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Thread: Rational reason to believe in God?

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    Senior Member Communist Rationalist's Avatar
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    Rational reason to believe in God?

    What is a rational reason to believe in God? I've never really conversed that much with Christians, and I know plenty of members of this forum are Christian, so I'm wondering what reasonable argument can be used. The only arguments I'm aware of all invoke a fallacy of some kind, an argument from ignorance or an appeal to emotion. And I can't think of one that doesn't.
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    Senior Member Communist Rationalist's Avatar
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    No one?

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Communist Rationalist View Post
    What is a rational reason to believe in God? I've never really conversed that much with Christians, and I know plenty of members of this forum are Christian, so I'm wondering what reasonable argument can be used. The only arguments I'm aware of all invoke a fallacy of some kind, an argument from ignorance or an appeal to emotion. And I can't think of one that doesn't.
    Well, I'm Jewish, and I can't give you a rational reason myself.

    However, if we perceive religion not as science/philosophy/logic (perhaps G-d is a unified field theory?), but rather as the comprehension of human finitude - an entirely separate field of endeavor - the rationality of of G-d's existence has nothing to do with any proof.
    Last edited by Ian Jeffrey; 25th July 2013 at 10:35 AM.

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    Shitposting Rank 4 Missle Command Champion johnflesh's Avatar
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    Because dying without an afterlife isn't as attractive as an afterlife. I find nothing irrational about not wanting your consciousness to end - ie; living forever.

    Some people are afraid to die, it's part of the human condition to buck entropy, even though it wins every time.

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    Senior Member Communist Rationalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Well, I'm Jewish, and I can't give you a rational reason myself.

    However, if we perceive religion not as science/philosophy/logic (perhaps G-d is a unified field theory?), but rather as the comprehension of human finitude - an entirely separate field of endeavor - the rationality of of G-d's existence has nothing to do with any proof.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Why do you believe in God?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnflesh View Post
    Because dying without an afterlife isn't as attractive as an afterlife.
    That'd be one of the fallacies I referred to. It's wishful thinking:

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia 'Wishful Thinking'
    In addition to being a cognitive bias and a poor way of making decisions, wishful thinking is commonly held to be a specific informal fallacy in an argument when it is assumed that because we wish something to be true or false, it is actually true or false. This fallacy has the form "I wish that P is true/false, therefore P is true/false."[3] Wishful thinking, if this were true, would rely upon appeals to emotion, and would also be a red herring.
    Just because an option is preferable to another, does not make it accurate. From South Park:

    Quote Originally Posted by South Park
    KYLE'S FATHER
    Kyle, it's all about being a good person
    now! You see, Christians use hell as
    a way to scare people into believing
    what they believe. But to believe in
    something just because you're afraid
    of the consequences if you dont believe
    in something is no reason to believe
    in something. Understand?
    It's also attractive to believe that praying to Satan makes you immortal in this life, but that does not mean that because it's attractive it's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnflesh View Post
    I find nothing irrational about not wanting your consciousness to end - ie; living forever.
    There's nothing irrational about wanting it, but believing it is another thing entirely.

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    lka
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    Veteran Member lka's Avatar
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    I think it's a great way to teach children values and responsibility, Also helps to curb the liberal out of them, lol

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Communist Rationalist View Post
    Why do you believe in God?
    That's not an easy question to answer. I could probably write an awful lot about that and still not satisfactorily answer it, either. Whole books have been written about it - by individuals with their experiences, as well as by scholars purporting to prove G-d's existence. My belief, however, evolved over many, many years, and only solidified within the last couple.

    The best I can say is that I perceive - or at any rate believe I perceive - some underlying pattern of oneness in the universe that holds everything together and permeates existence, and that it has consciousness that transcends any other consciousness ... that this conscious pattern is a unity unlike any other, indivisible and yet without physical form itself. Once I realized that this is a general description of how Jews perceive G-d, I came to understand that I have a Jewish neshama, and have all along, and that led to me becoming a religious Jew, albeit of the more liberal variety. ("Liberal," in this context, has nothing to do with the American political spectrum.)

    More than that, I cannot really explain. If I - or any other sentient being - could understand what G-d is, He wouldn't be much of a G-d, now, would he?

    Quote Originally Posted by Communist Rationalist View Post
    Just because an option is preferable to another, does not make it accurate. From South Park:
    I remember that episode (and probably have it on DVD). That is awesome!
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    Senior Member Communist Rationalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    That's not an easy question to answer. I could probably write an awful lot about that and still not satisfactorily answer it, either. Whole books have been written about it - by individuals with their experiences, as well as by scholars purporting to prove G-d's existence. My belief, however, evolved over many, many years, and only solidified within the last couple.

    The best I can say is that I perceive - or at any rate believe I perceive - some underlying pattern of oneness in the universe that holds everything together and permeates existence, and that it has consciousness that transcends any other consciousness ... that this conscious pattern is a unity unlike any other, indivisible and yet without physical form itself. Once I realized that this is a general description of how Jews perceive G-d, I came to understand that I have a Jewish neshama, and have all along, and that led to me becoming a religious Jew, albeit of the more liberal variety. ("Liberal," in this context, has nothing to do with the American political spectrum.)

    More than that, I cannot really explain. If I - or any other sentient being - could understand what G-d is, He wouldn't be much of a G-d, now, would he?


    I remember that episode (and probably have it on DVD). That is awesome!
    Hmm. In another thread I wrote this comment:


    You "feel" but that's not evidence. If you had lived in Ancient Greece you'd feel as if Mars would have saved your live in battle, and Zeus would have provided you with a wife.
    I cannot see any God in that. It's your chemicals and neurons in your brain structure that determine the choices you make on the basis of various variables, the same goes for your horse, your vet, and everyone around you. The course of your life is nothing but the aggregate product of the neurons racing through the brain structures of various organisms. Nothing you described required divine intervention to have happened, it's statistics, it's neuroscience, it's chance, but since you want to see God, you see God -- again, the bias. For example, many people wrongly interpret various events with different causalities as being synchronicity, a meaningful sign. However, it works the same as the Baader-Meinhof Complex: upon learning a new word, you seem to hear all the time all of a sudden. It's a bias that emphasises this new word you learned. The same with leftist symbols, before I became a far-leftist I did not see them, but now I do, as I recognise the colour patterns on stickers and graffiti on walls and posts from the periphery of my view. Similarly, theists can wrongly interpret various biases as "signs" of God. Apophenia is a related concept.
    There is no rational reason to pressupose [sic!] divine intervention in any aspect of your life as you've listed here.
    On top of this, if you God helped you with that, then by extension of your logic God caused the misery of millions around the world. God causes famines, wars, etc. That's hardly worthy of my worship. In fact, the notion that God helped your horse but let's millions die in absolute misery strikes me as arrogant: what's so good about you that you deserve divine intervention for a frikkin' horse when millions die annually of malnourishment?

    All this, in fact, sustains the status quo: "God wills it!" and we let millions die, needlessly, sacrificed on the alter of profits and the concept of God.

    My entire life I've been happy (though of course it has had its ups and downs) and yet I've never seen or felt divine intervention.



    Cognitive, confirmation bias and apophenia can rationally explain a perception of meaning while in reality a phenomenon or series thereof, represent randomness and meaninglessness.

    Ultimately, it seems, faith relies on "feelings". But I cannot fathom or comprehend why someone would embrace such a thing that's both random (the belief in some entity without evidence) and arbitrary (theism is always a product of one's time). But I can fathom even less religious extremism, "my god for which there is no proof or reason to presuppose its existence is the one true god, so...!" Of course, this does not apply to you, but I'm just rambling.

    To me, the irrationality of theism seems so evident I cannot comprehend why someone would reject it. Take for instance heaven. It's impossible to transmit consciousness as it is intrinsically bound by our peculiar and unique brain structure and neurons and the chemicals that rush through them. If I take a motherboard of a computer and smash it to pieces, the electrons can no longer rush through its circuits and the motherboard can no longer convey its functions nor memories. The essence of the motherboard can in no way be transmitted. The same evident truth applies to brains. If it dies its consciousness dies with it. The essence of who I am is ingrained, intrinsically in my brain, it holds my emotions, memories, skills to learn language. These are the product of my brain, its chemical signals, its neurons.

    If science developed and instead of finding that our emotions and memories were locked in our brain found that they were unlocked in a sort of 'electro-magnetic' (makes no sense but whatever) layer under our skin that departed our body once we die, upward, it would be proof that our consciousness, as a back-up (like a USB), continues to exist elsewhere (whether it would be alive would be a different issue). However, now can say it's highly implausible and perhaps even impossible for our consciousness to exist anywhere else beyond our humanoid bodies.

    To me this is logical, to me this shows there's no reason to assume we go to heaven.

    And the same goes for the concept of God: it's ignorance, and it's virtually obsolete now. Humans had to invoke mythology to explain natural phenomena they could not comprehend.

    We don't know what lightning is, therefore God (thor, zeus).
    We don't know how rain works, therefore God.
    We don't know how earthquakes work, therefore God.
    We don't know how seasons work, therefore God.
    We don't know how our consciousness works, therefore God.
    We don't know the origins of species, therefore God.
    We don't know the origins of the universe, therefore God.
    We don't know the origins of our solar system, therefore God.
    We don't know the origins of life, therefore God.

    God was a solid and easy answer, but now we've solved all but one mystery.

    We don't know the origins of life, therefore God.

    But isn't it far more reasonable to think we'll be able to solve this rationally without invoking mythology soon? Especially given that scientists now know that life can come about without magic, through a chemical reaction with organic molecules. We just don't know (yet) exactly how this happened on earth. Once that is complete (which may not take more than a decade), the entire concept of God is obsolete. Not only is there no evidence for god, all evidence points toward not needing god for everything it has been invoked for.

    That's just a tip of the iceberg I cannot understand about the concept of God. Others would be, why not show yourself? Why make us in the first place? And once made, why make arbitrary nonsensical rules (do not wear shirt with two different kinds of threads, do not have sex before marriage -- seems petty for a God). Why reveal yourself through a prophet and not personally, and if not personally why not through a Prophet in every region of the world. It makes no sense to not do that. Or in a time with so little communication means. None of it makes sense. Why leave so many people in so much doubt? What if the God of a Polynesian tribe turns out to be the real God?* If the entire earth's existence represented 24 hours, humanity would be about 30 seconds. We're not special, we're an animal with big brains, fallible, a blimp of insignificance. Not the centre of the universe, not the centre of the galaxy, not the centre of the solar system. We came about through a random array of random accidents (e.g. another planet crushing into us, creating the moon to stabilise the trajectory of earth). Just look at any documentary on evolution and see millions of years of species developing and you'll see how unimportant we are. It makes no sense to inject God into any of this.

    *See:

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    Retired Admin Macduff's Avatar
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    There's not really a rational reason to enjoy art or music or to want to skydive or climb a mountain either. But we still do.
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    Senior Member Communist Rationalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macduff View Post
    There's not really a rational reason to enjoy art or music or to want to skydive or climb a mountain either. But we still do.
    You may derive utility from believing in god and those activities you listed, and this utility may be real, but it does not make God real. My question is not so much why do you believe in God (which would be, we derive utility from doing so) but why the believe in God is rational. I'd say there is no reason to assume the existence of a deity, and in fact all evidence contradicts the original mythology surrounding deities -- all evidence points in the opposite direction of the existence of a god. So what rational reason could be used to defend the existence of God, or the believe therein?

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