18 Unconvincing Arguments for God

***Update: I’ve corrected a few mistakes in the intro, and I’ve attached August’s PDF of the arguments (great for printing out) and added some of his own thoughts. The arguments themselves are unchanged. Sorry for any inconvenience!***

August and atheist plate

August Berkshire, the public relations representative for Minnesota Atheists and Vice-President of Atheist Alliance International, has put together a simple, concise list of “18 Unconvincing Arguments for God” (PDF).

August has said the list was written in order to give Christians (and those of other faiths) “insight as to what arguments are not likely to work with us, as we have already considered them and found them insufficient… It was meant to be a time-saving device for believers.”

And if you understand August’s points, you’ll certainly get more reception from the atheists you’re talking to. We’ve heard these arguments before and new arguments would better stimulate our curiosity and require new rebuttals.

August has been invited to give this talk the past few years at local Christian colleges and has been featured in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota) as a result.

Here is August explaining why he wrote the list:

I have been giving this talk for the past two years specifically to Christian colleges where I am invited to speak. The impetus happened three years ago, speaking to a “Creative Evangelism” class taught by Sherry Bunge Mortenson at Bethel University in St. Paul. A student asked what would convince me that God exists? I named a few miracles that would at least convince me that something supernatural exists. But the question stuck in my mind and I naturally began to think of what wouldn’t convince me. Thus, if the goal of these students was to evangelize an atheist, it seemed perfectly appropriate that I give them a list of what wouldn’t work, so they could creatively come up with some new arguments, as their class title suggests. I meant this to be educational and in no way condescending, and that is how I hope the students perceive my presentation.

His revised and updated list is presented for you here:

(1) Holy Books – Just because something is written down does not make it true. This goes for the Bible, the Qu’ran, and any other holy book. People who believe the holy book of their religion usually disbelieve the holy books of other religions.

(2) “Revelations” – All religions claim to be revealed, usually to people called “prophets.” But a revelation is a personal experience. Even if the revelations really did come from a god, there is no way we could prove it. As Thomas Paine said, it is a revelation only to the first person, after that it is hearsay. People of one religion usually disbelieve the revelations of other religions.

(3) Personal Testimony / Feelings – This is when you are personally having the revelation or feeling that a god exists. Though you may be sincere, and even if a god really does exist, a feeling is not proof, either for you or for someone else.

As a matter of fact, scientists have begun to study why some people believe and other don’t, from a biological perspective. They have identified certain naturally occurring chemicals in our bodies that can give us religious experiences. Studies of identical twins separated at birth seem to indicate that god-belief is about 50% nurture and 50% nature. Some claim to have found a “god gene” that makes people more likely to believe.

In studies of religion and the brain, a new field called neurotheology, they have identified the temporal lobe as a place in the brain that can generate religious experiences. Another part of the brain that regulates a person’s sense of “self” can be consciously shut down during meditation, giving the meditator (who loses his sense of personal boundaries) a feeling of “oneness” with the universe.

(4) “Open Heart” – It will do no good to ask atheists to “open our hearts and accept Jesus” (or any other deity). If we were to set aside our skepticism, we might indeed have an inspirational experience. But this would be an emotional experience and, like a revelation, we’d have no way to verify if a god was really speaking to us or if we were just hallucinating.

(5) Unverifiable “Miracles” / Resurrection Stories – Many religions have miracle stories. And just as religious people are usually skeptical towards miracle stories of other religions, atheists are skeptical toward all miracle stories.

Good magicians can perform acts that seem like miracles. Things can be mismeasured and misinterpreted. A “medical miracle” can simply be attributed to our lack of knowledge of how the human body works. Why are there never any indisputable miracles, such as an amputated arm regenerating?

Regarding resurrections, atheists will not find a story of someone resurrecting from the dead to be convincing. There are many such legends in ancient literature and, again, most religious people reject the resurrection stories of other religions.

Modern resurrection stories always seem to occur in the Third World under unscientific conditions. There have been thousands of people in hospitals hooked up to machines that verified their deaths when they died. Why didn’t any of them ever resurrect?

(6) Fear of Death / “Heaven” – Atheists don’t like the fact that we’re all going to die any more than religious people do. However, this fear does not prove there is an afterlife – only that we wish there was an afterlife. But wishing doesn’t make it so.

There is no reason to believe our consciousness survives the death of our brains. The mind is not something separate from the body. Chemical alteration and physical damage to our brains can change our thoughts.

Some people get Alzheimer’s disease at the end of their lives. The irreversible damage to their brains can be detected by brain scans. These people lose their ability to think, yet they are still alive. How, one second after these people die, does their thinking return (in a “soul”)?

(7) Fear of Hell – The idea of hell strikes atheists as a scam – an attempt to get people to believe through fear what they cannot believe through reason and evidence.

Then there is the problem of which religion’s hell is the true hell. Without evidence, we can never know.

(8) “Pascal’s Wager” / Faith – In short, Pascal’s Wager states that we have everything to gain (an eternity in heaven) and nothing to lose by believing in a god. On the other hand, disbelief can lead to a loss of heaven. We’ve already addressed the issues of heaven and hell, so let us address the faith wager part.

First, it assumes a person can will himself or herself into belief. This is simply not the case, at least not for an atheist. So atheists would have to pretend to believe. But according to most definitions of God, wouldn’t God know we were lying to hedge our bets? Would a god reward this?

Part of Pascal’s Wager states that you “lose nothing” by believing. But an atheist would disagree. By believing under these conditions, you’re acknowledging that you’re willing to accept some things on faith. In other words, you’re saying you’re willing to abandon evidence as your standard for judging reality. Faith doesn’t sound so appealing when it’s phrased that way, does it?

(9) Blaming the Victim – Many religions punish people for disbelief. However, belief requires faith, and some people, such as atheists, are incapable of faith. Their minds are only receptive to evidence. Therefore, are atheists to be blamed for not believing when “God” provides insufficient evidence?

(10) The End of the World – Like hell, this strikes atheists as a scare tactic to get people to believe through fear what they can’t believe through reason and evidence. There have been predictions that the world was going to end for centuries now. The question you might want to ask yourselves, if you’re basing your religious beliefs on this, is how long you’re willing to wait – what amount of time will convince you that the world is not going to end?

(11) Meaning in Life – This is the idea that without a belief in god life would be meaningless. Even if this were true, it would only prove we wanted a god to exist to give meaning to our lives, not that a god actually does exist. But the very fact that atheists can find meaning in their lives without a belief in god shows that god belief is not necessary.

(12) “God is Intangible, Like Love” – Love is not intangible. Unlike “God,” we can define love both as a type of feeling and as demonstrated by certain types of actions.

Unlike “God,” love is a physical thing. We know the chemicals responsible for the feeling of love.

Also, love depends upon brain structure – a person with a lobotomy or other types of brain damage cannot feel love.

Furthermore, if love were not physical, it would not be confined to our physical brains. We would expect to be able to detect an entity or force called “love” floating around in the air.

(13) Morality/Ethics – This is the idea that without a god we’d have no basis for morality. However, a secular moral code existed before the Bible: the Code of Hammurabi.

Christians can’t even agree among themselves what’s moral when it comes to things like masturbation, premarital sex, homosexuality, divorce, contraception, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and the death penalty.

Christians themselves reject some of the moral laws found in the Bible, such as killing disobedient children or people who work on the sabbath.

Other animals exhibit kindness toward one another and a sense of justice. Morality is something that evolved from us being social beings. It’s based on the selfish advantage we get from cooperation, and on consequences.

(14) Altruism – People sometimes say that without a god there would be no altruism, that evolution only rewards selfish behavior.

However, it can be argued that there is no such thing as altruism, that people always do what they want to do. If they are only faced with bad choices, then people choose the thing they hate the least.

Our choices are based on what gives us (our genes) the best advantage for survival, including raising our reputation in society.

“Altruism” towards family members benefits people who share our genes. “Altruism” towards friends benefits people who may someday return the favor.

Even “altruism” towards strangers has a basis in evolution. This behavior evolved in small tribes, where everyone knew each other and a good reputation enhanced one’s survival. It is now hard-wired in our brains as a general mode of conduct.

(15) Free Will – Some would argue that without a god there would be no free will, that we would live in a deterministic universe of cause and effect and that we would be mere “robots.”

Actually, there is far less free will than most people think there is and, in fact, most atheists have no problem admitting that, indeed, free will may be an illusion.

Some believe that the only free will we have is to exercise a conscious veto over actions suggested by our thoughts.

(16) Difficulties of Religion – It has sometimes been argued that because certain religious practices are difficult to follow, nobody would do them if a god didn’t exist. However, it is the belief in the existence of a god that is motivating people. A god doesn’t really have to exist for this to happen.

Difficulties can serve as an initiation rite of passage into being counted one of the “select few.” After all, if just anybody could be “saved,” there would be no point in having a religion.

Finally, the reward for obedience promised by most religions – a heaven – far outweighs any difficulties religion imposes.

(17) False Dichotomies – This is being presented with a false “either/or” proposition: where you’re only given two choices when, in fact, there are more possibilities. Here’s one that many Christians are familiar with: “Either Jesus was insane or he was god. Since Jesus said some wise things, he wasn’t insane. Therefore, he must be god, like he said he was.”

But those are not the only two possibilities.

A third option is that, yes, it is possible to say some wise things and be deluded that you are a god.

A fourth possibility is that Jesus didn’t say everything that is attributed to him in the Bible. Maybe he didn’t actually say all those wise things, but the writers of the Bible said he did. Or maybe he never claimed to be God, but the writers turned him into a god after he died.

A fifth possibility is that Jesus is a fictional character and so everything was invented by the authors.

Here’s another example of a false dichotomy: “No one would die for a lie. The early Christians died for Christianity. Therefore, Christianity must be true.” What’s left out of this is that there is no direct evidence that anyone who ever personally knew Jesus (if he even existed) was ever martyred. We only have stories of martyrdom.

Another explanation is that followers had been fooled, intentionally or unintentionally, into thinking Jesus was God.

A final point is that if, for whatever reason, you believe you’ll end up in a heaven after to die, then martyrdom is no big deal. Does the fact that the 9/11 bombers were willing to die for their faith make Islam true?

(18) God-of-the-Gaps (Medicine, Life, Universe, etc.) – The god-of-the-gaps argument says that if we don’t currently know the scientific answer to something, then “God did it.”

God-of-the-gaps is used in many areas, but I’ll focus on the three main ones: medicine, life, and the universe. You’ll notice that God never has to prove himself in these arguments. It is always assumed that he gets to win by default.

Here’s a medical example: A person experiences a cure for a disease that science can’t explain. Therefore, God did it.

But this assumes we know everything about the human body, so that a natural explanation is impossible. But the fact is, we don’t have complete medical knowledge. Why don’t we ever see something that would be a true miracle, like an amputated arm instantaneously regenerating?

Several studies of prayer, where the patients didn’t know whether or not they were being prayed for, including a study by the Mayo Clinic, have shown prayer to have no effect on healing.

And, of course, this raises the question of why we would have to beg an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving god to be healed in the first place. It also raises the Problem of Evil: Why would we be praying to an all-loving god to be cured from diseases and the effects of natural disasters that he himself created?

An example of god-of-the-gaps as it applies to life is creationism and “intelligent design.” It says we don’t know everything about evolution, therefore “God did it.” This ignores the fossil and genetic evidence and also fails to explain the many poor and sub-optimal “designs” we find in nature. Is “God” an incompetent or sloppy designer?

The final and most popular example of god-of-the-gaps is the universe. But to say we don’t know the origins of the universe – if the universe even had an ultimate beginning – does not mean that “God did it.”

Conclusion – Religious people have a tough, if not impossible task to try to prove a god exists, let alone that their particular religion is true. If any religion had objective standards, wouldn’t everyone be flocking to the same “true” religion? Instead we find that people tend to believe, to varying degrees, the religion in which they were indoctrinated. Or they are atheists.



[tags]August Berkshire, Minnesota Atheists, atheist, atheism, Atheist Alliance International, 18 Unconvincing Arguments for God, Christians, Christianity, StarTribune, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota, Bible, Qu’ran, Koran, Thomas Paine, god gene, neurotheology, temporal lobe, Jesus, Third World, resurrection, Heaven, afterlife, Alzheimer’s disease, soul, Hell, Pascal’s Wager, Code of Hammurabi, masturbation, premarital sex, homosexuality, divorce, contraception, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, death penalty, sabbath, altruism, martyr, 9/11, God-of-the-Gaps, Medicine, Life, Universe, Mayo Clinic, creationism, intelligent design, Creative Evangelism, Sherry Bunge Mortenson, Bethel University[/tags]

  • Susan

    Very nicely laid out–I’ll have to show this to some of my religious friends who occasionally like to try to lead me to God. I quite enjoy having friendly debates about religion, but it gets boring and frustrating when all they use are these poor arguments.

    Personally, I think it’s a mistake to try to prove God anyway, and not just because it’s impossible. It seems almost a form of disrespect towards a god who, if he exists, evidently doesn’t want to be proved. As Douglas Adams said, ” ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God. ‘For proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’ ‘But,’ says Man, ‘the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It proves you exist, and so, by your own argument, you don’t. QED.’ ‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

  • http://www.wayofthemind.org Pedro Timóteo

    Hey, it almost looks like they got their inspiration from me:

    http://www.wayofthemind.org/2006/09/27/why-do-people-believe-in-god/

    18 reasons, too. :)

    I don’t think they actually copied anything from me, but there sure are some interesting coincidences. :)

  • Pingback: hell’s handmaiden » Blog Archive » “I can PROVE that God exists!”

  • sonofdy

    I don’t need to prove god exists. If you are unwilling to even consider the possiablity, why would I try? You can never convice people of something they refuse to even tey to understand.

    How about this, you stop trying to suppress religous ideals through the courts and allow us to express our religous ideals???? I take it you do still support freedom of religon.

  • Siamang

    sonofdy wrote:

    How about this, you stop trying to suppress religous ideals through the courts and allow us to express our religous ideals????

    Was that directed at any person here in particular?

    I’ve never filed a court case in my life.

  • sonofdy

    To athesits in general.

  • Siamang

    Well, to christians in general, stop forcing your beliefs down our throats.

    Now that we’ve got the generalizations out of the way, how about a friendly dialogue among equals?

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Hey, it almost looks like they got their inspiration from me:

    Pedro– Just to clarify, August has been using this list and revising it for a few years, so any similarities are coincidental, like you said.

    Not surprising since a lot of religious people use the same arguments repeatedly.

    – Hemant

  • HappyNat

    Sonofdy,

    Why do you think we haven’t considered the possibility of a god? Not only did I consider the possibility, I actually believed in a god for many years.

    I do support freedom of religion. When have you personally not be able to express your religious ideals?

  • MTran

    sonofdy said:

    How about this, you stop trying to suppress religous ideals through the courts and allow us to express our religous ideals????

    No one is trying to supress “religious ideals” through the courts. There has been litigation, however, to stop illegal and unconstitutional proselytizing and indoctrination by governmental institutions and instrumentalities.

    Most of the plaintiffs in these cases are not atheists. Historically, the vast majority of separation of church and state cases have been filed by members of “minority” faiths, mainly Roman Catholics and Jews, with a few believers of pagan, Native American religions and others. Although atheists have not been the initiating plaintiffs in most of this litigation, they get a lot of press when they do. Still, atheists have the same legal rights to complain about illegal government activities as anyone.

    sonofdy also said:

    I take it you do still support freedom of religon.

    You have freedom to believe anything you want to believe. At no time in American history, however, have believers been entitled to “practice” their beliefs if the activities violate the law. So we’ve seen Hare Krishna & other churches or religious centers, held to local noise abatement laws regardless of the “make a joyful noise” intstructions of their religions.

    sonofdy sounds like he hasn’t paid any attention to the laws or realities of American religious freedom.

    I respect your right to believe, I just don’t respect the belief. Nor do I respect the illegal practices of any sect or governmental entities that violate the Constitution.

  • Pingback: 13 Reasons Not to Believe in God « import Mind.Reason

  • JP

    I was raised Catholic, but I have to agree, there’s no good argument to prove a god exists to someone who doesn’t believe. But you really can’t prove there is no god either… so there really isn’t a point in anyone fighting over it. I’m more of the opinion that everyone has their own beliefs and everyone should define spirituality on a personal level. When there can’t be proof, no one can be wrong.

  • B Campbell

    To the previous poste, who says taht there is no way to prove that god does not exist.
    First of all, various scientific discoveries such as evolution and physics dwindle the possibility of god to a vanishingly small number. Why should there be a god if anything he supposedly can do can be explained by another, more proven theory?
    Second of all, historically, we see that the number of things that mainstream thought uses god to explain is decreasing, and approaching zero. Logically, one could assume that eventually there will be no need for god at all, and thus no proof.
    Also, there is something wrong with the ‘every one should define their own spirituality on a personal level’ mentality. The unverse exists. It is a concrete, objective reality. The only way we can know anything about it is throuh reason. If everyone were to be subjective, then there could never be any real knowledge, because any one could claim that it is not true, simply because their subjective perception of reality is different than someone else’s.
    Finally, I feel that this complacent anything-goes attitude toward reality is extremely detrimental to society. Not only because it causes people to deny what is real, on varying levels, but also because it creates a friendly environment for evil and fundamentalism to flourish. With god you can prove anything. And if one is one of the more consistent theists, this can lead to very evil things indeed.
    “Without religion, good people would do good things and evil people would do evil things; it takes god to make good people do evil things.”

  • John Wilson

    As a super-dooper
    leader to not just one but TWO (count ‘em TWO) Gods, based on
    nothing BUT evidence
    (As seen in philosophical implications of quantum mechanics)…
    It is only logical to posit
    two echoes of cosmic
    ‘rules’ (Gravitation, electro-magnetism et
    cetera) namely the Law
    of Opposits. For every
    particle there is an equal and opposite
    particle (with a few exceptions)
    Posit a God that is
    omnipotent can NOT
    be Curious. So God2
    teaches that only
    knowledge is good
    the only evil is ignorance. As soon as
    I learn about webpages
    My Church of Variable
    Likelihood will
    be up (I’m 79, I’m giving
    myself a year…) Cheers! jjwilson@smartt.com

  • http://google.com KGIII

    While I have no complaints or anything I find it most striking that atheists are just as prone to behaving like the fundies. In the above, the article was nice but some of the responses veer towards silliness, I have read everything from evolution to physic being cited as reasons that “god” can not exist. The irony is that to believe in a theory, say evolution, and an unknown discipline (such as physics) is just as much a faith based belief system as Christianity or Islam. (With, I have found, nearly as many “militants” who attempt to force others to believe in their beliefs – or non-beliefs as they may opt to call them.)

    It is my lowly opinion that no one has the right (or even moral obligation) to attempt to force another person to feel the same way that they do, to think the same things they do, or to believe the same things they do. Believe it or not – there is no justification for telling someone else how to believe. You are either ethical as is defined in your society or you are not and provided your choices harm no one then who cares what you believe.

    So, I suppose, this isn’t my blog but the uninteresting zealotry being posted as comments are barely addressing the subject. The subject, in this case, is how people of faith are going to be better off saving some time and presenting their faith system better if they should select to share it with another person. Of all the most compelling reasons I have heard to believe in a religion, my favorite has been, “Because it is what I believe.”

  • polarized

    Good list, but the altruism response and the free will response could use a little work. The altruism one has the flaw of arguing against the idea of altruism using a straw man (we always do what we want is a tautology, and altruism is a case in which “what we want” is not in our percieved shallow best-interest.)

    More important is the free will response, which relies on a feeble assertion “most atheists wouldn’t mind abandoning free will.” Maybe that’s true- I’d certainly have a problem abandoning free will though. For starters you’ve already produced a pretty good response to this one with your “meaning in life” response. We can’t believe in god because we want free will, and the “fact” the free will may be presently unexplainable by science means nothing but another god of the gaps argument.

    I’ve got a good argument for free will- the Cartesian criteria of clear and distinct truths. Few things are more obvious to me right now than that I could take off my watch if I wanted to. It’s one of the most clear day-to-day truths I can find. Therefore it’s true until I can find evidence that it isn’t. There’s nothing unscientific about that- go ask David Hume if we have a better foothold than “clear and distinct” for things like induction.

    Matt

  • MTran

    there is no justification for telling someone else how to believe.

    I think that’s the basis for most of the actions against state sponsored religious activities.

    The irony is that to believe in a theory, say evolution, and an unknown discipline (such as physics) is just as much a faith based belief system as Christianity or Islam.

    This remark indicates, rather ironically, that the writer confuses the equivocal meanings of “faith” and “belief.”

    The writer also seems to be unaware of the everyday verifications of the validity of the theories of evolution and physics. Our technological society has gained much from the advances in these sciences. One need not be a science expert to see that the main theoretical models have been fairly successful. This objective evidence can be readily observed, it needs no religious “faith.”

    But you really can’t prove there is no god either…

    I’ve heard this so many times and it hasn’t improved through repetition.

    When people make this comment, they seem to think that they have made some sort of insightful remark when they have, at best, done a weak turn at sophistry.

    There is plenty of evidence against the god specified in the Old Testament and the Koran. Same with the Norse gods and the gods of ancient Rome. On the other hand, there is no evidence at all supporting the existence of any of those gods. Under no other circumstance would a “believer” accept the non-existent proofs of any other thing that are accepted as “proof” of their god.

    As for science “disproving” god, as long as literalists insist on “proving” that their god exists by pointing to scientific concepts, it is appropriate to show that 1) they don’t understand the terms they attempt to use to “prove” god and 2) the science they claim supports their argument actually eviscerates it.

    I have spent most of my life working with very intelligent believers. None of them have used the tired old arguments listed above and none of them have claimed that science proves the validity of their belief. They simply choose to believe because belief provides them with a great sense of comfort. What more could one want from a religion?

  • God

    This is God, and I don’t exist, please stop arguing.

  • Alan C

    I respond to K Gill’s comment.
    To equate physics with belief is really stupid. The fact that we can use the internet to communicate is due partly to the fact that some physicists spent time in their labs to discover the properties of semiconductors. The fact that I am typing this response is not belief. It is fact. And this is because science is useful. How do you explain the fact that Jesus or Mahommed for the same reason didn’t come up with a simple thing like aspirin for their followers. That is because they had no supernatural power. They were old versions of David Copperfield in a time of ignorance.

  • http://www.christiansontheclock.org Matt L

    It’s a good list for us to consider, but Jesus doesn’t tell us to craft convincing arguments. He tells believers in Christ to share the good news with others.

    The only way someone comes to believe God is one of two ways
    1) Personal physical experience
    2) Faith

    That’s it, and the personal physical experience occurring before the faith is oh, so rare. The second one, Faith is a strange concept to someone who does not believe. Want to know why? Because it takes faith…

    Yes, it is circular, but it requires that first step – just like on that Indiana Jones movie where he stepped off the cliff.

    If you demand a personal, physical experience from God, that’s between you and him. Unfortunately (for you) that won’t keep others from sharing the good news… their personal experience and testimony.

  • http://www.christiansontheclock.org Matt L

    (9) Blaming the Victim – Many religions punish people for disbelief. However, belief requires faith, and some people, such as atheists, are incapable of faith. Their minds are only receptive to evidence. Therefore, are atheists to be blamed for not believing when “God” provides insufficient evidence?

    Many do, but Jesus never called Christians to punish. Some did – but that isn’t the issue… unless you are believing in a church rather than a God.

    Athiests are not incapable of faith – that is a choice.

    God does provide sufficient evidence – people choose what to accept and not.

    Can Athiests be blamed? Yup. Unless you live in a “victim mentality” world where people have no self-responsibility. What we believe is entirely up to us. C’mon dude – even athiests know that.

  • Adam

    I agree with Alan C. (rhyming unintentional). This is an argument that should be added to the list. Atheists are often accused of acting like fundamentalists and that their belief in science is like faith. This is not true, Atheists are convinced of certain things in science by repeatable experiments that have given birth to our myriad of technological advancements.

    The difference between Atheists and Fundamentalists is that if a theory is proven wrong in science, the atheist will change his belief to match that new theory. When the fundamentalist has parts of his/her beliefs proven wrong they turn a blind eye and become irrational.

    To be honest, no atheist is going to change his beliefs due to an argument based upon religion. Religion(s) were created by man to help explain things he doesn’t understand (i.e. death) and as a primitive form of governing his actions. If you want to argue with an atheist and use a religion in your argument, you will never convince him, unless God Himself comes and tells him your right and then performs a miracal or 2.

    If you want to engage an athiest and make him think there might be a God than you must go to the one place that it would make sense for there to be a God. The origin of everything. Ask questions about why the rules of Physics are what they are, Why is there gravity? This will not convince them there is a God, but it reaches a point that can never be explained and this is where a person makes their mind up. Either they believe there is something behind it all, or they believe it just is. I personally think it could be either, but I hope there is something behind it.

  • Adam

    Matt L, was it your choice to be a guy? Was it your choice to have your family? Is it your choice that you like the taste of certain foods? You cannot change the way you are. To not believe in something isn’t a choice. It would be much easier if I did believe, much more comforting. The problem is no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t. Is that my fault? I hope not.

  • miller

    Matt L,
    It seems to me that having faith without evidence is always a bad thing outside of religion. For example, would you agree that it would be bad if I believed in a poorly supported scientific hypothesis solely on faith, and proceeded to teach it to students? Why should faith be positive only when it’s applied to religion?

    Also, free will is a tricky thing. We can choose what we want to choose, but it’s rather difficult to change what we want. Why should I want to have faith? And it’s not that I want to be an atheist (though I do want to be friendly); I just want to go with what I perceive as most likely.

  • Tim

    I think if people of all faiths/lack thereof (atheism included) learned not to look down on each other for feeling differently, then this would not be a problem….I used to be an atheist when I was in high school (and years before that I was a Christian), but recently I’ve begun to think of things a little differently.

    I’m not a “believer” in any sense of the word, but unlike an atheist, I don’t firmly believe in objective “nothing,” spiritually speaking. Nor do I look down on either party (religious or atheist) for feeling the way they do, because I’ve been to both places. I now rest at a comfortable “happy medium,” and I’ll probably stay that way. I don’t worry about what I can’t know for sure, and so I don’t waste all that time trying to convince everyone else either way. Rather than support one belief over another, I prefer to take situations as they come and decide if they can be attributed to faith or science, vice-versa, etc., and think about them.

    That’s why I get bored when I hear tired religious arguments. If you have proof one way or the other (i.e. objective proof that God does/doesn’t exist), then I’ll listen….but if it’s not something objective that doesn’t require a specific interpretation, then it’s not going to be sufficient. I don’t like to restrict my beliefs to interpretation, and I hope there are people out there who are the same way :)

  • Simon Mabus

    Christianity was created by Satan!
    Satan created christianity to trick the gullible into worshiping him and following his religion of suffering and hate. Whilst he appeared to preach peace and forgivness, his true agenda was hate war and suffering. Those that refused to worship him were generally burned alive by his evil followers.
    He then used christianity to cause suffering, torture, death and genocide for centuries – on a scale that makes the nazi holocaust look like a chimps tea party.
    Christianity is the institution that is responsible for more evil, more suffering, more pain and more violent deaths than any other in the history of mankind. An evil whose victims are Suffering even today.
    We will all be better off when it has been totally eradicated, and its
    hate filled followers of satan who cause such misery are no more.

  • JP

    B Campbell,
    You can prove that the universe, evolution, science itself was not created by a god? Perhaps as part of a plan to make people make their own decisions, it was all created so that science could explain it all as well. But I really don’t see anyone saying where the universe itself came from?

    I’d also like to point out that blindly following any religion is foolish. Each person needs to have a starting point but you should be able to make your own decisions on what you believe in. You can’t have other people telling you what to believe in. For example, I’m Catholic. The Catholic church does not believe in evolution. I do. I believe that God created everything so that it couldn’t just be looked at with no explanation. (Again, see the Babel Fish reference haha) But I also believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ… which is to live a good life and look out for your fellow man, which is what everyone should do regardless of religion.

    God, Satan, Organized Religion… the only thing that dictates if you are a good or evil person are your own choices. How many people have killed their fellow man in the name of a god? How many of those people missed the point?

  • http://www.faithfulobserver.com FaithfulObserver

    As a Christian, I am completely disappointed with this list. In all of the defenses I have heard for Christianity, almost none of these even ranks in the top ten and the ones that do are completely misrepresented.

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  • http://www.christiansontheclock.org Matt L

    Adam,

    You wrote:

    was it your choice to be a guy? Was it your choice to have your family? Is it your choice that you like the taste of certain foods? You cannot change the way you are. To not believe in something isn’t a choice. It would be much easier if I did believe, much more comforting. The problem is no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t. Is that my fault? I hope not.

    Belief is the only true choice you have and has nothing to do with physical attributes such as ones you listed. Ask even a person who doesn’t believe in the same God I do, or believe in God at all.

    People unjustly imprisoned stated in biographies that though they could be physically detained, their mind is free. Beliefs are totally subjective. If someone can’t accept self-responsibility that their beliefs are a choice, then they will be a prisoner the rest of their life to whatever physical circumstances that stand against them.

    I chose to believe a bunch of crazy things when I was younger – that alcohol was the answer to my problems, that people were really “out to get me”, that I would never escape the problems stemming from my childhood, and many other harmful things.

    Those were beliefs… my perception of reality. As it turns out, none of them were true. Fortunately God changed my perceptions and taught me the truth. I wish the same for those who don’t believe.

  • http://www.christiansontheclock.org Matt L

    Miller,

    You wrote:

    It seems to me that having faith without evidence is always a bad thing outside of religion.

    The first person to do anything had faith without evidence. The results from their faith became the evidence by which others followed in their footsteps.

    I stepped out in faith that God was who the Bible says. The evidence of the complete change in my life is a result of the faith. Those that know me personally have no explanation for the change. If you believe Adam’s last question to me, he would have you believe that I could not change – that people’s beliefs are incapable of changing. I am proof that is false.

    Apply scientific principles to my life – I was a raging drunk, sexaholic, liar, brawler, and grade-A jerk. The evidence and fruits of my life are now distinctly different.

    People will always find a reason to not believe, just as others will find reasons to believe.

  • miller

    Matt L wrote

    The first person to do anything had faith without evidence.

    I don’t think this is analogous. What exactly did the first person have faith in? What particular fact did he/she need to believe to be true in absence of evidence? Before I say anything more, I think you should be more explicit.

    The atheist reply to your personal story is that you give God the credit, when clearly, you deserve the credit.

  • MTran

    I’m probably starting to annoy people by so frequently stating that words like “faith,” “belief,” and “god” are capable of being defined in so many different ways that religious “believers” and atheists / rationalists seldom use the words in the same way. I think we could all benefit by being more clear about what we mean by these terms. Admittedly, this would be rather time consuming and sometimes it can be more fun to just argue ;-)

    Matt L seems to be equating “belief” with “opinion” — they are not the same. A person arrives at an opinion based on some sort of subjective choice mechanism. An opinion may be well reasoned or not but it does represent choices made.

    A religious “belief” is not the same as an “opinion” nor does it mean the same thing that “belief” means in other circumstances. “Belief” may mean “support” of a particular position, it may mean “expectation.” It doesn’t require “faith” to have a “belief” about the truth or falsity of a position.

    I don’t agree that a person can “choose” to have a religious “belief”. This type of acceptance of “god” arises independent of someone’s will. Rather like a spontaneous infatuation. A person can, however, choose to practice certain religious rites.

    “Faith” in the religious sense has little to do with the meaning of “faith” in other contexts, where it may mean something more like “confidence” or “reliance” or “loyalty.”

  • Alan C

    With all due respect, but Matt L is a loser. I wonder why he doesn’t believe that he can jump off Empire State and stay alive. I think he needs a dose of reality. How does he know that there is one god and not many. Maybe god is actually satan and he is deluded. Maybe actually Allah is god and not god and maybe Mohhamed is the prophet that went to heaven. Maybe god is actually a pink unicorn that roams around. Maybe god is a female looking for sex.
    How the f— can he know what god is? Did he get a call in the morning from god? In this case I want to hear the tapes.
    Or maybe Matt is just a drunk who got sober and started to believe the shit that some old people put together to stop young people from having fun and keep women subjugated to men.

  • MTran

    The first person to do anything had faith without evidence.

    This assertion makes no sense to me at all. Can anyone provide an English translation?

  • Namor

    With all due respect, but Matt L is a loser.

    Another friendly atheist displaying dispassionate Reason

  • MTran

    Apply scientific principles to my life – I was a raging drunk, sexaholic, liar, brawler, and grade-A jerk. The evidence and fruits of my life are now distinctly different.

    I’m glad to hear that Matt L’s life has improved. Many people hit “bottom” before they move on to a healthier life. I don’t doubt that Matt L found some sort of solace or inspiration in his religion that helped to bring about this improvement.

    What I’ve noticed is that people with what they describe as wretched or miserable lives will attribute changes in their circumstances or behavior to what ever new behavior or resource they happened upon during a critical transition. I’ve heard this same type of story from vegans and practitioners of esoteric exercise or diet regimens and from those who gained inspiration or motivation from self help books or biographies.

    Healthy changes are good things. But we can’t always attribute those changes with accuracy.

    So, applying a “scientific” (i.e. rational) analysis to Matt L’s experience reminds us that correlation is not causation and that people assign significance to things based largely on emotion and the natural tendency to believe that correlation usually is sufficient proof.

  • Vingdat

    @ Matt L

    “Yes, it is circular, but it requires that first step – just like on that Indiana Jones movie where he stepped off the cliff.”

    You stupid hobo, he didn’t do that on faith, he threw pebbles out to see if they fell first. Then he walked only where the pebbles didn’t fall.

    Worst crossing of ideas in an attempt to gain support ever. No really, there has never been a worse one in the history of mankind.

  • Siamang

    What’s with all the name-calling going on here?

    Do we really need to be calling people losers and stupid hoboes?

    Does acting like that really advance whatever position you hold?

  • MTran

    What Siamang said.

  • Per

    Nice.
    It is obvious that there are no such things as gods. It’s not meaningful to debate ‘if there was a god’, or to try and prove or disprove the existence of one. Religious people are either delusional, indoctrinated, hoping for a bigger meaning, or – the healthy way – seeing ‘god’ as a personal guideline of right and wrong.

  • Ian

    Great article. I have to show this to my Catholic roommate. However, I wish you included the poor argument “God works in mysterious ways.” I think this statement fits in with the God-between-the-gaps, but is distinct on its own too.
    My counterargument for this would be, coincidences work mysteriously, and how could you even tell if God was behind a certain event. Also, in the Bible, Qur’an, New Testament, God’s pretty darn explicit in his actions. Why would he be subtle and uninvolved with mankind nowadays, with religious conflict overshadowing that of the Bible?
    Anyway, I like what I see in the site and plan on visiting often, along with the Skeptics Annotated Dictionary.

    PS: There is one good thing about believing in God though. Those who are devout tend to make excellent guitar teachers (I have yet to see if mine is ok with me playing Black Sabbath).

  • believer

    “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.” – Author Unknown

    believing in God is neither a feeling, intuition nor chemicals, but it is because God first make us believe, not through our prideful reasoning, intellect or proofs. I used to be an atheist with similar so-called “strong” arguments above, but later He made me know He does exists. I just KNOW.

    Anyway, everyone will know one day.

  • MTran

    For those who believe, no explanation is necessary

    For those who set their dinner table with the forks to the left, no explanation is necessary . . .

    People who believe in god or any superstition do so for a reason, even if they can not articulate it and it is nearly always accompanied by strong feelings, which have a biochemical basis.

    Most people believe because they were inculcated into a belief system at a young age. Religious leaders rely upon the weak descriptive powers of their followers and supply what is supposedly an adequate explanation or rationalization for believing in nothing.

    prideful reasoning, intellect or proofs

    Stop with the insults, you’re a poor example of your faith, even if you are a typical one.

    Anyway, everyone will know one day.

    Another insult in the form of one of the most hateful, senseless, and despciable threats around. Belief based on fear of being condemned to hell is not faith but obedience to a gruesome, immoral tyrant.

    I used to be an atheist with similar so-called “strong” arguments above

    If you were an atheist, which is doubtable, you were not apparently a very well informed one. Otherwise you would recognize that the above comments were lightweight banter rather than “strong” arguments. Belief in the supernatural cannot withstand even the lightest touch of reason or insight. So to one who styles himself as “believer” does, any use of reason probably comes across as infamiliar and uncommonly “strong”.

  • believer

    MTran, when I wrote all that above, I’m not trying to insult anyone, or to think that i’m better than everyone else. I’m deeply sorry to have made you feel that way or anyone who has read it. And, I admit I’m sometimes a pretty bad example of my faith. I still need plenty of molding. but thank you for pointing that to me.

    But, what came across my mind when i wrote that was just stating plainly why some people believe and some don’t, and no explanations, argument etc will change that person’s stand, only God will. God is the true evangelist.

    The last part where i said “everyone will know it one day” was not in an insulting tone but a sighing one knowing many many will reject God in the end.

    My belief is not based on fear but on a choice. It is not that I better be good or else I’ll be condemned to hell; but of first making the choice to abandon the self totally to Him and allow Him to make us good instead (because i’m corrupted in one way or another). It is not based on our own works to be good(fear) to win His approval or acceptance but simple submission to allow Him to change and mold us.

    I have one question to atheist here (my motive is sincerely to understand why you don’t believe in God, not trying to insult, provoke, annoy etc):

    Have you ever think of what will happen to you after you died, say 70 years old, is it that’s all to it? Is there by any chance something inside you telling you there’s something after death? (i’m not talkin about fear of hell or heaven here but just a simple built-in voice inside you)

    sorry for my bad english, btw.

  • MTran

    Hello believer,

    I’m sorry I mistook your comments to be just more of what I’ve heard before. Our communications are far too easy to get misunderstood on-line, so I’ll try to respond with a little more care here.

    You asked:

    Have you ever think of what will happen to you after you died, say 70 years old, is it that’s all to it? Is there by any chance something inside you telling you there’s something after death?

    Yes I have thought about what happens after I die. And no, there is nothing inside telling me that there is something other than “no life” after this one. I suspect that it is more likely that believers have more fear that there is nothing other than this life, especially when I see their grief at funerals. I don’t fear the prospect of not existing.

    When people say “Is that all there is” it saddens and frustrates me, for several reasons. First, because it grossly belittles the wonders of life and reduces our existence to a waiting game for some great hereafter. This is what causes me to categorize these types of beliefs as death-obsessed-cults rather than life cults.

    Second, there is no reason to believe that any part of our awareness continues after death. And I’m speaking as someone with far too many out-of-body experiences due to health crises. When we die, that’s it. Our bodies linger for a while before decomposing, so you might say the body outlasts the “soul.” I have no interest in pretending that my existence is somehow magically different from the existence of anything else. Sheesh, even stars die in the end.

    It wouldn’t bother me so much if the people who thought there was some type of life after this one just lived in a way that made them feel better about how they conduct themselves and experience this life. But they have had the habit, throughout history, of destroying life and opportunities to enjoy it in the here and now in order to enforce their supernatural concepts. They deliberately seek to make my real life miserable in order to feel good about their own hypothetical after-life.

    This life does matter. It’s the only one we get. Don’t denigrate it. If this life is unjust, and it is, work on making it more just. Surely we can work together to improve this one life we agree on.

  • believer

    Thanks MTran for sharing what you believe. Really appreciate it because what you’ve said is helpful in my offline life, i have many people who close to me who doesn’t believe in God and i somehow wanted to know them better (their perspective) without annoying them like hell with my sometimes insensitive remarks…

    although I don’t agree with some of things you said but i do respect your thinkings. and i think its better to agree to disagree agreeably than to argue until the cow, mule,donkey and what not come home!

    i realize many non-believers, including my boss, have the same viewpoint of why religion make people neglect their responsiblties in this world in a way by behaving badly and “grossly belittles the wonders of life”..creating suffering, pain and war. The best example is suicide bomber. i can truly understand why atheist are saddened and frustrated by this.

    but, i would like to share here what Christianity actually says about life in this world (i hope i’m not insultin anyone again, boy…):

    1. first of all, christianity does not belittle the wonder of life in this world, in fact we acknowledge it as great gifts from God to us. We are called to be a good steward of God’s creations. Our world now matters dearly to us…

    2. we see life as a test, a temporary assignment on how faithful and responsible we are to others and God’s creations; by seeing ourselves tested in character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, humilty etc. this test is not based on fear but of a genuine and childlike faith, love and submission to God and a servanthood heart to others. so, what we do now matters and like what Maximus said in the movie Gladiator “What We Do In Life Echoes In Eternity.”

    i think i’ve said enough ‘we’ above, again this may have caused some to think my belief is better than others, really sorry if i have made any of you think this way but what i am trying to say is what christians actually believe in.

  • J.R.

    Reasoning from historical data needs to be consistent. How can you quote Thomas Paine (article 2), a historical figure, on one point, and question the existence of another historical figure in your argument (article 17)?

    Thomas Paine, while I am sure he existed, was never photographed, I don’t think. How do we know for sure that he really existed? There are paintings and portraits. How can we be 100% certain that these were not fradulent? There are works attribiuted to him, but how can we be certain these are authentic? Perhaps someone was attempting to propagate certain theories and needed a personality to which these theories could be attached.

    I know that the aforementioned sounds ludricrous. It is. I never have seen video footage of Thomas Paine. I do however believe he existed. I also believe that the majority of what is attributed to him is legitimate.

    I find it interesting that someone would quote Thomas Paine (article 2), and in the same argument would go as far as to question the existence of Jesus (article 17). Thomas Paine is a well known American. However he is only well known to those who have been educated in U.S. History. Jesus is a well known religious figure. He is known of to a much greater extent than Thomas Paine.

    If we quote one person from history, who would probably be obscure to most people of the world, and at the same time raise various questions as to the work, sayings and even existence of another historical personality whose influence is basically world wide; there is a demonstration of more than a skepticism or disbelief toward the existence of God. Also present is an unbelief, “un-faith”, in humanity. Because in the arguments presented there is an underlying theme: All of humanity embracing more than the “here and now” is made up of fools.

    Lots of bad genes out there, eh?

  • TXatheist

    J.R.
    There is a difference though. Documents and books were written and signed by Paine. There are no accounts of Jesus by anyone during his alleged lifetime 4 BC -33 AD. Josephus was the closest and his works came after 33 AD as well as many scholars concur they were altered by Eusebius

  • Stephan

    Anyone ever heard of Antony Flew?

    http://www.leestrobel.com/

    Very interesting website with lots of free video about this topic.

    Happy Hunting!
    Stephan

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/2007/03/07/in-god-we-trust-missing-from-some-new-dollar-coins/ Siamang

    Flew’s is a god of the gaps. His misunderstanding of biology is not sufficient proof of God.

  • Mriana

    Very good list. I found that one about willing oneself to believe and pretending to believe so not to lose good ones. By the same token, I was listening to the author of “Losing Faith in Faith” on Free Thought Radio (FFRF), who was a Fundamentalist minister turned Atheist. He said it took a period of four or five years before he became an Atheist. He became an Atheist through education- learning about Liberal Christians, studying the writings of Liberal Ministers, and alike. For a while, he continued to preach, but he realized his heart and head was not into it and quit. However, he still considers himself a minister, but not a Christian minister.

    My point is, one can go either way with education and education can be a powerful tool for disbelief more often than not. However, with education one has more knowledge and stable ground for which ever direction they go. I find it very hard for those who read Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” are suddenly Atheists because they have nothing else to refer to as to why they are an Atheist. With continuous learning, one can have more resources to support why they believe or do not believe, which time to gain a solid ground of knowledge, but… Knowledge is power.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kathi_law Kathi

    I didn’t read through all the other comments, so if someone already mentioned this, I apologize. In the bible, Jesus never said he was “god” or “divine”. None of the passages that are supposedly direct quotes have him claiming to be either. The closest anyone gets is “son of god”, but no refs to divinity. I believe the whole notion of Christ’s divinity was attributed to him a couple centuries later when some people came up with the whole “trinity” idea. That might be something to double-check with someone more familiar with the bible than me, and then maybe revise the article.

  • George L Ayers

    WOW WHEN RAPURE HAPPENS THEN WHAT?

  • MTran

    Regarding Flew,

    If I recall properly, Flew was deliberately misled about certain issues and observations in physics by someone he trusted as a physics expert. But the “physicist” was only interested in converting Flew to theism. And Flew should have known better to rely on mere authority.

    Upon learning of this misadvice, he promptly withdrew his endorsement of theism based on “physics.”

    Flew never got to the point of accepting a personal, interacting god, instead he only got as far as positing the possibility of a lukewarm, deistic “god” that ejoated with whatever got the whole thing rolling.

    The continued flaunting of this supposed conversion by thiests is, at best, misleading.

    I don’t know what Flew believes at the moment but the comments on alt.atheism at the time led me to surmise that Flew was in his declining years and health at the time he was misled by a stealth “expert.”

    Final point, almost no-one other than active philosophy majors ever even heard of Flew. Although the Christian Right held him up as an example of a “leading atheist” who had “followers” who should now “follow” him to Christianity (which he never embraced and firmly denounced even as he posited deism) atheists do not “follow” the teachings of atheist experts. That is a mindset and social/cultural activity of believers, not atheists as a “group.”

  • MTran

    George L Ayers said,

    WOW WHEN RAPURE HAPPENS THEN WHAT?

    Well, I don’t smoke so I usually just lay back, relax and engage in some after-glow cuddling.

  • Nat

    According to the laws of philosophy and logic, it is impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God. Believers and Atheists make up opposite ends of the same spectrum, for they both assert a “knowledge” which does not exist. “Knowledge” is defined as “true, justified belief.” There is no empirical justification to support either the existence or nonexistence of an omnipotent being. Both believers and Atheists must admit that their beliefs are just that- beliefs. They are based upon faith, not fact. Just as there is no concrete evidence to support the existence of a god, there is none to combat it, either. Only agnostics can base their beliefs on true knowledge- that is, one cannot know, one way or another.

  • Richard Wade

    Nat,
    I’m not sure exactly what these laws of philosophy and logic are that you are referring to, but it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God only because of the Catch-22 description of God offered by believers.

    First, believers assert that God is real. Then when asked why he is invisible, inaudible, intangible and unverifiable they sheepishly add that well, he’s somehow outside the realm of ordinary existence but still somehow he’s real anyway. So only because of the believers’ lame excuse for the embarrassing absence of their God added on to their definition is he both not provable and not disprovable.

    The mistake that some atheists make is to try to argue within that framework. Only when believers attempt to offer evidence for their assertion can atheists respond to the strength or weakness of the evidence, and in those cases the believers’ arguments are most often full of holes.

    It’s usually better for an atheist to respond to a theist’s assertion of God by only saying, “Hmm, a remarkable claim. Please show me the remarkable evidence.”

    Before lumping all atheists and believers into the same belief basket, you should get to understand the differences between “strong” atheists and “weak” atheists. The former believe that God does not exist. The latter do not believe that God exists. They are very different. Once you see that it is possible for people to not partake in the mental activity of belief, that is they can completely abstain from the persistent assumption of the truth of something in the absence of convincing evidence, then you will understand this important distinction between these two types of atheists.

    As for agnosticism, well I just don’t know…

  • MTran

    There is no empirical justification to support either the existence or nonexistence of an omnipotent being.

    What do you mean by “justification”? There is plenty of “justification” for the assertion that the god of the Old Testament does not exist. Start with the age of the earth and the notion that the sun had to exist prior to the existence of “days” or “day light” on earth. Look at all the compelling evidence that describes a different sequence for the arrival of various species.

    Plus, there are so many inconsistencies in the biblical descriptions of god that the inconsistencies themselves are “justification” for the position that god does not exist.

    Only agnostics can base their beliefs on true knowledge- that is, one cannot know, one way or another.

    I’ve seen this smug assertion all my life and it is, at best, a self congratulatory description of someone who has very effective filters on the information they are willing to consider. Agnosticism is not a knowledge based position, it is an ignorance based position.

    There is nothing particularly laudable about religious agnosticism. One might as well be agnostic about the existence of magic dragons, invisible pink unicorns, the philosopher’s stone, a fountain of youth, a magic lamp, a flying carpet, or any other legend or fantasy. If you are not agnostic about other fantasies, then your agnosticism regarding god doesn’t mean much. If you are agnostic about other fantasies, you should get counselling because there are medications that can help that sort of thing.

  • Richard Wade

    LOL! MTran, you are so bad. Keep up the good work!

    (You mean there aren’t any invisible pink unicorns?)

  • MTran

    Thanks Richard. Hope Hemant doesn’t get so tired of my congenital flippancy that he blocks me from the site!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Hope Hemant doesn’t get so tired of my congenital flippancy that he blocks me from the site!

    MTran– I wouldn’t do that to you :)

  • Nierlisse

    Thank you for this list; it was very informative. After believing in God my entire life (simply because I was raised that way) I have come to the conclusion in recent years that he does not exist. And while I feel that religious belief (or lack thereof) is a personal and private thing, unfortunately most of my family thinks otherwise and have repeatedly tried to “win me back”.
    So while I know that this list isn’t going to convince any believers who don’t care to listen to reason, it’s at least a good starting point. Thanks :)

  • MTran

    Hemant, Thanks! Glad I can stick around then.

    And Nierlisse, thank you, too. Sometimes it helps believers to better understand your decision if you can provide them with a context to your position that doesn’t involve denigrating their own, very strongly and emotionally held beliefs. Other times, and other people, really won’t believe you are truly an atheist, however, until you make a blistering criticism of some important aspect of their beliefs.

    If it’s any consolation, my mother (now in her 70s) continues to hope desperately that I will “find god” before she dies. I usually just laugh when she makes such comments. But it must have been difficult for her all these years, having all of her kids turn out to be atheists or (much more acceptable) agnostic. To make matters worse for her, we all decided against the existence of god while we were still in high school and living at home. If she couldn’t convince us back then, what hope does she have 30+ years later?

  • REdOG

    First Cause

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  • Aaron

    “However, belief requires faith, and some people, such as atheists, are incapable of faith.”

    In what way are atheists “incapable” of faith? You may not find any reason to have faith, but that does not mean that you can’t have it. You choose not to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t believe in them; you simply choose not to believe in them.

    “Some claim to have found a ‘god gene’ that makes people more likely to believe.”

    Why would Natural Selection give us a “god gene” if God didn’t exist? How would this “god gene”, if it prompted us to follow something false, help us to survive and evolve?

    “Morality is something that evolved from us being social beings. It’s based on the selfish advantage we get from cooperation, and on consequences.”

    So what you are saying is that morality evolved out of our selfish desire to survive. We realized that by treating one another in a just manner, we increased our chances of survival. We desired survival, so we acted in a way that would ensure that survival. But having a desire to do something is quite different from feeling that you ought to do something. Morality tells us what we ought to do, whether it is advantageous to us or not. Morality tells us to risk our life to save someone else, even though we may get injured or die in the process. If morality rose out of a desire for survival, then why does it now tell us to do things that might jeopardize our survival?

    “Even ‘altruism’ towards strangers has a basis in evolution. This behavior evolved in small tribes, where everyone knew each other and a good reputation enhanced one’s survival. It is now hard-wired in our brains as a general mode of conduct.”

    If altruism is hard-wired into our brains, then why aren’t some people altruistic? Why are some people rude to strangers?

    “Actually, there is far less free will than most people think there is and, in fact, most atheists have no problem admitting that, indeed, free will may be an illusion.”

    “Free Will is an illusion.” If you choose to believe this statement, then you have the ability to choose, and therefore have Free Will. If you have Free Will, then it is not an illusion.

    “This ignores the fossil and genetic evidence and also fails to explain the many poor and sub-optimal ‘designs’ we find in nature. Is ‘God’ an incompetent or sloppy designer?”

    Is evolution an incompetent or sloppy designer? Natural Selection is supposed to provide creatures with the best characteristics for their survival. Did Natural Selection make mistakes when it created these “poor and sub-optimal” creatures?

    Why does a scientific explanation for something automatically prove that God doesn’t do it? Some would say that gravity causes the Earth to revolve around the Sun, therefore it is not God who causes the Earth to revolve around the Sun. But what created gravity? What put the law of gravity in motion? Couldn’t it also be said that God uses gravity to make the Earth revolve around the Sun? Couldn’t it be said that God makes the Earth revolve around the Sun and gravity is simply the tool He uses?

  • Richard Wade

    Dear Aaron,
    Welcome to this forum. Your remarks sound heart felt and deserve a gracious response.

    Conversations on blogs like this often fall into two categories. Those where people want to convince others to come to share their beliefs, and those where people simply want to understand and be understood. The former kind usually do not go well. Not one of the thousands I’ve seen has resulted in one side “converting” to the views held by other side. The latter kind can be very enjoyable and growthful.

    So the first thing you should do is to examine your own motives for commenting here. If you want to get an atheist to believe in God, you will be frustrated. Also if that is your intent, ask yourself why that is so important to you. Could it be that knowing that there are intelligent, sane, well informed people who don’t believe in God makes you feel insecure about your own faith, and so you want to remove that source of insecurity by converting them? I don’t assume that is your motive, but I suspect it is often the case. If that is the case, talking here will only make that worse. If you want to vent your anger at atheists, that is not welcome here, and is not very Christ-like. But if you want to be understood and to understand people who have differing views, then asking honest questions and giving honest answers will have a good result.

    The atheists here like to argue and they’re very good at it. One thing you should do is to improve your arguing skills. For instance, many of the arguments you presented are circular, meaning they basically say “It is because it is because it is.” Atheists here will either not bother to respond to those, or poke holes in them. Like any other group of people, some can be gentle and some can be brutal. The other thing you should do is to become better informed about what you’re arguing against, such as evolution or natural selection. Your statements indicate that you have some misconceptions there.

    Now I will respond to a few of your statements, and my purpose is not to change your beliefs but to help you understand where I and many of us here are coming from:

    In what way are atheists “incapable” of faith? You may not find any reason to have faith, but that does not mean that you can’t have it. You choose not to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t believe in them; you simply choose not to believe in them.

    Actually you can’t know another’s mind simply by using your own as the only example. Many atheists were raised in religious backgrounds and went through very painful processes where try as they might with all their will they found they could not believe. Ask them about their thoughts and experiences, don’t tell them. There are other atheists who do choose to not believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or God, and they make those three choices for exactly the same reason. There’s no convincing evidence.

    Why would Natural Selection give us a “god gene” if God didn’t exist? How would this “god gene”, if it prompted us to follow something false, help us to survive and evolve?

    Here’s an example of your circular arguing. You are still assuming the existence of god to support the god gene, and using the god gene to support the existence of god. Round and round. The “god gene” is just a theory and it is part of a family of ideas that say that things like belief in supernatural beings helps the group to survive, not necessarily the individual. If the group survives because they have this trait, then that trait will be biologically, not culturally passed down to successive generations. I’m personally not convinced of this yet. Not much evidence, just an interesting argument.

    Morality tells us to risk our life to save someone else, even though we may get injured or die in the process. If morality rose out of a desire for survival, then why does it now tell us to do things that might jeopardize our survival?

    This is similar to the god gene idea. In social animals like man it is not the survival of the individual that drives natural selection, but the survival of the group, be it the family, tribe or nation. If altruism and self sacrifice is a genetically based trait that runs strongly in a group, and if that trait results in the increased probability that the group will continue to survive, then that trait will continue to be passed on and may increase in strength.

    If altruism is hard-wired into our brains, then why aren’t some people altruistic? Why are some people rude to strangers?

    Most traits in organisms are not universal to a species. Some individuals have a trait strongly, others have it weakly, and still others have none of it. If it is a trait that really helps the organism to survive and reproduce, then those without it will probably go extinct. Apparently altruism is not an absolutely necessary trait for survival, but some people think it is still an advantage for a society.

    “Free Will is an illusion.” If you choose to believe this statement, then you have the ability to choose, and therefore have Free Will. If you have Free Will, then it is not an illusion.

    Again Aaron, this is a circular argument. You are assuming that the “choice” is not part of the illusion. It could be that one is compelled to believe in choice by a number of factors. This idea by the way, many atheists have many different opinions on. It is not necessarily typical of the majority. I tend to assume the reality of free will with the acknowledgment that much but not all of what I do and think is biologically , culturally and historically dictated. One thing you’ll learn about atheists is we are very diverse in our opinions.

    Is evolution an incompetent or sloppy designer? Natural Selection is supposed to provide creatures with the best characteristics for their survival. Did Natural Selection make mistakes when it created these “poor and sub-optimal” creatures?

    Yes, evolution is very sloppy. Most mutations are a disadvantage to the organism and it dies before reproducing. Species that fail to adapt through continuous advantageous mutation go extinct. Most evolutionary “experiments” are failures. The average life span of any species is less than a million years. Only a few survive unchanged longer than that. Evolution is driven by time and death, often wholesale death when catastrophic changes in the environment overwhelm many species’ ability to cope. Evolution is not a conscious process. It is not going in a pre-selected direction toward a goal, like a train running on a track. It is making itself up as it goes along, completely devoid of purpose, intention or consciousness.

    Why does a scientific explanation for something automatically prove that God doesn’t do it?

    A scientific explanation doesn’t prove that god didn’t do it, it just proves that it didn’t happen in the way that some believers say it happened. Science cannot prove or disprove the existence or influence of God, because believer’s definition of god says that he’s outside of natural laws and causality. So it’s a concept that science has no ability to address, and has no use for. This is why as science as given us better explanations of the physical universe, people of faith have not had to give up their belief in God, only their belief in specific scriptural explanations for life and the world. Genesis for example. Many Christians accept evolution happening on a 5 billion year old earth, yet their belief in God holds fast.

    Aaron, you seem to be intelligent and earnest, and those qualities are commendable and welcome here. If your intention is to give and gain understanding, then keep asking honest questions. By honest I mean the question is truly open to whatever answer someone gives, and is not a rhetorical question, or worded with a narrow either-or choice that is not necessarily the dichotomous way that others see things. Remember to ask others about their thoughts and feelings, don’t tell them about their thoughts and feelings.

    I look forward to more dialogue.

  • MTran

    “Actually, there is far less free will than most people think there is and, in fact, most atheists have no problem admitting that, indeed, free will may be an illusion.”

    “Free Will is an illusion.” If you choose to believe this statement, then you have the ability to choose, and therefore have Free Will. If you have Free Will, then it is not an illusion.

    These issues are hardly unique to atheists. The issue of free will vs determinism has a long theological history. If I’m not mistaken, Calvinist predestination theories have been argued for an awfully long time by theologians and laity alike.

    The issue might be better stated as a question: Is the universe non-deterministic, deterministic, or probabilistic? And how uniformly does it demonstrate any of those characteristics?

    Daniel Dennett is one of the best known modern philosophers to tackle the question of free will and determinism. He has written a book for the general public “Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting.”

  • Darryl

    Aaron,

    In what way are atheists “incapable” of faith? You may not find any reason to have faith, but that does not mean that you can’t have it. You choose not to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t believe in them; you simply choose not to believe in them.

    I would agree with you; we “simply choose not to believe in them.” I like the distinction that you have made. Belief is a choice. One may believe in anything they choose, for whatever reasons. But, one must know that they have chosen to believe not because it is absolutely necessary, but only because they have made the choice. If one believes by choice, they are imagining; if one believes by necessity they are realizing. Which is it for you? Is God a reality to you or an imagination?

  • MTran

    “This ignores the fossil and genetic evidence and also fails to explain the many poor and sub-optimal ‘designs’ we find in nature. Is ‘God’ an incompetent or sloppy designer?”

    Is evolution an incompetent or sloppy designer? Natural Selection is supposed to provide creatures with the best characteristics for their survival. Did Natural Selection make mistakes when it created these “poor and sub-optimal” creatures?

    I’m not certain what this pairing is supposed to refer to, so I’m assuming that the second assertion is some sort of “response” to the preceding one.

    As far as natural selection goes, yeah, it’s rather sloppy. You seem to believe that natural selection has some sort of “goal” and that its “purpose” is to produce ideal life forms. That view is entirely wrong.

    An organism doesn’t have to be “ideal” in order to reproduce. It just needs to be “good enough” to avoid being critically outcompeted by rivals or overconsumed by predators. There’s actually quite a lot of leeway in that scenario.

    Another thing to keep in mind: An “ideal” life form can be wiped out through no shortcoming of its own. For instance, a fish that is “ideally” suited to its aquatic environment will not survive at all if that environment is catastrophically destroyed, such a when a lake is disrupted by volcanic or tectonic forces and ceases to exist.

    So we should expect to see suboptimal forms created by natural processes. On the other hand, if an omniscient creater “intelligently designed” all life forms, then these “design flaws” indicate that the creator isn’t very intelligent at all. Or the alleged creator doesn’t exist.

  • Jet

    This list provides a great starting point for an open conversation with believers and non-believers alike. I’ve noticed when talking to people of faith my arguments can be just as unconvincing as theirs. You can’t just go into a discussion about religion and say “God is stupid, and your stupid fall falling for this”. Rationality goes way further than petty attacks.

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    “Without religion, good people would do good things and evil people would do evil things; it takes god to make good people do evil things.”

    it seems that Dr. Weinberg has never read Othello.

    I really enjoyed the list. There are definitely(as is made very clear here) a lot of poor arguements for God frequently tossed around.
    Here are a few thoughts that I had from the list and the comments:

    I’m gonna have to disagree, as some others have, with the idea that atheists are incapable of faith. According to (8) “Pascal’s Wager” / Faith up top, faith is ‘a standard of reality abandoning judgement that is evidence-based’. This seems to me simply to be an epistemic premise, albeit one that appears to be shaky ground. It seems like less of an incapacity for choosing this and more of its simply seeming a very poor choice compared with other grounds for knowledge.

    I really appreciate the reference to false dichotomies in (17), but reading through the comments makes me wish others had given this fallacy a little more heed; often they’re popping up on both sides of the arguement.

    Science cannot prove or disprove the existence or influence of God, because believer’s definition of god says that he’s outside of natural laws and causality. So it’s a concept that science has no ability to address, and has no use for. This is why as science as given us better explanations of the physical universe, people of faith have not had to give up their belief in God, only their belief in specific scriptural explanations for life and the world.

    Thanks for that, Richard. I noticed a lot of arguements above ignoring this, but if we’re going to run with a scientist’s understanding of the whole point of scientific study and a theologian’s understanding of the nature of God, which are, I think, the two things that folks like Aaron are trying to reconcile here, then there’s no getting around this point.

    I wish I had time to read more, say more, and ask some questions, but I should probably be doing homework right now! It’s good to see that most everybody on here is being really level-headed. It’s annoying how often these things do get brutal, and, sadly, it’s a lot of times the Christian ‘camp’ that takes it there.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Nance,
    Drop in again when you can, it’s nice to hear from level-headed Christians as well. Uh, with respect, being that you’re a philosophy student, please bring your interpreter with you. I’ve gone over

    This seems to me simply to be an epistemic premise, albeit one that appears to be shaky ground. It seems like less of an incapacity for choosing this and more of its simply seeming a very poor choice compared with other grounds for knowledge.

    several times and I just can’t make heads or tails out of it. I make my living explaining complicated things to people in simple terms but I have to actually understand them first. Of course I was an art and psychology major, so maybe that’s the problem.
    Anyway, it’s nice to meet you.

  • Rashad

    Ah, Finally a Athiest who has a “reason” to be an atheist…I was an atheist before until I understood God and He literally came unto my life..I think I can help you out here though lemme see

    Reason 1
    “There’s no evidence for God whatsoever.” I said the same thing infact I went as far as to say we created the idea of God, and that old history doesn’t mean that something is true, and also that if God really was real why is it that we can not see him nor can he show himself, millions of reasons I had but I’ll hint this to you consider the complexities of life, and I don’t just mean how it happens why it all happens? From the details of cells, to the animals that so happen to be the way that they are and indeed proven by science they “adapt” now if you believe that all this is a chance I believe that you like me before are more religious than any one else, for the fact that all these things happen and life is by “chance” than that belief is spiritual..but also remember that if there is chance than there is no certanty so if you say we are here by chance than you have to say the chances of us being here in this state and also being correct about everything is slim. Because my friend Validity does not prove something to True. Science is indeed valid if you base things on perspective but if why do you think that they themselves have no clear answer also for “why”? only “how” we are here and If you have never read the whole book than that is literally judging a book by its cover, forget about religion your right about when you speak of people being religious of course if you seek something you know you cant rely on word of mouth otherwise youll miss the point so instead of speakin on something you have no “evidence” for read it yourself…I assure you if you don’t understand and truly wanna find out “truth” that Bible reveals a certain “understanding” and that is the evidence you need because my friend if you are unable find evidence one way try something else otherwise you will simply never get it….”if you wanna know an apple is an apple you can either see it or taste it or smell it that is your evidence…well try reading the whole thing and keep in mind that it has its own “language” so you can understand only by reading and answering with the book itself then afterwards Go and compare your new understanding to what you thought before…you will find that everything makes perfect sense…because ones inablilty to understand the word doesn’t mean that the word is wrong So your right don’t believe them go read it yourself otherwise your just speaking of something you don’t know about…and only what you hear..your evidence depends on your own bias or ability to learn Proverbs says the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom….well think about that when you read if you read and you’ll see why
    REASON 2
    again don’t be so bias when you read because you will lose your opportunity to learn so make sure that you compare scriptures and see the truth of this

    1. And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
    Judges 1:19
    “he” wasn’t referreing to God it was referring to Judah who when God speaks he refers a entire group as one person or one body just like when people call a family “the Johnson’s” one body but it meant that though God was with “man” Man was incapible of driving them out…But again Read the entire thing and Know the whole thing because picking portions of it to prove it wrong is like a christian jumping into science and saying things about Darwin when further evidence has been updated 7 fold…but you know your questioning reminds me of myself before I tell you if you read the thing you really wont regret it. and It does speak of all and more than you ask(other gods other religions even athiests or agnostics) it all is there from then all the way unto now!
    REASON 3
    There’s never really any agreement on the exact definition of God. Many hold that God is almighty, but at the same time there are things God can’t do.
    Good point, again you have to read the whole bible to understand, but to say that God is unable to do something is a big step take that back to choosing not do do something…God is not like us understand that if we say “why did you kill my brother” than we become angry at God or life our ouselves because we have not known that God does what he wants..I mean he is God He did create us…and it is true that it was over billions of years process as depicted by scientist but all for a reason If you say God is wrong than you havnt began to fear Him and begin to understand the real reason why things happen…but again Read it all and I promise you will not be sorry and you will see that the Word of God is nothing at all what people have made it to be. But how can a person define God we can’t even define ourselves nor can we have a certain reason other than “perspective faith” which we call “facts” saying that its provin by calculations we create or saying that something is right according to what the eye can see..maybe you should study something called “premises” and see these sorts of things then you will know why science is valid but not completely true your definition lies in you reading the bible and taking scriptures and seeing if one witnesses to the next ..but that is up to you…I would say don’t cheat yourself from this understanding its much deeper than anything I studied from the mayan calender, to dark matter in science, or even black wholes…read it and you’ll see for your self and if you have Hard questions email me..I’m sure God will me or someone the best explaination to tell you without telling you…(HUH?? WHAT??) that’s right He does this all on purpose you are disbelieving for a good reason because The Lord My God wants to see if you will believe in him with all the oppurtunities He’s throwing at you Hes Gonna pick you and other people who critisize him so much to believe in Him and show people who He really is? Why?? Because people who claim to believe and where raised in the word are too focused on Organized religion and treat God like he is religion but my friend you will soon see that you will be his Tool for reaching people just as I have become..but that all lies in your decision will you read and pray and believe or will you shut down the chances?? Again,your evidence begins when you read it for yourself rather to prove him wrong or not…Read
    REASON 4
    There’s no way to come around this. Belief in God is irrational. It defies all logic and it is not founded on evidence.
    Ahh my favorite one…because I used to Hit christians in the head with this one…There’s No proof only faith, It makes no logical sense!!! First my friend lets start with Logic! Logic is the big stumbling block for all people who disbelieve because we can not fathom something we do not understand and if it doesn’t Go along with what we have “proven” than its not true. Logically It is impossible for us to be here my friend, I’m sorry but If you go and study Special relativity(not Theory its based off of perspective so scientist keep having errors they don’t know how to see things without seeing..lol) and then Study Cells and their history and behavior and move along into Evolution into the complexities of a Big Bang which is by far more spiritual than anything Ive every read..lol We came from no where just a BIG BANG!!! And then here we are by chance…Don’t believe them…but take out the “valid” details that are facts and set it aside and compare it to everything else…I mean why sit here and not find out the truth If you are a truth seeker Like I was than you will Put in work for these things and come to find that Indeed it is impossible “logically” for life to go on like this and even more to even begin in the first place but then that’s when you apply your biblical “understanding” which the spirit will idneed reveal to you If you are seeking Him for what ever reason God will make you eat your crow and then send you to bring other people to this “awareness” not by telling them but by showing them…which is why I am avoiding concrete asnwers otherwise you will miss the purpose Read it. But to make a long story short I hope….If man created logic and we are imperfect how can we say something is “true” no matter mow much studying and calculating we put in Im sorry we are only Man so we will ascend as far as man can Go but when you realize the undertone to your life and reason and see that its not a “coiincidince” and that it is spiritual to believe that by chance we are here and by chance things happen as they do and by chance complexities of life are still being questioned….by keep this in mind…Logic is a perspective so I would say learn to understand out side of that and recognize your own bias if you havnt already inorder to see things for what they are…I am not bias for saying I believe God is true and Real and that the Word is real because I never believed it in the first place..but It proves itself to be true after much reading…humbling..prayer..and change and ofcourse conquering that “Logical” mind left brained mentality that It is what it is and its no reason for it just happens to be that way…people who say these things havent read..and Look I know a lot of people who Never read before and as they begin to read and see the truth of things through this “secret” understanding only found in the Bible….but just open your mind to it and consider it and you will be soooooooo glad you read it..rather it is to say Gods not true(unless you’re a complete moron theres no way you will read the whole thing and then not understand the message) or to humble yourself and admit that God is real and to serve the Lord my God and believe in him…but I will wait for the person to read it to talk to them about prophecy and the truly Deep things we all search for
    There’s no way to come around this. Belief in God is irrational. It defies all logic and it is not founded on evidence
    REASON 5
    LOL!!!! I don’t blame you for that one…its true though…which is the main reason why you Read for yourself and know the Truth…Like I said its one thing to criticize God for what people tell you but when you havent even read the whole word to understand it all than you will simply not get it(even christians today don’t read like they should instead they commit more crimes than athiests..because nowdays “everyone” is christian..but If you know the word and believe that Jesus christ was God manifest into the flesh because we were so incapable of understanding him that He had to do it to save your soul…which science seems to leave alone kind of like the “heart” and reasons for emotion….they have no Concrete explanaition…but they can talk about anything but something simple as this..If they would read then they would see and understand…”you have faith taking tylenol” did you know that when they create the products to test what it does they mix different drugs together and give it to various different people in a room and people are healed of there sickness with no knowledge of what kind of pill works for what but just that it works…look it up sometime…they don’t even let the Docs know the type of pill otherwise they would never know what works for what…but I cant imagine someone saying “take this it will heal your headache” and I drink some plain water mixed and say..”boy it worked”..lol…I tell you we prove God in so many ways but peoples eyes are not open to see it…meaning they just don’t understand….lemme give you an example and maybe crush your logical stumbling block
    John 1-13 (If you read it by itself it will make no sense to you especially if you have no understanding of the “language” of it but if you compare it to other scriptures you gain “enlightement” understanding to read the rest of the book in a new way unto you reach the point that you see it completely for what it is anot not just mere words, try a concordance, but furthermore…
    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
    Now take verse 1 of john and compare to something else you should have read
    Genesis 1-5
    1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
    With your first approach you will say it makes no sense but after comparing several times and finding more witnesses than these here you will gain a complete understanding to this mystery. Just read and compare.
    ~The light is Jesus Christ who is God manifest in the flesh and, also Day isn’t day that we know in our terms it is a type but see logic still says how could God create himself? Or Why? But again I apologize for not providing the whole answer…because people always want someone to tell them to have an “easy” answer…well sorry but I want you to read it yourself. Me telling you isn’t doing me any good…But just consider this when comparing Leave logic at a distance better yet get a biblical concordance so that you can know when to take things literally or not. And then you will be on your way!(consider that termonolgies don’t mean the same then that they do now so if your serious about finding the truth Get a concordance and read and compare they are about 10-20 bucks now days)
    REASON 6
    How can God love all people yet be willing to put them through so much misery and suffering?
    Very very good one….God would do that would he? The notion that God is eual to us or what we believe he is like is the reason we lack understanding in the first place he says
    Isaiah 5:8
    8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts
    So we should recognize that “Logically” everything we do think, etc is of Logic and people are crazy in the world and there is much evil in the world but its not his Fault its “our choice” and He suffers like we suffer as a Dad would suffer..imean think about it..people say why didn’t he “kill” the devil then?? Come on now seriously, If you had a son and he said he hated you and when on that path that you know just about all sons go on to rebel and destroy his life would you up and kill him(speaking as a man) so how and why would god do this to you will read and find that it says “he desires mercy not sacrifice” So believe that while God is great for creating everything he is Great for dealing with us and our inability to understand him..We went from not understanding him to disbelieving he’s there and now even christians Treat the Real Life only God sitting back in the midst and soon to reveal his self(His words He will be here soon and All will see but of course by then it will be too late) Treating him like he isnt there…imagine Coming home and everyone treating you like your not there at all and you do everything you can to show them your there but they just cant see you…what makes it worst is to hear the things people would say about you when your not around….God isn’t tryna Rule over you by power…he wants us to willingly submit and say you are God that’s why he allows all this
    Isaiah 45:7
    I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the LORD, do all these things.
    He even does these things on purpose because He is God…its simple…And when you realize the truth you will be saved…but He isn’t out to kill or burn you for the rest of eternity. Read and you will see that is not true…but rather to Destroy your agonized soul to put you out of suffering…So you will see his mercy even in judgment when you see the feircness of His wrath that Is if you don’t believe by that time..but again hes not out to force anyone…he is sitting back sending people to you….ad some people are not even sent they are of the other guy who wants to scramble the truth and prevent you from seeing this…I’mean think about it…”dark ages” do you think that was for no reason? Do you think that because we didn’t know what was happening that other people around the world at that time didn’t know either??? Even historians are starting to wonder if technology was more advanced then we think then..Furthermore…but sticking to the script….God is God and we should learn to see in this wa..otherwise you’ll simply never get it…There is no other God besides him…If you cant believe which God is true than you should learn more about history…I suggest reading the book series by Will Durrant such as the History of Philosophy, etc.etc…you will find that God has stayd the same but certain pagan believes or other believes have stemmed from the truth and because they are the oldest “known” religions then they are considered right…but I tell you read it for yourself and do you studying…everything relates to everything…don’t be fooled by what scietists nor religious leaders say..you will find even Dinasours mentioned in the bible(Job 41:19 I believe talks about a Behemoth and these idiots think it’s a hippopotomus but you read it and tell me if a hippo has a tail like a Cedar???..lol)…you really will be shocked at the “understanding” in the bible if you read..read…read..read!!! that’s all the evidence you need
    REASON 7
    Yep “religion” is but you see if you are of the world then these things will happen…of course you will still have bad happen even if you are righteous. you will see this when you reading…but God is not a religion…though he is made to be like this He is simply God and when you sit down and think about it…where are you going?? Imean when you die what is after that? I advise you read about parasites and maybe you’ll have an understanding of this body and its limitations…there shouldn’t be a me against you attitude in any thing I think that you are a Good kid even if your not but I know that I was like you and was an atheist indeed a very very Certain atheist at that but when I read I finally Got it and now I want other people who don’t believe to see it…because I know that when you search for something and you can’t find it after a while you will think that its not there…but when you give up searching an that very person comes searching for you you will not believe but “Know” there is God and He is the only God. I don’t believe in any religion, I don’t have one I just know there is a God you can call me a Christian…but today I would say I am not but I work for him to reveal this understanding..and then when you get that He himself will Give you the knowledge, My friend don’t study what people say or what is told to be true…study the Truth, Study what is constant..and what proves itself to be true…not just valid but Sound meaning all factors even later factors prove something true and not one is wrong or off…(reason why evolution wont work because its valid but not sound neither is BIG BANG!!! That just makes me bag up thinking I used to believe in that whole thing and never stopped to think..BIG BANG!!! Rashad is here!!!!..lol
    REASON 8
    Even if there is a God, He sure doesn’t seem to care much about the world, or He’s to incompetent to do anything about it.
    you know what I see in you….light…much much light…funny thing is that I am certain now that you if you choose to read will be AMAZING!!! Unblievable….a person who cares about people…..even if you do things wrong with the work of you hands..you’ll see these things don’t matter to god. but it’s the light within you that will become aware after you see the truth or if you havent already….You will read and see that God is in pain for all of this..and though he has power to end it..which he will very soon he is in pain very hurt in bitter pain more than you and I could ever imagine over His people being hurt and doing so much evil things…..and you see when Jesus died….you will read and see it is symbolic for something I can’t speak of just read and see….but yes It’s because you said that or think that that quite soon he will come into your life rather you are going through now im not sure but I do know you are Going to go through a lot until the point that you recognize him and see that he is God and then you will serve the Lord your God and prophecy to other people and testify that He is real…not because you gave in, or because you had no answers, but because you will “understand” what your purpose is…and that is when your going to be a very dangerous man….but you will see why I said God will use a sinner or a person who was against him to do his work because you have the experience…..imagine God saying to a christian(your christian do my work) that’s to difficult they believe in him good..but they don’t serve him like they should nor do they submit to him as much as you will teach people to after your experience.
    REASON 9
    Again it will take reading, but you will soon understand that These things were and are under our control but thanks to a certain man you lost this power and now thanks to jesus you gained it back….to make it easy on you start studying symbolism if you can in the bible and im sure you’ll find that symbolism is all through out life, even we are symbols that’s why its so easy for Jesus to speak in parables because He’s a Genius for creating life like this with the details and symbols..imean even the little insect that looks like a leaf….its amazing..a symbol…everywhere you look from your nose to you eye to your facial exprecions symbols, everything stands for something that stands for something…even colors…so when you reach that point of understanding youll see why even light has symbolism and why its colors work the way they do and that God is indeed more awesome for creating all these..but thanks to us we caused a lot of things to go wrong and I can’t reveal the symbolism in Genesis to you but I say that you should indeed read and enlighten yourself you will need it in the time of trouble to come
    REASON 1O
    Not sure of your question but I do know that rules are a big stumbling block also, people always want to enforce rules on someone because they have to do it they think you ought to also, but listen when you read if you truly are of God you wont desire to do wrong it is in ignorance that people are evil and wicked and when you come to the light you wont want to do these things, even if you know not to do those things and do them anyway you will feel bad about it and truly be sorry for doing them because God governs all and has appointed rules before but when you read you will see these ruls have changed with the coming of jesus Christ now it is in your nature… if your are a child of darkness you will do wrong think wrong or see wrong…you are a child of the light doesn’t mean you wont sin..dont let a Christian tell you that but read and you will see that all fall short of the glory and that we all sin, even these overly religious hypocrites who shout and point the finger and create the us against them attitude…its not the way it should be they aren’t doing the right job….they should be humble and have humility and willing to hear people out…they were the main reason I was certain of my reason for Disbelieving in God but please Do read and with an open mind not bias but open..not conclusive but will to hear..Read and you will see..and then you will believe
    REASON 11
    Science is not bad at all neither is studying other things we are on this earth for a reason not to just be robots imean if God would have wanted robots he would have made them, but remember that if something is not sound than its not true…and when you read and see what God says about us and himself everything is sound with it…even science….its funny…even prophecy Allexander the great in the book of Daniel even most Christians don’t catch that one but its all about reading it is designed for you to know God and obtain understanding why do you think Einstein spoke of God and uttered things that people still haven’t caught…you have scientists who are atheists following in his work but don’t know where it all started from…go and find these things out..the word says “Lack of knowledge is why people are being killed” because they don’t know him…..haven’t even begin to search for Him, just wrote him off as unreal and went about there business and most of the time he’s a few steps away before they do these things.
    REASON 12 AND 13
    I am gona skip and cover them both since I’m running short for time but if you read and understand than you will find that Human advanced can be found though the knowledge of God when you completely know what faith is and not just what people speak of it and how it works then you will slowly get the picture remember what I said about Einstein check that out you’ll get the picture, but as for the mind lemme help you again to understand this…you and I have been thinking physically so long and have only known logical and what is “material” that that’s all you see trapped in that mentality..believing that after this there is nothing..but Read Corinthians 15:40-50 he briefly discusses the Body so that if you apply it to science(true science) and compare it is sound…There are differences in our body and its functions (consider what I spoke of earlier as far as parasite) then you will see what I mean but anyways The brain is for the functions of this body to use on this level but when you begin to reach other levels you will see things a lot clearer…again Logic isn’t to be applied to everthing..that was my biggest weakness not able to escape logic…not able to see past what man has came to understand….ventue in history..study other religions as well…youll see that God has an undertone that doesn’t change but his word is what is true..and it all has and will continue to come to pass..I’m not tryna preach just hope that someone who was like me will wake up to do wonders For God when they see the truth…I still get criticized by “Christians” and I am considered one today…..but myfreidn I tell you when you humble yourself and try it….as a matter of a fact rather it sound crazy or not…you should have saw me the first time tryna pray how stupid I felt…But try it…and believe it and mean it…and then keep your eyes open and look for the answer to your prayer..rather physical or in a dream…a symbol..or in someone “coincidently speaking of something to you…you will get your answer. God is whispering but sometimes were so loud we just don’t here him…and what he’s doing in our lives…you soon will though
    ~God bless and Seek truth

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Thanks for the welcome Richard. Sorry if my post was fuzzy… the way I write can be like walking through quicksand sometimes. That’s why I hate having to read papers for classes.
    What I was trying to get across is that faith is technically just another door you can pick when receiving knowledge. A premise is just an “assertion that forms the basis for a work, theory, etc.”(thank you OED!). The things taken on faith are the basis for all theories about God. Most premises have more concrete evidence at the roots, but that’s not a necessary quality. So I think that faith is a choice to atheists, it just probably doesn’t seem like a very smart one.

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,
    Thanks for attempting to clarify.
    Not that I’m much clearer. (What is OED?)
    Remember the first time you tried cotton candy? I was just a little kid. Here was this huge wad of cotton candy, three times bigger than my head. I thought I couldn’t possibly eat all that. But I’d put a big piece into my mouth and it would instantly vanish. My mouth was suddenly empty. Nothing to chew, savor or swallow, just a fleeting, teasing taste of sweet. Completely unsatisfying. That’s what faith has been for me. When you say that concrete evidence at the roots of premises is not a necessary quality, well maybe it’s not necessary for some people, but it is for me. I could not live on cotton candy. I need solid food.

    Atheists have many different reasons for being atheists. For some atheists, faith isn’t a choice because it would not adequately nourish their minds. I’m not saying they’re smarter, just different. I don’t expect my cat to live on vegetables because it isn’t her nature. She would wither and die. Some of us are really very very different from people of faith. It isn’t just a difference of taste or preference or background or experience. For some atheists, faith just is not sustenance. We would wither and die.

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    So which aspects of… knowing things, I suppose… is it that “nourishes the mind”, to you?
    While I was trying to take in your analogy, my mouth watered. I don’t even like cotton candy…

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    oh, and the OED is the online Oxford English Dictionary. its pretty helpful at keeping things to the point, I think!

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,

    So which aspects of… knowing things, I suppose… is it that “nourishes the mind”, to you?

    I find this simple question rather difficult to answer. I’m in an odd mood, so I’ll try just fishing in my stream of consciousness:

    Of several hats I wear one is that of a sculptor. I like solid, three-dimensional things, things with volume, texture and weight. I don’t like things that are invisible, intangible or illusory. When I look at someone else’s sculpture, I enjoy the form, line, color and texture, but I also enjoy figuring out how it was made.

    When I teach kids about science in my traveling shows, I don’t just show them what science knows, but also how science knows. That is the most neglected part of science education in this country. I like knowing how we measure the age of rocks, the distance of stars, the speed of light. These things are found by simple step by step methods. The overall method for a measurement can sometimes be complex, but each little step is easily understandable. Eratosthenes showed that the earth is round and quite accurately measured it’s circumference 1700 years before Columbus was born. His method was so simple that today a sixth grader with a stick, a string, a protractor and a bus ticket could do the same thing.

    A while ago I stood on a mountainside and broke open a rock. Inside there was a beautiful fossil of a scallop as large as my hand. The shell’s ridges radiated out like a Japanese fan. I looked down to see the Pacific Ocean a thousand feet below me, and I had a wonderful sensation of instantaneously witnessing the intervening 12 million years it had taken for that mountain to buckle and rise high above the sea. This elegant creature, so well adapted for its environment had left this silent mark behind with no intention to connect with me, yet it happened. The moment of connectedness involved no mystical breakthrough, no leap of faith, no divine entity, just knowing the basic “how” of fossils, rocks and plate tectonics. Yet it was an exquisite experience. It was …nourishing.

    So you won’t think I’m only concerned with inanimate things, I also have similar thoughts and experiences involving people, but I’ve babbled long enough. I’m sorry if my aimless rambling does not honor your question.

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Don’t worry, I’m guilty of stream of consciousness myself, but I’m starting to think that we’re taking up a lot of room on here with a dialogue. If you’d like to keep going, my email’s on my blog. I’d like to keep talking, but I’d hate to think we’re gonna turn the comments into the Nance and Richard exchange or something…

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,
    Don’t worry about monopolizing this particular thread. It’s pretty old for this site and doesn’t get the heavy traffic that it used to. People find it only because it’s on the Most Popular Posts list. Besides, there’s a comment just a few inches above that takes up nine pages with 5,206 words. So we needn’t feel guilty. Others can come in to help us if we get lost or are missing a useful point. If we annoy them they can go play elsewhere.

  • Darryl

    Folks, Christopher Hitchens has a new book out and here’s a little taste (yummy):

    http://www.slate.com/id/2165033/entry/2165035/

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    OK, great.

    Well I didn’t realize you worked in science. That’s answers a lot of my question alone, and I think everything else you wrote just supports it. Operations and empirical data are probably a big draw. I’m more attracted to liberal arts in general, ideas and (yes)philosophies are always really captivating to me.
    Where exactly in the idea of, well since this is my tradition, I’ll just say Christianity, does the “leap of faith” come in, in your mind. I’m assuming it’ll be at the roots, with the whole theist notion, but I thought I’d ask. One thing that strikes me about Christianity itself is how much of it, as far as the history is concerned, is more empirical. A lot of the tradition, obviously, is not though, and of course calling history a kind of science is such a ridiculous stretch, given the cobbling together that has to be done with what evidence there is.

    What kind of work do you do, if you don’t mind me asking? “Traveling shows” doesn’t really ring any bells.

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,
    My background is not formally in science. Actually it’s more in the liberal arts. Since you seem curious about why I think as I do and because some history is helpful to understand each other I’ll re-post a brief “vitae” from another blog:

    My parents both worked in a natural history museum as exhibit designers and graphic artists. All their friends were scientists and historians. As a kid I used to go out on digs with the archeologists and paleontologists. I knew every object in the museum.
    My first M.A. was in art with concentration in sculpture. To eat, I used to build models and patterns of products for industrial design companies and special effects props for the movies. My best work has all been blown up. Then with a second M.A. in Educational Psychology and a Marriage and Family Therapist license I worked for several years as a counselor, mostly in addiction medicine for a major HMO. It was very tough, heart-wrenching work, and also very high volume. I got to know 10,000 patients very intimately. I saved several lives (according to them) and watched many more die. Burnt out from that, now I travel around performing shows about dinosaurs, volcanoes or astronomy for children in libraries and schools. It’s not nearly the steady income but much more fun. I get to finally use all my schooling; I can make all my own props for the shows (including a full scale T-Rex skull) and I know how people learn. I use a lot of humor and interaction and the kids love it. In my spare time I donate figurative sculptures to decorate our local theatre.

    i think your ideas about the problems with history are interesting and valid. From my early museum experiences I learned that historians can follow the rigorous discipline of science, and should and often do clearly indicate where guesswork is filling in the blanks. From later experiences I learned that history can also be a pack of lies written by the winners.

  • Albert Ramos

    The 18 arguments that show God doesn’t exist are good points made. Atheism is the best argument ever made against God. The idea of such an entity, of any kind, is abstract and intangible. Such a state of existence lies in the imagination. If there was proof of God, there would be no need of having faith in him.

    Can it be demonstrated that a non physical entity, such as God, create flesh, us humans? The Bible points out that non-Christian gods are false gods. Indeed, this shows that they were created by humans. Why can’t the same principal be applied to the Christian God? Since we possess imagination and creative abilities, God can be created and indeed was. The invention of God was done so by us humans, just like the Greeks and Romans created their gods.

    The Bible is considered evidence of God. It is not. Ancient writing is considered magical and holly. The Bible was written by men inspired by the idea of God, not by God himself. Again, the imagination played a role in concocting the stories written in the Bible. If God is that powerful, why didn’t write the Bible himself?

    God is considered an all powerful being. Some will even say he shouldn’t be questioned. Yet, we have free will to do so. If only we have the guts. The omnipotenece of God comes from our will. We imagine that he is all powerful. As an abstract being, his power is taken away when people stop believing in him. Many atheists I know are doing just fine without God.

    Consider the atheistic argument, for it is not just that it rejetcs God, but boldly says that there is none.

  • http://www.nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    The above sounds a bit… scripted. hm.

    Thanks for the info, Richard; you’ve got a really fun and varied story. I don’t have much to offer in the way of autobiography… it’s very much still being written. As you already know, I study philosophy/religion. I spend most of my spare time reading books and thinking about things.
    Sorry for a late response, I’ve been busy wrapping up the semester!

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,
    No problem about when you respond; I accept things as they come. I know you’re busy and you’re also young. (sigh) My daughter is starting her college semester finals. You have a nice blog by the way, even if some of it seems a little over my head.

    You might be the one for me to ask a question that has puzzled me since I was a little kid. It’s about free will and God knowing the future. As a little kid I heard people say that God knows every detail of the future. They also said that everyone has free will to choose what they do, such as accepting God or not, etc. I must have been only seven years old but even then I knew that didn’t jive. If every detail of my future is already known to God, how do I have any input, any free will or choice? Also, without getting too heavily into chapters and verses, does the Bible specifically state that people have free will or is that implied and interpreted?

    I hate to put you to work, but you seem well versed in these things.

  • Richard Wade

    Nance,
    Happy birthday recently.

  • chris turnblom UT

    i think the person who wrote the list of arguements that dont work is an agnostic.if its proof you need God can provide that too.God did that for me.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Chris– Care to share what the proof was…?

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Okay, school is over!
    Thanks for the birthday wish, Richard!
    The question is hardly what I’d call ‘work’; I love thinking about things like that. In a nut-shell, my belief here is that God knows things because they happen; things don’t happen because God knows them. I know that’s vague, so let me try to expound…
    I think that J. R. R. Tolkein really has a great image concerning free will and ‘God’s plan’, one that is akin to my understanding of it all. I don’t know if you’re a Lord of the Rings person, but this all comes from The Silmarillion, a sort of prequel book that deals with the creation of Middle-Earth and a lot of early history.
    In the creation story there we see the main God using music to create everything, and the ‘angels’ and such are sort of helping out. During this though, the Satan figure of the story begins to make his own song that he’s hoping to one-up God with. His harmony is really discordant and throws the sound of the whole thing off. God’s response, however, is to take this discordant tune and weave it in seamlessly to the harmony that he’s already making, as disonance or however it’ll fit; this just makes his song more beautiful. The idea that Tolkein has is that things can occur which are completely against God’s will, they are allowed, and then God just works with them to continue on in the direction that he originally intended. Sorry that was long, I just think it’s really interesting. Anything goes, God’s plans are just malleable enough for it.
    Scripturally, I’d say it’s just an implication, but a pretty clear one. The closest that you’ll get to an actual Bible verse saying “and then the Lord imparted unto them free will” is in Genesis when God tells Adam and Eve in the garden that they could “eat freely” of any tree accept for the one they decide on. In Christianity, the eventually result of this is of course Jesus dying, and so I feel that if there weren’t supposed to be any free will, then God would have made it apparent initially, in Genesis. There, He would have simply said ‘you’re not free to eat of that tree’ and saved Himself of a lot of grief and eventually a pretty brutal death for God the Son at the hands of the Romans. Instead, the choice is shown as completely in the people’s hands.
    I hope that I was sort of clear in all that. You know I get muddy at times.

    What is your daughter studying, by the way, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Richard Wade

    Nance, thanks for the explanation. Much of it makes sense right away and much I need to mull over. I loved the Lord of the Rings and started the Silmarillion but it was so amorphous that I didn’t finish it. I remember the God-Satan symbolism, and the music analogy is excellent. Your summary is very helpful. I’ll be grinding away on it in my head.

    My daughter just finished her first semester and took math, economics, accounting and speech. She’s not sure where it’s all going but she seems to have a good talent for business things. Don’t know where the hell she gets it.

    Having some fun this summer? Hey if you have time check out the website of Mike C, a Christian who comments here often and whom I greatly admire. I’ve learned a great deal from him. He has a background in philosophy and the two of you would probably enjoy shooting the epistemological breeze. (I cleaned that up.) For some reason my comment won’t post if I have his site linked so his address is http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/

    Also look into the “O Project” featured on this site and on Mike’s. It’s a really positive idea about dialogue between believers and non believers. Consider signing up. You’d be a natural. They need more on the believers’ side.

  • Jad

    (1) Holy Books – Just because something is written down does not make it true. This goes for the Bible, the Qu’ran, and any other holy book. People who believe the holy book of their religion usually disbelieve the holy books of other religions.

    Isn’t that self refuting? It’s like saying ‘I can’t write a sentence in English’. Or “All statements are false.” If that statement is true, then it is false. Why limit it to just holy books as well?

    The reason people don’t believe holy books of other religions is simply because they severely contradict each other.

  • Richard Wade

    Jad, you quoted this,

    (1) Holy Books – Just because something is written down does not make it true.

    to which you said,

    Isn’t that self refuting? It’s like saying ‘I can’t write a sentence in English’. Or “All statements are false.” If that statement is true, then it is false. Why limit it to just holy books as well?

    No, that statement is not self refuting. It would be self refuting if it said, “Because something is written down, it is not true.” That would be an absurd, self refuting statement like the examples you gave. The statement in question could have been written more clearly such as, “Just because something is written down does not necessarily make it true.” The point is to call into question the assumption of veracity just because something is in print, an assumption that sadly many people make.

    You are right to suggest that the statement should apply to all sorts of printed information. We are surrounded by printed claims, many of which turn out to be false, partially false or true but manipulative in the way they are expressed. That is why skepticism is a precious virtue. It is only through the courage of skeptical people that such falsehoods and manipulations are exposed. People suffer terribly because of unquestioned claims, rumors or superstitions.

    “Skeptic” comes from the Greek word meaning “to look.” It’s where we get “scope” words like telescope and microscope. Unfortunately in the United States skepticism is often confused with cynicism. But insisting on having a look for oneself does not necessarily mean assuming the worst of motives, nor does it mean the refusal to believe. I found a nice quote that says it well: “Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.” [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924] So a skeptic doesn’t emphasize “I don’t believe it,” he emphasizes “Show me.”

    Argument number 1 is expressing a skepticism toward books that do not offer empirical evidence outside of themselves to support their claims that the reader can go look at and investigate for him or herself. Books that do refer the reader to empirical evidence to support their claims tend to be more credible. If a book only refers to itself for its veracity, in other words making an assertion like, “This book is true because the author says it’s true,” it may be entirely true, it may be partially true and it may be entirely false, but the credibility is suspect because it does not offer the reader a chance to investigate for him or herself with outside sources to confirm or refute the book’s claims. The supporters of such books are forced to offer only circular arguments about the book’s truthfulness like, “The book is true because the author is truthful and we know he is truthful because he said so in the book.”

    Turning in such tight circles can make one very dizzy.

    One final problem for self verifying books is that complimentary works written in support of them do not necessarily count as outside sources of evidence for the books because they often only repeat and re-assert the book’s and the supporter’s circular claims of veracity.

  • Jad

    Thanks Richard, a very informative answer.
    I was reading the statement and thought to myself couldn’t it also say something completely opposite but still have the exact same strength in it’s meaning? For example ‘Just because something is written down does not make it false.’ I thought if true would that not make it a debunked or even perhaps a self-refuting statement? I think that makes sense lol. Maybe the wording isn’t the best way to say it as you suggested and perhaps should be revised.

    I understand the dilemma with the meaning of skepticism. It makes sense what your saying. I think that’s why we have soft-skeptic’s and hard-skeptics now. :)

    Cheers
    Jad

  • Richard Wade

    Jad, sounds like you like puzzles and riddles. Your reversing of the statements is funny and interesting. But it’s really late here and my frontal lobe is shutting down really fast so I won’t be able to see if it makes sense for me. Now you’ve left me with another puzzle. I haven’t heard of hard or soft skeptics. But that will have to wait. Goodnight!

  • Darryl

    Jad, August wrote,

    (1) Holy Books – Just because something is written down does not make it true.

    to which you wrote,

    Isn’t that self refuting? It’s like saying ‘I can’t write a sentence in English’. Or “All statements are false.” If that statement is true, then it is false. Why limit it to just holy books as well?

    Word games are somewhat amusing, but they get you nowhere.

    The assumption underlying August’s assertion may be phrased this way: The veracity or falsity of ideas is not conditioned upon the location of the ideas (whether in your head, or recorded somewhere by whatever means).

    I find nothing self-contradictory in his assertion or its assumption.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Jesus taught with parables. One of those talks about a man that planted good seed in his garden, but during the night someone planted tares (weeds) there also. When the garden grew and the servants saw the weeds they asked where they came from and what should be done. The farmer said that his enemies had planted them and they should let them grow with the good plants. This supports evolution. God created man, but humans evolved. Those that God created have a soul, those that evolved do not. Those that have a soul are called by God to choose Jesus as Lord, those that evolved are not called by God. They do not feel God working on their “branches” as He does in the lives of Christians. They can see God’s people worshipping God and some of them mimic what they see. This is false religion. They can see God working in other peoples lives and hear the testimonies of how God has changed their lives. They wonder why God doesn’t work in their lives like that. It is because they have no soul for God to talk to or to grow in His garden. But God is good and He will give a soul to anyone that will ask for one. Ask God a question and He will answer you. This is proof that He exists. If He was not here, He could not answer. The human that evolved and has no soul is not a lost person in danger of going to Hell. Only those that God has called and have rejected Jesus go to Hell. Dogs, cats, and other animals don’t go to Hell, so why would a soulless human go to Hell? If you don’t hear God calling you, then don’t worry about anything. Live your life and be happy. If you want to know God and live in Heaven with Him for eternity, ask Him to come into your life and be your God. He will give you a soul and begin to prune your branches and help you to know who He is. When you have a soul you will not sell it on EBAY.

    Religious people try to reach up to God. They do not know who God is. They are trying to make some rational sense about things they do not understand. Christianity is God reaching down to people. He shows them who He is. He guides their lives. Because of false religions there is confusion. God has answered all the confusion. His answer is Jesus. You find Him in the Bible. If you don’t understand it, ask God. He will reach down from heaven and help you understand.

  • Jad

    Yeh that reads much better the way you said it Darryl. Thanks
    I’m wasn’t trying to play word games here, I was asking the question seriously.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Tommy Huntsman has added yet another unconvincing argument for God.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    No, I only said that God does not exist for everyone. God created man and breathed life into him. This is his soul. Evolution has sprouted humans. They have no soul and are not called by God. Only people that have a soul know that God exists and have proof of His existence. I am not trying to prove that there is a God. I am only saying that both intelligent design and evolution are correct. God allowed satan to evolve humans from monkeys. Mick Jagger sang a song about it.

  • Richard Wade

    You have to admit it’s original: A super race of men with souls versus the rest of the “evolved apes” who count for nothing… wait, I think I’ve heard something like this before. Now where was that, um, Germany?

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Do you believe in Santa Claus? How about the SPIRIT of Santa Claus? We all have emotions or feelings. Our emotions are linked to our memories. When we remember things in our life, we sometimes FEEL the same way we did then. The people we become familiar with are always with us because of the way they affect our emotions. We can be in a certain situation and remember someone we loved that has died. Our emotions help us to remember their spirit. Now, I know there is no Santa Cluas, but I read somewhere that there was a guy that the Santa Claus things are based on. It is his spirit of goodwill that we remember at Christmas. Not everyone has the same memories and feelings about Santa Claus, but can anyone say that there is no SPIRIT of Santa Claus? God has a Holy Spirit. Can anyone say that there is no Spirit of God? Religion and worship of God and gods have always been going on. Do you recognize the voice of a loved one when they call you, even though they are in another room? You know them because you are familiar with them and know their spirit. You become familiar with God when you spend time with Him and become familiar with Him. Read the Bible. Ask God to tell you what it means. He will answer you. He has already given you the answer before you asked the question. He knows everything. His Spirit is real, so why not God?

  • Brent Galloway

    I am not an atheist. I guess I would be a pagan if anything. I believe in an afterlife and a creator. I have studied so many different religions and attended services trying to find an answer. But I don’t try to make a science of it. I can accept some things on faith without any evidence (such as an afterlife). Yet I do not feel threatened by atheists. I am as unmoved by your arguments as you would be by mine. We have different standards for judging reality (if there is such a thing). No big deal. I agree with some of the critisims leveled against christianity as a whole and some of the critisims leveled against atheism as a whole. There are extremist nuts in every group. But what I don’t get (and this goes for believers and non-believers alike) is the need for lists of reasons why you are right, or why you believe the way you do. I believe what I believe. That’s all.

  • Niccoli

    Rambling.

    Your discussion on Santa Clause and God seems somewhat ironic.

    Oh blinding faith – I too try to understand and cannot. Sure we can have a “spirit of giving” a “spirit of morality” a “spirit of love”…. now what?

    How many wars have been fought in the name of one religion or another? How many people in any one religion (Catholic, Protestent, etc) have strove to understand the others point of view without drawing the sword? How many religious figures have pointed to heaven with one hand while supressing the people with the other. How is it I can sin on one day and ask for forgiveness on the next – does this mean I have a 50/50 chance of going to heaven depending on when I ask for forgiveness (some believe)?

    Oh why does God divide us? – oh I guess that is the devil.

    What is this test we are submitted too really about? Oh but we only need to have faith… but that would preclude any questions. Why can’t we ask questions? Why can’t we be given real answers?

    I like many… find myself praying to Jesus in times of trouble (upbringing) – looking for something greater than myself to help to relieve the pressures of society or the world. Am I to attribute positive outcomes to him and negative ones only to the devil when he reportedly has power over all outcomes? Am I to attribute any misfortune to the strength of my faith?

    Things were so much easier when the earth was at the center of the Universe and the church told people what to believe. If the church says so it must be true. How many people were put to death for heresy. Oh what is the truth?

    How many religions will there be in heaven? I wonder what a review of religions would indicate the percentages are – the number I’m sure would correlate to billions of people. To save all of those people will take more that faith – a miracle.

    I hope I have not said something wrong – questions that I ponder – answers? I would love to live forever in heaven – wouldn’t you?

  • Mriana

    So, many questions Niccoli. I have several myself, but not along those lines necessarily.

    IF there is a heaven, don’t you think it could get boring after a while to spend eternity there? Reminds of the saying that goes something like, if you never knew sorrow, how would you know what happiness is? Those aren’t the exact words, but it makes no sense to have this place and then go some where in which all is eternally good and joyful. We can only imagine it, but can never know what it really is, but if our imaginations came true, how long do you think it would take until one gets bored playing with lions in the beautiful green grass or romping with all sorts of animals? Is it possible that our imagines are nothing but wishful thinking?

    My mother says, “It would not be heaven without our pets.” Well, we have that here on earth, so isn’t it very possible that heaven and hell are right here on earth and we make it one or the other?

    I don’t think god divides us. Based on observation, we divide ourselves. Therefore, if humans are doing so many things, isn’t it possible it is humans who have control of their lives and not some supernatural being? If so, that nixs all your other questions and we can only attribute the good and the bad to what humans do.

    I think we can ask plenty of questions and seek the answers to them, but you might find several different answers to your questions and have to choose which is best for you. Of course, if you do not choose with the majority, you will be called a heretic, an infidel, and many other names. Even then you have to decide what you can deal with, which is not always easy.

  • donna

    I was brainwashed at an early age in the church and have come to find over the past 15 years that I cannot find any logical reason why I believed what I was taught at church because it’s all propaganda. I was brainwashed as are so many others. When I realized what happened to me then everything made sense. That is why I was never satisfied with answers given to me by the church pastor or his associates. How did he know there was a heaven? How did he know there was a hell? Why did he think his religion was better than anyone elses? Did he think everyone else was wrong? Well he never did have any answer for any of them except for the word “faith” that he kept bringing up. Blind faith is the amswer to all but it was never good enough for me. I feel heaven was made up to make people feel better when they are dying. No one wants to die but I don’t want to believe in something make believe to ease the transition. I believe everyone has the right to believe anything they like but I think it’s wrong to force one to believe in what another feels is the right religion. Religion throughout history has brought so much death and alienation. That is SO wrong. Live and let live. Why doesn’t the bible discuss dinosaurs? Didn’t dinosaurs arrive well before the first human? Do Christians deny the existence of dinosaurs or Neanderthals? We actuall have proof that dinosaurs existed. Can the Christians show proof of the existence of God? It’s all heresay. it’s like whisper down the lane. If a story is repeated too many times to too many people the translation is altered somehow. I just wish people would stop making such a big deal about if people are belivers or non-believers. there are so many other things to put ones energy into. Why do Christians and other believers say that horrible things happen because “God had a plan” for that person? it was just fate. The wrong place at the wrong time. If there was really this God why would he/she allow horrible things to happen?

  • nightlord

    I think ultimately a self professed atheist will have to answer the two simple questions of is there a god and what is god.

    The current trend of atheism i believe is a direct reponse to evangelism, because these two question have not been answered.

    I for one believe there is intelligence in creation. For if you look more into what science “discovers”, the more you realise that there are strict universal laws that control our existence and that of the universe, and which evolution or whichever theory find hard to explain.

    I for one have not had GOD speak to me, but looking at how intricate cellular biology is, i am willing to bet there is an intrinsic intelligence that created us and the universal system. Is it a leap of faith. I suppose it is, but then again looking for GOD is a journey not a dead end that a lot of atheist paint themselves into (trust me i have been there before).

  • Tommy Huntsman

    We all know the spirit of our parents. We know what they would have us do in almost every situation in our lives. We can feel the emotions that they give us as they raised us to be the child they thought we should be. The choice to live our lives according to their rules was really ours to accept or reject. My dad died a few years back, but I can still feel the emotions that I had when I spent time with him and got to know him as I was growing up. This is his spirit living in me. As long as I am alive he will be with me in that spirit. As the people that knew him die off, then his spirit will fade away with them. If we could touch people in such away that they would feel us emotionally and that emotional feeling could be shared with others, would that not be an eternal spirit? Does Jesus not have eternal life? We feel the Spirit of God working in our lives and drawing us to conviction. He wants us to share in that eternal life. God is the creator. He entered the womb of a virgin and was born as a man so we would be able to know His Spirit. He was fully God in the flesh and was fully man. He lived His life as an example for us to follow. Just as our parents tried to do. He has answered every question. His eternal Spirit is proof that God exists. There are many famous people that will be remembered, but they do not give us emotional feelings about what we think is right or wrong. That is the Holy Spirit working on us. We make the choice to follow that Spirit. We can only know if it is the Spirit of God, if it agrees with Jesus and His teachings. I cannot answer any questions that someone may have about how God works. I only know that we have free will to do anything we want. If we are kind to others they will remember our spirit. If we mistreat others they will forget our spirit and it will die. Jesus has an eternal Spirit and tells us that we can share in that eternal life with Him if we make Him our Lord. He died in such a way, so that we would know He loves us. It is not about faith, it is about a choice. I choose to believe that God is Jesus and follow Him. I know what he wants me to do by the things I learn from the Bible. I know He wants me to be a good husband and father, because that is what Jesus taught. The Bible is the Living Word of God and the parts that I understand is God talking to me. God does not tell me how others should live, He tells me how I should live. He also tells others how they should live, but my only concern is how I respond to Him. The positive and negative outcomes in our lives are the results of the choices that we make in our lives. They are also a result of the choices that others around us make. The choices we make come from the things that we are focused on and the priority they have in our lives. If we are focused on what the Bible says we make those choices. There is only one truth in science and each truth can be proven and cannot be changed. There is only on truth in the Bible. Many people try to tell us what it means and how we should live. God’s Holy Spirit is the only one that can tell us what the truth is. Jesus said He was the Truth. Everything He said and did was the Truth and was the plan of God. He did that for us to be able to feel His Spirit in our lives. He is working in the world to help us to know Him and to allow us to share in that work with Him. There will not be any “religions” in heaven. There will only be people that accept Jesus as the Son of God. People that understand what sin is and the sin that they have done. People that know that God sent His Son to pay for those sins and be the example of what we should be. People that have asked His Spirit to come into their lives and be their Lord. People that have been forgiven for the things they have done by the things He did for us. In Heaven we will worship Him. We will know all the truth and we we all believe the same truth. That truth is Jesus. God is our creator. His Holy Spirit guides us to find that Truth. When we find it, we make the choice to follow the Truth. God spoke to Abraham, Moses, and the prohets. He told them what He wanted them to do and they told the people. They had a personal experince with God and know His Spirit. Then God came as Jesus and told everyone what He wanted us to do. Those that were a part of that had a personal experience with God. Now God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. We know it is God talking because the words we hear are written in the Bible. If those words are not in the Bible then God didn’t say them. In this way we can have a personal experience with God. Then we know He is alive because He lives in us. Looking for God is one simple step. Ask Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord. The journey is to follow Jesus as your Lord and begins by following His example of Baptism. It is to show your acceptance of His sacrifice for you. How that should be done in your life is the work of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you through His word. You only have to make the choice.

  • Rob

    For those that require proof of god, I have something that may be of interest to you. I first want to say – I am just a open minded person, looking for direction, but I cannot ignore this fact in quantum mechanics called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (google it, its a well proven fact) and its “observer effect”. If anyone has looked into this – I would like to know these answers – “how does the particle know, that I am watching it, therefore colapsing the probability wave? . Why would a “particle” care that I know its location? How does “it” know that I know?

    If you do not know of this Heisenberg effect – I encourage you to look into it.

    Also – before you respond to me – yes – I do know that this may be”god gap fill”,as someone puts it, filling in the lack of understanding a mystery with “god did it” . But this bit of science is different. Just as a believer is quick to say ” God created it”, In this case – a Non believer should not be so quick to say- “its just a mystery yet to be solved” and therefore not ponder what this Heisenberg “observer effect” really is telling us.

    I am just trying to at least a present a valid attempt to offer up some really mind boggling “how can this be?” scientific facts. These facts -that I used to dismiss-may in fact be the hard “proof” that I have been asking for all these years. -Is this in fact proof of god at work?

  • Mariann

    Maybe proof,
    I was not religous,one day I was going outside to feed my dog.A song came into my head.I went to my husband and said,”listen to this,so I started humming it to him.I went into the kitchen andI was listening to the tune.then I heard words,not out loud but like a thought.I heard I give my peace to you.I was never the same again.Please don’t make fun of me.Ican’t get enough of God.I said to my husband I hope you still love me when I’m changed.He got really worried after awhile,he left work one night early,”because I told him I think God is going to use me for something.You got to know my husband is a really funny guy he will say any thing for a laugh.He stopped at the store before coming home.He said,before he went into the store he said ,”God give me a sign,he was asking about me.He said,a handicap sign the kind that is like in a tire,fell.He came home saying,humor ,humor.I never pray because I was saving up.Humor he gave me humor.If it did not happen to me I would not believe it.

  • william

    I am not an Atheist but I am searching for the truth. I have found more questions than answers.

    1. First God made heaven & earth and what were in it in less than a week.
    - The Bible describes the process but none of its authors knew exactly when the earth was created. Some said 10k years, 6k years etc. depending on who you believed.
    - More and more evidence show that dinosaurs lived million years ago, artifacts older than 10k years old.

    2. The Bible was writen by more than one person, each individual had his own version and they have to be selected in order not to contradict the others.
    - Why there were so many version of it? example : Judas was blamed for betraying the Lord Jesus, other version said The betrayal was orchestrated by lord Jesus himself. Both are artefacts from the same era by different author.

    3. We are all decendants of Adam and Eve.
    - Why we are all different?
    - Why white couple can’t produce a chinese child? vice versa?
    - Why everyone’s dna is different from one to another? Dont you think that Eve’s dna should be the same as Adam’s dna, she was made of Adam’s part of the body?

    4. Does God allow incest in order to produce our human race?
    - With Adam and Eve was the only couple, how did they produce grand children. The only option was incest.

    5. Adam was expelled because of eating the fruit of knowledge?
    - Is it the same like saying

    Do Not Try to find the truth, just believe it?

    6. How human survived the ice age? Dinosaurs age?
    7.

    Mark 6:35-44
    Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

    - The cities population at the time were about 500-800. There were only 3 cities nearby. How do we come up with 5000 men? Illegal aliens?

    8. The earth was the center of the universe?
    - There are too many universe and too little knowledge to know them all
    - Galileo was the victim of denying that claim and considered commited a heresy

    9. How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites?

    (Deut 7.1-5) However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.

    - Forgive your enemy? Love above anger?

    10. Do you believe in one God or many Gods?
    -

    Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

    - Jehovah another God?

    11. God always has a plan.
    - If thing went wrong, people tend to say that it was God’s plan.
    - If thing went right, people tend to say “You are blessed”

    12. God has the power of life and death. God knows everything.
    - We all agree that osama Bin Laden is a bad person. Why cant God kill him or stop him before he was born (He must’ve known the future), Don’t we all pray to God and ask God to destroy this evil person or at least to make him repent/regret?

    What made me believe in God/Gods again :
    - I have seen female spirits twice in my lifetime and both times I was with another person who saw the same thing. Not a pleasant experiences and I dont care if people believe it or not.

    - I have seen rituals how to make needles from a candy and broken bulb glass and learnt how to interupt that process by chance. It is somehow relates to the supernatural.

    - One day my old man awoke and found himself paralyzed suddenly. Went to hospitals, doctors but found nothing was wrong. A barb wire was planted inside his calcaneal tendon (Achilles tendon) by a angry ex-employee (my old man fired him). I still do not know how he did it. A spiritual healer cut open the tendon and took it out. No stitches, just a couple drop of bloods.

    Those are things to think about!

  • Richard Wade

    Hi william,
    You have a lot of questions. That’s good. You’ll probably always have more questions than answers, so don’t get tired of that. Enjoy it.
    You said that you’re always searching for the truth. That great big ultimate truth may elude you, but there are smaller truths that you can grasp and many that you already possess. Instead of finding the truth, tell the truths you already know. Like, “I love you,” or “Gee, I don’t know for sure,” or “Hey, I’m really sorry.” These are not petty, they’re very profound. Truths like these are what make people’s lives better.

    Consider concentrating on honesty rather than truth. There are people who are so concerned with truth or Truth as they spell it that they seem to have lost interest in being honest. Be honest and seek out honest people. Whatever truth is really the important stuff for you to find will probably come out of your own mouth.

  • Niccoli

    Mriana, exactly my point – God does not divide us, we devide ourselves… on so many different levels – believers/non-believers, haves/have-nots, educated, non-educated, etc. The world is so much bigger than any one persons state, city, or church but we are influenced by those around us. Hence we have a type of brainwashing that Donna refers to. People have to experience more of the world wheter through reading or travel – oh but faith is so much easier in that aspect.

    Nightlord, here ya go – you don’t understand cellular biology so it must be God at work – again once the earth was at the center of the Universe.

    Huntsman, Your faith is admirable. Can we not know right and wrong without God – can I not be a good father? What about the billions in the world that do not know Jesus because they have been taught a different religion and are just as faithful to theirs as you are to yours – are they all doomed to burn in hell for eternity?

    The act of looking for the particle changes the conditions therefore it’s not where it once was – just a guess. No still not proof. Proof should be easy not a mystery.

    Waiting for a sign – not a mysterious sign a real proof. Mariann if God did talk to you – what did you do for the privledge – Did you have a unshakable faith?

    1. Maybe the Carbon dating technique is flawed.
    2. Many authors.
    3. I believe the migration of peoples made us different (does not rule out God).
    4. I guess you can[t argue that incest has happened.
    5. Again – blind faith.

    No time left but good questions William.

    Richard – Not sure how seeking the truth makes you dishonest?

  • Mriana

    Niccoli, I can’t disbute anything that you’ve said, except to add that people should stand on their own two feet and help to change what is wrong with the world. Not sit around just praying and hoping some deity does it for them. I don’t care what beliefs one holds, nothing will get done if they do nothing. Some Christians have a saying that goes something like this, “God will not if you do not.” Meaning He expects you to do something too. I can’t argue that point either, because the human is doing something to bring about change in such instances, not JUST kneeling and praying for some supernatural divine intercessor to do it for them.

    There is nothing wrong with religious texts either, but it is what people do with them that brings about good things or bad things. Prime example: People use to use the Bible to condon slavery and then segregation. Now they use it against homosexuals. This is not a good thing, BUT if, like the Good Sumaritan one does something good for someone, not expecting any reward or punishment for their actions, but rather their actions come from the heart without desire for self-gratification, then that is a good thing.

    So, there is some good in all religions, it’s just what people do with their beliefs and the religous texts that make such things good or bad. You can’t just take religious text literally in the modern age when we have new knowledge that contradicts some things- like the bat being a bird in the OT or the earth being the center of the universe. Modern knowldge has shown what man once thought and wrote about as being a mistaken concept. So, as humans, we must update our thinking to fit with modern knowledge, not stay in ignorance.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    The Truth is our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Just as in our personal relationship with the one that we love. God’s Holy Spirit guides us. Like a magnifying glass will focus the sun to a fine point, the Bible brings Jesus into clear view as we study. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. You can teach anything from the bible that you want, but only the Holy Spirit can give you that personal relationship with Jesus. There is only one God. There is only one truth in science. There is only one Truth in the Spirit. It starts with “For God so Loved the world…” I do not know anyone that has evolved. I don’t know anyone that was created. We were all born the same way. God loves us all and wants to have a personal relationship with us.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    There are many theories in science, but only one truth. The truth was the truth even before it was discovered as the truth. There was gravity and the truth about gravity has always been true. God is Truth. The Truth has always existed. Because He is the Truth all things He created are the Truth. He placed all the truths into their places. It had to be correct because the Truth was watching. As a child I would act a certain way when I knew my parents were around or if I thought they would find out. Gravity is gravity because the Truth makes it so. It cannot be changed. We feel the Truth in our lives and we know the Truth. But we have tasted the fruit of the knowledge of good AND evil, right and wrong, or true and false. We feel the “obsever”, but we make the decision to respond. God gave us free will to make that decision. Gravity does not have free will, it must always be gravity. God is like our parents and want us to be a certain way. To believe a certain truth. God wants us to KNOW the real Truth. He put His Word on the Cross, so we could “feel” what HE has done. That is just my obsevations from the “observer effect”.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Niccoli, you asked,

    Richard – Not sure how seeking the truth makes you dishonest?

    I didn’t say that seeking the truth makes one dishonest. I’m talking about the many people (not all) I have met who are obsessed with seeking absolute truth or “Truth” as they sometimes spell it. They can neglect their personal honesty. They sometimes become disingenuous, duplicitous or even ruthless.

    Some of them can be socially less than honest, at the very least they can be not genuine. They will engage with me in conversation and draw me out. Then when it’s their turn to be intimate, they spout canned scripture or sermons as if they were talking dolls. They hide behind their “truth” word-shields and I can’t get to know them. I learn nothing about the person who pretends to want to know me. Not letting people really know them seems to be the real purpose for this charade. There are recent examples above this comment.

    Some of them can be intellectually less than honest. They want to live logical, reasonable lives except for the fantasies that soothe their childlike fears. They accept all the gifts of science, the clothes on their backs, the food in their bellies, the medicine in their veins, the technology they use, but they don’t accept that same discipline of careful thought if it threatens to dislodge their ego-flattering beliefs. If they are on trial for a serious crime that they did not commit, they want the jury to be really scientificly thinking people who will consider the empirical evidence in their favor rather than people who will faithfully believe the persuasive words of the prosecutor. In short, they want it both ways when it’s convenient for them.

    People who are certain that they possess the absolute, god given, unchanging, unassailable truth sometimes become willing to do anything to protect and promote it. Atrocities become acceptable means to an end. The end justifies the means because they think their purpose is so perfectly noble. Terrible evil is done by people who think they are the sole proprietors of “Truth.” Again they are less than honest because they rationalize their participation in these things, or at least tacitly approve of others perpetrating them by pretending that they don’t really know about it.

    Finally, some of them can be less than honest with themselves. They have doubts, they have fears, they have biases and prejudices but they don’t necessarily use their search for truth to look honestly at themselves. No, they look elsewhere for the truth as a distraction from their internal discomfort and conflict. They glibly say “well we’re all sinners” and then leave it up to their “Truth” to iron it all out rather than do the hard thing of cleaning up their internal act.

    Again, I’m not saying that all truth seekers do this, I’m saying it happens often enough to be a constant problem. Personal honesty, genuineness, sincerity and integrity should never be neglected in a search for a drug-like high from “Truth.”

  • Scott

    That is the most common sense I have ever read on the internet.

  • Angelo

    Demanding proof does not amount to adaptations to it.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Well I’m a little behind here. I was just reading the ‘questions’ posts from Niccoli and Mriana, and thought I’d throw in a few things… I’m still reading everything else though!
    I found the God/Santa comparison kind of ironic as well.
    In sort of a blanket response to all of the ‘look what religious people have done over the years’ groans… okay, let’s be fair, guys. 1, you’re right. 2, look what, for example, atheist groups, have done in the last century. It happens across the board. I’m not excusing any of the horrific things done in the name of Jesus over the millennia, but let’s just bury that horse for the time being.
    I think you can and should ask questions. I also think that Mriana is absolutely right when saying that

    …if humans are doing so many things, isn’t it possible it is humans who have control of their lives and not some supernatural being? If so, that nixs all your other questions and we can only attribute the good and the bad to what humans do.

    And, Mriana, I actually just finished reading a good bit that C. S. Lewis wrote about boredom in heaven, mainly from an essay that he wrote called “Transposition”. I can’t find it anywhere online right now, but if you’re curious I can type up a portion of it on here.

    Okay, I just wanted to write that while I was thinking about it, instead of reading for another little while first and forgetting.

    Richard-
    I can understand the ‘not sure where that’s going’ predicament pretty well, being a former General Studies major myself.
    Thanks for the links, too. As soon as I’m done reading on here, I’m gonna check out the blog, and hopefully the “O Project” as well. That sounds really good.

  • Alan C

    About Heisenberg principle.

    It is actually very simple, just that the educational system is not able to teach people simple things about physics.
    First of all a particle knows nothing and can do nothing of its own will. It just follows the laws of nature. Only complex organisms with a nervous system have a will. Just to clear that out.

    The Heisenberg principle is a consequence of the dual nature of light and has nothing esoteric about. Light is an electromagnetic wave, but any electromagnetic wave can act as a particle, called a photon. We can’t see any atomic particle, because it is too small. What we can see is a photon which is emitted when an electron that spins around the nucleus moves from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. The change in energy is transformed into a photon i.e light.
    So imagine we have a particle moving with a certain speed. Remember the particle is small and can’t be seen. If we want to see the particle we will subject it to elecromagnetic waves= light. Light as I said can behave like a particle .So the initial particle will be moved as a consequence of this encounter, basically moving like a billiard ball.
    The Heisenberg principle says that if you want to know the position and the velocity of a particle, by finding the position, you changed the particle velocity.
    There is nothing supernatural about it. It is just that religious people with no knowledge of science try to use science for their own goals. For example it is said in the bible that pi =3. Is this a joke or what? Even the egiptians clamied that pi =22/7, which is accurate to 2 decimals. The word of god… Whatever.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    That last post was great, Richard.

    william,
    first of all good name! I may go by Nance, but it’s only the middle name…
    Well, since I consider myself a fairly orthodox Christian, I’m gonna respond however I can to your questions above, just so you can have an extra perspective to consider. I have to point out right from the start that, as several of your questions deal with Adam and Eve/the garden, I’m not going to have much to say there. I’m not a literalist where I don’t feel the text is meant to be read as such. Much of the book of Genesis and some other bits in the Pentateuch/Joshua fall into that category.
    1. I don’t really have a problem with evolutionary theory, but while I do think that God is the Lord of creation, I’m not really an advocate of I.D.
    2. Could you clearify the first sentence for me a bit? And as far as the different gospels containing some radically different accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, well, yes, they’re out there, and they are certainly by different authors, but they aren’t all from the same era, unless that’s a pretty broad term. Those things didn’t quit popping out until at least the end of the second century, whereas the earliest on the canonical gospels are being dated to within three decades of the death of Jesus.
    3. I’ve heard some theories about Noah’s children being of all different races, and so on, but I’m not going to try to argue for them here.
    4. Another fun question about the garden of Eden! That one’s a great question to wonder about, but I’ve never been concerned with an answer to it myself, and thus I haven’t tried to come up with a solid one.
    5. It was the fruit of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. I can’t really imagine what sort of being Adam would be, rational and self-aware, yet lacking discernment of good from evil… that’s another fun thought. But this seems less like ‘don’t try to find the truth’ than it is ‘don’t learn how to hate, to murder, to wage war.’ I hope everyone liked the spin inherent in my wording there.
    6. It’s been awhile since I studied Geology–and judging by Jurassic Park, we wouldn’t fair well in a Dinosaur age–but I’m not sure that humans were around for those? Something about migrating between continents on glaciers that spanned from Asia to North America, presumably after one of the Ice Ages, is trying to come up in my memory banks. I just don’t remember enough there.
    7. Great question. I’ve never checked on those kinds of numbers before, but now I’m pretty eager to. No answer to that, though.
    8.I’m not sure that that is a Biblical teaching, instead of simply a church one, but either way, we know that’s not true. No doubt that the church has been responsible for some oppression of ideas over the years, but that’s what happens with institutions oftentimes, especially if you’re looking at one with this much history. Human error.
    9. I haven’t looked into that enough. It could be something related to the editors of the book of Deuteronomy, and the environment in which it was written, what ideologies were prevalent there, and so on. It could be some bitter example of God’s plan or His preference of Israel, at least during the conquest. It could be something much worse than all of that… I don’t know.
    10. The doctrine of the Trinity answers that pretty well. God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, all of which are one being.
    11. I agree that there is a plan, but personally, I try to stay far away from labelling situations in relation to said plan. I see such a complex and drawn out interplay between the plan of God and the plans and initiatives of man that I wouldn’t feel able to judge such things; if all the world’s a stage and all of us merely players, like some great drama is unfolding, then as only a character, I feel a bit beneath the task of guessing about the plot.
    12. My response to that is simply that God respects the liberty of persons almost more than anything. Bin Laden is allowed to make his own decisions as everyone else… and sadly we see what some human decisions amount to.

    I hope that helps… whatever that means. ;)

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    For example it is said in the bible that pi =3.

    Hey Alan, where’d you find that? I thought it was kind of funny, and definitely curious.

  • Richard Wade

    Nance, you are a very kind person.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    I’m just saying that God is Truth. Everything that is true is true because of the Truth. I know it is a simple view. You can be a good father without knowing Jesus. You just have to follow the truth of being a good father. I don’t know things about hell. I believe that because there is Truth there is also lie. Good/bad, Right/wrong…you know what I mean. In the Bible it says to be outside of the truth is death, or seperation from the Truth. In Heaven with God there is only Truth. To be seperated from the Truth is to be with all that is not true. I do not know how to explain about everything that is true. We know what is true and we know when we are wrong. Just like the light wave hits the particle, except that WE make the decision to respond. God/Santa ironic? How so? It is an example of how we feel. How God get’s us to respond.

  • Mriana

    Thanks Nance. I’m glad you appreciated my comment.

    And, Mriana, I actually just finished reading a good bit that C. S. Lewis wrote about boredom in heaven, mainly from an essay that he wrote called “Transposition”. I can’t find it anywhere online right now, but if you’re curious I can type up a portion of it on here.

    I’d love to read it.

    Speaking of heaven…

    People are so afraid to accept that this is all there is. Why? I don’t know, but if you think about it, eternal life would get pretty damn boring if all there was was playing the beautiful green grass with lions and other animals or whatever one’s heavenly fantasy might be. That’s a nice fantasy, but it would get old after a while, if not even be hell eventually.

    My mother says, “It would not be heaven without our pets.” Well, we have that now, so what is the difference? I believe earth is what we make it. As humans we can make it heaven or we can make it hell. Since this is it, I think it is best to make every attempt we can to make it heaven, if not now, hopefully for future generations.

    Of course, if we did not know sorrow, how would we know happiness? So, it is an idealistic belief to think we can make earth heaven, but we can certianly try to make it better for the future.

    At my grandmother’s funeral about a month ago, the minister said my grandmother was in heaven saying, “I’m here and I’m waitin’ for you. So hurry up!” IF there is a heaven, then I sure would not want her sitting around waiting for me to get there. I’d want her to want me to enjoy this life, while she is in heaven catching up with her husband and everyone who died before her, as well as enjoy herself. (Again, nice fantasy, but there are some holes in that would not make it heaven anymore)

    Personally, though, I cannot conceive of an afterlife. I can only imagine a “what if” and that is all it is- a “what if”. Then I realize that the “what if” would be boring after a while and not worth spending an eternity living with constantly. I would dearly love to play with a lion, tiger, and other wild cats, maybe some other wild animals that I cannot play with here on earth, but after all is said and done, I’d be bored with that after a while.

    Life is good, even with all it’s ups and downs. I would not want to spend eternity living with only one type of emotion. It sounds weird, but I can even appreciate the sad and/or depressing times in life, given all of that. Which just makes this life heaven on earth, IMO. What could be better than experiencing a variety of different emotional triggers, no matter how painful some of them may be?

    Life is truly a gift that should be appreciated and lived to its fullest. Might as well enjoy it while we can, including the down times too.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Have you ever thought you were right about something and then realize that you are wrong? The feeling that you get when you suddenly realize what the truth is and that you were wrong is what the Christian calls conviction. What you do after you realize your mistake is your reponse to that conviction. It is knowing the truth that brings it about. A child comes home from school and his mother has baked chocolate chip cookies for a party. She tells the child they are for her party and to leave them alone. The child smells the cookies and decides that one won’t be missed. One is so good that the child takes a handful and goes outside to eat them. When the mother discovers the missing cookies and calls the boy inside. She asks him about the cookies and tells him there is chocolate on his mouth. The child realizes that he has been caught and asks his mother to forgive him. Should she? What did the child do wrong? What is the child asking to be forgiven for? But what if the child realizes he has dis-obeyed his mother and goes to her and asks to be forgiven. When he realized he was wrong he was under conviction. When he went to his mother to tell her he was wrong, he was repenting. When he asked for forgiveness the mother says that’s OK, I will bake some more, and you can help. It is the Truth that concicts us. It is our desire to a part of that Truth that makes us respond. When did the Truth become Truth? It has always existed. Jesus is the embodiment of the Truth. He walked on water because He said it was true. He healed the people because He said it was true. In Star Wars the light sabre jumped into his hand because the “force” said it was true. God could have evolved the world, or He could have just said “Let there be Light”. It was His choice to make. He could leave clues and mysteries for everyone to figure out. Or He could put together a Book for everyone to understand. In science we study books to find out the truth. We study the Bible to learn the truth about spiritual things. A person can live according to all the truths of the Bible and not know anything about God or Jesus. They just know what is right and want to live a moral life. But a person cannot suddenly realize they’re wrong and decide to change it without experiencing God in their life. Even if they deny it. They felt they were wrong (“convicted” by the truth). They wanted to change so they “repented”. This is all the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that convicts us when we are outside of the Truth. The Bible tells us that we all do wrong. It tells us that the wrong we do seperates us from God. It tells us that God will forgive us of all the things we do wrong. It tells us to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That He was the Truth and that He paid a price to forgive us of our wrong. He did no wrong, but paid for our wrong. It tells us to accept His sacrifice for us and make Him Lord of our lives. It tells us that if we do this we will have eternal life. It tells us that no matter how many truths we know. No matter how good we treat our family. No matter how many right things we do, if we reject this one Truth then we reject God. God proved He exists when He got me to respond to the Truth. I cannot convince anyone anything about God. The Holy Spirit will give you the understanding. It is our choice to respond to what that Spirit is guiding us to do. Now somebody pass the plate.

  • Niccoli

    Tommy – I’m not well read on the subject but I think string theory is now questioning our understanding of gravity. “God is the truth” would be very persuasive as a child being told by my parents the same as many children believe that Santa delivers presents every year on Dec 25th. We want to believe in something greater than ourselves… we want believe!… but this veil of mystery and the “leap of faith” are detrimental to the world because of the numberous conflicting religions – why not give just enough proof to drive one religion – preventing wars over who is right and who is wrong?

    Richard – I am glad that my question stimulated such a description. Very well said and I can completely understand your point of view. Thank You. It is very frustrating to try to find proof and be told to “have faith”. Sometimes I wonder if it was all just a facade to somehow instill some discipline, values, or morals for the benefit of the population as a whole – would man be evil without the threat of eternal damnation – would we still be barbarians? Would we all still be following the laws of nature – would we
    have moved forward?

    Nance, I think liberty has more to do with Democracy than God though the belief in “God” provided strong motivation to maintain liberty/freedom.

    Maybe God has us here (this blog) for a reason…. I just have no proof.

    Mriana – well put – you mentioned the boredom of heaven but what about the fire and brimstone for eternity alternative? Like to hear your thoughts.

    Tommy, I do admire your conviction. I do still say Jesus.. when I seek to understand. Many of the things you say I was taught as a child. I still say Jesus can someone give us (many who want proof) just a little – just a little proof so that if there is a heaven or hell we can choose heaven… but I cannot as of yet distinguish between reality and fairytells – truth or fiction.

    Again, how will God reconcile the numerous different religions before judgement day? Seems like there are many more (real people) that won’t have a chance because they were raised in many cases by well meaning parents with convictions that are counter to yours and others. I have not read the Koran but what if it is right? Or if its not… what about all the other people that don’t know the bible you know – are they any less than you are?

    We are so far removed from the time when Jesus walked on the water or performed any of his other miracles – what we are familiar with are the fakes and hypocrites that pervade our lives on television and in the news. Why are we so far removed from these miracles?

    Why do we need to figure out clues and mysteries – I don’t let my children wonder aimlessly trying to figure things out. Seems a bit cruel.

    Feeling that one is wrong (looking for proof) and therefore making a leap of faith could be construed as wanting something (heaven or afterlife) to be real so badly that one forgoes looking for “real proof”.

    I really don’t want to anger anyone but the question is quite simple – where is the proof? I don’t need riddles or leaps of faith… I don’t need signs that can be interpreted in a million different ways… I don’t need scientfic comparisons of what we don’t understand… I need to be saved – Jesus…. where are you?

    Have I wasted some small portion of my life writing this that I could have spent with my family. So far I have to agree with Mriana – life is a gift but wouldn’t it be nice if a lot more of the world could enjoy it? Entire countries are divided over religion.

    Richard again … very good. I am leaving to enjoy my small piece of Heaven here on Earth. Best wishes to all.

  • Mriana

    Mriana – well put – you mentioned the boredom of heaven but what about the fire and brimstone for eternity alternative? Like to hear your thoughts.

    I cannot conceive of that either, Niccoli. Theorectically though, I think IF there was fire and brimstone, it too would eventually loose its effect sooner or later and be meaningless too.

    Again, how will God reconcile the numerous different religions before judgement day? Seems like there are many more (real people) that won’t have a chance because they were raised in many cases by well meaning parents with convictions that are counter to yours and others. I have not read the Koran but what if it is right? Or if its not… what about all the other people that don’t know the bible you know – are they any less than you are?

    I agree, they can’t all be right and if the Muslims are right, then well… I guess the Christians that are so sure they are right and everyone else are wrong will be staying with us in hell too.

    What if the Hindus are right? Well then a lot of us, or rather our atman, will not reach Brahman- at least not very quickly. All is Brahman and Brahman is all. It is undefinable. (I can sort of comprehend this idea of Brahman) “neti, net”- (It is neither this nor that) Atman is apart of Brahman (that is where it gets confusing) Basically (and feel free to correct me if I misunderstand the basic here), good karma you (atman) moves up and eventually becomes one with Brahman (God), but if you have bad karma you repeat that life again. In this case there are no qualities to Brahman (nirguna), so it is not a theistic god. Neither is saguna Brahman, but it has qualities and is a higher form, the ultimate form I think I’m mixing Shankara and Ramanuja, but the point is, the Hindus could be right too.

    Regardless if the Hindus are right, their creation story is a lot cooler. :lol: In the beginning there was nothing but a single unitary principle; Brahman. It was lonely so it separated into male and female. They mated and from this the universe was born. Well that explains it! Mom and dad mated and we were born, so why not?

    Sorry, no disrespect to any Hindus. I really do think it is a lot cooler than what is in the Bible. The Bible is boring, but that story is fascinating!

    Ahem! Back on topic now… When it gets down to it, religion is a human made creation. Theism is but one definition of god. There are a lot more. Humans wrote the religious texts and I can’t say any of them are right based on what I’ve studied.

    I know what I feel when I experience transendence that is triggered by human compassion, music, art, nature, animals, or the universe. HOWEVER, it is nothing more than an external trigger that stimulates chemicals in the brain causing the feeling of transendence. Now if you want to call that god, then I can comprehend that, but that too has no form or shape, unless you measure it on an EKG or something like that. It just is. It is a part of the human experience that is within us and all around us. It is completely natural and real, but can only be seen via humans, animals, nature or the universe. Which just makes earth and this life heaven. By the same token the cruel things people do to others can cause a different chemical reaction that trigger feelings of misery making this world hell. We can even do it to ourselves too.

    So, basically it all boils down to human concepts and no one can really say they are right and everyone who disagrees is wrong. The only thing we can truly know is science and observation. Experience helps too, but I have found my lifetime experience with the world around me can be explain by neuro-psychology. I have yet to see science show that there is evidence for a supernatural anthropomorphic deity nor is there evidence of reincarnation.

  • Niccoli

    Mriana,

    I never condsidered that Hell would be boring too- same old pain and misery. Thanks for the reply. What if all of the monotheistic religions are really referring to the same God in some way – manipulated over time. Your Hindu creation story is very similar to other stories from Egypt. Thanks for the reply.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    Ooo, while on the subject of the afterlife, I’ll share what the Mormons have told me. There are four places you can go if you die. The worst is in eternal darkness, completely away from God. The only way you get here is by denying the holy ghost. BUT, you can’t just do what the RSS wants you to do, you have to really believe in all the God stuff, be following all the rules, really really believe in God, so much so that you stand up to God, and say, I’m off!

    The next less worse place, is in the stars. This, the Mormons tell me, is not really in the stars, but is described as where you go if you are a bad person, and don’t follow Mormon doctrine. So, why is this place so bad? Well, you are turned into a angel, but for all eternity, your mind never changes, your are stagnate, unchanging. You do get the gift of being able to regret not becoming Mormon when you were alive, or behaving better when you were alive.

    The next level of heaven, there really is no hell to speak of with Mormons, is the moon. Here is where all the misbehaving Mormons go, or the good people who didn’t follow Mormon doctrine. You are faced with the same regret and unchanging mind as if you were in the stars, but the concept is that you are closer to god.

    Who’s house? God’s house! This is the best part of heaven for Mormons. Here is where your Monday family night, marrying in the temple, never masturbating, drinking coffee, or watching rated R movies Mormon’s go. Joseph Smith said there would be mansions here, you each get your own principalities, and you get to be a god. You get to do what god does. SO, really Mormons aren’t monotheists, if every good Mormon becomes a god when they die.

  • Mriana

    Mriana,

    I never condsidered that Hell would be boring too- same old pain and misery. Thanks for the reply. What if all of the monotheistic religions are really referring to the same God in some way – manipulated over time. Your Hindu creation story is very similar to other stories from Egypt. Thanks for the reply.

    You got it Niccoli. IMHO, modern religion is evolved myth. The old mythologies were played with and rewritten into what you see today. Acharya S. has two books out on the topic: “The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold” and “Suns of God”. Her site is truthbeknown.com You can find a 5 page excerpt from her “Suns of God” book there too. What she says is mind blowing even to me who has studied mythology and had this theory for over 20 years. I’m using X-ianity because I’m more familiar with the mythology involved that.

    It makes sense too, because I’ve been to a Sweat Lodge before and they had a cross on a little mound made of two twigs. No, this is not the Christian cross. It stands for East (you always face east first during the opening of the ceremony), South, West, and North (the four winds). The Native Americans had this symbol for the four winds long before Christians came and destoryed their way of life. South America people has this too, but the Christians destroyed that too.

    You see, the cross is from Paganism Pagans, or Rural people, had this symbol for their Pagan ceremonies long before Christianity was written about. Constentine brought it to ahead after he converted, adding Christmas, the Christmas tree (which is suppose to be a Big no no in the Bible- Paul I think. Have to look it up again.), Yule log (from Wiccan, I believe), etc. Easter soon followed as an incorporated Pagan holiday along with all it’s various symbols and alike. What you have, is evolved Paganism or stolen and corrupted Paganism, depending on who you ask.

    I’ve done a lot of research concerning Christian Holidays and how they originated from Paganism. The cross itself was a more recent research, but when I was at a sweat lodge about 10 years ago, that little cross struck me as odd. Humm… Something very suspecious is happening here. The Christians obviously did not bring it to them given it’s use. So, another mythological and pagan research project came about on my spare time. I just got Acharya S.’s books and I’m sure they will be another fine read concerning this subject.

    You can watch a video about Suns of God here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ-kvw1fYXs Someone made it for Acharya.

  • Jad

    “The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold”. Don’t ever let truth get in the way of a good story. Here is a book review that sets the record straight…

    “Acharya is one angry woman, and she really, really hates Christianity. But what the heck does she have against facts?

    Her thesis is that Christ never existed. She writes that Christianity was made up, a strange brew of pagan religions and Roman political need. But she basis this on her guess that the gospels were written by 180 AD or later.

    Why, why didn’t she check out current scholarship? As everyone else knows, a portion of John’s gospel has been found, and radiocarbon dated to 130 AD (Ryland fragment). Besides that, there are also two disputed fragments, both radicarbon dated to about 60 AD. In fact, all recent evidence, all textual, linguistic, historical, etc. studies suggest that the gospels, all four of them, were written prior to 70 AD. (Read Jean Carmignac or John Robinson).

    It is astounding that anyone could make such a huge mistake when all it would have taken is five minutes on the internet to learn the truth.

    But if her guesses about Christianity are bad, her beliefs about ancient religions are downright laughable. Yes, many scholars, starting with the German school in around 1890, did once guess that Christianity was influenced, or perhaps even grew out of, pagan myths. But as anyone else knows who has read any biblical scholarship that view has been proven utterly wrong. So wrong not a single reputable scholar would touch the idea with a ten foot pole.

    After decades of study, the evidence revealed that Christianity shaped and influenced pagan religons, not the other way around. It had an especially strong influence upon the Mithric cult. How could Acharya not know this??? Thousands of books have been published about it. It’s no secret. A good summation on the subject would be Ronald Nash, “The Gospel and the Greeks”.

    There is hardly a page in her book where she doesn’t make some incredible error. She accuses Marx and Lenin of being believing Jews. Sure odd that they wrote all those books denouncing relgion, then, don’t you think? She accuses Hitler of being a practicing Catholic! The man joined a satanic cult in the 1920s and killed nearly every priest in Poland.

    More historical error howlers: She thinks Krishna was crucified, that he was born of a virgin, and that he was a rising/dying god before Christianity. Must never have read a single scholarly book on that religion, either, because every single statement is wrong. She thinks all religions have a god, so clearly she has never heard of Confucianism or the earliest version of Buddaism.

    More historical gaffes: She thinks the name “Jesus Christ” was never used before 325 AD. It appears in the gospels alone hundreds of times. She thinks Pontius Pilate was never mentioned by any of the church fathers, so we can conclude she’s never read any of them, also, since he is mentioned frequently. She says Justin Martyr, writing circa 150 AD, never quotes from the gospels. I defy her to read Justin Martyr and find any ten pages where he HASN’t quoted from the gospels, all four of them. Then there’s her mistake about John the Baptist. No, he was not an apostle.

    Any evidence she stumbled across that disproves her thesis she tosses out as a lie. Roman historican Suetonius, Josephus, and Tacitus–all liars because their statements disprove her pet theory about how Christianity started. Paul,of course, was another myth. He would have to be, or otherwise her theory would be proven to be silly. Alas for her, there is plenty of evidence that he was very real.

    None of the other evidence about the existence of early Christianity is mentioned. Has she ever heard of the Didache, Shepherd, Clement, Papias, and all the other early writers? How about the apostle Peter’s body, which archeologists found in a catacomb under the Vatican in the 1950s? What about the large number of house churches founded in dozens of cities before 100 AD, many mentioned in Ignatius and Revelation? I can only assume that she has such a sketchy amount of knowledge on the subject that she doesn’t know they exist.

    Also wrong: her claim that all religions have a rising/dying god. Come on! Even the briefest glance at a book on comparative religons would tell her how incorrect that idea is.

    And yet one more error, this one central to her thesis: the Roman empire circa 180 AD did not need to invent Christianity. She apparently confuses the era with that of Constantine, about 150 years later.

    The rise of Christianity is a fascinating subject. There are lots of great books out there on the subject. This is not one of them.”

  • Jad

    More information on the book mentioned above and its falsities can be found here…

    http://tektonics.org/af/achy01.html
    http://www.tektonics.org/af/achyresp.html

  • Jad

    Sorry to spam here but I gotta say, I keep meaning to reply to comments but they keep coming hard and fast claiming bold things and I get all tangled in my head trying to work out what to answer first. After reading the last post about the Acharya S books I had to add something, and quickly before the next subject came along. :)

    I am a theist but I have a tendency to favor facts and logic with reason. I believe I can safely say that the Jesus Christ in the Bible was a real human being and that it is a historical fact that cannot be disputed. That is to say that it is as much a fact as Newtons law of Gravitation. I’m not claiming Jesus Christ as God to be a proven fact just that the Jesus Christ of the Bible was a real person. Christ being God and what he said in the Bible is another subject.

    I don’t want to sound rude or arrogant, I just want to state the facts here so we can move on to better discussions. The existence of a God is more appropriate here I think, and a better disputed argument.

  • Mriana

    Yes, Jad, I’ve read those arguments, but they do not hold up for me. Acharya has a doctorite in her field. Not only that, I have seen the similarities of the various myths since I was a teen, so I am not convinced by those arguments against Acharya. Robert Price has referred to the myths that relate to the Bible and some are just rewritten myth stories, even in his opinion. Read the Babylonian flood story as well as other flood stories that came before Noah.

    Jesus is not found anywhere else in history BUT the Bible. Ceasar Augustus is found in other places in history. IF there was a historical Jesus, he is too buried in myth to find the real man. So, what is said in your links is not very well done scholarly works. It is an attempt, IMO to keep the believers as believers. They rather accept non-scholarly studies than to accept something that goes against all that they have ever believed. Few appreciate having their beliefs challenged and the ongoing instilled fear of hell for not believing keeps them believing in the myths.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    What Mriana said about external things that cause us to feel compassion and such is what I am trying to say. I wish I could speak and write down my thoughts that well. Everyone is looking for a supernatural being. But a Christian believes that those things that cause those chemical reactions in our brains is God. He is All natural, not supernatural. He is the love we feel for our spouse and from our spouse. God is all the Truth about everything. Gravity is still gonna be gravity no matter what our understanding is. The big rock and the little rock will hit the ground at the same time. We are all subject to the laws of the universe, even when we don’t understand. There is nothing supernatural about love or any other emotional feeling. A Christian believes that when we feel strongly about something we did wrong, or something we did not do right, we are feeling these things because God is leading us to apologize or to do something we should. We do these things daily in our lives. Open the door for a stranger. Smile at a neighbor. Things that make us feel happy and at peace. We do not have to have a belief in God to know right and wrong. It is not about religion. Religion is made up by people so they can FEEL as if they are right. We can make up any religion we want or use any theory we want, but it will not change what the real truth is. So people go to war to prove that they are right. This is caused by anger and pride and all those type of emotions. Those things exist because of love and humility and all of those type of emotions. Each one has an opposite. TWO of each animal on the ark. Male and Female. True and False. Love and Hate. One cannot exist without the other. This is natural law. We know to choose love and not hate. We feel good when we love, we feel bad when we hate. This is the work of God. God is the external trigger that stimulates our emotions. If we are living the life we should and He only has to give us a little nudge to do the right and not the wrong, we may not recognize His work in our life. But if He wants us to stop something or to start something He will convict us. If we feel that He is leading us to apologize to our spouse and we don’t, the feeling gets stronger. If the feeling gets strong enough it can cause us to go “blind”. Sometimes we can just ignore it and the feeling will go away. It may come back from time to time, or it may go away for good. God said “My Spirit will not always strive with man”, to show how He will give up on trying to get us to respond. He said this in Genisis, just before the great flood. We have to make a decision to follow God. Some people need to know where these emotions came from. They know that people and things make us feel these emotions, so how can an unseen God. Israel wanted a king. God said I am your king. They said everybody else has a king, so we want a king. God gave them a king. We wanted physical proof of God, so He came as Jesus. We can know Jesus just like we know our parents, our children, or our spouse. We read and learn about Him from the Bible. We choose to make Him our King. We recognize our failures and ask the King to forgive us of those failures. Some of us fail more than others and feel God trying to mold us into what we should be. The strong tree doesn’t shake in the wind as much as the small one. But if God leads a person to accept the Truth of Jesus. They will not be able to find peace until they do. All people are loved by God. All people choose to do what is right or wrong. God convicts all people. All people will be united by the Truth. Big rocks, little rocks. Gravity affects them both equally.

  • Rob

    Wow. I asked a very valid question about the possible scientific proof of god that I proposed several days ago ( the “heisneberg principle”) and I received nothing as far as good comments or questions. Everyone on this “atheist” board asks for proof – “scientific proof” -and I lay it out -and nothing. Perhaps I should go into a argument about who is right or wrong/ Heaven and hell – -then I would get a response -but -instead my proposal about the possible scientific proof of god is going without any comment by the very self described intelligent , “open minded ” people on this board.

    Yes – it takes some digging into what this fact (heisenberg principle) actually means – but- wouldnt the fact that I am proposing it as the (potentially) proof of god mean that others who actually want to have scientific proof would look into this and see for themselves? or at least ask questions about its impliciations. Or -since the scientific facts are clear and really are mind boggling, the atheists would rather spend their time ignoring this – very real and proveable-strange effects of the quantum -” heisenberg principle” and its “Oberserver effect”.

  • Rob

    Wow. I asked a very valid question about the possible scientific proof of god that I proposed several days ago ( the “heisneberg principle”) and I received nothing as far as good comments or questions. Everyone on this “atheist” board asks for proof – “scientific proof” -and I lay it out -and nothing. Perhaps I should go into a argument about who is right or wrong/ Heaven and hell – -then I would get a response -but -instead my proposal about the possible scientific proof of god is going without any comment by the very self described intelligent , “open minded ” people on this board.

    Yes – it takes some digging into what this fact (heisenberg principle) actually means – but- wouldnt the fact that I am proposing it as the (potentially) proof of god mean that others who actually want to have scientific proof would look into this and see for themselves? or at least ask questions about its impliciations. Or -since the scientific facts are clear and really are mind boggling, the atheists would rather spend their time ignoring this – very real and proveable-strange effects of the quantum -” heisenberg principle” and its “Oberserver effect”.

  • Rob

    Wow. I asked a very valid question about the possible scientific proof of god that I proposed several days ago ( the “heisneberg principle”) and I received nothing as far as good comments or questions. Everyone on this “atheist” board asks for proof – “scientific proof” -and I lay it out -and nothing. Perhaps I should go into a argument about who is right or wrong/ Heaven and hell – -then I would get a response -but -instead my proposal about the possible scientific proof of god is going without any comment by the very self described intelligent , “open minded ” people on this board.

    Yes – it takes some digging into what this fact (heisenberg principle) actually means – but- wouldnt the fact that I am proposing it as the (potentially) proof of god mean that others who actually want to have scientific proof would look into this and see for themselves? or at least ask questions about its impliciations. Or -since the scientific facts are clear and really are mind boggling, the atheists would rather spend their time ignoring this – very real and proveable-strange effects of the quantum -” heisenberg principle” and its “Oberserver effect”.

  • Rob

    (Update- did not mean to post 3 times).

  • Mriana

    Tommy, I can agree with you part way in that when we receive sympathy from our pets or when we hold our newborn child for the first time and feel that numinous transendence that is god, but I don’t think we view it in quite the same way. What I view has no gender or form. I do not see the love and compassion from humans as being something out there, but coming from within them- sort of the “God in us” thought, but it still does not have any form or gender. Big “G” or little “g” I see our concept as being a bit different. It is not black and/or white, male and/or female, or King. It just is and moves very much like the wind and looks much like the wind (if you can say the wind has a look). You technically cannot describe it with words. Regardless, it boils down to nothing more than a natural opate in the brain giving one these feelings.

    I asked a very valid question about the possible scientific proof of god that I proposed several days ago

    Rob, I gave another summerized scientific study of transcendence, but even that scientific study is not proof of a god. Just that we have spiritual and transendent feelings. There is no scientific proof of God or any god. It can not be proven scientifically, just that our brains react to external stimuli and people call it God. It is just a label that people place on such feelings, but it is not scientific proof of a deity. There is no such thing as scientific proof of a deity, unless it is Brahman as Ramasomething (who I call Rama for short since I can’t remember his full name) that was in Beyond Belief would say, but even then that is a stretch.

  • Mriana

    Rob, the Heinsenberg Principle only works for atomic particles. A person can not know the postition of an atomic particle if they know it’s speed. Likewise, if you do not know it’s speed you don’t know its position.

  • Mriana

    Wish I could edit. :( Rob, my 18 year old son ask me to post this and wants to see how you can relate it to God. He is very interested to see how you do it. Even he agrees, this is not proof of God.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrodinger's_cat

    The link found here at the “ever reliable” Wikipedia relates to the Heisenburg Principle as to whether the cat is dead or alive depending on your point of observation.

  • Rob

    Myiana- Thank you for resonding. This is my question to you. “How does the particle know that I am watching it to determine its postion or speed”. The particle will – just for the very act of observing it – will “collapse its probabilty wave” and become a particle – only once you “know” its location or speed. Now. Again – I ask – how does the “particle” know – that I observed it? Who told “it” that I know the answer to its speed or location (thereby collapsing the probablity waves)?

    I am so glad you took the time to write me on this – its so important. Look forward to hearing back.

  • Mriana

    See the post above the one you just posted for that answer. I think you will find your question is inapplicable.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Heisenberg effect has nothing to do with a conscious awareness looking at a particle.

    You’ve mistaken a shorthand in describing heisenberg for the actual phenomenon, which has to do with particle interactions, not human awareness and human looking at something, and particles knowing something’s looking at it….

    In other words, it’s not like particles check to see if anyone’s looking.

    The problem with simplified explainations for laymen is that laymen take the analogy for the real thing, as you have done here.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    In other words, a particle’s state doesn’t change until it interacts with another particle.

    Not “because a human looked at the particle”, which is the lay misunderstanding based on some pop-culture simple analogy someone once wrote.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    In other words, a particle’s state doesn’t change until it interacts with another particle.

    Not “because a human looked at the particle”, which is the lay misunderstanding based on some pop-culture simple analogy someone once wrote.

  • Jad

    Jesus is not found anywhere else in history BUT the Bible. Ceasar Augustus is found in other places in history. IF there was a historical Jesus, he is too buried in myth to find the real man. So, what is said in your links is not very well done scholarly works. It is an attempt, IMO to keep the believers as believers. They rather accept non-scholarly studies than to accept something that goes against all that they have ever believed. Few appreciate having their beliefs challenged and the ongoing instilled fear of hell for not believing keeps them believing in the myths.

    So even though the Bible is accurate historically, unparalleled by any other ancient documents, everything in history it describes so far is found to be true except this man they called Jesus Christ?

    Pretty much every reputable scholar, historian and archaeologist accept the Bible as a very accurate and historical set of books. If you can’t accept that fact or you choose to accept that what it says about everything else in history except the accounts of Jesus then it’s only your opinion here with no evidence.

    No evidence outside the Bible is also a bad statement because the writings of the disciples weren’t part of the bible when they were written. Most were letters, historically accurate letters. What they wrote down was what they saw. Luke for example was a first-class historian. Because these historical manuscripts were simply put together doesn’t all of a sudden make them fake, or a myth or anything like that, but that is what you propose.

    If you can find a reputable historian, scholar or archaeologist that has evidence that the Jesus Christ of the new and old testament did not exist please do share. This argument has been tested a thousand times. Most atheists even accept the fact that the man known as Jesus Christ was a real person. It’s just what he said and did and what he claimed to be that is disputed.

  • Jad

    Sorry Rob I’m a theist but I don’t think the Heinsenberg Principle is a very good argument for a God. Maybe an intelligent designer pehaps which can lead to a God but I don’t think it makes God a necessary being.

    A better argument for the existence of a God I think is the Cosmological Argument. Even though very old it holds true today even more so with the science of today. It’s basically about the necessity of an uncaused cause. I like it because part of it’s premise is based on scientific fact. Have a read atheists and theists alike and tell me what you think…

    We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to be corrupted, and consequently, it is possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which can not be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything can not be, then at one time there was nothing in existence. Now if this were true then even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist, begins to exist only through something already existing. Therefore if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence — which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has already been proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore, we cannot but admit the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

    - Thomas Aquinas

  • Mriana

    So even though the Bible is accurate historically, unparalleled by any other ancient documents, everything in history it describes so far is found to be true except this man they called Jesus Christ?

    Pretty much every reputable scholar, historian and archaeologist accept the Bible as a very accurate and historical set of books.

    The Bible is not inerrant and I don’t know where you meet your Biblical Scholars, but I don’t know any who say it’s accurate historically. It has made a few mistakes:

    There was not worldwide flood. There is no record Xerx I had a Jewish Queen named Esther or was married to Vashti. Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar and was never king. That’s just a few of the historical things it was wrong about, scientifically, it was wrong about bat being a bird and the astrological things in the sky like stars don’t move in a way that maji can follow them. There’s more scientifically wrong too.

    Here’s a link that shows how inerrant it is not: http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/thebible.html

    Look under inaccurate Statements about History and the science is in there too. I have other sources too, not all online, but the more reputable historians would not say the Bible is accurate historically. It’s a bit screwed up in places.

    And no I do not accept everything is historically about Jesus, but no one said he did not exist just because he is only mentioned in the Bible. He’s just buried in a lot of myth and there again, it is not inerrant. I personally don’t know if he was real or not. I question it.

  • Mriana

    Oh one more thing, at the Jesus Seminar, a group of Biblical scholars and others got together and decided only 20% of what is acceditted to Jesus he actually said. You can read about in this latest copy of Free Inquiry. So, there again, Many Biblical scholars doubt the Bible’s accuracy.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Mriana, we are looking at it from different views. People want a god to have form or gender. Like zues or the sun. That is our desire to have a king. That is why we have jesus. God has no form or gender. God is the truth of all things. When we stray outside the lines of what we feel is the truth our conscience draws us back. This is what we believe is the work of god. I could not find anything on the link about Schrodinger’s cat. If I did I would probably not understand the language. In order to explain it in my language we need to see it from the same view for a moment. I believe that god talks to us through our heart and helps us to feel the truth. We are made in his image and we ALSO make others feel what we think is the truth. In this way we can remember the people or pets we love. Just simple natural law. I left home when I was seventeen. I didn’t have a bad relationship with my father. Neither did I have a good relaitionship with him. He was just my dad. After I grew up and got married with my own family I reunited with my parents for holidays and reunions. I still didn’t have that much of a relationship with my father, but he is my father and I know him pretty well. The only time I put my arms around my dad was when I helped him out of his wheelchair just before he died of cancer. I can think of my father and remember those emotional feelings he gave me when he looked at me. And the ones he gave me when he didn’t look at me. I can still feel the same way by those emotions because he is alive spiritually. But the only time I can hold my father is to help him out of that chair. All the Christian is saying, is to spend time with the ones you love so they will always be alive in you. That is my language to describe how a dead cat can be alive. It is spiritual language.

  • http://atheista.net benj

    Tony: If that convinces you that there is a god, then I’m happy for you. It’s great when people know where they stand and are keen in also appreciating the beliefs of others even if the run counter-current to their own set of principles.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    History is written by the winner. The Bible is a spiritual book. It was written spiritually and must be understood spiritually. Esther shows us that we need to overcome our fears to help others. Was she a real person? I don’t think it makes a difference. The spiritual truth of her story is still the truth. I could not understand the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. As my understanding of how god speaks to us through our emotions, what could drive a man to kill his child? How could he feel that this was right? I later found out that child sacrifice was practiced by people in those days. Abraham had done a wrong thing to his son Ishmael. He felt a great deal of guilt about this and was led to believe by those emotions that he had to sacrifice his son. It was the only way to atone for his sin. He went to the mountain and prepared for the sacrifice. This had to have a great deal of emotion tied up in it. Just as he was about to do the deed, he SUDDENLY felt it was wrong. This feeling he understood as god saying “No!” He stopped and god provided the ram for the sacrifice. This is spiritual truth from the Bible, not the bible. To be forgiven by god today we do not sacrifice animals. Jesus was the Lamb. To accept his sacrifice as ours we must admit that we sin. We must want to turn away from those sins or make atonement. We must believe that Jesus is the son of god and was given as a sacrifice for OUR sin. He never sinned. We must then confess our sin to him and ask him to come into our lives and be our Lord. Just like our parents, children, brothers, or sisters, we will feel the personality of a Living God. You can do that any time and any place. Just talk to God as you would your own father. Ask Him for spiritual understanding and He will open your eyes to it.

  • Mriana

    People want a god to have form or gender.

    No , people do not, Tommy. Not all at least. Have you looked into Deism (a lot of our forefathers were deists), Panendeism, and Pantheism? There is no form or gender. Same with Hinduism. I have never seen my concept as ever having a gender, not even when I was a child. I have never wanted to worship a King. Why did we leave England if that is the case? I prefer the idea of a sexless and formless god, as do others. So, until you research the non-theistic concepts of god please don’t make a blanket statement of what people want in a deity.

    I could not find anything on the link about Schrodinger’s cat.

    I thought I posted a link. My son did a Google search on it and found plenty about it. The language really is not that hard to understand.

    All the Christian is saying, is to spend time with the ones you love so they will always be alive in you.

    Humanists say the same thing.

    I really think if people would do more research on other concepts of a deity they would understand each other a little better, but that does not mean they would have the same concept or have to accept the other’s concept.

    I do hear where you are coming from. I did spend a little time in my Great uncle’ FM church and my grandmother’s Church of God Church as a child. When my great uncle, who was the minister of his FM church, started in with his hellfire and damnation alter call, that lasted forever, it scared me and I wanted to run. He would go every Sunday until everyone was up there, except the Sundays we visted. He never could understand why I would not go up to his alter to be saved. He scared me to death! I could not run away, so I froze. This was NOT God, but my very own uncle terrifying me, while everyone was up at his alter crying because of the guilt trip he put them on every Sunday. The same thing happened at my grandmother’s church.

    After my mother was “saved” *rolling eyes* when I was 14, she had my uncle baptist me. I was baptisted in a river. Nothing changed, except I got swimmer’s ear. Knowing I would object to a Fundamentalist church see took me to a Luthern church. When I was 18, I became Episcopalian and stayed Episcopalian until recently. Why did I quit going? The people, who were just as cruel and intolerant of others in every church I ever attended.

    These same people (at my uncle and grandmother’s churches) insisted my mother should stay in a marriage where her own daughter was being abused by her father. They all knew it too, but said it would be a sin if she divorced him. Religious dogma in place of the protection of a child’s welfare. Hardly seems right to me. When I was 14 she did divorce him, but not until I made a call to get help and those people told her to either get me away from that man or they would take me from her. She FINALLY chose to take care of her daughter in the face of religious dogma. Even so, it was a human, albeit a teenager, who stood on her own two feet and did what she had to do to get help. It wasn’t going to come from any church.

    I wanted to put the man behind bars, but my grandfather said, “We have you away from him. That’s good enough. God will take care of him.” It was not good enough. The man abused other little girls and young women. He still walks free because of religious dogma and even now that he is 62 young women manage to find me, seeking help. They just aren’t bold enough to rid themselves of the religious dogma that says, “God will take care of him.” and put him in jail. The statute has ran out for me, but it had not for them. I would have gladly went to court with them, if they had taken that step, supported them emotionally, and do whatever else I could to help. I can’t help them if they don’t take that step.

    I hurt when other people hurt and people were hurting because of what the religious, esp their dogma, did to them. They did it my family too. My younger son has PDD and at times this shows itself strongly. Last straw? Besides what was in the news about the Episcopal Church? The ice storm. I kept hearing the person who put my older son and me up and the preist saying, “If your younger son had been with you, we could not have helped you.” What? They couldn’t have helped to squeeze us into a shelter? We could have just froze to death during the week we had no electricity or heat?

    Oh you say that is one church (the Episcopal Church), but they all do similar things. I’ve seen it in other churches how they impose guilt and shame on others. Even the two my relatives served in, were far worse than the Episcopal Church ever was. The Luthern church had it’s little quirks too about some groups of people. Many churches still do damaging things to children and others today, as seen by that Jesus Camp.

    God maybe good and all, but the people are the ones who ruin it for others. God doesn’t speak through anyone and it is the human who has to do something about the tragedies in this life. It is humans who have to rid themselves of religious dogma, hatred, prejudice, discrimination and alike to make things better for others. Christians seem full of all those traits and in the end, it does more harm than good. I think Hemant said it well, or nicer than I would have, when he spoke of the talk in churches about atheists in his book. They do the same thing with women, gays, the mentally ill, and alike.

    All of THAT does NOT come from God. No one can convince me of that. It comes from humans and it is the humans who have to change it. No one else is going to do it for them.

    Go ahead and pray to your anthropomorphic god, but also go out and do something for others, regardless of their status in society, gender, race, sexual perference etc, but make sure it really is dignifying to the human and not something that does not give them human dignity. Religion can be a source of misery as well as comfort, but it is more misery when people are not treated with dignity and respect or given the help they really need.

    BTW, I do want to thank all the churches Hemant visited for not putting him through the horrors I and many others went through and some still do today.

    This is spiritual truth from the Bible, not the bible. To be forgiven by god today we do not sacrifice animals. Jesus was the Lamb. To accept his sacrifice as ours we must admit that we sin.

    I find the crucifixion barbaric and it seems to be one of many things that purpetuate abuse of others who are not seen as Christians.

    I am a very spiritual person, but I don’t need a holy text to be spiritual. I do study the Bible and other religious texts, but in a scholarly manner. Love and compassion guide me and when I see things in various religious groups that hurt others I empathize greatly. It is probably why I chose to become a Spirtual Humanist, because it fits my view on life much better, but I will not stand silent when I see things that are undignifying to others.

    Not all parents stopped in the Bible when it came to child sacrifices- Jephtha is a good example. He used his daughter as a child sacrifice as a burnt offering. Nice. There are far better verses in the Bible that I would rather read than that.

  • Karen

    After my mother was “saved” *rolling eyes* when I was 14, she had my uncle baptist me. I was baptisted in a river. Nothing changed, except I got swimmer’s ear.

    ROTFL! That’s a classic line. :-)

    I wanted to put the man behind bars, but my grandfather said, “We have you away from him. That’s good enough. God will take care of him.” It was not good enough. The man abused other little girls and young women. He still walks free because of religious dogma and even now that he is 62 young women manage to find me, seeking help

    I’m so terribly sorry this happened, Mriana. Yours is not the first story I’ve heard about religious people sheltering a chronic abuser, and it’s truly disgusting and unconscionable behavior. I hope this kind of backwards attitude is changing with the modern understanding that abuse is nothing for the victims to be ashamed about, or hide, or feel guilty about. :-(

  • william

    Hi Nance, thanks for the reply. That’s a very honest reply.

    1. Sacrifice
    - One who deliberately blocks a gun shot with his own body in order to save his beloved ones or Jesus who had to be betrayed/tricked by judas in order to save his beloved ones? If judas betrayal was part of a greater scheme, do we have to hate judas? If not, the word “betrayal” would ruin his life and his generations to come till this day.

    2. Ancestral sin
    - Do we bear all of our ancestral’s sins (parents, grand parents etc.) or just Adam? Eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil was an original sin. Isn’t incest a sin too? Aren’t we supposed to know by now which is good or evil since our ancestor Adam ate the fruit? A pedopohile, dressed in a priest suit or a politician, who teaches the bible or donates food and shelter. Is he a good or evil?

    3. History
    - Did anybody in the Bible or the author witness the creation of the world?
    - If Santa was told during those days, will he be a real figure or just a story?
    - The Bible’s pieces was compiled/written from many sources around a hundred years later, Can we honestly remember all the things that our grandfather did from the last century?

    4. God’s voice
    - When did we start hearing God’s command/voices?
    - When did we start NOT hearing God’s voices?
    - Many claimed to hear God’s voices/command, “Tomorrow is the end of the world”, “Kill this devil’s child”, other “voices” that save them from disaster etc. Are they really God’s voices or just the spirits of our passed loved ones?

    5. Which one is the true religion?
    - Every religion has its own miracles, holy book, history, artifacts, saints, God, forms of satan, belief of afterlife, heaven and hell etc.
    - Every believer when they pray found comfort, kindness, good things to hope for.
    - Some religion believe that if you are not one of us then you’re against us or you belong to hell and some are more lenient.

    - Every religion wants peace, some wanted so badly that they/we have to kill others so we/they can have peace

    -Every religion values sacrifices, will we sacrifice ourself for others eventhough it means the extinction of our religion?

    Its not a question about them but its a question about us, what are we gonna do with this chaotic world?

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    I think the question of historical accuracy is largely in relation to the New Testament and the prophets in the Old Testament. No need to bring Genesis into the debate… the story of Noah in particular, as you keep bringing up, is certainly influenced by other flood myths that are centuries older. I think the Yule Log is Scandanavian… from Norse mythology. Sure is spelled like it. :)

    The New Testament is another topic. Jesus, just for one small, but necessary, given the discussion thus far, example, is referred to by the 1st Century Jewish historian Josephus. There’s one. We also have records of Roman laws passed for Palestine in the period concerning grave robbery–presumably in response to the claims of Christians of an empty tomb. That’s two.

    For a couple of reputable scholars to confer with concerning NT history, Richard Bauckham(Ph.D. from Cambridge), professor of New Testament Studies at St. Andrews recently released a work concerning the dating of the NT texts, Jesus and the Eye-witnesses(at Amazon). He’s been in NT scholarship for a couple of decades. Another good scholar who would also give much earlier dates to the gospel texts than Acharya S.’s is Tom Wright. He’s been a professor of New Testament at Oxford, Cambridge, and McGill Universities, and a prolific writer of a scholar. Resources on Wright can be found here. For the most part the Jesus Seminar movement is running out of steam these days.

    But moving away from the history of 1st Century Palestine, back to some of the other topics(because yall post quite a volume on here between my visits!).

    My mother says, “It would not be heaven without our pets.” Well, we have that now, so what is the difference? I believe earth is what we make it. As humans we can make it heaven or we can make it hell. Since this is it, I think it is best to make every attempt we can to make it heaven, if not now, hopefully for future generations.

    You’re absolutely right; we should be bringing heaven here. That’s what’s meant, I think, in the Lord’s prayer where it says “thy Kingdom come”, and that’s what the early church in Acts was trying to accomplish, with their almost communistic community, seeing to the needs of everyone. This is what the church is supposed to be doing. The book of James describes “pure and undefiled religion” as visiting orphans and widows. Unfortunately much of Christianity today is not pure or undefiled. The post on the front page where Mike is responding to some questions that alot of folks on here have posed for him reflects his concern with this also, with his admirable focus on social justice and compassion. This should be what the church is doing across the board.

    And what kind of studying have you done, Mriana? Sounds pretty varied in mythology and religious studies. You’ve definitely got me beat on Hinduism!
    I’ll try to get that Lewis stuff concerning boredom and heaven up later–I have to run a couple of errands right now before a drive to Dallas tomorrow, but I’ll be back around this evening.

  • Mriana

    Karen said,

    May 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    After my mother was “saved” *rolling eyes* when I was 14, she had my uncle baptist me. I was baptisted in a river. Nothing changed, except I got swimmer’s ear.

    ROTFL! That’s a classic line. :)

    Thanks Karen. It’s true and boy was that painful! Oh but if that were only the least of the problems.

    I don’t know if the majority of churches are getting better about such things, but I will give the Episcopal Church credit in that area. I found a priest and she was very helpful in helping me overcome some of those issues concerning the Church, but I will never ever step foot in a Fundie church again. OK I did step foot in one about a month ago for my grandmother’s funeral, but that was an exception. She, the priest, even directed me to a really good therapist who was very helpful, which I didn’t get before because therapists were of the devil in my mother’s family. “They will steal your soul.” *rolling eyes* She even helped with the co-pay, which was helpful too.

    Present issues aside in the Episcopal Church, I have great respect for the Episcopal Church. They are more humanistic and education oriented, but I have grown in a different direction, even though the above priest and Bishop Spong had a lot of influence on me. I know some Humanists attend the Episcopal church and while some of my thoughts maybe like Spong’s, I don’t love the Bible like he does. There’s a little more, but they aren’t issues quite as big as with the Fundies and maybe one day I’ll return. Who knows, but after years of studying Humanism, I find that philosophy is more inline with my thoughts as I said before and Spong was encouraging even in that, whether he knew it or not. He did not put it down in the least. Then again, I truly feel he is more of a Religious Humanist.

    But churches do have a way of affecting people, both in good ways and in bad ways. It’s the people with how they use the Bible and their beliefs, not God.

  • Mriana

    I think the Yule Log is Scandanavian… from Norse mythology. Sure is spelled like it.

    Nance, it is indeed Wiccan:

    bewitchingways.com/wicca/year/yule.htm, wicca.com/celtic/akasha/yule.htm, paganwiccan.about.com/cs/aboutyule/a/paganxmas.htm

    I find nothing about it being Norse. It is rebirth of the sun (Dec. 21), which correlates to the birth of the story of Christ since both deal with the stars and alike.

  • Mriana

    Oops! Missed this:

    And what kind of studying have you done, Mriana? Sounds pretty varied in mythology and religious studies. You’ve definitely got me beat on Hinduism!
    I’ll try to get that Lewis stuff concerning boredom and heaven up later–I have to run a couple of errands right now before a drive to Dallas tomorrow, but I’ll be back around this evening.

    A little of everything. Psychology (which I have a degree in), mythology, religion, Humanism (which is not considered a religion), and some Philosophy. As far as religions go, HInduism is one of my favourites to study, though I have not gotten past the basic ideas of it yet.

    Thanks, can’t wait to find out what he says about boredom. BTW, I did a research term paper on C.S. Lewis, showing that he was never truly an atheist. Would you like to read it once I get it on my site? With notes and Biblio. it’s 16 pages long.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Mriana you are right about everything that you say. It is people that causes all the problems. We are the ones that decide what we do to others. I’m saying that if we follow what we know to be the truth in our hearts, we are following god’s leadership. When we give in to the lusts and desires we have as humans we are following the dark side. We can stay in the dark for a long time and our conscience will not bring us out. We know at first we are wrong, but we become cold and indifferent to the truth. I can only follow the path that I believe helps me to be a helper to others I meet. To be a friend. The help we need comes from the people we meet. They are led to help us by the holy spirit. We can also be hurt by people as they make mistakes in their lives. They make mistakes because we have free will. We are all the same. We all need a common ground to stand on. Something we can all hold onto and believe the same way about. I think love is the only way we can be united. Is this humanist? I don’t know much about different religions and philosophies. I only know what I have seen and heard. I have heard people say things, but I have seen few people that do them. I guess that’s why it won’t be too crowded in heaven. My heart says to follow Jesus. To be a friend like he was. To try to be christlike. Try to do the right things for my family. Just share the love that God has given me. I was told as a child when I gathered up the courage to go to the altar that I could not be saved. It was announced to all in the church that day. I was 11 years old. I don’t know why God didn’t want me. I know all the answer to all His questions. I know the secret password, but He didn’t let me in the club. I am Ishmael. The Bible doesn’t tell me what became of him. Maybe someday I will find out. Maybe He will let you in. Then you can tell me.

  • Karen

    I was told as a child when I gathered up the courage to go to the altar that I could not be saved. It was announced to all in the church that day. I was 11 years old. I don’t know why God didn’t want me. I know all the answer to all His questions. I know the secret password, but He didn’t let me in the club. I am Ishmael. The Bible doesn’t tell me what became of him. Maybe someday I will find out. Maybe He will let you in. Then you can tell me.

    What do you mean, it was announced that “god didn’t want you”? Are you serious? Who in the world would say something like that?

    That’s incredibly awful, Tommy. If the church treated you like that, why in the world are you still trying so hard to be “part of their club”? You don’t need them to be happy, believe me! Anyone else from this site will tell you the same thing. I’m much happier and freer now than I was as a religious believer.

  • Mriana

    Is this humanist?

    Well… No. Not exactly, Tommy. Also depends on the Humanist you are talking to also as to the definition you will get, but I’m very glad you asked. The easiest way to explain it, is to direct you to the various sites about Humanism. SOF: sofn.org.uk/ will tell you this, but I can tell you that you missed the boat with God and Humanism because Humansits are non-theists, agnostics, and atheists, there is no supernatural beliefs:

    SoF acknowledges that no truths in the world arrive untouched by human hand. Truths are made within human culture and language. Ideas, beliefs, faiths: we made them all up – not, of course, as isolated individuals or lone craftsmen, but as communities, groups, collectives, cultures. So SoF proclaims its mission: “To explore and promote religious faith as a human creation.” In this sense, Sea of Faith is humanist..

    With a link to them and Humanism: sofn.org.uk/First_Time/Humanist.html Which mentions Athony Freeman and his book “God In Us: A Case For Christian Humanism” We are talking Religious Humanism. How do I explain this? It is non-theistic, it focuses on the Human much like other Humanists, based on reason and compassion, very Spiritual, but not in the sense you are speaking, but does make use of the Bible (not in the way you may think though). I scored a 45 on their little quiz. lol Don Culpitt is one of the SOF people.

    Finally found their definition of Religious Humanism:

    Christian or religious humanist: One whose humanism finds expression within some form of Christian or religious tradition.

    How they view God:

    Non-realist. SoF uses “non-realism” to refer to the belief that God has no “real”, objective or empirical existence, independent of human language and culture; God is real in the sense that he is a potent symbol, metaphor or projection, but has no objective existence outside and beyond humanity.

    Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplin at Harvard University (Religous Humanist). His background is Judaism- mostly because he grew up Jewish harvardhumanist.org/?page_id=21, and was ordain as a Humanist Rabbi, but like me, he has studied other religions and philosophies.

    I can’t give you his definition of God, if he has one, but IF he does, it is probably not much different from mine or the above. He has a book coming out which sounds wonderful about Cultural Humansim.

    As for Heaven and Hell for both: This is it. We have to make the best of it that we can by striving for the greater good of humanity. The others that follow have the same thoughts on Heaven and Hell.

    You can learn more on their sites, but Spiritual Humansim: Hope Humanist Ministries hopehumanists.org, which I am involved with says this:

    HHM is based upon some very basic, yet profound ideals and beliefs. As Humanists we put our faith, first and most, in our fellow humans. Hope Humanists believe that we (all humans) are responsible for solving our own problems, and for taking care of the planet that sustains us. Spirituality and religious beliefs are either unimportant, or a matter of personal preference – but should not take the place of personal action to right the wrongs in our society and create a better future for our children and their children.

    “Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.”
    –International Humanist and Ethical Union

    The basis of humanism is a belief that love, kindness, honesty, equality, shared resources, and most of all –Reason–will achieve a better life, a better world, and a lasting peace for all mankind. That hope for peace, prosperity, and equality on a worldwide scale is the driving force behind humanism.

    They use the Humanist Manifesto II, while I also use III too.

    You can read more on their site too.

    From americanhumanist.org (not sure how to catagorize them, but they pretty much cover all Humanists, I think.)

    Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

    Humanist Manifesto III (drafted by Paul Kurtz): americanhumanist.org/3/HumandItsAspirations.php

    Secular Humanism secularhumansim.org:

    Manifesto 2000 drafted by Paul Kurtz as well: secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=manifesto

    Affirmation: secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=affirmations

    I’m a member of all three (HHM, AHA, and CSH) as well as involved with Center For Inquiry centerforinquiry.net and I consider them very reliable resources to learn more about Humanism. However, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference, except for what they keep and what they discard by way of spiritualism and religion. The general definition would be Humansim is based on science, reason, and compassion, while trying to strive for the greater good of humanity without supernaturalism. Some keep a non-theistic view of god, which might appear to some as atheism esp to those who are theists, and some have no view of god.

  • Mriana

    I was told as a child when I gathered up the courage to go to the altar that I could not be saved. It was announced to all in the church that day. I was 11 years old. I don’t know why God didn’t want me. I know all the answer to all His questions. I know the secret password, but He didn’t let me in the club. I am Ishmael.

    Oh Jesus Christ! I’m with Karen on this one too and I’m sorry I did not comment on it in my last post concerning Humanism. Why the heck do you stay in such a church? That is the most emotionally abusive thing I have ever heard! Dear, you really do need to read Dr. Valerie Tarico’s book “The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth”. No, she does not tell you to give up Christianity, but IMHO, like Karen, one can be happier without religion, esp with situations like that.

    Humanism is not anti-Christian or anti-God, but if you did not want to give up the Bible, but only the abusive dogma in favour of the Human, then Christian Humanism MIGHT be a place for you, except for maybe how you view God. That might not fit so well. If not that, find another church that is much healthier for you. I won’t tell you which ones might be better because I’ve been burned myself by some churches. I won’t tell you to seek out the Episcopal Church either, even if I think it’s safer and healthier. You might not appreciate their form of worship or something.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    The Christian knows that man is basically evil. Men seek their own pleasure. They do not seek God. They will seek idols and look for justification in the things they do. Not even the preacher is above the influence of satan. Everyone makes mistakes and injures others. It is said by the Christian that it is God that draws us to Him. I know what God is. I know who God is. I know how God molds us as Christians. God gives the guidance and provides for our needs. Even though man cannot live according to all that is right, should I just say that God is not in control? This is satan’s world for now. If God does not lead us through it who will? I may not be able to be saved, but if I must go to hell, why would I want to take my children with me? God is all knowing and knows my future. I do not. I can only try to do what my heart tells me is right. This is God leading. Even if I must be excluded, He still has plans for me. Maybe it is just to tell someone about God in a way they can understand. A way that will help them to hear His voice and answer His call. Even if the preacher says no. God said the Bible is His word. There are no other books to explain His word. He said His word is complete. There are no additions to what He said. Just because someone didn’t follow His word very well doesn’t mean that we should give up on God and not allow Him to shape our lives. He said He loves us all.

  • Karen

    The Christian knows that man is basically evil. Men seek their own pleasure. They do not seek God. They will seek idols and look for justification in the things they do. Not even the preacher is above the influence of satan. Everyone makes mistakes and injures others.

    Forgive my bluntness, Tommy, but you’ve been thoroughly brainwashed. Stupid people have persuaded you that are you low, dirty, a filthy worm with no intrinsic value.

    This is NOT true.

    You are a human being with immense value and worth. I highly doubt that you’re an evil, terrible person no matter what anyone else tells you to the contrary. If you can stop, for just a moment, the mechanical responses that pop into your head when you hear anything positive about yourself, maybe you can escape this destructive mindset.

    I cannot imagine what sect told you that god has excluded you and you must go to hell, but that is totally contrary to any Christian teaching I’ve ever heard about. Atheists believe that hell is an imaginary place made up to keep people obeying authority.

    Whatever you believe, I’m very sorry that you’re in this situation and if there’s anything we can do in this limited forum to help you, please tell us.

  • Mriana

    I cannot imagine what sect told you that god has excluded you and you must go to hell, but that is totally contrary to any Christian teaching I’ve ever heard about.

    Mormons? That’s what I’m thinking. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about them recently. Hopefully, he will return and tell us, so we will know when to run and who to run from. :( I feel sorry for him, but cause like you said, he is a worthwhile person.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    I am a realist. I see black and white. There can only be one truth about anything. There are no grey areas. Grey is white with some black. A person can say there is no god or they say there is one God. God is Truth, satan is the lie. God is Love, satan is the hate. Black and white. The christian that believes in the Truth knows that God speaks to his heart. If you do not believe in Truth/God, you believe this is a conscience. Either way you want to believe it, if you do not live according to that conscience/God you will not be happy.
    If you try to live in a way that does not make you happy you will not be a friendly person. Everyone can tell when a person is happy and when there is trouble. Our actions and emotions give us away. We develop relationships with our family and friends and develop emotional links that help us to remember them when we’re apart.
    Or we focus on our own feelings and not those of others. Then when the Great Flood comes you forget them and are left alone. The flood comes when you are grieving about their death. For the Christian, Jesus helps us to focus on others so we won’t forget them. He teaches us all the true things about our emotions and helps us to learn to forgive others. You have to follow the Truth/conscience either way you believe. Just like you have to follow the rules of gravity. If you lose a loved one Jesus can say, “Lazurus! Come Forth!” and you can know them just as though they were really alive.
    Can a dead cat live? I mean realistically! Only in our EMOTIONS. If we have focussed enough of our attention on the cat we will always have a live cat. This is Spiritual. You must be “Born Again”, this is Spiritual. It tells us to forget about our old life, and be born into a new one. A life not centered on self, but on others. Anyone can be Christian. Just follow the Truth. I know the truth, because it is written in the science book. I know the Truth because it is written in the Spiritual Book. There is only one Truth. The Truth wrote both books.
    Pick your side. Choose your team. But live by God, the Truth, the Love, the good, the right. Your God/conscience will guide you. There is only one way to Eternal Life.

  • Mriana

    Oh… Kay! Tommy, what the heck are you talking about? I’m not sure whose post you are refering to, because it makes no sense. No insult intended, but um… it sounds a bit… How do I put this nicely? Off? I don’t mean to imply you’re off your rocker, I just can not put it together with what we were talking about, which sounds very (searching for a word or words that is/are polite) not with the discussion. You don’t sound with it tonight. :( Take an aspirin or two, get a good night’s sleep, and call us in the morning.

  • Mriana

    A life not centered on self, but on others.

    If that was what you thought I was implying by Humanism, you missed the whole concept. It is not just focused on the self, but others too. All humans. I don’t think you understand or something.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    These are not mysteries. These are the true ways of the natural world. But the Bible says, “behold I show you a mystery…” and tells us about the new life God gives us in the final days. This new life is our Hope, our Promise from God. A REAL life with Him. Jesus said, “you believe in God, believe also in me.” Meaning that we should believe that God LITERALLY became a man. He is Jesus. He is the Son of God. He is the Lamb. He came to show us the Way. He came so we could have an example to follow. He came to forgive us and to help us forgive. God said if we accept Jesus as Lord, we can have a real life. One that is not corrupted by sin. This new life was paid for by Jesus on the cross. The Truth is always the same. Accept Jesus and be given the new life. A God that can start the first Earth, can surely start the next. Trust Him today. If your conscience does not feel that you want this Hope of a new life in Jesus, then God knows that you are not ready to accept. But if you feel that this Promise is what you want, then it is God calling. Just answer. Say “Yes Lord, Thy servant hears you!”. Praise God for your soul.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    I didn’t say I don’t have worth or feel bad about myself. I said a preacher made a mistake in the handling of a child’s salvation. It took me a long time to come to the understanding of the real Truth. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ just as anyone has with their parents. He tells me only the Truth and He loves me. If you learn about His Truth you will know it is the true way to know God. Don’t mix in the black with the white. Focus on Jesus and spend time with Him. He can heal all things. Jesus is the One that decides who goes to hell. A preacher can confuse and embarrass and cause humiliation. Jesus can give love and understanding and victory in everlasting life.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Wow… I really can’t keep pace with everybody on here!

    Mriana,
    I had typed a reply to you earlier that was kind of long, and somehow I lost it. Eh. But yes, I’d love to read you paper whenever you can get it up; I’ll be out of town for a couple of days starting tomorrow, so it may be a while before I could, but you could just email me or something (nancehixon@hotmail.com) if you like if you get it up in that time, and I’ll check it out. Once again though, I just don’t have time to type up the Lewis thing for now, but I’ll get it here eventually, probably when I’m back from Dallas.
    By the way, I checked out the yule log on Wikipedia… we both win ;) Norse origins and Wiccan modern context. Always learning stuff…

    You guys have a great weekend!

  • Mariann

    Tommy are you saying you are egyptian.You said I am Ishmael.God wants all people nations tongues to be saved.
    I believe all who follow Christ are his church.Not the church made by mans hands but our Lords.Jesus is the way,the truth and the life.you can only get to the father through the son.Jesus said,I am the door,and those who find it have pasture in and out.Seach and you will find.Knock and the door will be opened for you.
    Christ is the head ,we live by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.Adam and Eve believed they could do thing there way.Faith is the things hoped for the things not seen.Look where we are.Man is not doing a good job.If we did what Jesus told us to do we would have peace.Love your enenmies.
    Sorry if I sound religious,which is the docdrines of men.I love God,Jesus,the holy spirit and the bible.

  • Mriana

    Mriana,
    I had typed a reply to you earlier that was kind of long, and somehow I lost it. Eh. But yes, I’d love to read you paper whenever you can get it up; I’ll be out of town for a couple of days starting tomorrow, so it may be a while before I could, but you could just email me or something (nancehixon@hotmail.com) if you like if you get it up in that time, and I’ll check it out.

    OK. No worries, I have a couple other things to get done and up on my site too, so it will be a bit before I get it up.

    Say hi to my friends in Ft. Worth for me while you are there. :D

    Once again though, I just don’t have time to type up the Lewis thing for now, but I’ll get it here eventually, probably when I’m back from Dallas.

    No rush. Like I said I have something else to get done and up on my site, so I’ll be busy anyway. I made a promise to someone, so I have to get that finished. It’s priority right now.

    By the way, I checked out the yule log on Wikipedia… we both win

    That’s cool! I kept looking for a region, but I just could not fine one. Which is frustrating when you know the people had to have lived somewhere. :lol:

  • Tommy Huntsman

    That’s what I’m trying to say. I just don’t put it in words right. God is good, but men make mistakes. I am Ishmael in the sense that the preacher turned me away. When he came back to explain, I would not listen. I had to search to find Jesus on my own. People look for an afterlife. But it is a NEW life. A new beginning without the hate men bring in. It is Jesus and not Abraham that decides who is worthy. It is His blood that provides the forgiveness and makes us righteous. Nothing that we can do except love each other. The concept of jesus is how we teach our children to share, love, and forgive. The concept of Jesus is the Promise of eternal life. All other concepts or beliefs are just shades of grey. Because I feel His guidance I know He lives. Because I believe He is the resurrected Lord, I have hope of everlasting life. There isn’t really any blind faith needed to live life according to God’s word. Just love the people you meet as completely as you can. Accept Jesus as Lord and follow His teaching.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Men have two parts. They are physical and spiritual (emotional). Everything has a spirit. The spirit is the true intention of something. The spirit of the law and things like that. Words convey our spirit to others. It is through our words that we encourage or discourage others. Those that believe in God, believe that the physical world came from the spiritual world. In the beginning was the word. The Word was God.
    Just as we need food for our physical body, we need to feed our spiritual body. (Jesus said man does not live by bread alone). We feed our spiritual body with the words we hear and read. The bible is the plumb line or the benchmark for all other words and teachings.
    The denominations of the church, the agnostics, or the humanists, may all contain a little, or a lot of the truth, but they are not pure if they do not meet this standard. Those are the doctrines of men. The bible is the doctrine of God.
    The true spirit of the physical book are the words that it teaches. God said I should love my wife. I bring her flowers at the right times and say the things she likes to hear. But she has skinny legs. So when we go out in public she walks behind me. Three steps back and to the left. (She is submissive). Is this loving my wife? Is this the true spirit of the word? We say we should live by the teachings of jesus/Jesus, then rush off to find other things to feed our spiritual bodies. Does God have skinny legs?

  • Mariann

    Sorry Niccoli, I did not respond sooner.I went back and read ,in stead of skimmed through……I was seaching,I started having really strange dreams right before the year2000.Way to much to write about.Some things were in the bible.I went to a minister, and he said I read the things I seen in my dream in the bible.But I did not read it yet then.He also said he thought the lord was calling me .

  • Mariann

    I must recant my comment last night .I said I never read the bible before 2000.Thats not true,when I was a teenager I read revelation,and in the 80′ a women tryed to teach me some things but at the time I just could not get it.
    So many people on this site are really smart.So I think you would love to be around when there is a new heaven and earth.And god is going to bring his heavenly kingdom to earth.He is going to dwell with us.All things will be new.All the mysteries will be revealed.Now everything has its purpose.He is the God of the living not the dead.Learn the spiritual language when Jesus said sword,he was saying,”word”.Like use your sword.But he was saying use the word.”The word of God.Or there are places where it talks about horses and chriots.”cant spell”it means war.His bride,his church without spot or wrinkle.God please keep teaching us.renew are hearts and our minds.Write your laws on our hearts that we need know one to teach us.
    I get carried away ,thank you for listening.Love to all.May we all have peace that surpasses all understanding.Who Jesus sets free is free indeed.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    This is how we spread the truth. Imagine someone standing in front of you. He asks you a question. He asks what is one plus one and holds up two fingers in front of you. He has shown you the answer. He takes away his hand and asks the same question. Where do you find the answer now. It is inside you as the truth. I ask you to show me and you hold up two fingers. This is how the truth has been spread since the first man began to count. We are all connected by the truth. We have gravity, not gravitie. The Bible is READ as the literal Truth so we will know what the Truth feels like in our hearts. The Bible does not condone slavery nor does it condemn the homosexual. It shows us how the Truth feels so we will recognize it when it calls. The Truth convicts US. Inside our OWN hearts. The Word of God is given to us to know His Spirit as He truly is. If we try to change the Truth of the Bible, it would be like telling me my father wasn’t really a hero. That wouldn’t make me feel very good. It is written in the way it is to make it timeless. All of the Truth is still the same Truth today, as it was then, as it will be a thousand years from now. One plus One is TWO.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    hey Richard, I haven’t noticed you posting any on the “A Christian Pastor Responds” –just taking it all in(I’m in that boat)? Have you and Mike talked about some of those topics before? I know he mentioned a conversation with you at one point, in part 3, maybe.

    Mriana, without further ado, Lewis on boredom in Heaven…

    Our notion of Heaven involves prepetual negations: no food, no drink, no sex, no movement, no mirth, no events, no time, no art. Against all these, to be sure, we set one positive: the vision and enjoyment of God. And since this is an infinite good, we hold (rightly) that it outweighs them all. That is, the reality of the Beatific Vision would or will outweigh, would infinitely outweigh, the reality of the negations. But can our present notion of it outweigh our present notion of them? That is quite a different question. And for most of us at most times the answer is No. How it may be for great saints and mystics I cannot tell. But for others the conception of that Vision is a difficult, precarious, and fugitive extrapolation from a very few and ambiguous moments in our earthly experience, while our idea of the negated natural goods is vivid and persistent, loaded with the memories of a lifetime, built into our nerves and muscles and therefore into our imaginations.
    Thus the negatives have, so to speak, an unfair advantage in every competition with the positive. What is worse, their presence – and most when we most resolutely try to supress or ignore them – vitiates even such a faint and ghostlike notion of the positive as we might have had. The exclusion of the lower goods begins to seem the essential characteristic of the higher good. We feel, if we do not say, that the vision of God will come not to fulfil but to destroy our nature; this bleak fantasy often underlies our very use of such words as ‘holy’ or ‘pure’ or ‘spiritual’.
    We must not allow this to happen if we can possibly prevent it. We must believe – and therefore in some degree imagine – that every negation will be only the reverse side of a fulfilling. And we must mean by that the fulfilling, precisely, of our humanity; not our transformation into angels nor our absorption into Deity. For though we shall be ‘as the angels’ and made ‘like unto’ our Master, I think this means ‘like with the likeness proper to men’: as different instruments that play the same air but each in its own fashion. How far the life of the risen man will be sensory, we do not know. But I surmise that it will differ from the sensory life we know here, not as emptiness differs from water or water from wine but as a flower differs from a bulb or a cathedral from an architect’s drawing.

    Sort of in the same vein, he makes a fun analogy in his book Miracles:

    I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No’, he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive that excludes it.

    That quote is originally in response to the question of whether there would be sex in heaven or not, but I brought it up all the same since the sex question begs the ‘what the hell are we to do there then?’ question.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    Oh, and the first one is from an essay entitled Transposition.

  • Mriana

    Interesting. Well, he doesn’t negate heaven because he sees it as boredom, but I can’t say I agree with him. Of course, I didn’t agree with a lot of what he said. The only thing I can agree with is that IF there is a heaven, the human vision of it would get quite boring after a while. That and most of the time, I think, we have that here, so what’s the difference?

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Nance,
    I have only read Mike’s first posting and none of the comments following my own. I’ve been concentrating on another posting and I may be experiencing some blog fatigue. The slowness of my reading is legendary. A book I can’t put down still turns yellow before I finish it. I suppose I should get cracking and read all three, especially if Mike’s referring to me. We’ve talked about many things but I’ll just have to find out. One recent glance indicated that he’s taking a beating, which sadly I expected. Thanks for prodding me.

    Hope all is well with you.

  • Fr Iain

    Wow, what an insightful article. As a Christian and a pastor, I have to say that I am both thankful for the insights at the same time as being baffled by some of the logic behind the reasons. So, I have a coupla questions. First, I have heard many of those arguments before, and I think that they actually kind of skirt around the real arguments. So, is it redundant to point out the flaws in those arguments? (I always find it ironic when people reject Christianity based on their misconceptions of Christianity, not on the real teachings of the faith). Secondly, the assumption that people either automatically adopt the belief systems in which they were raised or become atheists doesn’t account for conversion. What about people who were raised in atheistic households who become Christians? Or people who are raised as Christians who become pantheists? Do you see what I mean? Thirdly, I find it moderatetly insulting (more frustrating than insulting) to be lumped in with “religious people.” More often than not, religious people really get under my skin. I’m a Christian, not a religious person. But that’s not a question, so I digress. I guess my final question is this, how do you account for the reliability of reason? What I mean is, most atheistic writings I’ve encountered seem to rely heavily on reason. How do you know that reason is dependable, that you can trust your reason any more than you can trust your feelings? Don’t both reside w/in our biological entity (reason in the brain, emotions in the brain’s interaction w/ the body)? So, I guess in the end, I really only have one question that I’m interested in a response to, that’s the first one. How do you address when atheists have misunderstood some of these ‘classic’ religious arguments. The rest of what I’m trying to say is that I would like my faith to be taken seriously, and not just lumped in with religion. I don’t like to hear religious people calling agnostic folks atheists, simply because it’s innacurate. I often feel, however, that people lump Christianity in w/ other religions and don’t deal w/ what the faith is all about. Sorry for the long post, I don’t really blog much! Peace

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Fr Iain said,

    I guess my final question is this, how do you account for the reliability of reason? What I mean is, most atheistic writings I’ve encountered seem to rely heavily on reason. How do you know that reason is dependable, that you can trust your reason any more than you can trust your feelings? Don’t both reside w/in our biological entity (reason in the brain, emotions in the brain’s interaction w/ the body)?

    When man first learned to speak words, it was the work of the spirit to help us know the meanings of those words. The only way we could learn the spirit of a word was to have that feeling in our emotional bodies. We learn to feel love because the Holy Spirit is the one guides us to a truthful heart. People can trust in themselves or they can trust in the Holy Spirit. The brain and the body have to get along or the spirit will begin to convict. As a Pastor you know how easy it is to be mis-understood and of your great responsibility to share the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your work. Love

    I sneaked a peek at the end of the Book. It said Truth wins.

  • Thomas Elliott

    What i find ignorant and perhaps at times quite arrogant are humanistic comments/reasoning for the existance/non-existance of God. These comments can come from those who claim religion and those who claim an atheistic approach. When i hear of the amounts of time for both camps trying to prove their position based upon their own reasoning, it astounds me. What astounds me is that persons from both sides do not with earnestness seek God for who God is by the very definition of God but rather run shipwreck by basically arguing to God who God is not because of our own biased perceptions. To help clarify – When mortals lower the power and awesomeness of God to what they think God should have and be – they by default will never find God unless God intervenes. It is quite sad that lives full of proclaiming God or denying God is spent on the erroneous outset for lowering who God is when by definition God in God’s fullest of power is beyond our mortal understanding. Amazing, we try to say that God does not exist when God by defintion is beyond what we think God is/should be. No wonder why man does not find God. Those who claim feelings for religion and do not understand that God is a God of great order and great knowledge, worlds of greatest ignorance come through these doors.

    To say i will not seek God in the manner that God decrees because i don’t think God is – what pompousness and arrogance. This in essence is to say that God does not exist in the grossest of biasness because i have not found God according to how i think God is. Have you fallen on your face day after day and cried out with all your being for God to show God to you and that you would according to God’s decree serve God with all your being? We can argue all that we want with the amount of our own knowlege but by default – it doesn’t measure a drop in the proverbial bucket in comparrison to the amount of water in the ocean. It’s a very unstable platform to stand upon to declare, i don’t see God unless you are falling on your knees daily to find who God is. A humble heart, i imagine will find God but one with pride whether filled with religiousity or atheism will not. If God exists, and i think that God does, i would rather be night and day crying out to God – who are you and how may i be acceptable in your sight?

    I think the Bible is right – “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord” and this by the dictates of God and not you or me or what we think God should be. If it is left to man – all is right in our own eyes but true wisdom says better – seek God as God is to be sought. If you have not done this until the day of your death – what an arrogant lump of minerals and flasks of water to vaporize away whether you claim religion or claim to be atheist.

    Thank you for allowing me to share.

  • http://nancehixon.blogspot.com Nance

    That and most of the time, I think, we have that here, so what’s the difference?

    I think the difference would lie in the most of the time.

    When i hear of the amounts of time for both camps trying to prove their position based upon their own reasoning, it astounds me.

    That sounds similar to Mike’s point on the ‘christian pastor responds’ part 5. He’s not big on wasting time debating, I guess.

    Richard-
    I’m good, had a crazy week(car stuff), but those happen… way to often.
    I know how you feel about the slow reading. I was once a really quick reader, and not all that long ago. Yesterday I finished a book I’ve been in since Feb. and today I’m hoping to finish a novel I’ve been working on since Jan. I don’t know what happened–to my reading skills or in the beginning of the novel.
    Hopefully I’ll have some more blog time soon, and I’ll catch you around here a bit more!

  • S Barr

    My goodness, you have taken on the biggest question in life (along with why is there life), and your list has some really good points. Right off the bat, I will state that I am a Christian, but was not always. I will also state that I am a questioning Christian (a college professor at a medical center), and have some doubts and confusion. I attend a non-denominational church once in a while that is open to questioning, and open to everyone (does not force a political agenda, or rigid belief system), but it would be considered probably “evangelical”.

    My wife was raised Catholic, and “left” the church as a teen (too much hypocrisy), and although my parents tried to raise the four of us in a liberal Protestant denomination as children, two of my siblings are atheists, and my other brother (also in the medical profession) is “an open” Christian like me. I became a Christian through both my 30 years of being involved in life and death, and spending my entire adult life imaging and studying the body.

    I wish I had a solid answer to give you, as to why, where, and how I witness God in human life. As a scientist, I believe in evolution, but I also see some chinks in the evolution accord. The closer we get to imaging the human genome, the microstructure of the cell, and the processes of life, the more in awe I become as to what life is about. It is one heck of an error, or one incredible sequence. I also see how horrific a miniscule mistake at the microcellular level can cause a miserable disease. Like all of you, I wonder where God is in this, and why it happens.

    In broad brush strokes, when I look at the purity of many religions, they are often beautiful. Words and actions recorded of prophets tell a history of compassion and peace. Unfortunately, men warp and use some other recorded ideas to destroy (radical Islam and some periods of “Christianity” in history demonstrate this). I have spent a life (50+ years) seeking answers, and to me, Jesus Christ was so revolutionary, such an example of selfless love, forgiveness, and in many ways, the ideal humanist, that I began to understand that if there is a God, Jesus exemplifies that God. Jesus gave me the hope for humankind, and for my own life.

    You can try and explain “religious fervor” by endorphin release, and similar descriptions of neurophysiology so well described on your website. I also cannot give you physical proof of God. I will tell you, I have sensed the presence when people have died (even before I was a Christian- and I know this sounds really wacked out, because just writing reading what I wrote seems really “out there”). I do see lives changed (for the better) when they accept Christ. It is not a religion, and in reality, I am not that religious, but have faith. Again, you can chalk this up to neurotransmitters and emotion centers in the brain (like I used to and still explore), but seeing the change; the found peace and humanity in so many of these people is amazing.

    This discussion will likely go one for all time, and it is healthy to question. I cannot condemn you for what you believe, and will continue my pursuit to seek answers in the structure and processes of life at the most minute levels. I have to say, that there has been nothing to disprove God, and while I also can offer no firm physical evidence either, the more I learn, the more my faith strengthens.

  • R Holmes

    Great topics. Just keep your eyes open for those unexplained miracles such as the amputated limb and resurrections. By the way, one reason most of such miracles are in Third World countries is because they have nothing but God to rely upon. Here, we have our logic, medicines, money, and doctors to bail us out — which may truly be why the miraculous isn’t occuring widespread as God Himself wants it to. We simply don’t have to rely on a god if we already have all the answers and the means.

  • http://www.thejad.com Jad

    Thomas Elliott I loved reading your last post. I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head. The existence of God in this still postmodern world still uses subjectiveness to answer a supposed truth. That’s fine for a slice of cheesecake because it’s limited to mere opinion but the idea that something mostly outside our minds eye, like the existence of God is like you said beyond full knowledge.

    Thank you once again and if I may can I share your post with others elsewhere on the internet?

    Cheers
    Jad

  • Niccoli

    Just wanted to share – I am reading a book that I find very enlightening. “No god but God – The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” by Reza Aslan. Though I have not finished yet – I can already see the impact that culture at a given point in history, politics, greed, and control have had on various religions. If there was a sacred law of god… would it be the same law today?

    Traditionalist and Rationalist views described in this book mirror those of other religions. Very eye opening for me.

    As man interprets the meanings of writings, signs, miracles, etc he corrupts any meaning that is there and imprints his own beliefs and attitudes based on the culture or situation that surrounds him. While I do agree that there is unquestionable benefits of religion (almost any) to society/humanity I have a hard time believing that there is something more than an attempt to control the masses. Which would not be so bad if it were to ultimately unite us vice divide us.

    The similarites in creation stories are suspect to me (Christianity, Muslim, Egyptian, African). Maybe there was something so long ago… something real but how can we hope to understand it given the time that has passed. Ever tell a secret to a friend that wasn’t the same secret once it was passed around a while?

    If anybody has read the book I would appreciate your review.

  • Niccoli

    Just wanted to share – I am reading a book that I find very enlightening. “No god but God – The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” by Reza Aslan. Though I have not finished yet – I can already see the impact that culture at a given point in history, politics, greed, and control have had on various religions. If there was a sacred law of god… would it be the same law today?

    Traditionalist and Rationalist views described in this book mirror those of other religions. Very eye opening for me.

    As man interprets the meanings of writings, signs, miracles, etc he corrupts any meaning that is there and imprints his own beliefs and attitudes based on the culture or situation that surrounds him. While I do agree that there is unquestionable benefits of religion (almost any) to society/humanity I have a hard time believing that there is something more than an attempt to control the masses. Which would not be so bad if it were to ultimately unite us vice divide us.

    The similarites in creation stories are suspect to me (Christianity, Muslim, Egyptian, African). Maybe there was something so long ago… something real but how can we hope to understand it given the time that has passed. Ever tell a secret to a friend that wasn’t the same secret once it was passed around a while?

    If anybody has read the book I would appreciate your review.

  • ziggy

    The code of Mammurabi is not morality! It’s a legal code. A legal code obviously has no inherent connection to morality.

    Athiests always make the mistake of confusing kindness with morality because they are afraid to state openly what it means to be a human animal in this world. Of course kindness would exist without god – it already does. Monkeys and parrots are nice to each other sometimes too.

    That has nothing to do with morality. Morality is doing what is Right. In order to have Right, you must have a foundation. God is a foundation. You cannot remove the Christina god, or any other, and maintain their morality. You will not find a rational basis for morality either. There is none. That one bear eats another is not very nice, but it is not Wrong. The same amongst human animals.

    We create our own world and find our own way. Stop being cowards and be athiests if that’s what you really are.

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  • KOTSEN

    ALL PEOPLE ARE SET IN THEIR BELIEVES / DISBELIEVES AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN SAY TO PROVE OR DISPROVE ANYTHING- PEOPLE ARE F****G SHEEP AND THEY LIKE TO FOLLOW, BECAUSE IT IS EASIER THAN USING ONE’S LOGIC OR EVEN THE BRAIN THAT THEY BELIEVE GOD GAVE THEM, I GUESS HE JUST FORGOT TO TURN IT ON WHILE HE WAS CAREFULLY PLACING IT IN ONE’S SCULL:) TOO BAD FOR THEM, BUT HEY – WHO GIVES A SHIT :)

  • HaRvArD

    Hey Ziggy !
    You said –
    “In order to have Right, you must have a foundation. God is a foundation.”
    Yes, God is the foundation of a few Muslims who crashed a few planes, a couple into the WTC.
    Um, maybe you want to rethink your argument.
    Think so, Ziggy?

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  • religionandthe1

    The list is pretty funny, however there is one consistency error.

    In (3) you say that religious experiences can be explain through biological processes in our brain.

    However in (11) you say, that God is not like love, because love is something material, biological process and God isn’t. Well I believe that religious conciousness is biologically exactly as real as love. And the belief i.e. the love in god is consequently just as biologic as the love with another human.

  • Dominique D.

    I say let atheists believe whatever they want or not believe whatever they want rather because we all have free will & it’s really not my problem or that of any other Christian if they have no belief in the one being who can show mercy on their souls or b there 4 them when both man & their precious science fail them.

    Now, I understand when atheists don’t like when Christians cram religious beliefs down their throats because I 2 hate it when someone 4rm another relion (i.e. Jehova’s Witnesses) cram their beliefs on me but it’s also unfair that children be forced to learn about evolution n school. That’s u guys forcing your beliefs on us. Just how you all wanted prayer out of school because not everyone believes in prayer, well we don’t want our kids learning evolution. If you’re gonna play the freedom of religion card then play it all the way. We won’t force your kids 2 pray n school & u don’t force ours 2 learn about your evolution mumbo jumbo.

    & no, I’m not saying that any1 here n particular is forcing kids 2 learn evolution don’t b ridiculous but I’m talking about the atheists who have & r trying 2 get evolution taught n schools. Things of that matter should just b taught @ home becuase it’s touchy & everyone has their own beliefs about it & no one should be forced 2 learn something that contradicts there beliefs @ least when it comes 2 spirituality. I think it would b ok if schools taught evolution by saying that some people believe this & also saying that some people believe n an all powerful omnicient creator. But 2 teach evolution as being the way it is is just wrong because as Christians we don’t believe that. So give the kids some info on both evolution & God as options or don’t teach either one at all. If I had it my way, everyone would have 2 learn about God (no particular religion) whether they believed or not but since I don’t all I can say is that no one should force their beliefs on the other & matters like the creation of the universe should be left @ home &/or church.

  • JD

    Religions are tools created (by humans) to control the populations.

    Personaly, I am an agnostic. I think there must be some intelligent being(s) out there that must have created all this; but there is no way to know/understand what/who they are. It is just out of reach of the human “mind”.

    And, as already said: people are free to believe in whatever they want to believe in, as long as they leave me alone!

  • Charlos

    Obviously critical thinking is not an attribute of the god thinkers, so here’s another original Einstein quote:

    >I do NOT believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

    When theoretical physicists use the word “god” they really just mean “an abstract principle of order and harmony”, a set of mathematical equations.

    I guess you are all familiar with “Occam’s razor” ?

    It was based on “William of Occam” and says: “Non est ponenda pluralites sive necessitate” or in english: “Do not multiply entities unless necessarily”. It is a principle for scientific labour which means that one should use a simple explanation with a few explanatory premises before a more complex one.

    Let’s say that everything must be created, and that was done by an omnipotent god. A god which stands above time, space, moral and existence, which is self containing and in it self has it’s own cause. This entity can surely be replaced by the known world. The world stands above time, space, moral, existence, is self containing and in it has it’s own meaning. Most theists agree that god has a nature. Then we must raise the question, who created god’s nature? If we just accept that god has a nature and exists without a cause, why not say that the known world just is and that the laws of physics are what they are, without a cause?

    God is not really an explanation, only a non-explanation !

    It is impossible to gain information from non-information so god as an explanation is a DEAD END. When we have said that the reason for something is that ‘god did it that way’ there is no way to understand it any further. We just shrug our shoulders and accept things as they are. To explain the unknown by god is only to explain how it happened, not why. If we are to investigate the world and build our views of life from the world, we cannot assume a god. Because adding god as an explanation leaves as many, if not more questions than it explains, god has to be removed with Occam’s razor if we are serious in investigating the world, like “scientism” surely is.

    So god really is just a myth…..and maybe some kind of a psychological calmative for those who need it. Just remember how that “god” came to us in the very old days: there was thunder and lightning and nobody knew what it meant and the humble answer was “god”!

    With analytical intelligence and information god just disappears.

  • Lindee

    Many Question for the Christians.

    Why do you love and approve of a god who, as punishment, sends his own creations to burn in a eternal hell fire? What does that teach anyone? How can you consider that good or LOVING? (Isn’t inflicting pain on another awful?)

    Suffering is necessary for..? To bring us closer to a cruel God who tortures people eternally as punishment.

    Also, if God created everything, than he created evil and good, therefore he is responsible for it as well. Is someone in the position of power clearly not responsible for the evil that they could stop?
    How can God be justice or righteous when the innocent suffer while the wicked prosper?

    Clearly I am an atheist. (Who believes that a purposeful life can be one that is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.)

    I do not foolishly deny the existence of a God or higher power, I just do not believe in God or the God defined by Christians. Just curious to anyone who responds and can answer these questions. I have yet to come across a satisfying answer, but I still leave the door open, unless anyone would like to amuse me with the ridiculous answers that I am use to…. than that’s ok too.
    with love from an Atheist aka “satanist” (as I find funny) aka freethinker also

    Lindee

  • John

    God is a being who created a place for humans to flourish and be relational- just like God is as defined in the Trinity.

    Humans tried to usurp God’s place in betraying the commandment not to eat of the tree.

    Sin enters in with a barrier now between God and humans.

    Judeo-Christianity is the story of God redeeming humans back into loving relationship with God and each other. Sin unfortunately distorts relationships and sorrow is huge globally.

    Heaven and earth are to be remade and repopulated when evil (demonic sources) are extinguished in the lake of fire. I know, I know. It’s sound fundamentalist. Yes, I am an evangelical who believes that the Bible stories are teaching major theological truths.

    As one who lived a good pagan life til 26 and now as a Christian for 20 years, I’ve seen much I don’t like on any side. While God’s existence is not denied by atheists, his existence is denied (practically speaking) by professing Christians in their walk. Christians are to seek out whom they may help and tell people of the Christ as they live their faith.

    Atheists seem to come in all stripes like many professing Christians. In the end God does not reveal much if anything to anyone with weak to no faith. And make no bones about it- it’s all about faith. No not fideism. But faith which is a balance of a reasoned understanding of who God is and how the narrative makes sense with a spiritual infusement (from the Holy Spirit) that confirms these truths.

    I pray that all would be at peace with God one day. If not I’d still like to eat pizza, listen to some rock or ride bikes or whatever with any of you. My desire is to enjoy people and the earth that God made to the best that we can.

    John

    The list btw is semi-valid. Some points are straw-men. Others not well thought out at all. Interesting nonetheless.

  • Christina Godbe

    This is just a ‘personal oppinion; I would hate to be YOU standing in front our ‘Creator the ‘Almighty and ‘All Knowing God on Judgement Day !!
    I will be ‘Praying for you, that you will ‘wake up and ‘smell the coffee’, so that your name will appear in the ‘Bood of Life’ and you are not one of the ‘Damned to Perrish with Lucifer, The Fallen Angels or any of the other ‘sorry souls who have let ‘Satan ‘poisen their minds’ with any of this nonsense.
    If you haven’t noticed, we are now living in the End Times. Soon the ‘Anti-Christ WILL RISE, and what the world DOESNT need is ‘Satan’s Little Helpers’ such as yourself trying to turn people away from God.
    I urge you to pick up ‘The Book of Truth’ …IE…The Holy Bible, and ask ‘Jesus our Saviour into your heart- as it through him we will find our only ‘path to ‘Eternal Life and Happiness, back here on Earth and it was meant to be…IN THE BEGINNING.
    Please, for the sake of your SOUL, quit letting Satan poison your mind, or at least keep your ‘Thoughts’ to your self !!!

    Again, I will ‘Pray that ‘God Be With You, Christina Godbe, Redding,Ca.

  • http://www.levityproject.com Ryan

    Lindee – here’s a stab (a rough one) at your questions …

    >>Why do you love and approve of a god who, as punishment, sends his own creations to burn in a eternal hell fire? What does that teach anyone? How can you consider that good or LOVING? (Isn’t inflicting pain on another awful?)

    Response: “Eternal hell fire” and other strong descriptive phrases for “hell” found in the bible are just that – descriptive language. The meaning behinds phrases like these deals with people who willfully choose to turn away from God completely. These people, in the end, will be eternally separated from God – and those descriptive words above paint a picture of what it might feel like to be separated from God completely. That said, I don’t think that your worldview or believe (in a positive sense) has much of anything to do with it. . I believe that you can disbelieve in God’s existence and yet not rebel against God. I also believe that you can believe in God, and even follow God, and still be in continuous rebellion against God.

    >>Suffering is necessary for..? To bring us closer to a cruel God who tortures people eternally as punishment.

    Response: Here’s another perspective: In order for a grape vine to produce good grapes, you have to cut back the vine significantly. So, the suffering that is a part of our lives can serve to cut back ‘stray vine’ we have growing and choking out the possibilities of good fruit. The idea is something along the lines of this: When people suffer, they will often gain a new appreciation for life (i.e. are nicer to people they weren’t nice to before, take more pleasure in simple things). When we suffer for and with God, we can not only gain a new appreciation of life, but a new and lasting way of living life.

    >>Also, if God created everything, than he created evil and good, therefore he is responsible for it as well. Is someone in the position of power clearly not responsible for the evil that they could stop?

    Response: The premise of the biblical story is that the devil (whoever or whatever the devil is) made a choice to rebel against God. And in the beginning of humanity, humans did not have even an inclination to rebel against God, however it was an external source, the devil, personified as a snake (for whatever reason), that tempted us to rebel. But we are ultimately still responsible to make the choice between following or rebelling against God

    >>How can God be justice or righteous when the innocent suffer while the wicked prosper?

    Response: The prosperity of the wicked is temporary – and is also full of emptiness. If you travel to third world countries, you will find that some of the most materially poor people are also some of the kindest and most loving you will ever meet, while the rich are often depressed, lonely and hardened. I’m not saying that people should be poor, nor am I saying that rich people are evil … I am saying that people should watch out for the desire to be wealthy for wealth’s sake (i.e. to want more stuff, or more money to serve ourselves). Rather, we should all give radically of ourselves (time and/or money) to help the poor enter into a sustainable future.

    Ryan

  • Phil Saunders

    The code of Hamurabbi is not a pre biblical secular moral code at all. It is a civil code made by a religious person. To suggest otherwise is either ignorance or dishonesty. A simple web search will confirm this fact.

  • Steve

    I ran across this post and realize it is very old but felt compelled to respond.

    Being a Christian…a believer…in God…and also believing that the Bible is the inspired, revealed truth of God and about God…there are some simple truths as to why people either don’t believe there is a God or why, if they do believe in some kind of god, they believe ‘wrong things’ about Him.

    1. Since the fall of man in the garden of Eden, we are dead…spiritually speaking…and living under a curse or wrath or judgement. Because of our spiritual ‘deadness’…we have lost our ‘ability’ and even the desire to relate to or with God…this also is part of the curse of original sin. Romans 1 tells us that ” since the creation of the world His (God’s) invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they (we) are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.

    2. There is a real, evil being ( Satan, The Devil, etc. and his angels/demons) and he has blinded our minds to the truth. 2nd Corinthians 4:4 says that “the god (little “g” god) of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe to keep them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of the Messiah, who is the image of God ( This would be Jesus ). Reminds me of the original ‘Matrix’ movie. We’re all lashed and locked into our little pods like ‘Mr. Anderson’..living and believing a lie…until he is set free.

    3. We don’t WANT there to be a God. If there is a God then we’ll have to be accountable to Him and this really bums us out…it makes us culpable….basically the idea of the existance of God de-thrones us from being the god of our own lives and doing whatever we please. John 3:19 tells us that ( and I paraphrase ) people love darkness rather than light…because our deeds are evil. We like sinning..and we’re darned good at it. Then John (actually John is quoting the Lord Jesus ) really ‘unloads the truck’ on us in chapter 8..”“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

    I’ll stop there..after saying that the remedy for this condition that we find ourselves in is in the person of Jesus Christ. He came to earth to die, really. He came for the express purpose of being a sacrifice..turn turn God’s wrath away..a payment for the sins of those of us who beleive and who were formerly being held captive by the world ( system ), the flesh ( our sins ) and the devil ( the little ‘g’ guy ). If we accept what He (Christ) has done as payment for our sins and believe on Him, we’ll be saved, redeemed, made right again..in relation to God ( big “G” ).

    One last scripture verse:
    Romans 10:9..
    If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    It’s that simple…and that hard. They’ll be no scale of good-works compared to bad things…simply our acceptance of the work of Jesus and our faith/belief in him. Ok 1 more..I’m sorry:
    Ephesians 2:8
    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

    I pray that God would grant all of you this gift. That you would come to a saving knowledge of the truth, that you would believe it, confess it and be saved.

    With respect and kind regards.
    Steve.

  • http://www.eyewitnesstools.com james

    Great post, People need to read this.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mcthfg Christopher Wing

    “How about this, you stop trying to suppress religous ideals through the courts and allow us to express our religous ideals????”

    Uh, no. Your religion says things that are demonstratively false. Why would you want your lies to permeate society? Aren’t you happy enough to lie to yourself, rather than involving me in your lies?

    Also, I’m pretty sure this is a country in which ALL religions are accepted. So – are you going to express ALL ideals, or just the ones you personally believe in?

    Oh wait – I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that…

  • Karl

    Steve, I’m Catholic and I think you’ve really missed the point of this post. You’re an excellent reason why those of us who enjoy engaging with these discussions are scared to even state a belief regarding God or religion. You assume, because of your politeness that angry repsonses are unreasonable and out of proportion. However, you are the single reason for the rise of “militant” atheism which obstructs valuable discussion between two (hopefully), reasonable parties. By weighing into a discussion which tells people not to state silly arguments for the existence of God, by in fact quoting convenient passages from the bible is not just stupid, but incredibly rude. In fact, those people who consider themselves theists, like myself, should join the fight against these people in order to prvent them from creating the implicit belief that all theists are both rude and ignorant. I think we have not done enough to deny these arguments…hmmm…I may have given myself an idea.

  • Gennifer Bone

    It’s funny that almost ALL the arguments I ever hear are about God, generally in the Christian sense. You rarely hear about the Eastern faiths, and practically nothing about Paganism or Shamanism.

    The argument that there is no God is completely valid, as is the argument for God.

    What I’ve found that people on BOTH sides get worked up over is the question of weather or not any sort of Faith Experience is valid.

    The problem that comes up is that EVERYBODY, no matter what they believe, regularly experiences things they cannot explain and\or understand. We have different ways to explain these, from the scientific to faith-based to the downright bizzare.

    My argument is one against certainty. Both sides generally work from the assumption that they KNOW the TRUTH. I am a Pagan woman, so I suppose I am guilty of some of this myself- it’s human nature. That said, it’s best to keep an open mind.

    There is NO certainty.

    From the side of Faith, it can be seen that there are many, many experiences that, despite differnt methods, explainations, or interpretations, can be considered nearly universal. This suggests a common element that runs though the Faith experience, one that has not been fully explained. It is a very limited and incorect view that there is only ONE way to explain these experiences.

    On the side on Science, the world of the rational is a varied one indeed. The very pupose of Science is discovery- scientists are out to discover the whys and reasons of our reality. The key here is discover. Nothing, NOTHING in Science is truly absolute. Even proven effects, such as Gravity, may have to be changed or discarded eventually. This would be a Discovery. If reality was absolute, then Science would be impossible. You can only Discover what is unknown to you.

    My point is that Certainty in belief is a very limiting thing. To claim hardline Athism means a complete rejection of that which brings their worldview into question, just as having hardline Faith.

    The only way to undertand the world we live in is to be open-minded. What you see, and what you don’t, are such a tiny part of what’s REALLY out there.

    “There is more to Heaven and Earth then is dreamt of in your philosphy.”

  • YonnyTheYanitor

    Nothing, NOTHING in Science is truly absolute. Even proven effects, such as Gravity, may have to be changed or discarded eventually. This would be a Discovery. If reality was absolute, then Science would be impossible. You can only Discover what is unknown to you

    The difference between the theory of gravity, and the theory of the existence of a deity is; one of those makes sense. Needless to say… it’s the theory of gravity. In order for something to be a sufficient theory, it needs support, or evidence. And, as you know, when you stand up, you do not float away. Your mass is pulled toward the center of the Earth. Something not similarly experienced by religious theories.

    Also, note… nearly everything in science is regarded as a theory, not absolution. Even laws are meant only to apply to the physical universe we know. Scientists know new things will always be discovered, and are always leaving room for those discoveries… And you should realize, science is regarded as the practice of discovery. So… basically… you said to a gym teacher, “All you do is teach Physical Education.” =/

    Also, I would like to note, the “You can’t disprove God, either, so you can’t say you’re right.” argument is not only a sad fall-back, but completely invalid… In Philosophy, one is not asked to prove a negative. If you can’t give me hard evidence of a deity, and I can’t give you hard evidence of the lack of a deity, then there is no deity. Period.

  • The Friendly Athiest

    To all religous people who believe that it is up to atheists to prove that god does not exist: Basic rhetoric dictates that the burden of proof is not on the dissenter. If you believe in god, you must prove that he exists. Not the other way around.


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