Saturday, June 02, 2007

I'm back, Thank you for the questions


Here are some questions I received a while back.

Question: Just because there isn't
a god doesn't mean that there is no other "higher being" in the universe. I
mean, the universe is far too vast for us to rule out the existence of
intelligent beings on some other planet, right? I'm not talking all-powerful
or perfect, and this still makes the fires of hell into bullshit, but the
fact should be thought of.

Answer: Atheism is a lack of belief (or denial) of gods. I don't think intelligent
beings on other planets is what most people consider "gods".

Question: Also, there are these books - the bible, the bhagvad gita, the quran - well,
who wrote them? Power hungry men? They must have been pretty fiendish to
fool almost everyone around them, and their books fool them still - is it
because of the cleverness of the authors or the stupidity of the masses?

Answer: These "holy" books were written by men who were expressing concerns of
their own time and culture, and I think the books reflect this. I don't necessarily
believe that these books were written with the intention of fooling people. I think
these cultures didn't have the kind of evidential standard that we (well, some of us)
have today.

Question: I also wish to ascertain the limits of atheism/theism. Is the rejection of
reincarnation included in an atheist's beliefs? I suspect that it is, due to
lack of evidence.

Answer: There tends to be a lot of overlap between Atheism and materialism, which is
a rejection of all things non-material, including "souls". It isn't strictly necessary
for an Atheist to reject reincarnation, but I do, and I think most other Atheists do as
well, for consistency if nothing else. For example, the "argument from a disembodied
mind" is useful for disproving that god exists. Minds depend on physical brains, god
is a disembodied mind, this is impossible, therefore no god. This argument can be
applied more broadly. If minds depend on physical brains, reincarnation can't happen,
because it depends on the movement of a disembodied mind from one physical body to
another.

Question: Again, if theists can fabricate fake proof like the bible, why the hell
can't atheists make any difference with facts, fabricated or real, on the
minds of dogmatic believers?

Answer: Facts are making a difference. For example, we no longer believe demons
cause disease. We no longer believe the earth is 6000 years old (other than a large
group of misled American Protestants). We have ideas about weather and how it is
formed, it's no longer a roll of holy dice. We no longer believe that the earth is
the center of the universe. We don't believe demons cause mental illness. There
are quite a few very strong beliefs that have been dropped over the last 2000 years,
even over the last 100 years. This is not all necessarily due to Atheism per se, but
it is due to a strict methodology that stays neutral towards god questions, and with great
success.

Question: Atheism does not defy religion. It defies god. If religion is, by
definition, a set of rules to be followed to bestow peaceful life upon
followers, no atheist should put it down. But when this religion promises a
peaceful afterlife - all atheists should cry foul and help others realise
the truth.

Answer: Buddhism is a religion that doesn't believe in a personal god, so you are
correct here. No Atheist should put down any religion which is a
set of peaceful rules? I suppose that depends on the outcome of those rules. I
think all rules should be open to scrutiny. That is how they improve.


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