I have been um....waffling between atheism and deism for a little while now. I know there are atheist groups I could go to ask this type of question, but I trust you guys here because we have some common background, and a little history.
Anyway...I was trying to defend the atheist viewpoint in a discussion with a TBM (true believing Mormon or orthodox Mormon) at work. And I feel like he stumped me. (I am trying hard to make up my mind, because I feel like being agnostic is just too non commital! :)
Anyway, if you have seen the movie Contact you will know where this thought comes from. He said proving god is like proving emotion. Have you ever felt love? Prove it. Have you ever felt angry? Prove it. Maybe this is a ridiculously weak argument, but I think it makes sense. Maybe God if there is one is intangible like emotion. How could we prove it?
to which someone responded:
I love it when they ask me that question! Yes, people do feel love, and anger, and passion, etc., but that does not prove anything close to the existence of any supreme being. Logically speaking, how can the fact that you have feelings causally connect to the existence of a God? It is simply an emotion caused by your brain's reaction to external stimuli in order to understand and if necessary defend yourself from harm. After all, animals have emotion too. It's a mechanism of nature and nothing else. And, using logic, it cannot be given as proof of God.
Joseph Smith once said that people lived on the moon. We're still waiting for that one. Does he believe in that?
My point according to my atheism is that anything that cannot be proven to exist by logic is false. Just like you cannot prove the existence of the terms "good" and "evil" because it's only a perception. For instance, one's good is another's evil. According to logic, emotions exist because we experience them directly. But, we have to experience God indirectly, and his only proof is through other objects, given BY US.
I've never had a conversation with God. I've never seen him. For me, it is proof that God doesn't exist. If today I see him when I walk to class, I'll change my mind. But until then, I don't believe.
Your coworkers seem to think that faith can be proven logically. Faith is illogical because it requires believing in something that you cannot see, smell, hear, etc. As long as they hold to it, use logic to disprove them. Just say that they only have opinions, and since their opinions conflict with others, it cannot be "real" or "true".
and I responded:
The first thing one needs to realize is that atheists don't bear the burden of proof. See this page for starters.
Atheism is not proof or knowledge that a god doesn't exist. It is a lack of belief and nothing more. I go into this in more detail here.
A few things you may want to ask your LDS friend are:
Why does your god need to hide? (ie, If "he" really exists why is
there no evidence? Why doesn't "he" ever show up to the masses?
Why would such a being require something like faith from beings
who "he" gave intelligence, reasoning, etc. to? Basically, why
is faith better than the scientific method?)
Why don't you believe in Unicorns? (After his response ask him to prove it)
history of science
Why does your god need to hide? (ie, If "he" really exists why is there no evidence? Why doesn't "he" ever show up to the masses? Why would such a being require something like faith from beings who "he" gave intelligence, reasoning, etc. to? Basically, why is faith better than the scientific method?)