If God Was Real, He’d Prove Himself To Atheists!

YouTube Preview Image

Atheists tend to whine (about miracles). They happen too often and not nearly enough. They are far too small and insignificant — like stigmata — and far too cosmic and looming — like the existence of the Universe. They have the annoying habit, as Hitchens pointed out, of largely happening to Catholics. They disdain to take place in climate-controlled, clinical studies, and in general, behave with total disregard for the atheist’s feelings.

We’ve all heard the complaint. Perhaps we’ve made it: “If God really wanted me to believe in him, He’d show me he existed! He’d rip open the skies, drop down and tell me: ‘I exist Joe! Therefore, stop smoking weed and posting YouTube videos, it offends my artistic sensibilities, and verily so.’”

"And seriously man, you look whack in a fedora."

So we pray that wonderfully self-contradicting prayer, “God, who I don’t believe exists, prove to me you exist!” And when God makes no response, but instead has the audacity to remain on his cumulus throne, smiting gays and forbidding drinking, we settle back into our sofas and smile, happy that “Well, we tried!” (This, of course, is supremely logical, akin to calling “Dad!” from your living room and, upon hearing no response, concluding you have no Father, but were in fact spawned from the elements of earth.) Off gallop we to L’internet, feverishly assembling a Tumblr post making fun of fundamentalist Christians for believing in God based on a singular, personal experience.

All of which misses the point. If it takes a miracle to make you believe in God, your belief could only ever be miraculous; never your own. Joe could not reject God after such an event any more than he could reject the weather. And without the possibility of rejection there exists no possibility of Love, a fact which the atheist, in his pious fear and trembling, always forgets, that God’s aim is not simply that we believe in Him — it is that we love Him. No miracle in the universe is performed without regards to this Love — no miracle ever was and no miracle ever will be. So please, my dearest, most fabulously good-looking atheistic hipsters, save yourself some time, stop with the “God — who I hate — prove to me that you are real — which I hope you’re not — and I’ll believe in you — but probably won’t be down with all your weird laws–thanks,” and read St. Thomas Aquinas instead.

After all, the Christian does not base his faith on inexplicable occurrences, but on good reasoning, and perhaps a little existentialism. It is always fascinating to me that the atheist assumes he will take pride of place within Christianity, were he ever to believe. He “tests” the claim of religion with the following mentality: “Of course you peasant Christians had to study philosophy, struggle with doubt, and live the sacramental life, but if I am to believe in God, it will be because He made a cow levitate around my head, and subsequently bought me an aaa-reo-plane.”

What Christians need to believe in a Creator.

What atheists need...

Of course, what’s really miraculous is the belief that miracles are impossible. On this point the heathen is the real priest of our age, the great mystic who baffles the common people with inexplicable revelations from Holy Science. “Pigs cannot fly,” he says.

“Why not?” the ignorant Christian rejoins.
“Because of the laws of physics.”
“What are those?”
“Laws we make based on common occurrences. Because pigs have not flown every time we’ve observed them, we can safely assume pigs never fly.”
“But pigs flying would be an uncommon occurrence.”
“Yes.”
“So what you’re saying is that the uncommon occurrence of pigs flying is impossible because commonly, pigs do not. That which is unlikely is impossible, because it is unlikely.”
“Yeth.” The atheist inexplicably developed a lisp.
“What is it that makes a pig go on not-flying?”
“Thience!”
“You must not like quantum physics.”
“No, I do. After all, I am an atheith.”

(It is very easy to win debates with atheists when you get to narrate them.) But all of this you know. What is truly interesting is that even were a miracle to occur according to atheistic standards, it would hardly convince the New Atheist. Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality. The atheists of my generation would only believe the Writing on the Wall if it spelled out “I’m cool with porn now.”

Seriously, what would it take? 1. The miracle would have to be obviously miraculous. No Virgin Mary’s on grilled-cheese, please. 2. There would have to be witnesses. How many? A hundred? Two hundred? Whatever, let’s go crazy — 30,000 to 40,000 witnesses. But they couldn’t all be Christians, right? It could be a really big lie, like the Bible. So 3. we’d need atheists in the crowd. Check. And 4. we need doctors, lawyers, and news reporters all in confirmed agreement, for peasants are easily fooled. 5. It couldn’t be random, it would have to be prophesied in religious terms, less some scientific marvel bedazzle us. 6. And it should be recent, oh yes, so there exists no possibility of a big game of Telephone, within the last 100 years, at least. Would that do it?

It happened. The Miracle of the Dancing Sun occurred in 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, to a crowd of 30,000 to 40,000 witnesses, including scientists, atheists and reporters. They gathered because three shepherd children claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary said a miracle would occur. The best explanation I’ve found for the event is that staring at the sun for too long dazzles the eyes. I went out and stared at the sun, and was unimpressed by the theory, given Dr. Almeida Garrett, Professor of Natural Sciences at Coimbra University’s description of the event, that “the sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl, when suddenly a clamor was heard from all the people. The sun, whirling, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible.” All other explanations seem to go along these lines, “Well stuff like this happens whenever a bunch of religious people get together and expect it.” Yes. Yes it does. But all this doesn’t matter. As far as I can tell, for a miracle to convince an atheist, it must convince an atheist. That’s what it boils down to. The atheist judges God by the almighty standards of himself. For a miracle to be true, the atheist must believe it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Arribadude Daniel Quintero

    Super wise post! While watching the tv show “1,000 ways to die,” I am also taught that even waking up in the morning is in itself miraculous. While the Atheist waits for the big miracle that heightens all of his senses, he ignores the many small yet equally spectacular miracles that occur every day.

  • Erik Feltes

    It reminds me of Chapter 6 in the Gospel of John. At the beginning Jesus feeds five thousand people. That night he leaves and goes across the lake. The next morning the crowd follows him and finds him and declares that if he will give them a miracle they will believe in him. He then proceeds to anger most of them with his bread of life discourse.

    And I always wonder, why would they believe if he miraculously feed them again when they didn’t believe after he miraculously feed them the first time.

    • Christy Hampton

      Off topic, but I once heard an explanation of this that they (the Jews) were waiting for a messiah who would work greater wonders than Moses. Moses (via petition) fed the entire nation of Israel, every day, for 40 years with bread from Heaven. Jesus just fed a measly few thousand on one instance with already provided food. What they didn’t realize was that the bread of life discourse points to the real fulfillment of something greater than Moses, where Jesus would feed all his people with the true Bread from Heaven.

  • patagonia25

    Two awesome and relevant quote sby CS Lewis:

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

    One more…

    “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

  • Charles Culbreth

    Like I silently offered for Hitchens (and still for Hawking), may God bless that young soul despite himself.
    But at the same time, playing Russian Roulette with our Creator (don’t athieths reject ex nihilo at some level?) seems an ominous existential strategy for coping with both reality and quantum (meta)physics.

  • Anonymous

    God bless you for your continued take on the current atheist. Personally I’m bored by it, mostly for the reason you state, they will only take their own experience into account. Well, the opinion and experience of one person through all of history is pretty thin evidence.

  • Jay E.

    I prefer Peter O’Toole’s last prayer to our disembodied friend (who has a way of chewing on his words….). “When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.”

    I rarely find that atheists are ever convinced either by cold hard logical reasoning, or by obvious blatant miracles. I’ve got the “well, their eyes were dazzled” remark before, or actually.. no, it was some crazy magnetic field event thing that occurred only in that precise location, and was thus an optical illusion to anyone present. Which totally explains why the raining stopped and everybody’s clothes dried out.

  • Anonymous

    All I can say is…BRAVO, Oh Bad One!!

  • http://jamiewillhelm.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    The video at the beginning almost made me cry.

  • rachael johnson

    That guy in the video, did he just try to use reverse psychology on God? Oh…wow.

  • Maria

    Just for the record, Stanley Jaki (who came to Fátima and was very impressed by the little shepherds, namely Jacinta, the youngest) has explained this miracle.
    Apparently, it’s a rare and peculiar atmospheric phenomenon that happens in certain conditions which are currently known to scientists (with or without lisps).
    In 1917, however, those conditions ant this phenomenon were absolutely ignored by everyone. So, the miracle was not the so called dance of the sun in itself, but the fact that Our Lady predicted it and that it happened when She said it would.
    The phenomenon was witnessed by people living as far from as 18 km from the site, and it is generally thought that about 70.000 people were in Cova da Iria that day, not only because news of the apparitions were spreading like fire, but because Our Lady had announced that a miracle would take place.
    Great blog, I’m a fan!
    Maria (Portugal)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/ Frank Weathers

    Heh! But then there would be crow to be eaten. But crow tastes good, especially when baked in a pie.

  • Safia

    What a great post.

    Might I add that a similar miracle has occurred at Medjugorje, according to many witnesses, and at any certain moment during the miracle, only certain individuals saw the sun spin, et cetera? Though not yet Church-approved, it’s impossible to deny that something supernatural is going on o’er that way.

    If you haven’t already, might I suggest that you blog about the spiritual/prayer life? I think the writings of Sts. Therese of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross more than prove God’s existence — for psychological explanations do not apply to infused contemplative prayer, and are superficial at best, not to mention that the saints provide wonderful guides for the wandering atheist (the seven mansions, for example). Of course, the atheist’s complete rejection of the spiritual (which is truly ridiculous) might hinder their ability to process, but alas, it’d serve a purpose to put it out there. FIRE WITHIN provides wonderful, intensive coverage.

  • John Henry

    Marc, forgive me for playing devil’s advocate. I was raised in an atheist home and dragged kicking and screaming into the Catholic Church, which was the *last* place I wanted to be – and the past seven years have been proof that what we want and what makes us happy are often two very different things.

    Anyway, one of my biggest gripes about American politics is also one of my biggest complaints about discourse between atheists and Christians: there is so seldom any real effort made to understand the other side.

    The problem is that the theistic view of reality is so radically different from the atheistic view that each side risks looking ridiculous to the other if both sides don’t make an effort to engage in honest and open discussion, which means making an effort to understand and respect someone’s statements before refuting or otherwise addressing them. (A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot restate the point you are addressing in a way that the other party would not unreservedly agree with, you may well have missed that point or there may still be some other obstacle to communication.)

    Now, on to pick a few nits from your (nevertheless excellent) post:

    First, the kid in the video is obviously heartbroken. He needs God as much as I do, and is hurting because he doesn’t experience God’s love for him. May God grant him the true redemptive suffering and compassion he needs, and not the pointless loneliness of Hell he claims to want.

    Second, it’s not true that all us Christians base our faith on good reasoning and existentialism. No doubt there are many who do, but I was never one of them. I have suffered and enjoyed the consolation of God’s tangible presence and conversation for pretty much my entire life, which was what made holding onto the atheism of my childhood such a difficult (perhaps ultimately impossible) task.

    …which brings me to my third point. Yes, atheists judge God by the standard of themselves. What other standard does an individual have than his own thoughts and experiences and desires?

    Finally, you say, “Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.” This is about as facile as saying “Christianity at its heart is not a love affair with God; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of fantasizing about immortality.” There is some truth in both statements. No doubt many atheists are glad to think that God does not exist because acknowledging his existence might mean examining some of their habits and attitudes. And no doubt many Christians are glad to believe in God’s existence (and the existence of the immortal soul) because they are terrified at the thought of personal annihilation. But immorality and immortality are not the important or defining features of atheism or Christianity; that’s why watered-down versions of both (think Unitarianism and New Age spirituality) are lame and don’t ultimately draw and keep many adherents.

    • http://twitter.com/espressobean21 Sarah Martinez

      I love this post. I was talking to my priest yesterday about having discourse with people not of your own religion, and the importance of being open, comfortable and non-threatening. And the tendency of some misguidedly zealous Christians to barrage nonbelievers without making any attempt to understand who they’re talking to, or make any kind of productive approach.

    • Marc Barnes

      You’re absolutely correct, of course. I ask forgiveness, because the atheists I deal with are my own age, New Atheists of the Reddit-variety. I aimed at them, for it is all that will reach them, but stung well-meaning, honest atheists in the crossfire.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        Reach their attention? Possibly.
        Reach them persuasively? Considerably less likely.

        • Marc Barnes

          You’d be surprised. They’re a fun bunch once you get past the douchery.

  • Paula

    “Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.” Spot on.

    • Anonymous

      Inability to justify acts of horrendous nature by believing that forgiveness is a handout makes one more likely to go insane by committing such acts.

    • St Aidan of Lindisfarne

      Okay, if atheism is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality, then how exactly would you explain the widespread pervasive and pernicious Roman Catholic practice of covering up child rape by its own priests and bishops?

      I know you’ll dismiss this as unfair or not understanding Catholic doctrine, and blah blah blah. Actually I do get it. In fact I still keep my old biretta about three feet away from my computer and I keep my old gold chasuble in the closet. So I’m not just some random atheist trying to hit below the belt.

      If you’re going to say that atheism is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality, then you have to address the disgusting way in which the Catholic Church has attempted to absolve itself and shield itself from responsibility for its own gross immorality. If you’re going to attack others below the belt, then be prepared for a below the belt defense.

      The talking points that I always hear when faced with this problem sound much more like they were formulated by a PR firm doing damage control rather than a theologian. My how the church that gave us Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent has fallen.

      • Randy Gritter

        How exactly has “the Catholic Church has attempted to absolve itself and shield itself from responsibility for its own gross immorality.” I don’t mean some guy on some blog. I mean has any serious Catholic leader come out and said the church is not responsible for priestly sex abuse?

      • Randy Gritter

        How exactly has “the Catholic Church has attempted to absolve itself and shield itself from responsibility for its own gross immorality.” I don’t mean some guy on some blog. I mean has any serious Catholic leader come out and said the church is not responsible for priestly sex abuse?

        • St Aidan of Lindisfarne

          There are countless example of the Church attempting to avoid their own responsibility. For example when Belgium began an investigation into priestly sex abuse, the Papal Nuncio protested to the government and the government promptly complied. And then there were the attempts by the Vatican to bully the Irish Government over the Ryan Report. The Irish Government has gone so far as to close its mission to the Vatican. The Church routinely tries to shirk their responsibility by blaming the 60s or the gay rights movement, etc.

          • Miss Doyle

            Just wondering St Aidan, what’s the difference between ‘The Church’ and people in it, or are they one in the same thing?
            Is it ‘The Church’ who has abused children, or some individuals?

          • enness

            Could that have had anything to do with the Irish government’s unsuccessful attempt to make them break the seal of confession, or do I have things out of order?

      • Marc Barnes

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/12/how-to-win-an-argument-with-a-catholic.html

        I’m afraid that the argument that Catholics have done bad things does much to refute the quoted statement is just silly. I appreciate the indignation, I really do, but whether atheism is or is not a justification for immorality is not a question answered by the idiocy of bishops, or the sins of priests…

        • St Aidan of Lindisfarne

          LOL Nice job comparing atheists to the WBC. And when I thought you people couldn’t get any scummier. Seriously, are you trying to prove that your position has the moral high ground? Because you are failing miserably.

          Just as Godwin’s Law states that comparing your intellectual opponent to Hitler or the Nazis is an automatic concession that your argument is defeated, I’m going to have to say your inappropriate comparison of atheists to WBC is a concession of your own moral bankruptcy.

          • Dennis Mahon

            Godwin’s Law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1– it does not imply the automatic concession that an argument is defeated.

          • Marc Barnes

            Naw, the fact that you use the same arguments as the WBC when confronting the RCC isn’t about me taking the high ground, its about you realizing — just perhaps — that the priestsrapeboys approach might not be intellectually satisfying. The rest went on to show that, as it turns out, the Church has always had lower incidents of child-abuse than society in general, has done more to reduce what few incidences they had than any other institution, and has consistently had the balls to put themselves in the media spotlight over the issue. Meanwhile public schools, families, daycares, abortion clinics and all the rest continue with their higher rates of abuse, but no one calls them out, because they’re too fixated on the RCC. Trust me, it doesn’t look good to try and rebut the statement that the new atheism is for the purpose of justifying immorality by reinforcing the sins within the Church…while ignoring the fact that the Church stands above the rest of Western society on this issue.
            Yours truly.

          • Mortal Kombat

            Flawless victory.

      • Micha Elyi

        If [A] you’re going to say that atheism is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality, then [B] you have to address the disgusting way in which the Catholic Church has attempted to absolve itself and shield itself from responsibility for its own gross immorality.

        And how does A imply B in your remark?

        Answer: It doesn’t.

        Also, what the Catholic Church teaches doesn’t justify immorality – even immoral acts committed by its own believers. Thus your attempted tu quoque excuse-making for atheist justification for immorality fails.

        • Richard

          No very true, the Catholic church just simply avoids the abuse issue, in many cases denies that it really happened, covers up as much as the media can’t find, continues to discriminate against anyone that does not believe it’s self serving doctrine. Yes atheism is the evil one! FYI, Islam is about accepting everyone, peace, and respect, that is the doctrine, but in reality, many of the people who follow Islam are an abomination, just like many Catholics, or Christians. I am sure if you go into the prisons there are as many if not more “Christians than Atheists. Being bad is a human fault, nothing to do with religion or atheism. But Doctrine that teaches bad, is simply bad.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

        Seriously? That’s not just below the belt – it just doesn’t hit at all. It makes no logical sense. If you’re going to assault like that, at least use a better example. The difference between RC and atheism in this case is, an Atheist tries to escape guilt by a community who says there is no God to condemn him. The Catholic is surrounded by a community who says God is real, loves and wishes to be loved, who cannot stand to see you thataways, doing what’s wrong.

        • billybagbom

          Can’t stand to see you “whataways,” doing what “wrong”?

      • http://holyspiritblessings.webs.com/ Mindyannbrown

        Catholic is a corrupted false religion is why there are sinners that preach it. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in the false religious speakers so you will not find much from them. We are all sinners who have fallen short the glory of God. You will only find truth through Jesus if you so seek to find truth with your whole heart, He will show you..its that simple..Matthew 7:7
        http://holyspiritblessings.webs.com/
        comment on my blog link if you have something to say after reading this.

    • Debf

      You clearly have never met, or honestly listened to, an atheist. Nor has the writer. But that’s OK, we’re used to bigots like you showing yourselves for the monsters you are. Wouldn’t be the first time a Catholic was cruel to someone for no good reason!

      • Atheist

        I’m not a Christian or catholic. I’m atheist my self. But to be honest with you I don’t think this guy was being a monster to me or anyone, he wasn’t cruel. If you consider he was speaking with truth than what he said wasn’t out of anger or hatred towards us but out of love. Sometimes the truth hurts lol

    • kevin

      i c u know nothing about athiest

    • http://www.facebook.com/ken.clark.7921975 Ken Clark

      Exactly you nailed it

    • Richard

      Such a typical response. I am an atheist, I have far higher morals than most proclaimed Christians, I accept gay people, abhore child abuse, believe psychological intimidation is very bad, and I live a very morally upstanding life filled with love and respect. Would it not be arrogant of me to state that if you believe in God you accept child abuse as ok? Or that the discrimination against other human beings is an acceptable behavior? Looking at Christianity today, I would frankly be ashamed to call my self one! The invented philosophy is religion.

  • A neutral guy

    Hi. I was raised Catholic, but have slowly lost my faith as a result of the religious people of the internet. See, you complain here about the atheists voicing their opinion, yet Christians do the same thing. John Henry’s post underneath mine is wonderful. There are extremists on both sides; and both are just as annoying.

    I have respect for anyone who puts their entire mind and heart into something. Catholic priests and theologians are fantastic examples. They live the way they want to live. What I cannot stand, however, are the people who go around fueling the steorotype that Christians are unintelligent and arrogant. For example, the people on facebook who make all those statuses like “Today was horrible, but I know I always have God looking down on me!” These people just use God because its easier. They are to lazy to read scientific articles, but are also to lazy to read about their faith (you know, the Bible!). These people preach Jesus, yet know nothing of what they are saying.

    I’m not an atheist, yet I’m also unsure if I believe in God. Either way, this post (and all the others) are just as rude as the atheist’s videos and whatnot.

    I would continue, and perhaps organize my thoughts better, but I see no point in it. I stumbled across this blog because a friend was trying to throw God in my face (which was also annoying, and was one of those people I described before. Case and point: one day she was trying hard to make me believe, and I threw a Bible quote at her, and she had no idea what I was talking about).

    I have no quarrel with Christians or Atheists. Good day.

    • Anonymous

      You have a quarrel with me, though, you self-righteous ass, because stupid people are my enemies, wherever I find them.

      Marc didn’t say, and nothing he said could be considered equivalent to saying, he had a problem with atheists voicing their opinions. He has a problem with them saying stupid things, and acting like the stupid things they say—which are laughable on the face of them—are the last word on the matter.

      Understand, you flint-knapping Zinjanthrope, I write hard science fiction, and a blog about philosophy and geek culture. You want to talk about intellectual laziness? Heal thyself, you quack.

      You are so damn right, nobody ever discusses the intersection of science and religion. Why no Christians at all have ever looked into science, or the philosophy of science. There are no Christians at all in the hard sciences, right?

      Oh, no, wait, never mind, actually, none of those things is true. Five seconds with Google would give millions of counterexamples to your risible claims. I’d give you a table of links, but that would take five seconds of my life, and frankly you don’t rate me opening Google in another tab.

      And what monsters those Facebook people are, mentioning that they retain their faith despite adversity. Why they should just be sent to the Gulag for repentence and reeducation!

      You don’t like people throwing God in your face? Well the least you can do is not throw your stupidity in our faces.

      PS. It’s “case in point”.

      PPS. Verse-slinging is an intellectually vacuous endeavor, and nobody with any understanding of Christianity engages in it. People accepted the Bible because they’d accepted the Faith, not the other way around.

      • a neutral guy, again

        Let me say it again, shall I? I had no quarrel with you. It’s now past tense.

        To clarify, I am not bashing an entire religion, nor am I rebuking people who do not believe in anything. I was trying to point out the lazy and insincere.

        My facebook example is from a generation of unintelligent kids who think that believing in God makes them better than someone who does not. As well, the only reason they believe in God is so that they can be better than everyone else. They have warped, self-centered, and greedy motives for believing in God. And the part about the Bible quote just shows how little they know about any Faith other than the blatant fact that there’s a god in it.

        I said nothing about crossing science and religion. I actually would love for this to happen. I still attend Church weekly. One day I brought in the book “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, and I was actually approached by one of the parishioners as to why I was reading it. I was dumbfounded.

        At any rate, I apologize if I came off as a ” self-righteous ass.”

        • Ratio et Fides

          Keep on trying. I’ve been there.

          Your upbringing, reason, and soul attest to God, but you can’t stand some of the people you agree with. Everyone struggles differently. For the analytical person, this is the entry point of doubt and corruption. For the simple-minded, it is the laziness that you talked about. All of these things work against us, but in the end you don’t need to believe for the same reason that the creationist believes.

          This is far too short, but I wanted to encourage you against the poison of snappy, angry internet opinions. From either side.

          I know this: nothing on Facebook should amount to much in the way you parse the meaning of the universe.

        • Nick

          I know that some Christians proclaim their faith more out of pride than out of love. I also know that Jesus encountered similar people, known in His time as the Pharisees (read Matt 23:23-33). But, it’s not about them! As a Christian (and, in particular, a Catholic since we’ve got the Eucharist) you’re called to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… one-to-one, you and Him. All the others can do and say as they please, but what really counts is our relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, repaired through confession, kindled through prayer, consummated through the Eucharist, and resulting in the fruit of good works as we, through the Eucharist, are members of the Body of Christ.

          Pray for people who don’t know Christ and use religion as a means of self-promotion, but even more importantly pray for the humility to personally receive Christ with an open heart. You also might find it helpful to attend adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at a local parish. While there, sit or kneel in the front row if it helps you to focus completely on Jesus.

          I will pray for you, and for the others, but please pray for me too.

      • Kevin Bowman

        I would hope that people accept the bible because they have placed their faith in Christ and the result is that they are personaly hungry spiritualy to learn more about following in the footsteps of Jesus. Their true intent should be to allow themselves to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. To know scripture is to come to know God.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        There are no Christians at all in the hard sciences, right?

        …interesting. I’m not seeing where A neutral guy raised the question of science in religion. (The paper “Strategies for Resisting Persuasion” by Jacks and Cameron seems illuminating; particularly the phrases “Attitude Bolstering” and “Social Validation”, though “Source Derogation”, “Negative Affect”, and possibly “Message Distortion” are also relevant.)

        Since you’ve raised the strawman, let me note that it’s a strawman. There are some few atheists silly enough to present this oversimplified position. Of course, there do exist Christians in the sciences, both hard and soft. What’s less of a strawman is that compared to the overall population of the US, those in the sciences — hard and soft — tend to be disproportionately irreligious. (Philosophers, also.)

        Since you’ve raised the issue of stupidity, I’ll point out another misperception among the atheists is the relation of intelligence and religiosity. No, religiosity does not automatically imply stupidity. In fact, among those who believe in the Bible as Inerrant or Inspired, the more intelligent tend to more strongly identify with their religion. (General Social Survey, online interface available here, variables WORDSUM versus RELITEN, BIBLE(1,2) as control or filter.) Contrariwise, this trend is reversed among those who considered the Bible as Fables (control/filter BIBLE(3) instead). Also, the mean for the intelligence distribution shifts upward going from Inerrant, to Inspired, to Fable to a statistically significant degree. However, the typical presentation oversimplifies the relationship grossly, as the means differ by less than one standard deviation of the overall distribution.

    • Dennis Mahon

      Hi. I was raised Catholic, but have slowly lost my faith as a result of the religious people of the internet.

      Casting your Faith aside because of the actions of others is like refusing to get in lifeboat because the ship’s cook is a drunkard.

      • Anonymous

        We can not conclude that directly from the statements in which were said by “A neutral guy”. From his standpoint, we don’t know if the following is more correct.

        “Casting your faith aside because of the actions of others is like refusing to get in lifeboat because it is full of cannibals.”

        As this conclusion is probably also incorrect, I was grasping the straw on the other extreme.

        • Dennis Mahon

          Yes we can; he provides the reasoning himself: I was raised Catholic, but have slowly lost my faith as a result of the religious people of the internet.

          Not because he questions the standard set forth by the Church, but because he see others failing to live up to that standard. That is why I used the metaphor of the ship’s cook being a drunkard (a moral failing), and why your metaphor of cannibals (an active threat to his well being) fails.

          • Anonymous

            Assuming we know anything about the religious people on the internet in which he is describing is why I was showing that your example is inappropriate. We know nothing of the people he is talking about except that he claims that they are religious and that he has slowly lost his faith as a result of them.

            Branding them as anything else is prejudicial, and I was trying to describe this by showing you an extreme example of your own argument.

          • Dennis Mahon

            Assuming we know anything about the religious people on the internet in which he is describing is why I was showing that your example is inappropriate. We know nothing of the people he is talking about except that he claims that they are religious and that he has slowly lost his faith as a result of them.

            And we don’t need to know — that’s the point. “A neutral guy” judged the Faith by its practitioners, not by the Faith itself.

    • John Henry

      Life’s too short to be lukewarm. Be hot or be cold. Be not tepid. Give the Gospels another read, even if you aren’t terribly impressed with most of us Christians. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and perhaps he’ll show you things you didn’t know you were missing.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QQ7MCK2G37TQ4PZKLTDERV4FYI Kathleen

      If I may suggest.. I would begin to meditate and study if I was you (and I was very like you back in the 1960s-1970s). Read about Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, particularly. Read Christian (The Arthurian myth of the Holy Grail or modern ones like “the Lord of the Rings) and classical mythology.. myth and story are important – our souls contact us through them and our inner world becomes apparent. Read the Bible, of course, but read it with new eyes.

      Meditate every day for at least an hour. Ask The universe – and God – if there be a God – to reach out to you. You are reaching out to Him/She/It… making yourself available to the Divine. Do this as often as possible.

      Ask questions. Lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Keep asking. Don’t expect instant answers. Balance study with meditation at all times. One is inward, one is outward. Balance both with work.

      Do a few spiritual disciplines … like refraining from meat or caffeine, at least, at the beginning, this is another way to open your soul up. That is why the old mystics did such things.

      You are preparing yourself for experience. You have to want to do this. It is work. If you want knowledge and understanding, then work.

      Don’t rush it and don’t expect God to do pyrotechnics or special effects. They may happen but they may not. They are not important in the long run. The spirit is subtle. If you really want to know if God exists, then you must open yourself up to that knowledge. You don’t need a religion. You need private practice of spirituality. Make no assumptions. You are now an apprentice. Learn.

      Story is one of the ways to explore the soul – your inner world. Don’t laugh, its true!
      You may find a story surfacing from your inner self. Write it down. Let it grow.

      There is more to how to conduct yourself during a time of spiritual exploration but these are the basics.

      There. Don’t worry about what others think. Allowing the abuse of others to effect you to the degree you have is just plain wrong- minded. When you are 60 you will wonder why you allowed it to happen at all. It will take time for you to grow pass it but you will. God doesn’t control people. People make bad decisions and can be cruel. It’s not God’s will, its their will. Don’t blame God for what others do. That is what I have learned!

      Love is the Key to the door of the Divine.

      You are on your own. Walk the Path. You will meet God on the Path.You will definitely meet your own soul … You may even meet Jesus and see him in a whole new way!
      Life is the Path and the Path is your life. Good luck.

    • enness

      You really ought to be careful of *anything* on the internet until you’re sure that it is who it says it is, and can be trusted. (For instance, Yahoo News comboxes are usually out.)

  • Phil

    Good Sir – You ROCK!!

  • Orenjd

    I couldn’t even watch that whole video, it was painful. That kid is obviously so arrogant that he can’t see past his own nose!!! Fortunately, I used to be the exact same way, so I have hope for him. The only thing he needs is to get past his own personal, selfish bubble and think about others (including God as a PERSON not a thing or idea or daddy complex) for a change and he’ll have his miracle.

  • CatchJMJ

    Like always…I love your no non-sense approach…

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com/ Arkanabar

    I’m with Jay E. on one thing — the optical effects are FAR less amazing than the vaporization of tons of water in just a few minutes, which is something that critics simply fail to address. Converting water from liquid to gas requires lots of energy. Per Wikipedia, “the molecules in liquid water are held together by relatively strong hydrogen bonds, and its enthalpy of vaporization, 40.65 kJ/mol, is more than five times the energy required to heat the same quantity of water from 0 °C to 100 °C”. I’ve heard that water requires more energy to vaporize per mole and/or unit of mass than any other known chemical; certainly it requires more energy to change its temperature.

    By the way, Tripod does not permit images hosted there to be pulled by other sites. You may want to consider imageshack.us as an alternate image hosting service.

  • atolbe

    Atheism isn’t about justifying immorality, it’s just easier to believe in. And, no. Not because believing in a higher power requires faith, but because there are questions of our universe that our feeble earthling brains are incapable of explaining. Questions so big that we can’t even understand the question. We think that we have evolved to a point where we can explain anything. But the truth is we can only explain that which is within our power to understand. A dog doesn’t understand why the sun rises, but man does. A man’s brain cannot grasp the concept of infinity, but a higher intellect could.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elle-Eliot/100002939455949 Elle Eliot

    How presumptuous of you! For what it’s worth, most atheists are nothing like the arrogant nozzles you find making videos on youtube any more than most Christians are like the scum we’ve all come to know and love called Westboro Baptist Church. You hear more about them because they are loud! As an atheist, I think everyone would do well to take the words of Marcus Aurelius to heart: “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    • Safia

      To a certain degree, Elle, this is true. Yet one thing that God will ask each one of us is how actively we sought the Truth, how actively we sought his existence — and you will have no answer to that question. In addition, Aurelius’ statement hinges upon a presumption — that a “good life” is inherently good. But where does goodness come from? God, only.

      As Fr. Barron has said, “See, think about this for a sec: if there’s no God at all, there’s no God; we’re just dumbly here by … by vague chance; the universe looks–just spins along in utter indifference to human cruelty, human nobility, one day this whole earth will just be incinerated; all of us just live for a short time and then we fade away … If that’s the case, truly, why would you care about justice? Why would you care, ultimately? Wouldn’t, in fact, Dostoyevsky be right in saying, ‘If there is no god, then anything is permitted’?” Those who burn with a passion for justice, I would argue, have a keen sense of an absolute, unconditioned criterion of justice, which I would call God. The Unconditioned Just is what we mean by God.”

      I’ll pray for you. May God bless you.

      • Gordon Duffy

        Bertrand Russell’s answer should do fine: “Lord, you did not provide enough evidence”

        • Laura

          Yeah, I’d come up with another excuse if I were you…

        • enness

          How many God-men need to die and rise to satisfy Russell? The world may never know.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elle-Eliot/100002939455949 Elle Eliot

        “God will ask each one of us is how actively we sought the Truth, how actively we sought his existence — and you will have no answer to that question.”

        Snarky atheist response: Why would he need to ask; isn’t the god of the Christian Bible omniscient?

        If what you say turns out to be true, I most certainly will have an answer! With regards to truth, I will remind God of all the time I spent earnestly studying the Bible as well as the multitudes of other religious texts, which is what led me to become an atheist in the first place. With regards to seeking his existence, I might give the same answer. That seems to me a better answer than “I believed in you because I grew up in America, and that’s what my mom taught me.” He will promptly toss me into the flaming pits of eternal damnation, which I will obviously deserve for having thought about things more deeply than some. Ah, justice!

        I disagree that the Christian god has a monopoly on morality and goodness. If it were true, all God’s followers would be good. What about the Catholic priests…yeah, you know the ones? They aren’t good. It’s okay; Jesus will forgive them and let them celebrate in heaven for all of eternity. Not me, though! What about all the Christians in prison? Are they good? They have God on their side, and all is forgiven. Sadly, not me and my ridiculous thinking! Again, with the justice!

        Thank you for your prayers. I’m always touched when random strangers would take time out of their busy day to think of me.

        • Safia

          “”God will ask each one of us is how actively we sought the Truth, how actively we sought his existence — and you will have no answer to that question.”

          Snarky atheist response: Why would he need to ask; isn’t the god of the Christian Bible omniscient?”

          That’s not what I meant. Obviously God knows all of our actions, thoughts, words, feelings, et cetera. What I meant is that we will be faced with Truth and will be shamed with our (in)ability to believe in and love it.

          “If what you say turns out to be true, I most certainly will have an answer! With regards to truth, I will remind God of all the time I spent earnestly studying the Bible as well as the multitudes of other religious texts, which is what led me to become an atheist in the first place. With regards to seeking his existence, I might give the same answer.”

          I’m sorry to hear this is the case. The only thing I can say at this point, then, for I know not where God’s word and the multitude of evidence for his existence didn’t click for you, is that I hope you prayed for the grace of faith, and prayed fervently. The will and intellect are insufficient.

          “That seems to me a better answer than “I believed in you because I grew up in America, and that’s what my mom taught me.” He will promptly toss me into the flaming pits of eternal damnation, which I will obviously deserve for having thought about things more deeply than some. Ah, justice!”

          Unless I’m a complete lunatic, despite the deep agnosticism of my youth, I found Christ during Eucharistic Adoration. He exists. His presence is real and constant. It’s not something that exists in my mind. It is something that words cannot explain. Have you read Teresa of Avila’s INTERIOR MANSION? I recommend it.

          And, no, I don’t think God works in the way you explain it. Remember, He wants us to grow closer to Him more than anything in the world, and if we approach him, if we raise our hands to him limply, He will reach to grab those fingers. Prayer, and time spent before the Blessed Sacrament, and the Rosary = try, genuinely.

          “I disagree that the Christian god has a monopoly on morality and goodness. If it were true, all God’s followers would be good. What about the Catholic priests…yeah, you know the ones? They aren’t good. It’s okay; Jesus will forgive them and let them celebrate in heaven for all of eternity. Not me, though! What about all the Christians in prison? Are they good? They have God on their side, and all is forgiven. Sadly, not me and my ridiculous thinking! Again, with the justice!”

          You are incorrect. God’s followers ought to reflect Him, but they do not always, for humans sin. This is the great misfortune of our time, and saints who’ve been bestowed the grace of visions of Hell and Heaven write often that many religious have found their ways to the fires. It’s why salvation is possible outside of the faith. He will reward those who live the Gospel and the Commandments. I just think that it’d be wonderful to welcome someone like you, with a fervent desire for justice and truth, home.

        • John Henry

          I am puzzled as to how you could have studied so deeply and have arrived at such an odd conclusion. Yes, God forgives sins, but not just because one confesses belief in God; what matters is love. Know love; know God. As St. James said in his letter: “Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble.” (In other words, “Oh, so you believe in God? Whoop-te-do. So do demons. That and five bucks will get you a latte.”)

          Reread Matthew 7:21-23: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

          …and Matthew 25:34-46: “Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.”

          If you want to know God in Heaven, know him on Earth by serving and sacrificing for the least of his brothers in love. If you do that, I doubt you will remain an atheist for long, but even if you do, I have more hope for your soul than you might think.

      • daniel cole

        “how actively we sought the Truth, how actively we sought his existence.”
        you have equated the truth with that of believing in the existence of something that has a 999.9 percent chance of existing in its loosest interpretation while giving you the benefit of the doubt. You give a poor stereotyped view of atheists in your posts, yet you are the exact religious stereotype atheists have of you people.
        If God is not real it does not mean anything goes. Anyone who thinks that that is the default behavior we need to except, you are either uneducated, or just disingenuous. This is “sitting at the kids table” kind of stuff Safia. You should really have someone proof read your comments before submitting them.

        • guest

          I have never thought of myself as uneducated or disingenuous but upon reflection I guess you are partially correct because I am feeling very uneducated in the full range of beliefs of atheists. Please help me get up from the kid table and share why you think that it does not mean everything goes if He doesn’t exist.

        • Safia

          “If God is not real it does not mean anything goes. Anyone who thinks that that is the default behavior we need to except, you are either uneducated, or just disingenuous.”

          Of course not everything goes. But why not?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            The non-existence of God logically implies that “You ought to do what God wants” is effectively nigh-useless as a primary is-ought bridge. (The poset ordering over the set of choices is the trivial case: all pairs A and B are incomparable.) However, it does not necessitate that no other axiomatic bridge can be introduced that produces an ordering such that some cases orders A relative to B. And, for sets of choices of two or more elements, the existence of a set of such ordering relationships with non-trivial members can be constructively proven from standard axioms (such as ZF or vNBG). It’s simply a question of which nontrivial case is in use.

            Or in plain English: “Because it’s possible to have another basis defining what we mean by morality”.

            This response seldom satisfies, immediately triggering “But why use that basis?” In practice, usually there’s some preference for a basis that gives rise to notions similar to conventional use, as most people prefer to use the axioms of Euclidean geometry as giving rise to things similar to the usual concept of “triangle”. However, that’s not philosophically necessary, nor of any more interest than how much your belief in God probably is predominantly a product of your childhood upbringing. Philosophically, the ultimate selection is of a semantic axiom: a symbol-string is mapped to an arbitrary axiomatic principle (in this case, to specify a defined ordering relationship in the set of ordering relationships).

            Or again in English: “Because that’s the property I’m talking about when I use the word ‘good’. The sense resulting incidentally resembles the usual usage.”

            In so far as the properties giving rise to the order may be recognized objectively rather than subjectively, the ordering relation resulting is also an objective referent rather than a subjective referent.

            Unfancy English: “If you know the object of my use of the word, the meaning is objective.”

            The question for basis of preference of some ordering relationship P over ordering relationship Q can be raised, but only by raising the ordering relationship on the set of ordering relationships is used. Which can be responded to by constructing the set of ordering relationships on the set of ordering relationships on the set of choices, and dealt with in much the same way above. Which can then face the same meta-question, and get the same meta-response, and so on and so on.

            Plain English: ”You know, most kids grow out of the ‘Why?’ game by the time they reach first grade or so….”

            Although he’s actually focused on a slightly separate issue, there’s also probably some relevance to Jerry Coyne’s “quote of the day” for today.

    • guest

      Are you telling me the only reason I put up with this Valley of Tears is so my mom will think good of me when I’m dead?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elle-Eliot/100002939455949 Elle Eliot

        Is your mom the only person you know? And do you really expect her to outlive you?

        • guest

          I cheated death once…only God knows who will live longest. My point was life is tough and there has to be more than this existence because otherwise I’m not going to continue to persevere so that others will think good of me. People are gifted with free will so ultimately my actions do not determine my legacy. Many people who live good and noble lives, as you say, are both loved and hated. I walk the narrow road for the mercy of His plan not so my mom, colleague, neighbors and friends might reminisce fondly of me at my passing.

          • Anonymous

            Being helpful to others is its own reward. Doing something good to gain favor of a parent, colleague, neighbor, friend or god is needlessly selfish.

          • guest

            “Being helpful to others is its own reward”

            If there is no God to show us the moral way then helping an old woman across the street is a neutral act.

          • http://twitter.com/alangnixon Alan Nixon

            “I’m not going to continue to persevere so that others will think good of me.”

            That’s very sad to hear, I hope you change your mind and begin to live this life and care about others as every good human should.

            “If there is no God to show us the moral way then helping an old woman across the street is a neutral act.”

            I think the old women might see it differently, regardless of the existence/non-existence of God. No act of kindness is neutral, because empathy and compassion are an integral part of being human and under normal circumstances will be reacted to with reciprocal kindness.

            In the moral equation. God is completely unnecessary.

    • Marc Barnes

      Then I beg forgiveness. It’s probably just being a teenager, and thus dealing largely with teenage atheists, but I’m afraid that in my experience its either been arrogance or apathy from those promoting atheism. I guess that from that, I just assumed that the days of Bernard Shaw are over, and now is the era of Dennet, Dawkins, Hitchens and all the rest.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elle-Eliot/100002939455949 Elle Eliot

        I understand. It goes both ways. I frequently have to remind myself that one representative (or even several) doesn’t always speak for the whole group. Cheers!

      • Cowalker

        Hey, Marc, congratulations on your writing skills. You write far better than the average teenager. I didn’t spot you as a teenager.

        Hang on to your hat. I predict that the next four to six years are going to lead to major upheavals in your beliefs, because you will start engaging with non-teenage atheists in your reading and your college friendships.

        Of course I don’t know where you’ll end up, belief-wise. I just know that a smart young person like you is going to start spotting the problems with your arguments, no matter how well expressed in lively phraseology.

        For example:
        “. . . when God makes no response, but instead has the audacity to remain on his cumulus throne, smiting gays and forbidding drinking, we settle back into our sofas and smile, happy that ‘Well, we tried!’ (This, of course, is supremely logical, akin to calling ‘Dad!’ from your living room and, upon hearing no response, concluding you have no Father, but were in fact spawned from the elements of earth.) . . . . If it takes a miracle to make you believe in God, your belief could only ever be miraculous; never your own. Joe could not reject God after such an event any more than he could reject the weather. And without the possibility of rejection there exists no possibility of Love . . . .”

        So, if Dad steps through the door in response to the call from the sofa, there is no possibility of Love? How bummed out must I feel, having always responded to my kids when I could? I never played games with them about their parenthood, or my existence, or what I expected of them. I never even distributed conflicting texts among them, setting them at each others’ throats about the household rules. They can’t really love me, can they?

        And I’m even worse about working to be generous with my time and affection to my spouse. I thought that you had to contribute unselfishly to a relationship, one-to-one, to make it work. Clearly God has different standards. He thinks it’s fine to make it a job of work to even discover that he exists. That’s how He dealt with Mother Theresa. Her painful despair — Cool!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      For what it’s worth, most atheists are nothing like the arrogant nozzles you find making videos on youtube any more than most Christians are like the scum we’ve all come to know and love called Westboro Baptist Church.

      For what it’s worth, I suspect those “arrogant nozzles” may be approximately comparable to the young Mormons going door to door on their young adult mission.

      I base this suspicion on the work of Hunsberger and Altemeyer, published in the book “Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America’s Nonbelievers”. The basic methodology was to give a survey to several American atheist groups (N=281) and to the parents of Canadian college students in intro psych (N=836), the latter broken down (based on explicit questions) into Atheists, Agnostics, and various subcategories of Theists (inactive, modestly active, regular attendees, and fundamentalists). There’s obviously some apples and oranges comparison, as Canadians aren’t Americans; for instance, other data suggests American fundamentalists may be more so than their Canadian counterparts. Still, it’s a place to start.

      As should be unsurprising to anyone with half a brain, atheists did not all turn out on every measure to be entirely non-dogmatic, non-Zealous, non-Ethnocentric, et cetera. Also unsurprising anyone who has paid any attention to their society, the tendency to dogmatism etc. tended to increase within the religious going from inobservant to the fundamentalist. Annoying to theists, however, the generic (non-grouped) Canadian Atheists and Agnostics also tended to be lower on these than any of the believers.

      Interestingly… the American Groups weren’t always. Some of it may be American vs. Canadian, but I suspect much of it is that these are Atheists “devout” enough to form groups. Contrariwise, even these “Active Atheists” (as I’d term them) were not comparable to fundamentalists; at worst, they were comparable to the regular weekly Churchgoers, and more often between the monthly attendees and the largely inactive believers. For details on measures used and numbers, track down the book.

      So, yes, comparison is possible. However, it’s appears likely from the data more appropriate to compare atheist groups to ordinary churchgoers. From there, the comparison of the YouTube evangelical atheists to the Mormon missions seems a subjectively sensible progression — perhaps a bit more (ir)religious than par, young, active, but probably still short of full-blown fundamentalists.

      Wait 20 years.

  • Anonymous

    This kid seems about spot on to me. If there were a god and he/she/it were unwilling or unable to prevent suffering then why bother to worship? Indeed, why even associate yourself with that creature? As for the ridiculous example you make that pigs can fly, the ACTUAL scientific response would be something along the lines of this:

    Do pigs have a means of producing lift?
    If so, is the lift that is produced strong enough to overcome the effect that gravitational pull has on the pig’s mass?

    It isn’t even a question of if they DO fly, the FIRST question would be “do they have the necessary equipment to fly if they wanted to?” There is no need to continue the hypothesis once you determine that pigs have no method to produce consistent lift, nor an aerodynamic body, nor a lightweight bone/muscle structure. To postulate that any object you want could perform any action you wanted and that we can’t prove it DOESN’T just because we haven’t stared at it long enough borders on lunacy.

    Moreover assumptions and excuses are made for the lack of evidence for a god as so:
    ” If it takes a miracle to make you believe in God, your belief could only ever be miraculous; never your own. Joe could not reject God after such an event any more than he could reject the weather”
    Which is fundamentally incorrect. While the EXISTENCE of a god would be confirmed by this occurrence, it would not follow that Joe would accept this god or become his worshiper. Indeed, at the point of Joe being shown some sort of miracle (we are assuming, at this point, that whatever miracle Joe was shown was exceptionally convincing and definite to the point that Joe was absolutely certain that a god existed), Joe would have several choices that he could make:
    A: Accept this god and become a worshiper.
    B: Reject this god and refuse to follow him.
    C: Reject this god and decide to actively work in opposition to him.

    This entire article is just a poorly constructed strawman that the author can then knock over and claim victory over “atheism” and “atheists”. Perhaps in the future he will muster up the courage to take on ACTUAL atheist opinions.

    • Safia

      You ask, “If there were a god and he/she/it were unwilling or unable to prevent suffering then why bother to worship? Indeed, why even associate yourself with that creature?”

      It’s impossible to converse with you, as you misunderstand God. As Fr. Vincent Serpa has written, “Who is more innocent and has suffered more than Jesus? Responding to His generous self-donation ought to be in the forefront of our minds every day. It is the very core of our faith and gives us perspective on everything.

      What [you're] doing is setting herself up as God’s judge. This is because [you] began [your] thinking with [yourself]. If [you] were God [you] wouldn’t allow such suffering—as if [you see] the situation better that God does. How utterly naive! God is not just a bigger version of us. If He allows suffering, then this has to be the wisest of decisions. If we don’t understand this, it’s not because God’s intellect is wanting. It’s because ours are. When we begin with God, rather than ourselves, we don’t pass judgment on Him; we submit our judgment to His. As God, He knows a lot more than we do. He does a much better job of being God than we ever could.

      All the pain that He allows us to endure whether in ourselves or in others, is there to help us grow in our love for Him and each other. This enables us to have a greater appreciation of Him in heaven—which it the greatest good for us! His plan is so glorious and so big that our minds and hearts aren’t big enough to take it all in while we are here. But focus on His Passion and marvel at what God was willing to do to give us a glimpse of how much greater his love is than we can fully grasp. See below:

      Reflection on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ +

      The agony in the garden was really the agony in His mind. He suffered the passion in His mind before He suffered it in His body—to the point of actually affecting the latter by sweating blood. But from then on, it was His bodily suffering that affected His mental suffering.

      At the base of all His suffering was the one thing that human beings dread the most: rejection. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by all the rest of His Apostles; those He had hand picked as His closest intimates. He was most rejected by those who put Him to death. They not only wanted Him dead, they wanted Him to suffer. They not only considered Him to be worth nothing, they considered Him to be worth minus nothing! This significance was not lost on Him. He felt fully the rejection as each physical agony reminded Him.

      So we thank Him for joining us on our human journey and actually choosing to experience what we fear the most.

      We thank Him for enduring the arrest and the cruelty of the guards and the Sanhedrin. We thank Him for enduring the cruelty of Pilate who allowed Him to be executed rather than risk his own political ruin—and for the cruelty of Herod who wanted to be entertained by having Him work a miracle. We thank Him for all the time He spent satisfying their preoccupation with themselves, just delaying His ultimate death. We thank Him for the anxiety of that night in a cell.

      The next morning He was brutally scourged with such intensity and violence that He became as an aged man in a matter of minutes. His multiple wounds bloodied His entire body. The loss of so much blood not only severely weakened Him; it also caused a severe, throbbing headache that remained with Him for the duration.

      We thank Him for this and for the mockery He received when they put a purple cloth on His shoulders and pushed a crown of thorns down into His head which intensified His headache. They blindfolded Him and slapped Him, insisting that He ‘prophesy’ who had hit Him. They spat on Him and beat Him.

      He stood at the praetorium in utter disgrace according to the attitude of the crowd—while in reality, He stood in utter glory: almighty God, being present to every person who has ever suffered rejection, joining them in their moment of pain. It was there that He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Physically, He was utterly miserable. He revealed to St. Bernard that carrying the cross was His most painful agony. He was so weak, He could hardly walk. Nauseous and thirsty, He found the weight of the cross on His shoulder almost unbearable. It most likely dislocated His shoulder. It is not surprising that He fell down on the stone streets that were filthy with animal dung—with the cross on top of Him. And He got up each time.

      It was only with the help of Simon of Cyrene that He made it to the top of Calvary. There they drove the nails into the carpal tunnels of His hands, causing pain throughout His upper body. The nail in His feet registered great pain through all the sensitive nerves there. When the cross was righted, His up-stretched arms squeezed His lungs and He began to pant for lack of oxygen. So He had to push down on His crucified feet to push His body up in order to fill His lungs with air. This took great effort because He was so weak. Yet He managed to maintain such effort for three hours of agony which increased gradually as He became weaker moment by moment. By the end of the third hour, His agony was at its peak

      He had come to the point where His lack of strength simply was no match for what is known as Sepsis, where the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, and in this eternal moment He died, giving us His life. Transcending time, this moment of divine love is present to us in the tabernacles of the world. Thank you, Lord. We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.”

      As for “rejecting” God, I think you’re right — Joe could reject God, but not reject His existence.

      I’ll pray for you both.

      • Anonymous

        I find the story of Jesus’ suffering to be unimpressive. The answer to the question of “Who is more innocent and has suffered more than Jesus?” is pretty much any child in Africa who was born into a war-torn impoverished country, starved his entire life, statistically was likely to have AIDS and die young. In comparison Jesus had things pretty easy, AND he was guaranteed a spot in heaven (I mean, he WAS the son of a god in the story right?). The whole Jesus’ crucifixion thing is just an elaborate ruse, that tries to divert your eyes away from the fact that it is the proposed God of this story who is judging us in the first place. It is, in fact, perfectly reasonable to just forgive someone WITHOUT requiring some sort of ridiculous blood sacrifice. You’ll just have to accept that I refuse to be grateful for the idea of some cosmic being damning me for the “sins” of my predecessors and then telling me “it’s okay now, I forgive you” because he sent his son off to be tortured and murdered.

        I presume to judge gods because as a moral agent I have the capacity to contemplate and react to hypothetical situations. Your proposal that your God is the ultimate moral arbiter results in the Euthyphro Dilemma (addressed by Plato), and I quote: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” By merit of our accepting this god’s judgement we are automatically making our own moral judgement: that HIS moral judgement is somehow just. Frankly, if this god exists, he should be replaced with someone who isn’t insane.

        • Safia

          RE: the necessity of Jesus’ sacrifice:

          I’m going to quote directly from the book “Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed. From page 269-272:

          “Summarizing this relation of nature and person in Christ’s atoning act, we see that because He was man with a true human nature, He could offer a true human act in expiation of human sin, an act of total love to balance humanity’s self-love; and because He was God, the human act He offered was of infinite value and so could satisfy and more than satisfy for the sins of men. But stating it thus, we see another question. Any act of Christ must be of infinite value, since the person who does the act is God. Why them does Christ offer His death, when some lesser act would have been of infinite value and therefore totally sufficient? Might He not have offered His thirst when He sat weary from His journey by Jacob’s Well in Samaria? Or His patience under insult? Or any one of a thousand other things? Why had it to be His death?

          In one sense the answer is clear. He had come into the world to teach the truth—about Himself as God, for instance, about Himself as Messiah, about the Kingdom which was to be in the world but not of it, about the Gentiles who would come into it, about the failure of the leaders of Israel to grasp the essentials of their own religion. His execution was the natural consequence. Only a miraculous intervention of the divine power could have prevented it. Given that He was to die, it is hard to think of His offering some lesser thing than His death as the sacrifice that should save mankind.

          But all things are in the power of God. God could have intervened to prevent His death. Or He might have chosen a way of life that meant no such direct challenge to the rulers. Why, we may ask in all reverence, did the divine plan include the death of the Redeemer?

          The two answers that instantly spring to mind are that nothing could show the love of God so overpoweringly as His willingness to die for us, and nothing could show the horror of sin so clearly as that it needed His death to expiate it. Now it is true that Calvary is a proof both of the awfulness of sin and of the love of God, but it would not be so unless there was something in the nature of sin that required Calvary. If the sin could as well have been expiated by some act of Christ less than His death, then Calvary would not show the horror of sin but would in fact exaggerate it. The same line of argument would not so obviously apply to Calvary as a proof of God’s love, yet there would be something profoundly unsatisfying in the notion of God’s showing His love for us by a needless death. There must certainly have been something in what Our Lord had to do which made His dying the best way to do it.

          One element, at least, we can learn from Hebrews 5:8-9. “Although he was Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of salvation to all who obey him.”

          There are two statements here about Christ that might well make us rub our eyes, if we have not met theses verses earlier. The first is that from His suffering He learned obedience. What could there be for Jesus to learn about obedience? His Father was all-in-all to Him; He could say, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Even when He shrank in agony in Gethsemane, He still uttered His submission to His Father’s will: “if it be your will, let this cup pass from me.” It was not that there was any disobedience in Him to be rectified. But there is something which there is no way of putting into words, a new and ultimate dimension of obedience.

          Possibly even more startling is to be told that by His sufferings He was “made perfect”, and so could be our Savior. In plain words, without the sufferings He could not have been the source of our salvation. That surely is what St. John meant by saying that the Spirit could not be given because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39). Jesus’ first action after the Resurrection was to breathe on the Apostles and say, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20). It is what St. Paul also meant by saying the Christ rose again “constituted Son of God in power”.

          Consequently, therefore, Jesus Himself, in His manhood, was the first beneficiary of His own redeeming sacrifice. Being made perfect, He could now be Head of a new humanity redeemed by Him, as Adam had been head of the old race fallen in him. Re-born with Christ, we are united with His divinity, indwelt by Father and Holy Spirit. That is Redemption.

          My response to Plato’s dilemma is contained within the post here: http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47024. It’s my guess that you’ll reject it on-face, as you reject God; nothing will persuade you.

          May I challenge you to something? If you’re capable of doing so genuinely, I challenge you to attend Mass daily and pray to Jesus for the grace of faith. I’m sure that what the atheist calls “the religious experience” won’t have any affect on you, but if God exists, I’ve no doubt He’ll make himself known.

          • Anonymous

            I shall respond to you in reverse order:

            I have already tried genuinely praying (and many Atheists have as well) and attending service (I was raised Anglican). When I became an adult, I learned that gods are like Santa Claus; your parents lie to you about the existence of both. There was never evidence for the existence of god that I experienced, only statements that were read to me from a book and insistence from authority figures that it was all true. When I realized that instead of just believing what I was told, I could apply rational thought and standards of evidence to anything that I wanted, I realized that I had never actually seen or been presented with evidence for the existence of a god, merely assertions that he was real. Frankly, that isn’t enough for me. So just like you can’t go back to believing in Santa Claus, even if you would be happier if you did, I can’t go back to believing in a god.

            I read your extremely long and pretty rambly response to Plato’s dilemma and the final conclusion that I found seemed to be prescribed in this sentence (please correct me if you feel I am misrepresenting your point): “nature describes a standard which God’s actions could theoretically violate, but He remains holy because of the unchanging determination of His will” In other words, your god has the POWER to be evil and do evil, but he chooses not to. If that IS indeed your answer then I would point out that that means that Good and Evil are moral standards which exist independent of this god and therefore we do not need a god to prescribe laws for us since we are capable of discerning the morality of them independent of that god’s statements. Furthermore, it would be legitimate for a human to judge that god’s morality since we are able to independently determine the “goodness” or “evilness” of an action (as morality exists regardless of that god’s commands).

            To address your first point about Jesus’ sacrifice: I still don’t see why it was much of a sacrifice. He was basically a subservient pawn to the will of his maker. He did not give up his life as an actual human would, and even after dying, the story says he was resurrected! So where was the actual sacrifice? Surely a REAL sacrifice would have been if he were not only killed, but was sent to Hell for all of eternity in place of any future humans. As it stands, his “sacrifice” means nothing to me apart from highlighting the folly of living your life as a slave to some sort of supreme leader. I mean come on, he didn’t really even suffer all that much. LOTS of people suffer more than he did all the time on Earth. Some quick examples of people that suffered more than Jesus did:

            Full-body burn victims
            Cancer victims
            Starving children in Africa
            People with Cerebral Palsy

            So, in conclusion: I see no evidence for any gods, I have morality without any gods, and if the whole Jesus DID happen then I’m unimpressed and he should have tried harder to invoke my sympathies.

          • guest

            If there is no God then there is no reason for morality.

          • Anonymous

            A silly statement that I notice you have failed to back up with an explanation. There are several simple examples to disprove your statement. Here is one:

            A reason to act morally toward others is that the group (humanity) benefits more from cooperation than from in-fighting. Therefore acting in a way that increases the happiness and comfort of others increases the happiness and comfort of the group which in turn ends up increasing your happiness and comfort. That’s a pretty boiled down karmic example, but it works as an example of a system in which belief in a god is unnecessary for moral behaviour.

          • PC Geek

            In other words, you are preaching utilitarianism. Seriously, you a-tards keep using the same arguments again and again…you guys got to mix it up once and a while…

            But there is still no universal warrant, no overarching reason that your morality would work

            a.) why is survival better than not surviving? Maybe I decide on a morality that says that not surviving is better, more moral. Who are you to contradict? Plus, tons of morality does not relate to survival at all…for example refusing to kill off the old and the weak, or the Christian moral imperative to not conquer other nations and take what should be ours if might was indeed right.

            without God, all you can do is arbitrarily define a goal as good, and attempt to find what you think are the best rules to move toward that goal, and than simply adopt those. If my morality is different, if my goals are different, you have no court of appeal, and we are back into a ‘dog eat dog’ ‘might makes right’ world.

            b.) Plus plenty of people benefit from fighting – darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ is how we supposedly came to be the in the first place, right?

          • PC Geek

            In other words, you are preaching utilitarianism. Seriously, you a-tards keep using the same arguments again and again…you guys got to mix it up once and a while…

            But there is still no universal warrant, no overarching reason that your morality would work

            a.) why is survival better than not surviving? Maybe I decide on a morality that says that not surviving is better, more moral. Who are you to contradict? Plus, tons of morality does not relate to survival at all…for example refusing to kill off the old and the weak, or the Christian moral imperative to not conquer other nations and take what should be ours if might was indeed right.

            without God, all you can do is arbitrarily define a goal as good, and attempt to find what you think are the best rules to move toward that goal, and than simply adopt those. If my morality is different, if my goals are different, you have no court of appeal, and we are back into a ‘dog eat dog’ ‘might makes right’ world.

            b.) Plus plenty of people benefit from fighting – Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ is how we supposedly came to be the in the first place, right? By the strong killing off the weak, by the strong winning the competition for survival, species evolved and adapted.

            c.) I won’t even bother going into philosophy here, but many atheist philosophers have tried to make their own morality, but it ends up just being utilitarianism in disguise.

            d.) Get an education a-tards!

          • Anonymous

            I suppose that I should address your ad hominem remarks first? : a-tard is the best insult that you can come up with? Bill O’Reilly could do better than that. You should be ashamed of yourself. Obviously I have the suggestion to “get an education” is superfluous, since Atheists are statistically more intelligent than their Theist counterparts (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289608001013).

            To address your other points in alphabetic order -

            a: Survival is CHOSEN over not surviving by life-forms because they don’t want to die. If you don’t want to survive then by all means go ahead and don’t survive. Personally I like living and so do lots of people, so we strive to continue to live. There are fun things to do while you’re alive.
            Personally I don’t like the Christian moral imperative to conquer other nations and take things via might (The Crusades for example). It is a good example of why the orders from a god should not be blindly followed. With a god then you have no morality, only a chain-of-command.

            b: some people DO benefit from fighting, but those people are rarely useful members of society and if they are unable to curb their violent tendencies they will be excluded from the group. Actually, our species did not evolve by physical strength of individual members (although being strong didn’t hurt your changes). If it HAD then we would be far less intelligent. Instead our intellect was selected over physical ability and so we became powerful through social cohesion and technological innovation.

            c: I don’t have a particular problem with utilitarianism, besides the fact that it really isn’t possible to predict all outcomes of an action. In general I (and many atheists) live by the Golden Rule and that works out pretty well. Of course, if you want to point out issues with moral codes, then I would invite you to look at Euthyphro’s Dilemma and decide: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”

            In conclusion: I see no scientific evidence that a god or gods exist and therefore must assume that they do not until contradictory evidence is discovered and verified.

          • PC Geek

            BTW I noticed that somehow my previous post got posted a whole bunch of times…I got an error message while posting so that could have something to do with it…anyway…

            “I suppose that I should address your ad hominem remarks first? : a-tard is the best insult that you can come up with? Bill O’Reilly could do better than that. You should be ashamed of yourself. Obviously I have the suggestion to “get an education” is superfluous, since Atheists are statistically more intelligent than their Theist counterparts (http://www.sciencedirect.com/s….”

            It was just a quick off-the-cuff remark…I hear “Christtard” a lot about Christians. More importantly you are not using the term ‘ad-hominem” correctly – check a dictionary. Ad-hominem means you insult a person *in lieu* of providing a correct argument. Insults are just insults…they only become ad-hominem attacks if they are used in place of arguments. I must say, your response is off to a bad start…

            About that atheism intelligence bit, a few major points:
            1.) According to Social Science Quarterly, the average IQ of atheists is 103 with the human average being 100…so even from that we don’t see any meaningful difference. Although the link you provided didn’t work for some reason, another critical flaw that I have seen many times in these sorts of studies is that the only pit self-identified atheists against Christians, and don’t include the swaths of nonbelievers who simply identify themselves as having “no religious preference” – if you include them, the IQ picture is very different. You can’t compare averages between a small subset of one group and the whole of another and expect it to mean much. To clarify: The most educated and intelligent of nonbelievers are far more likely to come out and identify themselves as such, skewing the average in the atheist’s favor. Most people who do not believe simply are uninterested in religious matters and tend to identify themselves as having ‘no religion’ – aka they don’t believe in a god or the supernatural – so they are atheists.

            2.) If an alleged small IQ advantage for nonbelievers vs believers even does exist, note that the average IQ of Nazi leadership was actually quite a bit higher than average…does that make the Nazi’s right? IQ is not the measure of all things.

            IQ of Nazi leaders, cited from: Gilbert, G. M.: Nuremberg Diary. New York: Signet Book 1947, p. 34; Wechsler-Bellevue

            Hjalmar Schacht, Reich Minister of Economics: IQ 143
            Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Foreign Minister of Germany: IQ 141
            Hermann Göring, President of the Reichstag and Reich Minister of Aviation: IQ 138
            Karl Dönitz, Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine: IQ 138
            Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments and War Production: IQ 128
            Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht: IQ 127
            Alfred Rosenberg, Commissar for Supervision of Intellectual and Ideological Education of the German National Socialist Workers Party: IQ 127
            Rudolf Hess, Deputy Führer: IQ 120
            2.

            3. Related to intelligence, or at least its’ application – note also that Christians founded science…not atheists or pagans. The Church brought the lights of science and reason into the world, not you a-tards. A deeply pious monk, Robert Grosseteste, was the world’s first scientist. Yup, us Christians are nothing but total idiots…can’t believe a word we say…

            http://takimag.com/article/when_man_invented_science/print#axzz1jlawG4cB
            To address your other points in alphabetic order -

            “a: Survival is CHOSEN over not surviving by life-forms because they don’t want to die. If you don’t want to survive then by all means go ahead and don’t survive. Personally I like living and so do lots of people, so we strive to continue to live. There are fun things to do while you’re alive. “

            You missed my point – under your scheme there is no real right or wrong – just rules that happen to help with survival – if we find a better set of rules than this utilitarian ‘morality’ gets updated. Without a rule giver there are no rules, just preferences and desired goals with helpful rules that may or may not be the optimal way to meet those goals. Note how you keep using words like ‘want’ and ‘like’. What you wrote above does not even address my point about the nonexistence of actual atheist morality, as opposed to simple pragmatism.
            4.
            “Personally I don’t like the Christian moral imperative to conquer other nations and take things via might (The Crusades for example). It is a good example of why the orders from a god should not be blindly followed. With a god then you have no morality, only a chain-of-command.”

            Now this is the point where you really jump the shark. That argument is so tired and so old that I am wondering whether or not it is worth responding to it. Historical scholars today simply do not believe that any (except maybe in part the 4th crusade had anything to do with religion – it was window dressing for imperialism, politics, and greed at best. When was the last time you read anything at all about the crusades? Here is some basic reading to get you up to elementary school level – please stop embarrassing yourself with your ignorance of history…you really do need to get an education: chapter 5 of the following will put your lies to rest:

            http://www.voxday.net/mart/TIA_free.pdf

            In a similar vein, note that atheist governments, in the 20th century alone, killed over 130 million people…the number of people ever even allegedly killed by anything related to any religion is a tiny fraction of that.

            Also I see here that you claim that a god has no morality – only a chain of command…how the heck does that work? God commands us to do and act in certain ways, and those ways are called Good, and those that are not are called Bad. I have seen atheists try to argue (unsuccessfully) that one can have an atheist morality…but I have never heard of one say that you can’t a have a religious morality. (!) Please take a moment to think before you type…
            “b: some people DO benefit from fighting, but those people are rarely useful members of society and if they are unable to curb their violent tendencies they will be excluded from the group. Actually, our species did not evolve by physical strength of individual members (although being strong didn’t hurt your changes). If it HAD then we would be far less intelligent. Instead our intellect was selected over physical ability and so we became powerful through social cohesion and technological innovation.”

            Tell that to all thousands of cultures wiped out by more war-like ones throughout history, and also note the way the warrior class were often high-ranking, respected members of their societies. (I guess those parades in honor of returning heroes were just a way of excluding them from the group…) Anyway you did not address my point about killing the weak and infirm and unproductive. Also note that while group cohesion is useful, immoral (from a Christian standpoint) trickery can easily eliminate groups in competition with you. So no dice.

            “c: I don’t have a particular problem with utilitarianism, besides the fact that it really isn’t possible to predict all outcomes of an action. In general I (and many atheists) live by the Golden Rule and that works out pretty well. Of course, if you want to point out issues with moral codes, then I would invite you to look at Euthyphro’s Dilemma and decide: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” “
            Oh no – you didn’t…*re-reads the passage* … looks like you did…you pulled out one of the worst put-together and most dishonest philosophical arguments in history, another tired atheist canard that has been refuted so many times already…but ok…for your benefit I will address it again. If you read the argument, you will notice that it relies on the assumption of many different gods with potentially competing moralities…but in Christianity there is only one God, so the argument’s premises do not even apply. The Christian definition of piety is obedience to God’s will…so on that front alone the argument falls apart. Something is pious precisely because God says it is – it makes no sense to say that God likes something because it is pious – he made the universe in the first place and gets to decide *totally arbitrarily on His own with no outside influence* what is pious and what is not…again, since there is one God there is no dilemma. Piousness was, as far as our limited minds can understand, arbitrarily determined and fixed at the very beginning. Nothing was pious until God said it was. Note also that Socrates changes the definition of piety twice in the middle of the argument – quite intellectually dishonest, and enough to render any conclusions that could be had from the argument highly suspect, to say the least. Your attempt to invoke Euthyphro has failed miserably…but nice try, I guess…

            “In conclusion: I see no scientific evidence that a god or gods exist and therefore must assume that they do not until contradictory evidence is discovered and verified.“

            You are making a set of assertions without even attempting proof. What contradictions are you talking about? (Specific examples, not just some vague cop-out about there being contradictions.) What about the vast evidence for the historical reliability of the Bible, (good starting point = http://www.tektonics.org/archmony.htm) the strong philosophical arguments for God’s existence – (http://www.reasonablefaith.org being a great place to start – simple articles establishing several important philosophical arguments + refuting common a-tard ones). Do you really think you can go up against Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, or 2,000 years of Christian (oftentimes Catholic) scholarship? What new arguments do you a-tards have besides the lame ones developed by Jean Meslier in 1729?

            Some good reading to begin your education in philosophy and religion – you clearly have not studied the topic that much, as you made many of the classic beginner’s mistakes.

            http://voxday.blogspot.com/search/label/atheism

          • PC Geek

            Hmmm….I guess once someone crushed his arguments, Frankie decided that discretion was the better part of valor…

          • PC Geek

            The best overall theological and philosophical reading that I have encountered is ‘Orthodoxy’ by G.K. Chesterton – it is in the public domain now so you can check it out at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/130

          • billybagbom

            As far as I know, if there is no Divine Obligator, there can be no real obligation of any kind — only random and subjectively motivated decisions. If I’m willing to accept short-term benefits to myself (e.g., immediate gratification), why should I care what benefits “society,” or even my “family”? I have never seen an atheist who could really answer this question. But please take a shot at it. HINT: Nothing you have said heretofore would convince a horny atheist teenager to forego an immediate sexual opportunity in the interest of “safe sex.” The best you could hope to achieve with those utilitarian arguments would be that NEXT TIME he’d be sure to have a rubber.

          • Anonymous

            An extremely simple answer here for the “safe-sex” portion of your question: An atheist could be persuaded to use a condom by explaining the negative effects of NOT wearing a condom. Herpes, for example, is an excellent reason to practice safe sex.

            To address why an atheist should care about society/family etc, the answer is that a functioning society benefits everyone inside of it more than anarchy benefits one person. People who stray outside of accepted social norms by hurting others or being too selfish, for example, find themselves cut off from social benefits. As a race, we succeed because we work together.

          • billybagbom

            How many atheist (or even Chrsitian) teens know what “delayedgratification” is all about? Why should I careabout my remote ancestors and people on the other side of the world if Chrsitianity (or something very like it) isn’ttrue?

          • Anonymous

            All atheist teens know what “herpes” and “AIDS” are, and it’s not like condoms are THAT difficult to get hold of. Of course, if we could stop this silly “abstinence only education” thing perhaps we could properly instruct teenagers on how to have safer sex. You should care about people all over the world because now we are a global society and your continued happiness is directly related to things that they do. Why aren’t you seeking out wizards to murder if you really DO believe that the bible is the inerrant word of a god? (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20%3A27&version=KJV). Oh wait, because wizards are fictitious, just like most of the bible.

          • billybagbom

            As far as I know, if there is no Divine Obligator, there can be no real obligation of any kind — only random and subjectively motivated decisions. If I’m willing to accept short-term benefits to myself (e.g., immediate gratification), why should I care what benefits “society,” or even my “family”? I have never seen an atheist who could really answer this question. But please take a shot at it. HINT: Nothing you have said heretofore would convince a horny atheist teenager to forego an immediate sexual opportunity in the interest of “safe sex.” The best you could hope to achieve with those utilitarian arguments would be that NEXT TIME he’d be sure to have a rubber.

          • PC Geek

            In other words, you are preaching utilitarianism. Seriously, you a-tards keep using the same arguments again and again…you guys got to mix it up once and a while…

            But there is still no universal warrant, no overarching reason that your morality would work

            a.) why is survival better than not surviving? Maybe I decide on a morality that says that not surviving is better, more moral. Who are you to contradict? Plus, tons of morality does not relate to survival at all…for example refusing to kill off the old and the weak, or the Christian moral imperative to not conquer other nations and take what should be ours if might was indeed right.

            without God, all you can do is arbitrarily define a goal as good, and attempt to find what you think are the best rules to move toward that goal, and than simply adopt those. If my morality is different, if my goals are different, you have no court of appeal, and we are back into a ‘dog eat dog’ ‘might makes right’ world.

            b.) Plus plenty of people benefit from fighting – Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ is how we supposedly came to be the in the first place, right? By the strong killing off the weak, by the strong winning the competition for survival, species evolved and adapted.

            c.) I won’t even bother going into philosophy here, but many atheist philosophers have tried to make their own morality, but it ends up just being utilitarianism in disguise.

            d.) Get an education a-tards!

          • PC Geek

            In other words, you are preaching utilitarianism. Seriously, you a-tards keep using the same arguments again and again…you guys got to mix it up once and a while…

            But there is still no universal warrant, no overarching reason that your morality would work

            a.) why is survival better than not surviving? Maybe I decide on a morality that says that not surviving is better, more moral. Who are you to contradict? Plus, tons of morality does not relate to survival at all…for example refusing to kill off the old and the weak, or the Christian moral imperative to not conquer other nations and take what should be ours if might was indeed right.

            without God, all you can do is arbitrarily define a goal as good, and attempt to find what you think are the best rules to move toward that goal, and than simply adopt those. If my morality is different, if my goals are different, you have no court of appeal, and we are back into a ‘dog eat dog’ ‘might makes right’ world.

            b.) Plus plenty of people benefit from fighting – Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ is how we supposedly came to be the in the first place, right? By the strong killing off the weak, by the strong winning the competition for survival, species evolved and adapted.

            c.) I won’t even bother going into philosophy here, but many atheist philosophers have tried to make their own morality, but it ends up just being utilitarianism in disguise.

            d.) Get an education a-tards!

          • drake

            Test your faith. If you read this entire link you will no longer believe in God http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAURq_ouYLc

          • billybagbom

            If I’m strong enough and smart enough to get away with it, why shouldn’t I do it (whatever “it” is)?

          • billybagbom

            If I’m strong enough and smart enough to get away with it, why shouldn’t I do it (whatever “it” is)?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            Incorrect. Rather, if there is no God, then God is not the basis for morality. However, this does not automatically preclude existence of another basis.

          • billybagbom

            Actually, it does. In fact, it precludes the existence of anything.

          • Anonymous

            Sadly inaccurate as we have no need for a god in order to explain the existence of anything. Indeed, bringing a god or gods into the question merely leaves even more things to explain (namely: where did that god come from?)

          • billybagbom

            Why is there something rather than nothing? Please try to make your answer intellible to one who has only a liberal arts education.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know, since I am not an astro-physicist. If you’d like to pay for 6 more years of my college education (having only a BSc myself); then I would be happy to at least give you some sample hypotheses.

          • billybagbom

            You really think that’s all it would take: more time, more naturalism?

          • Anonymous

            All what would take?

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            “namely: where did that god come from?” How old are you, 5? glol. God is the first uncaused cause of the finite reality by which we mean “universe”. Evil proves that God exists because we first acknowledge that there exists a set of objective moral values and duties, rooted on His nature and in the way He is, by what we judge if a value or an action is evil or good. Otherwise How could an atheist explain Why causing suffering on others is objectively wrong and Why taking care of a child is objectively good?

            of course St. Thomas Aquinas isn’t impressed with your theology.

          • FrankieAvocado

            It is interesting that you would bring up the trouble of “evil” since the existence of evil would seemingly contradict the existence of a god.
            Epicurus pointed this issue out a long time ago:
            “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
            Then he is not omnipotent.
            Is he able, but not willing?
            Then he is malevolent.
            Is he both able and willing?
            Then whence cometh evil?
            Is he neither able nor willing?
            Then why call him God?”

            Evil is, of course, not an objective moral description but rather a subjective moral description. I’m not even sure that it is possible to have objective morality since morality is by its very nature an extremely personal and subjective thing. I don’t claim that the suffering of others is objectively wrong, and I don’t think you can either since the god of the Bible OFTEN causes great suffering for petty insults. I CAN say that I don’t want others to suffer, but that is not an objective claim; it is a subjective claim.

            I judge that the Christian god is often evil and malicious. I find that many of the things that the Bible claims he does are things that I find abhorent and cruel. These are also my personal opinions and I’m sure that some people think infinite torture for finite bad-decisions is an appropriate punishment (these people worry me).

            In any case, getting back to the original point, if you state that everything has a cause then you must explain what caused god to exist. If you state that NOT everything has to have a cause then there is no need to assume that a god created the universe as the universe could simply exist without a preceding cause. Basically your hypothesis loses either way.

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            “Evil is, of course, not an objective moral description
            but rather a subjective moral description. I’m not even sure that
            it is possible to have objective morality since morality is by its
            very nature an extremely personal and subjective thing.”

            Therefore, such thing as “causing suffering to others is wrong” do
            not exists independently of human mind. That’s to say that:

            “Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are
            hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable
            set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I
            appreciate that when somebody says “love thy neighbor as thyself,”
            they think they are referring above and beyond themselves.
            Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality
            is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . And any deeper
            meaning is illusory.” ~ Michael Ruse, atheist,
            philosopher of science and biologist.

            So, in order to run with Epicurus (false) dilemma you have to
            sustain that morality is objective and in what basis objective morality steams from, in first place. Otherwise you will be running in a contradiction
            holding that morality is subjective, but at the same time, saying
            that there is such thing as “morally wrong”, what you are doing by saying that you find some stuff morally objectionable about God’s acts told on the Bible (If morality is subjective, then, you are just pushing your morality on God or any other being that doesn’t thinks like you on what is wrong or right!!)

            You didn’t nothing to debunk what I argued, Basically your hypothesis loses either way.

          • FrankieAvocado

            The Epicurus dilemma only applies to objective morality, and since that is the stance that you are arguing from then it is a hurdle that YOU must overcome. It does not affect my argument since I am in the subjective morality camp. If you truly believe in objective morality and believe that there is evil in the world today, then I would like to see what your response is to this ancient but very well thought out conundrum.

            To address your second concern of me pushing my morality onto others, I agree that there are some cases that I view it to be moral to enforce my own morality onto others. Usually this is only in regard to hurting others. Part of my own morality is that other people should be able to have THEIR own morality as long as they don’t hurt people with it. Those seem logically consistent, albeit “subjective” opinions on the issue.

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            “as long as they don’t hurt people with it” That’s sounds very objective. Are you sure that you practice what you preach/belief?

            Of course, Epicurus has find out that such “being” what he is talking about isn’t God, because God is a Maximal Greatest Being (perfectly good, all-knowing, all-mighty, omniscient, etc.), anyway, such (false) dilemma doesn’t anything to disprove that objective moral values and duties stems from God’s nature; Alvin Plantiga (http://youtu.be/ixqsZP7QP_o) put to sleep Epicurus anyway solving the Problem of Evil in relation with God (“illogical”) existence (I mean, really? That’s is like arguing that the Earth is the center of the universe now days!, I mean, man, read some contemporary philosophy first!)

          • FrankieAvocado

            Your assumption that my preference for a prevention of harm to other humans is somehow an “objective morality” is not backed up by anything. It is clearly a subjective desire of my own.

            A “Maximal Greatest being” that is said to have the requirements that you yourself posted “perfectly good, all-knowing, all-mighty, omniscient” is exactly what Epicurus is referring to and is why his argument is so effective against your position (that a god exists, and that evil exists as well). A BETTER position for you would be to merely argue that there is a “pretty nice, mostly-knowing, quite powerful, very smart” being. That sort of being, which I shall call a pseudo-god, could have the excuse of being overwhelmed with a lot of work and a lot of things to pay attention to. A pseudo-god could say “hey, I know Evil is around and I’m working really hard to get rid of it but currently I’m also trying to maintain the laws of physics as well so please hold tight while I figure this all out.” An omnipotent/omniscient being has no such excuse: it should literally fix all issues at all times (if it were “good” in my book at least). I mean heck, if you give ME omniscience and omnipotence then I’d sort this whole mess out with no problem. You might say things like “well how do we get to keep free-will” and “suffering is how a soul builds strength” but those are just peanuts to infinite power and infinite knowledge. With literal omniscience and omnipotence a god could both remove evil AND give people the strongest souls possible AND let them keep their free-will. That’s the kind of power that omnipotence gives you. It’s ALL powerful. I don’t think Christians (or many theists in general) really understand that. You’re claiming that your deity knows everything, has infinite power over everything, and that he’s super nice. If that were the case, then there would not be punishment for sins since nobody would ever want to sin. People wouldn’t want to kill each other, hurt each other etc etc. That’s the point of Epicurus’ argument: that a being that is the “Maximal Greatest” precludes the existence of a world like ours.

            I’m still waiting for you to describe how a “perfectly good, all-knowing, all-mighty, omniscient” god would allow a child to be born with terrible birth defects, or starve to death in a third world country, or anything like that. Please answer that direct question.

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            “Your assumption that my preference for a prevention of harm to other
            humans is somehow an “objective morality” is not backed up by anything.
            It is clearly a subjective desire of my own.” glol, Really? Then why someone HAVE or SHOULD take you seriously when you said “Part of my own morality is that other people should be able to have
            THEIR own morality as long as they don’t hurt people with it.” Why somebody have to not hurt people with their morality(!)? It’s a desire of your own, so, you stills pushing your morality on others. Objective morality, anyone?

            Epicurus do nothing to undermine my argument that objective moral values and duties stems from God’s nature, nor do your confusion and short understanding of It. Actually, **Epicurus and you have to explain me why God doesn’t have sufficient moral reasons for permitting** “child to be born with terrible birth defects, or starve to death in a third world country, or anything like that.” After all, **He is all-knowing** (remember?) and both claims that God cannot stop evil on both first premises (so, you know the reason WHY God doesn’t stop evil, fabulous, please tell us more!), He knows what’s gonna be the effect over time of allowing some evils actions take place (because He is all-knowing!!).

            And, that’s right, to know the answer I’ll need to be all-knowing too. something impossible for a contingencial being like me! ;)

            and of course, Epicurus (false) dilemma is a good one if you dismiss contemporary philosophy of religion, that have already, of course, rebuked such dilemma (Alvin Plantinga, anyone? no! really?), dude, update yourself and put in place that huge amount of faith you have on your atheism!!

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            El 10/02/2013 20:58, Disqus escribió:

          • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

            El 10/02/2013 20:58, Disqus escribió:

          • Anonymous

            Sadly inaccurate as we have no need for a god in order to explain the existence of anything. Indeed, bringing a god or gods into the question merely leaves even more things to explain (namely: where did that god come from?)

          • billybagbom

            Actually, it does. In fact, it precludes the existence of anything.

          • Carlos

            Phiulosphy is full of various different reasons for morality. Just because god doesnt exist doesnt mean we should behave like selfish sadists. Kants categorical imperative is a fine justification for morality in the absense of god. Whether you choose to follow this justification is all dependant on you yourself no more than following gods morality is dependant on you yourself

          • Corita

            I understand all of your arguments except your focus on “who suffered more than Jesus.” Objectively speaking, how can we know how much anyone is “truly” suffering, save for the reporting of the sufferer him- or herself?

            Frankly, the “amount” of suffering of Jesus isn’t the compelling point of the story, I don’t think. The suffering comes inexorably, inevitably out of the rest of the narrative, and the suffering seems to be the unavoidable conclusion of that chapter of the story.

            That Jesus suffered more than anyone else ever doesn’t seem to me to be a basic premise, like Creation or The Fall.

            Anyway, that is just how I see it.

          • Corita

            I understand all of your arguments except your focus on “who suffered more than Jesus.” Objectively speaking, how can we know how much anyone is “truly” suffering, save for the reporting of the sufferer him- or herself?

            Frankly, the “amount” of suffering of Jesus isn’t the compelling point of the story, I don’t think. The suffering comes inexorably, inevitably out of the rest of the narrative, and the suffering seems to be the unavoidable conclusion of that chapter of the story.

            That Jesus suffered more than anyone else ever doesn’t seem to me to be a basic premise, like Creation or The Fall.

            Anyway, that is just how I see it.

          • Rich C.

            I used to believe as you do. Only difference is, my parents never told me about God, I never went to church except for Weddings and funerals.

            The only reason I went to church was my future wife wanted to be married in one. We went to her church St. Mary Magdalen in Oakville, CT. I walked in and being the shallow person I was, said this place is ugly find a nicer building. She ended up finding Christ Church in Watertown, a beautiful stone church. I have since learned what a building looks like does not make a difference.

            My wife went to service there a few times and then inquired about being married there. The Pastor, told her they he would have to meet me before marrying us, so I went to meet him and told him I did not believe in God. I was an auditor and I needed proof and I never saw any. He was nice about it and just said for me to come sometime and listen to one of his services. I went to a service, skeptical and wondering how long I would have to sit there.

            Long story short, I accepted Christ at that first service, and actually walked down aisle when the Pastor asked if anyone needed to find out more about God. I was 25 years old at the time, had a great job, beautiful girl, I was going to marry and lots of friends, enough money to buy a house. So I was not some guy desperate and down on his luck or alcholic or on drugs. I truly felt the presence of God. That was over 19 years ago and I now have 7 children with same girl I married.

            With all that said you may come back and slam me as being dumb or liar or what have you. I just want you to know, it is the best decision I ever made, and once I had faith, I started to see all the ways God is here, that I never saw before. I never engage in arguments with people such as you, because I remember when I was that person. Mostly, I just pray that you will come to truth before you live is over.

          • Rich C.

            I used to believe as you do. Only difference is, my parents never told me about God, I never went to church except for Weddings and funerals.

            The only reason I went to church was my future wife wanted to be married in one. We went to her church St. Mary Magdalen in Oakville, CT. I walked in and being the shallow person I was, said this place is ugly find a nicer building. She ended up finding Christ Church in Watertown, a beautiful stone church. I have since learned what a building looks like does not make a difference.

            My wife went to service there a few times and then inquired about being married there. The Pastor, told her they he would have to meet me before marrying us, so I went to meet him and told him I did not believe in God. I was an auditor and I needed proof and I never saw any. He was nice about it and just said for me to come sometime and listen to one of his services. I went to a service, skeptical and wondering how long I would have to sit there.

            Long story short, I accepted Christ at that first service, and actually walked down aisle when the Pastor asked if anyone needed to find out more about God. I was 25 years old at the time, had a great job, beautiful girl, I was going to marry and lots of friends, enough money to buy a house. So I was not some guy desperate and down on his luck or alcholic or on drugs. I truly felt the presence of God. That was over 19 years ago and I now have 7 children with same girl I married.

            With all that said you may come back and slam me as being dumb or liar or what have you. I just want you to know, it is the best decision I ever made, and once I had faith, I started to see all the ways God is here, that I never saw before. I never engage in arguments with people such as you, because I remember when I was that person. Mostly, I just pray that you will come to truth before you live is over.

          • Fr. Dan

            The suffering of Jesus was a great suffering. While on the cross he endured the pain not just of the physical crucifixion, but also the pain of all sin that was or will be. You could also say that his life was a suffering. In our belief Jesus wasn’t just some guy who did this thing, he was God. The creator became the created!! Think of anything that you have ever created (i.e. a painting, a piece of furniture, the macaroni picture you made for you your mom in pre-school, etc.), no matter how much you loved that thing you made you never would want to become it. It would be an immense suffering to give up your higher nature. Thats what the 2nd Person of the Trinity did for his creation — out of love. “He humbled himself, taking on the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7). The creator became his creation. What a suffering that must have been. But he endured it out of love for that creation, so that we may be saved.

          • Fr. Dan

            The suffering of Jesus was a great suffering. While on the cross he endured the pain not just of the physical crucifixion, but also the pain of all sin that was or will be. You could also say that his life was a suffering. In our belief Jesus wasn’t just some guy who did this thing, he was God. The creator became the created!! Think of anything that you have ever created (i.e. a painting, a piece of furniture, the macaroni picture you made for you your mom in pre-school, etc.), no matter how much you loved that thing you made you never would want to become it. It would be an immense suffering to give up your higher nature. Thats what the 2nd Person of the Trinity did for his creation — out of love. “He humbled himself, taking on the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7). The creator became his creation. What a suffering that must have been. But he endured it out of love for that creation, so that we may be saved.

          • enness

            I highly doubt your parents were lying to you, Frankie. Even supposing there wasn’t a God, lying takes a conscious act of the will to deceive.

            I’m willing to bet there is a great deal of American and world history you take for granted because people told you it happened, and described it for you, but that you never actually witnessed.

        • http://twitter.com/alangnixon Alan Nixon

          “”Who is more innocent and has suffered more than Jesus?” is pretty much any child in Africa who was born into a war-torn impoverished country, starved his entire life, statistically was likely to have AIDS and die young.”

          Hear Hear, very well said. Every time I hear about the minor suffering that Jesus underwent my heart goes out to the millions of people every day who are experiencing suffering much more profound than Jesus supposedly did. Where are the miracles that would be truly compassionate? Why use the amazing powers granted by omnipotence to merely make the sun dance? This is a cheap trick not a miracle.

          • enness

            Minor? Again I say, when was the last time you were completely spurned and rejected by your own people, convicted though innocent, had the release of an actual criminal preferred to yours, had your own friends betray you, and were beaten, spat upon, and hung on a tree for six hours until you died?

            People sure do have big mouths.

        • enness

          Seriously? When was the last time you were convicted, though innocent, scourged and crucified?

          • FrankieAvocado

            The same time that I was last immortal…

          • Dan

            imagine, you’ll be immortal again

      • daniel cole

        “It’s impossible to converse with you, as you misunderstand God”
        “as if [you see] the situation better that God does. How utterly naive!”
        Oh look, Its the great Safia with her interpretations of her neat little religion.
        You are so high on your horse I cant even see you. A religious person spewing conjecture, and opinions wrapped up in bible stories acting like they know the exact word of god. Most intelligent religious people, (yes there is a few) know that when they make that type of argumentative mistake, Atheists stop listening and call them nutty. It becomes the End of the argument, and you have failed to convert a thinker into a blind believer. You have failed to use logic, reason, and facts to support your opinions.

        • Laura

          “You are so high on your horse I cant even see you” right back atcha! but of course, you can’t see that, you are a “thinker” and won’t be confused by superstitious crap, after all interpretations of religion are only valid if they are your own. Sorry, “facts” about religion.

      • Carlos

        “All the pain that He allows us to endure whether in ourselves or in others, is there to help us grow in our love for Him and each other. This enables us to have a greater appreciation of Him in heaven—which it the greatest good for us! His plan is so glorious and so big that our minds and hearts aren’t big enough to take it all in while we are here”

        Pain is there to help us grow and love god. So all pain from child rape to mass murder to natural disasters is just there to help us love God. This implies that God inflicts pain or allows pain to be inflicted to increase love for him. Apply this rational to a person and you have opne sick puppy.
        Also this idea of gods plan, the whole everything happens for a reason, implies that there is a lack of free will involved. If the creator of everything has a plan and a reason for everything does this not negate the free will that he gave to us?

        • enness

          Ai ai ai. Sometimes I wonder what is the point of trying.

    • Marc Barnes

      And why is it, one must ask, that pigs go on not having “means of producing lift?” Why does this not change? Because in common experience things that are do not suddenly change? You’ve made the same argument using bigger words, you anarchist!

      “To postulate that any object you want could perform any action you wanted and that we can’t prove it DOESN’T just because we haven’t stared at it long enough borders on lunacy.”

      If that’s true, would it not be equally true to call it lunacy to postulate that an object will only EVER perform the actions you’ve seen, just because you’ve stared at it enough? And what are the laws of science but things we’ve stared at – that is to say, seen repeated over and over again? If I see an apple fall to the ground ten thousand times, I still have no right to say that the uncommon occurrence of an apple falling up is utterly impossible.

      Yours most truly.

      • Anonymous

        Pigs continue to not have the means of producing lift because there are no forces acting on them which would spontaneously create lift-producing structures. Now, if we lived in a world where farmers were notorious for being mad-scientists and performing insane genetic experiments on their pigs, then we would have reason to at least check in on their herds from time to time to ensure that no terrifying hybrid doom-pigs have been produced. Of course, since we have a relatively advanced knowledge of genetics, we can postulate that the amount of genetic change required to make a pig fly would be so extreme that the creature in question would no longer be a pig but some sort of incredibly distant descendant.
        I’m not really sure that you understand what the word anarchist means, but I’m not insulted by it even as I feel that it does not technically describe my political stance.

        It is not unreasonable to assume that an object will continue to behave in a reliable manner as long as you have had sufficient time and data with which to produce a predictable model of its behavior. An example of an apple falling to the ground 10 thousand times is pretty convincing in terms of an initial hypothesis, and when you test your hypothesis trillions of times and it turns out to be so accurate that you can use it to land things on Mars…then yes, we have the right to assume that our measurement of gravity is accurate and that apples will never fall in a manner contradictory to the law of gravity..

        • Marc Barnes

          “we have the right to assume…”

          Oh there’s the gem I’ve been waiting for, you terrifyingly capitalistic idol-worshipper. Without a doubt. But if you believe it is an assumption, as do I, than the idea that “miracles are impossible” is in direct contradiction to your belief.

          It would be a madman to say that we have the right to assume that anarchists will throw bombs, and then that “it is impossible that anarchists will throw bombs.”

          Seeing something repeated a trillion times creates faith in that thing repeating a trillion and one times. Like you say, it creates an assumption. But that is all it creates. It does not create the impossibility of something else happening. Miracles are improbable, not impossible.

          Yours in all things.

          • Anonymous

            You keep throwing around political terms like “capitalistic” and “anarchist” but I don’t think that you understand that those aren’t insults. They are merely descriptions of political preferences. It’d be like me calling someone I didn’t like: “you green-party member”. It’s not insulting, it just isn’t applicable.

            I only consider miracles (the official god-miracle , not the mildly coincidental events like “all green lights on the way home from work” that we casually call miracles) impossible insofar as I see it as impossible that chemistry will cease to function. Is it conceivable that this could occur? yes. However, I don’t see anyone basing their future predictions or beliefs on it. It wouldn’t make any sense. So yes, the Christian God could exist in the same way that fluorescent lawn gnomes that are made of butter and pixie dust who are so fast that they cannot be detected COULD live in my yard. It is just so improbable that to postulate the idea is absurd. Of course, the Christian God is much less likely to exist than my super-fast butter gnomes because the necessary suspension of the laws of the universe would have to be much bigger in order to accommodate him/her.

            I would, however, disagree that you could call it faith to expect the trillion and first apple to fall like the others. Faith is belief without evidence, whereas 1 trillion apples that fall exactly according to the theory of gravity is pretty good evidence that the next one will too.

            Therefore, I would accept your assumption that miracles are not impossible, merely impossible if the laws of the universe continue to operate in the predictable manner that we have always observed them to do.

          • Marc Barnes

            Absolutely! I’m glad we agree. I, of course, do not assume a miracle will happen. I merely know that they are possible. A miracle in itself implies that the laws of the universe have been shifted. If the laws continue to operate in their predictable manner then yes, no miracles. But that really comes down to saying “miracles are impossible if the universe continues to exclude miracles.” Which I can do nothing but agree to, and wholeheartedly. So congrats – You’ve arrived at the Catholic teaching on miracles! That they are entirely possible and entirely unlikely.

            ps. humblest apologies for the political names. I am aware that they are inapplicable. just got a little ADD.

            Yours.

        • Corita

          Wait. I am not as eloquent as either of you but can Mr. Avocado explain how his argument works, mathematically? I mean, how is observing a specific natural phenomenon like gravity, and assuming it will always work that way, the same as assuming that all observable natural phenomena, now and forever, discovered or not, will always work in a particular, non-”miraculous” way?

          If they are not the same, isn’t the referral to gravity just a loose rhetorical comparison, and does it not lose much of the credence Mr. Barnes is giving to it?

        • Corita

          Wait. I am not as eloquent as either of you but can Mr. Avocado explain how his argument works, mathematically? I mean, how is observing a specific natural phenomenon like gravity, and assuming it will always work that way, the same as assuming that all observable natural phenomena, now and forever, discovered or not, will always work in a particular, non-”miraculous” way?

          If they are not the same, isn’t the referral to gravity just a loose rhetorical comparison, and does it not lose much of the credence Mr. Barnes is giving to it?

    • enness

      It seems to me that the removal of suffering necessarily demands the removal of free will, as well. I do not imagine God would have that situation. What is love without the possibility of rejection? Not much.

    • billybagbom

      Which raises the question: “Why would Joe (or anyone else) reject and oppose God, having been inescapably convicted of His existence and divine nature?” Perhaps because this God’s claims on Joe’s life are exclusive and absolute, and Joe already worships a god which fulfills that role. His name is Joe.

      • Anonymous

        A simple answer: If a god proved its existence to Joe, Joe would then have to judge that god’s actions and opinions to see how they fit with his own moral compass. If Joe disagreed or disapproved of them, then he would therefore not be a “follower” of that god.

      • Anonymous

        A simple answer: If a god proved its existence to Joe, Joe would then have to judge that god’s actions and opinions to see how they fit with his own moral compass. If Joe disagreed or disapproved of them, then he would therefore not be a “follower” of that god.

    • billybagbom

      Which raises the question: “Why would Joe (or anyone else) reject and oppose God, having been inescapably convicted of His existence and divine nature?” Perhaps because this God’s claims on Joe’s life are exclusive and absolute, and Joe already worships a god which fulfills that role. His name is Joe.

  • http://catholiccauserie.blogspot.com/ Sylvia

    “Chesterton says the reason he believes in miracles is because there is evidence for them. The reason skeptics do not believe in miracles is because they will not accept the evidence, and the reason they will not accept the evidence is because they have a dogma against miracles.” -Dale Alquist, Common Sense 101

    “Christ did not descend from the cross except into the grave. And why not otherwise? Wouldn’t it have put fine comical expressions on the faces of the scribes and the chief priests and the soldiers if at that moment He had come down in power and glory? Why didn’t He do it? Why hasn’t He done it at any one of a thousand good times between then and now?
    I knew the answer. I knew it a long time before I could admit it, for all the suffering of the world is in it. He didn’t, He hasn’t, because from the moment He did, He would be the absolute tyrant of the world and we would be his slaves. Even those who hated Him and hated one another and hated their own souls would have to believe in Him then. From that moment the possibility that we might be bound to Him and He to us and us to one another by love forever would be ended.” – Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

  • Anonymous

    God wants me to love him? That’s his problem. I don’t give out love on command.

    • Marc Barnes

      exactly! that’s why he doesn’t command. he wants.

      • Anonymous

        I’m impressed that you know what god wants. Are you a deity yourself? I assumed that everyone posting here was merely mortal and couldn’t possibly know what god wants.

        • John Henry

          We know because he has t0ld us, he is trustworthy, and we take him at his word.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah. You see, this is where we part way because you don’t actually know god’s word. You only know a book written by men who claimed to be writing for god. God never picked up a pen.

          • Safia Siora

            And how would we prove that God wrote something? You’re requesting what Marc sort of criticizes in his post herein: God gives us free choice, and if he were to prove His existence 100%, yes, we’d still have the choice to reject Him as God, but we’d be *forced* to live our lives with complete awareness. Instead, God lets us choose to believe in and love Him.

          • Anonymous

            That’s not logical. Even if I accept your claim that we’d be “forced” to have awareness, you haven’t demonstrated at all why that matters. I can imagine a world in which I know god exists and I love him. In fact, you claim that some day, you will both know god exists and love him in the afterlife. If it’s possible then, I can imagine it now.

            Either way, knowing what is true is a good thing. Your mixed up idea that having knowledge is bad shows how far you’ll go to pretend that god wrote a book.

            It was written by men.

        • Safia

          Maybe He’s told us what He wants. Scripture?

          • Anonymous

            Men wrote the bible, not god. Later on, they claimed that god told them what to write. God never picked up a pen. Doesn’t it bother you that men wrote the bible and then pretended that god told them to do it?

          • Safia Siora

            As I know that God exists, since I’ve experienced His love and presence in prayer (you’ll have to read INTERIOR CASTLE by St. Teresa of Avila to understand), no, it doesn’t bother me at all. I believe in the authority of the Church, and I believe in the writings of Scripture, and there exists abiblical support of Scripture’s divine inspiration.

          • Anonymous

            No. You’ll have to make more sense and use your own mind to defend your ideas, not just quote books. I was raised Catholic and have read that book. and read all of C.S. Lewis. Much of St. Augustine. Lots of history of St. Francis. And lots of great Catholic writers like Hillaire Belloc.

            Also, I’ve also read the bible much more carefully as an adult than I was instructed to by the church when a kid. And what I’ve read has proved to me that it was written by men.

            I recommend that you need to read the whole bible cover to cover. And then YOU’LL understand that god didn’t write it.

        • Guesty

          But you are the one who equated wanting with commanding. You are the one hypothesizing that if God wants you to love Him that means the same as “commanding” it and therefore you feel the need to rebel against this supposed non-existed God and not do what He “commands.”
          We can deduce that if God exists, He’s not “commanding” anyone to love Him because here you are on this blog stating that you will not give in to His “commands” and therefore while you might think you’re being clever with the “gotchas” to us gullible Christians, you are not really addressing the argument as to whether or not God exists.

          • Anonymous

            I am always interested in discussing whether god exists. It’s an important argument to have. But neither of us will ever prove it. So instead I stick to what I do know 100% and it’s this – if there is a god, you do not know what he wants. You’re a human just like me, so I am certain that you don’t know the mind of god – what he wants, commands or gently suggests or however else you want to word it.

            Lastly, if the penalty for “choosing” wrong is eternal hell, then that is not a choice. It is force. Just as a criminal who tells me I have a “choice” to give him my money or not. If I don’t, he’ll kill me. I’m sure you can see why I don’t see your insistence that god leaves it up to me, if the penalty for me using my own mind is eternal torture. That’s no choice.

    • guesty

      Wanting and commanding are not synonymous. You can want something without commanding it. So if you were to really think God wants you to love Him there’s no reason to feel threatened as if He’s “commanding” you.

      • Anonymous

        Incorrect. There is a very real threat given by god and all those who invent stories about what he “wants” (as if you could even know). And it’s hell.

        You haven’t given me a true choice at all if you tell me you’ll shoot me if I choose wrong. That is coercion.

  • Gordon Duffy

    I cant tell if this is a joke or not…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VAEJ6MEVLEFSEM3PAWILWCOP4Y Sean

    I don’t think you actually know any atheists. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have offered such a superficial, stereotypical portrait of them. Why don’t you have your faith and leave other people alone. I like Led Zeppelin but I don’t go around criticizing everybody that doesn’t like them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      Well, presenting such superficial portraits is an effective way of meeting atheists, which can help correct one’s stereotype misconceptions. Of course, realizing they may be irritated by inaccurate stereotypes is necessary to correcting the inaccuracy of the stereotype of irritability; that sort of subtle metacognition is a challenge for most people.

    • Marc Barnes

      This is literally my experience of atheists. I’m growing up with Reddit, truthsaves, god is not great, the god delusion, infidels.org, Daniel Dennett, americanatheist, the amazing atheist, and all the rest defining atheism. I apologize if my experience is not consistent with the overall atheist population, which apparently, I just keep never meeting.

      • John Henry

        You’re more likely to hear the loud antitheists than the quietly irreligious.

  • Bontidy

    As far as I can tell, the existence of God has never been in doubt, whether we call Him Christ, Allah, Big Bang, Cause-and-Effect, etc. What is contentious is what does God want of us? If all He want is for us to live in harmony with our body and our environment (both animate and inanimate), then that is self-evident. We dont need any religion to figure that out. Any being that violate this harmony requirement will perish here on earth, no need to wait for a hell fire (This is what evolutionary biology have discovered). However the theists say God requires us to “Believe” in Him. This “belief” is so complicated that it need to be documented for us to read daily, it needs priests (in some sort of hierarchy) who will explain it to us weekly, and rituals which are divorced from the harmony requirements above (eg which days not to work, which times of the year to celebrate, and the nature of the celebration, etc). And since the people who disregard this “belief” and violate these rituals do not appear to be harmed here on earth, there is the need to invent an untestable punishment for them (Hell) and the corresponding reward for the “Believers” (Heaven). Of course, the ocassional “miracles” come in handy as red-herrings to divert attention from the real issues, while both sides debate the “reality” and “meaning” of these “miracles”. The theist feels no obligation to offer any explanation for these miracles – all they do is just point at it as if all “miracles” buttress their points, while the atheist exert himself to provude a “scientific” explanation for these “miracles” as if that explanation identifies and diminishes anything. So can we all (theist, atheist, etc) be honest with ourself for once and admit we just dont know!

    • Gordon Duffy

      “As far as I can tell, the existence of God has never been in doubt”

      ok, well it is in doubt, has been for a long time by a lot of people.

      In the absence of any evidence or reason to believe, plenty of us doubt that any of the gods ever worshipped have any basis in reality.

      • Bontidy

        “ok, well it is in doubt, has been for a long time by a lot of people.”

        Well it should not have been.
        We can start from either of 2 assumptions.
        1. “God doesnt exist”. Then this whole argument goes away, and we go find some other issue to argue over.
        2. “God exist”. By itself, this assumption is not controversial enough. Its like me saying “I dreamt of a dragon last night”. So we add a Requirement Criteria – “…and this God require us to worship Him…” Then the controversy begins. So this is what the whole argument boils down to.

        If we limit the discourse to the existence of God, then we trap ourselves in a yes/no bind, which no side can win. If we concede the assumption, then we can make progress to see religion for what it is – an attempt by some people to impose a Requirement Criteria on others. Not that this is a bad thing – after all we find these RC all around us in our daily lives, eg you cant drive on this side of the road, etc. This issue is how sensible are these RC by themselves, without the arbitrary threat of an omniscient?

        So the conversation should go like this:
        Theist: Christ died on the cross for our sins
        Atheist: Ok (concede the point – for all you know the guy is probably describing a dream he had)
        Theist: And on the 3rd day Christ rose from the dead to signify his power over death.
        Atheist: Ok
        Theist: Before this he has performed many miracles, such as walking on the sea, raising the dead, feeding multitudes, etc
        Atheist: Ok
        Theist: And because of this selfless sacrifice by Christ, we are guaranteed eternal life instead of the damnation that would have befallen us for our sins.
        Atheist: Ok
        Theist: However, to claim this eternal life, we have to do the following…
        Atheist: Aha…

        So now we can see why “it has been in doubt for a long time by a lot of people” — they all focusing on the wrong issue.

        Whether God exist or not is irrelevant. In fact, arguing this point is what creates the “Persecution complex” where both sides claim they are being persecuted for their Beliefs / Non-beliefs throughout history.

        Even if the existence of God were to be scientifically proven to the satisfaction of both sides, we will still arrive at the next question — “So what does God want of us?”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          It’s also possible to start from other assumptions, and see whether they yield one or the other proposition you suggest as a “start”.

          I’ll add your final question seems to presuppose we ought to care what God might want of us.

  • Matthew Prorok

    I think you are ignoring the numerous atheists out there, including myself, who were raised as Christians. Back when I did believe in god, but was starting to doubt, I prayed sincerely for god to help me believe, to let me know that he was real. No answer came. Many of us have studied philosophy, we have struggled with our doubts; we simply came out the other side realizing that our doubts were entirely justified.

    What atheists are looking for, most of us anyway, is evidence. The Miracle of the Sun is unconvincing not because we can simply explain away what happened, but because it does not meet the standards of evidence. It isn’t reproducible, it wasn’t recorded anywhere but human memory, it can’t be independently studied and verified, etc. Sure, it might be unexplained, but that doesn’t mean it was supernatural. And a dancing sun, even if it did happen exactly as perceived, is not evidence of a god, certainly not of the Christian god.

    You’ve committed a straw man fallacy (and admitted it; “It is very easy to win debates with atheists when you get to narrate them”), invoked the Courtier’s Reply (“read St. Thomas Aquinas”), and made an appeal to authority (“Dr. Almeida Garrett, Professor of Natural Sciences at Coimbra University’s description of the event”). I’m sorry, but somehow, I suspect you didn’t indeed come to your faith through good reasoning. At the very least, it seems to have escaped you in this post.

    You’re absolutely right that it’s easy to win debates with atheists when you get to narrate them. That way, they don’t do irritating things like make good points and ask difficult questions. To quote David Hume, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.” Miracles are indeed difficult things for god to provide. But they are, I suspect, at the very core of your faith. You believe that miraculous events did at one point happen; no matter how much theological gymnastics you engage in, at the center of the maze is Christ’s empty tomb. It just happens that you take that on faith, because you know there isn’t any convincing evidence. And I’m less gullible than that.

    • Safia

      So how would you explain Fatima? Perhaps the miracle of the sun has a scientific explanation (it’d point only further to God, IMO), but why were the kid witnesses right according to the day, time, and event, per (supposed) visions of Mary?

  • Rick DeLano

    Matthew says:

    “What atheists are looking for, most of us anyway, is evidence. The Miracle of the Sun is unconvincing not because we can simply explain away what happened, but because it does not meet the standards of evidence. It isn’t reproducible, it wasn’t recorded anywhere but human memory, it can’t be independently studied and verified, etc. Sure, it might be unexplained, but that doesn’t mean it was supernatural. And a dancing sun, even if it did happen exactly as perceived, is not evidence of a god, certainly not of the Christian god.”

    I reply:

    “What Christians are looking for, most of us anyway, is evidence. The Big Bang is unconvincing, not merely because we can simply explain away what happened, but because it does not meet the standards of evidence. It isn’t reproducible, it wasn’t recorded anywhere but in the mathematical equations of the humans doing the theorizing, it can’t be independently verified, etc. Sure, it might be unexplained, but that doesn’t mean it was natural. And a set of mathematical equations describing such an inflationary Big Bang, even if they existed exactly as claimed, is not evidence of a Big Bang- certainly not of one proceeding from natural causes.”

    Matthew:

    “To quote David Hume, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”

    I reply:

    The inability of scientists to recreate the image on the Shroud of Turin absent laser technology, establishes precisely the grounds upon which David Hume, and yourself, are now required to admit the miraculous status of the image on the Shroud.

    It would, after all, be even more miraculous to ascribe laser technology to the Medieval Forger, than it would be to ascribe the image to a miraculous consequence of the Resurrection of Christ.

    There’s your first miracle.

    Matthew:

    Miracles are indeed difficult things for god to provide.

    >> Not at all.

    Matthew:

    But they are, I suspect, at the very core of your faith.

    >> Yes. The central, stupendous miracle of the Resurrection lies at the core of my Faith.

    Matthew:

    You believe that miraculous events did at one point happen;

    >> Yes. More than once. There is, after all, a universe…….

    M: no matter how much theological gymnastics you engage in, at the center of the maze is Christ’s empty tomb.

    >> Yes.

    M: It just happens that you take that on faith, because you know there isn’t any convincing evidence.

    >> To the contrary, the evidence is overwhelming. It consists in the subsequent validation of the prophecies of Christ, concerning what His Church would be in time, concerning Her prophesied universality, Her prophesied invincibility, and Her prophesied organic unity.

    The Catholic Church begins with a promise to Simon, who becomes Peter, the Rock, upon which the Church shall be built, and against which the powers of death shall not prevail.

    Since this promise proceeds from a Founder Who will shortly die a criminal’s death on a cross, and Whose disciples will flee in terror….

    The subsequent fact on the ground: these terrified disciples returned, claiming to have witnessed the Risen Christ, and proceeded to evangelize the world, and to establish in Rome an episcopal seat that is now the oldest, continuously operating institution of the human race.

    Under Hume’s parameters, above, it were more miraculous to assert this has happened on *other* grounds, such as, say, mass gullibility.

    M: And I’m less gullible than that.

    >> No. You are more gullible than that. You are so gullible that you do not remain consistent to your own argument, when it is shown to lead you ineluctably to Faith.

    >>

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

    Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.

    At least some sociological data suggests otherwise.

    I would suggest for your reading Altemeyer and Hunsberger’s book “Amazing Conversions: Why Some Turn to Faith & Others Abandon Religion”. They started by surveying some 4000 college students (from Intro Psych classes). As would be trivially expected, some were brought up relatively religiously, some were brought up relatively irreligiously; similarly, some ended up religious, some ended up irreligious. Also unsurprisingly, the usual result of “Train up a child in the way he should go” is “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” However, some of those from the most religious backgrounds ended up among the most irreligious; and some from the most irreligious backgrounds ended up among the most religious.

    They proceeded to interview these “Amazing Atheists” and “Amazing Believers”, and try to look for commonalities. Oversimplified: the ABs were those who found emotional comfort in religion in times of pronounced stress, while the AAs appear to have fallen away because their religious background was successful in inculcating a value for truth — and they then weighed that background on those scales, found it wanting, and left. This suggests atheism is not a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality; rather, it is a common element to a disparate class of philosophies resulting from freethinkers trying to continue the search for truth once religion has been found sadly inadequate.

    The quasi-followup book “Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America’s Nonbelievers” gives some further data on more general contrasts between Atheists, Agnostics, and the various degrees of religious believers, rather than focusing only on those who are Atheists by “amazing” deconversion. This may be of less interest to believers, as it only illuminates the nature of believers by the contrast of comparison of those who aren’t.

  • Drmcf

    Wow. Most everyone here has really thought their particular arguments through! But rational arguments really are meaningless.

    Most (but not all) of us have experienced love. Yet no one here can tell me what color it is, how it tastes, what it looks like, where it comes from. You cannot weigh it, confine it, or break it into smaller parts. You can demonstrate its chemistry within the brain but somehow that gets you no closer to what it is. In fact, you could never prove it exists to anyone who has not experienced it. So it is with those who have felt Gods Love, and those who have not been so fortunate. Religion is not necessary to experience it. But, if you have never experienced it, hanging with people like Marc seems to make it easier to find, just as having a child can magnify love in a way you could never before imagine possible.

    It also helps to remember a little eastern christian philosophy. The Lesser can never completely describe the Greater. It is a Mystery.

  • http://twitter.com/alangnixon Alan Nixon

    “Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.”

    This is obviously not true. A short perusal of the New Atheist literature brings up many examples where Atheists are extremely concerned with morality and socially correct actions. The New Atheists also generally add that these morals/ethics are most effective when endogenously driven (because the person believes it is the right thing to do, not because of external forces like God). As one example, the statistics on Atheist crime make it fairly clear that this is a fallacy. There are far fewer Atheists in any type of correctional facility than religious believers. If Atheism was truly about justifying immorality (which is a very offensive thing to say about a group) there would be far more cases of Atheists involved in crimes (those things our society usually regards as immoral).

    I am an Atheist and I am a moral person who does not wish to justify immorality under any circumstances. I may not agree with you about what is considered moral, but I find it very offensive that you think I am an Atheist to justify my immorality.

    I (and I don’t believe I am alone) am an Atheist because this is where the evidence presented by religion/science has directed me. I am an Atheist because I see no convincing evidence of the existence of God(s) or the supernatural. I am an Atheist via my search for truth.

  • http://intimategeography.wordpress.com/ Barbara

    So we pray that wonderfully self-contradicting prayer, “God, who I don’t believe exists, prove to me you exist!” And when God makes no response, but instead has the audacity to remain on his cumulus throne, smiting gays and forbidding drinking, we settle back into our sofas and smile, happy that “Well, we tried!”

    Funny thing about that Sofa Atheist Non-Prayer, sometimes God cracks his galaxy sized knuckles and says “okee dokee genius, you asked for it”. Check out John C. Wright’s conversion story if you haven’t yet.

    http://www.scifiwright.com/2011/09/a-question-i-never-tire-of-answering/

  • Anonymous

    This is just some poor pathetic bible beater spinning his wheels. There is no god, the self deception is embarrassing. Good luck with the metaphysical confusion. Utilize reason to escape the delusion and find some clarity.

    • mary york

      Why find clarity? Seems like atheists should not care in the least what any Christians or anyone does or thinks, as long as they can act as they choose. What Christian principles are shackling you? Since there is no “ultimate purpose or good, why not stay happily within a mindframe that suits you? Seems like atheists should just be smiling and waving at Christians and pay them no heed whatsoever. But of course….they do! As Ken Miller said of Dawkins, “The guy acts more as if things actually do matter than anyone I know” (paraphrase).

      • Anonymous

        I try to “save” theists from their self deception and delusion because it is the right thing to do. Would you walk by a drowning man without attempting a rescue?

        Also, the fact that there is no god does not rule out purpose, or good, or morality. I encourage to take a critical thinking class, and I wish you well in your battle with conceptual confusion.

        • mary york

          But why is it “right”? I just don’t get that. If I spend my allotted days on this earth in a “delusion”, then pass away into nothingness, it is of no consequence. Neither is it of any consequence if I spend my days as a happy atheist and pass away into nothingness. If all the meaning is in the present moment, then the minute that moment is over, there is not one bit of meaning. I guess I cannot see it any other way.

          I can understand why you would want someone to avoid pain (either through “natural” evil or man made evil) in the moment (prevent someone from drowning), but I don’t see why you care in the least to change someone’s mind away from Christianity (unless you feel they are harming you directly). Can you try again to explain it?

        • enness

          If you can’t do it without being condescending and coming off as a real douchebag, it might be better not to do it at all, no?

  • Anonymous

    You (both the original poster and the commenters) are incredibly ignorant of atheism. I always find it hilarious when people like you lecture me at interminable length on what I, as an atheist, believe. Of course it would never occur to you in a million years to actually ask me what I believe, much less listen to the answer. But by all means go on wallowing in your blissful ignorance. Life’s too short to make a dent in such abysmal ignorance as this page shows.

    • Jmsteve4

      Actually he had a thing some time ago where he asked his readers why they were athiests. He posted the responses on the site. Not sure when. But in that there are now a ton more athiests reading this blog, perhaps he should do it again. You can also send him an email. The last athiest he was debating refused to give out his email (or actually listen to what he argued), but Marc was going to post it all on the site. So maybe you could try that instead of insulting him when he said numerous times down in the comments read that you claim to0 have read that this is his actual experience. But don’t say he’s ignorant because he’s trying to learn. You can help instead of mocking him. Oh hey, I’m in AZ too btw. Small world.

    • mary york

      I am not ignorant of Atheism at all! I have many friends, family members and colleagues who are agnostic and atheist. I also have read numerous atheistic publications… As far as I can figure…the most powerful argument for atheism is the existence of natural evil, particularly animal suffering (as contrasted with human suffering, which could be (in some instances) seen as a mechanism for growth.

  • Josh

    I fail to what is so miraculous about an all-powerful creator of the world demonstrating his very existence. If the very act of God making an appearance and validating religion—in your case that Catholicism is the correct religious stance than so be it, there is nothing miraculous about this.

    I find it rather entertaining where the least a deity could–prove and support his existence–is classified as a miracle. Your faith system is based on blind faith and only major source you have to claim and justify your belief is a single book, which at best I am willing you agree with only half of.

    The greatest miracle/gift God ever gave humanity was his son who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead, a very amazing accomplishment if I dare admit it. However, despite Jesus rising from the dead and walking the earth for 40 days, the Christian religion gained no significant following. At a time when people were highly superstitious and feared that natural disasters were the wrath of their respective gods, were so unimpressed with a resurrection. The belief in this miracle did not gain any mainstream acceptance and plausibility until 400 years later when a Roman Pagan Caesar used the religion as a method to unite his empire.

    Yet, it is I, an atheist that ask too much of God. Clearly, this is a misguided line of thought and all I want is to justify that my “philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.” I think there are few statements you have said that have offended me more. I accept that fact that we both hold different ideologies, but this statement was simply unfounded and to me, highly demeaning. I feel I owe an apology for all atheist, for expecting someone who loves and cares for me, won’t give us the time of day, but upon our death and showing us how “ignorant” we were, He will gladly sentence to eternal punishment. I am sorry we expect so much from your God.
    Maybe, you just expect too little.

  • http://www.michael-carper.com/ Michael Carper

    I wrote this post. It’s about the same subject but a little different.

    http://www.michael-carper.com/2012/01/if-god-is-real-why-doesnt-he-just-show-himself-to-us/

  • Paul Pitner

    I wish I could forward these types of articles on to atheists I know but they tend to be very abrasive. I know your responding to atheists that are vocal in the public square but I wish you would not make them sound stupid (as enjoyable as it is to read).

  • billybagbom

    Marc, I just want to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing here. You do it well.

  • Rar123

    “For a miracle to be true, the atheist must believe it.”

    In reality, things happen despite belief or disbelief in them (Gravity, Earth is round, etc…).

    Only schizophrenics are characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.

    Oh, and that unicorn I believe in, let me know if that ever becomes true.

  • Nogod

    you people are stupid. There is no “gods” you fools.

    Wake up… religion was developed to control people.

    The bible has been rewritten so many times to keep up with the world that it’s amazing the lemmings out there are incapable of noticing the plot change without a sense that something it’s right.

    If you think you are going to “heaven”, I’ve got news for you, you are worm food when you die and aren’t going to some party to hang out with HaySoose.

    Religion is a sucker bet for suckers, it’s a business that sells a story for money and oh so many of you are buying… good luck with that.

  • kevin

    im a athiest so why doesn’t god or who ever he is say something to me

  • kevin

    most religious institutions are more racist and ignorant of anything that doesn’t believe what it says is right ant true and it’s because of that we have war

  • Jannawatson

    The Bible states that “No one has seen God, and those who claim to are liars”. As a believer, God has proven himself to me multiple times… in various forms. So to those who choose to be atheists are going to find themselves in the depths of Hell.. forever with Satan.

  • http://holyspiritblessings.webs.com/ Mindyannbrown
  • Maolai

    “Modern atheism at its heart is not a search for truth; it is a philosophy invented for the purpose of justifying immorality.”
    It’s nice to know that people who believe in God think that everyone who doesn’t is evil. What if you met a very kind person, and later found out that person was an atheist? Would you hate that person just for his/her religion? This suggests that personality is predicated on people’s beliefs, which shows how closed-minded people can be.
    If you need God to know wrong from right, then I pity you.

  • Mike Foster

    If god exsisted he dosen’t have to DO anything, (lets imagine he/she/it is real – or continue beleiving w/e suits you) HE took it upon himself to give adam and eve the choice of breaking his rule, due to lucifers ming games – they have no freedom no choice – so god gave them a choice. They made the wrong 1 and so god punished them by stripping them of immortality forcing them to live a modern human life with pain and suffering untill inevitably ‘ you die. The Human race were given the choice and we made the wrong one, punishment is happening, he isnt going to pop in and say hi im real. so maby he forgave us and sent a son, and then we killed him – Oh said god, they still havent changed what have i created.. OR could we be as far fetched as a big bang went off and chemicals randomly happened to create a goldy locks planet perfect for the growth of life – where did the first creature come from that apparently evolved into man today somebody had to make that right? so this proves god is real, god either created adam and eve or he created a dot that evolved. Or maby there is more to science, maby the big bang was alien doing ( who created the aliens) its an endless discussion and realisticly in my lifetime i will never know the truth. MABY the big bang created everything including time and space, if there is no time they is no beggining or end and now this freak act has created something that will eventualy end and go back to being a empty space with no time or space, there are no word to describe such a science – a universe without time or space – this would mean Nothing exsists so there would be nothing to make a big bang. my personal view is – your never gona know, live your life have fun, make ambitions you win some you loose some and in the end go out and leave a memory of you so powerfull it will churn the very hearts of your decendents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abrahama.bolingo Abrahama Abdula Bolingo

    This is ridiculous. Jesus supposedly appeared to hundreds of people after his death. If he could appear to them, he could appear to people today. There is no hidden god.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.royster.5 Jim Royster

    Dear God is Real Can Please Chang My Life and Make it A Better One For Me Please I Want My Life to Start All Over and This Time I Want to Born With Everything Winder Woman Was Given and Has in All the Wonder Woman ComicBooks Please All of Wonder Womans Super Powers, All of Wonder Womans Super Strong Muscles, All of Wonder Womans Super Strength, All of Wonder Womans Super Abilities, All of Wonder Womans SuperHearing, I To Be As Strong as Wonder Woman, Superman, Supergirl, He-Man, She-Ra, Johnn Jonzz Martin the ManHunter, And Captain Marvel, Wonder Womans Swift Enough Speed so I Can Run Faster than the Speed of Light WithOut Losing My Breath and WithOut Running Out of Breath and WithOut Braking a Sweat, I Want to Spin into The Exact Same Top Part With A Wing W On My Costume and it Be the Exact Same Top Part and Wing W That My 1989 Wonder Woman Action Figure Is Wearing and To Also Wear the Exact Same Bottom Part She is Wearing but I Want 45Bright White Stars on My Bottom Part with the Exact Same Belt With the Blue Bracelets and they to Go All the Way Around Both My Wrists to Be Blue Metal Bracelets Bullet Proof Bracelets, UnBrakeable Bracelets, Indistruckible Bracelets, And UnDistroyable Bracelets, My Belt to Be Golden Magic Belt of Strength that will give me the Strength Away From Okinawa Japan where I Was Born on July 1st 1979 Pretty Please Restart My Life Please I Want to Be ReBorn and My Life to Start All Over From the Beginning of My Life and the Beginnig of My Brother Joe Royster Life Pretty Please and Have All Happen Tonight in Both Of Our Sleep Tonight at 12:00 Midnight Tonight Please at 12:00 A.M. Tonight and I To Have a Golden Magic Lasso of Truth and Forgetfulness and it To Be As Long and as Longer as Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is in My Super Powers Team Galacitc Guardians Dvd Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is and To Be as Long and As Longer as Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is in My SuperFriends The Challenge of the SuperFriends Dvd Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is and It To Be As Powerfully As Powerful as Strong and Strongly as Powerfully as Powerful as Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is in My SuperFriends The Legendary Super Powers Show Wonder Woman Golden Magic Lasso of Truth is and it to Always Have Anyone and Everyone that is Bound With My Golden Magic Lasso of Truth and Forgetfulness to Always Make them Tell Me The Truth and it to be an Unbrakeable Golden Magic Lasso of Truth and Forgetfulness an UnDistroyible Golden Magic Lasso of Truth A My Whole Entire Costume to Be Fire Proof and UnBrakeable and Indistruckable and UnDistroyible. Respond Back to Me On My FaceBook Page Please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563292087 Joseph Grundl

    Child of God and Man of Science; After the
    Question, What Created the Universe. Man of Science: Energy , it has
    always been, it is infinite, it is everywhere and created everything.

    Child of God: God, he has always been, he is infinite, he
    is everywhere and created everything. What makes the rain fall and
    green grass grow.

  • GOD IS REAL

    You are an asshole god exists so shut the f up if god did not exist then how do you think. Prayers are answered and how do you think you are alive HUH YEAH SO GOD IS REAL

  • jason

    The humor of this is that he brings up quantum mechanics, but forgets to mention that the founder of this field Werner Heisenberg was a Christian. In fact, of the top five greatest scientists (as named by 100 of the best modern physicists), Maxwell, Newton and Heisenberg were Christians.

  • Richard

    Wow this writer is a total nut job


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X