| My response to questions from a group of xian students
| Sunday, October 29, 2006
|The following is a letter I got from some xian students and my response to their questions.
We are a group of four students taking a Philosophy course at Dallas Christian College. We have been asked for an assignment to get into contact with an atheist to gain a better understanding of your philosophy. We were lead to your blog from atheismonline.com and would appreciate it if you would help us out with our assignment. We are to find out two things about you: 1. How do you find meaning in life? 2. Have you developed a belief system? If you would like to give us more insight into atheism, feel free to do so.
Sincerely, Judy Garcia, Miranda Laidacker, Thomas Laidacker, and Zack Smith
The following is my response to your questions.
1. How do you find meaning in life?
What do you mean by meaning? Do you mean purpose?
Well, from a biological perspective it is all about reproduction and speading your genes. As I am able to think and have emotions which are superior to other species, I also want to look forward to something that fulfils my thought and emotional needs.
As everyone has a brain of their own, they have each different thought and emotional needs and therefore, need different things to look forward to. That THING for me is seeking knowledge and contributing to humanity. The more I learn about this world and the more I contribute to this world FOR ME is the meaning of my life.
For others, even the meaning of my life can be seen in a different light. For example, someone who believes in marriage being the meaning of life, MY life has no meaning.
There is NO ONJECTIVE SCALE OF MEASUREMENT FOR EVALUATING THE MEANING OF LIFE. It is subjective and ONLY ONE"S OWN PERSPECTIVE OF THEIR OWN LIFE'S MEANING THAT COUNTS.
2. Have you developed a belief system?
A belief system? That depends on your definition of belief.
I believe that the people who I see in the train exist and I live my life based on the belief that they do and approach them based on that belief.
I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. etc.
Based on this approach every one has beliefS.
However, if you mean a belief in something I have on logical reason to believe in then no. I don't believe in FSM (her holiness), invisible unicorns, god, allah, etc.
|posted by Roya @ 8:17 PM
Roya, Looks like the DCC group has found you! Don't know if you saw the discussion thread over at GifS, but they were most recently at GifS website and posted the same questions and it didn't end with just their little school questions. Some of us suspect they are doing some "indirect proseltyzing" as one of them broke off from the group and we could see where things were leading. If they are really looking for better understanding of the "atheist philosophy" wouldn't they do research into American Atheists online, Sam Harris Truthdigs, Richard Dawkins, Dan Barker,Daniel Dennett and read works by other well-known atheists like Robert Ingersoll,etc?
Are they studying Noam Chomsky, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche,Friedrich Engels,Ayn Rand,Jean-Paul Sartre in this Philosphy course?
Why troll blogland when the great philosphers are there to read and learn from? The opinion of a few atheist bloggers online might serve to find out our attitudes, but in a real Philosophy course, the above mentioned are necessary for a balanced education in the subject.
I still don't get how belief in God gives life meaning all of a sudden.
Let say God exists, lets say are souls go on for ever.
How does that give life any more meaning than knowing God doesn't exist and we are worm food when we die?
Star, I did see them on GIFS. Annoying, aren't they?
AJ, I agree completely. In fact it would be even worse if there was a god who planed what is going to happen. It would have meant that I'm just a toy in his hands. Not that exciting.
BDW, I can't access the GIFS blog for some reason. Does anyone else has the same problem?
We are experiencing some internal server problems at GifS that are being worked on to try to get up and running again. Don't know yet if it was the work of troll hackers or just one of those technological things. But they are working on getting to the root of what the cause is. Hopefully it will be up and running again soon.
Roya...More about GifS problems. Coincidence that this problem with GifS happened right after our little visit with Dallas Christian College? I guess it is looking more and more like a hacker troll...and steps are being taken through tracking to find whoever did it and turn whoever it is into proper federal authorities. In the meantime...everyone beware of trolls! A couple of people at GifS were saying they wanted to give DCC trolls the benefit of the doubt when they said they were there innocently and I had said "I smell something rotten in Denmark!" (meaning I sensed their insincerity) GifS will be up and running again as soon as possible. We shall return!
I hope everything goes well. GIFS was one of the first blogs I visited and remains one of my favourate.
GifS is of my favorite sites as well, and for the past day or two I've been clicking the 'refresh' button like mad. Good luck getting the website up again, stardust!
Oh, and the DCC hit me too. They're probably telling the truth, trolling through atheismonline.com. They haven't returned, so I'm not sure if it's been called off.
Oh, and excellent site, roya.
Friend, I write to you on behalf of a very strong belief of mine. I know that you and I have our differences and that we were brought up in different circumstances. The point I would like to first make, is that regardless of our respective pasts, we still live on the same earth and obey the same rules of science and logic. It is to these rules that I would like to direct your thought.
Science says what is not supported falls and Logic echoes it. Science says that what has a beginning must have an end and Logic echoes it. Science says that something cannot come from nothing and Logic echoes it. Science says that something came from nothing, and Logic falls silent to the roar of Contradiction. If there is a law that states matter is never created or destroyed, then why does matter surround us if there is no Creator? Where did it all come from? The same logic applies to entropy. How did disorder create order if every observable instance in the universe shows that disorder always prevails without sentient intervention?
Even as I look around me in the beauty of the universe in all its forms, I cannot help but wonder why humans should have the ability to grasp beauty, or perceive joy. What is it in these attributes that stems from the theory of natural selection? All of the aforementioned questions can be easily resolved if one includes an omniscient God as creator of the universe.
Humans have an incredible drive to find purpose. At some point, every person ponders the meaning of life. Scientists have theorized that life is an accident and sentience is only a byproduct of cells working together in a utilitarian setting. The thoughts and feelings you experience are relatively no greater then those of an ant. The entity that you consider as yourself is nothing more then dendrites and axons relaying electrical signals. What is it that separates us from a machine? What is it that differentiates us from an animal? These questions, also, find resolution when we consider the teaching of Bible when God “created (humans) in (God’s) own image” (Gen. 1:27, NIV).
The psyche of every human includes a drive for purpose and a peace of mind. Unfortunately, neither of these human needs can be met by the mere will power if a human. I have tried to meet these needs for myself when my Faith was at a low point, and I found it impossible. I expect you have come across the same dilemma. The only solution I have ever found to these incorrigible demands on the human psyche is in the salvation that the Bible talks about through Jesus (the incarnation of God). Through this salvation I have personally experienced overwhelming evidence that there is indeed a God and that God satisfies all my desires so I can live life with purpose and peace. I have shown through references to various scientific and psychological ideologies that there is actually only one piece of the universe that is not physically observable. The piece I am referring to is God. I think the most convincing evidence to me that God exists is through my experience as a Christian. Unfortunately, this is the kind of evidence that cannot be truly shared. My wish is that you could experience God the way I do. Unfortunately, to do so you must first accept the salvation Jesus Christ offers which involves believing that God exists. I hope my letter has been beneficial to you and that you can glean at least an understanding of my position on God. I pray that you may also accept this understanding as truth.
With Every Respect, Your Friend, Daniel
Thanks Daniel. Although I had one question. If matter exists now and you agree that matter cannot be created nor destroyed then where the hell god fits in here.
The only conclusion is that matter has existed forever and that would mean no creator. :)
Friend, thank you kindly for your question. I appreciate your insight, however, I must say that I believe your conclusion is based on an incorrect assumption of my position. First, may I restate that: "Science says that something cannot come from nothing and Logic echoes it. SCIENCE says that something CAME from nothing, and Logic falls silent to the roar of Contradiction." (Emphasis added. See above). So, if matter always existed, where did it come from? Science states the theory of an origin of all things. Where did it all come from? The matter would have to be made of a particular substance, molecules and atoms. Again, where did this all come from? You ask 'Where does God fit in here?' I now ask, where does science or logic fit in here? The only conclusion is that is does not and it only stands that something (or someone) had to bring forth this origin. All these things - matter, substance, molecules and atoms - have a design. Does it not stand to reason that where there is a design there is a designer, where there is a creation there is a creator?
Take for example, the pyramids. These have been a perplextion creation to mankind for generations. All the "facts" we have are based on interpretations and cues we have based on things collected around it (i.e. writings, cultural artifacts etc.). Do you believe the Egyptians built the pyramids? Sure. Most of us do. Have you ever considered that we see this design, although we may not fully understand HOW it was done, we know it was done and it was done manually nonetheless. Logically we understand here is a design and there was a designer. So, let's say the "matter" of origin of the earth was eternal. Taking the example of the Egyptian pyramids, we can understand that they made the pyramid, they also carved the stones to build the pyramids. Now, where did they get the rocks to form their creation? Did they make these rocks or did they use what was already there and available to them? If you believe then that matter is existed forever, could it not stand to reason then that the Designer just used what was already there?
There are many things that point to the existence of God. I really appreciate your dialogue and it is my hope that you may explore the natural and logical understandings. Thank you again for your time.
With Every Respect, Your Friend, Daniel
"SCIENCE says that something CAME from nothing"
Wrong. If it always existed, then it always existed. There was never a nothing and then something coming to existance.
You believe god has always existed and science says matter has always existed.
You believe the world needs a creator and science says, your god needs a creator from you own logic.
Actually from your own logic the matter needs a creator. If you can see how matter existed forever, why is it illogical to say that God existed forever?
Kindest regards, Daniel
"Actually from your own logic the matter needs a creator."
"why is it illogical to say that God existed forever?"
It wouldn't but again there would have been no need for a god, since matter had always existed. :)
Thankfully my blog has been obscure enough thus far that those "students" have not posted comments on my blog yet.
Science says that what has a beginning must have an end
No, it doesn't
Science says that something cannot come from nothing
No, it doesn't and it doesn't claim something came from nothing.
If there is a law that states matter is never created or destroyed
There is no such law. Maybe you're familiar with equation E=mc^2
The same logic applies to entropy. How did disorder create order if every observable instance in the universe shows that disorder always prevails without sentient intervention?
Order can be achieved if you put energy in a system. Second law of thermodynamics applies in closed system such as universe. You should educate yourself in information theory to understand what order and entropy means in thermodynamics (second law).
I cannot help but wonder why humans should have the ability to grasp beauty, or perceive joy.
It drives an animal to obtain something ie. it's a benefitting feature.
What is it that separates us from a machine?
A machine is a designed object. Humans are product of a recursive and selective natural process.
All these things - matter, substance, molecules and atoms - have a design.
No, they are not. Those just obey natural laws.
I appreciate your response to our questions. In response to Stardust, we did study in the course the people you mentioned. Our professor wanted us to have more interaction with atheists to gain a better understanding. We then discussed what we learned in a latter class session. Thank you again for your help Roya!