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Being an athiest takes more faith?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 10th, 2019, 4:07 pm

h_k_s
Unless a person has an experience like Moses at Mt. Sinai, or Elijah at Mt. Horeb, or Peter, James, and John on the Mount Of Transfiguration, or Paul on the road to Damascus, then he or she can have no possible comprehension of what God(s) is/are like, true. Hence he/she would infer an anthropomorphized God(s). In each of these stories there was One God. But there could be many.
This is why we have philosophy: it cleanses bad thinking, while maintaining the primacy of inquiry. The trouble with those Biblical events is that they are canonical ways of excluding regular folks from even imagining something like this could occur with them. Philosophy is jnana yoga, and the religious epiphany at the end of this discipline is post modern realization language is not the vehicle to proceed with. One must, as the Buddhist allegory goes, once the river is crossed, abandon the boat.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Thomyum2 » June 10th, 2019, 8:21 pm

Binyamin7 wrote:
June 2nd, 2019, 12:55 pm
Hope everyone is doing well today. So I have a thought on the list of impossible things we have to believe to be an athiest vs be a thiest. Let's for the sake of this exercise say that an impossible thing is something that cannot be reproduced or observed in any way today and actually looks "impossible" to the best of our understanding.
I hope you all are doing well too. I'm late to join this discussion but thought it might be a good place to make my very first post.

I wanted to mention an aspect of this idea that no one seems to have explored yet, which is the difference between 'faith' and belief'. You've listed a number of ideas which are mean to summarize the beliefs of someone of a particular faith, but isn't faith itself more than beliefs? Isn't faith what we accept and act on in the face of uncertainty, the thing that we allow or choose to believe when we can't know something for sure? For me, faith goes beyond a list of particular tenets or a dogma that I either believe to be true or false - it's more of an act of trust or acceptance without having certainty of an outcome. In fact, to the contrary, if something can be proven to us with certainty, then there is no longer a place for an act of faith. And whereas 'belief' describes how we think, 'faith' underlies how we act and how we live.

We commonly attribute faith to belief in a divine or supreme being, but faith permeates our lives in a lot more ways than just that. For example, in our relationships with other people, we learn to trust people, which demonstrates faith because we don't know for certain that a person will make the choices that we expect they will, but we act on that hope and expectation anyway. So I don't think it's quite accurate to classify a person's faith by just a set of ideas that one is supposedly meant to believe or not in order to be considered of a particular faith. Most atheists or theists, or people of any faith, might well tell you what ideas define how they classify themselves, but faith itself comes from a choice, a 'leap', if you will, into the unknown as a conscious and decisive act in the face of uncertainty which often isn't based on reason or logic or having being persuaded about the likelihood of a particular idea being true. Any thoughts?

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Alias » June 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 8:21 pm
I wanted to mention an aspect of this idea that no one seems to have explored yet, which is the difference between 'faith' and belief'.
No need. The question was restricted to faith - which is specifically and exclusively belief without evidence.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Sculptor1 » June 12th, 2019, 6:46 am

Alias wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm
Thomyum2 wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 8:21 pm
I wanted to mention an aspect of this idea that no one seems to have explored yet, which is the difference between 'faith' and belief'.
No need. The question was restricted to faith - which is specifically and exclusively belief without evidence.
I would go further and relegate believe to a faith exclusive position.
Instead of believe I'd always use the word knowledge.
Because it never matters what you believe, it only matters if you know something.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 9:17 am

Alias
No need. The question was restricted to faith - which is specifically and exclusively belief without evidence.
You mean empirical evidence. There is other "evidence" altogether. Why, for example, are we born to suffer and die? Suffering, especially of the. say, medieval variety wherein many lived simply to suffer: What the F*** is THAT even doing there? At all?? evolution can tell us about its genesis, but cannot touch its reality. This is an apriori argument that says suffering must have it redemption. A logical/phenomenological necessity that issues from the nature of suffering itself.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Alias » June 12th, 2019, 9:56 am

Hereandnow wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 9:17 am
You mean empirical evidence.
Of course.
There is other "evidence" altogether.
Subjectively, you may interpret "other" as evidence, sure.
Why, for example, are we born to suffer and die?
"Why?" requires a chain of cause and effect relationships to be established. Of course, that one is a begged question to begin with, which would make any investigation problematic - unless you had the answer beforehand and only want to confirm it: i.e. faith
Suffering, especially of the. say, medieval variety wherein many lived simply to suffer: What the F*** is THAT even doing there? At all??
evolution can tell us about its genesis, but cannot touch its reality.
Eh? Nobody lives simply to suffer unless suffering is inflicted on them by others, who generally do it purposefully and know exactly why.
This is an apriori argument that says suffering must have it redemption.
IOW, faith. The very notion of redemption for suffering presupposes 1. that the suffering is meted out by some authority, 2. that it is somehow deserved 3. that there is a set ransom which can be substituted for the sentence, 4. that the fine or ransom will be accepted by the judge, who 5. will then end the punishment and pardon the crime.
You may have some internal evidence for this state of affairs, but that's not the state of affairs out here in the material world.
A logical/phenomenological necessity that issues from the nature of suffering itself.
It issues from somewhere. I doubt very much that suffering produces anything like a concept of redemption --- or any ideas. Feeling bad may suggest ideas to the adult human who feels bad, but his ideas go no way at all to spare the elephants being slaughtered for their tusks or to relive the pain of an infant born with microcephaly.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 8:10 pm

alias:
"Why?" requires a chain of cause and effect relationships to be established. Of course, that one is a begged question to begin with, which would make any investigation problematic - unless you had the answer beforehand and only want to confirm it: i.e. faith
implies that the knowledge of genetic causal exhausts explanatory accounts. Explaining how something comes to be (and this is by no means settled, given how our ability to understand causality presupposes the objectivity of knowing anything at all, and this kind of thing cannot be disentanged from our systems of knowing. Cognition is, after all, not confirmed by any standard beyond itself) can never explain the "what" of a thing. This latter is always simply to be assumed. Here, it is very much called into question, as it should be. After all, the whole affair of faith rests with the absence of a foundation for suffering. Were there truly a God to tell all, the world religion's would replaced by dogmatic institutions grounded in an absolute. But God hasn't shown up for this. Thus, we are left with the open question of human ethics and values. Why are we born to to suffer and die? is an open question.
Eh? Nobody lives simply to suffer unless suffering is inflicted on them by others, who generally do it purposefully and know exactly why.
Eh? You mean when I slipped on the ice and sprained my ankle, I should have been screaming, I'm being oppressed!! Or when the medieval women watched their families gangrenous extremities and belching puss, it was....somebody?? who did this to them? Whatever do you have in mind? The point I am making is that the conditions of our existence include disease, famine, as well as the horrors of the dungeon and the rest. Why, the question is, is it that our Being in the world has this dimension to it at all?
IOW, faith. The very notion of redemption for suffering presupposes 1. that the suffering is meted out by some authority, 2. that it is somehow deserved 3. that there is a set ransom which can be substituted for the sentence, 4. that the fine or ransom will be accepted by the judge, who 5. will then end the punishment and pardon the crime.
You may have some internal evidence for this state of affairs, but that's not the state of affairs out here in the material world.
No, suffering needing redemption simply means that it is not a stand alone feature of this world. Talk about authorities responsible for the foundational "givens" is simply metaphysical nonsense. Suffering in the world is not stand alone. Say no more. We are not like the catholic church with a catechism for everything. Desert is the issue. Can one even make sense of this term? No. Nor terms like responsiblity, moral accountability and the like. The rest have no relation to the discussion. They are anthropomorphisms of eternity.
It issues from somewhere. I doubt very much that suffering produces anything like a concept of redemption --- or any ideas. Feeling bad may suggest ideas to the adult human who feels bad, but his ideas go no way at all to spare the elephants being slaughtered for their tusks or to relive the pain of an infant born with microcephaly.
Suffering itself produces the need for redemption, though this term, as with all terms, is interpretative. Our reason, our sensory intuitions, and our values are all of them, tranascendental at the level of basic assumptions. It may not be comfortable to think at this level, but the issue here is faith, and faith issues begin where the positing within a system of logic and language loses its meaning. Existential faith takes the matter as far as can be taken, putting aside the arbitrariness of dogmatic religious belief, and looking to our actuality for insight.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Alias » June 12th, 2019, 11:30 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 8:10 pm
[alias:"Why?" requires a chain of cause and effect relationships to be established.]
implies that the knowledge of genetic causal exhausts explanatory accounts.
I neither said nor implied anything about genetics. I said that "why" questions require a different kind of investigation from "how" questions" or "what" questions. "Why" demands a demonstration of cause and/or will.
Why are we born to to suffer and die? is an open question.
No. It is a begged question. It contains an unproven assumption as its premise, like "Why do you beat your wife? "
The point I am making is that the conditions of our existence include disease, famine, as well as the horrors of the dungeon and the rest.
Include. Are not the purpose of. Slipping on ice or getting an infection is not what you were born for. Most people are not born for any purpose at all; they have to make up their own. Life does not necessarily include pestilence famine - it might do so naturally, but quite a lot of those are man-made, often following on war, which is entirely man-made. Your medieval serf was condemned from birth to a condition that included much suffering - but it's not life that created those conditions; it was his fellow man.
Why, the question is, is it that our Being in the world has this dimension to it at all?
Sensory input is necessary to survival. If you couldn't feel, you wouldn't be able to orient yourself, balance, learn a skill, walk on uneven ground, distinguish potentially harmful objects from potentially tasty ones. When tissue is damaged, the sensory input is unpleasant. There is nobody to ask why this is: damaged things malfunction. Biology doesn't plan or intend or reason or justify itself: it just works.
But once humans realized that unpleasant sensation can be achieved by deliberately inflicting damage on tissue, they were quick to employ it as an instrument of control.
No, suffering needing redemption simply means that it is not a stand alone feature of this world.
The world doesn't have any stand-alone features. Redemption means:
OED - The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.
Talk about authorities responsible for the foundational "givens" is simply metaphysical nonsense... etc, etc.
Then so is "redemption" as applied to natural suffering.
Say no more.
Quite so.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 13th, 2019, 10:53 am

Alias

I neither said nor implied anything about genetics. I said that "why" questions require a different kind of investigation from "how" questions" or "what" questions. "Why" demands a demonstration of cause and/or will.
No, Ididn't mean genetics as the study of genes in DNA. I meant it as a study of original causes. But your response opens up an interesting issue. Why why question here is an ethical one, and this is different from asking why, e.g., the mountain erodes when it rains, which is a question, looking to the genetic causes of erosion. It is this ethical dimension to the Why of suffering that science cannot examine. We interrogate people as to why they assault others and the like; the why, the ethical why, does imply agency. It is always "as if" there were someone accountable, and this, I assume, is the source of your claim that the question begs the question, for it assumes there is a "someone" responsible, not just a causal chain. The distinction is a good, for it makes the point: The why of human suffering is not capable of being addressed causally, for such an explanation would not encompass the ethical nature the matter. It would simply exaplain how. The assumption defended by most who examine this question is that all there is, is the simple, non ethical, causal account. that is, when one throws his/her outrage in bootless cries to the heavens, there is "no one" there to be accountable. This is the essence of ethical nihilism.
But here is the trouble: suffering requires, and I mean this in the logical or cognitively coercive way, in an intuitive and therefore "given" way, redemption. I have my eye on Vishnu, a child in the streets of Dehli, who maimed for profit at three, and wanders the streets infested, malarial,and so forth. He is just an example. He will die an ugly death, no doubt, after a life little but misery, and this is just a solid fact. We cannot assume God to be an ethical agency like here in our world. That would be an anthropomorphism. And yet the coerced need for Vishu's redemption abides, unmitigated. This is the justification that exceeds faith: It is not the blind dogmatic adherence to a comforting religion. It is IN the world, this coercive nature aspect of suffering.

This a take to be a response to your various remarks, most of which are not commensurate with the issue.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Alias » June 13th, 2019, 3:46 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 10:53 am
... But your response opens up an interesting issue. Why why question here is an ethical one,
Then you're back to the same fallacy with a different hat on: To whom is this ethical why addressed?
Pain being a natural - specifically biological - phenomenon, it has no intention, no will, no persona. Where would it get a moral sense? How could it answer a question about ethics -- which were not even invented until a very, very long time after pain.
It is this ethical dimension to the Why of suffering that science cannot examine.
Religion can, only by inventing a human face to paste onto nature.
Without a god or gods to direct your question to, the question is moot.
The why of human suffering is not capable of being addressed causally, for such an explanation would not encompass the ethical nature the matter. It would simply exaplain how.
That's all that can be explained - unless you take a particular individual to task for a particular harm they have caused.
Suffering doesn't possess an ethical nature. Nature doesn't possess an ethical nature. Snails do not possess an ethical nature. Ethical behaviour is the exclusive property of intelligent social animals; the concept is the exclusive property of the human species.
But here is the trouble: suffering requires, and I mean this in the logical or cognitively coercive way, in an intuitive and therefore "given" way, redemption.
Suffering knows nothing, thinks nothing, feels nothing, does nothing and demands nothing. It is not an entity; it has no independent existence: it is the comprehensive label given by humans to their own negative sensations. Suffering is experienced; it may be inflicted or relieved, but it cannot be bartered. There is no redemption.
....And yet the coerced need for Vishu's redemption abides, unmitigated. This is the justification that exceeds faith: It is not the blind dogmatic adherence to a comforting religion. It is IN the world, this coercive nature aspect of suffering.
No. It is in the the mind of an aware, compassionate human. Whoever inflicted the damage on this child - on any sentient other being - may possibly redeem him or herself by acts of outstanding kindness. Possibly.
But there is no price, no second chance, no pardon, no redemption for victims.
The child Vishnu, along with all the elephants, bears, chickens, dolphins and political prisoners, is a waste product of life.
This a take to be a response to your various remarks, most of which are not commensurate with the issue.
The issue: faith, do those who reject the human face pasted on nature require more faith?
No.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Belindi » June 13th, 2019, 4:43 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
I don't think it's quite accurate to classify a person's faith by just a set of ideas that one is supposedly meant to believe or not in order to be considered of a particular faith. Most atheists or theists, or people of any faith, might well tell you what ideas define how they classify themselves,
That's a common possibly the most common usage of the term 'faith'. It's not incorrect.

but faith itself comes from a choice, a 'leap', if you will, into the unknown as a conscious and decisive act in the face of uncertainty which often isn't based on reason or logic or having being persuaded about the likelihood of a particular idea being true. Any thoughts?
I myself much prefer this usage of 'faith' as motivation, and I never use the word in it's sense of religious persuasion. I prefer this usage of 'faith' because we frequently exist in a state of extreme uncertainty. This is a very uncomfortable state to be in. The Trolley Problem is an example of extreme uncertainty. Sufficient faith or 'motivation' to cause action is a good or a bad thing in proportion as the faith or motivation is inspired by good intention.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 14th, 2019, 9:35 am

Alias
Then you're back to the same fallacy with a different hat on: To whom is this ethical why addressed?
Pain being a natural - specifically biological - phenomenon, it has no intention, no will, no persona. Where would it get a moral sense? How could it answer a question about ethics -- which were not even invented until a very, very long time after pain.
This is what happens to philosophy when what Husserl called the "naturalistic" attitude dominates theory. First, consider that while the tern 'pain' is interpretatively bound as are all terms. The conditions we may insist apply are tentative, open and contextual.When it comes to matters of faith and metaphysically foundational ideas, absolutes, we see that the familiar ways of thinking are seriously inadequate. This is why terms like 'God' come into existence: it is a placeholder, a metaphor that draws on the familiar to GIVE a foundation to the human condition, but such a term is only borrowed. Here, 'pain' is certainly a very contextually familiar term. You, that is, your side of the issue, would hold there is only one way pain can be interpreted with ethical meaning, and that would be in the context of people and their affairs. Beyond this, say, the accidental breaking your leg in a fall, there is no ethical aspect since there is no "who" to track down--putting aside, of course, incidental entanglements, like when someone's negligence causes the conditions of you falling. That is beside the point here. this latter is an important point for it goes to the heart of the issue. There comes a point in analysis of pain in context where accountability runs out. Playing that absurd post modernist game where questions meet every assertion actually shows this clearly: the question "why" trails off into endlessness, until are exasperated and give up. All things are like this, and the biologist, the physicist and the rest simply don't attend to this. They stay in context, but inquiry goes out to eternity. Who cares when it comes to terms like cloud a tree and coffee cup, but pain is very, very different. It is its "thereness" out of context that haunts humanity. Pain is intrinsically ethical, essentially an ethical term and its accountability is not spelled out in familiar terms. Of course, this is true of all things. The term 'cloud' is equally a mystery if you track it down the point where context is left behind, all things are mystified like this; but again, who cares about clouds and the absolute definition of a cloud? The term 'cloud' is not intrinsically ethical, only contingently so, as, say, when they becomes filled with radioactivity after the some sovereign nation test its aggressive potential.
Because pain is inherently ethical, one might say it calls out for a "who did this," and this is the naturla tendency. But it is not so much a who that metaphysics presents us with, and this natural tendency should be put aside. It is a what that we encounter first. How is it that pain can be inherently "bad", bad in the ethical sense? we cannot treat this term in the usual way, like terms like 'cloud' and the rest that have no inherent ethcal dimension. BUt: Given the naturalistic attitude that dominates our thinking, we are predisposed to do just this. This is why people don't understand what religion is all about. They go after the obvious targets, like the personification in God, and all of the silly history of metaphysics.
This is where we find the objectivity of religion
Religion can, only by inventing a human face to paste onto nature.
Without a god or gods to direct your question to, the question is moot.
Inventing a human face helps if you are not so interested justifying your thinking. Looking more closely at things shows their essence.
That's all that can be explained - unless you take a particular individual to task for a particular harm they have caused.
Suffering doesn't possess an ethical nature. Nature doesn't possess an ethical nature. Snails do not possess an ethical nature. Ethical behaviour is the exclusive property of intelligent social animals; the concept is the exclusive property of the human species.
Well, what is a snail? I mean, and I mean this seriously, when you look at a snail, you bring the snail into the context of observation, you observation. You assimilate it, and in doing so, the question is begged: these interpretative standards, what are they? What are they based on? I cannot take the time here to explain how important this is, but I refer you to Kierkegaard, Heidegger , Husserl, and other (not at all that these confirm what I defend here, but the establish a phenomenological grounding for the meaning of being interpretatively delimited) but consider: the true reality of the snail is only to be had in the the very small world of the interior phenomenology of the snail. If there is value there, and I suspect there is, there is a spark of the ethical, but I have no idea how to fathom this. To speak in common terms about snails and ethics seems absurd. ( I don't know, would you put a live snail in a microwave? How about a cat? Ethics most certainly applies here)
No. It is in the the mind of an aware, compassionate human. Whoever inflicted the damage on this child - on any sentient other being - may possibly redeem him or herself by acts of outstanding kindness. Possibly.
But there is no price, no second chance, no pardon, no redemption for victims.
The child Vishnu, along with all the elephants, bears, chickens, dolphins and political prisoners, is a waste product of life.
Waste product? But already know this is not true. You are taking 'waste product' from a non ethical context, and bringing it to bear on ethical agents. It is a categorial *(or categorical, putting aside the ambiguity) error. We never think of people like this because they are value agents, that is, they are joyful, suffering, in love, in anguish, and so on. Only if you remove this dimi=ension of being a person can you think like this. Welcome to the world of the nazis, of Corey Lewandowski, of all the horrible, amoral smucks of the world! Turn a person into an object: the very essence of war, say Levinas.

Sorry for all the writing. I am on a break these days.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Alias » June 14th, 2019, 1:04 pm

We never think of people like this because they are value agents, that is, they are joyful, suffering, in love, in anguish, and so on.
No? But you think of caribou, raccoons and pigs like this, even though they are joyful and anguished.
You want your own species to be precious, yet the powerful among you treat the powerless like garbage.
There is no escape, no rescue and redemption.

Objective reality has no ethical context. Reality has no ethics.
People have ethics : morality is an entirely and exclusively human invention, like law and music and gunpowder.
If you want to pretend that the universe gives a flying fig how you feel about its processes, and how you evaluate them according to some arbitrary standard of human behaviour, fine. If Theories make you feel in control and significant, fine.
Me, I have little faith and few illusions.
If that somehow offends Philosophy", I can only hope Philosophy will recover.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Hereandnow » June 14th, 2019, 3:39 pm

Alias
No? But you think of caribou, raccoons and pigs like this, even though they are joyful and anguished.
You want your own species to be precious, yet the powerful among you treat the powerless like garbage.
There is no escape, no rescue and redemption.

Objective reality has no ethical context. Reality has no ethics.
People have ethics : morality is an entirely and exclusively human invention, like law and music and gunpowder.
If you want to pretend that the universe gives a flying fig how you feel about its processes, and how you evaluate them according to some arbitrary standard of human behaviour, fine. If Theories make you feel in control and significant, fine.
Me, I have little faith and few illusions.
If that somehow offends Philosophy", I can only hope Philosophy will recover.
Yeah, I've heard this before, a lot of it. I know when someone is not reading at all closely, or just at all, what is being written. Sounds like you bypassed reading and just went for the response.There is, as I said, a lot of that going on. Philosophy offended? Not likely.

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Re: Being an athiest takes more faith?

Post by Belindi » June 14th, 2019, 4:33 pm

Here and Now, pain is not inherently ethical , pain is physiological . Medics don't want to banish pain because living organisms need pain, discomfort, or irritability so that can escape from or learn to avoid harmful environments.

If someone's negligence was an immediate cause of your breaking your leg, the pain you suffer is one thing and the intention(including carelessness) of the person who caused the injury is another thing. Time was when justice meant simple reciprocity of tooth for tooth. Small children understand this primitive form of justice; like when the little boy accidentally broke a cup he was not as culpable as the other little boy who accidentally broke three cups.

For the past two thousand years or more intentions have been more and more taken account of for religious laws and civil laws.Inanimate things and to a large and significant extent other animals cannot have intentions.

Being an atheist needs more courage of the atheist's own convictions. The atheist can't escape from the examination of his own intentions by obeying the letter of some codified religious law.There are some morally advanced people who will even defy civil law for the sake of a more universal good.

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