Atheists of America Agree: Christianity Makes Eminent Rational Sense!

As I’m sure my readers will agree, in my last post, There’s No Arguing It: We Can’t KNOW If There’s a God or Not, I conclusively proved that it is exactly as reasonable to think that there is a God as it is to think there’s not. Not one of the 50 or so people who commented on that post questioned the validity of that assertion. (I’m kidding. I actually think Atheists of America have taken out a hit on me.)

Now watch how easily — nay, how inevitably — one must move from the understanding that there’s at least a 50/50 chance of a God existing, to the conclusion that Christianity is the greatest religion in the history of people yearning for spiritual succor.

My blog posts are always too long, so I’m going to keep brief the logical steps from Probable God to Christ. Those steps are:

1. There’s a 50% chance that God is real (which has already been proven).

2. If there’s a God, then God created everything, including humans.

3. If God created humans, God must love humans, because who doesn’t love what they create?

4. God loving humans means God longs to express his love to humans, because it is the nature of love to express itself.

5. God is prohibited from in any direct or overt manner conveying to humans his love for them, because if he objectified himself in the way that would necessitate – if he just appeared to people, and told them that he loved them — then he would ruin their lives by obliterating their free will, by robbing of them their right to choose for themselves whether or not to believe in him. (For more about this particular dynamic, please see my, Why Doesn’t God Just Prove He Exists?) It is precisely God’s love for people (that is, for the qualilty that most wholly defines people, which is their free will) that stops God from proving to people that he loves them as much as he does.

6. People feel guilty all the time for the stupid, petty, selfish, greedy, ego-driven things they do. Feeling guilty is a necessary result of free will, since free will means that in life one is bound to make stupid, petty, selfish, greedy, ego-driven choices.

7. God hates it that people suffer from guilt. And he certainly understands that feeling guilty and feeling unlovable are intimately connected. He also hates it that people’s lives are defined by fear (which they must be, since no one knows what happens to them after they die).

8. God wanted a way to prove his love for people, relieve them of their guilt, and put to rest their fears about their ultimate fate.

9. Becoming the mortal known to history as Jesus Christ is how God accomplished all three of those things — and how he did it all without compromising anyone’s free will. He proved his love for people by becoming a human, taking into his body all the guilt all people ever had or would experience, and then slaughtered that guilt into oblivion. And he put to rest people’s fears about their ultimate fate by explicitly promising everlasting life to anyone who believed in him (which, remember, he had to make part of the deal in order to leave in tact people’s free will). God spent 2,000 years telling everyone he was going to come to earth to do exactly what he did; he did it; and then he went back from whence he’d come.

10. Before finally taking his bodily leave of us, God installed within every human the whole of himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit. All anyone has to do to awaken and access that Holy Spirit is believe that that’s possible, and ask for it. God never enters where he’s not first asked.

And thus, in 10 E-Z Steps, do we have positive, irrefutable prove that believing in the reality of the Christian story makes at least as much sense as not believing in it.

God—>creation—>humans—>love of humans—>respecting humans’ free will—>wanting to relieve humans’ guilt and fear—>Jesus—>Holy Spirit.

See, atheists? We’re at least as rational as you!

And I know you agree! Which is so great!!

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://www.brianslunch.com Brian Shields

    1. Who has a coin? Not one of those two-headed Buffalo Nickels either..

    2. Only if you define God as a creator.

    3. What about animals who eat their young?

    4. Why does something all-powerful need to long for anything? Can't he just make it happen?

    5. Explain "Saving Grace" then.

    6. Speak for yourself

    7. I thought God Hates Figs (dot com)

    8. He not only longs, he wants. How human of him.

    9. 2,000 years huh? What exactly happened in 2,000 BC to herald this?

    10. I tried to access HolySpirit.exe but the hard drive had crashed.

    You may be rational. I'm still going for Ordinal myself.

  • born4battle

    Then there is the substitutionaly atoment thing – makes grace even MORE awesome!

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    #5 – how would God making its love known rob us of free will? Even if I knew for a fact that God loves me, I would still have free will in whether or not to worship it, right?

    #8 – refutes your #5. If God proving its love robs us of free will (which doesn't logically follow, of course), then any form of God proving its love would rob us of free will. Please try to stay consistent.

    Oh, wait, I just got it. You're not really serious about this at all, are you. This whole post was to put on people like born4battle and Dan C, who will naturally jump right into agreement, and people like Morse, Brian Shields, and even me, who would jump right in to disagree. You're just a rabble-rouser, aren't you, John?

    Clever.

  • http://www.brianslunch.com Brian Shields

    Exactly my thoughts Rob… which is why I tried to make my disagreements somewhat tongue in cheek.

  • thegreeneknight

    What nonsense. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of a god; that's why they call it blind faith. And this god you speak of is nothing more than a human construct. Darwin was right, not Moses.

  • born4battle

    At least, unless God is a myth and we are just delusional ‘mythicists’ as some have pointed out.

    Your logic flows, except I am not sure just how ‘free will’ is/has been for us since the fall of man. If our nature is as corrupt as parts of the Bible says it is (Romans 3 and other places) and human will is in bondage to sin, God’s grace is only more ‘awesome’ because in some way He influences a fallen will that won’t chose Him on it’s own, to ‘willingly’ choose Him. Bit of a mystery there? Matrin Luther wrote about it in “The Bondage of the Will”.

    Great start, John!

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Marcy: my argument against #5 and #8 stands under your definition. God revealing itself to us so that we know it exists does not rob us of free will, because we would still have the free will to not worship it. Is it all about belief, or the worship? Because supposedly even the demons believe in God, right? So proving that it exists in no way would rob us of any free will.

    I know that I wouldn't worship the god of the Bible (you know, the one who in the OT was a jealous, murderous, scoundrel of a god). I have too strong a moral and ethical basis to worship something that horrific.

    In #3 you write "Of course if you were perfect, and perfectly capable, you’d never create anything imperfect, thus you would always love and treasure what you created." That refutes your idea that a perfect god created us humans.

    #10 Don't you understand that the argument you make here, that you have to trust god before you can believe in it, can be used to convince someone of any god?

    Oh, and Pascal's wager is a non-starter. It was a ridiculous argument when he proposed it, and it's even more ridiculous now that you guys still trot it out at every opportunity. John didn't even come close to showing that god's existence is a 50/50 proposition (which he knows, and why I think he wasn't writing this article seriously at all.) Plus, by Pascal's Wager, as someone pointed out in an earlier posting thread, your best strategy is to pick the god with the worst hell and pretend to believe in that one.

    Using PW is a sure sign of uncritical thinking.

  • jaredplane

    That was a really good post. It makes sense, and flows very nicely. I am a committed Christian, and Christianity to me is the only faith that truly makes sense. As far as I can tell, it also is the only one that possess a definite salvation plan. A lot of religions teach that merit will gain you salvation. This is a very blurry method, and makes people hope that they have done enough good to get in. I believe that if this were the case, then no-one would get into heaven. Your bad works would most certainly out way your good. Also, merit brings about all sorts of horrible things like self-righteousness, self-importance and boasting. The types of things that the Bible prohibits, and that inevitably pull people's hearts away from God. But what I particularly despise the most, is what the Catholic denomination has done to the Christian faith. They have twisted the words of God, and even made up their own, and stuck them into their own "Bible". They participate in strange, bizarre, and unnecessary rituals that are not Biblical. The priest in the confession box for instance, and the way they perform Communion, with the people partaking, and walking to the side of the priest, alternating every second person. Their church itself is ridiculous. The building is indeed very beautiful, but as I said earlier, it's craftiness and size give no glory to God, but rather glory to man. I can rant for a while, so I'll leave it there. A great post. I look forward to reading more.

    Thanks for posting this John.

    Talk to you soon,

    Jared

  • http://blindinglight.wordpress.com/ photoreceptor

    I have to admit that’s a pretty good articulation, IF you have experienced each of these steps. If Christianity were really that simple to articulate in a way that another person could understand it completely we’d probably have a lot more Christians in the world. I used to think that you simply needed to explain your beliefs logically and then any other person could see the logic in your statements and come to the same conclusion, like working out a mathematical proof. I now have a much deeper appreciation for everything that can get in the way of that.

    Admittedly, trying to prove its “at least as rational” is easier than trying to prove that it is the only logical conclusion. Though I’m surprised you didn’t add the obvious steps 11 and 12. 11 would be “Pascal’s Wager” paraphrased is:

    If there is a 50/50 chance that God does or does not exist then it is logical to believe in God because, if it is true the rewards are infinite, but if it is false the consequences are finite.

    Pascal was a famous scientist and major contributor (if not founder) to fluid dynamics as well as contributing to our method of formulating mathematical proofs (Pascal’s Triangle). If people’s decisions about God were really based on logic then I think the fact that the people who founded our modern system of logic were Christians should be a pretty big hint.

    The problem is that for each of your ten steps there’s something that people get snagged on. Occasionally it’s only a few, but more likely it’s all ten. Brian Shields gave his top ten list. I could probably think of my own. They all relate back to people’s personal experiences and views of God. If you are talking about ‘love’ and a person only understands romantic love then the image of God being attracted to someone seems silly. Pretty soon you end up with an image of Zeus transforming into a swan and it’s all downhill from there.

    At this point, this is my best understanding of the problem. I don’t really know of any great solutions. It seems that only a custom tailored act of God can actually identify and remedy each and every experience that gets in a person’s way. So it’s a miracle every time a non-believer becomes a believer. Maybe that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t know.

  • born4battle

    It's a miracle! There's a mindless delusional mythicist using a computer in my house! Oh wait. . . It might be a double miracle! Can a person be delusional and mindless at the same time? WOW!!! God must be real! I'm gonna run and tell everyone in the neighborhood!

    Good comment Jared. Throughout the centuries, men have misrepresented God (Protestants and Catholics). The largest 'church' in America (not Catholic) has a 'leader' who is making gazillions 'preaching' a 'gospel' that doesn't even have enough doctrine in it to call it heresy, according to some apologists.

    But this probably isn't about bashing 'religionists' of any flavor, but more aout what God did for mankind through Jesus Christ.(at least those who believe in Him – the rest are left in their rebellion).

    Sending Jesus to die in our place on the cross was the ultimate expression of His love for us. Those who believe in the One He sent have the right to be called true children of God (all are His creation but only those who believe are in His true children – the rest are still rebels). And while logic is there, the Holy Spirit has not been given to 'everyone' as you say in one of your points, but indwells only those who truly believe. Marcy got it right. I would only offer there that the Holy Spirit's work prior to Salvation is both outer (to convict the world of sin) and an inner working to convict an individual of his/her lostness without Christ. Here the history of all the great revivals of religion and turning to God have been accompanied with intense inner conviction of personal sin and lostness without Christ. Perhaps the principle 'outer working' is the preaching of the Gospel that, when heard' combines with inner 'heart awakening' produces the faith to believe. Even our faith is a gift from God.

    What IS in everyone at least until 'they choose not to retain it', is the knowledge of God. Maybe thats the point where 'atheists' declare their non-belief – I don't know. Regardless of when that is, at that point God gives them over to their own depravity and abandons them..

    The Gospel of John is replete with the emphasis on belief (from Jesus own lips) to be a true child of God, while human progression from the knowledge tof God to abandonment by God is in Romans.

    Conversion happens (becoming 'suddenly Christian' when a person realizes his/her hopeless condition, recognizes God's offer of salvation through Christ, and chooses to believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit is part of the conversion process in that He awakens (gives live) a spiritually dead person to the reality of Christ. The Father is the 'architect', the Son died in our place to make it possible (penal substitution) and the Holy Spirit awakens dead hearts so man can willingly choose.

    The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers came initially at Pentecost, after the resurrection and Jesus having been seen by over 500 persons, after His ascension, and is only available to believers, John.

    So, as one commenter said, I have 'jumped in' but not in total agreement with John. My comments are meant in no way to argue anything, or to demonstrate any sort of human wisdom, logic, or intellectual capability, but only to offer what seems to be clear from scripture (please note I said 'seems'). The intended audience for these comments are John, Marcy, Jared and the other professing believers (or true seekers) who have joined the discussion. Whether or not they are valid at all can be determined by personal, individual Bible study by the hearer. That's called the Berean principle. :)

  • pontiacdan45

    I wonder if moving beyond the argument about God it’s possible to admit that religion is the opiate of the masses. Is hell the absence of God?

    I know if I admire someone, I want to emulate them. Whether it’s John Shore or Christ isn’t really pertinent, but the fact remains I admire some people and their gifts and I want to be more like the qualities I see in them. When I was younger I practiced my batting swing for a reason, copying baseball players who hit for high average. It didn’t make me a great batter, but I was focused on being the best I could be. Seeing the little things really good batters practiced and trying to copy them made sense to me then.

    Presently, I have a difficult time believing I would want to follow the hypocrisy of being a Christian, coming to it afresh. The Christian bible consists of books that have been copied throughout the centuries. Are they the same as the originals? None of the original books survived.

    Christians preach love, but seem to be full of dislike and even hate, and their lifestyles seem strangely like non Christians. Sure there is good, kind and loving Christians and non Christians alike, but the world seems fixated on everyone getting their share and using their middle finger way too much.

    I am disappointed in today’s Christian and their attitude toward their faith. They seem subscribe in spiritual headhunting, believing that if the heathens of the world just knew how wrong they are, they would convert in a flash. Their arguments seem born of desperation to me. I concede that love is the answer. Loving each other and a tolerance for other views, seem appropriate some how. Loving God may be a step some won’t or can’t take.

    I believe Christians need to live their faith and show others over time that they are changed by being a follower of Christ. All other arguments may be folly if you are a believer.

  • Marcy Muser

    OK, Brian, let’s see if I can make a stab at answering your objections.

    1) Photoreceptor had what I consider a pretty good answer to this in “Pascal’s Wager.”

    2) It’s hard to conceive of a God who wasn’t the creator, unless you just want the story-gods of ancient Greece or India – and even they had a creator God. Can you come up with a definition of God, as established by John’s previous argument, that doesn’t include Creator?

    3) Animals who eat their young didn’t actually create them – they only bore them. Creation requires active, intelligent involvement. If you want to argue that we don’t always love what we create, you could perhaps attack from the angle of a person making a drawing or sculpture, who might be unhappy because their drawing or sculpture is imperfect. Of course if you were perfect, and perfectly capable, you’d never create anything imperfect, thus you would always love and treasure what you created.

    4) OK, so an all-powerful God wouldn’t have to long to express His love to us. But unless He is going to force us to accept His love, whether we like it or not, He will at least long for us to grasp the expression of His love, and for us to accept His demonstration of love, just as I long for my children to accept my expression of my love.

    5) I think perhaps John is missing something in his argument here. The argument is not that God would obliterate our free will by expressing His love to us, but rather that He would obliterate our free will by confronting us with Himself. You see, if we actually SAW, in all His glory and holiness, the God who could create the universe around us, we would HAVE to believe. But at that point, it wouldn’t be our free CHOICE to believe, and to respond to His love. Saving grace is the way God shows His love without forcing us to believe or respond; He allows us to make the choice.

    6) Are you saying you never make “stupid, petty, selfish, greedy, ego-driven choices”? Or are you suggesting that you’ve rationalized them to the point that you don’t feel guilty about doing them (perhaps because “everyone else does” or because “it’s only human”)?

    7) You know, I’ve never heard John say that, nor have I ever read it in the Bible. God loves all people. He hates the behavior – not the person who engages in it (for which I’m very thankful since I have also engaged in much behavior He hates – lying, gluttony, selfishness, greed, etc.).

    8) If you accept the biblical account, God created man “in His own image.” That means that our longing and wanting may well be a reflection of His longing and wanting. It is not human of God to long or to want; rather, it is “god-like” of us to do those things. As for Rob’s argument, if you’re willing to accept my rewording of John’s point #5, you’ll see that there’s no inherent contradiction. God won’t just appear to us and declare His love, because His very presence would force us to believe and accept it (even against our will); but He found a way to reveal His love to us without violating our free will – in Jesus.

    9) I presume John is dating approximately from Abraham when he goes back 2,000 before Christ. Certainly by then God was beginning to declare what He was going to do. In my opinion, though, you can go back to at least 3,500 BC to trace the beginning of the prophecy (maybe a lot longer ago than that if you don’t take the six days literally – and not all Christians do). The point being, God spent AT LEAST 2,000 telling people “He was going to come to earth to do exactly what He did,” in John’s words.

    10) OK, here I disagree with John’s statement. I don’t believe God puts the Holy Spirit in us until we trust Christ for salvation. That means, my friend, that you don’t have the Holy Spirit within you to access. If you come to the point of really being willing to know the truth, you will know it; and if you yield yourself to God, you too will have access to the Holy Spirit. Until then, the only work the Holy Spirit does in your life is conviction (see the book of John, chapter 14) – but He does that from the outside, not from within you.

    John, I appreciate the work you’ve done here. I hope and pray it will have an impact on at least some of your doubting readers.

  • Marcy Muser

    Brian – not sure how I ended up with a smiley in there. That was supposed to be point #8. :)

  • http://atheism.about.com Rev. Martini

    I was going to offer a rebuttal… then I realized this blog entry was a self-parody. Well done, sir!

  • Frank

    John,

    Your photo offers no such proof. It only shows you ARE shaven.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Frank: That's true! Too funny…

  • Pastor_Dave

    If I am going to make a mistake, I prefer to err on the side of beieving in God. If He is real, then I am prepared. If He is not real, I had a lot of good friends in this world!

  • Pastor_Dave

    (when are they going to put spell check on these blog text editors?)

  • Mona

    We cannot prove the mind exists either, but it makes eminent rational sense.

  • Jennifer

    I’m afraid I’m not convinced. Here are a few reasons why:

    First, I don’t think that there being two options (there is a God or there isn’t) means each option is equally likely.

    Second, it doesn’t logically follow that if there is a God he/she must have created everything. Unless you define God as the creator of all, in which case the point is redundant anyway.

    Third, there are plenty of examples of people who don’t love what they create. As horrible as it is, there are surely some children whose parents do not love them. I created a cake once and left out the baking powder – I did not love the result (and neither did anyone else!).

    Thanks for the article.

  • Marcy Muser

    Rob,

    It seems to me you are still thinking about God in very human terms. In the Old Testament, when God appeared to people, He was so unbelievably glorious that they had no choice but to fall at His feet and worship. If He appeared to us directly (other than as He did, in human form, through Jesus), that would be the end of our free will. Demons, like angels, are an entirely different life form than we are; they are spirits, and thus they have the ability to see God and still deny Him. Humans, on the other hand, are not physically capable of this.

    As to the atrocities of which you accuse God (I assume your primary reference here is to the invasion of Canaan by the Israelites), we must keep in mind the atrocities being committed by those who were judged by Him. These people were killing their babies in order to preserve their crops; they were insisting on having s-x with men who came to them as invited guests; they were engaging in rape and murder and human sacrifice and who knows what other horrific behaviors, and had been for centuries. And after being patient with them all that time (and judging from His track record, likely sending repeated warnings through prophets), God finally said, "That's enough." If you have other examples of God's "jealous, murderous" actions, I'd be interested to hear about them.

    No, the fact that God would never create anything imperfect does not refute the idea that a perfect God created us humans. In fact, our current imperfections are only the result of the fact that God created humans with free will, and Adam chose to disobey the only command he was given. Our imperfections are the direct result of our sin, which we were not created to commit. God created humans perfect, and He loves and treasures us even though we have sinned.

    If I communicated that you have to trust God before you can believe in Him, I apologize. Rather, you have to be WILLING to know and obey the truth before you can know it. In the case of the God of the Bible, that doesn't require putting aside logical or rational thought, as it would in the case of many (perhaps even most) other "gods." Jesus said (John 7:17, New Living Translation), "Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own." If you make the commitment to accept the truth and obey it if and when you are sure of it, you will in fact know the truth; as long as you are determined not to accept or obey it whether it's true or not, you will not believe it. I hope I'm being clear here.

    As for Pascal's Wager, I had never actually heard of it until I read it here; I'm inclined to agree with your assessment of it. I also agree that John's point #1 was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Clearly he's not going to prove God's existence to anyone who doesn't want to believe it. I don't agree that his post wasn't serious, though – it seems to me his point is: Assuming that God did exist, this is why Christianity is, at least to some degree, intellectually consistent. (I'm guessing you'll disagree with this last, but I still think that's what John's trying to say – and what I am, as well.)

  • born4battle

    Mona,

    Since we need a mind to think, and the brain is the seat of the mind, as far as science tells us anyway, would that be some sort of ‘proof’? I’m just asking as a mindless, delusional mythicist (pun intended).

    Pastor Dave,

    Since you bear the title of Pastor, is your use of ‘If’ merely a literary device for the purpose of conversation? I certainly hope so, or there are some folks in here who might eat you alive, you being a Pastor and all, which indicates you are in the ‘God’ business. They need to know.

    Also, I’ve visit some ‘church’ sites where I’m not sure ifthe lead ‘pastor’ worships the same God I do – you know – the one high and lifted up and whose train fills the temple – the one the mere for whom the mere glimpse of his shadow causes een holy men to tremble and declare themselves ‘unclean, unclean!” -you know, that one. After hearing some of them preach, er…tell their little stories instead or preaching expositorily, I sometimes wonder. Then there are the sites I’ve visited where almost EVERYONE on staff is a ‘pastor’.

    By the way, considering ‘if’ as a literary device, I agree with you about beliving in God. Consider the alternative in the afterlife. . . Ugh!

    pontiacdan,

    A couple of excellent observations in your post.

  • http://wordslessspoken.com/ Lyndon

    This is funny. Great way to generate blog traffic.

  • http://www.todayscoolnews.com Brian Shields

    Marcy…

    You totally didn't answer the What about "Saving Grace" thing in #5. If you had, you might have gotten that the whole thing was a PUT ON!!!

    Yes, I'm a model agnostic and don't "believe" in anything. But I was trying to respond to John's wit with some of my own (my wit is a poor light to John's professional wit) so make with it what you wit…

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com/blog Travis Morgan

    oh my goodness. The logic? of theses statements.I don’t even know where to start without having to write a book, I’ll just touch briefly on some, but not all as I don’t have the time.

    1. John Shore said, “There’s a 50% chance that God is real (which has already been proven).”

    The logic seems rather flawed don’t you think? That is like saying when you play the state lottery that you have a 50/50 chance of winning. Which most would say is unreasonably optimistic. Either you win or don’t? When the actual odds of winning can range from 18 million to 1 to 120 million to 1, or something around that. Anyways, you get the point.

    2. If there’s a God, then God created everything, including humans.

    Why must a “god” had to of create something, let alone everything? Is that a requirement to be a god, that god has to create stuff?

    6. “…Feeling guilty is a necessary result of free will…”

    7. “God hates it that people suffer from guilt.” and

    8. “God wanted a way to prove his love for people, relieve them of their guilt, and put to rest their fears about their ultimate fate.”

    Then why give people free-will in the first place? If free-will makes people ultimately responsible for their actions, and thus they are to blame and guilty when they do wrong. Which means they can in turn do some pretty bad things, are responsible for these things, and thus may have the potential to be judged and go to hell. This seems to hardly put their fears to rest.

    9. …he put to rest people’s fears about their ultimate fate by explicitly promising everlasting life to anyone who believed in him”

    Oh, that explains it, if one just believes in god, they can sin as much as they want, and they’ll still get everlasting life. Lovely.

    10. “Before finally taking his bodily leave of us, God installed within every human the whole of himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit. All anyone has to do to awaken and access that Holy Spirit is believe that that’s possible, and ask for it. God never enters where he’s not first asked.”

    God never enters where he’s not first asked? But you just said “Before finally taking his bodily leave of us, God installed within every human the whole of himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit,” so he’s already entered. therefore, this is contradictory.

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com/blog Travis Morgan

    if this was just all a joke, then I agree, the reasoning blows.

  • http://fibromyalgian.blogspot.com/ Calvin Bandini

    Sorry for coming to the party late:

    #1: There is no evidence for the existence of any kind of god. People love to say that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

    Which is crap.

    No evidence for god(s) = no god(s).

    Until electrons were witnessed with electron microscopes (aptly named), their existence was theorized, and the theory was a good one because it explained a lot of subatomic phenomena. And when electrons actually WERE seen, their existence was proven.

    The theory that there is some form of god is a bad one because a god is completely unnecessary when it comes to explaining phenomena. Natural laws have that covered. Provable ones.

    #2: If god exists, why must it have created everything? Maybe it just watched the Big Bang like we watch Fourth of July fireworks. It makes no sense to jump to the conclusion that god must have created everything, or even anything at all.

    #3: My argument against #2 notwithstanding, this weekend I created a pair of ski-skates by sawing and sanding cross-country skis. They suck and do not work.

    I do not love what I have created.

    Perhaps more relevant: Parents have children they often hate — whether it’s because they’re junkies, drunks, etc (kid or the child).

    #4: Again, my answer to #3 precludes this from being able to be true. From now on we’ll take it for granted that, for each new #, the argument agianst the previous # precludes it from being true. But I’ll disprove you # by # anyway.

    Notably, I learned in Logic 101 that a single false premise ruins an entire argument. Your argument loses its legs on #1 and is therefore false.

    God longs to express its love to humans. That would best be done by it showing up and creating a utopia for us.

    Waiting…

    #5: Since this is about the christian god: Uh, according to christian doctrine god did appear to humans. He was called Jesus.

    And if god came down and told me he loved me and humankind as a whole, I’d ask him how he explains all the atrocities he committed in the Torah, or Old Testament as christians call it. I wouldn’t love, let alone worship that monster.

    #6: “[F]ree will means that in life one is bound to make stupid, petty, selfish, greedy, ego-driven choices.”

    Why?

    Is it because doing so is human nature? And who created humans and their nature — god, correct?

    So we should feel guilty for the way god made us. Doesn’t seem to be a fitting tribute to our lord and creator. You are calling his creation imperfect, and only an imperfect being would create imperfect things, for why would an all-loving, etc god want wars, rapes, atrocities by the millions year-in year-out?

    He must, to have created humans in a way that they are bound to do such things, free will or not. He could at least have made us magnanimous and not devoted to their separate groups… The way monkeys and apes are.

    #7: “He also hates it that people’s lives are defined by fear (which they must be, since no one knows what happens to them after they die).”

    My life is not defined by fear, but a commitment to live this life to the fullest since it is the only life I will have. I accept human life for what it is — about 72 years long.

    As far as feeling guilty and unlovable… Someone has some unresolved issues. See a shrink, since confession doesn’t seem to be hacking it for you.

    It is your very belief in a god that makes you feel guilty and unlovable. I do not believe and my conscience is clear. No guilt, for I live a good life (and without fear of divine retribution, even!), and I am loved by friends and family.

    #8: “God wanted a way to prove his love for people, relieve them of their guilt, and put to rest their fears about their ultimate fate.”

    You purport to know how god thinks? Perhaps god does not think at all. Perhaps he doesn’t care one whit about/for humans. There is no way to know.

    #9: Jesus took “into his body all the guilt all people ever had or would experience, and then slaughtered that guilt into oblivion.”

    So god became Jesus… No, but let’s run with it: How, exactly, did he take “into his body all the guilt all people ever had or would experience, and then slaughtered that guilt into oblivion”?

    How did he get all the guilt inside him? Make that clear, please.

    And he slaughtered it by dying on the cross, I assume? So what did the tens of thousands of others who were crucified do through dying?

    And god was with the Jews in a very real way in the Torah or Old Testament. There without becoming a different entity.

    God made no promises to return (have you READ the OT?) because it is implied throughout that he never, ever leaves.

    #10: No. It is taught that the holy spirit enters christians when they are baptized. It is taught that the spirit entered Jesus HIMSELF when he was baptized. You don’t know much about christianity for someone who considers himself a christian.

    Also, the holy spirit supposedly entered ME when I was baptized. How can I now be an atheist, since I undoubtedly have the holy spirit within me?

    “And thus, in 10 E-Z Steps, do we have positive, irrefutable prove that believing in the reality of the Christian story makes at least as much sense as not believing in it.”

    No, you’re wrong from one to ten and it’s so very very obvious that you haven’t even a rudimentary understanding of logic and its application.

    God—>creation (why?)—>humans (why?)—>love of humans (why must he love humans?)—>respecting humans’ free will (by not being present… But then being present in the form of Jesus)—>wanting to relieve humans’ guilt and fear (what about those who don’t have it?)—>Jesus (nonsense here)—>Holy Spirit (much more nonsense).

    Tip: Before attempting a rational argument, take a course in logic.

    …An argument built on false premises, even one, is a false argument.

    As rational as atheists? It is itself illogical to assume that all or even most atheists are logical. One’s ability to be logical depends upon one’s ability to form rational arguments, to apply logic, and to recognize it.

    Most people cannot, cannot, and do not, atheist or not.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Marcy:

    You make my brain hurt. It's like straining my eyes really hard to read the small writing, then finding out that it's not writing, just some random marks and nonsense.

    Your whole first paragraph is just something you made up. Unless you can support that nonsense, I'm going to ignore it.

    The atrocities of your God are spelled out throughout the Bible. I hope I don't have to clarify that I don't believe these atrocities actually occured, because of course your god doesn't exist, but they are certainly not the actions of a being that deserves worship. You can disagree if you like, but that just tells me a lot more about your thought processes than I care to know.

    How can you be willing to know and obey something before you can know it? That's asinine, and I know I'll be accused of being mean but that's all it is. Try to imagine your reaction if someone were trying to convince you of their truth by using the same arguments that you use here. You might be patient with them at first, but pretty soon you'd realize just how immature they are being.

    Maybe if I didn't care about you at all I wouldn't worry, but I really hate seeing the potential in people wasted on such utter nonsense. For all I know, you might be someone worthwhile if not for your inability to reason properly.

    If this post of John's was serious in any way, then you won't have to worry about me being around any more. John, just say that this post was serious, and I'll shake the dust off my feet as I walk out the virtual door. I don't mind having discussions, and even arguments, about these matters, even if there are an abundance of dunder-heads. But if you actually meant that post to be serious, then I'll know that there simply isn't enough time in this only life we have to waste it on such hopelessly unreachable people.

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    There are so many wild assumptions in there that I didn't get past number 3. Please, please tell me that this was a joke. I'm actually offended at how stupid this post is.

    Christians: if you take this seriously, you've been taken for a ride. (I hope).

  • The Reformed Faith W

    Rob Miles said:

    "The atrocities of your God are spelled out throughout the Bible. I hope I don’t have to clarify that I don’t believe these atrocities actually occured…"

    Which "atrocities" in the Bible? Please cite chapter and verse. Because many things listed in the Bible have been backed up by archeological evidence. Do you mean Sodom (Bab edh-Dhra) and Gomorrah (Numeira)? These places were located south of the Dead Sea in a fault area. The area shows evidence of large deposits of bitumen, a petroleum-based (flammable) substance. Archeologists were able to discover these two places after geologist Frederick Clapp postulated the possibility that an earthquake in the area could have caused pressure to force the bitumen out (which then were set aflame by sparks during the earthquake) and the result may have been flaming balls of pitch raining down on the cities. The cemetery in the area shows that some of the material used to bury the dead was the rooftop material, which had burned, according to archeological evidence, by fires started on the roof.

    But if you don't believe that atrocity actually occurred, then no amount of hard evidence will convince you.

    While you are making your list of atrocities, you can also list all the atrocities that were committed that were in the name of atheism, or for land, or just for the sake of war. Come to think of it, men wage most of the war, so maybe you can list all the atrocities that were committed simply because of an overabundance of testosterone.

    "How can you be willing to know and obey something before you can know it?"

    And yet you are willing to "obey" the tenants of an atheistic philosophy when (statistically speaking) you cannot be sure there is no God.

    "…then I’ll know that there simply isn’t enough time in this only life we have to waste it on such hopelessly unreachable people."

    So, you are trying to reach these "hopelessly unreachable people" with exactly what message? That atheism is the way, the truth, and the life? That all who travel that road have met all the criteria for being happy, logical human beings? That any other belief, philosophy or opinion is just utter nonsense rooted in falsehood?

    Unless you can categorically prove there is no God (which you cannot… unless you are all seeing and know all knowledge there is to know…) then isn't your philosophy just a matter of faith as well?

    Richard Dawkins has claimed that all the "onus" is on Christians to prove that God exists and until we can do that we should just shut up. But the "onus" doesn't lie with Christians only – but also with atheists. If it is proof you want from us, then you also must prove your assertion that there is no God… and do it with hard evidence.

  • born4battle

    Reformed Faith,

    I just visited the Reformed Faith Weblog and added a bookmark to the list of Reformed sites I frequently visit and I will definitely browse around in there today.

    Very well articulated comments and with a justifiably 'in your face tone' although rather kind compared to some of Jesus' comments to religious leaders steeped in unbelief and "not of His sheep". Perhaps there is a 'sheep' among the 'scoffers' in here whom God is drawing to Himself and who will end up a champion for the faith! That's my prayer.

    Nice to meet you!

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    Unless you can categorically prove there is no God (which you cannot… unless you are all seeing and know all knowledge there is to know…) then isn’t your philosophy just a matter of faith as well?

    Richard Dawkins has claimed that all the “onus” is on Christians to prove that God exists and until we can do that we should just shut up. But the “onus” doesn’t lie with Christians only – but also with atheists. If it is proof you want from us, then you also must prove your assertion that there is no God… and do it with hard evidence.

    Whoops, logical fallacy. A big one.

    The burden of proof is always on the one making the claim that something exists. If it wasn't, we would be forced to believe in every proposed entity that hadn't been absolutely disproven – in other words, we would have to believe in leprechauns on pluto and giant worms living in the core of the moon; after all, we haven't disproven them, have we? They could still exist!

    I'm now proposing that these moon-worms exist, and that their biology lets them live in conditions that we would normally consider inhospitable to life. By the reasoning you've displayed above, you should believe in them unless you can disprove them. Can you?

    As for God's barbarity, do you believe that God ordered towns and cities destroyed, or ordered a man to sacrifice his son? (And subsequently stopped said man from doing it at the last moment)?

  • born4battle

    "The burden of proof is always on the one making the claim that something exists."

    Do you have a hard source for that one, other than another pseudo-intellectual atheist? Just asking. The point made was that athiests have an obligation to prove something along with the 'mythicists' like myself, since we believe God exists. The argument was NOT a fallacy since the obligation to provide proof was to prove the 'assertion' that God does not exist. The 'assertion' is something that DOES 'exist' and therefor you are obligated to prove it, in your own words. Let's hear it.

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    Can you prove that moon worms don't exist?

    Do you believe in them?

  • merkur

    "If it is proof you want from us, then you also must prove your assertion that there is no God… and do it with hard evidence."

    I can't prove that your god doesn't exist; nor can I prove that the Muslim god, the Norse gods, the Greek gods or any other gods don't exist. However I can state that the probability of your particular god existing is vanishingly small – which is far as I would be prepared to go – and this is the basis for my lack of belief in your god.

    As a result, I am not making an assertion about anything; I am merely observing the world. You are the one who is arguing that something exists that I have not so far observed; in effect you are asking me to reconsider the probability that your particular god exists. In order for anybody to reconsider such a probability, however, they would need some additional evidence that could weigh on either side. Hence the burden of proof is very clearly on your side, surely?

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Reformed: thank you for pointing out a mis-statement on my part. When I wrote that I didn't believe the atrocities had occurred, I meant that I don't believe your god caused or ordered them, because your god doesn't exist.

    My point is that you, because you believe your god exists, have to accept that you worship something that would order the killing of all living things, including women and children, and even rip the unborn from their mothers womb. This mythological creature, according to your holy book, killed and maimed with impunity, and you worship it.

    That is just so pathetically sad. How much do you hate humanity that you can justify your god killing people whenever it sees fit? According to your Bible, your god ordered the destruction of a whole people because of what their ancestors (supposedly) did 400 years earlier. Read 1 Samuel 15 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=15&version=31)

    I don't "hate" your god because of this, because (again) I don't hate what doesn't exist. I hate that so many of you enablers shrug it off, saying "well, they must have been bad because my god wouldn't have done it if they weren't bad, so they had to deserve it." You BELIEVE this nonsense, and still worship it. It boggles the mind.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    My link didn't work right, so just read 1 Samuel 15. You do have a Bible, right? If not, go to biblegateway.com and drill down to it.

  • born4battle

    "Cosmological" argument (above).

    Also presented in the series of articles are arguments based on design in nature (the teleological argument) and the anthropological, or moral, argument

    I am not arguing or presenting 'my' case. I've actually been researching both sides and looking for objective, well articulated thought on the matter.

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    born4battle:

    That's nice, but you still haven't answered my worm question.

    (and the arguments you cited have all been refuted in detail elsewhere).

  • Angela

    #7b: "He also hates it that people’s lives are defined by fear (which they must be, since no one knows what happens to them after they die)."

    Were I an atheist – if I really and truly believed that there is no god, that life on earth is all there is – then I would have to believe that when I die, nothing happens but the continued deterioration of my body. No fear.

    (I'm not actually an atheist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.)

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    I wasn't going to comment further, but then I noticed this…

    The central message of the Cosmological Argument, and the law of cause and effect upon which it is based, is this: Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. The Universe is here; intelligent life is here; morality is here; love is here. What is their adequate antecedent cause? Since the effect never can precede, or be greater than the cause, it stands to reason that the Cause of life must be a living Intelligence that Itself is both moral and loving. When the Bible records, “In the beginning, God…,” it makes known to us just such a First Cause.”

    I'm sorry, but that's complete BS. There's no proper line of reason here; the author essentially just states that 'the Universe is here and life is here, therefore God did it' (I'm not even going to adress the morality or 'love' aspects, since the existence of those say nothing at all about how the Universe might have come about; this is a painfully obvious attempt at justifying why this argument suggests a Christian God rather than a Deistic one).

    Most people falsely assume that the Big Bang describes matter exploding out of nothingness, when it doesn't; it describes an event in which the Universe suddenly began to expand rapidly, and before which it was in an infinitely dense, infinitely hot state. The mass-energy of the Universe has presumably always existed, just in a different state to what it is now.

    The Cosmological argument ignores the fact that matter-energy can be neither created nor destroyed, and thus could be eternal. The Big Bang created space-time, so it may not make any sense to talk of there even bring a 'before' the Big Bang, since time presumably didn't exist before our Universe began its rapid expansion.

    Big Bang cosmology does not describe a situation where you have 'nothingness' for a long time, and then the Universe just popping into existence all of a sudden.

    Where is there a need for God in this scenario? We have matter-energy that can't be destroyed and never needed to be created, and an inflationary event before which time almost certainly didn't exist. We don't know what actually caused the Big Bang, but tossing 'God' in there for no reason would be too hasty, to say the least.

  • born4battle

    From the article:

    "The central message of the Cosmological Argument, and the law of cause and effect upon which it is based, is this: Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. The Universe is here; intelligent life is here; morality is here; love is here. What is their adequate antecedent cause? Since the effect never can precede, or be greater than the cause, it stands to reason that the Cause of life must be a living Intelligence that Itself is both moral and loving. When the Bible records, “In the beginning, God…,” it makes known to us just such a First Cause.”

    “The most comfortable position for the person who does not believe in God is the idea that the Universe is eternal, because it avoids the problem of a beginning or ending, and thus the need for any “first cause” such as God. In fact, it was to avoid just such a problem that evolutionists Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi, and Fred Hoyle developed the Steady State Theory. Information had come to light that indicated the Universe was expanding. These scientists suggested that at points in space called “irtrons” hydrogen was coming into existence from nothing. As hydrogen atoms arrived, they had to “go” somewhere, and as they did, they displaced matter already in existence, causing the Universe to expand. Dr. Hoyle suggested that the atoms of gaseous hydrogen gradually condensed into clouds of virgin matter, that within these clouds new stars and galaxies formed, etc.

    The author's argument is "First Cause" and he seems to have correctly described the 'Steady State Theory', which he also stated has been relegated to the 'dust bin of history' – Something about the 1st and 2nd LAWS of thermodynamics (emphasis mine).

    I didn't see anywhere in the article series (I have the entire series) where he incorrectly described the 'Big Bang Theory' as you so glibly attribute to 'most people'. I know I never said that, so that bit of your comment is totally irrelevant to the debate. Furthermore, your calling the author's material 'BS' is arrogant, uncalled for, and totally out of lilne for intelligent debate.

    You must have missed my short post that mentioned the other points in that author's articles. I'm actually interested in knowing what minds much better than mine (I am not a scientist) are saying about the existance of God. You sir, appear to be arguing from a absolute certainty that there is no other valid opinion than yours – the rest are BS. Whatever, but your dogmatic assertion does obligate you to at least try and prove your point.

    "When something is stated as fact, or as a reasonable position, at that point it is entered into the realm of debate. Assertion incurs a burden of proof"

    I have a strong sense (I am not asserting here) that you are not interested in honest debate.

    But I must say, you 'rant' well.

  • born4battle

    "(and the arguments you cited have all been refuted in detail elsewhere)."

    If you refer to the citations by the author concerning Cosmological Evidence and what constutes valid 'proof', the above statement is hogwash. And I am not going to answer your worm question. Rant on.

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    The author mentions the solid state theory, but more modern versions generally address the Big Bang and, as I said, when most people talk about it they misunderstand it completely.

    .

    You must have missed my short post that mentioned the other points in that author’s articles. I’m actually interested in knowing what minds much better than mine (I am not a scientist) are saying about the existance of God. You sir, appear to be arguing from a absolute certainty that there is no other valid opinion than yours – the rest are BS. Whatever, but your dogmatic assertion does obligate you to at least try and prove your point.

    I never said anything like that – I said that I think this particularly author is talking a load of crap (since you took such offence to 'BS'). When people start using the 'existence of love and morality' to prove that their particular God exists (rather than just a generic all-powerful creator') it's obvious that they're letting their religious beliefs get in the way of their reason.

    The Cosmological Argument, the teological argument(s), the tired old First Cause arguments – all of them have been refuted before. If you're looking for both sides of the story, it will be very easy to find what others have already written on all of these.

    Although, since you refuse to answer the simple 'worm' question, I'm guessing that's not what you're actually interested in.

  • Laura

    John, I don't think you really need to work on writing shorter posts when the majority of the comments here are longer than what you originally wrote!

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    born4battle:

    "Why, in the interest of honest debate, is one side of the debate obligated to prove their case while the other side can sit smugly on the sidelines and prove nothing?"

    Simple. Burden of proof.

    If I tell you there's a giant purple dinosaur that talks to me, it's my job to prove that to you. You don't have to prove that the dinosaur doesn't exist.

    The same works with god.

  • born4battle

    I found this:

    The real question here is what is burden of proof and why does one statement incur it and the other does not?

    Burden of proof, lest we forget, is a legal concept. The Corpus Juris states “Semper necessitas probandi incumbit qui agit.” Thus Englished, as Locke would say, the claimant is always bound to prove: the burden of proof lies with him.

    You make a claim, you assume burden of proof. No claim, no burden of proof. I can think that bad luck lurks in the shadows, and that thought in itself doesn’t incur burden of proof.

    But when I assert – i.e., make a claim – that bad luck exists, then I’ve incurred burden of proof.

    God exists – that's a 'claim'

    God does not esixt – that's a 'claim'

    The persons making those statements/assertions are 'claimants' and both have incurred a level of burden of proof.

    If I say God exists and you assert nothing, I have all the burden. If you pur forth a counter assertion, we share.

  • lifelessonsfromwriti

    As Morse said, rejecting a claim of existence doesn't constitute making a claim yourself. I've only ever met a single atheist who was comfortable with actually saying 'I know that God doesn't exist'. Every other atheist on that particular forum disagreed with him.

  • http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com Daniel Downs

    Those who seek to prove God's existence by logical or illogical argument feel a great burden of possibility but without proof. I think Confusious said that but I wouldn't swear to it. Proving God's existence is like proving the existence of the single organism from whence we all evolve; many believe in it but cannot prove it. Being an evangelical, I might like to invite atheists to know my God's existence, but God must cooperate in revealing Himself. It is comparable to introducing a friend to another. The friend must show up and maybe say high or boo or something.

    Another proof is the example of changed lives based on the experience and testimony of people with various problems all solved–if you will–by an act of God. For example, an drug addict who upon hearing a preacher is instantaneously made sober to make a rationale decision about the message of the gospel, the result being the addict remained free from the addiction. I heard a number of years ago such a man claim such an experience. If such is repeated (repeatable), would it not count for empirical evidence for God's intervening existence? Isn't that the love John was speaking of?

  • born4battle

    Gentlemen,

    Why, in the interest of honest debate, is one side of the debate obligated to prove their case while the other side can sit smugly on the sidelines and prove nothing? In all intellectual fairness, that is absurd. Where, in the history of higher education has there ever been a debate conducted in such a manner?

    Having said that, let us return to this debate. Consider the following, borrowed from a third part source, concernng the subject of the nature of ‘proof’ and how it might pertain to the matter at hand. I do not offer it as a personal positional statement, but as an intelligent example of ‘examining the evidence’.

    “The statement, “God exists,” is a precisely stated proposition. Thus, it is either true or false. The simple fact is, either God exists or He does not. There is no middle ground. One cannot affirm logically both the existence and nonexistence of God. The atheist boldly states that God does not exist; the theist affirms just as boldly that God does exist; the agnostic laments that there is not enough evidence to make a decision on the matter; and the skeptic doubts that God’s existence can be proven with certainty. Who is correct? Does God exist or not?

    The only way to answer this question, of course, is to seek out and examine the evidence. It certainly is reasonable to suggest that if there is a God, He would make available to us evidence adequate to the task of proving His existence. But does such evidence exist? And if it does, what is the nature of that evidence?

    The theist advocates the view that evidence is available to prove conclusively that God does exist, and that this evidence is adequate to establish beyond reasonable doubt the existence of God. However, when we employ the word “prove,” we do not mean that God’s existence can be demonstrated scientifically in the same fashion that one might prove that a sack of potatoes weighs ten pounds, or that a human heart has four distinct chambers within it. Such matters as the weight of a sack of vegetables, or the divisions within a muscle, are matters that may be verified empirically using the five senses. And while empirical evidence often is quite useful in establishing the validity of a case, it is not the sole means of arriving at proof. For example, legal authorities recognize the validity of a prima facie case, which is acknowledged to exist when adequate evidence is available to establish the presumption of a fact that, unless such fact can be refuted, legally stands proven (see Jackson, 1974, p. 13). It is the contention of the theist that there is a vast body of evidence that makes an impregnable prima facie case for the existence of God—a case that simply cannot be refuted. I would like to present here the prima facie case for the existence of God, and a portion of the evidence upon which that case is based.

    The central message of the Cosmological Argument, and the law of cause and effect upon which it is based, is this: Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. The Universe is here; intelligent life is here; morality is here; love is here. What is their adequate antecedent cause? Since the effect never can precede, or be greater than the cause, it stands to reason that the Cause of life must be a living Intelligence that Itself is both moral and loving. When the Bible records, “In the beginning, God…,” it makes known to us just such a First Cause.”

    In the interest of fair debate, the author also discussed attempts to prove that an we did not need to have God, or an intelligent being as the ‘first cause’ ofthe universe.

    “The most comfortable position for the person who does not believe in God is the idea that the Universe is eternal, because it avoids the problem of a beginning or ending, and thus the need for any “first cause” such as God. In fact, it was to avoid just such a problem that evolutionists Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi, and Fred Hoyle developed the Steady State Theory. Information had come to light that indicated the Universe was expanding. These scientists suggested that at points in space called “irtrons” hydrogen was coming into existence from nothing. As hydrogen atoms arrived, they had to “go” somewhere, and as they did, they displaced matter already in existence, causing the Universe to expand. Dr. Hoyle suggested that the atoms of gaseous hydrogen gradually condensed into clouds of virgin matter, that within these clouds new stars and galaxies formed, etc.

    However, the Steady State Theory was doomed to failure, in part, because it violated one of the most fundamental laws of science—the first law of thermodynamics (also referred to as the law of the conservation of matter and/or energy), which states that neither matter nor energy may be created or destroyed in nature. Astronomer Robert Jastrow observed:

    But the creation of matter out of nothing would violate a cherished concept in science—the principle of the conservation of matter and energy—which states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever. It is difficult to accept a theory that violates such a firmly established scientific fact (1977, p. 32).

    The Steady State Theory eventually was relegated to the relic heaps of history.”

    There is much more to the article cited and a very good case of their possibly being more ‘evidence’ for, rather than against the existance of God, at least in the comsmological argument.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Morse: a grain of salt, a wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

  • http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com Daniel Downs

    Rob: your argument doesn't follow from the evidence but from the myth of your preferred belief.

    I didn't say they could or did turn their life around. I said an addict said his life was turned around by an act of God. While high on both drugs and boose, he was made instantaneously sober and remained that way. Such is not humanly possible unless their is a God. He said it was his reality. He obviously still believed it was God because of Jesus or i never would have heard his talk about it.

    All addicts would not have to be included in order to determine the validity of the evidence that addicts lives were changed as a cause-effect act of God, but a representative sample would. Because some people overcome their addiction by self-imposed withdraw or medical treatment would not negate others having overcome as a result of an act of God. It might just mean God revealed his existence to that man who needed and wanted to end his addiction in way to prove his existence and power.

  • Cliverty

    The Christian says of mankind — we are in a burning building – we must flee the flames by leaping out the window into the net of the firemen below.

    The Atheist responds — there is no fireman, there are no nets — there is no window.

    The two views agree on only one thing — we are in a burning building.

    The two views can not agree on much else with out one or the other side changinig world-views.

    Bob

  • born4battle

    I think the gentleman earlier today was just saying the same thing. It’s about assertions requiring some burden of proof, whether it’s about God, purple dinos or moon worms.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Agreed. Which is why I don’t make the claim the god doesn’t exist. Never have. And very few atheists do.

    We just look at your claim and say we don’t believe it. No claim made on our part.

  • breezy

    even worse, the non-believer tells the believer, "You're delusional, so it's you're burden to prove the firemen, net and window really exist"…

    …the believer knows that ultimately (in the end, if you will) one of two things will happen. Either the non-believer will grasp at the possibility (faith) and leap out (hope) of the smoked filled building (even though he still can't 'see' his rescuer) or he'll remain in the building and perish…

    if the non-believers read as much of the bible as they claim to, they would never argue against the existence of God because in doing so they unknowingly fulfill all the prophesies of non-believers, further strengthening the faith of those who believe.

    They cannot help themselves though, they have no free will in the matter. In rejecting God they hand their free will over to Satan to be used by him.

    Just like a drug addict a non-believer cannot stop himself. He begins simply enough with the "I just don't see enough evidence to believe in a god" and progresses to copy and paste rebuttal, then endless litanies of other non-believers rhetoric, then insults and berating.

    Ask him if he is able to stop thinking about the non-existence of god for even one day….of course there's no way to verify that he is able to even if he swears he is. He is not though, because he has given himself over to the deceiver of this world.

    Satan covets the non-believer because he know that if someone does not believe in God then by default they don't believe in him, so he's free to use them without them even realizing it. He is the god of this world, he uses your intelligence, your education, your sarcasm, and your unbelief to keep you from ever knowing the truth and dragging as many as you can into his service. The non-believer is his slave and doesn't even know it.

    Satan is so happy that the non-believer think he and God are myths

  • born4battle

    If I say I believ in god and I am termed a mythicist is not the ‘accuser’ calling god a myth and therfore denying his existance? same with using the adjective delusional for a personal who believes in god. One does not have to say the exact the exact words to imply them to the point of assertion.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Your religion resembles all other religions in their mythical elements, therefore it is a myth until proven otherwise, and followers of that myth are mythicists. If you can prove your god’s existence, perhaps I could be persuaded to change my mind. Until then, though, I maintain the charge.

    I will make this positive assertion: your god is no more likely to exist than any other proposed god. I don’t believe in your god, just as you don’t believe in all other gods but yours. If you want me to prove that your god doesn’t exist, then you must first prove that all the other gods that you don’t believe in don’t exist. (While you’re at it, prove that an invisible, undetectable elf isn’t peeing on your forehead at this moment.)

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Daniel Downs: a drug addict heard a preacher and became sober, and remained sober? From this evidence, the only conclusion you could draw is that the preacher himself is responsible, not some god.

    Besides, are you proposing that only those addicts who hear some preacher can turn their lives around? Wouldn’t you need to take into account 1) all the addicts who turned their lives around without resorting to some myth and 2) all the addicts who believe in some god but still can’t shake their addiction? Why give god credit (by supposing its existence) for the positive results but not give it debit for the negative results? Special pleading?

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    “If such is repeated (repeatable), would it not count for empirical evidence for God’s intervening existence?”

    Of course. As long as it is confirmable and repeatable, healing miracles and the like would certainly be considered evidence.

    There’s plenty of testimony. And that’s fine, but it always has to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • flowology

    Hi John, I'm not writing to debate the story of Christianity here, but more the need for a single religion. I do believe that there was an amazing man called Jesus, who was directly inspired by God. I do believe that humans make mistakes. But is it necessary to follow Christianity and only Christianity to be redeemed? I also believe in karma (or, as in the Bible, that we'll reap what we sow). The only thing I don't like about religion is the way each one makes out it is the ONLY path to truth. That attitude has done a lot of damage. Do you also believe this? I think that being open to God means listening, and what you hear does not necessarily have to subscribe to any single religion.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Daniel D. – so, an addict, admittedly high at the time, reports having some unverifiable experience. Wow, I'm convinced. (No, really.) Your hyperbole is pretty miraculous, though.

    You still haven't answered why your god should get credit for curing one addict but not be blamed for not curing another addict. If this is an experiment that can be repeatedly confirmed, then you'd have a point. However, if there is a seemingly random outcome, i.e. some addicts pray and are cured but some addicts pray and are not cured, then you'd have to explain the negative results before you could show causation.

    And I'm sorry, but "god works in mysterious ways" or "god has his reasons for curing some but not all addicts" isn't going to cut it. Your god's results too often resemble random outcomes we would expect if there is no god.

    Cliverty: as an atheist, I don't agree that the building is burning. I think that's your delusion. There are a lot of windows, but we can't see the ground from where we are. You claim there are firemen below your window, but you can't prove it any more than the others who claim that your firemen are false, but they have the real firemen out of their windows. And they can't prove theirs either.

    Now you're telling me that the building is on fire (and incidentally, your firemen started the conflagration in the first place if we are to believe your firemen myth), and that we should ignore the means at our disposal to put out the fire ourselves, and just give up and jump out the window. Well, you go ahead. There might be some smoke, and some hot spots in the building, but so far I haven't seen a fire and I only have your word for it that the fire is as bad as you say.

    Leave. There's the window, go already, and leave those of us with some backbone alone so that we can take care of the problem that's there. Say hello to the sidewalk as you hurtle through it. The building will survive a lot better without your ilk mucking things up anyway.

  • Cliverty

    1. God is “obviously” the inventor/designer/architect of “living machines” and mankind has nothing near that technology today — not even to “create” a mere single celled organism.

    2. According to Jews and Christians “God revealed Himself every day in literal form” in the Garden of Eden – in man’s initial perfect Eden home. As Genesis shows – this did NOT obliterate mankind’s free will because it was from WITHIN that garden home that Adam and Eve chose rebellion.

    3. The WORST possible outcome for the atheist world-view is to admit to the obvious point #1 above. Even “Junk science” would be preferred with “hoax after hoax” clung to in a desperate effort to find an alternative to point 1.

    4. “What can not be proven” to an Atheist based on reason alone – is that Christianity’s view of God is the perfect/correct view of God. But the fact of #1 is undeniable for rational thinking objective minds.

    Bob

  • born4battle

    ""If you want me to prove that your god doesn’t exist, then you must first prove that all the other gods that you don’t believe in don’t exist. (While you’re at it, prove that an invisible, undetectable elf isn’t peeing on your forehead at this moment."

    I am not asking you to actually prove anything. That was asked and not answered some time ago – asked, or point made, by more than one 'mindless delusional mythicist' (maybe I should use MDM – less typing). I keep referring that little combination of words used to describe believers in God by non-believers in this blog, and a few others preceding this one. I keep using it because it reminds me of the attitude of some toward believers – 'insults and berating', as mentioned by a previous commenter and reflected in the parenthetical conclusion to the initial quote posted here.

    I would like to address the very sincere question posed by 'flowology':

    ". . . is it necessary to follow Christianity and only Christianity to be redeemed?"

    If I am a sincere follower of Christ, than I must answer that it is because Jesus made that claim – that no one can approach the Father except through Him. If I do not answer 'yes' I am not being true to my faith, am I? I am not saying anyone is right or wrong, just posing a question that addresses the Christian faith and the nature of religion.

    I could also answer yes because of the nature of redemption itself. To 'redeem' is to buy back, to purchase something that was once owned, lost and had to be 'bought' back. Christianity is the only religion that 'redeems' anyone – at least I have not discovered another religion that does. I've researched many and tried some other religions. Outside of Christianity, all religfions seem to be 'works' based. To eventually arrive at the 'end state' (heaven, paradise, whatever) human effort is involved in getting there.

    Christianity, on the other hand teaches that God originally created 'perfect' humans with totally 'free will' but they disobeyed the one command given them. The result was that 'sin' entered the environment created for humans and tainted even their very souls to the extent that every human since their fall has been born unable to please God by human effort. If peace between God and man were ever to be achieved something had to be done about sin. Mankind was in a hole and unable to 'dig' his way out.

    Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sin of mankind (the death sentence) and literally 'purchased' men for God from 'every tribe and nation'. No other religion offers that. Those who 'profess' Christ do so because they have either because it's the 'best deal' for the religiously inclined (the free gift of God) or because they actually believe it. Those that actually believe it do so because God first opened blind eyes and deaf ears – brought life to the spiritually dead.

    That, is the difference between 'religions' – a 'redeemer'. The one who died, was buried then raised from the dead and even seen by too many witnesses for it not to be true.

    Thank you so much for the question!

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Breezy and Cliverty,

    "The two views agree on only one thing — we are in a burning building."

    Incorrect. The atheists say the building is fine. But they consistently see many Christians, Muslims, Jews, other religious people and even some new age and secular people trying to start fires.

    The atheist says, if you people stop playing with matches then it's not going to matter if there are firemen or not.

    "if the non-believers read as much of the bible as they claim to, they would never argue against the existence of God because in doing so they unknowingly fulfill all the prophesies of non-believers, further strengthening the faith of those who believe."

    Sorry, but I've read all of the bible. More than once. And the only conclusion I've come to is that most people who have said they have really didn't.

    I don't care that your book says people won't believe. I bet you I could write a book today about my own pantheon of gods that says there will be unbelievers who think it isn't true, and in a thousand years time that will be true. So? It proves nothing.

    It's a little ridiculous. If a psychic tells you "People are going to say I don't have powers!", and he's right, does that mean he has powers? Or that he just realistically understands that not everyone is going to buy into his silly stories.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    born4battle: "I am not asking you to actually prove anything." Good, I'm glad we got that nonsense of proving a negative out of the way. Still, you have the onus to prove your god, if you want atheists to take it seriously.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Rob,

    The negative would be that God doesn't exist, I suppose. Since I don't expect you to take belief in God (upper case 'G' – thats 'my' God and many others' too), professing unbelief as you do, I'll turn down the 'onus' if you please. He has proven Himself to all mankind already and doesn't need my help, now or later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

    Have a great and successful Monday!

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "He has proven Himself to all mankind already"

    Specifically to cause more controversy…don't you find it strange that the perfect time your god thought to reveal himself was in the middle of a desert amongst mostly illiterate people with no form of mass communication?

    How fair is that to the Australians?

  • Dan Cartwright

    Morse,

    Do you actually know most people? Just curious about your conclusion, which is a positive assertion and, as we know, just might require the one making the assertion to incur some sort of 'burden of proof'. I'm not asking you to prove anything, mind you, just alerting you to the possibility that someone else just might.

    Actually, while not coming to a conclusion or anything myself (thus not incurring a burden of proof), it's been said (by observers and reports of such statistics) that many professing Christians are Biblically illiterate and that fact is due to NOT reading it for themselves but relying on others to read it for them and help them feel better about themselves. The whole of scripture (OT through NT) is not really important, but whatever will help them have their 'best life now' or help them fulfill God's 'special purpose' for them is the focus. The God-centeredness of historic Christianity has been supplanted by a watered-down man-centered variety.

    Have a great and successful Monday!

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Dan,

    Sure I'll make a positive assertion. And guess what, I'll stand by it. And if I happen to be wrong, I'll admit that.

    I like it when that happens. Means I'm learning.

  • Dan Cartwright

    But do you know most people? Now that is a feat of tremendous porportions! Where do you live, by the way? I'm in the Colorado Springs area.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Most people? No.

    I said I'd be willing to bet. That doesn't mean I'm right. It means I look at the people I've met, and there are very few Christians that I know personally and spoken to online that have read their own holy book.

    So, I'd be willing to bet that that trend continues to the general population.

    Again, I could be wrong. But I'd be willing to bet a sawbuck on it.

  • Dan Cartwright

    "Specifically to cause more controversy…don’t you find it strange that the perfect time your god thought to reveal himself was in the middle of a desert amongst mostly illiterate people with no form of mass communication?"

    Actually, I was referring to passages in both the Old and New Testaments that speak of God manifesting himself in creation itself, which is evident to all, even the Australians. The whole conversation around the intelligent design debate. Everything in nature is just too complex for there not to have been some sort of intelligence behind it all.:)

  • Dan Cartwright

    Some scientists – some. Granted, there are many. However, the list of scientists who dissent from Darwin's theory seems to be growing. While the published list focuses on the statement that there is too much complexity in nature for Darwin's theory to be the 'fact of the matter' en toto, here is somethint to think about:

    "In 1996 and again in 1998, Pulitzer Prize winner Professor Edward Larson of the University of Georgia and Washington Times reporter Larry Witham teamed up to duplicate Leuba’s study in an effort to determine if scientists’ religious beliefs have changed much over the last 65 years. Larson and Witham found that 40% of American scientists still believe in a personal God. This does not include scientists who believe in an impersonal God or in a God who does not answer prayer. Nor does it include scientists who believe in a personal God, but don’t believe in the immortality of the human soul. If we were to take them into consideration, the percentage would likely be higher."

    http://nobelist.tripod.com/ lists among the nobel laureates who believe in God a significant number of scientists including many of the founders, if you will of modern science (27 Nobel Laureates who are scientists in various fields and nearly 20 'founders'.

    RE the intelligence behind the behind the behind, etc. That would be God, who, according to Christianity, has existed eternally.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "Some scientists – some."

    99% of biologists is 'some scientists'?

    "However, the list of scientists who dissent from Darwin’s theory seems to be growing."

    Have you heard of Project Steve? In response to a list of PhD's who support creationism (note, PhDs, not necessarily scientists), another organization started Project Steve, listing just scientists with the name Steve who supported evolution…and their list outnumbered the creation list easily.

    It doesn't matter what scientists believe. What matters is their science. Check out Francis Collins. Leader of the Human Genome Project, evangelical Christian, and staunch defender of evolution. Why? Because he understands the science.

    "RE the intelligence behind the behind the behind, etc. That would be God, who, according to Christianity, has existed eternally."

    Nope. You can't cheat. If you say "anything complex has to have an intelligence make it", you can't turn around and give an answer that breaks your first rule. Either everything that's complex needs a designer, or it doesn't.

  • http://livinglove.wordpress.com Raeliyah

    @Morse: That's basically the refutation to the First Cause argument – that there must be a cause behind the cause behind the cause, etc. And so there must be an intelligence that caused the intelligence that caused the intelligence, etc… yes?

    Causation is a function of time, however. So you can have a First Cause (or a First Intelligence) if time is only infinite in one direction (forward). At least in Christian theology, God exists outside of time – he is the First Cause because causation didn't exist before him. God is outside the time-line, so it's nonsensical to talk about Before God or After God – or Before Time or After Time with regards to him.

    For a historical perspective, atheists (or agnostics or nontheists or whatever) throughout time have maintained that the universe is infinite. This tracks back to at least Aristotle if not farther. This whole idea was based on the prediction that all processes were stable or would eventually cancel each other out. This idea died with Einstein, and observations that the universe is not 100% stable.

    The Big Bang was first suggested by Georges Lemaitre, a roman catholic priest, who proposed that the universe began as a single primeval atom. Since we can't know what happened before the big bang (if anything) and the theory of multiple big bangs and big crunches (the Yo-Yo universe) was recently contradicted by observable evidence – then it is a given that our universe has at least a Finite Beginning – the timeline isn't a line, it's a ray, extending forward from a single point.

    As Gerald Schroeder said, "The question is not whether or not the physical universe had a metaphysical cause – that is a given. The question is whether or not that cause still cares and interacts with the universe it created."

    So even if you disagree with Schroeder's (or Dan's) wording, if you believe in the Big Bang then you believe in a First Cause.

    -Raeliyah, lurker.

  • Dan Cartwright

    In an effort to encourage friendly but intelligent discourse, I was trying to be nice, Breezy. SOmetimes It is difficult for me to maintain objectivity because I am passionate about what I personally believe. My backround is nowhere scientific, so thanks for your input – it is personally encouraging!

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse
  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Raeliyah-

    "So even if you disagree with Schroeder’s (or Dan’s) wording, if you believe in the Big Bang then you believe in a First Cause."

    Incorrect. My understanding of cosmology is that we don't know what happened before the Big Bang. Not that nothing happened before the Big Bang.

    Did something cause the Big Bang? Almost certainly. And before that, the universe existed, in one form or another. It doesn't seem that hard to believe. Much more plausible than some sort of magical creature causing everything.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "Unfortunately scientific study, just like many of our social projects, depends on tax dollars. "

    And isn't it strange how the Discovery Institute is getting billions in private donations, and yet seems to be accomplishing little? Hmmm…wonder if that has to do with the money, or the fact that they have no scientific standing?

    By all means Breezy, if you have one piece of evidence for intelligent design or creationism (note, I say for ID…not against evolution), then I'll be happy to hear it.

  • Dan Cartwright

    "And before that, the universe existed."

    Wasn't that the Steady State Theory that was developed in 1948 by Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi and others as an alternative to the Big Bang theory, but has had a decreasing number of supporters since the late 1960s with the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation and has only a vary small number of supporters today?

  • http://livinglove.wordpress.com Raeliyah

    @ Morse, #82

    It's not called space/time for nothing. The Big Bang created Space and therefore also Time. According to Einstein's equations space and time are irrevocably linked. The big bang started out as zero space, therefore also zero time.

    The Big Bang is an informational singularity – we can't know what lays beyond it. With a lack of information you must fill that void with faith. You have faith that a purely natural cause began the Big Bang, yes? So you label God "magical" to make it appear silly, when in fact there's no rational reason that God couldn't have been behind the big bang – they are both a matter of faith. The Christian faith is a reasonable, factual faith. It's no more magical than a self-organizing universe.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    So?

    What I stated was my belief. Yes, that's right, just a belief. Nothing more. Because we don't know, I have to believe something. So I settle with the answer that seems to make the most sense to me, and disbelieve the answers that seem ridiculous.

    I hope we know in my lifetime and I get to find out the truth.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "The Big Bang created Space and therefore also Time."

    The Big Bang created nothing. It was the expansion of a singularity that was made of all the energy/matter that exists in our universe. 2nd law of thermodynamics, if I remember correctly, supports that.

    "The Christian faith is a reasonable, factual faith. It’s no more magical than a self-organizing universe."

    No it isn't. The Christian faith submits that there is already something even more complex than the universe that had to exist before the universe. Much simpler is that the universe always existed, in one form or another.

    Not to mention the fact that if something is factual and reasonable, it's not faith.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Uh oh, Dan C, guess what? I looked up the figures myself and it looks like once again some Christian has been caught with his pants down (maybe a Catholic?), caught lying to you again. This must get frustrating.

    Here's a link that you might find interesting regarding that 1998 survey:
    http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm The interesting thing to notice is that this is the Larson/Witham study that you reference, but it seems to say the exact opposite of what you think it does. Rats, huh?

    And I hate to break it to you, but any list of "scientists who believe in god" that starts with Albert Einstein has to leave a lot to be desired, for the thinking person.

    "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. 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."

    "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man."

    Al is often deliberately misquoted and misrepresented by fine, upstanding Christians who think nothing of lying for their god. They continuously ignore Al's own plea to stop lying about him and misquoting him. When Al used the word "god", he meant it in a way completely the opposite of petty, religious myths like Christianity (and Judaism). But you already knew that, didn't you Dan?

    I can only suspect that a good many of the other scientists listed at the website you link to are similarly misquoted (deliberately so, no doubt.) You should check your sources a little more closely.

    Oh, and breezy, how embarrassing for you, huh? (snicker) You even trot out the "they'll lose tons of money from the evolutionist camp" standard. HA!

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  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    As I've said, Daniel, if a god made itself known to me and it turned out to be the god of your Bible (as unlikely as that is), I would have to believe but I would not worship that god at all. I'm still flabbergasted that not only do you (I mean all Christians, not just you personally) worship that god, but you're willing to admit it in public. Either you don't know what you're worshiping (which means you haven't read the Bible closely), or you do know and that makes you potentially dangerous. I guess ignorant worship would be preferable to knowledgeable worship.

    If that god were not the Bible god, I still may not worship it. It would depend on if it could show itself worthy of being worshiped. Maybe a collection of plagiarized tales from ancient, ignorant sheep-herders would do the trick. Or not.

  • http://livinglove.wordpress.com Raeliyah

    Re: #87, Morse

    Haha, OK then, the big bang didn't /create/ space, all the matter/energy just suddenly began to take up space that didn't exist before the Big Bang then. See the astrophysics definition for a singularity.

    Also, the laws of Physics as we know them doesn't apply to the beginning and earliest parts of the Big Bang – mostly because the Big Bang violates them.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Morse, I missed the exact citation you used…oh…it wasn't there!

    “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” (Einstein, as cited in Clark 1973, 400; and Jammer 2002, 97).

    “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior Spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality.” (Einstein 1936, as cited in Dukas and Hoffmann 1979, 66).

    “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.” (Einstein 1936, as cited in Dukas and Hoffmann, Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Princeton University Press, 1979, 33).

    That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a Universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.” (Einstein, as cited in Denis Brian, Einstein: A Life, New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 186).

    That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a Universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.” (Einstein, as cited in Denis Brian, Einstein: A Life, New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 186).

  • born4battle

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/einstein… contains an excellent and well documented discussion concerning Einstein's beliefs about God. It seems a matter of reading plain English and various quotations that Einstein believed in God, just not a 'personal' God:

    "So, the quick answer to the question is that Einstein did not believe in a personal God. It is however, interesting how he arrived at that conclusion. In developing the theory of relativity, Einstein realized that the equations led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning. He didn't like the idea of a beginning, because he thought one would have to conclude that the universe was created by God. So, he added a cosmological constant to the equation to attempt to get rid of the beginning. He said this was one of the worst mistakes of his life. Of course, the results of Edwin Hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding and had a beginning at some point in the past. So, Einstein became a deist – a believer in an impersonal creator God:

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    “Everything in nature is just too complex for there not to have been some sort of intelligence behind it all”

    Well, that’s lovely, but I don’t take that statement to be true. Nor do scientists.

    But let’s pretend for a moment that it is true.

    That intelligence must be more complex than the nature it created. So what’s the intelligence behind the intelligence? And the intelligence behind the intelligence behind the intelligence? And the intelligence behind…?

  • breezy

    Morse,

    I think Dan is saying that you constantly make assertions that are not true.

    “Nor do scientists” you said this and it is not true.

    Yes, there are scientist that have agreed with that view. On the whole, however, there are many who do not. I CAN make that claim because I have been a scientist for longer than you have been alive.

    Unfortunately scientific study, just like many of our social projects, depends on tax dollars. All scientists understand that discounting evolutionary theory will cost billions in grants, thus affecting other scientific venues and studies. So some (not all) are not vocally opposed to the continued study of evolution, even if they are intellectually so.

  • http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com/ Daniel

    Rob #63: It is about as unverifiable as my telling you about what my friend Ralph did for me. Would like to meet him? I mean God? Actually, Christians do not have to prove to anyone God exists. No Christian proved it to themselves. God proved it to them, us, me. When God makes Himself known to you, the argument is over–the test is what will you do about it.

  • Marcy Muser

    Rob,

    I'm disappointed you find it necessary to resort to insults rather than intelligent discussion.

    First, my statements about what happens when God appears to people in His full glory are well attested in the Bible and accepted by the majority of Christian scholars. God told Moses, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence . . . . But . . . you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Ex. 33:20) And when Isaiah, a righteous prophet, saw the Lord, he cried out, "Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips . . . and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Angels and demons do have the ability to see God and still deny Him – see Job 1:6. But in the Bible, people can only survive in the presence of God in all His glory when He provides them with special grace (as in the case of Isaiah). You can call this nonsense if you like, but I definitely did not simply make it up.

    As for God's "atrocities," I believe you are still ignoring the reasons for them. These were not "atrocities," as if He somehow attacked totally innocent people and viciously murdered them. Rather, these were incredibly wicked people. Take a look again at the passage you referenced in I Samuel 15. Yes, God says He was judging the Amalekites for what they did to Israel 400 years before. But does it say what they were doing at the time? For 400 years, these people had been involved in their own atrocities – killing the innocent, sacrificing babies to their idols, repeatedly invading Israel ("they camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel . . . They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts . . . (they) impoverished the Israelites" Judges 6:5, 6), and more. And many years later, the fact that Saul had not wiped them out completely came back to almost destroy the entire nation of Israel, through Haman, in the book of Esther, who was an Amalekite. (By the way, I don't shrug off God's judgements as "well, they must have been bad" – if you read about the cultures God judged, you'll find they were indeed terribly cruel and vicious; and God was gracious to cultures – such as the Kenites in the I Samuel 15 passage – who were even moderately decent.)

    I don't hate people, and neither does my God; in fact, He "wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:4). But when people are desperately wicked and bent on the real, horrible atrocities, He will have them destroyed in order to put a stop to those things. (Incidentally, I've read the Bible many times, since I was a child, and I don't remember anywhere that God tells his people to rip babies out of pregnant mothers' wombs – though there were many among the really wicked nations such as Assyria who did that sort of thing.)

    And I don't buy your statement that willingness to obey when you come to know the truth is asinine. If you say to yourself, as you apparently do, "Even if God Himself were to appear to me, I wouldn't worship and obey Him," you can be sure you are not willing to obey. Thus, I wouldn't expect you to know the truth (apart from God somehow being gracious enough to reveal it to you in spite of yourself – He does do that sometimes, but not often). Those who say, instead, "OK; I have a lot of doubts, and I don't even think I believe in You, God; but if you're really there, make that clear to me, and I will obey" – those people will know the truth. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the immaturity in that. It seems to me the mature person isn't threatened by the possibility they could be wrong; they are willing to be open to other options and to try to see how someone else's worldview holds together.

    Sorry if I made your brain hurt again.

  • http://www.barethoughts.com/blog Tam

    "Now watch how easily — nay, how inevitably — one must move from the understanding that there’s at least a 50/50 chance of a God existing, to the conclusion that Christianity is the greatest religion in the history of people yearning for spiritual succor."

    Sorry John – gotta disagree with you. I think there are a few other religions that are better. Your God is a little mean and capricious (which is somewhat typical of most Gods). But what is worse, seems to have issues with sex and having fun.

    Plus, there is the whole issue of "believe in me or go to hell". i guess that may be fair for those who have actually heard of that God… but what about those who haven't? it is not like he clued everyone in when he came to earth (or sent an avatar, depending on what you believe). The people he didn't bother to contact were just "out of luck". Did they not matter? Did he really love just some of "his people" and not care much for the others?

  • breezy

    Bravo Marcy, your even tone and cross references are superb. Many non-believers who have claimed to read the bible actually get their 'facts' from other non-believers. Their opinions therefore are a bit skewed.

    I tend to read John's blogs (which I find humorous and thought provoking at the same time) and leave a comment if I'm so inclined….many hours later I'll come back to find a plethora of comments and a paucity of knowledge.

    Speaking of….Rob, your rude and often inflamatory statements are unneccesary in civil, intelligent discourse. I stated that "All scientists understand that discounting evolutionary theory will cost billions in grants, thus affecting other scientific venues and studies" which is a fact so I'm not sure what your (snicker) was about?

    Were you asking me if I was embarrassed in personally knowing other scientists who refute the evolutionary model of origins? No, I can't say that I am. (remember, I gave no 'link' to support my statements -because it is my actual experience)

    I'm very proud to know scientists who practice the scientific method and do not describe evolution as anything more than a scientific theory. They also describe creation as a scientific theory. And this is where non-believers should focus…they are both theories which need to be equally studied and are not.

  • born4battle

    Marcy and breezy – Kudos to you both!

  • frank

    breezy: Give me something to laugh and post here some of the names of the "scientists" which "also describe creation as a scientific theory"…

    Have you ever bothered to think what the criteria are which a theory must fullfil in order to be scientific ? Ask yourself if "creation" is for example falsifiable or if it makes any predictions ….

    born4battle : I think Albert EInstein would feel very angry if he knew that a creationist/ider/whatever you are misused his quotes to make a vague point in a blog

    cheers

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Marcy: see, you still try to use a book I don't believe in (or particular respect) to show why there's just no way I could avoid loving and obeying a god that I find atrocious (even if it did exist.) I agree with you on one thing though: it is disappointing that I can't engage in intelligent discussion with you, but you aren't giving me a lot to work with. If you keep repeating the same mistakes, I find it hard to stay patient.

    Hey, if you think your "loving" god is justified in commanding and committing genocide, and you can live with that, that's your problem. Christians are supposed to be better than everyone else when it comes to morality and such, but I've been aware for a long time that simply isn't true. Christians like you simply stand as a reminder of that fact.

    And yes, I do know Christians who reject those acts as coming from a loving god, and simply realize that their Bible is full of contradictions that can't be resolved. They readily admit to following a shmorgashboard Christianity and make no apologies for it. They may not be consistent, but at least they come closer to rationality.

    You don't see the immaturity in obeying a mean, spiteful god? Well, that's a shocker. You can doubt all you like whether or not I'd obey such a god, in the unlikely event that it existed. I suppose if it were real and had the power, it could force me to do it's evil bidding like it forced Saul and David and others (but of course it didn't; that's just simple mythology), but it could never force me to worship it.

    Marcy, your tortured logic and faulty reasoning, not to mention your willingness to defend evil in the name of your god, will always hurt my brain. It's not just you, though; there are many like you, and I've become less sensitive to it over the years. However, some things (like the post of yours that I wrote that about) just pack a bit more punch than usual. Your latest response is objectively probably just as bad, but again, I grow less sensitive to it with exposure.

    breezy: you're absolutely right that my "rude and often inflamatory statements" aren't necessary in civil, intelligent discourse. That's why you'll rarely see me be rude or inflamatory if I'm having discourse with intelligent, civil people. John Shore, for instance, appears mostly civil, and usually intelligent, but few of the cheerleaders responding here have shown those same traits. Flowery, god-filled language doesn't hide the insulting, condescending attitude of many of you Christians, and I usually play to the competition. In other words, what you see in me in these discussions is just a mirror of what I see in you.

    No scientists who practice the scientific method will describe evolution as anything more than a scientific theory. But any "scientist" who describes creationism as a scientific theory obviously doesn't know how the word "theory" is used in science. Or they do understand and deliberately use it in a false way (I'm thinking of Dwayne Gish Michael Behe here, but I still haven't decided if they're just completely ignorant, completely fraudulent, or a combination of the two.)

    You claim to have been a scientist longer than someone else (I forget who you said that to) has been alive; you must be very, very old indeed to have such an outdated view of what science is. Did you use leeches to cure diseases, or were they still considered demon-caused in your day?

  • born4battle

    Regardless of to whom Marcy made her last comments, the combination of biblical truth and heartfelt compassion is evident.

  • Dan Cartwright

    " I think Albert Eistein would feel very angry if he knew that a creationist/ider/whatever you are misused his quotes to make a vague point in a blog."

    I think my point was misunderstood and definitely not vague. The point is this: It appears that although Einstein did not believe in a 'personal' God he did believe in an 'impersonal' creator God.

    That was it – no persuasion intented, no agenda, no hatred or disparagment – as Joe Friday would say "Just the facts".

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Exactly Dan C. Which means he didn't believe in your god any more than we do.

  • breezy

    I'm sorry Rob, what was your Phd in again? Scientific theory is simply a theory that explains scientific observations.

    Since scientific theories must be falsifiable then it follows that the theory of creation is such because the theory of evolution has done so. Postulating scientific theory is not rocket science Rob (sorry scientist humor)

    btw, were you not breast fed? (I wonder what Freud would have to say about your posts?)

    you'll have to excuse me for a few hours as I have to find some frog livers to add to the elixar I'm preparing, fill my oil lamps before dark and make sure I have enough leeches to use in surgery tomorrow. (gotta give ya kudos Rob, that one had me laughing so hard I almost spit up my V-8)

  • breezy

    Dan,

    Stick to what you suggested to Andy, let God's spirit guide you in truth and love. I love morse (he's the same age as my oldest boys) and Rob and Chris because their rebuttals keep me on my toes and also verify more of The Word (I wonder what they would say about the revelation that Jesus Christ is The Word – not the written words between the covers of the bible) The secret is that the bible was not written for those who do not believe.

    The truth is I have physically placed myself between harm and my child and that child is now a corporal in the USMC putting himself in harms way to protect the right of these men who feel free to disrespect others views…ironic isn't it. I have been in countries where disrespecting the 'State' sanctioned religion can result in imprisonment or death. Thank God our parents gave birth to us here in the United States.

    I have supplied blankets, clothes, goats (to not so illiterate) goat herders and (non-leech containing) medicines and never once made "listening to a sermon" a prerequisite for assistance. Rather I always respectfully asked if they had an interest in hearing the good news (which is simply that God is going to establish His government on earth to right all the wrongs that have occured). May God's will always be done, Stay strong in Christ brother, with love in His name, Breezy

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "Your issue ’seems’ to be that if any of us merely name the name of Christ or simply discuss in general, we are automatically after you, trying to force something down your throat, we are delusional mythicists, and totally mindless if we happen to quote a scripture verse."

    When have I said you were after me?

    You make comments I view as silly, and I call you on it. And you respond with things along the line of "Well, wait one day and you'll be on your knees begging not to go to hell". And so I'll call those what they are…threats and appeals to emotion.

    If you don't like having your tactics called for what they are, I'm sorry.

    One of the problems is that Christians are in the majority in this country. That fact in itself isn't a problem, but it's a problem because Christians in general are used to being able to say whatever they like and not have it questioned.

    And so now, when it's getting more socially acceptable to question such things, those questionings and responses are labeled as hatred, contempt, emotional outbursts and the like.

    I don't hate you Dan. I feel sorry that you view the world in such a negative light. I feel sorry that you reject many things that are factually based merely because they go against your superstitions. But I don't hate you. Or any Christian or other religious believer.

    But there are many things in your religion that I think negatively effect society, and so I will speak out against them and actively oppose such things when certain Christians try to enforce their beliefs on others.

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    breezy: I'm glad you laughed at the leeches joke. I'm acerbic, but I try to inject humor whenever I can. If it rattles some cages, all the better!

    I guess you and I simply have different ideas of what "theory" means in scientific terms. Evolution meets the definition I was taught, and creationism doesn't. I guess the multi-billion dollar evolution industry has unfairly influenced that, and luckily for us you've broken yourself free from those shackles.

    If anyone is interested, wikipedia has excellent articles on the scientific method, and the difference between theories, hypothesis, and simple WAGs. But be warned: by the definitions cited there, creationism can barely be considered a hypothesis, and is nowhere near a theory. I'd personally classify it as a WAG.

    I spent 8 1/2 years in the Army myself. I wasn't there to defend your religion; I find your religion indefensible. But I was there, like your son, to defend your right to follow that religion. Christians don't have exclusive use rights on morality, ethics, family or patriotism (and I know you didn't say they did, but I thought I'd mention that for those who haven't learned that yet.)

    By the way, for those of you who've bought into the whole "there are no atheists in foxholes", I have news for you: I was one, and there were two others in my unit that I knew of, when we were in Iraq the first time.

  • Dan Cartwright

    I never said he did, nver said you have to, just talked about what I believe. I wasn’t even TRYING to say that he believed in ‘my’ personal God. That WASN’T the issue.

    Your issue ‘seems’ to be that if any of us merely name the name of Christ or simply discuss in general, we are automatically after you, trying to force something down your throat, we are delusional mythicists, and totally mindless if we happen to quote a scripture verse. We see phrases like “Did you use leeches to cure diseases, or were they still considered demon-caused in your day?” (not yours). I find it difficult to perceive such pure vitriol from believers except in your imagination(s). I didn’t say you haven’t been criticised, but that hatred and contempt expressed with the ‘pen’ seems to NOT be the tendency of believers in here. This observation I think true even if I were merely an impartial observer.

  • Michael L. Duke

    My view is this, after listening to all your “arguments” and comments.

    If you don’t want God to be real, “intellectualize” Him and anything that has to do with him. Atheists desire to be right all the time, in most philosophical discussions. As Pilate said, (to Jesus – Truth looked him right in the face) “What is Truth?

    Well, Truth died on the Cross, Rose from the dead, Showed himself to more than 500 humans and then Ascended to Heaven.

    To Atheists, this is just a “fairy-tale” for “christians” to believe in so they can have a “crutch”. What does the Atheist have for his “Crutch”?

    His intellectual prowess – human wisdom that changes with the tide of opinion anyway. Atheists desire that rational thinking prevail – that’s reasonable! But they won’t see the Truth if it stood in front of them.. (They like to swallow camels.)

    By the way, atheists, without the Holy Spirit actually dwelling inside the human being…all you got are just “ideas”. So you like to tell christians, “surely you jest”, you aren’t intellectually honest!

    You say to us, “You’re just sheep following a perceived idea that there is a God. I read that one of you keeeps calling God, “it” instead of God being a person. If He’s a person, then you need to really investigate who He really is and not in just intellectual ways. Intelligence is fine to use but it can border on the “delusional” without facts. Darwin worshipped dinosaurs in his evolutionary thoughts.. Isn’t it true that dinosaurs are more “accepted” in your society than Jesus Christ whom most atheists I know and have heard – swear at His name! Real tolerance and diversity? Phew!! Surely you jest,eh?

    Athiests, do you want to be just like an animal without “Love” and eat your young? Pretty barbaric in your thinking, I would say.

    Atheists, try finding out the TRUTH (JESUS) while you live on this planet before you have to physically die one day and THEN FACE HIM AND “BOW YOUR KNEE TO TRUTH”….Go ahead and deny God or placate him with your works, intellect, religion, or whatever method you wish, you have “FREE CHOICE” ! WHAT IS YOUR TRUTH ?

    Cartoons of the 1950′s, 1960′s, and 1970′s make more sense than Evolution or the “Hidden Ancient Secrets” that titillate those of you who are only on the “intellectual” dream world Merry-go-Round….

  • Billy B

    Is there a place where I can look and see the score for this on going debate? What quarter are we in? Will there be a trophy?

  • Jack Musser

    I aaume you had your tongue in cheek when you so cheerily detailed a rational defense of Christianity. I assume you never studied the history of the church or read the Bible critically or read studies like Who Wrote the Bible, A History of God, etc.

    I can accept the Christians who take pride in believing the unbelievable, but to argue that there is a rational reason for belief in god becoming human is a bit too much. Revel in your definance of reason, but don't insult reason by prostituting it to religion.

    I am a reluctan atheist because there is no rational way of believing in the fabulous myth of a god becoming human. It was great while I could believe it, but there is plenty in the real world to pacify our need for awe and gratitude.

  • Angela

    Faith . . . means never having to prove what you believe.

    Why all this arguing? Because those who believe are trying to prove that what they believe is real. If you feel that you have to prove it, then I wonder how much faith you have.

    Jesus said, "Whosoever believeth in me shall have eternal life." He did not ask us to prove it.

  • The Reformed Faith W

    You are so right Angela, and we should always be ready with a defense for our faith… but we also have to remember the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are… well you know the rest.

    We cannot expect the natural, unregenerate mind to understand spiritual things. Ever. Without faith, no man can please God. It's impossible… as impossible as it can get.

    There are people who search for other people to argue with while referring to common fallacies from logic handbooks and indeed probably sleep with them under their pillow hoping to absorb (by osmosis overnight) every bit of knowledge in logic they didn't get in their waking hours… but they will never have the peace they seek – the peace of knowing The Utter and Complete Truth. Those who put all their trust in their own fallible, depraved human minds will be disappointed every time.

    Selah.

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Bur

    Your luck Mr. Shore!! I was going to refute this from step one, then I realized you were being tongue-in-cheek. :-)

    I will leave my retort at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2008/02/28/theres-no-arg

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Me? Tongue-in-cheek? Never. It makes people look at you funny on the bus.

    Yes. The final comment was TiC.

  • http://fvthinker.blogspot.com Mike (FVThinker) Burns

    uuuhhhh… You were being tongue-in-cheek weren’t you John?


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