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Wednesday October 03 2007

Spot on:

Some say, in fact it’s almost a mantra in some quarters, that not believing in god equals believing in nothing. Well no. I’m sat in a chair right now. I believe in its powers of butt rest. But what about those who’ve convinced themselves of the existence of a non-existent god? One could say it is they who really believe in nothing.

One could indeed, and next time I get the chance and provided I remember to, I will.

I sort of did, here, in the comments, but theological mind that wants to believe in non-existent deity will always find a way to do it.

Posted by Tat on 03 October 2007

My comment is to say its not really worth comment ;-)

Its a discussion in circles based on one’s biases and I’ve never seen convincing proof or disproof. People usually don’t question ultimate presumptions… as they’re built on establishing their own sense of security.

Posted by Steevo on 03 October 2007

These perceptions of ‘believers’ are rather queer to me. While I know some people who have a blind faith, most of the people I know who are deists are constant questioners, daily doubters, and the sort of people who would find life much easier if they did not believe. I can’t help but wonder if your sample is tainted simply by hanging around total numpties.

(As for what I personally believe, it’s something I have to work out minute-by-minute. Torturous, really.)

Posted by Jackie on 04 October 2007

Oh blimey!

A throwaway comment presented as wisdom. Now I’m uncomfortable.

Some background, Dumb Jon, rightly, took Richard Dawkins to task for this which in turn prompted super commentator Julia to make the same daft comment that DJ himself had made a few days earlier and equate not believing in god with believing in nothing at all. And that got me riled. Dawkins himself covers this nonsense in The God Delusion with respect to Albert Einstein.

But what really gets me riled, which I mentioned here the other day, is the double standards of many religious folk:

It strikes me that most anti-Dawkins whinges are based on the fact that he won’t go quietly. Thiests are allowed to waffle on and on about their relationship with God and whatnot but for a heathen even pipe up is, like totally, annoying.

If believers can reference god all the time, why should non-believers refrain from saying they don’t believe?

Posted by Blognor Regis on 04 October 2007

BR

I don’t now see a world in which atheists aren’t allowed to pipe up.  But I think I used to see a world in which we atheists were ourselves reluctant to pipe up, because we felt that it was like shouting at a child or being cruel to a stupid dog, or bellowing at a beggar to get a job etc.  We saw goddists as all of them defenceless and sad.  Whether that was right is not my point.  That’s how we saw it, is what I’m saying.

But now that Muslims have plunged the world into turmoil on account of their devotion to god and what they think follows from that, we atheists are not so inclined to make nice about the god idea.

And the Christians, who also believe in a closely related god but are mostly far nicer about it (although it is said that in America they can be very nasty - I’ve never been), have got caught in the cross-fire.  We atheists now denouce the Christians too, for propping up the central idea of the Muslims.

My objection to Islam starts right at the start.  “God is great.” No.  Not only is he not great.  He’s imaginary.  Christians!  Stop encouraging them!

We always been allowed to say things like this.  It’s just that now, we find that we really want to.

I suspect it’s part of a general trend in the world of everybody being less reticent to state out loud their basic beliefs, and damn the feelings of those who disagree.

And oh look, here’s the internet, and we can all do it!

Like you said BR: blimey.  One innocent little posting, and now comments that are far bigger.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 04 October 2007

although it is said that in America they can be very nasty

I vehemently disagree with this. Strident in parts perhaps. Nasty no.

Likewise, I don’t feel the need to denounce anyone. Just to state my opinon as others state theirs.

Like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RV46fsmx6E

Posted by Blognor Regis on 04 October 2007

"I vehemently disagree with this. Strident in parts perhaps. Nasty no.”

Agreed. There are some televangelists that make me sick but by and large the American Christian community is not nasty but on the contrary. This negative perception is largely propagated by our Left or a few atheist Libertarians who it seems to me have some deep-seeded hangups.

Another reality I think is grossly distorted with those outside the US is that we are a Christian nation. I’m really not sure what that means but geese it seems so far from the truth. Our MSM, Hollywood and culture, in general, have made Christians as representing something very bad, yet more times than not promote people and views directly the opposite.

“My objection to Islam starts right at the start.  “God is great.” No.  Not only is he not great.  He’s imaginary.  Christians!  Stop encouraging them!”

Brian, it seems what you’re saying is for Christians to stop honoring their God? Of course they believe he’s great. Any person who believes in an ultimate personal being, responsible for what is including our own personal nature has a right to believe in his greatness. Anyone has the same right to believe he is not great simply by not believing in his possibility and and instead have the belief or faith we’re all the result of time, chance and accidents. This is being honest, not arrogant.

The problem is not the idea of god but a certain mass movement justifying intolerance and hate in the name of god. Christians in the US are of all stripes but most that I’ve seen are amongst the most outspoken against Muslim extremism. For them, such belief and action within the Muslim community is judged to be of the outmost evil and to be resisted and condemned.

Posted by Steevo on 04 October 2007

To be honest, I think it’s a rather childish and unworthy response to a pretty childish and unworthy suggestion.

What both “camps” (and I think that’s a pretty bad term, too - as Jackie pointed out, there’s a continuum of views, rather than two mutually exclusive groups) do is believe in an idea. One that this universe is self-generated and self-sustaining without the need to introduce an external intelligence. And the other “camp” believes that the external intelligence is the most important element.

Now, one or the other must be wrong, but neither believes in nothing, any more that a scientist who holds a theory that is later proved to be incorrect is believing in nothing - he’s believing in an idea, just an erroneous one.

I find it profoundly depressing that we as a society seem incapable of discussing religion without resorting to infantile “tit-for-tat” aphorisms.

Posted by Adam on 08 October 2007

we as a society

Eyebrows skywards.

Do you often do things as a society? I’ve witheld my subs. I much prefer speaking for myself rather than running things by the commitee first. They’re way too timid, mustn’t offend you know.

Posted by Blognor Regis on 10 October 2007

Oh, for goodness’ sake. I see the “statist patrol” are out in force.

I’m not a statist. I’m not advocating/suggesting state-based action, blah, blah, blah.

I’m using the definition of society as “the social environment in which we live”.

This is not hard.

*sigh*

Posted by Adam on 04 November 2007
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