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brainout

The Question of Intent

I've been trying to classify the various motives why people are atheists, agnostics, or have beliefs in God (however defined).  Seems that they divide over the question of intent.

Because there is persistent evil in the world, many look at it and conclude that if there is a God, he must have an evil intent to allow evil to exist and persist -- hence there must not be a God, or there doesn't appear to be one.

The science arguments advanced for no-god then come into play.  But the root is this sense of intent, based on evil existing.

However, someone like me looks at that same data and concludes there must be a "God", because the evil manifests the full freedom of rejection.  So then "God" must be a God of Love, to allow evil to freely exist.  For He would have to see it forever, in its entirety, and First.  So He must love freedom utterly, to make creation in the first place.

All of us seem to center our decisions on what we perceive as the INTENT of "God", in order to decide if we believe in any "God", and what God we believe in.  

What are your thoughts?
Tvebak

Hi Brainout

Personally I think the idea of 'evil' and 'good' is concepts which are contructed in social progress between individuals. Really this applies to every other concept we have. Therefore it is an imagined idea talking about 'intent'.

But concerning your setup, suggesting a being called 'god', and then discussing the concepts of 'good' and 'evil' in that context, I would have to say that you have some problems regarding 'god', good and 'evil'. By saying that 'god allows 'evil' to exist, ie. "'god' loves freedom utterly", it gives me a notion that 'good' and 'evil' predates 'god'. Or as Bob quoted Bertrand Russel     here
Quote:
right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God's fiat

I know the specific quote is taken our of context, but I like the sentence-construction. There cannot be freedom for something to exist if it not already existed.

Cheers and peace
norwegian

brainout wrote:
All of us seem to center our decisions on what we perceive as the INTENT of "God", in order to decide if we believe in any "God", and what God we believe in.


Isn't that somewhat circular though. To perceive the intent of God presupposes that God exists, making the subsequent decision to believe or not to believe rather moot wouldn't you say.

In Eastern philosophies like Buddhism (where there's no god), INTENT is pivotal too although for an entirely different reason. In Buddhism, intent defines one's karma. Killing an animal with intent carries a different karmic weight than killing one accidentally. The premise is that a life lived with good intentions leads to more happiness than the opposite.

For someone who's brought up in such an environment, the idea of savior gods might actually be quite alien. For him, it might make sense that what you will become tomorrow is completely dependent on what you do today. Your fate before and after death is 100% in your hands and because all life is connected through nature, its pointless to hide intent.

There are of course easier schemes to believe in like the one where someone dies for your sins or the one where all sins are forgiven if you say the magic word. Of course nobody has ever come back from the dead to say if its true but I guess it really depends on what makes sense to you.

So the intent of god, I think, makes sense only if you already believe in the existence of a god-savior of one name or another. It isn't necesarily true for those who do not.
brainout

Well, guys -- whatever your definition of "intent", it's going to have to be either a set of impersonal forces or a person who loves.  Hatred could not be sustained.

We all would likely never keep the world as it is, if we created it.  It's too frustrating.  So if a person or persons is behind the universe's existence, love would have to be the motive, or if we posit a number of associated persons (you know, polytheism), then there is some balance-of-power among them such that the hatred never can counterbalance the love.
Tvebak

brainout wrote:
Well, guys -- whatever your definition of "intent", it's going to have to be either a set of impersonal forces or a person who loves. †Hatred could not be sustained.

We all would likely never keep the world as it is, if we created it. †It's too frustrating. †So if a person or persons is behind the universe's existence, love would have to be the motive, or if we posit a number of associated persons (you know, polytheism), then there is some balance-of-power among them such that the hatred never can counterbalance the love.


Hi Brainout

Quote:
So if a person or persons is behind the universe's existence, love would have to be the motive


It seems that you suggest that "love" is a notion which comes before the "person" or "persons" who would create a "universe". "love" should also be a creation of the "person" or "persons".

Cheers
noncredo

My reasons for not believing wouldn't fit into your intent hypothesis very well. My reason is simply that it doesn't make sense. As Norwegian said, how can I ascribe intent to something I don't believe exists?

I grew up in a very religious home, church three times a week, daily devotions, and then I got older and started asking questions. The answers made no sense so I started doubting. The doubt grew into disbelief with that religion so I started looking elsewhere for the answers and realized that all religions are similar at their core. I wandered around from Buddhism to Deism to agnosticism for a while and finally landed where I am today.
Baal

Years ago a cousin of mine got hit by a car and broke her nose (She came out okay after). Some woman ran up to her and held her nose in such a way that she caused more damage to the nose. It was almost like she was punching my cousin in the face while trying to help her.

That woman was big, tall, and very very stupid (Strong like Bull). She had no intent to harm my cousin quite the opposite.

I (and you) do not need to believe such a woman could exist to judge her intent.\

Also, intent is everything. Even if that woman had killed my cousin, I still could not get myself to extract vengeance on her. I mean really, just like my cousin had a broken nose, she could have had a concussion of a fractured neck. That Samaritan Bull of a woman could have killed my cousin.

At best, society might want to publicize a punishment for that Bull, to prevent other people from offering their help when they have no clue what they are doing. At the expense of chilling down the Samaritans in the society. But that is not, a judgement of her good intent.

We all worship different gods and different ideologies. My god is very logical and human. I really can not expect others to believe in the same god. I can not even expect others to believe that my god exist.

In fact, in the balance of probability, god does not exist. And if he does exist, there is an even smaller chance that he is the god of logic and humanity.

And noncredo, I feel bad that when growing up, your parents tried to force their god on you. Obviously it was a god that required Three prayers a day and way too many rituals to satisfy some cult-like needs.
noncredo

Youíre right. I can judge the intent. Intent can be isolated from the individual and judged on itís own, but I canít ascribe that intent to something I donít believe exists.

As for my childhood, I donít want to paint the picture of some poor Marjoe Gortner type. I have a lot of good memories from my younger days and have a great relationship with my parents today. But they are very ardent in their beliefs. Back to the intent thing, I canít be angry with them. They did what they believed was the right thing based on their beliefs.
DuckPhup

Re: The Question of Intent

brainout wrote:
I've been trying to classify the various motives why people are atheists, agnostics, or have beliefs in God (however defined). †Seems that they divide over the question of intent.


What I am perceiving here is a gross misconception of what an 'atheist' actually is. I will attempt to provide a clarification.

Most people seem to interpret atheism as a rejection of 'god'.

Atheism is NOT a rejection of god.... it is a rejection of the 'god story'.

That's it... that's all... atheists just don't believe the delusionists' story.

Delusionists in the christian camp are convinced that the fundamental TRUTH of existence and reality is contained in the myths, superstitions, fairy tales and fantastical delusions that arose from the sun-baked brains of an ignorant gaggle of Bronze Age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, genocidal goat herders.

Atheists just think that those myths, superstitions, fairy tales and fantastical delusions are totally ridiculous... stupid... insane, really. And so what atheists are telling the delusionists is: "We don't believe you. That story is insane. If you expect us to believe a story as stupid and ridiculous as that, you're going to  have to prove it to us. So...  just shut up, go away and leave us alone until you HAVE got some proof to show os."

But... even though the delusionists DO NOT have proof... and have not even been able to come up with any credible evidence in the thousands of years that they have been babbling this nonsense... they WILL NOT shut up... they WILL NOT go away... they WILL NOT leave us alone.

The atheists find this very annoying.

OK... I'm going to attack this from another direction now. 'Atheist' is simply a word that is descriptive of people who are NOT so stupid and gullible that they would allow some delusionist to persuade, cajole, threaten, decieve, frighten or bamboozle them into believing that invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies (gods) actually exist, account for everything, control the operation of 'reality' and are intimately concerned with our individual sex lives.

More succinctly... atheists are sane, rational, well-educated, intelligent people... people who are not stupid an gullible to fall for a scam so ridiculous as the delusionist's 'god story'.

Yep... that's right... I said 'scam'. Fraud and extortion... a supernatural 'protection racket'. The products?... the ILLUSION of 'salvation', and the PROMISE of eternal life. The sales tools? Fear, lies and false promises. The 'pay plan'?... doesn't kick in until after you're dead... and there's nobody there with whom you can register your complaint about having been scammed... which doesn't really matter, anyway... because you're DEAD... and you CAN'T complain... because you don't even KNOW you're dead... you're just DEAD.

Well... atheists are people who just aren't dumb enough to fall for that.

OK... now logic...

In Greek, if you stick an 'a' in front of something, that 'negates' it. So, 'atheist' is a negation of 'theist'.

So... 'theist' means 'DOES believe in god(s)'... 'atheist (a-theist) means 'does NOT believe in god(s)'.

Notice... and this is VERY important... 'does NOT believe in god(s)' IS NOT the same thing as 'DOES believe that there are NO god(s)'.

Now... there ARE some people who 'DO believe that there are NO god(s)'... but this position DOES NOT DEFINE 'atheist'. But as a logical consequence of this position, the defining statement for atheist is ALSO 'true'. When someone 'believes that god(s) do not exist' then... by implication... that someone 'does not believe that gods(s) DO exist'... which happens to be the 'defining position' for 'atheist'.

So... these people fall under the definition of 'atheist'... but they DO NOT DEFINE 'atheist'.

BECAUSE they fall under the definition of atheist, their position... BELIEVING that gods DO NOT exist... is often referred to as the 'strong atheist' position.

So... putting this into a form that is more easily understandable for those who are unfamiliar with formal logic, here's how all this shakes out... in statements that are true... logically correct and logically justifiable...

    MOST atheists are simply people who are NOT so stupid and gullible that they would allow some delusionist to persuade, cajole, threaten, decieve, frighten or bamboozle them into believing that invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies (gods) actually exist.


    SOME atheists... a few... a small percentage of the whole... actually take this a step further, and actually BELIEVE that gods do not exist. MOST atheists, though, think that it is just as stupid to 'believe' that gods do not exist as it is to 'believe' the delusionists' 'god-story.


Notice that 'evil' and such played NO PART in any of this, at all. The 'question of evil' is not a REASON for being an atheist. The only necessary thing for being an atheist is to NOT be stupid and gullible enough to believe the delusionists' ridiculous god-story. No... when the 'question of evil' comes up in conversation with delusionists, it is in the context of presenting reasons why their 'god story' is stupid, ridiculous... and delusional. It is NOT a 'justification' for NOT being stupid and gullible enough to get sucked into 'believing' the delusionists' nonsense.

NOT being stupid and gillible requires no 'justification' whatsoever.

I hope that clears things up. Please feel free to ask questions.
Baal

Hello DuckPhup.

An Atheist is someone who rejects god.
A Deist is someone who rejects the god story.

As for referring to Atheist as:
Quote:

More succinctly... atheists are sane, rational, well-educated, intelligent people... people who are not stupid an gullible to fall for a scam so ridiculous as the delusionist's 'god story'.

Now I am not a muslim and I can not wait for islam to be replaced by a more progressive doctrine. However, I have no guarantees that the doctrine of islam will be replaced. Also if I pit atheists vs muslims, it seems to me that muslims will win.

Atheists are good for great pieces of individual work. The key point is "individual". An Atheist is a remarkable 'individual' who will strive to be the best he can be however in the end he is just an individual.

Muslims who act in concert will step in and obliterate that individual. The "God Delusion" will be the First banned book and it will be, banned. The same reason that ALL nations grew up with a religion as a backbone. Religion means Structure.

Recently we had some "Economic Structures" instead of Religious structures but the idea is still the same and those "Economic Structure" got destroyed in the face of the more established and ancient Religious Structures.

The best defense against Islam was not the liberal west, it was the Christian west. Islam had the effect of strengthening the Western Christian roots and now they are taking islam heads on. With no guarantee for victory of course, but at least they are achieving headway.

So who is more gullible DuckPhup? The atheists and the seculars (me)? Or the ones following a doctrine that proved it can survive and protect its followers over time?

I chose to be a secular. Sure a secular is a little hypocritical. But at least the secular sets himself to benefit from the structure of religion without going through bull-rituals. The secular asks the religion "What have you done for me lately".

One day you might get rid of the religious structure altogether, but only when ALL structures are removed, you can not remove the Western Structure and keep the other structures around and not expect them to eat you.
DuckPhup

Baal wrote:
Hello DuckPhup.

An Atheist is someone who rejects god.
A Deist is someone who rejects the god story.



I've got no quibble with anything that you've said, except that bit.  Atheist is simply a negation of 'theist. Theist: believe in god... atheist (a-theist): NOT believe in god.

Let's rephrase that so that it reveals the 'understood' parts...

    1. I DO believe that gods DO exist


    2. I DO NOT believe that gods DO exist


    3. I DO believe that gods DO NOT exist.


#1 defines the 'theist' position.

#2 defines the 'atheist' position

#3 DOES NOT define the atheist position. It defines what is sometimes called the 'strong atheist' position. However... as a logical consequence of that position... by implication... #2 (the defining position for atheist) is ALSO true for the strong atheist position. So... it FALLS UNDER the atheist position... but (again) it does not DEFINE atheist.

#3 can and should be regarded as a SUBSET of 'atheist'.

So... we can say: ALL strong atheists are atheists... but NOT all atheists are strong atheists.

Comparatively speaking, there are actually very few 'strong atheists'... less than 20%, so far as we can tell... and most atheists think that the 'strong atheist' position is just as logically indefensible as the 'theist' position.

Interestingly, 'agnostics' ALSO 'fall under' the defining statement for 'atheist' for EXACTLY the same reason that the 'strong atheist' position does... as a logical consequence of that position... by implication... #2 (the defining position for atheist) is ALSO true for the 'agnostic' position.

So... all agnostics are atheists... but not all atheists are agnostics.
Baal

It is a matter of the difference between rejecting the God story and rejecting God altogether.

An atheist rejects God altogether as per #2
A Strong atheist even more as per #3

Either way, they are rejecting god. Weakly or Strongly. The atheist is past caring about the God story (mostly Religions & Structure).

It might make more sense to call the weaker atheist an agnostic maybe.

What I need to infer is, what do we call someone who does not believe God exists, but still willing to accept the God story (the Structure of Religion).


Also from a logical standpoint, I think #2 (atheist) is a much stronger position then #3 (Strong atheism). The Atheist is not making any positive statements, he is leaving the onus of proof on the Deists. The Strong Atheist, is actually jumping on the wagon of positive statements and now he also has to prove his position.
noncredo

Baal wrote:

What I need to infer is, what do we call someone who does not believe God exists, but still willing to accept the God story (the Structure of Religion).



I would call them confused, but maybe I donít understand the statement.

What do you mean by Ďaccepting the God storyí. To me, the God story is just that, the story of God, the Bible, if you will. If you donít believe in God I would think it would be difficult to accept the stories told about him as factual.

As for the religious structures, I really donít care if they stay or go; although I do agree if they go they would all have to go together. Leaving one would  leave the rest of the world vulnerable. (Thereís nothing better at combating zealotry than other zealots.) I see it kind of like a cancer. You can go in and remove the cancerous tissue, but if you leave just a little it will come back.

I also realize religion plays an important role in many peoples lives, a role beyond God and faith; community ties, social networking, self-identity, a way to connect with other people. These people arenít just going to let go of this support structure no matter how irrational I think their God is.

My stance is, keep you religions. I just want to minimize the impact they have on me. If you want to go to church, temple, mass, shrine, go, enjoy, sing, pray to God, Allah, Buddha, Thor, whoever. But donít make religious teaching mandatory, donít make religious beliefs compulsory and stop killing in the name ofÖ.( A little Rage Against the Machine reference.)

Of course, my little rant is nothing more than pie in the sky woowoo talk cause the fact is there are religions that want their teaching to be mandatory; people do kill in the name of [insert deity here], and it doesnít appear that reasonable rational discourse is going to break out on a global scale in my lifetime.
DuckPhup

Baal wrote:
It is a matter of the difference between rejecting the God story and rejecting God altogether.

An atheist rejects God altogether as per #2
A Strong atheist even more as per #3

Either way, they are rejecting god. Weakly or Strongly. The atheist is past caring about the God story (mostly Religions & Structure).


Hmmm... there is a technical term for that... something like "... talking out your ass."

Look... I am an atheist. Every single day, I commune with atheists, and I have for many years. I know HOW I think, and I know WHAT I think. I also know how THEY think, and I know WHAT they think... because they have TOLD me.

This may come as something of a shock to you... but you do not get to tell US what we think, or HOW we think... WE get to tell YOU what we think, and how we think.

Deal with it.

If you wish to continue to embrace your misconception, rather than learn something... well... that is your prerogative.

If you are unable to discern the qualitative differences between rejecting god and rejecting the IDEA of god... and parsing the logical implications and consequences of those differences... well... that is your problem, not mine.
Baal

DuckPhup wrote:
Baal wrote:
It is a matter of the difference between rejecting the God story and rejecting God altogether.

An atheist rejects God altogether as per #2
A Strong atheist even more as per #3

Either way, they are rejecting god. Weakly or Strongly. The atheist is past caring about the God story (mostly Religions & Structure).


Hmmm... there is a technical term for that... something like "... talking out your ass."

Look... I am an atheist. Every single day, I commune with atheists, and I have for many years. I know HOW I think, and I know WHAT I think. I also know how THEY think, and I know WHAT they think... because they have TOLD me.

This may come as something of a shock to you... but you do not get to tell US what we think, or HOW we think... WE get to tell YOU what we think, and how we think.

Deal with it.

If you wish to continue to embrace your misconception, rather than learn something... well... that is your prerogative.

If you are unable to discern the qualitative differences between rejecting god and rejecting the IDEA of god... and parsing the logical implications and consequences of those differences... well... that is your problem, not mine.

Of course, I expect an apology for the talking out of your ass bit. Then we can proceed with the conversation.
ixolite

Baal wrote:
It is a matter of the difference between rejecting the God story and rejecting God altogether.

No, it's not. To an atheist god(s) is (are) just a made up story. You don't believe in x stories, an atheist just doesn't believe in (x+1) stories.

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