Why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?

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Hermit
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Why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?

Post by Hermit » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:57 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]My quick answer though to "Why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?" is that if there is no god - then I would assume that we all live as we are doing and then die, and that's it. But if there is a god, like the God of the Bible, who has given us instructions on how to get to the next level, then the people have hope of not dying. So, it matters infinitely (to those who want to continue on).[/quote]
Parsing it: I don't want to die. If there is no afterlife I will die. Without a god there is no afterlife. I want there to be a god.

In short: Wishful thinking.

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Post by Jackrabbit » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:25 pm

Why else would a god have been created?

One group of people wanted to feel important and/or control the lives of others. They did the creation of the god, pulling him out of their ass.

Another group of people fell for it and jumped through hoops at the whim of the god-creators. Including giving them money, power, and unearned respect.

Which continues to this day.

It isn't really that complicated.
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Post by Copernicus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:49 am

I think that 1I makes a fair point about the Abrahamic God, which most Christians and Arabs believe will ensure survival after death of the physical body. In fact, immortality is a theme that goes all the way back to Gilgamesh, which doubtless grew out of similar precursor stories. All living things strive to prolong their existence, and belief that immortality is attainable would seem to make sense in complex living beings like us, because we are acutely aware of our own mortality.

So the belief does matter to people on that score, but there are probably other motivations to believe. For example, God also serves as an origin myth. God also affects our lives before death--in terms of answering prayers and performing miracles. God is also useful to those who can convince others that God supports some goal that they want fulfilled, because people can be motivated to rally behind that goal.

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Post by Politesse » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:56 am

The question presupposes an emotional motivation; there's no objective reason for something to "matter".
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Post by 1ICrying » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:05 am

Thank you all for engaging with me in this discussion so far. Here are my replies:


Hi Tubby.

You wrote I'm guessing you are liberal enough to join him in denying eternal damnation as a possible fate in an afterlife?

It is hard to think that a loving God would be into the ‘eternal damnation’. I wouldn’t guess it’s impossible though (all things are possible with God, no?). Perhaps some entities could deserve such a fate, but I am lead to believe that simple non-existence might be a more likely fate, similar to all those sperm that never made it to the egg.

I’ve also heard a theory that goes a little like this: that God is like a light, a shining light of love in a universe that is otherwise cold and dark. The further you travel from the light, the colder and darker it gets. Being that we have free-will, there are those who will choose the darkness forever. This would be the ‘eternal damnation’ – self inflicted. According to the Bible though, I believe Satan and his followers are cast into a lake of fire – which doesn’t sound like they’ll have much chance to turn it around.

For others though, perhaps this might apply – especially after it is clearly revealed that God is God and Christ is Christ etc. I have always found it difficult to imagine that a loving God would drop the curtain down suddenly and, depending on which side of it you are at that point, there is no more choice or chance to get it right. So in this scenario, God just keeps on being what he is, which is ‘ Love’, and we can continue to walk towards that or away.


Roo St. Gallus

You asked me:

I'm going to speculate that 1I is a 'literary Bible' kind of practitioner.

"It's literature...with stories and lessons and wisdom and folly and all that."

Am I close?



Thank you Roo for asking. My take on the Bible goes something like this. It’s creation was inspired by God. It is full of stories and lessons and wisdom, for sure. But it is also the Word of God (the stuff God wants us to know).

Aside from the stories and lessons and wisdom, what amazes me about the Bible are just how many prophecies it contains. In just predicting the coming of the Messiah, there are over some 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus Christ. These are prophecies that were written in there by the Jews, between 1500 and 300 BC, at minimum, a full 3 centuries before our carpenter arrives. When you read those prophecies in the Old Testament and match them up with their fulfillment, it sends shivers along the spine. How many other books contain the proof of fulfilled prophecy? Nostradamus had a couple of good ones, but over 300? What more proof does anyone need? For me, over 300 is plenty enough. The proof is right in the pudding.


Hi Hermit.

You wrote:

Parsing it: I don't want to die. If there is no afterlife I will die. Without a god there is no afterlife. I want there to be a god.

In short: Wishful thinking.


Well, I think my answer to Roo covers this. In my mind, it’s far from wishful thinking. Can you explain Hermit how these 300 or so prophecies can be present in the Bible, and fulfilled in the Bible, and not be true?


Hi Jackrabbit.

You wrote:

Why else would a god have been created?

One group of people wanted to feel important and/or control the lives of others. They did the creation of the god, pulling him out of their ass.

Another group of people fell for it and jumped through hoops at the whim of the god-creators. Including giving them money, power, and unearned respect.

Which continues to this day.

It isn't really that complicated.




Again, I refer you to my words above about the prophecies and the Bible. If it was just a giant hoax that took over 2000 years to put together and execute – then fine, you got me. I’m fooled. But if it isn’t hoax that was pulled out of ‘their ass’, then you may have just been fooled. I hope not. I don't want anyone to miss what is going to be the most mind blowing party. This is just the qualifying lap friends.

Thank you all again to those who are following this thread and for Secular Cafe for making it all possible. Talk soon. 1I

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Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:44 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]
Again, I refer you to my words above about the prophecies and the Bible.
[/quote]
Assumes the "events" in the bible actually happened and that the "participants" actually existed. Keeping your story straight in a work of fiction is far easier than "predicting" real events.
But if it isn’t hoax that was pulled out of ‘their ass’, then you may have just been fooled.
I'm willing to take that "risk". If the story made more sense, I'd be more inclined to go along with it. But it's an incoherent, contradictory mess.
I hope not. I don't want anyone to miss what is going to be the most mind blowing party. This is just the qualifying lap friends.
I don't want anyone to waste their entire life jumping through hoops to "please" a vicious, dubious cosmic overlord. It bothers me that they reject many of the pleasures of life for no actual reason.

I especially don't want them trying to push the shit on other people without being asked for it, especially showing up on my doorstep uninvited. Evangelism is one of the worst aspects.

I absolutely don't want them forcing their shit on other people via legislation. I.e. bathroom bills and other oppression of LGBT people. That is the very worst aspect.

Without those things, it would be easy to just ignore religion completely, like bigfoot trackers and alien abductees. But it causes too many real problems.
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Post by DMB » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:48 pm

My days of spending ages combing through the bible are far back in time, so I just googled to get this.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexami ... d-or-fail/

But you must be aware that there are problems about the historical accuracy of the bible. What do you think of the creation stories in Genesis?

How about Noah's flood?

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Post by Politesse » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:12 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]
For others though, perhaps this might apply – especially after it is clearly revealed that God is God and Christ is Christ etc. I have always found it difficult to imagine that a loving God would drop the curtain down suddenly and, depending on which side of it you are at that point, there is no more choice or chance to get it right. So in this scenario, God just keeps on being what he is, which is ‘ Love’, and we can continue to walk towards that or away.
[/quote]

Have you ever read the work of Origen? He was the original apokatastatist, at least in print, and proposed something akin to this for most human beings. St Gregory of Nyssa also wrote something of the sort, that we are all ascending the same mountain with varying degrees of success and failure in this life and the next.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Post by Hermit » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:02 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]Hi Hermit.

You wrote:
Hermit;664667 wrote:Parsing it: I don't want to die. If there is no afterlife I will die. Without a god there is no afterlife. I want there to be a god.

In short: Wishful thinking.
Well, I think my answer to Roo covers this. In my mind, it’s far from wishful thinking. Can you explain Hermit how these 300 or so prophecies can be present in the Bible, and fulfilled in the Bible, and not be true?[/QUOTE]
I was rewording what you actually said, and I think it was a fair rewording, but never mind. I won't lose any sleep over your refusal to discuss my interpretation of what you actually said in light of what you actually said. I'll just put it down to evasiveness or an inability to pursue a logical line of thought.

With that out of the way, I shall now follow your new tack: Before I could explain how 300 or so prophecies can be present in the Bible, and fulfilled in the Bible, and not be true, I'd have to see 300 or so prophecies can be present in the Bible, and fulfilled in the Bible. As it stands, my reading of the alleged prophesies remind me of prophesies of booms and busts in the economy, and changes in the weather - that is to say, if they are sufficiently vague, they are bound to be correct sooner or later.

For example, if the biblical reports are to be trusted, Jesus prophesied a second coming. Some people around him expected it to occur within their own lifetime. 2000 years later the date of the prophesied event is still being guessed at and keeps being revised. People of the Jewish faith, of course are still waiting for the first.

As a side note I request that you familiarise yourself with and use the quote tags as a matter of courtesy. They are easy to learn to use properly and they make following as well as continuing parallel strands of discussions a lot easier. Thank you in advance.

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a few specific questions

Post by Tubby » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:45 pm

And the dead in Christ will rise first. I Thessalonians. 4:16

Are the souls of humans who have already died waiting until the second coming of Christ to be judged and then to move on to the afterlife? Or are they already experiencing the afterlife?

But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none. 1 Cor. 7:29

"Short" as in 2,000 years?

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matt. 5:18

Does Jesus want you to live according to Hebrew law?

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34

About what year did that fulfillment happen?

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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:06 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]
Roo St. Gallus

You asked me:

I'm going to speculate that 1I is a 'literary Bible' kind of practitioner.

"It's literature...with stories and lessons and wisdom and folly and all that."

Am I close?



Thank you Roo for asking. My take on the Bible goes something like this. It’s creation was inspired by God. It is full of stories and lessons and wisdom, for sure. But it is also the Word of God (the stuff God wants us to know).

Aside from the stories and lessons and wisdom, what amazes me about the Bible are just how many prophecies it contains. In just predicting the coming of the Messiah, there are over some 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus Christ. These are prophecies that were written in there by the Jews, between 1500 and 300 BC, at minimum, a full 3 centuries before our carpenter arrives. When you read those prophecies in the Old Testament and match them up with their fulfillment, it sends shivers along the spine. How many other books contain the proof of fulfilled prophecy? Nostradamus had a couple of good ones, but over 300? What more proof does anyone need? For me, over 300 is plenty enough. The proof is right in the pudding.


Hi Hermit.

You wrote:

Parsing it: I don't want to die. If there is no afterlife I will die. Without a god there is no afterlife. I want there to be a god.

In short: Wishful thinking.


Well, I think my answer to Roo covers this. In my mind, it’s far from wishful thinking. Can you explain Hermit how these 300 or so prophecies can be present in the Bible, and fulfilled in the Bible, and not be true?
I[/quote]

Well, now. I can now see that we diverge significantly over interpretation right here.

Y'see...Those 'prophecies' mean absolutely nothing if you consider the most recent portion of the scriptures to have been a literary development out of the prior set of scriptures and liberally reinterpreted for polemical purposes. Indeed, the gospels and 'New Testament' documents are literary devices and the whole 'prophecy' aspect was to harvest enough wonders to ascribe to their newly invented savior. The figure is an invention and part of the invention was parsing existing scripture for 'prophecies' which they could ascribe to their teacher figure having made manifest; midrash and pesher. Textproofing and retelling for invented divine reputation. Voila!...do we have a savior for you!

While we're at it, you can dispense with the whole 'inspired by God' thing. I don't think there are many here who who even accept the god concept, much less your particular take on it. As for 'inspiration', I don't think fictitious gratuitous divine beings need to be invoked to explain a whole lot of malarky collated in to a big book of religious bureaucratic jargon. It seems to be a widespread human trait. As far as I'm concerned, any god is merely put in to play as some kind of subtle threat against those who might have temerity to disagree with the god-flinger's particular position. I note how often it is that these gods tend to talk to these people. Or, so they claim.

You do realize anybody can make that claim based upon absolutely nothing at all? My response is to dismiss ALL such claims. No god, no divine inspiration.

I suspect I'm much closer to Hermit's interpretation.
Last edited by Roo St. Gallus on Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:37 pm

*crickets*
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Post by plebian » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:28 am

I am perfectly happy with saying God is love. However, as soon as you get into the question of what it is love wants, everyone always seems to turn god into a medieval king with a very sensitive ego. I think if you can make a consistent god idea, there is no way to make any sort of desire work for that idea. Desire is a temporal feature.

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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:01 am

One thing that later occurred to me:

The question is: "why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?".

There are actually two levels to this. What do you mean by "god"? Are you referring specifically to the xian god concept (or others claimed by man) or just a universal creator?

The idea of a universal creator is silly enough, but thinking said deity is obsessed about man, especially his sex life, is funnier than words can express. Have you ever taken an astronomy class? I took one in college and that was the end of what little belief I had left (not that I ever had much, despite being bludgeoned with the shit growing up). The true scale of the universe is staggering, and the creator of all that deeply cares about us? Sure, man wants him to care and needs him to care, but it's ludicrous, not to mention hugely egotistical, to think man is worthy of his attention.

The ancient bozos who dreamed him up had no idea how big a god they were creating. They thought the stars were just lights in the sky and didn't even know about other continents across the sea, much less other planets, stars. and galaxies. They didn't even create a planetary god, just a god of the middle east. While other primitives in other locations were creating their own local gods.

Primitive and ignorant people believing this stuff is to be expected. The fact that it survived to the modern age, when we know a hell of a lot more about how things really are, just shows the desperation of man to have someone solve all of his problems.
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Post by Hermit » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:34 am

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]What do you mean by "god"? Are you referring specifically to the xian god...?[/quote]
Is this not clear enough?
[quote=""1ICrying""]...there are over some 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus Christ.[/quote]

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Post by Siempre » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:16 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
1ICrying;664646 wrote:My quick answer though to "Why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?" is that if there is no god - then I would assume that we all live as we are doing and then die, and that's it. But if there is a god, like the God of the Bible, who has given us instructions on how to get to the next level, then the people have hope of not dying. So, it matters infinitely (to those who want to continue on).
Parsing it: I don't want to die. If there is no afterlife I will die. Without a god there is no afterlife. I want there to be a god.

In short: Wishful thinking.[/QUOTE]

The problem with that wishful thinking is that it holds us back... BIG TIME.

We could probably be 500 to 1,000 years more advanced right now if it weren't for religion. Just think about that. Not only would we be more advanced but a TON more effort would be going toward extending life and stuff like that if everyone didn't think there was an afterlife. There is a good chance we could be all but immortal right now.

Granted, with such advancement we could have just as easily wiped out all life on the planet by now also.

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Post by DMB » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:24 am

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]

The ancient bozos who dreamed him up had no idea how big a god they were creating. They thought the stars were just lights in the sky firmament and didn't even know about other continents across the sea, much less other planets, stars. and galaxies. They didn't even create a planetary god, just a god of the middle east. While other primitives in other locations were creating their own local gods.

[/quote]

FIFY. I love the idea of the (Wikipedia)firmament. It's there in Genesis and it is totally incompatible with scientific astronomy. When I was a child I was obliged to learn psalms, and this one comes to mind:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Modern biblical translations try to leave out the firmament, because it's no longer respectable.

When I was a teenager I read the Fitzgerald version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and loved this:
And that inverted Bowl we call the Sky
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as thou or I.
Last edited by DMB on Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:44 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by 1ICrying » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:34 am

Hi Guys,

Sorry for the delay in an posts back. I do want to get back to all of your posts, but being five atheists for every 'Christian', I feel slightly overwhelmed.

Since I cannot yet quit my day job, I am still not ready to send out all my replies. In the meantime though, please have a look at this link. It contains a list of 365 prophecies. These are the ones I was referring to.

http://www.bibleprobe.com/365messianicprophecies.htm

DMB, for the question about Noah's Ark, I have another link. Tell me that this doesn't provide just a glimmer of possibility that this story occurred.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCyOVGBnNp8

I too am a skeptic when it comes to Noah's Ark. I would say that all things are possible with God, but I also would have said that whether or not this story was symbolic or real, it doesn't take away from the over-all true message of the Bible. I guess however, if you do watch the video, you'll see it was real.

What's really funny(strange) about this story, is that this was the Jew's baby. This was their religion, their prophecies. And then even they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Like the prophecy said - the stone that was rejected would
become the cornerstone.



RE: the title of this thread:

For those who are wondering how these fit in with the title of this thread
Why does the existence or non-existence of god matter?

for those of us who have been with this thread from the beginning - you remember it spilled over from the WELCOME PAGE with help from the moderator. So the thread continued over here with this new header. I think a better title might be: (Dis)Prove the validity of the Bible, or something along that line.


I got to get some sleep ya'll. I stayed up late reading and writing my replies. Went to bed and go 0 minutes of sleep before needing to get up at 8am! My brain was still buzzing, turning over questions and answers over and over and over. So that afternoon, went back to bed for 4 hours - got in trouble with the wife. I blame you all.

Ill try to keep the posts regular. Have to get as much in before Trump shuts down your internet. Gracias amigos.

1I

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Post by JamesBannon » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:15 am

You do realise that you're dealing with a bunch of secularists, many of whom are well versed in these types of arguments.; i.e., we've seen it all before. Do you have anything new to offer?
There you go with them negative waves ... Why can't you say something righteous and beautiful for a change? :grouphug:

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Post by DMB » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:21 am

[quote=""JamesBannon""]You do realise that you're dealing with a bunch of secularists, many of whom are well versed in these types of arguments.; i.e., we've seen it all before. Do you have anything new to offer?[/quote]

I think he does know that and is being quite brave to tackle us.

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Post by JamesBannon » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:27 am

[quote=""DMB""]
JamesBannon;664972 wrote:You do realise that you're dealing with a bunch of secularists, many of whom are well versed in these types of arguments.; i.e., we've seen it all before. Do you have anything new to offer?
I think he does know that and is being quite brave to tackle us.[/QUOTE]

No doubt. I'm just looking for something from left field.
There you go with them negative waves ... Why can't you say something righteous and beautiful for a change? :grouphug:

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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:26 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
Jackrabbit;664938 wrote:What do you mean by "god"? Are you referring specifically to the xian god...?
Is this not clear enough?
[quote=""1ICrying""]...there are over some 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus Christ.[/quote][/QUOTE]
Yes, I know. Just a way of asking if he is aware that there is more than one god concept, and the others also claim to have "evidence". His god is no more plausible than any of the others. And probably less plausible than others, given that he is claimed to love mankind, but is actually a vicious asshole. The Roman gods did their own thing, like becoming a swan to get some, no pretension to caring anything about man.
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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:42 pm

[quote=""1ICrying""]I think a better title might be: (Dis)Prove the validity of the Bible, or something along that line.
[/quote]
And talking about "prophesies" does not prove anything unless you can prove the specific things "prophesied" actually took place. You have stories in a book. Rowling could have made "prophesies" in the Harry Potter series (maybe she did, never read it). But she never claimed the events happened in real life.
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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:52 pm

[quote=""JamesBannon""]
DMB;664973 wrote:
JamesBannon;664972 wrote:You do realise that you're dealing with a bunch of secularists, many of whom are well versed in these types of arguments.; i.e., we've seen it all before. Do you have anything new to offer?
I think he does know that and is being quite brave to tackle us.
No doubt. I'm just looking for something from left field.[/QUOTE]
Yes, the standard arguments are a waste of everyone's time. We could just cut and paste the responses from a hundred earlier threads.
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Post by DMB » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:24 pm

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]
JamesBannon;664974 wrote:
DMB;664973 wrote:
JamesBannon;664972 wrote:You do realise that you're dealing with a bunch of secularists, many of whom are well versed in these types of arguments.; i.e., we've seen it all before. Do you have anything new to offer?
I think he does know that and is being quite brave to tackle us.
No doubt. I'm just looking for something from left field.
Yes, the standard arguments are a waste of everyone's time. We could just cut and paste the responses from a hundred earlier threads.[/QUOTE]

Well I feel that when someone is new to SC we should cut them some slack and not expect them to comb through ancient threads.

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