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February 02, 2020

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@ You say there’s a God. I say, “Can you prove that?” You say no.
@ I say, “I don’t believe you then.”

An alternative believer might opine: "No, but you could. Just
look within. Give up the notion that truth can only be found
outside."

I see myself as a God's wonder or should I say natural wonder or phenomenon that is destined to llve for some fixed period and will die when either my organs fail to perform naturally or accidently or by accident in error by the other.

In between the extreme ends of life I find I am unable to pull myself on my own which includes repairs of body and mind and which thus requires nature's support for which I need thank nature if not God. I mean the elementary understanding of the moving World and bodies of different shapes- sizes hints at a natural support system that works always day in and day out.

We perhaps may have the imagination of One God who should have ears like us to listen to our grievance tastes etc, eyes to watch etc etc. It may be otherwise. The nature has been safely personified as God by His believers with blind faiths or not ( as some of us may have realised His depth and rreach via RSSB path in current times)

this american football?

Hi Ricky!
You said
"GERVAIS: … Atheism is only rejecting the claim that there is a god. Atheism isn’t a belief system. So this is atheism in a nutshell. You say there’s a God. I say, “Can you prove that?” You say no. I say, “I don’t believe you then."

Ricky you are a funny guy!
Who are you having that conversation with?

I say it's God!

Can you disprove me?

You said

" GERVAIS: Okay. But there are about 3,000 to choose from… Basically, you deny one less God than I do. You don’t believe in 2,999 gods. And I don’t believe in just one more."

God, many of those 3,000 do you know?

What about the other 10,000 you haven't hear about yet? How can you disprove something you don't know?

If there are 10,000 definitions of God, Ricky, you are just starting! Here, you can borrow my shovel.

You said
.." .GERVAIS: … Science is constantly proved all the time. You see, if we take something like any fiction, any holy book… and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time, that wouldn’t come back just as it was."

Are you sure? You're talking about God, then you are talking about an inspired book. You seem confused. God can live in you. Today. You don't need an old book. So that version of God, number 42, is alive and can be tested.

So you go on about your own straw man...

"Whereas if we took every science book, and every fact, and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would [produce] the same result."

Not exactly. The science we have today is more refined than before, so our understanding grows more refined with more experience and testing, just like belief. The science books of one hundred years, while containing some proven truths, are largely out of date. Like the Bible, much is still useful, much is culture bound and out of date...

And you go on...

" GERVAIS: So I don’t need faith in science. I don’t need faith to know that, probably, if I jump out of a window, every other time somebody jumps out of the window, they smash to the ground because of this thing called gravity."

Science doesn't fully understand gravity yet, Ricky. You seem to be confusing science with your own personal observations. Sorry Ricky, that isn't science. You probably missed all the stuff science doesn't know. But don't let that get in the way of your belief in an infallible science. You go with your faith, Ricky.

But if you are willing to take as truth what you experience every day, so are those who experience other things. Ricky, are you saying you don't believe what you can't see for yourself?

Science has discovered stuff it didn't know even one hundred years ago. Stuff outside of our personal experience. Stuff that just doesn't seem right... But it's right. It's called counterintuitive... Can you say that word? It means truth can be something you don't understand yet...

Are you limiting science only to stuff proven a thousand years ago? Stuff that seems obvious to you? Like white guys in Europe have superior intellect? That was disproven by science a few decades ago! Keep up, Man!

That's not science. Ricky.
Science proves most stuff indirectly. And a lot of that is counter intuitive. And a lot of that discovery is very recent.

Science says it knows less about what exists that it understands.

How about you?

Because it's outside of anyone's experience.
... But not the experience made possible by science.....

But to conduct science you have to believe, Temporarily, something that hasn't yet been proven... You have to believe your hypothesis enough to test it. Even when some other rational scientists, who don't know either, claim your hypothesis is wrong.

You can only really know by actually testing. And testing takes time and money. So you have to have faith in your hypothesis in order to conduct science. But not faith that it is true. Faith that it could be true, and is worth the effort to find out.

That's faith, Ricky, conditional on results. But you don't get any results if you don't do the experiment. And the experiment requires faith that it is worth conducting, even if those around you don't think it makes much sense.

If it made sense to all scientists we wouldn't get much testing. But we get lots of testing and it is constantly proving that what we used to think is either a little different or very different. Because now we have instruments to set things from a deeper perspective. Just like wisdom!

Here, let me introduce you to a couple of other books on the Scientific Method....

One day Science may discovery God!

I love Ricky Gervais. Especially his film, ‘The Invention of Lying’.

And he’s really kind hearted, vegetarian... he doesn’t hesitate to make his audience a bit uncomfortable at times while he gives them a much needed education on the gross abuses of animals worldwide. Then he carries on with his comedic act.

@Spence
"God can live in you. Today. You don't need an old book. So that version of God, number 42, is alive and can be tested. "
What does this mean?

And how would you go about testing a hypothesis of god? Meditate for four lifetimes? Please prove that I have one more at the least rather than promising me four!!

The difference between science and religion?

Science, in order to work, must admit and confess when it is wrong.

Religion is under no such obligation and thus it has a tendency to tyrannize those who follow it.

Science, because it is in a state of tentative unknowing, only works when it liberates itself by
testing, by experiment..... and by doing such often shows how wrong it can be.

Being wrong is why science makes progress and so much of our technology has gotten better.

In any case, Ricky did confess to agnosticism, which is at the core of being human.

I'm not fond of this word "God" and always think what god, which god, how many gods are there, am I god, is everyone god... I prefer unknowingness...

Zen masters do attack the Christian’s faith in God because in Zen the very concept of God in Christianity is a delusion preventing enlightenment.

In Zen, Satori roughly translates into individual Enlightenment, or a flash of sudden awareness. Satori is as well an intuitive experience. The feeling of Satori is that of infinite space.

Neon
You are falling into the logical error that Ricky has: If it can't be proven it doesn't exist.

So there were no subatomic particles over 100 years ago?

No electrons two hundred years ago?

No black holes seventy years ago?

There was zero proof....

Science is in motion. New evidence is coming up all the time.

Stuff we couldn't imagine actually exists. And so it goes.

Evidence is the by product of investigation. So get to it.

But evidence without investigation is often prejudice, shared myth. Even in science.

Hi Neon
I wrote
"Stuff we couldn't imagine actually exists. And so it goes."

But I'd like to amend that. Someone did imagine it, otherwise it would never have been tested and proven.

Let's got pro - active instead of reactive...

" Stuff you can't imagine, yet, exists. So open that brain to new possibilities. Imagine, and what speaks to you, hypothesize and test!"

If we aren't testing our own assumptions, yes, today, they are likely false.

And how else will you clean yourself of your own false stuff without testing?

Thanks for the response Spencer. Suppose there is a god, next step is to prove that he actually cares. That part is almost harder in my opinion.

Its a rather strange human phenomenon that questions of God, faith, atheist and so on figure so prominently in our minds – and it causes us so much distress and confusion. No other creature on this planet has this problem. Why are we not satisfied with living and experiencing this life as it is (arguably experiencing from the quite limited position that our organism allows). Even when we are quite comfortably off, with more than enough food clothing and shelter we still frantically want for something more – why?

I wonder if it is that our survival instincts have gone beyond the physical to (in us humans) the mental. Our minds contain all the information of 'who I am' – all the beliefs and opinions, all the accumulated knowledge that pose as 'me'. As well as protecting our bodies, we now feel that we have to protect the conglomeration of information that we believe is 'me'.

We bandy about our beliefs and opinions of God or no God, science v religion etc. making ourselves feel right and justified. In reality, it seems we spend a lot of energy maintaining and defending a 'me', a 'self' that may not exist – and may also be the cause of the aforesaid distress and confusion.

Hi Neon
You wrote
"Thanks for the response Spencer. Suppose there is a god, next step is to prove that he actually cares. That part is almost harder in my opinion."

Let's pretend that God is humanity's early effort to personify as a single benevolent source, all of the creation.

And that this symbolic representation has taken the various forms it has as a projection of the fears and hopes and joys of people in different cultures and times. It's common themes reflect the common functioning of the brain and society.

It is living in so far as it connects with each person's very alive unconscious.

And worship of that projection is a way to connect with our own subconscious, in some concrete way. It is a focusing element using the capacities of the brain.

Then that worship has its evidence in your own connection, re-integration.

Reuniting with God is actually integrating the pieces of your own conscious and subconscious minds.

It's a healthy practice, understood correctly.

And yields it's own evidence daily to the devout practitioner.

When Gervais says that “Atheism is only rejecting the claim that there is a god. Atheism isn’t a belief system.” is not quite correct. Beliefs are no more than ideas (concepts) that we believe to be true. They could be abstract or concrete – or perhaps what we term spiritual or material.

Thinking, the brains mental activity never has or will answer the fundamental question. The mind is simply the storage device of our brains that contains all the information we accrue in our lifetime. It does not describe reality. This data is regurgitated as and when required. There is no need to mystify this process, it is an automatic function of the brain – as mind, self, memory and thought.

If this is so then our only concern is to cultivate an awareness of this functioning, so as to be able to respond rather than unconsciously react (or act out) to the ever arising stream of thoughts. Many (if not all) of the conflicts that arise in us and the world in general, are due to the reactive and divisive beliefs we hold.

Maybe our only recourse to a more calmer, less neurotic mind is to be able to see the mind in action and to distinguish between our random belief structures and life as it presents itself to us.

For Jen! When the Chan (Zen) master Yunmen was asked what is the highest and most profound teaching of the Buddhas? He replied "An appropriate statement".

@Turan & Spence

You are missing the point about atheism.

you seem to think this
Theist: There IS a god (I believe there is anyways)
Athiest: No there ISNT a God - or at least I believe there isn't one.

This is NOT the case.

The case is this:

Theist : I believe in God (whatever brand)
Atheist: I lack that belief, but I dont DENY it. I don't believe the opposite

simple example:
I put a jar in front of you and you say, "I believe there are 50 gumballs in the jar

I say: I don't believe you.
this does not mean I am saying there are 51, or 49.
I just don't believe there are 50. There MIGHT be - but I am not sure.

that is the atheist position.
God is not DENIED.
The atheist is NOT saying "There IS NO God"
he is saying
"I don't believe there is - but there might be - who knows"
he is not saying

The atheist is therefore not making any claim at all.

for example do you believe in bigfoot?

if you say yes - then it's your job to present evidence

if I say "I don't believe in bigfoot" I am not saying there is no bigfoot
there might be - but I not making a claim (as in there is no bigfoot)
I am simply challenging your belief - you believe and I don't believe,

"Lack of belief" in a god does not mean "belief there is not God"

there two are very different


Turan, you wrote
"Beliefs are no more than ideas (concepts) that we believe to be true. They could be abstract or concrete – or perhaps what we term spiritual or material."

but you are missing the point.

The athiest has NO BELIEF (lack of belief). He is not saying "I believe there is no God.

A lack of a belief is not a belief in the opposite

For example I don't believe in the tooth fairy - but children do if mummy puts a sweet under the pillow and tells the child it was the tooth fairy.

The child believes and has evidence (the sweet and mummy words)

I lack that belief but I am not saying "There IS NO tooth fairy"
that would be a claim - I am saying I don't know

the atheist is saying "I don't know" and "I don't believe"

@ Osho

What you wrote would be correct, only if the person doesn't call himself or i called an atheist

Hi Osho
You wrote
"Theist : I believe in God (whatever brand)
" Atheist: I lack that belief, but I dont DENY it. I don't believe the opposite"

Yes, an Atheist is without belief. But an Anti-theist has a firm belief that God doesn't exist.

Ricky Gervais is an anti - theist.

But Anti-theists are often unfamiliar with that term, so they call themselves atheists.

They really do think there is no god. They have no proof, therefore, for them, God doesn't exist. God can only exist if God is proven, and since there is no proof they will accept, hence God doesn't exist.

Anti-theists believe theists, those who believe in God, are wrong. Hence they are actually Anti-theists, against belief in God. They belief it is a logical conclusion. But the logic is false. Lack of data does not mean something doesn't exist.

An Atheist is a little different. They hold no view about God. They aren't against beliefs in God. They aren't for beliefs in God. They hold no beliefs.

Anti - theists think this is wishy washy and want to coop the term Atheist , but the two things are worlds apart.

The atheist really is using logic and reason. They don't hold a belief that cannot be proven. But they aren't against any belief.

A sub atomic particle may exist or it may not. Until it's proven to exist, or proven not to exist, it's not a fact. But it isn't false either. It may exist, but as of yet, is unproven.

Atheism is worlds apart from anti - theism.

Then what's an agnostic?

Hi Anami
You asked
"Then what's an agnostic?"

The difference between Atheism (not the common misuse of the term by anti - theists) and Agnosticism is one of degree.

Am agnostic accepts that something may be there, but has no knowledge of exactly what. It isn't quite belief, but it doesn't discount belief. They are unsure of whether God exists but acknowledge they might actually believe in something.

An Atheist doesn't claim any belief either way. They don't count any belief, for or against. God may or may not exist, but without evidence they have no belief. No evidence doesn't mean God doesn't exist. It just means for the time being they hold no belief.

An Anti - theist believes firmly there is no God. They use, falsely, the lack of any admissible evidence for the entire history of humankind as a form of actual evidence that God doesn't exist.

The Believer uses the existence of life as evidence that there is a God.

Somewhere between Believer and Agnostic you have Religion, where supernatural evidence is manufactured to bolster belief. But as you can see it isn't full on belief because it relies on false information and arguments, in mirror fashion to the anti - theist. And Religion, like anti - theism, must disprove all other versions of God found in other religions. The religious believer is actually closer to the anti - theist than any of the others. In both cases they claim complete knowledge of truth on the issue of God.

The True Believer, taking the very existence of life as proof of God is most similar to the Agnostic, because, while they claim to experience God in all aspects of life, they do not claim to fully understand who or what God is, except for an intuitive and intimate experience of love with the Creator Whom they witness in everyone, and everthing.

True Believer being the mystic.

The atheist is indeed saying 'I believe there is no God'. He selects his point of view from the evidence (or lack thereof). His 'view' is what he chooses to believe.

One also cannot say 'I don't know' – as that's the belief of the agnostic.

Either way, all are belief s.

Hi Turan
You write
"The atheist is indeed saying 'I believe there is no God'. He selects his point of view from the evidence (or lack thereof). His 'view' is what he chooses to believe."

There's actually a subtle difference. Or else you can say that within Atheism is a branch called anti - theism.

The anti - theist claims "there is no evidence therefore there is no God."

This isn't actually logical. No evidence isn't actually proof.

The Atheist claims, "there is no evidence therefore I hold no belief."

But that's belief either for or against. There is no evidence for God. There is no evidence against God (only against someone's definition of God). They hold no belief. A (Latin, without) theism (belief in God).

It's easy to confuse, and most Anti - theists equate their confirmed belief in no god as Atheism. But Atheism simply doesn't have a belief.

The Anti - theist isn't being scientific.

But the Atheist is.

And the Anti - theist actually has their belief, too, but it's not based on evidence for no - god. They have no proof actually.

The Atheist also has a belief, which is that they hold no belief either for or against because the evidence doesn't exist for or against. To gain that evidence there would need to be an agreed definition and an agreed means to Operationalize the experiment.

That's scientific. Although when science disproves one hypothesis it refines that hypothesis and continues testing. But that's expensive.

One day science may prove or disprove the existence of God.

Until then the atheist holds no belief either way.

Hi Spencer and Osho.

Thanks for your comments on belief. I have put some additional stuff on the Open Thread 29 - as it deviates somewhat from Brian's blog on Ricky Gervais.

Faith in God is very little different than faith in science, the scientists need some sort of proof or what they consider proof even though it has been proven that scientific experiments that are observed in their process do not have the same outcomes,
also, scientific theories are disproven regularly and a new best guess takes its place,
faith in God, on the other hand, is totally a matter of faith, a belief in your intuition is all that is required, the problem with religion is that people do not realize that all religions are written by men with a possible divine inspiration,
so if they are wise enough to determine the difference between the dogma and the gospel leaving the superstition for the non-believers,
as for the 3000 Gods, did it ever occur to anyone that God is the greatest advertiser ever, all of the bases of religion are covered, we only have to realize that all of these Gods are one and the same,
if it was easy to prove the existence of God there would be no use for the faith which is a spiritual attribute and what all of these men have written down as their inspiration is mostly of material nature and derived from the senses that they have come up with from their "free will"
once the duality of our natures is better understood there will no longer be any confusion as to what to believe. I am also pleased to know that water boils at 100 degrees C at sea level.

@Lance

So, you’re on the metric system... lucky you. That gives you a head start to thinking rationally.

You say, “once the duality of our natures is better understood there will no longer be any confusion as to what to believe.”

You sort of make it sound inevitable. In your opinion, what is the best way for one go about understanding this “duality of nature”?

Faith is rather impatient and somewhat offended by questioning, whereas Science encourages questioning. That is one of the primary differences between the two.

The thing is, we’re born into a family and society that will largely determine what we believe. It’s strange the way we go about finding Faith/meaning/purpose. I mean, most people go to college for 4 years and then get a certain degree of specialized skill training before they enter an occupation, but how many people spend a minimum of 4 years studying a wide degree of subjects (which, for the sake of this metaphor, could be translated as different philosophies, belief systems and practices) before finding their faith?

Religions don’t really encourage such thorough searching. Not really. I mean, seriously. They might say they do but they’ll end up saying that you’re wasting your time with all these questions that can’t be answered so you just have to have faith. People who “search” often explore only a handful of philosophies before they find their faith, lose faith or become indifferent.

Even if a person spends a lifetime searching, at least they are searching for Truth. According to Scully and Mulder, the Truth is out there. I believe them. I’m definitely not indifferent.

Is it ego or fear that makes humans feel they have to be right?

I hear what you’re saying, though. Still believe there is a lot to be discovered. The biggest issue I have is with Hierarchies. Viewing Science and Spirituality and Society taking the Holonic approach seems more objective, closer to the truth.

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