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Still Not Ready To Declare Myself An Atheist


Geezer
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Atheism is defined as the rejection of belief in deities. Based on the accepted definition it would seem that I would qualify as an atheist.

 

I was deeply imbedded in Christianity for more than 40 years and I assume the level of indoctrination I experienced was so deep that there are some things I am still unable to let go of. I’ve dealt with the historical and scientific issues associated with Christianity and have successfully debunked the Bible and Christianity per se, but there is this lingering hope, for lack of a better word, that there is more.

 

 

I don’t envision this “more” as anything even resembling a supernatural being or deity. I can’t define it beyond a yearning to connect more deeply with nature, creation, the universe and all the scientific theories that go with that. I have developed an interest in cosmology. The universe fascinates me and its wondrous beauty and mystery captivates me and my imagination. It is beyond awesome in its beauty, power, and complexity. Rationalist base seemingly all their hope and faith in science, but there is a problem with that. Our earthly laws of science and physics don’t function the same way everywhere in the universe or at the quantum level.

 

I’ve recently been reading about evolution and it is indeed a fascinating subject. I have no issue with acknowledging that evolution is a scientific fact not a theory. I must admit I have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that DNA, the accepted building blocks of life, spontaneously created itself. I am not saying that isn’t true, I’m just saying I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

 

I recently discovered Robert M Price book “Evolving out of Eden” Price is one of my favorite authors and I have confidence in his scholarship, so this book has forced me to deal with some issues I’ve admittedly been avoiding. That said, I’m still not ready to shed my agnostic label and replace it with atheist because there is still just too much that I/we don’t know.

 

Cosmologists theorize that there are countless trillions of galaxies, suns, and planets in our universe. That makes the mathematical probability of there being other life forms somewhere in our universe a near certainty. That doesn’t even take into consideration the theory of multiple universes and dimensions being added to the mix. The sheer mathematical probability that we are not alone keeps my hope alive for there being more to our reality and existence than what we are aware of now, but I don't think that more, whatever that might consist of, has anything to do with deities, Gods, or supernatural forces.

http://www.amazon.com/Evolving-out-of-Eden-ebook/dp/B00BX3AJ8Q

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of another dimension existing in the same space as this one, but completely invisible. The alternate timeline sci fi plots and things of that nature.  I can't classify myself as an atheist either, but for slightly different reasons than you, Geezer.  I still think there could well be a deity or deities and the "supernatural".  I don't like the word supernatural too much, because I don't think of it as some realm outside of nature or supernatural beings that are not natural - but they may be so alien to our senses and our way of understanding the world as to be "supernatural".

 

I really don't know, but I can't close the door on the possibility.

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I've noticed that I'm happier thinking of myself as an agnostic than an atheist.  I never realized before but saying "nobody knows and nobody can know" is actually the most respectful attitude we can take towards God.

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It sounds like you're under the impression that athiesm is the direction you're supposed to go? Not at all. It's one direction we can go. Based on the definition you give here, I'm partly athiest, but I don't consider myself an athiest. I believe there are higher life forms of sorts of which we're parts, but I can't edentify them and I don't think of them as gods. Where does that fit? It does work in with your fascination with life and the universe which I also share.

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I do think of myself as an atheist (even anti-theist) but I can understand the hope that there is more to this whole thing called life and the universe than we can see. 

 

 I have no issue with acknowledging that evolution is a scientific fact not a theory.

I just wanted to comment on this statement, though, because as a biology teacher it has become my mission in life.  Haha!  A scientific theory is arrived at through repeated testing by scientists over a period of time.  A scientific theory means it is a fact - what scientists accept to be true based on lots and lots of evidence.  It may be adjusted or changed if new evidence is presented, but it is the truth as we know it right now.  (Other examples: Cell Theory, Germ Theory, etc).

 

In contrast, the common usage of the word "theory" means "just an idea".  We should really use the word "hypothesis" instead, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. So because the general public uses the term "theory" instead of "hypothesis", there is always the problem of the religious folk saying, "Evolution is just a theory". They are using the word incorrectly. 

 

Theory = Accepted Fact

 

Hope you don't mind me going off on a tangent.  smile.png

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of another dimension existing in the same space as this one, but completely invisible. The alternate timeline sci fi plots and things of that nature.  I can't classify myself as an atheist either, but for slightly different reasons than you, Geezer.  I still think there could well be a deity or deities and the "supernatural".  I don't like the word supernatural too much, because I don't think of it as some realm outside of nature or supernatural beings that are not natural - but they may be so alien to our senses and our way of understanding the world as to be "supernatural".

 

I really don't know, but I can't close the door on the possibility.

 

 

It seems we share similar theories. I really appreciate your thoughts and always find your posts to be insightful and thought provoking.

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It sounds like you're under the impression that athiesm is the direction you're supposed to go? Not at all. It's one direction we can go. Based on the definition you give here, I'm partly athiest, but I don't consider myself an athiest. I believe there are higher life forms of sorts of which we're parts, but I can't edentify them and I don't think of them as gods. Where does that fit? It does work in with your fascination with life and the universe which I also share.

 

 

Thanks for your thoughts. There does seem to be a bit of implied pressure to embrace atheism as the only logical or rational choice. I sometimes sense that any other alternative is viewed by rationalist as intellectually deficient, but the fact remains there are a lot of unanswered questions about our universe and that which we identify as reality. Again, thanks for your thougths.

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I've noticed that I'm happier thinking of myself as an agnostic than an atheist.  I never realized before but saying "nobody knows and nobody can know" is actually the most respectful attitude we can take towards God.

 

Does the same attitude apply to fairies? Just saying.

 

That said, no one said you have to become an atheist. There's always room for "what if?"

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I do think of myself as an atheist (even anti-theist) but I can understand the hope that there is more to this whole thing called life and the universe than we can see. 

 

 I have no issue with acknowledging that evolution is a scientific fact not a theory.

I just wanted to comment on this statement, though, because as a biology teacher it has become my mission in life.  Haha!  A scientific theory is arrived at through repeated testing by scientists over a period of time.  A scientific theory means it is a fact - what scientists accept to be true based on lots and lots of evidence.  It may be adjusted or changed if new evidence is presented, but it is the truth as we know it right now.  (Other examples: Cell Theory, Germ Theory, etc).

 

In contrast, the common usage of the word "theory" means "just an idea".  We should really use the word "hypothesis" instead, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. So because the general public uses the term "theory" instead of "hypothesis", there is always the problem of the religious folk saying, "Evolution is just a theory". They are using the word incorrectly. 

 

Theory = Accepted Fact

 

Hope you don't mind me going off on a tangent.  smile.png

 

I've been dwelling on this bit lately also.  

Fact is data, is it not?  The stuff that's concrete that we use to prove theorems and hypotheses, which we collect in tests.  The facts suggest blah blah blah, therefore blah blah.

The "theory" of evolution has indeed evolved since Darwin first proposed his data and speculated on the possibilities.  It will evolve more, as we organize the data (facts) and discover new things in our studies.

But this thread isn't about evolution.  We should start a new one for that or return to some of the older ones to dig into it.  Just saying it was good to read your post Julilyn.  The "theory of evolution" is so vastly, grossly misinterpreted and misunderstood that our mission needs to be little more than defining these basic terms, "speculation; hypothesis; fact, data; revision."  These are the things missing from the raging arguments at large.  They need to be in all of our blogs and classrooms and churches and homes.  We have work to do. 

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It sounds like you're rejecting the label of atheist because the connotations you associate with it don't match your view of reality. Nothing wrong with that. I consider myself an atheist, but it's only a point of identity for me in reaction to christianity. For actually living my life other than that, I'm not consciously living with the idea that no gods exist, I just ignore the topic and consider it irrelevant to my life. I even do a lot of "spiritual" stuff, like mediation, and talking to my dead friend's spirit (even though I'm a materialist and don't really believe he's actually around to listen) because it makes life work better for me. In a reductionist sense, it's probably "just brain chemistry", but that's ok. It works for me.

 

If you feel like you need a word, there's a whole range of similar ones you could consider. Like apatheist, non-theist, pan[en]theist, naturalist, humanist....

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of another dimension existing in the same space as this one, but completely invisible. The alternate timeline sci fi plots and things of that nature.  I can't classify myself as an atheist either, but for slightly different reasons than you, Geezer.  I still think there could well be a deity or deities and the "supernatural".  I don't like the word supernatural too much, because I don't think of it as some realm outside of nature or supernatural beings that are not natural - but they may be so alien to our senses and our way of understanding the world as to be "supernatural".

 

I really don't know, but I can't close the door on the possibility.

 

 

It seems we share similar theories. I really appreciate your thoughts and always find your posts to be insightful and thought provoking.

 

Agreed.  It seems we are going a similar direction.

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Atheist or agnostic you'll still be accepted here. It seems to me that Chrisians and Muslims are the only ones out there trying to force "correct" belief.

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It's just a word, really. Individuals form their own opinions, and we go with what feels right to us. No wrong or right, just no jesus.

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It sounds like you're rejecting the label of atheist because the connotations you associate with it don't match your view of reality. Nothing wrong with that. I consider myself an atheist, but it's only a point of identity for me in reaction to christianity. For actually living my life other than that, I'm not consciously living with the idea that no gods exist, I just ignore the topic and consider it irrelevant to my life. I even do a lot of "spiritual" stuff, like mediation, and talking to my dead friend's spirit (even though I'm a materialist and don't really believe he's actually around to listen) because it makes life work better for me. In a reductionist sense, it's probably "just brain chemistry", but that's ok. It works for me.

 

If you feel like you need a word, there's a whole range of similar ones you could consider. Like apatheist, non-theist, pan[en]theist, naturalist, humanist....

 

Well said.

Naturalist is one I work with a lot.  Also realist.  I'm very curious to identify these higher life forms.  The closest "faith" I've come across that understands the concept as I observe it, is the most ancient Tree of Life idea.  What is that, not Celtic, Pagan?  Might be Pagan.  It's ancient, I don't even know what faith it is/was.  Perfect description, it's right on.

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I've noticed that I'm happier thinking of myself as an agnostic than an atheist.  I never realized before but saying "nobody knows and nobody can know" is actually the most respectful attitude we can take towards God.

The two aren't mutally exclusive.  If you don't worship a deity, you are an atheist.  If you don't believe the answer is knowable then you are also agnostic.  To me, if you are an atheist for the right reasons, the lack of evidence for a god, you are also agnostic. 

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of another dimension existing in the same space as this one, but completely invisible. The alternate timeline sci fi plots and things of that nature.  I can't classify myself as an atheist either, but for slightly different reasons than you, Geezer.  I still think there could well be a deity or deities and the "supernatural".  I don't like the word supernatural too much, because I don't think of it as some realm outside of nature or supernatural beings that are not natural - but they may be so alien to our senses and our way of understanding the world as to be "supernatural".

 

I really don't know, but I can't close the door on the possibility.

 

 

It seems we share similar theories. I really appreciate your thoughts and always find your posts to be insightful and thought provoking.

 

Agreed.  It seems we are going a similar direction.

 

 

There's an idea I read of in context of chakra interpretation that's interesting.  It has to do with frequencies of energy resonating with us as chakras above the head which all schools of thought on it express as spiritual in nature.  Different schools place more and less emphasis on these.  Some take it to extreme and try to explain things they really can't without proper research.  I didn't give any heed to chakra interpretations for most of my life until I had an experience where I felt one of my own chakras.  So I decided to investigate and collect all the data I could.  There's hard science in it and it's really cool.  

Along the idea of spiritual chakras, the ones above the head, some schools describe those as resounding points of other higher and lower dimensions, intersections with our own resonance field.  I'm not sure what to make of that, I've barely just discovered my 3rd eye.  It's not just me, humans are toddlers trying to understand such things.  We have a long way to go.  I'll just keep collecting data and drawing diagrams, and try to make some music of it.  It's my bipolar, manic-state duty.

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We are all born atheists. We have to be taught to become theists. And as many have already pointed out, atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive. So the question becomes, why do you believe in god/the supernatural if not because you were taught? What evidence has led you to this belief? The fact that there are unanswered questions about a myriad of things is not in and of itself evidence of the supernatural. This is known as the "god of the gaps" logical fallacy; just because we have an unanswered question does not mean that god did it. It just means we don't know yet.

 

Personally, as far as the origin of life goes, I think that the Miller-Urey experiment is a fascinating possibility.

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We are all born atheists. We have to be taught to become theists. And as many have already pointed out, atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive. So the question becomes, why do you believe in god/the supernatural if not because you were taught? What evidence has led you to this belief? The fact that there are unanswered questions about a myriad of things is not in and of itself evidence of the supernatural. This is known as the "god of the gaps" logical fallacy; just because we have an unanswered question does not mean that god did it. It just means we don't know yet.

 

Personally, as far as the origin of life goes, I think that the Miller-Urey experiment is a fascinating possibility.

 

 

Interesting timing. I watched a "Through The Wormhole" show Sunday about this very thing. The title was "What Are We Made of?"

 

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/through-the-wormhole-what-are-we-made-of/

 

The documentary notes that scientist know the components and elements that DNA is made of, and basically how DNA works, but they still don't know how to combine the required elements so they can artificially create DNA. I love this kind of stuff so I was glued to the TV. The next show was "What is the Universe made of?" It was equally as interesting. Science is cool.

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I don't know when that documentary was made, but according to this scientists have actually been able to artificially create DNA

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I don't know when that documentary was made, but according to this scientists have actually been able to artificially create DNA

 

 

Wow! That is truly a huge discovery. You are correct the documentary I referenced was produced, I believe, in 2010. Thanks for the link.

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These studies are concerned with a variety of DNA which we associate with ourselves. There is life elsewhere in our solar system and in the universe - a presumption without evidence, I'm not so sure. I think we're already finding evidence of off-world life forms. The water moons of Jupiter should provide enough new water-based life forms for us to study which vary from our Earth-specific forms enough to provide a better understanding of how life works on the larger scale, and possibly provide a better view for origin theories.

If anyone is really into this, how does the chemistry of chlorine based life forms, or sulphur based ones vary from water based? Do you still call that a DNA molecule? Anyone?

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Atheism is defined as the rejection of belief in deities. Based on the accepted definition it would seem that I would qualify as an atheist.

 

I was deeply imbedded in Christianity for more than 40 years and I assume the level of indoctrination I experienced was so deep that there are some things I am still unable to let go of. I’ve dealt with the historical and scientific issues associated with Christianity and have successfully debunked the Bible and Christianity per se, but there is this lingering hope, for lack of a better word, that there is more.

 

 

I don’t envision this “more” as anything even resembling a supernatural being or deity. I can’t define it beyond a yearning to connect more deeply with nature, creation, the universe and all the scientific theories that go with that. I have developed an interest in cosmology. The universe fascinates me and its wondrous beauty and mystery captivates me and my imagination. It is beyond awesome in its beauty, power, and complexity. Rationalist base seemingly all their hope and faith in science, but there is a problem with that. Our earthly laws of science and physics don’t function the same way everywhere in the universe or at the quantum level.

 

I’ve recently been reading about evolution and it is indeed a fascinating subject. I have no issue with acknowledging that evolution is a scientific fact not a theory. I must admit I have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that DNA, the accepted building blocks of life, spontaneously created itself. I am not saying that isn’t true, I’m just saying I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

 

I recently discovered Robert M Price book “Evolving out of Eden” Price is one of my favorite authors and I have confidence in his scholarship, so this book has forced me to deal with some issues I’ve admittedly been avoiding. That said, I’m still not ready to shed my agnostic label and replace it with atheist because there is still just too much that I/we don’t know.

 

Cosmologists theorize that there are countless trillions of galaxies, suns, and planets in our universe. That makes the mathematical probability of there being other life forms somewhere in our universe a near certainty. That doesn’t even take into consideration the theory of multiple universes and dimensions being added to the mix. The sheer mathematical probability that we are not alone keeps my hope alive for there being more to our reality and existence than what we are aware of now, but I don't think that more, whatever that might consist of, has anything to do with deities, Gods, or supernatural forces.

http://www.amazon.com/Evolving-out-of-Eden-ebook/dp/B00BX3AJ8Q

 

 

Don't label yourself as anything. It is only constricting.

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I think part of the problem is that culturally, we don't have a category for - null/not applicable/data deficient/mu.

Our culture just isn't comfortable with it. The question: is there a God? is assumed to have a YES or NO answer. I'm pretty cool with ambiguity. Heck, the logic of mathematics, of all things, requires ambiguity, or, in this sense, incompleteness. So, yes, I consider it a matter of hard fact that there are some things literally impossible to prove or disprove logically. I think that the question: is there "something else" "higher power" whatever you want to call it, is in that mu category. However, I am still an atheist. The question is is there a God? Usually, this means, a single, all-powerful, Christian-style deity (implying being worthy of worship, or in some sense holy, rather than numinous).  The question itself is very culturally loaded. I am an atheist, from a position of ignosticism. I can make the positive statement there is no "God" because the concept of God is faulty, impossible to define, and demonstrably bound to Christian culture - we can't even agree on the definition of whatever it is we're discussing, and until that's cleared up, there can be no debate. Mu. The question itself is founded on rotten logic and cultural assumptions that are not universal (and, by induction, not likely to be true). There is one thing I'm very sure of, and that is that there is no Christian God (omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent just do not apply given the problem of evil). Since, 99% of the time I've ever been asked that question, it really means: do you believe in MY Christian God? The answer, for me, is emphatically, No. I am an atheist. Answering all possible meanings of that question, though, usually takes a while, as you can see, and I keep that in the background, in case it becomes an argument, since the very possibility of other meanings for that question usually deep-sixes the "Christian God" shading they're usually using. (Which they can't have even considered, lest they consider too much of other cultures and test their own faith.) Heh heh. Yeah, I play dirty, dirty pool.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I dont see it as something I need to get ready for..I simply find it absurd...I find Darwinian evolution absurd also as an explanation for how humans got here..

 

Christianity repulses me on many levels but atheism seems absurd also...

 

I am not going to reject God just because I reject the ridiculous, horrible Biblical god..

 

why get ready or be ready...who cares what other ex christians do? Part of my problem was caring what others thought or believed...I should not have followed Jesus and I will not be following ex Christians who become atheists now..

 

I follow my own heart and mind..it tells me religion is crap..but so is atheism...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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