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This glorious post was inspired by Ramen666's Unanswered Questions thread.

 

I have some of my own unanswered questions, and although I tend to think in an atheistic manner, they still nag at me.

 

1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral? Maybe I just don't get out much or something, but I've never seen this question satisfactorily answered. What basis do non-theists have for morality? What makes a certain act either good or bad? How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself? Isn't our morality based on religion? How can that be reasonably denied?

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans. It seems to me that evolution - and particularly macroevolution - is based on a string of exceedingly improbable events. Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about? I understand that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, but how did reproduction occur? Though I certainly don't believe in the absurd mythology about Adam and Eve, it does seem to me that there had to be a first male and a first female in the beginning.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

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Brother Jeff, I can try and respond to some of these. I am far from being an authority though.

 

1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral?

Maybe because considering others helps alleviate our loneliness.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans.

The meaning of the word "complex" is a hotly debated term in some corners of biology these days. What does it mean for something to be complex? There is little agreement.

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about?

This is also a highly contested subject in biology. I'm waiting for an answer myself. It's a legitimate mystery. I think it's a good question.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living?

What answer would satisfy you? Would any answer that you didn't find on your own satisfy you? Personally I think the journey is interesting and curiousity compels me. I think we live in very exciting times. That's plenty for me.

 

I think you ask great questions Brother Jeff.

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1) Civilisations can't work as anarchies... murdering and raping tends to create bad feeling all round. Same with conning people, lying, or 'bearing false witness'. You want to live in a group, then you need rules... the rules that benefit the group overall is 'moral'. However, morality is a fashion. There was a tribe of Pacific islanders that had a 'moral' rule that the offspring of a certain 'caste' were for meat. There being no other meat on the island, was this source of protein immoral, amoral or moral from the group's perspective. (IIRC the French wiped them out in horror)

 

2) Read Dawkins

 

3) The genetic riffle shuffle in sexual reproduction gives the advantage over parthenogenic reproduction. Gender is only really hard coded in mammals... It is known that certain birds, lizards, amphibians and fish (limiting this to vertebrates) can spontaneously change gender when there is a population shortage of breeding males/females. Then in invertebrates, we can add hermaphrodites to the mix (snails often impregnate each other when mating) Sex is a good way of speeding adaptation.

 

4) This. Read and digest.

 

5) Yes, it's possible (we certainly can't prove unequivocally it's not). But does it matter?

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4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?
4) This. Read and digest.

I think he sums it up pretty well.

 

I also think the question itself reveals one of the differences between being an ex-christian and being a lifelong atheist, agnostic, freethinker, or an otherwise religious liberal who doesn't believe in the bible's afterlife.

 

The lure of eternal life is sort of like giving a lollipop to a baby and then taking it away: if you never bought that line, you'd reason that what we have now, in life, is everything, and find happiness, fulfillment and meaning making the most of the life we have. If you thought you were going to exist forever, an eternity is a lot to lose. I think the principle of making the most of the life we have is still just as valid, though--we may have wasted time in the past sucked in by a lie, we may be legitimately pissed off about that, but I'm all for making the most of the present and future.

 

I'm of the opinion that what we gain by recapturing our own intellectual honesty in exchange for slavery to a god that doesn't exist more than offsets the pain of deconversion.

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1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral?

I've never understood what a god has to do with morality anyway.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans.

Time and lots of it.

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about?

I already explained that in the other thread.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living?

Again, what does a god or afterlife have to do with making life worth living? It seems to me that all those beliefs do is detract from this life.

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

No. After your body is dead it no longer has the ability to use metabolism to "create" energy. The residual "energy" that is in your body when you die is dissipated as heat.

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1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral? Maybe I just don't get out much or something, but I've never seen this question satisfactorily answered. What basis do non-theists have for morality? What makes a certain act either good or bad? How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself? Isn't our morality based on religion? How can that be reasonably denied?

 

Your question is a non-sequitur. When asked, what is morality, I respond that it is a code of values that we live by. The basis for morality is ones own life and the choice to live it. Pursuing what we value is the highest achievement man can have for himself, basing his choices on reason and self-esteem. Bad actions are generally deemed to be self-destructive actions that have no reason to them, impulses and choices made on a whim, actions done through faith and passion rather than the faculties of reason. Actions with intent to subvert the principles that one lives by in society and the values that one holds; actions that are done without ones rational self-interest in mind.

 

"How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself?" So what if it's an absolute statement? It isn't contradictory. My morality is based on reason.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans. It seems to me that evolution - and particularly macroevolution - is based on a string of exceedingly improbable events. Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

 

They were improbable...but hindsight being 20/20 we can only view the single path in history that has happened rather than the millions of possibilities that could have arisen. It would be like taking a random number generator and generating a number that is 10^3million numbers long. The probability of getting that exact number is 1 in 10^3 million, but it happened.

 

Or if you're a fatalist then it happened necessarily and the probability of it happening is 1.

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about? I understand that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, but how did reproduction occur? Though I certainly don't believe in the absurd mythology about Adam and Eve, it does seem to me that there had to be a first male and a first female in the beginning.

 

Sexual reproduction happened further along the evolutionary line, so there really was no "first male" and "first female". That's a false dichotomy. Some species reproduce sexually and can change their sex when it's necessary.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?

 

Life makes life worth living.

 

What about God or an afterlife make this life any better?

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

 

It sounds like you're taking a vague form of the first law of thermodynamics and trying to apply it to religion. Why would it be a possibility?

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5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

 

As a topic that comes up for me quite a lot as a Buddhist, I've been looking into this some more recently.

Reincarnation, literally "to be made flesh again", is a doctrine or mystical belief that some essential part of a living being survives death to be reborn in a new body.

 

If, as you suggest, there is a form of energy that is able to transform and be "born again in the flesh" after having it's living entity die - how would this energy pass from a corpse and on into the seed of a yet unborn body? Does it fly around randomly looking for an embryo to implant it's energy into?

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If there isn't a God, then why be moral? Maybe I just don't get out much or something, but I've never seen this question satisfactorily answered. What basis do non-theists have for morality? What makes a certain act either good or bad? How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself? Isn't our morality based on religion? How can that be reasonably denied?

 

There is no basis for morality other than what Rousseau described as "the General Will." The General Will describes the morality that the society you live in generally accepts. It changes from society to society. There is no ultimate reason that you must follow the general will. However, if you don't you are likely to be ostricized, incarcerated, or worse.

 

I believe that since there really is no ultimate meaning to life that we must create our own. And in general, we do, unless we are unfortunate enough to have been born a sociopath. We have evolved and have adapted to living in groups. In order to survive and thrive within a group (society) then we must necessarily follow certain rules of behavior. We do this automatically, not because there is the threat of eternal punishment hanging over our heads.

 

We can rebel against this, but doing so generally causes society to respond in a painful way.

 

Let me put this another way. Bentham described life as motivated by attraction to pleasure and an avoidance of pain. You can then create your own morality, which stands utterly opposed to the general will of the people. For example, you can kill your neighbor because you don't like the way he looks. Doing so might even help you derive a certain level of pleasure. I would argue though that if you do kill your neighbor, that society is going to exact a hell of a lot more pain from you than the tiny pleasure you acheived as you killed your neighbor.

 

This is how I see morality in a nutshell. It's how we all live, regardless of whether or not we believe there is a sky daddy or not. We all live by this same moral code or we are punished by society for not doing so.

 

If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them?

 

Personally I'm thrilled for those that deconvert, since that is when life began for me. I had a twisted hope before, now I can just enjoy my life as I make it. No more god's will. No more beseaching the lord. No more worry about failure. No more fear of disappointment. I like living. If I was stuck in a cubical somewhere doing a job I hated that would be one thing, but because there are no rules, I chose not to accept that as a position in life and I went out and created my own happiness. I don't think it's such a bad deal.

 

Perhaps you're asking a bad question when you ask "what is the meaning of life?" This question begs the question that life must have meaning.

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If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them?

 

Has life purpose? What, or where, or when?

Out of space came universe, came sun,

Came Earth, came life, came man, and more must come,

But as to purpose: whose or whence? Why, none.

 

Eat drink and be merry, for death comes to all, closing our lives.

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1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral? Maybe I just don't get out much or something, but I've never seen this question satisfactorily answered. What basis do non-theists have for morality? What makes a certain act either good or bad? How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself? Isn't our morality based on religion? How can that be reasonably denied?

We are social animals. We live by a code whereby we understand that even though we might do things that benefit others directly and not necessarily ourselves, the fact that others do the same means that collectively all of us benefit from this system. All social animals demonstrate morality of this nature.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans. It seems to me that evolution - and particularly macroevolution - is based on a string of exceedingly improbable events. Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

The increasing complexity of life as a result of natural selection is not improbable, on the contrary, it is inevitable. Read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about? I understand that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, but how did reproduction occur? Though I certainly don't believe in the absurd mythology about Adam and Eve, it does seem to me that there had to be a first male and a first female in the beginning.

There are a few theories that relate to the origin of sexual reproduction. Check the wikipedia article for a brief explanation.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?

The value that one attributes to life only finds its meaning in an entirely subjective sense. The short (and no doubt a little "depressing") answer is that life has no objective instrinsic value. However, as human beings, within a human context, life has ultimate value. This short period of time that our consciousness exists is precious. We can experience emotions, we can do things that have meaning for us as human beings.

 

If I may use a Matrix analogy, I liken the "pain" of deconversion to the pain Neo goes through when he's first taken out of the Matrix. Though initially he must deal with the trauma of realising that everything he believed was a lie, in time he comes to appreciate that it's better to deal with the truth.

 

For me, the value in life is the fact that it is temporary. When I used to believe in an afterlife, I didn't value this life much at all, as I felt that all that was necessary was to live in away that would assure me my salvation in the afterlife. Now, I realise that every moment I have is precious. There is no pie in the sky to look forward to - only my life, my family, my friends and my experiences... and it makes my life all the more vivid and wonderful as a result.

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

Organisms that live are composed of matter and energy, this is true. The energy stored in our cells is not lost when we die - it does change form... but it's not exactly reincarnation in the sense that you're thinking. Our flesh is consumed (by worms, bacteria, etc) and so the matter and energy is converted into other forms as you rightly say.

 

Your consciousness is a function of the electrical activity in your brain - but it is powered by the energy stored in your cells travelling through the neural pathways you've developed over the course of your lifetime. Once your heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to your brain tissue and very rapidly it begins to deteriorate. You can see how stroke victims, people who've been deprived of oxygen, people with brain trauma exhibit changes in personality. It's for this reason that people who suffer heart failure need to be revived in short order - left for too long their brain will be irreperably damaged. If you look at your consciousness in biological terms like this it's easy to see how the concept of your consciousness somehow existing outside your body and carrying on past your death doesn't really make sense.

 

I can understand how wanting to believe that your consciousness - your ego (to use a psychological term) - can continue to live on past your death. It makes sense when you consider the fact that human beings (like all animals) have a strong survival instinct combined with a strong sense of self and a powerful ability for imagination, but you must come to terms with the fact that it's wishful thinking. Surely it's better to accept the finality of your life and then go about living it with the enthusiasm!

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Brother Jeff...in remembering your posts over the past two years, it appears that you are asking questions along the lines that have lead you back to reconversion. Please PM me if you need to discuss in private. If not, that is okay, I just hate to seeing you go through this yo-yoing back and forth every few months or so. Your well loved and like here by many of us (myself included)at ExC, we're here for you if you need us, whether you reconvert or not.

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This glorious post was inspired by Ramen666's Unanswered Questions thread.

 

I have some of my own unanswered questions, and although I tend to think in an atheistic manner, they still nag at me.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans. It seems to me that evolution - and particularly macroevolution - is based on a string of exceedingly improbable events. Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?

I'm just going to grab a couple of your questions.

 

2. This is not possible to my thinking and just as absurd as thinking that a god is out there somewhere directing the flow of life. We had a lengthy discussion on this somewhere. How can intelligence arrive from completely blind and stupid forces? I don't think it can. Even on a quantum level, the forces don't appear to be 'stupid'. IMO, there is intelligence in the universe and everything in it. We are a part of the universe.

 

4. The sense of life? Non-sense. :) There is no meaning and there is no purpose. That isn't fatalistic though because if you can look at it like a dance or something, then you can understand that it is just a play of motion. The ending isn't important in a dance is it? It's the dancing...

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Brother Jeff...in remembering your posts over the past two years, it appears that you are asking questions along the lines that have lead you back to reconversion. Please PM me if you need to discuss in private. If not, that is okay, I just hate to seeing you go through this yo-yoing back and forth every few months or so. Your well loved and like here by many of us (myself included)at ExC, we're here for you if you need us, whether you reconvert or not.

 

No, I'm fortunately not even considering reconverting right now. These are nagging questions that have indeed led me down that path before, but not now. I did start to look at Christian apologetics websites again a couple of months ago, particularly http://www.christiananswers.net, but the more I read and spotted the sadly typical ignorance in their responses, the less believable it all became - especially their stuff on creationism (YEC? Yeah, right. :rolleyes: ) - and I again reached the conclusion that it's all pre-scientific mythological nonsense.

 

Thanks to everybody for your excellent responses! Lots to digest and think about...

 

Sister Jubilant, God's right side is everywhere, just like His left side, front side, and back side are! His hands and feet are everywhere too, as is His glorious ass! And you don't want to know about His massive cock... :wicked: It doesn't have to make sense because it's TRUE! The Bible says so! Glory!

 

BTW, when Kryasst has an orgasm, does it happen everywhere?

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Brother Jeff...in remembering your posts over the past two years, it appears that you are asking questions along the lines that have lead you back to reconversion. Please PM me if you need to discuss in private. If not, that is okay, I just hate to seeing you go through this yo-yoing back and forth every few months or so. Your well loved and like here by many of us (myself included)at ExC, we're here for you if you need us, whether you reconvert or not.

 

No, I'm fortunately not even considering reconverting right now. These are nagging questions that have indeed led me down that path before, but not now. I did start to look at Christian apologetics websites again a couple of months ago, particularly http://www.christiananswers.net, but the more I read and spotted the sadly typical ignorance in their responses, the less believable it all became - especially their stuff on creationism (YEC? Yeah, right. :rolleyes: ) - and I again reached the conclusion that it's all pre-scientific mythological nonsense.

 

Jeff,

 

No one religion knows more than any other. I know you said you weren't considering reconverting, but remember you don't have to pick a religion to be spiritual. The myths are just talking about that awe that people feel when looking at the universe. They were trying to put it into words. Put it in your own words! :D

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No, I'm fortunately not even considering reconverting right now. These are nagging questions that have indeed led me down that path before, but not now. I did start to look at Christian apologetics websites again a couple of months ago, particularly http://www.christiananswers.net, but the more I read and spotted the sadly typical ignorance in their responses, the less believable it all became - especially their stuff on creationism (YEC? Yeah, right. :rolleyes: ) - and I again reached the conclusion that it's all pre-scientific mythological nonsense.

 

I hope you know that I was being sincere in that post and only asked out of concern. Just want you to know that you have people here who care about you. :-)

 

Sister Jubilant, God's right side is everywhere, just like His left side, front side, and back side are! His hands and feet are everywhere too, as is His glorious ass! And you don't want to know about His massive cock... :wicked: It doesn't have to make sense because it's TRUE! The Bible says so! Glory!

 

BTW, when Kryasst has an orgasm, does it happen everywhere?

 

You, are a goofball! LOL

 

Seriously, Bro Jeff, I was pondering your question on morality for a bit today and came to the following conclusion...instinct. We are no different than other animals, we learn as we go along, why would there need to be a higher authority to answer to? Basic human laws, when used justly, are plenty enough. Needless to say, there are many laws on the book that are unnecessary and just plain ridiculous...many of which came about because of the Bible, at least here in the US anyway.

 

The only reason that one would feel a god is necessary is if they firmly believed in an afterlife and some sort of reward/punishment. Really, that only benefits the one believing. Many people could not bear the thought of a rapist, murderer, child molester, etc. getting away with their crime on earth. The facts are that many will be caught and punished, many will not be, but that is just part of life.

 

Speaking of life...its what we make of it and I completely agree with NTTBL on the issue.

 

Here's one of my favorite quotes, thought you might find it inspiring....

You gotta dance like nobody's watching, dream like you will live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow and love like it's never going to hurt. - Meme Grifsters

 

It's your choice to either live in fear or to live life to its fullest and especially if you're fortunate to live somewhere where you can go to the market and not worry about getting blown up. Touch as many people as you can if it is what makes YOU happy. If you'd rather not and just go out and spend your life traveling, dining, having fun...thats all good too! :grin:

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I hope you know that I was being sincere in that post and only asked out of concern. Just want you to know that you have people here who care about you. :-)

 

Seriously, Bro Jeff, I was pondering your question on morality for a bit today and came to the following conclusion...instinct. We are no different than other animals, we learn as we go along, why would there need to be a higher authority to answer to? Basic human laws, when used justly, are plenty enough. Needless to say, there are many laws on the book that are unnecessary and just plain ridiculous...many of which came about because of the Bible, at least here in the US anyway.

 

The only reason that one would feel a god is necessary is if they firmly believed in an afterlife and some sort of reward/punishment. Really, that only benefits the one believing. Many people could not bear the thought of a rapist, murderer, child molester, etc. getting away with their crime on earth. The facts are that many will be caught and punished, many will not be, but that is just part of life.

 

Speaking of life...its what we make of it and I completely agree with NTTBL on the issue.

 

Here's one of my favorite quotes, thought you might find it inspiring....

You gotta dance like nobody's watching, dream like you will live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow and love like it's never going to hurt. - Meme Grifsters

 

It's your choice to either live in fear or to live life to its fullest and especially if you're fortunate to live somewhere where you can go to the market and not worry about getting blown up. Touch as many people as you can if it is what makes YOU happy. If you'd rather not and just go out and spend your life traveling, dining, having fun...thats all good too! :grin:

 

Yeah, I know you were sincere and asking out of concern, and I do really appreciate it. I agree with what you said on morality. It makes sense. That's a great quote! Glory!

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Here's one of my favorite quotes, thought you might find it inspiring....
You gotta dance like nobody's watching, dream like you will live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow and love like it's never going to hurt. - Meme Grifsters

 

It's your choice to either live in fear or to live life to its fullest and especially if you're fortunate to live somewhere where you can go to the market and not worry about getting blown up. Touch as many people as you can if it is what makes YOU happy. If you'd rather not and just go out and spend your life traveling, dining, having fun...thats all good too! :grin:

Awesome post Jubilant! :clap:

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Heh Bro,

 

You've received some great answers and I give double kudos to Gramps. At risk of being redundant, I hope I can look at this from a different angle. It is long but I think it is worth reading.

 

1. Morality

People are selfish. Morality is nothing more than a code of behaviour that says you should take care of your fellow humans. All morality that has value comes from the idea that some behaviours (lying, stealing, murder) inhibit cooperation between us and prevent us from working together. Most moral codes that help us work together for our mutual benefit are 'obvious' and 'intuitive' and throughout the ages have become golden rules or moral laws.

 

I think you should take some time to ponder what element of morality exists outside that social structure and ask yourself whether it has any true value to society. E.g. praying to Mecca 3 times each day or not eating shrimp.

 

To me, there is no morality of any value that does not exist in the context of benefiting society or the individual.

 

If we accept this to be true and we believe in god then we must explain what god has to contribute to this 'natural' morality. I'm pretty sure you know the answer because you are famous for saying that religion is bullshit. To me, the answer **is** "bullshit". The only morality god adds to our 'natural' morality are bullshit rules about paying 10% of your income to god and wearing hats in church.

 

The "golden rule" is universal and exists outside the existence of any supernatural being.

 

2. I loved the explanation that there is genius in a grain of sand. Yes, that is it! The whole universe **is** ingenious. It is amazing and wonderful but to say that the physical genius of our universe needed to be created by a non-physical genius is superfluous.

 

As to complexity in nature I argue that the onus is on the god believing people to prove to me that evolution is impossible. The specific degree of complexity is utterly irrelevant to me. If you want to convince me that god is behind it then somebody must prove to me that

 

I recommend you ponder the burden of proof and why you feel personally responsible to cough up an answer.

 

Think about it... you are not here telling us that you have a theory on why things like eyes could not have evolved. No, you are saying you find it hard to understand how things like eyes could be possible. Welcome to the club. I have a hard time understanding that and many other things. The intelligent design is incapable of moving beyond the question "How is it possible?". Frankly, I don't give a shit. Evolutionary theory has a great track record of explaining biology. Religion and god based explanations have a lousy track record.

 

Give yourself absolution on this one and require more from the ID folk who have yet to provide proof.

 

Another thought... a strange one but what the hell.

 

What if... genes simply appeared as a complicated part of nature that we don't yet understand. What if there is a mechanism that makes proteins and molecules attract one another and form genes.

 

Every goddam mystery so far has been proven to be a function of nature. So lets argue that eyes and genes are too complicated to evolve with the current set of natural laws we currently have. Let's argue that genes and eyeballs (simple ones) can occur spontaneously. What then?

 

The next logical conclusion is NOT to start worshiping Jehovah or Allah or that you have to stop masturbating or you'll go blind or to hell.

 

The next logical conclusion is that there is an unknown natural mechanism that causes these things to happen spontaenously. That's it. Now if one were to call that god, I'd have little argument.

 

Now... to then jump to the **moral** god conclusion requires evidence that these spontaneous events are related to morality. At this point the (silly) argument becomes utter nonsense and falls flat on its fucking face.

 

3 ditto

 

4 Bro, I am utterly convinced that religion trivializes our finite time on this planet to the point of disgusting imorality.

 

I find the concept of an afterlife obsene. Utterly obscene. Completely obscene. Utterly abominable.

 

I am wholly disgusted at the idea that people would squander the one, single solitary and finite life in preparation for an afterlife they will never get.

 

For me, those who propagate such ideas are the true reprobates of this world. They not only squander their own life but also the lives of others.

 

This morning I was struck by just how little time I have on this earth. I'm 48 and statistically, I'm here for another 30 years. I won't see the full effects of global warming but I may live through a world wide depression which may set the stage for a pandemic that could kill me.

 

The shorter my life becomes, the more I think about the things I want to do.

 

Top of my list is to raise my kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. To hike up more mountains in the Adirondacks. See Greece and Italy. Make a road trip through North America and see the rest of Canada and the great cities of our great neighbour, America. Touch and feel the Grand Canyon. Contribute something useful toward the secularization of our planet.

 

These things are not trivial.

 

On the other hand, you must ask yourself, what significance does an afterlife bring to **this** life?

 

It seems to me that you can only establish significance to an afterlife if you can accept a whole set of dogma from one of several religions. I won't bore you with the complication of which one to select.

 

Afterlife, stripped away from religious morality (see ans. #1) is more of the same. Does that make sense? But let's assume there is an after life and let's assume that it is a monotheistic afterlife despite the difficulties that these assumptions introduce.

 

In that sense, this life is preparation for the next life in which (depending on your god of choice) we will be rewarded for:

-doing good deeds

-killing infidels

-preaching the gospel

 

It begs the question, "What kind of morality comes from belief in the afterlife?"

 

Answer, none. Does one treat their fellow man with kindness or mercy because they will be rewarded in heaven? Bro, this is the very selfishness that I first alluded to.

 

I think if you can settle question 1, you will find the freedom from these mind viruses that you rightly deserve.

 

Bro, I am so sorry to hear your deconversion was terribly painful. It was not a picnic for me or many people on this site. I will however testify that what I have gained, (the freedom to think for myself, freedom to express myself and the knowledge that I should not waste this one life I have) is much greater to me than the pain of deconversion.

 

My final word of advice is one of the truest bible verses. "Seek and ye shall find." When I was struggling inside the church to find out whether my doubts were founded on rock or sand, I knew that the one thing I wanted to know above everything else was the truth and I reminded myself that if god were true and real, then he would show me the truth.

 

I finally concluded that if god exists, then he wants us to be atheist.

 

5 I have noting to add. Dang.

 

Mongo

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This glorious post was inspired by Ramen666's Unanswered Questions thread.

 

I have some of my own unanswered questions, and although I tend to think in an atheistic manner, they still nag at me.

 

1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral? Maybe I just don't get out much or something, but I've never seen this question satisfactorily answered. What basis do non-theists have for morality? What makes a certain act either good or bad? How can morality be relative when claiming that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute statement in and of itself? Isn't our morality based on religion? How can that be reasonably denied?

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, but I have never understood how a blind, unintelligent force (natural selection) could produce extremely complex organisms such as humans. It seems to me that evolution - and particularly macroevolution - is based on a string of exceedingly improbable events. Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about? I understand that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, but how did reproduction occur? Though I certainly don't believe in the absurd mythology about Adam and Eve, it does seem to me that there had to be a first male and a first female in the beginning.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living? Never had an answer to that one since though I tend to think in atheistic terms, I've always seen Atheism itself as hopeless and depressing. That's why I don't get real excited when someone deconverts. I think to myself that they had hope (though it was false hope) and now they have no hope for the future at all... why should I be happy for them? My own deconversion from religious belief was extremely painful and very depressing. It left me very angry and very bitter for a long time. Though I agree that fundamentalist religious belief is both false and dangerous, why should I wish the pain of deconversion on others?

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

 

 

Greetings

 

Here are my thoughts:

 

1) I believe in one true God and therefore one true religion. That religion would be the absolute reference. However, we have many religions on earth and they all claim to be the true religion. According to my faith, God has also created man with a reason and predefined nature that seeks him and guides him when confronting moral issues. An atheist behaves morally because he fully relies on reasoning and instincts (human nature). We are all born good in the sense that our reasoning and instincts coincide with that true religion. False religions tend to disturb this harmony.

 

2) I accept evolution to some degree. I accept evolution as the intention of God for certain events. However, when I look at a city with one mayor, a state with one governor, or a country with one president you must at least accept the possibility that our evolution and human nature helped us arrive at this type of organization. And thus there is the possibility that our evolution and human nature would also help us conclude that there is one CARE TAKER (God) of the complex society of the universe (more complex than a city or state or country).

 

3) I am a Muslim. We believe in the story of Adam and Eve according to Islam. So I cannot really answer you here because you do not believe in Islam.

 

4) This will be a bit long. It is totally based on my belief. So I do not expect you to accept it.

 

I am a Muslim. We believe that the purpose of our Creation is to worship God in our deeds (studying hard, serving others, loving one another, preventing crimes ... etc and of course daily prayers of prostrating and praising). Worshiping is the only relation that requires an inferior and a superior. God can love himself, praise himself, ...etc but would not worship himself. God created inferior creations to worship him. The inferior/superior explanation is my own answer as to why our purpose is to worship God.

 

Now the purpose of life on earth according to Islam is to test our faith (how much we strive to achieve the purpose of our creation). We are all born equal in the eyes of God. Had we lived up there with God and all saw him and all understood our purpose, we would all worship him equally and still be equal. However we are also given free will and free choice which makes us really able to differ and be unequal. I guess this is evident from our daily life where there are hard workers, slackers, criminals, humanitarians, ...etc. So God created life and death and sealed himself from us (seeing or hearing him physically). Then we are tested in this life and we choose to differ and therefore we are rewarded differently by God (people are not equal in heaven or hell). We can see this in the workplace where some of us choose to work hard to get more praise, more rewards, and more recognition by the management or owners.

 

De-conversion to the false religion will disturb and overwhelm our human nature and instincts. This is maybe why it is depressing because contradiction arises in many issues.

 

5) I guess I already answered this in the previous point. I believe we will return to God (live the next life) after this life is finished.

 

 

My answers are biased to my faith, but I listed them anyway because they appeal to me logically.

 

 

One more question to atheists I once read on the net:

 

They physical laws on which science is based are assumed to not evolve. For instance force calculated today is the same as force calculated for millions of years before. For me this indicates that a Creator created this universe with a set of rules that he chose not to make them evolve. What are your thoughts?

 

Peace

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1. If there isn't a God, then why be moral?

 

A: If there is a God, why are so many immoral? And why do they have to wait til death to get their "just desserts"? Or even moral people who suffer, why would a God make them wait for their rewards?

 

Basic Morality is what keeps a community safe on the inside. It is conventions accepted by the majority as to how we should all get along, and how to respond to people who show no empathy for others. I think most organized religions today have gone beyond the need for societal stability, and fallen into the trap of power, which corrupts their orginal message.

 

2. I accept biological evolution as a scientific fact, Can anyone explain this to me or provide some links to material that a non-scientist (and non-science minded) person could hope to understand?

 

A: If the Young Earth believers were correct, yes, you'd need something to design so quickly such diversity and complexity. But, with time, mind-boggling amounts of time, very complex structures, like planets and galaxies, can form. Are we more complex than a star system, or a galaxy? They have been around a lot longer than we (all earth biology).

 

3. How did sexual reproduction come about? I understand that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, but how did reproduction occur?

 

A: I didn't look this up, by my assumption to this is transitional animals, ones who were asexual, but found trading info was a good idea too. It is a weak answer for sure.

 

4. If there isn't a God or an afterlife, then what makes life worth living?

 

A: Why does an Afterlife make life worth living? From the sounds of religion, life is meant to be suffered through until we get to die and be happy forever. That is not a life worth living. But we can't kill ourselves according to religion, or we don't get to be happy forever. Stupid system.

 

I find God's plan so depressing. I have been much happier knowing it is my life to do my best in, in the best way I know how. I'd much rather live a full and happy life here and now, then hope that some Afterlife exists, so that I can start living happy then? Makes no sense to me.

 

5. Isn't reincarnation a possibility given the fact that life is energy and the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but just changes form?

 

A: Our bodies house, encase, hold together that energy. At death, that energy is released into the world, no longer confined to the vessel of the body. Without the casing, why would that energy remain cohesive? It would disapate into the air, as it were. With nothing to contain it, how would it stay together in order to find a new container?

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