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Old 03-26-2014, 06:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
What I meant is that if you had to hedge your bets so you could forget about it - think about other more interesting things - it's best to just accept that God might exist because if God exists, it's best to have that belief.
Which religion is it again which claims their god rewards people who simply accept that god might exist in some hypothetical universe and then continue ignoring it? I'm not aware of any.

But in that case, the vast majority of atheists are fine, since very few of them think that some sort of generic god is totally impossible. They simply don't believe that there's any reason currently to think that they actually exist.

Quote:
I don't think a belief in God has anything to do with any particular religion.
Kind of ironic after preaching that we need to believe in God to avoid hell - you know, standard Christian theology.

Quote:
A belief in God is the one thing that all religions have in common.
Not true. Some believe gods are irrelevant to the issue.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,102,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
It is amazing how often Pascal's wager comes out. I have to ask- is that why you believe? Because you are afraid of being screwed over by an angry God if you don't?
That outcome presupposes an angry / punishing god. It is entirely possible to believe there is no god, and you're wrong, but god won't hold it against you.

Pascal's wager only works if you are hedging bets against a specific god (the Christian one in Pascal's case, and that's the one that is usually in the mind of the wagerer -- but in this poster's case it's even a particular VERSION of the Christian god, the angry fundamentalist one -- despite the fact many Christians believe in universal reconciliation and/or emphasize god's benevolence over his holiness). In all cases anyone posing the wager is ignoring the fact that there are literally hundreds of conflicting ideas of god that one could be right or wrong about.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,102,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
Why would an atheist question if God exists?
Why wouldn't an atheist question it? It's healthy. Nothing presupposes what the answer is. Simply look at the evidence and follow it where it leads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
The atheist has already accepted the concept of God, but denied it's existence.
It's clear people have concepts of god, but that doesn't mean they are justified in having them. In any case atheists seldom deny the possibility of god(s) existing, they simply don't believe. It's a belief position, not a knowledge position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
Afterlife is a whole other beast. It's part of every religion, but it's possible to believe that God exists without buying into all aspects of a particular religion.
Why would you question an afterlife and not question god? In asking this I'm not attempting to connect the two, I'm just curious why you would be skeptical about X and not about Y. What is different about the god proposition vs the afterlife proposition that you're afraid to examine one in the cold light of day and not the other? Both are faith claims.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
Atheists and people that believe that God exists are not in conflict. Whatever each believes is what is true for them.
Atheists disbelieve and believers believe. There need be no animosity between believers and unbelievers but they are very different things. One has decided to believe without substantiation and one is unable to believe because they require substantiation.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
I was raised by a Christian mother and a Buddhist father. I believe something, but not only because it is in my best interests.
You believe..something. What, in particular? I wouldn't pry but this relates to Pascal's wager: if you don't know for sure what it is you should believe, you can never be sure you are betting on the right god,so nobody can be sure of having placed their bets right, and worshipping everything trying to hedge one's bets would only make the real god (as Homer Simpson says) 'Madder and madder'.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
And how little a god must you believe in to think you can trick it into rewarding you for pretending to believe like this?
Yes, but I think the 'wager' is only a trick for getting one into the belief -position so that actual faith can take over.In short it is a swindle- but justified if it gets you to the True faith in the end.

The reason it failed in because it overlooks the 'Which god' or 'which religion- or even which denomination- question.

Blaize Pascal may have thought that the question didn't arise as there was only one God and one Church - the non-catholics didn't count as they were misguided heretics. But he came to realize in the end (or so I suspect) that his Jansenism was itself regarded as a heresy, so he may have taken the wager, but God looked increasingly unlikely to pay out.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
That outcome presupposes an angry / punishing god. It is entirely possible to believe there is no god, and you're wrong, but god won't hold it against you.
That's the conclusion that underlies my atheistic reverse Pascal's wager- if you take the wager but get it wrong, God (whichever) won't hold it against you. It is feasible then to suppose it won't have a beef with you if you don't take the wager.
Therefore taking the wager won't get you anything, but, if there is no god, you stand to lose (or waste) the one life you have. While it can be argued that believers are happy and it doesn't matter anyway, that only makes sense to the religious,who cannot see any value if life without it being a qualifying round for an afterlife.

To me the problem with religion is that it can deny the curiosity and humanism that makes us what we are. It can also impose those views on others and threaten to mess up their lives and those who come after.

So just snuggling into a cocoon of Godfaith and waiting to die is a criminal waste of the lottery win that this life really is.

Quote:
Pascal's wager only works if you are hedging bets against a specific god (the Christian one in Pascal's case, and that's the one that is usually in the mind of the wagerer -- but in this poster's case it's even a particular VERSION of the Christian god, the angry fundamentalist one -- despite the fact many Christians believe in universal reconciliation and/or emphasize god's benevolence over his holiness). In all cases anyone posing the wager is ignoring the fact that there are literally hundreds of conflicting ideas of god that one could be right or wrong about.
Yes. Of course, not every religion has a vengeful god and a hell of torment for those who get it wrong. In fact Christianity counts pretty high on the hellthreat list.

In fact there is only one competitor and that is Islam. And though I hate say it, if you take Pascal's wager, that is the one to pick, because Christianity has several denominations, so you can't be sure which is right, and catholicism has purgatory and there is even UR.

Islam has no hope of leniency. If you are wrong, Allah is not going to have any mercy.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 7,291,875 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel A. Pettinicchio View Post
It is a leap of faith in the end. Consider what good Christians have to lose if they are wrong and what an atheist has to lose if he/she is wrong!
Consider it? How?

Perhaps the deity that exists has respect for informed disbelief (Thomas Jefferson: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear"*), but jealous rage at those who would worship a rival, real or otherwise. In that case, the atheist has little to fear for his atheism, but the Christian has everything to fear if the deity that exists (ignoring the even more complicating factor that it is always possible, theoretically, that multiple deities exist) is other than the Christian God.

The point is, what you ask us to consider is that this is a tidy binary question: that either there is no deity, or there is and that deity is the Christian God and we all know just how that Christian God wants us to behave. And that is a very self-centered notion. In fact, the possibilities are endless.

* - While I don't agree with Jefferson that any deity that might exist must be as Jefferson states, I put forth his quote as an example of the possibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
If an atheist can't decide whether to believe in God, why not adopt the safe solution, and move on?
Because belief isn't something that can be turned off and on like flipping a light switch, depending on gaming out the relative advantages of both belief and disbelief.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:20 AM
 
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Indeed. To just take Pascal's wager and become a god - worshipper (if only it just stopped there) is foreign to the inquiring mind of the Thinking atheist, quite apart from it not being a simple binary matter, as you correctly said, rather more succinctly than I did.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,119,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
An atheist would be screwed if God exists because an atheist accepts the possibility that God exists by virtue of understanding the concept.
I accept the possibility there may be a god just like I accept the possibility there may be leprechauns.

However, I truly do not believe either exists, so that makes me a 100% true Atheist.

I still do not understand why I will be screwed if a god exists. Why would that god want to give me a hard time?
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:56 PM
 
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Quote:
I am I am a former evangelical, true believer. All I have time to tell you right now is that road out isn't easy.
No doubt. So...a 'Frostian' look....
T[SIZE=-1]WO[/SIZE] roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo where it bent in the undergrowth;[SIZE=-2] 5[/SIZE] Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claim,Because it was grassy and wanted wear;Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same,[SIZE=-2] 10[/SIZE] And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I kept the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if I should ever come back.[SIZE=-2] 15[/SIZE] I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.
T[SIZE=-1]WO[/SIZE] roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo where it bent in the undergrowth;[SIZE=-2] 5[/SIZE] Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claim,Because it was grassy and wanted wear;Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same,[SIZE=-2] 10[/SIZE] And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I kept the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if I should ever come back.[SIZE=-2] 15[/SIZE] I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


[SIZE=2]Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
[/SIZE]

[SIZE=2]And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
[/SIZE]


I'd think we all see that 'fork'. Thing is I am learning very much that in the end what matters is we must, at bottom, be comfortable with the choices we make and understand that it's possible more 'forks' can occur continually and beliefs again could be challenged. Of course, the 'right' road for one will not be for the other. And as Sinatra said, 'that's life!'.
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