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Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

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Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?
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thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

It's a question I wanted to ask HWIN in another thread but I felt it was to off topic. So I'm starting a new topic and leaving it open to anyone (hopefully atheists) who would like to respond.
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:56 am
AkamiaUser avatarPosts: 90Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:41 pmLocation: Alaska Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Depends on what you mean by "god". Every god concept I've seen has been incoherent, untestable (therefore unknowable) or testable and falsified.

I find the biblical god to be in the "incoherent" category.

As an aside, not all atheists will agree whether or not we can know if there is a god. There's a reason some of us, myself included, will use the adjectives "agnostic", "ignostic", "gnostic", or synonyms thereof. Depending on the god we're talking about, I'm either an agnostic atheist, an ignostic one, or a gnostic one.
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Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:51 am
surreptitious57Posts: 223Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:09 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

I am an apatheist so whether or not he or she or it exists makes zero difference to me

But no I do not think we cannot know if there is a God

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Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:42 pm
Steelmage99Posts: 174Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 9:43 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Depending on how the god is defined I do believe that we can know if a god exists in any practical and relevant sense.
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Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:38 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2959Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Greetings,

The only way to know - one way or the other - is if there's life-after-death.

If there isn't. we'll never know.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:16 pm
WarKChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1186Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:59 am Gender: Tree

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Dragan Glas wrote:The only way to know - one way or the other - is if there's life-after-death.

If there isn't. we'll never know.


Most theists define their god as all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. As those are logically impossible a being defined using those terms can't exist. God is impossible by definition.

There could(?) be life after death and no god.
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Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:50 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2959Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Greetings,

WarK wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:The only way to know - one way or the other - is if there's life-after-death.

If there isn't. we'll never know.


Most theists define their god as all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. As those are logically impossible a being defined using those terms can't exist. God is impossible by definition.

There could(?) be life after death and no god.

Belief n life-after-death is independent of a belief in a deity - more people believe in it than in a deity - though one's still stuck with the soul, and it's de facto non-existence.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:57 pm
thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Steelmage99 wrote:Depending on how the god is defined I do believe that we can know if a god exists in any practical and relevant sense.


I am surprised by most of the answers in this thread, including yours. What, do you think is one good way or maybe several ways one could know that God or a god, actually exists?
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:03 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:
Steelmage99 wrote:Depending on how the god is defined I do believe that we can know if a god exists in any practical and relevant sense.


I am surprised by most of the answers in this thread, including yours. What, do you think is one good way or maybe several ways one could know that God or a god, actually exists?


There is not any empirical evidence that a Creator/God/s exist, and I'm a Deist that believes in a Creator. So, you can't really blame anyone here for not believing.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:14 pm
thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

tuxbox wrote:There is not any empirical evidence that a Creator/God/s exist, and I'm a Deist that believes in a Creator. So, you can't really blame anyone here for not believing.


Well "empirical evidence" depends on our ability to gather, correctly interpret and apply data. Historically, this seems to be something most of us are not very good at. So, it's not like God would say "I will depend on what people call empirical evidence, to make myself know to them" or something like that.
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:25 pm
WarKChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1186Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:59 am Gender: Tree

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:
tuxbox wrote:There is not any empirical evidence that a Creator/God/s exist, and I'm a Deist that believes in a Creator. So, you can't really blame anyone here for not believing.


Well "empirical evidence" depends on our ability to gather, correctly interpret and apply data. Historically, this seems to be something most of us are not very good at. So, it's not like God would say "I will depend on what people call empirical evidence, to make myself know to them" or something like that.


So no evidence for gods. Got it.
Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:32 pm
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2567Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Some kind of all-powerful God would logically be equally able to reveal or mask his existence.

So if God existed, and wanted to reveal himself so that no one was in doubt as to whether he existed, he'd be able to.

If God existed and didn't want to reveal himself, and keep his existence a secret (empirically speaking, I suppose one should say), then he would also be able to do that, and we'd never be the wiser.

If God exists, and "this" (as in, through the word of man, which looks and sounds exactly like the word from so many other religions) is how he's decided to reveal himself, then we can only conclude that it's a wildly incompetent, illogical and irrational God that we have.

I find such a God to be a damn near logical impossibility. But no... I can't know.
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Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:15 pm
Steelmage99Posts: 174Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 9:43 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:
Steelmage99 wrote:Depending on how the god is defined I do believe that we can know if a god exists in any practical and relevant sense.


I am surprised by most of the answers in this thread, including yours. What, do you think is one good way or maybe several ways one could know that God or a god, actually exists?


I would like to reiterate that my statement depends on how said god is defined.

For example, if a god is said to have a real tangible impact on the physical world around us then we should be able to measure/record/detect those effects.

If a god is said to have performed some act of creation in aeons past in parts unknown, and has had a strict hands-off policy ever since....then I don't really care. I cannot tell a god that has zero tangible impacts on our existence from a god that simply doesn't exist. This is where the "in any practical and relevant sense" comes in.

In general I find that the tools we have so far developed to gain knowledge about the natural world adequate. This shouldn't be taken as a statement that we shouldn't develop more such tools. We absolutely should.

Please, note that the supernatural is not excluded from being "detected" by said tools - if the supernatural entity has a real tangible effect on the natural world.
Once such an effect on the natural world would be detected it's cause would simply become part of the natural world.
Blunder that theists make all the time;

Pretending to know what other people think.
Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:52 am
Grumpy SantaPosts: 382Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Personally I think it's a poorly worded question. If there's evidence for a god then yes, we can know it exists. In the absence of any such evidence there's no reason to think a god exists.

Of course... this brings out the problem that if there's evidence for a god then by definition it would reside in the natural world and would not be supernatural. If it's not supernatural, is it still a god?
Scientists don't believe. They conclude based on evidence.
Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:27 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2952Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

What kind of God?

A God who answers prayers? We can test that. Thus we can know whether or not such a God exists

A God who created the universe and does not intervene? Much more difficult to conceive a means by which to establish this. The best we can do in this instance is to say that without good reason we shouldn't assume that such a being exists.

There are many different conceptions of God. The God of the Bible for instance is almost definitely not real, and we can say so with a high degree of certainty. The more elusive God of say Spinoza, we can't say with any certainty either way.
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Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:40 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2393Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

The question is malformed. It isn't actually possible to answer the question for one simple reason. Let me elucidate with another question.

Do theists believe we can't know if there's a furzlewurgle?

See the problem?
Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:09 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2393Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:Well "empirical evidence" depends on our ability to gather, correctly interpret and apply data.


Ah, the 'interpretations' canard. Never far away.

There's only one interpretation that matters, namely the one that is consistently in accord with observations and survives tests that could potentially falsify it.

Historically, this seems to be something most of us are not very good at.


Some of us, however, are very good at it, and those of us who are tend to be the ones that do well in the sciences.

So, it's not like God would say "I will depend on what people call empirical evidence, to make myself know to them" or something like that.


On the other hand, he might write a book.

It's interesting that those who talk about how empirical evidence is problematic in answering such questions don't seem to have any problem with accepting evidence in the form of the witterings of pre-scientific desert nomads as evidence, despite the problems this is riddled with. I wrote elsewhere:

So, suppose I'm the ruler of the universe, and I want to convey to my creation - specifically to my chosen species, the most important aspect of the entire enterprise, and for which the universe was created - my message, telling them all of the important things they need to know - how I want them to behave, what it's all about, where they can put their penises and what position I wish them to adopt while engaging in this practice, how they're to treat each other - the rules of the game. What, given all of the above, and given that I'm supposed to have perfect, infallible knowledge of the entirety of the universe including all of space and time and the thoughts of every entity within it, is the best plan I can come up with?

I know, I'll use a book, ambiguous, open to interpretation, riddled with vague metaphor and straight up factual errors that are demonstrably not in accord with experience. Let my infallible knowledge result in a failure to correctly count the legs on an insect, or assert that the genomes of organisms can be changed wholesale by having their parents bump uglies alongside coloured sticks. Let's give it a nice, simple title, like The Holy Teaching (Torah) or The Holy Recitation (Qu'ran) or maybe simply The Holy Book (Bible).

Let's overlook all of the issues arising in the foregoing discussion, knowing about all of them. Let's ignore the fact that some people will use these books as weapons to beat, figuratively and literally, others who don't accept it. Let's make it so that no group of believers can agree with any other group about what I was trying to say. Let's ignore the fact that people will literally kill and die over the nonsensical contents of this book, that it will be the cause of millions upon millions of deaths and depredations, denial of basic rights, justification for slavery and subjugation, and treating followers of other iterations of the same book as second-class, or subhuman, all allegedly representing what I, author and inspiration for all of these books, and architect of the universe, purportedly want to see.

Nope, I can't think of a better plan than that. What do you think?


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Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:16 am
thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:Well "empirical evidence" depends on our ability to gather, correctly interpret and apply data.


hackenslash wrote:Ah, the 'interpretations' canard. Never far away.

There's only one interpretation that matters, namely the one that is consistently in accord with observations and survives tests that could potentially falsify it.


Well the Ptolemaic Model worked quite well even though it was based on a completely inaccurate idea of our solar system. It took us over 1000 years to completely refute it.



So, suppose I'm the ruler of the universe, and I want to convey to my creation - specifically to my chosen species, the most important aspect of the entire enterprise, and for which the universe was created - my message, telling them all of the important things they need to know - how I want them to behave, what it's all about, where they can put their penises and what position I wish them to adopt while engaging in this practice, how they're to treat each other - the rules of the game. What, given all of the above, and given that I'm supposed to have perfect, infallible knowledge of the entirety of the universe including all of space and time and the thoughts of every entity within it, is the best plan I can come up with?

I know, I'll use a book, ambiguous...


I disagree that the bible is ambiguous. In fact, it is so clear and redundant that even atheists (even I think some on this forum) argue that the account Jesus could not have been factual because it fits to well with the old testament.
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:49 pm
thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

Laurens wrote:What kind of God?

A God who answers prayers? We can test that. Thus we can know whether or not such a God exists.


That's a good point. It could be that a million people each day pray for things that do not come to pass. I would presume that every mother who ever had a child born with some fatal illness, prayed that their baby would not die. Yet they die.
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:30 pm
Bango SkankPosts: 180Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:15 amLocation: Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: Do atheists believe we can not know if there is a God?

thenexttodie wrote:I disagree that the bible is ambiguous.


If its clear and not ambiguous, then why all the differend interpretation and doctrine fights? Oh wait, they werent true christians & they twisted scripture for gain X etc.

thenexttodie wrote:In fact, it is so clear and redundant that even atheists (even I think some on this forum) argue that the account Jesus could not have been factual because it fits to well with the old testament.


I take you are talking about so called prophecies. I'd argue that most atheists hold the same position as jews, Jesus didn't fulfill required messianic prophecies (world wide peace etc.).

Then there are made up prophecies in NT. For example, there is no prophecy in OT that messiah will die and be resurrected into heaven on a third day. That second coming thing is just a liars explanation of unfulfilled prophecies (Oooh, he's coming back, he's coming back to fulfill the rest). Speaking of unfulfilled prophecies, Jesus said several times that the second coming will come while some of his twelve apostles are still alive. Didn't happen and that alone makes Jesus a false prophet in OT's standard.
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Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:15 pm
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