Back again :-).

This would really be substantially easier if we either worked in-line or just did bullet points or numbered questions. Writing a full essay every couple of days is taking up a whole bunch of time I’m sure neither of us has. šŸ™‚

> Not checking lj too often, it’s lucky I found you again! šŸ™‚
> While as an atheist you can claim belief in God is not rational, you can still discuss the subject rationally.

Of course. You’re not specifying which subject though in that line. The existence of God (ontology ) or the nature of God (theology).

> Like any high level atomic theory or maths equation you accept certain unknown things as possibly true for the basis of the argument and work from there.

Ah, but this is certainly not the same. Atomic theory and advanced maths have two distinct differences over religious belief. Firstly they have some form of concrete proof either from a hierarchy of axioms starting with universally accepted premises or from experimental evidence. Secondly they are understood by a non-trivial number of people who, via a chain of trust, are accepted to know what they are doing. So, for example, I don’t have to understand atomic theory to accept that someone else does in order to make computer chips work.

Comparing belief in God (or Santa or elves) where one simply states a proposition and says “this is true because I say it is” to something like atomic theory where one states this is true because (1) “these people understand it and I have good reason to trust them” and (2) “look at the experimental evidence” makes no sense.

> I should also clarify that it isn’t the existence of God himself that makes the universe have purpose. Instead it is that it was created for a purpose which can only be
> done by something akin to a deity.

Evidence please. Is this another premise?

> If God destroyed himself to create the universe it still has purpose if he had one in mind when making it. His existence past that isn’t that important.
> So I wasn’t offering my desire for a purposeful universe as evidence, just I’d prefer to believe it to a certain extent.

That’s completely fine. So far we have accepted the premises that (1) God exists, (2) the universe has some kind of deity directed purpose. We have absolutely no rational evidence for this but if believing those makes you happier that’s cool.

> Organised religion is an interesting point. Few religions are really very organised at all, only Christianity has much of a structure to it beyond local community leaders. > I’d define being part of a religion as accepting the tenets of a set faith, something you need not do to believe in God.

We have different definitions of religion then which is fine. Would you define Deism as a religion and if not what would you call it?

> I’d also argue you <u>cannot</u> be a Satanist without being a Christian. You have to believe in Christian mythology to oppose it.

Hardly. Many Theistic Satanists believe that Satan created Jehovah – that’s hardly compatible which Christian thinking.

>> Of course some people do, but the vast majority don’t. Let’s not get distracted by this point.

Okay, I’m being quoted out of context… Let’s go and look up what I was actually on about…

> I don’t see that as a distraction at all. People staying with the faith they were born into is due to a number of factors, not least of which is the integrated nature of
> their society with other cultures. Also, plenty of people who call themselves a religion only do so due to upbringing and don’t follow it at all, they cannot count as
> part of a religion.

Certainly if I person says that they are a Christian and goes to church but doesn’t actually believe in God then they shouldn’t be counted as members of that religion. Of course finding out whether someone actually believes is all-but impossible… šŸ™‚

> Rightly, Atheism isn’t a religion, at least according to smarts dimensional model. However we so far do not have a definition of religion so who knows.

Okay – let’s start having a go at defining a common understanding.

I would define religion (from Wiktionary) as “A system of beliefs, including belief in the existence of at least one of the following: a human soul or spirit, a deity or higher being, or self after the death of oneā€™s body.”

How does that fit in with your personal definition?

> I wasn’t suggesting that human influence went beyond our planet (although one day it might) but the happenings on one planet must count for something to some
> degree, however small.


> Unicorns again, well, not impossible even scientifically.

Okay, okay…

Let’s replace unicorns as an alternative non-rationally based entity with Santa Claus. Would you accept that stating that Santa exists doesn’t make it so – even though many people (children) believe that he does?

> As to personal belief, well, that’s another story. I’m more agnostic than atheist as I’d like to believe there is something what that is I have no evidence beyond
> personal considerations to follow. However I cannot step into the atheist camp which seems to claim there cannot be a God of any form

No, not at all.

Atheism does not say “there is no God”. There is no method by which I can prove God doesn’t not exist. However, I don’t need to. The effort must be on the side of those who are religious to prove to me that God exists in just the same way that people must persuade me of atomic theory, heliocenterism, ghosts or the Easter Bunny.

> and all belief is irrational

Depending on how you are defining “belief” in that sentence. From the point of view of metaphysics absolutely everything is based on belief but if you are referring to the acceptance of premises of the concrete existence of concepts without the need of any form evidence or chain of logic then, yes, that is certainly irrational.

> or even borderline deranged.

Some atheists do say that, Richard Dawkins comes to mine, but they tend to do more harm than good (I’m certainly not a fan of Dawkins myself).

> When it comes to religion the jury is still out

If by that you mean that popular consensus is still undecided I would remind you that popular consensus is still, for example, in favor of the death penalty and was, for a long time, in favor of setting fire to Catholics.

> and probably always will be. The universe is far too vast and complicated for us to understand

Ah, ineffability.

> (not that we shouldn’t keep doing our damnedest to keep trying to) especially when the more we know the more we discover we have to learn. I can’t subscribe to any > belief that declares it knows the absolute truth

Good, welcome to the scientific method – come on in, the discussion is lovely. šŸ˜€

> as to me that is the only true delusion. Sure, it sounds like fence sitting, but as far as I can see there is little other choice. I’d like to believe there is something out
> there and something to go to apart from dust after death. I have no idea what it is, but like everyone else I’ll find out eventually šŸ˜‰

True enough.

So, to conclude (since it seems like we’re coming to the end)…

  1. You believe that God exists and do not require supporting evidence or a logical framework to do so (irrational).
  2. You believe in a Creator God that lends purpose to the universe and hence to yourself and do not require supporting evidence or a logical framework to do so (irrational).
  3. You believe that “the universe is far too vast and complicated for us to understand”. From that I am implying, perhaps incorrectly, that you believe that nature of God to be unknowable and therefore any further discussion to be pointless (ineffability as argument).
  4. You make not statements about the veracity of religious supernatural events. (Open).

If you would ever like to pick any of these up again (either in person or on here) or respond to the post I put up with my own views on God then I’d be more than happy to carry on.

Meanwhile, keep checking the post… šŸ™‚