Monday, January 2, 2012
My Purpose - And an atheist abstract
As I slowly recover from being heartbroken and come to terms with where I am in life at a quarter of a century old, I am starting to hang out with people more and more. And I guess people have been concerned, or at least have noticed that I'm not too happy as of late, or not 'myself' as some would say. Having been invited, last minute, to a New Years party, with skinny dipping in hottubs an all, I had several people thanking me for all that I've done. Same with a party a few weeks ago when I was really at rock bottom. Email-wise I've had 120 separate, unique email threads started with people contacting me, though some are youtube video replies. Also one of the reasons I forget about people who contact me, sometimes.
I apologize, cause in the last few months I have really been detached, and I guess it takes one couple thanking me for helping them to come out to an event where they met each other, or one BYU student thanking me for replying to his email and helping him find friends, or another friend who thanked me for having my blog so that one of his friends could find me and then bring him into the group as well.
When I think about all the people I've helped in the last year or so, I guess I have made a difference, in many people's lives, some small, some significant, and some we may yet see. My job suffered in the last few months, getting ready for classes had taken a backseat, U-COR was nearly dropped, and for a month straight I was not there for any of my friends. But in the sense of this, my blog, I also dropped the ball in many ways. Not that I'll start to write more often, but I'll make sure to be more on top of it.
Besides this, a friend on FB asked why people in the group don't believe in Mormonism and why many of us are atheists. I made a little abstract, but I'll add to it here and lay it out, a little gift.
ps: also, I forget that I even had an angry phase a year ago, with the church, till someone reminded me, lolz. I hope I don't come off as a horrible angry depressed atheist now ... heartbroken sure, and maybe a rant here or there ... oh who am I kidding, if you don't like me then fuck off
Arguments against existence of gods:
'Diversity problem' - with thousands of religions, some claiming they are the only true religions, many of which are in open opposition to one another, and all of which have many conflicting doctrines and beliefs.
'Hidden Divine' - where there is no actual proof given for one god or religion in particular to set them apart from one another, or to prove that there is at least one deity in existence.
'Contradictory Traits' - where we have some obvious, and not so obvious conflicts in being all-powerful, especially in the case of an Abrahamic God being omnipresent and omnipotent. If 'He' can see all things into the future but is all-powerful then he should be able to change the future, even from what he sees.
'Fact of evil' - the largest, strongest argument against gods, easily for reasons related to contradictory traits, though some religions, such as Mormonism have more clever answers. However, one basic fact is that we as a society would still hold parents responsible for not saving a child from shooting themselves with a gun instead of holding them with contempt for interfering and saving the child from suffering. Suffering does not always produce better people, often the opposite, and the pain and suffering in the world in so extreme it shatters minds, families, and nations.
'Argument against Need' - as laid out by Hawking in 'The Grand Design', Stenger in 'The God Hypothesis' and 'The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning' and physics in general, we generally know how the universe works and we have some strong theories as to how it could have begun, all of which work fine without gods.
Arguments against theists:
'Design or Fine-Tuning' - another 'a posteriori' argument. With most of these a bit of thought or research is all that is required, though some footwork will be necessary. The fine-tuning can easily be turned around to show how 'not' fine-tuned the universe is for life to exist, a night-sky is an example of space that you and I could not live in. Design arguments almost always assume A,B,C before giving their point, such as Paley's Watch and so refuting A,B, or C is all that's necessary. Nature does not have 'watches' or the like in it, underlying order does not entail design. If 'like entailed like' then God could as easily be a fruit or vegetable.
'Ontological' - an 'a priori' argument. Being an argument of logic, or illogic, the easy form of this is that the universe is too great so God did it, or God is true because the Bible says so, all of which is circular reasoning. Or that if there are infinite universes then God may exist in one, which then entails 'He' exists in all and cannot not-exist. But being all 'logic' based these arguments can be refuted by even non-logical arguments, purely on basic rhetoric, and none of these arguments do anything to actually prove that God exists, they are all 'what if' statements, essentially.
'Poor reasoning from the masses' - Guy P. Harrison's book '50 Reasons People Give for Believing in God' is the epitome of this, which is that most people give poor reasons for believing in gods. I.E. my aunt's cancer went away, my son was hit by a car and didn't suffer but died quickly, or I felt a warm feeling an hour after reading some scriptures, or I won the lottery right after I bought a friend a new TV. None of these examples prove anything supernatural and, most important, none of them belong to any one specific religion or purported God. The lottery winner could be Christian, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, and they all could look at it differently.
'Antecedent' - any argument for God already takes a logical leap to state that God exists for us to argue for his existence. This also leaches into the discourse religions put forward, that, especially in Mormonism, we can have libraries of books neatly organizing all the rhetoric and writings into a strong cohesive whole (albeit with much double-speak) but that it all, everything, is pointless when trying to prove that God exists, or that these 'works' have any basis in reality. This is more an argument against God existence, but I feel it is more of the 'fact of pain' trump card for arguing against theists. Of course, most people who would even argue these points would not listen to this argument and would quickly disregard it.
I hope this little abstract of wisdom is helpful. I wrote the first part on FB so it was more brief than I wanted, but I hope these help people to be aware of other arguments they may not have known about and now you can go do some research. For arguments directly against Mormonism then just use my link to the right ... and up at the top.