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So I happened to come across a video which was kind of degrading theism and how it doesn’t really make sense. This video’s main argument was the archaic squabble: “If there is a God, then why is there is so much evil in the world?” So I commented on the video expressing my disagreement with that line of argument and it happened to attract a few atheists on that page to engage in a discussion with me over the concept of God. Following is a copied and pasted discussion which took place between four atheists and myself.
I usually avoid getting into debates over social media via the comments section because it is usually useless and wastes time. However, once in a while I do it as a social experiment for myself just to see what’s going on in other people’s heads.
Anyway, here is that discussion. Please note that this took place over a period of multiple days.
My first comment:
I don’t think childish arguments like “well, then why is there suffering, etc.” are going to work. God allows us to choose our actions based on free will. He allows us to choose our own paths and judges us afterwards. Is poverty caused by anything other than human greed for more? Is violence caused by anything other than human choice to do so? As for natural “problems,” (disease, poverty, mass deaths, etc.) then in the grand scheme of things, they are just a phase in life. Nothing more. They only seem huge to those to whom this world is everything and there is nothing afterwards. Not the majority of us mankind who actually believe in God. This life is temporal and the afterlife is eternal. This life was never meant to be full of justice. Pure justice and peace is only in the afterlife not this one. You can deny it all you want, but that is how it is.
How on earth can you say ‘that is how it is’? – nobody can, that’s a ridiculous statement. I’m an atheist, but I don’t claim to KNOW that there isn’t a god. Cocky.
In the same way anti-theists can say ‘that is how it is NOT’. People express things based on their beliefs and convictions. I am convinced without an ounce of doubt that that is how it is based on my experiences, understanding, and knowledge. Disagreement over someone else’s beliefs and convictions is not evidence of its falsehood.
Did you read my reply properly? Most Atheists, including myself, don’t say that is how it is not. I am not claiming to know that there is no God, as nobody can claim to know either way, thus you cannot claim that ‘that is how it is’. ‘That is what I believe’ is much more credible.
Then the term agnostic applies more specifically towards you. If semantics is your concern, then that’s fine. But for us believers, belief and reality is the same. So when we say, “we believe”, then to us it is the same as “it is”. For us, proof of God’s existence is stronger than the proof of the existence of the sun and moon.
Atheist 2 jumps in
The concept of God as a singular entity does not enter human consciousness until the time of Nefertiti who popularised the concept as answer to absolute rule of the pharaoh. That is why divinity has been tied up with kingship and the divine right to rule. A singular person with absolute power.
The concept of judgement also is derived from the Egyptians. It did not apply to ordinary citizens until later in the period. The concept of judgement was also derived from the divine right of the rulers. However the fate of the pharaoh was interconnected with the flow of the Nile. God it was believed passed judgement on his rule through allowing the rains that fed the Nile to fall. A successful harvest was the proof of divinity of the King.
The concept of God (singular) has only existed in the Abrahamic religions. This testifies that God (singular) is a localised concept derived from Egypt (but only later in the period at which time absolute Kingship caught on theologically).
In all other human societies there has always been the concept of multiple Gods.
I disagree strongly. The whole notion of Akhenaten, husband of Nefertiti, being the first monotheist has been debunked for a while now. I don’t even have to write anything on it. It’s already thoroughly refuted here:
The reality is actually the opposite. Concept of one God alone has been around since Adam and Eve. It was only later that polytheism came out when people started comparing God to His creation and likening Him to it. This is why you see concepts of jealous gods and such in polytheistic religions. This was a later creation not the original. God was, is and always will be ONE.
Atheist 3 jumps in
So free-will are we being provided by the God, that if we do something wrong in this life, we are going to hell. Yet, we have the option to do whatever we want. Seems theres something wrong there..
We do have the option to do what we want but there are consequences for it later. In this life, God allows things to happen and take place. He allows us to choose but holds us accountable when we disobey or do things wrong. This life is meant to be a test for us. Think of it like this: You are taking an exam at a university and you have the free choice to mark any answer you wish but the consequences for it will be later during the grading process. We as Muslims believe the grading process is in the afterlife.
“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.” [Qur’an 67:2]
Also, just because you did something wrong doesn’t mean you’re going to Hell. It’s all up to God. He is the best of judges and knows who deserves His Mercy and who deserves His wrath. It’s not up to us. As a Muslim, I don’t know if I’m going to paradise or not. It’s not up to me. It’s up to God. This is why we have stories in our texts of even sinful people entering paradise at times and seemingly righteous people entering hell. It’s because God knows those who deserve it and those who do not. There is always some reason behind it which we may or may not understand. We do the best we can in order to earn His pleasure by obeying His laws and keep hope for His mercy. That’s what He wants. He wants us to try our best to find and follow the truth to the best of our ability. Think of it like this: You work at a company and hope to get a promotion from your CEO. You do your best but at the end of the day, you really don’t know if you’re going to get that promotion or not. But this doesn’t stop you from trying to impress the CEO. Just imagine that CEO to be absolute just, fair, non-partisan, no weaknesses, and full of absolute wisdom.
Atheist 4 jumps in
“that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Evidence based on whose standard? The atheist standard or the theist standard, which is the bulk of mankind since its dawn. For most of us mankind, the intricacies in the creation suffice. We refuse to believe it’s literally all an accident. It doesn’t make any sense. Why are we the only species with language, grammar, civilization? Why is the universe following very specific laws in a very particular way and why those laws and not something else? Where does life originate from? How did it all begin? There was nothing and then something came from nothing? Something doesn’t come from nothing. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Secondly, that argument can be used against atheism as well. Because the opposite is also true. What is the evidence that God doesn’t exist? Just because you can’t see Him? Has that really been a standard for accuracy in history that just because you can’t see something, it doesn’t exist? It certainly has not whoever has studied the history of science. This is why even modern top atheist scientists like Stephen Hawking has said that there is no way to disprove or prove God. And of course scientists much more intelligent than him in the past have argued FOR God like Isaac Newton. The only people who can confirm or deny are the dead. And there is no way to bring them back.
Your arguments so far have been full of blank assertions without anything to back them up. Why is the wrong and stupid question. How, is the question that matters and is the subject of scientific inquiry.
And yes, if an atheist claims there is no god i would ask for evidence of his claim same as i ask evidence for god’s existence. Can you prove that Zeus does not exists? No, you cant! Is it probable or realistic that he does exists? No, its not. Atheists only go another god further, YOURS!
‘Why’ being the wrong and stupid question is a cop out argument for most Atheists because they can’t answer it. I’m sorry but I don’t buy that and neither does most of humanity. People don’t behave based on how but on why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you care for your children? Why do you go to work? No one cares ‘how’ you get up in the morning or how do you go to work. That’s not what drives human beings. So just because an atheist tells me that it doesn’t matter, I could care less because it does matter to most of us humanity.
Existence of Zeus honestly makes more sense than ‘there is nothing and we all exist here out of a complete and random phenomenon.’ To keep pushing this idea is what is truly a blank assertion.
Lastly, most of us humanity feel that it is the atheist who has nothing to back them up. So when you make such statements, you’re basing it on your own criteria of proof not most of humanity.
“Lastly, most of us humanity feel that it is the atheist who has nothing to back them up. So when you make such statements, you’re basing it on your own criteria of proof not most of humanity.”
What do atheists need to back them up? What claims are we asserting? Theists make a God claim, atheist reject it for the lack of evidence submitted.. No claim on my part here..
“Why are we here/what is our purpose in life” questions are in the philosophy department, not in a scientific one. I personally dont give a fuck “why” are we here and my purpose in life is anything i want it to be. I am free in every aspect imaginable. Driven by logic, powered and fueled by reason!
Modern science does not put God into equation as it is in the realm of paranormal and science doesn’t do paranormal. As it doesn’t do werewolves, vampires, ghosts, magic, etc.
“Most humanity”, what about it?
“Most humanity” believed that thunder and lightning is a work of gods, now we know better… Another argument that falls flat on its face..
As with most theists i think you have a beef with science as it gives natural answers that were usually reserved for gods. Well, tough luck buddy. Scientific method works. It gave us many good things and it seems like it will continue to give us more. From the caves and mud huts to skyscrapers and planes. Pretty cool.
Science does not have all answers, nor it will ever have! One problem solved 10 more appear on the horizon. NOR it makes that claim! Religion holds the claim on all answers answered (Muh, GAWD)!
Ask scientist: This is the best possible answer i can give you with all the data that we have at this time!
Ask a religion: Well, GAWD, what else..
If that bothers you i suggest you start writing papers and do research on just how science is flawed or wrong. If you pass peer review and topple that nasty “theory’s” there is a Nobel prize at the end of the line and global fame waiting for you. Until you do, you are just one more angry, desperate theist holding on to his preferred bronze age mythology!
Look, there is no need to get angry and emotional and resort to middle school level profanity. Just relax. There is no need to sound so defensive.
You said earlier that you can’t prove that there is or is not a God. But atheists do make a claim, which is that there is NO God. What you claimed earlier is agnosticism. So you need to pick a side and be consistent. Are you an agnostic or an atheist? You can’t be both. So i’m arguing that atheists do make a pseudo-factual claim (there is no God) without backing it up.
Just because you don’t care why we are here, it does not mean most of us humanity feels the same way. Because we do care and wonder and question. We do believe that we have a purpose. As Muslims, we believe this purpose is to abide by God’s laws as He instructed through His prophets and be judged in the afterlife as people of paradise or hell. You want to think otherwise? Fine, do so but we certainly won’t.
Freedom is also relative not defined by what one particular group thinks. I feel completely free. In fact, I feel more free, happy and at peace now than I did when I was not practicing religion. Because to many of us religion is freedom and constantly being enslaved to one’s desires and living a life just meaninglessly chasing and satisfying those desires is a suffocating dungeon.
I’m sorry but most of us mankind think that believing we’re just all an accident and came from nothing is neither logical nor fueled by reason. It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s actually insanity.
“Modern science does not put God into equation as it is in the realm of paranormal and science doesn’t do paranormal.” Finally, something we agree on! Then why do atheists demand scientific proofs for God? God is infinite and cannot be measured by science, which is only designed to measure finite things. Science also doesn’t do emotions. How do you measure hope scientifically in a lab? You cannot but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Most of humanity believed, and rightly so, that thunder and lightning is a creation of God just as we are. God created the universe with certain laws in place. Those laws cause lightning and thunder. There is nothing wrong with this mindset. But to say all this is random and just came out of nothing is very strange.
I don’t have a beef with science. In fact, I love science. I love reading, watching documentaries, and articles about science. I consider myself a science enthusiast. In fact, one of my favorite science lecturers is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an atheist! If I had him as a science teacher in school, I would’ve done a lot better in school in science rather than be bored out of my mind. I just believe spirituality and religion are outside the realm of science. This is why even when Dr. Tyson speaks negatively about religion, I tend to disagree because he’s not a specialist in religion or spirituality. In fact, his arguments tend to be pretty childish in criticism of religion. But his science knowledge is solid. Also, I’ve never found religion and science contradictory. For example, those skyscrapers and planes came from the material of the earth which God gave in the first place. Every advancement we make cannot escape the origin of it all, and that is God. If I give you a set of basic materials and you make something extraordinary out of it, that does not negate the fact that I gave you that material in the first place. Hence, no contradiction.
“Religion holds the claim on all answers answered (Muh, GAWD)!” I cannot speak for other religions but as Muslims, when we come across something we don’t know nor understand, we say, “God Knows Best.” Meaning we don’t know and only He Knows because He is infinite in His knowledge and He is the origin of all creation. Yes, we may find out one day but it’s not today. What is wrong with this thinking? Why is this a problem? Everything is happening with the Will and Permission of God because He is in complete control of the universe. He has granted man knowledge, understanding, and intelligence among many other things. He encourages us to use it for the betterment of ourselves and society and to be grateful in return to Him.
I don’t need to write any new research. There is already plenty available. Here are a few suggestions. I strongly advise you to read them:
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
Against Method by Paul Feyerabend
The above two caused much controversy in the scientific community because they hit the nail in the head in criticizing some aspects and misconceptions about how science works.
There is also:
I Don’t Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges
In the above work he argues how science has become a religion and criticizes the New Atheist movement which is not intellectual AT ALL. In fact, it is no better than the extreme right wing Christian groups.
Finally, I have a three comment policy for online discussions. After that, I get back to my life and could care less to respond because I have a life (just as you do). I don’t favor the notion of debating for weeks on end in the public comments section in order to try and convince people to my way of thinking. I have bigger fish to fry in my life. However, if you would like to continue to discuss this in a respectful way with an open mind and try and learn from each other, then send me a private message, otherwise, I wish you the best 🙂
You clearly don’t know what Atheism is so i wont waste any more time on you.