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San Diego Atheist Group Looks To Spread Non-Belief

Evening Edition

Above: The number of people in the United States who identify themselves as atheists has been rising steadily, according to a recent Pew study. And a growing group of atheists in San Diego is mirroring that trend. A few thousand people are part of the San Diego Coalition of Reason, which supports the local atheist community and works to teach others about their non-beliefs. KPBS reporter Claire Trageser has more.

Aired 11/22/13 on KPBS News.

The number of people in the United States who identify themselves as atheists has been rising steadily, according to a recent Pew study. And San Diego is mirroring that trend.

Stroll through Balboa Park on a Saturday afternoon and you'll get a pretty good religious education as you pass everything from Hare Krishnas to evangelical Christians. But then you'll see another kind of group.

They've set up a booth with an awning that says, "Relax, Hell Does Not Exist." When you approach, Tommy J gives you his pitch.

"These are what we call theistic pretzels," J says, holding up a small hard pretzel. "And a theistic pretzel, as we can see, is made with actual twisted logic. But some people have a little more hunger in their souls, they're looking for maybe a little more than that, so we will save them with the power of Cheez-Its."

This pretzel-preaching gathering is put on every weekend by the atheist group San Diego Coalition of Reason.

Tommy J holds up a "theistic pretzel," which he says is "made with actual twisted logic."

"We like to have a gathering place for our members, people that want to chat, get to know each other, they can come do that on any Saturday," said Debbie Allen, one of the organizers. "But also we like to let the community know that there are groups that they may want to participate in."

The number of people in the United States who identify themselves as atheists has been rising steadily, according to a recent Pew study that found 2.4 percent of Americans now identify as atheist, up from 1.6 percent in 2007. And San Diego is mirroring that trend. A few thousand people are active in a variety of local atheist or humanist groups that fall under the umbrella group the San Diego Coalition of Reason. These organizations support the local atheist community and work to teach others about their non-beliefs.

Atheists are defined by the absence of belief, so an outreach booth for atheists might seem like a strange idea. If they don't believe anything, what can they be preaching? But organizers say they like to challenge religious people to question their beliefs.

San Diego Coalition of Reason members argue about the existence of God with a visitor at their Balboa Park booth.

On a recent Saturday, a man walked up to the atheist booth and an argument quickly ensued.

"If there was no God, would there be atheists?" the man asked.

"Well, that's kind of a trick question," responded one of the Coalition of Reason members. "If there's no God..."

"Then people won't believe in God," the man interjected. "You exist because of God, and that's an oxymoron."

"That doesn't make any sense," another Coalition of Reason member said. "If there's no God, then you still have people believing, or having logical beliefs. The fact that there is no God or is a God doesn't really have any effect on their beliefs."

They continued on this way for several minutes. You get the idea.

The booth isn't the only outreach the atheists are doing. They recently had their first Sunday Assembly, which was actually held on a Saturday. The atheist church service had singing, games and a scientific lecture from UC San Diego dark matter researcher Kim Greist.

"We don't have to guess whether a Big Bang happened, we can take a picture of it, which has been done," Greist told the group, pointing to a projector slide showing a telescopic image of radiation.

Then, the assembly celebrated astronomer and atheist Carl Sagan's birthday with a student reading from 11-year-old Zoe Ada Fox Kuhlken.

"But enough about sixth grade. I'd love to share some good words from Carl Sagan," Kuhlken read from a paper. "He wrote, 'from this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us.'"

People dance and sing in the Balboa Park Club during Sunday Assembly, an atheist church service that was actually held on a Saturday.

Another Coalition of Reason organizer, Jim Eliason, says building an atheist community is important.

"There are a lot of people at the booth who have been estranged from their families or who can't tell their families, or who have lost a job because of it, or who are afraid to lose a job because people might find out," he said. "And it's one of the reasons that people are so relieved to find out that we're out there, that we exist, that they can come and join us in social activities."

The group is also fairly evangelical about its non-belief.

"We're constantly fighting to get religion out of our schools, constantly fighting to get the teaching of creationism out of our schools," Eliason said. "So if we can de-convert people away from these religious ideas that keep them stuck in this dogma that forces them to believe these things, that's a moment of pure joy for us."

Whether it's goofing around at their booth, singing, or having deep talks, it seems these atheists are often finding moments of joy.

Even without the de-conversions.

Comments

Avatar for user 'garedawg'

garedawg | November 22, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

I used to be an atheist, but I suppose I was more devout than these people in the story, since I did not care enough about others to let them in on the secret. Perhaps if their atheist faith becomes deeper, they won't have the need to set up booths in Balboa Park.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 22, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, I'll ALWAYS take a guy with colored suspenders and a hat with a propellar verrry seriously.

Good one Gaurd Dog.

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Avatar for user 'SDforward'

SDforward | November 22, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Reason and the potential goodness of human nature is enough to bring people together in a positive community (which the humanist Sunday Assembly seeks to create). No need to to imagine a fantastical being and follow religious mandates to bring out the good in people and create a purposeful life. Looking forward to the Sunday Assembly taking off!

While religion is not inherently bad, not believing in God or religion does not mean someone cannot have a moral compass. Religion does not have a monopoly over goodness.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 22, 2013 at 9:32 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

SDBACKWARD, oh I absolutely believe what you say in your second paragraph. Contemporary Religion or religious worship is more about "right-thinking" (which is perfectly fine by the way) than "right-action," as Fromm would put it. Although Religion and ethics/morality do overlap at some point.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 22, 2013 at 10:09 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Religious beliefs or lack thereof are a personal matter.

To me, anyone who has to "recruit" is showing me that they have motives beyond simply personal belief and fulfillment.

Just let people make up their own minds.

I don't like it when Christians travel to non-Christian areas and make helping poor people contingent upon joining their cult, I don't like going to a public event and having creepy anti-abortion whackjobs shoving a doll with ketchup on it in my face, and I don't like going for a nice walk in Balboa Park just to have it interrupted by desperate Atheists who, for whatever reason, feel a need to recruit.

Religion or lack thereof is a personal matter.

We will seek out what we want.

Keep it OUT of government, OFF our bodies, and OFF our streets and our public spaces.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | November 22, 2013 at 10:27 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Science is the only "religion" with tangible evidence. It is self-correcting, and typically verifiable by anyone so inclined.

But, science is also constantly learning from itself. So to claim ultimate knowledge as an atheist is contradictory to the process of discovery that defines scientific progress.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | November 22, 2013 at 11:15 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

I do find it amusing to spread the belief in nothing.

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Avatar for user 'Bob_Hudson'

Bob_Hudson | November 22, 2013 at 11:36 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

The irony, of course, is that Aethism has become a religion with missionaries on the street, organized Sunday services and even a scism between these new evangelic aethists and the traditional aethists who don't feel the need to recruit new non-believers or enagage in formal activities with fellow non-belivers.

Out of this will probably come many shades of aethism and new non-believers will struggle to comprehend which brand of non-belief best fulfills their needs, or lack thereof. "Are you," they will be asked, "a science-based aethist, a reformed aethist, a congregational aethist, an O'Hair traditionalist, or what?"

And, the race will be on to see who can build the first mega Sunday Assembly, led by a charismatic husband and wife team whose non-belief will be positively contagious.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | November 22, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

gareDawg, I have always wondered the same thing about evangelical Atheists. If they really are certain there is no God, then why should they care to evangelize their beliefs? It seems the only logical end to a true atheistic worldview is to act completely in one's own self interest, with no concern for a greater good or helping others see there version of "truth".
Anon11, "But, science is also constantly learning from itself. So to claim ultimate knowledge as an atheist is contradictory to the process of discovery that defines scientific progress." - good point here. I've always thought that all Atheists are actually agnostics, whether or not they want to admit it, because they can never be 100% certain that there is no God, yet they will talk as though it is in indisputable fact in the face of science. They can't even be 100% certain that we are not all just brains in a jar controlled by a mad scientist, or that the world wasn't created 5 minutes ago with all memories implanted and everything artificially aged. Science is awesome, but it is simply not equipped to handle every question in life from the metaphysical to the philosophical.
SDforward, the funny thing about goodness is the question, goodness as measured against what absolute moral standard, and where does that absolute standard come from? Some say there is no absolute moral standard, or that actions in themselves are neither inherently right nor wrong, they are simply actions. But if you have never raped or murdered someone, I would ask why not? What if it wasn't illegal? Is it only wrong because our society says it's wrong, or is it absolutely wrong in any society, and where does that recognition that we "ought not" do something wrong come from?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 22, 2013 at 12:14 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Quackster, I don't know what abortion has to do with this particular article other than your usual generalties, but you're right about the rest. If the JW's come to my house and I am not busy at the time, I am civil, but at the same time, I am very matter-of-fact. I don't go to their Kingdom Halls trying to preach my particular deism to them. I wonder if they'd welcome me if I did?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | November 22, 2013 at 12:29 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

This is just backlash for the constant religious propaganda that is shoved in our faces on a daily basis. It is everywhere, from money to buildings to government to TV.

While I disagree with all proselytizing, in this instance, I understand the need to push back a little. Although I just wish they'd do it without a propeller hat. Seriously.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | November 22, 2013 at 1:19 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

sdreefer - "I do find it amusing to spread the belief in nothing."

Their belief is that we exist in a godless universe.

bobhudson - "The irony, of course, is that Aethism has become a religion with missionaries on the street, organized Sunday services and even a scism between these new evangelic aethists and the traditional aethists who don't feel the need to recruit new non-believers or enagage in formal activities with fellow non-belivers."

I don't think it's unfair to say that this country has extremely faithful types who have tried to incorporate religious teachings and/or symbolism into the general public. This religious "standard" means that people must engage their community on a personal level in order to inject their beliefs. A lot of this is the fault of religious ideology; straying into other beliefs is not encouraged.

Not to mention, it has been customary for religions to overlap their new beliefs with the ones they intend to replace.

"When church officials settled on December 25 at the end of the third century, they likely wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals honoring Saturn (the Roman god of agriculture) and Mithra (the Persian god of light). That way, it became easier to convince Rome’s pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion" (http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-is-christmas-celebrated-on-december-25)

Let me ask you this. If you were trying to spread a religion in an atheistic world, how would you do it?

"Out of this will probably come many shades of aethism and new non-believers will struggle to comprehend which brand of non-belief best fulfills their needs, or lack thereof. "Are you," they will be asked, "a science-based aethist, a reformed aethist, a congregational aethist, an O'Hair traditionalist, or what?" And, the race will be on to see who can build the first mega Sunday Assembly, led by a charismatic husband and wife team whose non-belief will be positively contagious.""

Pure speculation. Not sure why this bears mentioning.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | November 22, 2013 at 1:19 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

alexg - "gareDawg, I have always wondered the same thing about evangelical Atheists. If they really are certain there is no God, then why should they care to evangelize their beliefs? It seems the only logical end to a true atheistic worldview is to act completely in one's own self interest, with no concern for a greater good or helping others see there version of "truth". "

They are promoting science-based thinking, and the abandonment of faith as a tool of rationalization. Moving away from a mystical foundation as an approach to life could have seriously positive impacts.

The "only" logical conclusion is in fact, not the only one. To assert that no atheist has ever acted altruistically is blatantly prejudicial. Atheists and science have already given the world penicillin, antibiotics, vaccines, and that's just scratching the surface.

Are the people that helped invent and introduce those medicines acting purely in their own self-interest? I can't see how.

The Christian god is not the only path to good. If people actually read the bible, they'd realize how much heinous stuff went down, and how much insanity their is in Old Testament law. The logic of "God is good, therefore no god is no good" is completely flawed. It's the classic either-or fallacy.

"good point here. I've always thought that all Atheists are actually agnostics, whether or not they want to admit it, because they can never be 100% certain that there is no God, yet they will talk as though it is in indisputable fact in the face of science. They can't even be 100% certain that we are not all just brains in a jar controlled by a mad scientist, or that the world wasn't created 5 minutes ago with all memories implanted and everything artificially aged. Science is awesome, but it is simply not equipped to handle every question in life from the metaphysical to the philosophical."

That, to me, is the beauty of science, and why it should be the driving force for humanity; It is constantly evolving and learning from itself and others.

A consequence of this is that we must accept what we best know as truth, even if it is fleeting. Although science can't explain the totality of potential knowledge, it is still able to replicate its results when it is conducted properly.

Despite the shortcoming, it is still far and away the most provable, tangible, universal truth....

...and nobody can prove otherwise.

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Avatar for user 'LBrixey'

LBrixey | November 22, 2013 at 2:25 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Statistics show that 20% of Americans are religiously unaffiliated - and those numbers are rising. In fact, amongst young people the percentage is fully one third. At the same time, people still have a need for community. A place to congregate. People who care when you are sick, have a death in the family - or get a promotion, get married and/or have a child. This aspect of community used to be addressed by religious institutions; sounds like this group is filling a need.

~LaVoix Brixey

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 22, 2013 at 2:39 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

CA OFFENDER, I fail to understand how religion is "shoved" in our faces as you describe. Maybe in YOUR FACE out there in the boonies (lol) where the neckkks live even as you pretend to "defend" CA from all "enemies" real and imagined, including according to your little aggressive post, religion. No one ever bothers me personally.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 22, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Why do these idiots care about spreading atheism around? It is completely illogical.

"Hey everyone!! Look how much I don't believe in something!!"

If atheists truly, absolutely believed there was no God, no higher power, why would they feel the need to free others from the burden of religion? What compels them to do this good deed?

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Avatar for user 'Alan'

Alan | November 22, 2013 at 5:11 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

The reporter Claire Tregesser does not understand where we atheists are coming from. She ignoantly kept repeating that atheists "believe in nothing". Believing that science is adequate to explain things and that religious "explanation" is prescientific ignorance is not to believe nothing. Believing that rational thinking people can have strong moral standards without stilted and for the most part incoherent "commandments". is also not "nothing". What she dismisses as "evangelizing" is an attempt to counter the bigotry and backward thinking that religious dogma perpetuates. We believe that a world with less or maybe even no religion would be a better place.

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Avatar for user 'Alan'

Alan | November 22, 2013 at 5:15 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

So far as atheists really having to be agnostics hides tha plan fact that one can recognize religious strictures are incohernt and even contradictry. Analysing religous doctrince showthemt to be an intellectual mess.

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Avatar for user 'LBrixey'

LBrixey | November 23, 2013 at 8:06 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

A few more thoughts, given in a kind and helpful light:

Why the need to bash on the beliefs of others: there is no heaven; there is no hell, theistic pretzels vs the power of cheezits, etc. Why not just say Relax; enjoy life. And then role model the enjoyment of life.

By the way, Carl Sagan was not an atheist. In the good words of Carl Sagan: “An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.” Another quote: ""Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual."

I am reminded of the song "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." It's the only thing there is just too little of. Imho, the need for analytical reasoning in one's life needs to be balanced by spirituality, a feeling of awe for the immensity of the universe -- and treating others with empathy.

Kind regards to all,
~LB

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 23, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Alan, SO why hasn't Ms. Trageser not replied?

L. Bixby, excellent quote from Carl Sagan. That is why I criticize them for their certainty which is little or no different from the most absolutist believer. Even A. C. Clarke said one time, "it would be scary if we were alone in the universe, and equally scary if we were not."

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Avatar for user 'tintinwalker'

tintinwalker | November 23, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Buddhist don't believe in god, either, but they are considered religious and not atheists. We say we are a non-theistic religion.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | November 23, 2013 at 6:22 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Believe in me. I am your only God. Muckapoo has spoken.

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Avatar for user 'TheAholeAtheist'

TheAholeAtheist | November 24, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

This is the guy in the Propeller Hat and Rainbow Suspenders. My name is Tommy J & I am down in the park most weekends helping people cure themselves from the Faith Virus. Some friends told me I was on this clip so I thought I would check it out.

Point NUMBER ONE; I am NOT a member of the San Diego Coalition of Reason as the article states. It is true I hang out by the outreach tent each weekend, but I do so because I like the way many of the loose gathering of people think. I don't speak for the SDCOR. My views are my own, and my speech is my own

I am an atheist. I am irreverent, I am a wise-guy/clown raised in NYC (hence my theistic pretzel and Cheez-Its jokes). I am not an atheist evangelist but I do proselytize for the cause of critical thinking and if you take me seriously (as one commenter seemed loath to do), you do so at your own risk.

Not to beat a dead horse (although I am sure it would be more fruitful than a few conversations I have had with some theists) but, as an atheist, it is not that I don't believe in anything. It is simply that I reserve my belief(s) for things which warrant my belief based on at least some empirical evidence. What I find absurd is faith. I view faith as a virus and I believe, and claim, that faith needs to be abolished from our thinking.

Faith is a failed epistemology as a pathway to knowledge or truth and I am down in Balboa Park almost every weekend ready to take on any and all comers on this subject, rainbow suspenders and all. I do not get into discussions on religion with the devout nor the amature congregant. My only reason for being there is to have fun, watch the beautiful women walk by, and have the occasional theosophical discussion on the topic of faith and what it means in our lives and to our society.

My atheism is a religion to me as "OFF" is a TV channel to someone wanting to be entertained by the boob tube after a hard day of work. I'm not one of those so called "angry atheists" with an ax to grind just so I can plant it in some theistic skull. I'm an American who is very concerned with why most people from other more educated countries than America have the attitude "Stupid Americans."

Faith, unchecked and left to fester, will be our downfall.

Or do you think I'm wrong? Want to challenge me to a battle of wits?

Want to simply understand why I make such claims??

Want a pretzel???

You know where to find me. Look up the event on MeetUp. Come to the park and look for me on the Prado, I don't exactly blend into a crowd.

Just so you know, unlike almost every theist I have spoken with, I enter into every discussion totally willing to modify, or even change, my beliefs and worldview. Do You?

Have a GROOVY Day
tommyj -AKA- TheAholeAtheist

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | November 25, 2013 at 8:34 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

If you believe that religion is the "opiate of the masses" then to help the people of the world you would try to convince them of the error in their way of thinking.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | November 26, 2013 at 7:41 a.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Even if you've taken the leap of faith, isn't it hard to worship Gods who won't intervene to help humanity in times like this? Do Vishnu, Jesus, Elohim, Buddha and Mohammed fight each other like their followers here on Earth? Most of the problems with religion and atheism stem from man's inability to simply believe or not believe and leave it at that. As a longshoreman once told me, "empty drums make the loudest noises."

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | November 26, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Alan, thanks for your comments. I'm not sure where I say repeatedly that atheists "believe in nothing," and that certainly wasn't the point of this story. In this story, I've showed the variety of activities of the San Diego Coalition of Reason and its members, including their celebration of science, community and reason. Those do not seem like a belief in nothing.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | November 26, 2013 at 12:27 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Tommy J, I apologize for incorrectly describing you as a "member" of the group. Since you attend so many Coalition of Reason events, I thought that would constitute "membership." I've updated the post to reflect the change.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | November 26, 2013 at 12:31 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

TheAholeAtheist, thank you for coming on here to chat! I commend you in your willingness to be out in the open and ready to face people who may disagree with you.
So, if I understand you correctly, you really have a problem with faith in general, not necessarily a particular god or religious view. You argue that faith is a failed epistemology, that is, a failed theory of knowledge. Or to put it another way, when we ask ourselves, "how do we know that what we know is true", the answer, "by faith" is inadequate because it doesn't answer the question at all. Please correct me if I am misrepresenting your views. I would classify you as an evidentialist since you write, "I reserve my belief(s) for things which warrant my belief based on at least some empirical evidence." As an evidentialist, you would form your belief system around that for which there is the most, or best, evidence. You might argue that gravity is real, even though you don't see the field, because of the evidence physics has provided, the mathematics describing gravity, and the repeatability of experiments demonstrating gravity. Gravity can be tested, and therefore, the scientific method is adequate to help us gain knowledge about gravity.
How do you personally deal with questions that evidentialism fails to address? I assume like most people, you choose the answer that seems most reasonable based on other knowledge you have. You cannot prove that we are not "brains in a vat", nor can you prove that we are, but it is most reasonable to operate as though the reality we perceive with our perceived senses is what it actually seems to be. If you did not operate in such a fashion, you could not claim any knowledge about anything, and you may even end up trying to kill yourself to see if you can escape this twisted nightmare in which you don't even know if you exist, as some have sadly done in their madness.
Could you be convinced that it is most reasonable to believe that there is a God? Or, to use a word that you dislike, is it possible for you to be convinced that it takes more "faith" to be an atheist than it does to be a theist?

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | November 26, 2013 at 12:32 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

This post will get too long, but you no doubt are aware of some of the theistic arguments made by scholars such as the philosopher William Lane Craig. How do you answer his Kalam cosmological argument, that given the universe began to exist, the best explanation for the cause is an eternal being who exists by the necessity of his own nature, namely, God? We don't have evidence of anything coming into existence uncaused out of nothing. And no, quantum vacuum fluctuations are not examples of this since they pop in and out in an already existent dimensional framework and
"The quantum vacuum (or vacuua, as there can exist many) states . . . are defined simply as local, or global, energy minima (V'(O)= O, V"(O)>O)" ([1986], p. 440). The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause."
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-caused-beginning-of-the-universe-a-response-to-quentin-smith#ixzz2lmibqLQP

When I refer to "nothing", I mean in the philosophical sense - nothing at all, not empty "space" (since that is a dimensional framework) or a vacuum - I mean incomprehensible nothingness. If the universe did begin uncaused out of nothing, then what is so discriminatory about nothingness, which has no properties by definition, that it only produces universes? Why not unicorns? Why doesn't this happen all the time?

This post is getting too long, but have you considered Pascal's Wager? You are taking a gamble in some sense either way. And choosing not to choose is still choosing... but that choice leaves you in the riskiest section of the decision matrix, my friend.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 27, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. ― 8 months, 1 week ago

Me - "Where did everything come from?"

Atheist - "Well we are still figuring that out, BUT IT SURE DIDN'T COME FROM GOD!!"

Silly atheists.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | December 1, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. ― 8 months ago

As a man of faith I welcome people of little or no faith. All that matters is living a good life. I'm sure most of them feel the same way. It's the zealots that ruin everything.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 2, 2013 at 9:16 a.m. ― 8 months ago

RegularChristian - all that matters is living a good life? What bible verse is that from?

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Avatar for user 'MichaelDRichard'

MichaelDRichard | January 29, 2014 at 10:11 a.m. ― 6 months ago

In response to "CaliforniaDefender" :
You understand the need for "push-back off the wall". Thank you.

In response to Claire's interview question:
People would believe in deities
even without a actual one among us. Only reinforcement
to sustain empty hearsay is what 'beLIEvers' want to hear about.
No one likes being wrong; or even worse being told that their
loving parents unintentionally deceived them through brainwashing.
That's why this planet needs atheists to verify the so-called evidence.
I'm a atheist who used to be a Christian and I would gladly go back
to the Christian nonsense if there was evidence that this
"huge benevolent God"
exists. It doesn't help that Christians are often begging God in
prayer, insisting that God is not good enough even as a baptized human
and then go as far as to call God a small "burden" because they believe in lies that they think God told them. [Matthew 11:30]
[Mark 10:18] [2 Thessalonians 2:11].

In response to "garedawg" :
You don't understand the damage that is being done to San Diego
as a result of cult booths being there. Atheism is: not a cult,
not hedonism and especially not Satanism.
We are the last defense against occult nonsense.

In response to Peking_Duck_SD,"Bob_Hudson","Alex_Grebenshchikov","Anon11":
We feel the same way you do. They don't need recruits like you do.
The problem is that other people don't "make up their own minds".
They are influenced by your environment and commercials.
If Atheists are not a part of that environment, then weak minded people who are not you would very easily be sucked into a cult. Then again, I'm making optimistic implications here. The details are scary.

in response to "MaoTzu":
It's difficult to convince a religious addict that they suffer from a addiction.
It's even more difficult to get them to quit the "opiates".

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