My Debate with a Recently Converted Theist: "No words will ever persuade me to change my mind... God is not debatable when you believe..."

The Power of Belief:

"So long as a belief in propositions
is regarded as indispensable to salvation,
the pursuit of truth as such is not possible."

Mary Ann Evans, a/k/a George Eliot


A short exchange:

Ryan Batten
if I choose to believe in anything from a god to a stone, no words will ever persuade me to change my mind, the quote " the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist" could mean something or not...to me it does, regardless of who said it. The words you cast are nowhere near as powerful as the stone that's thrown... no matter how much you flicker your tongue... you can theorize the creation of earth and the start or end until you are blue in the face and blow smoke out your ass, but the ONLY fact is that you or your fathers or there fathers, fathers, fathers were not there for the beginning and your sons that you may have and their sons, sons, sons, so on... probably won't be there for the end... talk all you want, but please make sure not to listen to your surroundings, escape all feeling as well, remember we are all just sophisticated animals and keep on believing the abolishing of belief will better our earth.

Ory Stewart
"the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist"

You can spend your life following an unfalsifiable idea. This is essentially another form of Pascal's Wager.

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU


Ryan Batten
Atheism is theorized, selfish, vain and all over the place- he said this - he wrote that- bla bla theory bla quote bla my milk is cold, you are wrong, that's wrong, she said, he said, etc... If you were God would you share yourself with a non-believer of faith, hope, or love, would you care what others thought ? Remember you don't embrace others individuality now, so why then would you care of their beliefs ? Unlike your views and ideas, God is not debatable when you believe... you either believe or you don't, no ifs, ands or buts. I could care less if you want solace in the depths of the universe for eternity or you want to die lifeless in the ground, both is really the same in the end, you'll end up in one of the 2 places anyhow if that's what you want... this is your choice, I can't change your views and ideas but if I want to believe in God and base my love around His goodness and hope for all who I share life with, tell me why Atheists are the first to pounce on faith, feelings,or beliefs.In your eyes God or no God, your mind is clouded by something, your paranoia is based in the after life, not within this time scale ... live your life, not another, Your Judgment will come what you want and as quickly as you want it.
Choose away...

Ory Stewart
"Atheists are the first to pounce on faith"


Of course they are. This raises the important question: What is faith?
Faith, as I define it, is believing something without evidence or justification. Some people will define faith differently (some equate it with trust, or 'love', etc., and that's not what I'm arguing against). The problem with unfounded beliefs is that beliefs inform our actions.

Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Unfounded beliefs can be benign, but often they aren't. How much worse is a conflict between two people when both believe they have an absolute divine authority on their side? Is there any room for compromise in such conflicts? Of course not.

"...feelings,or beliefs"

I do not attack people's feelings. People can have whatever feelings they want. I do not abhor love, compassion, kindness, niether do I believe that these are useless. You have a straw-man idea of what atheists are. I go after beliefs if they are unfounded, though of course I strongly believe that freedom to believe whatever you please is a vital right.

"If you were God would you share yourself with a non-believer of faith, hope, or love, would you care what others thought ?"

Why do you think I don't have hope? Or love? Of course I have these things. Why would you need some over-seeing deity to have those things? As for faith - that's the problem. God can't 'share' faith. Anything you have to take on faith by definition is without evidence. How do you decide what's right? Which god are you going to believe in? What if the Muslims are right? What if the Christians are right? What if the Jains are right? What if the ancient Greeks were right? Not all religions can be right... but they can all be wrong, and I prefer to live my life being honest to myself and others. I withold belief until I see a reasonable reason to have it.


Ory Stewart
"Atheism is theorized, selfish, vain and all over the place- he said this - he wrote that- bla bla theory bla quote bla my milk is cold, you are wrong, that's wrong, she said, he said, etc... "


Atheism is about intellectual honesty. For me, my atheism is a result of wanting to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. My atheism is a result of trying to be as honest as I can living my life, both for other people and myself. Athiesm is not vain, it is not selfish - atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god. That's it. Some atheists are vain, yes. Some selfish; certainly. And yes, atheists tend to argue - challenging ideas is the only way that you are more likely to gain an understanding of the world around you. Of course, the process isn't perfect, but those who don't want you to think aren't your friends. Those who challenge you and your ideas want you to be honest with yourself about your beliefs.

If you choose to believe things without a good reason, that is your perogative. I have chosen to live my life as honestly as possible - and if there is an afterlife, then I can say that I lived with the best knowledge I had. I won't place a bet on there being a god - if there is an afterlife, entry could just as easily be contingent on your ability to live honestly as it could be contigent on a belief in a god or gods.


Ory Stewart
"Remember you don't embrace others individuality now, so why then would you care of their beliefs ?"


I'm not sure what you're saying here about not embracing others's individuality. Could you elaborate more?

The reason I care about what people believe is that unfounded beliefs have been the root cause of so much suffering in this world. I will allude to my earlier point about conflict. When two sides believe that they have the absolute authority on their side, do you think compromise is really possible? Even if it is possible, will it be maintained?

"I could care less if you want solace in the depths of the universe for eternity or you want to die lifeless in the ground"

I don't believe things because I
want them to be true. I don't want to die 'lifeless in the ground', an afterlife of bliss would be great. I don't believe in an afterlife because I see no reason to. Believing things merely because they are comfortable isn't a good reason at all. I believe things because I have been convinced that they are true, and I withhold belief because I have not been convinced.

Ory Stewart
"but if I want to believe in God and base my love around His goodness and hope for all who I share life with"


Why on earth would you need god to share love and hope with those around you? What does god add to that? Do you
need god to have love and hope? I don't.

Certainly, if you want to believe in god, you can. But you don't need god to be good. You don't need god for love. You don't need god for hope.


Ory Stewart
"God is not debatable when you believe."


This is the traditional god-believing mindset:

"I will never change my mind."

How can you be honest with yourself if you've set off some section of your beliefs from scrutiny? Why should your beliefs about god be any different from any other beliefs? How can you possibly come to an understanding of reality if you've decided ahead of time that you won't change your mind? Is this honest? Is this any way to discern reality, to understand the world? Don't you want to approach ANY idea with an open mind, willing to follow where the evidence leads?


Ory Stewart
I'm not advocating that everyone believe as I do. I'm advocating that people are honest about what they believe. I'm advocating that you don't need god for hope, or love or goodness - you already have all these things. I'm advocating an open mind to ideas, and honest scrutiny of all your beliefs.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder
of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many
dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy."

Carl Sagan


The conversation continues:

Ryan Batten
Truly man I will never change my mind... you can advocate all you want on this, throw quotes, discussions, thesis', what have you... these are all made by and written by, as you quoted 'human' authors. This implies that you too subconsciously think there are other beings smart enough to communicate through intelligent design, because besides a higher power - what else on earth writes ?... Like i said before your professors and theorists and best-seller book writers including scientists, politicians, doctors, etc... can choke while dining on the shit they spew, after a while it all sounds like the same self-justifiable bullshit babel and to me a comic book has about the same amount of credit to knowing about our creation/evolution. I have a belief in one god among all people, I don't care where you get your love or your hope or your information on the creation or ending of all mankind, its all theories... look into the telescope and show me you can see until the end of the universe and whats after it then i will have some grasp that you and all the other non-believers know how ALL is. Just because I believe in God does not mean i go to church, just because i believe in god does not mean i read the bible, just because i believe in god does not mean i ruled out science and technology and self-betterment... i base my beliefs around feelings, opportunities, warnings, presence, decisions and instinct... something is there telling me how to survive and how to progress for the better , now weather that be - to you 'basic instinct' or to me - GOD, you have no say on what I believe in or don't believe in. Things are in place for people for closure and sanity, not all people who think like you are in the same powerless position, people with power who think we just die will be ironed to their actions being Lawless ... If the whole world denounced god then whats to stop them from killing everyone for a profit, whats to stop them from taking what they want, whats to stop them from being an animal or treating others with disrespect... Law ? Being Civilized ? Debate ? Prison ? Slavery ? Conformity ? There has been all this since the dawn of time and unless you WANT to be a good person, God or no God, you will break the rules... Its better to keep your opinions to yourself because even if the whole world forgot about God and belief systems, which I can guarantee you it won't , Atheists would become something else and something NEW would be wrong with everyone... who is really telling who to conform here. I could care less what you believe in. Trust me... I am being HONEST.

You want answers for suffering ? look up - New World Order, Builder Burg Group, The Obama Deception, etc...
Forget about the past tyrannic empires that lived in the times of disease and darkness and start to worry about the new ones, the Godless ones... people in the past killed and pillaged for the same reasons they kill and pillage today... God or not, it's all for power and control over all that anyone is, all that we need to survive, all that we feel, all that we have or are entitled by birth too, etc...these are the people who deal in conformity, these are the people who care less for you than they do for me or anyone else, no matter what you believe in, no matter what your color, designation, religion, occupation, anything... Tell me what anyone will debate when no one has use for a tongue.

Oh and I tried the 'not believing in God trend/route'... it didn't work out for me, thanks.The more I believe, the more I achieve. If, to you, that is some magical superstition that makes me do better or feel amazing - explain to me whyyyy I would EVER, EVER, EVER ! want to let that go ? ? ? because of a few books or people's theories... pffffft... To change my prior borrowed quote to my own... the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing intelligent people he didn't exist. While you are bent on trying to change the world, there are many, many, many more people to convert including, religions, sub- religions, personal interpretations, cults, groups, clans, and oh yeah...people who believe in Santa Clause - but don't forget to some Chris Kringle. Rite or wrong you will never make the world believe in nothing or no one, it is pointless, arrogant, and childish, so why try ? you are a smart man with great points and views and terminology and research abilities, you are just like the rest of the Atheists, all of them... cult ? maybe ? nawwww XD go get together in a huge group and discuss how there is no God.

Oh and explain the difference between a philosophy and a theory for me again while you are at it...

Prove god isn't there and I will join your cause again. Notice I used the word 'again' in this sentence emphasizing that it is easy to believe in nothing but much easier to believe in God, much more fulfilling too.

Ory Stewart
First of all, Ryan, let me explain this.

I'm going to tell you how you've been duped by this argument:

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

While it may seem compelling at first, you need think very carefully about it. It's a classic "heads I win, tails you lose" argument.

This is how it goes:

You have two scenarios - in one, we have evidence that the Devil exists. The other, we have no evidence that he exists. According to this argument, here are the two conclusions:

"There's evidence for the devil? He must exist!"

And the corollary:

"There's no evidence for the devil? He must exist!"

It can't lose. That's called 'unfalsifiable', and unfortunately, it's a very clever way to shackle someone's thinking.


It sounds like you've had your first run-in with apologetics, and it's completely convinced you that there must be a god – it's a safe bet, there can be no natural explanation for consciousness, language etc.

“This implies that you too subconsciously think there are other beings smart enough to communicate through intelligent design, because besides a higher power - what else on earth writes ?...”

People dedicate their lives to answering such questions, Ryan. We have some answers. Not all of them, but some of them. There are reasons why humans can write and communicate, and you don't need 'god' as an answer. Posing god as an answer is actually just a non-answer. It stops investigation into how these things really come about.

You've been convinced by what's called the argument from ignorance:

“I don't have an answer to these questions. Therefore, God did it.”
It's a way to feel like you have an answer when really, you've just made one up.

“a comic book has about the same amount of credit to knowing about our creation/evolution.”

I find it sad that you don't value science and learning. This earth has a long, beautiful history. Much of it is full of pain and struggle, but there is beauty there too. I hope you change your mind about this.

“I don't care where you get your love or your hope or your information on the creation or ending of all mankind, its all theories...”

Do you know why scientists use that word? It's called intellectual honesty. Scientists don't 'prove' things. Scientists put out testable hypotheses, and until it is proven wrong, the hypothesis stands. It stems from the mentality that ALL ideas are to be scrutinized and questioned. This is the only reliable path to knowledge. Are scientists right about everything? Of course not. You need to let go of the notion of absolute certainty. We can't have that – I've become comfortable no knowing the answers to some questions. I still want the answers, but I decided long ago that it wasn't acceptable to just make them up.

“look into the telescope and show me you can see until the end of the universe and whats after it then i will have some grasp that you and all the other non-believers know how ALL is.”

I would NEVER claim to know all there is. In fact, I'm probably one of the first to admit when I don't know something.

Andre Gide said:

“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”

I don't think I have all the answers for anything, and neither does any other honest atheist. It is often the religious who claim absolute knowledge and authority. Be wary of those claiming to 'know' the answers, especially when those answers are 'goddunit'. It seems like an answer, but it's really a non-answer that puts a stop to investigation.

“Just because I believe in God does not mean i go to church, just because i believe in god does not mean i read the bible, just because i believe in god does not mean i ruled out science and technology and self-betterment...”

Good.

“something is there telling me how to survive and how to progress for the better , now weather that be - to you 'basic instinct' or to me – GOD”

There you are, making up answers again. I don't know exactly why I survive and want progress, though I could probably come up with some compelling ideas. You've latched onto an answer because you're obviously uncomfortable with not having an answer.

“you have no say on what I believe in or don't believe in.”

Of course I don't, though apparently someone else does. I recognize your arguments about 'language' and 'intelligence', and I'm sorry that you find them so convincing. Don't fool yourself, Ryan – you are being convinced by HUMANS. Nothing more. They have made an appeal to your fears, your ignorance, your desire for answers. They've used those things against you to convince you to accept a made-up answer that doesn't answer anything.


“if the whole world denounced god then whats to stop them from killing everyone for a profit, whats to stop them from taking what they want, whats to stop them from being an animal or treating others with disrespect...”

God Ryan – haven't people been believing in gods for years, and isn't all this still going on? Some of the WORST atrocities committed by mankind have been DIRECTLY because of belief in gods! What about the crusades? Suicide bombers? Christian 'scientists' (people who pray for their children to get better instead of taking them to a damned hospital)? The inquisition? Anyway, it doesn't matter – I could list hundreds of atrocities committed in the name of god. Belief in god does not make someone better.

Steven Weinberg said:

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

What about the studies that show that the higher religiosity in a nation, the worse off it's inhabitants are? The United States is the most religious nation in the core nations (the wealthier, western nations), and it has the highest rates of murder, rape, teen pregnancy, abortion, etc. Whereas Sweden, one of the least religious nations in the world, has consistently lower rates on nearly EVERY measure. See the study here:

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

Do you need God to be good? If you found out tomorrow, that God didn't exist, would you automatically start murdering or taking advantage of people? If your answer is no, then obviously you don't need God to be good at all, and neither does anyone else. Belief in God doesn't stop people from doing evil things. Sure, there are probably situations where it has – but there are many other reasons to be good other than God.

“even if the whole world forgot about God and belief systems, which I can guarantee you it won't”

I don't think that everyone in the world will stop believing in god/magic/fairies/an afterlife/crystal healing/premonitions/etc. Thinking carefully is a difficult skill to acquire, and I am certainly no expert. We are prone to magical thinking, biases, hallucinations, wishful thinking, and all sorts of problems that stop us from reasoning effectively. The key is to try to discipline your brain to be honest and sceptical. That doesn't guarantee that you'll always get the right answer, but it's a start.

“Atheists would become something else and something NEW would be wrong with everyone...”

I would never suggest that religion is the root of all our problems, or that if everyone stopped being religious that wars, conflict, etc. would go away. However, almost EVERY time you add religion to a problem, it becomes worse, not better. Religion has been called the greatest war invention of all time. How else can you convince people to throw away their lives? Sure, there are ways, but it's a lot harder. When you think you have the absolute truth, what room is there for compromise?

“You want answers for suffering ? look up - New World Order, Builder Burg Group, The Obama Deception, etc...”

I'm not going to get into conspiracy theories, except to say that they prey on people the same way that religion does. They provide answers through compelling stories made of disparate facts, and they make you feel 'special' because you know something unique and everyone else is being duped. They prey on your ignorance, and give you answers when really, it's just made up.

As for suffering, I can't explain everything, but I don't have a problem explaining suffering. As far as I'm concerned, we live in an indifferent universe. There's no reason to think that the universe cares about us. We're also a species half a chromosome away from a chimpanzee. We live in a system that produces much more death than life, and there's nothing we can do to really escape it. People want explanations for this suffering, and they want to know that it's going to end. This is why religion is so appealing - “Don't worry, you may be suffering now, but God cares about you, and when you die, everything will be better.” A remarkable example of magical thinking. Unfortunately, there's no reason to think it's actually true. As far as I know, this is the only life I'm going to get, and you and I are SO lucky to be born in a time when we can live our lives in RELATIVE peace and comfort. It's sad that so many people waste their precious lives wishing for another that isn't going to come (or, at least I see no evidence for it).

“start to worry about the new ones, the Godless ones... people in the past killed and pillaged for the same reasons they kill and pillage today... God or not, it's all for power and control over all that anyone is, all that we need to survive”

Ryan, you are exactly right, though the new Godless nations are the most peaceful and well-off. Refer back to the study that I linked you to. And, just because I smell the argument about Stalin and Hitler, let me say this. Hitler was not an atheist, he was most certainly religious and believed that he was doing the work of the 'divine creator' (you can find several references to this in Mein Kampf). As for Stalin, he did not murder people because he was an atheist. Stalin was a cruel and vicious dictator and he did what he did because of DOGMA. Dogma is the REAL problem, with any ideology, be it religious or otherwise. Any time you cannot question an idea or authority, you have a dangerous situation waiting to happen.

“The more I believe, the more I achieve.”

It's great that your life is improving, Ryan. You need to realize, though, that the things you are accomplishing are because of YOU. YOU have bettered yourself – not some god, not some superstition. Of course we can be led to perform better because of a lie – but wouldn't you rather realize that you are capable of improving your life because that's exactly what you've done?

If I believed that if I got an A on a certain assignment, I'd get a million dollars, you better believe I'm getting an A on that assignment. It doesn't matter whether I'm ACTUALLY going to get a million dollars, the important thing is that I genuinely BELIEVE it. Of course we can be motivated by a lie, I would never say otherwise. The question is, do you want to live your life honestly? Obviously, you are capable of living a better life – and I'll tell you, it's not God, it's you.

“you will never make the world believe in nothing or no one, it is pointless, arrogant, and childish, so why try ?”

I already explained that I'm not trying to get everyone to believe like I do. I am promoting reason, science and critical thinking. I'm hoping to help people realize that they don't have to be scared because they don't have an answer. I'm hoping to help people realize that THEY are responsible for their success and happiness (not entirely, there are powerful social forces at play too, but I'm not going to get into that right now). I want people to stop living in fear and deference to a God that almost certainly doesn't exist so that they can enjoy the ONE and ONLY life they are sure to get. I'm trying to get people to see the beauty of the universe and the incredible fact that we have managed to evolve to the point where we can comprehend a little bit of it. I'm trying to get people to appreciate the others around them, because there's no reason to think that if we destroy ourselves, that help will come from elsewhere. Our little planet and the people on it is the most precious thing we have, and there is no God to save us from ourselves. I want people to recognize the immensity of some of our accomplishments. I want people to understand the beauty of how we are related to all other life on this earth. I want people to realize that they don't need a god to be happy, or successful, to have hopes and dreams, or to love those around you and to be good. I want people to face reality head on, and to stop living in fear of the unknown. I want people to be curious, and to explore the world and the beautiful knowledge we can gain from it. I want people to stop claiming that they have the absolute truth – a claim that has caused so much pain and suffering in this world.

“explain the difference between a philosophy and a theory for me again while you are at it...”

Philosphy:
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.
4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, esp. with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
6. a philosophical attitude, as one of composure and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.

Theory:
1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
6. contemplation or speculation.
7. guess or conjecture.

Please note: For theory, the first definition is the one used in science. Theory doesn't have the same meaning to a scientists as it does in our normal, colloquial usage.

“Prove god isn't there and I will join your cause again.”

I can't prove that God isn't there. Fortunately, I don't have to. The burden of proof lies on the one making the claim.

Can you prove that there are no invisible pink unicorns living on Saturn? If you can't prove that, does it mean that it's reasonable to believe in them?

Can you prove there isn't a great magical space-duck that secretly puts a briefcase filled with millions of dollars in your closet, but the moment you do any investigation, makes it disappear? If you can't prove THAT wrong, is it reasonable to therefore believe it?

No, Ryan, it is up to the theist to support the claim that a God exists. I cannot disprove god, just like I cannot disprove fairies. However, that doesn't mean it's reasonable to believe it.


“it is easy to believe in nothing but much easier to believe in God, much more fulfilling too.”

A lie can be very comforting. I could feel very fulfilled if I believed that I had a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in my backyard. I could get all sorts of consolation from that belief. I understand that it's comfortable to believe that when the people you love die, they don't really die – they just leave until you get to meet up with them again. Ryan, these beliefs prey on people's fear. They prey on ignorance and wishful thinking. I don't see any reason to believe that the people I love will survive their deaths, and this means that this is the ONLY time I get to spend with them. Since I stopped believing in God, I've started to realize how precious this life really is. I've realized that if I wrong someone, I don't get another chance to make it better. If I don't spend enough time with someone, I don't get to make that up. Does belief in God feel good? Yes. Does it make you a better person? Sometimes, sure, but you don't need it. You can be a good, kind, loving and hopeful person without believing in some all-powerful daddy. Human life is valuable because WE give it value. Our lives have meaning because WE give them meaning. Don't let people fool you and make you think that you can't have these things if you stop believing in God. Reality is wonderful enough. Douglas Adams said:

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

And I agree with him. I hope you'll think about the things I've said.


Addendum:

"I find it sad that you don't value science and learning. This earth has a long, beautiful history. Much of it is full of pain and struggle, but there is beauty there too. I hope you change your mind about this."

To be fair, you do mention that you still value science and technology. What I mean to say is that there is value in those books, and I hope you recognize it.


Ory Stewart
To end on a high note:

What if God dissapeared?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkCuc34hvD4


Ryan Batten
I recognize it ... I just don't care, if we came from a monkey then so be it, if we came from whatever I dont care... you live for 100 years on this earth if you are lucky, after that your brain and body becomes useless... If there is nothing else after that then you won't be able to prove me wrong anyhow... if there is something, by chance, coincidence, what have you... I won't need to prove you wrong.

Ory Stewart
"If there is nothing else after that then you won't be able to prove me wrong anyhow... if there is something, by chance, coincidence, what have you... I won't need to prove you wrong."

Pascal's wager again. See this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU

Feel free to believe whatever you want. I haven't been arguing with you to convince you, Ryan. You've already made it clear that "no words will ever persuade me to change my mind." I continue to argue with you because there ARE people who care about reality and WILL listen to reasoned argument. These people are sitting on the sidelines, and they haven't closed off one of the very few precious things that we have - our ability to think and learn about the world.

You have some very serious misconceptions about atheists. Obviously, you've learned all about us from some theist; I can tell by the way you think that we must be - that my beliefs are vain, selfish and arrogant - that I think I know everything... etc. I hope I've shown you that that isn't what my atheism is about. I don't claim to have all the answers, I don't claim to have the truth. I claim only to have doubt. I hope that I have disciplined my mind so that I can live my life honestly, because I have decided that I'm going to learn everything I can about this world with the one life I'm sure to have.

To end, here's another 'vain, selfish, know-it-all atheist' explaining why we should bother to value our lives and our ability to think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnFMrNdj1yY


Ryan Batten
you are as persistent as Hitler, just without the guns XD

you send the same videos all the time, Pascal can suck a Voltaire cock and then philosophize some more... how is this scientific proof of anything ?

Ory Stewart
Oh Ryan.

I can see that everything I say just goes in one ear and out the other. Like I said, I'm not trying to convince you anymore - you've allowed SOMEONE ELSE to convince you, through fear and ignorance, that you should shut off your mind to insulate your beliefs.

Not all the answers are available to all your questions. However, there are SOME answers because some people have decided that ''goddunit" isn't a good enough answer and have dedicated their lives to learning about the world. If you want some answers to your questions, then go look for them - I would start with Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World". There are history books, books on cosmology and astronomy, biology and evolution, philosophy and ethics. Don't expect absolute certainty, and don't expect to find answers to all your questions. All I suggest is that you stop accepting non-answers as answers simply because you are so uncomfortable with not knowing.

You have something very precious - you have an intellect and the ability to learn. Coupled with that, we know more about the world around us than we have ever known before. Revelation has never been a reliable source of knowledge, but skepticism has. If you want some answers, READ A DAMN BOOK!

You may not like that I'm challenging you, Ryan. You may feel very uncomfortable that I'm asking you to criticize your beliefs.

There's a reason why I'm emphasizing this point:

“you've allowed SOMEONE ELSE to convince you, through fear and ignorance, that you should shut off your mind to insulate your beliefs.”

It's the same reason I said earlier that anyone who doesn't want you to think isn't your friend.

Ryan – the reason someone doesn't want you to think or scrutinize your beliefs is because when you do that, you can SEE THROUGH THE BULLSHIT. There's a reason why Martin Luther (the founder of Protestantism) said:

“Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.”

Why would you put these beliefs away in a special little box, free from scrutiny. Do you do this in ANY other realm of your life?

What if someone wanted to sell you a car, and simply said “don't bother inspecting it, you can trust me, it's good!”? What would you say to them? I know what I'd say, and it would involve my middle finger. Why, when we try to live reasonably and rationally in most other aspects of our life, would we turn that off for one little part? How can we learn anything by doing so? I'll tell you, we can't!

You may hate that I'm challenging you, Ryan, but I'm asking you to think. If there's one thing you take away from this, no matter what you think of me, it's that you shouldn't just accept ideas uncritically. You have been convinced not to question your beliefs, and it's so that you are BLIND. You've been asked to put aside the one most precious thing you have because of fear and ignorance. I'm telling you not to. I'm asking you to think, and to consider the things I've said, and that others before me have said. Either way, you're relying on humans to give you advice. One is telling you to turn off your mind, and the other is telling you to think carefully about what you believe. Who really has your interests at heart?


Ryan Batten
someone else? this is where you are wrong... I follow no man, I follow what i feel... I am not stupid or ignorant or one sided Utah religious as you might think, you aren't talking to a monkey or in your eyes one of your prehistoric ancestors, so quit condescending on me like i cant think or rationalize reality... I see it everyday, I live 10 km's from Iraq stealing oil from innocent people that couldn't see this fact if it were on an Arabic sign in front of them. I believe in God because its better than facing the fact we can't change a thing here on earth, our fate is our fate and without fate we have pointless debates and scrutiny... if i want to believe my guitar created mankind or we are floating on a brick of shit particles, I am free to do so, using this as a point of reference by the way... nothing changes anything really Ory, you follow your own paths whether the universe laid them or God (be He/It/She called that) , nothing ever will prove this different to me until you unlock ALL the secrets of this vast universe, something also as impossible and incomprehensible as , to you, believing in a god... I have a much different outlook on things than most the people you talk to this way, I understand a million or billion or more people can wake up everyday look in the mirror and say there is no god, there is no life beyond life, there isn't a place in another dimension, evil is just evil,and good is just good but No matter what you call it, there are divine properties at work here, we are on a intergalactic solar system spinning at never-comprehensible speeds spinning in an airless, gravitational deprived, vacuum tube being propelled by a black hole that could lead to another dimension or God knows where and being all held together by gravity and the string theory... I am supposed to listen to you and your predecessors' puny little speeches and books about how there is nothing that proves God, nothing that proves Creationism, its as vague as saying there is NOTHING that disproves it... Like I said don't debate with me, just PROVE me wrong, Tell me how you Atheists all know the odds of the universe and how mathematically we are not the only planet with intelligent life on it, as of NOW we are one of a kind HERE on this projectile rock and one of a kind is REALLY REALLY hard for you or people of equal thought process to fathom.

Ory Stewart
I'm so sorry Ryan that you haven't listened to a word I've said. You're obviously a lost cause, for now. I already told you, I don't have the answers. You are absolutely free to be a good little god-bot if you want. I'm sorry that you've let fear and ignorance lead to to accept ideas uncritically. Hopefully someone else will gain from our conversation. Perhaps you need to read over it again and think a little harder. If you ever change your mind, I will be more than happy to talk to you about your questions. For now, if you really think your ideas are safe from scrutiny, then read these two books:

"The Demon-Haunted World"
and
"The Varieties of Scientific Experience"

Both are by Carl Sagan.

I will have this full conversation posted on my page. You are more than welcome to come and comment on it there. For now, I hope things go well for you, and I hope that someday you'll realize that just because you don't have all the answers, that that's no reason to go about making them up.


Ryan Batten
there is only one Two differences between me and you... we both don't care what the other thinks or says, we both come to conclusions and we both have alot of pride obviously... the ONLY two differences are that I don' care what people's theories are and I didn't rule god out of the equation - you, however, did. Keep on fitting in with the dime a dozens, stay a dull, boring, over poetic Sagan-bot and if anything ever goes down on a Godlike scale I am sure you and Theraminetrees can take Qualiasoup's word-craft to part of the universe that doesn't have a God hahaha =) I enjoyed our conversation =)

Ory Stewart
"I didn't rule god out of the equation - you, however, did"

This is where you're wrong, Ryan. I strongly believed in God for many, many years. Most of my life, in fact.

The sad part is, that there ARE answers to many of your questions Ryan. Your whole last post is one whole argument from ignorance:

"You can't explain all this, therefore I can still believe in God."

It's a classic God-of-the-gaps argument. As long as we don't know everything, there will ALWAYS be little gaps to shove god into. I just think it's dishonest to do so.

Learning shit is hard. I've spent years reading thousands of pages from hundreds of books, and I haven't even acquired a fraction of the knowledge that's available. I make no claim to absolute truth or knowledge. You can't say I'm a Sagan-bot because I don't see anyone, including Carl Sagan, as an absolute authority. I judge everyone's ideas the same, no matter who they come from. I just happen to respect him as an intellectual, but I put no faith in him. Sagan's words rise and fall on their own merit.

"we both don't care what the other thinks or says"


Obviously I do, Ryan, that's why I've responded to virtually EVERY point you made (hence all the quotes from your own writing).

I hope that you read the two books I've suggested, and if you want to talk about the questions you have (concerning cosmology or biology, etc.) then I will be more than happy to talk about that. Until then, I hope that you're safe and happy. That's all I really have to say.
In the days following, Ryan comes up with his own philosphy, "Atheisatanism", cleverly combining the words "Atheist" and "Satanism" (clearly, the two are closely related):

"Atheisatanism is a philosophical idea that centers around mankind being tricked in different ways to make bad decisions time and time again without implimenting the solutions to their demise or misfortune. Though human beings all know something could be wrong or bad or COULD hold concequences, people as a population, community, or as individuals will complete these actions anyways i.e. gambling, smoking, murder, rape, war, genocide, racism, greed,etc. etc. etc. on and on and on from small things to large monstrosities, regardless to knowledge or warning or common sence..."

I wonder if I need to mention the irony oozing from this statement...

I hope you've enjoyed this exchange.

Views: 9

Tags: argue, argument, atheism, atheist, debate, exchange, existance, god, ignorance, lecture, More…satanism

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Comment by Different Fred on April 17, 2010 at 2:45pm
Well reasoned and thoughtful responses, Ory. Ryan is obviously that fringe we can never reach. Fortunately, I think he's in the (rather too large, I fear) minority.
Comment by Ory Stewart on April 17, 2010 at 12:16pm
I could add to that: If the answer is yes, then that person is not interested in morality, humanity or being a good person, they would be only interested in obeying authority.

And you could say to that person: "Please, please don't become an atheist!" :-)

Yes, I was going to follow up with a comment like that, but he seemed to miss the point and never responded to it directly. Thanks for the comments!
Comment by Adrian on April 17, 2010 at 10:48am
Great arguments, Ory! I enjoyed reading all of this.
Too bad Ryan is so closed minded, and has to resort to cheap insults like mentioning Hitler. But then, I have never heard a really good theistic argument.

You said: "If you found out tomorrow, that God didn't exist, would you automatically start murdering or taking advantage of people? If your answer is no, then obviously you don't need God to be good at all..."
I could add to that: If the answer is yes, then that person is not interested in morality, humanity or being a good person, they would be only interested in obeying authority.

And you could say to that person: "Please, please don't become an atheist!" :-)
Comment by Reason Triumphs on April 17, 2010 at 1:11am
Nice work, and a fascinating read. Thanks for posting this!

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