 

You guys make good sense.  Thanks. Joan

Hi Leveni,

 

You say, "Maybe it was religion that allowed people to amass in great numbers to form the populations of our first cities, and because of that, great buildings were able to be built, firstly religious buildings and later on administrative buildings. And from that, the birth of architecture, mathematics and astronomy. Religion may have been a necessary step, to what we have become today."

 

That is pure conjecture and an argument from ignorance. What we know for sure from the historical record is that belief in the supernatural has done tremendous harm to human happiness and human progress, while at the same time providing some level of psychological comfort. On balance, I think it has been a disaster for the species and the planet.

 

I agree that atheism is an inexorable result of logical thinking, but that it also may be arrived at thru less rational means. Regardless, once achieved, atheism is a valuable springboard to further intellectual and psychological progress for the individual as well as for society at large. It is simply bizarre that you would insist this is not so, that it has nothing to offer. By eliminating a huge source of confusion (Skydaddy did it, Skydaddy will fix it, Skydaddy explains it), atheism allows a much clearer view of reality. This is obviously no guarantee against further error, such as the various forms of woo that many atheists fall victim to, but at least in this one important regard, atheists are better grounded in reality that god-believers. How can that not be valuable?

Hi jason,

That is pure conjecture

Yep, it sure is,

and

I'd say most of our history, if not all of it, is pure conjecture. But my conjecture is based on: Why are the oldest surviving buildings mostly of a religious nature? And, what was it that allowed our ancestors to build bigger and better religious buildings? Was it by magic, or did they learn through the experience of building simple religious buildings at first and then get better and better at it. Writing down how they build the better buildings so others could do the same and build on what was learned before hand. 

and an argument from ignorance.

???, hehe :)

What we know for sure from the historical record is that belief in the supernatural has done tremendous harm to human happiness and human progress, while at the same time providing some level of psychological comfort. On balance, I think it has been a disaster for the species and the planet.

Ok. Sure. But that doesn't mean my original statement is false. Astronomy comes straight from religion. Our first attempts to explain the stars were religious explanations. Your hatred of religion is blinding you from historical truth. Just because I believe the beginnings of architecture, maths and astronomy were originally developed because of religion doesn't mean I am pro-religion. I am neither pro nor anti-religion. 

I agree that atheism is an inexorable result of logical thinking, but that it also may be arrived at thru less rational means. Regardless, once achieved, atheism is a valuable springboard to further intellectual and psychological progress for the individual as well as for society at large.

I prefer to look at atheism as the non-existence of God. Nothing more. If you start adding things to atheism, you begin to do exactly what the religious have done with their religions.

We all start off as atheists. It isn't until we are told about God, when we are children, that we become Christians. Some of us, like myself, have never experienced religion and I guess I never will. The closest I can get to it is by listening to Christians who continuously make contradictory statements, and believing both versions of their own contradiction. (<- does that sentence makes sense?) I often wonder why Christians never see how they contradict themselves. My favourite example is "God made the universe, he made the earth go around the sun, and he made the sun rise in the east and set in the west, everyday." I love it when I hear this, it always makes me smile and I almost always laugh out loud, but I always hold back my laughter.

It is simply bizarre that you would insist this is not so, that it has nothing to offer.

I think it bizarre that you think atheism is more than not believing in God. All the things that you say atheism brings? All those things have nothing to do with atheism. But if you have kids and you want to indoctrinate them with the 'truth' about atheism, go ahead. 

By eliminating a huge source of confusion (Skydaddy did it, Skydaddy will fix it, Skydaddy explains it)

Look at it from my point of view. I never eliminated the Skydaddy. He was never there for me. He has never been a part of my life. The elimination of the Skydaddy will never happen for me. Maybe this is the source of the confusion that exists between us.

atheism allows a much clearer view of reality. This is obviously no guarantee against further error, such as the various forms of woo that many atheists fall victim to

This answers a question I was going to put to you. 

but at least in this one important regard, atheists are better grounded in reality that god-believers.

"When an Atheist hears voices in his head he thinks he should go and see a doctor but when a Christian hears voices in his head he thinks he is talking with God" I've read this statement a couple of times on various atheist websites. I think I've read it here also. 

 How can that not be valuable?

I understand what your are saying and what you have said all along. The points I have made above are an attempt to clarify my position rather than contradict anything you have said.

I still don't think atheism has anything to offer. I think that in general, atheists are people who think about things more deeply than non-atheist. Therefore, when you say:

 Regardless, once achieved, atheism is a valuable springboard to further intellectual and psychological progress for the individual as well as for society at large.

I'm not too sure if it is the atheism that allows the progress you are talking about or if it is the fact that the Atheists, you are referring to, already have an innate ability to progress.

Leveni, I asked the same question, "Why are the oldest surviving buildings mostly of a religious nature?"

I have been in great cathedrals in Mexico, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Turkey, and inquired at libraries, at churches, and talked to people in pubs about the conditions when the great monstrous cathedrals were built.  What was their condition, economically, socially, politically, and spiritually?  The common answer was that people who paid for the construction and who built the buildings were very poor, very afraid of that god in the sky and afraid of the clergy.  In Mexico, for example, the common people were virtual slaves to the churches, supported by imperialist countries. In fact, colonizers used religion to gain control over native populations. Exploitation, domination, and control provide powerful forces for natives to submit through fear or through devotion to a spiritual power.  The carvings on roofs where people could not see them were as beautiful as those seen by everyone; the carvers stated they carved for god, not man.  

Hi Joan,

 The common answer was that people who paid for the construction and who built the buildings were very poor, very afraid of that god in the sky and afraid of the clergy.

I agree. 

I have no problem with the bible, the same way I have no problem with 'Puss in Boots' or any other story. My favourite story is Charlie the Unicorn. I also have no problem with religion, the same way I have no problem with any club or organisation.

I think what most open and vocal Atheists dislike is the pushing of personal opinion onto others. And even worse still, once a personal opinion has been push onto another, manipulating that opinion for the pushers own personal benefit to the detriment of the person being pushed. The two biggest and most powerful offenders in regards to this, as far as I can see, are government and the organized church. 

Even if religion disappears, and we all become atheists, will society become a better place over all? Will there still be people who see nothing wrong with manipulating others for their own purpose and to the detriment of others. If this is the case then nothing is the fault of religion. Everything is our own fault.

leveni - good points.... :)

If religion disappears we will still have a conflicted population.  Atheists obviously don't have all the solutions but religions have all the answers ... if one can swallow them  My goodness just look at the brutal killings between 

Balkans, Eastern Orthodox vs. Moslems

Brazil, Roman Catholic schism

Caucasus, Christian Orthodox vs. Islam 

China, Government vs. religion 

Egypt, Moslems vs. Christians

Ethiopia, Moslems vs. Christians 

India/Pakistan, Hindus vs. Moslems

Indonesia, Christias vs. Moslems 

Iran, Persecution of the Baha'is 

Iraq, Shiite Moslems vs. Sunni Moslems 

Malaysia, Hindus, vs. Moslems, vs. Christians 

Middle East, Judaism vs. Islam 

Myanmar, Buddhists vs. Christians 

Nigeria, Christias vs. Moslems

Northern Ireland, Roman Catholics vs. Protestants

Philippines, Moslems vs. Roman Catholics

Sri Lanka, Hindus vs. Buddhists 

Sudan, Christians vs. Moslems 

USA, Moslems vs. Jews/Christians 

Hi Joan, 

How are things?

I love your list. But for me I usually never blame religion for anything. The problem has to do with us.

War has been a part of human history since time immemorial. And the list you have made is known as 'Cherry Picking'. Even if all the wars in your list are religious wars, it doesn't mean all wars are of a religious nature. WW1 and WW2 had nothing to do with religion. Even if there were no religions we would still have wars.

Your list is also a little ambiguous because you have not put dates in. 

Anyway, you have made a list so lets go through it and verify whether or not it is the fault of religion or ethnicity or greed or stupidity. I hope you can add  more information to the list, to make it more informative. 

Balkans, Eastern Orthodox vs. Moslems

You left out Catholics.

I'll assume you are talking about the break up of Yugoslavia. It's hard to tell if it is solely a religious war. The Ethnic Serbians are Orthodox, the Croatians are Catholic and the Albanians Muslim. Personally, I think the wars were Ethnic wars rather than religious wars. The reason being that the Serbians and Albanians existed as tribes before their respective religions existed.

Brazil, Roman Catholic schism

What religious killings are you talking about here? 

Caucasus, Christian Orthodox vs. Islam 

Again the Caucasus have been an area of constant war. The Persians, the Romans, the British, the Ottomans and the Russians have all been fighting there for along time. The recent fighting there can also be looked upon as ethnic fighting. The Chechen's would like their independence, much the same as the Tibetans would like their independence from Communist China.

China, Government vs. religion 

Personally I agree with the Chinese governments stand on religion. Indoctrination should not start until the child is old enough to think for itself. If you are talking about Tibet, then I'd say it has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with history. If you are talking about Falun Gong, certain members of the Communist party tried to use it to take over the government, it had more to do with politics and power than religion. If you are talking about the Taiping rebellion, maybe. 

Egypt, Moslems vs. Christians

Again, this is not just a religious matter but also an ethnic matter. The Copts consider themselves the 'true' Egyptians. And the Muslims are Arab invaders. Whether this is true or not, I don't know.

Ethiopia, Moslems vs. Christians

What's going on in Ethiopia? 

India/Pakistan, Hindus vs. Moslems

Ok, this one is based on religion. These two countries were once one country and one people, kind of. Religion divided them. Some people blame Lord Mountbatten, but that's a cop-out.   

Indonesia, Christias vs. Moslems 

Yep, crazy Muslims sometimes go on Christian killing rampages. But there is a little bit of ethnicity involved here. Usually what happens in Indonesia is, whole villages or groups/tribes of people will convert to a religion. 

Iran, Persecution of the Baha'is 

Yep. 

Iraq, Shiite Moslems vs. Sunni Moslems 

Like Indonesia, the religions of Iraq are tribally based. Individuals rarely converted to any particular religion. Whole tribes would convert at once. So if there was tribal conflict before conversion, it would still continue, after conversion. 

Malaysia, Hindus, vs. Moslems, vs. Christians 

This is also an ethnic conflict. 100% of ethnic Malays are all Muslim by law, Indians mostly Hindu, Chinese Buddhist, Christians and mixture of Indians and Chinese.

Middle East, Judaism vs. Islam 

Ethnic conflict. In my mind Israel is founded on the same principles as Australia, Canada and the US. And that is European Colonization. Europeans went to Israel and kicked out the Indigenous population. Nothing wrong with that though, as long as we are the ones doing the kicking.

Myanmar, Buddhists vs. Christians 

There's religious conflict in Burma? I looked it up. And again it is mostly along ethnic lines. The Chin for example are about 80% Christian. They converted on-mass during British rule. Same with the Karen, Karen Christians are targeted, but it has more to do with Ethnicity, a deal the Karen had with the British during WW2, than religion. 

Nigeria, Christias vs. Moslems

Don't know much about it. But it looks like a conflict between the Government and violent Islamic sects rather than Muslims vs Christians.

Northern Ireland, Roman Catholics vs. Protestants

Again, this is not just religious but also ethnic. The Indigenous Catholics vs the  Scott/Anglo protestants. 

Philippines, Moslems vs. Roman Catholics

Yep. 

Sri Lanka, Hindus vs. Buddhists

This is not a religious fight, it is an ethnic conflict. Indigenous Sri Lankans vs Ethnic Tamil Indians.

 

Sudan, Christians vs. Moslems 

I don't think there is a problem between Muslims and Christians here. 

USA, Moslems vs. Jews/Christians 

There is a conflict between Muslims and Christians in the US, what happened?

Levini, Wonderful response, and accurate. I really like the prod to be specific.

On the other hand, what flag do these religious groups fight under?  When it is an intra-nation battle, is not the philosophy of the combatants that drive them to war.  Yes, poverty is an appropriate motivator for some disputes, likes-join-likes against "other."  Religion often collects people together around a church; In Spokane we have what we call the "Catholic Ghetto" which isn't a ghetto in the usual sense, it is a very prosperous, beautiful part of our city, and even the Catholics refer to their neighborhood this way.  

Sadly, war is a part of a great deal of time in our history.  There is no evidence, based on not finding weapons in archeology digs, fortified walls, or skeletons with massive injuries that warring creates. Early Çatalhöyük, Turkey is an example of that. There are 22 layers of civilizations, if I remember correctly, one on top of the other.  The early sites at the bottom of the pile had no evidence of weapons of war, no fortifications, no skeletons with signs of broken bones, other than would normally be found.  It appears to have been a peaceful community with no war armaments.  The layers to which I speak are the Neolithic layers.  The archaeologist with whom I spoke was clear about this details.

The way I compiled this list is faulty.  Being a lover of peace and justice, whenever I saw a news article about war and it included references to religious connections, I pulled up my "Wars with Religious Attributes" list and added it.  The list I sent was sorted alphabetically, which makes no real sense other than to be easier to look up.  I wish I had included important details, such as dates, rationale for war, and even names of leaders and their religious affiliations.  

What does archaeology have to tell us about human Life?  Have we always been warlike?  Riane Eisler asked that question.  She was a young Jewish girl that escaped with her family from Nazi persecution; they got on a boat of Jews escaping to the USA and were denied entry.  The boat went to Cuba, if I remember correctly, where they found refuge.  She grew up, became an attorney and wondered why she was limited in her ability to conduct proper legal cases in court.  A judge told her he would not hear a case from a person in a skirt.  She changed to a pant suit and the judge said he would not hear cases from a woman wearing pants. Logical! Right?  Her question: why do some people prejudge others? She was judged for being a Jew and a woman. She turned to legal history, social sciences, systems theory and archeology. "The Chalice and the Blade" followed.  She and Maria Gimbutas, an archaeologist, found common ground and Eisler wrote "The Power of Partnership," and "The Wealth of Nations."

According to Eisler and Gimbutas, there have been war-free societies around the globe at different times on the Eon Scale.  Gimbutas found there was a correlation with violence and religiosity and spiritualism.  When humans turned to sky gods or mysticism, they tended to believe they had a right to access to resources and defended that belief by referring to high authority.  Not all cultures hold such beliefs. There are those who see themselves as part of a larger whole, the "Indra's Net" concept. Everything that is reflects everything that is. 

Therefore, I yield to your excellent and appropriate criticism and find your comments worthy of my attention ... and an addition of categories to answer these legitimate questions.  Thanks, you are a good and valuable reader of my work.  

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