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Can A Nontheist Believe In Fate/destiny?


Shinzon
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I have recently started to find myself in situations that are making me rethink my previous position of no. I'm curious of this forums views on the subject.

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To find no evidence for gods doesn't mean one can't entertain other strange hypotheses. Can you give any examples of what would lead you to this conclusion?

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To find no evidence for gods doesn't mean one can't entertain other strange hypotheses. Can you give any examples of what would lead you to this conclusion?

I might have some comprehensible examples in the coming days but I don't wish to pour out my lifestory without something I can accurately describe and maintain the privacy I wish to have.
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Yes, but there may be limits.  For example, say I'm on a plane at a 30,000 ft. altitude moving at 600 mph.  The engines fail and the plane goes into an unrecoverable steep nosedive towards the ground.  I can certainly "believe" in the fate/destiny of impending death at that moment.  However, any speculation, for example, that I was meant to die that day is just that - pure speculation.

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I have recently started to find myself in situations that are making me rethink my previous position of no. I'm curious of this forums views on the subject.

 

You can of course believe in fate or destiny, but I'd rather work that into my own personal goals than use it as an excuse for stagnation or remaining in the comfort zone or status quo.

 

I could think my destiny is to be fat and lazy or feel my destiny is to strive to be a successful small business owner.

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There are certainly going to be paths that open up for you in life that you didn't expect, coincidences that line up, etc. The circumstances you're born into, your DNA, they all influence you in certain directions. Whether or there's an intelligence out there deciding to make things line up like that for you, that doesn't fit into a definition of a god, is a different question. I personally see no evidence of any intelligent beings directing my life or the life of others, but I do see a lot of... zeitgeist, I guess. And riding the waves of history is certainly a way of being involved in forces larger than yourself.

 

If you're asking about free will, I don't think we have "free" will. I also don't believe in mind/matter dualism, and a lot of talk about free will seems to be asking if there's a ghost separate from the machine that is playing puppet master, or if the puppet is the one pulling the strings. But I don't think there's two entities at all, so there can't be conflict between them. I happen to be a materialist, and see our minds as a thing created by the action of the matter in our brain; the "ghost" is just the pattern made by the dance of matter. And I do think that the material controls us more than we like to believe, but I don't think that's all bad. We evolved to have instincts that keep us alive; we are part of nature, nature that can be cruel and dangerous. We have defenses in place that will protect us faster than our conscious mind can think things through. And I think these things are good. Good in the sense that we survived, we thrived. Because we don't have a "free" will, we have a will that responds to the situations around us and adapts accordingly.

 

Sometimes it does seem like the idea of destiny is the simplest way to make sense of your life when looking at the past. Humans like stories to connect events together. And if you come up with a compelling story of your past that you tell yourself, you may well end up choosing actions in the future that fit in with that same story. I suppose that's a kind of destiny, even if it is self-created.

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A non-theist can believe anything at all, except that a theistic God exists. I don't know why anyone would think that this is not the case.

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We're all limited by the laws of physics. If you have certain habits, they might destine a certain future. For example, if you drink a bottle of scotch every day, you probably face a future liver transplant. I doubt very much we have fairy godmothers who predetermine our futures for us though. 

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Sure it's possible to believe all kinds of things. When I was a teenager, not yet Pente but raised to be superstitious, I really believe in a god with a personality but I was sure some things were "meant to be".

 

I also hoped that no one would talk to me about who plans what's meant to be, because I had no answer but "I don't know".

 

These days I rather don't believe in any other destiny than what my biology and people's (my own and other people's) choices create. Example: I'm "destined" to always limp a bit because I was born with bad legs, but it's not anyone's decision, just bad luck at the gene pool roulette. I could think I'm destined to always have certain phobias, but that'd kill my motivation to work to get over them.

 

Following what I thought was "meant to be" by Jesus himself almost took my life though, so now I'm very careful with this.

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In my experience, and I speak only for myself here, there are times in life when everything just seems to work out in some particular way and it all happens in such an easy manner that it can seem like it was meant to happen that way.  In reality, however, in a universe that is governed by randomness, there must, statistically, be instances when the randomness seems to condense into a seeming singularity.

 

As an experiment, take your iPod or whatever you kids are using to download music these days, and set it to "random".  If you listen on a semi-regular basis, you'll eventually hear a "random" collection of songs that all seem to focus on a particular theme.  This is not the result of fate (ie, you weren't destined to hear 3 different renditions of "All Along the Watch Tower" in a row); it is just the outcome of statistical probability.

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I think most people have experienced weird things that appeared to be something that could be called supernatural. I've experienced some things like that but I would now classify them as coincidence, as a Christian I would say it was the Holy Spirit.

 

There is one exception that still sticks with me. It involved a career change. A string of related events involving people I did not know worked together to open doors, that I could not have opened on my own, that eventually led me to a job opportunity that absolutely changed my life. I had no qualifications or experience in that field & I knew it would be impossible for me to even get an interview, much less be offered the job.

 

A number of strangers opened doors for me, in bizarre circumstances, over about a six month period. It ended up the person that had the power to offer me that job ended up calling me for an interview. I'd never spoken to that individual in my life before that. It was a sales position & he hired me on the spot. My first year on the job I ended up being the top salesman in the state and second in the entire company. That became my career for the next 31 years.

 

I lived it so it is difficult for me to believe that many coincidences could randomly occur & the fact that perfect strangers opened doors for me and most of them didn't know they were or had helped me.

 

Because of the events I experienced, I don't discount the possibility of there being other realities, dimensions, universes, or whatever. We don't know what we don't know.

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