the question of religion
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@vivekhash345, logic brings a lot of people to the same conclusion. Saying that pink unicorns don’t exist is just as dogmatic as saying god doesn’t exist – it just depends on your frame of reference i.e. cultural background or scientific literacy. The history of science has been one of, inadvertently, removing ourselves from the center of the universe.
You don’t make any logical claims about why my statements aren’t true. You don’t provide any counter-analysis that makes me change my mind about my believes. Science, reason and logic are the opposites of dogma – please avoid assuming that my view on life stems from a dogma rather than thinking.
As far as the idea that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” is a race to the bottom. There is no evidence against a lot of things – god, sentient chairs, cupcakes spontaneously generating in space, a large chimpanzee that controls the world, us existing in a simulation and that the world is held up by turtles all the way down. Science explains, based on experimental and observational evidence, that we are made from the nuclear furnaces of stars and that we -are- the universe. Most western religions take this awe out of the universe. Some religions can retain some of the grandeur but those are probably more so ways of living that occur within scientific thought rather than religion. What do you all think?
And this is interesting too – http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017006
“You don’t make any logical claims about why my statements aren’t true.”
Nor do I wish to. I don’t expect you to change your views based on my arguments. These discussions serve more to strenghthen people’s beliefs rather than to open them up to new ideas. My response to your comment was merely an observation, and I mean no offense to you. I just think that these arguments have already been used to the point of cliche. However, since you expected some sort of logic-based debate, I’ll participate, just for fun.
There is no observable evidence and no testable statements made in religion to consider it a part of the natural world. I think if God exists and intervenes in our world then we should be able to prove a presence because physical entities would be changed based on his will. If he does not intervene, then there is no proof for his existence…”
I suppose this statement depends on your conception of “God.” I find that society treats religion as synonymous with a Christian theology. As a result, those who are opposed to religion see it only as a Christian/Abrahamic entity, and they only attack the beliefs of the Bible. Furthermore, these beliefs are not the theories of educated theologians — they are the beliefs of the masses. Not to come off as an elitist, but many of these people are the same people who believe that Americans speak American and that there are 16 senators in the United States. Their primitive conception of God is based on old folk beliefs and a general tendency towards social conditioning and mob conformity. Quite frankly, its easy to logically disprove an invisible man in the sky with a list of ten rules you can’t break. I’m not sure any thinking person believes that, and the only reason that the myth persists is that many religious people don’t really care to question it. However, our new generation is a generation that rejects religion, and most people nowadays don’t care to be religious because it isn’t popular anymore.
So, its necessary to shift your perspective from a simplistic thought pattern to a more subtle one. What is the nature of God? The Book of Exodus states that one name of God is that “I am.” The Upanishads call the three aspects of Brahman as existence, consciousness, and bliss. The Kabbalah teaches that the Ein Sof is the infinite absolute principle on which this finite reality is possible. The deeper views of mysticism from different religions come to a common consensus. God is existence itself. In fact, our existence and the existence of the natural world implies the existence of God. There is no such thing as divine intervention because all events in this world are the actions of God, whether they are ordinary or extraordinary. You treat God as an entity entirely separate from the naturalworld who intervenes in ways that defy the laws of physics. Its no surprise that you don’t believe that. The core of religions teach that God is the natural world, the maker of the natural laws, and the sentient consciousness from which living organisms derive sentience.
“To claim that anyone has knowledge of what happens after death is ridiculous – that doesn’t mean that you err on the side of there being God because there is more evidence that sentience is a result of brain structure and that brain structure (proteins, enzymatic activities) stop at death and the atoms that make up our body decay back into the universe…”
This brings me to my next point. You explain sentient consciousness as the electric/chemical reactions of the brain which ends at death and disintegrates into gross matter. However, this sounds like a stretch. Does this mean that the only difference between humans and stars is that they have a different chemical makeup and that our chemical reaction is more complex? If life is chalked up to an electric/chemical reaction, then nothing is really alive, or everything is alive. At what point is something considered sentient or nonsentient? Recently, theoretical physicists have been exploring the nature of consciousness, because it doesn’t seem likely that consciousness is just based on brain structure and proteins anymore. In fact, some are proposing that consciousness may be its own element, separate from the other phenomena of the natural world. (There is an episode of “Through the Wormhole” on the Science Channel where they explore this theory).
Science teaches that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. Of course, this matter is condensed energy as explained by Einstein. So, if this energy was neither created nor destroyed, where did it come from? Does it merely exist independent of time and space? Quantum physics tries to explain this by hypothesizing that a proton containing the sum total of matter and energy in the universe (omega) could’ve just come into existence which led to the Big Bang which led to a whole host of thermo-chemical-electric reactions which led to us, a strange reaction occurring on a planet in a star on the outskirts of a galaxy. If Quantum physics is correct about the virtual proton, then our existence is virtual as well. We could exist, and we could just as easily not exist. I cannot accept this paradoxical, chaotic picture of the world. No, I agree with the original Law of Conservation – energy is neither created nor destroyed. This energy merely exists, and our existence is based on this energy. Consciousness is what doesn’t totally fit with the picture, so it seems plausible that this energy could be sentient, or that energy is a nonsentient form of consciousness. As I stated above, sentient consciousness is God, and so this energy is also God, and so the universe (or multiverse) is also God.
“Religion, the organization of systems of belief, definitely is man-made.”
I agree with this statement. Humans created religion, but its been scientifically proven that we instinctively want to believe in a higher power and place our trust in a belief. Because we are evolved from the elements of the natural world, religion comes from the natural world. If the natural world is part of God, then religion came from God.
Lastly, I’d ask you to consider the infallibility of reason and logic. Philosophers like Nietzsche and Crowley saw the limitations of pure logic alone.
“And science itself, our science–indeed, what is the significance of all science, viewed as a symptom of life? For what–worse yet, whence–all science? How now? Is the resolve to be so scientific about everything perhaps a kind of fear of, an escape from, pessimism? A subtle last resort against–truth? And, morally speaking, a sort of cowardice and falseness? Amorally speaking, a ruse? O Socrates, Socrates, was that perhaps your secret? O enigmatic ironist, was that perhaps your—irony?” –Friedrich Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy
“Therefore Lessing, the most honest theoretical man, dared to announce that he cared more for the search after truth than for truth itself–and thus revealed the fundamental secret of science, to the astonishment, and indeed the anger, of the scientific community. ["If God had locked up all truth in his right hand, and in his left the unique, ever-live striving for truth, albeit with the addition that I should always and eternally err, and he said to me, 'Choose!'--I should humbly clasp his left hand, saying: 'Father, give! Pure truth is after all for thee alone!'"--Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-81), Eine Duplik, 1778.]” –Friedrich Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy
“Salvation, whatever salvation may mean, is not to be obtained on any reasonable terms. Reason is an impasse, reason is damnation; only madness, divine madness, offers an issue.” –Aleister Crowley The Book of Thoth
I hope those were sufficient logical claims against your statements.
@vivekhash345, I think you’re playing with semantics. If you consider the spiritual and uplifting feeling I get from viewing a sky full of stars as God, then I’m (by definition) a believer in god because obviously I experience existence, consciousness, and bliss. That’s lame. My personal and breath-taking experiences (i.e. spiritual) occur as a result of my appreciation of living (based on the beauty that we, as biological organisms evolved), our space in the cosmos and the grandeur of the sheer massiveness of space. You’re evoking deism – which is fine but also fails any test of credibility. Do you consider the feeling of hunger god? Do you consider having to pee god? When does god start and end? If ‘god’ is all us, then I don’t understand what that means beyond the fact that we are connected and given a beautiful opportunity to live (which I feel those things because scientific observations and data collection have proven time and time again these things). Evolution shows interconnectedness far more than god in my opinion.
As far as the answer to where energy comes from, I have a strong feeling and intuition that science, not thought about religion/god in your sense, will yield some fruit as it always has. If you were born before Darwinian Evolution was conjured, you would probably issue the question “where did humans come from?” – the human races lack of explanation does not mean that the answer ought to come from an idea of god. The trend I notice is that science knocks humanity off their pedestal. We are atoms – those ‘barriers’ that exist between ‘us’ and ‘things’ aren’t real because we -are- things that constantly flux with the universe. You’ll tell me this is god – I’ll tell you this is science.
Because we are evolved from the elements of the natural world, religion comes from the natural world. If the natural world is part of God, then religion came from God.” This is so circular. I could just as easily claim “If the natural world is apart of the simulation, then the natural world came through a simulation.” Not only is this making an unfalsifiable claim, but its also circular reasoning (maybe I’m misinterpreting your point here?)
Nietzsche and Crowley don’t provide warrants for their claims either – they are just rhetorically powerful. I can feel spiritual and empowered because of my very limited understanding of science, not in spite of it. Even if science can’t provide all of the answers, it has provided a lot. Just because there are further questions that are unanswered doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant for not placing these questions into the context of a god which evolved from our misunderstanding of the world.
@nicktett, No no, I am not playing with semantics. I am being quite literal when I say that God is existence — not just a single feeling of happiness, but the collective whole of everything in our universe as well as everything beyond that. In addition, I am saying that this God is sentient and conscious of his own existence. The beauty seen in the sentient knowledge of that pure existence is the bliss. Not lame at all.
You see God as a tool for man, a cruch or drug that we use to cope with life or as an explanation for unanswered questions. For some naive people, that may be true, but again, ask an educated thinker, and there’s a different belief involved. I’m sure you’ve heard this, but science is not opposed to religion. The dicodomy is all in your mind. You have faith in science to the exclusion of all else, while I see science as a means to an end — that end being to understand our reality. Again, a shift in perspective would show you that science is based on a system of practical knowledge for understanding the world’s phenomena, while religion is a system based in understanding God. Both systems have several effects. For example, scientific discoveries have led to huge technological advancements. In the same way, the quest to understand God has led to the formation of morality for whatever reason. These systems are not essentially at odds, and they can be absolutely harmonized.
If you say that man was evolved from simpler life, does it make it any less of God’s work? God isn’t just some idea that religion labels anything that isn’t known. God is the known and the unknown. You think that by explaining natural phenomena, you have made God smaller and smaller, but this is foolish. The understanding of natural phenomena adds a richness to the actions of God in a way that simple and blind belief cannot.
You say that a flux of atoms interacting with each other is science. I say you’re right, but it is caused by God.
As for your question to my statement, its not purely circular. Its linear.
The natural world came from God. Man came from the natural world. Religion came from Man. Therefore, Religion came from God.
All those “isms,” i.e. theism, deism, pantheism, panintheism, henitheism, etc. are all different perspectives of a single observation. I hold them all to be true in one sense or another, and I may employ a belief central to any of their philosophies to convey my viewpoint.
@vivekhash345, what you’re saying makes sense except your opinion relies on the preposition that god exists, which cannot be proven.
First, what you are saying is semantics. You say God is the collective whole of everything in the universe and beyond. All this means is that when you reference the universe and beyond that you name that signified thing ‘god,’ whereas I name it ‘the universe and beyond.’ How come that additional ‘layer’ needs to be put on the universe?
Second, you say “God is sentient and conscious of his own existence.” How come? Where did you ascertain this knowledge? Why is this any more true than my conjecture that the universe is a tortoise’s brain and that knowledge brings us bliss? Or that the universe is a simulation?
That’s really the core of my belief. I’d love to hear your perspective on these two ideas – I’ll be very open to trying to understand what you are trying to say. Additionally, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to explain your own beliefs :)
@nicktett, I believe that I can answer those questions.
“First, what you are saying is semantics. You say God is the collective whole of everything in the universe and beyond. All this means is that when you reference the universe and beyond that you name that signified thing ‘god,’ whereas I name it ‘the universe and beyond.’ How come that additional ‘layer’ needs to be put on the universe?”
Well, the extra layer of “God” is there because I believe that this God exists. God isn’t an idea or concept — God is a conscious, existent being who transcends both finite matter and infinite energy. Where is the evidence? Well, that is where direct experience comes into play. Whereas western religions are based on pure theory and belief, eastern religions stress practice for obtaining a direct experience with God — to see for yourself. In this sense, religion is the experiment by which God, the theory of theories can be tested and hopefully proven. Though science cannot prove God, I consider direct experience more valid, subjectively speaking.
“Second, you say “God is sentient and conscious of his own existence.” How come? Where did you ascertain this knowledge? Why is this any more true than my conjecture that the universe is a tortoise’s brain and that knowledge brings us bliss? Or that the universe is a simulation?”
This goes back to that direct experience thing I mentioned. I believe God to be everything and more, and to be sentient and conscious because my religion tells me so. I practice my religion in the hopes that I can one day experience this revelation for myself.
Your claim that the universe is a tortoise’s brain is certainly possible, but is it likely? When compared to my theory of God, which is more likely?
You cannot put all theories and claims on an equal footing. A man may say that gravity is caused by invisible dwarves who pull magical ropes to hold the world down, while another man may say that gravity is a bending of spacetime. Which is more likely?
In the same way, you could say that the universe is a tortoise’s brain or spaghetti monster instead of the effect of a sentient, superconscious being who pervades everything, but which of the views is more plausible. While I’ll admit that there is no scientific proof to verify any of these claims at present, I trust that science will slowly find out the same truth in its own way and with its own methods of skepticism.
First, how does your direct experience show you that there is a sentient and conscious being who transcends energy and matter? This is a claim without any backing beyond reference to personal experience. There are an infinite amount of feelings each person can feel – if someone’s personal experience (mind) tells them to kill someone, then that’s god under your interpretation because you can’t tell someone their direct experience/connection with god is wrong/impossible. Further, the alternative of science -is- experience – it’s just experience that’s observed between all individuals and systemically organized and thoroughly checked.
” I believe God to be everything and more, and to be sentient and conscious because my religion tells me so.”
Second, you believe in God because your religion tells you so and you believe in religion because it was created by God. Why is this not circular? What a priori reason do you have to accept God/religion? When you direct experience is called into question (see above), then what other justification do you have?
Third, “You cannot put all theories and claims on an equal footing. A man may say that gravity is caused by invisible dwarves who pull magical ropes to hold the world down, while another man may say that gravity is a bending of spacetime. Which is more likely?” Space-time is more likely. How do we know this? The systemic evaluation of how the universe works through science. We can’t put those theories on equal footing because one of them (space-time) is a model that describes our observations/experimental data we collect from the world while the other model (dwarves) doesn’t fit in with our theoretical framework. This is a false analogy to god because, as you said, god comes from direct experience and there is no way to compare direct experiences between individuals. A belief in Zues/Posieden is no more or less foolish than a Christian God precisely because there’s no way to compare my direct experience with Zues and yours with a Christian god. On what grounds can you compare two separate religious beliefs if they are based on direct experience?
no one knows the answer to that, you can show people evidence but religious people will always be too prideful. I never find the use of trying to explain it, no one really wins in these kind of debates lol
“all we have are questions no one knows the answers”
- Joe Rogan (not sure if thats EXACTLY how he said it)
I believe that religion is man-made. If you look closely, so many religions have similarities in the basis of it. The ‘stories’ are similar, and they have similar values. They are practically all the same, besides a few differences. Religion was made because people wanted to improve society and themselves. If you think about it, basically all religions strongly believe in ‘service’, and being more like ‘god’. It’s all about improving society. Religion also eases the fear of death. It promises an after life, where the sun shines and birds sing all throughout eternity. But in reality, is there any proof of such an after life? We have no evidence besides people claiming that it exists. Can we go through life, hoping for such a thing without any solid evidence? What if we die, and there is nothing?