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Old 02-26-2006, 09:17 AM   #22
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: Paradox: God cannot not believe

So Ian thinks that everyone is born an atheist, that is to say we are born 'not believing anything' Which, I must say is pretty hard to disagree with.

Nathan thinks we are all born, profound believers in magic.

I personally have to go with Ian, to believe in magic you have to have a profound sense of what is possible so as to be 'amazed' when you are presented with what is 'not possible' (magic). We are not born with a sense of what is possible, that has to be learned.

We learn just about all we learn as small children from our immediate environment, parents/siblings being the primary source in the early years. I remember my grandmother telling me no end of 'old wives tales' and superstitions. Most of them easily discounted as soon as reason starts to kick in.

I personally believe that a belief in 'god' is not hardwired into a child's brain. It is part of the software / ideas installed after birth. An impossible but nevertheless conclusive experiment would be for three sets of parents ( 1 atheist, 1 religion A , 1 religion B ) to swap children at birth, and check what beliefs the chidren had at around their 8th birthday. pretty obvoius I would think.

I do believe however, that a 'propensity to believe in some kind of religion' 'is' hardwired into the brain. There are many many advantages to this. We as humans function as group animals, we work best collectively, religious beliefs ( whether logical or illogical, true or false is immaterial ) afford us 'membership of our 'group', social cohesion, culture, hope, faith, trust, etc all positive traits, and I'm sure there are many more than the few I have listed here.

Unfortunately this very close knit 'group think' which can be so beneficial leads to conflict with others of a different close knit 'group think'.
An obvious example is the current problem in Iraq with Shia and Sunni Muslims, they both 'believe' in the same 'god' but have a 'different coloured' hat on, so are able to see the others as 'wrong'. I'm sure others may jump in here and start informing me of the many other non religious factors that have brought the population to the brink of civil war, I do realise there is more to it than what is baldly being stated here. My point is that it's the beliefs themselves that are the root of the conflict.

I am of the opinion that trying to approach religion with logic is like trying to unpick a birds nest wearing boxing gloves.
But human beings are more than their 'current beliefs', flat earthers will tell you that.
Most of us are of the agreement that the beliefs and culture of the Taliban are 'medieval' :- witness the recent beheading of a school head-teacher for the crime of 'educating girls'. Beliefs change over time, even strongly held ones.
Many christians believe in the literal word of the bible, which means that they believe the world was created around the same time that the agrarian revolution was taking place.
There are plenty of christians who accept that the world is part of a 13-15 billion year old universe, and chose to believe that the bible is not to be taken literally but to be interpreted, which they do. It doesn't diminish their belief in god ( for some it reinforces it ).

'If' god does exist and is the omni everything that others say he is, I am part of 'him/her' and 'he/she will understand that a non-belief in him/her is part of life's rich trapestry and 'just as valid' as a belief in him/her.

'If' god does not exist, then I as a 'current non beliver' am right and the 'believers' are wrong.

I will barricade myself behind many sandbags to avoid the missiles I can feel coming my way.

Peace,
Mark
p.s. I am open minded and if anyone can offer up any proof of the existence of a god not based on 'faith' I will be interested in considering it and possibly changing my mind on the issue.

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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