Is Atheism Rational?

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    Feb 11, 2014 2:37 AM GMT
    During the 2012 presidential campaign, the Mormon church heavily advertised in Seattle using emotional bus advertisements that showed Mormons as everyday people. In response, Seattle Atheists placed bus advertisements as shown below.

    KCM-Seattle-Atheists-4-1024x682.jpg

    So there has been questions posed about atheism especially their main tenet of insufficient evidence. In the British newspaper The Independent, the scientist Richard Dawkins was recently asked the following question: “If you died and arrived at the gates of heaven, what would you say to God to justify your lifelong atheism?” His response: “I’d quote Bertrand Russell: ‘Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!’” But lack of evidence, if indeed evidence is lacking, is no grounds for atheism. No one thinks there is good evidence for the proposition that there are an even number of stars; but also, no one thinks the right conclusion to draw is that there are an uneven number of stars. The right conclusion would instead be agnosticism.

    In the same way, the failure of the theistic arguments, if indeed they do fail, might conceivably be good grounds for agnosticism, but not for atheism. Atheism would presumably be the sort of belief you can hold rationally only if you have strong arguments or evidence.

    Do you think that atheism is correct in demanding evidence of the existence of God? Or is the fact that lacks of evidence results only lack of evidence not ground for atheism?

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/?_php=true&_type=blogs&emc=eta1&_r=0
  • MikeW

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    Feb 11, 2014 2:48 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidDo you think that atheism is correct in demanding evidence of the existence of God or is the fact that there lacks of evidence results only lack of evidence not leading to atheism?

    Is it just me or is that sentence, beyond irrational, incomprehensible?
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    Feb 11, 2014 2:50 AM GMT
    ^ Thanks MikeW. I broke the compound sentence up.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:31 AM GMT
    I don't consider myself atheist but I feel it's more rational than believing in a God, and that the Bible is its word.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:32 AM GMT
    People have said that atheism requires evidence to support God. Many atheists deny this, saying that all they need to do is point out the lack of any good evidence for theism.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:37 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidPeople have said that atheism requires evidence to support God. Many atheists deny this, saying that all they need to do is point out the lack of any good evidence for theism.


    I don't know, from where I came, some religious teachers teach us that...you may be an atheist or a believer, but you'll reach the same goal IF your thoughts, intentions, words and actions are pure.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:39 AM GMT


    Atheism is perfectly rational. I'm not getting this...

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    Feb 11, 2014 3:40 AM GMT
    Philosophers have said that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence, not the absence of another indirection such as God.
  • MikeW

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    Feb 11, 2014 3:41 AM GMT
    woodsmen said^ Thanks MikeW. I broke the compound sentence up.

    Oooohhhkkkay…. But I'm still not sure exactly what you're asking:
    Do you think that atheism is correct in demanding evidence of the existence of God? Or is the fact that lacks of evidence results only lack of evidence not ground for atheism?
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:44 AM GMT
    ^ Is the absence of evidence, evidence of absence, or one must make a further supposition that there is no God.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:47 AM GMT
    woodsmen said^ Is the absence of evidence, evidence of absence, or one must make a further supposition that there is no God.


    hmm...isn't this like arguing whether or not there are invisible aliens in the fridge?

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    Feb 11, 2014 3:48 AM GMT
    One of the main argument by atheists on RJ is that the evidence against theism, above all else, is the amount of evil in a world allegedly made by an all-good, all-powerful God.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:50 AM GMT


    I'm Christian, which is a matter of faith, as I have no proof that god exists, other than my perceptions.

    Atheists don't do this. There would have to at least be a rational theory supported by evidence of some kind in order to consider god's existence.

    lol, I hope I'm making sense.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:52 AM GMT
    It does make sense. The so-called “problem of evil” would presumably be the strongest (and maybe the only) evidence against theism. It makes sense to think that the probability of theism, given the existence of all the suffering and evil our world contains, is fairly low. But of course there are also arguments for theism. Indeed, there are at least a couple of dozen good theistic arguments. So the atheist would have to try to synthesize and balance the probabilities. This isn’t at all easy to do, but it’s pretty obvious that the result wouldn’t anywhere nearly support straight-out atheism as opposed to agnosticism.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:52 AM GMT
    Religion%2Band%2BIdiots.jpg
    Don't want to be offensive to anyone, but sometimes/most of the times it's true
    However, I would prefer 'Ignorant' rather than 'Idiots'
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:54 AM GMT
    I think the point is that many atheists weigh the presence of evil so mightily that the presence of good is fractionalized so as to point to no God versus to a possibility of a God.
  • killercliche

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    Feb 11, 2014 3:55 AM GMT
    I think the point of this thread pivots on the definition of atheism, which I guess is somewhat personal.

    Woodsman definition of the atheist is someone with a certainty of the absence of god. I would say yes this is very irrational. If one considers how little the human race really understands about the world/universe around us, it would be rather absurd for someone to decide that they know there is no god.

    This is why he is saying agnosticism is more rational.

    I think these days its a slippery slope between the two words, and people change their meanings often so I guess its a question of semantics.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:57 AM GMT
    I don’t think arguments are needed for rational belief in God. In this regard belief in God is like belief in other minds, or belief in the past. Belief in God is grounded in experience, or in the sensus divinitatis, John Calvin’s term.
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    Feb 11, 2014 3:59 AM GMT


    I'm Christian and I, well, don't agree. My faith is very strong, but it's my faith, not science or something I can prove with any scientific method.

    -intrigued
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:00 AM GMT
    ^ The point is not to proved God by science but by experiences, human experiences.
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:04 AM GMT
    Theists in harmonizing the problems that scientists pose often point to fine-tuning. Scientists tell us that there are many properties our universe displays such that if they were even slightly different from what they are in fact, life, or at least our kind of life, would not be possible. The universe seems to be fine-tuned for life. For example, if the force of the Big Bang had been different by one part in 10 to the 60th, life of our sort would not have been possible. The same goes for the ratio of the gravitational force to the force driving the expansion of the universe: If it had been even slightly different, our kind of life would not have been possible. In fact the universe seems to be fine-tuned, not just for life, but for intelligent life. This fine-tuning is vastly more likely given theism than given atheism.

    This is not my view but a presentation of the theists' view.
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:04 AM GMT
    I think that it's rational to acknowledge that there is more to existence than we can comprehend. I think existence itself is so miraculous that it's irrational to assume that there is no force or being that is its originator. Religion is an attempt by human beings to internalize this reality. Religion comes in many varieties reflecting the variety of human cultures. Since religions (including their God-concepts) are human constructs, they get some things right and some things wrong and they evolve from era to era. But the miraculousness of existence is a fact.
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:07 AM GMT
    Some atheists insist on a perfect world if there were to be a God. And suffering and sin make this world less than perfect. But then that assumption by atheists makes sense only if the best possible worlds contain no sin or suffering. And is that true? Maybe the best worlds contain free creatures some of whom sometimes do what is wrong.
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:08 AM GMT
    I don't see why atheists would have make any efforts or arguments in their defense. There is no evidence of a God. Atheists have nothing to prove.

    You may be giving people too much credit, though. I'd say many people are too stupid or lazy to put much thought into it. They just choose one or the other, then argue about it.
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    Feb 11, 2014 4:09 AM GMT
    woodsmen said^ The point is not to proved God by science but by experiences, human experiences.


    Hmm...well human experiences so far include people who have seen Christ in a piece of toast, or Mary in a stain on a gyprock wall. Some swear that they prayed to god for things and got them. Example, a set of dining room chairs. Next day when driving she saw 6 dining room chairs put out on the boulevard for free. The interviewer asked her if they were OK. She said they were uncomfortable, but that she didn't ask for comfortable chairs in her prayer.