The other day I was going through some of my old notes from years ago when I found this gem that I had written back in 2007 (almost 6 years ago):
“The following is the closest that I can come to proving the existence of God. It’s good enough for me.
If there was no God and no heaven, there would be no true purpose or goal in life or the universe. If there was no God and no heaven, whether or not you live, die, or had never been born in the first place, would eventually make no difference to anyone or anything. It would mean that everything that exists isn’t just insignificant, but totally worthless as well.”
That reasoning “proved” to me that God exists. In fact, it satisfied me enough that I was able to put the question of God’s existence from my mind for some months at least.
I don’t remember if it occurred to me or not that I was making an assertion based only on how the alternative would make me feel. If it did occur to me, I guess I never realized how fallacious such reasoning is.
Perhaps deep down, I realized that this reasoning never actually proved anything about God, that it just made me feel a little better about unquestioningly accepting his existence. As time went on, I learned more about epistemology and the scientific method and it didn’t take me long to discard this reasoning as an embarrassment.
In the years since I wrote those words, I’ve found P to be false but luckily for me, I found “I will be sad” to be false too.
Just to be clear, there is a lot wrong with this kind of reasoning that I engaged in six years ago. The universe isn’t here just to make us happy and reality doesn’t magically reconfigure itself based on our emotions. The fact that you find a hypothesis to be emotionally inconceivable says nothing about the accuracy of that hypothesis.
Reading your words is like recalling my own past thoughts without prior notice from my own memory.
Thank you for posting that. I went through the same thought process in my journey. It is also why it is nearly impossible to engage in a debate with a staunch Christian. If they haven’t begun the journey, they haven’t even made it this far.
“I can really understand atheists, many of whom have a deep understanding of the human condition,who perhaps are saying they don’t believe in a false God.”
Jean Vanier: philosopher,humanist, founder of L’arche. I am reading his book on Aristotle.
Xamish, I identify with your header, Fighting Dogma. I too have been labeled as, Hellenistic, gnostic, because I researched the writings one of the earliest known theology schools and library at Alexandria. This school had close ties with the philosophy school in Athens. The theologians there taught that all humanity would be restored in the ages ahead. Col. 1:20.
One of the masters there, Origen was later condemned as a heretic. His writings did not mistranslate, the Greek words, kolasin aioion, to “everlasting punishment”, as in most of today’s Bible versions. The accurate interpretation is: “age abiding correction,” (for humanity).
see: http://www.concordant.org for one of the most accurate Bible versions.
My alternative to the false God I had to turn away from led me to look at humanity.
If we survive war, usually caused by greed for power, possessions and land.
There are 600 yr old markers in the tsunamis area in Japan that say, build no farther. Earthquake zones are well known from history, if we choose to build by a volcano, is God to blame?
The greedy, plundering, raping, destroying, murdering nations in the Old Testament, who God knew their babies would grow up to be carriers of their corrupted culture…. God brought justice and stopped them. In the next age a time of correction for some.
Pondering the universe,the alternative for me is not meaningless. Humanity also has much beauty.
“The healing of thé nations”, is in thé last book of thé Bible. Perhaps we’ve only just begun to live.
Fran Shultis said:
Curious-Why don’t you show your face on your blog? Why don’t you give your real name? I don’t believe that you don’t believe in God. I have a feeling you’ve been hurt beyond measure and are angry. Or maybe you just want some attention. Either way it doesn’t matter if you believe in God. What matters is He believes in you. You are loved beyond understanding. Why reject such a wonderful gift?
Something to think about- Faith does not come through the head, it comes through the heart. May you be blessed friend.
That’s the most narcissistic thing I’ve heard all day. How arrogant you are to think you have the writer if this blog dissected and diagnosed. When you say to an atheist “god loves you” it would be akin to an atheist telling you ” Obi Wan Kenobi loves you” and with the “force” will “set you free” to think you will be the voice of reason that will lead the stray sheep back to the herd is, more of that narcissism. I no longer respect any religion. There is no place for religion in a world that MUST be ruled by science and logic. The survival of man depends upon the destruction of superstition and lore. No big foot, no marshians, no chupa cabra, no freakin god of any kind. I detest what religion does to the minds of the young. Parents teaching their children that sex is bad, that masturbation will send you to hell. That if you use profanity you are doin the devils work. Selfishness, pride, singularity, greed, these are not sinful acts that must be cleansed from man, but are survival mechanisms of evolution that have kept us knuckle dragging meat bags from extinction. So please. . . Stop with the empathetic rambling and educate yourself so that you may be able to salvage what little bit of joy you still can out of life and live GOD FREE.
Flock. . . Back to his flock. . . Sorry my mistake.
While I’m at it, I no longer care whether I step on the toes of a family member or someone’s grandmother. I used to think like most that , I had to remain quiet and humble about being atheist. That I would just distance myself from religion. That I would just ignore the opinions of Christians and other religions. Not anymore! Not when religion takes away my freedom to go shopping for electronics at a Wal Mart in certain counties before 2:00 on Sunday afternoon in South Carolina. Or if I where a drinking man, I wouldn’t be able to purchase Alchohol before noon on Sunday. Or if I wanted to purchase marital aides in certain county’s in Mississippi and Louisiana at all. Religion mongers boast of their faith and love for their god. They brag of the war on the world of non believers, how it’s their mission to stop anyone who isn’t like them. Its simply lazy, cowardess ignorance and fear that drive you. So I have said more than enough. I do not wish you a good day, nor happiness, nor prosperity, nor safe travel. I simply don’t know you, and don’t care. To make matters worse, you try to convince others to participate in your mad illusion that you yourself only claim out of fear of hell and death.
Blah blah blah. You deny all religion and call them all superstitious, but what do you know? The amount of knowledge any of us has is not even equal to a drop of water in the ocean.
Plus… The only religions you seem to be disagreeing with are the Abrahamic ones. Do you know anything about Buddhism? Or Hinduism? Or Jainism? Etc. Have you practiced shamatha-vipashyana? Do you have any idea about Vajrayana?
Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this…. Your arrogance is unwarranted because of your own ignorance. You don’t know nearly as much as you believe you do, I’m sure.
I agree that we humans are quite ignorant. How can religious people make such sweeping assertions about the origin of life, the universe, and everything that is? Without evidence, at that! Such arrogance is completely unwarranted.
Only problem, (o.k. one of the many problems) with your “logic” is, is that Obi Wan didn’t create the science, logic, mind, matter and souls that exist empirically. The more deoxyribonucleic acid is studied, the more complex it becomes. This is one of the many statistically impossible to explain facts flying against your religion (that you deny belonging to, but are quite clearly a zealous follower of, Atheism). “A” meaning no and “the” meaning God and “ism” meaning belief in… You know you cannot prove your assertion, therefor, the “ism”…
God, the intelligent creator of physics, mathematics, astronomy, biology, also created the human soul. You can deny many things. Lie to yourself about what “scientific” opinions fit your belief system, but, you cannot lie to yourself about your soul. A mere animal, at the top of the food chain, wouldn’t be taking the trouble to blog extensively to prove their beliefs. You wouldn’t be trying so hard to prove they were facts, if they actually met that burden of proof. You just simply can’t prove your assertions. Because they’re faith. Faith that God does not exist, when you could obviously never prove such an assertion. Any intellectually honest human being would admit that.
What I give you, that you most certainly can freely reject, is that any person honestly seeking the truth about our lives, our universe, our purpose, deserves respect for taking that intellectual and spiritual journey to know the truth. Seeking the truth deserves respect. So, you have mine (whether you disdain it or not). I hope you continue on your path of seeking empirical truth as long as you are given life.
I can only suggest that you study biology and complexity (the mathematical idea).
Judi Copeland said:
Back when I belonged to what some consider a cult [Jehovah’s Witness] I could not even conceive the idea of a godless reality. Ironically, I valued life less as a believer. After all, if god exists and is loving, you have a “do-over” ahead of you. As a non-believer, life is all that more meaningful because it is the only shot you have to enjoy it.
Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I too, value life more as a non-believer than I ever did as a believer.
John Irvine said:
There are no contradictions in an infinite universal mind wanting a finite experience – hence us!
You may be right about the noncontradiction, although I think it might not be parsimonious to posit such an infinite universal mind.