Atheists: Why aren't you theists?

I might be pushing the “why aren’t you” theme, but, whatever.

Once again, I’m seeking to survey reasons, not discuss them.:coffeeread:

Because I do not believe in god/gods/goddess/goddesses or anything else supernatural ;). There was a pretty recent thread on this (well, why we are not Catholics) in the Non-Catholic religion forum.

Do you believe in ‘yourself’?

I did not know that I was supernatural.

Can a Car make itself ?

‘Nature’ is all that can be seen, measured, and sensed. So your body and your thoughts and feelings are part of nature. Is your ‘self’ identical to your body? Is it identical to any particular thought? Any particular feeling?

Thoughts and feelings can be manipulated through chemistry. Look at anti-depressant drugs, they correct a chemical imbalance in the brain and help with feelings of depression. Memories and behaviors can also be lost with brain damage. Remove or damage the correct parts of the brains can you can completely change someone’s personality. Why should the rest of my thoughts or feelings be any different?

What is ‘self’ to me is the small details in DNA and brain chemistry that cause people to think or feel things slightly differently than other people. This is what sets us apart, but it is not supernatural.


Can the Universe make itself ?

Quite a jump to go from a car to an universe. The honest answer is: I do not know. I do not even know if the universe had a beginning. Why stop there though? Positing a supernatural cause does not change this, it only shifts the question from ‘can the universe make itself’ to ‘can God make himself’? In my opinion, saying ‘I do not know’ to the first is more honest than saying to the second, ‘my definition of god does not require that’.

I agree. Thoughts and feelings, just like any other part of nature, can be changed and manipulated.

What is ‘self’ to me is the small details in DNA and brain chemistry that cause people to think or feel things slightly differently than other people. This is what sets us apart, but it is not supernatural.

So, your ‘self’ is DNA and molecular brain chemistry?

As I said, thoughts and feelings can be manipulated, memories can as well. I see no reason to ascribe ‘self’ to anything other than this.

The point is, if a car can’t make itself, how can something way more complicated, like the universe make itself .

And God is even more complicated, so now you have a problem with how he was made.

As I said, I do not know how the universe came about, or even if it had a start. I am quite honest in that assertion. However, I am not willing to speculate on the existence of an even more complex being to take care of a problem with complexity. While positing a god may solve the problem with the existence of the universe, it does nothing to solve the problem with the existence of a god.

Anyway, you are using the watchmaker argument, which is quite faulty.

I assume agnostic is close enough? :wink:

I appear to lack the capacity for belief. I cannot simply surrender my reason to believe in that which I cannot personally experience.

I’m not speaking in a strictly materialist sense either. There are other things – intuition, intellect, even mysticism in some ways. None of those, however, presuppose or indicate the divine; just that there’s more than we currently know.

I’ve given the idea of deity considerable thought; were I a theist, I don’t think I’d have much in common with Catholics. A truly divine being would be rather less personal, more a force of (super)nature than a Person.

I was actually raised in a strictly orthodox Catholic environment. It took me a while to realize that I’d just been playing along. Loss of faith, even imagined faith, is an extremely painful experience. I went from that to generic theism of the sort I described above; but even that isn’t guaranteed and can’t be proven. So I’m agnostic; I don’t believe humans can truly know what or whether divinity. But that doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to greatness, to better or even transcend ourselves; we do it all the time, and it’s one of the things I live for and to see.

You seem to be toying with the Argument from Design. However, the main flaw with that argument is that we have yet to encounter anything in the Universe that cannot be explained through purely natural means.

I used to be a theist. But I realize it was mainly social and emotional needs that influenced my decision to believe combined with a strong familial tradition.

Eventually, I came to understand that my “mystical” experiences of God were fictions manufactured within my mind, manipulated (not maliciously, mind you) by others, pure coincidence, or a combination of all three.

A developing appreciation for history, astronomy and rational thinking confirmed what I had long suspected: that the universe is a big, big place that doesn’t really care about our little speck of life; and that there is no existence for us beyond these few, brief years.

Believe it or not, I found that revelation remarkably comforting.

I have always considered the gods of religion as fictional and the god of philosophy as an answer lacking a question.

Then would you say that your beliefs regarding the First Things has a component of faith similar to a religious person’s beliefs regarding the First Things?

Is it faith to say “I do not know”?

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