Atheism in the USVI
Where does it say that, or are you just trying to be cute?
(OF THE ETHICAL ATHEIST)
NOTE: Freethought and tolerance obviously prohibit these from being "commandments"! Just consider them "suggestions".
1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thou art told.
2. Thou SHALT seek knowledge and truth constantly.
3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science.
4. Thou SHALT NOT forget the atrocities committed in the name of god.
5. Thou SHALT leave valuable contributions for future generations.
6. Thou SHALT live in peace with thy fellow man.
7. Thou SHALT live this one life thou hast to its fullest.
8. Thou SHALT follow a Personal Code of Ethics.
9. Thou SHALT maintain a strict separation between Church and State.
10. Thou SHALT support those who follow these commandments.
Get god out of our government! Keep superstition in the churches where it belongs.
Thanks for the response... my thoughts below:
"I suspect you see these things as and end, we see them as a means to honor God." This is why I think many don't really mind religion, even if they don't agree with it. In many ways the religious doctrines promote the same stewardship as atheists have. Unfortunately, it leads many religious folks to believe that they're somehow better than others, and therefore, for some reason they're allowed to redefine stewardship (ie, recently "there's no global warming... only God can destroy the Earth"). As far as your thought on ends vs means. I don't think atheists see art, math, music, etc as Gods that need to be honored the way religious folks feel they need to honor a God. I can't really add anything more on this topic... I really don't mind religious folks being stewards as long as they attempt to follow the "spirit" on their doctrine. I understand that man is not perfect (atheist or religious). But, that is also what scares me about churches in general... someone is trying to say that they understand the doctrine, and they're asking people to have faith in them (it might be implied... but, it's implied); and if people believe enough that they are imperfect, they tend to follow the head of the church. When they decide to stop thinking, and only have "faith"... that's when the trouble starts. I'm guessing that you'd fully agree with this... it does not condemn religion at all, it recognizes the fraility of man.
I'm probably reading your reply incorrectly, because it sounds like you're saying that you HAVE to be perfect, but the Bible tells you that you can't be perfect! Yikes, that's a pretty tough game to win, isn't it? I'm guessing that maybe the new Bible(s?) says how you can do the right thing; and that you don't have to be perfect. So, as has been said already, atheists don't need a Bible to understand what is right or wrong. And the lack of a Bible doesn't make anarchy inevitable. I have a hard time understanding that someone as intelligent as yourself can't understand how atheists can have purpose in life... I must be missing something.
There is one statement that you made that makes me think that religious folks maybe don't understand the concept of randomness:
"Can it be random if God exists? If there is one errant molecule in creation, then God is not God".
This suggests that you think randomness is an error. I don't understand what leads you to that concept. There is no error in randomness. Man can make errors in randomness (like flipping a coin that has a weight on one side that biases the outcome of the coin flipping experiment), but "randomness" has no inherent error. So, in my mind, God could have created the universe according to random processes: random interactions of energy+matter+time will occur and result in things useful or not, and, given enough time, may even result in something we call life. Am I missing something, or have I maybe misinterpreted your statement?
BTW, it's not clear to me that monkeys won't one day evolve to the point that they indeed can type out Shakespeare (maybe their genetic makeup has not allowed them to evolve as fast as humans have). And, dogs might or might not evolve into cats; but there is a fair amount of evidence that they both evolved from the same branch of the evolutionary tree. I can't see the whole evolutionary path from ape to man; and there have been known incorrect (and perhaps purposely misleading) groupings of fossil bones to create incorrect fossil dinosaurs; but you have to admit there are a remarkable number of variations of ancient man and animals that make a pretty compelling case for evolution. I just don't understand why this can't be seen as the work of God.
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking by "why so?"... can you be more specific?
And, although I am so far very impressed with Obama, I really was referring to us as a society that can one day treat a race of people as only worthy of slavery, and then all of a sudden allow someone from that same race to lead our country... society has evolved based on a seemingly random set of events. Another example: who could have predicted the internet 100 years ago... but as a result, our society has evolved (internet forums are a random idea; the iPhone is a random idea; etc). Our technology has evolved; our legal system has evolved to deal with our changing society. Economics has evolved to deal with the way information now moves... does this make any sense?
It's interesting to me how some disagreements, like that between theists and atheists, are timeless:
And do you think that unto such as you,
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew,
God gave the secret, and denied it me?
Well, well, what matters it! believe that too.
--Omar Khayyam, 1048 AD -- 1123 AD, Neyshapur, Iran
All this repore is so interesting to me. My position is based on my experience, my perception. I think I said before that I would wrap my spirit around a religion if t would stop the questions in my mind, the riddles I create and solve and the ones I cant I can usually rationalize away. Being a product of the 1960's 70's I have felt that I have been a teeny tiny weenie part of the voice that helped us evolve from the post WWII era into the yes we can effect change. Our society is so fluid today, kids, at an early age have a;ready asked the questions and formulated their own reality. You learn what you are taught.
I so wish that there was a religion or philosophy that I could embrace that in any moments of despair, grief or indecision would lead me through the maze and as I said I genuinely admire anyone who possesses this feeling of wholeness and surity, like antiqueone.
Yes I have labeled my self as an atheist but I have taken off other labels and shed them. Is this like evolution but of the brain?
Science and logic gives me steps to put my feet on. Reality presents itself every day at 5:45Am. The path I walk doesn't have many other travelers, but I so feel it is right. The whole ball of wax is to find a purpose, treat everyone better than you expect to be treated and don't count on an afterlife or salvation because the end may really be the end..
EngRMP: thank you so much for your posts. I fully agree with your 1st paragraph: Christians are called to be good stewards of all that God has given us. It really frustrates me to see how much that can be twisted by people who have their own personal agendas and just use the church toward their own ends. But, the Bible is the standard. No one man (or woman) can be the litmus test of "right or wrong" When people leave their brains at the door of the church, problems arise and that is not what is meant by "having faith".
Your 2nd paragraph relates to Biblical doctrine: That is the dilemma--we are called to a standard of perfection that we cannot possibly reach, but it is in the pursuit and failure that we realize our need for salvation. (sorry about the "religious" word, but I couldn't think of a better one!) This failure is what leads us to the gift that Christ offers freely. The Bible says that "It is by grace you have been saved....not by works." I must take back that anarchy statement. I see now that atheists can and do have purpose and meaning in life. But what sustains them when the chips are down? How do you deal with disaster upon disaster and hold your head up high? How do you deal with the loss of several close relatives at once without losing it?
3rd paragraph: errant means "wandering", not "full of error". I believe God is the artist of all creation and like any artist, directs where every paint stroke goes on the canvas. (except some of those modern artist that just throw their paint at the canvas!) Random, to me, means accidental and without purpose. If all of existence is random and without purpose (see the paragraph above) then why, all of a sudden, do atheists think there is a purpose?
4th: It's not about monkeys evolving. I just can't believe that modern day common macaques, even a million of them with a million typewriters would not accidentally type random letters and produce the works of Shakespeare. Doesn't matter to me how many eons they type! If you can believe they might do that, then more power to ya! While electricity beamed into a flask of gases and primordial ooze does produce amino acids I don't see it becoming alive or intelligent. I think there was (is) a designer creating life.
I figured you'd agree with the complaint about churches and blind faith... you definitely seem like someone who is carefully thinking this through. I really enjoy the fact that you can articulate your position and are willing to take the time to help others understand your point of view instead of just standing on a "soapbox".
What sustains atheists when the chips are down? Interesting question. If you understand the beauty of the simplicity of chance/randomness then you realize that statistically both good and bad will happen. And, now we get into "natural selection" which is what makes randomness so cool (and I would argue a wonderful choice for a God to make for creation). When the biologically weak are culled, it makes room for another biological possibility. This is the scientific equivalent concept of "heaven", in a sense.... it's larger than ourselves as individuals. I'm not saying that we don't feel profound sadness over the loss of loved ones, but there is a sense of a "greater good". IE. I don't want to live forever... I enjoy the concept of constant change (with natural selection) that will make things better for future beings. I'm enjoying my time in the Sun, but I see that I should make room for change, eventually.
See, I think you're still missing the beauty of randomness when you say "Random, to me, means accidental and without purpose". It's like you're saying 0 is not a number because it's "nothing". I believe that there could be a God, who would be the artist of all creation, and the art that God chose is randomness. I'll create the basics of color, introduce energy and time and let these combine according to rules of color, energy and time. Energy is the engine of change; material ("color" in the artistic analogy) is what gets changed; and time allows all of this to play out forever(?) and happen at different rates. Randomness (lacking any bias) allows all possible change to have equal chance, and then of course evolution suggests that natural selection will cull out what is useful change and what is not. That to me seems like a process worthy of a God who has purpose... doesn't it?
And, I've recently thought about "choice" in the religious setting. I think you say:
- God created everything
- the Bible says how to live
- but, God gave you choice
To me, your "choice" sounds very close to evolutionary "natural selection". You make choices when random events happen that require choice. The choices that you make change you for the good (if you choose wisely). If the creation of everything was with a purpose and everything happens for a reason, then everything is pre-determined, isn't it... or, why do you need "choice"? If everything is not pre-determined, then are we saying that God created the universe but then let it run on it's own... if so, then isn't evolution a viable way to let it run on it's own?
OK, I understand your million typing monkeys idea now. Actually, statistics (a mathematical language that can be used to describe randomness) says that it's not "impossible", it just has a VERY low probability compared to more common monkey activities (now, if you keep a monkey alive for a million years... but that's a different question). Similarly, humans don't spontaneously and randomly pop out of goop. Instead, there are a series of smaller baby steps that occur at random times, random energy levels and random mixes of material.
BTW, I decided to do a little research on the evolution from God question. It seems that many have asked this question before so I'm trying to find a reasonable answer to consider. So far, it seems that some Christians seem to think that yes, God made evolution (I think this is a dangerous stance for Christians because of the question of the soul). I haven't seen a Christian argument against evolution that seems to hold any water yet. I'm still looking. Believe it or not, as a scientist, I'm still open to the idea of a God, but, like I said before, I'm not sure I really care one way or the other (I have a tough time believing the fire and brimstone picture).
If it makes people feel better to believe in god or santa claus or pink unicorns then good for them. However there are many reasons to marginalize religion in our society. It has a tremendous adverse effect on mankind. Just the idea of believing strongly in something which has no basis in the natural world undermines the definition of truth and fact. Isn't there a single truth? Truth is not different for different people. Either there is a god or not. Either the flying spaghetti monster exists or he doesn't. You can either seek the truth as scientists do or you can wallow in fantasy.
To say that god exists but I can't prove it in the real world, you have to wait until you die to prove it, this is absurd and undermines reasonable thought.
If you haven't watched it, this is a great series, available on youtube. It is a great explanation for why religion is so destructive. Not just christianity but all religion.
As I get older I realize I know less and less about the world in which I live....
It sure would be nice to have something to sustain me in my down days...
If one of you believers can explain this question to me WITHOUT using circular logic you just might have another on your side.
If there was nothing at all and god created us out of nothing, where was god? Where did she come from?
Now telling me "always was and always will be" is circular and not a rational explanation of anything..
Let the splaining begin........
I believe that we are the only intelligent life in the universe that we are currently aware of. The odds are that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe but there is no conclusive proof that we have had contact with them. I completely support SETI Institute and their scientific search for extraterrestrial life.
I hope that if we ever do make contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life we can conduct ourselves as reasonable intelligent beings and not hostile, superstitious primitive creatures. I believe that if we do make contact that they would respect us more if we greet them with a natural curiosity to learn more about them instead of falling on our knees and worshiping them as gods.
This is a totally different kind of believing than believing in a god. The idea that other intelligent beings exist in other places in the universe is not a great leap of faith. It is an intellectual exercise based on the fact that we exist and based on the probability that other planets exist which could possibly develop life. And as I said, I am not aware that there is any proof of their existence. I am certainly not living my life differently based on the chance that we may someday encounter extraterrestrial intelligence. And I am certainly not teaching children that ET's are a certainty and that they should expect to encounter them during their lifetime.
I am not aware of any proof that supernatural beings exist. No ghosts, no angels, no unicorns, no flying spaghetti monsters and no gods. So if you are saying that there is no proof that god exists but that it is OK to teach children that it is a certainty that god exists then I see the two as drastically different. Based on the fact that there is no proof of god the best that you could say is that primitive peoples sometime invent supernatural beings to explain things that they do not understand.
Are you an atheisist or a beliver?
What religion should you be?
Again, I do not believe in any religion, but believe in God, in a Deistic sense. I cannot explain, nor do I believe science can explain what happened before the (perhaps multiple) big bang. I know this sucks as a explanation, but it is what I believe.
There must be intelligent alien races. I truly believe we are not unique. I look at animals and see their emotions, and this is the reason why I believe we are not unique.
God is far beyond what we can understand, and is inherently not male or female, but both, and neither.
OK, here I go off on a tangent. I think this is model for how the underling universe works - criticize it as you will:
Laws of Creation:
Do not Create what has been - Nothing
Do not Create what exists - Is
Do not Create what will be - Everything
Joining of Chaos and Creation:
Chaos Drives Creation to Create
Creation Drives Chaos to Destroy
Method of Chaos:
Nothing is the Reason for Everything
Formula for Reason: =
All formulas can be reduced to: =
Zero = Infinity
This is a system of paradox, where Everything and Nothing is both true and false, and everything can be reversed.
The Creator is Reason.
I don't understand the need to bring the supernatural into it. There are many things about the origin of the universe that we don't understand. An will probably never understand. But why create a supernatural entity to credit with the origin of the universe. As far as I am aware there is no evidence for supernatural beings yet man has seen the need to create various gods through out history. I think that it is simply a legacy of our primitive origins.
Yes, there are things that we don't understand but there is no evidence that they have supernatural origins. The more science understands and explains the more marginalized religion will become.
Eng RMP: I worry a bit about your idea that the weak are culled and thus we evolve. If that is true, why are we keeping diabetics, hemophiliacs and schizophrenics alive so they can reproduce? Isn’t that completely irrational? As to living forever, if that meant existing on this earth, I would agree with you that it wouldn’t be something I would desire. But I don’t think that’s the plan.
Careful reading of the Bible indicates that there is something much greater awaiting us. A new Heaven and a new Earth with “glorified” bodies…..I see it like trying to tell caterpillars that soon they will become something much greater than what they are now…..and getting the caterpillars to trust enough to build a cocoon when all the caterpillar wants to do is go and eat leaves. There could be a randomness to God’s creation as you suggest, but I don’t think there is. I believe He has a goal in mind and is bringing us to that point. Yes, the idea of “Choice” in Christian doctrine does sound like natural selection.
Romans 8-28-30 talks about predestination and has been a point of confusion and debate since Paul wrote it. My take is that God, existing outside of time and space, sees all of creation at once. He knows what each of us will choose while we finite beings do not. We have choice and it can appear random while in fact it is not. "Child do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue one?" gives the child "choice" while not pointing out that the child MUST wear a shirt!
Rotorhead: when are you going to realize that just because you can’t touch, taste, smell, feel or hear something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and doesn’t mean that it currently is affecting you? We can’t feel the effects of the moon’s gravity, but it does affect the tides, doesn’t it.? Earlier Europeans thought the giraffe was a complete figment of someone’s drunken imagination….until someone brought one back to Europe. Open your mind a bit, I say. There is profound evidence for the existence of God. If the God of the Bible really exists, wouldn’t it be wise to find out who He is and what, exactly, he wants with us?
Most people do not reject the idea of there being a Creator Being. Rather, thye reject the idea of there being a Creator Being who demands morality from His creation. In order to clear their consciences and relieve themselves of guilt, they reject the idea of God as the only source of absolute morality. Doing so allows atheists to live however they choose—as morally or immorally as they desire—with no feelings of guilt for their refusal to be accountable to God.