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Calling all atheists

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
As a christian, I have doubted the existence of God before. I want to know if, as an atheist, you have doubted the non-existence of a higher power. Specifically, a question, how can something come from nothing? It seems to me that this thinking would require more faith than believing in a higher power at least starting out the universe. This isn't a question at all to do with the christian faith, I just want to know how people come to believe that something can come from nothing. I mean, where did the originaL laws of the universe come from if not from a creator? I am not looking for a debate but a way to understand "the other side".
tia
post #2 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
As a christian, I have doubted the existence of God before. I want to know if, as an atheist, you have doubted the non-existence of a higher power. Specifically, a question, how can something come from nothing? It seems to me that this thinking would require more faith than believing in a higher power at least starting out the universe. This isn't a question at all to do with the christian faith, I just want to know how people come to believe that something can come from nothing. I mean, where did the originaL laws of the universe come from if not from a creator? I am not looking for a debate but a way to understand "the other side".
tia
Where does the higher power come from?
At some point "something comes from nothing" in all world views.
not meaning to be flip but I have pukey kids and is complaining....gotta go!
post #3 of 68
I think you need to think about the problem from a different perspective.

Do you believe in Gnomes? why not? How can you prove that gnomes don't exist? What about invisible martians or unicorns or flying spaghetti monsters? Ridiculous, right?

Atheism, for me, is the statement that there is no evidence of a god or cognitive supreme power that caused any particular outcome or has any direct or indirect influence in human lives. And therefore, it is unethical and wrong to believe in something so important for which there is absolutely no valid, repeatable, scientific evidence.

Humans are known for our fallibility in our beliefs; while science is far from perfect, it so far has given us the most consistent and provable method of sorting out truth from fiction.

I also take the entirety of human experience - religious texts, poetry, political writings, etc - when trying to figure out ethical issues. Science only takes us so far, and by reflecting on the millenia of human experience, we can see shared experiences which can teach us right from wrong.

In terms of where did the laws of the universe came from, it is a great question. I don't have an answer to it, and I am sure thousands of scientists would love to find out. But there is no evidence that a god made it all happen. There are thousands of other possibilities that does not require a god, and one would think that if there were a supreme creator, we'd have irrefutable evidence.

The key is that you don't believe in something just because it is convenient or because you cannot think of something better. you believe in something because there is evidence that you hold to be valid that it is true.

I also think a core element of the argument comes down to what an individual accepts as evidence. While not perfect, as said above, the scientific method to me is much more trustworthy than other sources, including religious leaders, tradition or ancient texts.

My 2 cents.
post #4 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
The key is that you don't believe in something just because it is convenient or because you cannot think of something better. you believe in something because there is evidence that you hold to be valid that it is true.
That's just what I was thinking about the question I posed. I really don't believe something can come from nothing- but beyond that I have evidence from my own life as to the existence of God which means more to me than the question. So, it got me thinking that this question likely does not shake an atheists beliefs, regardless of theories, because there has been no evidence, from an atheists standpoint that there is a God. This is the crux of any belief right? Beliefs backed, or not backed, by individual evidence and experience?

Has anyone ever contemplated the question of origin? I would still like to hear theories on the earths origin, the very first speck of energy or universe law, in laymans terms if anyone really has a handle on it.

Thanks for both your responses.
post #5 of 68
But where does God come from then?

I don't know from where the universe began. I don't believe it was from a higher being. I believe that there is a scientific explanation that we just don't know yet.
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Where does the higher power come from?
At some point "something comes from nothing" in all world views.
not meaning to be flip but I have pukey kids and is complaining....gotta go!
Sorry about the pukey kids. Well it seems to me that a God would operate outside of normal human parameters and not within a time-continuum where there is a beginning. So, to me, the greatest leap of faith would be believing that the universe came to be from nothing. Nothing is nothing. A God however is an explanation in and of himself because of the nature of who a God can be. I am just trying to grab a handle on a plausible theory of the creation of the universe from nothing because I really can't understand the quantum physics way-over-my-head stuff. It would be helpful to hear from someone who has really thought about this question and could answer in more simple terms for me. Or is this even possible considering the complexity of the question?
post #7 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
That's just what I was thinking about the question I posed. I really don't believe something can come from nothing- but beyond that I have evidence from my own life as to the existence of God which means more to me than the question. So, it got me thinking that this question likely does not shake an atheists beliefs, regardless of theories, because there has been no evidence, from an atheists standpoint that there is a God. This is the crux of any belief right? Beliefs backed, or not backed, by individual evidence and experience?

Has anyone ever contemplated the question of origin? I would still like to hear theories on the earths origin, the very first speck of energy or universe law, in laymans terms if anyone really has a handle on it.

Thanks for both your responses.
The most common scientific explanation for the origin of the universe is the Big Bang theory or some version of it, although there are others out there. Some of the work they're doing over at CERN is attempting to show how "something came from nothing."
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
As a christian, I have doubted the existence of God before. I want to know if, as an atheist, you have doubted the non-existence of a higher power. Specifically, a question, how can something come from nothing? It seems to me that this thinking would require more faith than believing in a higher power at least starting out the universe. This isn't a question at all to do with the christian faith, I just want to know how people come to believe that something can come from nothing. I mean, where did the originaL laws of the universe come from if not from a creator? I am not looking for a debate but a way to understand "the other side".
tia
Interesting questions, but many, in my mind, don't connect.

I am an atheist. I am also an observant Jew.

Something coming from nothing is a question whether there is 'A' god, gods, or no god(s). Either which way, at some point, something came from nothing. The god(s) came, the matter came, the energy came, etc. So this is not a religion problem to me.


I do have a question,

Quote:
Originally Posted by you
It seems to me that this thinking would require more faith than believing in a higher power at least starting out the universe.
Why "more" faith? Who created the higher power? Or how did it start?
post #9 of 68
Oh, and I LOVE your name (Freud lulz)
post #10 of 68
siobhang-

And I follow CERN ( I iz science geek) and that is not exactly something from nothing they are toying with there. Amazing @$$ stuff, but not "exactly" something from nothing.

And thanks, now I am thinking of Brian Cox, I will never sleep tonight. :sigh:
post #11 of 68
I don't know if i'm truly an atheist, or if it's just there is no concept of God around which i find believable. Either way right now i don't believe in any of the concepts of god or godhead i am aware of. I do not believe there is or was a sentient being who created or catalysed the beginning of the universe.

I don't know what did. Yet. We used not to know a lot of things which we now, through science, have a better understanding of. That is not to say science is perfect, but it doesn't seek or pretend to be. Science is not a god substitute, it is only science.

I have experimented with God - that is an hilarious sentence to type! But i have - i tried out various religions and philosophies, and i find none of them speak to me. I cannot believe what i doubt. It makes no sense to me. I'm relentlessly logical, and a bit autistic, and from a family of practical engineery geeky types, and i simply don't believe a sentient someone began the universe, because there is NO evidence of that i can see.

So yes, i have doubted the non-existence of God, but whenever i revisit the evidence and my thoughts about that evidence i continue to fail to find anything compelling to make me think God does indeed exist.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
But where does God come from then?

I don't know from where the universe began. I don't believe it was from a higher being. I believe that there is a scientific explanation that we just don't know yet.
I wouldn't classify myself as an atheist, but I don't fall into any recognized religious category (as far as I can tell).

I'm just wondering, doesn't the belief that there is some scientific explanation as of yet unexplained require the same kind of leap of faith that parts of religion require of us? Faith in science, faith in god, faith in magic, faith in gnomes and spaghetti monsters... it's all the same isn't it? It shouldn't matter if science or unicorns explain "how something came from nothing" or how the universe and consequently we came into existence. I'm all about science, I've even visited the particle accelerator in Chicago (and I luvd it). But I think that regardless of if we chose to label the origins of life in science or in religion, either way, at this point in our history, it requires a leap of faith. A trust that eventually the truth will be revealed in a way that makes sense.

The doctrines of all belief systems are different. But I see the trust and faith in the ability of science to explain the mysteries of life as parallel to those of recognized religions. It should also be remembered that at one time in our history that science and religion walked hand in hand. I see science as simply another branch of human faith. Human faith is the same all across the world. The tenets and requirements to be considered of any particular faith are varied, but faith in any explanation of the origins of the universe and life is still faith regardless of if it comes from science, christians, or fairies.
post #13 of 68
I'm another atheist against the first cause argument.

Firstly, like others have said, if a god can come from nothing, then why can't the universe come from nothing?

Secondly, even if there is some sort of "higher power," I can't subscribe to the personification of it. I think people have created gods in their own image.
post #14 of 68
There is a difference between thinking that someday science might discover an answer and believing that religion has already found that answer. And yes, science and religion did walk together for a time, but it did not benefit the overall development of science to continue to do so.
post #15 of 68
I agree with the others that the "something can't come from nothing" argument does nothing to advance a belief in god because it leaves unanswered the question of where this god came from.

Quote:
Well it seems to me that a God would operate outside of normal human parameters and not within a time-continuum where there is a beginning.
To me, that argument boils down to believing that because we don't yet have a rational, scientific answer for the origin of the universe, it must be magic.
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkPassenger View Post
siobhang-

And I follow CERN ( I iz science geek) and that is not exactly something from nothing they are toying with there. Amazing @$$ stuff, but not "exactly" something from nothing.

And thanks, now I am thinking of Brian Cox, I will never sleep tonight. :sigh:
Yup. Not exactly. The "something from nothing" question will be hard to answer, but if anyone is close to an answer, I think it's CERN.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Where does the higher power come from?
At some point "something comes from nothing" in all world views.
FYI the Christian god didn't come from anywhere, He always was.

Ok I was going to leave it at that, but I see that's not really making my point clear. As I understand, (I don't know what form God would have taken before creation) but there was, before anything else, good. Good, love. and He is God.
God was not created, there is simply the pre-existing fact/condition of good, of love, and that's God


I know this is more for non-believers, but reading this I thought the question gave way for fine consideration of "created gods" but doesn't included the Christian God, who was not created.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama View Post
FYI the Christian god didn't come from anywhere, He always was.

Ok I was going to leave it at that, but I see that's not really making my point clear. As I understand, (I don't know what form God would have taken before creation) but there was, before anything else, good. Good, love. and He is God.
God was not created, there is simply the pre-existing fact/condition of good, of love, and that's God


I know this is more for non-believers, but reading this I thought the question gave way for fine consideration of "created gods" but doesn't included the Christian God, who was not created.
I dunno, it's all well and good for you to believe that, but I can't wrap my mind around it. It doesn't answer any questions for me.

I've not found any science or theism that answered all my questions.
post #19 of 68
I don't understand why the Christian god would be any less "created" than other gods. I am really not seeing any difference. For me, it is just as hard to believe in a Christian god than a Hindu god, or a Viking god.
post #20 of 68
Yeah, if you already BELIEVE in a God, then believing stuff about that God, like it always existing or being omnipotent/present are just smaller leaps of the same faith.

If you don't believe in God the fact that those who do believe he was always there and wasn't created doesn't mean very much either way. It's like people who believe in fairies also believing they make the flowers grow. Science can TELL me how flowers grow, and i see evidence neither of fairies nor of them making the flowers grow - whereas if i DID believe it was fairies making them grow the mere fact of the flowers existing would confirm my belief.
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