If you don't already believe in a God, what would change your mind?

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
I don't know how these types of discussions go down on here but I'll give this a try.

As an atheist, I've heard this question many times but have not been able to give a clear answer myself as it's difficult to describe what evidence would be convincing to believe in what's described as an all-powerful, all-knowing entity that supposedly created the universe. Nothing any theist has given (so far) in terms of what convinced them has come close to convincing me. I quite like the answer below as it correctly puts the burden on the alleged God to convince me of their existence.



I recently posted the above on another thread but it was a bit off-topic there. I have more to say and there seems to be a few others who want this type of discussion so I hope this thread will be allowed, at least for a while until we start going around in circles.
 

Vollrath

Well-known Member
what evidence would be convincing to believe in what's described as an all-powerful, all-knowing entity that supposedly created the universe
I don't think a deity would need to be or to have done any of those things – the Greek Apollo and the Celtic Brigid would be only two examples among many dozens of gods who weren't / didn't.

But, if there is a god, that god should know exactly what it would take to change my mind

This seems to derive from Christian notions of a god which has a pastoral interest in your welfare. But historically, much or most dealing with the divine has consisted of devotees trying to change a god's mind about something that might favour the devotees, not a god trying to change its devotees' minds about itself.

"I don't know what would change my mind, and I don't need to know. In fact, it would be arrogant for me to presume that I could even come up with an answer, because that presumes that I'm sufficiently knowledgeable that I can tell the difference between 'a vastly superior technology that is beyond my understanding' and 'the powers of a god'.

It would be the difference between powers that are innate (divine powers), and powers that have to learned (technology). So you would need to examine the capabilities of the infant beings to determine whether they were products of a technologically vastly superior civilisation or simply of some kind of divine coitus.
 
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Let me guess

Well-known Member
An end to all wars and conflicts, poverty, disease, pervy priests...that'd do it...
Also an unlimited supply of free jaffa cakes..
And rowntree randoms and those little foamy bananas and white chocolate mice....the jaffa cakes would be the deal breaker...
 

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
I don't think a deity would need to be or to have done any of those things – the Greek Apollo and the Celtic Brigid would be only two examples among many dozens of gods who weren't / didn't.



This seems to derive from Christian notions of a god which has a pastoral interest in your welfare. But historically, much dealing with the divine has consisted of devotees trying to change a god's mind about something that might favour the devotees, not a god trying to change its devotees' minds about itself.
You're right in that there have been many different types of gods defined throughout history but I was just going by the common definition that's used nowadays. I've never believed in any of them but if someone wants to offer an alternative definition then I'll consider it. However, I would prefer a specific definition and not whimsical notions or defining a god as something already known. I've heard some say things like "God is love" or "God is the universe" which I find meaningless.

That quote was written by an ex-Christian so will explain the flavour of its content.
 

finbaar

Active Member
Nobody really believes in any god, people say they dofor cultural reasons or for things like gaining power and influence.
 

Lucy Van Pelt

Well-known Member
People should be allowed to believe in a god if they want but without all the inhumane rules and rituals attached

Atheism is too final for me I personally call myself agnostic

And children should be allowed to believe in an afterlife especially if they go through a bereavement

When my cousin lost her mum when she was only three it was better to tell her she was in Heaven with the angels than say she's gone that's it
 

GaryB 1978

Distinguished Member
Well in any other line of work they’d have been sacked a long time ago…No one likes micro managers but he/she needs to explain there absences and lack of visible leadership. So to answer your question, a visible presence would be a start. Although I’ll wager a bet that will never happen? Why, well I’ve more chance of seeing a ghost in broad day light shopping in Tescos 🤣🤣
 

Let me guess

Well-known Member
Well in any other line of work they’d have been sacked a long time ago…No one likes micro managers but he/she needs to explain there absences and lack of visible leadership. So to answer your question, a visible presence would be a start. Although I’ll wager a bet that will never happen? Why, well I’ve more chance of seeing a ghost in broad day light shopping in Tescos 🤣🤣
I bet if you Google you'll find one....
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I'm not sure "proof of existence" is the point. Having faith in the existence of something (let's call it a god) is what counts for the followers of any religion.

Didn't Douglas Adams cover this in the Hitchhiker's Guide - when he claimed that the strength of a religion is dependent on that faith without proof? The minute you prove a god exists, that faith is broken, and therefore the god no longer exists (or something like that).

My mum was a life-long church-goer (Methodist), and gained a lot of comfort and friendship from that - especially after my dad died. The other members of her church were amazing with her and showed what we think of as true "christian" values - but I just think they were nice people who would've behaved the same way irrespective of their religious beliefs.

I think things happen for a reason (fate, maybe?), but I don't believe in a single omnipresent figure guiding our lives (like a global chess-set).

Edit: Did a Google search on the Douglas Adams thing:

The ‘Babel fish’ which is a small, yellow and leech-like fish. People put one of these fish in one of their ears so it can translate any form of language which is very useful. In the book, it says that this fish is ‘a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.’ It says:
God: I refuse to prove that I exist, for proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing. Man: The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, it could not have evolved by chance. It proves that you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t.
God: Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of that (promptly vanishes in a puff of logic)
 

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
People should be allowed to believe in a god if they want but without all the inhumane rules and rituals attached

Atheism is too final for me I personally call myself agnostic

And children should be allowed to believe in an afterlife especially if they go through a bereavement

When my cousin lost her mum when she was only three it was better to tell her she was in Heaven with the angels than say she's gone that's it
The problem is that belief in god and inhumane rules and rituals often go hand in hand. That's called religion although that doesn't apply to all religious people.

I don't know why you think atheism is final as it just means you are not currently convinced that a god exists. If I became convinced then I would instantly become a theist. You don't have to commit to one or the other forever. Agnosticism is related to knowledge rather than belief.

It's certainly not easy for anyone to deal with bereavement and perhaps more so for children. However, telling children fantasies about an afterlife to soften the blow is not a good idea in my opinion. It can even seriously backfire as I heard a real-life story of a young girl whose father died. She had a religious upbringing and killed herself soon after, leaving a note saying she wanted to be with her father in heaven.
 

Let me guess

Well-known Member
The problem is that belief in god and inhumane rules and rituals often go hand in hand. That's called religion although that doesn't apply to all religious people.

I don't know why you think atheism is final as it just means you are not currently convinced that a god exists. If I became convinced then I would instantly become a theist. You don't have to commit to one or the other forever. Agnosticism is related to knowledge rather than belief.

It's certainly not easy for anyone to deal with bereavement and perhaps more so for children. However, telling children fantasies about an afterlife to soften the blow is not a good idea in my opinion. It can even seriously backfire as I heard a real-life story of a young girl whose father died. She had a religious upbringing and killed herself soon after, leaving a note saying she wanted to be with her father in heaven.
That was probably because of her religious up bringing...I have no problem telling a child someone they love has gone to heaven along with there is a father Christmas.. its kinder...
 

Zombie Twin

Well-known Member
Didn't Douglas Adams cover this in the Hitchhiker's Guide - when he claimed that the strength of a religion is dependent on that faith without proof? The minute you prove a god exists, that faith is broken, and therefore the god no longer exists (or something like that).
"I refuse to prove I exist", says God. "For proof denies faith, and without faith, I'm nothing".

"But the Babel-Fish
[which translates all known languages] is a dead giveaway, isn't it?" says man. "It proves you exist, so therefore you don't. QED".

"Ah", says God, "I hadn't thought of that!", and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"That was easy," says man. And for an encore, goes on to prove that black is white and is killed on the next zebra-crossing.
 

Lucy Van Pelt

Well-known Member
The problem is that belief in god and inhumane rules and rituals often go hand in hand. That's called religion although that doesn't apply to all religious people.

I don't know why you think atheism is final as it just means you are not currently convinced that a god exists. If I became convinced then I would instantly become a theist. You don't have to commit to one or the other forever. Agnosticism is related to knowledge rather than belief.

It's certainly not easy for anyone to deal with bereavement and perhaps more so for children. However, telling children fantasies about an afterlife to soften the blow is not a good idea in my opinion. It can even seriously backfire as I heard a real-life story of a young girl whose father died. She had a religious upbringing and killed herself soon after, leaving a note saying she wanted to be with her father in heaven.

Surely that it an extreme case

How could you tell a three year old girl whose mum died suddenly and unexpectedly that she is dead never coming back gone forever?
 

Zombie Twin

Well-known Member
How could you tell a three year old girl whose mum died suddenly and unexpectedly that she is dead never coming back gone forever?
That it's a good - but harsh - lesson that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and nobody knows how long they have, so it's best that you live your life as best you can, and treat others well as you go, because they are just as uneasy about how their lives are going to turn out.

Or some such stuff.
 

Let me guess

Well-known Member
That it's a good - but harsh - lesson that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and nobody knows how long they have, so it's best that you live your life as best you can, and treat others well as you go, because they are just as uneasy about how their lives are going to turn out.

Or some such stuff.
That's horrific....
 

Lucy Van Pelt

Well-known Member
That it's a good - but harsh - lesson that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and nobody knows how long they have, so it's best that you live your life as best you can, and treat others well as you go, because they are just as uneasy about how their lives are going to turn out.

Or some such stuff.
Sorry I don't agree with that at all
 

Zombie Twin

Well-known Member
That's horrific....
No, that's realistic.

My cousin's wife died from cancer, leaving a heartbroken four-year daughter behind. Her dad is a Yorkshire realist, and that was pretty much what he told her. Ten years later, she is doing very well, and still has warm memories of her mother.
 

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