Can someone please tell me if I am what people say I am?

Hello, I have a question and I really hope someone can answer. I consider myself an agnostic. Many people tell me I am really a weak atheist and after reading the rrs article I am wondering. So, I will explain my outlook here and hope someone answers. Forgive me this will be a bit long. I'm quite a skeptic (and that is the term I like most) although I am sometimes spiritual and attend a Unitarian-Universalist church from time to time, but I am not religious and go back and forth on the whole god" issue-if you ask do I believe in "god" my answer is honestly, "I don't know". I would like to, but I've seen little to no evidence to convince me. If someone asked do I deny the holy spirit, I would hesitate to use the word "deny", but I would say "I doubt the holy spirit". Is doubt the same as deny? I do have a fondness for pantheism and deism, but I hesitate to call myself either b/c while they make more sense that outright theism and religion, there is little to no evidence for either of those either. Sometimes I do think there might be a god (I hesitate to say "I believe", just "I think there might be"), but when I do I think of the deist or pantheist conception of a higher power, as the religious theistic one makes little sense to me-I think there is quite a low probability that one exists. Other days I think there is no god. I literally go back and forth, although I will never say "I know" on either. Which way I "lean" literally depends on my mood and my research. I grew up liberal catholic and I still like some of the rituals (though they are just rituals to me now), as well as some of the meditative aspects of Buddhism. Does this really make me a weak atheist? Is doubt really the same as a lack of belief? I ask b/c it just sounds weird-an atheist who sometimes thinks there might be a god? That sounds kind of odd to me. I do think religion (especially the fundamentalist form and Islam) is a big problem in this world, but I do have many liberal religious friends as well as non-religious friends, and we get along fine. I support separation of church and state, obviously. I'm not someone who says I'd like to get rid of all religion, but I would certainly like to see the most fundamental forms gone or at least have no power. Honestly liberal religion doesn't bother me, I don't care as long as it doesn't infringe on my rights to not be religious. I like many of the points the "4 horsemen" make and am glad I do not live in the bible belt-I feel very sorry for the nonbelievers there and I do think speaking out about stuff like that is good. Anyways, what in the hell am I? I use agnostic (though I prefer skeptic) b/c I doubt seriously and my answer to god claims is "I don't know-I would like it if there was, but I see little to no evidence for one". Maybe this makes me a "fence sitter" but it is honestly how I feel and who I am, at least right now. I live my life this way: I try to be the best person I can be and help people. I figure if there is a god, hopefully he/she/it will judge me by my actions. If there is not one, then I still will have lived a good life. Sorry for the long post. Just this has really been on my mind and would really appreciate an answer. Thanks.
Atheist Answer: 

To begin with, "weak atheist" definitely does not apply. It means someone who does not believe in gods simply because he/she has not been exposed to religion. Young children, some remote tribespeople and the mentally impaired can be weak atheists, but you can't be one if you've been to a church service and understoood what was going on.

Your answer, "I would like it if there was [a god], but I see little to no evidence for one," is absolutely atheist. You can be an atheist and either wish there were a god or be glad there isn't.

During periods when you do think there's a god, however, you are definitely not an atheist. You don't accept the truth of any particular religion, so I would suggest "agnostic spiritualist": someone who believes in spite of the lack of evidence that there is SOMETHING out there.

You accept at all times that there is no evidence for gods. I'd say therefore that you are an atheist when this premise leads you to the conclusion that there are no gods, and an agnostic spiritualist when you're nevertheless inclined to believe there is one. These terms are just too tightly bound to specific positions for just one term to apply to someone who swings back and forth.

For the sake of conversation, I would regard you as an agnostic on the verge of a decision.

- SmartLX

how does one get out of the Law of attraction

How does one get out of the law of attraction? I have tryed everything from asking that so called god to let me go to getting angry and trying to stay away. When I do this cars almost ram in to me in the road. I do not believe this is god, nor do I believe the one from christianity is god either, I have followed both.
Atheist Answer: 

There are a few laws governing attraction. The law of gravity is one. Electromagnetic principles ensure that opposites attract. The Secret's famous "law of attraction" is directly counter to the second one. It does not in fact exist.

I don't doubt that you feel a law of attraction has attached itself to you. This is probably because of a confirmation bias: you pay more attention to supporting evidence than to contrary evidence. A car's ramming into you? Notice that all the others aren't. You are not a magnet.

Explain your situation a bit more. How did you get INTO the law of attraction? Why? What's going on? Help us help you.

- SmartLX


Ok, let me start off by saying I am an agnostic. I am also a rational person and am convinced of nothing. If you are 100 percent convinced of anything, there is no need for argument and you might as well be a believer. I am not asking for absolute proof there is no god, but as it seems to me, it's entirely possible a higher power of some sort, a greater "force" if you will, may be responsible for the creation of the universe. I am not implying any of the regular constraints given to gods such as 'gods have concious intent and dirrective. gods are all powerful". I guess what I am really asking is, why is it that I should be atheist and why is it that atheists rationally believe that it is likely that no higher power of any kind exists?
Atheist Answer: 

Thankyou for wording the question so well.

Let's split this hypothetical higher power into its two possible roles: creator, and intervenor.

A being which directly created the universe to a design would have to be more complex than the whole thing put together, and therefore be the most complex and unlikely thing in existence. Furthermore it would itself need an even more complex creator, and so on ad absurdum. If you assert that the creator has existed forever and needs no creator-creator, why can't the (less complex) universe be eternal and need no creator in the first place? Whatever constraints you put on the universe to necessitate a creator, you immediately have to break to allow a creator. It's just not a good explanation by any standard at all.

Now consider an interventionist entity, built with or into the universe. Strip away all the usual rules like omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience, and we're left with a force which acts some of the time, succeeds some of the time and leaves the rest to physics. Far more plausible than an almighty Godhead.

It's possible, sure, but is it likely? Are there enough unexplained events in our lives to make us seriously think that some have no material explanation? Perhaps your life is full of incredible coincidences, through which you believe you are being guided. The trouble with coincidences is that we only notice the ones that happen; not the ones that don't.

Say you're walking down the street to the grocer and you bump into someone you went to school with 15 years ago, in another city. The chances of this event are incredibly small, so it seems like destiny that you two would meet again here.

The thing is, how many people were there at your school? How many other people do you know, and how many of them might you have bumped into today? What about a stranger wearing the exact same clothes as you? Or your childhood hero whom you've never spoken to? Could there be a car crash right next to where you're walking? Could bird droppings fall right in front of your face and ruin your shoes? Or a meteorite?

There are an infinite number of possible events which might happen to you at any time and which you would regard as coincidences, or serendipitous. The probability of each one is almost nothing, but the probability of all of them simultaneously NOT happening is just as small if not smaller. A large amount of coincidences is practically certain for anyone on this planet. Even if you seem to experience more coincidences than anyone else, remember that you're in a sample space of six billion people and some of them are bound to have a surplus. Today's mass media trumpets any unlikely event to the whole world and makes us feel like our world is saturated with the incredible.

When I see a coincidence, I remember how many other amazing things might be happening, but aren't. I don't need a higher power to explain anything. I just know that it's a big world with lots of people who live for a long time.

None of this disproves gods, of course. It just shows that a creator is unlikely and an intervenor is unnecessary. This doesn't bode well for any power which is both creator AND intervenor.

- SmartLX

what am I ?

I was doing some surfing and found a site on pantheism. world pantheist movement,they say carl sagan was a pantheist I know Im an atheist and so was carl sagan. Can you be both? my question is can you be an atheist and a pantheist at the same time and whats the differance??
Atheist Answer: 

You can be both, or either by itself.

A pantheist believes that God is the universe and everything in it. Put another way, we are all part of God (rather than just part of God's plan).

If a pantheist believes on top of this that the universe has a purpose - not that it is meant for something, but that it WANTS something - and can break its own physical laws to achieve that purpose, then he or she is effectively a theist in the modern sense, i.e. a believer in an interventionist god.

Otherwise a pantheist accepts that the universe is beholden to its own laws and cannot act intelligently. This is equivalent to an atheist (or, with an additional belief in a Creator, a deist) who simply names the universe "God". Then either label is appropriate.

- SmartLX

If God Created Everything, Who Created God?

Aight, so Rich Deem says the following on his godandscience website... Introduction Who created God? It is an age-old question that has plagued all those who like to think about the big questions. Having grown up as an agnostic non-Christian, it provided me with a potential reason why there might not be any god. Various religions tend to solve the problem in different ways. The LDS church (Mormonism) says that the God (Elohim) to whom we are accountable had a father god, then grew up on a planet as a man, and progressed to become a god himself. Many other religions have claimed that gods beget other gods. Of course the problem with this idea is who is the first god and how did he get here? This problem of infinite regression Christianity's answer Christianity answers the question of who created God in the very first verse of the very first book, Genesis: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) This verse tells us that God was acting before time when He created the universe. Many other verses from the New Testament tells us that God was acting before time began, and so, He created time, along with the other dimensions of our universe: * No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:7) * This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9) * The hope of eternal life, which God... promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2) * To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:25) God exists in timeless eternity How does this get around the problem of God's creation? There are two possible interpretations of these verses. One is that God exists outside of time. Since we live in a universe of cause and effect, we naturally assume that this is the only way in which any kind of existence can function. However, the premise is false. Without the dimension of time, there is no cause and effect, and all things that could exist in such a realm would have no need of being caused, but would have always existed. Therefore, God created the time dimension of our universe specifically for a reason - so that cause and effect would exist for us. God exists in multiple dimension of time The second interpretation is that God exists in more than one dimension of time. Things that exist in one dimension of time are restricted to time's arrow and are confined to cause and effect. However, two dimensions of time form a plane of time, which has no beginning and no single direction. A being that exists in at least two dimension of time can travel anywhere in time and never had a beginning, since a plane of time has no starting point. Either interpretation leads one to the conclusion that God has no need of having been created. Why can't the universe be eternal? The idea that God can be eternal leads us to the idea that maybe the universe is eternal, and, therefore, God doesn't need to exist at all. Actually, this was the prevalent belief of atheists before the observational data of the 20th century strongly refuted the idea that the universe was eternal. This fact presented a big dilemma for atheists, since a non-eternal universe implied that it must have been caused. Maybe Genesis 1:1 was correct! Not to be dismayed by the facts, atheists have invented some metaphysical "science" that attempt to explain away the existence of God. Hence, most atheistic cosmologists believe that we see only the visible part of a much larger "multiverse" that randomly spews out universes with different physical parameters.1 Since there is no evidence supporting this idea (nor can there be, according to the laws of the universe), it is really just a substitute "god" for atheists. And, since this "god" is non-intelligent by definition, it requires a complex hypothesis, which would be ruled out if we use Occam's razor, which states that one should use the simplest logical explanation for any phenomenon. Purposeful intelligent design of the universe makes much more sense, especially based upon what we know about the design of the universe. Conclusion Top of page God has no need to have been created, since He exists either outside time (where cause and effect do not operate) or within multiple dimensions of time (such that there is no beginning of a plane of time). Hence God is eternal, having never been created. Although it is possible that the universe itself is eternal, eliminating the need for its creation, observational evidence contradicts this hypothesis, since the universe began to exist a finite ~13.7 billion years ago. The only possible escape for the atheist is the invention of a kind of super universe, which can never be confirmed experimentally (hence it is metaphysical in nature, and not scientific). How do you refute these claims?
Atheist Answer: 

What we have here is the most complex form of the cosmological (first cause) argument I've seen yet, but it's the cosmological argument nonetheless. It's worth dismantling this incarnation to show how easily new caveats can often be stripped away.

Firstly, the basic premise of cause and effect ain't what it used to be. Studies of quantum mechanics have revealed a system of particle movement which is probabilistic and, as far as we know, completely random. Anything with a cause is not truly random, only made to seem that way by the onset of chaos and entropy. It's just possible that these movements are genuinely uncaused, which would remove the need for a First Cause altogether. That said, let's accept the premise of cause and effect and move on.

Saying that any creator must have existed outside time and space is firstly trivial and secondly not guaranteed. Whatever resulted in the Big Bang self-evidently existed (or exists) outside of whatever space and time resulted FROM the Big Bang. That's not necessarily all the space and time there ever was.

Any precursor could have existed in an entirely different system of spacetime; another universe, or simply an exterior section of this universe. (Consider that the aftermath of the Big Bang may not constitute this entire universe. The "super universe" theory mentioned is a valid possibility.) The precursor, if any, is certainly not exempt from questions of origin.

If we assume completely linear time (which is far from certain) then it's true that an eternal universe or multiverse is required in the absence of an eternal or timeless deity. Why is that harder to accept than the deity?

A god which created everything directly is more complex than the whole of existence put together. Therefore if Occam's razor is applied, ANY other hypothesis is preferable to a god: multiple concurrent universes, consecutive universes, basic matter and energy occasionally catalysing into a self-contained universe, etc. An uncreated, uneducated superpower/superintelligence is quite literally the most unlikely thing in the world.

There's another reason why the multiverse theory (in quantum mechanics, the "many-worlds interpretation") in particular is preferable to the god hypothesis. We know beyond reasonable doubt that there is at least one universe - this one - but we do not know to anything like that level of certainty that there is even a single god.

Multiple instances of a known object are generally more likely to exist than an object with no precedent or evidence. Choosing God over a multiverse is like seeing a ravaged cabbage patch with one tiny rabbit in the corner, and asserting that Bigfoot ate most of the cabbages rather than that more rabbits might be hiding nearby.

With the central argument covered, I want to pick up on some other points.

1. What do "we know about the design of the universe"? The phrase implies a designer and begs the question, and the knowledge is not given but asserted.

2. Mark the phrase "the atheist", singular instead of plural. This is an old convention designed to belittle the subjects. Think back to "the Jew", "the Hun", "the savage" or "the infidel". It says to the reader, "They are all the same, and I've got them pegged."

3. Even if the argument were airtight and a Creator were proved absolutely, the author is all set to jump straight from that premise to the Creator's identity: the Christian God. This is a deist argument being used to push a theist view, and it will not go the distance. Refuting atheists is only the first step for this apologist. There's still every other religion to beat. But like those who use Pascal's Wager, Rich Deem's basic assumption is that there is only one possible God.

- SmartLX


Why does your site never remember my name, password, or Email address? It's like my account gets completely erased every time I create one. How can I find your answers to my questions if my account gets erased a day after I create it? Very frustrating.
Atheist Answer: 

Just bad timing. There was a server crash which wiped the previous two weeks of everything. I lost a lot of work myself. Don't let it get you down.

- SmartLX


Does God demand that every human on earth accept and serve Jesus Christ?
Atheist Answer: 

The Christian God certainly does. It's just a matter of whether the Christan God is a fictitious character.

This demand certainly isn't contrary to the idea of free will. We're all free not to accept Jesus, accepting instead the supposed consequences of rejecting Jesus. The choice is Jesus or Hell, or at least the possibility of each. It all gets really sticky when you toss in the possibility of other gods being the true god, because then you don't know whose Hell you'll end up in.

Where Christianity does get complicated on the issue of free will is predestination. If God knows the future and is in complete control of everything (omnipotent), our fates are set and there's nothing we can do to change them. How then is free will possible?

- SmartLX

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