pretty much demolishes Dawkins, Hitchens and the like.
I will most certainly look this over after I read Dawkins.
This is ironic and very interesting.
I am curious, what philosophers have influenced you?
Oh you didn’t know?
Mostly the existentialists - Nietzsche and Heidegger in particular. However, I’m starting to take an interest in postermodern philosophy, I just have to read more of it. I’m currently reading Rorty’s book “Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity”.
I did not. However, my background is purely philosophical - Dawkins is the first time I’ve ventured into the scientific realm as far refutations of religion. I would have to say that it was Nietzsche who secured my position outside of theism.
I think you’re on the right track here. You’re questioning your own perceptions and wondering if your new certainties are really well-considered or not.
This is a very good step in the right direction.
As another poster mentioned – humility must replace arrogance.
When you are able to see yourself as you really are, and when you can look at your own process of questioning (that is difficult to do) – and how you’ve arrived at this atheistic conclusion, you’ll notice important things about yourself.
In simple terms, you’re cutting-short valuable and essential aspects of human life by reducing your interest to intellectual argumentation alone. You’ve admitted that this is “narrow” – so that’s good. But you haven’t yet been able to see that this narrowness is really a matter of blindness to the structure of reality and the universe – as well as blindness to your own limitations (I don’t mean that as a personal insult at all).
You’ve accepted philosophical assumptions without questioning them. You won’t do the same thing for religion – thinking that’s “blind faith”. But it’s good to question your own assumptions.
For example, you’re assuming that human reason is capable of, and well-fitted to understand the mysteries of the universe. This in itself, whether true or false, is a mystery that is beyond anyone’s capability of providing a good answer for.
Additionally, you’ve dismissed the supernatural component of Catholicism (apparently) entirely. Your studies appear to be entirely on the materialist level. Again, as above, trusting that logic is a complete and most-effective tool for understanding life and the universe. How could you know that logic is the best tool for that? Have you tried other tools? Have you tried every tool and found that logic was the best and most perfect one?
It’s one thing to be skeptical about religion. But it’s another thing to replace religious belief with belief in science or rationality. If you judge yourself fairly, you have to make sure you approach the topic without bias. Subject scientific claims to the same kind of skepticism.
You also would do well to consider the scientists who believe in God and read their work. The great scientists of the past who really developed modern scientists were mostly believers.
So again, it’s very good to read you wondering if you’re missing something in the study. This will prevent you from making rash conclusions – based on arrogance.
I think you will make a rash mistake in assuming, for example, that Intelligent Design theory does not have intellectual depth, or that it provides no challenge for science.
You can simply look at Oxford University’s conference next month where Intelligent Design theorists and Darwinists are engaging in debate.
Finally, while you might find it confusing that different religions have different dogmas – the similarities among religions found in widely different cultures should give you something to think about also.
Then there are the Gospels themselves – and the moral and spiritual teachings which can be found therein. These should be reviewed carefully.
I don’t want to get into the personal issues that usually are a part of decisions like yours, but there may be something there to consider as well.
I have walked some of your path. I was raised and atheist and came to Catholicism. I have a background in philosophy as well. As long as you attempt to reason yourself to God you will probably always have doubts. Positing that energy or God always existed leaves you with the same conundrum: what caused them? You can’t get around this and you are on even metaphysical footing with either approach (atheistic/theistic).
I am not going to patronize you and say “this is a phase” because it isn’t. I am quite a bit older than you. You are engaging your intellect and your faith. Hopefully you will always do so. Questioning is also not arrogance-it is intelligence. This said, humility is required in order to accurately see the results of your questions.
I am assuming you are a good person with a good heart. Would you treat others differently as an atheist than as a theist? I am guessing that you wouldn’t. You have the ten commandments; you have the beatitudes. Live them, even if you don’t believe that there is a theistic foundation to them. Jesus challenges us to live the spirit of the law. Always have this spirit in your heart.
I am not suggesting some form of Pascal’s wager: in my eyes threatening someone or acting out of fear of hell is disingenous. Live Jesus’ message as did Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa and many, many other saints did. That is the only advice I have for you. This being a Catholic forum, most here will say there is only one way to avoid hell. I don’t buy this even though I am Catholic. You will have to resolve this one on your own. You may end up being a full-blown follower of the Church, you may ultimately find yourself on some different path. Engage your intellect with the best way to follow the ten commandments and the beatitudes in your life and act!
Good luck and God Bless.
What are your perspectives on Objectivism? Do you like the ideas of Ayn Rand?
May I suggest that you use your public library?
Also: perhaps you can find books (and a DVD) by Thomas Berry. On God and Evolution.
I’ve found that faith cannot be found in our heads.
Best to you.
Have you examined the ultimate explanations that all the world religions offer? If not, I can go into them in depth.
I drew up the list to cover different areas. If you want solid arguments for God’s existence, I’d read *The Science before Science and Handbook of Christian Apologetics. *If you want good evidence for Christ’s divinity and Resurrection I’d read The Case for Christ. If you need to be convinced that science and religion are not at war with each other, I’d read Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. What’s so great about Christianity is a great overall primer on why belief in God and especially Christianity is so much more reasonable than atheism and A Meaningful World offers some terrific insights for belief based on beauty and mathematics. Most of these books you could probably loan out from a library. Hope this helps.
They probably have at least some of them at your library.
Anyway, the thing about Catholicism is that weird as some of it sounds, it all just fits so very perfectly when you finally understand any of it. It has been said that the primary question of human existence is “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Well, the Catholic would answer, “Because God is infinite love and wanted something to love, so he made the universe sorta like how a painter might make a painting.” Ok, that works, I suppose, but then why make a painting that can think? “God wanted people with whom to share his live, people who could love as well as be loved.” This raises more questions than it answers, though. After all, if God loves us so much, why are we in pain all the time? And why do we sin? And what is sin, anyway? Why aren’t we all like God supposedly created us, in love with God and he with us and everyone perpetually happy and loving? God couldn’t have screwed up, could he?
In other words, the problem of pain, which has a very elegant, if sometimes hard-to-swallow, answer: you can only choose to love someone, but this means you must also be able to choose not to love them as well. But all happiness comes from God (after all, God made the universe from nothing, so everything is from God). So by tossing God out, we toss out everything God wanted to give us as well, which just leaves nothing, pure lack. This lack pulls on us, like a vacuum, and that is where pain comes from.
So, it looks like we’re in a bit of a pickle, then, aren’t we: we’ve all sinned, and in doing so said “No” to God. God gave us everything, though, and wants to give us more, so refusing his love is so consequential, so infinitely evil, that there’s nothing we can ever do to make up for it, not with a billion billion years of good deeds. And it’s vital that our sins be made up for, because God created us to be begins of consequence, of import, to be his children and heirs, the lords and rulers of the world. That’s the thing: God loved us so much that he made us so that what we do means something, for good for for ill. Sin leaves a debt that must be paid. Justice demands at least that much.
However, God is not only just, but also merciful. Mercy, incidentally, doesn’t contradict Justice, but goes beyond it, gives more than it. It is just to pay someone enough money to survive, but it is not unjust to pay them more than this. In the same way, even though we said “No,” to God, God still loves us and wants us to say “Yes.” But our "No"s require payment, and more payment than we can afford. So, God paid. He bled for us, and died for us, because he had that much to give, and in doing so showed us just how much he values us, how much he loves us.
And that’s pretty much it. It just… all seems to fit. Of course, it’s either something you see, or you don’t, but I’ve found that this line of reasoning helped me.
How could scientific works lead you to atheism? Science has absolutely nothing to say on the question of God.
He didn’t say he was influenced by Karl Popper.
Haborym, can you account for the existence of anything and everything? If not, is it not every bit as much a position of faith to assert “I don’t know what caused it all, but I know it wasn’t God”? Is your atheism not just as rooted in faith as our theism?
On the question of sin, why do you not believe such a thing exists? Do you believe good and evil exist?
Objectivism can provide answers to that… The existence of anything can be accounted for by the law of identity - “A is A and man is man” and altruism is the only evil and sin.
“A is A.” - let’s chant that tautology together!