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Persuade a hypothetical Christian to become Atheist

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So, just out of curiosity: How would you, as a debater, go about persuading a hypothetical Christian to become atheist?

 

(alternative challenge: How would you persuade a hypothetical atheist to become Christian?)

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So, just out of curiosity: How would you, as a debater, go about persuading a hypothetical Christian to become atheist?

 

(alternative challenge: How would you persuade a hypothetical atheist to become Christian?)

 

what type of christain? fanatic, passive? please clarify

different populations respond better to other arguments

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distinction between god/faith

god's existence is non-falsifiable - like invisible unicorn in my garage

pascals wager - god may exist - the prob w/ this is it doesn't give guidance to any action

it's human arrogance to presume to know god's will

how do you even know god is normative? assuming he is, he could have any of infinite wills

maybe god wants you to be atheist and worship through defiance

maybe god hates it when you pray on sundays

all of these things are equally likely to be god's will. that's why even under pascal's wager, god's possible existence can't guide your action towards a specific direction

subscribing to an established religion means having faith in that some guy many centuries ago figured out god's will.

there's no reason to believe this - it's just as likely that the exact opposite is true of god's true will

people subscribe to a religion because they like the sense of stability (you don't have to figure out god's will yourself, it's already written for you) but this is self-inflicted blindness. isn't it the point of life to figure out its meaning on your own?

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what type of christain? fanatic, passive? please clarify

different populations respond better to other arguments

Let's be reasonable and say someone who subscribes to the dogma, goes to church regularly, but doesn't preach religion and doesn't attend other religious activities.

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distinction between god/faith

god's existence is non-falsifiable - like invisible unicorn in my garage

pascals wager - god may exist - the prob w/ this is it doesn't give guidance to any action

it's human arrogance to presume to know god's will

how do you even know god is normative? assuming he is, he could have any of infinite wills

maybe god wants you to be atheist and worship through defiance

maybe god hates it when you pray on sundays

all of these things are equally likely to be god's will. that's why even under pascal's wager, god's possible existence can't guide your action towards a specific direction

subscribing to an established religion means having faith in that some guy many centuries ago figured out god's will.

there's no reason to believe this - it's just as likely that the exact opposite is true of god's true will

people subscribe to a religion because they like the sense of stability (you don't have to figure out god's will yourself, it's already written for you) but this is self-inflicted blindness. isn't it the point of life to figure out its meaning on your own?

 

As a precursor, I don't really endorse the arguments I'm about to make. I'm not really "religious" in any sense, I think that implies dogma, which I don't embrace.

 

--------------------------------------

 

First of all, there is no reason to endorse Pascal's Wager, I agree its flawed for many reasons.

 

Now of course, you raise the possibility of being punished for being "religious". However, since neither of can know what the response of a deity/deities would be to human worship, it is most logical to apply equal probability to there being no impact/rewards/consequences for faith or a particular type of faith. Because of this, we should not logically support a religion because of its supposed after-worldy benefits. However, if it can be proven that atheism is a logically incorrect position and that being "religious" has a positive impact in our current lives, then being "religious" would be the best option because of maximizing our current lives.

 

But to be an atheist, you have deny the existence of the possibility of deities. This is "scientific objectivity" at its worst. To be an atheist, you must presume that because your physical senses cannot test the existence of a God or multiple Gods/Godesses/etc., that such a being/beings cannot exist. This ignores the fact that there are other dimensions that humans cannot perceive/understand. The human ability to understand the universe through scientific/logical means is inherently limited because we are human. If one truly wishes to be logical, the proper response is that one cannot know for sure whether or not a deity or multiple dieties exist. That means it is a question of faith/belief.

 

Ultimately, faith has its benefits. This is not to say that people should blindly follow authority. However, belonging to a certain group and sharing an identity/beliefs is beneficial. It provides a source of physical satisfaction because it satisfies the innate biological want to "belong", to be part of a larger social structure. Furthermore, for those that "believe' more strongly, the concept of heaven is another source of satisfaction in current life. Whether or not this heaven exists, it is a source of content that has allowed billions to face death without fear, to live life comfortably. The value of this is immeasurable, we simply cannot calculate the psychological damage caused by the fear of death. In this way, religion allows people to accept death, even if it may perhaps be a delusion.

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1) Arbitrary assertions should be dismissed.

2) The assertion of god is arbitrary.

Therefore, the assertion of god should be dismissed.

 

Of course you have to prove both of the premises, which would largely be based upon responding to the Christian's arguments against them.

 

Also, the Socratic Method sometimes works well.

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Anyone who premises their strategy of conversion around proving to someone God exists is doing a pretty poor job. Much easier to base your strat around proving Jesus was a real person and that he rose from the dead (I use the term easier loosely (and if it isn't easier I have wasted my time in 24 hrs of mandatory Bible classes, lol)). This is the approach Chrsitian apologetics has taken when debating atheists.

 

You avoid a lot of the problems Synergy is talking about if you can get someone to believe that (because if they believe in the resurection the rest of the Bible is concurently correct since Jesus is the theme of the entire book and everything is premised is off him living than dying than rising). Also even if you can get an atheist to concede to all the things Synergy is talking about it really doesn't prove anything. If Jesus didn't come and rise you don't really have Chrsitianity.

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As a precursor, I don't really endorse the arguments I'm about to make. I'm not really "religious" in any sense, I think that implies dogma, which I don't embrace.

 

--------------------------------------

 

First of all, there is no reason to endorse Pascal's Wager, I agree its flawed for many reasons.

 

Now of course, you raise the possibility of being punished for being "religious". However, since neither of can know what the response of a deity/deities would be to human worship, it is most logical to apply equal probability to there being no impact/rewards/consequences for faith or a particular type of faith. Because of this, we should not logically support a religion because of its supposed after-worldy benefits. However, if it can be proven that atheism is a logically incorrect position and that being "religious" has a positive impact in our current lives, then being "religious" would be the best option because of maximizing our current lives.

 

But to be an atheist, you have deny the existence of the possibility of deities. This is "scientific objectivity" at its worst. To be an atheist, you must presume that because your physical senses cannot test the existence of a God or multiple Gods/Godesses/etc., that such a being/beings cannot exist. This ignores the fact that there are other dimensions that humans cannot perceive/understand. The human ability to understand the universe through scientific/logical means is inherently limited because we are human. If one truly wishes to be logical, the proper response is that one cannot know for sure whether or not a deity or multiple dieties exist. That means it is a question of faith/belief.

 

Ultimately, faith has its benefits. This is not to say that people should blindly follow authority. However, belonging to a certain group and sharing an identity/beliefs is beneficial. It provides a source of physical satisfaction because it satisfies the innate biological want to "belong", to be part of a larger social structure. Furthermore, for those that "believe' more strongly, the concept of heaven is another source of satisfaction in current life. Whether or not this heaven exists, it is a source of content that has allowed billions to face death without fear, to live life comfortably. The value of this is immeasurable, we simply cannot calculate the psychological damage caused by the fear of death. In this way, religion allows people to accept death, even if it may perhaps be a delusion.

you don't really understand the terms you use

 

gnosticism relates to god; theism relates to faith

 

agnostic = doesn't know for certain god's existence. this is 95% of people

gnostic = is absolutely certain of having proved god's existence or non-existence. these people are a bit crazy generally...

 

theist = has faith in following a particular conception of god's will. most "normal" american christians are agnostic theists (they may not have proof of god's existence, but they have faith nonetheless)

atheist = a person who lives his life without regard for a particular conception of god's will.

 

once you see that any of god's wills is equally likely to be true, it's logical to not give preference to one or the other, in other words to exclude "god's will" from your frame of decision making. this is atheism.

 

 

you are making arguments against the gnostics that claim to have proven god's non-existence. this is not the same as atheism.

Edited by Synergy

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Anyone who premises their strategy of conversion around proving to someone God exists is doing a pretty poor job. Much easier to base your strat around proving Jesus was a real person and that he rose from the dead (I use the term easier loosely (and if it isn't easier I have wasted my time in 24 hrs of mandatory Bible classes, lol)). This is the approach Chrsitian apologetics has taken when debating atheists.

 

You avoid a lot of the problems Synergy is talking about if you can get someone to believe that (because if they believe in the resurection the rest of the Bible is concurently correct since Jesus is the theme of the entire book and everything is premised is off him living than dying than rising). Also even if you can get an atheist to concede to all the things Synergy is talking about it really doesn't prove anything. If Jesus didn't come and rise you don't really have Chrsitianity.

there seems to be a gap in logic between

 

Assumption: Jesus rose from the dead.

Conclusion: Stone the gays.

 

all these biblical stories are only relevant to make it seem to you that what is written in the book is god's true will. but this does not logically follow. All those events occurring in the Bible (and proof of god's existence) are necessary but not sufficient justifications for why THIS PARTICULAR vision of god's will is accurate.

Edited by Synergy

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True story, I think those alleged Christians who actually believe the horrible things they write on those protest signs have a lot of things backwards. The intent of this thread however is not to debate what the contemporary Christian's position on homosexuality is and if it is appropriate, accurate etc.

 

I am not really sure what your edit is saying. It sounds like you are getting to an argument that you have spent a lot of time developing, but that I am not so familiar with. If you could elaborate more that would help me.

Edited by Pinky02

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True story, I think those alleged Christians who actually believe the horrible things they write on those protest signs have a lot of things backwards. The intent of this thread however is not to debate what the contemporary Christian's position on homosexuality is and if it is appropriate, accurate etc.

 

I am not really sure what your edit is saying. It sounds like you are getting to an argument that you have spent a lot of time developing, but that I am not so familiar with. If you could elaborate more that would help me.

belief in god and religion are not intrinsically connected. it is possible to believe a supernatural being exists or to be uncertain on this question, but this doesn't require you to draw the conclusion that you should follow a particular religion. anything a religion says god wants you to do, it is equally possible that he actually wants the exact opposite. humans don't know the will of the "divine" and it's silly and arrogant to presume we do, and it's even more silly to presume that some people 2000 years ago figured out god's will for how human lives ought to be lived. that's why it's possible to believe god could exist but also be an atheist (ie, make decisions without regard to what one group of people thinks is god's will).

 

the real question isn't "how do we know the christian god exists?", but "why is it good to follow this particular aspect of this religion?"

 

this is the point i made in the first reply

Edited by Synergy

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belief in god and religion are not intrinsically connected. it is possible to believe a supernatural being exists or to be uncertain on this question, but this doesn't require you to draw the conclusion that you should follow a particular religion. anything a religion says god wants you to do, it is equally possible that he actually wants the exact opposite. humans don't know the will of the "divine" and it's silly and arrogant to presume we do, and it's even more silly to presume that some people 2000 years ago figured out god's will for how human lives ought to be lived. that's why it's possible to believe god could exist but also be an atheist (ie, make decisions without regard to what one group of people thinks is god's will).

 

the real question isn't "how do we know the christian god exists?", but "why is it good to follow this particular aspect of this religion?"

 

this is the point i made in the first reply

 

I agree with your line of reasoning regarding infinite possibility of wills meaning that we should act without respect to any one of the possibilities. However, I think that best serves as an answer to Pascal's Wager compared to a comprehensive argument against god/religion.

 

Moreover, I think that the "Jesus is real and divine" argument is connected to the "why is it good to follow..." argument. If Jesus was divine, then it lends a lot of credence to the "you should act the way the Bible says" argument.

 

So I think your critique of god/religion is correct and very necessary, but the "real question(s)" are "does god exist" AND "why is it good to follow..." because they are tied together to an extent.

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I agree with your line of reasoning regarding infinite possibility of wills meaning that we should act without respect to any one of the possibilities. However, I think that best serves as an answer to Pascal's Wager compared to a comprehensive argument against god/religion.

i'm not attempting to argue against god, just against religion. i think accepting my argument above is essentially what atheism is.

 

Moreover, I think that the "Jesus is real and divine" argument is connected to the "why is it good to follow..." argument. If Jesus was divine, then it lends a lot of credence to the "you should act the way the Bible says" argument.

 

So I think your critique of god/religion is correct and very necessary, but the "real question(s)" are "does god exist" AND "why is it good to follow..." because they are tied together to an extent.

again, why do you have faith in this one particular messenger of god's will? even if there was scientific proof he walked on water and raised from the dead, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with knowing the will of the divine

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i'm not attempting to argue against god, just against religion. i think accepting my argument above is essentially what atheism is.

 

Merriam-Webster defines atheism as "a disbelief in the existence of deity b: the doctrine that there is no deity," which is largely the definition I adhere to.

 

again, why do you have faith in this one particular messenger of god's will? even if there was scientific proof he walked on water and raised from the dead, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with knowing the will of the divine

 

If Jesus did those things, then he would be divine (or at least be more likely to be divine) and therefore he would be able to give insight into the "will of the divine."

 

I don't think Jesus was divine, my point is just that your argument is qualified as an argument against religion because of the above explanation.

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you don't really understand the terms you use

 

gnosticism relates to god; theism relates to faith

 

agnostic = doesn't know for certain god's existence. this is 95% of people

gnostic = is absolutely certain of having proved god's existence or non-existence. these people are a bit crazy generally...

 

theist = has faith in following a particular conception of god's will. most "normal" american christians are agnostic theists (they may not have proof of god's existence, but they have faith nonetheless)

atheist = a person who lives his life without regard for a particular conception of god's will.

 

once you see that any of god's wills is equally likely to be true, it's logical to not give preference to one or the other, in other words to exclude "god's will" from your frame of decision making. this is atheism.

 

 

you are making arguments against the gnostics that claim to have proven god's non-existence. this is not the same as atheism.

 

Wrong, you might have a different interpretation of what atheism means, but my interpretation is just as acceptable. I define atheism as the rejection of belief in a deity/deities, a form of gnosticism. My arguments are based on the worldly benefits for the adoption of faith, not on the potential after-worldly benefits of endorsing a particular theology. These are still arguments against atheism because they call for an endorsing of theology (which you cede is in contrast to atheism), I'm just not putting one theology over another.

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by pointing out all inconsistencies and changes made to the christian/catholic religion

 

first of papacy is a bunch of bull that was not dictated by god at all but man made

 

the bible is a few selections from the many books.... religious leaders decided what went in and what didn't

 

the numerous changes made to what is a sin/isn't

 

priests sold penances to exploit religion

 

many poor translation of the bible in other countries due to it being originally in latin, (martin luther)

 

system of church and priesthood doesn't belong in religion/not dictated in the bible

 

the worship of saints and not the direct worship of god

 

the idea that some believe jesus was a manifestation of god.... at best he was a profit, a man, bringing to the world god's word

 

praying with rosaries for certain prayers has no purpose

 

the worship of idols (crucifixes) diverts attention from god

 

sacraments were never mentioned in the bible and were created by the church system

 

in Catholicism, catholic tradition is held higher then the bible

 

confessions of sins to priests is preposterous, a priest is a man of god, not god himself, god can only absolve sin.... you cannot say a few hail mary's and expect for your sins to magically be absolved... for every sin commited man must pay it's price

 

the church system deliberately massacred hundreds of people who opposed religion (illuminati)

 

the dissection of true Christianity (belief in jesus's teachings) into many different religions all of which came up with their own way of practicing the teachings, and looking at only certain sections of the religion

 

king james bible

 

annulment of religion is NOWHERE in the bible

 

celibacy of church leaders is never mentioned in the bible

 

even though all sects of christianity believe in jesus christ's teaching they have mass animosity towards each other

 

http://media.photobucket.com/image/jesus%20zombie/statuesk/Christianity.jpg

 

followers of the religion memorize prayers for saints, and mary, and not for god

 

Exodus 20:4-6

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

 

 

 

salvation is by god only

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

 

 

Catholics are taught that the Pope is infallible (incapable of being wrong) and yet, rules are often changed/updated by new Popes.

 

the bible is a collection of 66 books with very different styles all containing the message God desired us to have. if god sent down these books to us, and they contain the messages of god then we must accept it all and not what is being spoon fed to us by the church system

 

 

The Bible nowhere instructs believers in Christ to pray to anyone other than God. The Bible nowhere encourages, or even mentions, believers asking individuals in Heaven for their prayers. thus sainthood is completely against the bible, and illogical.

it is sin to get drunk, but not to drink in moderation, if alcohol is such a bad substance then it should not be drunk at all....

When we turn to the example of Jesus, we find him accused of being a "winebibber" (Matt 11:19). The charge was, of course, false. He did drink wine but he never overindulged! He said that he came "eating and drinking" - not just water, obviously (v.33), but wine, in contrast to John the Baptist who was an abstainer (Luke 7:34). We also find him at a wedding reception turning water into gallons of top-quality oinos (John 2:10). And Jesus refers to wine in his parables.

Whatever alcohol's potentially harmful effects, then, it clearly is not prohibited (except in specific instances) in the Bible, Old Testament or New. It is one of God's blessings to mankind. "Temper- ance" - which is by many used in the sense of total abstention from alcoholic drink - is therefore a human tradition and stems from a misinformed conscience, however sincere.

 

 

the bible has been changed many times... the old testament....the new testament... it should never be changed, because it is supposedly a direct message from god to humans, we as humans cannot change god's word......

 

 

yep my little rant here

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yep my little rant here
At most, those points would persuade the hypothetical Christian to eschew most modern organized Christianity (such as Lutheranism, or the whole Catholic Church), but that wouldn't preclude their reading, interpreting, and believing in the Bible by themselves. After all, if the problem is mis-interpretation of the Bible, the solution would not be to become atheist, but rather to find a different interpretation.

 

This thread calls for a much higher level of criticism on the order of 'god does not exist' or 'there is insufficient evidence upon which to justify a rational belief in god.'

 

 

But to be an atheist, you have deny the existence of the possibility of deities. This is "scientific objectivity" at its worst. To be an atheist, you must presume that because your physical senses cannot test the existence of a God or multiple Gods/Godesses/etc., that such a being/beings cannot exist.
I disagree. Atheism does not require one to believe that god cannot exist, merely that there is not enough evidence showing that he does exist. For example, I don't contend that faster-than-light travel is impossible (or cannot happen), only that the available evidence does not show any indication of it happening or being able to happen. I'm sure if the proverbial burning bush (or salt pillar, etc.) appeared before an atheist, they wouldn't say "I still don't beleive because god cannot exist." If god really is omnipotent, then he could easily hide any evidence of his existence. Atheism says we should not assume the existence of a god from a void of evidence, but I think few would go so far as to say that god is categorically impossible...

 

If one truly wishes to be logical, the proper response is that one cannot know for sure whether or not a deity or multiple dieties exist. That means it is a question of faith/belief.
Yes. Of course most of the "culture clashes" come when people try to use their faiths/beliefs to affect public policy, scientific education, and other people's medical decisions. If everyone would render under Caesar that which is Caesar's and render unto God that which is God's, I think America would be a happier place. Edited by Fox On Socks

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seriously?

 

I as well tend to think of Jesus as the positive difference between the price one sells a commodity and the price at which it is bought.

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To the Christian: If you do not believe in God, He will simply not exist. God's name has been invoked to commit numerous atrocities; do you really want to be a part of that? At any rate, assuming that what you think about God is true (eternally merciful, etc.), then you can convert back on your deathbed or when you meet St. Peter (or whoever). Plead your case there and beg for mercy. If he lets you in, then you've been an atheist for a large portion of your life and still reap the benefits of being a Christian. If you're cast into the fiery pits, then God's a liar and does not deserve your faith. I will shoot you in the head if you don't become an atheist.

 

To the atheist: The risk that you get eternal salvation etc. outweighs maybe going to church on Sundays. And, I will shoot you in the head if you don't become a Christian.

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To the Christian: If you do not believe in God, He will simply not exist.

wtf is this supposed to mean? non-sequitur

 

God's name has been invoked to commit numerous atrocities; do you really want to be a part of that?

using religion to effect atrocity doesn't mean it's less true, or that God doesn't exist. the misappropriation of good things happens all the time (see: capitalism). non-sequitur

 

At any rate, assuming that what you think about God is true (eternally merciful, etc.), then you can convert back on your deathbed or when you meet St. Peter (or whoever). Plead your case there and beg for mercy. If he lets you in, then you've been an atheist for a large portion of your life and still reap the benefits of being a Christian. If you're cast into the fiery pits, then God's a liar and does not deserve your faith. I will shoot you in the head if you don't become an atheist.

yes, great idea: maybe you can trick an omnipotent, omniscient being who knows all your intentions and reasons for action. while christianity's perception of God is one of mercy and grace, there are still laws of justice that he is bound by. if you're going to be an atheist, be an atheist. the existence of God is not really one of those things one can be on the fence about

 

To the atheist: The risk that you get eternal salvation etc. outweighs maybe going to church on Sundays. And, I will shoot you in the head if you don't become a Christian.

idiot's guide to pascal's wager

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Origins.

 

First:The universe had a beginning. Even in loop quantum gravity, the oscillatory view of existence (A cyclical state in a series of big bangs and big crunches, as in, the universe explodes into being, expands, then contracts, has a heat death, becomes the singularity, then explodes again.) still had to have the initial big bang. As no time existed prior to the big bang, no amount of time could have elapsed for it to have occurred, it would have "always" occurred, or never. As science, above all else, is a study of causes, and nothing in our existence is ever without cause, I reject atheism.

 

Second: Abiogenesis. This comes with two sub-arguments. The first is that it is impossible for nature to give rise to order, this is empirically proven in Entropy/the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Nature brings things to disorder, from the simple, very quick passages of time, as in the ice melting in your glass, to the long passages, such as a house falling apart, or a car rusting. This is nature causing disorder. Just as a house only becomes naturally worse as time progresses, a house will never become naturally better over time.

 

The second is the improbability of chemical linkage. Even if the second law is inaccurate (which it can't be, for as a law of thermodynamics, it holds supreme), then there is a vast improbability for the eventual production of RNA. The probabilities of all of the events occurring, chemicals linking to form proteins, proteins to form the materials which then form Adenine, Uracil, Cytosine and Guanine, eventually culminating in RNA is so improbable that it may as well be impossible. The final reason is what Darwin himself concluded as the boon of his work, irreducible complexity, which is precisely what a cell is. For the violation of natural laws, and its status as exceptionally improbable, abiogenesis could not have occurred, and so I reject atheism.

Edited by Dr. McNinja
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Guest svfrey
Origins.

 

First:The universe had a beginning. Even in loop quantum gravity, the oscillatory view of existence (A cyclical state in a series of big bangs and big crunches, as in, the universe explodes into being, expands, then contracts, has a heat death, becomes the singularity, then explodes again.) still had to have the initial big bang. As no time existed prior to the big bang, no amount of time could have elapsed for it to have occurred, it would have "always" occurred, or never. As science, above all else, is a study of causes, and nothing in our existence is ever without cause, I reject atheism.

 

Second: Abiogenesis. This comes with two sub-arguments. The first is that it is impossible for nature to give rise to order, this is empirically proven in Entropy/the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Nature brings things to disorder, from the simple, very quick passages of time, as in the ice melting in your glass, to the long passages, such as a house falling apart, or a car rusting. This is nature causing disorder. Just as a house only becomes naturally worse as time progresses, a house will never become naturally better over time.

 

The second is the improbability of chemical linkage. Even if the second law is inaccurate (which it can't be, for as a law of thermodynamics, it holds supreme), then there is a vast improbability for the eventual production of RNA. The probabilities of all of the events occurring, chemicals linking to form proteins, proteins to form the materials which then form Adenine, Uracil, Cytosine and Guanine, eventually culminating in RNA is so improbable that it may as well be impossible. The final reason is what Darwin himself concluded as the boon of his work, irreducible complexity, which is precisely what a cell is. For the violation of natural laws, and its status as exceptionally improbable, abiogenesis could not have occurred, and so I reject atheism.

 

 

 

so what "caused" God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in b4 "HE EXISTED ALWAYS, DUHHHH"

(that's not an answer, btw.)

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