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Peter Emer

The Lil Project

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Is God Real?

Its human nature to seek superiority and its human nature to seek an authoritative entity to take responsibility and control of one's life. So i often wonder if God is just that idea. The idea of a god that is all powerful and all knowing and just superior in everyday than any human being, is the very idea that makes me question the legitimacy of a God. We tend to subscribe to a divine command or an authoritative figure. The creator of the universe gets to set the rules and do anything it likes with its creations like sending them for eternal punishment.

And lastly, everyone that believes in a divine command gets the same satisfaction from believing in something that everyone else gets no matter what they believe in.

I am just interested in the TED community's input on this. I am a student of life, so i take no biases even if it sounds like it sometimes. :)

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    Feb 20 2013: please read more carefully. I was saying my position on fallibilism/agnosticism of not benig 100% sure about not being 100% sure about everything else is a belief. I've said that I do not BELIEVE in GOD. I do not know whether s/he/it exists or not. I do not BELIEVE i can be 100% sure that it does or it doesn't regardless of the amount of information given to me. Now it doesn't mean that nothing in the world could change my belief in god or nature of knowledge. I don't know that. I know my beliefs, I look out to the world and consider my beliefs in accordance with evidence, plausibility as well as my personal liking. I was referring with regards to fallibilism that not being 100% sure about its truth doesn't make me feel like a hypocrite.
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      Feb 21 2013: Your chosen religion is called Arational Atheism. It is defined as: "Believing there is no rational basis for not believing in God, but exclusively choosing to not believe anyway." Are you sure you do not belong in the Agnostic religion which is defined as: "Believing God might, or might not, exist and avoid making an exclusive choice of either possibility."?
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        Feb 21 2013: well agnosticism seems to concern itself with the nature of knowledge and conclude that you can be 100% sure about nothing. Atheism seems to concern itself with disbelief in God. I don't believe in God. I don't think you can be 100% sure that God exists or it doesn't. I choose to believe that it doesn't based on evidence as well as my reasoning/ideals. The only difference between the definition you gave and me is that I think evidence supports non-existence of God, and there is no rational basis for believing in God, but ultimately, since you can be sure of nothing, being sure that God doesn't exist for 100% is also silly. I believe it's a choice everyone makes whether rationally or not.
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          Feb 21 2013: You are correct sir that it (becoming 100% sure by a real, personal experience) is the most personal encounter anyone can ever know. So your current religion of choice is called Rational Atheism which is defined as: " The belief that there is a rational basis (sound reasons) for not believing in God". At this point I wonder if you will share those logically sound reasons?
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          Feb 25 2013: I kind of agree.

          It is impossible to test or disprove any invisible immaterial concept does not exist.

          I'm not even sure people know what they mean when they say gods are transcendent, outside time and space. Our experience is only within time and space.

          What we do know is that every time we apply the scientific method to reliably come up with a testable and repeatable explanation there are no gods or spirits necessary. This is not proof that there are no gods or goddesses, just that we find no evidence for them by the most reliable method we have developed for understanding reality.

          As for atheism being a religion, I won't bite other than its a bit like saying not playing tennis is a sport.
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        Feb 21 2013: it ultimately depends on your definition of God. If you accept scriptures like fundamentalists do...then scientific evidence is enough to show that earth isn't less than 10000 years old - or all the scientific evidence for natural selection, which has quite a few arguments to make about the way people came to be. If you believe in morality of a still personal God but not the technicalities like how life came to be, then a simple question of existence of suffering leads to only possible answer - God works in mysterious ways - which's a copout imo. Then you start questioning the so called religious people - you can look at the church and see all the immoral acts done by it, or people who claim to belong to certain religions but their actions prove otherwise. If a person sincerely believed that he'll be suffering in flames for eternity for drinking, or doing some of the myriad of things prohibited by scriptures - they probably wouldn't do it. Which makes me conclude that there are other reasons for them to say that despite their sincere beliefs - social acceptance. Obviously morality is quite subjective and in my understanding, the existence of an almighty, all knowing God, and suffering of innocent on the earth it created leads to conclusion of an immoral God. Even if there was to be some kind of excuse which religious people refer to with their "mysterious ways" - we can only make our choices based on available information. We know for a fact that there's suffering, thus if there was someone who could stop it but didn't, if that someone was to plead innocent, it better provide some evidence. That's the standard we have in courts. If you murder someone in self defense - you prove that it was self defense, or go to jail. Why we must uphold God to an easier moral standard is beyond me. It's the powerful and knowing that should take most of the responsibility - in the same way as if we wouldn't judge a baby for pressing a button on the button that lunches a numclear
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          Feb 25 2013: Maybe there are lots of invisible intangeable gods who are smart but not all knowing. Maybe some of them are stupid even relative to fallible humans.

          Suggest just as much evidence for them as almighty all knowing ones. This monotheistic construct is awfully convenient and without any compelling evidence.
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        Feb 21 2013: weapon, we can't judge people for sinning, since we're so imperfect. If it was the baby with a bomb case, we'd be judging the person who gave it to the baby, not the baby, the same way if it was God who created imperfect creatures, he has no right to judge them for not following his rues. After all, he's all-knowing, he knew that a creation of his would disobey and still decided to create a hell to punish it, thus that creature's fate was to suffer an eternity before it was even born. Quite immoral imo. Which brings us to question of determinism. I don't like determinism. The idea of all-knowing God, implies that the world is deterministic in nature. If you were to believe in existence of heaven and hell, that'd mean that some are predetermined to suffer eternal punishment, they were brought to life from nothing only to live a short existence and then suffer an eternity...if I'm one of these I'd rather neve have been born in the first place. If God creates humans, sees them sin and doesn't stop them, then he's the one responsible.
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          Feb 21 2013: In order for you to disagree with the way God does things you must believe he exists. So long as you deny his existence it is utterly illogical for you to agree or disagree with anything based upon his existence. I do not see one logical, sound reason for not believing in God in your exhaustive list of problems you have experienced in your life thus far. In order for you to know even one truth about God you would have to believe he exists. Otherwise you can only confess you know absolutely nothing because it is impossible to know anything about a non-existent entity. Seeing others do nonsensical, hypocritical acts is not evidence that God does not exist. As an Atheist you really can only say, "I know nothing, zero, zip, nada about God. I only know what some people who claim to believe in God act like."
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          Feb 25 2013: I guess just because some god constructs are nasty from a human perspective doesn't mean they are not real.

          looking around at the universe where 99.9999% of it would kill us instantly, and where most animals on earth survive by eating or killing other living things, there doesn't seem to be much evidence for an all loving all knowing god.

          The problem of evil does not disprove that creator gods exist, just that if they were human you might not respect them.

          Hi Edward, with due respect it is possible to engage in hypotheticals and study the subject of religion and gods and know a lot without believing in it.

          And some atheists have previously been theists so have the personal experience as well.

          I suggest the argument that there is no empirical evidence for any gods is pretty sound not to believe. Theists just have their subjective personal experiences that can reasonably be explained as cognitive and psychological phenomena and our ignorance in understanding the cosmos.

          Modern science has had a few hundred years in 13 billion. Reverting to gods to fill the remaining gaps seems questionable.
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        Feb 21 2013: I've said that I do not believe in knowledge. God's existence or non-existence seems to be a fact that doesn't really depend on whether we believe in it or not - which also can be doubted. Since I do not believe in knowledge then the only hing left to us are beliefs. Then, we must look into what are the reasons for believing in God. Here are the following reasons I've seen in believers: 1) social acceptance 2) it's a good story to tell yourself to feel better 3) fear to go to hell or some other utility from belief in God

        1st reason - I don't care much for
        2nd reason - I've stated my opinion on the God's morality and I don't think God is a good story to tell thus this is out of the way for me.
        3rd - there could be a reason to be afraid of going to hell and we could use Pascal's wager as an argument but here's my take on it: 1) Scientific evidence (which is the best guess we have) disproves ideas stated in holy books (existence of life, and other so called "facts") which should put a doubt into minds of believers, if that part is false...even though some say that scriptures were changed and not preserved in original form - then which part of it isn't? Who's to say that all of it isn't. Pascal's wager-like arguments are completely useless because of one simple question: which God to believe in? Sure he tried investigating various religions but thousands of arguments can be made against his logic as well as methods. It could be any of the thousands of Gods or something completely different. The God itself could be wrong. Let's take an example. Let's say some ridiculously, to us unimaginable advanced race decides for whatever their advanced purposes are, to create another creature which's also unimaginably advanced to us, but still is far beyond their power. Now they implant ideas in its head that and make their existence unknown to that creature. It assumes it's the only one, and only and the master of everything
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        Feb 21 2013: it creates a universe, stars and planets, humans, sends us scriptures (or whatever religion you choose to follow) and creates heaven and hell and etc. And then judges everybody by some arbitrary set of standards it comes up with. In this case...who's God to you? The one who created us, or the ones who created the one who created us? This kind of questions eliminate Pascal's wager-like arguments.

        After this lengthy post, I think you see my argument is quite simple: I don't see any reason to believe in God. The default for me just as everybody else is disbelief. When you choose to believe something you must have a reason. It could be something like it makes you feel good, or it interferes with your life or it's backed by evidence, thus you need to incorporate it in your belief system to function better (e.g. gravity will pull you down whether you believe in it or not, thus resisting would be futile). I do not think there's a good reason to believe in God, thus I go to my default set of disbelief. Simple
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        Feb 21 2013: meaning it's not me who has to disprove existence of God, it's the God that must give me a reason to believe in it.
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          Feb 21 2013: Your argument is indeed simple, too simple. So you say absence of proof is proof of absence? That is very unscientific, illogical, and poorly thought-out. Burden of proof is on the one making an argument. You are that one. You are arguing that God does not exist. Either fulfill the burden of proof or abandon the argument. I have no burden of proof because I am not arguing anything. I know I cannot prove to you, or anyone else, that God exists. I am holding your feet to the fire because you insist that you have logical reason to believe God does not exist. You have been asked to prove your conclusion with premises and you have not delivered. You should stop arguing that there is no God. You cannot prove a negative. You're in the wrong church. Your religion, as I told you earlier, is Arational Atheism because you have shown no rational basis for not believing in God, but you choose to not believe anyway. If you wish to be a Rational Atheist you MUST show a rational basis (sound reasons) for not believing. Drop anchor man! Drop anchor.
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          Feb 25 2013: Absence of evidence is not proof, but it indicates a weak position.

          Shall we believe in everything without evidence, Allah, reincarnation, that each planet has its own Mormon god, that there a a billion invisible gods sitting on my sofa.
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        Feb 21 2013: there are many reasons to not believe in God. They vary with the God you choose. Let's take the most popular one - Christian God - Christians have an almighty and all powerful God and a scripture. That scripture has arguments in it which are proven wrong. 6000yo earth. But that's not the point.

        The point is, you think I have to prove nonexistence of God. I disagree. Proving nonexistence is indeed trying to prove a negative which is usually impossible. I am not trying to prove nonexistence of god, rather I'm trying to give my reason for not believing in it.

        It's very simple.
        It's the same reason why I don't believe in a spaghetti monster or Santa Claus. I don't have a reason to.

        As I said earlier the default state of a person is disbelief. Once there is a reason to change it, we change it. Meaning it's not me who needs to give a reason for my disbelief in God, it's religious people or god itself that has to give me a reason to believe in it. Or I must find a reason. I don't have a reason and haven't seen or heard good enough of a reason to make me believe in god.

        I do not make a claim to knowing that god does or doesn't exist - rather my belief that it doesn't due to absence of a reason to believe otherwise.

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