Why do religions have to convert people?

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
1nick
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by 1nick »

I'm very exited to hear CJ's evidence/reasons for a belief in a god.
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CJSchmidtz
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by CJSchmidtz »

I am happy to comply but I am trying to first address a matter of perspective. From my perspective Jenny the atheist, my old friend who worshiped Thor, various people who call themselves Christians but do not even care if it is true and many other people are all in the same boat. Let’s say hypothetically there is no positive evidence for God’s existence just as there is no positive evidence for Thor’s existence. If then there is also hypothetically no evidence to prove that atheism is in fact the correct view…. Then the choice would be completely arbitrary. Even if the atheist could prove that no other view has evidential support…. the atheist would not have then proved that there view does have evidential support. The atheist could say there is no reason for theism so that proves atheism, but someone else could say that there is no evidence for atheism therefore that proves theism –Thor- Witchcraft-etc. Discounting reasons to believe in A, B, C, does not by default give you a reason to believe in X.
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JLives
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by JLives »

jennylives wrote:The criteria I'm using is evidence, of any sort. There is no evidence that a deity has existed or currently does. If you have some, the rest of the world is unaware of, that is not based in philosophy I would love to hear it.


So no?
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

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CJSchmidtz wrote:I am happy to comply but I am trying to first address a matter of perspective. From my perspective Jenny the atheist, my old friend who worshiped Thor, various people who call themselves Christians but do not even care if it is true and many other people are all in the same boat. Let’s say hypothetically there is no positive evidence for God’s existence just as there is no positive evidence for Thor’s existence. If then there is also hypothetically no evidence to prove that atheism is in fact the correct view…. Then the choice would be completely arbitrary. Even if the atheist could prove that no other view has evidential support…. the atheist would not have then proved that there view does have evidential support. The atheist could say there is no reason for theism so that proves atheism, but someone else could say that there is no evidence for atheism therefore that proves theism –Thor- Witchcraft-etc. Discounting reasons to believe in A, B, C, does not by default give you a reason to believe in X.


Personally the default is atheism until proven otherwise.
I don't consider ones personal experience in a deity as proof,the brain is a pro at conjuring up such things.
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CJSchmidtz
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

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I consider that there are several good arguments for the existence of God, I mainly reference two; the first is simpler. The first is a variation on the cosmological argument and it leads me to believe that something must exist which is capable of transcending the physical laws of our existence.

This argument basically rests on a deduction from two facts which we know concerning how the universe operates and a third fact concerning our physical reality.

In considering the origin of the universe there are basically two possibilities that I am aware of. At some point either something came out of nothing or something has always existed.
Fact one
Believing that something could have come out of nothing is naturally inconceivable because of the law of conservation of energy and the logically simple and obvious statement “something cannot come from nothing.”
Fact two
Believing that something could have always existed is naturally inconceivable because of the law of cause and effect. Everything we know of works within the bounds of cause and effect, for something to be eternal it would have to exist without a cause, this is incomprehensible.
Fact three
The universe does it exist.

Conclusion
According to the physical laws that operate in our universe and in which we live - it should be completely impossible that anything exists. We do exist therefore something must exist which is capable of transcending the laws of our existence.

Therefore something must have either always existed, or something came out of nothing. One of these two must have occurred. Some have suggested that this could be the universe itself but the answer is by definition unlike the universe therefore it cannot be the universe.

In trying to counter this argument there are four main points that can be critiqued, those four points are each of the three individual alleged facts and the main deduction that I make from them.

For example facts one and two can be used as reasons to discount the possible existence of my conclusion - God. However these two facts can discount the possible existence of anything just as they can discount the possible existence of God, therefore if the laws cannot disprove our existence they certainly cannot disprove God’s. Whether you apply them to the universe or to God it proves something must exist which can transcend the laws of our existence. By definition this cannot be true of the natural universe; it can be true of God. This does not answer every question, but I consider that it can stand up to possible objections and provide a starting point for further considerations.

The certainty I have regarding this argument rests on the empirical certainty of those two facts and considering that this conclusion is more reasonable then any alternative I have considered up to the present time.
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by 1nick »

Right,so no proof then.
W.L.Craig prattled on pretty well the same way,but he didn't know either.So......god,we'll go with god.
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CJSchmidtz
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by CJSchmidtz »

The argument is not “we don’t know therefore” the argument has clearly defined facts and a clearly defined deductive conclusion. You could alter that somewhat and have a point if I was claiming the this proved the clearly defined God of the New Testament or Islam, or Judaism etc but I am not trying to get that far with this argument. This argument only suggests the existence of something which is vaguely defined.
I would say that the shoe is actually on the other foot. It is the atheist that can basically only argue “we don’t know therefore.” They consider fact one and two and then conclude we don’t know how it is possible that the universe exists but we know the answer must be consistent with atheism and we know that God cannot exist. They have faith that one day an atheistic rebuttal and explanation will appear. I do not have a reason to believe this is impossible but until then I consider this has two difficulties. First of all it rejects the deduction without reason or a better alternative explanation. Secondly it requires blind faith in an explanation which is inconsistent with the facts as I have expressed in the argument.
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Hassel99
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by Hassel99 »

Quantum Theory suggests that something can come from nothing. Electrons and Positrons can appear from nowhere (a place we can not observe anyway)

The argument I don’t get (and I don’t think anyone CAN get) is that if our “something” HAS to be created, and that God is the creator, doesn’t it stand to reason that God would require a creator as well?, as “we” just stated “Stuff, including god” cant come from nothing, so where did God come from? If God came from something else how can it still be God?

If God always existed, and it has been here forever, how can something that has no beginning exist in the first place?
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by 1nick »

I'm sure we've gone off topic here,but.....
http://www.merabsarpa.com/philosophy/st-aquinas’-god-–-the-prime-mover

I'll admit to reading this a few times and not fully grasping it,but will keep on until I do.
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CJSchmidtz
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by CJSchmidtz »

“If” my argument is valid “then” something which I call God does exist which can transcend the laws we have been discussing “then” God by definition must have either come from nothing or has been eternal. The argument cannot explain how but it does imply that this must actually be the case. In other words my answer to your question is I don’t know how, but something which does not need a creator or could be eternal must exist. Some will go farther and try to answer that eternal is the better of the two conceivable answers but I personally haven’t been able to feel as confident about that within the bounds of this argument.
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janalta
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by janalta »

CJSchmidtz wrote:“If” my argument is valid “then” something which I call God does exist which can transcend the laws we have been discussing “then” God by definition must have either come from nothing or has been eternal. The argument cannot explain how but it does imply that this must actually be the case. In other words my answer to your question is I don’t know how, but something which does not need a creator or could be eternal must exist. Some will go farther and try to answer that eternal is the better of the two conceivable answers but I personally haven’t been able to feel as confident about that within the bounds of this argument.


You left out one major possibility....we simply haven't learned enough yet to know.
Maybe we never will...and that's Ok - to say - I don't know.
That's the one big difference in believers and non believers....non believers are ok with not having all of the answers, we don't have some sort of desire to know it all, to know exactly how it all began or what/if we have any sort of purpose. We're just fine with being here, living our lives and being in awe of nature itself.

I've seen no evidence or proof, or argument for that matter, that suggests in any way, shape or form, that since science can't explain it yet.....God must be the answer.
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CJSchmidtz
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

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I consider that several extremely significant issues come into play once this and many other discussions come to the point of the theist saying I consider this argument to be valid, I see evidence here and someone else denying it saying I just don’t see it etc……
First of all the issue is a matter of attitude towards the issue. I consider that there is a significant difference between someone who is searching for what seems to be the best explanation…. And someone who is saying I will only consider naturalistic answers because I have labelled anything else non-scientific or I will not believe unless the evidence is overwhelming to the point of….. I am not accusing anyone of this but there are issues to discuss.

Consider this that some people have embraced skepticism to such a degree that they have raised the bar of evidence so high that neither God nor you can make it over the bar. A step farther then you is postmodernists and deconstructionists who consider that they can basically dismantle all claims including any and all scientific ones, basically believing what amounts to each person or perhaps community living in its own separate reality bubble –social construction.
A step farther then that is solipsism, which is basically the belief that the person is skeptical of any existence other than their own. If you are not familiar with this you can look it up, I have even personally spoken with one. The basic idea is that you or I may be something like an experience in a dream apparently real but not necessarily real. A more sophisticated version might say that while they do experience a variety of sensations they realize that these sensations are experienced in their mind and may not relate to anything that actually exists outside of their mind. A related variation of this is found in the movie the Matrix, could I just be plugged into a virtual reality machine etc. These people could look at you similarly to how you have looked at the existence for God. They could and basically do say I just don’t know, maybe I will never know, they may feel frustrated by their situation but they also may feel content just as you do.
I conclude this post saying that we need to each ask ourselves if we are honestly pursuing truth, pursuing what makes the most sense. Please don’t answer this; no one else can know what the state of your heart actually is but it is a question to ponder in this context. I also know that you could question me on exactly the same point…. I think there are a variety of issues to consider even if you or I can say "I think I am honestly pursuing truth" but I sometimes wonder if the reasons why more people have not found more truth; is because they are not really searching for it.

Ps
I wonder if this really should be a new thread
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by Hmmm »

CJSchmidtz wrote:
Ps
I wonder if this really should be a new thread

Don't bother they all turn into this.
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by 1nick »

I think "this" has been an enlightening thread.
Obviously Heir Schmidtz is versed in the subject and has provided welcome food for thought,unlike some who quote the bible as proof of a god.
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cliffy1
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Re: Why do religions have to convert people?

Post by cliffy1 »

I have spent most of my life seeking truth. In the end, where that search lead me and the conclusions I have come to is really only relevant to me. There are no pat answers that are universal, that anyone can say, for sure, are THE answers. Each individual has to come to their own conclusions that they can live with. Nobody and no religion has all the answers. It is not possible to contain all the answers, not in a book, not a mind or even a super computer. In the end, a person can only evaluate the data collected and use what us useful to them and junk the rest. If the idea of god is not useful to you, then why even consider the possibility. Why do some people spend so much time trying to prove or disprove the existence of god when it is only relevant to the individual if it exists or not?
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