What many atheists seem to miss is this, god doesn't need to be real for religion to have massive benefits for an individual. I will never fault anyone for believing, nor will I fault anyone for playing up their level of belief to be able to participate. I will not overlook the excesses and corruption of large scale organized religions, but on a smaller scale it can be of great benefit for a community.
Are you not concerned that these people might one day come to the conclusion that their religion isn't real and be left with no reason to get out of bed?
With Christianity as a religion that only 1/3 of the world say/pretend to believe in, but mostly don't act like they actually do, it just doesn't make any sense at all. So 2/3 of this world, and most of those 120 billions of humans which ever lived will burn in hell eternally? A bit unfair to those billions who were born long before some delusional crazy person created yet another sect of Judaism, or even invention of Judaism by inspiring with some other monotheistic religion (maybe Zoroastrianism).
Some people told me that faith begins when rationality ends - that might be my problem/situation. Every single thing, event, experience, anything I ever learned is rational, causal - that's how reality works. That's not how religion works. I won't stop my brain, not for you, anybody else, nor religion.
That's a problem so many with religions - they became these entrenched corporations of our minds, say like Oracle since we're on HN. They create strict hierarchy, set of rules that come out of nowhere, get highly political internally and externally.
if people would stick to the original faith only, kept it as something personal, optional and not so divisive as in current form, maybe religions wouldn't be losing so many people just in few generations.
Its perfectly fine and appropriate to ask people to be good humans. But you definitely don't need any religion for that. And in my personal opinion, no fear of almighty god and eternal punishment ever made an evil person into a good one.
That’s a simple, but deep question. I wonder if this topic is covered by mainstream philosophy.
If the answer is yes, I can highly recommend the book The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. It didn't really change my opinion on religion but it did give me a different view and perspective into why some others do believe in it.
Humans are not primarily logical beings. Humans are primarily emotional beings for whom logic often serves as a basis to rationalize their emotions.
If I showed you an incredibly complex software program and told you there was no developer or designer behind it, and that it came into existence randomly and for no reason, you would look at me like I'm crazy.
Or for the artistically inclined, if I showed you the Sistine Chapel and told you there was no artist or creator behind it, you would say I'm insane.
But for some reason people can look at something as remarkable as the universe and say there's no creator.
Where there's little to no evidence is that it was designed. What for, us? Hardly, if so that's some record for redundant packaging.
Some mysterious purpose that we can't fathom? Yeah, I've worked on software like that too. Colour me unimpressed.
But it's beautiful? Well some of it maybe. A fairly large part of it is literally as dull as physically possible.
And there's myriad examples of things that are beautiful to us that weren't designed to be. They need to have been created, sure, but not designed.
So yeah, the universe was created. But there's no basis for believing that it was created by anything intelligent, nor that it was designed. And there's plenty of evidence that, once created, it just shuffled along on its own. No need for a cosmic repairman to still be around.
Oh, and thank you for not using the eyeball as an example of divine perfection. That one used to wind my (blind in one eye, short sighted in the other) grandfather up no end.
Unlike some here, I have no issue if you want to believe something different from me. But this is HN and that's not a strong argument.
What I'm saying is, all of "this" must of came from something. And that "something" is what people refer to as God, the Higher Power, the "Ultimate".
> And that "something" is what people refer to as God
Expects it's not, is it? If people stopped at "the thing that kicked off the universe", we'd be laughing. But they don't.
You wouldn't need prayer, or moral guidance, or Pope's or whatever. Utterly pointless, the launch was eons ago.
You cannot reasonably get from "the universe was created" to anything close to most monotheistic deities. There have been dualist religions that had a stab but they were generally slaughtered if they got too popular.
If you are implying that there was an entity with some form of conscious thought which designed the universe we currently experience then no, I don't believe that. There are plenty of examples of amazingly complex systems which were built from independent actions not requiring a creator to design them.
When you're on that level you're no longer restricted to the idea of a creator and their creation.
Tantra, for example, says that god is within us, we are the divine. At deeper levels it goes on to say we are all composed of the same matter that exists in all the universe, so surely we are made of the universe. So, divinity. We are also the creators of our own destiny to some extent, through our beliefs and our actions and our mindset.
Does that mean there's a relationship between creator and created, or might we also be a consequence of an unexpected and serendipitous emergent process, like evolution?
This doesn't answer the question of how or why all of this exists, but once you take religion out of the picture you can start to look at the underlying theories and all of the various concepts we've developed over the millennia.
Some people choose to assume things that make themselves feel better, such as after lives and gods. Some people assume the opposite. Some people don’t assume anything at all. Either way, it’s nobody else’s business. Belief = assumption + ego, so I find assumption to be a better word to use when speaking about a political topic.
I see a thing, this thing must of came from something. Things just don't appear for no reason and with no creator.
A pen, a banana, a baby, a piece of code, all of these things came from something. And all of these things compared to the universe are incredibly simple. But how come you believe the universe came into existence from nothing and without design?
The modern banana, a pen, a baby, a piece of code - these all were invented by us, and made out of something that already existed. Just because so many things that WE observe have a beginning and end, doesn't mean EVERYTHING has a beginning and end.
Our entire world/universal view is skewed by the fact we are mortal. Even if we go by the logic of someone had to make this, it couldn't have come from nowhere - then who made the inventor? Where did that come from? At some point your logic will REQUIRE you to believe that "things appear for no reason and with no creator".
This logic must logically apply to said creator.
So the timeline of the universe has no beginning? It just "is" and "was" for no reason, no design, no creator, for an infinite period of time?
Giving up and replacing "we'd love to find out" with "well, it's just unexplainable magic!" is not a satisfying option to me.
I can state with reasonable certainty that there isn't.
I'm perfectly willing to be convinced by compelling evidence to the contrary, but "it's in the Bible" or "everything needs a beginning EXCEPT THIS ONE THING THAT MAKES MY ARGUMENT WORK" isn't that evidence.
That you came from your father's penis as a drop of fluid, to be formed into some living thing, and ultimately be given birth from your mother's vagina into this world for no reason, out of randomness, and with no sort of intelligent force behind all of this?
You've already indicated you yourself think it's reasonable to think things can come into existence without a creator, by asserting the existence of such a thing in the form of a creator.
I'm entirely comfortable with the concept of my being here due to natural selection rather than a mystical purpose. Don't make the mistake of thinking "everything must have a purpose" to be a globally shared worldview.
This is pure logic my friend. It is not rational to "believe" that an object, a thing, a complex structure, can come into existence without being intelligently designed in some manner. That something as intricate and complex as the universe just came to be randomly, for no reason, and with no architect of some sort.
Would you describe a dolphin as a complex structure? It wasn't designed, it evolved through natural selection.
I suggest reading a short book titled "Why evolution is true", or "The blind watchmaker".
Surely someone can design something to self-heal, self-correct, or evolve/adapt to it's surroundings right? Wouldn't a good designer/architect do that?
It's true that all roads from there will eventually lead to abandoning the logic and essentially saying "just because".
imho the leap of faith in assuming the architect(s) came into existence by divinity (just because) is more satisfying than the one in assuming there is none.
This source, or point of singularity, is what religious people refer to as 'God'.
This is an unsupported assertion. The current answer to "what came before the Big Bang" is "we're not sure, and we're not sure that's even the right terminology".
If everything needs a creator, that "singularity" has to have one, and its creator, and its creator, and so on and so forth for infinity.
The entire concept of time starts to break down in spots, like within a black hole: https://phys.org/news/2015-09-law-implies-thermodynamic-blac...
It also breaks down when you start talking about pre-Big Bang cosmology. It's not clear there is such a thing as a "beginning" outside of the universe.
Sure, that's hard to wrap your head around, but so's quantum entanglement and the double slit experiment. Doesn't change the fact that the universe works in very, very weird ways sometimes.
Here's Stephen Hawking on the weirdness of all of this: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html
> Quantum theory introduces a new idea, that of imaginary time. Imaginary time may sound like science fiction, and it has been brought into Doctor Who. But nevertheless, it is a genuine scientific concept. One can picture it in the following way. One can think of ordinary, real, time as a horizontal line. On the left, one has the past, and on the right, the future. But there's another kind of time in the vertical direction. This is called imaginary time, because it is not the kind of time we normally experience. But in a sense, it is just as real, as what we call real time.
We, as beings who experience time linearly, can't fathom the concept of "No time". Every event we experience has a beginning, middle, and end.
Time was created along with the universe. "Before" the Big Bang there was literally "No time". There was no "before". There was nothing you could say was "before" because "before" literally did not exist. Just asking the question "what was before the big bang?" is nonsensical. You can't ask what was before "before" existed.
This gets more confusing because we know the Universe has had a finite lifetime.
I know this seems like a cop out. And you can say well then whoever/whatever caused the Big Bang was "God". That may or may not be true, it can't be tested of verified, but it seems that the universe is here just because it is here.
Which is not a very satisfying answer to most.
We also can't completely discount life on the Moon having briefly explored a couple acres of it, largely on foot.
*That we know of.
On the subject of over reporting of church attendence, the discrimination against atheists in the USA may have a good part to play:
At the same time, I have not seen any reason to believe that the ultimate nature of the universe is the creation of a conscious architect/designer.
As the traditional line of thought goes: who created or designed the creator? If the universe is so complex that it required a conscious being to kick everything off, then wouldn't that being be of sufficient complexity to also require a designer?
I don't mean to say that I can even comprehend the concept of how this universe could have come into existence. Sure, I can grasp on some vague level the processes we've observed or inferred, but I doubt that anything resembling modern humanity can possibly wrap their heads around the ultimate origins.
So to me, it seems a bit of a cop out (or maybe just anthropomorphism) when we think "well, it must be like another guy doing it....just a bigger/better/smarter/older/whatever guy". It's like the old joke of "turtles all the way down". We think in terms of hierarchy and design so we imagine some point at the very top of the hierarchy, there's a tippy-top dog who must have been responsible for designing things.
But the idea that there's a creator who is basically a super-whatever and he is aware of us and cares about what we do seems as unlikely to me as turtles all the way down. Sure it could be the case as easily as anything else since I can't fathom what could have provided the ultimate start of everything. But I've yet to see any evidence or logic that suggests this is the case. If anything it would seem the opposite.
Frankly I would love reason to believe I had a clue about this because when I mull over the concept of "everything" it's a bit terrifying.
Isn't there a beginning to EVERYTHING?
Second, we know that complex systems like bees can and do arise without a creator by means of evolution through natural selection.
Third, even if you somehow still want to believe in a creator, what can we infer about it? There is beauty in this world, but also suffering and misery, and that is not limited to humans -- far from it. Just as you would expect from a system that arise through natural selection alone.
That source, or beginning, is what religions people refer to as God.
But we've already established that the idea that all designs have a designer, all creations have a creator, is more logical than for something to come into existence, from nothing, with no creator, for no reason, and out of randomness.
If not, why not?
2) If all complex things require a creator, and the creator is presumably complex, why does the creator not also require something to have created them?
 - https://youtu.be/I_ciu7_cOhg
The standard answer is that God may have other values than what we think of as Good. For example everything was 'good' then perhaps there wouldn't be a need for forgiveness, generosity or free will
More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_of_all_possible_worlds
That said, if the evidence were significantly more convincing, I'd change in a heartbeat.
But, the belief in a Higher Power, a God, a Creator of some sort, is rooted in using logic. That is something that I don't understand how someone can deny.
God's existence, if He were to have a reasonable fraction of the attributes ascribed to him, would be trivially provable to the most hardened atheist.
The fact that that hasn't happened, with no clear reason why not, is quite tricky for a lot of sceptics to get passed.
The best way I've heard it put is that Athiests believe there is no God. Agnostics believe that it is unknown and unknowable whether there is a god.
Yes, technically, I'm agnostic about a teapot orbiting Mars, or an invisible unicorn living on the Moon... but it's a reasonable statement to just say flatly "there's no such thing" until someone presents some pretty solid evidence that's incorrect.
I've also heard folks make a distinction between "weak" and "strong" atheism; weak being "I don't believe there's a God, but I could be convinced with good enough evidence" and strong being "nothing would convince me of a God".
The actual levels of religosity can drop a _lot_ before it becomes clear that darn-near everyone is just pretending.
In 2011, membership the Church of Scotland dropped to the point where it was less popular than "No Religion". This got a lot of publicity - and meant that over the next two years the membership nearly _halved_, from 32% to 18%. Because once there's no social requirement to say "Oh yes, I believe in God", all of the people who hadn't been going to church anyway stop saying it.
0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_in_the_United_St...
I'll say this again: for many protestants (and thus many Americans), simply believing defines being religious.
I'm not interested in interpretations and I'm positing the idea that unless you act out the doctrine of Christ in your life, you cannot make a valid claim to be religious (in the Christian sense).
Please find a Lutheran and posit this to them. :)