Q&A with an Atheist

14 04 2011

Question #1: Why do you deny any existence of a spirit or soul since it’s a fact that energy never dies?

Answer: It is true, energy is never created nor destroyed. However any type of energy can be transferred from one type of energy to another. ie: in the case of a lightning storm, the potential electric energy is transferred to thermal, light and sound. When we die, the energy forms in our body begin to transfer as it decomposes and becomes a food source for plants, animals, insects, or bacteria etc. This energy is then used to help those that ingested it to grow, and perform daily activities, which is then transferred to other types energy as it goes about it’s life, and possibly recycles again if they die as well.
Question #2: Why do you celebrate Christmas?

Answer: My choice to celebrate Christmas can best be described as wanting to be a part of the families get together. Any and all religious connections to the celebration are not there for me. I don’t pray, say grace, go to mass, etc. I am there simply as a family member taking part in group activities such as eating dinner, giving gifts, playing with the kids, chatting with family members I don’t get to see often etc.
The person who asked this question seemed to have a hard time understanding how I could still celebrate Christmas regardless of the fact that I remove all religious connections. My best way to explain it is that to me, Christmas is just about getting together, being a good citizen, helping the economy by buying gifts and food etc. Christmas is supposed to be the birthday of Jesus, but he wasn’t born on December 25, the day was chosen to coincide with earlier pagan rituals. Coincidentally, the scientist Isaac Newton’s birthday is December 25, which is a great reason to celebrate.

But another big part of it is the fact that in North America you simply cannot escape the holiday. Every store, tv show, movie, radio station, street corner, is filled with holiday related material. To an atheist, it’s not too much of a concern, because a lot of it is kind of laughable to some of us. But imagine being a muslim, or any other religion for that matter, you are being forced to live in a society that pushes it’s more common beliefs in your face for 2-2.5 months of the year, plus all the other holidays that are almost equally celebrated. Some atheists are offended and do try to remove religious decorations from their towns, but end up being labeled as rude, ignorant, inconsiderate, or heartless. But the real question is why should we all have to be subjected to the opinions and beliefs of ONE belief. It should be equally displayed for each belief, or  not at all. But that’s my opinion.

And lastly, one more big reason I do still take part in a celebration is because of the fact that I have tried to NOT celebrate. I informed family and friends that I wasn’t going to be participating, and on both occasions I was told I was being selfish, immature, or that I should just do it for the family. While some would say this is like converting, I personally don’t look at it that way. I’m just spending time with friends and family, and who wouldn’t want time off school/work for no reason other than getting to party for a few days. Besides, I would have the time off regardless since it’s an automatically paid holiday whether you’re christian or not.

In closing, I would like to propose that whether you are atheist or not, you should look into helping bring about some days for atheists to celebrate. Newton’s birthday is one, since he was a great figure in scientific history. Some other examples are Atheist week. 2011 was March 20-26. Ask an Atheist day was April 13 this year. Darwin’s B-day (Feb 12) aka Atheist Pride/Freedom from religion day. First Thursday in May National Day of Reason (also the date of the national day of prayer.) Any other suggestions, or known days that may already exist are welcome to be commented below.

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Note: Before this next question, it’s a big one, and the only other one I got. It sparked a good conversation so I have taken it from it’s original source, removed the names to keep things anonymous, and did some minor editing since I was typing on my phone and had to leave out words and didn’t spellcheck much as I typed. It is quite long mostly because there was a bit of a misunderstanding, but eventually we figured that out and wrapped it up. Enjoy.

Original Question #3: Could the force that drives the universe be considered God?

Answer:

A Dumb Ape:  The drive you speak of, do you mean the expansion?

Poster:  sure; Could the “expansion” of the universe be considered god?; Is the “big bang” considered god? In the sense of creating life and all the makings of the universe?; The last one is my only Question

A Dumb Ape:  Well I’m no astrophysicist but I’m pretty sure its caused by the big bangs explosion. There is still lots unknown that they are trying to figure out for certain b ut I know dark energy and dark matter play a role in there. Just haven’t brushed up on that stuff yet. been looking for a good book to explain it in easy terms and not calculus formulas lol. But the expansion continues to push the edges.

An interesting thing to think about is, we can only see 14 billion light years from where we are because that is when the light started traveling towards us, and beyond that point the light hasn’t reached us yet. But hypothetically if you were on a planet near that “edge” would they see another 14billion light years further than us? Making the universe much larger than we now know?

Yes the big bang created the universe we live in, but I wouldn’t give it the credit of it happening willingly or on purpose which the term god would imply. But yes it did create the universe and possibly all the others that may have been and gone during the process that may still be happening now. Another crazy thought to think about.

The big bang released tons of energy and the elements helium and hydrogen. The lightest elements. Gravity pulled them together to form heavier elements over time and eventually stars formed and other types of matter clumped together. The stars exploded releasing tons of new elements and this process continued over billions of years. Forming new planets and stars etc. Eventually forming our planet and sun and all the elements and matter in our bodies comes from the stars that blew up across the universe over time.

As for the life part. That’s another can of worms. Whether life started from a bacteria landing on earth from a meteorite or if the idea of the swampy goo is right it started nonetheless. But I wouldn’t give the bang the credit of intelligence.

Poster:  I understand the concept of the big bang!! 4 you 2 say there is no god is 2 say there was no big bang??

A Dumb Ape:  Not really. The big bang left evidence of it happening. And they can still observe those things today.

Poster:  If the Big bang is the reason 4 creating what we can see in the universe Then I ask you again, could the Big Bang be considered God??

Poster #2:  Maybe God created the Big Bang???

A Dumb Ape: No because the word itself ends up taking things out of context and giving the process an identity and an intelligence. Its like calling a baking soda and vinegar volcano intelligent. It happened not due to intelligence but due to the reaction that caused it.

Similar to the greeks and romans and other old civilisations, they gave everything a god because they didn’t understand it and thought it must be gods controlling it. God of thunder, goddess of love etc.

Poster:  But the Idea of god is creation

A Dumb Ape:  The idea of a god is the controller, the creator, the all knowing, all powerful. Or all of the above. Depends on the god you refer to.

Poster:  “The idea of a god is the controller, the creator, the all knowing, all powerful.” Sounds like a good description of the universe. So is the universe and all it contains considered God? ; Has science ever been wrong before?;  I don’t think god judges you or is even aware of your existence. I’m refering to the creator, the all powerful, The reason for all there is.

A Dumb Ape:  Yes science has been wrong but that’s neither here or there. It just adjusts its theory to fit the new found “right”. And to the other comment. The universe doesn’t know, or control and has no intelligence. The universe is a vast area of space filled with matter of many different sizes, densities, temperature etc. The universe is an area not an identity. In the same sense your house or apartment is an area with matter. The house doesn’t control or know anything. Its just an area.

Poster:  Well what your saying is science based? So I think it is Here & there and your not giving me a straight answer.

A Dumb Ape: But whether its been wrong doesn’t really have any point. Its been wrong because it tests things that are likely to be wrong. And when it has a theory it will continue to test it with new variables to see if there could be more to understand. So in a way they aren’t really wrong they are just learning more about it. Its not like science denies its errors. They publish them and refine the studies to explain what they missed and what they are doing or have done to fix the error or find what they missed. What straight answer would you like? Yes science has been wrong I said that. Lol. Do you believe zeus throws lightning bolts down on earth?

Poster:  Give me a yes or no answer.. COULD the big bang, being the starting point of the universe be considered God, “the creator” all powerful? Not saying gods watching or judging you! Not saying god has intelligence! Just referring to the creation of the universe and all its glory.. Big Bang= God

A Dumb Ape: It could be considered “God” to someone who wants to look at it that way yes. But in my opinion that word changes the meaning of big bang. I know you are saying your not giving it the intelligence part, but by calling the big bang a god, you automatically give it the intelligence. So the answer to your question is both yes and no. Yes to someone who is willing to turn a blind eye to the things that usually come with the term god but no to the people who bring all those characteristics with the term. Sorry, but your question is relative to the person you ask. So I say no. But others may say yes. Does that answer you?

Poster:  Has anyone told you a lie that sounded so right that it couldn’t be wrong? You’ve learned all you know from the research of other people and selectively you take what you learn and create opinions. You know that what you say can’t be right or wrong because you have no absolute way of testing. It’s all theory! So I stand by> God=Big Bang+Creation

A Dumb Ape: That’s fine. I’m not trying to change peoples minds on that. The idea of ask an atheist day is just for people to ask about the things we do believe. Too many people picture atheists as evil people who aren’t capable of being good people because we don’t believe in their god.

As for believing science. Its just a matter of trust. I look at what the majority will say, they explain how they come to those conclusions, and I go from there. If I find their methods questionable then I may look further or for another answer. I don’t put blind faith in everything I hear see or read. I try to make judgements based on the intelligence I do have. And I try not to judge others on their opinions. I am simply curious about why they believe what they do believe. So I may ask questions to learn more about that point of view as well.

Poster:  A matter of trust?? Isn’t that the basis of the belief in God? I’m in no way a religious person and not shitting on what you believe. My idea of what god is differs from most. I agree with you that a god that watch’s each and everyone of us and judges us based on performance is absurd!! If you read back I was asking, couldn’t God be considered the creator? The jump off point of the universe! The “Big Bang”

A Dumb Ape:  I meant a trust of the results of continuous testing. There is a possibility that some may alter results. Which is why I “trust” a majority of results rather than a single dude with a lab coat lol.

Poster:  I think that your so wrapped up in what you believe that your refusing to understand the question which I will not be repeating! Whats the point of ask a atheist day, if the atheist has no satisfying yes or no answers? Your just arguing that there is no intelligent god, theres no plan, and no order.. Which we are in agreement

A Dumb Ape:  I did answer. I say no to it. But that’s my opinion. Its an opinion based question. If you asked a random person there’s a 50/50 chance of them saying yes or no.

Poster:  why no is what I want to know?

A Dumb Ape:  Because we have different definitions of the word god. To me a god has all the characteristics I listed earlier. To you, it has a different meaning by the sounds of it. By me saying the big bang is god, I’m personally rejecting what I believe. By your definition I would still be partly rejecting it I think. So just to be sure I am understanding your definition, what is your definition of god?

Poster:  I already gave you my definition of God! LOL 1more time> The big bang being the only theoretical source of all the matter & anti-matter Known to make up our universe.. With out the Big bang, No universe as we know it.. Big bang being the Creator of the known universe.. Definition: Creator=God

A Dumb Ape:  So I did understand then. You only associate the characteristic of creating. So for example. A dead body is god to the flowers that grow from the decomposed material? Strange example I know, but was fresh in my mind from an earlier conversation. In that sense your big bang = god is a lot closer to me saying yes. That’s like a 60% maybe. Lol. But I still gotta side with no simply because of our two definitions being so different. And out of all the gods I’ve ever read about or heard about yours seems to be the closest thing to something I could partly accept if I “HAD” to choose one. Lol. Hopefully that makes sense.

Poster:  Good debate Ape!! It’s been a pleasure:) We should do it again sometime!!

A Dumb Ape:  Haha. I hope that’s not sarcastic. Lol. I wasn’t hoping to debate today. Just wanted to answer some questions but it was interesting to say the least. Hopfully we all learned something bahaha.

Poster:  Not sarcastic! lol

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I hope this Q&A has informed someone about something they may not have known or understood before. If there are any questions or comments, I’d be glad to answer or respond. And don’t let this be simply a 1 day a year thing. I love questions, and am always willing to discuss my views.

Thanks for reading, and spread the word about this blog! I need followers!

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11 responses

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

You,Me or any man does not know everything. You have a few good points ,but so does any common man who in the scale of the universe is here a micro – second, We don’t know it all , we just think we do.

14 04 2011
A Dumb Ape

I agree with ya man. I don’t know everything and don’t think I do. I only have my opinions. I only post these things as exactly that, an opinion. As I mention in this post, I try to research things and use the things I do know, and the things I have learned to help me figure out what is likely to be right or what is closest to it in some cases where there isn’t a known answer.

But I never intend to act as though what I say is the absolute final word on the matter, which is why I started this blog. To try and get people to comment and give me their views and maybe I’ll learn a thing or two, and maybe I’ll teach a thing or two who knows. But thanks for the comment. Appreciate your time. Cheers.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

I believe that God is an Energy Source much like our Sun. I have trouble believing in the God of The Bible because it was written by man and it’s personal and demands you to honor it, says “God.” Jesus was a regular man not the Son of God. He was a great wise teacher though. Know one can deny that. They changed our time line of he birth. Some of his teachings were heart felt and real and true. Down side came when after he died his Apostles started to write the bible and the “Fairy Tales” began. I also believe there had to something before the “Big Bang”. We didn’t come to be just from “Nothing” something lying in dorment and just like anything else it came together them Bang ! I feel the same way it’s my opinion and what I feel. I don’t try to prove or disprove anything

14 04 2011
A Dumb Ape

No I know you weren’t implying that, lol. And yeah no one person could ever know everything. Wayyy too much to know, and the vastness of the universe prevents us from knowing so much. I can agree with you on the bible stuff. The bible is full of strangeness that can only described as fairy tales like you said. Noah being 800 years old and putting 2 of every animal on a boat. That’s just not possible. That’s an extreme example, and there’s tons of other things. But I think we agree on all of that.

I know there is some pretty interesting studies in what may have been before the big bang, and some of the theories are showing signs of being very possible. One was the multiple universe theory. I can explain further if you like, but I believe it was hubble or another telescope maybe, but they predicted that there would be left over “bruising” from when the universes collided in their beginnings, and when they search high and low they found what could be a “bruise”. Who knows whether it is or not, but I was very fascinated by it.

I think you have a similar god to the one my friend was referring to. And I think the only other place we kind of disagree is on the existence of Jesus. I’ve read many differing sources but many reliable ones, not all but many, said that there is no way to prove he ever did exist, and the records that are available do not list him anywhere. Some said he did, but the majority had doubts. Again, probably will never know for sure.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

Oh , Don’t think I implied that I thought you knew everything. I was just saying as us human do not and most likely never will.. If you think about it 15 billions years is a long time, but compare that to Infinity, it’s a micro-second. Then compare human existance which is 1.5 million years ago , it’s a blip of time.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

I have a very opened mind, And, the case of Jesus he had to exist simply because they changed our time on his birth.

I am also fascinated about The Universe and thirst for more knowledge.

The Universe and God are One and Everything, but it’s not personal ,” It Just Is”,

I really try to describe the God I believe in. It involves, Creation through natural process from the formations of stars and planets, evolution processes here on Earth, DNA strands to the sences and emotion all humans feel, it’s all wrapped up in one, if you feel me?

14 04 2011
A Dumb Ape

Yeah I see what you are saying. And when you say they changed our time for his birth, I’m guessing you mean when they started the calendar? Because they didn’t start it until a few hundred years after the fact. Again that’s supposing he did exist. Again not saying he didn’t just that the calendar wasn’t changed till long after he was said to have lived. Just another little fun fact I picked up over my years.

I spend too much time learning about the universe that I haven’t really gone too much further into the whole religion thing until kind of recently, but the more I learn the more it baffles me. And that’s just 1, there are still many more to learn about.

As for the brain and such, its all part of the evolutionary journey. I’m assuming you are ok with evolution. Our brains come from a very long lineage of animals leading back to the first organisms and like you briefly mentioned earlier, large amounts of time that humans just don’t really comprehend well, we live short lives not even .001% of the time life has been on earth. But the brain has developed somewhat well, but there are still major flaws in our perception areas. For example, optical illusions, are basically our brain failing to see things properly because it hasn’t developed the proper way to deal with the information.

I forget what book I read that explained the “random process” problem you mention, but the brain isn’t a random process, I think the easiest way I can explain the way I remember it is think of computers. At first, they were very primitive in comparison to todays, they worked, but no where near the computational power of today, after each generation, they “evolved” becoming faster, smarter, able to handle new things, in the brains case, it could process new forms of senses, thought processes, awareness etc. After many generations, they become much more powerful to the point that side by side they almost seem impossible to compare, and likely not similar. But they are “related” through an evolutionary connection. I’m not big on computer history, but for example, comodore-486-pentium-pentium 3-intel-intel duo. Etc is like mouse-rat-rabbit-monkey-ape-early human-modern human. My animals may be all mixed up but I think you get my idea?

As for god being the energy. That’s just something I think we gotta agree to disagree on. No offense, I just have a different view on the matter.

Anyhoo, I really appreciate the chat and the subscription, if you have any suggestions for topics that I can blabber about, let me know lol. Ps. Sorry for the long comments. I have a habit of verbal diarhea lol.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

I don’t believe that random processes could make the human brain tick the way it does. Our brain has evolved with us to survive just as the animals evolve to survive, Do you ever watch Mutant Plant? It takes alot of Mega Amounts of Energy to create all of what we see,” I know you know this.” This goes really, really deep and that Energy is God. It just is, We are a frament of what that has become. I don’t think God even knows we are here.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

I am totally for Evolution, I just think we are and mostly everything in the Universe are to complex to be ” random events”.

The Time Line I am talking about started when Jesus was born

For example:

<>>and so >> 1000 years AD—- 2000 years AD —— The Present 2011 AD

A.D. stands for Anno Domini which is Latin for “Year of our Lord” and it means the number of years since the time of Jesus that was 2011 years ago.

14 04 2011
A Dumb Ape

The way I look at the universe. I agree with you that there most likely was a “before the bang” but I don’t think we will ever be 100% certain what it was unless somehow we witness it happen again. But I highly doubt we will, and that’s probably a good thing lol.

But no it’s not random, I think its just a matter of infinite possibility and someone said (I think stephen hawking) we are here not by random chance but because we have to be. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be asking the question. Don’t quote the words, I’m going from memory, but it was to the effect that the laws of our universe are not random or luck, if they were any other way the universe would still exist in that state. We just may not exist. Also it may only last a short period of time if the laws could not sustain it. And if the multiple universe idea is correct, there may be an infinite number of them each possibly containing other versions of those very laws or opposites of them or some with more or less.

The best example I got of the multiverse explanation was from stephen hawkings recent book when he compared the big bang to a pot of boiling water. Some bubbles would bubble up getting bigger and reaching the top some would have laws that prohibited them from lasting and would be small and start to rise but then disappear, our universe seems to to have the laws that allow it to be a rising expanding bubble but if there is a “top of the water” we don’t know. Not likely the universe would just “pop”, but was a really great analogy for explaining the beginning.

And for the time thing again, Yeah AD and BC. That’s what I was talking about too. But they didn’t set the “0” date until I think around 500 AD, until that point they had gone by a different calendar. I just call it by the number and drop the letters. I don’t think we should use bc or ad simply because not everyone is christian. But its one of the few things in christianity that really doesn’t hurt anybody. Lol. One time I jokingly wrote the date as 4.5 billion and 11, funny that it never caught on, kind of wish it did. lol.

Either way, I’m heading to slumber land. Good chatting with you.

14 04 2011
NewAgeUniversalUnitarianNeoPagan

A.D. stands for Anno Domini, which is Latin for “year of our Lord,” and it means the number of years since the time of Jesus Christ. That was 2000 years ago, so the date 500 A.D. means 1500 years ago.

Some people use C.E. instead. That stands for Common Era, and people use it in order to avoid Christian references. History for Kids feels that since this is a Christian dating system, we don’t want to try to hide that. There are other dating systems in the world that non-Christians use, and Common Era makes it sound like everyone should use the Christian system.

300 BC —200 BC — 100 BC YEAR 1 BIRTH OF JESUS 100 AD—– 200 AD 300 AD Til Present 2011 AD

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