Heads, God is Real; Tails, He’s Not

As we all know, the answer to the question of whether or not there’s a God can generate lots o’ debate. (As they did/are in my last two posts, An Atheist Asks: Why Did Christ Have to Sacrifice Himself to Himself? and Inquiring Atheists Want to Know: What, Exactly, Was the Sacrifice Jesus Made?) So I thought I’d say this:

The answer to the question of whether or not there’s a God can only be yes or no, right? Either some Divine Intelligence created and sustains our world and us, or Nature Alone exists.

Passions aside, there is no way of knowing — in any sort of objective, empirically verifiable way — which of those two it is. Anyone who claims there is a way to positively know whether or not there’s a God must be understood to have at some point become irrational. (No offense, fellow Christians, but we must acknowledge that the Bible isn’t proof that our God exists. The Bible is an informing affirmation of the God in which we believe. I think we’d all do very well to remember that feeling certain that something is true doesn’t make it true.)

Because the chances of God existing are even either way, and because none of us can know which of the two choices available to us is the correct one, then choosing one of them must make exactly as much sense as choosing the other. It’s a 50-50, binary option. You could be right either way. Same as flipping a coin. Could be heads. Could be tails.

Could be a God. Could be no God. Could be complex and coincidental mechanics. Could be supremely intelligent design.

Your call!

And nobody else’s!

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. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

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

    "Ok, Now, If I am right I go to heaven when I die, and you Go to HELL as describe in the bible. Are YOU will to take that chance?"

    Yep. For several reasons.

    First of all, it isn't a 50/50 choice. If the Muslims are right, then both you and I BOTH go to hell. So why don't you believe in Islam?

    Secondly…your question really would only inspire someone to find the religion with the worst hell, and then believe in that. Does Christianity have the worst hell? Maybe, maybe not.

    Thirdly…if a god exists, and he will send me (or anyone) to hell merely because I don't believe in him, or even send someone to hell (which is eternal punishment, correct?) for finite crimes, then I wouldn't want to worship that god or live in his heaven. Because that god would be an unjust, totalitarian dictator.

  • http://shushnow.wordpress.com shush

    The evidence that I have seen is personally to myself and my experience- so while I could say, "there is evidence", that evidence is absolutely meaningless to anyone who isn't me.

    Rational people can and do believe, rational people will and won't believe, there's no reason to be mean about it.

    good post!

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

    Sigh.

    Anyway:

    Crossoevera: Thank you.

    Jon: Science only talks about science. My point is that it doesn't, as it can't, talk about WHERE all science comes from. Science points to no source from which all the phenomena of science springs. We're talking source here. "Science" is an effect, not a cause.

    Brian: I am, obviously, admitting that we don't have an absolutely sure answer to the question of whether or not there's a God. But "error of dualism" or not, sometimes there really ARE only two choices. This is one of those times. And I'm with you: admitting we DON'T know at least let's us begin with sanity and innate tolerance.

    Morse: I'm sorry, but your statement "The problem is that many atheists (at least this one) don’t believe that there is no god. We just lack a belief in god" loses me. Not your fault, I'm sure. I just couldn't follow the logic of your comment. I REALLY tried, though. Sorry. As I say, it must be me.

    Windy: You should probably stop capitlizing the word "hell," so it doesn't read like you're screaming.

    Shush: Thank you.

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

    John,

    I can try to clarify.

    I'm speaking about being intellectually accurate and honest.

    My innocuous example: leprechauns. We can all pretty much say that leprechauns don't exist.

    However, to be intellectually honest, we must admit that we can't actually say that leprechauns don't exist. This is because they are described as creatures with magic powers. So, for all we know, they could exist and just be doing a good job of keeping themselves hidden.

    Therefore, saying I believe that there are no leprechauns would be slightly irrational. Because saying it that way implies that I have absolute knowledge on the subject.

    Since I don't, I can't say that I believe that there are no leprechauns. I can, however, say that I DON'T believe in leprechauns. Saying it that way allows for the possibility of me being wrong.

    And that's how I feel about god.

    If that doesn't help at all, I apologize for being confusing. Either way, I won't try again on here, just to keep down the clutter, hehe.

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

    Morse: OK. So you're just saying exactly what I said: We can't KNOW know.

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

    Exactly.

    Our only difference is that, when you don't know, or KNOW know, your position shouldn't be belief.

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

    Morse: But I haven't gone there yet. You're free to, of course–but I haven't yet at all moved anywhere beyond the simple proposition that we can't know. You don't have a "difference" with me over my having said that one should move from not-knowing to belief, because I haven't said one should.

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

    My apologies. I should not have used the word "should".

    I was responding to the comment at the end of your post, where you state it's just as rational to believe as it is to disbelieve.

    We are the same as far as understanding where our knowledge ends.

    We differ on our opinion of what position or positions are rational to take when one reached the end of knowledge.

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

    More: Oh, yeah, I see what you're saying. You're absolutely right. Instead of what I wrote, I should have writen, " … can we at least agree that choosing to think that there must be a God is just as rational as choosing to think that there's no God at all?" That would have been much better. Shoot. Well. Too late. But excellent observation. Thank you.

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

    Yes. Agreed. Both of those are equally rational. (Or equally irrational.)

    Which is why I subscribe to neither. :)

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

    Yeah. Well, NEXT time I'll explain why I subscribe to the God option. Or I won't. Won't, probably. We'll see.

    Whenever I take these little Christian/Atheist focused breaks from my usual Insightfully Funny About General Life efforts, I always pretty much end up regrettig it.

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

    Awwww, don't be like that my believing brother!

    I, at least, enjoy when you go off on these tangents.

  • Ingrid

    John John John… I've been here before and learned the best way to have this conversation is not to have it at all. People refuse to see logic where God (no matter how you call him) is concerned. Atheist will refuse anything but science or nothing at all, believers will believer in spite of the atheist "empirical truths" and people with a rational mind will recognize it is everyone's right to believe as they see fit. I agree with your last edit (comment 14), but even in saying that there will be those who will try to argue their point so others will concede. To that end it serves no purpose.

    I believe God is. Others believe God isn't. I agree to disagree. Now, let's all go get a pizza this conversation has made me very hungry.

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    John, with all due respect, you set up a false dichotomy in you opening essay between "Science Alone" and "Divine Intelligence".

    Science as a noun means all scientifically derived knowledge. Science as a verb means the scientific method.

    I think you meant to use "nature" in place of "Science Alone".

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

    Chris: Yes, I used the shorthand; I felt "nature" left too much open, too. But you know what I meant.

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    "…I always pretty much end up regrettig it."- John

    It's fair and reasonable to ask people to evaluate the foundations of their belief. But it certainly can get frustrating when people are only willing to take their rational justifications only so far, and then stop.

    The evidence for the existence of the supernatural, such as the existence of gods or the occurance of miracles, is itself non-existent. To try to use reason and evidence to justify religious belief is a non-starter. Ultimately the religious must found their belief on a personal choice commonly referred to as faith.

    This is not the same faith that we use in other parts of our lives. I have faith that when I turn around, the world behind me does not disappear. This is not the same kind of faith that the religious have about their religion. If presented with satisfactory evidence, I would change my mind about the whole world-disappearing thing.

    Daily, the religious are faced with the evidence that their religion makes dubious claims of the most unfounded sort. the evidence of the artifice of religious belief is available to anyone who chooses to look. And yet thoughtful people more often choose to wholly believe (bad turn of phrase?) in what is so easily and continually contradicted.

    The universe works in such a way that it does not require the existence of a god or other supernatural phenomena. Furthermore, no sole supernatural explanation can be given for any phenomena. There are ALWAYS other explanations that are compatible with the natural world.

    Gods are man-made. Maybe not a comforting thought for some. But a truth that is unassailable.

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    As to the claim that the probability of the existence/non-existence of gods is 50/50, How did you derive that ratio? It is way off.

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

    Really? Bummer.

  • thereisnogray

    Morse: as I understand the definitions, aren't you an agnostic? (the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently unknowable due to the nature of subjective experience perceived by that individual. Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities. If I read your first comment correctly, I would place in the category of agnostic.

    Not to muddy the waters here, but I think an understanding of where exactly you are coming from would help.

    Ingrid: By "not having the conversation" are we upholding God's command to love Him and our brother? I mean there is certainly a way to approach it, but I think it is essential to display your faith (through love, compassion, serving etc) as well as verbally share it.

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    John,

    I don't "know" about your supposition.

    When my wife accepted my marriage proposal that confirmed there was a God for me.

    Seriously, didn't the Crusades end a while back? And not Billy Graham's, but the really bloody ones?

    I don't share your regrets for this type of column. Any advertising is good advertising, they say. And otherwise I'd never see excellent comments to pass off as my own in later conversations like Shush's and that of Crossovera2.

    And to lament the Late "Righteous Rocker" Larry Norman (look up the obit), I'll crib his lyrics:

    "You could be a woman feeler, or a baby stealer,

    you could drink your life away,

    Or you could be a holy prophet, get a blessing off it,

    Or you could fast for fifty days,

    You could shake hands with the devil, or give your life to God on the level,

    But without love you ain't nothing, without love,

    Without love you ain't nothing, without love."

    And if anyone still wants to argue with me I'll quote Jamie Savage from "Mythbusters."

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

  • http://stupidevilbastard.com/ Les

    Morse and Christopher said everything I was going to say so I'll just address the latest comment by "thereisnogray" who writes: "Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities. If I read your first comment correctly, I would place in the category of agnostic."

    I can't speak for Morse, but I consider myself an atheist and yet I hold out the possibility that God(s) of some sort might possibly exist. I just haven't seen any valid reason to accept it as being likely. An agnostic refuses to draw a conclusion either because they feel there's not enough evidence or it's not possible to know for certain. Morse says he does not believe in God(s) and that's a conclusion which moves him, and me seeing as I share that conclusion, out of agnosticism and into atheism.

    As for the argument that God's existence is 50/50, I don't accept that either. I read a pretty good essay that explains why it's not a 50/50 proposition, but I can't seem to locate it at the moment.

  • thereisnogray

    Morse: I feel better now, I think.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Shush-

    Thank you for saying what I have been struggling to put into words for a while!

    John-

    I enjoy these exchanges. Please don't stop. I think for the most part everyone that reads you remains totally civilized and can agree that we all disagree but that we respect each other.

  • breezy

    I do so love the "without solid (scientific) observation (by this human being)" nothing exists argument. To this end, cells did not exist until 1665, dinosaurs did not exist until the mid 1820's, sub-atomic particles do not (as yet) exist and evolution (as the theory is presented) will not exist for at least 1.5 my

    (please do not attempt to argue this point with me as I will in no way believe that you have been alive for 1.5my and have personally observed evolution as presented in current scientific academia, not to mention poor John having to roll his eyes so far back in his head he may pass out and not be able to post his contagious brand of insightful humor)….

    It's the same argument over and over "I have never seen a believers/non-believers functioning brain so I don't believe it exists"…the only thing we know about cells and dinosaurs and sub-atomic particles and the universe is what we have been told by other human beings. They in turn are directly subjected to the preconceived illustrations that some other human being told/taught them…no one alive today has an original thought…every scientific thought is based on a previous scientific thought

    oh and just to throw a wrench in, the probability of the non-existence/existence of gods is 100/0…everyone knows that if there were more than one God the most powerful one would most certainly destroy all the others…all powerful is not logically divisible

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    Yeah, the true figure for the probability of the existence of gods approaches zero. Please allow me to explain…

    The rational default position with regard to the existence of anything is that that thing does not exist. This should be obvious. For instance, if one's default position on the existence of leprechauns is that they exist until proven to not exist, then we must assume that leprechauns exist. How do we prove that they don't exist? They intentionally hide themselves, so finding evidence might be impossible. In the same regard, to use leprechauns to explain certain natural occurrences would likewise be troublesome because we don't have any good evidence that the alleged cause (leprechauns) even exist.

    Okay, so we need to prove that gods exist. What is a god? We need a definition. Some definitions for gods apparently include non-existence (invisible, unknowable, intangible, etc). The god of the Catholic church, largely responsible for the conception of the Christian god, is one that we could use. That god interacts with the natural world. (BTW gods that in no way interact with the natural world are irrelevant in every way.)

    So what do we include as evidence? Evidence should be exclusive; it should only include things that could ONLY be used to prove the existence of gods. If the evidence could prove the existence of gods OR something else, then it should not be included. Alternate explanations reduce the probability of god's existence. If alternate explanations conform with nature, there is absolutely no reason to include them at all in our formulation of probability.

    Anyway, to make a long story short (about time, right?), holy books and personal revelation are ruled out as evidence. They have non-supernatural explanations. There is no scientifically derived evidence for gods. What other evidence is there? None, you say?

    Okay, so taking all the evidence into account now, let's derive a probability…

    I mean, gods might exist, but that's only supposition at this point. Maybe some time in the future, evidence will surface. So in fairness, we can't say with certainty that the probability is zero. But, we are left with a result approaching zero. Certainly less than 1%. In the same way that the probability of the existence of leprechauns is less than 1%.

    Back our original assumption. Rationally speaking, the probability for the existence of gods to no gods is closer to 1/99, and not even close to 50/50. It's ironic, in light of the fact that the probability for a person asserting belief/non-belief in gods is closer to 85/15.

    John you have previously stated your respect for rationality. I hope I didn't skip to many steps for you follow along. I assume then that you now agree with this abridged assessment.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Whoa, you are a glutton for punishment John! Now you got both sides of poundin' on yer noggin. Ok, I'm there with you. I/we cannot prove God.

    I'm wondering if I'm being led… and any post now you're gonna go aaah..HAA! SO YOU ADMIT…" That's me imagining you screaming at me during cross-examination. No pun intended… but not bad eh?

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    Breezy:

    You assume so much. Working backwards…

    Why do gods necessarily have to destroy each other? Hindu's seem to have a relatively peaceful formulation.

    Scientific evidence is credible because it is repeatable. You could conduct the same experiments as someone else and achieve the same results. In that way, science is highly objective and highly non-subjective. ( I thought you god-believers respected objectivity, like objective truth and objective morality, etc.)

    The fact is, that you could observe an atom, or a brain, or any number of other items or phenomena. It takes a different variety of faith to believe in the universe as described by science as to believe in a universe as described by religions. One can fact-check the claims of science. The proof of the validity of the scientific is all around you.

    Your computer was not invented by the accumulation of religious knowledge.

  • breezy

    Morse, every time you disagree with me, I like you more and more…(and I agree with you 100%)

    p.s. just to remind you, there is, as yet, no observable evidence for evolution as it is presented in academia…that is why it is still called a theory. I have personally seen a 640 ft deep canyon, studied it's 157 year history and using current scientific method can calculate that at current rate of erosion it will be as deep as the Grand Canyon in 1492 years….of course this is only extrapolation so neither you nor I will be able to personally observe this. It sure does spark the imagination though

  • http://madmonq.wordpress.com madmonq

    Agreed with your premise and bravo. You are the only christian I've heard about that can admit this, find a fairly rational middle ground and not fuss over a litany of intangibles. And not compromise your faith. When christians say this-or-that is a provable fact they are disproving something that is supposed to be based on faith, not fact. Fer cryin out loud thank you.

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

    Breezy:

    "just to remind you, there is, as yet, no observable evidence for evolution as it is presented in academia"

    It depends on what you mean by "observable evidence". Obviously we can't see evolution over long periods of time happen, because we only live so long. But there is sufficient evidence (genes, fossils, comparative biology and the like) to make evolution pretty darn certain.

    Theory: "a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation."

    So yeah. I'm very happy to say that evolution is a theory.

    "I have personally seen a 640 ft deep canyon, studied it’s 157 year history and using current scientific method can calculate that at current rate of erosion it will be as deep as the Grand Canyon in 1492 years"

    I'm honestly not sure what you mean to show by this fact.

    If it is meant to somehow suggest that the earth is only thousands of years old instead of billions, I think you're a little confused.

    Not that I'm saying it took the Grand Canyon billions of years to form. Certainly it didn't. But I don't think anyone has suggested that the Grand Canyon started to form exactly when the earth began to form.

  • harvey l melton

    John,

    Are you a true christian? if so then this question would never come up.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    WHAP!

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

    Harvey: What question? (And can't we agree that we're capable of calm, rational, mutually respectful discourse, and refrain from resorting to childish, knee-jerk insults and ignorant suppositions? Can't we show each other that kind of love and kindness? Can you join me in trying to spread peace, you burbling halfwit?)

  • breezy

    boy, you can't even agree with 'you' un-believers (just a joke people, don't flay me alive, please)

    there are so many hindu gods I couldn't even begin to argue the point with anyone

    and you're right (again) Morse, after 4yrs of study in earth, atmospheric and planetary science with some genetics, general biochemistry and molecular biology thrown in I am pretty darned confused (rolling eyes way back into head)

    p.s. I love scientific discussion as I am at least able to actively and intelligently participate…I did attend an accreditted school though, so please no course lectures or I may have to post my thesis and then John will never let me post on his blog again

  • breezy

    (love ya John…your posts speak to my spiritual and intellectual sides at the same time…you rock)

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

    "after 4yrs of study in earth, atmospheric and planetary science with some genetics, general biochemistry and molecular biology thrown in I am pretty darned confused (rolling eyes way back into head)"

    Well, after all that you still seem to think that something being a 'theory' somehow makes it bad or lesser than other things, so the possibility of you being confused is not that difficult to imagine.

  • Dan Cartwright

    I'll probably get tossed out for this one, but they are not my words. They do however, speak to the issue, and rather dramatically, at that.

    1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14)

    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans, Chapter 1)

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

    "The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”"

    Good thing I say and think things with my brain. My heart just pumps blood. :)

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    …and we Can see evolution in action in our lifetimes. It doesn't take long to see microbes evolve. Every year we humans participate in an evolutionary biological arms race with HIV, the Flu, cold virus, and many other nasty bugs.

    Apart from the micro world, there are species of birds and bugs and other creatures that have manifestly evolved over the last few decades. Even humanity, as a species, has continued to evolve biologically, although not quite so dramatically. In fact a recent study concludes that the rate of change in human biological evolution has increased over the last 5000 years. We are as much like our ancestors from 5000 years ago as they are to our mutual ancestors of 100,000 years ago.

    How do we know all this? Well the biological evolution of the other species I mentioned above is apparent from simple observation in nature and in the lab. Human evolution is revealed through comparative DNA testing of contemporary humans and our ancestors.

    The truth is out there.

  • Gene Thomas

    I think what you can't do is prove to another person that God is. Personally speaking, my life experiences since becoming a believer some 18 years ago at age 52 have proved it to me. Especially the conversion experience itself. But by its private and personal nature it is non-transferable.

    Obviously I could say much more about it and hope that it leads someone to find what I found, and I do–but not here. Space, as they say, is too limited.

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

    Morse: Your comment #43 was too harsh. She was being nice.

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

    John,

    My apologies if I misread her. But "(rolling eyes way back into head)" struck me as indicating scathing sarcasm.

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

    John, what if you don't believe in agreeing? Sorry, I just to get that off my chest.

    But, really, there is no proof for God? There is no argument to prove God exists. What about those people whose terminal illness was healed–incurable cancer for example. If the body losses and medicine losses the battle against disease and yet some people are healed because of they and other pray and God for it, should that not be regarded as empirical evidence. Empirical test determined cancer exists, that it beyond control, and then the same kind of empirical tests show the terminal disease no longer exists. That seems very empirical to me.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Gene,

    You're right. Space is limited. Also, it is totally unecessary to 'prove' God to anyone. He has already revealed himself to us – so that we are 'without excuse'. Romans 1 expresses it well. Even sharing our personal post-conversion experiences are insufficient to prove anything to anyone already steeped in unbelief. I too have had life experiences that only served to confirm what has been declared in scripture.

  • Cliverty

    We "CAN" know that God exists — according to Romans 1 even godless pagans KNOW it "for the invisible attributes of God are clearly SEEN through the things that are made".

    Living systems are "engines" they are "machines" designed by God. Mankind has yet to master the skills to "build even ONE single celled organism"!!

    This is an "in your face" kind of challenge from God displaying the fact clearly that HE ALONE has the "intelligence" to create life – to create an entire living organism — in fact a "living planet" and ecosystem of living beings dependent on each other.

    Mankind remains stuck on "square one" not able to "create" even the SIMPLEST singlecelled "machine" — single celled living system.

    in Christ,

    Bob

  • Deborah

    My head has just officially exploded and I willingly proclaim myself an idiot! Thanks everyone for confirming what I was afraid of! Good thing I am an artist that can roll around (figuratively speaking) while I work to create art that is temporal but profound in my small part of the world! :)

  • Sven

    Kinda weird… :-)

    you said… "No offense, fellow christian". How could one be a christian when not really sure there is a God. A Christian is a person, following Christ. The most famouse person on the surface of this planet, confirming God does exist. And even died at the cross in obedience to the Father.

    Who says there is no way to proof God exists? What is sience? When one has a relationship with a woman, can you deny she exists? (try, you might get in trouble… :-)

    I can't deny God. Not because of the Bible, but just because the fact He does exist. Hey, believe me… I can't deny it. He really does exist.

    Oh, you want me to proove it to you?

    Guess you would huh… :-)

    I've stopped that a long time ago… God is big and old enough to defend Himself :-) cool excuse huh… but it's not an excuse, because if you are really looking for Him and really want to know if He does or doesn't exist…YOU WILL KNOW… Because as Jesus said. "Seek and you WILL find". And being a christian for 28 years now, going up and down, I can tell, you… He is truth and so is every word He speaks.

    Oh, yeah, I know. Some people are calling me insane… (no offense) but hey… :-) be honest. I'm being taken care of by that person no person seems to be able to proof, while every person who calls me insane is working their butt of to make ends meet… And they call me insane… :-) LoL

  • benjdm

    Can we at least agree that it’s just as reasonable to choose to believe in God as to choose not to? Since we can’t know, and the chances are the same either way? Please understand that I’m not talking about any particular God, now — not the specific God of the Christians, Jews, Muslims, or anyone else. I’m only talking about God generally.

    Absolutely not. God is not a privileged hypothesis; it is one concept among an infinite number of them. It does not have an automatic probability of 50/50. For example, Confucius died. He was either killed by a machine gun or he was not killed by a machine gun. Therefore there is a 50/50 chance Confucius died by being shot by a machine gun?

    It is NOT just as reasonable to believe in comic book heroes as not to, it is NOT just as reasonable to believe in Santa Clause as not to, and it is NOT just as reasonable to believe in God as not to.

    Before dealing with the validity of any one God, can we at least agree that choosing to believe in a God is just as rational as choosing to believe in no God at all? Because if we can’t all agree on something that basic, and that obviously true, then I think we should be too embarrassed to talk about anything at all.

    It is obviously NOT true. Try substituting any other immaterial invisible thing – say the invisible immaterial air compressor in your garage. Is it just as rational to choose to believe in the invisible immaterial air compressor in your garage as it is to choose not to? Forget about whether it is a reciprocating or centrifugal air compressor, or what brand may have made it, just the general idea of an immaterial invisible air compressor. Are belief and dis-belief equally rational?

  • http://cometothewell.wordpress.com dsrtrosy

    Haha, Deborah–mine too! There are so many things going on here. But as always, I love the commentary. I agree with the issue of using "science alone" in the post, however. That was problematic for me. Science agrees with both points of view (I can't WAIT to hear the extreme atheists disagree with this!). "Nature alone" is in fact the better choice.

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

    "Before we found evidence for cells, it was irrational to believe in cells. Before we found evidence for dinosaurs, it was irrational to believe in dinosaurs. Before there was evidence for evolution, it was irrational to believe in evolution…. We have evidence for all of those things now, and so it is rational to believe them."

    The ancient Greeks believed in them. Evolution is an creaky old idea. The Vatican did not have trouble with its research until it began contradicting some doctrine or another. As a matter of fact, I think the Greek were relatives of the dinosaurs–some claim their extinct too.

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughl

    Daniel: Good point. There is no evidence that prayer accomplishes anything. I refer you to the recent Harvard study on the effectiveness (or rather, ineffectiveness) of intercessory prayer.

    Cliverty: Argument from Authority holds no weight. One could just as convincingly argue that the Koran is the ultimate word of God. You would agree with that, wouldn't you?

    Also, you need to read the newspaper. Scientists HAVE recently created single cell life. They injected artificial DNA into an (evil?) stem cell, and that cell started dividing. IT'S BEEN IN EVERY NEWSPAPER FOR THE PAST MONTH. Unfortunately, your Bible doesn't get updated nearly as frequently.

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

    Dsrtrosy: OK, I changed it to "Nature Alone." I don't have time just now to go over the whole post and see if that too much tweaks it in any way, but I'm good with Nature Alone. Seems fine. Thanks.

  • http://edwinpalathinkal.netfirms.com/ edwinhere

    An all loving, prayer listening God is more complex than the most complex artifact (e.g. brain) in this universe. It is "unbelievable" that such a complex God could have been "just there" as the First Cause. It would be as if a hurricane assembled a fighter jet. Hence a God is more improbable than the probability of a hurricane assembling a fighter jet.

    Therefore the chances of God existing or not are NOT even either way.

  • crossovera2

    I love this. This is exactly how I feel. There’s no need to hammer intelligent people with the Bible as our proof, it’ll never work. More love and less arguing.

  • http://blog.jonolan.net jonolan

    Actually it’s not as reasonable to choose to believe in God as to choose not to. Science is built on experiment and observation; there is concrete, empirical evidence to support all accepted scientific theories and natural laws. There is no similar set of concrete, empirical evidence to support the existence of any form of divinity.

    Believing in any form of divinity is not in and of itself rational. That doesn’t make it wrong though! I personally believe that faith is meaningless once that faith is confirmed by fact. It is the very irrationality of faith that provides its merit and its strength.

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

    Nice try John, you “blessed are the peacemakers” you… but I agree it’s not that simple.

    Giordano Bruno (if you’re a believer or non-believer and you don’t know Bruno, Google him. He seems an important fellow to me) called this the “error of dualism.” Because we have two eyes and two nostrils and two hands and two feet and two… well you know the rest of the appendages, we get trapped into thinking the world is either A or Not-A. Either you’re a Communist or a Capitalist, a Republican or a Democrat, a Believer in God or a Disbeliever in God.

    To me the world doesn’t seem to be like that. I find the world to be filled with all sorts of “Damned Things” that don’t fit into any easy either/or true/false categories.

    That’s why Robert Anton Wilson talked about Maybe Logic. Maybe there’s a God. Maybe there’s not. Maybe the Christians are right and I’ll burn in hell for rejecting Christ. Maybe the Sikhs are right and I’ll burn in hell because I just shaved my beard. Maybe the latest scientific models are right and the sun will eventually consume the world many millions of years after I’m dead.

    Considering our abject ignorance about the nature of this planet (we just mapped the human genome a few years ago… something that may start to give us an alphabet to understand what the right questions are let alone telling us what the one and only true answer is) religion and atheism both seem like hubris to me. The best we can hope to do, it seems to me, is to try to understand as much of the data that’s out there that we can and to build models built around that data. However, we must never fall in love with those models because it’s likely new data will eventally force them to be modified and updated.

    If we all admitted that we don’t have the answers, that the answers aren’t contained in any of the books written by people thousands of years ago who didn’t have telescopes or microscopes let alone computers and flush toilets, that we can all learn from each other, then to me the world would be a step closer to sanity.

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

    John, I have an incredible amount of respect for you, especially for making this post. You are correct, there’s no way to know.

    So, I’m going to meet you half way.

    It is just as rational to believe in god as it is to believe that there is no god.

    The problem is that many atheists (at least this one) don’t believe that there is no god. We just lack a belief in god.

    Now some may think that I’m just playing around with the language there, but there is a difference.

    I don’t actively believe that there is no god. I understand that the possibility exists of a god or gods actually being real. But of all the gods that I’ve heard about, read about or had presented to me, I do not believe in any of them.

    Like, for example, wormholes. These would be stable black holes that allow travel through space over long distance without going to relativistic speeds. There’s no evidence for wormholes existing. (The last time I checked, anyway.)

    So, I don’t believe that wormholes exist. That doesn’t mean I actively believe that wormholes don’t exist. I just don’t believe, and will hold that position until there is evidence.

    The difference is subtle, but it is there. And, I think, it is the most rational position when you have no good evidence.

  • benjdm

    We are sentient beings who have experiences. Those experiences always include existing, and often include going from a mental conception of something to creating something material. For theists, this seems to imply an automatic plausibility about an always-existing sentient being that creates things. But if you substitute things that we don't have first person experiences of, like Flying Spaghetti Monsters, or Invisible Air Compressors, or Great Keno Machines, the automatic plausibility goes away.

    Our first person experience of going from mental picture to created reality do not suggest a more likely explanation than our third person experiences of air compressors, spaghetti, or keno machines. There is no reason to propose a God beyond projection.

  • windyblue

    I believe in God, I believe the bible, I believe there is a HELL as God describes in the Bible. Now you say there is not God, so therefore there is no HELL either as described in the bible. OK, now The bible states that one MUST be born again, accept Jesus as there Lord and savior in order to go to heaven. You believe there is no God so therefore there would be no Hell either. Ok, Now, If I am right I go to heaven when I die, and you Go to HELL as describe in the bible. Are YOU will to take that chance? So if you are right than who created the world? Who created Mankind? How did we get here? Any Ideas?

    There have been many people who have tried to prove the bible wrong, and well they ended up believing in it, and and God. No matter how hard they tried to prove that it was fiction the more it became Non Fiction.

  • merkur

    "Can we at least agree that it’s just as reasonable to choose to believe in God as to choose not to?"

    Well, uh, no. Just because something is a binary choice does not mean that both options are equally reasonable. Can we at least agree that it's just as reasonable to choose to believe in a flying teacup floating between Earth and Mars as to choose not to? Clearly not; the reasonableness of each choice depends entirely on the evidence for it (or lack thereof).

  • man on the moon

    Actually there are ways to test scientifically God's existence.

    If the universe were founf to be static and eternal then creation would not have occured hence a creator god would not exist.

    Actually the universe is expanding and everyone has heard of Big Bang theory and some theists tend to identify it with the moment of creation but things aren't that simple. A simple gooogle search about cosmology will bring you information about the current cosmological models like the multiverse or cosmic inflation. And alhtough these are by no means final they show that nature need not be "created".

    My point is that when we finally show that the universe was not created, and the odds are high that we will at that moment we will have shown that god the creator does not exist.

    But that will not hinder people to keep believing in a modified version of course.

    Another way to disprove god would be to solve the "hard problem", namely that conciousness is a product of the brain and that when we die we die, period. No eternal soul, no God.

    To quote Ecclesiastes: From ashes to ashes and from dust to dust.

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

    thereisnogray:

    You are correct. I am an agnostic. I am also an atheist.

    What some people don’t realize is those two terms aren’t mutually exclusive. They are responses to two different questions.

    Question: Is there a god?

    Answer: I don’t know.

    Conclusion: Agnostic.

    Question: Do you believe in a god?

    Answer: No.

    Conclusion: Atheist.

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

    Christopher, your must live in the twilight zone. We are not conspiring against you. I have not conversed with Breezy about anything you have written. As for Dotie, the magic is your head. Her healing occured in her irreparable cancerous cells not her in her mind. The author of her cells that you seem to deny the possibility of doing His genetic engineering magic (o, however) is the only rational explanation for it. I'll take that evidence over any narrow minded view.

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

    breezy:

    “I do so love the “without solid (scientific) observation (by this human being)” nothing exists argument.”

    I don’t believe anyone here said that.

    And the question isn’t about the existence of such things. The question is about whether it is rational to believe in certain things.

    Before we found evidence for cells, it was irrational to believe in cells. Before we found evidence for dinosaurs, it was irrational to believe in dinosaurs. Before there was evidence for evolution, it was irrational to believe in evolution.

    We have evidence for all of those things now, and so it is rational to believe them.

    Note that just because a belief is irrational doesn’t, necessarily, mean that it’s wrong.

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

    Man on the moon: Your faith may also end in the abyss. All cosmologies beginning with a pre-existing something. How could anyone actually prove the universe eternal and how would that negate the existence of eternal being who may have created it.

    Once the body turns to dust, all of us will find will certainly discover whether God is real or not, but do you ignore or reject the medical based after-life studies of people's experience after-death experience?

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

    windyblue:

    "Morse, God does not want to send ANYONE to hell."

    (Of course I don't believe he does send us to hell, because I don't believe he exists, but I'll answer as if he did just for fun.)

    Really? Then why, in your opinion, doesn't he just stop?

    "How many people do you know love you that much to die for you?"

    Did he die for me? Christians seem to keep telling me that he's still around. That's not exactly death, is it?

    "he cannot allow and will not allow someone who refuses him, into heaven."

    Okay. And the alternative is eternal punishment? My mother loves me enough to die for me. But if I upset her, or even refused her, or even told her I was against her, she wouldn't kill me. Or force me to be tortured for eternity.

    "like I said God created man with a free will. So if you want to take that chance go a head."

    Someone holds a gun to your head. They say you are free to do as you want. But, if you do anything they don't like, they'll pull the trigger.

    Is that free will?

  • http://crumblestone.wordpress.com snowhite197

    Christopher McLaughlin:

    "They injected artificial DNA into an (evil?) stem cell, and that cell started dividing"

    Because I am a Christian, I should probably have been offended by this… instead i caught myself trying to figure out why you thought the stem cell was evil… LOL. Sorry, I had a long, long day at the office….

    Anyways, thanks for the laugh…

  • thegodguy

    It just so happens that I am writing a book entitlrd "Proving God." The reason why Holy Scripture cannot at present prove the existence of God is because it is little known that it is actually a multi-dimensional document (which is the only way God's Infinite Wisdom can be contained with a 1400 page text).

    Once this information becomes more widely available it will even allow for systematic theology to interface with the New Physics.

    The Lord God did not create the universe one way and the Holy Word another. I will attempt to show that the patterning principles within the deeper architecture of the Bible are also the template for the all natural processes and bio-complexity of the physical universe.

  • Brad

    Please notice, John, that your justification is very weak, if even here. (Try applying it to something other than God.)

    Firstly, you do not go into any explanation of what we mean with the word "probability" when applied to metaphysical entities. Also, you don't give an operational definition of god for use in the context of your post. (BTW – Are you speaking of God, capitalized due to being a proper noun, of a holy scripture of some sort or are you speaking of just any old divine intelligence god?)

    Secondly, you reason thusly:

    1. "chances of God existing or not are even either way"

    2. "none of us can know which of those two choices is the correct one"

    3. Therefore, "choosing one must make exactly as much sense as choosing the other"

    The biggest problem should be glaring – your assumption that we can't know if there's a god or not (Premise #2) is exactly what you set out to show in this post! You assume the answer as a given when trying to justify it! I suppose, then, "there's no arguing it," as the title forewarns us here… ;)

    In the best debates and arguments I have heard on god-belief, attempted proofs of a god's existence or nonexistence can and is done by setting up (1) an operational definition for a god, (2) inferring necessary facts from this definition, and then (3) showing how reality fits the theory and necessitates a god's existence/nonexistence.

    The "probability" argument has been tried variably before, by both atheists and theists. For prime famous example, Richard Dawkins reverses the theistic Boeing 747 version of the probability argument, by saying that complexity in the world (or universe) necessitates a more complex intelligent designer, which must be more unlikely to exist than just our universe alone. (This may sound intuitive, but it is not conclusive or even at all founded. My beef with Dawkins here is that he still keeps the assumption that complexity implies unlikelihood.)

    On the flip side, in some sorts of anthropic arguments it is said that our world, with life existing on Earth as it does, is so incredibly unlikely with universal constants of almost zero elasticity (I mean any small change in our physics dramatically changes how the world would be) that it must have been planned.

    Problem here is, (1) how is life unlikely? (It could be a very likely phenomenon found in most possible physics for all we know, due to bizarre life forms. And yes, I'm ignoring the problem of consciousness here but if we introduce that we'll be writing a book here.) and (2) "probability of this universe" over others assumes there was some kind of deciding factor, process or event. Perhaps a god was playing darts, throwing the creative spark onto the space of possible universes! Does this god aim towards certain types of possible universes?

    Hopefully I made the point that you have no stated reason for your position, and that there are methods that may rationally break from agnosticism. Probability is one way, the Bible (or existence of holy texts, or religions, or human religious tendencies, or morality, etc.), personal life anecdotes / stories, and direct infinite knowledge / revelation are other ways to claim justifiable knowledge of a god.

  • Brad

    … and existence of good / evil used to make a position on existence of god. (Theodicies are proposed rebukes of evil->no god arguments.)

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughlin

    Sven: You are not insane. You are, however delusional. How much is your god exactly the way you would like it to be. Do you and your god have any substantial differences of opinion?

    dsrtrosy: You actually have to make a point for any “extreme atheists” to disagree with you. Please tell us how “Science agrees with both points of view.”

    Daniel: All living things are related. They all arose from a single organism, about 3.5 billion years ago. Read any college textbook on biology to learn how it all works out. I don’t feel like re-writing one of those textbooks here.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    I cannot KNOW if there is God nor if there is NOT a God like I know other topics. Such as, I know computer science. I took courses in it. I have a degree in it. Before studing CS I did not know CS. I now KNOW a great deal about CS. I can come to know other things through similar learning experiences. I know F=ma, C=2(pi)r… and a couple of other things like don’t touch the cactus. I can learn them and teach them. I can Know them. I cannot teach God or lack-of-God in this same manner. We can teach the world is round. We can teach the world is not flat. Anyone can come to know these thing by reading, studying, learning… We cannot know that there is a God in this same context.

    From a protestant perspective this is by design. If God were as obvious as the hand in front of our faces, it/he would be in all the textbooks. There would be no denying it. And hence, there would be no choice. We would be walking with him happily or grudgingly depending on how we felt towards him. But we could not choose to not believe anymore than we could choose to believe in a flat earth.

    Knowing something does not exist is discussed already with Morse’ wormhole example in comment #4.

    So maybe John is actually right. You know, in the post way / up there.

  • windyblue

    Morse, God does not want to send ANYONE to hell. Hell was made for Satan. God wants all mankind be in heaven with him. But God gave man a free will, we are not robots. Hell is not about Christianity, Its about people who refuse to accept Jesus as there Lord and savior, For the bible states Except you be born again you shall not see the Kingdom of heaven. John 3:3.

    Jesus Loves you Morse, he came to this earth and died on the cross for you, He was stripped of all his clothes, beat to the point of near death, Nails put through his hands and feet, all because he LOVES YOU. He took the sins of the world upon himself. So you could spend eternity with him in heaven. How many people do you know love you that much to die for you? God is holy and rightous, and pure, he cannot allow and will not allow someone who refuses him, into heaven. You can believe what ever you want Morse, that your choice,

    like I said God created man with a free will. So if you want to take that chance go a head. For we are only in this world for a short period of time and eternity is forever.

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

    Christopher: I point you to Dotie Osteen and her book. She has her own medical evidence for terminal cancer. Prayer does show God is alive and well on planet earth. Just ask her.

    I agree (that alone is a miracle) all thing are related even quantum particles in the slimy amoeba that God probably reprogrammed its DNA to become to a gold fish. No textbook proves anything came from a single organism. Why? It was a uniqque, singular, never to be repeated again, unobservable, and did I say unprovable? Better get to rewritting!

  • breezy

    I dislike battling with an unarmed person but I really have to take issue with Christopher McLaughlin….besides being kinda rude and condesending he is also not very scientificly literate.

    Each individual stem cells is a living cell…to inject (artificial) DNA into them does not creation make, it is simply grafting on a sub-cellular level. It is not creating a living cell from nothing.

    And I believe Jesus spoke about grafting (and people of that time period where very much aware of how to do it) long ago in the pages of His word

    If you’re going to believe every (scientific) thing you read (in a man written book/newspaper), at least do the homework and don’t insult people who believe what they read

  • http://www.atheistjournal.com/ccmclaugh Christopher McLaughlin

    Daniel, breezy, you guys are pulling my leg now, right? Am I getting too ‘serious” about this topic? Maybe I need to take a deep breath.

    For clarification, the stem cell in question had it’s DNA removed and replaced by short, very rudimentary artificial DNA strands. Anyway, look it up, don’t just dismiss me. The promise of this research is that very soon (maybe in the next year or two) there will be more dramatic instances of artificial life. Just wait baby! It’ll happen before the Second Coming (I’m being facetious).

    Dotie Osteen and her magical healing scriptures? …don’t insult people who believe what they read? You guys’ standard for evidence is so low that anything is possible.

    This party must end. Please read all my previous posts for further refutation of anything else you may try to pass off. If you seriously want to continue this discussion, contact me via the link in my name above. I’ll listen and we can talk.

  • manny pineda

    I believe in God. There is too much evidence to support creation. But evolution have tried to make their faithful believers think that its a fact when in reality up to now from the day the theory have been born no concrete evidence have been accepted as a factual truth and was all refuted and found to be not accurate. Its amazing this theory have been thought in schools and widely accepted but they never tell the truth that its just a "theory" (just idea) and not a proven fact.

    heres my personal logic, as we know the geneticists have been scratching their heads for the last two decades or so because of the inherent "inteligence" found on every cell that its too complex and orderly systems going from smallest molecular level down to quarks; that its impossible to say all of this just came into existence just by mere chance. That system is more sophisticated than the entire city of New York.

    It takes intelligence of a person in order to plan and think to make something as orderly and systematic. what they have done is take a look at those tiny things and enlarge them as big as one mile or so in order to investigate it and observe it. theres no way that that system found in life so tiny came by chance.

    so, heres my logic in this theres got to be a person more intelligent that human beings who thought it all out and plan and eventually created all this things that we see in the universe. someone who is not bound by time and space and immortal. that means this person is much bigger than the universe. in order for him to create universe he himself must be outside of time and space and must be infinite (no limitations) and inhabit eternity. take for example the difference between infinite and finite. a finite must come from a infinite person or being. just like we cannot create something more powerful than human beings. the person who created humans must be more powerful and more intelligent than humans. A infinite doesnt need to travel because he is everywhere (omnipresent) doesnt make mistakes (knows everything- omniscient) he is not limited but powerful. he doesnt have a beginning nor end. and all these descriptions i mentioned, the finite beings like humans are exactly opposite of an infinite being which is God. we can better appreciate it if we put our perspective from the one who made it all the infinite one because we are all limited using limited reasoning. if we are to create the universe how will we do it if we are mere finite?

  • http://christianseverin.wordpress.com Christian Severin

    This is not really helpful in proving or refuting the existence of God, but I'm surprised that nobody quoted Stephen Roberts yet:

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

  • Sven

    (on .55)

    It is o.k. not to believe there is a God if that is your choice, but that doesn't take away there is one. Proven or not.

    Why keep living in doubt when one can be certain. Why would someone live in constant questioning?

    Are you aloud not to believe? Yeah, sure. That is a God given right. He will not force Himself. People might force their religion on other people, but God will never force Himself.

    But agian. Is it possible He doesn't exist? No ofcourse not. That would be saying there is no internet… :-) And this blog doesn't exist. That is how real God is in my life. There are millions of people who don't know about this blog, yet it does exist. Are they aloud to believe otherwhise? Sure they are. But it doesn't take away it does exist.

    Ah, but now you might say… "Well, Sven, this can be proven". God aswell can be proven. Am I gonna proof God to you? Nope, because He will proof Himself. He will make sure you will know of His existens. Just ask Him… If you really want to know?

    Why live in constant questioning? I can not agree on a 50/50 % chance that God might not exist. That would be stupid for me… and not reasonable???

    Weird.

    Why does a person want to live in constant questioning and trying to agree on doubt and possibilities, when one can be sure…

  • born4battle

    "For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?"1 Cor 1: 19-20

    ". . .since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20

    If God doesn't exist, why do folks get so upset and accuse those who merely talk about Him of trying to convert them? If I just talk about my car, my dog, or anything for that matter, am I accused of trying you to buy the same car or breed of dog? Of course not? Through the years If God is not real, why do so many get so upset when he is merely talked about?

    I attended a military career progression school one time that required everyone to present a 20 minute talk about anything non-military. I chose to discuss various 'traditions' around the world concerning sometning we call the 'Flood'. I mentioned that I would mention God or a 'god' as a central character in the 'traditions' and the Bible as a 'source' document for for the 'tradition'. When I was done, there was a long agrument about my having even mentioned God in the classroom and the man following me froze and refused to do his presentation because it was about Greek mythology.

    Why is it God's name that is taken in vain? When's the last time you saw someone bang their toe against a bedpost and shout "Buddha!", or "Hare Krishna!". instead of Jesus Christ.

    You don't have to answer – I'm not trying to argue a point here. Just think about it.

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

    "If God doesn’t exist, why do folks get so upset and accuse those who merely talk about Him of trying to convert them?"

    Because it can be annoying. And I would submit that most people who just talk about their beliefs aren't accused of conversion.

    "If God is not real, why do so many get so upset when he is merely talked about?"

    The most recent answer? 9/11. And the other various horrible things that religious people are responsible for.

    Whether those people were 'true' or 'correct' doesn't matter. The point is, they talked about god. A lot. And so some people make that connection.

    I generally don't. If someone is just constantly talking about god, and I don't want to hear it, I walk away.

    "Why is it God’s name that is taken in vain? When’s the last time you saw someone bang their toe against a bedpost and shout “Buddha!”, or “Hare Krishna!”. instead of Jesus Christ."

    Perhaps we should go to India and find out?

    Do you honestly think that people becoming angry over discussion of your religion, or using your god's name as a curse word, somehow backs up any religious claim? I'm asking this one hundred percent seriously.

    And if the answer is 'yes', then you should be believing in Islam as well.

  • Secularsage

    What interests me is that whenever these debates crop up, they're always about atheism vs. Christianity, not atheism vs. deism.

    I used to be a Christian, but years of research and measured thought have led me to the conclusion that Christianity is not any more true than any other religion. It was painful for me to arrive at that point, and I assure you all that it was with much prayer, but here I am. I cannot believe that something is absolutely true when there are so many logical gaps telling me otherwise.

    One example (and I could spend all day citing many more) is that the Torah forbids human sacrifice, and yet God himself is supposed to have violated his own unbreakable rule by accepting the sacrifice of his son. Apologists will talk around it, spouting stuff about how Jesus was supposed to fulfill the law so that he no longer had to follow it (which, in turn, contradicts what Jesus himself says in the gospels). From an objective standpoint, however, the dilemma is either that Christianity is not true or that God is a liar. Either conclusion is troubling.

    I remain a deist, for the time being, for the same basic reason that John cited in the article above — philosophically speaking, the statement "there is a God" is either true, or it is not. Being a fan of Plato's writings, I lean towards the idea that a higher form does exist.

    With that said, I think John has set up somewhat of a straw man argument here. The idea seems to be that if we can all find common ground, perhaps we can admit that since we don't know whether or not there's a God, we also can't disprove Christianity. I would merely like to point out that the question of God and the question of whether or not a specific religion is true are two entirely different dilemmas. If John had made the argument that since we can't know whether or not there is a God, we must be willing to consider Islam as being potentially true, most of the atheists and Christians in this debate would find themselves on the same side as they hammered John for a logical fallacy.

    Someone will say "But Christianity is true. Islam is a corruption." And again, that is a false dilemma, since any follower of Islam certainly believes that he or she is following the one, true faith and that Christianity is a corruption of it. In that light, it makes more sense to step back and examine all religion under the same lens than to reject all religions, except for one, because it happens to be the one that the observer prefers.

    Personally, I encourage the study of ancient religions such as Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and the Egyptian mystery cults. I think many Christians would be surprised how many parallels these ancient religions have to their faith… and how much stronger their moral codes are than those in the Bible.

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

    But I didn't say anything at all about Christianity in my post. I made a very specific point of being clear tha I was only talking about the possibility of "a" God existing.

    C'mon, now. One challenge at a time….

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

    Well, as I say, first things first. I do believe (and know) that an extremely sound argument can be made for the validity of the Christian concept of God–and of course I have intended what I've said here to be the first step in that argument. But thus far, ALL I'm trying to say is that it's just as reasonable to believe in A God–any God, any Divine Overseeing Creative Intelligence–as it is to believe in none.

    And, as you see, I've rather utterly failed to establish even that simple bedrock.

  • Dan Cartwright

    "Do you honestly think that people becoming angry over discussion of your religion, or using your god’s name as a curse word, somehow backs up any religious claim? I’m asking this one hundred percent seriously."

    God doesn't need backup.

    "What interests me is that whenever these debates crop up, they’re always about atheism vs. Christianity, not atheism vs. deism."

    That might be because Jesus Christ is tho only name under heaven by which man may be savd and the devil just hates that.

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

    "God doesn’t need backup."

    Then why is there supposedly three of him?

    Heehee…sorry…I enjoy trinity humor…

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Dwight:

    "The Christian can not believe there is Allah because he won’t listen to the Word of Allah from whence faith is engendered. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Muhhamad.

    Consequently, if a person really is serious about the question of Allah, he needs to pay attention to the only book which speaks to the question, the Qur'an. Everything else is conjecture."

    See how easy that is? If you can reject the above, written from the Muslim point of view, you'll know why Atheists reject it from your point of view. It's just as meaningless one way as the other.

  • Hjordes

    Morse – #27

    Thank-you for the clarification of agnostic vs. atheist. Very interesting. A question, then…

    May an atheist have either no belief one way or the other OR have an active disbelief (where he would answer question 1 with a "no")?

    John – #23

    roflmao

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

    Hjordes,

    The loosest definition of atheist is basically this: If you answer the question "Do you believe in god?" or 'Is there a god?" with anything other than "Yes", then you're an atheist.

    When you say "no belief one way or the other", what do you mean? Since I don't actively disbelieve, it could be argued that I don't believe one way or the other.

    There are some atheists who actively disbelieve in god. Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller jumps to mind in particular.

    And, depending on the specific god, I might actively disbelieve in it.

  • Dan Cartwright

    From an series of articles I read recently – no verses – just something to think about. and it addresses what we . The author calls this the Fact/Value Dichotomy. What follows is part of an article and not Dan's words or original thoughts.

    Most Americans believe there are two floors to a house called: "Reality."

    The lower floor is called: FACT ((Science/Math)

    The upper floor is called: VALUES (Anything in the Metaphysical Realm)

    Most Westerners have bought into the belief that we can only know FACTS (such as math or certain aspects of science), and that VALUES are "personal" "to me" (i.e. "I like chocolate ice cream, I hate Republicans, I like the Bible, I hate cats, etc.). So when we make a truth claim about something in the Metaphysical world (or the upper floor), they assume we are claiming that our "values" are "objectively true" (which is impossible) and that we want to impose our "values" on everybody else.

    I have to agree with the majority on this one. That would be very arrogant indeed! It would especially be bad if we sought to make laws to impose our preferences, tastes or values on other people.

    Can There Be Real Metaphysical Facts?

    The real question is, "Can anything in the metaphysical realm be a real FACT?" The answer is a resounding YES! The skeptic denies this because he can't test anything in the upper floor using the tools of the lower floor (math and science). So he believes that the upper floor is useful for us to function in the world as we perceive it, but in reality it is a mirage or a dream. Nothing in the metaphysical realm is truly there. It is just a useful social construct to help us to cope with life as we perceive it to be.

    To debunk this notion, let's look at a few things the skeptic uses in everyday life that are in the upper floor:

    1. Logic. Have you ever tested a "logic" in a test tube? Of course not, yet the skeptic of moral truth will always insist that you should be logical in your arguments.

    2. Math. Have you ever seen a "math" under a microscope? No, Math is a metaphysical concept.

    3. Science. Believe it or not, Science itself is a discipline, it is not matter or energy. You can't verify that Science exists by using the tools of science. You can't touch, taste, hear, see or smell a "science." You need to presuppose the metaphysical world is real to talk about science.

    4. Emotion. Most skeptics show emotion when they are trying to tell you that they are right and you are wrong. "The cosmos is all there is, was, or ever will be!" they argue. Is there emotion merely a chemical reaction in their body as their brain is responding to external stimuli?

    5. Thoughts. Are thoughts merely an illusion or are they real? If they are an illusion, then the very statements that there is "no such thing as objective morality" or that "God does not exist," are just illusions and you shouldn't listen to them.

    Contrary to popular belief, we have to begin with the reality of the upper floor to prove the existence of the lower floor! It is true that you can't test metaphysical truths through scientific methods.

    However, you can't even talk about scientific methods unless you first presuppose the existence of metaphysical truths.

  • Catherine M. Howell

    We will NEVER argue an atheist to believe in God or Jesus as "Saviour"… so, what is the point of arguing? They always quote some kind of nonsensical theory or someone else's belief. People do have the right to believe what they want to believe.

    Living out our faith is the key…with love, and longsuffering towards everyone! As far as I can recollect…not being a Bible scholar…Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him. He did say to "love your enemies" and to "pray for those who persecute and falsely accuse." Where do we get off thinking that because we are saved that we are better than anyone else. We are admitting by accepting His Sacrifice for us that we are sinners in need of forgiveness.

    What we ought to do is fall on our faces before Him and ask Him honestly why we are not making an impact. Live your faith and you will impact people. Do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing and you will impact people. Ask people to forgive you when you have wronged them.

    I realize that we'll get persecuted in a lot of cases when we are Christians but that does not lessen our responsibility to get right with The Lord and get real!! There are so many hurting people in the world that need to be shown compassion. They need real people…not some super spiritual "Talker."

    Just my two sense.

    We need to quit telling people how wrong they are and LOVE them! We cannot do this unless we get real before the Lord about our own sin and our own issues. Once we get honest then He can work! He will accomplish His Plan whether we jump on the wagon or not.

    Blessings!

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

    Yeah, Hjordes.

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

    "1. Logic.

    2. Math.

    3. Science.

    4. Emotion.

    5. Thoughts. "

    None of these things are metaphysical.

    We can study thought and emotion using brain scans. Science and logic and math are disciplines and techniques derived by humans in order to understand reality.

    How are any of these things outside the physical world?

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

    Morse: Oh, dude. Mistake. LOVE–easily the most powerful force in the human experience–is as outside of "science" and "logic" as you can get. I trust you won't even try to argue that all of the qualities of love are subject to any kind of quantification. Surely you'll agree that, at the very least, love is outside objective measurements. Or logical grasp. Or … cogent "explanation."

    Love is THE overriding, dominant power in the human experience.

    And hey–whaddaya know?–Christians believe that God is love.

    This is fun, talking about God within a logical/scientific context. But anyone who has ANY experience with genuine spiritual or metaphysical phenomena knows that talking about God or intense spirituality is to the reality of that experience what reading about being on top of a mountain is to actually being on top of a mountain.

    We don't believe in God because we want to. We believe in God because we feel the truth that God believes in us.

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

    John,

    "all of the qualities of love are subject to any kind of quantification."

    "Love is THE overriding, dominant power in the human experience."

    I see absolutely no reason why these two statements have to be, or are, contradictory.

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

    the first one there doesn't make sense. i just don't know what it's saying.

    But STOP if your point is that love can be measured or understood by the rational mind. You know you know better than that.

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

    Actually, I do disagree with you John.

    I don't think we know everything about love and emotion. I would never say so. But there is no evidence to suggest that love, or any other emotion, is somehow transcendent or exists beyond the physical.

    The truth is, we can study the human mind and see how the sections of the brain light up in response to certain stimuli, and can even recreate certain feelings, like love, with different chemicals and electric currents. We can even make pretty good hypothesis about why we evolved emotions in this way. I can go into some of those, if you like.

    Maybe that sounds cold and clinical, but that doesn't make it any less true. And love is still a wonderful, powerful and often confusing thing.

    That doesn't mean there's any actual magic in it.

  • Dan Cartwright

    The dictionaries I looked a were from the early 1900s through today! A bunch of 'muddleheads' writing dictionaries, I guess. They been mucking things up for a long time! Why don't you write them all and set them straight?

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Dan C: did you find any live guys, those of same caliber as your dead guys list, who have the benefit of modern technology and experimentation, who disagree with Morse?

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

    It's cute how you seem to imply my using of the word "muddle" and applying it to people as 'muddleheads', as if I ever used the term. Keep going. I'm sure it will help your argument.

    If those people use the word metaphysics to mean something theoretical, then fine. But just because they use it that way, it doesn't automatically place those theoretical things on par with the supernatural claims you have made in past posts.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Back to where this started:

    "Passions aside, there is no way of knowing — in any sort of objective, empirically verifiable way — which of those two is true. Anyone who claims there is a way to positively know whether or not there’s a God must be understood to have at some point become irrational. (No offense, fellow Christians, but we must acknowledge that the Bible isn’t proof that our God exists. The Bible is an informing affirmation of the God in which we believe. I think we’d all do very well to remember that feeling certain that something is true doesn’t make it so.)"

    That holds true if we are talking in srtictly human terms. When the Holy Spirit of God has impressed upon our human spirit that we are God's children (because we have believed) our knowledge of Him is as certain as knowing I sit here in my cube at Schriever SFB and breathing air (unlss I am a figment of my own imagination).

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

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

    wineymomma,

    Agreed. But how will learning how the chemicals and charges in our brains operate when we experience emotions, or learning the evolutionary reasoning for the emotions existing as they do, hurt anyone?

  • Dan Cartwright

    Just because we can murder unborn babies under the banner of 'women's right to choose, doesn't make it a right right thing to do, especially when science/technology has shown clearly that unborn babies experience pain when being ripped from their mothers' wombs . Maybe that's what she meant.

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

    Don't presume to know my position on abortion or any other issue unless I share them, Dan, and I won't presume to know yours.

    That being said, my comment has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, so I see no relevance to your comment.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Morse,

    That was just an example of what might be considered by some of what we 'can do' but maybe shoulodn't. There was nothing personal intended, nor did I presume to know your position on anything. I didn't even address anyhone specifically since I was just trying to define a comment that wasn't even yours.

  • Secularsage

    “But I didn’t say anything at all about Christianity in my post. I made a very specific point of being clear tha I was only talking about the possibility of “a” God existing.”

    John,

    My mistake — I was clearly thinking back to one of the two posts you refer to at the beginning of the article.

    With that said… when you say you want people to accept the idea of *a* God, you’re not talking about just any God. You want them to talk about a God that resembles the *Christian* God so you have some common ground.

    I’m assuming you certainly don’t want them to approach this debate believing in Baal, Asherah, Kali, Osiris, Marduk, Dionysus, Set or Molech. I’m also assuming that you are associating the concept of God with qualities such as “good,” “perfect” and “creator,” all of which are Judeo-Christian concepts.

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

    And I responded to her with 'agreed'. So there was no need for you to comment as if I disagreed with her.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Getting touchy, are we? You are a mind reader now? "as if" you disagreed with her? There's a term for that. Eisegesis – reading into something what is not there.

  • Dan Cartwright

    John Shore, apoligies to you though for not staying on track.

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

    John,

    “But thus far, ALL I’m trying to say is that it’s just as reasonable to believe in A God–any God, any Divine Overseeing Creative Intelligence–as it is to believe in none.”

    What is your response to the arguments made against that position?

    If you don’t mind me asking.

  • http://www.ldbeams.wordpress.com ladybeams

    I just want to thank you again for maintaining your blog here. I enjoy reading your posts and actually enjoy reading the discussions you inspire.

    Just one comment on today’s post. While I concede to your 50/50 argument (altho for me there’s never been any question that God exists) aren’t geologists proving more and more that things accounted for in the Bible actually happened? or that places, etc. existed? I’m afraid I’m not very well versed in the facts, but it seems I have heard quite a bit about science and the Bible coming together on more than one occasion.

  • Cytoplasm Clan Catal

    Its wrong to say that's there's as good a chance of there being a go as there isn't. Evidence is needed to determine chance. A total lack of evidence combined with an understanding of the world that seems to contradict a proposition, could be considered weak evidence against. That's irrelevant though. Its an incorrect assumption that we have no evidence of God. We may lack appedectic proof. But we don't lack evidence. There are a plethora of studies that have gathered information suggesting god's existence. The information suggesting the Christian God, is particularly compelling. Books and websites can be easilly googled involving fulfilled prophecy and archaeological corroboration.

    There are many points that point to God. There has been no evidence that there isn't a God. I think therefore its more reasonable to believe in a God.

    Faith doesn't mean belief without evidence. Not here. Faith means belief because of evidence. Faith without evidence is unreasonable.

    Its not intellectually honest to say there's no evidence. Either one has not researched or is being hyperbolic. Disagree with the evidence if you like. But don't play pretend.

    Peace and Blessings

    Cyt

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

    Morse: No, no: I don’t mind you asking, of course. (By the way, you are generally Kicking Bootiye out here, you commenting fiend, you. Too bad you’re going to have to spend eternity having the living flesh seared off your bones. Bummer for you.)

    The arguments against my proposition, of course, came in so many different forms, and tended to contain within them so many variables that would need defining before they could be properly addressed, that … that that’s that. Too much.

    Oh, but one thing: I thought some of the arguments were clear and sound–and those, I found, tended (as did one of the first of yours, I believe) to point to what amounted to slopiness (?) in my original post. Remeber? How I needed to have referred to the idea that it’s just as reasonable to THINK there’s a God, rather than, as I had it, to BELIEVE in a God? So I actually went back and changed what I wrote, for the sake of anyone new to the post. I don’t think that mattered to any of the commentors–and why would it, insofar as who goes back and REreads blog posts?–but I appreciated being able to take into account that good point, and to use it to make my proposition tighter. That was great. NOW I really do think what I’ve written can’t be too reasonably argued against. But. Like that matters.

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

    John,

    Thanks. If Prometheus could stand having his liver eaten out, I think I could handle some flesh searing. And I’ll have Mark Twain, Bertrand Russell, and Shakespeare to talk to, so I think I can deal. ;)

    And from an agnostic atheist to an agnostic theist, I more or less agree with you.

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

    “I more or less agree with you.” See? ALWAYS WITH THE WAFFLING WITH YOU PEOPLE!

    Intellectualization. The bane of the genuine spiritual experience, which (I say) is so necessary to human balance. (AND DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FOCUSED ON OR IN ANY CONSCIOUS WAY INCLUDE A GOD, I KNOW! I WASN’T a moral, spiritually inclined non-Christian for 38 years for nothing.)

    Speaking of Twain. I’m a Twain freak, basically. It’s something to study his life, and see his whole life-long pull to and repulsion away from Christianity. It was such a big deal to him.

  • Dwight

    I, as a believer in Jesus Christ and his word of Scripture, have always asserted that his word is definitive in all matters. Therefore, to the question of is there a God or not is a study in fulitity due to the fact the God’s word says that one must have FAITH to believe that there is a God, at all. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see… 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible… 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    The athiest can not believe there is a God because he won’t listen to the Word of God from whence faith is engendered. Romans 10:8

    But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming… Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

    Consequently, if a person really is serious about the question of God, he needs to pay attention to the only book which speaks to the question, the Bible. Everything else is conjecture.

  • man on the moon

    John, I fear that the situation hasn’t improved much now that you changed your post. Forgive me if I am pedantic but I have my problems with your (new) formulation:

    “it’s just as reasonable to choose to think there is a God as it is to choose to think there isn’t? ”

    First of all you contradict yourself. Since you admit that you do not know

    because “we can’t know” what does motivate you to choose to think that there is a god ? Your choice of thinking this way and not the other is not based on empirical evidence nor logical deduction. Hence it is irrational. Equally irrational as when you wrote that you believe in it.

    You cannot justify a theistic stance by adopting an agnostic one.

    Further you did not bother to correct the apparently wrong statement of equal probabilities. I know it has already been refuted by others but I need to put my two cents on it:

    If I claimed that I am a master of the art of voodoo and can cause you physical harm by putting needles in a puppet, and used that claim to ask you for 100.000 USD (hoping you have so much money) so that I will not harm you, WOULD YOU Neven for a split of a second consider

    giving me the money ? No ? Why not ? I either have voodoo powers or not so it’s 50%-50% Why risk ypour life ?

    And now think what is a voodoo spell compared to creating and maintaining a universe that is so large that light needs 93 billion years to travel across it. And not only that but also compare it to being capable of hearing the thoughts of 6 billion people simultaneously only in one of the millions of planets you have created…etc. etc.

    Do you still give 50% to the existence of God ?

    Third point:

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

    OK, logic, Dwight. What we’re striving for here is LOGIC. (But thanks for what you’ve said, by the way. It’s beautiful. It has no place in a conversation that’s trying to be grounded in universal rationality, but … very passionate! And passion for something greater than oneself is always a beatuiful thing.)

  • born4battle

    Sam, Nice to see you!

  • benjdm

    I think the genetic component of this difference in our beliefs gets overlooked a lot. For example, I can remember going to church and attending after-school religion classes from a young age. I also remember disbelieving from pretty much the very beginning. If someone was going to tell me they knew something , they also had to tell me HOW they knew it. By what method?

    Well, we have developed scientific methods, historical methods, mathematical methods, etc., by which practitioners can openly work on converging on more and more accurate beliefs. I see us as being in a position of fundamental ignorance, finding ways to reduce our ignorance about our experiences only with great difficulty. And you know what? There is no theological method by which practitioners can openly work on converging on more and more accurate religious beliefs. If there were, the world's religions would be converging toward one religion.

    Since this is how I've been since age 7-ish or younger, the genetic component must be fairly large. My best understanding of theists' basic view (instead of my view of our fundamental ignorance that we can lessen) would be that there is an authority, a source of fundamental (total) knowledge from which we can very imperfectly learn.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Metaphysical:

    1: of or relating to metaphysics

    2 a: of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses b: supernatural

    3: highly abstract or abstruse; also : theoretical

    4 often capitalized : of or relating to poetry especially of the early 17th century that is highly intellectual and philosophical and marked by unconventional imagery

    — meta·phys·i·cal·ly

    The author may have been referring to the mental/theoretical/abstract compontnts of the items on his list, which gives each of them a metaphysical component. Just a guess.

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

    And I’d say that third definition is stretching the meaning of metaphysical specifically so it can be used in an argument such as this.

  • Dan Cartwright

    I found several other definitions from other sources that include the ‘third’ definition dating back to the early 1900s. Must be a ‘metaphysical’ conspiracy going on!

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    This is crazy.

    Why would we want to quantify love?

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

    Conspiracy? Not at all. Muddling a definition? Certainly.

    It isn’t suprising a definition dating back to the 1900s called thought and emotion and science metaphysical. We’ve learned a great deal since then. Now, that particular part of the definition is inaccurate.

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

    wineymomma,

    It’s not about wanting. It’s about whether we can do it or not. If we can understand emotion on a purely physical level (get your minds out of the gutter, I don’t mean physical THAT way!), how does that change anything? How does it lessen the experience?

    The way you feel when you’re full from your favorite meal is completely a response in the brain to the act of eating and digesting. Because we understand that, does it somehow make you feel less satisfied when you’re finished eating? I would hope not.

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

    Dan,

    There are dictionaries that still say that atheism is denying god, and I’ve even come across a few that mention atheism as satan worship.

    Dicitionaries aren’t absolute. Nor are their writers perfect.

  • Dan Cartwright

    DUH! Want me to contact the dictionary authors and tell them how they muddled it? You didn’t answer my question.

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

    Your question? Why don’t I write them?

    Because I don’t care enough, and it usually doesn’t take long to debunk the idea that emotions, thought, math and science are metaphysical things.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Inteesting. I just googled “metaphysical components of math, science, emotions” and it appears that a lot of dead guys (Atistotle, Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Benedictus de Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume), guys like that – muddleheads – might disagree with you. You are digging your hole a bit deeper. . .

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    Ya’ll,

    At this point my comment would be see #1, add respect and this time out respectfully state I agree that the answer is yes to the following:

    “Before dealing with the validity of any one God, can we at least agree that choosing to think there’s a God is just as rational as choosing to think there’s none?”

    If defining the words “just as” to be “equal,” that would mean one rational thought is equal to another rational thought. I think that’s what is tripping readers up. Both the no god argument and God exists argument are not going to look the same if lined up side by side on a scale. The scale will tip one way or another depending on, or relative to, one’s life experiences, belief system and world view. Then the reader will decide only one thought is valid.

    Evidence? See all comments above (except for my earlier one that wanted to just reject all thoughts instead of face them squarely – I apologize).

    But to bury the lead, the question really doesn’t deal with the adjective “rational,” but with the present tense of the verb, or act “Choice,” i.e. “Choosing.”

    Put another way – can we agree it is rational to make a choice? This is regardless of the choice’s consequences. That I can agree with. Making choices is a rational endeavor we do every day, most of the time without really “knowing” the outcome.

    Apologies for my flippant, arrogant remarks above.

    – Sam

  • Roger Cotner

    Is there a God go take a good look at what is around you. See how things are made how they work. Do you think that it all was a accident that our bodies as compress working machine as they are. It didn’t just happen. Everything is put there for a reson. Only God good have the reson to create the things we take for granite. I read the Bible because I want to know the truth. So that I can be the way he ment for me to be. Then when he decides to come and get me I will be ready to be with the one I believe in. For I know I am a part of him, as our childeren are a part of us.

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  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    manny: I don't know how something that starts at zero can grow exponentially, but you are right: scientific studies (except those relating to mathematics, biology, chemistry, cosmology, history, archeology, or any other verifiable science) all lean towards an intelligent creation.

  • Brad

    I have quite a bit to say in this discussion.

    There is hard evidence for evolution; it is not merely some fun idea. It is the most scientifically supported theory explaining how organisms today are the way that they are. It is supported by anatomy (why do whales have defunct legs?), embryology (why are we exactly the same as fish embryos before diverging in development?), biochemistry, genetics, geography, and of course the fossil record. Pharmacists fight evolution, farmers and ranchers employ it. Did you know we can design foxes with the personalities of cute puppy dogs by means of selection? That’s change, evolution happening.

    Geneticists aren’t “scratching their head” about how the world is complex. New York wasn’t, and never could, be designed by one person. It is designed gradually through urbanization, which isn’t exactly a process with a goal in mind. Even if God chose to have the world the way it is, then there still isn’t even evidence that he’s continuing to tweak his creation. Everything seems in fine, natural order even without his assistance.

    Something complex doesn’t require something more complex, that’s a very simple fact. A seed does not design a tree, a cell does not plan an animal.

    “Why does a person want to live in constant questioning and trying to agree on doubt and possibilities, when one can be sure…”

    Care to convince me? Because I haven’t even found God trying. (I never made excuses for him.) I am not constantly questioning; because in the meantime I have a meaningful life to live.

    “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” No, he hasn’t. His morals are clearly inconsistent (God commanded the Israelites to not kill … and he commanded them to kill? An eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth God says, but then why does Jesus contradict and say turn the other cheek?) and his wisdom does not even come close to overpassing the world’s human knowledge of morality, happiness, meaning and understanding. God could have done better.

    “[God's invisible qualities] have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” This is a cop-out. I could likewise assert that you’re without excuse for believing in a plainly imaginary god, and then leave it at that without any honest attempt to convince you.

    “If God doesn’t exist, why do folks get so upset and accuse those who merely talk about Him of trying to convert them?” What does God’s existence have to do with the defensive and narrow-minded atheists you’ve met on your walks? There is no relationship there. Your bad experience in the military shows that those people in question were ignorant and insensitive – but it does not say anything about being an atheist or believing in God.

    “Why is it God’s name that is taken in vain? When is the last time you saw someone bang their toe against a bedpost and shout “Buddha!”, or “Hare Krishna!”. instead of Jesus Christ.” That’s an interesting anthropological question/point. Are you saying people are more honest about belief in God than other religious figures? (BTW, “Holy cow!” might be a reference to a different religion …) Anyway, we take God’s name in vain because it symbolizes disrespect for righteousness or authority.

    “God doesn’t need backup.” Why are there evangelists all over the world? Why do we need people telling us and explaining to us the concept of God before anyone knows about him?

    “That holds true if we are talking in srtictly human terms.” I suppose if you use magic words (which prove themselves by definition), then you’ll always have the right answers! Now, which words are the magic ones ? …

    “The atheist can not believe there is a God because he won’t listen to the Word of God from whence faith is engendered.” Wrong. I listened, and didn’t hear enough of value to find the testaments worth believing in. Also, faith is engendered in the Word of God? What about faith in witchcraft, Satan, a kidnapper, a cult leader, or Hitler? Faith isn’t always virtuous and good.

    “Just because we can murder unborn babies under the banner of ‘women’s right to choose, doesn’t make it a right right thing to do, especially when science/technology has shown clearly that unborn babies experience pain when being ripped from their mothers’ wombs.” This is beside the point of this webpage, but whatever. Animals have nervous systems and feel pains too. Do single cells feel pain? Does it matter if an organism has such a physical capacity? It is whether there is a person, or conscious being (soul, if you want) present. To believe that a soul ready to experience life is present at conception is based off of religious teaching. Not science. (BTW, mainstream pro-life and pro-choice ideologies are ridiculously naive.)

    “The information suggesting the Christian God, is particularly compelling. Books and websites can be easilly googled involving fulfilled prophecy and archaeological corroboration.” A book where the later authors write events fulfilling earlier prophecies isn’t very compelling. Harry Potter fulfills prophecies. Archaeological corroboration hasn’t suggested anything divine or miraculous, it tells us there was a source to Christianity (and other religions) that caused much fervor in order to gain acceptance. That there was a Jesus as in the gospels does not mean he was the son of God or that he could heal people. I’m not pretending there isn’t evidence, you’re pretending there is.

    “Faith doesn’t mean belief without evidence. Not here. Faith means belief because of evidence. Faith without evidence is unreasonable.” Wrong. Science is belief because of evidence. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see see: The Holy Bible), it is the cheapest way of making yourself believe anything and it is rightly derided for this. (Ever heard theists remark how atheism requires more faith?)

    “Both the no god argument and God exists argument are not going to look the same if lined up side by side on a scale. The scale will tip one way or another depending on, or relative to, one’s life experiences, belief system and world view. Then the reader will decide only one thought is valid.” That’s an observation of what happens with people and their presumptions – not an explanation of how to rationally tip the scale with reason.

    “It didn’t just happen. Everything is put there for a reason.” Is saying the universe has no planner a statement of despair and pessimism? I don’t think so. What if you were somewhat pantheistic in disposition, and thought that the universe, by nature, causes meaning and purpose to its guests by letting them make it?

    “Since this is how I’ve been since age 7-ish or younger, the genetic component must be fairly large.” A sample size of one is has zero significance, you should know that. Nature or nurture? (I don’t see how complex beliefs like metaphysical ones could be coded by DNA. Perhaps DNA could code for personality traits which would dispose one to be a critic or a follower.)

    “There is no theological method by which practitioners can openly work on converging on more and more accurate religious beliefs.” Brilliant observation! Theological arguments for religions or gods are specialized and mutually ignorant; their only purpose is to make you believe.

  • manny pineda

    you can say anything you want, believe anything you want but if you live your life based on an idea or theory which was never proven to be true and all the evidences they presented after all these years since this theory were introduced to the public were proven to be false then that person chose to be a fool and deceiving himself. theory is good but if theres no evidence, then it is good for nothing. on the other hand evidences of a creator who made everything is growing exponentially and scientific studies are leaning more towards an intelligent creation.

    try watching these videos: http://www.halos.com/videos/index.htm

  • benjdm

    “Since this is how I’ve been since age 7-ish or younger, the genetic component must be fairly large.” A sample size of one is has zero significance, you should know that.

    True, one sample makes for bad statistics.

    Nature or nurture? (I don’t see how complex beliefs like metaphysical ones could be coded by DNA. Perhaps DNA could code for personality traits which would dispose one to be a critic or a follower.)

    Yes, that's pretty much what I'm thinking. Especially for the 'agency detector' or whatever it is they call it. Plus for authoritarian / non-authoritarian.

  • born4battle

    Ah. . . I see that above this comment another 'scoffer' at all things religious has surfaced from out of the quagmire of unbelief! Welcome!

    Don't mind me – I'm just a 'mindless, delusional, mythicist.'

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    born4battle: identifying the problem is half the battle. The other half is the battle.

  • born4battle

    And your point is?

  • Cliverty

    Brad said –

    "

    There is hard evidence for evolution; it is not merely some fun idea. It is the most scientifically supported theory explaining how organisms today are the way that they are. It is supported by anatomy (why do whales have defunct legs?), embryology (why are we exactly the same as fish embryos before diverging in development?), biochemistry, genetics, geography, and of course the fossil record.

    "

    It is facinating that you quote one of the greatest frauds – the greatest hoaxes in the junk-science history of evolutionism – Ernst Haeckles "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogony". He "doctored his examples" to make the point "appear valid". Sadly science (real science) caught up to him and revealed the fraudulent practice he used.

    The same is true for the hoax of Neanderthal man – when "careful science" was finally applied to confirm that "Neanderthals" were in fact between 300 and 3500 years old!!

    the same is true for Simpsons horse series – "discovered to be a fraud" shortly after it was published and then "lamentably" persisting in Museum exhibits and science texts books for decades foisted upon unsuspecting school children AS IF it was "real science".

    The same is true for Piltdown man, Nebraska man and a myriad of other frauds — hoaxes, wedged into the junk-science mythology of the religion many know today as "evolutionism".

    As Atheist Evolutionist Colin Patterson (he was the senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural Hist) said "telling stories about how one thing came from another" is nothing more than "stories easy enough to tell – but it is NOT science"!!

    The fact that atheit evolutionists "still cling desperately" to this fraudulent system of junk science story telling AS IF it was "real science" does not come as a surprise to anyone. After all – what "other choice" do they have??

    Bob

  • Brad

    1. Logic.

    2. Math.

    3. Science.

    4. Emotion.

    5. Thoughts.

    1 & 2 are technically metaphysical. (Matter and energy work in consistent mathematical, logical patterns. But the patterns are not the particles.)

    3 invented by humans, like literature, but as a study of matter, energy, economy, humans, etc. etc.

    4 & 5 can be described as epiphenomena within the brain, but what about the philosophical zombie and phenomenological consciousness? Personally, I think it's directly knowable there are extra-physical (supernatural?) percepts like colors. (Not the wavelength, the light, or the brain signals having to do with the color, but the color itself.)

    manny:

    "[...] on the other hand evidences of a creator who made everything is growing exponentially and scientific studies are leaning more towards an intelligent creation."

    Specifically, scientific studies of all those more "revolutionary" institutes of true science – like Answers in Genesis. I mean to be ironic here, by pointing out that most creation science comes from those who wish to expand generally unaccepted religious views to greater societal acceptance. (Intentions do not refute their arguments, though.) Evidences for creation have been gaining very little ground in actual science academia, but it can be argued this is because of shunning religiously-backed science.

    Also, evolution does not have zero evidence, and its positive evidence has not overall been proven false by any stretch of the imagination. Evolution has been "proven true" to a greater degree of certainty than atomic theory. And no one "lives their lives based on [evolution]" – how could you? Social darwinism and "survival of the fittest" mentalities are perversions of science. Evolution describes species – not you and I personally.

    manny, if you take their polonium halos arguments for YEC seriously, please see http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/lorence_co… and http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/po-halos/ for balance. (Yes, they're on Infidels.org and TalkOrigins, go figure.)

    Greetings, born4battle. Perhaps I am a scoffer, but that doesn't change the fact that my windy rants made sense. ;) (… most of the time, I think.) "You don’t have to answer – I’m not trying to argue a point here. Just think about it." You may not want to make a big deal out of having a position, but all of your though provocation was directed negatively at atheism. (And atheists.) So of course I'll mind you, even if you're delusional or believe in myths. (I don't know you on this blog – are you like a devil's advocate or sincere?)

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Cliverty – or should I call you "Cleverty", for your clever mixing of truths with half-truths and out-and-out lies? Nah, you're really not that clever, are you? You're just repeating something you found on Gish's site, right?

    Modern biology does reject Haeckel's recapitulation theory, (it's funny how you say "Sadly science (real science) caught up to him…" for at least two reasons), but "Modern biology does recognize numerous connections between ontogeny and phylogeny" (from the wikipedia article on recapitulation theory). You may deride wikipedia, but at least they provide sources.

    Neanderthal man a hoax? Exposed by careful science? Oh, you mean the "careful science" (good thing you put it in quotes, considering how spurious the claim is) applied in 1971 by creation scientists hoping to discredit evolutionary teachings? And that every creationist refers to without any new evidence (and all of the old evidence discredited)? Sorry, you'll have to do better than that.

    To be sure, Piltdown man was a hoax (said hoax being exposed by the scientific method, though it should have happened sooner) and Nebraska man was more of a mistake caused by a non-scientific journal jumping the gun when an amateur geologist made the claim (which was never generally accepted by the scientific community, and was debunked by the scientific community within 10 years).

    The Simpson horse series is not a fraud, but the claim it is a fraud is just another lie by Christians, for Christians. Is anybody surprised? You can read the facts about the horse series, and the creationists lies, here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/horses/ (you'll have to copy/paste, I guess, because I don't know how to make that a live link.)

    And the lies go on and on, don't they Cliverty? For instance, Patterson is often misquoted (deliberately, it seems) by creationists, and dunder-heads continue to fall for it. Again, the facts can be discovered if one bothers to look: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/patterson.html.

    You're not coming off very well here, Cliverty. Are you sure you want to continue on this path?

  • http://www.tworobs.com Rob Miles

    Well, what do you know? The links ARE live. That didn't happen on an earlier link, but maybe that link was too long to fit properly. Anyway, there you go.

  • Dan Cartwright

    Hi Brad!

    I like to think I am a sincere believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, wh sent his own Son to die for my sins. And there is no question that I like to talk about Him. Merely talking about him (and his Son who died for my sins), in and of itself is not personally directed at anyone – it's sort of like if I went out and bought a Rolls Royce and thought it was the greatest vehicle on the planet and liked to talk about it. I wouldn't necessarily be wanting to prove anything to anyone or be intentionally putting them down because they are still driving used Volkswagons. I am just passionate about my Rolls Royce.

    I like to use scripture in my discourse because it is a 'third party' document that expresses itself with or without my belief in it. The fact that I believe might even be immaterial to the discussion – quoting it provides food for thought just as quoting Shakespeare "Byc bo nie byc, to jest pitania!" ("To be or not to be . . . in Polish).

    Yep, there is sense in your 'rants' although I don't see you as 'ranting', I reserve that for those whose emotions produce such pejoratives as mythicist, delusional, mindless, 'liars, etc. when referring to believers in Christ. I don't remember you as doing so, anyway. Nor do I consider those engaged in reasonable discourse as 'scoffers', but also reserve that term for those are in the habit of spewing forth the above pejoratives.

    Allow me to wish you also a great and successful Monday (unless you are an axe murderer by trade)! :)

  • Brad

    Cliverty, I did not quote the fraudulent "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" idea at all. I learned about its invalidity in the same biology class I was taught evolution. Here's the misinterpreted snippet, again:

    "[...], embryology (why are we exactly the same as fish embryos before diverging in development?), [...]"

    The way I phrased it so casually above, I could be interpreted as supporting recapitulation without contradiction. But, that is not how I intended it to be interpreted. I was not talking about the supposed human gill slits, which actually turn into ear canals.

    "No, the human fetus never develops gills, tail or a yolk sac, as some have claimed. This supposed evidence of man's evolution from animals has been resoundingly proven utterly false. This is yet another great evolutionary myth that refuses to die, despite total lack of evidence and its birth in deception. It was very important in the early promotion of evolutionism.

    Unfortunately, many people still believe this erroneous evolutionary theory that was once widely taught in schools and still shows up in museums and books." – ChristianAnswers.net

    Well, the first two sentences above are true. It isn't taught as true today, and it only shows up in museums and books as history of evolutionary theory, like the false Lamarckian conception of evolution (as opposed to Darwinian). Now see here: http://evolution-101.blogspot.com/2006/03/what-is… for an accurate summary of this issue.

    In brief: similarity in embryonic development is considered potential evidence for common ancestry, depending on the degree of similarity and the presence of sufficient other evidence. But if ontogeny (our embryonic development) were to recapitulate (or "rerun through") our phylogeny (meaning "evolutionary ancestry" in this context), then we would be evolving inside the womb through all of the previous organisms in our ancestry, which does not happen.

    See Miles above for criticism to the rest of your post.

    "I like to use scripture in my discourse because it is a ‘third party’ document that expresses itself with or without my belief in it. The fact that I believe might even be immaterial to the discussion – quoting it provides food for thought just as quoting Shakespeare 'Byc bo nie byc, to jest pitania!' ('To be or not to be' . . . in Polish). "

    "However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?" – Buddha. (Reminds me of Kavanaugh's "Following Christ in a Consumer Society")

    Religious quotes from all over the spectrum are very useful in provoking thought.

    You: “That holds true if we are talking in srtictly human terms.”

    Me: "I suppose if you use magic words (which prove themselves by definition), then you’ll always have the right answers! Now, which words are the magic ones ? …"

    Well, I was being satirical, which is pretty dismissive … so yes, I would say I was scoffing a little bit. Anyways, I have to go axe murdering right about this time, so later.

  • born4battle

    I am slow to pick up on satire, as well as other underlying tones, expressed in email. I mess up a lot! Such is the nature of email. If we humans have difficulty in normal conversation 'reading' satire and such, using email worsens the situation. Please don't chop up anyone I know, OK? :)

  • Brad

    ^^ Subtle language derived from the real world gives wannabe-human Turing machines a disadvantage!

    This comment will mean something to you 30 years from now . . .

  • Pingback: Michael Card « Questions and Challenges

  • DeterminedDisciple

    It's funny to me, as both an *intellectual* and a devout Believer, how the atheists/agnostics/deists/scientologists/etc. are trying their darndest to logic Believers out of their belief. Non-Believers, a clue: It won't work, for many reasons, two of which I will expound upon here.

    1) Our faith has been supplied by the Holy Spirit Himself, and as the Most Powerful Entity in the universe, the Holy Spirit will do a fine job retaining our faith within those of us who BELIEVE that He dwells within us. Simply put, you can't force out the power of the Holy Spirit… not even with logic, a frequent bedfellow of Satan. Satan is no match for God.

    2) Faith is "being certain of what [we] don't see" (Hebrews 11:1b). So trying to *prove* that there is no *proof* of God is moot. So what if you don't BELIEVE that there IS proof that God exists? I BELIEVE that there is proof, and I believe that if you accepted the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by accepting the divinity and Ultimate Atonement provided by the Lord Jesus Christ, you would see the proof that I see. But be warned, what I mean by "see" is, in fact, a spiritual perspective. I can look with my eyes at a child and know with my brain how he/she was created physiologically, but what I "see" when I look at a child is nothing short of a miracle. I don't SEE God, as Jesus' contemporaries did. But I see God and His workmanship everywhere in this world. That's all the *proof* I need to be certain.

  • DeterminedDisciple

    P.S. For those of you frustrated with the seeming inconsistencies in God's morality (which, even if there were "inconsistencies", would be completely God's prerogative, since He is, after all, God)… give a listen to Pastor Paul Sheppard @ http://www.enduringtruth.org. I have been to many churches and listened to many pastors, but I have never yet heard another preacher "explain" God and His ways more coherently than Pastor Paul does.

  • Brad

    DeterminedDisciple, is your opening statement trying to offend? Are you saying some of us are just trying to be *intellectuals* here?

    Speaking to a believer [in Christianity/theism/religion] can actually take them out of many beliefs. The fundamental weapon is questioning, questioning your feelings and doubts, your reasons and ideas, yourself and your peers. This does not mean never accepting, it means honest thinking, not just wishful or blind.

    Our world is inspiring, meaningful, beautiful, and so on, but why do you think this necessitates a person who decided on it all? This is a question for theists to think about. If it’s your initial reaction, and you think your reaction is caused by a ghost, then perhaps you should think about it instead of just reacting. Saying that you “see God” and that it’s all the proof you need to be certain is a way to rationalize belief to yourself and others, but it is a defensive barrier to skepticism, an escape from justification. And of course, you deride anything that may cause you to think differently: “[...] logic, a frequent bedfellow of Satan.”

    P.S. Could you get a working link DD? I’m curious about Sheppard’s explanations of the Christian god.

  • Determined Disciple

    Brad, not trying to offend — simply trying to distinguish between people who rely solely on their bodies and minds to decide what to believe and people who simply believe. I personally know the *intellectual* type — I have often been confronted by *intellectuals* who pride themselves on their mental faculties and who believe that if a concept is not supported by concrete evidence (more on that later) in this world, then it's a fallacy. In my opening statement, I meant to establish that even people who are completely capable of reasoning through an issue from an intellectual/LOGICAL standpoint may also accept the Lord's existence (in all forms — Omnipotent Author of Life, Holy Spirit, and Jesus the Christ).

    You seem to assume that Believers have never considered the "What if" side of faith: What if there is no God? What if the Bible is just a fabulous piece of literature? What if there is no afterlife? There are, indeed, some Christians who have not yet faced such a crisis of faith that they truly question everything. I have, on several occasions, and many — perhaps even most — of my fellow Christian "brothers and sisters" have faced this crisis, as well. My faith is no "reaction," as you call it. And no, saying that I "see God" is not a way to "rationalize belief to myself." I don't need to rationalize belief to myself. On the contrary, when I entertained the possibility of there not being anything beyond the natural world that I could experience with all 5 of my 19+ senses, I was spiritually "yanked" back into faith. I did NOT want to believe. No, I "see God" because I have faith, AND I have faith because I "see God."

    I don't deride anything that will cause me to think differently. I speak the truth. Satan's tactic has been, from his first experiment, to "logic" a person out of *mindless* obedience. If "speaking to a believer can actually take them out of many beliefs," then that believer is not solid in his/her faith yet. You can talk to me all day long. You're not going to talk me out of my faith.

    Again, if/when you're blessed to experience Faith as a divine grace, you'll get what I'm saying. My faith is neither blind nor wishful. It is solid because the Lord Himself sustains it within me. I can use as much "logic" as a non-believer to support my reasons for my faith, but of course, my "logic" arises from the God-given conviction that His Word is true.

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

    I know that I am way late into this thread, but since I enjoy your writing, I guess I might be around a while annoying you with non-believing thoughts. It is likely my observation has already been represented in this thread. Sorry for not reading all the comments.

    John said:

    The answer to the question of whether or not there’s a God can only be yes or no, right?

    For our purposes, this is correct.

    John said:

    Either some Divine Intelligence created and sustains our world and us, or Nature Alone exists.

    and

    Because the chances of God existing or not are even either way, and because none of us can know which of those two choices is the correct one, choosing one must make exactly as much sense as choosing the other. It’s a 50-50, binary option. You could be right either way. Same as flipping a coin. Could be heads. Could be tails.

    Nope. Let's say you walk into a strange house, in a strange town and go into the kitchen. You see a drawer. You can argue that it is a 50-50 chance that there is something in that drawer…could be something, could be nothing. You CANNOT say that there is a 50-50 chance that the drawer is either empty, or there is an antique, silver, bone-handled ice cream scoop engraved with the initial 'Y'.

    On the matter of God, it can be argued that there is a 50-50 chance of some intelligence. For our purposes, I will say that this is a valid argument (It is not). This can only take you to the deist position. It says nothing of the motives, actions, or involvement of that intelligence. Attributing specific traits and actions and thoughts to that intelligence is like saying the likelihood of finding the rare ice-cream scoop is just as likely as finding a fork.

    Just because neither position is provable does not make each position equally likely.

  • Candace

    @ Determined Disciple – don't know if you routinely keep checking back here, but wanted to thank you very much for your comments (excellent!)and for the lead to Paul Sheppard and Enduring Truth.

    The links here in the comments didn't work for me, so I did a search and found him that way (on Oneplace.com).

  • Travis Morgan

    John Shore, It is not a "50-50 binary option." That is like saying your chances of winning the lottery are 50-50, either you win or you don't, but we know that chances of winning the the lottery are far less than 50-50.


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