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Thread: Atheist/Agonstic contradictions

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    Atheist/Agonstic contradictions

    This is a thought I have been working on for a while now and I thought Iíd post it on this page because it shows the implications of being Atheist/Agnostic. The basis of the thought is this: Now matter where you are in life, you always have contradictions. So, for a Christian, the contradictions are built into his philosophy but for an Atheist/Agnostic they are always living in contradiction to their philosophy. Let me give a few examples the contradictions for the Atheist/Agnostic:

    1: God is unknowable. The contradiction: To know God is unknowable you would have to know everything. Therefore you would be God. Thus proving yourself wrong.

    2. Everything is perceived. The contradiction: The statement ĎEverything is perceivedí would be perceived making the statement self-defeating.

    3. There are no absolutes. The contradiction: The statement ĎThere are no absolutesí is said absolutely making the statement self-defeating.

    4. I need proof. The contradiction: They accept a proof without proof of the proof itself.

    5. Something exists and at least one other thing exists. The contradiction: They live as if they really do exist.

    These are just a few examples but it shows the complete and utter failure of this philosophy. This philosophy tries to take the rational approach but it always leads to a delusion. Always! And, if a man holds this philosophy and lives in contradiction to it, why do they still keep it?

    This is a thought that is still developing for me. So, any of you Atheist/Agnostics out there, your criticism is welcomed.

    Cheers

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    You must know some strange atheists.

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    Okay, I know that last curt reply wasn't satisfying to anyone. I'll try to address each point.

    1: God is unknowable. The contradiction: To know God is unknowable you would have to know everything. Therefore you would be God. Thus proving yourself wrong.

    I don't know any atheists who claim this; I certainly never would. Of course God is knowable, He's just a mythological amplification of human fears and desires.

    2. Everything is perceived. The contradiction: The statement ĎEverything is perceivedí would be perceived making the statement self-defeating.

    I think I understand what you mean, but no-one would deny there are things we can't perceive. I think a more accurate depiction of a thinking atheist's view is that while mankind has certainly not discovered or observed everything there is to observe, all known phenomena have naturalistic explanations so future discoveries are likely to also have naturalistic explanations.

    By the way, the statement is hardly self-defeating since the statement itself is a part of 'everything' and being perceived in no way refutes the basic sentiment.

    3. There are no absolutes. The contradiction: The statement ĎThere are no absolutesí is said absolutely making the statement self-defeating.

    Who told you there are no absolutes? There's absolute zero, absolute pitch, absolute alcohol, absolute value, absolute ceiling...

    Now, if you mean no moral absolutes, then you're closer to the humanist position. Unfortunately for you, however, the statement 'there are no moral absolutes' is not moralistic so it is not contradictory.

    4. I need proof. The contradiction: They accept a proof without proof of the proof itself.

    Proof would, by definition, be verifiable and so, proven. There would be no reason for an infinite regression of evidences.

    It is true that some people (of any religious stripe) use evidence unscrupulously by presenting 'facts' that are hearsay or apocryphal, but I think it's unfair to paint all atheists with this broad brush.

    5. Something exists and at least one other thing exists. The contradiction: They live as if they really do exist.

    I -- uh -- I think my only response should be cogito, ergo sum.

    ...but could you clarify this one a bit for me?

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    Adsum.

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    Smugg,

    "I think I understand what you mean, but no-one would deny there are things we can't perceive. I think a more accurate depiction of a thinking atheist's view is that while mankind has certainly not discovered or observed everything there is to observe, all known phenomena have naturalistic explanations so future discoveries are likely to also have naturalistic explanations."


    my question to you is not about Cephas question. i just want to know what you think about this. Natural explanations do not really tell us that there is not a God behind the natural action. Just because there is an answer to the "How" question does it mean that the same answer is for why? I mean God still could be behind the physical actions right? He created the universe and the physical laws etc. so He can use them however He would like. Also how could we tell by science that God did anything? Science is too narrowto give God as an answer. Now i am not saying theopposite either. That science is a proof either. That science does not show that there is a God. Basically i think that the question about is there a God can really only be answered through things like history, philosophy, theology, archeology but not a natural science. It is just too narrow.

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    Originally posted by blackhaw
    Smugg,

    my question to you is not about Cephas question. i just want to know what you think about this. Natural explanations do not really tell us that there is not a God behind the natural action. Just because there is an answer to the "How" question does it mean that the same answer is for why? I mean God still could be behind the physical actions right? He created the universe and the physical laws etc. so He can use them however He would like. Also how could we tell by science that God did anything? Science is too narrowto give God as an answer. Now i am not saying theopposite either. That science is a proof either. That science does not show that there is a God. Basically i think that the question about is there a God can really only be answered through things like history, philosophy, theology, archeology but not a natural science. It is just too narrow.
    Actually, the natural sciences tell us a great deal about why some things happen, the answers just don't appeal to some. For example, why does the earth orbit the sun? Traditionally, many religions have given the answer that it was to provide seasons for the benefit of man. We now know that the matter of our solar system had spin to it long before the planets were formed and the planets, conforming to conservation of energy, continue to fall towards the sun and miss to this day. The seasonal effects of earth's oblong orbit and axial tilt were merely capitalized upon by the organisms of this planet.

    Is there room for some higher intelligence along the lines of Jefferson's Prime Mover? Maybe, but there would have to be some evidence in the data before He (she/it) could be included in the equations.

    So I hold the exact opposite view from your final statement; 'natural science,' of all the disciplines you list, is the most likely to address whether God (or gods) actually exists. History could tell us if God was worshipped, philosophy: if we need God, theology: why your God, and archeology: how God was worshipped, but none of those (as if there is no overlap) can explain events outside human experience.

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    Originally posted by universe
    Adsum.

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    Hey Smugg, thanks for answering.

    God unknowable,
    I don't know any atheists who claim this; I certainly never would. Of course God is knowable, He's just a mythological amplification of human fears and desires.
    Well, this is where you live in contradiction to your philosophy: On itís own, Atheism is philosophical incoherent, morally bankrupt and logically unable to support civilization but you live life with ideas borrowed from theology.

    Everything perceived,
    I think I understand what you mean, but no-one would deny there are things we can't perceive. I think a more accurate depiction of a thinking atheist's view is that while mankind has certainly not discovered or observed everything there is to observe, all known phenomena have naturalistic explanations so future discoveries are likely to also have naturalistic explanations.
    And so would the theistic view for the most part. But, regress back in time and that is where the contradiction comes in. You either have a time before time or time infinite. Both are illogical but as wide and as encompassing as you are describing naturalism, you will soon say that something coming from nothing is natural.

    By the way, the statement is hardly self-defeating since the statement itself is a part of 'everything' and being perceived in no way refutes the basic sentiment.
    But yet, you want me to take this statement as not being perceived. You canít get around it. The more someone would argue this point the more they deny it.


    Now, if you mean no moral absolutes, then you're closer to the humanist position. Unfortunately for you, however, the statement 'there are no moral absolutes' is not moralistic so it is not contradictory.
    Just because the statement Ďthere are no moral absolutesí isnít moralistic doesnít mean it is true because to know there are no moral absolutes is to know morals absolutely which you donít because you said they are not absolute. Furthermore, you donít live up to this standard of Ďno moral absolutesí. That is why I said you contradict your philosophy. Do you not expect me not to steal your money? To make passes at your Wife. Or kill you. (Okay, maybe I got carried away there)


    Proof would, by definition, be verifiable and so, proven. There would be no reason for an infinite regression of evidences.
    Okay, verify for me that a verifiable proof is the only way to proof something. I suspect you believe a great many things with no verifiable proof at all.

    5. Something exists and at least one other thing exists. The contradiction: They live as if they really do exist.

    ...but could you clarify this one a bit for me?
    Sure. This is the only absolute logical deduction we can make. It covers both the a priori self-evident principle and a posteriori undeniable fact. On itís own it is not too practical. It doesnít tell me who I am or how to live my life (Christianity does), hence, our philosophies.

    cogito, ergo sum.
    Not a priori.

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    What does adsum mean? I can't know 'cause I'm not an atheist.
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
    Psalm 14:1

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    Originally posted by justGina
    What does adsum mean? I can't know 'cause I'm not an atheist.
    Heh. It has nothing to do with atheism. I said 'cogito, ergo sum' which is Latin for 'I think, therefore I am.'

    Universe replied with the Latin for 'I, too, am.' That's what adsum means.

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    smugg,

    "Actually, the natural sciences tell us a great deal about why some things happen, the answers just don't appeal to some. For example, why does the earth orbit the sun? Traditionally, many religions have given the answer that it was to provide seasons for the benefit of man. We now know that the matter of our solar system had spin to it long before the planets were formed and the planets, conforming to conservation of energy, continue to fall towards the sun and miss to this day. The seasonal effects of earth's oblong orbit and axial tilt were merely capitalized upon by the organisms of this planet. "

    But Smugg you really just answered "How" it ocured not the why. I guess I should of made my why more clear. i guess i could of said the ultimate why. Natural science explains the observable but how can it understand the unobservable? Natural science explains the natural but how can it explain the supernatural? Maybe the seasons were to give seasons for man. How can science say yes or no? They can't. Now i am not coming down on science I am just pointing out its imitation. What makes science such a useful tool for discvering the natural world is also the one that makes it nt useful for the supernatural. See God can be the force behind it all. Science can't tell. It is like me pushing a chair. Science tells me what happened to the chair but if I am a supernatural being science can tell us nothing about the pusher. It just can't explain it. So just to say that we have seasons and then go back naturally to the point you did and even before it proves very little. Yes there is a natural explanation but God made the natural and is outside of it.

    "Is there room for some higher intelligence along the lines of Jefferson's Prime Mover? Maybe, but there would have to be some evidence in the data before He (she/it) could be included in the equations. "

    So I hold the exact opposite view from your final statement; 'natural science,' of all the disciplines you list, is the most likely to address whether God (or gods) actually exists. History could tell us if God was worshipped, philosophy: if we need God, theology: why your God, and archeology: how God was worshipped, but none of those (as if there is no overlap) can explain events outside human experience.

    Actually theology/philosophy would be the best in my thoughts. It is the only real place you can ask such questions. They are not bound by the natural world.

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    Oh, ok, thanks for clearing that up. (Psst...I flunked Latin )
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
    Psalm 14:1

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    Originally posted by Cephas
    Hey Smugg, thanks for answering.

    God unknowable,

    Well, this is where you live in contradiction to your philosophy: On itís own, Atheism is philosophical incoherent, morally bankrupt and logically unable to support civilization but you live life with ideas borrowed from theology.
    Care to back any of your statements up?

    Everything perceived,

    And so would the theistic view for the most part. But, regress back in time and that is where the contradiction comes in. You either have a time before time or time infinite. Both are illogical but as wide and as encompassing as you are describing naturalism, you will soon say that something coming from nothing is natural.
    We now understand that time is not infinite, merely another function of space and matter. A 'time before time' isn't a particularly useful statement and I don't make the claim that something coming from nothing is natural. I know no one who does.

    I assume what you are talking about is the Big Bang Theory, but it makes none of these claims either. At its core is the idea that at one point, all the matter in the universe we see was all in the same place. Then something happened to cause all that matter (and energy) to expand. What conditions were like before/outside this 'starting position' cannot currently be observed and I know of no proper theories which address it. Maybe one of the residents of a previous universe left a burrito too long in his cold-fusion neutronic microwave oven and that's where our universe came from.

    But yet, you want me to take this statement as not being perceived. You canít get around it. The more someone would argue this point the more they deny it.
    Er, this is just mumbo-jumbo. Why would I want you to not perceive a statement? Would I post on a thread you couldn't perceive and expect a reply from you? Are you just trying to confuse me?

    Just because the statement Ďthere are no moral absolutesí isnít moralistic doesnít mean it is true because to know there are no moral absolutes is to know morals absolutely which you donít because you said they are not absolute.
    I didn't say what made the statement true, just that the logic in your statement was lacking.

    Furthermore, you donít live up to this standard of Ďno moral absolutesí. That is why I said you contradict your philosophy. Do you not expect me not to steal your money? To make passes at your Wife. Or kill you. (Okay, maybe I got carried away there)
    1. You have no idea what moral standards I do or don't live up to. This discussion is not about me or you or anyone personal, so if you can't make your points honestly, please refrain from responding.
    2. Just because there are no absolutes, doesn't mean there are no morals. I was raised in a society which treats harshly anyone who commits the crimes you list, but I think there are situations where any of them might be acceptable or even desired.


    Okay, verify for me that a verifiable proof is the only way to proof something.
    I need not. Simply look in a dictionary -- it's what proof means. If it isn't verifiable, it isn't proof.

    I suspect you believe a great many things with no verifiable proof at all.
    Then that's one more thing you're wrong about.

    Sure. This is the only absolute logical deduction we can make. It covers both the a priori self-evident principle and a posteriori undeniable fact. On itís own it is not too practical. It doesnít tell me who I am or how to live my life (Christianity does), hence, our philosophies.


    I'm still not any closer to understanding what your point is/was. What did you mean by 'something exists and one other thing exists...'

    And you are correct, the fact that I exist doesn't tell me why I exist. And yes, you seem to have spotted the difference between our philosophies; that one of us assumes that no ones life is meaningful without Jesus and one of us doesn't. Bravo. Your point? That I'm wrong? At this point you haven't shown that to be anything but opinion.


    Not a priori.
    You're right, not without my experience, first.

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    Hello Smugg,


    Atheism is philosophical incoherent, morally bankrupt and logically unable to support civilization but you live life with ideas borrowed from theology.

    Care to back any of your statements up?
    What? If nature be red in tooth and claw then itís obvious out-workings are plain to see. No true Atheist would deny that without theology, whether it would be true or false, man would not have made it this far.


    I assume what you are talking about is the Big Bang Theory, but it makes none of these claims either. At its core is the idea that at one point, all the matter in the universe we see was all in the same place. Then something happened to cause all that matter (and energy) to expand. What conditions were like before/outside this 'starting position' cannot currently be observed and I know of no proper theories which address it. Maybe one of the residents of a previous universe left a burrito too long in his cold-fusion neutronic microwave oven and that's where our universe came from.
    No, I wasnít talking about the big bang theory. As a matter of fact, I find that theory is very plausible. The point was/is Atheism lives in contradiction as a philosophy when it denies a concept of God when it doesnít know everything there is to know, which, you willingly admit. I do like your burrito therory. So, God is a Mexican.


    Er, this is just mumbo-jumbo. Why would I want you to not perceive a statement? Would I post on a thread you couldn't perceive and expect a reply from you? Are you just trying to confuse me?
    No smugg, I wasnít trying to confuse you. Youíre too intelligent for that. My answer wasnít directed at you but to someone who would say Ďeverything is perceivedí. But, you did defend itís plausibility, which, I found in error. Maybe weíve gotten to far into this discussion that the original question was lost? I donít know?


    You have no idea what moral standards I do or don't live up to. This discussion is not about me or you or anyone personal, so if you can't make your points honestly, please refrain from responding.
    Did I offend you? My apologies. Please know that when I said Ďyouí in this context, it was meant in general. (Iím extending my hand)

    Just because there are no absolutes, doesn't mean there are no morals. I was raised in a society which treats harshly anyone who commits the crimes you list, but I think there are situations where any of them might be acceptable or even desired.
    I absolutely agree with you, except, one canít say there are no moral absolutes and live that consistently. Because, what this is really saying is that, there is no difference between Adolph Hitler and Mother Theresa. Isnít that what it boils down to?


    I need not. Simply look in a dictionary -- it's what proof means. If it isn't verifiable, it isn't proof.
    I sorry. I am not explaining this well enough for you to understand. You cannot scientifically prove that the only acceptable proofs are scientific proofs. You cannot prove logically or empirically that only logical or empirical proofs are acceptable as proofs. So, proof is a matter of faith. To accept verifiable proof as the only proof is illogical.


    And you are correct, the fact that I exist doesn't tell me why I exist. And yes, you seem to have spotted the difference between our philosophies; that one of us assumes that no ones life is meaningful without Jesus and one of us doesn't. Bravo. Your point? That I'm wrong? At this point you haven't shown that to be anything but opinion.
    My point is: Why keep a philosophy if one would live in contradiction to it?

    Peace

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    [You cannot scientifically prove that the only acceptable proofs are scientific proofs. ]

    Huh? Science has said that for the concerns of science, only proofs that meet certain criteria are scientific proofs. Thus, scientific proofs, or proofs which are considered to have been reached in an intelligent manner in the tradition of scientists. Are you having some trouble with the language? Are you attempting to redefine proofs?

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    Hello Universe,

    [You cannot scientifically prove that the only acceptable proofs are scientific proofs. ]

    Huh? Science has said that for the concerns of science, only proofs that meet certain criteria are scientific proofs. Thus, scientific proofs, or proofs which are considered to have been reached in an intelligent manner in the tradition of scientists. Are you having some trouble with the language? Are you attempting to redefine proofs?
    No. I am not attempting to redefine proofs and no, I not having trouble with my language. I'll try one more time. You cannot prove it logically because its contradiction does not entail a contradiction, and you cannot prove it empirically because neither a proof nor the criterion of acceptability are empirical entities. Thus (the premise that only scientific proofs count as proofs) is not scientific; it is a dogma of faith, a religion. This should not be hard to understand since I said in the beginning that the only argument that meets both the a priori and the a posteriori is: Something exist and at least one other thing exist.

    Peace

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    [You cannot scientifically prove that the only acceptable proofs are scientific proofs. You cannot prove logically or empirically that only logical or empirical proofs are acceptable as proofs. So, proof is a matter of faith. To accept verifiable proof as the only proof is illogical. ]

    Science has set up parameters for something to be considered a proof. Are you disputing those parameters?

    [No true Atheist would deny that without theology, whether it would be true or false, man would not have made it this far. ]

    No true atheist? Are you redefining what it takes to call ones self an atheist now? All a true atheist has to think is that they do not believe in a god or gods. Period. I would suspect, however, that a great number of atheists would take your statement one step further to its logical conclusion and state that man would have made it much further without religion and the dogma it carries with it.

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    Originally posted by Cephas
    Hello Smugg,

    What? If nature be red in tooth and claw then itís obvious out-workings are plain to see. No true Atheist would deny that without theology, whether it would be true or false, man would not have made it this far.
    Like universe, I don't know what a 'true' atheist is, but I would never miss the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials, militia groups, the Ku Klux Klan, or the enslavement of American aboriginal people. What has theology ever done to advance humanity? Every advance we've made, whether humanitarian or scientific, ran against long-held religious thought.

    No, I wasnít talking about the big bang theory. As a matter of fact, I find that theory is very plausible. The point was/is Atheism lives in contradiction as a philosophy when it denies a concept of God when it doesnít know everything there is to know, which, you willingly admit.
    That's just silly. I may not know everything there is to know, but I know reality from fantasy. Even if your straw-man argument had validity, there'd be no more reason to doubt the existence of Shiva, Thor, or Sol Invictus than the Hebrew storm god Yahweh. Why do you inconsistently choose to disbelieve in them?

    By your logic, if a person doesn't know everything he couldn't know anything. That's a little silly isn't it? Are you so unable to differentiate what's real or not? It's not a question of me choosing to not believe in your version of God, the fact is that no good argument has been made to me for any god. Even though I don't know everything, I (as a functional adult human being) can tell the difference between a horse (a real creature) and a cherub (a mythological figure of fantasy).

    I do like your burrito therory. So, God is a Mexican.

    No smugg, I wasnít trying to confuse you. Youíre too intelligent for that. My answer wasnít directed at you but to someone who would say Ďeverything is perceivedí. But, you did defend itís plausibility, which, I found in error. Maybe weíve gotten to far into this discussion that the original question was lost? I donít know?
    I don't think I lost it, I never had it. To 'percieve everything' would be necessarily to percieve the statement of perception. It isn't a contradition as you stated, but logic.

    Did I offend you? My apologies. Please know that when I said Ďyouí in this context, it was meant in general. (Iím extending my hand)

    I absolutely agree with you, except, one canít say there are no moral absolutes and live that consistently. Because, what this is really saying is that, there is no difference between Adolph Hitler and Mother Theresa. Isnít that what it boils down to?
    I am saying that I don't think there are any moral absolutes and I live it consistently. Was there a difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa? Sure, they are both extremes of the moral standards of their day and they will be remembered as such.

    The problem is that those two examples come from roughly the same time period and they both came from Christian cultures. Lets compare, say, Hitler to Joshua, the successor of Moses as commander of the Israelites. Both men, in attempting to expand their empire, conquered cities and attacked innocent civilians, but while Hitler, living in a time when nations had agreed on non-expansionist policies, is seen as evil and wickedly ambitious, Joshua, living in a time when war was seen as ordained by God, is considered a hero. You would think that genocide would be a moral absolute but it turns out it might not be.

    Likewise, slavery is abhorred by the residents of most modern nations, but in the past men and women (even men as admired as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington) practiced it and considered themselves good people. But times change and the morals and values of people change with them. This is what many atheists mean when they claim that there are no moral absolutes.

    I sorry. I am not explaining this well enough for you to understand. You cannot scientifically prove that the only acceptable proofs are scientific proofs. You cannot prove logically or empirically that only logical or empirical proofs are acceptable as proofs. So, proof is a matter of faith.
    This is just double-talk, isn't it? What other type of proof should be required, unverifiable proof? I think it would be easy to prove (ironic, isn't it?) that the only acceptable proofs are scientific. Should we all believe alien abduction stories when someone claims them, or is a bit of skepticism called for? What kind of proof would you require? Should an emotional appeal be accepted as proof?

    To accept verifiable proof as the only proof is illogical.
    This statement is too much; it deserved to be set apart...

    Again, what other kind of proof would be more logical in your view?

    My point is: Why keep a philosophy if one would live in contradiction to it?
    I give up: why?

    Peace

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    Universe,

    Science has set up parameters for something to be considered a proof. Are you disputing those parameters?
    No, universe, I would not dispute those parameters. But, with your answer, you are supporting what I am trying to explain to you. You said Science has set up parameters for something to be considered proof. Now, how do you proof those parameters? With scientific proofs? Do you see how this gets circular? And, besides that, who is Science that they should set up parameters of proof? Why do you accept their proofs? Universe, take the time to answer these questions if you are serious about this discussion but if you want to argue for argument sake, please donít post anymore. (And, yes, I accept scientific proofs but not as the only proofs.)


    No true atheist? Are you redefining what it takes to call ones self an atheist now? All a true atheist has to think is that they do not believe in a god or gods. Period. I would suspect, however, that a great number of atheists would take your statement one step further to its logical conclusion and state that man would have made it much further without religion and the dogma it carries with it.
    Man would have made it further without God? This reminds me a story I read. Ohio State University has on its campus a new building branded the first Ďdeconstructionistí building. When you would enter inside you are informed that the architect designed this building to reflect life itself, senseless and incoherent. You had stairs going nowhere; pillars that hang from the ceiling without purpose and angle corners too give you the sense of illusion. The man who wrote this story had one question for the architect, did he do the same thing with the foundation? So you see universe, Atheism plays deadly games with the foundation of good thinking.

    I Ďll address true Atheism for you when I reply to Smuggís post.

    Thanks

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    [Universe, take the time to answer these questions if you are serious about this discussion but if you want to argue for argument sake, please donít post anymore. ]

    Who died and made you the moderator/owner of this forum? I will continue to post until I am finished with what I want to say or Brandon, the owner, asks me to stop.

    The problem you seem to be having is that you assume that the only conclusions/theories out there are scientific. I have made the decision for myself that scientific proofs have a lot of validity in their content and the research/thinking that have gone into them. You have the option of accepting the scientific method or not. You apparently do not accept it, but I have yet to see you offer your alternative. Please do so.

    Is there a certain reason why I should listen to your definition of atheism as opposed to, say, an actual atheists? There is a reason why words have definitions: it allows us to communicate on common ground. You apparently do not approve of the definition of the word proof. Perhaps there is another word of concept you can use to illustrate more clearly what you are trying to discuss with us.

    [The point was/is Atheism lives in contradiction as a philosophy when it denies a concept of God when it doesnít know everything there is to know, which, you willingly admit.]

    You like to use big words, but you are talking gibberish. Please use common logic instead of linguistic psycho-babble when talking with us.

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