In the very beginning, if in fact there was a beginning, I try to imagine nothing.
If someone tells me an atheist is someone who believes ultimately everything came from nothing,
the words "Everything came from nothing", seem to be a problem.
If we believe in god we say god always existed and so there was never ever "nothing". This creates the same problem as the belief in atheism. If we expect an atheist to describe how everything came into existence from nothing, should not believers in god be expected to explain how god came into existence.
I see the only difference is that the religious will say god has always been. That is their belief justified in their own minds through other revelations. At the very least it is a theory.
But how does an atheist explain, "starting from nothing" what is their belief or theory without the existence of a higher intelligence?
someone said the other day there is no such thing has nothing.they say the universe was created by the big bang but there has go to be something there to set off the big bang maybe it was god.but then who created god or where did he come from and every religion has there own gods or has the one god got many forms.they have even said that gods to us came from other parts of the universe and have even found cave pictures of what look like spacecraft. figures in spacesuts and firgures coming down in beams of light and most of egyption carvings and writings are influenced by aliens.this has puzzled humans for thousands of years because no one really knows
As with thinking about many things scientifically, the exact beginning of our universe, the origins, are not yet known for sure, may never be known. But the theories, which stem from Einstein's theory of relativity, are more believeable to me than the alternative religious beliefs on the beginning of our universe - one supreme being who cropped up magically and then made everything in 7 days? I go with the scientific theories.
Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go kayaking
I dont understand how to think about "nothing" when I think about this universe ... There cant ever have been "nothing".
Even before the Big Bang took place, the universe .. smaller or layered as it was ... was not suspended in "nothing"... Cant have been...It was in something that was there because of something else before it so on etc.... How can something come from nothing?
"You're wasting your time using logic on these people, MORE MOCKING REQUIRED!"
Defining atheists as people who believe that everything came from nothing is a lie spread by creationists.
Atheists don't believe in deities, that is all.
There are other beliefs that an atheist might hold, some of them relate to the origin of the universe. I can only speak for myself when I say that I believe the universe came about through natural processes of which we are only just beginning to understand. It is perhaps the most profound question we can ask, aside from "why is there stuff at all?"
Creationists offer the alternative idea that a god created the universe. What raw materials this deity used is not explained. If creationists believe that this god did not need to use raw materials to create the universe, or that this god created the raw materials where there were none before, then it is in fact creationists themselves that believe everything came from nothing.
I think you have to correlate our lack of knowledge about how the universe came to exist with our lack of understanding of the infinity of time. It all comes down to the idea of what was here before that, and what happened before that, and so on and so forth. Our minds are not capable of understanding the concept of a lack of beginning at some point. To us, there has to have been something here prior to what is here now. Even if you believe in the creationist theory, the idea of nothing before creation is unfathomable. For us, everything must have a beginning and an end, before something else can happen. Is this a law of physics? Is time really infinite? What is beyond the outer reaches of the universe as we know it? An infinite number of universes? These kinds of questions have always fascinated me!
It may be well to remember that within the limitations of human language, we really do not understand the terms "nothing" and "everything", except in a very loose way and in comparison to each other. Humans grasp the meanings latent in our world only within a "finite frame of reference". Thus terms like "infinity" and "forever" are at best, mathematical abstractions. We literally CANNOT understand absolutes such as "good versus evil" , "light versus dark" etc., except in reference to each other. From this perceptual condition has evolved a concept that pervades much of human philosophy and religion: "Dualism".
Some scientists and philosophers speculate that the character of all human language is a consequence of the bicameral (two-sided) biological nature of our brains and of human consciousness itself. Scientists recognize this deliberation as a speculation, for we presently lack both the mathematics and a deep understanding of human physiology needed to elaborate such ideas in meaningful terms.
Unlike scientists, conservative and evangelical religious believers often read the first lines of Genesis and take them to be some form of literal rather than figurative or poetic truth. "In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was God, and the Earth was without form and void." There is a remarkable parallel in such phrases to the descriptions of modern astrophysics. However, believers fail or deliberately refuse to understand that such words do not really explain anything more about the origins of our Universe than does the more elaborated and evidential "Big Bang Theory" of science.
The big bang theory is a description of physical process, not of spiritual intention or social morality. The theory proposes that all of the physical content of our Universe was once concentrated as pure energy in a singularity (a point in space which has no physical dimensions of size - again, an abstraction of astrophysical mathematics. At a lesser level of scale, we now understand a stellar black hole also to be a singularity, though it is unclear whether it is like in kind to the Original Singularity). Then "something happened" and the Universe rapidly expanded from this singularity into the four-dimensional frame of reference that we now recognize as our Universe. During this expansion, energy was transformed into matter, and matter itself evolved into ever more complex forms, some of which eventually became self-aware. Again, there is a degree of commonality with poetic references of the earliest Biblical writings. But there, the resemblance seems to stop.
The traditional Bible describes creation as the consequence of an extra-Universal Being having decided to make human beings and give them a planet to have dominion over. Science does not engage in this speculation, for we have no evidence of its truth, other than traditional fables. Atheists go one step further than scientists (or agnostics) in this reasoning. Atheists observe the consequences of belief in an extra-Universal being, and the outcomes of traditional religious dogma as a standard for earthly social behavior. They find such consequences and outcomes unacceptable for the harm done to individuals and to societies in the name of "God". And from this observation and others grows the assertion "there is no God".
In my particular case, I've done the observation too but arrived at a different nuance. For me, "maybe there is a God and maybe there isn't. But we'll never really know while we're alive." And while we're alive, those of us who believe in a God or Gods, have a horrendous amount of human evil, ethical and moral corruption to answer for. Thus I choose to leave the question "is there a God?" unanswered. Instead of becoming mired in endless and unresolvable arguments about the nature of God or his presumed demands and standards for human morality, I base my understanding of human progress and right behavior not on the Bible, but on contemporary ethics and the study of human psychology, sociology, and culture. It might be accurate to say that I am a Humanist and an Empiricist. I base all of my moral judgments on the inherent worth and value of human beings, and on the observation of which behaviors work for human progress versus which do not.
Thus to directly answer the question as posed, it may be said accurately that Atheists believe everything around us came from earlier forms over a period of Billions of years. They reject the notion of a God as an explanation for where everything came from. And they don't *need* that explanation to live very positive, empowered and ethical lives among other human beings.
I really like the last sentence of your post, Red. One other part that got me thinking was where you talked about how we think of things in reference to other things, or as you called it, "dualism". Perhaps the human brain developed with opposing sides in the same way that other physical phenomena occurs in nature. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Positive vs. negative, etc...so perhaps our brain development was just following natural established laws of opposites (you can quote the physics equations for me), but along with this development of opposing sides of the brain would also come the aspects of opposing/differentiated emotional and intellectual development. Does that make sense? And obviously, there is evolutionary advantage for a species to have differentiated behaviors as well. I'm not sure where I'm going with this! ;-)
In general terms, your thoughts reflect the speculations offered by philosophers since the 18th Century. A question of considerable interest to these thinkers has been "Does the dualism of our thinking reflect the objective nature of our reality? Or by contrast, does the structure of our brains create our reality by so shaping our perceptions that we cannot see the world in any way other than in dualisms?" I have never seen a satisfactory closure to that question.
You are also in general terms correct concerning the principles of mass physics, action and reaction. However, though I understand the basic principles as a systems engineer, I doubt I could quote the equations for you meaningfully.
Hi, i was just reading you response
"Thus to directly answer the question as posed, it may be said accurately that Atheists believe everything around us came from earlier forms over a period of Billions of years."
" came from earlier forms" Meaning something always existed?
Re: Do Atheists believe Everything came from nothing?
If Atheists are aware of contemporary science, they probably would not use terms like "always". Approximately 15 Billion years is good enough. So far as our contemporary science knows, it is simply impossible for the human mind to project meaningfully backwards past the astronomical event which we now term "the big bang". We can't know one way or another ("yet"), whether something (perhaps energy in the sense that astrophysics uses the term) might be infinite in duration or not... In any event, that possibility doesn't matter in our current human affairs, except as a speculation or an entertainment.