Why do people believe in god?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by LuckAse, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Are you saying that there are parts of mental activity that we can trace back to our distant ancestors, that must have existed long before we did? I mean in the same way your parents must have existed "outside of" your current existence?
    How can you know your parents existed before you did, or their parents? Are you allowed to use logic?
    What do you mean by "any god like thing"? It's not clear what you're claiming.
    I have no other way to explain it than supposing. As to being valid: is the experience of listening to music valid, in your philosophy? When it's daytime is the experience of seeing light valid?

    You don't appear to have understood what I've been trying to say. I'm providing a counter argument to those who claim that it's up to people who say God exists to prove it. By extension it's up to people who claim thoughts and dreams exist to prove it.

    So they trot out a theory: mind and brain are the same thing, you can "see" thoughts in a MRI scan.
    Yeah, sure.

    I would say someone making those kinds of claim has a particular kind of mental abberation, related to their wishing something existed. When they also say there is no proof for the existence of God, this is the abberation again: something they wish were true but which can't be proven true.

    Of course God may exist and of course the experience I've been talking about may not be God. I've only based that conclusion on things I've read about. But then, it does appear to be a common experience; I also have no good reason to doubt that other people have it, especially since I know other people who tell me they do.
    You have no good reason to doubt that other people have dreams, but they can't prove it to you.

    So if you believe you don't have dreams, then supposedly you suspect those people who say they do to be "suffering" some kind of mental abberation, right? If you were blind you would think the same thing about people who who say they can "see", wouldn't you? Or is your argument restricted to only "god like things" and what are those?
    Well, if everything you experience is a hallucination, you have no reason to believe anything. No reason to believe that you think or feel, or that your parents or anyone else existed before you did. But that would be quite a leap.
     
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  3. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Sometimes all you have to do is remember.

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    Some thing like God...

    Holly shit. If you have faith in God you don't have to prove it to anyone, just prove you faith to God and your crispy golden brown.

    Mind over matter that is all

    See this is were atheist irk me. I don't wish for God to exist, I have faith he does because thats what he tells me to do. I know he exist, i just couldnt prove it even if I wanted to.

    Doesn't mean it isnt their, and a faith and wish is different. I show you. "God, do you exist?" "Yes I do, son." "Thank you, father." A wish: God, I wish you were real. This makes God angry because you are implying that he does not exist.

    Things like God i.e. AA
     
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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I named a few automatic behaviors we share with the apes that are not learned - i.e. standard responses to certain circumstances instilled in you (and apes) by the information encoded in the DNA. (Crying when hurt or sad, smiling when happy or pleased, frowning with displeasure, turning head to look at source of sound, etc.)
    See footnote * for one astounding example.
    That is false, not based on anything I said. Only perceived things and feelings without any real cause are Hallucinations. Most things you perceive or feel do have an external cause or causes, are not hallucinations.

    Feeling persecuted or in great danger in during a "panic attack" is hallucinated danger or persecution, not a real danger or persecution. Your feelings about god which you say is not due to your thoughts and pre-exists you seem to me to also be a form of hallucination sort of like an "anti-panic attack" or "calm attack."

    Most of your post is not directed to anything I said. In fact I explained why one will never be able to “read thoughts” not even with a million micro-electrodes probes in the brain. Briefly: (1) To collect all the data needed they would disturb the mental processes. (2) The 3D network of synoptic connection is huge - greater in number than all the stars in the universe. (3) Even in the same brain at different stages of life, entirely different network of synaptic connection and nerves makes the same thought. For example at age 5 my thought that the sun only appears to go the Earth is the same though I have at age 75, but many different nerves and billions of different synaptic connection are making it. I.e. there is no “one-to-one” correspondence between thoughts and mental activity to “de-code” even if all the electrical impulses and neurotransmitter flows were know in complete detail.

    BTW I said "God like things" only to not limit you - You clearly have a very unusual concept of god - very different from the typical theist, whose believes are quite common as often come from the same "holy book" and instructions received when young.

    * One very interesting thing coded in your genes relates to speech and can be demonstrated with an electronic "voice synthesizer." In the phonetic literature <a> is used to represent the sound of "a" and all sound of English anyway are composed of eight or less "characteristics" (if I remember correctly) which can be varied continuously by turning the 8 knobs of the voice synthesizer. That is <a> can be continuously transformed into <e> (or conversely). For wide range of these setting you (and apes and amazingly many other animals) will hear/ recognize** the sound as <a> then in a very narrow range of these parameters it will switch to be the sound of <e>. The amazing thing is that for all the animals tested and certainly for all human, even babies who have not yet said their first word, that narrow transition range is the same! Long before there was any speech by any humanoid, many creatures had the same parsing of continuously variable sound stimulae into discrete perceived sounds <a> & <e> (and many others but only vowels can last for minutes of tiny continuous variations made by electronic synthesizers.)

    ** Of course with non-verbal apes etc., you must first condition them to push button 1 when they hear <a> and button 2 when they hear/ perceive <e> to do these experiments.

    SUMMARY: Yes some very strange things / information / is coded in the genes and seem to have gotten there very far back in evolutionary history.
     
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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Ah. So if you can tell that things you perceive or feel have no real cause, then you know you're hallucinating. But what if you can't tell?

    That, you see, is pretty much the basis of my argument. It's about what you can "prove" is real. There are, as has already been discussed, several things which can't be "proven" to be real. Thoughts and dreams are some of those things.
    That seems to me to be supporting my own argument.
    But yours seems just as unusual to me. What, exactly, does that mean: "God like things"? Are you just using the word "God" to qualify "things" and hoping I will know what you mean?

    After reading about the subject, I see nothing unusual at all about my concept. It appears to be quite close to a certain Hindu belief, or a Buddhist one (did you miss the post where I mentioned that?). I can contrast it with what, I suppose, you would classify as "usual", as in Christian. As in--Church, Sunday school, the Bible, because I experienced that too.
     
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    No.

    And we come back again to "Which books, specifically?"
    Your own words:
    Unless the librarian has read each and every book and has an eidetic memory (plus a mindset similar to yours) then asking at the library is pretty much a waste of effort.

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  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    No only trying to keep your options open for you - not limit you because you continue to be very vague.

    You will not clearly say if God (or god like thing) does or does not exist in any form other than in your mind / brain - I.e. does the god you speak of exist in the sense that elephants exist even if no human believes they do. You implied exactly that in one post.

    When You say you concluded your god existed before you did, like your parents, you also appear to be claiming god does exist even when you do not. Yet at other times you appear to claim this god of yours is just activity (but not your thoughts) in your brain/mind (whatever term you like) but in this case that god is very much yours - does not exist when you do not.

    I HAVE ASKED SEVERAL TIMES FOR YOU TO BE CLEAR WHAT YOU MEAN.
    I am not asking you to prove anything and certainly not that god does or does not exist. Just please clearly state what you believe to be true about God's nature (he is only a brain processes / feeling / perhaps coded in all human's DNA so in that sense existed before you did, or he has some external reality. etc.)
     
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  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The burden of proof is always on the person who asserts the positive. That's part of the scientific method.

    What's your point? You have to prove that God exists and we have to prove that thoughts and dreams exist. So far we're just a tiny bit ahead of you since we have brain wave patterns that can be recreated any time we have a cooperative subject and want to fire up the equipment, whereas you have reports of observations that were passed down orally for many generations before the technology of writing was invented, and for thousands of years before the scientific method began to coalesce, by people whose understanding of the universe was a few steps advanced beyond that of chimpanzees.

    Even if we can't prove that thoughts and dreams exist, to sufficient certainty that this model of human cognition can be elevated to the status of a theory and made part of the canon of science, it's still a respectable hypothesis with sufficient repeatable evidence behind it to continue studying. You have no respectable evidence to support your hypothesis of a supreme being.

    Ideas alone don't count. Our ideas at least have experimental evidence for support. Yours have nothing for support except your own insistence that you're right because your belief in a god feels right. The phenomenon of a great many people sharing your belief in gods is interesting and certainly worth examining, but the scientific method (specifically Occam's Razor) directs us to test the simplest explanation for that phenomenon first. The simplest explanation is that it's an instinct, like many of our beliefs, such as the belief that we should not step into an abyss.
    No one has said that the mind and the brain are the same thing. The brain is an organ, a physical, tangible thing that is part of our body. The mind is a vague, not particularly scientific term for some of the processes that take place in the brain cells and/or their organization.
    I'm not sure if you're being disingenuous or if you've picked a particularly poorly worded post to quote. You don't see thoughts in an MRI scan (and as I said, I'm not even sure that it's typical MRI technology that's used for this purpose), you see electrical patterns which correlate with the subject's reported experiences of having specific types of thoughts.
    You are ignoring a qualitative difference in level of evidence. The brain wave patterns suggest that the subjective phenomena we refer to as "thoughts" actually have a correlation with electrical activities in the brain. There is no evidence of similar respectability to suggest that the subjective phenomenon of believing that a god exists has any correlation with anything in the physical universe. This difference is enormous.
    No one denies that these people have that experience. (Well sure some of them are lying or exaggerating or too crazy to know what they're talking about because there are people like that in any group, but that doesn't impugn the consensus.)
    We can identify their brain waves and they look just like the brain waves we have when we have the experience of dreaming. That's fairly convincing evidence, if perhaps not enough proof to settle the question. It's important to note that at this point we haven't really defined "dreaming" except as a type of brain wave pattern that correlates with images we remember from a time when we weren't even awake.

    Even though we're moving into the "hard science" of biology here, we haven't come close to escaping from the "soft science" of psychology, whose hypotheses are nearly impossible to prove and, therefore, very few (if any) of which can be promoted to the status of a scientific theory, i.e., "true beyond a reasonable doubt."
    This is a disingenuous argument. The vast majority of people who claim not to have dreams simply don't remember them. Hook them up to the MRI (or whatever device it is) and when you see the brain wave pattern that indicates dreaming, wake them up, and they'll realize that they were in the middle of a dream. Dreaming seems to be an integral part of REM sleep, and it's almost impossible for a human being to survive and live a healthy life without REM sleep.
    Isn't this a bit of an existential fallacy? If you don't think, then how can you have the thought in which you question your ability to think?

    If that phenomenon which you're referring to as "your thought" is not actually your thought, then what the hell is it? The ability to question something seems like prima facie evidence that you are able to think.
    That is not quite true. Faith can be divided into two kinds. One is rational faith. Even though sometimes I'm an asshole, my wife has stood by me for 34 years--and explained why. Therefore it is rational for me to have faith that she will continue to do so. This is faith based on evidence.

    Religious faith is not based on evidence. People believe in God because they want God to exist. A universe without God is too awful for them to contemplate living in, so they have an irrational faith that he exists.

    So in fact irrational faith, which is what religions are based on, is in fact predicated on a wish. To have faith that something exists, in the absence of any respectable evidence, is not very much different from simply wishing that it exists.

    It's like saying, "I have faith that the weather will be nice next Tuesday," because if it's not nice the carnival will be cancelled, and you won't be able to see your girlfriend who works in the carnival.

    Irrational faith makes you happy. There's nothing wrong with that--in general. The reason that we pick out religious faith specifically and say that there most certainly is something wrong with that particular kind of irrational faith, is that the entire system of religion (at least the monotheistic Abrahamic varieties) consistently inspires its believers into periodically recurring orgies of unspeakable violence.
     
  11. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    I concluded that because it must be true that both of my parents were conscious before I was. You seem to be unable to understand the argument, so you resort to rationalisations of it. My consciousness will not exist when I don't exist, but if other people were alive and conscious before I was, then what I'm conscious of must be at least very similar to what they were conscious of. Therefore if I'm conscious of God, then so were they--perhaps even if they didn't see it that way. But I do.
     
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    So do many other things.
     
  13. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    So the testimony of other people isn't respectable? The ideas in books written by people who also claim to have experienced this "form" of consciousness isn't either? But patterns of brain activity and a theory that may or may not correspond to a scientific hypothesis is?
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mind-identity/

    But I don't have to believe a god exists, I just have to be conscious (of it). You're ignoring this qualitative difference. How many times have I asked if you or I need to believe we can see or hear, in order to be conscious of seeing or hearing?
    Who is "we" and who is "they"?
    Maybe you could scan your brain activity?
     
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Is what you are stating that God is part of human conscious activity and has existed when ever there were conscious humans? If so then the answer to question I asked long ago (but you did not answer) is "yes" - if a virus killed all humans god would cease to exist. - no conscious activity to create him.*

    Is that a correct conclusion to what you are now stating is the nature of god (part of consciousness). If it is, then in this case you must be retracting your earlier statement that God exists much like the elephants do (even if humans do not or don't believe in elephants existing).

    To get clear consistent statements from you is harder than walking on Jell-O. I suspect you are a "Closet Theist" and do not want to agree / affirm / that God needs conscious humans to exist, but also don't want to affirm that God exist, like elephants do, as there is no evidence that he does.

    * BTW, I tend to agree with that as I think man created god in his own image, not that God created man (either as in Adam & Eve or by "guided evolution").
     
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  15. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    If I can be conscious of god, then yes, it is a part of my consciousness. If elephants are conscious, perhaps they have the same capacity, and this experience is not restricted to humans.

    And you seem to have confused what I was saying about the existence of belief, not the existence of God. I haven't said God exists like elephants do. That was a sidetrack with someone about whether you know something exists means you believe it does. If you're rationalising what I actually said so you can think I meant God is an external "being" like elephants are, then you have the wrong idea.
    But God does need consciousness to exist, otherwise who or what would be conscious of God? Why should that mean God is a "being" or has a personality, has desires like wanting humans to respect and adore him, and follow "laws"?

    Why can't it be just you being conscious, of your own consciousness? Why can't the nature of consciousness be recursive?
    Why is being conscious of God not like any other kind of experience (for me, and for the other people I've mentioned)? Why does it have little or nothing to do with thought or belief? That is, it transcends them?

    Do you know? I have an idea or two myself, but as I've said . . .
     
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  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I am not rationalising -only trying to get clear what you believe - are stating. Here you have removed a lot of your prior ambiguities (assuming I understand what you just stated).

    (1) God is part of your consciousness (and of other humans who experience him / believe in him).

    (2) You did not mean god is an external "being" like elephants are. With this I think almost all agree that god does not have any material existence, but it is still not clear if you think god ONLY exists as part of consciousness or perhaps like most theists, you believe God also exist in some non-material but ill defined "spiritual" form?

    To remove this ambiguity, please just answer my old question: If a virus killed all conscious beings, does or does not, God still exist? In other words I am asking if your God has any existence outside of consciousness?

    If yes, what can you tell about that non-material, not-in-consciousness, existence or is it just a very hollow claim with no specific meaning? - Empty words trying to cover up total ignorance by pretending to state something.
     
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  17. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    The evidence for God is out there.. I have seen it.. I have heard.. even if it were presented you, or anyone with out great faith it would be words.

    Opinion. Idc if God exist, he told me he does. I vowed my life against him for causing so much confusion, and letting inoscent people die. I told him I could do his job.. we worked this little spiff in our relationship out. But no, even if the universe didn't have God, id still be here. There is no universe without God

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    I would be fantastic with out God, but im better with him.

    The only irrational faith that religionist share is the irrational faith that their church must do right by them, they, like your favorite politician do not give a fuck about you.

    I wished for a lego set when I was 9.. I wished for the Giants to win the World Series.. I have never once wished for there to be a God, because there is a God, and this I know.

    If God told me it will not rain tuesday I would have faith in that.

    Christians find comfort in God, I find none. Im happy to know I will never cease to exist, but the things I will do has me wondering what side im on.

    I do not disagree with you, nor does God. He who hath a ear..
     
  18. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    God lives in us through us because of us behind us in front of us around us in our dog outside our front door and of course in Heaven.

    This is what im trying to determine about the Father. Imo, the Father is not, the Son is.

    God could take shape, but instead he gave man his Son.

    moot. No virus would kill all conscious, if it did God did it, but God will use earthquakes and floods.
     
  19. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps God is consciousness. Perhaps my awareness of this is an awareness of my consciousness or its "essence". But I don't actually need a theory of it, as I've said (quite) a few times. However, you and others here appear to require something rational you can attach your "thoughts" to.
    Unless you rationalise that experience is material, or that it doesn't or can't occur outside of a material brain.
    If we go with the idea that "my" experience is a function of my brain activity, then the experience must also be at least a function of material processes. So that would mean it cannot be the case that God does not have any material existence.
    I don't think that question can be answered. Why do conscious beings exist, and is God, the experience (perhaps this is really consciousness itself, as I conjectured), only a function of consciousness? Are we just a state, a program which is deus ex machina? Who can really say?
    All words are ultimately empty, my son.
     
  20. Sparkofbliss Registered Senior Member

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    People believe or disbelieve in God so long as they do not see Him .
     
  21. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    THE UNCAUSED, NATURAL STATE of AFFAIRS The teleological notion of who or what made or intended the beginning, or even an end, never even had a ghost of a chance, for there are neither of those happenings, since there can’t be any beginning or end to the uncreated, causeless, ground-state—that which can neither be created nor destroyed. Here the buck stops, as there can be no infinite regress of causes preceding causes. No creation equals no Creator.

    This ground-state must be the eternal case, also, since not anything could have become of nothing, this being because nothing has no properties. If it was that there had been a lack of anything, then this would still be the case.

    What about a capability for pair production of particles or even a bi-verse from ‘nothing’? Fine, but those are still secondary to the capability producing them, which is, again, certainly not nothing. What about that infinity and eternity can never complete? This is true, and, so, then, it must be derived that only definite forms cannot be forever; but, they are only secondary, anyway, being of the emissions that change and move, and thus became tied to time, perhaps this movement of appearances even being the definition of time.

    It is then that the possibility from the capability of the ground-state is still the uncaused eternal, for what would possibility need before itself but itself—the same thing: possibility. Nor is the specific amount of particle pairs or of positive matter and negative gravitational energy any kind of paradox about who intended it to be that amount, since this net energy sums to zero; nor is its place of origin a paradox, for that, not being any special place, could have been anywhere; the same with a non-special “when”, for this could be any time.

    Nor can God be the fundamental ground-state, for then ever simpler fundamentals would be necessary to compose a being who plans, designs, and creates. So, then, the believers in some great mind are looking in the complete wrong direction, for great complexity comes later on, not first. Look to the future for even us humans to become higher and more intelligent beings.

    Nor can humans be of any special creation, for evolution disproves that. So, all in all, any type of God whatsoever is disproved on the basis of being self-contradictory, as well as having been cut off at the very source. It is even more icing on the cake that only natural happenings have been seen, with nothing super-, extra-, or beyond going on.

    We could have left it that believers had nothing but the invisible in which to fill in the blanks. And, incredibly, even layering many fine details about a realm that can’t even be seen; but, they preach it as fact and truth, which is highly unethical, this being an outright deception, for it is only supposed.

    And even if believers persist and soften their stance by proposing the argument that “we can never know” then it is still the case that we are completely free to be, forever liberated from any notions of any puppet strings attached—free to make our own meaning in life, for existence must ever trump essence.

    Beyond the nonsense of ‘faith’, which is even defined as a belief in the non-sense of the unknowable unseen, it is still interesting to science to find out why some humans wish to have a predefined meaning and purpose, especially a divine one that is really more of a restriction on freedom, a lab experiment, even, in some notions. For this condition, Michael Shermer and others have many fine answers.
     
  22. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    Incorrect.

    If an eternal potent entity exists, potency also becomes eternal by dint of contingency (even though the potency may be in a manifest or unmanifest state)
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Blurring the divide between philosophy and control freakery.

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