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C30N9

Atheists, what do you think of life?

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Title says it all. E.g.: If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want? Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life? How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident") in your view?

(I'm not an atheist but I posted this for curiosity)

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1. If I don't have the life I want, I work harder, change tactics, develop new traits. I'm not eager to become a null reference.

2. No. Do you?

3. Ask a scientist, not an atheist.

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Shaviro said:

3. Ask a scientist, not an atheist.


Well, I meant that how did the "causes" of creating the universe happen (whatever cause it was).

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I do not know. A scientist working in that particular area might be able to give you a clue about it though.

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Not all atheists believe there is no life after death.

There's a flaw in the assumption that life and death are the two possible states to be in. Life is actually the only valid state. Death is the absence of life. It's no more possible to "be" dead than it is to "be" a river or a galaxy.

As long as there is life, "you" will exist. And even if all life happens to be snuffed out at some point, the "universe" is just going to have to figure out a way to create a world with life again. It doesn't matter if that requires the birth of 10^10^10^6 new universes; in the absence of life, it will "seem" like an instant.

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C30N9 said:

Title says it all. E.g.: If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want? Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life? How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident")?


I would only commit suicide if I were facing life in prison, or were diagnosed with an extremely painful and incurable disease.

I find its really impossible to waste your time in life, since nobody know really what the purpose of life is. Ultimately, we do the things we do for survival. We work, so we may eat and be sheltered. But that is only to insure the continuation of our lives. However, those who are able to maintain those things, usually want to achieve more. Such as inventing something new, or creating a beautiful work of art. Therefore, other than the struggle for survival; life is what you want it to be.

In regards to the creation of the universe; I have no idea if it was accidental or not. Though it is important to search for the answer for that question. I'm certain in my lifetime, we will never know; so it doesn't really occupy much of my concerns.

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C30N9 said:

If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want?


Seeing as I'm still here, that's a big negative.

C30N9 said:

Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life?


Negatory.

C30N9 said:

How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident")?


We don't now, and neither do you.

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AndrewB said:

There's a flaw in the assumption that life and death are the two possible states to be in. Life is actually the only valid state. Death is the absence of life. It's no more possible to "be" dead than it is to "be" a river or a galaxy.


Very nicely put. This is what I meant by "null reference".

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C30N9 said:

Title says it all. E.g.: If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want? Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life? How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident")?

I've considered suicide often and think that, once my fitness and health start to fail, I'm best off punching out rather than shambling on as a burden to others. Yes, I'm wasting my life, as I don't enjoy the majority of it and don't do things I'm interested in or enthusiastic about anywhere near often enough. As life has no meaning, it's up to us to enjoy it and do what we can for those we care about so that they can enjoy theirs too. I don't really care much for people though, so my life should be easier than others... Which it is, for the most part, but without the enjoyment it is worthless.

As for creation, I like the big bang theory. What came before? Well, I reckon a snapback from a previous universe would make sense, as that'd cover where the matter came from in the first place. Before that? Fucked if I know, but I won't resort to fairy tales for an explanation to cover my ignorance.

EDIT: I fully agree that life is the only bit that one is conscious for. Once your brain is dead, that's it, no self-awareness, no perception, nothing. You're just rotting meat and bones that may last long enough to be discovered by those that come after, then.

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Shaviro said:

I do not know.

Unacceptable. You must have a simplistic anthropocentric belief about the matter and defend it like it is the central defining point of your existence.

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dew said:

Unacceptable. You must have a simplistic anthropocentric belief about the matter and defend it like it is the central defining point of your existence.


Haha.
Also, I'm sorry if I came off as being dismissive in my original post, but it's important to note that the only thing being an atheist is about is the rejection of the god claim(s). Asking me as an atheist how the universe came into being makes no sense. It has nothing to do with atheism.

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Now I don't mean to poke fun at C30N9 here, 'cause for all I know he might just be sitting on the fence in contemplating the unfathomable nature of the universe and humanity's place in it, but I often get a bit startled when someone asks this sort of question. It can sometimes carry the implication (or even be an open admittance) that he or she might lose all willingness to live or behave decently when confronted with a sudden loss of faith. Are we to expect the vast majority of the world to descend suddenly into complete chaos with the disproval of Christ's resurrection, as depicted in the laughably stupid When It Was Dark? There should be copulating in the streets! People would steal and murder at random, unleashed from the burden of godly reverence!

I live in the hope that one day I might advance beyond the lowly slopes of my own ignorance, which I am currently grazing at, and I am empowered by the notion that this is probably not achievable. Of course, I'm also a lazy bastard who gets too complacent for his own good, but the principle still stands!

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C30N9 said:

If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want?


Just because I don't believe a granddad in the sky installed purpose into my being (which entirely consists of stroking his ego), doesn't mean I believe life has no meaning inherently, and that's what this question really implies. It's not wise to get into the ethics of suicide here on DW so I'm not going to go there, but let's just say that I've been in a dark place and contemplated ending things--but never once did I feel that life has no purpose or meaning. Anyone that kills themselves simply because they "don't have the life they want" is delusional.

C30N9 said:

Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life?


Same as the last question. Life is what we make it. I chose long ago to take a laid back approach to life and though I have missed many opportunities to do "more," I have very few regrets. As long as I'm happy and I can help make the people around me happy, absolutely nothing has been wasted.

C30N9 said:

How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident") in your view?


This is a loaded question, implying some sort of "creation" was necessary. God is eternal, existing outside of space and time. Why is it so unbelievable that the kernal that exploded forth to become the universe existed outside of the concept of time "before" the big bang? Of course the question becomes, "why did it even happen?"--And really the only legitimate answer we have right now is "We don't know," and I personally would add that it didn't need a "cause," it was a matter of inevitability.

Hope that helped sate your curiosity.

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Even among atheists you do not have the one and all defining group.

---
There are atheists that doubt about god and any religion and could very well become religious in their life once they are convinced.

There are atheists which only deny god as written in any existing religion, but doubt a form of afterlife so they chose to be non religious.

And then the atheists that deny every possible god figure or IN THEIR EYES AND OPINION any magical fairytale and wizard creating things, nor would they ever even doubt about the afterlife. To them religion is fiction written by humans and turned into a worldwide sect.
---

I do not think it matters...
but people do not suicide because there is a heaven or hell in the way, nor do people suicide because there is no heaven or hell. The very notion or assumption that atheists grab to the rope just like that is laughable. Suicide is not a religious thing, it is something that people do when their life seems to be so broken and destroyed not even all the humans or gods could save them.

For the scientific questions you should read actual trustworthy encyclopedia (this means NO wikipedia.) or books about it, or consult what schools teach.

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Just in answering the last question as well, I think it's probably worth pointing out that even if one chose to concede the involvement of a creator (or creators!) to explain the origins of the universe, it would not necessarily entail a belief in a god who intervenes in human affairs – a leap that I could not bring myself to make even I were standing on that edge to begin with. Deism, basically. I guess this doesn't often come to the forefront of discussion since labelling yourself as a deist won't put you at odds with anyone anywhere... except maybe with guests at the dinner table. And folks on internet messaging boards!

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OK, before actually answering the questions, a couple of things:

I don't believe in any kind of god.
I don't believe there's an afterlife.

C30N9 said:

If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want?


I agree with Kontra Kommando in this one. My life would need to be really, really fucked up, and even then I'm not so sure.

C30N9 said:

Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life?


Not really. I can understand why someone might think like this about atheists, but really, some of us don't need to rely on a god or a religion to give some meaning to our life. Which in turn makes me think that life has no meaning but the one we give it ourselves.

C30N9 said:

How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident") in your view?


You are assuming the universe had a beginning, which may not be the case. If it had indeed a beginning, I'm more inclined to believe it was a "happy accident" rather than a "God's creation", whatever that means.

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C30N9 said:

If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want? Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life?

If there's no afterlife (which, by the way, is irrelevant of whether one is an atheist or not, since atheism is a belief of there not being a god-like being and you could believe in afterlife while not believing in gods), sure you would be less inclined to feel that you're wasting your time in life, no? If you believe this is the only go you've got you'd try your darnest to make the best out of it rather than just give up because, hey, you've got a second go waiting behind the corner.

Also, the implied thought that you would need to believe in a god or gods of some sort to be given moral values that give meaning to your life is highly insulting to both common sense and the effect of human society on each of us lives. Surely the reason why you'd take care of your ill mother is because you love her as your mother, and not because God told you that if you didn't you'd be doomed to eternity in Hell?

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1. Even in my darkest hour I've never actually considered suicide, but being a defeatist wimp it is pretty damn tempting. I'd probably only consider it if I were homeless with no chance of recovery.

2. Damn right I'm wasting time. Not finishing any of my game dev projects (or even making any progress) or seriously looking for employment when I have all the free time in the world is a waste by anyone's definition. The only meaning I ascribe life is to seek and obtain pleasure. There is seriously no purpose aside from that. No matter your life mission, it always boils down to seeking pleasure. Even if you want to chop your limbs off and listen to deafening white noise 24/7, you must find some kind of sick pleasure in that. Even if you want to selflessly give up all of your possessions and work to make others' lives better, you still find pleasure in accomplishing that.

3. At this point in time, we do not have the means to observe the deeper reaches of the universe in enough detail to figure out the exact origins of existence, and it could very well be impossible to look from the outside in. The true nature of the universe is very likely to be beyond our comprehension. The best we can do is use the tools we have now to put together a vague and simplistic picture (the big bang), but even that is not the whole truth, only our best guess from extremely limited observational capabilities. As others in this thread have said, we don't claim to know the answers, but we'll resort to the scientific method before we cling to a bronze-age bedtime story.

Hell, the version of Christianity practiced today (at least in America) is a distorted far-cry from what was practiced thousands of years ago. The King James bible (most commonly used here) is already a very flawed translation taken from a set of hand-picked and tampered-with books (canon) made several centuries after Christianity was founded. Which are then further hand-picked from (common examples include no mixed fabrics and no eating shrimp) with allegories interpreted as literals and literals interpreted as allegories. Besides which, it is no coincidence that many, many Christ-like stories exist from other cultures. It was based on those!

Not to mention even more distortions permanently weaved into our cultural fabric. Take Dante's Inferno, Paradise Lost, etc. as an example. Before that, the closest thing in the bible itself was a seven-headed dragon and a fallen angel. Lucifer was not supposed to be Satan, and that dragon was some random monster like many others described in the bible. Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel have also heavily influenced present-day imagery of interpretations of the bible.

Besides, religion's full of shit anyway and is a burden on society in many ways.

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C30N9 said:

Well, I meant that how did the "causes" of creating the universe happen (whatever cause it was).

This is a meaningless question.

"Cause" implies causality, that a cause happened and then an effect followed - ie. a sequence of events. Causality is a property of the universe. So the notion of a "cause of the universe" is meaningless and contradictory.

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Wouldn't you be more quick to commit suicide if you thought this life was a temporary pit stop in the grand scheme of things vs. the be all and end all of existence? Yeah, I realize most religions have a tenet against suicide, but I'm just saying, suicide to me makes more sense if you believe in some sort of afterlife. Incidentally, I already worry I'm wasting my time in life, because I'm not sure what the point of it all is and so I don't know if I'm making the best use of it or not - and even if I thought I knew what it was all about, there are so many possibilities that I'd probably still feel overwhelmed - but none of that has anything to do with my religious beliefs. Faith would not solve that dilemma for me.

I have no friggin' idea how the universe came to be, no one does, and that's true whether you're religious or not. Religious people act like they have an answer, but most everyone has come across the fallacy of that answer - if God created the universe, who created God, and why, and if God was everlasting, how does that work, and why did He create the universe when He did, etc. It's not a real answer at all, it's a smoke screen which only hides more questions. Not that I have anything against religious people - believe what you want, but I think we should acknowledge that religion really doesn't have any more answers than than rest of us.

I will say this, though - being an atheist, the pursuit of the answers is something which makes life more interesting. We may never really know what the deal was with the Big Bang, but it gives us something to do to try to figure it out. I never liked the religious approach of, "Well, it's a mystery, but we're not supposed to question God, so we're just gonna let it be."

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C30N9 said:

If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want?


If there is literally nothing after dying, why would I end it now? It is impossible to know if I would get a second, new life after death, and I would rather not gamble on it.

Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life?


I usually feel that I am wasting other people's time.

How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident") in your view?


At some point it began, and at some point it will probably end. Chances are, I won't experience either of those. Pester your local experts in Astronomy for more details.

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C30N9 said:

Title says it all. E.g.: If there's nothing after dying, would you commit suicide if you don't the have the life you want? Do you feel that you're wasting your time in life? How did the universe create itself (or "happen by accident") in your view?


I wouldn't say I'm an atheist per se. I don't really know exactly what I am, though I know I don't believe in a Christian/Muslim/Jewish god. If there's nothing after death, I wouldn't commit suicide just because I don't have the life I want. I see that as just being selfish and stupid. For example, I want to win the lottery and live in a huge mansion. If that doesn't happen, would I want to kill myself? Not really. (As it happens, I actually don't want either or those.) There are many things I want in life and many things I would like my life to be. Just because I don't have those things doesn't make me want to kill myself, and it doesn't inherently make my life a bad one. You can still have fulfillment in life without having your life the way you would like it to be.

I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. In fact, I generally try to make what I want out of it, though it doesn't always happen (see previous answer). I feel that, really, this is my only shot to do the things I want to do. Besides, why would I feel like I'm wasting it? Because I don't really know whether there's some sort of afterlife? This doesn't make sense to me. Just because there may not be an afterlife doesn't make this life here void.

For the last question, I honestly have no idea. Science says that the Big Bang is what started the universe. Generally I'm willing to accept that. However, I don't believe we have sufficient knowledge to say with absolute certainty that that is what happened. Also, just because one doesn't believe in a god doesn't mean one would have an alternate explanation as to how the universe was formed. Here's one that I think about from time to time. Who's to say religion and science couldn't both be right? What if the Big Bang happened because a god made it happen?

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Seeker_of_Truth said:

Who's to say religion and science couldn't both be right? What if the Big Bang happened because a god made it happen?


Well, as long as religions are based on "sacred texts", they're unlikely to "be right". One of the most basic aspects of real science is to aknowledge that a)we don't know everything, and b)we might be wrong on a lot of things. There's no such thing in religion. Religion is dogmatic, which is never a good start.

About the second question, if god caused the Big Bang, then what/who caused god?

EDIT: Sorry, bad word, didn't make sense.

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1. Nope
2. Nah
3. Don't care

After some chatter I've had with a few believers, I concluded that the main reason to be a believer (in these parts) is insecurity about facing that your current existence may be potentially entirely pointless in grand scheme of things and also about finding a way to cope with a concept known as death. The rest of reasons are usually more distant from core of this theme than these.

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fraggle said:

This is a meaningless question.

"Cause" implies causality, that a cause happened and then an effect followed - ie. a sequence of events. Causality is a property of the universe. So the notion of a "cause of the universe" is meaningless and contradictory.

Unless we exist in a multiverse, in which case a cause lies outside in the larger structure generating universes. Or, in the event that "false vacuum" collapse actually does take place, then this universe is the result of the last one's collapse.

You've replaced the problem in that case, however. Why's there a multiverse, or a cyclic universe? Ultimately, a futile line of inquiry that, if worth examining at all, must certainly be done outside of scientific pursuit.

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1. If I didn't like my life, it'd either improve it, or ruin it for those around me.

2. No.

3. So much is unknown about the universe. I just gather what knowledge I can based on what we can observe.

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As opposed to all of the non-conscious matter in the universe, we are lucky enough to possess consciousness. We should be thankful and feel very lucky. That's my attitude.

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