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Author Topic: Made so as not to believe: some people just cannot...  (Read 2917 times)
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« on: September 02, 2011, 09:15:23 AM »

Hitchens once made the remark that he was made such that he could not believe, even if he wanted to and I was wondering if there were people on the board who feel the same way, I certainly do, even as a child I never believed in the stories that were told to me about dead relatives or from others about deities. I always thought mythology was interesting but never believed it and I have come to the conclusion that I am indeed made so as not to believe, for whatever reason (I suspect a combination of social and genetic reasons) I simply cannot and I think many people who are atheists fall into this category but definitely not all. I have a friend who is now an atheist who is going through what appears to be a heart-wrenching experience as he comes to grips with his departure from Christianity. Intellectually I can understand it but I cannot relate to it in any way whatsoever. I thus think that there is a strong genetic component to belief, which is why some of us believe and some of us do not.

Thoughts, opinions?
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 10:36:17 AM »

It's actually impossible for me not to believe.  I've tried to rationalize an existence that is a matter of happenstance.  I've questioned whether my beliefs are reasonable.  That the perfection we see throughout our solar system, our planet, our environment, our bodies, etc. has no design; that it was all an accident. 

At the end of the day, when I look at the complexity and harmony, there is no way I can conclude anything other than something much greater than me had a hand in all of this. 
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011, 11:49:18 AM »

It's actually impossible for me not to believe.  I've tried to rationalize an existence that is a matter of happenstance.  I've questioned whether my beliefs are reasonable.  That the perfection we see throughout our solar system, our planet, our environment, our bodies, etc. has no design; that it was all an accident. 

At the end of the day, when I look at the complexity and harmony, there is no way I can conclude anything other than something much greater than me had a hand in all of this. 

Maybe there are people who are made to believe then.
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2011, 12:47:18 PM »

Maybe there are people who are made to believe then.

I don't know that anyone is made to believe or not believe.  We all have the ability to make choices, think, process information, etc.
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2011, 12:49:37 PM »

I don't know that anyone is made to believe or not believe.  We all have the ability to make choices, think, process information, etc.

Choices? I don't think believing is a choice, well, not necessarily, I mean if Christianity presented evidence that were valid in my eyes I could 'believe' but that would no longer be believing, just accepting.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2011, 12:49:42 PM »

I don't know that anyone is made to believe or not believe.  We all have the ability to make choices, think, process information, etc.

Isn't that in fact "made or not made".

If two different people are given the same information and come up with completely different conclusions, it stands to reason that they are "designed" to assimilate the information and create postulates differently.

Therefore, "made to believe or not".
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2011, 12:55:19 PM »

Choices? I don't think believing is a choice, well, not necessarily, I mean if Christianity presented evidence that were valid in my eyes I could 'believe' but that would no longer be believing, just accepting.

Sure it is.  You have the choice to be a Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, etc.  You have the choice to research various religions.  You have the choice to read or research nothing at all and use your life experience to make decisions about religious or non-religious matters.  Whether what you read, research, or experience convinces you to believe or not believe is a separate issue. 
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2011, 12:57:40 PM »

Sure it is.  You have the choice to be a Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, etc.  You have the choice to research various religions.  You have the choice to read or research nothing at all and use your life experience to make decisions about religious or non-religious matters.  Whether what you read, research, or experience convinces you to believe or not believe is a separate issue. 

I have read the Bible, various arguments for its validity put forth by Christian apologists and find none of it very convincing. I think tu_holmes' point is a valid one since obviously plenty of people read the same stuff and find it very convincing and even sufficient evidence.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2011, 12:59:29 PM »

Isn't that in fact "made or not made".

If two different people are given the same information and come up with completely different conclusions, it stands to reason that they are "designed" to assimilate the information and create postulates differently.

Therefore, "made to believe or not".

There could be a variety of reasons why people come to different conclusions after looking at the same information:  personality, intelligence, common sense, life experience, stubborness, willful ignorance, denial, maturity, etc.  
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 01:00:06 PM »

There could be a variety of reasons why people come to different conclusions after looking at the same information:  personality, intelligence, common sense, life experience, stubborness, willful ignorance, denial, maturity, etc.  


All of those are "made so as not to believe" are they not?

Most of those factors are inherent genetic traits are they not?

The ones that aren't are environmental... You are also made by that.
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2011, 01:02:14 PM »

It's actually impossible for me not to believe.  I've tried to rationalize an existence that is a matter of happenstance.  I've questioned whether my beliefs are reasonable.  That the perfection we see throughout our solar system, our planet, our environment, our bodies, etc. has no design; that it was all an accident. 

At the end of the day, when I look at the complexity and harmony, there is no way I can conclude anything other than something much greater than me had a hand in all of this. 
Factually incorrect statement.
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2011, 01:03:32 PM »

I have read the Bible, various arguments for its validity put forth by Christian apologists and find none of it very convincing. I think tu_holmes' point is a valid one since obviously plenty of people read the same stuff and find it very convincing and even sufficient evidence.

What is a "Christian apologist"?  

I don't usually argue with people about the Bible.  I can only speak about what I've personally experienced and what I see in life.  For example, I've read my favorite book (Proverbs) countless times.  I have seen the wisdom in that book manifest itself in my life and others, more times than I can count.  That's what happens with a lot of Christians.  Their personal experiences help validate what they read and study.  

In other words, Christianity (or religion in general) isn't just about what you read in a book.  It's about your life experience.  
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2011, 01:05:31 PM »

All of those are "made so as not to believe" are they not?

Most of those factors are inherent genetic traits are they not?

The ones that aren't are environmental... You are also made by that.

No, they're not all genetic.  Your personality is shaped in part by your environment at a very young age.  Your intelligence is a product of your upbringing, your parents, your own work ethic, etc.  Life experience is not genetic.  Neither is willful ignorce nor maturity.   
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2011, 01:07:39 PM »

No, they're not all genetic.  Your personality is shaped in part by your environment at a very young age.  Your intelligence is a product of your upbringing, your parents, your own work ethic, etc.  Life experience is not genetic.  Neither is willful ignorce nor maturity.    

Way to retype what I fucking wrote you idiot.

I said aren't most of them... then I added environment.


Maturity is not genetic? You age according to something outside of the genetic makeup of human beings?

Leave the science to scientists... Stick with being a lawyer Mark.
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2011, 01:07:45 PM »

If bodies are perfect, why are there vestigial organs?
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2011, 01:11:07 PM »

People capable of being honest with themselves cannot believe. It's really a silly proposition in the first place.

However, people that have their identities conceived in religion have no choice but to keep believing. They would much rather take a false certainty than stare the universe in the face.

And to speak of perfection is a silly and useless exercise. There is no perfection here. How many times has a powerful injustice won out on the history of man? It is the norm indeed, and not the exception.

I really think it comes down to courage. Maybe the question should be re-framed so as to why some have more courage than others, which is a reality of the human race, to be sure.
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2011, 01:14:08 PM »

People capable of being honest with themselves cannot believe. It's really a silly proposition in the first place.

However, people that have their identities conceived in religion have no choice but to keep believing. They would much rather take a false certainty than stare the universe in the face.

And to speak of perfection is a silly and useless exercise. There is no perfection here. How many times has a powerful injustice won out on the history of man? It is the norm indeed, and not the exception.

I really think it comes down to courage. Maybe the question should be re-framed so as to why some have more courage than others, which is a reality of the human race, to be sure.

I actually think it's the exact opposite:  when an intelligent person asks himself (or herself) a number of hard questions, and actually tests certain things, it's hard not to believe. 

And yes, I do see perfection in so many things:  the way our solar system is set up.  The sun and moon and how they regulate our planet.  The way our bodies function (when we take care of them).  It's pretty amazing.   
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2011, 01:17:59 PM »

I actually think it's the exact opposite:  when an intelligent person asks himself (or herself) a number of hard questions, and actually tests certain things, it's hard not to believe. 

And yes, I do see perfection in so many things:  the way our solar system is set up.  The sun and moon and how they regulate our planet.  The way our bodies function (when we take care of them).  It's pretty amazing.   
Why do we have vestigial organs?
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2011, 01:19:56 PM »

Why do we have vestigial organs?

I have no idea.  You'll have to ask the creator.   Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2011, 01:22:10 PM »

I have no idea.  You'll have to ask the creator.   Smiley

It's hardly perfect if an unneeded organ is just hanging out in your body taking up space.
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« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2011, 01:24:05 PM »

I have no idea.  You'll have to ask the creator.   Smiley
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Also, what if the teapot is avoiding detection to test your faith?
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« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2011, 01:26:30 PM »

I have no idea.  You'll have to ask the creator.   Smiley
Actually, this proves my point exactly.

When something illogical is pointed out, you STILL lack the courage to incorporate it.

You've got a built-in backup that allows you to have eternal life, seeing your dead relatives again, etc. that short circuits the balls to realize that your quasi-theory is false.

In a word, it comes down to courage.

People can always use cognitive dissonance in order to comfort themselves, and indeed they do, but these tricks of logic do not a truth make.
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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2011, 01:29:24 PM »

In other words, I wish you would have the courage to admit the obvious, but what will happen to you tomorrow?

You must face all those who share your philosophy and tell them that you have changed. Philosophically speaking, you will have to come out of the closet. At this point in your life, that is out of the question.

But that's just half of it. The other half would be abandoning the false comfort you've acquired.
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2011, 01:31:27 PM »

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Also, what if the teapot is avoiding detection to test your faith?

That's not a very reasonable example.  I'm not even sure how to address it.  If you're trying to make an analogy to an imaginary teapot and Christianity, then no, I don't see it.  
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2011, 01:31:50 PM »

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Also, what if the teapot is avoiding detection to test your faith?

At least attribute the quote to Russell man... Wink It's also one of my favourites.
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