What I believe

There are many things that I believe in. I believe that sunsets are beautiful, that love is wonderful, and that rainbows are both beautiful and amazing - especially when you understand the refractive index of a raindrop. For me, understanding such phenomena only enhance their beauty and the wonder that I feel about them. Knowing that love is something that happens in the software of my mind that runs on the wetware of my brain does not diminish the awe I feel over this feeling.

I lack any belief in a deity.

This is a "default" position for me. I have not found sufficient evidence to encourage belief in a deity. That doesn't mean that such evidence doesn't exist, somewhere. As soon as that evidence is presented I'll reevaluate my position. But it is as silly for me to believe in a deity "just in case" as it is for me to put bowls of milk on my doorstep "just in case" Brownies actually exist.

I have also seen that a coherent, falsifiable definition of God is yet to be given, by any religion. So talking about who God is, or what he/she/it wants is premature at best.

I will admit to the chance that our universe could have been created through intelligence.

The philosophers and scientists of the past who have said we were nearing the end of our journey of knowledge were wrong. I see us in the infancy of physics. And some of the infant ideas of physics include the hypothesis that universes are a "zero sum game" of quantum mechanics. That daughter universes can form out of the action of parent universes.

Some physicists have the idea that an intelligent action in one universe can result in the spawning of a daughter universe.

But this is not something we can prove one way or another now. I must admit that we might never be able to prove this idea.

In order, the three things I discuss here are given as atheism, ignosticism, and agnosticism. As you can see, these positions are not mutually exclusive. But they are not weighted the same.

To me evidence is key. I place much less weight on those ideas that lack sufficient evidence. I'm in large part an atheist due to an overwhelming lack of evidence. I'm Ignostic due to a lack of a good definition of deity. And I'm agnostic because I lack evidence that the universe was NOT created. However the evidence that everything in Nature came into existence through natural methods is so overwhelming, that the spot left over for an intelligent creator as described in modern religions is very small. I assign an equally small probability to my agnosticism.

39 comments:

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Well....

If a full-blown naturalism does not eliminate our sense of awe at the universe, then it can never be said to drain existence of meaning, as some partisans on both sides maintain. A personal meaning will always be sought somewhere at the boundaries of experience, even if it stems from a 'default' position like the one you describe.

I conclude (you may found this counter-intuitive) that from both a functional and qualitative point of view this is something akin to religious experience, with or without any implied supernatural baggage. Your mileage might differ on that point.

One of the questions I might ask: just how important is the supernatural, really, to the religious life? Couldn't a sufficiently-powerful entity, or a sufficiently well-crafted Universe be up to the task of operating in an entirely lawful manner? Just because I don't know all the laws doesn't mean that the phenomena I observe shouldn't still be lawful.

We should down a few suds before I go to the Galapagos!

Calladus said...

I very much agree that feeling awe and wonder is something like a religious experience. I accept Shermer's explanation that "religion" is a cultural explanation of the observed world with a possibly evolved component that leads humans to react in a religious manner.

And sure, a sufficiently powerful alien could be seen as being supernatural to us. We may be seen as a force of Nature and a mysterious supernatural power to the ants in our backyard too.

But do you whisper to that any that you are his personal savior? Do you leave him a confusing book of contradictory instructions on how to be a better ant?

Granted you might flood the anthill with a hose, or run over it with your lawnmower. But these actions can happen without you thinking about it.

If you really wanted to wipe out these ants you would more likely do it with some poison from Wal-Mart.

odrareg said...

You say: "I lack any belief in a deity."

Well, that is a belief although a negative belief, but a belief just the same.

But why do you use the term, lack, in regard to no belief in a deity?

Why don't you just say "I don't believe in a deity?"

What kind of -- if I may -- mental acrobatics are you playing with your mind?

Forgive me, but suppose you and I do some intelligent thinking, intelligent knowing, of which the most important component of intelligent thinking is logic.

Nothing to do with belief or as you want to put it, lack of belief, or the opposite, possession of belief.

I am inviting you and me together to do thinking, the intelligent kind of, the intelligent pursuit of knowledge, and of which the most important and critical component is logic.

So, you know that science tells us of the fact that the universe has a beginning, or you have some mental reservations on that fact?

I await your reaction to my inquiry.


Please, I really like to exchange thoughts with you, i.e., intelligent thinking and knowing with you, absolutely nothing to do with belief, lack of or possession of.

I await with zest your response to this comment.

Please do not go away.

Do not go away from us two together engaging ourselves in intelligent thinking and knowing, nothing to do with belief, lack of or possession of.

On the question of the existence of a deity.


Your notice:
"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."

So, please abstain from moderating this comment from yours truly as to prevent it from coming out altogether.



Marius de Jess

Calladus said...

Of course we know that the universe has a beginning. This is shown though evidence.

What do you think this means, we two who are doing "intelligent thinking" together?

Science is also fine with saying, "I don't know". This is a perfectly valid scientific position.

Science is also fine with saying, "There is no evidence for that hypothesis". This is also a perfectly valid scientific position.

If I tell you that there is a tree in my backyard, what is your belief stance in this hypothetical tree? Do you believe in this tree, or do you disbelieve in this tree?

Or do you merely wait, hold off on asserting any sort of belief stance until you learn more about my backyard?

odrareg said...

You say:

"Science is also fine with saying, "I don't know". This is a perfectly valid scientific position.

Science is also fine with saying, "There is no evidence for that hypothesis". This is also a perfectly valid scientific position."

You qualify your words with the phrase, valid scientific position.

Now, that is your habitual mind, to hedge your words.

Like "I lack any belief in a deity."

Why say lack when you in your attitude you mean you don't believe in any deity, period.

Anyway, what do you want to convey with your qualifying phrase, valid scientific position?

Is knowing by logic that is founded on facts established by science, is that a valid scientific position or not?

Perhaps, as I presume you know what you mean by a valid scientific position, and also its opposite an invalid scientific position, will you please give me some examples of instances of knowing of things or ideas or anything at all which are founded on valid scientific position, and examples of knowing not founded on valid scientific position, i.e., founded on invalid scientific position.

What about that the universe has a beginning some 13.8 billion years ago, is that founded on valid scientific position.

And therefore the universe has need of a cause outside itself to get to begin existing, is that founded on a valid scientific position, or what?


By the way, my experience in exchange of thinking and knowing with atheists is that because they maintain that they don't know the answers to certain questions, they take the option of going away from any further exchange of thinking and knowing with me.

I hope you don't take to that routine.

odrareg said...

What exactly are you moderating and to what purpose?

Is this a conversation between civil parties, or what?

Is that the way people with a valid scientific position go about in talking with other people.

What about if you don't think that the message submitted is civil enough for publishing in your blog, you send it back to the author and request him to revise it, as to conform to the objective of expounding ideas rationally and of course civilly, and intelligibly.

Otherwise, you are into hedging all the time; is there no spontaneity with your mind, in that you have to censor it all the time?

Forgive me for this un-invited comment from yours truly, but any person who wants to have a rational, intelligent, and civil exchange of ideas with you will find you to be always hedging your mind, in order that you will not go into taboo-ed areas, taboo-ed by your valid scientific position?

Calladus said...

"Hedge your words" - yes, scientists use cautious language. Absolutes rarely are, so it is smart to not speak in absolutes.

I notice that you didn't answer my question. Do you disbelieve in the tree in my backyard? Do you believe in it? Answering this question will lead you to better understanding my position.

Answering my question will also allow you to learn about "valid scientific positions". What is your "scientific position" about the hypothetical tree in my backyard?

Yes, the "Big Bang" cosmological model of a 13.8 billion year-old universe (give or take a 40 million years) is well supported by evidence. I don't know what you mean by "scientific position" in this instance. Perhaps you could define that?

And therefore the universe has need of a cause outside itself to get to begin existing...

That's a neat question isn't it? Right now, no one knows for sure what started everything. There are lots of hypothesis though. Some even seem to have a little evidence behind them, and might even be testable.

By the way, my experience in talking with people is that if they tell me that nothing will change their minds, it is pretty useless to continue the conversation.

I hope you don't take this route.

Calladus said...

Why do I have blog moderation turned on?  Because of spam.  And sometimes I have aggressive Christians with forms of psychosis write to my blog.  One of these gentlemen told me I had better turn on moderation or else he would use my blog as his billboard.

You'll just have to live with it, because this conversation could be interrupted otherwise.

And yes, Scientists must all accept some limitations in their gatherings, for example, only one person will give a presentation at one time in one room. There are many other such rules that I am sure you would agree are reasonable.

You should read my Comment Moderation Policy. Stay within it, and I'll let your comments go through. Please read the first rule of my comment moderation policy.

"... no spontaneity with your mind..." this comment sounds like nonsense to me. Is that spontaneous enough?

There are places online where you can discuss your ideas with atheists, without fear of any sort of heavy moderation, and without blocking just anyone from jumping in to respond. I would suggest you try Reddit. You can even open your own subreddit, and challenge atheists to go there, with YOU as the moderator. I'll be happy to show you how if you like.

odrareg said...

"I lack any belief in a deity."

Your statement above is the focus of my concern in contributing comments in your blog.

I invite you to talk about knowing or not knowing the reality of a deity, knowing in the sense of intelligent thinking in accordance with logic and the thinking also founded upon facts.

So, please take up a position that is more definite, instead of saying:

"I lack any belief in a deity."

Can you intelligently think to the existence of a deity, thinking according to logic founded on facts?

If you cannot think intelligently to the existence etc., then just say you cannot think intelligently etc., don't say "I lack any belief in a deity."

The logic of your position is that if you cannot think intelligently etc., then you cannot make a logical conclusion to the existence of a deity, insofar as your mastery of logic and facts are concerned.

It does not mean that other humans cannot and therefore do not think intelligently according to logic and facts to the existence of a deity.

So, let me invite you and me to concentrate on thinking intelligently according to logic and facts.

First decide whether you possess intelligence, and logic, and facts, or you do not possess intelligence, and logic, and facts.

If you do not possess intelligence, and logic, and facts as to think intelligently to the existence of a deity, then you can state categorically and definitively that you lack intelligence and logic and facts to conclude to the existence of a deity.

But don't resort to stating that "I lack any belief in a deity."

We are not talking about belief but about intelligent thinking on logic and facts.


Now, you want me to react to your text:

"If I tell you that there is a tree in my backyard, what is your belief stance in this hypothetical tree? Do you believe in this tree, or do you disbelieve in this tree?

Or do you merely wait, hold off on asserting any sort of belief stance until you learn more about my backyard?"

I had intentionally chosen to not react to your text because it is not the right way to talk about the difference between intelligent thinking founded on logic and facts versus believing.

The fact is that trees exist and we can both approach a tree and experience its existence, so why say "If I tell you that there is a tree in my backyard etc."


Let us both focus on your statement:

"I lack any belief in a deity."

And let us both talk not in hypotheticals but on thinking intelligently according to logic and facts.

Let me ask you, do you have the intelligence to think according to logic and facts to the existence of a deity.


PS
your code to filter out robots in the shaded box is still overly difficult to make out; please render the code text bigger and no need to have the whole box shaded.

If I may, ask your friends and family members whether you are making it overly difficult for readers to make out what your code texts are -- for filtering out robots.

Regards.

Calladus said...

I had intentionally chosen to not react to your text because it is not the right way to talk about the difference between intelligent thinking founded on logic and facts versus believing.

I'm sorry, but belief in my tree, (and you assert trees do exist) is quite relevant to the discussion. If you cannot answer this question intelligently, then I'm afraid we will not be able to continue this discussion logically.

PS, I don't write code for Blogger. You are stuck with the captcha that you get.

paarsurrey said...

@ Calladus :

"I lack any belief in a deity.

This is a "default" position for me. I have not found sufficient evidence to encourage belief in a deity."

I don't get you. Were you an Atheist when you gained consciousness as a child, as far as you remember?

Please

Calladus said...

My earliest memories were full of magic, wonder and fear.

I was scared to death of the "Bumble", from the Christmas animation, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

I was also pretty scared of monsters and ghosts - I'd read about them in "Tales from the Crypt" comics that my older teenage neighbor liked to read.

And, I thought that butterflies were magical - we were in the middle of the Monarch butterfly migration path, and our yard would be filled with them every year.

I don't remember much about Church at this age, because I'd go to the Pre-kindergarten child care when Mom and Dad went to church. I played with the blocks there and built things with them.

As a child, I'd have my father check under my bed and in my closet for monsters, and I'd have my mom leave the hallway light on.

So if you are claiming that my "default position" is whatever I believed as a child, then it would be about Bumbles, ghosts and monsters.

But no deities. I just didn't think about them.

Calladus said...

I think I see a pattern here. People think that "Belief" is some sort of binary logic. Sort of like computer logic, that is either 1 or 0, or "True" or "False".

And what is funny, is that binary logic isn't even true with computers. There is a Third State, known as "Tri-state" or "Hi-Z", which are both fancy ways of saying, "Disconnected".

I don't have a belief that a deity exists. I don't have a belief that a deity does NOT exist. I don't bother with believing, or disbelieving.

Instead, I'm disconnected from belief in a deity.

As are you, dear reader, about a great many things.

For example you are disconnected from belief in Trugs. You don't believe in a Trug, you don't disbelieve in a Trug.

And if I informed you that a Trug was a supernatural creature, you might still not form a belief stance on Trugs. After all, why bother? It doesn't affect you one way or another.

No matter what I say about a Trug, you are unaffected unless I can bring some sort of convincing evidence.

paarsurrey said...


@Calladus :18/2/14 10:54 AM

"So if you are claiming that my 'default position' is whatever I believed as a child, then it would be about Bumbles, ghosts and monsters."

I wanted to know the original position or the original default position since you got consciousness of existence of life.I don't think you would have described your position as Atheism at that time.

Am I right?

From: http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/

Calladus said...

No, I would not have described my "position" as atheism at the age of 4 or 5.

Who would?

Please, tell me what child would describe ANYTHING as their life philosophy at the age of 4 or 5?

Maybe you know of a child prodigy?

paarsurrey said...

@ Calladus:18/2/14 1:30 PM
"No, I would not have described my "position" as atheism at the age of 4 or 5"

May be I could not express my thoughts properly.

There must be a first stage at which you would have been able to name it as Atheism.

At what age this happened?

Before it; it was not Atheism.

Calladus said...

I started a self-guided course of comparative religion at the age of 32, in 1995.

I started questioning my own religion in 2000, at the age of 36.

By 2001 I was an atheist.

In 2002, I started an atheist organization. I was 39.

Before I was atheist, I was Christian.

Is this what you wanted to know?

paarsurrey said...

Calladus said:19/2/14 4:13 PM

"I started a self-guided course of comparative religion at the age of 32, in 1995." Unquote

Thanks for your reply.

I appreciate your search for truth; for which you started a self-guided course of comparative religion/s. Naturally, you would have not included Atheism in your study as they (the Atheists) don't consider that they are a "religion" in any meaning of the world.

Please confirm that you did not include Atheism in your comparative study. Did you? Please.

The second point is ; what principle did you adopt for your comparative study of religions (excluding Atheism)?

What religions did you study, intensively, and from what sources?

I think all above are very reasonable questions.

Calladus said...

Naturally, you would have not included Atheism in your study

I included reading about the American Secular Union, and about Humanism, both secular and spiritual.

These groups have quite a lot of insight in religion.

I consider "religion" to be a hypothetical world view. And like any hypothesis, it can be tested.

I studied Greek and Roman religions in high school, and still read them from time to time.

In my deconversion study, I studied Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christian Science, Scientology, The Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, Calvinism, the Brethren (Roberts), Calvary Chapel, the Unification Church, and the Branch Davidians. There are probably some cults in there that I don't remember.

Since then, I've added Hindu, Sikhism, Taoism, the The Tibetan Book of the Dead, several cults of personality (Rupert Sheldrake, David Barton, James Dobson, and Tony Perkins for example), Family International, and I'm sure I've left out several.

Currently I'm re-reading apologist William Lane Craig. And I've just started an apologist that is new to me, David Berlinski. I like that Craig works against both Calvinism and CS Lewis. Berlinski seems to work against Jonathan Wells.

Matthew Henry is my favorite Bible Commentary. There doesn't seem to be as much Islamic Quran Commentary - maybe it is hazardous?

Calladus said...

Completely forgot, I should add Islam in my "since then" study.

paarsurrey said...

"The second point is ; what principle did you adopt for your comparative study of religions (excluding Atheism)?"


I appreciate your study of different denomination of Christianity and other religion; yet I would ask the above question. Please

Calladus said...

The "principle" that I started out with in my course of study was that God was real and Jesus is his son.

That's what I believed when I started my study.

The other "principle" that I tried to hold was to just learn all that I could.

Is that what you are asking me, or have I misunderstood your question?

paarsurrey said...

@Calladus : 22/2/14 7:48 PM

"The "principle" that I started out with in my course of study was that God was real and Jesus is his son."

We will first discuss you first principle that you have mentioned in you post.

We find that this principle is not valid for other religions; Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses did not mention that Jesus was son of God. So this sentence is not valid as a principle of research or criteria of search into the religion in the absolute sense.

I think with your study of Christianity you would have found that Jesus did not mention that he was a son of God in literal and physical terms in unequivocal words.

So, even Jesus never agreed with this statement or principle. Your study of religions notwithstanding, I think, it is not valid as a measure/standard/criteria of search or research of truth in religion/s.

So, I think, your comparative study of religions does not make a comparison of them, not at all, to find the Truth.

It was a wrong principle so it has in fact no bearing on religion.

Am I reasonable? Please

Calladus said...

Yes, Jesus did affirm that he was the son of God. Matt 11:27, 16:15-16, Mark 14:61, and John 5:23-26, among other places.

I'm sorry that your premise is incorrect.

So this sentence is not valid as a principle of research or criteria of search into the religion in the absolute sense.

So what? You realize that I started this study to confirm that my Christian beliefs were true, but instead it did the opposite. It confirmed that they were no different from the cults and religions that I studied.

You realize that I started with the belief that Christianity was true, and I was going to confirm this as True. I did not go into my study unbiased, or with a scientific purpose.

In fact, while I was Christian, I never wanted to become an atheist, and took this position reluctantly, after my studies showed it to be false.

paarsurrey said...

@ Calladus:23/2/14 5:31 PM

I take your first quote of the Bible:

Matt 11:27

[26] Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. [27] All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him. [28] Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. [29] Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. [30] For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

http://www.drbo.org/chapter/47011.htm

Jesus was talking in parables and metaphors; as could be ascertained from the words “all you that labour”, “burdened”, “refresh”, “Take up my yoke”; so the words “Father” and “Son” are not literal but should be taken in symbolic form.

Now, here, you should reflect that you took a wrong view of Christianity; which is only a misnomer only because it teaches the teachings of Paul and Church and has nothing to do with the real teachings of Jesus.

You rejected the total picture of Christianity being irrational; and irrational it is for sure; this is because its many tenets that were invented by Paul and collaborated by the Church were irrational.

The interpretation of your research is wrong; the total could not be wrong if many of its components were not wrong.

Your study of Christianity is intact; but you could not ascertain right in it from the wrong in it, only because you could not think of a true principle that could have lead you to the correct conclusion.

Calladus said...

No, Jesus was being quite literal here, as is evidenced by the multiple times that he referenced God as his father.

Sorry that you have an incorrect understanding of the Bible. It's as if your understanding has been tainted by some sort of other cult re-interpretation.

Are you a member of a religion other than Christianity? Because that would explain your willful misunderstanding.

paarsurrey said...

Do you believe that Jesus was a god or son of god?

I think you don't believe.

Just access my blog ; it is written very clearly "I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim"; the link is given below:

http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/

Calladus said...

Do you believe that Jesus was a god or son of god?

I think you don't believe.


Of course I don't believe in Christianity. As I've said in this blog, I'm an atheist.

But that isn't a good reason for not understanding Christian beliefs. I should be able to entertain a thought seriously without accepting it.

At the same time, I think that Muḥammad was nothing more than a man. A man just like Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard, who found that he could use a religious infrastructure to create power for himself when other social structures didn't.

Calladus said...

The problem is that Islam believes that Jesus was just another prophet in a line of prophets that ends in Muhammad. The idea that there is more than one deity, or that there is a "Holy Spirit", is heresy to Islam.

Islam accepts those parts of the bible that agrees with the Quran, and does not accept those parts that do not agree.

You MUST take the Godhood of Jesus as a "parable", even though it is obvious that Jesus in the bible is speaking literally. You MUST believe this to be a parable, or else you are forced to accept that Muhammad has lied. And since you are Islamic, you cannot believe this without destroying your principle beliefs.

When you ask me "what principle did you adopt" in my study, you are trying to discover how I am biased.

But you are indeed biased, your "principle" in the study of the bible is that the parts of it that don't agree with your Islamic bias are automatically wrong, and should be reinterpreted until it does agree, or dismissed as a "parable".

I used to be Christian. I can argue the bible from a Christian point of view. But I still believe it is merely mythology.

I am reading the Quran, and some Hadith literature. I am eager to read Islamic apologetics. But everything that I've read so far demonstrates to me that humans have just as much evidence of Muhammad's miracles, as they do the miracles of Joseph Smith.

In fact, I see Muhammad and Joseph Smith as brothers in the same sort of scam on humanity. They have both invented a religion that brings them either power, or wealth, or both.

paarsurrey said...

@Calladus : 25/2/14 9:21 PM: 26/2/14 8:07 AM

I was not even implying at that.

I know that you are an atheist, not a Christian.

My point was that though you studied Christianity intensively and other religions not up-to that level; yet your study of or research of revealed religions was impaired only because you did not have a right tool or principle of comparative study of religions ; and then you all of a sudden decided to become an Atheist, just for convenience.

I had suggested you to read a book “THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 1835-1908- the Promised Messiah; I again give its link below:

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

This was an essay written by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 1835-1908 read at a conference of great religions held at Lahore in the then British India, in the year 1896.

The very first sentence of the essay reads “It is necessary that a claim and the reasons in support of it must be set forth from a revealed book.”

I use to describe it as a “Golden rule for comparative study of revealed religions”; and this principle is explained in the next two pages by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

Quote:
“In this auspicious Conference the purpose of which is that those who have been invited to participate in it should expound the merits of their respective religions with reference to the questions that have been formulated. I shall today set forth the merits of Islam.

Before I proceed to do so I deem it proper to announce that I have made it obligatory upon myself that whatever I state will be based upon the Holy Quran which is the Word of God Almighty.

I consider it essential that everyone who follows a book, believing it to be revealed, should base his exposition upon that book and should not so extend the scope of his advocacy of his faith as if he is compiling a new book.

As it is my purpose today to establish the merits of the Holy Quran and to demonstrate its excellence, it is incumbent upon me not to state anything which is not comprehended in the Quran and to set forth everything on the basis of its verses and in accord with their meaning and that which might be inferred from them, so that those attending the Conference should encounter no difficulty in carrying out a comparison between the teachings of different religions.

As all those who believe in a revealed book will also confine themselves to statements comprised in their respective revealed books, I shall not make any reference to the traditions of the Holy Prophet, inasmuch as all true traditions are only derived from the Holy Quran which is a perfect book comprehending all other books.

In short this is the day of the manifestation of the glory of the Holy Quran and I humbly beseech God Almighty to assist me in this undertaking. Amin. “ Unquote

Had one known this principle before; I think one’s decision would have been different.

One is welcome to try it now; if one pleases.

paarsurrey said...

Hi Calladus

How are you?

Calladus said...

Just had some stitches due to cutting my hand open. Also busy with spring planting and long hours at work.

Don't worry, I'll get to you.

Calladus said...

I didn’t become an atheist for my own “convenience” – I really did NOT want to be an atheist.

However, an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in a deity due to lack of evidence, or who disbelieves in deities due to evidence. I’m NOT the sort of atheist that believes evidence exists to prove that deities are impossible. I AM the sort of atheist who has discovered (against my will) that there is NO evidence that deities exist. Once someone provides me evidence that a deity exists, I will re-evaluate my position. And any insinuation that I am an atheist because it is “convenient” is just as insulting as me insinuating that followers of Islam do so merely because it allows them to have several wives at once.

I’ve downloaded the Kindle version of the book you recommend from the Islamic heretic Ghulam Ahmad. I find it interesting that he proclaimed himself divine. I think I’ll find the book fascinating in the same way that I find the hundreds of different branches of Christianity fascinating. When different sects of the same religion denounce each other as “false” – this is evidence against that religion, not for it.

Are you Ahmadi? Or Lahoris?

You claim that since I lacked something in my study of religions (a “tool or principle”) that my deconversion from Christianity and my assertion that there is no evidence for God is false. Let’s examine this statement.

From your quote, let’s look at this sentence: “I consider it essential that everyone who follows a book, believing it to be revealed,”

I now think I understand what you mean by “tool or principle”. If I started my study of religions based upon the principle that the Qur’an is “revealed”, I would have then found the one true religion. Unfortunately, that religion would most likely have been mainstream Islam, and not based upon an Islamic heresy that suffered a schism almost immediately after Ghulam Ahmad’s death.

There is a reason why I can’t consider the “principle” that the Qur’an is special in any way.

I believe that the Qur’an was written in the same sort of fashion, and for the same purpose, as the Book of Mormon. It was used to create a religious structure that vastly benefited the creator of that book – Muhammad. And it did benefit him. For the first 40 years of his life he was an unimportant merchant and shepherd. After his so called “visit from Gabriel” and “revelation from Allah”, he started preaching and gathering a following. Perhaps Muhammad’s followers were gullible – I prefer to think that they just didn’t know any better, and that they were used to thinking “magically”.

In much the same way that Joseph Smith did, Muhammad created an alternative social structure with him as the head of the hierarchy. This system allowed him to bypass the governmental bureaucracy of his time, and it allowed him to bypass any sort of meritocracy. Instead, he gained great power through an invented religious structure.

There is nothing “revealed” about the Qur’an that is any more “revealed” in the Book of Mormon.
If you want me to believe that the Qur’an (or the Bible, or the Book of Mormon) is holy, divinely inspired, or in any way something other than the entire creation of a human (or humans), you will first have to demonstrate evidence that a deity exists. Then you will have to demonstrate that this deity is interested in writing, creating, or in any way inspiring a human to create a book.

I take this position is because I have zero evidence that deities create books, and a great deal of overwhelming evidence that books are created by humans.

This is what I learned in my comparative study of religions – books are created by humans. And humans have motives to create books.

Calladus said...

Ah Paarsury, I see from your bio that you are an Ahmadi, and not Lahoris. What "principle" do you follow to choose a sect?

paarsurrey said...

@Calladus :13/3/14 9:13 AM

The book I suggested you is available free online; I provided the link; I give it again.

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

Calladus said...

I downloaded it via Kindle, as I've already said. That means that I have it on my computer, my cell phone, and my Kindle e-book reader.

Amazon has it on Kindle, for free, since it is out of copyright.

Calladus said...

Here's the Amazon link to, "The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam", so you can download it as an ebook too.

paarsurrey said...

@ Calladus

Did you finish the book “The philosophy of teachings of Islam” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?

Regards

Calladus said...

Have you proven that the Quran is a "Revealed" book, and not merely written by a person?