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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, 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.  

Attachments:

I was expecting something to read when I opened the attachments, but then, suddenly, my brain was confronted with these strange images. It took me a second to adjust to the confusion caused by them.

Levini, There is no Reply button on your comment so I am using the Reply on my comment and hope you can make sense of what I am trying to convey. 

Sorry I confused you with the attachments.  I included the photos to demonstrate 3 dimension concepts, such as Indra's Net, and astronomy images that represent how change in one part of a system can impact many other parts of a system. If a people believe a supernatural power promised them land, another group of people believe a supernatural power promised them the same land, who owns the land? It is the beliefs based upon their stories that brings about constant war.  Those beliefs have repercussions around the earth.  Beliefs, based on superstition, have potential for terrible wars and suffering.  

HI Joan,

Yep I agree, if that is what people believe their God told them

 

So in the particular case of Israel, the Jews say they are using divine prophecy to claim Israel. 

Also, Muhammad used divine prophecy to conquer the middle east.

The Crusaders used religion as an excuse to take back the "Holy Land"

Bahai's in Iran. (Interesting fact: It is illegal for Bahai's to proselytize in Israel or they will get kicked out of the country)

Babri Mosque

These are of the top of my head. Definitely lots more.

 

I don't want to change your mind about religion being the cause of the above.

But

ultimately for me, the above have nothing to do with religion. I never blame religion. I only blame each individual that participated in the above. 

 

Leveni, atheists, brights, freethinkers, secular humanists, skeptics, spiritual humanists are all capable of exploiting and manipulating others, and we can see it when we read, watch or listen to their media.  The difference is they are not trying to take women's right to choose abortion from them as a fundamental policy even in the case of rape and incest,  they do not try take away choice of death with dignity, they don't prevent homosexuals the right to marriage and the rights that go with that institution. I have never seen any of them dismiss or discount domestic violence or rapes committed by ministers, priests or rabbis.  Surely, there are rapists among them, but have you seen anyone that claims to not believe in god get away with the crime?    

What Jason Spicer said about current vocal atheists is very true.

And I do not know of any current vocal atheist who has committed any crime or consciously deceived anybody. 

But,

I don't think this occurs because of atheism. I think Atheists, freethinkers, secular humanists think a little more than the average person. Even if these atheists were Christians or Muslims they would still not commit those crimes, (most people here at Atheist-Nexus were once upon a time Christians), and one could think that when they were Christians they would not have committed these crimes because they all have the ability to think a little more than the average person.

I still don't think atheism does anything. It is we, it is our own minds that do everything. It is not atheism. Atheism is a by-product of our ability to think. 

Upon reflection I agree with you, atheism is a by-product of our own thinking.  Knowledge and wisdom comes from within our own being.  You are right.  

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