Atheist looking for answers


#1

I am an atheist and have been for a while now. I have lost my faith do to a lack evidence and inconsistencies in its founding. I beleive that religion is a means of control and a way for man to deal with death, nothing more. I am only 15 but I grew up in a predominanty cathloc family and yet still managed to come out atheist. I guess I think too much and lack the ability to do something without trying to figure out why. I cannot worship someone who I have never seen or heard from and whos only indication of existence is written in a book whos only claim to legitimacy is written in the book its self!? Basically what I am looking for here is a discussion with people who know something about the faith. So give it your best shot to convert me and I will do my best to be open minded through it all. be prepared to argue though because I live for debate :thumbsup:


#2

Let’s start with this article. Can you tell me hat part of it you disagree with?

Can You Prove God Exists?


#3

That’s a lot of ground to cover. I guess we should start with the existence of God. His existence we can know with certainty using reason alone. That does not mean we can reason to the fact that there is a Trinity. Some realities concerning God can only be known through revelation.

I would like to have you read the Five Ways recorded by St. Thomas Aquinas (one of the greatest philosophers of all time):

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.


#4

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence–which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

The above are some of the classical ways of demonstrating the existence of God, and what we learn of Him is that He is the Unmoved Mover, First Efficient Cause, Necessary, Cause of Being Goodness and Perfection, and Governor of the Universe.

We have a fundamental problem. Because you cannot see God, you do not believe. If you could see God, He would not be perfect, because that which you see must be composed of something. That which is composed can be decomposed, hence imperfect. Matter tends toward decomposition and imperfection. That which is made of matter cannot be perfect, because it would be limited to a certain kind of existence by being material. God is existence itself. Matter is a principal of individuation. For example, I am not all men, I am only one man, and that is because I have a material body. You and I share the exact same nature, human-ness, but we are different because of matter. In God is every perfection, and maximally so. God does not have attributes. God is absolutely simple. He is His attributes.

The reason I am saying all these things about God is to demonstrate that there is a good reason that He is not seen. He has no body. There is a good reason why He cannot be understood. He is infinite. There is a good reason He does not noticeably answer all your prayers. He is the master of creation and will not subject Himself to our commands particularly when our prayers contradict His will, which is perfect.

Finally, no one is going to argue you into belief. No one is going to convert you. If you are converted, it will be God’s work, not mine or anyone else’s.

I hope this provides a good starting point to a meaningful discussion.

Kevin


#5

There is only one way I can try to comment on this. Regardless of whether there is a god or not, believing in God makes me a happier person and my faith will continue to help me get through all the troubles in life. It really doesn’t matter if I am wrong about God’s existence since the only thing I have not lost anything. There can be joy and much happiness in believeing in this life. But what if god does exist? Then it is eternal life compared to eternal damnation. Why go through life with such a pescimistic attitude? I think that there is one thing an athiest can notice. People that believe in God on the whole are happier people. My uncle who is an athiest has said this about the believers in out family and although he won’t admit it, I think he is at least agnostic and a good person overall so salvation is possible. That is not to say that depresion and suffering and all the bad stuff doesn’t exist for those that believe, but it is nice to believe God is there for you even though it feels like the rest of the world is against you and nothing is going right. Sometimes, the only positive thing to have hope in is that belief in God and that everythign will eventually turn out alright. If nothing else, belive for that reason and hopefully God will make himself known in you. There really is not way to convince an athiest. They have to find God themselves and seeing how God is in other people probably is the best way.


#6

[quote=wjp984]There is only one way I can try to comment on this. Regardless of whether there is a god or not, believing in God makes me a happier person and my faith will continue to help me get through all the troubles in life. It really doesn’t matter if I am wrong about God’s existence since the only thing I have not lost anything. There can be joy and much happiness in believeing in this life. But what if god does exist? Then it is eternal life compared to eternal damnation. Why go through life with such a pescimistic attitude? I think that there is one thing an athiest can notice. People that believe in God on the whole are happier people. My uncle who is an athiest has said this about the believers in out family and although he won’t admit it, I think he is at least agnostic and a good person overall so salvation is possible. That is not to say that depresion and suffering and all the bad stuff doesn’t exist for those that believe, but it is nice to believe God is there for you even though it feels like the rest of the world is against you and nothing is going right. Sometimes, the only positive thing to have hope in is that belief in God and that everythign will eventually turn out alright. If nothing else, belive for that reason and hopefully God will make himself known in you. There really is not way to convince an athiest. They have to find God themselves and seeing how God is in other people probably is the best way.
[/quote]

Wrong attitude.

There will come a time when difficulties will ensue, God will not be the source of happiness, in fact because of Him for one reason or another you will be persecuted/mocked/ridiculed/attacked/judged/etc… Are you ready to accept that? IF so, then you believe in Him because He exists, and not because he makes you happy. Our Lady once said to the children of Fatima “I do not promise you happiness in this life, but in the next”

Remember those words.

In Christ.

Andre.


#7

[quote=Daedalus] I cannot worship someone who I have never seen or heard from and whos only indication of existence is written in a book whos only claim to legitimacy is written in the book its self!?
[/quote]

There are many indications of God’s existence oustide the Bible, have you seen this…

loveandmercy.org/loveandmercy/fatima.htm

At the July apparition the children asked the Blessed Mother to give a sign to make people believe the apparitions. The Blessed Mother promised to them a great public miracle in October.

On October 13, 1917, the crowds had increased to 70,000. Many newspaper reporters and photographers were there to record the miracle or prove the children were lying. The crowd was standing in the relentless, pouring rain with mud up to their ankles. Many were praying the Rosary as the Blessed Mother made her final appearance to the children and told them: "I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it everyday.

http://www.loveandmercy.org/loveandmercy/Images/Many_witnesses_miracle_of_sun-19171013.jpg

As Our Lady was about to leave she pointed to the sun. The rain had stopped and the clouds parted and the sun began to whirl in the sky, scattering rays of multicolored light lighting up the entire countryside. The sun whirled for three minutes, stopped and, then, resumed again a second and third time lasting a total of twelve minutes. The sun spun faster each time and at the end seemed to tear itself from the sky and began plunging to earth. Many in the crowd thought that it was the end of the world!

The crowd was on their knees, terrified, asking pardon for their sins. Just then the miracle ended, the sun returned to its normal position and the rain soaked earth and people’s clothes were now dry. There were many reported healings. The Portugal newspaper reporters gave long and detailed accounts but newspapers in most other countries ignored the story (see photograph of some of the many witnesses to the miracle of the sun).

.
…or this (video footage of Our Lady)…

zeitun-eg.org/

…or this (list of medically inexplicable miraculous cures at Lourdes)…

lourdes-france.org/upload/pdf/gb_guerisons.pdf

… or this (photographs of incorrupt bodies of Saints)…

geocities.com/goody.geo/artgallery.html

… or this (photos of Eucharistic Miracles)…

therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html

I was also brought up Catholic and became an atheist too, till I had a car crash at 70mph, rolled down a hill, two fence posts crashed though the windscreen missing my face by inches - the car skidded to a halt in front of a tree, it ended right way up and the door opened to let me out - i suffered a very slight bruise to my elbow - and a huge death blow to my atheist ego.

I didnt need to have someone “prove” God existed after that - I FELT him in my heart and I was in awe at how powerful He really is.

I coudnt help myself and had to go to Church to confess my sins it was an indescribable feeling to be reconciled with my creator after that first confession, and then to take communion.

After a while I joined the Parish Council, then I became Chairman, then I went to Lourdes on pilgrimage, met my wife, became a Eucharistic Minister and I have never looked back.

The crash was God’s wake up call - it was the best thing that could have happened to me - I pray this thread is your wake up call from God too.

DD


#8

[quote=Daedalus]I am an atheist and have been for a while now. I have lost my faith do to a lack evidence and inconsistencies in its founding. I beleive that religion is a means of control and a way for man to deal with death, nothing more. I am only 15 but I grew up in a predominanty cathloc family and yet still managed to come out atheist. I guess I think too much and lack the ability to do something without trying to figure out why. I cannot worship someone who I have never seen or heard from and whos only indication of existence is written in a book whos only claim to legitimacy is written in the book its self!? Basically what I am looking for here is a discussion with people who know something about the faith. So give it your best shot to convert me and I will do my best to be open minded through it all. be prepared to argue though because I live for debate :thumbsup:
[/quote]

I was very much like you, and I tell you right off the bat you aren’t going to get definitive proof of God’s existence. If proof existed there would be no atheists.

The fact that you’re 15 and give so much thought to your eternal existence and spirituality to invalidate God, tells me there’s great hope for you. You’ll probably be called to the priesthood. Most kids your age just don’t give that much thought about God’s existence, and human’s role in God’s divine plan.

For me, I really came back to the Church and began to believe as I got older (I’m 28, not that much older), but I had a child (which is proof in and of itself), married, work everyday to pay the bills, you see relatives die, life is HARD out here man. But it got me more fouced on “what is the point?”, as I sat one night watching Survivor I said to myself, “is this what I’m here, conscious right now for? Is this life?” I asked myself that question and I knew it wasn’t. Just look at the perfection of the Earth you live on. All water on the Earth goes through a perfect filtration process, Animals breath in oxygen and breath out Carbon Dioxde, while plants take our wasted Carboon Dioxide and release oxygen in abundance for us. I watched a special on NOVA once on the creation of the moon. It was a chance encouter, a split second later and the enormous comet that collided with the Earth misses Earth, the moon is never formed and the Earth is never inhabitable because tide waters would continuously flood the Earth. The Earth is the perfect distance from the Sun to sustain life, the axis the Earth is on is perfect for regeneration of materials on the Earth.

There’s too much order that keeps the universe going, there has to be a higher intelligence that keeps the Universe from spiraling out of control. A human beings DNA is so complex the odds of it forming with zero influence from a creator are so astronomical that it is outside the bounds of reason:

"the Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics jointly presented the true nature and complexity of the digital code inherent in DNA. We now understand that each human DNA molecule is comprised of chemical bases arranged in approximately 3 billion precise sequences. Even the DNA molecule for the single-celled bacterium, E. coli, contains enough information to fill all the books in any of the world’s largest libraries. "

Like I said you won’t get "proof, as worshiping God your creator requires a leap of faith, without it we’re mindless robots, and we lose freewill. But to me the best proof is look inside yourself and the perfection of the environment God gave us.


#9

Where are you Daedalus? Your original post said you lived for debate but you haven’t commented on the comments and references given by the other posters.


#10

The Earth is the perfect distance from the Sun to sustain life, the axis the Earth is on is perfect for regeneration of materials on the Earth.

Ok, with the billions upon billions of systems in our galaxy and billions upon billions of galaxies in the universe how can you say it is not logical for at least one of those planets in the trillions of system to be a certain distance from the sun without the need of help fro a higher power.

There’s too much order that keeps the universe going, there has to be a higher intelligence that keeps the Universe from spiraling out of control.

acually there is not too much order in the universe, have you ever heard of the chaos theory. It states that the universe is extremely chaotic in nature and that is true. Stars exploding and black holes forming the random series of explosions in space that were caused by nuetron stars that they thought could threaten the earth (and in fact still do) that does not sound very orderly.


#11

[quote=Daedalus]Ok, with the billions upon billions of systems in our galaxy and billions upon billions of galaxies in the universe how can you say it is not logical for at least one of those planets in the trillions of system to be a certain distance from the sun without the need of help fro a higher power.
[/quote]

Perhaps that is true, but the likelihood that anything exists is almost nothing. Think about what the Big Bang requires us to believe. First of all, matter is not eternal. There was a definite beginning and will be a definite end. Hawking’s attempts to prove an oscillating universe have been laughable and pathetic. Besides, even with an oscillating universe, you are recognizing that matter simply is. I don’t know about you, but I find it highly more likely that a supreme being who encompasses everything and IS EXISTENCE ITSELF would happen to exist than that some clump of matter just happens to exist.


#12

[quote=Daedalus]I am an atheist and have been for a while now. I have lost my faith do to a lack evidence and inconsistencies in its founding. I beleive that religion is a means of control and a way for man to deal with death, nothing more. I am only 15 but I grew up in a predominanty cathloc family and yet still managed to come out atheist. I guess I think too much and lack the ability to do something without trying to figure out why. I cannot worship someone who I have never seen or heard from and whos only indication of existence is written in a book whos only claim to legitimacy is written in the book its self!? Basically what I am looking for here is a discussion with people who know something about the faith. So give it your best shot to convert me and I will do my best to be open minded through it all. be prepared to argue though because I live for debate :thumbsup:
[/quote]

What exactly are the “inconsistencies” you refer to? Are you referring to the slight variances between the Gospel accounts, for example?


#13

The Existence of God

The topic will be treated as follows:

[list]
*]

I. As Known Through Natural Reason
[list]
*]A. The Problem Stated
[list]
*]1. Formal Anti-Theism

  1. Types of Theism
    [/list]B. Theistic Proofs
    [list]
    *]1. A Posteriori Argument
    [list]
    *](a) The general causality argument

(b) The argument from design

© The argument from conscience

(d) The argument from universal consent
[/list]2. A Priori, or Ontological, Argument
[/list]
[/list]II. As Known Through Faith
[list]
*]A. Sacred Scriptures

B. Church Councils

C. The Knowability of God
[/list]
[/list]


#14

[quote=Mike_D30] I tell you right off the bat you aren’t going to get definitive proof of God’s existence. If proof existed there would be no atheists.
[/quote]

I don’t think this is true.

There are very certain logical, rational proofs for His existence in addition to supernatural events that prove beyond cavil His existence.

Human beings are often extremely irrational, hence, clear proofs for His existence and yet the simulataneous existence of atheists.

I think another problem is that people mix personal experiences and/or faulty arguments (“Nature is so beautiful, the world is so vast, there just HAS to be a God”) and therefore weaken the theistic platform in the eyes of the atheist. Some are misinformed, convinced erroneously of their own intellectual superiority, or some variation thereof.


#15

[quote=Daedalus]Ok, with the billions upon billions of systems in our galaxy and billions upon billions of galaxies in the universe how can you say it is not logical for at least one of those planets in the trillions of system to be a certain distance from the sun without the need of help fro a higher power.
[/quote]

I can’t, but if there are billions of other planets with highly evolved life forms why have they not ever visited us Earthling’s? Or is everyone in the cosmo’s on the same evolutionary timeline?

[quote=Daedalus]acually there is not too much order in the universe, have you ever heard of the chaos theory. It states that the universe is extremely chaotic in nature and that is true. Stars exploding and black holes forming the random series of explosions in space that were caused by nuetron stars that they thought could threaten the earth (and in fact still do) that does not sound very orderly.
[/quote]

The chaos theroy is a mathematical theory, theory being the optimal word. To adapt one theory to the Universe as whole is a quantum leap. There is chaos in the Universe, but there is also an unbelievable order to the Unviverse. The idea that our Heavenly bodies don’t just smash into one another, to me is amazing. We have these enormous masses floating in infinite space, yet everyone is spaced so perfectly to keep them all in perfect orbit, so our world can go right on spinning, day in day out, year in year out. You talk about stars exploding, and explosions, who said they were random?

Even if you believe in the Big Bang, what caused the Big Bang? What was that inital spark that inital fire? Can you honestly believe that there was an explosion so powerful billions of years ago, that the Universe is still expanding from it at an extraordinary rate, that the milecualr attraction formed the cosmos out of matter and gravity and life simply evolved, with no significant start to that explosion, no higher power? Human DNA points directly to an intelligence far exceeding what could called simple chance. You have a better chance winning the lottery 1,000 times, and gettign struck by lighting every day for the rest of your life, than everything lining up for humans not only to be able to live on this planet, but for there DNA to form by accident. I don’t know how evolution fits in to be honest, but I do not it was part of God’s plan.

Your brightest scientists believe that the Universe had a beginning, if it had a beginning that means there was nothing before it but God. Albert Einstein believed in God, he didn’t believe in a personal God but he had little doubt due to the complexity of the Cosmos that God existed. That’s the first step, getting to know him is the second.


#16

[quote=Daedalus]Ok, with the billions upon billions of systems in our galaxy and billions upon billions of galaxies in the universe how can you say it is not logical for at least one of those planets in the trillions of system to be a certain distance from the sun without the need of help fro a higher power.

[/quote]

Anthropic coincidences go much furhter than the distance form the Sun although that is one.


#17

[quote=Mike O]I don’t think this is true.

There are very certain logical, rational proofs for His existence in addition to supernatural events that prove beyond cavil His existence.
[/quote]

You have to delve into the scientific and philosophy to gain those proofs, rather than using logical, and raional proofs for supernatural occurences, none of which are logical or raional.

You can’t prove God exists to someone who doesn’t believe in God or supernatural occurences, simply by using theological arguments, and supernatural occurences.


#18

Think about what the Big Bang requires us to believe.

Think of what christianity wants us to beleive. Some all-knowing being, while he was sitting in his abyss, decided to make a universe. So he went around poofing everything into existence. sound believable?

Here’s a question if god is so omnipotent then wouldn’t he know if, before he even created someone, if any given person was going to heaven or hell. Dont say that god thinks they may change because if he is truely omnipotent then he would know if they would change or not.

What exactly are the “inconsistencies” you refer to?

How about the fact that whichever of the 60 some versions of the bible (but of course they all the original) you chose to beleive they all contradict themselves. such as the bible teaches that god is the only god there is no others and that the one god the bible mentions created everything and the entire universe. Although on the otherhand, the bible states that god is a very Jealous God and doesn’t like people worshiping other gods. Now if there is only one god why would that god be jealous of people worshiping a non existant god??

Another one that comes to mind, god created man and loves man, but says man deserves nothing but death and eternal hell because he is born with sin. Why would a god that created man create him with sin? Why set him up for a fall with only one option “Believe in me or perish”?

A human beings DNA is so complex the odds of it forming with zero influence from a creator are so astronomical

well, If the chances are astronomical then it is a good thing we are refering to the Universe in this matter. an astronomical chance of something happening in the universe is still a pretty fair chance. thats like saying that there is a one in a million chance of someone will win at a game that is played by a trillion people, It is astronomical NOT for it to happen.

it is outside the bounds of reason

What bounds of reason are you refering to? the human understanding of the universe? The human understanding of the universe is minute and we may not even be headed in the right direction. take black holes for instance, they almost completely contradict science up to this point.

Even if you believe in the Big Bang, what caused the Big Bang? What was that inital spark that inital fire? Can you honestly believe that there was an explosion so powerful billions of years ago, that the Universe is still expanding from it at an extraordinary rate, that the milecualr attraction formed the cosmos out of matter and gravity and life simply evolved, with no significant start to that explosion, no higher power?

You dont have to beleive in the Big Bang Theory. There are thousands maybe even millions of other theories that we could put together even with our science being as limited as it is at this point. I dont necessarily beleive in the Big Bang Theory, but just that the universe was created naturally. And dont ask me how that is possible because I dont know, it is ignorant to claim you know something like that its only what you beleive.

also I have some questions, Is it the christian beleif that atheist are nothing but pure evil? Do you beleive that because the atheists will be your “enemy” when the apocolypse rolls around, we might as well count them as enemies now? And if you had a close friend who one day decided he was atheist, would you then disown that friend?


#19

let me ask you a question. you say that the universe is chaotic. yet there are without doubt rules that govern it. gravity pulls towards the center, the way in which certain elements react together, the fact that we breath oxygen and release carbon dioxide that can be used by plants. ect. there are so many rules that govern how life exists. why does life exist on this planet? why not alll the other plantets? It is laws of nature that say what life requires to exist. but who determiend all these rules? How did the entire universe come to exist so perfectly to allow life that so completely balances itself? Who decided what life would require to exist?

Secondly, your conscious. Every civilization has seen the value of human life, and looked down on murder. you cannot apply this to a simply herd instinct that evolved because unlike other species in the animal kingdom, we help our elderly, our sick. by darwin’s theory they are the weaker of our species, they are not aiding our society in any way. also, although we all have this built in value for human life, we still take it. there are murders in every society. this is proof of our fallen nature.


#20

First off you need to truly understand omnipotent. God does what He sets off to do.

Things God cannot do:

  1. Sin
  2. Tell a lie
  3. Change truth to falsehood

There are others, but you get the point.

Scientists have set the odds of something being chance or being designed at 10 to the something power. (I can’t remember the number right now - something like 10 to the 150th.) Over this number they believe is no longer chance.

I don’t think many Catholics see atheists as evil in the sense that you imply. There are many atheists of good will who do not have the gift of faith. Atheists when they humble themselves begin to see the light. Without humility it doesn’t happen.


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