# What makes an atheist not believe in God?

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Yes it does apply only to atheists. You can be a true Christian without looking at any of the other religions. However you wouldn't be a very logical and open-minded Christian.

Similar to what I said above, despite not being scientifically proven, there are an overwhelming number of religions which suggests in the existence of one or more gods while very few (if any) which suggests in the existence of no god/s. There's more reason to believe in one or more gods than there is to believe in no gods hence for one to become an atheist they must look for reasons to become one. This is done by analysing the flaws involving the other religions, before becoming an atheist one must look at all the other religions first for answers. If they still haven't found the one and true religion they can then become atheists. However for someone to believe straight away, without investigating other existing religions, that god/s doesn't/ don't exist is more illogical and irrational as not only isn't it scientifically proven but less (if any) religious texts suggest this view than the opposing one.

As an atheist, I lack belief in only one more god than the Christians lack belief in. Isn't it fair to assume that Christianity as a whole has analyzed all the possible gods and rejected them, then I analyzed Christianity and rejected that god too. Not only that, but I've looked at several religions and the gods they reject, and adding together the writings of all religions, it seems the most agreed upon fact is that, for any given god, it does not exist. Thus an atheist is like the sum total of all religions, these gods don't exist plus these gods don't exist plus these gods don't exist = no gods exist, and for every religion proclaiming a given god exists you have ten saying it doesn't. Furthermore, most religions agree that one who lacks faith in their god is better than one who worships the wrong god. Atheism is by far the safest bet when considering all religions.

What more proof do you need? The ancient peoples did not possess video cameras to record angels or any of the other religious phenomena that occurred at the time. However there are still many "Holy books" which can be analyzed and any archaeological evidence uncovered so far. It's not the fault of religion that it goes beyond science as to defy our sense of logic however still remaining logical.

Oh, can God only show himself in the distant past, or wherever no one is looking? Let god show himself at one of the major scientific conferences, that would do far more for most of us non-believers and wrong-god-believers than the silly storybooks from long ago written by people who believed all kinds of myths. As you said, we could record things much better now for the future generations. But if god does not want people to know he exists at least the atheist does not anger him by blowing his cover.

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Same reason I don't believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, leprechauns, unicorns, Thor, etc... there's no evidence for their existence, and so I assume they are irrelevant, which means they can be

To Imatfaal: Good for you. I guess the people on this Forum is not representative of the average. And I have no backup for my percentages, it was a way of speaking. But there is a reason why religions

I've read the Bible, cover to cover. I was strongly Christian during my childhood. The more I studied it, the more I found it to be lacking in rigor. At the same time I was beginning to read about

How dare you say that Bugs Bunny isn't real without having watched every single Warner Brothers cartoon?

There is no need rigorously to examine all the god hypotheses there are and have been in the world since they are all sufficiently alike in character -- as they have to be in order for them all the qualify as belonging under the definition of 'god' -- that they can be dismissed a priori.

The problem in most of these discussions is that people don't understand what can qualify as a ground for denying the existence of something ontologically bizarre. The philosopher David Hume once said that "extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary proofs," and that applies well to the assertion that gods exist. A god is such a strange, sui generis, magical sort of being that before we would believe in its existence, and before we would even open a space in our minds to be agnostic about its existence, we would require some really good evidence to encourage us to entertain the possibility of something so fantastic being real. Just saying 'you can't disprove it' is not sufficient for me even to be an agnostic, since otherwise I would also have to believe in the Tooth Fairy, since I haven't looked in every nook and cranny of the universe to exclude her existence either.

Scientific rationality requires that we try very hard to account for all new data in terms of the existing paradigms of explanation and consistently with the inductive regularities of the world. Since everything we encounter which we can all agree is really there has so far been some non-magical form of energy/matter, such as books, people, chairs, dogs, and oceans, I will continue to assume that everything everywhere that is real also conforms to this type of familiar object, unless and until someone presents me with some excellent, extremely strong, empirical evidence or logical inference that requires me to budge from my duty to respect what the inductive regularities of the world have always led me to expect.

Since some superstitious text full of gods, monsters, and miracles saying that on a given afternoon in the Roman province of Judea 2000 years ago a body somehow got out of a tomb is not strong enough evidence to force me to surrender my inclination to project the inductive regularities observed in the past -- that everything real is material -- into the future, I can't accept that assertion or others like it as possible or even worth arousing my active doubt that they might be real.

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For me, I became an atheist when I started to have a strong enough feeling of understanding physics that I felt I could know with certainty that there was no material being external to myself, i.e. "out there." It wasn't until I learned to understand the difference between spirituality and materiality that I was able to entertain the idea that God does exist WITHIN people and that this is a form of existence that is sufficient to believe in "God's existence." Many people can't understand how I can call subjective existence a form of true existence, but I think if it is sufficient to convince people who truly believe in God's existence that God in fact does exist (even objectively/externally), then it has as strong an effect as if God DID in fact exist externally/objectively. So I still don't think that God exists materially in the same way as, say, a road but I think He/She/It does exist in people's subjectivity and in theological discourse, and that is sufficient to drive all religious practice of humanity as if God existed external to all that.

edit: if you compare "God" as an idea with Jupiter as a planet, I think "God" the idea may have more power in human life than the planet Jupiter - although the idea of "Jupiter" may have more power in some astronomers' lives than that of "God." This is an example of how I measure subjective power.

edit2: this thread needs to have a sequel entitled, "not throwing out the baby with the bathwater: why don't atheists typically reject secular values derived from religion?"

Edited by lemur
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Well, this is on the assumption that God would not let the true religion come to non-existence. If a true religion did exist, it would exist now and be uncorrupted and would have remained the same throughout the years since the religion first came to life. Whatever religion that is, is most likely to be the true religion, even if we don’t agree with how it teaches us how to live our lives or in its different moral codes compared to today’s standards. Also to study all the minor religions that ever existed would be difficult due to a lack of resources/materials. Everyone should study from the religions which they can and this is easiest with the most well-know and currently accepted religions. If you disagree with them move on to the least well-know and accepted religions. Once you have gone through all the religions and still have no believe in the existence of god/s than you can call yourself an atheist.

Similar to what I said above, despite not being scientifically proven, there are an overwhelming number of religions which suggests in the existence of one or more gods while very few (if any) which suggests in the existence of no god/s. There’s more reason to believe in one or more gods than there is to believe in no gods hence for one to become an atheist they must look for reasons to become one. This is done by analysing the flaws involving the other religions, before becoming an atheist one must look at all the other religions first for answers. If they still haven’t found the one and true religion they can then become atheists. However for someone to believe straight away, without investigating other existing religions, that god/s doesn’t/ don’t exist is more illogical and irrational as not only isn’t it scientifically proven but less (if any) religious texts suggest this view than the opposing one.

What more proof do you need? The ancient peoples did not possess video cameras to record angels or any of the other religious phenomena that occurred at the time. However there are still many “Holy books” which can be analyzed and any archaeological evidence uncovered so far. It's not the fault of religion that it goes beyond science as to defy our sense of logic however still remaining logical.

You do not need to study the intricacies of every religion in order to decide that you do not believe in a God/s. What you seem to be suggesting is that atheists should study every religion to see if the idea of one or another God/s appeals to them. What you are demanding is in fact a false belief. Belief in a God is quite a simple question, in reality. Do I believe in a God/s? No. Have a read any religious texts? Not past the first page of Genesis. Will reading all about the wonderful things that a God/s can do for me sway my belief and more importantly, should it? Most definitely not. I do not believe in a God/s because it/they has/have no evidentiary basis (for or against) - and you cannot claim bibles and other such texts to be evidence, because if that were the case then I should suggest you start believing in wolves that can blow your house down.

Marat made the analogy of Bugs Bunny before, which I think stands quite true. I have not read every single loony tunes book or seen every looney tunes show/movie, yet I do not need too for me to know that Bugs Bunny isn't real. Why should people of religious faith be exempt from the rule that atheists supposedly have to abide by to become true atheists? By your standards, a person who is Catholic or Muslim, etc. and who hasn't studied every other religion to be sure that they are worshipping the correct deity should be guilty of just as much ignorance.

The idea of God is merely a concoction designed by people a long time ago to understand phenomena that they did not have the tools or knowledge to properly and scientifically explain. The question of, 'why are we here?' is one that still plagues a lot of people. From the unknown comes fear and what better way to eliminate that fear than to create a metaphysical deity to give ultimate levels reassurance? The concept of religion is simply an arbitrary faction of our own making that has historically been used to capitalise on that fear. Tithes, anyone?

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Lemur: I don't quite understand your argument. People have countless subjective convictions and inner feelings, but what is characteristic of all of them is that they are not granted the status of 'realities' unless they can be shown to correspond to something in the publicly-shared world. The common phrase, "It's all just in your head," points to the fact that something being an inner conviction is evidence that it is not true, at least until additional evidence of its objectivity is supplied.

Person A's inner conviction that God is present unto him can't accomplish any of the conceptual work which the definition of God requires a real God to accomplish: i.e., it cannot count as a reason for people regarding that as the basis of their publicly-shared morality, their common beliefs, or their forms of worship. Until you can show that inner sensation satisfies the generally accepted criteria for projecting an inner sensation into an existence posit about something in the outside world, then it only states a curious psychological fact about you.

For my part, I have a strong inner sense of impending doom, but I would never regard it as a reason for other people to start building bomb shelters.

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For those who are atheists, what is it that makes you believe there is no God?

The people who are trying to sell it to me.

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You do not need to study the intricacies of every religion in order to decide that you do not believe in a God/s.

There is no need rigorously to examine all the god hypotheses there are and have been in the world since they are all sufficiently alike in character -- as they have to be in order for them all the qualify as belonging under the definition of 'god' -- that they can be dismissed a priori.

No, no and no, definitely disagree here. Sounds like youre both condoning ignorance. As I mentioned before, this is not the proper scientific approach. This is what I call cultural bias and prejudice. When analyzing religions we must be open-minded and be as objective as humanly possible and this can only be done by understanding other cultures/religions and having nothing at stake whatever the most recent evidence is suggesting. This helps eliminate cultural bias/prejudice and make anything uncovered sound more plausible. Every religion which suggests in the existence of one or more gods needs to be analyzed and scrutinized until proven with substantial evidence to be false. We must assume every religion to be a possibility until the time comes when future generations will find out the real truth with their more advanced technologies and harder evidence.

As an atheist, I lack belief in only one more god than the Christians lack belief in. Isn't it fair to assume that Christianity as a whole has analyzed all the possible gods and rejected them, then I analyzed Christianity and rejected that god too. Not only that, but I've looked at several religions and the gods they reject, and adding together the writings of all religions, it seems the most agreed upon fact is that, for any given god, it does not exist. Thus an atheist is like the sum total of all religions, these gods don't exist plus these gods don't exist plus these gods don't exist = no gods exist, and for every religion proclaiming a given god exists you have ten saying it doesn't.

Thats on the assumption that all the religions of the world are correct. However this doesnt seem to be the case as almost all the religions (if not all) seem to be mutually exclusive (i.e. they contradict each other if put together). Hence if any are right, its likely that only one will be the true religion, others being false (assuming all the religions of the world are mutually exclusive).

Oh, can God only show himself in the distant past, or wherever no one is looking? Let god show himself at one of the major scientific conferences, that would do far more for most of us non-believers and wrong-god-believers than the silly storybooks from long ago written by people who believed all kinds of myths. As you said, we could record things much better now for the future generations. But if god does not want people to know he exists at least the atheist does not anger him by blowing his cover.

The problem in most of these discussions is that people don't understand what can qualify as a ground for denying the existence of something ontologically bizarre. The philosopher David Hume once said that "extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary proofs," and that applies well to the assertion that gods exist. A god is such a strange, sui generis, magical sort of being that before we would believe in its existence, and before we would even open a space in our minds to be agnostic about its existence, we would require some really good evidence to encourage us to entertain the possibility of something so fantastic being real. Just saying 'you can't disprove it' is not sufficient for me even to be an agnostic, since otherwise I would also have to believe in the Tooth Fairy, since I haven't looked in every nook and cranny of the universe to exclude her existence either.

It seems to me that whatever evidence people of the past provide us with nothing is enough for you guys. And if a god did appear in a major scientific conference today however made all our modern technology and other recording device momentarily dysfunctional with its appearance, how would one convince others not present at the conference from believing that a god had actually appeared and future generations from believing this story too? If you told anyone youd be immediately laughed at by Stephen Hawking himself and stripped away of any future possibility of winning the Nobel Prize in any category. You would write memoirs and internet blogs of yourself, mentioning the phenomenal supernatural event which took place, some would believe you but future generations would be more skeptical and doubtful. How would you make everyone believe you?

Also if time travel were a possibility future generations could go back in time and see for themselves all these supernatural religious phenomena that have occurred throughout our history. With super-futuristic technology we could stalk the so-called prophets and gods from afar (possibly in space) based on what we currently know about them and record their whole lives and with this we could determine which religions if any are right. This would be an extra-ordinary proof which could be brought back and shown to us today by future generation people with their time travelling machine. However these future generation people and their society may cease to exist after they do this; however being a worthy sacrifice for the sake of fulfilling our own curiosity and accumulating knowledge as well as understanding more about humanity and how we humans spread propaganda.

In any case, there have been many reported cases of religious/supernatural phenomena in our modern 21st century society. There really needs to be a proper scientific investigation regarding all these strange events. To back up what I've just said, below are a few videos I've encountered on youtube about people who have witnessed supernatural phenomenas:

I mean like you yourelf said Mr Skeptic, some religions/supernatural phenomena do have testable predictions and with the technological advancements we're making right now I'm sure we'd be able to prove or disprove a lot of these things as we head into the future. Let's show everyone that religion really doesn't go beyond science and that it provides a lot of genuine answers in life.

Edited by Voltman
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No, no and no, definitely disagree here. Sounds like you're both condoning ignorance. As I mentioned before, this is not the proper scientific approach. This is what I call cultural bias and prejudice. When analyzing religions we must be open-minded and be as objective as humanly possible and this can only be done by understanding other cultures/religions and having nothing at stake whatever the most recent evidence is suggesting. This helps eliminate cultural bias/prejudice and make anything uncovered sound more plausible. Every religion which suggests in the existence of one or more gods needs to be analyzed and scrutinized until proven with substantial evidence to be false. We must assume every religion to be a possibility until the time comes when future generations will find out the real truth with their more advanced technologies and harder evidence.

So what you're saying is, it is closed minded to consider a possibility other than the one Voltman believes in unless the one that Voltman believes in is disproved first? As for your misunderstanding of how science works, let me clear this up for you: it is always the responsibility of the one making the claims to provide evidence of them. So for example I can't publish a paper suggesting a relationship between salt and cancer and inviting people to prove me wrong, I'd have to provide evidence for my claim myself. Those who claim there is a god should provide some damn good evidence of this strange creature.

That's on the assumption that all the religions of the world are correct. However this doesn't seem to be the case as almost all the religions (if not all) seem to be mutually exclusive (i.e. they contradict each other if put together). Hence if any are right, it's likely that only one will be the true religion, others being false (assuming all the religions of the world are mutually exclusive).

So under the assumption that religions have some sort of credibility, adding them up results in atheism being the most likely (as most of them say most of the gods don't exist). On the other hand the religions contradict each other and so clearly cannot have much credibility, which again suggests atheism. The only way to have credibility is to believe in only one or a few of them, but how could you choose one from so many? In any case atheism is the most open minded position, since it considers all the possibilities.

It seems to me that whatever evidence people of the past provide us with nothing is enough for you guys. And if a god did appear in a major scientific conference today however made all our modern technology and other recording device momentarily dysfunctional with its appearance, how would one convince others not present at the conference from believing that a god had actually appeared and future generations from believing this story too? If you told anyone you'd be immediately laughed at by Stephen Hawking himself and stripped away of any future possibility of winning the Nobel Prize in any category. You would write memoirs and internet blogs of yourself, mentioning the phenomenal supernatural event which took place, some would believe you but future generations would be more skeptical and doubtful. How would you make everyone believe you?

In any case, there have been many reported cases of religious/supernatural phenomena in our modern 21st century society. There really needs to be a proper scientific investigation regarding all these strange events. To back up what I've just said, below are a few videos I've encountered on youtube about people who have witnessed supernatural phenomenas:

A major scientific conference would have hundreds or thousands of attendees, many of which would be scientists. These are people who don't believe in random superstitions and have the utmost standards of academic integrity -- thousands of credible witnesses at the conference compared to the testimony of maybe 100 "true believer" witnesses for the Bible, it is pretty clear which would be more credible. And as you said, the various gods are attributed some random "miracles" all over the world, but surely said gods would realize how many more converts they could get by attending a scientific conference and of course they can't be too busy if they're doing a bunch of minor miracles all the time.

I mean like you yourelf said Mr Skeptic, some religions/supernatural phenomena do have testable predictions and with the technological advancements we're making right now I'm sure we'd be able to prove or disprove a lot of these things as we head into the future. Let's show everyone that religion really doesn't go beyond science and that it provides a lot of genuine answers in life.

Too bad that religion gives the wrong answers... Of the testable predictions made by religions I can't think of any that have been proven true.

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Voltman, I think I can answer your concerns this way: Anything that would count as a 'god' would have to have predicates a, b, c, d, and f, otherwise it would not answer to the definition of what a 'god' is. If you really prove to me that giraffes exist, that could not begin to convince me that gods exist. So as soon as I can demonstrate that there is not sufficient evidence for me actively to wonder whether anything combining the finite, exhaustively surveyable set of predicates a, b, c, d, and f could possibly exist, then I already know I don't have to undertake an empirical survey throughout the world's religions to test whether each and every variant of the god hypothesis is real or not. If a thousand different people claim they each have their own version of a perpetual motion machine, I don't have to go and study each of them, or even any of them, in order to entertain active doubts about whether any of them really do have such an impossible thing.

Also, on your hypothesis I would not only have to go around and empirically test the bona fides of each religion's claim that its own brand of god existed, but I would also have just as much reason to go around and empirically test the bona fides of each cartoon figure, fairy tale entity, and fictional creature being real. While I may have debunked the existence of the Tooth Fairy by placing my fallen out teeth under the pillow and never getting any money in return, I have still never put out a tempting picknic basket to see whether Yogi Bear is real or not, so I still have further work remaining.

Since there are an infinite regress of possible hypothetical beings we can imagine, thought would be paralyzed by the effort to follow up and disprove all of these leads if we held such an open-minded willingness seriously to entertain the possibility of their existence as you suggest. Instead, we rightly insist that before we even begin to entertain seriously the possibility that any fantastic or extraordinary being might exist, we insist on equally fantastic and extraordinary evidence to justify our serious consideration of it. And this is what we do not have for all the various god-posits around, which rely on ancient, mythological texts or unsubstantiated traditional beliefs for their support.

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So what you're saying is, it is closed minded to consider a possibility other than the one Voltman believes in unless the one that Voltman believes in is disproved first? As for your misunderstanding of how science works, let me clear this up for you: it is always the responsibility of the one making the claims to provide evidence of them. So for example I can't publish a paper suggesting a relationship between salt and cancer and inviting people to prove me wrong, I'd have to provide evidence for my claim myself. Those who claim there is a god should provide some damn good evidence of this strange creature.

All the religious people in the past who may have originally believed rationally and logically in what they were preaching in most religions of the world are now dead (e.g. the prophets, people who have been directly contacted by angels etc). Hence, they cannot be contacted now and further more evidence to be provided by them. Today in many cultures and religions, children are forced into an indoctrination system, by their parents and society into a faith where they are only given a religious text to analyze and groomed to believe everything in it. This is second-hand evidence and according to you guys these texts are not real proof. Assuming this to be the case, then all the believers of the world today believe irrationally and illogically in their religion, because it is not scientifically proven and because most likely they themselves wouldn’t have personally experienced any of the supernatural phenomena which have been mentioned in these texts that they are forced to believe in, in fear of the Hell-fire or other reasons. Mr Skeptic, the fact that most people believe illogically and irrationally in a false and scientifically unproven religion through the forced indocrination is everyone’s problem too, not just the people that are part of the particular faith. It is humanity’s problem and we need to address this. Adopting a detached “not my problem” attitude won’t stop people from believing in these things. Historically, Islam, Christianity and religion in general has caused extensive loss of life on a global scale. It has restricted one’s freedom and put limitations in what the people that are part of the faith can or cannot do how to act and basically how to live their lives. If all the religions of the world are false then it has for no good reason caused much inconvenience to the lives of millions of people throughout the millennia and much unnecessary pain and suffering globally. If you want people to open their eyes to rational thinking as you’d probably like to call it, then someone needs to find some extraordinary proof. We already have the Theory of Evolution which scared a lot of people when it was first publicly debated, now’s the time to go the extra-mile and make it fact. Religion is an obstacle which must be broken through if we want to create a more civilized society where there is mutual understanding between people and irrational stigmas broken.

It is also unnatural for a religious follower to find the scientific evidence because assuming that religion is irrational then it shouldn’t logically mix with science which is rational. An extremely rational, objective and open-minded scientist needs to find these proofs because being part of the scientific community it is his/her responsibility to prove or disprove. Just like how it is the responsibility of those countries which have lots of money to eliminate poverty, it is the responsibility of the scientists to provide scientific evidence to the irrationally-minded about their beliefs and why they are wrong logically. Sure you may be hated or threatened by many believers of a faith at first but future generations would be very grateful (assuming you can find proof), just like how Thomas Henry Huxley, Charles Darwin and a few other notable figures are today for their contributions to science.

Also, on your hypothesis I would not only have to go around and empirically test the bona fides of each religion's claim that its own brand of god existed, but I would also have just as much reason to go around and empirically test the bona fides of each cartoon figure, fairy tale entity, and fictional creature being real.

Well, you wouldn’t need to scientifically investigate cartoon figures and fairy tale entities because it is already well known among the scientific community, the religious community as well as the people who make these up that they are indeed false. There is no debate and no controversy in the last examples you provided and it’s unfair to use them to exemplify your point.

Since there are an infinite regress of possible hypothetical beings we can imagine, thought would be paralyzed by the effort to follow up and disprove all of these leads if we held such an open-minded willingness seriously to entertain the possibility of their existence as you suggest.

We could do it one step at a time and slowly build proof or disproof.

Edited by Voltman
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We could do it one step at a time and slowly build proof or disproof.

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I think the cartoon figure example perfectly fits the god example under examination here. In both cases, we have existence posits of extraordinary things, and rational thinking does not even actively entertain the possibility of the existence of extraordinary things unless there is comparably extraordinary evidence to prompt the investigator to open a conceptual space for active doubt about the hypothesis. If I tell you there is a mind-reading, three-headed cat on Mars which rules the world, would you on the basis of my assertion start going around scratching your chin wondering how it got up there or what it thinks of your thoughts? Of course not, because as the Scottish philosopher David Hume said, "extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary evidence."

But if I suddenly started reading your thoughts and told you that the three-headed cat ruling the world from Mars was feeding me those thoughts, then and only then, supported with that extraordinary evidence, would you begin to start to wonder whether you should become an agnostic about the existence of such an entity, pending further evidence.

The problem that arises with actively entertaining doubts about the existence of extraordinary things is that they necessarily create an endless regress of detail at each and every step of our reasoning, so all rationality would grind to a halt as soon as we started to liberalize our criteria of explanation to admit these things without extraordinary evidence to support them. So if we are going to allow active doubt about the existence of something as miraculous as a god on evidence so completely inadequate to support it, then when I turn on the light switch, how can I deny that it might be possible that a fairy is carrying the electricity along the wire? And then if people provisionally agree and we want to go on to the next step of the explanation of how the lights are activated by my flicking the switch, what could prevent me from saying that the electricity is moved by the fairy along the wire by an invisible and extremely rapid turtle carrying the fairy? And then why not an invisible elephant guiding the turtle through all the twists and turns in the wire? And on and on and on. So even at the first step we encounter an infinite regress of possible fantastic existence posits to flesh out the explanation further, so we can never even complete that first step in the explanation.

Relgious thinkers do the same thing when they see someone murder someone else and say the Devil made him do it, or an unusual cancer case expected to be terminal was cured because god did it. Why not add that the cancer was cured also by an invisible elephant directing god where to intervene, and that his action was carried to the dying patient on the back of an invisible turtle? Liberalizing existence posits loses us Occam's Razor.

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Well, this is on the assumption that God would not let the true religion come to non-existence. If a true religion did exist, it would exist now and be uncorrupted and would have remained the same throughout the years since the religion first came to life. Whatever religion that is, is most likely to be the true religion, even if we don’t agree with how it teaches us how to live our lives or in its different moral codes compared to today’s standards. Also to study all the minor religions that ever existed would be difficult due to a lack of resources/materials. Everyone should study from the religions which they can and this is easiest with the most well-know and currently accepted religions. If you disagree with them move on to the least well-know and accepted religions. Once you have gone through all the religions and still have no believe in the existence of god/s than you can call yourself an atheist.

So your true religion would not change (become corrupted). Thus the only evidence we need to discredit any religion (according to your claim here) is to show that they have changed. As we know all current religions have changed over time, then this according to your requierments, disproves every single religion.

As all religions have now been disproved, the claim "there is no proof that God exists" is therefore true as the only proof of God is religious (by definition) and all religions are false, then we are all Atheists (contrary to your claims you made).

Many holy books suggest in the existence of God while very few (if any) suggest there is none. Hence objectively speaking, there is more reason to believe in the existence of God than to not. What I find hard to believe is that so many people believe in the existence of Jesus while they don’t believe in God. Jesus has been mentioned in many books and so has God (more so actually), so why not believe in God but believe in Jesus?

But, by your own requirements, you can not accept anything from these religious texts as they are not talking about the real God (as they have changed, they fail your non-corruption requirement).

Yes it does apply only to atheists. You can be a true Christian without looking at any of the other religions. However you wouldn’t be a very logical and open-minded Christian.

Would all true Scotsmen step forward please... : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Similar to what I said above, despite not being scientifically proven, there are an overwhelming number of religions which suggests in the existence of one or more gods while very few (if any) which suggests in the existence of no god/s.

This is because a religion that claimed that it was false and that the followers should go and worship some other religion would not last long at all.

You have said that you accept evolution. Well, apply evolution to belief and answer this question: If the selection for religion is that people believe in them (not that they are true), then can a religion that requires the followers to believe it is not true exist?

Of course not. So this statement that: "there are an overwhelming number of religions which suggests in the existence of one or more gods while very few (if any) which suggests in the existence of no god/s" is completely worthless as a statement.

Now, I can suggest that I, myself am God, I can even write a holy book claiming that I am. But I doubt that you would accept me as God (although I am sure that I can find some somewhere that would). So just because someone, or something suggests that something is so, does not make it so.

There’s more reason to believe in one or more gods than there is to believe in no gods hence for one to become an atheist they must look for reasons to become one.

There is as much evidence for me to be God as there is for any other God to exist. So by your reasoning I expect you to get down on your knees and worship me.

But will you? If you don't I'd like you to explain why you are not willing to accept me as God. I can also claim that the religion of Me has not changed since it came into existence (and thus fulfils your incorruptibility requirement too). With My religion, I planted all the evidence that other Gods exist and even erased evidence (but not all) that I really do exist just for a laugh (I am a trickster God - Even Edtharan is not my real name - see, proof I am a trickster God).

See how easy it is to prove a claim if you don't actually require evidence for it. The scientific method works by establishing the reality of a claim. You need to provide evidence that the thing you are trying to explain exists. The second is that your explanation for it is subject to disproof.

Think of it this way: How can you tell if someone is lying to you? The answer is simple: Test it. Check to see if what they are claiming is true.

So if someone told you that: You own me $1,000,000. You would check to see if you borrowed$1 million, or that you had some legal requirement to pay me that much.

This is the scientific method. It is about checking the validity of any claim. It is about testing if there is a lie (and we know our perceptions can lie to us - ever seen an optical illusion?).

This is done by analysing the flaws involving the other religions, before becoming an atheist one must look at all the other religions first for answers. If they still haven’t found the one and true religion they can then become atheists. However for someone to believe straight away, without investigating other existing religions, that god/s doesn’t/ don’t exist is more illogical and irrational as not only isn’t it scientifically proven but less (if any) religious texts suggest this view than the opposing one.

Where are all those true Scotsmen?

Actually, as I explained above, one doesn't need to examine all religions to conclude they are false. If the religion is the result of false premisses, then the chances are that it is false. If the foundation of all religions is false, then any conclusion about those religions is worthless. Also, as per your own requirements, that the true religion is incorruptible, can be shown that all religions have changed (been corrupted), then this is proof that all religions are false.

Now, here is a little test: Have your beliefs about God changed? Have your own religious beliefs changed. As you claimed the true religion (and thus belief) is incorruptible, thus, if your beliefs have changed, then by your own requirements you have to reject your own beliefs as they are not indicative of the true religion.

Interestingly, because part of your beliefs is that the true religion is incorruptible, then this belief is also abandoned and you can now believe in a religion that is corrupted.

Congratulations, by that one requirement, you have effectively destroyed all your own arguments, including that argument too.

What more proof do you need? The ancient peoples did not possess video cameras to record angels or any of the other religious phenomena that occurred at the time. However there are still many “Holy books” which can be analyzed and any archaeological evidence uncovered so far. It's not the fault of religion that it goes beyond science as to defy our sense of logic however still remaining logical.

The trickster God is common to nearly all religions. I am claiming to be the trickster God. As there is so many references to me in all the holy books in the world, I must therefore be the one real God.

Or am I. Being a trickster God I could have planted all the evidence of my existence to make you think I am real (just think about that for a moment ).

PS: I don't by the way think I am the God or even the trickster God it was just a litterary device to demonstrate a point.

PPS: Actually if I was the trickster God, I would say that wouldn't I

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Can I just ask about something that seems to have been missed here.?

"It won’t. We haven’t even discovered any extra-terrestrial life out there yet. And if this is the case, then I’m sure God would understand as He is fair and merciful. "

I'd just like to ask on behalf of the people in Japan, New Zealand, etc etc ad nauseam. Are you sure about the "fair and merciful" bit?

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Can I just ask about something that seems to have been missed here.?

"It won't. We haven't even discovered any extra-terrestrial life out there yet. And if this is the case, then I'm sure God would understand as He is fair and merciful. "

I'd just like to ask on behalf of the people in Japan, New Zealand, etc etc ad nauseam. Are you sure about the "fair and merciful" bit?

Well gosh, let's not stop at current events.

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This for me is a very hard question to answer as for the most part I don't have the reasons that anyone has mentioned so far. I believe that it is almost indefinitely true that we are in fact the creation of another higher intelligence. In the words of Marylin Manson "We are all gods with with little g's and big .... " and also "What I make is what I am, we can't live for ever ... " and the so called 'god' of my world is great and powerful but is not capable of knowing all and is capable of meeting an end. So I am quite alright with gravity having its foundation in "little pink fairies.." if this is indeed the case.

I don't believe in the God of the bible. I see the value of love and family and belonging. I see what the church brings to communities. I see how a divine and righteous figure could be kind of cool. I don't however feel God! I have nothing in any of the fiber of my being that says hey that there is God. I find myself often seeing things and trying to say hey that there could be God but then I reflect and I shake my head, slightly embarrassed with myself for believing in "little pink fairies.."

Personally I am a carnivorous animal, I do eat very little that is not in fact a product of an animal and may die as a cause of this. I'm not too fond of a lot of the things I see in the world today and with regards to people I am unbiasedly wishing a lot of them would disappear and leave me with my planet. Could I be walking in sin? To quote Atari Teenage Riot "With no remorse I will watch you die!" I don't see how this could be used as an argument for the existence of God though. I don't think people really deserve a God and what about the animals it always comes back to the animals .... why doesn't little floppy ears get to go to heaven and live in a mansion too?

I'm sorry God is just hokey, I would much rather believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santi' Clause. That movie with George Burns was pretty good though. I wish parents would stop punishing their children with religion. That is all!

$I_{ \omega }$

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Can I just ask about something that seems to have been missed here.?

"It won’t. We haven’t even discovered any extra-terrestrial life out there yet. And if this is the case, then I’m sure God would understand as He is fair and merciful. "

I'd just like to ask on behalf of the people in Japan, New Zealand, etc etc ad nauseam. Are you sure about the "fair and merciful" bit?

Maybe all these natural disasters are just a big wake up call by God for all of humanity to look more into the religions of the world and find the true one. I suppose you could also extend the idea to global warming as well (that God's causing it or just letting it occur whatever the case may be). If this is the case, then He's giving us more chances to redeem ourselves in this life so that more people can go to Heaven in the Afterlife and just learn to generally be morally better people in this life in a very selfish "ME, ME busy capitalistic world"!

Also, this may be an interesting read to anyone reading this post:

I'm sure for a lot of people being part of the science community out there one would be exposed a fair bit of peer pressure to conform to the atheistic viewpoint like everyone else, but please remember to keep asking questions and always be skeptical and open-minded of different possibilities.

Edited by Voltman
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I'm sure for a lot of people being part of the science community out there one would be exposed a fair bit of peer pressure to conform to the atheistic viewpoint like everyone else, but please remember to keep asking questions and always be skeptical and open-minded of different possibilities.

I've actually experienced the opposite. If I had been a good Christian my family would have been more supportive. My cousins who were good Christians and who wanted to become scientists did so. I have feared that simply not having that community backing would mean too many missed opportunities and that as a result I would never see my goals. It means that I don't have a social network that increases my chances of doing highly recognizable community services and volunteering. It means that I don't have the Dean of such and such faculty in my good services as I never met him at a Sunday service.

I guess it really depends on what you are trying to define here. In every culture that I am aware of the scientific leaders have all been highly in tune with their cultural religion. I think maybe your concepts of what religion is and how it is transpiring globally is a bit misconstrued by a lot of the facts. Without a doubt there are many enthusiasts who take religion into places that make it almost impossible to exist as a human being. In reality a good many follower puts his faith in God and the value of the teachings. I think most followers understand that the world was not created some few thousand years ago in a week. I am pretty sure most followers derive meaning from scriptures as opposed to taking it for face value. So really there is nothing that is precluding a Scientist to being Atheist, I think this is a rather shallow observation on your part.

Edited by Xittenn
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Maybe all these natural disasters are just a big wake up call by God for all of humanity to look more into the religions of the world and find the true one.

Key word emphasized.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and all you have are maybes and posturing.

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Maybe all these natural disasters are just a big wake up call by God for all of humanity to look more into the religions of the world and find the true one. I suppose you could also extend the idea to global warming as well (that God's causing it or just letting it occur whatever the case may be). If this is the case, then He's giving us more chances to redeem ourselves in this life so that more people can go to Heaven in the Afterlife and just learn to generally be morally better people in this life in a very selfish "ME, ME busy capitalistic world"!

God would have been better off just writing a message in the sky or something. Then not only would people know God was talking to them, they'd also not think Him a big jerk.

Also, this may be an interesting read to anyone reading this post:

http://www.doesgodex...n/PastLife.html

Looks to me like someone who doesn't understand the basics of science. When the scientists says, "I don't know" it means "I know of several different ways it could be, but don't know how to predict the facts with any of those". Just because people are too honest to make up a story to explain something doesn't mean that they shouldn't be listened to.

I'm sure for a lot of people being part of the science community out there one would be exposed a fair bit of peer pressure to conform to the atheistic viewpoint like everyone else, but please remember to keep asking questions and always be skeptical and open-minded of different possibilities.

Few scientists care about others' beliefs; believing in God or not is no different than believing in the Copenhagen vs "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, when you replace scientific facts with stories from an ancient mythbook, then you will be ridiculed; if you claim to know something is true evidence will be demanded of you.

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Maybe all these natural disasters are just a big wake up call by God for all of humanity to look more into the religions of the world and find the true one. I suppose you could also extend the idea to global warming as well (that God's causing it or just letting it occur whatever the case may be).

If these disasters were caused by God, then God must be evil.

God is supposed to be all powerful and all knowing. So He would know of a way to let everybody know of His existence with no room for doubt (there would be no "maybe" about it) and no loss of life. So if someone claims that God created these disasters just to let us know He is there, then He willingly and without purpose murdered (as in first degree murder) tens of thousands of people.

Also, if God is all powerful and let these things occur (even if we caused them - and we certainly didn't cause the earthquake), then He is negligent leading to Manslaughter.

It is people who try to use the suffering of others to prove God exists that actually have the best arguments for Atheism. If God does willingly cause the needless suffering of people (as these people claim), then He is not worthy of worship.

If God does nothing to prevent such disasters, then He is either uncaring or not all powerful and thus not the God of the bible and not deserving of the worship of people who follow the bible.

So by their claims that God caused them (or allowed them to occur), God becomes a psychopathic monster, or a weak uncaring entity. In other words, exactly the opposite of what they claim God to be.

So, if God really exists, these people are breaking the commandment to: "Not use God's name in vain". They are using God's name to further their own ends, their own wants and desires and not Gods (because the God they believe in would never do those things or allow them to happen).

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• 3 weeks later...

I am in complete agreement with objectivity. Also, I find my "spiritual" beliefs becoming more and more agnostic (from theist). Maybe there is an all powerful entity, but if so, it probably doesn't exercise that power. I don't believe atheists or theists should become too arrogant with their views. After all, we could invent an entire set of particles that never ever interacts with any other particle we interact with, but they interact amongst themselves. These particles make up heaven, and when we die, we get transformed into them.... woah... that was a weird idea.... but the point is: there is none. We should keep our expirements objective, but our perspectives open to change. Sound good?

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I am in complete agreement with objectivity. Also, I find my "spiritual" beliefs becoming more and more agnostic (from theist). Maybe there is an all powerful entity, but if so, it probably doesn't exercise that power. I don't believe atheists or theists should become too arrogant with their views. After all, we could invent an entire set of particles that never ever interacts with any other particle we interact with, but they interact amongst themselves. These particles make up heaven, and when we die, we get transformed into them.... woah... that was a weird idea.... but the point is: there is none. We should keep our expirements objective, but our perspectives open to change. Sound good?

Scientists often get called "closed minded" because they don't just accept everything they are told or think as true. Ironically, the people who call scientists close minded refuse to change their mind despite evidence contrary to their beliefs.

But I agree, it is pointless to postulate an entire set of particles that never interacts with any other particle we interact with because there is no way to test if these particles actually do exist or not. However, if there are ways to test this, even by indirect means, then it becomes sensible to postulate such particles.

So, with religion, we have God who supposedly can not be detected by any means (except if He want to). This is the same as those "particles".

But, as God could give proof of His existence if He wanted to, and in a way that could not be mistaken for delusion (or what not), then the conclusion is that either God does not exist (as there would be no evidence for a non-existent God), or He does not want us to know of His existence.

If God doesn't exist, then no religion is true. If God does not want us to know of His existence, then no religion is true. This gives us the conclusion that no religion is true.

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There are two misleading sources for the strong suspicion in many people's minds that God exists, or that disproving his existence is significantly difficult, and thus enhances the possibility that he might exist.

The first is simple and easily dismissed. We worry about the possibility of God existing and struggle with efforts to disprove his existence because we exist in a culture which, for purely contingent, historical reasons, has for millenia given strong credence to this myth, so since it is culturally not only real but also very important, it appears also to have some serious claim to objective existence. But the latter of course does not follow from the former, so we really shouldn't let ourselves be misled by the arbitrary contents of our cultural inheritance when we are trying to think seriously about objective reality.

The second problem is more subtle. People when thinking about the existence of God begin with the unjustified but unnoticed assumption that we are already provided with a logical space in which God might exist, so the question about the reality of his existence amounts to the very difficult quest of penetrating that mysterious, metaphyical realm of 'things existing outside ordinary experience.' Since it is very tricky to gain access to such a shrouded, transcendental realm, proving for certain that there is nothing in it which answers to the definition of God is essentially impossible.

However, a scientific approach to the problem should begin with a challenge to the very notion that such a sphere of a 'transcendental reality outside of normal experience,' such as would be necessary to house a God who eluded the normal criteria of proof or disproof of ordinary objects, itself actually exists. In fact, of course, we have no evidence that there is such a sphere of hiddenness and darkness which, even though inaccessible to investigation, still significantly exists. So since we have to admit at the outset that we have not even proved the existence of a logical space in which to hide our transcendent and invisible God, the fact that we can't find him is merely consistent with there being no reason even to carve out a possible realm for serious questioning of his existence or non-existence.

The result of all this is that unless God meets ordinary criteria by which his existence can be positively established, he lacks any status or warrant to pretend that he really does exist and it is only our deficiency that we cannot get at the evidence for his existence. We need to have a reason in terms of normal empirical evidence even seriously to wonder about his existence, much less to lend it any credence.

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• 1 month later...
If atheism is wrong however, you'd be risking your whole after-life in the Hell-fire

So: "Let's believe for safety!"...Is that what you mean?

If one believes in religion A, then one is still threatened by hell fire by a number of other religions. So much for "safety"...

...why do atheists choose not to believe in God/s?

Does one "choose" what to believe? If yes, I'd like to believe I have \$ 10,000,000 in my bank account!

Edited by Obelix

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