The long-awaited debate thread: Atheism, Theism, Agnosticism, and Other Religions!

“My Kingdom is not of this world.”–Jesus Christ

“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?  I know you believe.”  Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You will soon persuade me to play the Christian.”  Paul replied, “I would pray to God that sooner or later not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am except for these chains.” — The Apostle Paul as recorded in Acts 26: 27-29, New American Bible

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”– Thomas Jefferson, 1787 letter to his nephew, according to the website http://atheistempire.com

“Most Atheists want freedom of religion, but also believe that religion is a sham and a detrement to individual freedom. We also hold a great deal of anger towards religion’s attempt to influence politics and science.

To a believer, a non-believer is someone who chooses to live a life without a greater purpose. We are foolish not to live by the word and rules of God and even more so to question them. They see Atheists as trying to re-interpret the laws as anti-religious and re-write our religious history and heritige.

Only in a secular society can both sides seem to cooperate and endure friendships. The more society sways towards one side or the other, whether promoting religion or being hostile towards it, our differences and strong opinions come to the forefront and our ability to get along diminishes.”–From the website http://atheistempire.com

“[3.45] When the angels said: O Marium, surely Allah gives you good news with a Word from Him (of one) whose name is the ‘. Messiah, Isa son of Marium, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near (to Allah).
[3.46] And he shall speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he shall be) one of the good ones.
[3.47] She said: My Lord! when shall there be a son (born) to I me, and man has not touched me? He said: Even so, Allah creates what He pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is.
[3.48] And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom and the Tavrat and the Injeel.
[3.49] And (make him) an apostle to the children of Israel: That I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah’s permission and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses; most surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers.
[3.50] And a verifier of that which is before me of the Taurat and that I may allow you part of that which has been forbidden t you, and I have come to you with a sign from your Lord therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah and obey me.

[3.51] Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serve Him; this is the right path.”  –The Quran, Surah 3, verses 45-51.

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Okay, dear readers!  This thread is for civilized yet hard-hitting debate.  The idea is to have fun while also to put forth our views and be *persuasive.*  Let me establish a few ground rules here:

1) No name-calling

2) No personal vilification, ad hominem attacks, or use of threatening imagery in an attempt to intimidate your fellow debaters.  This means that you may attack the effects of religion, atheism or agnosticism upon people, but never the morals, goodwill, personhood, or intellect of your opponents.  This means that I’ll allow statements such as:

“Rejection of the substitutionary atonement of Christ endangers afterlives,” BUT NOT!–

“You’ll burn in hell, you atheist scum!”

Also, you may say:

“Religious thinking endangers intellectual and rational development,” NOT–

“You moronic Christers can’t think a damn.”

3) Non-logical/non-scientific arguments by definition must be permitted, but they must be *designated* as such–and if you don’t, don’t whine when others do so!:)

4)If you quote from sources, *cite* the sources–and be mindful of copyright law. 

5) The *best* way to approach this debate is to go in arguing for your position but to read and think with the realization that WE ALL SHARE A COMMON HUMANITY.  We are all members of Homo sapiens, and it is paramount that we keep this in mind.  Believe in the good will of the people who dissent from your belief/position!

Argue hard, have fun, make jokes, and reveal yourselvespersonal journeys are welcome here!  **Talk** about why you came to believe what you do…    

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The long-awaited debate thread: Atheism, Theism, Agnosticism, and Other Religions!

  1. Doug S.

    I’d like to start by seeing where everyone stands with a little true-false survey:

    1) There exists a well-known book that was written by and/or inspired by the creator of the universe. That book contains true information about the creator of the universe.

    2) Supernatural miracles have occurred during the past four thousand years. People have witnessed these supernatural miracles and correctly interpreted them as such.

    3) The mind is a product of the brain. When the brain ceases to function, the mind ceases to exist.

    4) There is an afterlife.

    5) My beliefs about religion are similar to those of my parents.

    6) My beliefs about religion are similar to the dominant views of the culture in which I was raised.

    7) Approximately 2,000 years ago, there was a man who was born of a virgin, performed supernatural miracles, was executed by crucifixion, and returned to life three days after his crucifixion.

    8) The angel Gabriel once brought a man to Heaven on a winged horse. Gabriel also used that man to deliver revelations from the creator of the universe. These revelations are true and have been recorded accurately.

    9) People who believe they have been abducted by aliens are mistaken.

  2. All I can say is, I’m agnostic. I tend not to believe in the god of anyone’s religion, and I tend to believe that organized religion is itself harmful. I don’t like to get too wrapped up in debates about whether there is a god (or creator or whatever) or not, because I think this information cannot be known – it is an epistemic limitation. However, I do think that religion and god are not equivalent, and I’m pretty much against organized religion… although those buddhists seem to have something… I have no problem with anyone’s personal spirituality, so long as it does not result in organized religion.

  3. Doug S.

    Spirituality isn’t religion. Religions generally include a series of specific claims about reality, such as “The world was created in six days,” “Non-believers go to hell,” and “The contents of this book are not the product of human invention.”

    The issue of whether the universe has any creator at all is distinct from whether a given religious claim is true. “This universe is a simulation running on a supercomputer in another universe” is a reasonably plausible scenario that implies that there is a Creator of the Universe (see http://www.simulation-argument.com/). It is easy to imagine a Creator of the Universe that could create a universe that, from the inside, is indistinguishable from one without a creator. However, “deism”, often defined as the claim that a Creator of the Universe exists, does not seek to define any other properties of the Creator of the Universe. Specifically, it in no way implies that the universe was created by the God of Abraham, or that Jesus of Nazareth died and came back to life.

  4. Roy

    My answer to questions of a spiritual nature (read: “Is there a god/God?”) tends to be: I dont know, and in most cases, don’t care.

    I’m doing the best that I can to be a good person and to make the world a better place, so the existence or non-existence of a super-natural being doesn’t really change that.

  5. Doug S.

    So far, we’ve heard from three people who mostly agree, so there’s not much to discuss at the moment… nobody learns anything this way. Can we hear a dissenting voice? (I find I rather enjoy “debating” and sometimes I even find myself learning something.)

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