Just the ramblings of another atheist dismayed by religion's grip on society. Science works.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Every so often a nice theist joins the site. The conversations always seem to have an aura of friendliness at the beginning, but then they quickly turn into a never ending defense of belief. The arguments are not new, just rephrased to confuse. Apparently it works, since we all jump in to defend an atheist viewpoint, and it always seems to confuse us for a few days until we finally come up with the answer. We do not spend our days studying for a conversation that has no end; the infinite debate will continue with or without us. There should be an answer though, regardless of our lack of enthusiasm to engage.
For atheism to exist, there would seem to be a reason needed. Absence of belief is a fine definition for the word, but that definition would seem to require an argument; an argument that defines the definition. Speaking in circles isn't just for theists.
For religion to exist, a network of falsehoods must exist. Lies must be told:
According to Tm Mazur:"Immanuel Kant said that lying was always morally wrong. He argued that all persons are born with a ‘intrinsic worth’ that he called human dignity. This dignity derives from the fact that humans are uniquely rational agents, capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their conduct by reason. To be human is to have the rational power of free choice; to be ethical is to respect the power in oneself and others… Lies are morally wrong for 2-reasons: First, lying corrupts most important quality of being human: the ability to make free, rational choices. Each lie told contradicts your moral worth. Second, lies rob others of their freedom to choose, rationally. When a lie leads people to decide in ways other than the way they would had they known the truth, you harm their human dignity… Kant believed that in order to value ourselves and others… we must avoid damaging, interfering with, or misusing our ability to make free decisions, in other words: No lying."
Certainly, that premise exists only if you give in to a theist's certainty that free will exists to some degree. Without free will, the theist doesn't have an argument on morality to make, so wasting time trying to convince otherwise might be a, well, waste of time. Might as well skip the heart and head straight to the brain. Free will's added benefit to an argument could be Kant's view regardless, so catching a theist in a lie would be the same as said theist partaking in an immoral act, and theist's arguments for god containing falsehoods become repetitive instances of evil. Case closed.
We need to clear up our arguments. It should not take days or weeks to file the bible in the fiction section. It shouldn't take days or weeks of allowing circular arguments to control the debate to exorcise the fantasy from our collective thoughts. It shouldn't take days or weeks to refute the theist's statements. Logic should be the simple answer, but the theist takes that as well and twists it into proof of god.
Hundreds of years before jesus, Aristotle delved into how we process reason. The three basic laws of logic, though already a given, were given a more formal expression. For the purpose of creating a discussion, do these basic laws not negate religion without going any farther? Is there a need to look at all the different ways religion tries to deafen our sensibilities with arguments, that on the outside, may seem meaningful, but when deconstructed become nothing more than a cloak for faith?
Any of us that lay claim to being reasoning humans probably know the three basic laws of thought, even if we don't vocalize them.
1. The Law of Identity. Everything is the same as itself. Whether a thing, or a proposition, A = A.
Without going any farther, this would seem to trash religion immediately. Asking for a definition of god should be enough to show the proposition is nonsense.
William Lane Craig seems to be one of the focal points enlightening us with the latest ontological definition of god. The first premise usually goes like this. "God is the greatest being conceivable. If you can conceive of a greater being, then that is god." To me this states that "A" does not equal "A." A proposition is true or it is not. If "A" changes, then it is not "A", and we cannot have a reasonable discussion about "A" because "A" has not been defined. God of the old testament is different than god of the new testament, and everyone who describes god has a different definition according to his or her own biases, so god does not exist.
Even if an argument could be made that the tree in my back yard is still the same tree as it grows - like god can change and still be god - that glass doesn't hold water. Everyone has the same definition of a tree, yet all are different when it comes to god.
2. The Law of Non-Contradiction. Nothing can exist and not exist at the same time and in the same respect; or no statement can be true and false.
Again, if the definition of god changes depending on the mind that has created him/her, then the statement describing god is certainly false.
3. The Law of the Excluded Middle. Something either exists or it doesn't exist; or every statement is true or false.
Once again, if a definition changes, then the statement is always false.
This seems simple enough, yet we get caught up in debates that should be nullified immediately.
Is there a need to go further when it comes to logic? We ought be informed, reasoned, and ready for any attempt by a theist to proselytize the site. We should be able to be courteous, informative, and respectful to the theist, but not necessarily to his ideas.
If anyone cares to play, tell us why these statements are false.