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Confession is good for the soul?

Religion and Philosophy
Forum rules
we are introducing this on a trial basis and that respect for other's views is important e.g. phrases like "your imaginary friend" or "you will go to hell" are not appropriate
Sussexlad
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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146752

Postby Sussexlad » June 19th, 2018, 7:47 pm

The bottom line is that we simply don't know. There could be an entity running the show and you could choose to call it a God or it might be a free running process. What I can't believe is that there is some over-arching power for good, looking out for the individual, though it may well be comforting to believe that. Until we understood a little more about our environment, the chances were that you believed what local custom dictated. IMO you have to see the world through very rose-tinted glasses and ignore some very contrary evidence to think that way. As I ask my committed Christian cousin a few weeks ago, what does the guy who is not saved at the last moment say? Of course we never know but I suspect it along the lines is 'You b * * * * * d!'

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146754

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 19th, 2018, 7:52 pm

Thanks for the clarification Julian.

jfgw wrote:
Now, using thought alone, look at the brain from the inside and tell me how it works. Ignore what you already know, look for something new. Tell me something about the physical structure or the chemistry of the brain that you didn't know before, something that you have just observed.

Julian F. G. W.


Instead of looking at 'the brain from inside' why not try to observe the thoughts themselves, isn't this what self-awareness is all about? Currently called 'mindfulness' :)

RC

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146763

Postby beeswax » June 19th, 2018, 8:14 pm

GrandOiseau wrote:As an atheist I do not have "faith" that gods don't exist. I have no reason to believe they do exist or understanding of their existence. Theists overcome that by having "faith". I am happy to believe something that you give me reason to or give me an understanding of.


Interesting diversion from the OP but maybe someone can start a new thread about what we mean by 'God' or 'Gods'?

And at what point does the perception imaginary or real that 'generally' nothing comes from nothing statement makes sense when thinking how the universe was erm, created by someone or something that on balance could be an accident or random event OR by a sentient being but I'm trying to get back to THE prime mover BEFORE the creation of the universe. ie way back to the start. Yes, I know the oft made statement is then made ie "Who created 'God' in there for simplicity because when the word 'God' is used then religious believers think of a male being and although we can never know what was or whom was at the starting line or point of origin, its still something that we cannot or should not ignore and therefore a debatable issue for us all. How did we come to be here etc?

I used to be a Christian and so the 'God' of the bible was all I thought about but now I am a 'Diest' where my views have changed to suggest that 'something' or' someone' created everything, including us without essentially getting involved on a day to day basis and I accept it could be a cop out excuse to want to hang on to my former beliefs. Most will know that a 'Diest' is someone who believes 'God' created everything albeit its still 'faith' without evidence or proof but are willing to compromise vs the biblical God who does intervene and in appalling ways too according to scripture. How can 'God' be 'love' and 'forgiving' when the OT is full of the opposite. A bloke called Marcion in the first century had the same question that the God of the OT cannot be the God of the NT and so there must be TWO God's...He too could not reconcile they were the same God...

Just stating we can never know who created everything is a reasonable answer but this board has a title the 'meaning of life' to it and so have a go...;)

Atheism as a 'equal' faith position to Theism has been debated long and hard for years on TMF and will no doubt continue. I think its easy though. An Atheist has NO beliefs in ANY God or God's. It was generally Christians that used the former argument and tried to put it on a equal footing.

We are not here by accident! Get your teeth into that one! ;)

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146852

Postby GrandOiseau » June 20th, 2018, 10:54 am

@Sussexlad, @beeswax, well we clearly don't know the precise origin of the earth but we do largely know what happened from very shortly after and we do know how we (humans) came to be here. So the question I like to ask is given what we do know today what evidence or understanding do we have a god or gods. Because I see no evidence of one or have any understanding of one. Quite the opposite in fact. I can not even conceive of the concept. Is there an event or incident that was the origin of the earth. Of course. But I don't see how that leads to the concept of a god or gods. I can see how the concept arose when humans developed the intelligence to become aware of their existence as a race and of the planet in it's simplest terms but not enough to come up with the explanations we have today. And I realise there are still parts of the world not sufficiently educated or free to have been given the chance to go beyond that primitive understanding. But it's clearly in the most educated areas of the world the direction of thought - entirely logically I suggest.


For sure, we should continue be curious and try to find out what was the precise origin of the earth. But I don't think it's necessary before we can take an atheist view.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146873

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 20th, 2018, 12:01 pm

GrandOiseau wrote: So the question I like to ask is given what we do know today what evidence or understanding do we have a god or gods. Because I see no evidence of one or have any understanding of one. Quite the opposite in fact. I can not even conceive of the concept. Is there an event or incident that was the origin of the earth. Of course. But I don't see how that leads to the concept of a god or gods.


I'm not surprised that you do not believe in God(s) but I am surprised that you cannot conceive of the concept. Surely it comes back to the very old discussion of whether or not there was a 'Prime Mover' aka God? Physicists today tell us that (at least on a quantum level) things may spontaneously come into existence, so that no PM may be required. But that is not proof that creation (everything) came about from nothing. We also have some interesting hypotheses about whether or not we live in a simulation. Personally I cannot see how, logically, this can be ruled out as a possibility and it also seems reasonable to assume that if we are living in a simulation then there must be a PM (simulator) for the simulation.

RC

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146904

Postby GrandOiseau » June 20th, 2018, 1:28 pm

If you can't explain something or hypothesise something there is no concept.

We don't know what happened the nanosecond before/of the creation. Saying something can come from nothing has no grounding that we can hang on to currently. We may never know.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146919

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 20th, 2018, 2:16 pm

GrandOiseau wrote:If you can't explain something or hypothesise something there is no concept.


Aristotle managed this quite well a long time ago; of course you might not agree with him :)

GrandOiseau wrote: Saying something can come from nothing has no grounding that we can hang on to currently.


Quantum physicists seem to agree that particles spontaneously come into existence, but anyway if you do not believe in a Prime Mover (God) then surely the only other explanation is that everything we know today arose without cause? Isn't this the rational view of the atheist?

RC

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146930

Postby GrandOiseau » June 20th, 2018, 2:50 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:If you can't explain something or hypothesise something there is no concept.


Aristotle managed this quite well a long time ago; of course you might not agree with him :)

I'm not sure he did.

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote: Saying something can come from nothing has no grounding that we can hang on to currently.


Quantum physicists seem to agree that particles spontaneously come into existence, but anyway if you do not believe in a Prime Mover (God) then surely the only other explanation is that everything we know today arose without cause? Isn't this the rational view of the atheist?

Something came into existence. We can't explain it. That is all anyone can agree on surely. To say it just did [spontaneously] doesn't get us anywhere. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don't know something. On your second point, same thing. Just because we don't know something doesn't mean we have to label it. What does "without cause" really mean in this context?

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146937

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 20th, 2018, 3:45 pm

GrandOiseau wrote:
Something came into existence. We can't explain it. That is all anyone can agree on surely. To say it just did [spontaneously] doesn't get us anywhere. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don't know something.


To say that something came into existence spontaneously doesn't mean that you don't know the cause, it means that there is no cause not that there is one but you cannot find it. It certainly gets us a long way if you are trying to understand the laws of physics, the quantum nature of reality.

GrandOiseau wrote: What does "without cause" really mean in this context?


It means that the universe - or at least all we know of it - may have just come into existence without the need for a Prime Mover. What other hypothesis could an atheist accept?

RC

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146943

Postby GrandOiseau » June 20th, 2018, 4:21 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:
Something came into existence. We can't explain it. That is all anyone can agree on surely. To say it just did [spontaneously] doesn't get us anywhere. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don't know something.


To say that something came into existence spontaneously doesn't mean that you don't know the cause, it means that there is no cause not that there is one but you cannot find it. It certainly gets us a long way if you are trying to understand the laws of physics, the quantum nature of reality.

Is it proven that there was "no cause"?

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote: What does "without cause" really mean in this context?


It means that the universe - or at least all we know of it - may have just come into existence without the need for a Prime Mover. What other hypothesis could an atheist accept?

Something (an event) may have caused the first step in the creation of the universe or it may not. I disassociate myself with the concept that there is a creator, prime mover, deity involved in the sense that theists understand it. But I am not going to say hypothetical some physical event was the cause. I am not intelligent enough to attest to the physics of that event - or rather hypothesise about it. The physics that I/we do know tells me without doubt that gods humans invoke to explain what we don't know, do nothing of this sort. Hence my disbelief/atheism.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146954

Postby Itsallaguess » June 20th, 2018, 4:57 pm

Gravity being gravity, I'm happy that a cyclical universe explains the whole shebang, and that the big-bang is simply the after-effects of a big-crunch, and so it goes...

If we're not currently able to explain such a process using our presently understood laws of physics, that doesn't diminish what seems to be the only sensible explanation to the 'what came before the big-bang' question.

We would need to understand the long-term nature regarding the dark-matter of the universe to eventually begin to explain how big-crunch might occur, as on current thinking the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating, and not slowing down, but that doesn't stop me believing that this will eventually turn out to be the explanation to the 'pre-big-bang' question.

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#146984

Postby jfgw » June 20th, 2018, 8:06 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:Thanks for the clarification Julian.

jfgw wrote:
Now, using thought alone, look at the brain from the inside and tell me how it works. Ignore what you already know, look for something new. Tell me something about the physical structure or the chemistry of the brain that you didn't know before, something that you have just observed.

Julian F. G. W.


Instead of looking at 'the brain from inside' why not try to observe the thoughts themselves, isn't this what self-awareness is all about? Currently called 'mindfulness' :)

RC


That is a great thing to do. The point of the experiment, however, is to demonstrate how a system cannot explain its own existence. For example, it is impossible for a physics experiment to show how matter can exist.

GrandOiseau wrote:@Sussexlad, @beeswax, well we clearly don't know the precise origin of the earth but we do largely know what happened from very shortly after and we do know how we (humans) came to be here. So the question I like to ask is given what we do know today what evidence or understanding do we have a god or gods. Because I see no evidence of one or have any understanding of one. Quite the opposite in fact.


The big bang does not even begin to explain how matter can exist. It is neither evidence for, nor evidence against, the existence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God".

GrandOiseau wrote:I can not even conceive of the concept.


Any conceivable concept, whether or not God exists (or Gods exist) would be wrong.

ReformedCharacter wrote:We also have some interesting hypotheses about whether or not we live in a simulation


How would you define a simulation? If the ultimate nature of our existence is beyond anything that we could ever conceive, how could you classify that as either reality or a simulation?

(To be pedantic, a simulation would need something, either real or imaginary, to simulate. If you model a bridge on a computer, that is a simulation because it is not a real bridge. A word processor running on the same computer, however, is not a simulation as it is a real program, it is not simulating anything.)

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147027

Postby GrandOiseau » June 20th, 2018, 10:58 pm

jfgw wrote:The big bang does not even begin to explain how matter can exist.

I never said it did. To be honest that is not a question I concern myself with.

jfgw wrote:It is neither evidence for, nor evidence against, the existence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God".

Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you? I guess it comes back to belief in the non-physical - that which can not be evidenced.

jfgw wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:I can not even conceive of the concept.

Any conceivable concept, whether or not God exists (or Gods exist) would be wrong.

Mmm... you've lost me about it here....

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147167

Postby jfgw » June 21st, 2018, 6:26 pm

GrandOiseau wrote:Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you?


There are reports from people who have had near-death experiences.

GrandOiseau wrote:I guess it comes back to belief in the non-physical - that which can not be evidenced.


I would say that the existence of physical phenomena (such as matter) is pretty-damn strong evidence that the means of its existence (which must be non-physical) must also exist. To say otherwise would be like saying that software can exist without some means of physical storage or memory. (I could be very pedantic and point out that software is non-physical. I know that that is not what you meant by "non-physical", however.)

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147179

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 21st, 2018, 7:43 pm

GrandOiseau wrote:
Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you?

There's plenty of discussion about God but probably - even here - different concepts of God. Are we talking about all Gods? If we equate God with the idea of Prime Mover is it true to say that if there is no God then there is no Prime Mover? Personally I can only really conceive of a God in those terms regardless of whether I believe in one or not. Perhaps other people think of the God of the Abrahamic religions, so I ask the question because at least in my mind one can reject the Abrahamic God but still accept the possibility of there being a Prime Mover in whatever unknowable form. If there is no Prime Mover then everything just came into being without cause and from nowhere. Can you explain which of these mutually exclusive equally implausible hypotheses is correct? Applying logic and ignoring all 'God baggage' I cannot.

RC

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147208

Postby beeswax » June 21st, 2018, 10:33 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:
Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you?

There's plenty of discussion about God but probably - even here - different concepts of God. Are we talking about all Gods? If we equate God with the idea of Prime Mover is it true to say that if there is no God then there is no Prime Mover? Personally I can only really conceive of a God in those terms regardless of whether I believe in one or not. Perhaps other people think of the God of the Abrahamic religions, so I ask the question because at least in my mind one can reject the Abrahamic God but still accept the possibility of there being a Prime Mover in whatever unknowable form. If there is no Prime Mover then everything just came into being without cause and from nowhere. Can you explain which of these mutually exclusive equally implausible hypotheses is correct? Applying logic and ignoring all 'God baggage' I cannot.

RC


As I wrote earlier, I was a Christian and now a Diest because lots of the bible is clearly not true and was written by comparatively ignorant men trying to convince others that its God's inspired work and of course putting themselves forward to control the actions and lifestyles of people including giving their time and money of course. Genesis falls down at the first hurdle thus proving beyond reasonable doubt that God didn't create Adam and Eve in his image or our image and so no original sin took place in the garden and so no angry God who needed appeasing or to send Jesus as an atonement for ours sins and so the whole lot then can be disregarded as an insult to intelligent people who should know better but they don't actually 'study' the bible like I didn't. Religion can do good and it can do very bad things but in reality its not needed by people who can think for themselves. It why it was the mostly uneducated and illiterate people who became believers..

I remain convinced that the universe and all that went before cannot be an accident or by chance and that something or someone has to have lit the touch paper one second before so to speak. Whatever or whoever designed it though is so vastly more intelligent than humans can ever hope to be and the earth will collide with other matter long before we do and so the question will always remain unsolved and so its a matter of faith whether the Creator is someone or something who is interested in our existence and whether we were part of that design or its all just random and nothing existed to start the ball rolling. I can't go with that myself..IMO there is some mysterious force that is responsible.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147216

Postby GrandOiseau » June 21st, 2018, 11:34 pm

jfgw wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you?


There are reports from people who have had near-death experiences.

Which can be explained as hallucinations and dreams. This studyshowed "how individuals actually choose to interpret those experiences depends entirely on their background and pre-existing beliefs"

jfgw wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:I guess it comes back to belief in the non-physical - that which can not be evidenced.


I would say that the existence of physical phenomena (such as matter) is pretty-damn strong evidence that the means of its existence (which must be non-physical) must also exist. To say otherwise would be like saying that software can exist without some means of physical storage or memory. (I could be very pedantic and point out that software is non-physical. I know that that is not what you meant by "non-physical", however.)

That doesn't make sense [to me]. I could continue the debate but it's not really doing much for me so I'll pass.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147222

Postby GrandOiseau » June 21st, 2018, 11:46 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:
GrandOiseau wrote:
Well I agree but the broader question is there any evidence of anything or anyone that could be defined as "God"? I'm not aware of any, are you?

There's plenty of discussion about God but probably - even here - different concepts of God. Are we talking about all Gods? If we equate God with the idea of Prime Mover is it true to say that if there is no God then there is no Prime Mover? Personally I can only really conceive of a God in those terms regardless of whether I believe in one or not. Perhaps other people think of the God of the Abrahamic religions, so I ask the question because at least in my mind one can reject the Abrahamic God but still accept the possibility of there being a Prime Mover in whatever unknowable form. If there is no Prime Mover then everything just came into being without cause and from nowhere. Can you explain which of these mutually exclusive equally implausible hypotheses is correct? Applying logic and ignoring all 'God baggage' I cannot.

What form are you perceiving a "Prime Mover" to be? It's certainly beyond my comprehension. If it exists or existed I have no idea. And hence I can not say what caused the universe to come into existence or indeed (behind my comprehension) that there was no cause at all. You can not apply logic or explain something you can not comprehend. And I am not going to make something up. Hence by disbelief in gods or a prime mover or anything else to do with the ultimate creation of the universe.

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147264

Postby GrandOiseau » June 22nd, 2018, 10:14 am

beeswax wrote:I remain convinced that the universe and all that went before cannot be an accident or by chance and that something or someone has to have lit the touch paper one second before so to speak.

What convinces you?

Why couldn't it be by chance/accident?

beeswax wrote:Whatever or whoever designed it though is so vastly more intelligent than humans can ever hope to be and the earth will collide with other matter long before we do and so the question will always remain unsolved and so its a matter of faith whether the Creator is someone or something who is interested in our existence and whether we were part of that design or its all just random and nothing existed to start the ball rolling. I can't go with that myself..IMO there is some mysterious force that is responsible.

Even assuming something got the "ball rolling" we know for sure that what came after has not been controlled or predictable at a low level. That is to say planets have collided, matter has been sucked into black holes, etc. Surely logic suggests the beginning was as random as the rest?

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Re: Confession is good for the soul?

#147283

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 22nd, 2018, 11:06 am

GrandOiseau wrote:What form are you perceiving a "Prime Mover" to be?


If I wake up in the morning and find that the back of my car has been smashed in I don't need to know whether it was a yellow van or a black lorry to know that another vehicle has whacked it. Nor will my insurer likely claim it was an act of God :) Cause and effect.

GrandOiseau wrote:If it exists or existed I have no idea. And hence I can not say what caused the universe to come into existence or indeed (behind my comprehension) that there was no cause at all.


I agree, but having admitted that you don't know, you say that you don't believe in a PM and therefore logically you must believe in the other hypothesis which is that the 'creation' came from nowhere. As I agree with your 'don't know' I'm obviously not going to say that you are wrong but that there is a logical inconsistency in your comment.

GrandOiseau wrote:You can not apply logic or explain something you can not comprehend.


But we do use logic as a tool to reason about things when we have incomplete information, Occam's razor for example.

RC


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