A Discussion with an Atheist on Quora

Who proved that God was real in the first place?

 

Me: Abraham. He was the first one to realize there is one G-d and after being threatened by his father and the King Nimrod, he left to spread the word and welcomed anyone to come learn by him.

Though really there were many before Abraham who knew G-d. Adam and Eve certainly knew G-d. They had direct contact with him. So did Cain, Able, and Seth their children and their children. They started to believe that they needed an intermediary, the beginning of idolatry. But Seth’s family continued to believe only in the one G-d and established a school called in the name of Seth and his son Aver. Abraham is from Seth as well.

Ian Sawyer

It seems you’re not aware that Abraham is a fictitious character! The entire story of Genesis, along with that of Exodus and the remaining first five books of the Old Testament, are fiction. There’s now overwhelming evidence that they were written by scribes during the time of the Babylonian Exile in order to give the scattered and disheartened people of Judah a sense of common heritage and spiritual belief. It’s an entirely false story, borrowed in part from even older myths of Mesopotamia and Sumeria, and it’s doubtful it was ever meant to be taken literally, just allegorically. It’s only been with the passage of time and constant retelling that it came to be believed as being factual.

Tziyona: Oh heavens! And for the last 5000 years, my ancestors and I have made such a mistake. I’m so glad you pointed that out.

Ian Sawyer

That’s quite alright, glad to help!

But the stories in question were hardly written 5,000 years ago, rather it was sometime between 597 BCE and 539 BCE, although they were supposedly set during some earlier, unspecified, period.

Perhaps you should take some time to research the real history of the Old Testament texts, rather than just assuming they’re factual because that’s what you’ve always been told is so. There’s no evidence to support any of them; believing that something is true is not the same as it actually being true!

A little more knowledge about the real motivation behind organized religion wouldn’t go amiss either. It might then become clearer how it’s nothing more than a means of exercising power and control over people, their thoughts and their lives for its own benefit, using a combination of these ancient myths, innate human desires, and psychology, by which to do so.

 

Tziyona: Actually, I was raised like you, ignorant and sure everything written was false, made up, and opium for the masses. It was actually when I started to learn and open a few my prejudices to give validity to someone other than my own way of thinking that I was blown away how incredible depth of the Torah and its people, rabbis, teachers and ordinary families that build their lives around the teachings of the Torah.

I didn’t need to find the falsity in everything to justify my non-religious way of life. The way of Torah was much greater and valuable. And when I looked into the homes of those who keep the Torah and compared it to those who don’t – it wouldn’t have bothered me to just follow along even if I didn’t believe it G-d, (which I do.) The results and lifestyle are so much more rewarding, why would I want to go back to the world where marriage, children, building relationships are not close or equal compared to the religious way of life.

But don’t just take it from me.

 

Ian Sawyer

Well, you’re of course entitled to believe what you like, but I’m astounded by the fact that someone can dismiss well proven and evidentially based facts for religious mythology.

But then again perhaps not. Religion is insidious, and it promises things which are in line with innate human desires, and those religions such as Judaism, which are very family oriented, play heavily on this by way of constant repetition and ritualized behavior to reinforce those ancient beliefs. And as I’m sure you know, repetition and ritualized behavior are the main bases for brainwashing; making us believe the unbelievable, especially when it involves children too young to be able to discriminate fact from fiction.

Certainly there are some positive aspects to religion, such as the sense of belonging and community it can engender, however, given that it’s demonstrably based on fiction, and there’s nothing in it which can’t be achieved by completely non-religious means, all it does is entrap those who want to succumb to the supposed comfort of its false beliefs, rather than think for themselves and face reality. There’s nothing you’ll find in the homes or behavioral patterns of Jewish families, or religious families anywhere, which you won’t find in the homes or behavioral patterns of non-religious families, nothing at all – other than all the wasted time and effort of praying to some invisible man in the sky!

There’s absolutely zero evidence to support any religious beliefs based around imaginary gods, and a very considerable amount of evidence to support the fact that all religions grew as a means of exercising power and control over people, not to mention increasing their wealth by way of tithing or some other form of donation, often enforced by societal pressure.

But as I said initially, you want to delude yourself and believe in the unbelievable for whatever reason, that’s up to you, but there are most certainly two sides to this, and only one side can be shown to have hard evidence to support it!

Tziyona: Proof Torah is True, Miracle, Proofs & Human Knowledge, Check it out A UCLA graduate, A Doctor, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, because even smart people can believe and not be living in the la la land as you apparently bias believe. Your proofs may be filled with holes are asking the wrong questions.

Ian Sawyer

Well, if you want to believe that palpably false and biased material, it’s up to you! What has the fact that someone gained university qualifications got to do with whether they’ve been indoctrinated by their religion/culture/society into believing fiction over demonstrable fact?

There’s an assumption right from the word goes in those talks that what’s being talked about is factual. It’s not, and it’s demonstrably not factual on so many levels. Like so many people who’re biased because of their religious beliefs, they look for things which they think support their belief. The correct and unbiased approach is to look at the evidence, and then draw conclusions based on that evidence. They produce entirely different results.

Adam didn’t exist, Moses didn’t exist, Noah didn’t exist… There was no exodus; there was no flood… There is zero evidence to support any of these stories other than they’re derived from the mythology of the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Egyptians… In short, they’re nothing but ancient fiction, written to convey the often primitive and pre-scientific spiritual beliefs to a scientifically ignorant and naive people of the time. Nothing more.

All I’m trying to do is point out that there are two sides to every story, and in the case of religious belief, it’s a false belief in so many provable ways.

The saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” comes to mind here. If you, or anyone, chooses, for whatever reason, to believe that there are invisible entities which control human destiny, and that ancient mythology is actually true, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and despite a mass of evidence to show that organized religion of every kind uses a combination of fiction, innate human desires, and psychology to control people for their own ends, it’s their misfortune!

 

Tziyona: I beg to differ. The assumption that by definition a person believes in G-d is, therefore, biased and ignorant is the basis of secular society but is not necessarily a truthful assumption. And never in the history of time was there ever secularism until the western world (built on the beliefs of Judeo-Christian theology), allowed and condoned the belief of secularism. Does that mean that all of history is laden with idiots until these brilliant men of secular theology have come to guide us to light or are it dismal thinking? Your mass of evidence I think is full of holes and predestined beliefs and could easily be understood differently.

I don’t believe either one of us could change the other’s mind, which is fine. I would like to just point out your complacency of atheist doctrine; if one believes in a deity they are by definition off base in whatever they say. And if you don’t realize that atheism is a belief just like any other religion, then you are not being honest with yourself. There are no more proofs to prove the existence of G-d then there are proofs that there isn’t a G-d. Both need a leap of faith.

 

Ian Sawyer

“The assumption that by definition a person believes in G-d is, therefore, biased, and ignorant is the basis of secular society but is not necessarily a truthful assumption” — Tell you what, you provide some evidence that the concept of a God isn’t merely an assumption, and I’ll believe what you say. But if you can do that, you’ll be the first person ever to be able to do so!

 

I completely disagree that atheism is either a “belief just like any other religion” or that it has any doctrines. It’s nothing more than a disbelief in gods (due to the utter lack of evidence or necessity), period. Different atheists might well have differing views on what religion is, how it started, how it should be treated etc., but those are purely personal. For there to be a doctrine, there needs to be an overarching organization to set an agenda. There isn’t.

 

Both theism and atheism don’t need a leap of faith! Only the former does. No-one is born a theist; it’s something which only comes about because of a combination of childhood indoctrination and societal/cultural pressures promoted by organized religions, each with their own agenda and threats and promises based on the intangible. Do you seriously believe that in today’s world with the amount of scientific knowledge we have, that if religion had vanished from the face of the earth, people would reinvent such an archaic concept as that of invisible entities which control nature and ‘look after people’, when we know the real reasons things happen and are the way they are?

 

There is a vast amount of evidence from many different fields of research which show that the belief in gods is nothing more than a derivation from the animist beliefs of our ancient ancestors, partially encoded into out DNA because of many tens of thousands of years of belief in such things. There’s also vast amounts of evidence which shows how organized religions first started, and how they used the fear of these ancient animist entities to control the behavior of people in the first permanent settlements.

 

Any totally objective view, free of all biased and preconceptions, would come down on the side of there being rational and logical explanations for everything around us, without the need to resort to the primitive “a god did it / caused it” answers of our ancestors. They knew no better, we do.

 

The bottom line is that there is zero evidence to support the god concept other than it being a psychologically acceptable manifestation of the primitive human mind, which has been used by organizations seeking power and control over people. None whatsoever.

 

As a final thought, would you still believe the same things as now – your Jewish perspective – if you’d been born into and still lived in say a Hindu culture, or a Shinto culture, or an Islamic culture, or a Maori culture…? Fairly obviously the answer is no, you’d believe in the predominant religion in which you were raised and lived. In other words, beliefs and everything surrounding them, including their god(s), holy books, methods of worship, rituals…, are totally dependent on what culture and religion you’re raised in, and what you’re taught.

 

This begs the question as to which religion and which god is correct. Can they all be correct and all the different gods involved be as real as you think yours is? That’s extreme arrogance on everyone’s part to believe that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Or isn’t it far more likely that they’re all wrong, and that religion is, as I say, nothing more than an invention of the human mind? That’s the only scenario which fits everything we know about the god concept and all the religions surrounding the several thousand there supposedly are.

 

Tziyona: I am not going to try to give you scientific proof. I just want you to explain how did this amazing world with all the incredible science and perfection in chemistry, biology, astrology, the DNA and everything we see in this world come about. Without a creator? Seriously. What is it all just happenstance? A mere mistake in the DNA that evolved into perfection? Really?

 

Being religious is not looking for a way to get rid of fears, but instead to give thanks to the one who created this incredible world. The word Yehudah – the Hebrew word for Jew, means thankfulness. If nothing else, if one gains an appreciation for the incredible world that G-d gave us, it makes us better people.

 

Mark McMasters

Um… The question asked about proving ‘god’ is real. All you have provided is an interesting mythical story.

 

Tziyona

Sorry, I am right now very busy keeping the holiday of Pesach (Passover) which celebrates the creating of the Jewish people 5000 years ago. We follow the commandments said over in the Torah. We now are cleaning our houses so it shouldn’t have one crumb of chametz (flour and water mixed longer than 18 minutes) and then we will sit down to a meal with a long ritual of telling the story of Exodus eating strange food and matza because my family has been doing this same celebration for over 5000 years from generation to generation. Which incidentally gives the biggest proof of the Torah is true. How can 600,000 people experience the same event and tell it over to their children so it is passed down from generation to generation and no one said “hey guys, this is all a hoax! Some guy made this all up.”

No other religion has witnesses to revelation. The Jews (who are known to be smart and cynical) having been telling this same story for 80 generations (if counted as 40 years) and every year sitting down to the seder to remember the miracles and our exodus to freedom to accept the Torah as truth.

So, I don’t have time to indulge whether you think there is a god or not – we live with the Torah as our way of life. Now, I got to get back to cleaning – Pesach is almost here, and all my grandchildren are coming to hear and tell the story and ask the question, “Why is tonight different than any other night?” as their parents, grandparents and all the way back have been asking.

If you don’t believe, what do you tell your children? “Well, when grandpa was an ape…”

 

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One thought on “A Discussion with an Atheist on Quora

  1. Hi, Tziyona, Ian.
    First, a word of caution is in order. I don’t believe it will ever be possible for humans to prove or disprove the existence of God. The only one Who can do that is God himself (I am of the belief that he actually did so some 3,300 years ago at Mount Sinai. But that is just my belief).
    Disproving the existence of God is especially difficult because it is near impossible to prove a negative, especially since we’re debating, by definition, a non-observable entity. But even to conclusively prove and demonstrate the existence of God in the same way we can observe, say, the law of gravity, I believe is an impossible task. Since God is invisible, the thiest almost invariably resorts to pointing to phenomena that seem best explained as supernatural, i.e. stretching incredulity, leading to Divine conclusions. The stubborn atheist, however, always has the choice to stretch his imagination even further and accept a natural and non-Divine explanation to said phenomena, however irrational it may seem.
    Since we are always debating arguments, a persistent participant will always find a way to convince himself that he is still right, and however convincing his opponent’s case is, it is still inconclusive and the debate is never settled. That’s why humanity is still debating the same question for thousands of years, with stubborn, and brilliant, I will add, partisans on both sides of the conversation. You would think that after all this time and millions of pages written on the subject, someone will have come up with a conclusive argument by now, effectively settling the question, no? The answer is no, because there is no conclusive answer that human beings can come up with and that’s why the conversation will continue until the end of time, or until God steps in (which I believe He will, with the coming of Mashiach).
    Having said all that, I believe the conversation should rather revolve around what is rational, not how to prove it. People have a choice to believe in God or to believe that there is no God. The question is, which belief is more rational. Which belief has the edge of believability, of intuitive instinct? Which belief has to constantly be on the defensive in explaining its position? Which belief must engage in imagination-stretching discourses to explain how unbelievably complex organisms suddenly “appear” in the Cambrian Explosion without any gradual evolution preceding it? Which belief has to constantly reassure itself that the extraordinarily complex anatomy of the eye “evolved” independently, and in different eras, in different and disparate species, almost identically? Which belief has to make peace with the concept that Earth is exquisitely programmed, with hairsbreadth exactitude to the minutest detail, to allow for the existence of life; the slightest variation in gravitational pull or distance from the sun and countless other elements destroying all life?
    Both beliefs have tremendous emotional appeal. Belief in God gives a sense of purpose and coherence and understanding to the Universe and Life. Atheism provides license for humans to determine for themselves what their purpose is, or if they have a purpose at all, paving the path for the most liberal forms of individualism and removing any and all objective moral responsibility. For if it’s all a fluke, a tragic accident, what are objective truths anyway? Who decides what’s moral and what’s not? Why is your interpretation of morality any more superior than mine? It isn’t, if atheism is your belief of choice. So the emotional pull on both sides can definitely lead to clouding of what is more rational and intuitively acceptable, but that is where I believe the focus should shift. A good place to start is which belief is closer to our innate intuition, not to what modern scientists, tied down to an outdated 19th century concept called methodological naturalism, fantastically explain as the “miracles” (ironic?) of evolution.
    All the best.

    Like

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