Could an Atheist handle a proof of God?

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Postby Dustmundo » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:10 am

I would absolutely be convinced if there were sufficient evidence to believe. The problem is what would constitute evidence for the existence of a god? I can't say I am qualified to answer that question.

Most theists wouldn't believe me if I was to say I wish there were evidence for the existence of a god. I wouldn't have to feel like such an outsider to the rest of the world.
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Postby DallasHeathen » Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:31 am

They way I look at it, I would be *thrilled* to find out that psychic phenomena really exist, that people can talk to dead relatives, that souls continue to exist after bodily death, or that there is a God. It would truly be a wondrous event to have any of these proved - it would turn our understanding of science upside-down!

It's just that I require evidence to believe something, because if you don't require evidence, there are infinitely many hypothetical things that you could believe in.
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Postby donnyton » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:44 am

Dawkins once said during his debate with John Lennox

[parapharased]

"What Dr. Lennox described is what it would be NICE to have. It would be NICE if the world was completely designed just for us. It would be NICE if there was a supreme being watching over us. But what we need to be focused on is the truth, how the universe really is."
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Re: Could an Atheist handle a proof of God?

Postby Naked4Jesus » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:35 am

Mu wrote:In the general forum is a post on "do atheist believe?" and that got me thinking: Could atheism survive a "proof" of the existence of a higher being? Is the non-existence of a God required for atheism to work, or could it work just as well under the "there might be a God but I don't care" attitude?


First, define "higher being" or "god" in a manner consistant with your beliefs then I can answer more specifically. Not everyone has the same concept of a god, some believe in more than one, and even more importantly what type of proof are we discussing? Proof in what sense?
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Postby RilianSharp » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:20 am

Kathy_4 wrote:A statement from Kurt Godel said something like that "This statement cannot be proved true" If the statement is false, then it is a contradiction. If the statement is true then it can't be proven at all.
If assuming it's false leads to a contradiction, then it's true.
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Postby Infidel » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:10 am

Yikes! You responded to a 4.5 year old post!
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Postby RilianSharp » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:56 pm

Infidel wrote:Yikes! You responded to a 4.5 year old post!
You seem to be implying that that's dangerous.
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Postby Infidel » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:04 am

RilianSharp wrote:
Infidel wrote:Yikes! You responded to a 4.5 year old post!
You seem to be implying that that's dangerous.


Indeed it is! It tends to promote the concept of resurrection.
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Postby BunniRabbi » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:50 am

I keep getting hung up on the idea of what the proof could be. Even a being claiming the identity of God openly and committing miracle after miracle would still receive so much skepticism, even from believers, it's hard to say it would ever be considered settled.

If we ignore that point, though it's hard to do, I still think most people, of all persuasions, wouldn't be swayed. A few people, the very, very self-honest might change their views, but I can't even say for sure if I could really believe I could tell the difference between a false god and a real one.

Sans_Deity wrote:[ Atheism is the lack of belief in a god, that's it.

No, that's just weak (non-positivist) atheism. Strong or Positivist Atheism is the stance that there are no gods, not just the lack of belief, as per the Iron Chariots page on the subject.

Infidel wrote:
RilianSharp wrote:
Infidel wrote:Yikes! You responded to a 4.5 year old post!
You seem to be implying that that's dangerous.


Indeed it is! It tends to promote the concept of resurrection.


:D
If they tell you there is no such thing as truth, ask them if that statement is true or false.
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Postby MAtheist » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:58 am

A little off topic here, so sorry, but an atheist is someone that lacks a belief in a god. Just as Matt said in your quote ...
Sans_Deity wrote:
[ Atheism is the lack of belief in a god, that's it.

How strongly you lack a belief would be strong or weak atheism. After all, I believe he wrote the Iron Chariots page on the subject himself. I have heard Matt use that answer many times in order to show there is no dogma to atheism.

Back on topic, if I understand correctly what the question in the original post was, then my answer is yes. If there is a god, and I am shown proof, whatever that turns out to be, I would have no problem accepting it. What my actions would be after that though, I can not say. That would depend on the attributes of what god had been proven, or had proven him/her/itself to me.
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Postby BunniRabbi » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:38 pm

MAtheist wrote:... an atheist is someone that lacks a belief in a god.


You may want to check that page again. As it explains, strong and weak atheism don't have to do with the potency of conviction, just weather there is a conviction or a lack of it. It's actually an important point, because many atheists aren't clear on the term, and that weakens our arguments.
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Postby MAtheist » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:31 am

Exactly my point. Where a strong atheist would say they believe there are no gods, a weak atheist would say they don't believe in any gods. Atheism is not the claim that there are no gods, and would argue that "the stance that there are no gods" as you put it could then be misleading.

The Iron Chariots page on Strong Atheism starts with "Strong atheism is the positive belief that no god exists," and goes on to explain that "the idea of a god is logically contradictory and therefore cannot exist as most theists define the word," so it is a position of belief.

I may have oversimplified in my last post, so I apologize, but I find that many theists have a misconception of atheism. I have heard "how do you know there is no god" and similar statements so many times that I like to make it clear that atheism is a statement of belief, or lack of belief as it were.

On the other hand, maybe we can bring life back to a 4 year old thread. If there is a god, he/she/or it should know how to provide me with proof, so I see no reason to get hung up on what that proof might be. We are talking god here, some all-powerful being shouldn't have trouble with that, right?
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Postby BunniRabbi » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:20 pm

Perhaps I'm not being clear. The page you are referring to does state positivist atheism the way you phrased it, but disagrees on non-positivist atheism.

When you said "a strong atheist would say they believe there are no gods, a weak atheist would say they don't believe in any gods.", you're either missing the distinction, or phrasing it such that it appears so.

Let's say the existence of god(s) is P. That would make the stance of the positivist atheist ~P. If you say that a non-positivist is stating they don't believe in any gods, that's still ~P.

The non-positivist isn't saying ~P, they're saying (~)P. A non-positivist atheist is saying they hold no position either way (non-positivist = no position). That's why non-positivist atheism can also be called agnosticism. If you define it as you just did then the agnostic category doesn't overlap with atheism, which would be incorrect.

On a side note, I'd love it if people would drop the non-positivist meaning and just use agnostic, as it would save a lot of confusion.
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Postby MAtheist » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:21 pm

You are being clear, but I am not in agreement of your apparent definition of atheism, and I certainly don't think that the term agnostic can ever replace atheist. I don't think this thread is the best place for that discussion, so I made a post in your terminology of belief thread. It seems like a better place to discuss this.
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Re: Could an Atheist handle a proof of God?

Postby riverwestein » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:01 am

Mu wrote:In the general forum is a post on "do atheist believe?" and that got me thinking: Could atheism survive a "proof" of the existence of a higher being?


It's not like travelling through time, locking eyes with your past self, causing the collapse of time and space. I would like the think the vast majority of atheists, if an adequate proof comes along - overlooking the preposterous implausibility of such a thing - they would acknowledge the proof and convert. It'd still likely land us all in an eternal pool of fire for being apostates until the proof came, but at least we'd be intellectually-honest with ourselves.

Is the non-existence of a God required for atheism to work, or could it work just as well under the "there might be a God but I don't care" attitude?


Well, the only way atheism works is with it's relevance. In a world of superstition and piety, atheism is the belief that the subject of said superstition and piety doesn't exist. If the world's cultures were godless, atheism would become irrelevant and such a term would likely not be needed. The idea itself would simply be assumed.

And since no atheist can prove god doesn't exists, his non-existence isn't require for atheism. He/she/they/it very well could exist, and we could still deny such a claim and call it atheism. If god could be proven, and you said "I don't care" you'd just be apathetic.

But since it's impossible, as far as we know, to prove such a position, and since so much of the world thinks the universe requires a god - despite all the evidence that reality works without such an assumption - atheism exists as a denial of such a requirement.

Hope I answered your second part adequately. I was kind of confused about what exactly you were looking for in an answer.
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