Good news from the Barna Group, a Christian polling organization:
Atheism on the Rise
For Gen Z, “atheist” is no longer a dirty word: The percentage of teens who identify as such is double that of the general population (13% vs. 6% of all adults). The proportion that identifies as Christian likewise drops from generation to generation. Three out of four Boomers are Protestant or Catholic Christians (75%), while just three in five 13- to 18-year-olds say they are some kind of Christian (59%).
This was particularly interesting…
Teens, along with young adults, are more likely than older Americans to say the problem of evil and suffering is a deal breaker for them.
…as was this:
Nearly half of teens, on par with Millennials, say “I need factual evidence to support my beliefs” (46%)—which helps to explain their uneasiness with the relationship between science and the Bible. Significantly fewer teens and young adults (28% and 25%) than Gen X and Boomers (36% and 45%) see the two as complementary.
Yes, it’s tiring. I think part of the explanation for it is that since theists here have concocted pet theories of everything under the sun, from snakes to quarks to ethical values, they think everybody else must have done so too. Incredible hubris.
I’m really interested in what you think. Not what you call yourself. And i’m interested in what you believe not what you think others believe.
There are plenty of places where I can read what folks say about their values and presuppositions but I find that I learn more by conversation.
There is often a gap between what people say when left to pontificate on a philosophical position and what they say in response to a direct question.
They might say that but with out giving a reason why friendship is objectively good it seems that such a statement rings pretty hollow.
Would these hypothetical conversation partners claim that there are no possible reasons that friendship is good or just that they have no access to the reasons?
You should be interested in what Walto is actually saying there. Namely, that there are many ways to look at it, and some of them, like yours, are nonsensical. Yet you insist we cater to your demands of producing an equivalent “worldview” as nonsensical as yours: it’s the same fmm retard regress all over again: keep asking for a justification for X until X meets your expectations which is to say that X can take god’s place in your own worldview. Walto has been very clear and unambiguous: mixing God with knowledge, truth, etc… is pure gibberish.
You just can’t get past your own indoctrination, there’s no hope for you to enter the kingdom of reason, sorry pal
On what basis would you “refocus” these things? If we can choose to change a particular value then it’s seems more like a preference.
I’m interested in the values that are nonnegotiable in your worldview.
I suspect that is often the case.
Folks reject God because they value other things and that internal conflict results in unhappiness. So by implication they value happiness more than God.
I would not describe God as magical but I could not agree more with the idea that folks find the evidence for God to be convincing if don’t find the idea of God to be unacceptable.
There is no such thing as epistemological neutrality in the end our beliefs are constrained by our desires and values.
I agree with this. The Bible calls your inability to choose God “being a slave to sin”.
No one has the ability to choose God because we all love ourselves too much. Our only hope is if God supernaturally changes what we value in this life.
I thank God that is what happened to me and I pray that it happens to you as well.
I’m here to offer assistance if ever you feel God tugging on your heart.
I really did not expect this to be so serious in this thread. I don’t expect you to answer, at least not seriously but I’m here if you ever want to talk. I’ll pray for you
For good or ill, I don’t have a position on everything under the sun. I take it that O-L theorists do not require additional reasons for putting something on their lists. I don’t find that position terribly congenial myself, but even where there are reasons, they must come to an end at some point. (At least if one is not a coherentist or a toddler.). Thus, hedonists don’t generally give ‘reasons’ for claiming what is pleasurable is good, though Mill gave a sort of ‘proof’ I guess.
I don’t think so.
Part of the reason that I hold to presuppositionalism is that I think we all have unexamined presuppositions and that it’s a good thing to take some time to examine those.
When KN begins a syllogism with the premise that it’s good to have justified beliefs. Right away I want to know why he thinks that.
When you say that certain things are intrinsically valuable right away I want to know why you think that.
There really are only two alternatives you either have a reason for valuing something or you don’t. It’s not complicated but it’s a lot more interesting to me than disusing moral theory.
Isn’t “it gives me pleasure” a reason?
Right it’s that “end” that I am interested in.
That is not what I’m doing. I simply asking why he holds certain things to be valuable. “I don’t have a clue” or “I don’t care” are perfectly acceptable answers.
I think it’s a good thing to spend time trying to understand why we believe and act like we do. I’m especially interested in the reasons given by folks who think and act differently than me.
You might disagree. It’s a free country.
If you don’t find those sorts of things to be interesting I’m not really sure why you spend time here. But again it’s a free country.
God is literally the center of my existence. My universe would not make any sense with out him.
Can you really blame me for wondering what fills that spot for you?
Again “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” are perfectly acceptable answers
“I don’t have a clue” or “I don’t care” are acceptable answers to you considering your goal is allegedly “to spend time trying to understand why we believe and act like we do”?
Let me tell you something though, those answers are still better than yours
More than blame you, I pity you
It sure is. I really don’t see how tacking on “attributes of God” adds anything. After all, you just conceded that “justice, friendship and love” could just as well be interchanged with “pleasure and power” and we would still be having the very same conversation. But somehow you need the bedrock that is God to give you comfort, it seems.
Will you please stop doing that? Entropy is not “a slave to sin” or “loving himself too much”.
God’s existence is the reason we can’t exchange “justice, friendship and love” with “pleasure and power”.
I need the bedrock because without it “pleasure and power” work just as well.
God’s existence does give me comfort but it also gives me a world in which “pleasure and power” can’t be highest ultimate good.
Not just him but absent the grace of God that is the sad plight we all share myself included. I’m sure you know I could bury you in scripture on this one.
The first step to our recovery is in recognizing we have a problem. The problem is that is impossible because our slavery to sin makes us blind to our own circumstance. It’s quite a pickle
but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
You might disagree with what Scripture says but that is only because you have a different worldview than I do.
No, it’s not. Some other wacko could claim that god is all about pleasure and power and all you could do is to deny one another till the end of times. So it’s not about god’s existence, it’s about your petty definitions of useless entities that add no substance to the topic at hand. The fact that you can’t notice such a devastating and obvious problem with your worldview makes you look really, really bad. You can’t define things into existence buddy. Deal with it
You seem like a nice guy, so I don’t think the pursuit of pleasure and power would have worked for you. You are one lucky guy that the attributes of God work out so well for you, you know that?
You are not going to whip yourself, are you? There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of personal happiness, as long as that is not at the expense of others.
For whatever it may be worth, I don’t have a problem with the general idea that we have something like what Van Til calls ‘presuppositions.’ I do think that Wittgenstein was onto something important when he talks about “hinge propositions” in On Certainty. And rather than think of Reason with a capital R as an epistemically neutral super-thing, I think that the space of reasons — the giving and asking for reasons, tracking the incompatibilities between commitments and entitlements — is something that must be re-established or re-founded with every dialogue. Every dialogue is an attempt to construct a shared world, and that’s going to be easier or harder depending on what background assumptions are already similar.
But I also think that hinge propositions or background assumptions both can change over time and also can be deliberately tested. They’re not set in stone. I think that Carnap right in holding that a priori truths are relative to a conceptual scheme, and also that Sellars was right in holding that less adequate conceptual schemes can be replaced by more adequate ones.
KN, I was wondering, doesn’t your guy Peirce have a nice argument for property realism somewhere? I seem to remember that being short, but sweet.
Moved a post to guano.
Not even remotely close to anything I’ve written. Try again.
Here’s the bit where this came up:
My only point was that Christians tend to have a rather egocentric and arrogant view of their dogma as the basis of everyone’s religious belief, when in fact, the “Christian God” concept represents less than 1% of the total world religious perspective. It makes no difference how fast you think Christianity is growing or whether Christianity will be the world’s largest religion by 2025 or whatever. It still won’t rank as much more than an anomaly.
I’m sure he does, though I’m weak on Peirce. I only know “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities,” “The Fixation of Belief,” and “How To Make Our Ideas Clear.” I’m much stronger on Dewey, C. I. Lewis, and Sellars.
To add to the above, the reason I even responded to that claim initially (as I note) was as an example of why I do not trust most Christians on most subjects. Making claims that are clearly contrary to facts gives me reason to question not just the honesty or reasoning of the person, but also the practicality and value of the worldview the person holds.
Anyway, what I as trying to do with the first post, which you missed (how surprising!), is explaining to you that atheism is not about we feeling like we have answers to every question anybody could possibly ask. It’s not about worshipping natural phenomena (like evolution or gravitation), or shaping our values around the natural phenomena (like evolution or gravitation) either. Atheism, at least in my case, is about a fact I cannot change: your god is but a fantasy. That’s what I cannot change fmm. It’s not about “sins.” It’s about things being what they are whether we like it or not.
I wasn’t trying to convince you that I’m right. I was just explaining that, if you expect atheists to be trapped into a choice between “such and such are non-negotiable” or “therefore gods are not fantasies,” you’re severely mistaken. It doesn’t work that way. When there’s an answer to something, well, there’s an answer. When there isn’t, there isn’t. Neither of those change the fact that your god is mere fantasy.
Then, I was also trying to get you to understand that you value being a creation of your imaginary friend. That such value is still yours, and thus as subjective as anybody else’s.
That’s it. Please refrain from telling me what your Bible tells you. It’s all wrong, and I truly could not care less. So stop the bullshit about my “sins.” I became an atheist out of honesty. So there.
You keep making this assertion but don’t support it. Do you really understand the burden of supporting this claim?
I said it already: on the basis of what you discover about the world, and on the basis of what you want to accomplish, if anything, in your own life. It’s always your own life FMM. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the magical being, it’s still your life and your preferences. Remember that there’s Satan worshippers who believe that your magical being also exist. That proves that it’s about your values, not about whether the magical being existed or not.
And I told you already that this question is wrongheaded.
Completely wrong. I already told you, I discovered that “God” is but a fantasy. Nothing I can do about that.
That’s just what you believe. But of course there is such a thing as epistemic neutrality. I went from strong believer and defender of the faith to atheism because of the evidence. If there wasn’t epistemic neutrality that would not be possible. My change was due to pure honesty. I could not fool myself, even if I wanted.
If you actually agreed with what I said, you would not have mentioned anything about sins. I said I cannot change the facts. That your absurd imaginary friend is absurd and imaginary regardless of what my preferences might be. Nothing to do with sins.
Bullshit like this is why I cannot give you too much of the benefit of the doubt. Stop trying to misfit what we write into some biblical shit. It doesn’t work, and it’s annoying because it shows that you missed the point. Instead of me saying “wow! that biblical thing really got me!” I ask myself “did this guy read what I wrote?”
Forget it. I rather keep myself honest and mentally sane.
You are missing a very important point: I’m not arguing about it, I’m explaining something: that the fact is that I cannot change the facts. I’m trying to explain that it’s not about having all the answers. It’s about one problem and one problem alone about gods: they’re fantasies.
You might disagree with that. It doesn’t matter as long as you understand that atheism is not about having all the answers. Do you understand that? Do you understand that it is not about whether we can explain with pristine detail the evolution of the Spliceosome, or the issue of values and reason to live. That the problem is not open questions. The problem is that gods are fantasies. So, you can ask me for atomic-to-quantum-mechanics details about evolution, and I’ll say, hell, I don’t know. Will that change my position about the magical beings? Nope. Not one bit. Why not? Because they’re imaginary.
Do you get it? I mean, I know you can give me an honest answer. You’ve done it plenty of times. So, again, do you get it? Do you understand that atheism is not about having all the answers?
Sure, I get this.
How did you conclude that God is a fantasy? Unless you can support this claim your argument is circular.
They love the burden shift.
We find ourself in a world–with desires, grass, hats and cars. If somebody says, ‘the explanation for all this stuff is God’ (or evolution), they have the burden of making their case. The atheist has no burden unless she insists that no God is necessary. But she doesn’t have to do that. She can just say to the theist ‘prove it.’
No one here is going to let theists shift this burden. Sorry, boys.
When you claim that God is a fantasy you have taken on a burden to demonstrate that he is made up by man. Now you go down the slippery slope of demonstrating that the bible is false and you can get a universe with observers without intelligent cause. Entropy is a very intelligent guy but I would say this will even challenge him.
I haven’t made that claim, myself. I mean, I do think that, but I have no interest in tennis. I don’t give a shit what you believe.
Well, this is obvious. I agree with walto though. The philosophically-sound, and default, position is that gods are fantasies. Failure to demonstrate otherwise means that they’re fantasies. But the case can also be supported by evidence. Take the Bible as a test case. Check the first part, Genesis. What do you see? Fantasy. Check a few claims. What do you see? Primitive beliefs. Therefore human-made. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I think you’re misusing the word “false” here. Anyway, it’s not up to atheists to demonstrate that the Bible contains fantasies mixed with ancient laws, etc. It’s up to believers to make the contrary point, which seem rather futile.
Regardless of who has the burden of proof, it’s so easy for the Bible to be understood in so many ways, as any human-made works, therefore it’s human made stuff. Obviously. There’s nothing divine about it, and, again, failure on the part of believers to demonstrate otherwise means that it is exactly what it appears to be. A mixture of stuff. From fables to tales, to ancient laws, to a recompilation of stuff from some ancient cultures. Interesting at times. Horrifying at other times. Foolish at other times. Etc.
You seem to miss the point yet again. Even after you said you’ve got it: it’s not about having all the answers. Remember? Still, I already demonstrated that this “point” is absurd:
1. You’re implying that a universe with observers can only come to be from a universe with observers (an “intelligent” “cause” would be an observer, right?). So, it’s a circular absurdity.
2. You’re saying that intelligence is first, reality second. But it doesn’t look that way. Any observer I know about deeply depends on their environment. So, an “intelligence” without anything to sustain it doesn’t make sense. An intelligence without anything to be intelligent about doesn’t make sense. An intelligence without problems to solve doesn’t make sense. Etc.
Nothing challenging about this.
You’re moving the target here. You have made the claim that God is a fantasy. This is still unsupported.
Not when you make the claim that God is a fantasy. You have taken the burden. You have also taken on the burden to demonstrate that the universe is possible without intelligent cause.
If you want to say you are an atheist because God is just to big of a concept and your opinion is that the bible is not believable that is fine but realize your worldview is based on circular reasoning as you have dismissed the inductive evidence of creation.
I would say that the universe is too big a concept but the evidence is that it is here and I can observe it. After all this God, as a creator, becomes a chip shot 🙂
How is this different from asking support for the claim that Santa Claus is a fantasy?
Inductive evidence Historical evidence and a large believing adult population don’t exist for Santa 😊
Good gravy! This stance has been and still is completely fallacious. It’s simply a burden shift by way of special pleading.
Every object and concept shared among humans is a human fantasy unless and until said object or concept presents some establishing entailment. Black holes, plate tectonics, germs, and spherical planets were all fantasies until entailments for their actual existed were discovered. Sure, Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity implied black holes should exist, but until gamma signatures coming from dark areas of space and light from distant stars bending around these zones, they were still just fantasies.
There’s nothing special about god concepts the shifts a burden on to those who are unconvinced of it/their existence. Until someone can point to some “god entailment”, they are nothing more than the dreams of desperate men.
There’s nothing circular about concluding some ancient written work is fiction. This again is more silliness of special pleading.
Knock yourself out. Of course, some of the greatest human minds have failed to provide any kind of shot, chip or otherwise, that establishes a god, let alone the Christian version. I won’t hold my breath that you have a better club in your bag…
Well, lets leave the fact that large numbers of adults profess a belief in a deity on one side for the moment. What inductive evidence and what historical evidence is there that supports the idea of a deity?
Bear in mind, I’m quite comfortable with the idea of a historical model or models for human Biblical characters such as Jesus. I’m also happy to accept it is as reasonable to argue that the Universe needs a creator as to argue the Universe does not need a creator. It’s the God element and the attributes of a God I’d like to address. So Jesus lived? OK. So Jesus turned water into wine? That needs evidential support. And so forth. 🙂
Christians count children as believers.
I don’t think it’s irrational or unreasonable to believe in God. I also don’t think it is irrational or unreasonable to not believe in God. It’s a leap of faith either way.
Historical evidence is the old and new testament. I personally struggle with some of the old testament stories like Noah’s ark but the prophecy of Jesus is very interesting. The other interesting points with the old testament is the codes that exist in the old hebrew version of the first 5 books. I have not, however, looked at this close enough to have an opinion as to the authenticity.
The next piece of interesting evidence of Jesus and his divinity are in the 27 books of the new testament. A skeptic that I respect is Bart Erhman who I learned about from Tom Muller. One of his major arguments is that the resurrection cannot be historical because it is a supernatural event. While I respect his opinion as a historian the real issue is if the evidence supports it. If you believe we are in a created universe this is easier to swallow as it is likely the designer of the universe can bring the dead to life if he chooses.
There is a lot in the 27 books and the writing started very shortly after the crucifixion/resurrection. A great deal of the early history came from Paul’s letters as he was a very well educated Jew and Roman citizen. He had relationships with the disciples especially James and Peter. This hopefully gives you a flavor why I think the historical evidence has credibility.
As far as inductive evidence for creation, the first interesting discussion is the capability of the atom and how it can assemble into all entities in the universe. If you and I were 2 dimensional characters in a video game the way we might figure out we were in a simulation is that everything in the game including us is made of pixels. We have the same situation in our 3 dimential universe as everything is made up of atoms. If you youtube the double slit experiment you may get the idea of the simulation we may hypothetically live in. So atoms and their finely tuned and unique characteristics are the first piece of evidence.
The next piece of evidence is the capability of cells and how they can form multicellular living organisms. This appears like a very information intensive process (DNA) and points to a design intelligence as the source of that information.
I am very certain that we live in a created universe, however the details of that creation is still an open question to me. I think the historical evidence for the Judea Christian bible is worth a serious look and at this point I am skeptical of the skeptics 🙂
That is not true. I would endeavor to demonstrate how belief in such a god is incoherent and inconsistent with the behavior of the believer.
I would demonstrate how this done with keith’s Rumracket deity but he won’t produce a summery of what it means to believe in Rumracket.
If you wanted to demonstrate that my God does not exist you could try and do the same thing. I won’t hold my breath on that one.
I’m sorry but that is just incorrect. God’s existence explains why it’s good to value things like love and friendship rather than power and pleasure. That is the topic at hand.
Apparently your world has no such explanation. I think that is a huge problem though you seem to not be concerned.
right back at you buddy 😉
This brings back the touchy question of whether the absence of belief is a belief.
I’m might seem like a decent guy when compared to Osama bin Laden but my standard is Jesus and by that standard I’m leave a lot to be desired.
Anyway, If pursuing pleasure and power were good and love and truth bad I would hope to be considered a bad guy.
It’s not luck it’s design 😉
image of God and all that.
I agree, our problem is that we are mistaken as to what will make us happy.
I like this one from C.S. Lewis
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I agree, Problems occur when we assume our assumptions similar when in fact they are not.
by what standard do you test these things?
1) one percent is simply a number you pulled out of your butt. There is no way to quantify total world religious perspective and even if you could you data would be out of date as soon as you collected it. That is why looking at the growth rate of Christianity relative to world population is important.
2) Religious belief is not generally a discrete thing. The edges of one religion bleed into all the others and into irreligion as well. Syncretism is rampant in our world.
3) popularity of a religious belief is in no way evidence of truth.
I don’t know about asking for evidence but I would certainly ask for elaboration if you claimed that Santa Clause is a fantasy.
What do you mean by Santa Claus? Your notion of Santa Claus might very well be different than mine.