BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Do Atheists Deny The Existence Of The Divine?

Image from: - Gottlieb Universe
~*~
Essentially an atheist is just someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of a god/gods as defined by the god concepts which are known. This includes the christian god, the jewish god, the muslim god, the hindu god and all the gods of ancient history. Having said that, I wouldn’t say that atheism is a denial of the divine. That suggests that the divine is so obviously present that atheists are just being wilful by saying that they don’t believe in its existence. There is nothing obvious to me about the divine, or the supernatural, so it isn’t a denial of its "not obvious existence", but a disbelief in its existence. I know this is kind of nuanced, but it is a pertinent point when discussing the existence or non-existence of the supernatural with an atheist.

So, I don’t deny the existence of the supernatural as I don’t know if the supernatural exists or not; I just don’t believe that it does. From my reasoning, I would need to be omniscient to know if the supernatural existed and I would need to be omniscient to know that it didn’t exist. I am not all-knowing, so I don’t know. I just don’t believe that it exists.


There are a variety of positions available for someone who doesn’t believe in supernatural explanations or causes for the universe.

  • They may not know.
  • They may not care.
  • They may not believe.
  • Or, they may suggest that the universe, like believers do with their god, has always existed.
My guess, and it is just a guess, not a belief, and not faith, is that the universe, in some form or another may have always existed. This form or forms may have had a variety of origins. They may be self perpetuating origins, I don’t know. What that form or forms have been, or will be, I don’t know. I do think though, that the answers to our questions of the universe will be and are best explained through the sciences. Through the study of astonomy, cosmology and astrophysics and not through the study of theology.

One thing I do try to avoid , which I don't think believers do, is the anthropomorphism either the universe or any possible cause for it. I don’t assume that it thinks like me, or that I think like it. I don’t assume that it can think at all. I don’t assume that it has a mind in the sense that human beings recognize the attributes or properties of a mind.

I am simply not convinced that a mind, as we would know it, can exist outside the material world. Theists, of course, base their worldview on the concept that a mind DOES exist outside the material world. That there is a mind that requires no matter with which to function. That it is incorporeal and eternal and they call this mind by various names and believe that it is their duty to worship it or them. Not only is it their duty to worship it, but it is their duty to make everyone worship it. (Replace “it” with your god or gods of preference.) Do the gods think like gods or do they think like us? The answer for an atheist is that they think like us and therefore this is a strong indication of the origin of god concepts.

There is a certain amount of awe that non-believers can and do experience when contemplating the universe, but it isn’t the kind of awe or reverence that a theist may feel when contemplating what they believe to be their "god’s creation." I can wonder at the mystery and magnitude of the universe without any desire to worship either the universe, or any supposed reason for its existence. I accept that it is. I also accept that it exists and that no supernatural explanation is necessary to explain either its existence or mine. In fact, I think the universe and the natural world makes much more sense without the human concept of a god overlaying the processes of the natural world.


The Galaxy Song - Monty Python (an oldie but a goodie)

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32 Comments:

Blogger pleia2 said...

This post certainly depends on what definition you use for divine. Most definitions I found are either:

“Appropriated to God, or celebrating his praise;”

or

“Pertaining to, or proceeding from, a deity;”

In other words, pertaining directly to god. I get your point, but I think it was a mistake to use divine in place of supernatural.

Oh, and I agree. Atheism doesn't mean you don't believe in the supernatural, or that you don't believe in spirituality. It is simply no God. I run a whole blog about spirituality and I'm an atheist!

10/1/07 12:05 am  
Blogger amber said...

Interesting post.

I’d like to nitpick a few things, if for no other reason than it will make me feel better :)

Not all theists resemeble those of the Abrahamic variety. A number of theistis, especially in the postmodern camp, or those who consider themselves animists or pantheists, would never say they worship the divine. Worship plays an important role in Abrahamic faiths, but not so much in all others. Moreover, outside of evangelical faiths like Christianity and Islam, you don’t have theists running around trying to make you worship their gods. We acknowledge our gods and we develop relationships with those gods, in whatever form is meaningful to us, but we don’t much care what the rest of the world does. For me, personally, people trating each other ethically is much more important that what gods you do or don’t follow.

There is a growing contingent of theists who believe in—or, in my case, have hope in—a God that is not necessarily conscious, and not even necessarily a “being”, but rather a becoming. Process theology, for example, terms God not as a noun, but a verb. The interaction that allows the universe to unfold—that’s God.

Anyway, just a comment from the peanut gallery :)

10/1/07 4:12 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: pleia2

Thank you for your comments.

Certainly the divine refers to either a god or god themselves or to the powers of such deities. The supernatural would be less specific, I think, as the supernatural refers to entities or beings which supposedly exist outside the purvue of the natural world. These may include a god or gods or their respective powers or processes.

Either way, I don't believe in the existence of the supernatural or the divine as entities, processes, beings, forces or phenomena.

I think that whatever exists, exists within the natural universe and that the construct of a supernatural world is an entirely human one, created in an attempt to explain the unknown.

10/1/07 9:03 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE amber:

I do understand the variety of theists. Religious beliefs probably find their origin in animism and animatism. And it is perfectly understandable to me that people would have at one time considered that inanimate objects contained "special powers" which could be utilized by them. But, I see the range of these beliefs as basically being ones which attempted to address the lack of knowledge that primitive or superstitious man had about the natural world.

Wherever there is a lack of knowledge, there appears to be either god creation, or supernatural explanations.

10/1/07 9:12 am  
Blogger new.atheist said...

To me, any idea of god represents the ultimate of the super-natural (god must be all knowing, all able, etc.), and since I don't believe in anything super-natural (the laws of physics and math govern our universe; not the whims of god), so I must be an atheist.

I didn't really think before that there could be atheists that still believe in the super-natural. It leads me to wonder how many theists don't believe in the super-natural... perhaps their idea of god can work through completely natural means?

I now must ask myself; would I still be an atheist if there could be natural explanations for god?

10/1/07 9:58 am  
Blogger new.atheist said...

To me, any idea of god represents the ultimate of the super-natural (god must be all knowing, all able, etc.), and since I don't believe in anything super-natural (the laws of physics and math govern our universe; not the whims of god), so I must be an atheist.

I didn't really think before that there could be atheists that still believe in the super-natural. It leads me to wonder how many theists don't believe in the super-natural... perhaps their idea of god can work through completely natural means?

I now must ask myself; would I still be an atheist if there could be natural explanations for god?

10/1/07 10:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Re new atheist

I have spoken to atheists who say they believe that souls exist, or spirits.

I am not one of them. I do not deny their existence, I simply don't believe that a mind or minds exist outside of the material world.

I think that in order to believe in souls or spirits, one needs to believe in the existence of the supernatural - that is, mysterious powers that exist outside the purvue of the natural world and which are not subject to natural laws.

I am not convinced of the literal existence of said beings.

10/1/07 10:41 am  
Blogger Daniel said...

Beep, just to let you know that Seeking Utopia is back in business again in case you didn't know!

Why not drop over for a change of topic? Cheers!

10/1/07 11:54 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Ok daniel, ty. I have popped in from time to time and read your posts, I just haven't left a comment of late.

I try to pop into people's blogs regularly, even if I can't think of a comment to leave there.

10/1/07 1:04 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

Hi beepbeep! since this post seems to be about the concept of God, that is: the philosopical idea of a perfect being that we all have a concept of if we are 1/2 way intellegent...If you can "Perceive" the idea of perfection then you can concieve the perfect being, which is the concept of God.
You are right it's not supernatural, it's normal. :) it's human even! Natural.

10/1/07 4:42 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

Hi beepbeep,

I`m a Christian. I`ve enjoyed reading your blog as I am always open to and interested in debate and challenges to my faith.

I think you state your positions well but, as many atheist/agnostic intellectuals do, you draw your conclusions from misrepresented or misunderstood premises. Or, you replace theological premises with your own then argue that Christian beliefs don`t make sense; of course they don`t based on those atheistic assumptions.

First, there is a false dualism that has been injected into theological debate: physical vs. spiritual realms. In true Christian thought there is no divide between ''natural'' and ''supernatural'' existences. Such thought was rejected in the early church as Gnosticism and then was rehashed as recently as modernism. I'm not saying that Christians don't see a difference between a body and a spirit but that both are a part of one unbroken whole. Saying otherwise would be like assigning layers of reality to the ''material'' world, which is exactly what you're doing when you speak of ''natural'' versus ''supernatural.'' Instead, I perceive a fluid, seemlessness in all things seen and unseen not endless, arbitrary divisions. Just because I can`t perceive the universe on a sub-atomic level doesn`t mean that I have to relegate quarks to a sphere of reality outside of my existence.

Just because something is outside myself, my understanding or my ability to perceive doesn`t mean that it belongs to a mystical realm. Did the knowledge that the earth orbits the sun belong to a ''supernatural'' realm before it was scientifically deduced?

I simply work from the premise that all things seen is evidence for God. Or in other words, in my view, what you call ''natural'' IS the very thing you`ve assigned as the ''supernatural.'' This is stated in the Bible with ideas like God is in all and through all, God continually sustains the cosmos ect...

Just because what can be seen may be analyzed and placed into some casual order doesn`t automatically take God out of it. The opposite position is simply a conclusion you draw based on the atheistic beliefs you had before you began your analysis.

Moreover, inherent in any physical law and even matter itself there is a limit to the answers we can come up with. Everything that is proven is one more ''why'' or ''how'' from being unexplainable. So, assigning the word ''supernatural'' to things just outside our scope of understanding/observation is giving a ''supernatural'' foundation to the observable, measurable universe thus undermining your own materialtistic worldview.

I see an another fundamental flaw in such a worldview. I observe the universe and existence of life and see an astronomically improbable construct. It would seem that if an improbability such as you and I existing occured, then nothing could convince you of the existence of God. Anything that happens according to a materialist, regardless of how incredible or improbable, is instantly explained away or denied, like the resurrection of Christ...for example.

Sorry, this was a little long winded and maybe a little disorganized and sprawling, I hope you can make sense of it. Thanks for the quality forum though; I hope for some good discussion and look foward to your next post.

Matt

10/1/07 5:46 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE lt

Yeah, I figure the concept of god or gods is a human construct too.

10/1/07 6:21 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE matt

Thank you for dropping by and for your comments.

RE: " you draw your conclusions from misrepresented or misunderstood premises. Or, you replace theological premises with your own then argue that Christian beliefs don`t make sense; of course they don`t based on those atheistic assumptions."

This depends on which position you consider has the burden of proof. Obviously as an atheist, I would be a theist, and not argue from the position of an atheist, if I was able to be convinced.

The burden of proof lies with the positive claim. The positive claim is the existence of a god or gods or at least beings or entities which are of supernatural origin. This being or beings are supposedly invisible and incorporeal.

There would be no atheists if theists took on their burden of proof and were able to be successful at it. Unfortunately, there is no successful argument for the existence of god or gods. Which is why, eventually, most theists admit that their belief relies on faith that it is true. And that this faith is their evidence.

RE: " In true Christian thought there is no divide between ''natural'' and ''supernatural'' existences."

Don't worry about providing evidence for the existence of the natural world, I accept that it exists and no doubt so do you, just concentrate on your religious claim of supernatural entities which have minds.

RE: " I simply work from the premise that all things seen is evidence for God."

I work from the premise that the natural world is evidence of the natural world. Provide evidence for the existence of your god and then we can discuss how and what your god created.

I fail to see what is flawed about a natural worldview, except that there is no requirement to believe in powerful, all knowing minds which exist outside of matter.

10/1/07 6:43 pm  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Dear Beep et al,
1) BBIM I think your blogs sum up my philosophical position far better than ever could - so thank you!

2) I think Douglas Adams had it summed up in his explanation of the Total Perspective Vortex in that religion is simply a human / mental response to the challenge that fundamentally and deep down the Universe really doesn't revolve around me...

Keep up the Good work
Benedict

11/1/07 1:20 am  
Anonymous Larry said...

Enjoyed your comments. When confronted with the BIG questions like "How did the universe begin?", or, "Why is there something as opposed to nothing?" I find comfort in a couple of answers: 1. "Science will eventually explain it.", or, 2. "We are asking the wrong question(s)." The second answer especially hits home with me for throughout science's young history there have been paradigm shifts based on previously unasked questions.

11/1/07 2:17 am  
Blogger Stardust said...

There is nothing obvious to me about the divine

For me it is only obvious that humans help humans, or humans hurt humans, humans take action, or humans turn away and choose not to intervene or help. If humans don't help a suffering child, the child dies. No sky daddy intervenes to help. Millions of children are dying in the world, many of them crying out to a silent god. This is evidence enough for me that there are no gods or supernatural anythings. If people don't do anything, nothing happens.

11/1/07 3:13 am  
Blogger Stardust said...

I`ve enjoyed reading your blog as I am always open to and interested in debate and challenges to my faith.

matt, why must you xians always have to be "challenging your faith" if god is so "obvious" for you? I hear this often from xians in particular.

When xians say this phrase, it seems as if you are trying to convince yourselves even more than anyone else that your god exists.

I hope these challenges that you seek will lead to freethought and the realization that you make things happen in your life for yourself, and it's ok to give yourself the credit for your successes and don't have to feel that you don't deserve it.

Also there are things in life you cannot control and no matter if you have sky daddy beliefs or not, everyone goes through the same struggles in life and we all will one day die. The difference between atheists and theists is that we just accept the nature of things and don't need religion to deal with the difficulties in life, while xians find comfort in their god beliefs and the fantasy that they will go on living somewhere over the rainbow.

11/1/07 3:37 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Matt:
I think you state your positions well but, as many atheist/agnostic intellectuals do, you draw your conclusions from misrepresented or misunderstood premises. Or, you replace theological premises with your own then argue that Christian beliefs don`t make sense; of course they don`t based on those atheistic assumptions.
It’s called logic: you should try it sometime.
I began my atheism not from a premise of 'Is/is not'. I began it w/, 'Does this hold up?'
It didn't.
First, there is a false dualism that has been injected into theological debate: physical vs. spiritual realms. In true Christian thought there is no divide between ''natural'' and ''supernatural'' existences.
Now that’s patently untrue. Paul stated specifically there was a division between the natural & the spiritual: it was in the resurrection that both would be reconciled. 1 Cor. 15-44
Such thought was rejected in the early church as Gnosticism and then was rehashed as recently as modernism. I'm not saying that Christians don't see a difference between a body and a spirit but that both are a part of one unbroken whole. Saying otherwise would be like assigning layers of reality to the ''material'' world, which is exactly what you're doing when you speak of ''natural'' versus ''supernatural.'' Instead, I perceive a fluid, seemlessness in all things seen and unseen not endless, arbitrary divisions. Just because I can`t perceive the universe on a sub-atomic level doesn`t mean that I have to relegate quarks to a sphere of reality outside of my existence.
Good point.
Just because something is outside myself, my understanding or my ability to perceive doesn`t mean that it belongs to a mystical realm. Did the knowledge that the earth orbits the sun belong to a ''supernatural'' realm before it was scientifically deduced?
Nope.
I simply work from the premise that all things seen is evidence for God. Or in other words, in my view, what you call ''natural'' IS the very thing you`ve assigned as the ''supernatural.'' This is stated in the Bible with ideas like God is in all and through all, God continually sustains the cosmos ect...
Dimly veiled argument from design. It’s a poor design, BTW. For a deity that allegedly put it all together, said critter was conceptually unaware of the difference between a bat & a bird, or that birds only have 2 legs.
Just because what can be seen may be analyzed and placed into some casual order doesn`t automatically take God out of it.
No, but since the supernatural explanation fails so regularly, the materialistic 1 is put into place.
The opposite position is simply a conclusion you draw based on the atheistic beliefs you had before you began your analysis.
Likewise, the positive position is the same: you draw your conclusions from a presupposition. You say yes there is, I say no there isn’t.
Moreover, inherent in any physical law and even matter itself there is a limit to the answers we can come up with. Everything that is proven is one more ''why'' or ''how'' from being unexplainable. So, assigning the word ''supernatural'' to things just outside our scope of understanding/observation is giving a ''supernatural'' foundation to the observable, measurable universe thus undermining your own materialtistic worldview.
Waitaminnit: that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘goddidit’. Spontaneous generation, for instance: ancients used to believe that flies sprang from meat, until someone actually sat down & watched the meat spoil. People believed the earth was flat: Eratosthenes proved otherwise, but the myth continued. Creationism was believed by 100% of the scientists, until Darwin came along: now, only 1%. Arguments from incredulity are thin premise.
I see an another fundamental flaw in such a worldview. I observe the universe and existence of life and see an astronomically improbable construct. It would seem that if an improbability such as you and I existing occured, then nothing could convince you of the existence of God. Anything that happens according to a materialist, regardless of how incredible or improbable, is instantly explained away or denied, like the resurrection of Christ...for example.
That’s not a fundamental flaw: that’s your sense of esthetics talking. Improbable NE impossible. The improbability of 1 sperm hitting 1 ova? Astronomical. Ergo, millions of the little buggers, increasing the odds. Among the trillions of planets, that narrows the odds considerably, I’d say.
“The mind of man pursues the path of least resistance, and the conclusions arrived at by the individual depend upon the nature and structure of his mind, on his experience, on hereditary drifts and tendencies, and on the countless things that constitute the difference in minds. One man, finding himself in the midst of mysterious phenomena, comes to the conclusion that all is the result of design; that back of all things is an infinite personality -- that is to say, an infinite man; and he accounts for all that is by simply saying that the universe was created and set in motion by this infinite personality, and that it is miraculously and supernaturally governed and preserved.”
I do not need the universe shaped in my shadow: I do not need it to care about me. This is neither bleak, nor empty: it is just so.
More’s the reason we should care about each other. The universe does not.

11/1/07 9:10 am  
Blogger Matt said...

stardust, I think there is a right way and wrong way to enter a discussion and I suppose one wrong way is to argue that the other side shouldn't be debating at all.

I don't know who you're quoting when you say ''obvious'', I admit belief in God in just that, a belief.

However, as a Chrisitian, that belief is based on a historical event. Just as I have no reason to disbelieve, based on historical documents, that Julius Caesar ruled the Roman empire, I have no reason to disbelieve the historical fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

I will not waver until you disprove this. For me, it's not a ''fantasy'', it's history. I can give you facts and statistics about the historical accuracy of the Bible and early church history, like the unprecendented speed at which Christianity spread from one town throughout the known world within a generation after Christ's resurrection. But, I doubt you'll consider it because your worldview has no room for it.

There is a quote on your website beepbeep that states that science shouldn't accept a creed. I see that it has. Again, and I'm using the resurrection of Christ as an example, I'm arguing that no matter what happens, no matter how improbable or incredible, materialists will find a way to write it off based on it's narrow, immutable premise: Anything that happens is a ''natural'' phenomenom, nothing more. So, intrinsically, a materialist worldview predetermines that nothing ''supernatural'' can happen.

In short, I have faith that Christ rose from the dead and you FAITH that he did not. In the end, it would seem, yours is also a faith.

stardust, I thought assuming things without immediately observable facts is heresy to a materialist? So, why assume how I feel about my life? I know I make things happen for myself, I believe in free will. And the bit about giving myself credit for my successes...? your analysis of my life is just one more example of atheists misrepresenting or misunderstanding theological worldviews or making assumptions about believers.

In future comments I'll again try to avoid the rhetorical warfare that stardust seems to want with phrases like ''sky daddy'' and ''over the rainbow.''

Thanks again for the forum beepbeep,

Matt

11/1/07 1:37 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

I have no reason to disbelieve the historical fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Huh? What makes that an historical fact? Please don't say because it's in the Bible.
The only historical event you even might possibaly prove is that a illiterate apocalyptic Jew with the common name of Jesus(Who never took up a pen & as far as anyone knows couldn't write his own name)pissed off the authoritys & was given the death sentence for a civil crime, that is; rabble rousing.

11/1/07 6:15 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

Krytalline:

"Now that’s patently untrue. Paul stated specifically there was a division between the natural & the spiritual: it was in the resurrection that both would be reconciled. 1 Cor. 15-44"

Sorry, I know I didn't make myself clear in that early paragraph.

I know that Paul is talking about the differences between flesh (the temporal and corruptible)and spirit(the immortal and uncorruptible). And I don't deny that essential difference. The point I, poorly, tried to make was that there is no casual divide between the "natural" and the "supernatural" in the Christian worldview, there is simply reality. What I do with my body affects my spirit and the state of my spirit affects my body. Thus, I was making the point that just because the "supernatural" is outside my ability to observe and fully apprehend it it is outside of my existence, like my sub-atomic example. In other words, the "natural" and "supernatural" are so inexorably linked that there is no division/distinction. Miracles for example, my worldview tells me that what happens day to day is already paramount to a miracle so that the lines are blurred between a "supernatural" act of God and the sun rising every morning.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have used the term "physical vs. spiritual realms", my mistake.

But, in the end, I'm just obfiscating the discussion, clouding the original point and not providing any proof for the divine...so sorry.

]>t:

Well, you just did what countless skeptics and historians have tried to do over two millenia. You've disproved the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man, that's a load off my mind, thanks.

Matt

11/1/07 10:11 pm  
Blogger new.atheist said...

Matt:

Believing that Julius Caesar ruled based on historical evidence is one thing; there are multiple references to his existence in multiple texts from multiple sources. Believing that it is a "historical event" that a lowly inconspicuous carpenter/shepherd/fisherman died and was raised from the dead by god for the sake of absolving believers of their sins, based on a very few accounts, that don't all agree, and none are first-hand, is a stretch for many logical people.

While there are many facts about the early church; there is absolutely no proof that Jesus existed. Many accounts of his life reflect accounts of the lives of Greek/Roman gods, and it was over one-hundered years before anyone went collecting evidence of his life; in a day/age where that would be equivalent to several generations. Just think about the difference between historical accounts in today's day/age, even with photography and DNA evidence. The burden of proof still lies with those who make the positive claim. I don't claim anything didn't happen; I just ask for some evidence that it did.

I classify the world into "natural" and "super-natural" because I see anything that would break the laws of physics as "super natural," i.e. the spontaneous raising of the dead. Jesus's resurrection as christians believe in it is inherently supernatural (above nature). I do understand that you don't make the distinction because your view is god made it all happen, and with god, nothing is impossible. I interpret from this that for many christians this is an all/nothing proposition, and they really don't like the idea of "nothing."

Super-natural is not just "that which we don't understand," it is that which specifically defies what we already understand about the physics and nature of the universe. We understand that people don't just come back from the dead. If I found evidence that Jesus rose from the "dead" because he really hadn't died to begin with, he was just buried in a state of unconsciousness which, before modern times, many people could mistake for death, then I might believe the story, but this would take out anything divine about it.

While you have faith that Christ rose from the dead, it's not that I have faith he didn't rise at all, I lack faith in the super-natural all together. I only have faith in mankind.

12/1/07 4:42 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
What I do with my body affects my spirit and the state of my spirit affects my body. Thus, I was making the point that just because the "supernatural" is outside my ability to observe and fully apprehend it it is outside of my existence, like my sub-atomic example. In other words, the "natural" and "supernatural" are so inexorably linked that there is no division/distinction. Miracles for example, my worldview tells me that what happens day to day is already paramount to a miracle so that the lines are blurred between a "supernatural" act of God and the sun rising every morning.
I think you're mixing 'n matching semantics here. By calling everything a miracle, it precludes there being no such thing.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have used the term "physical vs. spiritual realms", my mistake.

But, in the end, I'm just obfiscating the discussion, clouding the original point and not providing any proof for the divine...so sorry.

Just don't let it happen again (kidding).
If you claim EVERYTHING is divine, that's not proof of divinity, right? To quote Lao Tzu, 'Without darkness, there can be no light: without good, there can be no evil", etc.
Thus far, all we have is the natural, the mundane.
Well, you just did what countless skeptics and historians have tried to do over two millenia. You've disproved the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man, that's a load off my mind, thanks.
That's pretty funny.

12/1/07 8:23 am  
Blogger Matt said...

oops, i meant to say ''tantamount'' instead of ''paramount'' in my last comment. I should really proof read these BEFORE I submit them...maybe my thoughts would then be more organized too.

Matt

12/1/07 10:11 am  
Blogger Matt said...

grumble, another mistake: ''...just because the "supernatural" is outside my ability to observe and fully apprehend it it is outside of my existence, like my sub-atomic example.''

Should read: ''just because the "supernatural" is outside my ability to observe and fully apprehend it isn't outside of my existence, like my sub-atomic example.''

12/1/07 10:42 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE benedict

TY for your comments.

RE: "religion is simply a human / mental response to the challenge that fundamentally and deep down the Universe really doesn't revolve around me..."

Yes, that is a great way to put it.

Maybe religious believers suffer from existential angst.

I am gunna blog about that one day - when I get my thoughts together about it.

12/1/07 12:52 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

new.atheist:

Hmm, you need to remember that the bible is actually a collection of many sources and all of them first-hand. They were either people who knew Christ personally or were writing from a real position in a real community of believers. The gospels for example were written by people that (literally) followed Christ, witnessed him die and later encountered the resurrected Jesus. It's just not that easy to discredit the bible. Come at me with some hard facts, please.

krytalline:

Yeah, like you said, I'm not providing any proof for the divine by saying that all of reality has a divine source (that can be corrupted by free agents within that creation btw), just painting a worldview I guess. People often lack faith even though God is seen in ''natural'' creation, so God must reconcile them to Himself/ restore their faith by, say, resurrecting His only begotten Son.

I don't tend to agree with that quote, btw. I don't think that things can only exist contingent on the existence of their opposites. If the universe was filled with only light then, surely, light would still exist.

Matt

12/1/07 12:54 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: Who wrote the bible?

Who wrote the Bible? (Part 4)
http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mbible4.html


For now we'll just say that Iraneus, the bishop of Lyons in 180 AD, decided that the validity of any work had to be judged by whether it was "apostolic."

That is, it SHOULD have been written by or for one of the twelve apostles. But, as Pagels goes on to say, regardless of whether the names given to the Gospels are those of the actual authors or merely reflect a claim to apostolic authority, "we know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the Gospels."

12/1/07 1:08 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

In other words, the gospels are "attributed" to people who were decided by religious decree to be "apostolic".

"Attributed" doesn't mean that those people definitely wrote them, nor does it mean that they witnessed anything, nor does it mean that the people to whom the works were attributed, actually existed.

12/1/07 1:11 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
I don't tend to agree with that quote, btw. I don't think that things can only exist contingent on the existence of their opposites. If the universe was filled with only light then, surely, light would still exist.
Sure, but would you know the difference?
From the darkness sprang the light: the light shed the darkness.

17/1/07 3:20 pm  
Blogger dharmabruce said...

Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation has a nice workable definition of atheism here.

18/1/07 10:17 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE dharma

Thanks for the link. :)

21/1/07 10:44 am  

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