I would check myself into a mental institution.
If there is no God, and if His Son is not the Messiah sent to save men from their sins, then I am stark raving mad - a lunatic - and don't need to be loose on the streets.
Because I have seen His work in my life - and there is NOTHING in this world more amzing than seeing God's hand in my life.
<----blessed beyond measure.
Nothing + nothing = nothing
Nothing + something = something
the earth is something, people are something
you cannot have something from nothing. There must be something that starts it all. That something must have always been and must always be or else it itself was once created. If it was created, it must have a creator. There must be something that was never created but has always been: God.
Makes perfect sense to me.
I always thought it was wishful thinking.
Looks like someone has read Feuerbach! The 19th century German philosophers also pondered whether God was a projection of fears and worries, etc. But projections don't "surprise" us. Phenomenology wiped out these early atheist's ideas. Their line of reasoning was just too simplistic and didn't take into account the actual data we have on the topic...
Some people believe what they do because their parents taught them to believe it and/or everyone else they know or trust also believe it too. But some generation had to go from disbelief to belief - so some one had to make a choice and thus had reasons to believe... to suppose they were just projecting fears into a ghost or personalising forces of nature without knowing any better is to insult other people's intelligence merely because they lived "long ago".
I'm willing to bet lots of Muslims believe for these reasons - everyone else believes it, and their social/political milieu is such that if they doubt their faith they'll be killed. Besides, they've been told all alternatives are either myths or conspiracies of the evil Jews. (The silliness of an absolute minority of people whom Allah, this all-powerful God supposedly hates, nevertheless responsible for all bad things happening to the overwhelming majority is a striking example of internal inconsistency of message. But then, scape-goating normally is irrational).
Others believe because they've studied their belief and accept it on its own grounds - or in comparison with what else exists. If you grow up hearing horror stories about Roman Catholics (you know, that we have arsenals under our churches waiting for the Pope to give us the order to establish theocracy), chances are high, even if you doubt your local church's version of things, you'll rule Catholicism out as an alternative. Lots of Muslims can't accept Jesus as Lord because their philosophy teaches them that God can't be Trinity and thus he can't have a son. Allah cannot be "father" as he's not married... again, the teaching matrix precludes them from even suspecting an alternative reality.
Now I assume those on this site have reasons for believing what we do. That is, we can argue about it. We can communicate our experiences and explain why we conclude what we do about this or that belief. It's not merely a question of taste or feelings (which no one can argue).
"What if" questions have some validity, if you know enough about the subject in question. "What if gunpowder was never invented?" What if we never broke the German code?" What if Europe had only discovered the New World in 1800?" These kinds of contingent, historical questions about cause and effects have some merit as mental exercises - and we sure get alot of exercise on this site! .
But the belief in the existence of God and Revelation doesn't quite follow the same pattern because men have been grappling with these questions since forever.
Men can, by sheer intellectual effort, come to know that God exists and also deduce from this certain things about him. The Greeks did conclude that Monotheism is possible. Aristotle concluded that this God could have some contact with us as "friend" (Nicomachaen Ethics), helping us become perfected and happy.
This being the case, Deism of the watch-maker variety IS irrational. A creative God that created obviously rational, spiritual beings like man would also be a rational, spiritual being himself - and as such, wouldn't just blindly create the cosmos and then step back and "watch it" run impersonally. The only reason Deists got as far as they did was that there weren't enough Jesuits around to refute them.
But intellectual deduction and analogy from what we know to be true to what could be true alone won't allow us to KNOW that this one God "is a He" or what He specifically wants us to do. We can come to conclude that certain behaviors are more conducive to happiness and health, and thus are reasonable - likely to please a reasonable deity. But that's guess work.
Revelation is extra-rational; it reveals what we can't know on our own;but is itself INTELLIGIBLE.
It makes sense that a rational God would create a rational order of things.... cause and effect. Thus if a message that purports to be Divine revelation fails to pass rational muster (if it's insane in theory or in results) we can conclude it's probably a myth.
Caution is needed here though, especially when dealing with miracles that are part of the revelation: after all, by definition a miracle isn't something repeatable in a controlled environment - so it's hard to "study" or verify as true. Eye witnesses who are credible help ascertain the veracity of events that seem implausible at first blush.
So you have to give certain weight to eye witnesses who swear they saw or experienced something. If they are otherwise happy, healthy, sane people, their witness has more weight of probability. Dying rather than renouncing their conviction that something indeed happened has more weight that getting rich and powerful thanks to their claim to have experienced it.
So again, as on other threads, we need to look at all our criteria of credibility: is the message intelligible or a question of taste? Is the message internally consistent with what we know to be true apart from it? Do the people who believe this message act as though they do? Are they - or others who do believe it, die for it? Does this message, if followed, lead to health of mind, body, and inter-personal relations or violence, insanity, disease and death?
If this was true...what would I have to change in my life? Would I rather keep my habits (or let my habits keep me) than face possibly difficult changes?
Then the better life I lived was its own reward. I have lost nothing.
What if atheism is wishful thinking? A whole lot of people are going to be wanting 1000 spf sunblock.
We have some great examples of what happens when society ceases to beieve in God or obey his commandments.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Nobody ever lives a righteous, honest, honorable, or productive life without God and his commandments.
If it turns out to be nothing more than wishful thinking?
I lose nothing.
I must say that its not wishfuol thinking all the time. Tehre are many things that I wrestle with and goes against my nature all the time. If it were truly wishful thinking in my view, I would be into the seeker sensitive do as you wish tyoe denominations that prevail in todays christendom.
Except the creator has no creator because he is the exception to this otherwise neat and tidy "rule".
I can't put it better than you did here.
Society would crumble into the worst of depravity.
So many of our values are based on religion. Remove the authenticity - or validity - of those values, and what would people follow?
Many people - myself included - have been halted mid stride en-route to an act or deed that is against religious teaching by our Biblical experiences.
I was in a very bad situation for a period of time in my life. God was there. No one can take that knowledge from me. If he hadn't been there, I would not be here now.
Thinking of life without that knowledge is, frankly, unimaginable.
I don't doubt most of us are nice people - nice people who act nicely.
Unfortunately, even in a world where most human beings believe in God or gods and almost all believe that what we do in this life will determine what happens to us in the next, there are lots of scoundrels of all religious and philosophic persuasions who hurt others and kill some of their neighbors for selfish motives.
"If this is what it's like when the wood is green, what will it be like when the wood is dry?"
Sudden, global "proof" that God is a myth might not make US suddenly depraved, frothing at the mouth pyscho-paths. But it certainly wouldn't HELP keep others from that path and here's why:
If all future generations of children are taught from the get-go that God didn't exist and "being" was merely matter and energy and thus spirit didn't exist; there is no afterlife, no here-after, no reward or punishment for honorable living or dastardly deeds....most will conclude that "the meaning of life" is to have fun - and being rich and powerful almost always translates into "having the most fun".
That means being self-centered: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. Hedonism. There is no tomorrow, live for today. Lots of people will start living for instant gratification - eat, drink, be merry for tomorrow we die. Death is final, so squeeze as much enjoyment out of life as possible.... even if others get hurt in the process.
Some will rise up with new myths of immortality in corporality - cyborgs, etc. and sell the masses on the tyrannical state needed to errect the engine of immortality - the tower of babel for our time. Some will experience long lives at the cost of the plebes, the masses ground into powder like mankind experienced in China, Egypt, and elswhere that the regime promised immortality to the few found worthy.
Far from producing more happiness, the hypothetical atheist world produces generalised misery.
Naturally people have always faced the theory of atheism. But the heart rebels against there being NO MEANING to life. When you hold your daughter's limp body you don't phenomenologically think: oh well, she's just an animal anyway, so there's no sense crying for her loss...after all "her" doesn't exist so why be sad?"
No, your heart won't allow your head to think "she", her personality is annihilated. The human phenomena of burying the dead and visiting the last place that person was, must mean something.
If God didn't exist though, neither would our souls, and thus we'd only be animals. What rights would we have between ourselves? What right would the poor have on the rich or the weak on the strong? Justice would be replaced by whimsical mercy and nothing more.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the most bloody regimes on record have been atheist: Spain, Italy, France, Russia, Germany, China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia.... the sheer numbers of people killed by their own countrymen in the name of an atheistic system that saw man as the highest being, the arbiter of what is good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust.... have to show us phenomenologically that, at least on the scale of nations, once those in power deny the existence of God and this becomes accepted by a majority of people, all hell breaks loose and the only happy ones are the few on top.
If it were proven God does not exist I'd be a little sadder but I'd still do my best to live an honest and productive life.
Why do you belive you would not be capable of that?
Any religion should preach first "do no harm", but it ain't gonna happen, 9/11 and other terroist acts, Palestinians against Jews, also governments should also not harm religions, like Chinese against Buddhists, Indians against Muslims...probably a whole lot more of instances...
That was the point. God has no creator. He was not created. He is the beginning. Not really an "exception" to the rule, because He was not created.
If everything was created, even if it's by cause and effect, then there has to be a beginning where it all comes from - an original cause. I don't believe that it's an infinite cycle of cause and effect with no beginning at all. The beginning is God. He started it all. Was always here, will always be here.
But Bah, that's just my humble opinion.
I cannot imagine that there is no God. It doesn't make sense to me.
And I don't claim to make sense to anyone else.
(you must be thinking: )
Don't worry, I'm used to it.
So to answer CJ's question...it would not affect my life, because I will never know that. Cannot comprehend the topic of no God. Can't make it work in my mind.
It is period or you've not studied history w/a objective mind.
To believe that religion is just "wishful thinking" requires faith itself.
So you see, the lack of religion is itself a kind of religion.
It requires more faith then I could ever muster.
I mean, if I am wrong, and there is no God, no afterlife, I will never know and neither will you.
If an aetheist is wrong - well, I'd rather not be in his shoes.
He loses big - I lose little.
To re-iterate, aetheism requires just as much faith, if not more.
I'm not willing to ever take that chance - are you?
My Dad thought like you. I often wondered if he was a seeker of truth or a seeker of questions.
Which are you?
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Luk 9:23 And he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
I believe we are sinners by nature. Without God we would not and could not deny ourselves.
I thought like this once upon a time
then when I read the bible, about Jesus, things started jumping at me from the pages, things I know are truth.
then God started talking to me,
that is how i know that Jesus is Lord
Guess the family members of those victims got what they deserved?
Guess them jews had it coming?
Doesn't add up QShok, way too much contradiction there to make that a valid arguement.
Unless God only lashes out by unleashing natural disasters ....
And why New Orleans??? What, has God never been to Vegas?
CJ, anyone who may have posted with an answer they may have proferred is full of bunk.
When you get right down to it, all religion is wishful thinking.
Tough questions, I know...but I've asked them of myself many times. My response is that at
the very worst, I would want to be remembered by those I leave behind, and I would want to
be remembered and thought of very highly. If there were no God, I would not start living like
there was no God. My personal wish to be a decent, honest, honorable, kind, and loving person
is NOT based on any commandments coming from God or anyone or anything, but comes from
inside myself. I want to leave a wake of smiles and laughter behind me as I travel through life.
You've left a quite honest and I'm sure heart-felt trail of your wishes. Personally, I believe we all would be quite blessed to "...leave a wake of smiles and laughter behind me as I travel through life."
I believe you'll do well !
Edited to avoid the eraser... Paschle is being criticized here...
It's interesting to find out where our beliefs originate.
The Apostle Paul's Answer (at least the Christian perspective):
I Corinthians 15
15:12 Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty.
15:15 Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised.
15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.
15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.
15:18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.
15:19 For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.
to answer your question bluntly:
If there is no God, we are all screwed because our life serves no purpose whatsoever.
However, I don't see how you think you are "screwed", as that implies some malice or bad luck. You are in no better or worse shape than anything else that has a life cycle of its own. Personally, I'm on great terms with my mortality. Don't take that as a death wish either, I want to live well as long as possible.
Humans have risen from a primitve state because we to some degree have shorted the typical life cycle of other species. We've developed highly effective communication structures that have allowed us NOT to start at square one with every generation. You are tapping on a keyboard "talking" to me, as opposed to tapping on a bone for marrow (if you survived that long) for this very reason...