The difference is that we can show that those processes actually exist, and that the evidence is consistent with those processes. You can't say the same for a belief in deities.
That's a big difference. Should have more than one sentence. Where's my colours and bold font?
This is where it comes down to your highest priority for the motivation behind your beliefs.
Are you trying to get an accurate representation of the truth as best we can? Then this is a significant point to understand. Do you have an alternative higher priority? Then this is not a significant point.
Alternative priorities could be:
-peer pressure/fitting in -personal desire/comfort -fear of backlash/authority figures -just don't care/not an overly important concept for living your life -love for other people who have alternative priorities and you don't want to upset them/respect for other personal relationships -personal need to have "all the answers"/uncomfortable with "the unknown" -personal drive to always "be better than the Jones's"/my God is more powerful than your God
As an atheist, I do feel extremely philosophically limited, though. There's a lot of bullshit out there and I find myself unable to accept most of it. But limited in some sort of "cannot attain certain levels of personal growth" sort of way? No. That's just a human thing.
Some people are better at basketball than others. Some people are better at spiritual growth than others. Being an atheist isn't a factor... it may possibly be a byproduct (quite possible that those who are not good at spiritual growth may lean more towards atheism)... but just "being an atheist" is definitely not a contributing factor to limiting yourself in any way. Philosophically or otherwise.
As an atheist, I do feel extremely philosophically limited, though. There's a lot of bullshit out there and I find myself unable to accept most of it.
If being philosophically free or unlimited means that I have to believe in bullshit, then I don't want to be philosophically free or unlimited. I think it is a GOOD thing to limit one's positive statements to those things that have positive evidence.
What we are ultimately being accused of is not being gullible enough to believe in faith based deity claims.
Even the religious have a phrase for that: "don't be so open minded your brain falls out" ( I say religious because I have seen it on more than one church billboard).
Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal, the pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything.
It is also the consensus position that the evangelist was not the apostle Matthew. Such an idea is based on the second century statements of Papias and Irenaeus. As quoted by Eusebius in Hist. Eccl. 3.39, Papias states: "Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." In Adv. Haer. 3.1.1, Irenaeus says: "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church." We know that Irenaeus had read Papias, and it is most likely that Irenaeus was guided by the statement he found there. That statement in Papias itself is considered to be unfounded because the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek and relied largely upon Mark, not the author's first-hand experience.
Herman N. Ridderbos writes (Matthew, p. 7):
This means, however, that we can no longer accept the traditional view of Matthew's authorship. At least two things forbid us to do so. First, the tradition maintains that Matthew authored an Aramaic writing, while the standpoint I have adopted does not allow us to regard our Greek text as a translation of an Aramaic original. Second, it is extremely doubtful that an eyewitness like the apostle Matthew would have made such extensive use of material as a comparison of the two Gospels indicates. Mark, after all, did not even belong to the circle of the apostles. Indeed Matthew's Gospel surpasses those of the other synoptic writers neither in vividness of presentation nor in detail, as we would expect in an eyewitness report, yet neither Mark nor Luke had been among those who had followed Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry.
J. C. Fenton argues (The Gospel of Saint Matthew, p. 12):
It is usually thought that Mark's Gospel was written about A.D. 65 and that the author of it was neither one of the apostles nor an eyewitness of the majority of the events recorded in his Gospel. Matthew was therefore dependent on the writing of such a man for the production of his book. What Matthew has done, in fact, is to produce a second and enlarged edition of Mark. Moreover, the changes which he makes in Mark's way of telling the story are not those corrections which an eyewitness might make in the account of one who was not an eyewitness. Thus, whereas in Mark's Gospel we may be only one remove from eyewitnesses, in Matthew's Gospel we are at one remove further still.
Francis Write Beare notes (The Gospel according to Matthew, p. 7):
But the dependence of the book upon documentary sources is so great as to forbid us to look upon it as the work of any immediate disciple of Jesus. Apart from that, there are clear indications that it is a product of the second or third Christian generation. The traditional name of Matthew is retained in modern discussion only for convenience.
The author is an anonymous Jewish-Christian. Eduard Schweizer writes (The Good News according to Matthew, p. 16):
The Jewish background is plain. Jewish customs are familiar to everyone (see the discussion of 15:5), the debate about the law is a central question (see the discussion of 5:17-20), and the Sabbath is still observed (see the discussion of 24:20). The dispute with the Pharisees serves primarily as a warning to the community (see the introduction to chapters 24-25); but a reference to leading representatives of the Synagogue is not far below the surface. Above all, the method of learned interpretation of the Law, which "looses" and "binds," was still central for Matthew and his community (see the discussion of 16:19; 18:18). Preservation of sayings, such as 23:2-3, which support the continued authority of Pharisaic teaching, and above all the special emphasis placed on the requirement not to offend those who still think in legalistic terms (see the discussion of 17:24-27), shows that dialogue with the Jewish Synagogue had not broken off. On the other hand, a saying like 27:25 shows that the Christian community had conclusively split with the Synagogues, even though hope for the conversion of Jews was not yet totally dead.
Robert Kysar writes the following on the authorship of the Gospel of John (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 3, pp. 919-920):
The supposition that the author was one and the same with the beloved disciple is often advanced as a means of insuring that the evangelist did witness Jesus' ministry. Two other passages are advanced as evidence of the same - 19:35 and 21:24. But both falter under close scrutiny. 19:35 does not claim that the author was the one who witnessed the scene but only that the scene is related on the sound basis of eyewitness. 21:24 is part of the appendix of the gospel and should not be assumed to have come from the same hand as that responsible for the body of the gospel. Neither of these passages, therefore, persuades many Johannine scholars that the author claims eyewitness status.
There is a case to be made that John, the son of Zebedee, had already died long before the Gospel of John came to be written. It is worth noting for its own sake, even though the "beloved disciple" need not be identified with John, the son of Zebedee. In his ninth century Chronicle in the codex Coislinianus, George Hartolos says, "[John] was worth of martyrdom." Hamartolos proceeds to quote Papias to the effect that, "he [John] was killed by the Jews." In the de Boor fragment of an epitome of the fifth century Chronicle of Philip of Side, the author quotes Papias: Papias in the second book says that John the divine and James his brother were killed by Jews. Morton Enslin observes (Christian Beginnings, pp. 369-370): "That PapiasÂ’ source of information is simply an inference from Mark 10:35-40 or its parallel, Matt. 20:20-23, is possible. None the less, this Marcan passage itself affords solid ground. No reasonable interpretation of these words can deny the high probability that by the time these words were written [ca. 70 CE] both brothers had 'drunk the cup' that Jesus had drunk and had been 'baptized with the baptism' with which he had been baptized." Since the patristic tradition is unanimous in identifying the beloved disciple with John, at least this evidence discredits the patristic tradition concerning the authorship of the Gospel of John.
If the author of the Gospel of John were an eyewitness, presumably the author would have known that Jesus and his compatriots were permitted to enter the synagogues. But at one several points it is stated that those who acknowledged Jesus as the Christ during the life of Jesus were put out of the synagogue. This anachronism is inconceivable as the product of an eyewitness.
Kysar states that most scholars today see the historical setting of the Gospel of John in the expulsion of the community from the synagogue (op. cit., p. 918). The word aposynagogos is found three times in the gospel (9:22, 12:42, 16:2). The high claims made for Jesus and the response to them (5:18), the polemic against "the Jews" (9:18, 10:31, 18:12, 19:12), and the assertion of a superiority of Christian revelation to the Hebrew (1:18, 6:49-50, 8:58) show that "the Johannine community stood in opposition to the synagogue from which it had been expelled." (p. 918)
Kysar states concerning the dating of the Gospel of John: "Those who relate the expulsion to a formal effort on the part of Judaism to purge itself of Christian believers link the composition of the gospel with a date soon after the Council of Jamnia, which is supposed to have promulgated such an action. Hence, these scholars would date John after 90. Those inclined to see the expulsion more in terms of an informal action on the part of a local synagogue are free to propose an earlier date." (p. 919)
There is also the part of
Helms argues: "So the gospel attributed, late in the second century, to John at Ephesus was viewed as an anti-gnostic, anti-Cerinthean work. But, very strangely, Epiphanius, in his book against the heretics, argues against those who actually believed that it was Cerinthus himself who wrote the Gospel of John! (Adv. Haer. 51.3.6). How could it be that the Fourth Gospel was at one time in its history regarded as the product of an Egyptian-trained gnostic, and at another time in its history regarded as composed for the very purpose of attacking this same gnostic? I think the answer is plausible that in an early, now-lost version, the Fourth Gospel could well have been read in a Cerinthean, gnostic fashion, but that at Ephesus a revision of it was produced (we now call it the Gospel of John) that put this gospel back into the Christian mainstream."
I personally push it to 6.5 in my own case.. I would say 'It is highly unlikely'.
It is definitely one sided as far as objective evidence goes. It's amusing to watch GDR try to apply logic to faith though.
I can't decide whether he is simply being dishonest or trying to win a debate when he says it is highly unlikely that natural processes are at work when ALL the evidence we have for any phenomena is that of natural processes.
At least for any current definition of God that is defined.
Sure, which is a great point also. We are, for lack of a better word, a-theist as far as theology, specifically, goes. Those conceptualized gods of mythology, both Greek and Jewish, have seen better days. So I can fully accept someone saying they're a 7 (6.5 works fine for me) with the available evidence.
Other than that, I don't know what is meant by God, so that would put me in the ignostic category.
I take this position when debating a deist. First they need to define what they mean by god before I can look at the available evidence to draw any conclusion.