Believers: Make your best case for God

Out of all the hundreds or thousands of theists who have commented on this blog, not one has presented plausible evidence for their belief in God, the Devil, the Bible being written by God, or Jesus being born of a virgin and rising from the dead. Yet they have claimed we must believe these things lest we burn in hell for eternity.

So, believers, here is your chance to convince us atheists there is a God. Pitch your best case for why we should believe in a deity — and not just in a deity, but the one you happen to believe in.

As I’ve said before, if there was verifiable evidence of God’s existence, I would happily believe in him/her/it. My desire is to believe whatever is true. I’m sure many of my readers feel the same way.

So, if you think we’re wrong, then convince us with evidence and arguments that will persuade us. We’re listening.

  • David

    Oy, here comes a flood of “cardiac” assertions (”I buhleeve in Jayzus becuz He’s in mah HEART!”) and worse.

    Will you moderate this for the marginally coherent? Or is the intent to show off a menagerie of what utter crap theists present as “argument?”

    • Douglas Coulter

      I met a man in Kansas who did not believe in the ocean, I felt no urge to change his mind. The Bible is just a book, it never claims to be written by God, it does not claim to be holy, it does not claim to be perfect. The followers of the Book do not read it they only find something in it with which they can control and attack others. God is not a being in any sense of the word as man understands and does not need servants to do HIS will. For myself it takes more faith to believe the universe occured by chance than was designed somehow by ordered thought. If I found a Rolex in the forest I would not imagine it evolved on its own. DNA is more complex than a Rolex

      • Sunny Day

        You’ve got so much wrong in that one paragraph its hard to know where to start. So I’ll just stand back in awe of your purposeful idiocy.

      • Theory_of_I

        >>”For myself it takes more faith to believe the universe occured by chance than was designed somehow by ordered thought. If I found a Rolex in the forest I would not imagine it evolved on its own. DNA is more complex than a Rolex”

        In other words, you believe that what ever you think of as god occured by chance AND evolved on it’s own and then poofed the universe into existance.

        That silly concept is 100% evidentially empty, 100% factually unreliable and 100% unreasoned, insuperable faith. (IOW, a flimsy, ignorant guess)

        Science has good mathematical models of the events that occured within femto-seconds after the energy of the universe initially began expanding, and with continuing unbiased efforts is discovering new knowledge about the process on a regular basis. That is not a flimsy guess. It is the opposite of ignorance and faith.

  • http://teamcoachingnetwork.com Dave Bull

    Are you really prepared for the word-games that will follow? “You can’t PROVE the existence of God, he loves us so much that he gives us the free choice to believe in him”.

    These people have spent 2000 years mangling logic in order to create sentences that appear to bridge the discrepancies in their faiths. You will hear plenty of regurgitated, often mis-heard, statements of that type.

    You know there is no verifiable evidence for any god of any kind worth calling God, Daniel. I’m worried that you will just start a flame-war between the delusional believers and those atheists who think that being right entitles you to tell everyone so.

    (And I agree, David, the ability to edit posts for a short time would be jolly handy!)

  • Anon

    while a lot of the topics on this blog are pretty interesting and good conversation…

    recently, topics like these seem to be popping up more. though it is a valid point, perhaps there is a less confrontational way to word such things. i don’t see much of a difference from someone emotionally defending the existence of god as someone defending the non-existence of god.

    if the bible thumpers are happy in their bliss, why on earth would they want to join in with the unhappy atheist gang who just sit around and mock believers?

    just seems counterproductive to me… sorry.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    I agree about the editing posts — unfortunately that’s not a feature on wordpress.com yet. At some point I’ll convert over to a self-hosted install, but I like wordpress.com because it’s cheap and handles my traffic spikes with ease.

    I’m seriously interested in what believers will respond with. I always moderate out very offensive comments and occasionally stupidity. This thread will be no different.

    I don’t expect anything mind-shattering, but if we had some theists respond who are of a similar mental caliber as many of the commenters here, it could be interesting.

    @anon: I’m not asking for emotional pleas — I’m asking for verifiable evidence. I don’t think it exists, but I admit I could be wrong about that. Many theists claim to have evidence for God’s existence. My point is: if verifiable evidence does not exist, why expect us to believe? But if it does exist and I’m unaware of it, then I would have no problem believing.

    And as for counterprodutive — we’ll see. It’s an experiment. It’s only counterproductive if you don’t care about these things and take time to read all the comments. :)

  • http://bopl.samharris.us Paul

    I’d be most interested in hearing why a specific god is real when all others are not. Given that I could summon up sufficient beliefiness (I know that’s not a word, but I’m trying to avoid saying ‘credulity’!) to ascribe to a religion, what is it that makes yours true when others make claims no more or less outlandish?

  • Confused

    My faith in what was true came from the combined weight of a million tiny things. God never did one big road-to-damascus miracle, but there were little touches where I or people I knew went out on a limb – one example was a friend I knew feeling called to give money to charity which meant they had no money for diapers for their young son, only to have that evening another couple in the church who had recently had a girl (and therefore had no need of male diapers, bought against the possibility it would be a boy) came and offered them a small pile. It’s not earth shattering – none of them were, but to my mind they added up from a morass of circumstantial evidence to a compelling picture.

    That, combined with a sense of peace received (although not always) through prayer, convinced me that it was true.

    Looking back, there were other aspects – once decided on it’s truth I kind of resisted any doubts or questions as being the opposite of faith (not that that had been explicitly stated by any preacher, it just seemed obvious) and ended up kind of brainwashing myself into it.

    Of course, that kind of basis is way open to confirmation bias, and testimony has a nasty reporting bias associated with it (just because you don’t hear people get up in church and relate the time they stepped out in faith and were let down doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen); airy feelings are pretty hard to rely on, and it’s not hard to see that meditating on ones problems – especially in the belief that you are expressing them to a concerned and active higher power – can produce a sense of peace and release that verges on psychosomatic.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Actually I would be quite interested in hearing the positive empirical evidence for any specific God or an afterlife.

    Unfortunately, what I suspect we’ll get instead is an endless stream of “faith isn’t about evidence” followed by an endless stream of biblical quotations.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    I’m another believer in Jesus Christ, my God. I have to admit that there is nothing I can present to you for you to see, touch, or smell as evidence that He exists besides the Bible, the research and data that show that a historical Jesus existed. I agree that a “word-game” can get started here. I can say that the evidence that God exists is that He created us and everything we see, but of course, that is not an option for you.

    I don’t think a believer in God can actually present God to you in person, and say, “Here He is. Say hello.” If someone could, believe me, I’d be the first in line to meet Him. The bottom line is that it is “my belief” that He exists. I choose to believe that He is a real God. It is my choice to accept everything that my God has to offer. That is my belief. The same goes for everyone that does not believe in a God. It is your choice and your belief.

    Just as a Christian or any other theist will not be able to present the satisfactory evidence that God exists to the opposing party, the atheist finds himself/herself lacking the evidence that God does not exist. You have nothing more than just your personal belief. But that is the beauty of it all. That we as people have that right to believe as we prefer.

    On a personal note, it does not offend me when I see atheists trying to disprove God. Yes, I wish everyone could share and enjoy everything my God offers, but I respect peoples’ beliefs. To tell you the truth, I have been enjoying reading Daniel Florein’s blog everysince I ran into his article on Santa and God. I find Daniel’s oppinions and views very interesting. Quite honestly, I use to be an atheist. But like most things in life, things happen and things change. Thanks.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Oh I forgot that we’ll also see an endless stream of emotional appeals and personal anecdotes.

  • http://sdvoice.com Mr. Polite

    This is truly low level Atheism. Your choice to stand and be counted among the god-free is great, but what you’re doing with articles like these is akin to forum trolling, argument baiting and to put it bluntly – this is childish.

    You know what Theist will respond with – Faith. So why not accept who you are, acknowledge the differences and move on? I’d understand if you we’re doing something productive or making an attempt to foster open discussion with Theist, but thats not what you’re doing.

    Spend more time teaching Atheist how to co-exist in a country dominated by Christians and less time pointing out the differences in our beliefs and the hypocrisy involved with religion. I fear that as more and more people stand as god-free, the more Atheism will resemble other religions. You’re inviting verbal war over our differences in this forum – how long until its just plain war? Atheist are already the least trusted group in the United States; why continue to be smug and invite conflict?

    Be better.

  • philos

    Why bother, its your blog? If anything and being a non-believing community, shouldnt you be providing content relevant to your sites goal?

    So, non-believers, here is your chance. Convince logical believers there is no God. Give us verifiable evidence for the lack of existence. Pitch your best logical case for why we shouldnt believe in a deity.

    Oh an while you’re at it please prove to me that I exist.

    The scientific method lacks the ability to completely disprove or prove anything within a vast realm of reality. In fact its entirely inadequate for the large majority of experience, be it macro or subjective. It cannot be done on a scale larger then our planet at the moment, yet it relentlessly delves there making up stories about how the universe works without sound and controled experimentation. Doesnt sound much more logically then the shamans of old deciding the stars are gods, in fact the only difference is the amount of data our scientists have at their disposal, which of course does not excuse that absolutely illogical guessing technique for determining the nature of the universe. Being we don’t have access to experimental process at that level of complexity we simply base our scientific theories on statistical observation. Anyone who speaks of logic clearly understands the flaws in statistical observation as lacking any credibility as a complete source for information.

    At the other end the scientific method is completely incapable of dealing with the problem of subjectivity in all internal psychological processes. Again, at best, we have statistical observation which completely ignores the fact that there could be much more that we simply dont have the understanding to see, which of course doesnt sound much more advanced then bleeding a patient and noticing that they no longer have a fever. Again a guess, observe, check process which is no better then the religious/spiritual exploration of older cultures.

    Having faith in logic and science is no worse then having faith in any continually evolving set of religious ideals which of course is not the same as dogmatic fanaticism. In fact its quite arguable that many atheists of the science worshiping type do not understand enough about science and its limitations to truly support it with educated knowledge and in fact are simply followers of the belief that science can find the answers, ie dogmatic fanatics of the faith of science. Not much different then early followers of any faith. Any true scientific individual knows that there are limitations to science and logic that are unreconciled with the human experience, but thats ok because science was never meant to be the One true answer, it was meant to be another branch of human curiosity exploring the limits of material knowledge. Just as faith is, just as everything is.

    We dont have to have faith or proof, we can have both.

  • David

    Score so far: Juan C. believes because he believes. He acknowledges that neither necessary nor sufficient evidence for this belief is available, possibly not even conceivable.

    OK, who’s next? At least, someone, give is the ontological argument.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Mr. Polite:

    Asking for evidence for someone’s belief is childish? I disagree. I’m not just an atheist — I’m a skeptic. But I’m an open-minded skeptic. I don’t assume I know all the arguments that believers have for God, though I do know many of them. Perhaps someone can present them in a way that will convince me it’s more valid than I thought, or present something I’ve never thought of. I don’t see how that is childish.

    My concern is not with believers who just say, “I have no evidence — I just believe.” My concern is for believers who come on this blog and claim God exists and that we’re all going to hell, and we’re close-minded to considering all the evidence that exists for God. So I’m asking them, formally, to provide the evidence that they keep speaking of.

    Perhaps I’m coming off differently than I intend — I don’t intend this post to be “smug” and to “invite conflict.” I’m seriously interested in what people have to say.

    But, again, if you think this is a stupid waste of time, just skip this post and don’t read the comments. Then it won’t waste your time. But there are those of us who are actually interested in this kind of discussion.

  • David

    give US. yeesh.

    > 10 X = typing(David)
    > 20 print X

    > run

    Sucks!

    >

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Hahah. Philos just demonstrated his complete lack of understanding of the scientific method, and outed himself as a solipsist, all in the first paragraph.

  • Sunny Day

    “I’d be most interested in hearing why a specific god is real when all others are not. Given that I could summon up sufficient beliefiness (I know that’s not a word, but I’m trying to avoid saying ‘credulity’!) to ascribe to a religion, what is it that makes yours true when others make claims no more or less outlandish?”

    Exactly.

    Tell me what makes the Farie Tale true, and why all the other Faire Tales are wrong.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    While verifiable evidence seems to be the determining factor here for God’s existence, would any atheist like share their verifiable evidence of God’s non-existence?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    So, non-believers, here is your chance. Convince logical believers there is no God. Give us verifiable evidence for the lack of existence. Pitch your best logical case for why we shouldnt believe in a deity.

    Oh an while you’re at it please prove to me that I exist.

    I’ll point out that what Daniel is asking for isn’t proof (which doesn’t exist outside of pure mathematics), but evidence. The “best logical case” for why you shouldn’t believe in Zeus, or Jehovah, or Amon Ho-tep, or even invisible pink unicorns is that there’s no evidence that they exist. Until that evidence is produced, there’s simply no reason to accept that they’re real. And I’ll wager that you agree with me for at least three items on that list.

    And as for evidence that you exist? Do you own a mirror?

  • Sunny Day

    “Oh an while you’re at it please prove to me that I exist”

    Poe, is that you?

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    Please illuminate me with a discussion not just attempts put me down.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    While verifiable evidence seems to be the determining factor here for God’s existence, would any atheist like share their verifiable evidence of God’s non-existence?

    Sure. As soon as you share with us your verifiable evidence of the non-existence of unicorns.

    Oh, and you’ll also have to be more specific about which god you want us to prove does not exist. There are several thousand of them and counting.

  • Jesse

    I’m not even sure what empirical evidence for a deity would look like. Any deity, presumably, could offer such evidence; it’s essentially impossible to extract it from an unwilling deity (if the deity is omnipotent and omniscient).

    What specific predictions do religions make?

    The existence of any spirit seems to predict that there is an utterly intangible (read: has no affect on any physical process) component to some/all physical entities. Dark matter is downright friendly compared to spirit-stuff. By definition, we can’t test to see if this is real. We can only test that which affects physical reality. If spirits can interact with the physical world at will, then perhaps this predicts that we will see forces that can’t be accounted for by any conceivable physical process. How do we distinguish these forces from those produced by physical processes we don’t fully understand? We would need the ghostly equivalent of aliens landing on the White House lawn: large scale independent verification by many sources.

    Most religions predict that piety and/or prayer will result in the deity’s favor. They carefully explain, though, that this doesn’t necessarily translate into any measurable affect on their lives before death: the only guaranteed reward is in the future, in a spiritual (and thus unmeasurable) existence. Practically speaking, most people expect to be rewarded before death, but this isn’t promised in specific enough terms to give us something to test. Given the widely divergent lives of people of all supernatural belief systems, physical rewards certainly don’t seem evenly distributed.

    In my opinion, religions “evolved” similarly to organisms: the surviving major religions have survived in the modern world expressly because they make vague enough predictions that you can’t directly test them. People have worked over the details and ground off the rough edges so that almost anybody’s existence seems to provide enough reasons to believe, without ever promising any tangible evidence. You can climb Olympus and see the peak is bare. You can perform a rain dance and observe the lack of effect on local weather patterns. You can’t pin lack of divine favor on a god whose own stories depict the suffering of the faithful.

  • Wolter

    Actually, the reason these kinds of articles are popping up more often of late is because Americans are gearing up for the mother of all holy wars.

    It’s been centuries in the making. We all know the damning evidence of religious oppression throughout history, and the modern-day candy coated oppression is becoming harder and harder to hide from the masses. You can only fool people for so long.

    It will be brutal and ugly, and I’ll be happy when it’s all over and reason and compassion take their rightful place as the guiding principles of man like they have in the Scandinavian countries.

  • http://sdvoice.com Mr. Polite

    I forgot to add.

    In defense of Christianity: For some people – its all they have. Being faithless is a luxury. When all you have is poverty or a jail cell or a life otherwise devoid of love warmth and understanding, it can be comforting to know that someone – even some guy who lived 2000+ years ago, loves you.

    For some people its all they got. Yes, it defies logic, but logic hasn’t worked for many Christians lives.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    Jimminy, you’re right. I should have been for specific. I do not have any verifiable evidence on the non-existence of unicorns. But that is my point. It seems we all are going on in circles trying to out-opiniate each other, out-philosiphy each other and so on. Believe it or not, I am trying to learn something from this discussion.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    That’s the second mention of war. I hope something like that can be avoided at all cost. What a waste of life, energy, resources, and time. I don’t see why ANYONE would want a war.

  • philos

    @wintermute

    So seeing is evidence? If thats the case then david blane can fly and everything on TV is real.

    You have a point about not having seen gods, but do you really believe that humans of history did all the work in building monuments and statues without any evidence guiding their belief? And of course all those monuments serve as some sort of evidence, if that is all we are looking for. Do you think that even now the religious of the world have no subjective ‘evidence’ which creates the foundation of their belief? Obviously its not proof, but personal perception, be it seeing or feeling are valid inputs for anyone when attempting to determine the nature of reality, or they arent in which case looking in the mirror is not a viable answer to my request of proof I exist.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Juan: Then we can all agree we can’t prove something doesn’t exist. It’s impossible, and none of us here believe that God can be proven not to exist.

    But to believe something — especially something extraordinary — requires positive proof. Otherwise, we could believe absolutely anything. That’s why I’m asking for evidence.

    Does that make sense?

    @Everyone:

    Let’s try and keep our tones civil and respectful on both sides. I don’t want this to degrade into a flamewar.

    • http:www.makingpositivechanges.co.uk Christine Wesson

      You will never find God by looking outside for Him, as He’s in you. He is consiousness and so are we. If you want to find Him all you have to do is turn to him. There’s a saying, “Take one step towards God and God takes huge strides towards you.” Never a truer word was spoken. You don’t have to find Him you just have to recognise Him and once you do, Oh boy all of life changes. You’ll find Him one day, everyone has to eventually and until then He’ll carry you just as He always has. God bless.

      • Sunny Day

        God says you are deranged.

  • Sunny Day

    “I’m not even sure what empirical evidence for a deity would look like.”

    I’m willing to accept something simple.

    Pick up a spilling oil tanker, stuff the oil back into it and fly it around the world over a few major cities.

    Shout, “I am Real” and then a personalized message about a total stranger they will meet in the next few days into the minds of each and every person on the planet in the language they can understand.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    Daniel,

    “But to believe something — especially something extraordinary — requires positive proof.”

    But doesn’t this depend on the believer? I may say I have “proof”, but my proof may not be acceptable by you.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Juan: Of course. That’s why I’m asking for positive evidence for God, because I don’t know of any. But obviously some believers think they have evidence and it is convincing to them.

  • philos

    @ Jesse

    Well said. Here is a something that is worth adding or expanding on if you are able, because I would like to hear your thoughts.

    Many religions, in fact most, say that spirits/gods primarily act through individuals, either empowering them or smiting them or what have you. How would you account for the possibility that this ‘spirit’ essence was only able to affect reality as we perceive it by acting either on large populaces as a whole, or through specific individuals in a subjective manner? The results would look very similar to as yet to be fully defined factors such as sociological movements and or other forces we have not yet accounted for as you said.

    I would also argue against the idea of afterlife only rewards as most religions that do only that would not keep people around for very long. If there wasnt at least some subjective or personal reward (or in some cases punishment for leaving) in the religion then why would anyone stay with it? Especial in ancient times when it was easy to move from one belief to another?

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    Daniel,

    You know what their evidence is. Their faith, their belief and maybe their religion and religious relics. It seems that your standard of “positive evidence” is to see it, touch it, to actually interact with a living God.

  • apeweek

    I’m not a believer, but I’m married to one. So I have some idea how to do this.

    You can believe in God if you want to. You just need to define the concept to your liking. After all, there is no universal consensus on God.

    For the purpose of my relationship, I define God as “whatever causes the universe (or multiverse) to exist.”

    It is indeed provable, since the universe does indeed exist.

    That’s not a very specific definition (and it means God could be nothing more than a set of physical principles), but I think many theists will find it acceptable (as a broad definition.)

  • Wolter

    None of the common people ever want or decide on war; that is left to the elites and their power schemes.

    But there does come a time when enough people say “enough!”, and then as if by hive decision they all start fighting (not necessarily with guns).

    There have been plenty of shots across the bow in recent times, and the heavy religious shift of the past 8 years could very well be the final tilt that sank the boat.

    Most likely the actual fighting will start with an assassination.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    You have a point about not having seen gods, but do you really believe that humans of history did all the work in building monuments and statues without any evidence guiding their belief?

    Yes. By your logic, if I were to say no, we would have to assume the Egyptians had “evidence” (I do not think that word means what you think it means) of Ra, Isis, and Osiris. The Romans had “evidence” of Jupiter and Saturn. The Greeks of Zeus and Apollo. And on and on and on ad infinitum back to the earliest days of human history and beyond.

    And of course all those monuments serve as some sort of evidence

    Yes. They serve as evidence that a group of people believed something at some time, and that a group of people had a lot of money and/or manpower at their disposal.

    Do you think that even now the religious of the world have no subjective ‘evidence’ which creates the foundation of their belief?

    I am am certain that the religious have a boatload of “subjective evidence”, just no empirical evidence. We have words for subjective evidence, such as “feelings” and “opinion”.

    Obviously its not proof, but personal perception, be it seeing or feeling are valid inputs for anyone when attempting to determine the nature of reality

    And when those feelings and inputs are tested and found to be supported by the data and empirical evidence, that’s called “science”.

    Looking into a mirror and refusing to believe you exist is called “insanity”.

  • philos

    @ Wolter

    Did you know most Scandinavian countries practice Pseudo-Pagan/Christian rituals as the basis for their holiday celebrations? They found a way to make peace between the varied beliefs and it has led to a greater overall happiness, not by squashing believers but by embracing the variety of beliefs and integrating them into their cultures.

    Certainly its logical to assume that by crushing the opposition, be Christian, Muslim, Atheist or otherwise, society will only set itself up to bear the wrath of those seeking vengeance. Acceptance of the beauty of variety in belief is the only way we will all be able to live peacefully.

  • Matt

    I think it’s interesting that you were an passionate evangelical christian, because this sounds like the exact kind of loaded challenge that a passionate evangelical christian would present… you know, just from the other side.

    I find it fascinating. Obviously no set of core beliefs or value structure has a monopoly on passion or conviction. But the manner by which people approach their core convictions often seems to be more deeply rooted that the convictions themselves.

    Science, on the other hand, is supposed to be a passionless endeavor, in the sense that our passion is reserved for the method, not the results. Are you sure you haven’t simply traded one set of beliefs for another? Would you now consider yourself a passionate evangelical athiest? And when you look back at your old beliefs, which part do you consider the problem… the passionate evangelical part, or the christian part?

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    Its called insanity to question what you see as being real? Well then all of theoretical science should simply be thrown out?

    I thought it was already agreed that you could never have empirical evidence for a subjective experience? So psychology as a whole is not empirical and therefore doesnt exist by your logic. Yet, it does, and seems to work in some cases.

    So either the idea that empirical evidence is the only and ultimate proof of whats true is incorrect, or all subjective, psychological experience is not real or valid or worth examining and therefore the very tools of observation, the cornerstone of science, is flawed by perception thus science is worthless.

    I think empirical evidence is absolutely valid in the cases of external direct material observation. It just isnt the end all of possible ways to explore reality because it fails to account for many aspects of the human experience.

  • Wolter

    To elaborate some more, a religious shift on its own would normally not cause a civil war. However, we live in a bit of a special time, in that America has gone bankrupt, as all empires do when they overextend their military (over 170 military bases in almost every country in the world).

    The resulting depression, triggered by the fallout from unregulated financial scheming and outright fraud, will result in a double-whammy for America as a whole. Not only will she lose her dominance in the world sphere (with a LOT of enemies waiting in the wings), but she’ll also be caught in a financial bind, unable to meet the spending commitments for her military, and unable (and largely unwilling) to scale back fast enough to consolidate her position.

    In times such as these, discontent runs rampant. When the people are discontent, they look for someone to blame. Since a very large portion of the American population is Christian, and since Christians hate atheists even more than they do Muslims, the irreligious will be held to blame.
    Conversely, the atheists will point to the heavy religious shift of the past 8 years, as well as the religious overtones of the ongoing wars and oppressive legislation, as evidence that the Christians are to blame. This will form the basis of the ensuing power struggle.

  • http://www.elasticheart.com Aaron

    Most believers will tell you it’s not about “evidence,” it’s about faith in something that can’t be proven scientifically. I’m sure you know this, which is why this post puzzles me.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Matt: Well I am a result of my experiences and I am still passionate about what I believe (or do not believe).

    Are you sure you haven’t simply traded one set of beliefs for another?

    Yes, as I’m quite open to believing anything as long as there is evidence for it. As I said, if I could be convinced again that there is evidence for God, I would believe.

    Would you now consider yourself a passionate evangelical athiest?

    No, just a passionate atheist.

    And when you look back at your old beliefs, which part do you consider the problem… the passionate evangelical part, or the christian part?

    Both, because (1) the supernatural claims in Christianity appear to be false and (2) for a long time I was a fundamentalist, ignoring any contrary evidence.

    The difference is in this post, I’m ASKING FOR and INVITING contrary evidence. And I’ll consider any evidence presented.

    I don’t really see what’s so controversial about this.

  • BrightonRocks

    It didn’t take long for the ‘prove that God doesn’t exist’ non sequitur to come out did it philos?

    That’s got to be one of the worst ever rhetorical tricks used to answer a request for ‘evidence’ for something.

    You cannot ‘prove’ that X does not exist; you can only infer how unlikely the existence of X is from the lack of evidence and the amount of searching. Furthermore, the rhetorical ploy is equally valid for your God, Thor, Zeus, unicorns and The Holy Pachyderm that regularly visits my back-garden.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Aaron: This post is not for fideists who simply believe and take a leap of faith. It’s for theists who believe there is scientific/verifiable evidence for God — Ray Comfort has claimed this, for example. And most Christian apologists are “evidentialists” — that is, they say they believe Christianity based on the massive amount of evidence for it.

  • http://www.prophecyresearch.com Bruce LaDuke

    I wanted to point out that not everyone that believes in a ‘God’ (a higher spiritual power) believes all these supposedly ‘evil’ atheists are going to burn in hell. Of course, I can understand why someone would say that because a lot of folks do soundly believe that.

    The Bible actually specifically denounces this behavior in Romans chapter 14, which is a chapter many ‘Christians’ ignore or misinterpret. The reason this is ignored is because religion itself is a human (not spiritual) convention based on being ‘right.’ Being right means others are wrong, and declaring others wrong IS judging others, which the Bible says not to do. I’m not saying that religion doesn’t help some people, but it definitely hurts a lot of people in that it creates a context for judging others.

    The key thing to realize is that we are what we believe…atheist or christian or anything. People can’t change people into something else, they grow into something else. Condemning someone for what they believe is an attack on their person (because that is who they are), whether it is,e.g., an atheist to a religious person or a religious person to an atheist.

    I don’t consider myself a religious person or an atheist, actually I don’t affiliate with any group in ‘rightness’ because as soon as I do that I believe I would really be sowing seeds of war. The Bible says they were first “called Christians at Antioch.” It never said they called themselves Christians. In my opinion, naming yourself with a group that is ‘right’ is the problem, not the answer.

    If atheists managed to annihilate all christians or christians managed to annihilate all atheists, they would either one just turn around and start fighting someone else. The root of the problem isn’t being christian or atheist, it’s being ‘right’ instead of growing in knowledge and/or spirit.

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    philos said:

    “Did you know most Scandinavian countries practice Pseudo-Pagan/Christian rituals as the basis for their holiday celebrations?”

    How is that different from what Christians do in the U.S.? The entire thing derives from old pagan customs. To their credit, there are at least a couple of Christian sects that don’t celebrate Christmas at all (Seventh Day Adventists, I think, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Worldwide Church of God to name a few).

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Its called insanity to question what you see as being real?

    No, I said it’s insanity to look into a mirror and maintain the belief that you do not exist. Who does this? People who are mentally ill, that’s who. We generally send them to doctors and psychiatrists who then treat them with therapy and medicine.

    The opposite belief of this is called solipsism. Solipsism is the belief that you are the only thing that exists (which can’t be disproved), and everyone else is a figment of your imagination. However, solipsism is not regarded as a valid argument because it is a philosophical dead-end, and is as equally crazy as believing that you don’t exist.

    You can run in philosophical circles like this all day (which I imagine you probably will). However, it still provides no positive empirical evidence that any god exists or that your one god, out of the infinite number of possible gods, exists.

  • spence-bob

    if the bible thumpers are happy in their bliss, why on earth would they want to join in with the unhappy atheist gang who just sit around and mock believers?

    So all atheists are unhappy? All we do is mock believers?

    Neither of these gross generalizations are true, I’m afraid. I’m reasonably happy, probably within the normal range of “happiness” (if there is such a thing), and I have too many demands on my time to sit around and do nothing but mock people who believe religious nonsense.

    I suspect most atheists would tell you the same.

  • Sir Jebbington

    @ philos:
    You seem to be saying, “there is evidence for a deity: people built monuments to said deity because of evidence.” The problem is that incompatible religions have made monuments to their individual deities. They can’t all be right, and we can’t choose which ones were or weren’t influenced by some “spirit” as we have no criteria for doing so, or any reason or evidence to think that such a thing occurred. We have no way to distinguish which monuments constitute evidence, if you are suggesting that some unidentifiable existence compelled the people to make the monument. Yes, there is a possibility that some “spirit” compelled individuals or groups, but we are not looking for possibilities, but evidence.

    Also, we are more interested in the evidence that those monument-building people purportedly had, instead of potential evidence that they had evidence, i.e. the bare fact that they built monuments. I stress the phrase “potential”: why should any building be considered evidence for a deity? If two structures of equal magnitude are created, one for a deity and one even against deities, why should we assume or even consider that the one created for a deity was motivated by “spirit” and the one against deities was not?

  • Vorjack

    @Bruce LaDuke

    You’re just the latest to enter this [relatively] low-heat discussion and immediately start making reference to war and annihilation.

    Is there something going on that the rest of us need to know about? Do you know about an elite cabal of bloggers who are stashing weapons in the basement? Has PZ Myers finally perfected his mutant squid army?

    ‘Cause, frankly, if internet arguments somehow lead to war, this country is about to be split by about 5,000 different conflicts.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    I have too many demands on my time to sit around and do nothing but mock people who believe religious nonsense.

    Well I must admit, I do occasionally take not-so-guilty pleasure in mocking religious nonsense. They just make it way too easy ;)

  • blakestah

    You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, DANIEL, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

  • Sir Jebbington

    Apparently, my comment was ridiculously late. Pardon me.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

    I dunno. An atomic bomb, particle accelerator, or gravitational singularity would probably do a pretty good job of tearing apart your little rattle.

  • http://lorenfisher.com Loren

    Hello. Please consider the following:

    1. Either everything always existed, or everything did not always exist.

    2. My next argument is a simple one – that the universe did NOT always exist. If I promised to give you a cookie after an infinite amount of time, would you ever get your cookie? The answer to this question is NO. Similarly, could there be an infinite amount of time before you were born? The answer to this question is, similarly, NO. Otherwise, time would never reach the point of you being born.

    3. The logical conclusion that stems from statements 1 and 2 is that the universe – absolutely everything – did not always exist. Indeed, scientific data such as the never-ending expanding nature of our universe seems to collaborate this statement.

    Thus begs the question, what could possibly have caused the universe at some point in the extreme past to suddenly start to exist?

    Whatever this thing is, it would need to exist outside of our universe prior to its creation, and by human standards, it would be the most powerful (ie. omnipotent) force that has ever influenced our universe in any way, and would be worthy of our admiration. I am not going to jump to the conclusion that the answer to this question is God. And I am certainly not going to jump to the conclusion that it is a Judaic Christian God.

    While I admit the possibility of a multiverse is very real, it is not something that we can test for logically or empirically at this time, and so, regrettably, I must cut short my discussion of multiverses here and group it with other untestable theories of creation of existence such as everything being sneezed into existence and everything being created by a masculine God figure in our own image…

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    So seeing is evidence? If thats the case then david blane can fly and everything on TV is real.

    Seeing is evidence, yes. I assume that when you drive, you accept that the fact that you can see other cars is evidence that they’re there. If not, you must have very high insurance premiums.

    Of course, seeing is not the only evidence we have for things, but it’s a good start. We also have plenty of evidence for camera trickery and special effects, so claims about someone being able to fly need more evidence than simply that you saw it on TV once. Just as everything we know about mammalian biology means that we need mroe evidence than “it was in this really old book I read” before we believe that virgins give birth.

    You have a point about not having seen gods, but do you really believe that humans of history did all the work in building monuments and statues without any evidence guiding their belief?

    Yes, I really do. After all, the people who build religious monuments today don’t have any evidence (or, more precisely, they never present any evidence). Why should people who lived thousands of years ago be any more rational in their beliefs than we are today?

    I take it you accept that the ancient Greeks had lots of evidence for Hermes and Apollo and so forth, right?

    And of course all those monuments serve as some sort of evidence, if that is all we are looking for.

    It’s evidence that people believed in a god, yes. It’s not evidence that that god actually exists. Do you find the Parthenon to be a particularly compelling piece of evidence for the existence of Zeus? If not, why should a Christian cathedral be better evidence for the existence of Jehovah?

    Do you think that even now the religious of the world have no subjective ‘evidence’ which creates the foundation of their belief?

    “Subjective evidence” is a contradiction in terms. What you mean is that they believe because they believe, and they have no evidence that their belief is true, other than that they believe it.

    If all of these people have so much evidence, why do they all think it’s evidence for completely different things? Why can’t a Hindu and Catholic agree on the slightest thing about what their evidence means? How do you decide which of them is right? Are they both right?

    Obviously its not proof, but personal perception, be it seeing or feeling are valid inputs for anyone when attempting to determine the nature of reality, or they arent in which case looking in the mirror is not a viable answer to my request of proof I exist.

    If by “feeling” you mean intuition and emotion, then no. It’s not a valid piece of evidence, though it may be based on evidences not consciously registered.

    As I said, there’s no proof of anything in the real world. I can’t possibly know for certain that you exist; any evidence for your existence may simply be part of an elaborate hallucination on my part. But I can provide evidence that you exist, evidence that you yourself are in an excellent place to observe. You can look in a mirror and compare how the image moves to how you think you are moving. You can make noises that you are capable of hearing. You can have a conversation on the Internets. You can get someone to punch you in the face, and experience pain. You can apply for a copy of your birth certificate. You can go over to your mother’s house and ask to look at pictures of you as a child. All of these things should provide you with a reason to believe that you might, possibly, exist. Some of them are even evidence (again, not proof) that you have a physical body that is basically humanoid in form. None of them is entirely convincing, especially if you have reason to think someone might have faked your existence as a cruel hoax against you, but it’s evidence.

    There is evidence you exist. I believe that your existence is unremarkable enough that I accept the amount of evidence presented, and will henceforth accept your existence as demonstrated. Can we say the same for Jehovah (or any other god you care to name)? Like many here, I’ll be happy to consider any evidence you can present, and I’ll happily convert to the religion of your choosing the moment you can demonstrate something even marginally compelling.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    The responses are interesting.
    Confused subscribes to a god of lottery, also known as magical thinking. Furthermore Confused doesn’t want to consider that it could all just be coincidence, and says as much:

    [O]nce decided on it’s truth I kind of resisted any doubts or questions as being the opposite of faith.

    In other words, “He’s in my heart.”

    Juan M. Ocampo offered:

    I have to admit that there is nothing I can present to you for you to see, touch, or smell as evidence that He exists besides the Bible, the research and data that show that a historical Jesus existed.

    An argument which could have best stopped after 13 words.

    I don’t think a believer in God can actually present God to you in person, and say, “Here He is. Say hello.”

    Nor do we, Juan, nor do we.

    If someone could, believe me, I’d be the first in line to meet Him.

    So would we, Juan, so would we.

    The atheist finds himself/herself lacking the evidence that God does not exist.

    Do we have to put up with this again? It is not the non-existence of a god which requires proof. His existence requires proof. Simple enough for you?

    I’m not trying to disprove god. You can’t disprove what doesn’t exist.

    Philos rolls out the same argument:

    So, non-believers, here is your chance. Convince logical believers there is no God. Give us verifiable evidence for the lack of existence. Pitch your best logical case for why we shouldnt believe in a deity.

    How about because a) There’s no evidence for the existence of one and b) the logical first premise is not that a god exists, but rather that one does not.

    Matt presents:

    Science, on the other hand, is supposed to be a passionless endeavor, in the sense that our passion is reserved for the method, not the results. Are you sure you haven’t simply traded one set of beliefs for another?

    Um … no. We’ve usually traded belief for facts. And you have it exactly backwards, we must be dispassionate about method and results. However, we must fight like hell to have the results accepted. Consider Copernicus, for starters.

    Still waiting for anyone to advance a rational argument for the existence of a god.

    @Mr. Polite:
    Re. your “In defence of Christianity.” Nicely put.

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    You have yet to put much forward but name calling. Its a shame that one who supports logic and science isnt able to respond with a cool head to the valid allegations that science cannot provide every answer. Only those dogmatically faithful to the belief of science deny this fact and thus put themselves in no better a position then any religion in the past.

    I just hope it doesnt get to the point where atheist feel the need to purge the religious in the same way the older belief’s did. The loss of diversity simply led us to where we are today and much the same would happen again.

    At the very least it is extremely clear that a hatred or desire to remove those who believe will not lead to any great enlightenment but simply be a repeat of the Inquisitions and religious purging of old. And as was true then, much of the diversity and beauty of the world will be lost to savage self-righteousness.

  • Wolter

    @philos

    Dude, science isn’t about having the answers, it’s about searching for and eventually finding the answers in a rational, repeatable manner, and then discovering more questions to find the answers to.

    Science is a TOOL. Nothing more.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Bruce

    Condemning someone for what they believe is an attack on their person (because that is who they are), whether it is,e.g., an atheist to a religious person or a religious person to an atheist.

    Who’s condemning? Your argument is basically to live and let live? To accept everyone’s beliefs?

    All atheists and skeptics want is for everyone to think logically and rationally. That’s all.

    Sure, we like to have debates as much as the next person, and if the purpose is to get one’s viewpoint accross because the opposing view is not understood, then what’s wrong with that? It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has to be “right”.

    The logical answer, that I’m pretty sure most atheists would accept from a believer, is “I have no evidence for God. I believe because I choose to believe”. Of course some would press further and ask why one would believe in something they have no evidence for, but that is not the question of the post.

    @philos

    Seriously? Your response to the question at hand is to ask for proof of non existence? Do you really expect answers to that, or were you just being rhetorical? In which case you could have just tried to make a point by speaking logically, rather than ask questions in a manner that tries to make a point.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Loren:

    Cause and effect are properties of the universe, as is time. There is no such thing as “before the universe existed”, and no reason to assume that it needed a cause to “begin” existing, as these concepts have no meaning except as applied to things inside the universe. Asking what was before the Big Bang, or what caused it is like asking what is north of the North Pole.

    If we must apply the laws of the universe to its own creation, then the logical conclusion is that the Big Bang was an uncaused quantum fluctuation similar to the creation of particle-antiparticle pairs regularly observed today.

    Blah blah Kalaam argument blah.

  • Vorjack

    @philos – “I just hope it doesnt get to the point where atheist feel the need to purge the religious in the same way the older belief’s did.”

    GAAH! What is WITH you people? I’ve seen arguments between rules-lawyers at role-playing conventions that get more heated that the average atheist/theist spat. Why do you keep popping up with these doomsday scenarios?

    Seriously, philos, take a breather. Before we atheists take out the theists, we’re gonna have to settle our hash with the agnostics. Then there’s the whole weak atheist/strong atheist battle to fight. We shouldn’t get around to cultural genocide for a good couple of months.

    [Justin case: the above is sarcasm]

  • Jimminy Christmas

    You have yet to put much forward but name calling.

    No, I’m afraid what you perceive as name calling is in reality you talking yourself into a corner.

    You’re now using one of the most common and predictable tactics that theists/creationists resort to on the Internet: trying to change the subject and then crying (like a baby) that you are being called names, when in fact you’re just trying to distract attention from the fact that you have no real argument or evidence to present. You should just go ahead and admit that you’re wrong and that you have nothing to present here but tiresome religious canards and armchair philosophy.

    On the other hand, you could provide us with some positive empirical evidence for the existence of your god (or any gods), and I would then profusely apologize to you for ever doubting you or causing you any emotional distress.

  • Matt

    @Daniel

    “Yes, as I’m quite open to believing anything as long as there is evidence for it. As I said, if I could be convinced again that there is evidence for God, I would believe.”

    Yes, but that’s not what I asked you. You’ve switched from ignoring evidence to considering it, and that’s wonderful… but it’s not what I asked.

    Controversial? I don’t know, that depends on what most people consider controversy. I just find it interesting, and here’s why.

    You’ve asked for evidence. There is none, and I’m pretty sure you know it. Oh sure, you’ll get a lot of personal anecdotes, but those are easily and rightly dismissed. As for credible, empirical, repeatable evidence… anything useful in the scientific world… well it doesn’t exist. And if it did exist it would have been brought to the public long ago in a forum far larger than the comment section of your blog.

    This is because atheism and religion fall outside the scope of science, as neither makes any falsifiable quantitative predictions. Athiesm doesn’t really claim anything concrete outside of ‘God doesn’t exist’ and the religious will change their theories every time you try to falsify something. So science goes elsewhere.

    Now, if you know this, and since you seem like a very intelligent guy I have no reason to think otherwise, then it means you didn’t pose this invitation expecting theists to come forward with new evidence you’ve never heard so that you could have a meaningful discussion and perhaps change your mind. No, you did it to make a point and to bait the theists to come out and play.

    Which is exactly what I expected when my fundamentalist Baptist friend invited me to participate in a discussion on the New Testament. If he became an athiest tomorrow, I would expect that while his beliefs would change, his methods would not.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Loren:

    2. My next argument is a simple one – that the universe did NOT always exist. If I promised to give you a cookie after an infinite amount of time, would you ever get your cookie? The answer to this question is NO. Similarly, could there be an infinite amount of time before you were born? The answer to this question is, similarly, NO. Otherwise, time would never reach the point of you being born.

    This is a fallacious scenario. In this statement you seem to be implicitly assuming that “infinity” has a “starting point”, but that starting point can never be reached. If that were the case, the argument might hold some water. You should rather think of infinity as a continuum which has events occurring along it at all points. Just because an infinite number of events has happened prior to the existence of our current universe does not mean that our universe cannot exist. Our universe is just another event occurring at a particular point along the continuum.

    Also, you mentioned that if there were a beginning to the universe, something outside of the universe must have started everything. OK. Well that is a possibility. Let’s assume for a moment that that is the case. My question would then be: What started the something outside the universe that started the universe?

  • Jesse

    @philos

    You mentioned the possibility of a deity with zero ability to interact with the physical world, except to convince humans (as some sort of physical/spiritual hybrids) to act on its behalf. It’s kind of a fun idea. I could imagine some really interesting stories along these lines.

    There are some pretty severe conflicts between this description of a god and those offered by the religions I’m aware of. For instance: it’s hard to see how this god could have created the universe, or could perform miracles of any sort. It’s hard to see how the deity could see what’s happening in the physical world to provide meaningful advice. One could suppose that a deity chose this limitation voluntarily – this is something like what certain protestant Christians think. It’s difficult to see why, or to explain a deity choosing to be relatively powerless to help or reward its followers. It certainly isn’t a universal claim of Christianity that God is powerless to affect the world, except through Christians.

    If the limitations are part of the deity’s nature, if the spiritual and physical both exist and are unable to interact, that is roughly equivalent to the idea of a parallel universe. Two distinct worlds exist; each has its own physical laws, and normally neither can interact with the other. Somehow a species came to exist that appears to be directly descended from the normal inhabitants of one of the universes – the one we call “physical” – but with the ability to receive communications from the other universe. When members of this species die, they take tangible existence within the alternate universe, for better or worse. The ruling resident of the other universe then tried to coach this species on how to end up on its good side.

    I think we’ve invented a new religion, but I’m not sure (:

    There is at least one possible form of evidence for this religion, if it was true: the deity could communicate some identical message to all its most receptive followers simultaneously, providing instructions to record the message in a fashion that makes it possible to verify later. It would be extremely helpful if the message involved was something humans don’t know: some complicated bit of math we haven’t discovered yet, for instance. If the president of the American Mathematical Society received simultaneous letters from all regions of the world that each provided a proof for a different unsolved problem, a lot of people would sit up and take notice.

    This goes back to what I said before, though: most conceivable deities could prove their existence, if they chose to. The hard part is squeezing evidence out of an unwilling deity.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Matt: You are right — I don’t think there is any evidence (I’ve admitted as much many times), but as I’ve said in other comments here, many Christians do claim to have that kind of evidence. Have you ever read Norman Geisler, Ray Comfort or Lee Strobel (to name a few)? They all claim to have this kind of evidence.

    Seriously, I’m looking for well-argued comments from theists who visit this site. I don’t see why that’s so hard to believe. This is not meant as bait-and-switch. I wasn’t even planning on trying to refute any of the arguments, unless someone asked me a question specifically.

    My methods have changed dramatically. I don’t put leave tracts around. I don’t witness to strangers. I don’t pray for people. I don’t give emotional appeals that they are in danger of hell. I don’t invite people to something to end it with a gospel message.

    I’m simply asking questions, making assertions and — hopefully — hosting stimulating conversations.

  • philos

    @Sir Jebbington

    Very nice response. This is the sort of thinking I was hoping to bring out.

    Firstly I would question the compatibility of deities existing side by side. In fact most of history and mythology points to them doing so, even Christianity doesn’t deny the existence of other god’s just that its evil to worship them.

    Im not certain why, speaking from a logical stand point, they cant all be right when one considers interpretation and cultural influence on any piece of information. A good example may be the myth of the great flood, or the Hun’s invasion, in different cultures around the world and how those events were interpreted differently. It seems perfectly possible that the incompatabilities are more likely reflections of cultural differences over actual event based differences. But this is an assumption based on the various independent cultures who developed near identical gods in vastly different settings before meeting and ultimately choosing a single name (usually decided by the conquering culture). Look at the historical and mythological evidence for the green god, of agriculture.

    You are right that the buildings are only potential evidence but there is a lot more potential evidence leaning towards there being something like gods, then there is in the non-belief. In fact I would say there is no monument towards the non-existance of god. Which of course is not evidence in it self but it does lead one to wonder: if the assumable logical state of being is to not believe without evidence, then why in the world would all these structures, both physical and sociological, exist in such vast numbers?
    Logically there should be at least as many if not many more built in the support of non-existance.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Matt

    “…you didn’t pose this invitation expecting theists to come forward with new evidence you’ve never heard so that you could have a meaningful discussion and perhaps change your mind. No, you did it to make a point and to bait the theists to come out and play.”

    So? It’s just a blog. More importantly, it’s his blog. If he wants to start this discussion, let him.

    You can:

    a) Participate with your point of view
    b) Observe
    c) Leave

    To shoot down the author and the question the author poses is pointless.

  • philos

    @McBloggenstein

    Actually I copied Daniels question and reworded it so that it was inverted. Yes it was rhetorical in an attempt to point out the ridiculousness of the request. Apparently many others have come before me and this idea has been thoroughly deemed inappropriate. Which I now understand fully. Admittedly a silly way to start a conversation such as this.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @philos

    I’m still not seeing why it is rediculous to open up a forum for people that make extraordinary claims to provide what they believe to be evidence for the sake of discussion.

    If you don’t think that it is a valid question to pose, then you don’t have to participate (I’m not saying you shouldn’t, as you have provided otherwise good discussion points). It’s just that the turn around by asking others to prove non existence is off topic.

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    Let me try again then: Please provide empirical evidence of the existence of love or fear or inspiration.

  • philos

    Point being of course that we experience these things, we perceive them and ultimately they have and effect on the way we live our lives yet they are purely subjective non-empirical events that can never be shown directly to someone, only through their subjective experience of it can it be understood.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    You are right that the buildings are only potential evidence but there is a lot more potential evidence leaning towards there being something like gods, then there is in the non-belief

    Please define what you mean by “potential evidence”. There are an infinite number of things that could have potential evidence in favor of them. There is potential evidence that there is a pink elephant in my room right now. That’s not the same thing as actual evidence. Just because a lot of people built a lot of buildings in the name of something has absolutely no bearing on the fact that that something actually exists or not.

    I also find the idea of monuments to “non-belief” amusing. What would such a structure look like? Nothing? If so, I would posit that we have an infinite number of monuments to non-belief. If you just had more faith in their non-existence, you would be able to see them everywhere.

    All kidding aside, from a practical perspective, it’s difficult to organize large groups of people to create monuments devoted to a nullifying concept. It would be like constructing a monument to the non-belief in astrology. “Hey Bob, what is the purpose of this monument we’re constructing?” “Oh that thing? Nothing.” “Cool!”

    I think there is a proper name for the “argument from the number of monuments” fallacy, but I can’t think of what it is right now.

  • philos

    @McBloggenstein

    And I completely agree and regret doing so. Apologies to all b/c it has been a bit of a distraction from this interesting conversation.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Let me try again then: Please provide empirical evidence of the existence of love or fear or inspiration.

    Hahah! Ah yes. The old “Have you stopped beating your wife/Prove that your wife loves you” fallacy. Good one! I love the classics.

    I suggest you take a look at this page before you continue:

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/fallacies.htm

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    Please read the post Im responding to the definitions you seek and grounds for the discussion are in the initial posts. The idea of non-belief building was not mine nor the term for potential evidence.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Jimminy Xmas

    “This is a fallacious scenario. In this statement you seem to be implicitly assuming that “infinity” has a “starting point”, but that starting point can never be reached. If that were the case, the argument might hold some water. You should rather think of infinity as a continuum which has events occurring along it at all points. Just because an infinite number of events has happened prior to the existence of our current universe does not mean that our universe cannot exist. Our universe is just another event occurring at a particular point along the continuum.”

    Excellent response.

    I’ve never understood the argument that believers give, that if God doesn’t exist, “then the universe started from nothing???”… and how could we believe such a thing?

    Why is the only other option, besides God, that the universe “started” from “nothing”? The concept of time having a beginning is purely human invented.

    If there were a list of choices for why the universe exists, the choice of God is just one of the more unreasonable answers for some. This does not mean that those people have to assume anything else by placing the likelyhood of God low on the list.

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    So you fall to the same fallacy since its simply a rewording of your question? Please elaborate as I do not understand what you meant by “Have you stopped beating your wife/”etc.

  • trj

    @philos:
    > “if the assumable logical state of being is to not believe without evidence, then why in the world would all these structures, both physical and sociological, exist in such vast numbers?”

    Very simple: because humans are not rational or logical per default, especially when power or rewards come into play, as they do in religion.

    Besides, you don’t see the structures that were NOT built due to lack of belief in some god. So it’s rather flawed “evidence” of anything.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Jimminy

    Cool website!

  • philos

    @trj

    I agree completely – the idea as stated was in response to another post, it was that there would be buildings to non-belief, monuments of atheism if you will not that there would be non-monuments. Sorry for the confusion.

    And there was a bit of a jump because the idea came from a different post that the burden of responsibility lay on the believer, was due to the fact that the default logical state is to assume there was nothing until provided with evidence that there was something. Again logically sound yet completely contrary to human nature. Which is what I’ve been getting at this whole time.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Philos:

    If you read the link I posted, you would see that your statement is what is known as a “loaded question” (which is a fallacy). A loaded question is where you say something that is supposed to be a “gotcha” moment in a debate, because the assumption is that there is no “correct” way your opponent can answer your statement or question. These are also sometimes referred to as dishonest questions.

    However I do apologize, because there actually is an answer to your challenge (prove that love/fear/inspiration/any random emotion exist). It’s called neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Look them up on Wikipedia. Both subjects are fascinating, and will put you well on your way towards finding the evidence you seek.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Philos:

    Whoops, I meant to say evolutionary psychology, not biology. Although either of those subjects should do the trick. The former is just more specific to your query.

  • Tut

    I will just leave three questions.

    Which scientist can provide your morals?
    Who among you can prove you have any?
    Why do you wish to discuss something that in your heart doesn’t exist while only strengthening what lives in mine?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Let me try again then: Please provide empirical evidence of the existence of love or fear or inspiration.

    My wife bought me a sword for my birthday. She doesn’t like it (especially as we have a small child), and thinks it’s a waste of money. But she’s glad that I like it, and that she made me happy by buying it.

    Yes, there are other hypotheses that this evidence would also support (for example, that she hopes I’ll kill myself with it, and that she’s just pretending to be happy that I’m happy. And short of an fMRI or CAT scan, I really can’t begin to pretend I know for sure which it is (and even with such technologies, it’s a long way from solid proof), but it’s evidence.

    It goes something like this:

    Hypothesis: Person A loves Person B.

    Prediction: Person A will act so as to spend as much time around Person B as possible, and will try to make them happy whenever possible.

    Observation: Person A acts so as to spend as much time around Person B as possible, and performs acts that seem intended to make Person B happy.

    Inference: Person A loves Person B.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Tut

    What does proving whether or not we have morals have to do with anything? Please explain..

    Also, I’m just curious, how does this discussion strengthen your beliefs?

  • Wolter

    @philos

    There would never be a building built in honor of non-belief because it’s such a mundane thing. You only build monuments to things you consider to be singular, special, and powerful. Copernicus, for example, is forever seared into our memory as one of the greats that pushed for rational thought during his time.

    There are three things that monuments are built for: commemoration of an event, or tribute to a ruler or to a god. Sometimes the rulers are even considered gods themselves.

    It is the ultimate display of power to waste other peoples money and effort to build something big that serves no practical purpose other than to display your power for others to see, and that is exactly what the purposes of these monumental buildings to kings and gods are.

    It makes no difference whether it is done for a king or for Zeus or Baal or the pharaoh or Yahweh or Shinto spirits. These buildings provide evidence that people believed something to be powerful, enough to divert a considerable amount of treasure and labor towards its completion. It does not, however, provide any evidence whatsoever that a particular deity existed. It doesn’t even hint that a particular deity existed, any more than cave pictographs of forest spirits do.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timothykurek Tim Kurek

    Why would I, as a theist, ever try to talk to someone with such an arrogant attitude about the faith I choose to believe in. I’ll acknowledge what others won’t. There is not proof! If we had proof then our faith wouldn’t be faith, it would be knowledge and we are saved by faith, not by works and not by knowledge.

    Also why would I try to prove something that is associated with so many lunatics? Why would I defend Christianity when Christianity means so many things to so many people? The only thing I can do is have a respectful, adult dialogue, where we first try to find some common ground, and then move from there. But I honestly doubt I would find that here. I barely associate with other believers for the same reasons you dont either.

    I enjoy your blogs, but none of them are serious attempts at conversations. They are close-minded rants that equal that of the horrible preachers I’ve heard who won’t admit they could be wrong.

    We can all agree that humility is a trait that allows for intelligent debate, but would I get that if I honestly tried to talk to you about my faith? Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. Just know I’m open to it if you are.

    your friend,
    tim kurek

    http://TheEvolutionofGod.wordpress.com

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Tut: Can you prove you have morals? Is it enough to point out that I’ve never killed anyone, and that I try not to lie, steal or cheat (but sometimes fail)?

    Suppose you had two children. One of them generally does the right thing, but only because he knows he’ll be punished or rewarded based on his behaviour. The other is equally likely to behave properly, but does so without expecting reward or punishment, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

    Which of these is the most moral?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Tut

    Also, if you’re implying that the only reason humans have morals is because of the Bible and God’s teachings, then you have zero understanding of learned social behavior.

    Monkeys are generally aware of what is acceptable behavior when they are around other monkeys. How did that happen?

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    Everybody,

    I did not join this discussion to try to convert anyone to Christianity. Everyone has the right to believe what they please. I simply accepted the invitation to Daniel’s topic and gave my general opinion. I have alos found everyone’s opinions and views to be interesting.

    After participating, and sincerely trying to learn and understand the views of others, I got this:

    _______________________________________________

    Score so far: Juan C. believes because he believes. He acknowledges that neither necessary nor sufficient evidence for this belief is available, possibly not even conceivable.

    OK, who’s next? At least, someone, give is the ontological argument.

    While verifiable evidence seems to be the determining factor here for God’s existence, would any atheist like share their verifiable evidence of God’s non-existence?

    Sure. As soon as you share with us your verifiable evidence of the non-existence of unicorns.

    Oh, and you’ll also have to be more specific about which god you want us to prove does not exist. There are several thousand of them and counting.

    @Juan: Then we can all agree we can’t prove something doesn’t exist. It’s impossible, and none of us here believe that God can be proven not to exist.

    But to believe something — especially something extraordinary — requires positive proof. Otherwise, we could believe absolutely anything. That’s why I’m asking for evidence.

    Does that make sense?

    @Juan: Of course. That’s why I’m asking for positive evidence for God, because I don’t know of any. But obviously some believers think they have evidence and it is convincing to them.

    Juan M. Ocampo offered:

    I have to admit that there is nothing I can present to you for you to see, touch, or smell as evidence that He exists besides the Bible, the research and data that show that a historical Jesus existed.

    An argument which could have best stopped after 13 words.

    I don’t think a believer in God can actually present God to you in person, and say, “Here He is. Say hello.”

    Nor do we, Juan, nor do we.

    If someone could, believe me, I’d be the first in line to meet Him.

    So would we, Juan, so would we.

    The atheist finds himself/herself lacking the evidence that God does not exist.

    Do we have to put up with this again? It is not the non-existence of a god which requires proof. His existence requires proof. Simple enough for you?

    I’m not trying to disprove god. You can’t disprove what doesn’t exist.
    _______________________________________________

    God may not be real to you, or He may be as real to you as He is to me. You may spend all your life not satisfied with the present, so called “evidence” that is available, but the fact is that people will continue to believe in a God or disbelieve in a God for as long as they live. I guess the real evidence will discovered at death. If God is not real, then the dead will continue in death and no longer exist. But if God is real, then the evidence and proof of God will be before your eyes and all questions will be answered. I guess for some it will be a chance that had to be taken, but for others it will be a guarantee of their faith.

    Thanks to all for your time, comments and for the opportunity to participate.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    There is not proof! If we had proof then our faith wouldn’t be faith, it would be knowledge and we are saved by faith, not by works and not by knowledge.

    So, all those people in the OT who had long conversations with God (Noah, Moses, Abraham, Lot…) didn’t have faith and therefore weren’t saved? All of the people that God made a point of not killing because they were good and righteous really got the short end of the straw there, didn’t they?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    God may not be real to you, or He may be as real to you as He is to me. You may spend all your life not satisfied with the present, so called “evidence” that is available, but the fact is that people will continue to believe in a God or disbelieve in a God for as long as they live. I guess the real evidence will discovered at death. If God is not real, then the dead will continue in death and no longer exist. But if God is real, then the evidence and proof of God will be before your eyes and all questions will be answered. I guess for some it will be a chance that had to be taken, but for others it will be a guarantee of their faith.

    And we have Pascal’s Wager. Does that mean this thread is over, now?

  • Wolter

    @Tim

    When you talk about faith vs knowledge, there is no common ground. You will talk about your god and all he’s done for you, and the other person will talk about facts and reproducible events. There is no bridge. You’re on one side, or the other. Anyone who tries to factualize faith is deluding himself.

    And once you get into issues of faith, you have all of the competing faiths to contend with, each with their own claim of authenticity, so any discussion is pretty much rendered meaningless.

  • philos

    @Jimminy Christmas

    Well then you have your empirical evidence of god, see the wiki articles you have pointed out as a starting point. If that is empirical evidence for the existance of the emotion rather then an observation of the mechanics of the emotion then we have our evidence.

    But isnt there some sort of scientific flaw when one seeks a corollary observation to a predetermined conclusion? ie emotions exist, lets prove them by observing the brain?

    So if I were to say God exists, lets prove them by observing whatever one thinks god consists of you would take my observations as empirical evidence? Of course you wouldnt.

    Again not science, where is the controlled experimental environment? At best it boils down to the subjective experience of the individual being observed and what they determine to be fear, love etc while being examine for fear, love, etc. Its all inferred observational theory at best.

  • VorJack

    @Tim Kurek

    You gotta love it when someone chimes in to explain why they won’t talk to you – then uses it as an excuse to plug their blog, where you can go and not talk to them.

    For those that feel like Tim does, let me just say that there is an entire industry of apologists who feel that it there is evidence for a deity. You might just want to have a talk with them and explain to them why they are wrong.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Tim Kurek:

    Why would I, as a theist, ever try to talk to someone with such an arrogant attitude about the faith I choose to believe in.

    I like how you masterfully fight the arrogant attitudes of others with your own arrogant attitude.

    I’ll acknowledge what others won’t. There is not proof!

    Well at least you’re honest. That is a lot more than I can say for the majority of theists I encounter. Kudos to you, sir.

    Also why would I try to prove something that is associated with so many lunatics?

    Wait. Are you saying many people who believe in your god are lunatics? Well sheesh. I’m having trouble finding things to disagree on with you here. Are you sure you aren’t any atheist?

    We can all agree that humility is a trait that allows for intelligent debate, but would I get that if I honestly tried to talk to you about my faith? Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. Just know I’m open to it if you are.

    Hey bring it. If you you can make a well-reasoned argument in favor of the existence of your god (or any god for that matter) without resorting to the standard religious fallacies, then I’m sure you’ll find people willing to respectfully discuss them with you. Just don’t make the common mistake that many theists do make which is to consider any disagreement or criticism of your arguments a personal attack.

  • VorJack

    “But isnt there some sort of scientific flaw when one seeks a corollary observation to a predetermined conclusion? ie emotions exist, lets prove them by observing the brain?”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Most science proceeds by making hypothesis and then testing them. Results are formulated into theories, which make predictions that are then tested. So to some degree, all science proceeds by developing “predetermined conclusions” and seeing how they compare to reality.

  • philos

    Sadly this has degraded significantly. Thumpers have arrived it seems.

    Im off, good conversation while it lasted though.

    Thanks to those that provided productive counter discussion.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Tim: Perhaps you could explain what is arrogant about a post inviting theists to provide their best arguments. I’m NOT saying there are no good arguments for God’s existence, I’m simply asking people to provide some. How, exactly, is that arrogant?

    If this is a “close-minded rant,” then why am I asking questions and inviting conversation, not giving answers?

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    while i am a “believer” in the sense that i know God exists, i am an intellectual athiest when it comes to discussing whether the “christian” “god” exists (which is to say “he” probably doesn’t exist).

    on the other hand, the fact that i know God exists doesn’t mean that i can prove to you, or to anyone, that God exists. you have to experience God for yourself. until then, i guarantee that if you think the “christians” are crazy for believing what they believe, you’ll think i’m stark raving mad.

    i know God exists because i have a personal relationship with him: i talk with God on an ongoing basis. God guides my every step, and there isn’t a question God has not been able to answer to my satisfaction.

    that being said, the God that i am talking about is not the “god” of the “christians” because that “god” has definable characteristics: you frequently hear “christians” talking about “god” referring to “his will”. calling God “him” is a limitation: God is beyond him, her or it. referring to God’s “will” is a fallacy, because “god’s will” implies that it will be complete at some time, at which point, “god” will become pointless. God is the Spiritual Father of jesus ben miriam in the same way that God is the Spiritual Father of Jadava Krishna, Gautama Siddhartha, Mohammed, and every other person on earth, as well as being the Spiritual Mother as well.

    but i have no way to prove this. i learned about God from doing an experiment, and the result of that experiment was that God showed Himself (and i use that term advisedly) to me. unfortunately, it didn’t leave me with any way to show God to other people, because regardless of how much i try to convince you, unless you see God for yourself, everything else is just made up stories, like the “christians” try to fool you with.

    i disagree with the “christians” enough that i agree with athiests more of the time than not, but still, i know that God exists. i guess that makes me an outcast from both sides of the argument.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @przxqgl:

    i learned about God from doing an experiment, and the result of that experiment was that God showed Himself (and i use that term advisedly) to me. unfortunately, it didn’t leave me with any way to show God to other people

    Sounds interesting — is this the kind of experiment that we can try on our own as well? Or is it only for someone in a specific situation?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @przxqgl

    “on the other hand, the fact that i know God exists doesn’t mean that i can prove to you, or to anyone, that God exists.”

    You also can’t prove to yourself that God exists unless you can see him or literally hear his voice. When you say that you talk with him, do you think that it is the same thing as if you were having a conversation with your neighbor?

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Philos:

    If that is empirical evidence for the existance of the emotion rather then an observation of the mechanics of the emotion then we have our evidence.

    Well, as far as scientists can tell so far it certainly is empirical evidence of how emotions (and all human behaviors for that matter) occur and originate. You sure must read pretty fast to have gotten through the wiki articles on neuroscience and evolutionary psychology so quickly. ;) I should note that both these branches of science are currently still in their infancy, and in the coming years and decades we will know tremendously more about the human brain than we do now (which is already a lot).

    Are you proposing that human thought, emotion and behavior originates somewhere other than the cluster of a hundred billion neuronal cells known as the human brain? If so, can you demonstrate from where it does originate and by what mechanism this action occurs? There’s a Nobel Prize (probably several) and a considerable fortune in it for you if you can.

    So if I were to say God exists, lets prove them by observing whatever one thinks god consists of you would take my observations as empirical evidence?

    No, but there have been numerous studies that have hooked people up to fMRI machines while they prayed or meditated. A significant amount of activity is noted in very specific parts of the brain when they do this. Just like a significant amount of activity is noted in very specific parts of the brain when you are in love, or when you are angry, or when you talk, or when you wiggle your big toe. That’s how your brain works.

    Are you proposing that my ability to wiggle my big toe, and the fact that a specific pattern of neuronal activity in my brain occurs when I do so, is evidence of the judeo-christian god? Again, if this is so, please describe the mechanism of how this works, and you will be the most respected (not to mention rich and famous) scientist to ever live.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @przxqgl

    “i learned about God from doing an experiment, and the result of that experiment was that God showed Himself (and i use that term advisedly) to me. unfortunately, it didn’t leave me with any way to show God to other people”

    Can you explain this more? What was it more than (what I’m assuming) was either a suspected outcome, against all odds, or a very unexpected outcome, that evoked certain emotions from you that you interpreted as evidence for something you were likely to believe in anyway?

  • Wolter

    There’s no real harm in faith per se, until it flies in the face of facts. You can have faith that you can fly if you jump off a cliff and flap your arms, but that won’t change the reality of gravity and terminal velocity.

    The real problems are with politics, when people of faith attempt to use legislation to force their beliefs upon others. Examples:
    - evolution and the monkey trial
    - abortion
    - stem cell research
    - abstinance only programs, and withholding of funds to clinics that distribute condoms
    - refusal to sell to homosexuals
    - gay marriage
    - teaching a particular religion or religious view in schools while excluding others

    At this point, saying that it must be legislated simply because you and others have faith that it is so just doesn’t cut it.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Juan M. Ocampo

    I’m confused as to why you posted all of the comments that were directed toward you.

    Did you mean to imply that you didn’t like them, and that’s why you are no longer participating?

    I don’t think anyone wants you to feel defeated. Why not continue to discuss?

  • Kate

    1. Not everyone who believes in SOMETHING wants to convince you that they are right. (I dislike the term God as being way too loaded with western Judeo-Christian-Islamic baggage) For example, I see look out at the world from the inescapable vantage point of my own mind and I see the world a certain way. Part of that is a deep spiritual and emotional response to the fundamental principles of physics. Relativity and quantum mechanics create inside my mind a deep faith that there is SOMETHING profound about existence. Am I right? I neither know nor care, but it feels right to me and for me, and I all I want for other people is to find what feels right for them. Yet many atheists seem to feel the need and the right to tell me why I am wrong about a subject that is at its core subjective. I have no proof of SOMETHING past my own experience of life, but then again, do any of have anything past their own experience of life? And before you say anything, no I am not stupid, my IQ is in the mensa range, I am not ignorant of science as I have a PhD in biological engineering, and I have spent considerable time and effort educating myself and determining my own belief structure since I was 14.
    2. By its very nature there is and can never be proof for or against the existence of SOMETHING. Science, which seems to be the favored argument of atheists, cannot prove a negative. You cannot perform experiments to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Reason and rational thinking may be a compelling arguments on the surface, but they are human creations, based on our collective experience of the world. Yet we experience only a tiny fraction of the universe, both because of our short life spans and our physical limitations. So how can our collective experience be said to be applicable to the whole of existence? Perhaps reason and rationality are right, but there is not guarentee

    3.Finally, I would like to close with a question. I will start by saying this will probably piss some of y’all off, but try to here me out, because in all seriousness, I respect your point of view, and I don’t see it as more valid than mine, I see it as yours.
    Why does it matter so much to you what I think, provided I don’t try to impose my beliefs on you? Yeah, I get pissed when people say god gives them the right to stop my gay friends from getting married, or to stop me controlling my reproductive rights, but why do those assholes make you want to talk me out of my beliefs?

  • Wolter

    > Why does it matter so much to you what I think, provided I don’t try to impose my beliefs on you?

    That really is the key. If religious people DID keep to themselves and didn’t try to impose their beliefs on others, then there would be no problem.

    But as the religious right has so poignantly demonstrated over the past 8 years, there really IS a problem here.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    @McBloggenstein

    I think Juan must be upset that he came here and was confronted by people who didn’t immediately and without question defer to and accept his religious assertions. A few of us even had the arrogance to challenge some of his statements! How unfair of us! And on an atheist blog no less! Shocking and shameful!

    As I mentioned earlier, there are a disturbingly large amount of theists/creationists who interpret any questioning or challenging of even their most vacuous statements as a direct and very personal attack against them. They are incapable of having a rational conversation about religion, because the moment you disagree with them they start crying about how unfair or disrespectful you’re being, or that they’re being persecuted or getting called names. In other words, red herrings. WAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! It’s really rather sad, and extremely frustrating to anyone who is attempting to have an honest discussion. It just plain wastes everyone’s time.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    “Reason and rational thinking may be a compelling arguments on the surface, but they are human creations, based on our collective experience of the world. Yet we experience only a tiny fraction of the universe, both because of our short life spans and our physical limitations.”

    In trying to understand what you mean… Are you basically saying knowledge of what some people would call god is outside of what we are capable of knowing, given our limited perspective on the world?

    If so, this idea does nothing to make the likelyhood of the existence of an omnipotent being any more valid.

    I don’t think anyone wants to talk anyone out of their beliefs. Atheists don’t necessarily always want to disprove God. We just feel as though those that believe in the unreasonable are not truly thinking clearly and rationally. That is just an oppinion that we often argue that the religious are not thinking as such and often use logical falacies to support their beliefs.

    Can you not take this opportunity to view the question posed as a chance to strengthen your faith for yourself?

  • Efogoto

    “Why does it matter so much to you what I think, provided I don’t try to impose my beliefs on you?”

    It doesn’t matter what you think if you don’t try to impose restrictions on others because of what you believe. But there are many who do try to regulate the activities of others based on the rules of their own religious organizations, and those restricted but not sharing in that same organization are going to push back. One way to do that is to question the basis for the religious organization’s authority. If there is no god, then the bible is purely a human creation and its rules no more valid than any other.

  • VorJack

    @Kate – “Why does it matter so much to you what I think, provided I don’t try to impose my beliefs on you?”

    I’m sorry, are we knocking on your door with pamphlets? This is just an attempt at rational discussion on an obscure (but increasingly popular) blog. We want to know about this evidence for God that everyone from Ray Comfort to NT Wright says exists. We’re not trying to deconvert you, and you’re free to leave at any time.

    @Wolter – “That really is the key. If religious people DID keep to themselves and didn’t try to impose their beliefs on others, then there would be no problem.”

    Maybe. I mean, there would still be arguments, humans being humans. However, there’s a close tie between belief and action. I have a hard time imaging religious belief that does not influence actions. And false beliefs can lead to bad decisions.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    Why does it matter so much to you what I think, provided I don’t try to impose my beliefs on you? Yeah, I get pissed when people say god gives them the right to stop my gay friends from getting married, or to stop me controlling my reproductive rights, but why do those assholes make you want to talk me out of my beliefs?

    Well, I’d say it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

    1) You’re in the minority of religious people if you do not want to impose your beliefs on others, either directly or indirectly. The majority of them do.

    2) By not criticizing the beliefs of “those assholes”, you are indirectly (and probably unintentionally) supporting the beliefs of “those assholes”.

    3) Some of us genuinely believe that religious beliefs and all the baggage that goes along with them are actively harmful to progressive societies, and pose an existential risk to humanity as a whole.

    4) Some of us just like to argue on the Internet ;)

    2. By its very nature there is and can never be proof for or against the existence of SOMETHING. Science, which seems to be the favored argument of atheists, cannot prove a negative. You cannot perform experiments to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

    Actually I’m afraid you are totally wrong here. 2+2 does not equal 5. I just proved a negative. I’m not being cute or sarcastic here…it is a mathematically provable fact that 2+2 is not equal to 5. Ask any mathematician. That’s just one example, there are many others (both mathematical and non-mathematical).

    Here are a few links (the last one is a short PDF file).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

    http://www.graveyardofthegods.net/articles/cantprovenegative.html

    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/06/you_can_prove_a_negative.php

    http://departments.bloomu.edu/philosophy/pages/content/hales/articlepdf/proveanegative.pdf

  • choaticwarrior

    I have perused and digested all of what has been said here before me and would like to add a scenario to this discussion…

    If God creates man in his own image, then who else can do this?

    If God is omnipotent, who else is?

    If God will always forgive mans sins, who else will do this?

    If you’ve came to the same conclusion as me and your answer is Man. therefore we are God. There are a lot of “If’s”, so there will no defineate conclusion to this subject.
    “If” we are God, then our exsistence is irrefutable evidence of the exsistence of God…

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @choaticwarrior

    God is man made, therefore man is God, and because we know man exists, then we have evidence for God?

    That just doesn’t make sense.

  • Efogoto

    “I have a hard time imaging religious belief that does not influence actions.”

    I think that this comes from believers trusting their religious organizations to know how the world works and what god does or does not want humans to do. They then vote according to those decrees, thereby restricting others based on the proclamations of their organizations. That’s where religious belief leads to actions.

  • Kate

    McBloggenstein

    I want to respond to two points that you made.

    I don’t know weather God is ultimately unknowable, though I do think its is under the current conditions of science. Maybe someday we’ll get smart enough, but that is not really my point. What I was trying to convey is that this whole argument essentially boils down to perspective. Our existence is only the perspective of our own minds. Reason and rationality are attempts to create a collective experience in which we all believe, but because we are neither perfect nor all knowing, our creations cannot be perfect or universally applicable. So unless you concede the existence of a Platonic Ideal of Reason upon which humans have luckily stumbled, you can’t say that rationality and reason corner the market on The Truth. As such, I believe you must concede that your atheism is as much a belief as my spirituality. I would hasten to add that I have no problem with this, but I think it is the first step to a meaningful dialogue. You have many reasons for believing as you do, and many of them are good, and I probably share a lot of them, since I find the concept of the white dude in a robe totally hilarious. But I often feel that this concession is not made by atheists, and that seems to me both disingenuous and frankly unfair. Not that life is fair but…

    On to the second point. I don’t view this or any other discussion as a way to strengthen my beliefs because my beliefs are not fixed. I view this as a stimulating intellectual exercise which forces me to articulate what I believe and what I think. Since articulation requires careful thought, this is forcing me to evaluate my own beliefs honestly, and adjust them when I am given a new perspective that I had not considered. I believe that faith and spirituality are a life long journey, and I would point out that as you are interested in what I think, the same is true for you.

  • Efogoto

    @Chaotic Warrior

    “If God is omnipotent, who else is?”

    Man isn’t omnipotent, but he can imagine omnipotent beings. I’ll agree with McBloggenstein that gods are man-made, but that only provides evidence for man’s imagination.

  • Efogoto

    @Kate

    “your atheism is as much a belief as my spirituality”

    Yes, but grounded in evidence rather than faith, and subject to adjustment if given new evidence. It’s that latter part that Daniel is asking for.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    I’d also like to add that although it is true *some* things can’t be outright disproven from a logical or philosophical perspective (unicorns, fairies, Gods), it is still possible to place odds on how likely such things are to exist.

    For example, it is possible that unicorns exist. However, the supporting evidence for the physical existence of unicorns is so overwhelmingly lacking, the chances of them existing are practically zero. Knowing this, should I still live my life as if unicorns exist (since there’s an infinitesimal chance that they do), or should I live my life under the assumption that unicorns do not exist?

    My point is, all possible scenarios are not equally likely.

  • Kate

    @VorJack – I’m sorry, are we knocking on your door with pamphlets? This is just an attempt at rational discussion on an obscure (but increasingly popular) blog. We want to know about this evidence for God that everyone from Ray Comfort to NT Wright says exists. We’re not trying to deconvert you, and you’re free to leave at any time.

    I did not think you were trying to convert me to atheism, but will you really deny that there is a faint sheen of hostility to spiritual people from many atheists? That was what I was asking about, in an effort to have a constructive dialogue. I would ad, by the by, that I am not interested in converting you either. My most cherished believe is in respecting how others view the universe.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Efogoto

    Oh, I was just trying to reiterate what he was saying.

    I do believe gods are man made though. Good point.

  • Wolter

    @Kate

    The majority of the hostility towards religious people comes from the pressure that religious people put on nonbelievers.

    If you support a cause that affects other people based upon your religious convictions, you are forcing your religious ideas upon others (gay marriage is a prime example of this).
    If you refuse to stop others in your organization who do so, then you are through inaction supporting their actions.

    It is natural to feel hostility towards people who try to oppress you.

  • Kate

    You ask for evidence yet reject spiritual experiences that are personal and immeasurable. No, they can’t be measured and weighed, and yes, they are predominantly emotional, but that does not mean they are not real. Weights and measures, reason and “clear thinking” are only part of what it is to be human. We have emotions, and they are important and have value. To discount them from a subject as central to human experience as faith is is to dismiss half of what it means to be human. How is that rational? I refuse to reject the emotional component of spirituality because I think that is as inconsistent as believing the bible is literally true. I know the world isn’t flat and that the earth wasn’t created in 6 days. I also know that the fundamental laws of physics are beautiful and for me, contemplating them is a spiritual experience. That is a fact. Whether that experience is correct is impossible to say, but it is real, and it is as much a part of me as my intellect and my ability to rationally understand how chemistry works, and I fail to see why one is more valid than the other. That you don’t experience the world the same tells me only that there are 7 billion people alive right now, and there are 7 billion ways to see the world. And that makes me smile at the infinite variety of the human experience

  • Efogoto

    “will you really deny that there is a faint sheen of hostility to spiritual people from many atheists?”

    No, this is true. Will you deny that there is outright hostility to atheists from organized religions?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    Per your first response… Efogoto said what I would have said:

    Yes, but grounded in evidence rather than faith, and subject to adjustment if given new evidence.

    The second… you said:

    Since articulation requires careful thought, this is forcing me to evaluate my own beliefs honestly…

    That’s kinda all I meant by using discussion to strengthen your beliefs. It didn’t mean that your belief had to remain static.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Kate:
    Imagine that you’re at a nice party when someone comes up to you and says that you shouldn’t eat the dip, because buying the dip funds Jewish bankers who are conspiring to take over the world, and when they do they’ll kill you and your entire family.

    So naturally you cut him short, shake the loser off, and head for the shrimp cocktail, only to be told by someone else that you shouldn’t eat that stuff because it’s an abomination unto god, and when he returns to take over the world he’ll be pissed at you.

    But you’ll listen to the second dude out of respect for his silly-ass beliefs?

    Religion looks like the biggest-ever, most popular conspiracy theory in history. It has its place: In churches and in history.

    Yet this ludicrous superstition is why thousands of loving couples formerly married in California have had their marriage certificates torn up and pissed on.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “The majority of the hostility towards religious people comes from the pressure that religious people put on nonbelievers.”

    This is a good point. Also, the religious (generally) take non-belief as an attack on them personally, for some reason. There’s an air of “How can you NOT believe?? I take offence to your non-belief!”

  • Kate

    “No, this is true. Will you deny that there is outright hostility to atheists from organized religions?”

    Absolutely not, but I am the member of a faith of one, and I believe that in a perfect world that would be true of everyone.

  • marty

    Kate, did you read the question? It isn’t saying “Hey, we want to disprove your beliefs”, it says “give us your evidence, show us”.

    “By its very nature there is and can never be proof for or against the existence of SOMETHING. Science, which seems to be the favored argument of atheists, cannot prove a negative. You cannot perform experiments to prove or disprove the hypothesis.”

    What? You can’t prove the non-existence of something. You CAN prove its existence. For example, I think there is something called “Water”. To prove this, turn on a tap. We know the proof of god doesn’t exist, however some people continually assert that they have this proof. Others, such as Tim Kurek stated that there was no proof, and that christianity is designed that way, as it is faith that counts. If you had evidence it wouldn’t be faith.

    Also:
    I would like to claim “Bingo”, I have “Circular Reasoning”, “Prove the non existence”, “Argument from antiquity”, “Atheists are Mean to me!” and “I’m taking my ball and going home!!!”. Remarkably, they were all one person.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    @ McBloggenstein
    @ Jimminy Christmas

    Hey guys I’m sorry you feel the way you do. I came back to check on how the thread was going and I saw your comments. I did not feel deafeated, nor offended by the comments that are being made. On the contrary, I posted the remarks made to my statmements to show how I appreciated other people’s participation and interaction with me. I know that this is a atheist blog and I don’t feel disrespected in any way. As a matter of fact, the reason I joined the discussion because I saw Daniel’s blog on the Christian tag. Anyways… I don’t take opposition to my beliefs personal guys. It’s ok.

  • Kate

    “Religion looks like the biggest-ever, most popular conspiracy theory in history. It has its place: In churches and in history.”

    Is this disucssion about religion or faith and spirituallity? I have nothing to say about the former, it interests me not because 1. I think the evils of organized religion have already been neat to death and 2. I’m not religous

  • Aor

    I do not think that there is a ‘faint sheen of hostility’ toward theists. I think that there is a hostility to the methods and fallacies used by theists, but that is entirely different from hostility toward the theists themselves.

    The proper methods of argument and reason are well known. Many of the theists that comment on this blog and others like it use arguments that are known to be false and expect those flawed arguments to be convincing. If an atheist debunks some ridiculously long ‘explanation for belief’ the most common response from the theist is yet more flawed reasoning and often hostility. Let me make that clear: when confronted by reality, most theists in my experience respond with hate. Their deepest most personal beliefs have been held up to the light and found wanting, and the core of their personalities are thus under attack, so they respond with hatred and bitterness. Rarely does the hostility originate with the atheist, in my experience. Few atheists open the conversation with death threats.

  • Kate

    “What? You can’t prove the non-existence of something. You CAN prove its existence.”

    No, actually you can’t. Not scientifically anyway. All science ever claims is that the data supports the theory. Since we can’t do controlled experiments on this particular subject, you can’t even say that.

  • Kate

    “Their deepest most personal beliefs have been held up to the light and found wanting, and the core of their personalities are thus under attack, so they respond with hatred and bitterness. Rarely does the hostility originate with the atheist, in my experience. Few atheists open the conversation with death threats.”

    I agree, but I don’t think I have displayed any of this behavior, so can I be kindly be extended the respect I exhibit toward you?

  • Aor

    You don’t think we can do controlled experiments on the existence of anything? I think you are confusing science with philosophy. You are probably familiar with the saying ‘you cannot prove a negative’, but you are mistaken to claim that you also cannot prove a positive.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Juan:

    I apologize if I misunderstood you. Your previous post seemed to be subtly castigating us for having the gall to question your statements and beliefs. Going back and reading it again I’m not sure how else it could be interpreted, but if you didn’t mean it that way, I’m sorry for writing you off so soon.

  • Aor

    I have yet to show you any disrespect, Kate. If anything, your polite request that I extend respect toward you might come off as a bit.. disrespectful, if you know what I mean.

  • Kate

    “I have yet to show you any disrespect, Kate. If anything, your polite request that I extend respect toward you might come off as a bit.. disrespectful, if you know what I mean.”

    Actually, I wasn’t talking to you specifically, and I didn’t mean it in the way you think. All I meant was can we, ie the whole group, say yes there are nasty people who react with hostility, but I’m not one of them so lets move on to more interesting sujects.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    You’re being awfully defensive here. I think most everyone here has been responding to you quite politely so far. We haven’t even put you on the rack or broken out the dull, rusty implements of torture yet. ;)

    Oh and I’m not sure if you saw it, but scroll back up a ways where I show that you can prove a negative. I also provided a number of links that explain how this is done, as well. Or just click here:

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/12/29/believers-make-your-best-case-for-god/#comment-6767

  • Kate

    “You don’t think we can do controlled experiments on the existence of anything? I think you are confusing science with philosophy. You are probably familiar with the saying ‘you cannot prove a negative’, but you are mistaken to claim that you also cannot prove a positive.”

    On the contrary, I was evaluating the statement from a purely scientific point of view. Strictly speaking, the scientific method is designed to test hypothesis, not to prove things. Proofs exist in math, not science. Why do thing it’s called the theory of evolution? Not because we don’t think its accurate, but because all we have is theories.

  • Aor

    I notice you avoided responding to the issue of proving positives in science. Not to be disrespectful, but a common tactic amongst theists is deception. When confronted with a disproof of a closely held belief, rather than defend their position rationally they tend to go for distractions and changing of topics. Those are not the methods of choice of people who have the truth on their side. Those who can defend their beliefs rationally tend to do so, and those who cannot tend to go for the irrational because they have no other choice.

    If you no longer wish to claim that science cannot prove a positive, please say so. An intellectually honest person will admit they were wrong on that particular issue and move on to other issues. Avoidance is deception, and it would be nice to have a conversation where the other side never felt the need to deceive.

  • Aor

    Do you want proof of kittens? I can go get you photographs. You could maybe go to a pet store and see one. There, proved. One fuzzy kitten.

  • http://www.tallahasseeprimeraiglesia.org Juan M. Ocampo

    Jimminy Christmas

    No really, it’s ok. Thanks for your apology. And if I came accross as the typical Christian that you described, then I deserve what you said. But I can assure you that I am not your typical Christian.

    I know that Christians today have left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths when it comes to their beliefs, how they defend themselves and how they evangelize. I know it’s sad.

    I do respect atheists’ views. The comments and views I read today are valid for the topic at hand. I joined to learn something from others, and I did. I’m glad I did.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    “No, actually you can’t. Not scientifically anyway. All science ever claims is that the data supports the theory. Since we can’t do controlled experiments on this particular subject, you can’t even say that.”

    I don’t understand why you say we can’t prove anything exists.

    As Eric Kemp once said (I have yet to see him, I know he’s lurking somewhere) the only proof why have of anything that our 5 senses can detect are the electrical impulses that our brain interprets as existing.

    If you choose to go down the path of saying that we can’t prove anything, therefore the possibility of a god is plausible, then I deny that claim.

    How is it that anyone can go through life not accepting that what one can sense is real? What we can sense is all we have. Some choose to believe that there exists something more than what we can sense, in a spiritual and emotional way, but atheists simply follow the path that “why do we need to have more than what we can see?”

  • Kate

    Jimminy Christmas,

    there is a difference between mathamatical proofs and science. If you give me a mathamatically formula disproving god we can talk,, but scientifically proof is out either way.

    As for being defensive, there appeared to be an assumption of hostility on the part of people who have spiritual beliefs. I am only trying to point out that assumption, and that it does not apply to me.

  • Kate

    “How is it that anyone can go through life not accepting that what one can sense is real? What we can sense is all we have. Some choose to believe that there exists something more than what we can sense, in a spiritual and emotional way, but atheists simply follow the path that “why do we need to have more than what we can see?””

    I believe there is more to life that what our sense tell us because I know there is more in the universe than we can sense. This doesn’t prove god, but it does prove the limitations of the human experience.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    As is demonstrated in some of the links I included, a negative can be proven outside of mathematics. In fact, Aor just gave a good example (kittens) a few posts above.

    Now, as I posted previously, there are some things which can’t be immediately disproven from a philosophical standpoint (unicorns, fairies, gods, etc), but we can assign probabilities to the existence of such things. You may have missed where I discussed that too, so here’s the link to it:

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/12/29/believers-make-your-best-case-for-god/#comment-6775

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Strike what I just said about Aor proving negatives. I meant he/she proved a positive. That’s what I get for reading/copying/pasting/posting too fast ;)

  • Kate

    I didn’t miss it, I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. I have a lot of info and opinions coming my way ;) And you are essentially correct. And if you would like to make the arument that the probability of the christian concenption of the white dude in the robe is not probabilitically likely, you will have my whole hearted agreement. And if y’all want to limit your discussion to monotheistic organized religions, go nuts. I will say right now I probably agree with you and get back to work.
    If, on the other hand, you would like to have a discussion of other belief structures that are not so limited in scope then I’ll stick around.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    Well, I just re-read Daniel’s opening post, and I think he was primarily asking theists (specifically judeo-christians) to submit their empirical evidence for their monotheistic God. However, I don’t think anyone would mind seeing or discussing the empirical evidence for any other God or belief system. Soooo, have at it ;)

  • Kate

    I would follow up with a question. Should the emotional response people have be dismissed out of hand or is there something there worth discussing. Whatever you think of theists (which I do not cinsider myself, by the by) I don’t think you can deny that the resonse is real, whatever the source. Does that matter in this discussion?

  • http://anthropeleres.blogspot.com Anthropeleres

    @Mr Polite
    “Spend more time teaching Atheist how to co-exist in a country dominated by Christians and less time pointing out the differences in our beliefs and the hypocrisy involved with religion. I fear that as more and more people stand as god-free, the more Atheism will resemble other religions. You’re inviting verbal war over our differences in this forum – how long until its just plain war? Atheist are already the least trusted group in the United States; why continue to be smug and invite conflict?”

    Some people have already commented along these lines, but I feel that something needs to be said. Some religious people seem to imply that Atheism is another religion. It is not. It does not require belief without evidence. Atheism is not about proving that god doesn’t exist, it is about believing what can be proven.

    Teaching atheists ‘how to co-exist in a Christian dominated country’ is tantamount to saying that women should be taught to co-exist in a patriarchal dominated country. The concept of freedom should not apply only to those who believe in religion (or one gender). Atheists are constantly being seen as ‘smug’ or ‘arrogant’, while people who say far more offensive and arrogant things as part of their religious beliefs are given a pass. Why are atheists the least trusted group in America?(and I would be interested to see support for that statement). What exactly have they actually DONE to threaten or endanger people? If faith can stand before argument, then why do the religious fear atheists?

    @Daniel Florien
    I’m not sure what you were expecting with this post, but I saw what I expected from it. I saw some reasonable christians who acknowledge that faith requires the absence of proof, but believe for themselves and do not require others to do the same. I saw some unreasonable christians who attacked atheists with groundless accusations for daring to ask for proof. I saw unreasonable atheists, who asked for proof of something unprovable, then mocked any response from the target audience. I saw reasonable atheists who were genuinely interested in how people thought their beliefs should influence others around them.

    I think it’s clear that reasonable and unreasonable people occur regardless of creed, but that those who feel threatened are most likely to lash out. Some christians feel threatened because people are questioning their beliefs, some atheists feel threatened because people are trying to curtail their freedoms with a religion they do not ascribe to. If we all educate ourselves as much as possible, not just scientifically, but trying to understand each others’ perspectives, then we might find that we are all the same underneath, and have no need to fear anyone.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    “And if y’all want to limit your discussion to monotheistic organized religions, go nuts.”

    Well.. the original topic was pertaining to evidence for God.

    “If, on the other hand, you would like to have a discussion of other belief structures that are not so limited in scope”

    I don’t want to speak for other atheists here, but I don’t see the two topics as any different.

    I know what you mean by saying that the pop culture version of God is rediculous compared to more broad ideas of supernatural stuff, but they really are the same to me.

    You can say that there are aspects to our world that are beyond us knowing about them, but I will bring up Jimminy Christmas’ point that among the theories of what does exist beyond our plane of existence, supernatural ideas such as God are among the least likely for us.

  • Kate

    “I know what you mean by saying that the pop culture version of God is rediculous compared to more broad ideas of supernatural stuff, but they really are the same to me. ”

    I fundamentally disagree with this. I think there is a world of difference between the “pop culture version of God” and the belief that there is meaning and something profound about how the universe is put together. If for nothing else, I don’t imagine that the already avowed (and not illegitimate) hostility of some atheists to believers extends to Buddhists. They are believers in a greater spiritual truth in world, but the atheists I know personally tend to respect them.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    @Anthropeleres

    So, a few people said some smart things, and a few people said some dumb things, and everybody else got pissed off at both of them! Sounds like typical Internet blog comments to me ;)

    @Kate:

    Should the emotional response people have be dismissed out of hand or is there something there worth discussing.

    I’m not sure if I understand what your question is here.

  • Kate

    “I’m not sure if I understand what your question is here.”

    Most people of faith describe it as a deep and profound feeling. For myself, as I said in some post or other, when I read and think about quantum physics and general relativity I have a feeling that the theories are related to something far more profound than what we experience as normal life.

    My question is – do you dismiss this a “just” an emotional response and therefore not relavent, or do you think that it is important to talk about, dissect and analyze why so many people have such responses and what that means about the human condition and experience?

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    I think there is a world of difference between the “pop culture version of God” and the belief that there is meaning and something profound about how the universe is put together.

    This sounds a lot like deism, which I think is relatively harmless (although it’s sort of meaningless too).

    Einstein also believed in a form of what you describe, but his idea of “God” was nature itself, and I don’t believe he ascribed any anthropomorphic characteristics to it. In fact I’m pretty sure he went out of his way to make it clear he did not believe in any kind of anthropomorphic “intelligence” behind the universe.

    If for nothing else, I don’t imagine that the already avowed (and not illegitimate) hostility of some atheists to believers extends to Buddhists. They are believers in a greater spiritual truth in world, but the atheists I know personally tend to respect them.

    This is mostly because Buddhists don’t evangelize, nor do they generally try to influence politics (at least not in western countries). In fact, some sects of Buddhists actually consider themselves to be atheists. Many people also believe Buddhism to be more of a philosophy than a religion (in some forms it probably is).

  • Efogoto

    I don’t think atheists are hostile to believers for what they believe, but for the attempt to impose societal restrictions based on that belief.

    Buddhists haven’t got a majority attempting to control other people’s behavior where I live, so I really haven’t any idea if they’d try to impose such a thing based on the tenets of Buddhism that I would object to. If they did, I would question the basis for their belief and the justice of that restriction.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    My question is – do you dismiss this a “just” an emotional response and therefore not relavent, or do you think that it is important to talk about, dissect and analyze why so many people have such responses and what that means about the human condition and experience?

    I know of no one who would dismiss the fact that individuals do have highly personal, and sometimes transformative, emotional experiences. I just don’t think they are supernatural in nature ;)

    I also think it’s very important to discuss, dissect, and analyze what it is that makes us human and why we behave and think the way we do. I just think science (especially neuroscience, and psychology to a lesser degree) is the best and only reliable way to go about it.

  • Kate

    Was the point of this discussion to religion bash, or to have a substantive discussion of faith? Are you interested in exploring the beliefs of others to further your own intellectual development or bash “dangerous” beliefs? I don’t mean to be insulting, but it seems that the fact that my beliefs are “harmless” means you are no longer interested in what I have to say on the subject. If so, then I must ask why you are really here.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    There you go being defensive for no reason again. What I meant was that deism is a relatively harmless philosophy. That’s all. Because it is. It doesn’t make any truth claims that can influence people to for example, start wars or ban homosexual marriage or mutilate the genitals of children or the like.

    I wasn’t insulting your beliefs (whatever they are…they seem a bit nebulous so far). Heck, I wasn’t even saying anything bad about deism. I was just stating a fact. I would love it if everybody who is now a fundamentalist Christian was a deist. At least that would be a start in the right direction.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Who’s bashing? Some beliefs are more unplausible than others, therefore evoke more debate from those that wish to debunk them.

  • Kate

    “I also think it’s very important to discuss, dissect, and analyze what it is that makes us human and why we behave and think the way we do. I just think science (especially neuroscience, and psychology to a lesser degree) is the best and only reliable way to go about it.”

    I agree that neuroscience has an enormous amount to tell us about the human experience, but I don’t think its exhaustive. If I may, I will describe what I mean with the good old Socratic method.

    An atheist might say “I distrust the spiritual argument that relies on emotional response and transformative experience because if we give neuroscience enough time we will be able to artificially create that experience with drugs and electrodes.”

    I would respond, yes, you are totally correct, that is theoretically possible, and we already make profound changes in people with, for example antidepressants. However, people also make profound biochemical changes in themselves through faith and spirituality. The evidence? The placebo effect. A persons faith in a drug can, and I stress can, make it work. To me this suggests that the human condition as we know it is an agglomeration of the pure biochemical and determinative, and the mind, which is something else entirely, and may not follow the same rules. Each half of this pairing can affect the other, and to be that strange amalgamation is to be human.

  • Kate

    “I wasn’t insulting your beliefs (whatever they are…they seem a bit nebulous so far). Heck, I wasn’t even saying anything bad about deism. I was just stating a fact. I would love it if everybody who is now a fundamentalist Christian was a deist. At least that would be a start in the right direction.”

    I didn’t say you were insulting my beliefs, I said you were sounding dismissive of the importance of discussing them, there is a difference. Every time y’all seem to think I’m feeling defensive I’m just trying to clarify what you really mean. Your implication, as I read it, was that only “dangerous” religions were really worth discussing and debunking. My point and my question was what are you really here for. Are you focused on organized religions because you feel they threaten your way of life, or are you interested in a more intellectual exploration of faith. Either way, its cool, but my preference is for the latter. I think we can all agree that damage has been done by religion. I am interested in the underlying fact of faith in the human experience. I was trying to clarify the discussion, no defend my beliefs. I frankly don’t care what you think of my beliefs, I care about rigorous intellectual debate.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    “Most people of faith describe it as a deep and profound feeling. For myself, as I said in some post or other, when I read and think about quantum physics and general relativity I have a feeling that the theories are related to something far more profound than what we experience as normal life.

    My question is – do you dismiss this a “just” an emotional response and therefore not relavent, or do you think that it is important to talk about, dissect and analyze why so many people have such responses and what that means about the human condition and experience?”

    In trying to understand… In basic terms, are you attempting to say that because you find the way the universe is put together to be beautiful, and that it evokes emotions from you, that you then have a feeling that there is meaning beyond what we see?

    I don’t think anyone would debate you over your feelings (because I’m sure most of us have the same feelings about the universe), but to assign meaning to it, especially a supernatural one, is what we are trying to dismiss.

    I think that to assume that the universes existence as well as ours has meaning, is derived from a very human emotion… ego.

  • trj

    Regarding the positive proof:

    Kate is right in maintaining that one cannot present absolute proof of something, except in a purely theoretical context (ie. mathematics). You may have observed some phenomenon occur a billion times before with unerring precision, but strictly speaking, you can’t know for certain that it wasn’t just an incredibly unlikely fluke or maybe the hand of God acting. In this way, you can never truly prove cause and effect or disregard unknowable, immaterial factors.

    I’m surprised Karl popper hasn’t been mentioned yet, as he is usually dragged out by theists when trying to use this point as a defense of the spiritual realm.

    However, I think that most people agree that at some point one has to say “that’s good enough” and so accept an explanation as proof. In theory, yes, you can never really prove anything as fact; in practice, you can.

    A few see this as some fatal flaw in science, especially religious people, of course, as it provides for them a convenient sanctuary. Some, like buddhists, even deny the existence of reality, saying it’s just an illusion. To me, this is just silliness on par with solipsism. Theoretically, there may be some spiritual explanation for things, but since we can’t detect the immaterial, and since we’ve never really had any need to include it in our explanations, I’m quite content with just concentrating on the material world, especially given the lack of evidence of anything else.

    The real world is real enough for me.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    To me this suggests that the human condition as we know it is an agglomeration of the pure biochemical and determinative, and the mind, which is something else entirely, and may not follow the same rules.

    Sorry, but there’s simply no evidence at all for an immaterial “mind”. It is immensely probable that after you die, and the electrochemical activity between your neurons ceases, everything that was you will also cease to be. You’ll experience the exact same thing you experienced before you were born: nothing.

    Obviously, it’s not possible to *prove* what someone experiences after they die (especially if what I said above is true…there would be nothing to prove). But it is possible to determine what happens to your personality without even killing you. All we have to do is remove all the higher parts of your brain, only leaving intact those which control your basic bodily functions such as breathing and heartbeat. At that point, you would be a vegetable. Your personality would be gone. Dead. Non-existent. This has been observed many times in traumatic accident victims and those with profound mental handicaps or birth defects. You simply cannot maintain or form a personality without a (mostly) working brain. There is no evidence at all that your personality would magically float away to some far-off plane of existence after your brain is damaged beyond repair.

    If you’re going to make extraordinary truth claims such as there being a magic “mind” that exists apart from your body, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you unless you can provide extraordinary evidence to back it up. Sorry if that offends you.

    Also, I have to go to the store, but I’ll be back in a bit :)

  • Kate

    “If you’re going to make extraordinary truth claims such as there being a magic “mind” that exists apart from your body, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you unless you can provide extraordinary evidence to back it up. Sorry if that offends you.”

    Apparently y’all are used to delicate flowers, so I’ll say it one more time, I’m not offended, and provided you don’t suddenly go apeshit and start hurling insults, I’m not likely to be. I will start by saying that you conveniently neglected to mention my point about the placebo effect. And I was not making “extraordinary truth claims”, I was stating what the evidence of neuroscience suggests to me. And if you read what I wrote carefully you will see that your vegetable argument in no way contradicts my theory. I think what we are is the amalgamation, destroy part, you lose the whole. Plus, this is part of my personal belief structure, which I think you previously referred to as vague ;)

  • Efogoto

    @ Kate

    “Was the point of this discussion to religion bash, or to have a substantive discussion of faith?”

    Neither. It originated from the request for “verifiable evidence of God’s existence” made by Daniel, which is not an attempt to bash religion and is an explicit attempt not to accept religious propositions on faith alone.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    To elaborate on my previous point…

    Isn’t the idea of “meaning”, as an adjective, so as to be significant or expressive, also a human idea? Just as much as beauty is a subjective term?

    So, what I’m saying is, before humans existed, how could there have been anything “more” to the universe than what can be observed? (besides dark matter and energy)

    There would never have been “meaning” to anything before humans decided to see their existance as having such a thing. Before the human mind invented meaning, everything just existed because it did. Am I wrong?

  • VorJack

    Man, you turn your back for a few hours and the conversation leaves you behind.

    *shakes fist* Don’t you people have lives?

    @trj – “However, I think that most people agree that at some point one has to say “that’s good enough” and so accept an explanation as proof.”

    I tend to look at it a bit differently. The point isn’t necessarily to make a theory that as close to perfect as we can. The point is to use basic skepticism to weed out theories that do a poor job of explaining the data, make flawed or untestable predictions, or generally don’t mesh with reality. What’s left is the best of the crop, and we go on from there. Science is organized skepticism.

    That’s one of the reasons talk of spirituality leaves me uneasy. I don’t see how you can judge between different spiritual claims. When something is beyond our understanding it seems unethical to me to make sweeping claims about it. Say what little you can with reasonable confidence, then shut up.

    As Wittgenstein said, “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.”

  • Efogoto

    @McBloggenstein

    Nicely put.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    As Wittgenstein said…

    I wonder if we’re related….

  • trj

    @VorJack:
    I agree. Often we don’t have an explanation that’s “good enough”, but at least we can dismiss others as “much worse”. That’s how I feel about divine explanations (along with every other atheist).

  • Kate

    “There would never have been “meaning” to anything before humans decided to see their existance as having such a thing. Before the human mind invented meaning, everything just existed because it did. Am I wrong?”

    A well made point, but Feynman pointed out that the act of observation changes the outcome. That we exist changes nothing. That we are consious and observe changes everything. To me, this gives meaing beyond our own conception of the word.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Kate

    “A well made point, but Feynman pointed out that the act of observation changes the outcome.”

    …does it not change the outcome merely by how we perceive it?

    If the three stars in Orion’s belt somehow went supernova at exactly the same time, would humans assign meaning to that occurance? Probably. But why? Does the fact that humans assign meaning to something mean that there is meaning? No.

  • trj

    @Kate:
    > “Feynman pointed out that the act of observation changes the outcome. That we exist changes nothing. That we are consious and observe changes everything.”

    Just being pedantic here, but observation is just another influence, comparable to any other disturbance in the quantum-mechanical system. Including consciousness or intelligence in the observation does not bestow some changes to the quantum state that would not otherwise have occured, had we disturbed the system similarly but not evaluated the result.

    Or so the theory says, anyway. It’s a bit hard to verify experimentally, ha ha. That is an example of where we have to say “it’s good enough – I trust the world not to behave differently when my back is turned”.

    My point is simply that the “magical” ability of consciousness to produce a wave function collapse, prompting the world to behave according to our unconscious demands, is overused.

    Hm, we certainly get around in this debate.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    To elaborate more… and to make a different analogy:

    If we were to observe a race, and by our perspective it looked as though the red car crossed the finish line first, but in reality the blue car won, the fact that we saw something else does not change what really happened. It only changes what we think happened.

    Let me know if I’m misinterpreting the quote.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Kate:

    Apparently y’all are used to delicate flowers, so I’ll say it one more time, I’m not offended, and provided you don’t suddenly go apeshit and start hurling insults, I’m not likely to be.

    Actually, it’s more so that many of us are terribly used to people flying off the handle and playing the persecution card at a moment’s notice anytime you say anything that might even remotely challenge their beliefs or statements. The conversation then has a tendency to rapidly develop into a flame war, quoting of scripture, total gibberish (same thing), or with the person with the persecution complex leaving…all of which end the conversation. Since I find this conversation interesting, I wanted to preempt that in case you were one of those people. Some of your earlier statements (which I apparently misunderstood) seemed to me to be bordering on I’m getting offended so I’m about to leave. Apparently, I must be overly sensitized. ;)

    However, people also make profound biochemical changes in themselves through faith and spirituality. The evidence? The placebo effect. A persons faith in a drug can, and I stress can, make it work.

    This may be true. The placebo effect has been studied and seems to work sometimes (that’s why legitimate pharmaceutical studies often use a control group that takes a sugar pill). But I have yet to see any studies of a placebo working on things such as Bubonic Plague, Rabies, Herpes, Necrotizing fasciitis, etc, etc. If the placebo effect is the result of some kind of brain/body/mind nexus, it sure is awfully unreliable and sporadic. It seems to only really work on things which have even odds or better of resolving themselves naturally even if they were left totally untreated. And it works really well on psychosomatic illnesses!

    To me this suggests that the human condition as we know it is an agglomeration of the pure biochemical and determinative, and the mind, which is something else entirely, and may not follow the same rules.

    How do you get from peoples’ immune systems doing what they are supposed to do, to there being evidence of an undetectable non-material “mind” that exists outside of the human body? Again, you’re making a claim that has absolutely no evidence to support it, other than your own intuitions or feelings.

  • VorJack

    @Kate, trj-

    I’ve always taken the Copenhagen model to be just that – a model. Not an accurate description of the phenomena, just a way of talking about the equations. We can “talk” about wave theory only through mathematics – which works beautifully – and the Multiple Worlds Model and the Copenhagen Model are just ways of wrapping words around those mathematics.

    That’s what I got from my history of science readings, anyway. That and the fact that the cat was reliable evidence that Schrodinger didn’t know what he was talking about.

  • Andy

    Hi Kate, I’m joining the debate a little late here, but there were a few points I need to make.

    The placebo effect isn’t simply a case where the mind heals the body. Like most of these things, it’s more complicated than that. The use of placebo’s in medical trials is to counter miscellaneous effects that one needs to balance for in order to provide a scientifically valid study. It’s an essential part of providing a double blinded experiment. A placebo is also necessary for counteracting any psychological bias that the experimenter has, but you’d never say that it was their mind that cured the patient would you?

    In the simplest case, if I have a tension headache and I take a pill that someone tells me will relax me and get rid of the headache, chances are even if the pill is medically inert, I’ll relax and the headache will go away. This does *not* mean that my mind healed the headache. That’s getting cause and effect round the wrong way.

    BTW, you should listen to Dr Steven Novella on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast. It’s fantastic and he explains it all much better than I’m doing here.

    It’s interesting reading your posts, because many of the complementary medicine supporters talk in a similar way and invoke similar thoughts, often citing the placebo effect as evidence that the body can work in mysterious ways or as evidence of a higher plane of understanding. Even invoking quantum mechanics, as you did. To be fair, I find your reasoning is much more coherent, logical and open minded, but it does tend to lean towards the general assertion that “there must be more to it than we can measure with science”.

    You also said that we only experience a tiny part of the universe. Do you mean universe or reality or both? What would you say we haven’t experienced? If we haven’t experienced it yet, how can you draw any new information or conclusion from it? It seems that you’re making an argument from personal incredulity here.

    It’s very easy to say “I have a spiritual side”, as it happens my sister does too :-) But where do you get that from, what’s it about, and what use is it? Is it about feeling warm and fuzzy when you watch the sun go down over a calm sea on a summers day? You seem to suggest that there’s something else there. Why? What does that achieve and how is that based in reality?

    Lots of questions thrown at you here and some assertions made too. Look forward to hearing your response.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    It’s very easy to say “I have a spiritual side”, as it happens my sister does too :-) But where do you get that from, what’s it about, and what use is it? Is it about feeling warm and fuzzy when you watch the sun go down over a calm sea on a summers day? You seem to suggest that there’s something else there. Why? What does that achieve and how is that based in reality?

    This is a good point. Sam Harris talks about this a lot. It’s possible to have powerful emotional responses to things and experiences without having to think that there is “something more”, or believing in things there are no evidence for.

  • VorJack

    “It’s very easy to say “I have a spiritual side””

    I tend to agree with Salman Rushdie: “I have no spiritual practice. The word spirituality should be banned from the English language for at least 50 years… Talk about a word that has lost its meaning! You can’t walk your dog without doing it in a ‘spiritual ‘manner, you can’t cook without talking about spirituality!”

    The word has become so overused that it now seems to mean anything intangible: ideas, emotions, sensations, etc. Since it shades into other meanings that have to do with mysticism and souls, it can allow people to conflate a simple emotional reaction with something transcendent. I wish we could call a moratorium on it until we hammer out a more precise vocabulary.

    I’d also like to call a moratorium on the word ‘quantum,’ unless it’s immediately followed by some high level math or a discussion of the two-slit experiment.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    Andy:

    I wish even one of my posts in this thread could have been as well-spoken and level-headed as yours. You made all the points I wanted to make without ever coming across as an “evil fundamentalist dogmatic atheist”, like I probably sometimes (or often) do. heheh.

    While I still think mocking and ridicule is at times a potent weapon against the more poisonous forms of unreason, it often serves no real purpose other than to vent frustration at the damaging nonsense of religion. I strive to model my tone after yours when at all possible when dealing with theists/spiritualists who appear to be willing to engage in an honest dialog, but it is often quite difficult for me. Mainly because the opportunity of dealing with an honest theist/spiritualist is so rare for me. heh.

  • Jimminy Christmas

    I agree with both of you (Vorjack and McBloggenstein). “Spirituality” has essentially come to mean any nebulous feel-good idea of a supernatural/non-material explanation for reality that does not fall under any of the major religions or paganism. It’s most often used in the US as a way to say you believe in god without saying you believe in god or identifying with a particular religion.

    I was probably what you would call a “spiritualist” (maybe even an extremely lukewarm Christian) many years ago in my late-teens and early twenties. But after I grew up, educated myself and had some life-lessons, I eventually realized that all non-materialist views of the universe are at best extremely speculative, and at worst dangerous homicidal (or genocidal) bullshit.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    Wow. I first started reading this in the morning at the first post. What an interesting conversation.

    What I think most believers seem to be missing is the actual question. The question was not about faith. It was not even about the god of Abraham. It was about proving that a deity, ANY deity exists. Christians seem to take this personally. The fact that the existence of Osiris cannot be proven is the same reason modern atheists reject the god of Abraham.

    To say the existence or non-existence of a god is not provable is silly. Sure, situations and knowledge change whether something can exist or not (heavier-than-air fight? Impossible in 1902), but anything can be looked at logically.

  • http://scikidus.blogspot.com scikidus

    When I’m confronted by theists over why I’m an atheist, this is usually my response:

    “When I look at the universe around me, with all of its wonders and spectacles, I fail to find any phenomenon that cannot be explained scientifically or that definitively require the invocation of a supernatural entity. Furthermore, even if some phenomenon were observed that required said invokation, I fail to find any reason for why said supernatural entity should take any one form over any other.”

    Rephrase the last sentence to fit the theists’ belief, e.g. if they are Fundamentalist Christians, I would say that there’s no reason for why said entity should be as described in the Bible.

    ————–

    Sometimes, however, I do question myself (I’m paranoid), and I wonder if God (as we’ve defined him over the millennia) really exists.

    When that happens, I watch a few videos on YouTube. I have them now on my iPod, so I can watch them on the go. I recommend that everyone wtach these videos, as they are probably the most spiritual scientific videos you will ever watch.

    Neil Tyson — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ai-VvboPnA

    Neil Tyson, on Stupid Design — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1cKD93W3yg

    Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pfwY2TNehw

    “Pale Blue Dot” Remake (watch it even if you watched the one above) — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47EBLD-ISyc

  • Jimminy Christmas

    scikidus:

    Sagan/Tyson FTW! If there were prophets of rational thought, they would be two of them (especially Sagan).

    Also, great videos :)

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @Daniel Florien

    Sounds interesting — is this the kind of experiment that we can try on our own as well? Or is it only for someone in a specific situation?

    yes, it is an experiment that anyone can perform, although the outcome (I.E. God proving Its existence) is not guaranteed. the experiment was as follows: for a certain period of time (i chose 6 months) formulate your live as though God exists, and act accordingly. don’t put any limitations on what God can or cannot do (in other words, anything that you can’t immediately explain is not automatically “god’s will”).

    @McBloggenstein

    When you say that you talk with him, do you think that it is the same thing as if you were having a conversation with your neighbor?

    yes, in fact, it is exactly the same as having a discussion with my neighbour, except that nobody but me can hear the voice… which is one of the reasons why i said that you’ll probably think i’m crazy. i’m okay with that, though, so you don’t need to worry about it.

  • The Devout Atheist

    While it is true that we cannot prove that gods don’t exist, an objective read of history would lead one to conclude that man created god and not the other way around. Thousands of years ago, man needed some way to understand the natural world that was such a mystery to him; he created origin myths, which over time evolved into elaborate creation stories and eventually religion. It would seem in this modern age of science in which we have a better understanding of where we really came from, we would have moved past the need for these antiquated superstitions. So it is not all that surprising that when asked to explain their belief in a god, people invariably resort to a remarkable display of willful ignorance and self deception. Yet, I still find myself striving to understand what makes otherwise intelligent people believe in something so obviously and demonstrably false.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @przxqgl

    “..for a certain period of time (i chose 6 months) formulate your live as though God exists, and act accordingly.”

    In other words, try your hardest for a long period of time to believe something with all of your being, and eventually you WILL believe it.

    “yes, in fact, it is exactly the same as having a discussion with my neighbour, except that nobody but me can hear the voice… which is one of the reasons why i said that you’ll probably think i’m crazy. i’m okay with that, though, so you don’t need to worry about it.”

    I’m afraid you’re right. I’m also afraid that receiving a calming feeling when you imagine that your dialog has been received and responded to, is NOT even close to the same as a tangible, audible speech from another human being.

    Seriously?

  • Jimminy Christmas

    So, not to be provocative or throw things off-topic or anything, but I was just wondering if any empirical evidence for the existence of a God (or gods) has been presented so far in this thread.

    I’m sure there’s a lot of it, and I hate to be so imposing, but if someone could try to briefly summarize it for me, I’d really appreciate it ;)

  • danae Cloud Mesa

    since i can’t prove God doesnt’ exist.. i can’t deny my hope in something greater. why not hope in God if He might be there? Maybe it’s much simpler than “evidence.” looking at death and destruction, we want to fight for something. so let’s fight! stand together, look at eachother with compassion and mercy.

    love. can’t it be simple?

    im not saying let’s not talk about this. these are just current thoughts. i just want simplicity man. im sick of the rigor of shit.

    i know we’re not all in the place where i am.. so you might not understand what im saying..and i wont understand you.

    my father just found out he has a brain aneurism, so maybe that’s why it’s easy to say “fuck proof”. to me, proof is the fact that i love my Dad. proof is seeing my Dad’s love through his days or hard turmoil and yet still fighting for what is good.

    life is so fragile… im not going to stop praying to God for help or hope even if i dont have peace.. i will still pray.

    i have no proof he does not exist.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @danae

    I think you mean to say that you have no proof that he does exist. No one can prove that he doesn’t exist.

    As far as the rest… What???

    P.S. Sorry about your dad.

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @McBloggenstein

    the same as a tangible, audible speech from another human being.

    it is possible for one human being to communicate with another in a way that is not audible to any other human being. to do so with a human being that one cannot see in the normal sense of the word is not unheard of.

    Seriously?

    i told you that you would probably think i’m crazy. i also indicated that kind of opinion is just fine with me.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “it is possible for one human being to communicate with another in a way that is not audible to any other human being.”

    Allright… let’s see: Sign language, body language (gestures, facial expressions).

    “to do so with a human being that one cannot see in the normal sense of the word is not unheard of.”

    It’s not? Let’s say it’s not unheard of. I’ve never witnessed this happening, nor can anyone prove to me that they have the ability to do this, especially by demonstration. Why then would anyone believe that they would be capable of doing such a thing? If something such as that can’t be proved, then if someone were to still believe that they could talk to someone they can’t see and could not audibly hear, wouldn’t they only experience something simply because they wanted to?

    I’m sincerely curious. What is it like to continue to think a certain way knowing full well that people will probably think you are crazy? And knowing it so well that you have accepted the fact that people will call your statements crazy? Does it not make you question those things?

    What is it like to preface statements that you make about your beliefs with, “I know you might think I’m crazy, but…”

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    What is it like to preface statements that you make about your beliefs with, “I know you might think I’m crazy, but…”

    it feels a lot better than not expressing my opinions at all, and since i had a brain injury and resulting surgery which left me with a three-inch diameter hole in my skull, i figure it’s probably the least of my worries at this point…

    although i will say that although i started experiencing the presence and communication with God a long time before my injury, it’s only gotten more intense and personal since my injury.

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    If something such as that can’t be proved, then if someone were to still believe that they could talk to someone they can’t see and could not audibly hear, wouldn’t they only experience something simply because they wanted to?

    i don’t believe God exists, i know it. whether or not anyone else knows it as well is inconsequential, since i am not out to convert anyone, or prove that God exists to anyone else. it is enough for me to have my own, personal relationship with God. whether or not anyone else has one as well doesn’t matter to me.

  • http://www.adamus.nl Adamus

    @przxqgl: I mean this as non-offensively as I can put it, as you seem to be a civil, well-spoken individual, but yes I do think you’re crazy.

    Substitute your use of the word ‘god’ for, say, ‘trolls’, and reread your own sentences. If you heard anyone else say those words, you’d consider them crazy.

    One man’s delusions do not amount to evidence for a supernatural sky daddy’s existence. Daniel’s original question remains unanswered.

  • Yasser Mahmood

    Salam Alikum (Peace unto you)

    Dear Dan,

    Firstly I want to congratulate every Atheisit that they are Athesist.

    Because it is very difficult to become one, specially when your brian is washed from child hood in beliving Jesus died for your sins.

    I hope all the Athesist donot tick on the census form that they are Christians.

    I totally agree with you Dan one should not blindly belive in religion wheather he is Muslim, christian, Hindu, Jews etc etc…

    If the text is from GOD given to his servants called prophets it should be realistic and should be proven and should sound like GODLY TEXT.

    This is the nature of most of us their religion becomes what our parents dictates from child hood and belive it blindly without questioning.

    But now this the age of science and technology. Education rate is very high.

    We all have seen scientific documentries on many scientific channels.

    Media is so powerfull and has a very strong impact on its viewers whether is racism or adult content.

    Specially these days the stereotypes are now for the Muslims regardless of thier skin color.

    In early days it was Japanese, Blacks and Now on Muslims.

    Any way your question : How to prove GOD is exist?

    I would also appreciate if you can think of thing or checklist that states The Criteria to be GOD.

    There is a verse in KORAN which gives answer in four lines :
    This verse was revealed when the Christian scholars visited Medina to meet Mohammed (PBUH) and asked him give us your defination of GOD.

    So here it is what God told to Muhammed (PBUH) through Gabriel (AS):

    112.001 قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
    112.001 Qul huwa All[a]hu a[h]ad(un)
    112.001 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;

    112.002 اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ
    112.002 All[a]hu a(l)[ss]amad(u)
    112.002 Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;

    112.003 لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
    112.003 Lam yalid walam yoolad(u)
    112.003 He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;

    112.004 وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
    112.004 Walam yakun lahu kufuwan a[h]ad(un)
    112.004 And there is none like unto Him.

    So we Muslims belive the moment you compare anything on this earth to God that object is not God. Because God does not need to do such cheap things. He appoints his messenger among the nation to deliver his message.

    Allah (God) tells us in the chapter 4 verse 82 :

    004.082 Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.

    From this verse we realize that God Almighty tells us if this KORAN was created by human mind then there would have been many contradictions and problems in the Koraninc text.

    You can download the sof version here : http://www.2muslims.com/divineislam/QViewer2_Full.exe

    80 % of the things said in the Koran is 100% backed by scientific facts. The remaining 20% which speaks about JInn (Deamons) and Angels or the Un Seen world may be Insha-Allah be proven in coming years.

    How come things discovered less than 100 years back Koran tells them 1430 Years ago which was recited by Mohammed (PBUH).

    If you need to read the biography of Mohammed (PBUH) read the following books written by Christian writers :

    1840 : ON HEROES HERO-WORSHIP AND THE HEROIC IN HISTORY By Thomas Carlyle. His hero prophet Mohammed.
    This can be read on the google ebooks and many sites for free.

    1970′s : The 100 Most Influential People. Check your local library, over 500,000 copies sold.
    He puts Mohammed No. 1 and Jesus (his lord and saviour) No. 3

    Ofcourse their are many books written by Muslims but because its written by Muslims you will not consider even looking at them.

    So Insha Allah I will put some scientific established facts for your comments.

    But for Now please do not study Islam from TV Screen.

    I agree their bad people in Muslims. But dont forget history and present times are full of cruel and bad people coming from different backgrounds and religion and race but the Media only focuses on Muslim and Islam.

    BTW its Muslim New Year 1430 2nd Muharram – Happy New Year!!

  • Jabster

    @Yasser Mahmood:

    “If the text is from GOD given to his servants called prophets it should be realistic and should be proven and should sound like GODLY TEXT.”

    Why should it be especially as we are constantly told that god works in ways beyond human understanding so how do you decide what sounds like godly text?

    “I totally agree with you Dan one should not blindly belive in religion wheather he is Muslim, christian, Hindu, Jews etc etc… ”

    Yet your post clearly demonstrates that you do.

    “From this verse we realize that God Almighty tells us if this KORAN was created by human mind then there would have been many contradictions and problems in the Koraninc text.”

    So a book says that it is the word of god so it is the word of god that’s one great set of reasoning there.

    “80 % of the things said in the Koran is 100% backed by scientific facts. The remaining 20% which speaks about JInn (Deamons) and Angels or the Un Seen world may be Insha-Allah be proven in coming years.”

    … and

    “So Insha Allah I will put some scientific established facts for your comments.”

    Well I look forward to hearing your scientific facts.

  • YH

    @ Yasser

    Very coherent indeed.

  • Andy

    @Jimminy Christmas
    You made all the points I wanted to make without ever coming across as an “evil fundamentalist dogmatic atheist”,

    Wow, I think that’s the best complement anyone’s ever given me. Thanks! Actually, it’s a struggle for me too, especially when talking to my family about this sort of stuff. For some reason it’s always harder when people you love fall into anti-scientific thinking.

    Not to get off topic or anything, but if you want to listen to someone who’s waaaay better than I will ever be at discussing this sort of stuff, check out the guy I mentioned in my post, Steve Novella (http://www.theskepticsguide.org). The guy is articulate and rational beyond belief (pun intended). His ability to construct an intelligent rational argument on the fly while talking to the most infuriating pseudoscientists is just awesome and is compulsive listening.

  • Yasser Mahmood

    @Jabster : Salam alikum Jabster

    Insha-Allah I will put facts. I will also advise you your self as well do research in Koran texts with an open mind.

    When I was attending Islamic class one of the student was from france and french speaking. His comes from Christian family. He was athesist becore embracing Islam. Ofcourse he did not Immediately accepted Islam, he did his research took him many months and finally accepted Islam.

    If Islam was the religion of false hood it would not have increased like it is now. Christianity is 600 Years older than Islam but the the speed Islam is being accepted is extreemly fast. Speicially USA 60% of American woman are accepting Islam.

    This is the religion of truth. The only religion with solution to the man kind.

    Muslims say :”There is No God But only God”.
    Athesists say : “There is No God”

    Regards…

  • name

    “You can’t PROVE the existence of God, he loves us so much that he gives us the free choice to believe in him”

    My girlfriend gives mee the free choice to beleive in her too….

    But I can see her….

    if ‘god loves us so much’ why don’t let us to see him? If we could see him we could beleive and we’ll go to the heaven!!! Our soulths will be salved!!!!!

    god wants us in hell? why? im a god person that tries to do always de rigth think

  • Jabster

    @Yasser Mahmood:

    “Insha-Allah I will put facts. I will also advise you your self as well do research in Koran texts with an open mind.”

    Why wait you claim to have the facts so why not post them?

    “If Islam was the religion of false hood it would not have increased like it is now.”

    I’m sorry to sound mocking but the statement above is just plain rubbish. That numerous people believe something is true does not make something true. History is littered with ‘facts’ that were widely believed but have been shown to be false as it has been littered with religions that are no longer mainstream. What makes you think that Islam is any different.

    “This is the religion of truth. The only religion with solution to the man kind.”

    You religion is no more the “religion of truth” than other religions both past and present but I’m looking forward to the facts that you claim to have but have been reluctant to post.

  • T

    does it matter what people believe? if people are happy with their faith, keep themselves to themselves, do you really need to be so militant about faith (this goes to evangelical Christians too)

    - If a Christian comes to my door trying to get them to buy a bible I’d tell them to go away,
    - If an atheist came to my door to tell me there is nothing I’d tell them to go away,

    If people can justify it in their minds that’s good enough for me. Its not like any of it makes any difference.

    Oh also, religion is an excuse for war, you really think if there was no religion there would be no war?

  • Andy

    T said: “Oh also, religion is an excuse for war, you really think if there was no religion there would be no war?”

    No, there’d just be one less excuse for war.

    I’d also argue that religion isn’t used as an excuse for war, but it tends to be a very strong catalyst. Since it’s not possible to reason against someone’s convictions of faith, it makes diplomacy impossible when opposing religious doctrines clash.

    Another point I’d like to make is that sometimes war is necessary (not that I like it) and I might not have a problem with it as long as the decision to go to war is based on rational reasoning (for example, stopping Hitler). More recently, it’s well established that both Bush and Blair publicly made references to their religion to partly justify the invasion of Iraq to themselves and their country.

    The problem is not religion itself, but the fact that it promotes faith over reason. Faith is not a good reason to go to war. But that leads to an interesting question: is it possible to have a religion based on rational thought and evidence? Or are the two mutually exclusive?

    Do the theists here think that faith should ever be cited as part of a reason to go to war?

  • Jabster

    @T

    Yes it does matter what people believe as it does make a difference. Do you honestly think that believers are happy to keep themselves to themselves and why would they when they believe that only they are an enlightened to the true way and have a duty to enforce that on others whether democratically or through violence.

    Does it make a difference that a child may not be able to go to the local school because of his/her parent’s faith; does it make a difference that people consider their religious views should take priority over laws that apply to everyone else; does it matter that freedoms should be removed to avoid offending those that believe in fairy tales; does it matter that 52 people where murdered in London in the name of religion?

  • http://annacondor.wordpress.com/ Anna Condor

    [Daniel Florien I’m seriously interested in what believers will respond with.]

    I think that many people would have a lot to say, but the problem withsome of the conversations here is that people dont respect eachother. Why is it considered to be crap, if some sincere christian comes to say ”Jesus is in my heart and this is enough for me” ? It’s true it doesnt prove God in the way most people would like to be proven, but it is a personal point of view and it should be treated like that.

    For me, yes, God is real because i feel him in my life every day. Yes, i know it is not good enough for those ones out there who truly want to know the truth based on facts.

    But ultimetely, i have learned that God doesnt need proving. Christianity is a belief based on faith, on beliving in something you dont see. If you see it, it is not called faith, but just facts. And God doesnt want [i suppose] to prove Himsef. IF He wanted to do that, it would be enough to appear at once too al mankind and we would know he is real. That would be possible and really easy for an all powerfull God, right?
    So maybe christians wont be able to convince anyone that God is the true one, because they all have the faith that he is, but only a personal one [and this is another thing, christianity is a personal faith, if you dont have/know God your way, than it is in vain to say that you go to church and you do good deeds].

    Will stop here, hoping that i made myself clear, in a way or another.

  • ibz

    Im not being a prick here and asking people to embrace Islam…but there is a reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.. most people who join this faith do so after their own research.so the best way is to read the Quran ,the one and only book,,which hasnt changed since 550 A.D

  • Andy

    @Anna

    “Why is it considered to be crap, if some sincere christian comes to say ”Jesus is in my heart and this is enough for me” ?”

    It’s considered as such because if that sort of argument is allowed then it can be used to justify anything. Literally. Try it out: pick something that you personally consider ridiculous (whatever you like) and replace the word “Jesus” in your quote.

    “but it is a personal point of view and it should be treated like that.”

    Exactly, you’ve hit the nail on the head. As has already been mentioned on this thread (it’s a long one, so I can understand you might have missed it), if a person’s religious belief was kept as a personal point of view and not used to try to structure society, constrain the progress of science, and justify wars then I don’t think there’d be much of an issue.

    “people dont respect eachother”

    I think atheists basically have a problem understanding people who don’t approach life with a rational thought process. To us, faith isn’t rational or logical. We find it hard to respect people who subscribe to a religious group who try to change our lives in the ways mentioned above. Respect has to be earned and is something that tends to happen the more you get to know someone. That’s a difficult thing to do in a forum like this, so it’s not surprising it happens occasionally.

    Generally though, I think this debate has been pretty good (as a comparison, you should see some of the stuff on ravingatheists.com, ouch)

    BTW, I didn’t quite understand what you meant when you said:

    “and this is another thing, christianity is a personal faith, if you dont have/know God your way, than it is in vain to say that you go to church and you do good deeds”

    Could you clarify? And what do you mean by “a personal faith”?

  • Andy

    @ibz

    “which hasnt changed since 550 A.D”

    Would you say that’s a strength or a weakness?

    After nearly 1500 years, wouldn’t you have thought there might be a few additions or corrections that might need to be made?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Yasser:

    80 % of the things said in the Koran is 100% backed by scientific facts.

    I’d guess that 80% of the Koran is about Allah in some way and assumes he exists. So, do you have any scientific facts to back up that claim? Unfortunately, I don’t consider the Koran saying it was written by God as proof for God’s existence.

    @ibz:

    there is a reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world

    So you’re saying whatever ideology happens to be growing fastest, that’s the correct one? So when greek gods were gaining ground, it showed it was the true religion; when Catholicism took over Europe, it showed it was the true religion; when Protestantism took the world by storm, it showed it was the true religion; etc?

    That would mean every major religion showed itself to be the true religion at some point, right?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Kate:

    To me this suggests that the human condition as we know it is an agglomeration of the pure biochemical and determinative, and the mind, which is something else entirely, and may not follow the same rules.

    This is long (and, in places, technical) but well worth reading. After you’ve read it, let me know if you still think the mind is separate from the brain.

    Aor:

    Do you want proof of kittens? I can go get you photographs. You could maybe go to a pet store and see one. There, proved. One fuzzy kitten.

    Technically, Kate is right about this. In the physical world, we can never prove anything. All we can do is say that a hypothesis (such as “kittens exist”) is consistent with the evidence. Those photos might be faked. That kitten you just saw at the pet shop might be a puppy in a kitten outfit, or a hallucination, or some kind of advanced robot from the future. While the evidence in favour of kittens is very strong indeed, we can’t technically be sure that kittens actually exist. The difference is splitting the finest of hairs, and I doubt anyone outside of a mental institution really believes that kittens might not actually exist, but she’s technically right.

    The evidence for kittens is overwhelming, but it doesn’t constitute proof.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Gah. Forgot the link that went with my first point:

    http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/ghost.html

    You should read it. It’s fascinating.

  • T

    @Jabster
    Ok, some kinda odd points there,

    don’t get islamic fundamentalists confused with people who believe in god, its like saying the IRA were fighting for Catholics.

    religion/race/football team/whatever they’re all ways of people making an us and a them, it’s always been the same, it always will be, its not about religion, its about human nature. Sure you get some religious nuts, but believe me, if no one believed in god, the world would be a much worse place.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @T:

    don’t get islamic fundamentalists confused with people who believe in god

    Hmm. I’m pretty sure “islamic fundamentalists” DO believe in God. As well as most (all?) religious fundamentalists. So they are part of “people who believe in God.”

    if no one believed in god, the world would be a much worse place.

    Perhaps, but are we to just take your word on that? I happen to think it could be a much better place w/o religion. Not w/o morality, of course, but there’s a big difference between religion & morality.

    In some European countries a majority of people don’t believe in God. Yet they seem to be happy and well, not warring like many Christian nations.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Yasser Mammood:

    Speicially USA 60% of American woman are accepting Islam.

    Given that less than 1% of Americans overall are Muslims, I think your statement might be less than entirely accurate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States#Main_religious_preferences_of_Americans

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Anna

    I second what Andy responded to you, but I will add this:

    “[and this is another thing, christianity is a personal faith, if you dont have/know God your way, than it is in vain to say that you go to church and you do good deeds]“

    You seem to be implying that only Christians do good deeds, and they only do them because they are pretending to be “good”. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m sure you probably didn’t mean that, though.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Yasser Mammood

    Well, I don’t get to see the argument of the Muslim often, but if yours is at all representative of others of the Islamic persuasion, then I am quite aghast.

    If it were possible to have more than 360 degrees in a circle, then your circular reasoning would surely break the rules of geometry.

  • trj

    Actually, i think what Anna means is – regarding your salvation – it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do if you don’t believe. It is your faith that will save you, not your deeds.

    Many Christians disagree with this, so add this to the numerous points of contention dividing the various Christian denominations.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Oops. That makes sense. Sorry for the misunderstanding Anna :)

  • Vorjack

    “Oops. That makes sense. Sorry for the misunderstanding Anna :)”

    Actually, it still doesn’t make sense. Why do physical works accomplish nothing, while cognitive works allow salvation?

    Is God the great Monty Hall? “Madame, if you’ll just believe this one impossible thing, I’m prepared to give you eternal life. And I’ll give you $100 for every picture of a cat you have in your purse.”

  • Jagat

    I like this challenge and I would like to write something, but I need more information as to what exactly you accept as being ‘proof’.

    This is not a semantic game, it’s common sense. For example, if you want proof that it is hot outside and I give you a photograph. Is that acceptable proof cuz its sunny in the photo? I think you need a thermometer in this case.

    You are asking for proof of the existence of God. I am asking you what you would consider to be proof. Proof can come in many forms. Do you accept logic? Do you accept only sensory perception and your mind’s interpretation of what you perceive as proof?

    So I’ll check back to see if you give any response.

    Peace,
    Jagat

  • Vorjack

    @Jagat -

    I think I speak for most of us when I say, “Whatcha got?” If you’re making the assertion, you need to back it up with evidence. So what evidence convinced you?

    If you insist on something more specific, I suggest Ebonmuse’s famous essay, “A Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists.” There he lays our certain forms of evidence that would work for him.
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/theistguide.html

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Jagat

    Agreed. There are no hard and fast parameters. What do you have? I’m sure you realize that the closer the evidence is to empirical, the better. But if it is not, we can still discuss it’s validity.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Jagat: I’m with Vorjack. What convinces you is what I’m interested in, and then pitching it in such a way that it might convince others, too.

  • Matt Mapplah

    I would like someone here to give me the probability of life, the universe and everything coming into existence the way it is now.

    Because the chances are too small to even contemplate, even WITH natural selection, evolution, and everything else.

    But any mathematician here, give a figure.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Matt: Whatever the number it, it is far more probable than an infinitely complex being creating it all, because an infinitely complex being is infinitely improbable.

    See this for more on that idea:

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/09/16/the-futility-of-invoking-a-designer/

  • VorJack

    @Matt

    Given how tenuous our current understanding of the early universe is, I think you already know that those calculations are impossible.

    But there’s also an unwarranted assumption built into your question. We don’t know that our current universe was “intended.” As an atheist, I believe our current universe is a product of chance and contingency. Therefor, we shouldn’t be impressed by how unlikely our current situation is, because it is exactly as unlikely as all the other possibilities.

    Think of it this way: the chance of drawing a specific card is 1 in 52. The chance of drawing two specific cards in a row is 1 in 52 * 1 in 51, and so on. The chance of drawing 5 specific cards is astronomical. However, if you don’t care which cards you draw, then the probability drop to 1 in 1: if you’re drawing five cards, you’ll definitely wind up with five cards.

    So the odds against our existence is impressive only if you assume that we are somehow a chosen result that the universe was aiming for.

  • Andy

    @Matt

    There’s a lot of misunderstanding about probability. It might surprise you to know that it doesn’t matter how small the probability is. Okay, lets say that the probability is tiny. Lets say that there’s a chance of 1 in 10e+100000000000 every second that the universe would spontaneously create itself. Well, all you need is 10e+100000000000 seconds to pass by and statistically, it’s a highly likely occurrence. That probability becomes 1:1. Essentially, given an infinite amount of time, any event that has a probability of greater than zero WILL happen.

    Of course, I’m sure someone will say that it’s pointless even discussing this as the current hypothesis suggests that time didn’t even exist before the big bang. Probability goes out of the window in that situation has there’s no meaningful definition.

  • Andy

    @Matt
    I think I misinterpreted your question Matt. I thought you were just asking about the chances of the universe coming into existence, rather than the chances of it arriving at a particular outcome.

    VorJack’s nicely answered your point anyway. Thanks dude!

  • Vorjack

    Our elapse time is improving. In under 20 minutes we’ve picked three holes in the argument.

    If we keep this up, we’ll be shooting down arguments before the commenter gets done typing.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I would like someone here to give me the probability of life, the universe and everything coming into existence the way it is now.

    I would say that the odds of that happening are zero. but as no-one claims that the universe came into existence in its current form, I’m not sure what that proves. On the other hand, the probability that our universe came into existence and then, eventually, became arranged into its present form is exactly 1. Because we know that it happened.

    What are the odds that that tree in your yard just randomly appeared one day, full size and with every leaf in place? Because if the odds of that are too low, it must have been planted there by Johnny Appleseed, right?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “If we keep this up, we’ll be shooting down arguments before the commenter gets done typing.”

    Lol. Very true. I think the lot of you could easily anticipate and are able to discuss just about any argument for religion.
    Heck, I’ve only been participating in discussions about religion and been hanging around here for a couple of months, and probably have read most of them and have read them repeatedly many many times already.

  • BrightonRocks

    Matt Mapplah

    I would like someone here to give me the probability of life, the universe and everything coming into existence the way it is now.

    Nil, the evidence is completely overwhelming that neither the universe nor life on this planet came into existence the way it is now.

    I assume that you are trying to show how improbable the various creation stories are.

  • Andy

    Kate, are you still out there? Just wondered if you were going to answer any of the questions I asked earlier?

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @Adamus

    Substitute your use of the word ‘god’ for, say, ‘trolls’, and reread your own sentences.

    if we’re proving whether or not God exists by proving whether or trolls exist, then God does exist: i attended a party two nights ago for a venerable old troll that everybody else at the party also saw and had visible, auditory conversations with… and a few people even hit him in the face with a pie…

    i’m not saying God doesn’t exist, and i’m not saying God does exist: i’m saying that God both exists, and doesn’t exist, at the same time, with no contradictions… which probably seems even more crazy than my previous statements. as i said, i’m not trying to convert or convince anyone, so my delusional rantings shouldn’t affect anyone else.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    i’m saying that God both exists, and doesn’t exist, at the same time, with no contradictions

    I don’t think you’re using the word “contradiction” correctly.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    with spanish accent:
    “I do not think it means what you think it means..”

  • Vorjack

    “i’m saying that God both exists, and doesn’t exist, at the same time, with no contradictions.”

    Which means that you’re equivocating, which is a constant problem in religious discussions. Please define your terms.

  • grapeape

    wintermute:

    “What are the odds that that tree in your yard just randomly appeared one day, full size and with every leaf in place? Because if the odds of that are too low, it must have been planted there by Johnny Appleseed, right?”

    Interesting example, because that is just exactly what creationist say, just substituting God for Johnny Appleseed.

    I do believe in god (not a specific one, just a creator), but can easily be persuaded, otherwise by any scientist (atheist or not).

    All they have to do is either create a living cell (or even clump of molecules) that wants to eat and procreate, from basic chemicals. Or explain, specifically, with constituent proof of concepts, how it could be done (I don’t expect scientists to know everything after all).

    That’s it! Simple. I will be happy to un-convert right now in front of everyone.

    Until then, I do believe in a Johnny Appleseed that planted it.

    Any takers?

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    @McB/Inigo Montoya:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Aor

    Przxqgl, yes it does sound even more crazy. Your words contradict each other and you do not understand why.

    Often believers attempt to use mystical language, or co-opt the terminology of quantum mechanics and misapply it to philosophy, but this may be the first time I have seen a person write that they don’t say god exists, they don’t say he does not, but then in the same sentece say that he both exists and does not and that there is no contradiction in that sentence. Blatantly false is the response that comes to mind. It does not pass elementary reasoning.

    Here is a useful exercise: put your thoughts down in precise terminology. Avoid words that are undefined (or deliberately misdefined, which happens a lot) and try to put your beliefs into clear words that cannot be easily misinterpreted. If you can’t find a way to make your thoughts clear to others then they are probably unclear to you as well.

  • Aor

    Grapeape, scientists are working at creating cells even as we speak.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124175924.htm
    Are you an atheist now?

  • Vorjack

    @Grapeape -
    “All they have to do is either create a living cell (or even clump of molecules) that wants to eat and procreate, from basic chemicals”

    *wants* to eat and procreate? That’s an odd phrasing. It’s like saying a sponge *wants* to absorb water. Do you mean anything specific by it?

  • Andy

    “Or explain, specifically, with constituent proof of concepts, how it could be done”

    Here’s one who could almost certainly satisfy that criteria:

    http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=5561

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    not quite, but that is extremely interesting.

    It fails both of my test however.

    1) it is not alive (in the sense that it wants to procreate or eat in any way), it is just a copy of a dna fragment

    2) it was not created from basic chemicals, it was synthesized using other living organisms, coincidentally so were you and I ;-)

    Not to discount the science, it is fantastic, but they did not create life in any sense.

    (I am not saying that it can’t be done, I am very open to the possibility)

  • grapeape

    Vorjack.

    Yes, specifically it has the targeted will to “live”, which I guess is probably a stripped-down version of the definition of “life”.

  • grapeape

    Andy,

    This is much closer to what I am searching for.

    The article is scant on details, but appears to be a combination what Aor linked, and hopes of future “breakthroughs”.

    Even a self-replicating (using only “natural” energy, ie., no human, or “forced” intervention), molecule would satisfy me, I think.

  • VorJack

    @Grapeape -

    How exactly does a simple bacteria *want* anything? It’s a complex system that pulls in materials from it’s environment and, when it reaches a certain point, it splits. It does so because that’s what it does. It doesn’t have any desires or will.

  • Aor

    Grapeape, what basic chemicals are you referring to? Perhaps Guanine, Adenine? Are you going to claim those are not chemicals, or not basic enough?
    Here is the quote: “The team achieved this technical feat by chemically making DNA fragments in the lab and developing new methods for the assembly and reproduction of the DNA segments.”

    DNA that can assemble and reproduce. Do you know anything about viruses? Do they eat? Are they alive? Perhaps you should take some time to think this through. I believe that the scientists involved in this particular research could be said to have ‘constituent proof of concepts,’

    I think you are grasping at straws, hoping for a way to get out of your ill conceived dare. I often see theists lie about what will convince them, only to move the goal posts when someone provides what they ask for. Is that what you are doing here?

  • grapeape

    VorJack,

    Please disregard my reckless use of the word “want”, and just erase it from the sentence altogether.

    My apologies.

    It should be replaced with “a cell or molecule, capable of eating and reproducing naturally”.

    “naturally” is used in the sense that it is not directed by other living organisms.

    For example, bacteria “naturally” reproduce, but PCR dna replication is not natural as it is directed by the hand of humans.

  • Aor

    Viruses reproduce naturally and do not have a cellular structure. They do not eat in any conventional sense. Are they alive?

  • grapeape

    Aor.

    I think virii are alive as they are “naturally” self-replicating.

    The “new methods” they used were using yeast to synthesis the the sub-fragments.

    Guanine, Adenine are certainly chemicals. If they could be arranged by a scientist as to create a “naturally” self-replicating molecule that would be fine.

    The problem, with the method that you linked is that it is a fantastic use of science to use one living thing to create another.

    I am searching for a way to create a “living” (loose definition of living) thing from non-living things.

  • Aor

    A virus does not self replicate. A virus cannot reproduce without the help of a living cell. But if you want to use a somewhat looser definition of self-replication (as you seem willing to do)….

    Hows this then:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2003-11-13-new-life-usat_x.htm
    or this:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/023431.html

    You are gradually getting painted into a corner, Grapeape. Eventually you will either retract your claim to change your beliefs, or withdraw from the conversation (most of us have witnessed this kind of stuff before).

  • Aor

    A virus does not actually reproduce on its own, but lets take your somewhat looser definition of self-replication and see where it leads us.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/023431.html
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2003-11-13-new-life-usat_x.htm

    What do you know! Amazing, isn’t it? Are you an atheist now, or are you still struggling for a way to get out of your promise to convert?

  • Aor

    A virus does not actually reproduce on its own, but lets run with that somewhat looser definition.

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/11/13/scientists-create-artificial-virus.htm

    Interesting, isn’t it? And that is from five years ago.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    Although it does not match the criteria of my original post exactly, I would tentatively accept that as proof that life could be created.

    And do hereby un-convert from my (admittedly weak) cleaving to a “creator”.

    :-)

  • Andy

    Woot!

    Hehe, congrats grapeape :-)

  • http://annacondor.wordpress.com/ Anna Condor

    @Andy [Could you clarify? And what do you mean by “a personal faith”?]

    I am sorry, i should have explained that. The bible talks about the kind of belief that is ‘personal’ meaning that it is not enough to say that you are a christian, to go to church every sunday and givemoney to the poor. All these things, of which some traditional churches say that save you,have no value in fron of God.It is about knowing God, not nowing about God. This can only be possible through prayer and spending time reading his word[the Bible] .

    [if a person’s religious belief was kept as a personal point of view and not used to try to structure society, constrain the progress of science, and justify wars then I don’t think there’d be much of an issue.]
    People that do that are not much of believers, if you ask me. It’s one thing that i dont buy: people who let themselves affected by what others do-to not believe in God- and people who use their selfishness to do them in the name of God. Im not taking it on you , but if one wants to truly know God, the real God, all they have to do is to sincerely ask HIm to discover himself to them. Nobody will ever be able to convince anybody that God exists.
    If there is a God, than he will mkae his own case and discover himself to the people that really seek Him.

    @McBolggenstein
    [You seem to be implying that only Christians do good deeds, and they only do them because they are pretending to be “good”. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m sure you probably didn’t mean that, though.]
    You already got your answer with someone else, who explained very well(thx, trj).

    No, not only Christians do good, but the christans that ussualy do good deed do it beacuse they say that they will be rewarded in heaven . Not that it isnt true, but what we do good, is asked of us in the Bible, to do it in God love and because we love Him, with faith, not just because we want to do something withh money we have to look good on us.

  • grapeape

    Andy, Aor:

    1 down and a few billion to go huh?

    I was trying, unsuccessfully it appears, to bring about the dialog that even atheists have to have faith in something, even if it is just the suppositions of scientists.

    I strongly believe that faith, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.

    It is when people start believing that “their faith” is the only possible explanation that leads to all the historical (and current for that matter) damage to the human race that we see from organized religion.

    I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes, people are so down-and-out, and so alone, and so afraid, that all they have is faith. Faith that even though this life has been cruel to them, that there might be a chance that once it is over there might be something better for them.

    Faith in that sense just gives hope to the desperate, and is not harmful in and of itself.

    When you mix faith, human failings, and a little mythology together, you get organized religion, which has almost without exception been harmful to civilization.

    I believe that it is not right for atheists (now that i am one, i can say that, right?), to demonize all forms of faith, when in fact they probably just want to demonize organized religion, hence my original attempt to show that everyone has to have a little faith every now and then, even atheists.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    grapeape:

    I have to admit I’m confused.

    We have demonstrated that life can be created by deliberate action on the part of intelligent agencies, and that’s taken as proof that the creation of life didn’t need an intelligent agent (in this case, God) to take direct action?

    Not that I disagree from the conclusion; I just don’t see how the evidence supports it in any way whatsoever. If anything, it surely demonstrates that creationism is at least possible on a biochemical level.

    Proper evidence for natural evolution of simple life would be to replicate the environment of the early Earth, leave it alone for a few million years and see if anything develops without our interference. But it would probably be difficult to get sufficient grant money to pay for that…

  • grapeape

    wintermute,

    it didn’t.

    I agree with you, the only thing that it proved was that life can be “intelligently” designed.

    I should have made the pre-conditions the same that they were in the beginning, ie. make life using non-living physical phenomena, naturally occurring chemicals to create a self-replicating cell or molecule.

    But I had to stick by by agreement, right?

  • Sunny Day

    “Because it is very difficult to become one, specially when your brian is washed from child hood in beliving Jesus died for your sins.”

    Sounds like a New kind of Brainwash same as the old Brainwash.

  • PinoyHeathen

    Mr. Juan Ocampo,

    There is no historical Jesus. All the available documents were written generations after the alleged resurrection. All of them are hearsay, and talks very little about Jesus. The ‘best’ one is from the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, but is clearly a dishonest addition, most likely by the early Christian historian, Eusebius, known for his ‘pious lies’.

    The Gospels were not written by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Paul, who has the earliest Christian writings, never met Jesus, and did not even mention the virgin birth.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @wintermute

    shhhhhhhhh!! we had him. we HAD him! :)

  • grapeape

    PinoyHeathen,

    Do you take the fact there there is little or no contemporaneous documentation of the life of Jesus to mean he never existed at all?

    Or do you mean that he might have existed as a teacher, healer, etc., but has since been projected with the mythological abilities and characteristics of Mithras, Zoroaster, Horus, etc?

  • Vorjack

    @PinoyHeathen

    Please don’t. I don’t have a leg to stand on here since I started talking about quantum theory about half the thread ago, but please don’t side track on the historical Jesus question. This isn’t the thread for it, and it’s not likely to go anywhere.

  • Aor

    The claim that atheism requires faith has been destroyed many times over. Only those who willfully refuse to accept reason still make those claims. I will assume you heard this from somewhere and accepted it, and since so far you have shown a higher level of intellectual honesty than most believers, I hope that knowing that it has been disproved will lead you to looking up the many places where it has been disproved.

    But lets take this a step further. That idea that atheism requires faith, despite being disproved many times over for many many generations, still gets spread by dishonest believers. Why would that occur? Why would anyone who has the truth need to deceive? The simple fact that believers still spread that myth after it has been disproved to them makes those who do so appear to be willfully trying to deceive their followers. I cannot imagine any preist-to-be going through seminary without encountering these elementary disproofs, yet they get repeated. The fact that those who represent the believers often use lies and trickery in order to back up their positions should be taken as a sign, and not a good one.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    good points all around.

    My definition of faith means belief in something, not necessarily a belief in the metaphysical.

    I believe in gravity and have faith that I am not going to fly off of the world at some random moment. I don’t understand the mechanisms, and must take it on faith, because explaining it to me is of no use.

    I guarantee you that all atheists don’t intrinsically understand all aspects of the science around us.

    They take the word and interpretation of people smarter than them as “good enough”.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    I usually do, I am cool with that, as I assume most atheists are.

    At the end of the day however, my point was that I believe that “faith” as I have described it above is something that most humans need to reconcile events, emotions, sensations, observations, etc.

    Faith is the “facts” of the ignorant…me included.

  • grapeape

    As an aside, what would it take to convince an atheist of, for example, a creator?

    I don’t mean the whole fire and brimstone, 70 virgins, schtick of organized religion, just that that inception of life as we know it (ie. from simple cells, to modern humans), was intelligently designed.

    I know that if an alien, or a god showed up and took credit and explained how it all went down, that would be acceptable, but short of that?

    What evidence would an atheist need to be convinced that we were created?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Faith is the “facts” of the ignorant…”

    Wow! Excellent quote.

    God (or faith in the supernatural) is in an inverse proportion to science.

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein:

    not to science, to understanding.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    hmm.. Couldn’t “understanding” be subjective though?

  • Aor

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I’ve been down this road enough times to know how to cut people off at the pass just in case they decide to go that route. Believers tend to want to use big-F Faith, often hoping to exclude the small-f definitions of faith. Nobody ever claims that they truly need religious faith that the world will not stop turning at any given moment, but often they wish to restrict the meaning of the word as if they did believe that. Lets not go there, because it won’t hold up. Faith in the religious sense is belief in the absence of evidence, and given that we have evidence of gravity I don’t feel the word applies in the way you might hope.

    As for what would convince me of a creator, I call it evidence. If the first eleventy-one digits of pi and a recipe for fat free chocolate bars were included in our DNA, then I’d be pretty convinced. Clear and indesputable evidence, not the kind of ‘oh, maybe, wouldn’t it be nice if..’ illusions that people believe simply because they want to believe in something bigger than themselves.

  • AnAcTOfGoD

    Hey, nice topic and its nice to read a different style of post from the believers. Much more calm and measured then most people who believe in God. I only skimmed the some of the posts, but something i notice. For the people who believe, it seems like they are not really believing in the biblical God that rules their lives, Heaven, Hell, Scripture, Proficy etc. So my question to the moderates who have posted that kind of stuff is:

    Do you really really REALLY REALLY deep down believe god exists…….

    Or

    Do you just wish/hope that it is true?

    “While the religious divisions in our world are self-evident, many people still imagine that religious conflict is always caused by a lack of education, by poverty, or by politics. Most nonbelievers, liberals, and moderates apparently think that no one ever really sacrifices his life, or the lives of others, on account of his religious beliefs. Such people simply do not know what it is like to be certain of Paradise. Consequently, they can’t believe that anyone is certain of Paradise. It is worth remembering that the September 11 hijackers were college educated, middle class people who had no discernible experience of political oppression. They did, however, spend a remarkable amount of time at their local mosque talking about the depravity of infidels and about the pleasures that await martyrs in Paradise. How many more architects and engineers must hit the wall at four hundred miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not merely a matter of education, poverty, or politics? The truth, astonishingly enough, is this: in the year 2006, a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get seventy two virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: they don’t know what it is like to really believe in God.” – Sam Harris

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein:

    ”’hmm.. Couldn’t “understanding” be subjective though?”’

    …exactly my point from above.

    It is that subjectivity that lets an, appropriately ignorant, person take some things on “faith”.

    No one can do and understand all scientific experiments that where ever completed, just to prove to themselves the existence of, neutrinos, for example.

    I believe in them because the scientific evidence used and the scientists that used it told me so, and showed me pictures of their trails.

    I couldn’t prove it to myself if I wanted to. I lack the capabilities.

    I can also promise you that there are plenty of atheists in the same boat.

    The evidence is “good enough” for them.

    Some evidence, even, for example in the case of gravity, if it is the past personal history of not flying off of the earth, has to be taken on faith, if the person does not have the ability or understanding to prove it a different way, or even prove it at all.

    Also this is assuming we are talking about “intellectual understanding” and not the “love and understanding”, that is.

  • Aor

    Again, it does not take religious faith to believe we will not fly off the planet at any given instant. Faith has multiple definitions and we cannot redefine it to mean only the religious definition.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    I clearly defined my definition of faith and it is not the “religious leap of…” kind.

    I understand how faith and “Faith” can get mixed up, but I thought I was being clear that I was using it in the sense of “i believe in something because of…”.

  • Aor

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    We can’t skip from one definition (confidence) to another (belief in the absence of evidence).

    But this is just going around in circles. The concept that atheism requires faith is simply untrue. If it were true, then it would require faith to not believe in leprachauns and fairies. That particular argument has been blown to shreds plenty of times in plenty of places, I think it is beneath us at this point.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @grapeape

    I know what you’re saying, but that is not the meaning I meant when I said:

    “God (or faith in the supernatural) is in an inverse proportion to science.”

    If we agree that “understanding” is subjective, then I don’t think that word takes the place of science in my quote.

    I guess I meant “science” more as “the search for truth”.

    Understanding does not necessarily mean that, as it is subjective. Right?

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    my stated definition is #1 on your list. also my understanding is that leaping from one of those definitions to another is just silly. I apologize if I seemed to give a different impression.

    I think you will see that I was consistent in all of my posts related to that, and did not make the jump to a different definition.

    McB.

    sorry, I misinterpreted your previous post.
    and I do agree with you, but then you get into the messy and equally subjective definition of “truth”

    :-)

  • BrightonRocks

    @grapeape

    I do believe in god (not a specific one, just a creator), but can easily be persuaded, otherwise by any scientist (atheist or not).

    All they have to do is either create a living cell (or even clump of molecules) that wants to eat and procreate, from basic chemicals.

    But invoking ‘god’ in attempt to explain ‘the living cell’ or any complex phenomenon is no better than the Ancient Egyptians invoking a god riding a chariot to explain the passage of the sun across the sky. It’s just the classic god of the gaps argument that’s been around for thousands of years.

    You are just bypassing the explanation of the phenomenon by invoking an unknown entity that must be at least as complex as the phenomenon that it is supposed to create and then treating it as exempt from the difficulties or questions that apply to the initial phenomenon. It’s just a rhetorical trick that doesn’t help explain the phenomenon one jot, in fact philosophically you are in a worse state than before as you now have an extra, unevidenced entity to explain as well as the initial phenomenon.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Anna Condor

    If there is a God, than he will mkae his own case and discover himself to the people that really seek Him.

    Why should I believe this? I was a faithful Christian for years and never saw Sign one.

    Eventually I realized that when you yell into the abyss, nothing happens.

    No sign, no evidence, not even a little stir in my blood-pumping organ. Nothing. Which is only logical. Nothing comes from nothing, as all Christians assert.

    It’s not even as if the Almighty Creator would really have to stir himself to convince me. Ending world hunger would be enough. World peace. A personal appearance on the Tonight Show … A convincing personal appearance? Hell, he did as much for Thomas, right?

    And none of these things is in any way a challenge to the maker of the universe, right? So all I can conclude is that either he refuses to do the least little thing to help persuade me he exists, or he doesn’t.

    Guess which conclusion is the logical one supported by all the available evidence?

    I want to believe. But it takes more than a 2,000-year-old-book of poorly-translated Aramaic shepherd’s tales and a grilled-cheese sandwich with a funky burn pattern to convince me.

    And if he’s out there, and refuses to prove himself to me, then why, he’s condemned me to his privately-run torture chamber already!

    Some father.

  • Aor

    So your point about atheists requiring faith was simply a way of saying atheists are confident? I’m afraid that doesn’t add up.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    also after fully reading your last post, I find it a bit offensive. A well thought out argument shouldn’t end with “well, this is so obvious that you are clearly too stupid to talk to..”

    I find nothing outlandishly foolish about the following statement:

    We know from experience and experiments that life or (thanks to your link) intelligence are the only ways to create new life….so the first life on planet earth came from another form of life or intelligence.

    Nothing in that statement, to me, takes a religiously crazy “leap of faith.”

    In fact, it is harder for me to believe (even though I do), that just because to fossils separated by millions of years share morphological similarities, that one was the source of the other.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    my point about atheist requiring faith, was that there had to be a reason for the confidence that they enjoy.

    They do no prove in detail to themselves everything that they believe, they have to have faith (or confidence) in things that match their experiences and observations(most important), via. the scientific studies of others.

    Non-atheist can just as easily apply the exact same steps to some things.

    For example, a creator.

    I have seen (and been responsible for) creation of new life, I now know thanks to you that life (by my loose definition) can be created by intelligence with the know-how, therefore, original life here on earth was created from another life or by intelligence.

    All of my experiences, observations, and for that matter scientific data back up that statement.

    Do you see what I am getting at with that?

  • Aor

    Your reasoning is flawed. There is zero reason to claim that only intelligence can create life. In fact I cannot see how you could honestly come to that conclusion, it has the feeling of a deliberate choice to misinterpret. Please think that over and clarify what you mean by that if possible.

    As for the faith issue, again, this feels like a deliberate attempt to deceive. Nobody uses the claim that atheism requires faith to imply that atheism requires confidence. Nobody. That is simply an unbelievable position. The people who use that saying do so to imply that there is a religious faith to atheism and that has clearly been shown to be false. Repeating it once you know it to be false is bad form.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @grapape
    You aren’t Eric Kemp by another name, are you?

    I find nothing outlandishly foolish about the following statement:

    We know from experience and experiments that life or (thanks to your link) intelligence are the only ways to create new life….so the first life on planet earth came from another form of life or intelligence.

    No, we don’t. We know that life and intelligence can create life. We certainly haven’t excluded other methods, and we’ve put a dent in the usual creationist argument that “only God can create life.”

    And *sigh* NO. Atheism isn’t a faith. Do we really need to trudge this ground yet again?

    Atheism is a religion the way bald is a hair colour.

    Atheism is the only philosophy completely and incontrovertibly supported by scientific fact so far.

    Put some salt on God’s tail: Conduct a scientifically-viable double-blind experiment to prove the existence of a god.

    Because that’s your theory (or used to be–I thought you were an atheist now?). And to be accepted, it needs to be proven.

    I need not prove the non-existence of god any more than I must prove the non-existence of fairies, leprechauns, and the invisible dragon in Carl Sagan’s garage.

    And no, the scientific data don’t back up your sudden claim that only intelligence can create life. In fact, they offer tantalizing glimpses of how it might be possible to derive life from non-life without agency.

  • grapeape

    “There is zero reason to claim that only intelligence can create life.”

    Actually I said “life or intelligence” begats life.

    If you know of (or can realistically posit) another way, please let me and the scientific community know.

    As far as the faith issue, I think I am just not able to communicate my side of the argument.

    I am not trying to deliberately shoehorn faith in reason into faith in god.

    Only that, in the truest sense to me (ie. in order to obtain a level of confidence that matches reality), faith must be taken by anyone trying to explain to themselves something that they have not proven step by step from the beginning.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    You keep using that word “faith”. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Which do you think is more likely:

    A) A grand conspiracy of scientists are keeping the truth from us. They have found clear evidence of god, but refuse to publish their research or results, and intimidate into silence all those who think differently. Not merely a few, but every single one.

    Or

    B) A grand conspiracy of assorted holy men and their dupes and associates, all wearing the same clothes and symbols keep their followers from useful inquiry into the real substance of their particular profession. To this end they deride as “misguided” all those who think differently, in hopes of undermining those peoples’ opinions and sowing sufficient doubt in the minds of their followers to keep them uncertain and allow themselves to consolidate their power.

    Which?

    Because I am willing to accept the opinion of the scientific community as being more reliable than those of the shamans.

    Once upon a time, chemists believed in phlogistons. They had to exist for the theories of the time to work. With time and research, science outgrew phlogistons, because the truth was more interesting and the money in chemistry was in accurate scientific description. Chemists came out and said shamefacedly “Yeah … those phlogiston thingies? Um, well it turns out we were wrong, you see. Yes, we feel a right bunch of charlies, but look at these atom thingies–We’re getting some really interesting results …”

    The shamans, once people started to discover their secrets, were worried they’d lose position, privilege, and power in society. After all, if there’s no God, why do we need priests to speak for him/her/it? So they redifined the words of scripture, altered doctrines society had outgrown, and made it acceptable in accordance with the mood of the times. And then told their flocks (great word for those who are fleesed) that these alterations were well within the scope of eternal and inerrant Truth.

    Cleary, Truth under shamans is a malleable proposition.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    *fleeced*–not “fleesed”.

  • VorJack

    Hmmmm. Looks like we’re coming up on 300 comments, and we’re pretty thoroughly side tracked.

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone found any arguments or evidence for a specific diety in all of this? I kinda lost track.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @grapeape, Aor, metro

    I feel like this “faith” debate is just a misunderstanding.

    grapeape, correct me if I’m wrong, but are you trying to say that because we are not all top scientists, that by assuming the guys that are top scientists know what they’re talking about, we’re putting faith in what they tell us about the nature of the natural world?

    I don’t think grapeape is saying that us taking what scientists tell us is comparable to taking what the bible tells us. I think it’s obvious even to someone on the fence about a creator, that the nature of science provides more reliable explanations.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    grapeape said:

    “faith must be taken by anyone trying to explain to themselves something that they have not proven step by step from the beginning.”

    This is what should be emphasized.
    It’s like I work in a lab. Me and Bob are working on completely different experiments. Bob finished his and pretty conclusively comes up with X. Well, I trust Bob, and respect him, so I’m going to have faith that he did the experiment correct and I will then trust the results.

    As far as whether or not this was the original meaning grapeape assigned to faith (vs. Faith), I don’t know.

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein,

    exactly, and much better stated than when I tried.

    Metro,

    I do not believe in either of the 2 options you put forth, I don’t believe in a scientific conspiracy, nor do I believe in the unfounded and more importantly, unsubstantiated claims of fleecing holy men.

    What I do believe, which is substantiated by my own experience and all scientific research that I have ever read related to it, is:

    Life (however rudimentary) is not known, nor ever shown, to come from any method other than from another living thing, either through reproduction, or some form of intelligent design as in the case of the aforementioned virus made from scratch.

    All science and observation, to my knowledge, throughout history supports this claim.

    So my position is that life, when first introduced to earth(however rudimentary), either came from some form of reproduction/replication, or was intelligently designed.

    I do not make the jump from saying that to saying that everyone that doesn’t believe in God is going to hell, or whatever the current variety of fundi-speak, may be.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @VorJack

    “Just out of curiosity, has anyone found any arguments or evidence for a specific diety in all of this? I kinda lost track.”

    You don’t find this to be a hands down winner? :)

    “ibz
    Im not being a prick here and asking people to embrace Islam…but there is a reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.. most people who join this faith do so after their own research.so the best way is to read the Quran ,the one and only book,,which hasnt changed since 550 A.D”

  • grapeape

    Also to qualify what I said earlier, I would be willing to change my mind if it could be shown otherwise. As in the case of your phlogistons chemists.

    At that point however, when someone can convincincly demonstrate life arising out of the purely physical forces of nature and the natural chemicals available at the time, then no one should have any problem un-converting even some of the most hardened believers.

    That might be great for the whole of civilization.

  • Aor

    I have yet to meet a person who says that atheism requires faith who is not trying to imply the religious definition of faith. Nobody ever says atheism requires confidence or trust, because that is fairly meaningless and wouldn’t really add anything to a conversation. In the same way it would require trust and confidence to start your car in the morning or to make coffee. It is always an attempt to suggest that atheism is as much of a religion as christianity. Perhaps Grapeape wasn’t trying to go there but that would go against my experience. I’ll leave aside his statement that providing proof of artificial life would convert him, since we all knew that was a lie from the beginning didn’t we?

    Here is the relevant quote:

    “We know from experience and experiments that life or (thanks to your link) intelligence are the only ways to create new life….so the first life on planet earth came from another form of life or intelligence.”

    As I said, false. We do not have an experiment that shows only life or intelligence can create life. In fact, we have the concept of emergent properties of matter. In all our prior discussion the concept of only life creating life was unmentioned. So this claim comes out of thin air.

    But I’m not getting the impression that Grape is being honest with us or with himself. I sense evasions, diversions, attempts to change the topic, attempts to misdefine terms. Standard theist attempts to deceive.

    Those with the truth on their side would have no reason to use such methods.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    I think you are way off base here.

    I have no motives, beyond discussion, and to be honest I was hoping to read something to “rock my face off” one way or another. But it did not happen, just atheist calling theist stupid and believers insinuating that atheists would get their proof “in the fires of hell”.

    I have never been a big believer of organized religion.

    I do now, but have not always, believed in a creator.

    I do disagree with you about experiments of life, you pointed out one yourself, and I would argue that they take place thousands of times a day when people conceive.

    I have changed not definition nor tried to deceive you in any way. If you are talking about my original “bet” as it were, then go back and look at it, and ask did your link answer that question.

    It didn’t, and I did joke about un-converting, but I thought you took it as that.

    I really don’t understand the hostility.

    What do you think I am doing, trolling both atheists and believers with a logical conclusion (to me anyway), of the creation of life? To what ends?

  • Aor

    You again mention the experiments of life. Do you have a source or a link, because I see no experiment. Or are you denying the validity of research into the emergent properties of matter? I would hope not.

    I’m sorry that you do not see your claims about atheism requiring faith in the way I do, but I came to this conclusion based on experience. I simply cannot see why you would mention it at all if you only meant it the way you claim. It would be a pointless thing to say. I have seen hundreds of people bring up that subject and the goal has been universally to imply that atheism is as much a religion as christianity. It has been shown to be false time and time again, and all we are doing now is belaboring the point.

    I didn’t take your statement about unconverting as a joke at all. You made a clear statement. I showed you research that has created an artificial virus. I could have provided other links, such as this one:
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=d8r4h0q00&show_article=1

    or this
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/sep/06/2

    These conversations follow a pattern, once you have been through it a few times. Often a believer comes into a conversation and says ‘if only you could do this, or show this, or prove that’ then they would stop believing. When the point is proved, they move the goalposts.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    I don’t want to fight…make love not war!

    I came here looking for discussion and hoping in the back of my mind that I might be surprised.

    I am sorry that your experience with theists, believers, or down-right bible-thumpers has been so negative.

    You might try checking your approach, as a common theme to all this negativity.

    I did not try to trick you and I am sorry if I don’t fit in the normal framework of a believer (it is probable because I am not!).

    I hereby concede to whatever you want me to to get past this. That ought to prove I am not a religious zealot, right ;-)

    You have your experiences, and I have mine. I could not, and am not trying to change your mind about anything.

    I just believe that we were created (not in the 7-day sense), and I think I have a pretty good argument about it.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    grapeape,

    “I just believe that we were created (not in the 7-day sense), and I think I have a pretty good argument about it.”

    In considering your argument, remember that to believe in a creator, you are saying that although humans have not been able to demonstrate that without intervention life can form form ooze, you are saying that the best alternative to that idea is that someONE made it happen.

    It seems to be a fall-back… until someone shows you something better.

    Keep in mind that this is not only convenient, and just as unlikely (if not more), but it ignores that just because modern science hasn’t seen it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Modern science being EXTREMELY NEW vs. the timespan of human existence.

    Do you see that a creator being a fall-back is not really a reasonable alternative?

    Atheism is not (at it’s core) making any assumptions about anything. It is merely denouncing what some believe to be the more unlikely of explanations among the various possible ones available.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Re-do on my last sentence…

    [Atheism] is merely denouncing what the Faithful believe to be the more likely of explanations among the various possible ones available, even though it does not seem to be any more likely by a long shot.

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein,

    well said, but here is my reasoning.

    What is the simplest answer for life on earth?
    1) A fairy god made us in his image in 7 days?
    2) We developed from basic compounds with the help of a few hundred million years and the fact that sometimes structures show surprising phenomena? (this is Aor’s emergent property thesis)
    3) We came from pre-existing life?

    I submit that I am not arguing the beginning of all life in the universe, just life on earth.

    If I say it a different way, for example:

    1) Alien rocks hit our planet with “special” molecules that expressed the ability to replicate and some of them stuck. or;

    2) We are the latest in a change of life forms that have been developing (ie. evolution) for millions of years and over several planets with the help of the destructive power of space-rock collisions.

    most people, especially atheists are willing to say, “well it is a possibility”.

    I honestly do not even see the controversy if I say life (or intelligence with the right tools) begets life.

    It is only when it is framed in the context of the beginning of life, that it makes hackles pop up.

    It is the timespan of the universe that makes me believe. It is hard to think that we are the fortunate few that developed by beautiful accident in relatively recent history, when there is a giant universe out there that has been there “forever” in universe time, that is.

    Is it not more reasonable in that respect to follow what your eyes, ears, and all of human history, and all science experiments that are possible to perform, tell you…which is that “life begets life”.

    Also, in my opinion a “fall-back” is saying that “well we haven’t figured it out yet, but we will”, no?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “I submit that I am not arguing the beginning of all life in the universe, just life on earth.”

    Hmm.. Well, your ideas seem to be much broader than previously thought! (read = all over the place)

    They also seem to be unrelated to me, yet you are kind of grouping them together somehow into one idea. Your statement is such a curveball as to really throw any previous discussions out of the window.

    I think it is assumed that when talking about the origins, that life on Earth is the first life. To throw such a curveball into the mix as to say life possibly started elsewhere is to avoid the topic at hand, of how life started anywhere in the universe.

    As far as the idea that life on Earth is the only life in the universe? I doubt it.

    The idea that life on Earth is the first life in the universe? Possibly not.

    Now, if you think it’s possible that life on Earth came from life elsewhere, I would say I agree. It’s possible.

    These are all ideas that I really don’t think have anything to do with the original discussion based on your claims to your belief in a creator. Sure, life begets life. But we are not talking about that. If we were, it would be asked “how did the life begin that helped life on Earth begin?”

  • Aor

    This life begets life issue isn’t what you are having trouble with. It is the position that ONLY life or intelligence can create life. That qualifier is massive.

    As for my approach, I still question your truthfulness. Once your initial post got you a result you did not expect, you attempted to imply atheism required faith. You have danced around precisely what you meant ever since, but there is little doubt when I re-read your comment that you were simply doing the a fairly standard song and dance commonly used by those who come here from AiG and other apologist websites. I would have much more respect for that if you were open about it. In fact I would love to hear you say that atheism does not require faith, since I assume we have proved that to you by now.

    As for your idea of life having originated on other worlds, what does that have to do with making your best case for god? We’ve strayed far from the original topic.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “in my opinion a “fall-back” is saying that “well we haven’t figured it out yet, but we will”, no?”

    I would say that adding “but we will” does exude an air of confidence, but it is only because of the nature of science to tirelessly use practical methods to discover the true nature of things. It will never stop doing this. Given the vast amount of information that modern science has discovered in such a relatively short amount of time, I believe at least some feeling of confidence can be had in assuming science will one day answer the big questions.

    I tried to touch on this before by defining atheism in a way. Atheism doesn’t make assumptions. By it’s very nature it is skeptical. It also doesn’t have to have an answer to the origins questions to exist as a position.

    If you have to have an answer to those questions to live your day to day life so much that you would be willing to believe in something unlikely, then atheism isn’t for you. (speaking generally, not necessarily to you)

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein,

    I agree with you on all points.
    In fact, I would say that my statement in general is commiserate with atheism, yet most atheists will not agree with that point, because it starts down the slippery slope of a “God”.

    I should tell you that I am not religious.
    My degree is in chemistry with an emphasis in organic chemistry and a double minor in maths and computer programming. (if you can believe that!)

    I was indoctrinated young from a religious family, but by the time I was 13 or so was a sworn atheist.

    Later, after a little thought and a lot of soul searching (something else specifically human, I suppose), I did start to believe that life on earth did not initiate from the primordial ooze (or the new vernacular of emergent properties, or as I was taught “emergent structures”)

    I seems “right” to me, both from a purely observant standpoint (a true scientist, no?) and from a scientific one that we are arrogantly selfish to think that the little blob of rock we call earth was lucky enough in the entire universe to develop the type of intelligent life that we know exist, and can’t detect anywhere else.

    Clearly to me the answer was that it either ended up here or was put here.

    You will notice that no one is willing to dispute the “life begets life, thesis”. The reason is because as much as it would make sense for it not to be true, it is still there looking us in the face.

    I do believe in evolution, although it is a stretch of the mind and almost requires a “religious leap of faith” to take it all in.

    Although a lot of scientists disagree, I am consoled within my “beliefs” with Stephen Jay Gould’s punctuated equilibrium ideas. (It helps me reconcile the whole “morphology is relation” idea within a framework of my own short time here on earth related to the vast amount of time that has been.)

    Aor,

    I thought we made up?

    ;-)

    I never argued for the existence of God, only the existence of a creator (keep in mind that my idea of a creator is pretty vague, and may actually overlap with yours!).

    I have no idea how you came to the conclusions that you did reading my posts, but I love you anyway. (but not in that way, that is a sin, right?)

    You know, niceness might help you in changing the minds of “others.”
    (It worked for the mormons, right?)

  • Aor

    Have the mormons changed anyones mind?

  • Aor

    In the off chance that was too snide, let me go a bit further.

    Niceness is a luxury. When people do not use evasion or attempt to change the subject, or make baseless claims to have evidence for their belief in the supernatural, and stick to using some form of reason rather than deception, then generally being nice is appropriate. But those situations rarely arise. Evasion seems to be a pattern amongst those who believe in the supernatural. Have you presented your evidence for the experiments of life you mentioned a few times? Have you accepted that atheism does not require faith? If you have, why not mention it? If you have not, why not mention that?

    I sense evasion. I sense deception. Hiding that may be nice, but it wouldn’t be truthful.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    You are on to me!

    I might as well tell you my diabolical plan.

    1) Infiltrate an atheist blog.
    2) Trick Aor with common sense, and civility.
    3) ????????
    4) Profit!!!

    I still need help with number 3.

    BTW, since we are bickering like an old married couple, am I the man or the woman (hint, I don’t care, I am liberal that way!)

  • Jabster

    @T

    “What odd points”

    Can you point out which of them are not true and/or are not due to religious reasons?

    “don’t get islamic fundamentalists confused with people who believe in god, its like saying the IRA were fighting for Catholics.”

    Islamic fundamentalists do believe in god as did the four suicide bombers in the London bombings – are you trying to claim that the bombers did not believe in god? With reference to the troubles in Northern Ireland these where heavily influenced by religious hatred and separation. Do you this was just a coincidence?

    Finally I’ll just re-reiterate what Daniel said in reply to you comment:

    “if no one believed in god, the world would be a much worse place.”

    … exactly why do you think that to be true as I see no correlation between belief in fairy tales and a positive benefit to society?

  • Jabster

    @Aor

    I sense the second worse argument in this thread – here’s my slightly different take on it:

    1) Birds can fly
    2) Humans can build machines that can fly
    3) Humans must have invented birds
    4) Humans are god

    Yep that sounds pretty good to me – do I win £5?

  • grapeape

    Jabster,

    you win me!

    Yaaaaaeeeeeh!

    how is this for an argument:

    1) humans can make other humans
    2) nothing else can make humans(at least note demonstrably)
    3) therefore a human made one of your ancestors.
    4) by god, a human made that ancestor.

    Do I now win £5?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I seems “right” to me, both from a purely observant standpoint (a true scientist, no?) and from a scientific one that we are arrogantly selfish to think that the little blob of rock we call earth was lucky enough in the entire universe to develop the type of intelligent life that we know exist, and can’t detect anywhere else.

    It’s arrogant to assume that, out of the whole universe, life just happened to appear right where we are?

    Well, we’re here because life just happened to appear here. If it hadn’t, we wouldn’t be able to pose the question. And, besides, what’s arrogant about assuming that we are descended from a self-replicating amino acid chain? It seems to me that the assumption that we must have been specially placed here is far more arrogant.

    Earth is the only place where we know intelligent life (or any kind of life, for that matter) exists because it’s so much easier for us to detect here than anywhere else. What if we discover that there’s intelligent life in almost all solar systems? Maybe they’re all in pre- or post- radio phases, or maybe radio is not a common discovery. As most of SETI is a matter of listening for radio transmissions, this would mean that we’d not notice them. Would life being abundant make our existence more or less arrogant?

    Of course, if life is rare, then your hypothetical seeding aliens are so much more unlikely, right? And presumably, it’s arrogant to assume that they just evolved naturally from a blob of slime, so they must have been planted there by other aliens. Who must have been seeded by other other aliens. And so on. There must, at some point have been a biosphere that evolved naturally from non-living precursors; why is it so much less likely to be us?

    1) humans can make other humans
    2) nothing else can make humans(at least note demonstrably)
    3) therefore a human made one of your ancestors.
    4) by god, a human made that ancestor.

    I’d agree that that’s true, as far as it goes. Except that there’s not a solid line between “human” and “protohuman”. If you go back sufficient generations, one of my ancestors was an Australopithicus africanus, who was arguably non-human. Go back further, and one of my ancestors was a tree shrew, who was definitely not human. But, because small changes can add up, each of my ancestors could have a child that was pretty much identical to them, and yet, over millions of years, we go from tree shrews to Neil Armstrong.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    grapeape,

    I’m starting to see what Aor is talking about…

    NO ONE is denying that life begets life. Obviously it is easier to get life from life than from non-life.

    Obviously it is easier to believe in the possibility that life came to earth, rather than life starting on earth with no help from pre-existing life.

    Both of those points are convenient among the scenarios that propose how life started on this planet. They are also completely avoiding the main point of how – life – begins.

    I know, I know, you mentioned a creator… but your solution only brings up more questions than it answers.

    I doubt any of us definitively believe that life on Earth was absolutely the first life in the universe. Of course it’s possible that it was not.

    But, again, that avoids the question as to how life began.

    (not that that is the question I am trying to answer per se)

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Aor:

    As for my approach, I still question your truthfulness.

    While I’ve really been enjoying this conversation and your contributions to it, I think these kinds of statements are unhelpful. I think grapeape’s replies have been interesting and open. It seems disrespectful and unproductive to question another’s truthfulness — especially a guest who has provided such stimulating conversation. :)

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    To clarify, while bringing up the idea that it is possible that life was seeded on Earth from elsewhere is a valid point when discussing where life on Earth came from, it was not the original (assumed anyway) direction of the discussion when you brought up your original position and life creation preposition.

    In other words, if you had brought that idea into the equation at the beginning, the discussion would have taken a different turn. To bring it up at the end suggests that you “moved the goalposts” as Aor said.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Not to say that you haven’t provided good conversation points, because you have! I just wanted to point out the evolution of your argument could have used some work :)

  • grapeape

    McBloggenstein,

    “if you had brought that idea into the equation at the beginning, the discussion would have taken a different turn”

    We can only beat one poor horse so much, right?

    I assumed most of these types of conversations “evolve”, naturally.

    I have never set any real goalposts. As I stated to Aor, I was just in if for discussion, not necessarily a full on argument or debate, not to say it didn’t veer off into that general direction.

    A few of my points, I don’t even subscribe to, I just put them in there as more of a “Devil’s Advocate”, or to illustrate a point, not to trick anyone.

    For example, I am a firm believer in evolution. The response to jabster was just to illustrate his breakdown in logic, not my beliefs. I admit, in hind-sight, that sarcasm is difficult to communicate in a post.

    Out of curiosity, and since you have been remarkedly level-headed throughout this discussion, what do you think my “goalposts” are? I mean what would you think my “endgame” with you guys is?

    As far as Aor, to be honest, I thought he and I were finished after the first little round as my original couple of posts were not well formed, and he handled them pretty well.

    I assumed he would just kick back with a satisfied smirk and a wink, fist-pump the air, and mark “one more idiot” off the “hit-list”.

    I had know idea he was going to follow me down the rabbit-hole whipping and kicking the whole way.

    :-)

  • Jabster

    “… sarcasm is difficult to communicate in a post.”

    Yep it certainly is to some people.

  • Aor

    @grapeape
    So when you ignore requests to clarify your position on atheism/faith, that is not an evasion? When you make points you do not agree with, you are not being deceptive? When multiple people dispute the claim that only life and intelligence can create life, and you ignore that each and every time only to raise the same question, are you not being both evasive and deceptive?

    By your latest lines of reasoning, evolution does not occur. You claim only humans can make humans, this seems clear and indesputable denial of evolution in its entirety. Only a chicken can make a chicken egg, and all chickens are born from chicken eggs, therefore chickens do not and have not ever evolved. You claim to be a believer in evolution, and then later claim that believing in evolution is a ‘stretch of the mind,’ and later claim that only a human can give birth to a human, which is a complete denial of evolution. Which do you truly believe? Which is deception? How do we know you believe any of the things you say?

    You have been very slippery. When the topic is to make your best case for god, you have claimed both to believe in a creator and to believe that life originated on other worlds and spread here. While those two positions may not conflict with each other, at no point have I seen you try to make any real case to prove the existence of any god.

    What I have seen from you fits a common pattern amongst creationist trolls. They begin with a claim to be open and objective, make a challenge (yeah! well, scientists can’t create life so!), challenge gets refuted, they respond with atheism requires faith (Quote: “I was trying, unsuccessfully it appears, to bring about the dialog that even atheists have to have faith in something, even if it is just the suppositions of scientists.” Is this an admission that all of your prior comments were only there to steer the conversation towards faith?), follow that up with the standard “well, what would prove god to you then” and around and around we go.

    Perhaps you didn’t mean to come across that way.

    But as long as you act evasive, my instinct to chase you down the rabbit hole will kick in. Thats just how things go. When the prey runs, the predator chases it. The simple solution is to not run, not be evasive, say what you mean and defend those positions when people come forward to refute any claims you make. Honest people with the truth on their side do not have any reason to be evasive.

    Those who are confident in their beliefs, proud of their beliefs, never have a reason to hide them or avoid clarifying them when questioned.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Which do you truly believe? Which is deception? How do we know you believe any of the things you say?

    You have been very slippery.”

    Aor, you seem offended just because grape wasn’t able to articulate himself in the manner that would have been most efficient for this discussion. I don’t think that implies deception. Don’t forget that having a discussion in print (which is hard to show tone, etc) in the middle of other people talking about other things, is not ideal.

    I totally understand all of the points you made about the usual track of the argument of the theist.
    I noticed the inconsistencies, but rather than keep pointing them out and wondering what the motive was, I just ignored them and addressed each new point so as to keep the discussion going. As Daniel said, it’s unproductive.

    I just feel as though whats fun about blogging is to keep the discussion going, rather than call people out and tell them they’re doing it wrong. I would totally understand if you had said such things to a non-sensical scripture spouting fundie that hardly deserved rational debate, but grapeape was clearly not that.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    I honestly do not understand the problem you have.

    Let me try to clarify the best I can, that way everything will be in one place and there should be no confusion.
    (takes deep breath)

    1) I believe in evolution, AND it is a stretch of the mind. (the same way I believe in black holes, but have to stretch my imagination to do so)

    Everything in the theory of evolution is not as neat and tidy as you and I would like. That does not make it untrue, it just takes a few “leaps of faith” as it were.

    As one example:

    Morphological differences in fossils over time are accepted as evidence of one species (slowly) changing, or splitting in to another.

    I don’t have a problem with that. But there is not way to conclusively test that. Fossils can’t be DNA tested. They are so rare that scientist will never be able to piece together a smooth chain of fossils illustrating the change.

    In short, we are asked to accept something that can not be conclusively proven or disproved, because the available evidence is “good enough”.

    I do. So do you. But it does take a stretch of the mind…and a little “faith”. (more on that later)

    2) Multiple people do NOT dispute that only “life” and/or intelligence can make life. Not in the sense that you mean it, (ie. that there is a generally accepted theory that there is another way). I am fully aware of the “emergent properties” (or as I learned it, “emergent structures”) hypothesis.

    It is only hypothesis, not a widely, nor generally accepted theory for the origin of life on the planet earth.

    I will repeat this one more time to clarify, so you do not think I am being evasive:

    “THERE IS NO KNOWN METHOD THAT WILL PRODUCE LIFE OTHER THAN OTHER LIFE, OR THROUGH BEING INTELLIGENTLY ASSEMBLED.”

    That is just a fact! You can not dispute that, no one can.
    You can offer an alternative hypothesis but it can not at the current time, be “better” than that fact.

    It is observable, demonstrable, and repeatable.
    There is nothing in any respected literature, nor proposed by any scientist that is observable, demonstrable, and repeatable and will show you how to produce something “alive”, other than by one of the two methods above.

    There are a few (very realistic) hypothesis but no generally accepted theory on this topic, certainly not emergent properties, as you suggest.

    The “case” is not closed on the origin of life on earth by any means.

    I hope that point is clear now.

    3) I have not tried to make a case for the existence of any god, because I do not believe in any god. (I do agree that most of my discussion was off-topic in that respect)

    4) The faith vs. “Faith” issue. I thought this one was settled by McBloggenstein. But anyway, here goes….
    (also reference point #1 above)
    (takes another deep breath and a shot of whiskey)

    If you believe something that you can not conclusively prove, due to the available evidence being “good enough” for you….than you are having “faith” in that idea.

    You possess a confidence in that idea for some reason…either you believe who is telling it to you, or the idea “fits” your life experiences or observations to the extent that you believe it.

    Granted, it is not the giant leap of faith that it takes to believe that there is a fairy god flying above obsessed about your genitals….but none-the-less it is still faith.

    The difference between “faith” in the theory of evolution and “faith” that a “magic” Jesus existed, is in degree and type of evidence, NOT definition!

    Neither of those ideas can be conclusively proven.

    However there is much, much, much more evidence for the theory of evolution then there is for “magic” Jesus.

    There is also a difference in the quality of “evidence” between the two.

    The evidence for evolution is consistent and found throughout the world, and is supported by other scientific research frequently.

    The evidence for “magic” Jesus, is just that some people said so.

    I know that you do not like the idea, but those two issues use the same “type” of faith, but they do.

    A confidence (one undeserved, in my opinion), in an idea that can not be conclusively proven, is faith, whether it be in evolution or the existence of a “magic” Jesus!

    Granted that you and I enjoy a higher confidence in the theory of evolution, because we believe that it is the best idea that describes the evidence that we see, feel, and experience.

    But, never-the-less you and I will die not knowing if it is 100% correct. Evolution can never be “proven”.

    We will just be satisfied that we were right….because we had faith in the idea due to the amount and quality of supporting evidence.

    I hope that this post clears up any issues you have with my other posts.

    If you are unclear on something, or think I am being unclear or evasive, just let me know and I will take care of it right away.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    grapeape

    “what do you think my “goalposts” are?”

    I didn’t really have one in mind, even though your first comment said that if it could be shown that life could arise from non-life, then you would drop your creator stance. This implied that we were about to talk about the origin of life in general.
    If your later mention of the possibility that life on Earth came from life that started elsewhere was just a point of discussion, and not necessarily your stance, then it was not clear.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    Just so I can have one post in this thread that is on topic….chew on this.

    I was willing to accept a virus as a form of life, most people do not.

    In that spirit, if you can accept a “creator” as a god (i do not, but just for this post, let’s pretend)….then:

    1) The only conclusively provable ways to create life as we know it is through other life or by being intelligently assembled. (emergent properties do not qualify, as the hypothesis is currently unprovable).

    2) Any “life” that you currently see or can touch was created that way.

    3) There was a “first” “life” on earth.

    4) Therefore, using the suppositions above, that “first” “life” was created one of those two ways. (I know this is the one you are going to have a problem with, but it follows from the other points as using only conclusively provable ideas.)

    5) Since the “first” “life” on earth was the “first”, then it could not have come from another “life” through replication or reproduction.

    6) That leaves being intelligently assembled as the only remaining method (that we can prove conclusively, anyway), of the “first” “life”‘s creation.

    7) Being “intelligently” assembled, would mean that there was a “creator”

    What do you think?

    Crisp and clean with no caffeine, using only conclusively provable facts and direct logic.

    ps. I do not accept #4 above, but if you use only conclusively provable facts available to us right now….it works!

  • VorJack

    @grapeapre

    I think I’ve got you, but I’d beg to differ with you on a few point.

    First off, I think you throw the word faith around a little to casually. I find it hard to say that the acceptance of a scientific theory is a form of faith. I can also hear Paul Tillich screaming, but that’s another story.

    Science uses both creative and critical thinking, but if one is dominant it’s critical thinking. Science tears down very well, and builds up very reluctantly. It doesn’t really create a great theory; instead, it creates a lot of theories and tries to wreck them all. When the smoke clears, they look for the theory that’s held up best and point at that. Acceptance of a theory is always provisional, and no theory is assumed to be the absolute truth. You can say that scientists put their faith in the scientific method, but I don’t think they put faith in any particular theory.

    In the end, the ethic of science is pragmatism. We use whatever theory seems to fit the evidence best and makes the most reliable predictions. Should we find that this theory is flawed, we’ll put it down and pick up another one. Quantum theory may be the best example. It doesn’t even try to explain the effects it describes. It just makes predictions that are fantastically accurate and leaves it at that. I find it hard to characterize that kind of cautious, practical, pragmatic process as a “leap of faith.” There’s no real belief there, just a sort of hard-headed utilitarianism.

  • grapeape

    VorJack,

    excellent points all throughout.

    Quantum theory make me tingly inside.

    Hilairiously, if you look at my “proof of god” post just before your, it actually takes “faith” not to believe!

  • VorJack

    Maybe I should also say that one of the major goals of modernist theology has been to get away from the whole “faith = belief” thing. Moltman’s theology of hope, liberation theology, and Tillich’s ultimate concern all attempt to come up with a meaning for faith that’s a little more useful.

    Tillich, in particular, hence my comment about him screaming. He really gets in a snit about it in his wonderful, “Dynamics of Faith.”

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @Aor

    Your words contradict each other and you do not understand why.

    no, you’re wrong. i undestand exactly why they contradict each other, and that is because, from your point of view, having not met God personally, they do contradict each other.

    what i am talking about is something that exists beyond even the concept of contradiction. the fact that God can both exist, and not exist, at the same time, is irrelevant from God’s point of view. at the same time, if God couldn’t both exist and not exist at the same time, then It wouldn’t meet the criteria for being God in the first place.

    Blatantly false is the response that comes to mind. It does not pass elementary reasoning.

    again, blatantly false from your point of view. in fact, it is both blatantly false, and 100% truth, at the same time, with no contradictions. God exists beyond elementary reasoning, and if that’s what you use to judge whether or not God exists, you’re going to be forced to the conclusion that what i’m saying is blatantly false.

    as i said before, i’m okay with this. if it makes you feel any better, think of me as that guy with a 3″ diameter hole in his skull with the crazy ideas…

  • Aor

    I don’t see pointing out inconsistencies as being unproductive. In fact, I see ignoring them as being unproductive. No progress is made when people are allowed or encouraged to be unclear, imprecise and inaccurate. If we don’t correct mistakes when they occur then we tolerate untruths when we should not. If the goal is determine what the truth is, or to evaluate many possible truths, then clarity and precision and lack of deception is critical.

    Again I see the use of multiple definitions of faith. The word has a variety of meanings and it creates a problem to switch between those definitions as if it changed nothing. I cannot imagine how you can fail to see that when we have already had the definition of faith linked. If you can, I recommend rephrasing what you said and using trust when you mean trust, confidence when you mean confidence, a belief system when you mean a belief system, and belief despite lack of evidence when you mean belief despite lack of evidence. Any effort to pretend all those definitions are the same and no clarification is needed can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to distort the meaning of the word.

    As for your thoughts on abiogenesis being impossible, I make no claims of a generally accepted theory, I speak only of possibilities. On the other hand, your claim can be paraphrased as ‘abiogenesis is impossible’ so providing a single explanation of how it may be possible is enough to dispute your claim . Multiple people DO dispute the claim that only life and intelligence can create life. Even one single hypothesis of abiogenesis in any scientific journal is enough to completely destroy that claim. Rather than present multiple links, I suggest you simply look for those works yourself.

    As for your chain of reasoning regarding intelligent design, that is quite flawed. You exclude any and all possible knowledge not currently achieved in order to justify pretending that we already know the answer. By that reasoning, because there was a time before disease theory, demonic spirits really do posess people. The outright ridiculousness of that should be apparent.

    This too I have a problem with:

    “That is just a fact! You can not dispute that, no one can.
    You can offer an alternative hypothesis but it can not at the current time, be “better” than that fact.

    It is observable, demonstrable, and repeatable.”

    What is repeatable about not having found the answer yet? How do you mean that, and why do you think it means what you think it means? How is not knowing something yet a repeatable experiment? This is called the argument from ignorance, the claim that a premise is true because it has not been proven false. Now that this has been shown to you, assuming you truly have respect for logic and reason, you should retract some of what you claim because it has been conclusively shown to be based on fallacies.

    And if you bring up faith again, please try to be clear and precise.

  • Aor

    @przxqgl

    That is called the fallacy of special pleading. Look it up.

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @Aor

    it may be a fallacy, but it is also the truth, and there is no contradiction, despite what Inigo Montoya McBloggenstein thinks.

    as i have said before, i’m not going to try to convince you, so you might just as well think of me as that guy with a hole in his skull and the crazy ideas, but i should tell you that i was once like you, i’m not the only one to have these ideas.

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    @Aor

    it’s actually the fallacy of false dilemma, but a fallacy is a fallacy…

  • VorJack

    @grapeape
    “Hilairiously, if you look at my “proof of god” post just before your, it actually takes “faith” not to believe!”

    If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about, no.

    “THERE IS NO KNOWN METHOD THAT WILL PRODUCE LIFE OTHER THAN OTHER LIFE, OR THROUGH BEING INTELLIGENTLY ASSEMBLED.”

    Well, let’s look at this. Theories attempt to make sense of the data, so what data do we have? We’re aware of exactly one instance where life arose through natural (iow, non-human) processes. That would be the beginning of life on this planet. Which we weren’t around to see, and it doesn’t seem to have left any evidence that we can interpret yet. So, the population of our survey is 0.

    So our N=0. That’s not data. Hell, that’s not even anecdotal evidence. I don’t know how to classify an experiment that has no actual experiment, but it doesn’t return data. Theories are defined by data; so no data, no theory.

    So, as far as we know, you’re right. But we know exactly nothing, so “as far as we know” is a meaningless phrase. Unfortunately, the answer to the question of “how did life arise on this planet,” remains “we don’t know.” And until we actually have data, that’s how it will stay.

    Now, abiogenesis attempts to answer the question “how COULD life have arisen on this planet?” It’s got some rudimentary data, based off of our understanding of the early state of the planet. It’s got some interesting theories, but we don’t even know enough yet to really weed the weak ones out. Hopefully, in a few decades, we might be able to say, “here’s one way life could have arisen on this planet.” Perhaps even one of several ways, given the state of the field. And that may be the best we can ever do. [I recommend Robert Hazen's "Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins." He gives a good description of the variety in the field.]

  • grapeape

    VorJack,

    From the way the thought experiment was framed, you do have all of the data you need.

    We know how life is formed.

    You have to start asking people to suspend what they know to be true about that in order to accept that the “first” life was formed any differently….right?

  • John C

    Taking a label such as “Christian”, or repeating some dead doctrinal prayer does not necessarily mean that we ever really know Him or His uncreated LIFE.

    Only through humility and the death of our self (soul) lives can we truly know Him. When He said “follow me” you have to ask yourself where was He going? He was going to die. And so must we.

    The secret is to “empty yourself” of yourself that He might become Himself…in you. When there’s nothing left of you…who’s left? He only fills whats empty.

    He is not in the sky, He is in you and me waiting to be acknowleged as our true (heart life) selves. Because we had essentially “de-volved” over the ages in darkness and pride we had become blind to our true selves so He came to remind us of who we really are, Sons of God.

    You know He is alive when you see Him in man(kind) loving the unloveable, feeding the sick and hungry. Showing mercy and kindness where no other “man” cares. He “lives” with the humble, the ones that love, the empty and the brokenhearted. You wont find Him in the proud but rather with the lowly, the heart-broken and ragged ones where there is no pretense.

    So Jesus says (speaking of acts of mercy) “when you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve also done it to me”. How can this be? Unless we are He…or more aptly put Christ as us?

    It’s not blasphemy, its called Sonship. He’s a King, He has kids that belong in His Kingdom which is already come….”for him who has ears to hear”.

    Remember, He is not religious…he is spirit. The truly spiritual man is a liberated, non-religious, an adopted “son”.

    I am sorry that all you have seen is religious (well meaning) church people who have viewed the Father thru a religious lens. This can never produce life or freedom.

    Nothing anyone can say will ever make you “see” for yourself. Only He can do that by His spirit. Do you say these things because you really want to know? Then empty yourself, become nothing to yourself and pry the door of your heart ajar ever so slightly. Then listen for the gentle and faithful knocking of the Spirit of Love, who while He is all power and might chooses to reveal Himself in gentleness, in meekness.

    Now open the door to Love and let Him hold you forever…you will never want Him to leave and He never will, for…God is love.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    “What is repeatable about not having found the answer yet?”

    Really?
    .
    .
    .
    Really? Are you going to stick with that?

    That type of reasoning is worse than the organized religion’s line of reasoning.

    At least most of them have a “feeling inside” or something, they don’t just shoot you down, without explanation, then say “well you are not right, I don’t know why, but I will when I find out…”.

    That doesn’t make any sense.

    As for your disapproval of my use of the word “faith”, I am just sorry that it confuses you.

    I clearly defined it, pointed out the definition I was using from the copypasta you had, then used it (correctly) in several sentences as examples.

    A lot of people here are uncomfortable with my use of the term, but I believe that you are the only person here confused by it.

    I think someone has told you that atheists do not have to have faith, and that it has been debunked, but you seem unable to explain why, in fact is sounds like you just took it on “faith”. ;-)

    So I am going to continue to use it when I think it is appropriate, and just refer you to my previous posts if you need definition or usage examples.

  • grapeape

    John C.

    these guys are about to attack you, but before they do, I would like to say that your message seem heartfelt and was very poetic.

    Ironically the same type of poetic language is used to introduce the theory of emergent patterns to students so they can understand what is “special” about the whole versus the parts.

    Good luck!

  • VorJack

    @Grapeape

    “You have to start asking people to suspend what they know to be true about that in order to accept that the “first” life was formed any differently….right?”

    Now you’re being silly. You’re jumping from the particular to the universal.

    Yes, we can say that in some cases life was created by intelligent agent. But it does not logically follow that ALL life was created by intelligent agents. Until we have a larger sample size from which to draw statistics from, we must build a positive case for each instance. We have no evidence for this instance, so our answer MUST be, “we don’t know.” Anything else is frankly dishonest.

    Granted, I suppose it behooves us to look for evidence of intelligent creation. But since we have NO evidence, that’s a dead issue.

  • Aor

    I think we have gotten to the heart of the matter now, haven’t we Grapeape? When confronted with your own poor reasoning, you do not make the slightest effort to defend a point or refute the point I made, but just go for avoidance and deception yet again.

    If you think I have used poor reasoning or made a false statement, show how where and why. What you are doing at this point is a crude attempt to imply a flaw exists without even explaining what that flaw might be. Those are not the methods of an intellectually honest person.

    If you intend to prove your chain of reasoning is valid, please do so. Justify the steps in the chain of reasoning. Attacking me for bringing up the clear flaw in your explanation merely makes you look incompetent or ouright deceptive.

    Your comment to John C. is just a typical bit of trolling that everyone has seen before.

  • VorJack

    “these guys are about to attack you,”

    Nah, I’m done with feeding trolls.

  • grapeape

    VorJack,

    “Yes, we can say that in some cases life was created by intelligent agent. But it does not logically follow that ALL life was created by intelligent agents.”

    I agree, but that is not what I said.

    I said that all life on earth was created by either other life (via replication or reproduction) or intelligent assembly.

    I should have qualified that a bit with the following (…all life that we can test….)

    There should be no huge debate on that point really, it is obvious, just from observation.

    If there exists other life on earth that either was not “born” through replication/reproduction, or created by scientists…that would be the only way the previous statement would be false.

    The ticklish part come when we start to back track…reversing evolution.

    No one here is actually going to say that preceding generations of life did not also occur that way…at least there is not evidence that I know of, however we have every reason in the world to believe that they were “born” from either reproduction or replication.

    The problem comes when the previous generation tree converges to 1.

    I do not understand why it is a logical fallacy to assume that “life” was “born” as well.

    It seems to me to be a much harder pill to swallow to say, yeah you are right about every other life, but this one…with no evidence.

    I submit that we do have evidence on how life is created.
    We see how life is created all the time, and we understand it very well.

    We have never seen another way, not that there could not be one!

    But, if there is no evidence as you say, then why not assume it happed the way it always happens since we started documenting the phenomenon.

    In fact the claim that life can emerge any other way seems pretty darn exceptional…and if anyone should even consider it as a possibility, they should need some exceptional evidence, no?

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    okey dokey…here you go.

    “What is repeatable about not having found the answer yet?”

    I offered a simple, detailed, logically sound explanation for the creation of life on earth.

    Your response what that it could not be the case, but you do not know what the “real” answer is because “we have not found the answer yet” and the act of not finding the answer out yet is not repeatable.

    That is the flaw in your reasoning.

    You reinforced my exact point.

    My point was (for like the millionth time now), that we only know of 2 provable ways that life can be created.

    That is it! It does not say that there will never be another way.

    In fact it take a giant “leap of faith” to discount the 2 provable ways that we know life can be created for another, as yet undiscovered, method.

    Do you see the problem with that?

  • Dave

    @John C

    >Nothing anyone can say will ever make you “see” for yourself.Only He can do that by His spirit.listen for the gentle and faithful knocking of the Spirit of Love, who while He is all power and might chooses to reveal Himself in gentleness, in meekness.<

    Like the time he cast out demons from the swine and then had the swines kill themselves by jumping off a cliff into the sea. Or the time he went a little nuts in a temple. Or when he commanded his followers to drink his blood and eat his flesh in order to be with him.

    John, I think you give different meanings to the words “meek” and “gentle.”

  • VorJack

    @Grapeape

    I may be only partially following you.

    “We see how life is created all the time, and we understand it very well.”

    Correct – if you mean the various acts of reproduction where a living organism creates another.

    But at some point the planet was too hot and molten to support life as we know it. So there must have been a time when the earth was sterile. Then, famously, almost as soon as we can find fossils, we find evidence of bacteria.

    So at some point the earth must have gone from lifeless to supporting life. So reproduction, as we understand it, is out. Oh, there may be something to the panspermia hypothesis or the notion that the planet was seeded by extraterrestrials, but that just kicks problem back a step. At some point the UNIVERSE had no life – was, in fact, too hot and molten to support life as we know it, so where did it come from? Life as we DON’T know it is, by definition, unknown, so we can’t speculate about it.

    Life can come from life – reproduction is part of the definition. But in this case, that’s not an option.

    So, intelligent creation. Again, the notion of aliens is possible, but again that just kicks it back a step. Further, this is a philosophical problem where we’re just replacing a mystery with another mystery. We don’t know of any aliens, we’ve never encountered an alien, it’s never been shown that aliens exist. In all philosophical investigations – including science – you’re not allowed substitute a mystery for a greater mystery. If we DID know of an alien species, we could posit that they came to earth and crafted some bacteria. We don’t, so we can’t.

    If we knew of an entity with the required power to craft a life, we could certainly assume that the most parsimonious and probable explanation was that this entity created life on earth. That theory would stand and fall on the evidence we could muster. However, we don’t know of such an entity, and we have no evidence.

  • Aor

    Perhaps you are honestly misunderstanding my refutation of your reasoning, but I think that unlikely. It is really quite simple. You begin with this:
    “The only conclusively provable ways to create life as we know it is through other life or by being intelligently assembled. (emergent properties do not qualify, as the hypothesis is currently unprovable).”

    This contains your logical fallacy. You deny the possibility of anything that is not currently provable. The rest of your chain of reasoning falls apart because its very basis is a fallacy. As I said earlier, in an era where diseases were not properly understood that same chain of reasoning could be used to claim that demon posession was the cause of any given disease. It is a classic example of the appeal to ignorance. You can attack my response all you want, but that does nothing to remove the inherent flaw in your reasoning.

    Your repeated claims that intelligent design is proven by your clearly flawed reasoning is false.

  • Aor

    Perhaps this will make things more clear to you:

    Your position would be that because this particular information is not yet all gathered we can discard anything unanswered entirely. It never will be answered because not having the answer right this instant means that one of the other candidates must be the answer. This leads to the conclusion that because we do not know this answer we never will.

    Classic appeal to ignorance.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    that is not correct.

    My position is that since we do not have a “better” answer yet that the “best” answer is the one that we can conclusively prove now.

    If a “better” answer where to be discovered, it should supplant the previous “best” answer, correct?

    That is how science works, right?

    The “best” answer right now is that if something is alive, that it came from something else “alive”, right?

    My only leap in logic with that is I substitute the word “is” for the word “was”, so….

    The “best” answer right now is that if something WAS alive, that it came from something else “alive”.

    That is it.

    Please tell me, within the context of what I just said, how that is appealing to ignorace?

    For that matter, please tell me how it is any type of logical fallacy.

  • Aor

    You are claiming that you have conclusively proved that intelligent design is the only way life could have arisen by excluding anything that is not currently understood and fully explained. That is not what conclusive proof is. Not in the slightest.

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    I am claiming no such thing.

    I am claiming that the only 2 methods that we currently know to produce life are reproduction/replication and intelligent assembly.

    Both of those assertions can individually be conclusively proven to produce life.

    Nothing else currently can, but might in the future, that is fine.

    Given that, what in your opinion is the “best” reason for a unit of life to have been created, using tools and information currently available to us?

    There is a “best” or “good enough” answer in this case, because we have some evidence, observation, and tools at our disposal.

    It might not be correct in the long run, but it exists.

    Why is accepting that a problem for you?

  • Aor

    Here is your quote, from a comment above:

    “My position is that since we do not have a “better” answer yet that the “best” answer is the one that we can conclusively prove now.”

    Conclusive proof. Your words, not mine.

  • Aor

    Imagine! Someone on the internet has conclusive proof of intelligent design! Now, that is seriously a six figure book deal. More, seven or eight figure book deal. Is there a photo of you shaking hands with the pope? Are the worlds logicians coming forward with the arms raised in horror as you finally proved intelligent design is the only possible way life could have arisen? Are you appearing on Fox News tomorrow?

    Do you truly understand the implications of what you are claiming?

  • grapeape

    Aor,

    yes I do, but you apparently do not.

    I am in no way claiming conclusive proof of intelligent design.

    Please stop saying I am or show me the sentence that does say it. (ie, take a dose of your own “show me” medicine)

    I am claiming that we can conclusively prove that life can be formed right now either through reproduction/replication or through intelligent assembly (you actually linked me to the second one)

    We can conclusively prove those 2 things.
    You and I can go witness them ourselves.

    What we can not conclusively prove as an origin of life is for example, emergent systems. (at least not right now)

    So what I am saying, and please read this as you are picking and choosing items to try to make an argument, is the following:

    We do know where life comes from.

    In, fact, I think you will personally agree that you feel confident that the “second” “life” on earth came from replication.

    So why is it an astoundingly crazy idea that we should apply what we know for a fact (ie. where life comes from), to the “first” “life” on earth, as a best guess, until it is proven false, or a “better” reason is found?

    Please reread my posts again.

    If you are still confused at to what I am actually saying perhaps I can break it down into something simpler.

  • Jabster

    @grapeape

    Nobody has said it’s an “astoundingly crazy idea” that life on earth can have been created/started by an intelligent entity what is being pointed out is that just because A causes B doesn’t mean that B is only caused by A. Until you have evidence of an external intelligent creator than there is no reason to apply that as fact to the creation of life on Earth i.e. currently the best answer we have for how life was created on the Earth is that we don’t know how it was created.

    Can you also expand further on why you think there was an intelligent creator including why life was created on Earth and where is the ‘creator’ now.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Happy New Year!

    Aor,

    “I don’t see pointing out inconsistencies as being unproductive. In fact, I see ignoring them as being unproductive. No progress is made when people are allowed or encouraged to be unclear, imprecise and inaccurate.”

    Excellent point, I agree. I think I just meant that since a blog is not the ideal tool for intellectual discussion, and because not everyone is great at expressing themselves so as to be understood 100%, that quibbling over intentions and accusing the other person of something like equivocation (when more likely they just didn’t understand what you meant) is unproductive. Don’t you notice that more time is often spent (not only on this thread) arguing over what each person meant by what they said, than talking about the actual topic?

    In a better realm of discussion, of course it would be productive to point these things out because it is necessary for the progress of the debate. Here, unfortunately, we don’t even know if the other person will return to respond.

    Anyway, I think each of you has explained your words as best you could have at this point.

    I think Jabster has summed up the points against Grapeape’s argument well with:

    “just because A causes B doesn’t mean that B is only caused by A. Until you have evidence of an external intelligent creator than there is no reason to apply that as fact to the creation of life on Earth”

    So, just because we don’t definitively know how life on Earth began, it doesn’t make the idea of a “creator” any more likely to be the cause. It is on the table as an option, but of course we all know it is not a reasonable one. So perhaps the only thing we can do at this point is discuss the likelyhood of a creator existing, and who created him, and all that jazz.

  • John C

    Dave-

    If you could “see” love, then you could “see” God. He will always be found in paradoxical contrasts to what we call normal human behaviors, ie extraordinary acts of love, compassion, selflessness, mercy and ways that are foreign to everyday humanity. This is why you dont see atheists running soup kitchens or housing the poor, loving the unloveable, the despised and destitute. It takes God in man (His spirit of love) to make a God man behave like His Father…God.

    The acts you describe are viewed from a “fleshly” realm. There are two states we can exist in. One is natural, fleshly and the other is heavenly or spiritual. Christ said that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirt. We can either be filled with ourselves or with Him (love). Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is WITHIN you”.

    Man is a tri-partate being.We are all born once in the same natural, fleshly manner. Christ is saying that we are in need of a second, spiritual re-birth. Then our eyes will be opened to “see” truth. Btw…Truth has a name. Until the second birth occurs, the natural man can not “see” the things of the spirit realm, they are like greek to him. The second birth restores man to his three part wholeness wherein the spirit is the dominant aspect of his being once again so he is not ruled by or subject to his lower, soulish, fleshly nature. He “see’s” again in the spirit as he did in the beginning.

    Only those who love truth can love Christ. My friend, your words reveal your hardened heart. You are full of yourself. Now I am not condemning, you see with the eyes of your soulish, natural realm only. Only you can decide if you want to “see” in the eternal realm, the realm of the spirit. All is available to you.

    Trusting a Father you can not see is not an easy thing I know. But once you know Him and His heart for you, you will find Him to be the most trustworthy Father ever, for He is love. He will reveal Himself more and more as you humble yourSELF.

    We are His temple, His very dwelling place. In a sense we are the Garden. The fruit of the tree of independence was death and the roots of that tree (death) were sown in man in the garden betrayal. He transplants us into His heavenly vineyard…again.

    Now Christ came to restore all that you (and I) lost. He says “do you want to be made whole…again?”. Do you want to experience the abundant life I intended for you, that you were (originally) created for? There is no life apart from Him. Or are you quite satisfied with your own (soulish) existence? The choice is ours, otherwise it wouldn’t be love.

    The law of bio-genesis states that all things reproduce after their own kind. A chicken has a chicken, a cat a cat. What did God birth when He said let us make man in our image and likeness? Was it not a God-man? (Psalm 82:6) That is what you are in your true, yet unrecognized condition. The only thing missing from you is…Him. And He is everything. Or what is the proof of paternity? Is it not that your child has your DNA? So what is the DNA of God? It’s His Spirit for God is spirit. That’s why He says that if we dont have His spirit in us we are “none of His”. For as many as received Him (His spirit) He gave the right to become Sons of God…again.

    Taste and see that the Lord is good are the words that come to my heart for you. I am no better than you. We are all in the same quandry, a rogue, runaway species of “God-men” that have forgotten our true paternity refound or re-born in Christ. When the prodigal son demanded his independence and went away into a “far country” he was still his Fathers son. Only when he awoke and “came to himself, or to his “senses” did he return to the Father who was daily looking for his son’s return.

    When you come to yourself your Father will be waiting to show you His great Father’s heart for you. Then you will truly have come “home” again. The fact that you have this ongoing dialogue within yourself and with others is the very evidence you seem to deny. He will never stop woo’ing your heart though you resist perhaps to your last breath, the choice is yours, He loves you very much. If the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom then the love of the lord is the end-product of wisdom.

    You are more than you know, the mirror lies my friend. Its time to “awake (to your true identity) and your older brother in the family of God (Christ) will shine on and IN you….Christ IN you is the mystery of the ages as Paul says.

    The eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood is a beautiful illustration to those who see in the spirit and understand the symbology. Do you want to know the hidden things, the deep mysteries of God? Do you really? Or world you rather spend your days justifying your own limited mind? He says “its the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of Kings (that’s us) to search it out”.

    Empty yourSELF…admit you know nothing, this is the wisest thing you can do in the New Year. And me too. Humility is the gateway to God.

    The end of you is the beginning of Him…in you.

    Happy New…You in 2009…its your choice. The Father is looking for you now, awaiting your return, your “waking” up and coming to your senses. Let go of the old (you) and welcome the new (Him).

    This is life.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    This is why you dont see atheists running soup kitchens or housing the poor, loving the unloveable, the despised and destitute.

    I think you need to look harder. I see atheists (including, at the risk of immodesty, myself) doing this every day.

  • James

    @ John C

    “Here is an enjoyably impudent piece of research from Innsbruck University. People were observed buying newspapers, using an honesty box to pay. They were interviewed later – so the person with the clipboard seemed unconnected with the newspaper purchase – and asked about age, occupation and attitudes. Men cheated more than women; people over 50 cheated more than the young; higher education made no difference; and by a long chalk churchgoers cheated most. This may be a statistical anomaly. But we all know one thing: religion no more makes people good than lack of it makes the rest of us bad

    Along with most Christians, you believe that mortals like ourselves cannot reject the morality of the Bible. We cannot say, for instance, that God was wrong to drown most of humanity in the flood of Genesis, because this is merely the way it seems from our limited point of view. And yet, you feel that you are in a position to judge that Jesus is the Son of God, that the Golden Rule is the height of moral wisdom, and that the Bible is not itself brimming with lies. You are using your own moral intuitions to authenticate the wisdom of the Bible—and then, in the next moment, you assert that we human beings cannot possibly rely upon our own intuitions to rightly guide us in the world; rather, we must depend upon the prescriptions of the Bible. You are using your own moral intuitions to decide that the Bible is the appropriate guarantor of your moral intuitions. Your own intuitions are still primary, and your reasoning is circular.

    If you are right to believe that religious faith offers the only real basis for morality, then atheists should be less moral than believers. In fact, they should be utterly immoral. Are they? Do members of atheist organizations in the United States commit more than their fair share of violent crimes? Do the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent of whom reject the idea of God, lie and cheat and steal with abandon? We can be reasonably confident that these groups are at least as well behaved as the general population.

    What about all of the good things people have done in the name of God? It is undeniable that many people of faith make heroic sacrifices to relieve the suffering of other human beings. But is it necessary to believe anything on insufficient evidence in order to behave this way? If compassion were really dependent upon religious dogmatism, how could we explain the work of secular doctors in the most war-ravaged regions of the developing world? Many doctors are moved simply to alleviate human suffering, without any thought of God. While there is no doubt that Christian missionaries are also moved by a desire to alleviate suffering, they come to the task encumbered by a dangerous and divisive mythology. Missionaries in the developing world waste a lot of time and money (not to mention the goodwill of non-Christians) proselytizing to the needy; they spread inaccurate information about contraception and sexually transmitted disease, and they withhold accurate information. While missionaries do many noble things at great risk to themselves, their dogmatism still spreads ignorance and death. By contrast, volunteers for secular organizations like Doctors Without Borders do not waste any time telling people about the virgin birth of Jesus. Nor do they tell people in sub-Saharan Africa—where nearly four million people die from AIDS every year—that condom use is sinful. Christian missionaries have been known to preach the sinfulness of condom use in villages where no other information about condoms is available. This kind of piety is genocidal. We might also wonder, in passing, which is more moral: helping people purely out of concern for their suffering, or helping them because you think the creator of the universe will reward you for it?” – Sam Harris

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C.

    No offense, but that was a bunch of dribbling nonsense.

    I can’t even imagine the kind of delusional mind it takes to spout such unintelligible sentences.

  • John C

    I’m confused, was that from James or Sam Harris??

    You continue to reference such terms as “religious” and “moral” of which I said neither. God is not religious. This is the first thing we must grasp. Who did Jesus have the most difficult time with…historically speaking? Was it not the religious leaders of the day? Those who harshly burdened others with endless ritualistic and fruitless mandates? We are in agreement, religion as we have all seen is an ugly thing. Thankfully Christ did not come to bring us binding, external rule-keeping “dogma”. He intends to rule and reign inwardly from the throne of our hearts thereby liberating us from the need of external man-made “laws” of right and wrong (duality).

    So in Christ there is no “duality”, no right, wrong, no potential for evil. He is not conflicted. It is we who are fractured, doubleminded if you will of our own choosing. There is no duality in the spirit and the spirit realm is where we were intended to reside.

    What, who did Christ come to save us from? He came to set us at liberty from our own captivity…of ourselves, the life and nature we inherited from our first, rebellious and prideful father Adam. His was a divided nature seeing good and evil (which can not stand) but Jesus is the second Adam…a life giving spirit, a One and He can be in us and we can be in Him.

    Want to know what the bible really is? It’s a description of eternal process ongoing within the consitution of every man. And we all end up at Calvary, on the hill on one side or the other of this man called Jesus.

    Have you ever seen the last half of a movie, or heard only a books ending? It doesnt make sense that way does it. In the same manner we (mankind) does not fully understand the nature of his existence, how and why he is in such a predicament. The problem with this world is tied to the condition of men’s hearts, by that I mean their inner lives, thoughts, desires, etc. He came to re-impart if you will His divine (spiritual, pure, unpolluted, original, uncreated) life back WITHIN us, in our very inner selves, our spirits as it was before the great loss.

    As for WINTERMUTE, please accept my sincere apologies as I was speaking in generalities. That was a presumptious liberty that I undertook. I am sorry.

    As for Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens I have an entirely different take on these two. Its something I hear beneath their spoken words. Its a subtle resentment, longing tied to loss of paternity, an orphan spirit if you will. The Church (institutionalized church as a whole) is always concerned with the “Un-churched” but God is not. Rather, the Father is very concerned with the “Un-Fathered” those who refuse to let Him Father them with tenderness and great love. He wants His sons back. They dont trust Him and this breaks His heart.

    I am sorry that you have witnessed such a gross misrepresentation from “Christendom”. I will not make any excuses…many are misguided and flat wrong. Many who say they are “of Him” are not.

    You are positioned from a high place of logic and LOVE (GOD) is not logical as we understand Him. He is not required to give an account of Himself to us, but us to Him. Thankfully, mercy triumphs over judgement. I will never be able to satisfactorily appeal to your reasoning.

    But if (when) you begin to hunger for Him, when you get lost in wonder and the endless questioning no longer appeals to you…then you can be certain that the very one who you have questioned, spoken ill of and yes even rejected is calling for for you.

    By now you may have some understanding that I am not speaking to you from some supposed belief or external witnessing but rather from my own, personal ,tangible experience. The only “proof” I have to offer you is the proof of a transformed heart and life. That’s where it all happens, its an “inside” job. I realize this does you no good whatsoever until you for yourself come to know Him, inside you. This is the definition of eternal life…knowing Him.

    I honor you, whoever it is that I am conversing with this New Year’s Day. Perhaps one day we can sit, talk, share our journeys. Who knows, there may be some surprises in store for both of us.

    Peace.

  • John C

    McBlog-

    No offense taken. If you knew me or my story you might think differently.

    I appreciate you, best to you in the New Year…

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C

    I respect your politeness and I wish peace to you as well…

    “If you knew me or my story you might think differently.”

    I’m afraid I will never think differently about what I said in reference to your statements. While I understand everything that you are saying, it is also nonsense to me.

    I have no reason to believe God exists, therefore the emotions of love and compassion I possess I do not attribute to me being the son of an omnipotent being. I have a father. He and my mother literally raised me and cared for me, rather than figuratively. I have no need to believe in something that has no basis in order to feel fulfilled.

    I believe the mind is a very powerful thing. Emotions such as sadness, loneliness, happiness, love, and hate operate very closely with how our minds perceive the world. Delusions that allow us to “hear” responses to someone our emotions are in a dialog with, as well as that allow us to have faith in things that have no basis in a logical reality are very much possible, and evidently seem very real. Your claim that if we just open our hearts wide enough, our God/Love/Father/Christ will show himself to us, is really no different than saying that if you want to believe something bad enough, you will believe it. And just because that may be true, doesn’t mean it is real.

    If belief in the unbelievable is the only path for you to experience the emotions you desire and to obtain absolute truth, then I am sad for you.

  • John C

    Mcblog (cool screen name btw)

    I understand that, I really do you are speaking from a logical basis, your “worldview” reference and personal history. And it makes perfect sense…in the natural. But what if there was a spiritual, eternal or super-natural “realm” that was just as real, and even more so but we just can’t “see” it with our natural eyes or the natural (un-renewed mind)? Would that make it any less “real”? Ok bear with me here cuz I’m actually gonna make sense to you this time (hard to believe i know).

    You just paraphrased 1 Cor 2:15 (I know another damn scripture verse sorry) in your post. It reads: “but a natural man does not accept the things of God for they are foolishness to him, he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned”. Just like you said in your post its simply…nonsense meaning it doesn’t make sense to your (natural) mind to believe in a God you cant see.

    Wasn’t it Einstein who said that this world was just an illusion? How did he come up with that? By peering at the quantum world which is the model for the spiritual, eternal realm.

    So Jesus comes telling us this “kingdom” has come and in fact is “within us” imploring us to “repent” of our old, wrong ways of thinking so that we might “see” anew and rightly. Now the natural man hears the word “repent” and automatically assigns a negative connotation to it…right? The greek is Metanoi meaning to change for the better. Better is always…better.

    He also tells us that if we want to “see’ this new kingdom we must be “born again” but this time of the spirit kind. So the flesh (natural man) sees that which is of the flesh “plane” and the spirit (spiritual man) sees that which is from above, or the spiritual ‘plane”? Still with me? Then later on He says “blessed are those that believe and do not see” with our physical, natural eyes.

    He says “dont be conformed to this world but be transformed, changed by the renewing of your mind”, then you will “see”. Jesus was the original rebel. He came to restore things as they were prior to our losing our high (spiritual) position of pure, unadulterated fellowship with Him. Just because you cant (yet) “see” it doesnt mean it (He and His Kingdom) is not there…can we at least agree on that tonight?

    And what if this kingdom (and the King himself) meant unconditional love, light, fellowship, acceptance, restoration, sonship…eternal life?

    Our problem is its just too good (where do you think all the fairy tales with “happily ever after” come from)?? What is the deep origin of the science of fairy…tales and are they merely tales? Or is God trying to say something to us, to reach our deep hearts, to remind us of long ago, what once was and what He offers again…here and now??

    ok, ok I know enough, enough my friend. Good nite and thank you for being…you.

  • Sunny Day

    “But what if there was a spiritual, eternal or super-natural “realm” that was just as real, and even more so but we just can’t “see” it with our natural eyes or the natural (un-renewed mind)? You just paraphrased 1 Cor 2:15″

    YOU just paraphrased Russels Teapot.

    :)

  • Jabster

    @John C

    “I understand that, I really do you are speaking from a logical basis, your “worldview” reference and personal history. And it makes perfect sense…in the natural. But what if there was a spiritual, eternal or super-natural “realm” that was just as real, and even more so but we just can’t “see” it with our natural eyes or the natural (un-renewed mind)? Would that make it any less “real”? Ok bear with me here cuz I’m actually gonna make sense to you this time (hard to believe i know).”

    There’s lots of “super-natural” worlds that people claimed to have existed so what makes you think your one is any more real than the thousands of others?

  • John C

    Sunny-

    You are funny…thanks for staying up late with me.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Good nite and thank you for being…you.”

    No problem.

    John C, Sunny Day was making a very serious point about the teapot analogy. What do you think about it?

    You mention a “spiritual, eternal or super-natural “realm””, what evidence do you have that it exists? You say, what if it exists? I say, what if it doesn’t? Because there’s no reason to believe that it does.

    If you think it exists because Jesus referred to it, then what evidence do you have that he said it? If he did say it, why do you believe him? Because he is the son of God and would not lie? What evidence do you have that Jesus was really the son of God? What evidence do you have that Jesus even existed? Why do you believe that anything in the Bible really happened, and wasn’t just regurgitated stories from past religions?

    Please note that all of these questions are rhetorical, so I do NOT want answers to them (except the teapot one), but I am curious about one thing.. Do you ask yourself these questions?

  • John C

    Jabs…

    Great question, thanks. This is the best way I know how to even try and answer that…I commited to the journey. I know that sounds over-simplified, but let me explain.

    Once the “new birth” (life coming into what was dead)is experienced the mind is “lighted” or awakened to a new reality, a certain and substantial yet spiritual “knowing”. This is akin to a mystical experience that many have reported over the centuries. It’s as if you stepped into a dark room and suddenly a bright light vanquished the darkness but “you” didnt turn on the light, it was turned on inside of you, your mind, your inner being by something or someone else.

    Now that the light is on, the “way” is more clearly evident for “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord” Proverbs 20:27 and “In Him was life, and that life was the LIGHT of men” Jn 1:4. Sorry but those were appropriate verses for this discussion.

    Now God takes that inner light and searches you out. During this process a cleansing of sorts occurs in your inner man, your spirit. The purpose being to “conform you to the image of His son”. This is where many quit the journey…they drop off and God, who lets us choose how much of Him we want (His nature, our transformation) wont over-ride a mans own will. Thats why we must give ourselves to the process, to Him, its a choice we make.

    Now, if we stay on that sometimes arduous journey the light (within) grows brighter and brighter. This is accomplished thru the denial of self, that is our lower nature’s lusts, wants, demands, etc. We literally “burn” through this garment of flesh that separates this earthly plane from the spiritual one and pierce thru to the other side. Now, we experience greater revelation of truth, have visions, and many things are opened up to us (in the spirit)that we were previously blind to in our former condition or limitation.

    What makes “mine” more real than any others? I dont own it…but its His “good pleasure to give us the kingdom” is how Jesus explained it. So I just believed Him, His words that He said were ‘spirit and life” and commited to the journey…completely and have experienced a progressive “lighting” of the inner man ever since. I have a long way to go.

    We fall in love with the lord of the journey and trust Him to take us where He said He would….into His bright light and life. I just proved out what He said.

    Few commit to the full journey…I didn’t settle for less than what He offers which is His uncreated life. I guess thats the best way to describe how I know this other ‘world” of light, beauty, love is “real”.

    If I took a road trip to somewhere you had never been I could tell you all about it and you would believe me only because you know the place is a geographic “reality” and because you trusted the source, me. If you draw that analogy here and trust the heart of God then you can begin the journey and arrive at the same (spiritual) destination. Our problem is we dont trust God.

    I hope this helps someone with an open and soft heart to “journey on” in spite of the challenges, the barriers, the darkness.

    I’m sure that was a pitiful effort at explaining my experience but…you asked and I tried.

    Take care Jabs.

  • John C

    McBlog-

    Thx…please see my response above to Jabs…in this I share “experientially” a little more of the Truth that I have known.

    Then I will be happy to try and answer any questions you might have….not sure ever to your satisfaction.

    Talk soon…

  • John C

    McBlog-

    One more thing…I’m serious about the fairy tales…there’s more there than meets the eye. I’m sure that causes a good chuckle…glad I made you laugh but the rich, imaginative writings of our ancestors were born out of a deeper, more wonder-filled season than our current time.

    There’s a name for the study of fairy tales, similar to dream interpretation…we ave lost our innocence and are quite content to be “all grown up and self sufficient” albeit without Him, His presence.

    Yes, the shoe fits…and its one size fits all!

    Think about it.

  • Aor

    Don’t the other religions have shoes that fit everyone too? What makes your shoes better than theirs?

  • John C

    Aor-

    First, “religion” is not what He offers. Religion is man’s attempt to assuage an angry God by adhering to an external set of “laws”. You are confusing liberty (Christ) with law (religion).

    There is no need for external laws, do this, dont do that, this is good, that is bad, yada, yada, yada when liberty Himself rules and reigns inwardly from the throne of one’s surrendered heart.

    What makes “His” shoes better than all the other shoe-peddlers?? Most want to be feared, obeyed, reverenced, etc. and will burden you with endless, wearysome and religious rituals. THIS ONE WANTS TO BE LOVED.

    I cant live out for you the life He longs to impart to you by the simple and yes child-like act of faith. Only you can receive Him for yourself then you can tell the world how He fit you with His perfect love.

  • Jabster

    @John C

    Yet if you don’t love him then he will make you burn in hell for an eternity – sounds as though he wants to be obeyed and feared doesn’t it?

  • John C

    Mcblog-

    Concerning Mr. “Teapot”, I trust you realize that Russell is only known today due to the “cute” teapot analogy, not the originality of his thought, the anti-faith message and the generational “telling” of myth to lore to truth, yada, yada. Get in line there, the list goes on forever. If he is one of your hero’s you can do better my friend.

    And how is it that you can sit at the feet of a Russell and not at the feet of Christ? Does He not speak? Russell is dead, his message is a dead one. Christ is risen.

    The problem is that we really dont understand the offer do we? And we dont trust the heart of the “offer-er’, thats the heart of the issue…trust.

    I tell you what…if you can convince me that you really want to know the offer (and the One who is offering) then I will share more. But I think you would rather me just shut up, thats ok too.

  • John C

    Jabs-

    Your up late my friend?? What’s the deal with that? Is He speaking to your heart? He does not condemn. Everybody knows John 3:16 but what does the very next verse say??? “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn, but to save…and John 5:45 “do not think that I will accuse you before the Father…”

    It is we who deny or reject Him, not the other way around. Love is a choice…choose life!

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    As for WINTERMUTE, please accept my sincere apologies as I was speaking in generalities. That was a presumptious liberty that I undertook. I am sorry.

    So, you were only saying that, in general, atheists are cold-hearted and immoral bastards who can’t be stirred to help their fellow men, but there might be the occasional exception?

    I still say you need to look harder. If you discount tithing to a church, atheists donate more of their disposable income to charity than do the religious. Many secular charities do excellent work without any religious affiliation (this is different from being explicitly atheistic, I’ll agree, but few atheists are willing to spend money on proselyting to people who need help instead of salvation) – DWB has already been mentioned, but there’s also Amnesty International, The Red Cross, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Habitat for Humanity, World Wildlife Fund, Mama’s Kitchen, Second Harvest, and SHARE. I know of several soup kitchens in my local area that are run by non-religious people, and while they tend to be smaller than those that can easily call on donation from a church’s congregation, they’re no less earnest in their desire to feed the hungry.

    Concerning Mr. “Teapot”, I trust you realize that Russell is only known today due to the “cute” teapot analogy, not the originality of his thought, the anti-faith message and the generational “telling” of myth to lore to truth, yada, yada.

    Only known to you, maybe. His On Denoting (1905) is one of the finest and most important philosophy texts of the 20th Century; he founded the school of analytic philosophy, still studied around the world; and his work on the philosophy of mathematics has yet to be bettered. He was also a key player in winning women’s suffrage in Britain.

    His essays on atheism – most notably What I Believe (1925) and Why I am Not A Christian (1927) – are still widely read and cited by both atheists and Christians, and are considered to be ground-breaking. The teapot is a useful sound-bite, yes. But it’s hardly the only thing he’s remembered for. You really should read some of his work; I’m sure you’d get a lot of value out of it.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C

    “But I think you would rather me just shut up, thats ok too.”

    I can’t decide! On the one hand you’re still spouting dribble, and on the other, it’s fascinating to me.

    You spend like 500 words saying “I know it’s true because Jesus told me”, which to me means nothing.

    Then you completely avoid the teapot question.

    Aor, this is what I meant when I mentioned a “non-sensical scripture spouting fundie that hardly deserved rational debate”.

    No disrespect, John C, but you proved yourself to me to be incapable of logical discussion.

  • James

    Facts stated by you:

    God is not religious.
    Thankfully Christ did not come to bring us binding, external rule-keeping “dogma”.
    He intends to rule and reign inwardly from the throne of our hearts thereby liberating us from the need of external man-made “laws” of right and wrong (duality).
    in Christ there is no “duality”, no right, wrong, no potential for evil. He is not conflicted. It is we who are fractured, doubleminded if you will of our own choosing.
    There is no duality in the spirit and the spirit realm is where we were intended to reside.
    He came to set us at liberty from our own captivity…of ourselves, the life and nature we inherited from our first, rebellious and prideful father Adam.
    His was a divided nature seeing good and evil (which can not stand) but Jesus is the second Adam…a life giving spirit, a One and He can be in us and we can be in Him.
    Want to know what the bible really is? It’s a description of eternal process ongoing within the consitution of every man. And we all end up at Calvary, on the hill on one side or the other of this man called Jesus.

    & then you say

    The only “proof” I have to offer you is the proof of a transformed heart and life. That’s where it all happens, its an “inside” job. I realize this does you no good whatsoever until you for yourself come to know Him, inside you. This is the definition of eternal life…knowing Him.

    I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you can not state these things as facts and expect anyone to accept any of it. There is no evidence whatsoever & it is a delusion. There are millions of people just like you, blindly convinced they have the answers to all these questions. But you dont. You try and rationalise your belief, and convince the world that your version is somehow correct all you like, but in the end you will admit to be religious, whatever “version you take” forces you not just irrational, but anti rational.

    The examples of humanities delusional capacity:
     
    The Aztecs sacrificed virgins for soil fertility, the Christians burnt witches as they communicated with the Devil, rivers and mountains were formed by giant snakes etc in Aboriginal culture and the Egyptian gods expected embalmed Pharaohs to meet them on the other side of the river Styx.
     
    It is beyond obvious that none of the aforementioned delusions were anything but that. They were believed in by humans no different from us and with the same amount of sincerity expressed in the belief of today’s gods. We have an inbuilt propensity to be brainwashed into believing just about anything that can be proposed.

  • trj

    @John C:
    > “Wasn’t it Einstein who said that this world was just an illusion? How did he come up with that? By peering at the quantum world which is the model for the spiritual, eternal realm.”

    No, in fact Einstein was very much opposed to regarding the world as an illusion. And comparing the very real quantum world with the very unreal spiritual world is just plain BS. Please don’t attempt to boost your religious arguments by hijacking Einstein’s fame. That is simply dishonest, and it’s a trick employed all too often by fundies and creationists.

  • Sunny Day

    John C

    “Once the “new birth” (life coming into what was dead)is experienced the mind is “lighted” or awakened to a new reality”

    Stopped reading right there.

    It’s Indistinguishable from Crystal Waving Hogwash.

    Please tell us what makes your Fairie Tales True and why all the other Farie Tales are false.

    (it worked with Kemp, maybe it will work on this one)

  • John C

    Sunny,

    You stopped reading…you missed the best part. I’ll make you a deal…you read the rest and I’ll answer your question.

    Then maybe you will have a “sunny mind” too.

    You think that because you haven’t experienced it it cant be true, cant be trusted.

    Read on my sunny friend.

  • John C

    Guys-

    You have so many labels for people of faith. Invariably when you label someone or something you detract from that thing or one.

    If I lumped you all together into one group I could come up with many titles, etc. But here is a fitting, truthful and regrettable one….you are natural men who have lost the capacity to receive spiritual truth, you “see” only with natural eyes and reason with physical limitations nonetheless are greatly loved by a (spiritual) Father who desires to restore to you those lost and original capacities that He might restore you to Sonship but you will not allow Him to do so because you do not trust His heart for you…because you dont know what love is.

    You are not humble, but full of your learned selves and quite content to stay most unchild-like having lost your innocence.

    Reason and faith are not in competition. One simply supercedes the other, its apples and oranges. Your capacity to reason has been given you for practical purposes but you have allowed it to overtake your spirit man to the degree that you no longer even perceive the spiritual aspect of your being. This is the part of you that Christ “awakens” when He imparts His Spirt into yours. But you have a free-will and will remain devoid of the life and love of Him in so far as you remain in your current condition, that is living from merely your physical body and your soul-life, that being your mind, your will and your emotions. Instead of living out of your whole, three-part being you have elected to limit yourselves to a two part existence.

    There is so much more guys…and in your deep hearts (that part you have covered over) you can know and experience, even long for it. Your proof is your dry and lifeless spirits…so dry they seem to by now not to exist…again your reason rules…to the detriment of your inner life. I keep going back to the heart (spirit) because that is where the issues of life spring forth from, the fountain if you will. But you have turned off the spicket….nothing flows in or out of you except your own thinking and willing which is…lifeless apart from Him. Im not putting you down, just explaining your true condition or state.

    Only you can decide that God knows more than you and that maybe, just maybe He is good.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    Hmm? What does that stand for I wonder? Could it be Truth Reigns….Joyously? I am kidding my friend. You are so full of…you that it leaves no room at the inn (your inner man) for the childlike king to play and rule with holy laughter.

    Things are not as they appear…this is the first lesson we must learn. Your body is not you.

    There is more to life than…this life.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Your capacity to reason has been given you for practical purposes but you have allowed it to overtake your spirit man to the degree that you no longer even perceive the spiritual aspect of your being.”

    To me, what that means is that my capacity to reason has helped me to not require a belief of superstition in either a god or a “spiritual realm”, because there is no evidence of either.

    To you, us thinking we’re smarter than that, means we just don’t know how to love.

    What’s the point of talking here?
    Obviously we are far too rational/logical to allow our minds to think irrationally enough in order to let the delusions fill our hearts. So why bother?

  • Aor

    We need to lock you down to some hard and fast claims.

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be revered?

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be obeyed?

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be feared?

    Are you honestly trying to claim that not a single atheist in the entire world knows what love is? And you speak about us not being humble! The arrogance of that claim is truly horrifying. Do you claim to have intimate knowledge of the emotional state of every single athiest in the world?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John C:

    You are not humble, but full of your learned selves

    And you think telling us that there is a God, Jesus is alive, that your speak to them, and you know all about they is humble? It sounds like you’re the one who has it all figured out and is pressing it on others.

  • John C

    Mcblog–

    Good morning, btw you are may favorite “un-believer” of the whole lot!!

    The reason you continue to talk is that while unrecognizable to your reason, the absence, the void you “feel” is in fact very substantive and significant to your “journey”. I know, I know feelings (emotions as you call them) cant be “trusted” as you say. But exactly what are they and where do they originate from?

    There is in each of us a faint, latent remembrance of the original Garden fellowship and wholeness we enjoyed with LOVE in the beginning. This is how we know joy, laughter, peace, deep hearted “feelings” come from our inner man, not our reasoning. To deny your inner man exists is to kill your own longing for that which you were originally created.

    So we see many in agony, addictions, alcohol, sex, you name it, anything to fill that void. But only He, His spirit IN you (not in the sky) can satisfy that very real part of you, your spirit man.

    This is why you continue to talk…your heart is trying to “tell” you there is more than your eyes can “see”.

    What are you so afraid of, threatened by? Are you worried that you might find a friend in Him, that He may actually turn out to…be…the Eternal One?

    You are suffocating your heart…stop. You have read everything under the sun, all man has to offer….but none have remedied your condition. Maybe this year you can open up just a little and “see” with spiritual eyes that there is more…that He lives.

    I know you will now feel the need to defend yourself to your unbelieving “brethren” so go ahead…you get the last word if that will make you “feel” better.

    Warm regards…anyway Mr. Mcblog.

  • John C

    Daniel-

    You are right. I see how that may “appear” that way. That was not my intention, I could have worded things differently there. Thx

  • John C

    Aor-

    If you saw a child trying to ride a tricycle with only two wheels on it…you would “see” two and not three. Furthermore the child would struggle greatly even though he persisted in his efforts.

    In the same way I am saying that a person who refusese the impartation of the spirit of LIFE within, is operating in a similar, albeit limited fashion. We need all three (spirit, soul & body) to function wholly, or as man was originaly intended. A man functioning solely from the soul and body is left to merely reason within his own mind. This is why he can not “see” into the things of the spirit.

    As far as love goes, yes you can love….with a limited human love born of the soulish realm. You can do good, be “nice”, etc. But knowing love as you put is means that you know Him, for He is love and is eternal as opposed to man who is created…does that help at all or do you simply want to keep bashing??

    All the best…

  • Aor

    @John C.

    I asked you clear and simple questions. Don’t think for a moment that your avoidance of those questions makes you appear truthful and reliable. Are you afraid of answering? Are you ashamed of your answers?

    I have said this hundreds of times: Those whose beliefs are true will never feel shame over those beliefs, will never be afraid of answering questions about those beliefs.

    Your avoidance of those questions implies that you have doubts about the validity of your own beliefs.

    So I recommend you answer them. At the very least admitting that you have a certain lack of faith on some issues will allow you to improve your faith, or discard it entirely.

  • John C

    Aor-

    Let me go grab a quick bite, I havent slept or eaten in a while. I am not trying to avoid your questions and will answer them as soon as I return…take care.

  • Aor

    You have had plenty of time to answer simple and obvious yes or no questions about your own beliefs. Why would it take any time at all to answer them? Do you need to research what your own beliefs are? Your avoidance and evasions are obvious.

    Your behavior implies that you are ashamed, or fearful of the answers.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Aor said: “Your avoidance of those questions implies that you have doubts about the validity of your own beliefs.”

    John C,
    I also asked you questions. Although mostly rhetorical, the one that was not was the one that asked if you ask yourself those questions. Your lengthy answer, from which I drew no meaning, basically told me that you believe that to ask so many questions means one has a hard heart, and is unable to realize the existence of the spiritual realm.

    I don’t know about you, but my mind and heart are connected. My emotions (heart) are dependent on my perceptions of the world (mind). A skeptical mind is what makes me happy. You claim that I have a void because I ask questions. Your unwarranted presumptuousness is amazing.

    “You have read everything under the sun, all man has to offer….but none have remedied your condition.”

    Haha, not even close. And neither have you. Yet you presume to know all there is to know about the nature of the world because of what one book told you (more likely, what people like yourself told you when you were young). You got to the Bible, and stopped. Stopped learning about the world with an open mind. Jesus may have opened your heart, but he has closed your mind, which I think is the pathway to the heart (to speak in your language).

    I am not continuing to talk because I deep down am looking for “more”. I continue because a mind like yours fascinates me. Please don’t misunderstand that my fascination does not denote envy.

    “btw you are may favorite “un-believer” of the whole lot!!”

    I’m suprised, considering (not only on this thread) I called you a robot, a broken record, and a “nonsense spouting fundie”.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @John:
    Wow–I drop out for a week or two and along come brand-new-minted commentors to snack on.

    To deny your inner man exists is to kill your own longing for that which you were originally created.

    Say what? Where is this extra dude inside of me? X-rays please.

    The reason you continue to talk is that while unrecognizable to your reason, the absence, the void you “feel” is in fact very substantive and significant to your “journey”.

    So I’m too stupid to recognize that I’m craving me some godness?

    Your statment is partly right. But you have mistaken the proper direction and destination of the journey.

    I began as a Christian, and have managed, after a great struggle, to come to the realization that I was merely comfortable with the myths of my tribe and island, no less so than the residents of the Greek and Roman empires, the ancient Britons, or the current residents of New York City.

    To change habits of thought engrained in childhood and cultivated over half a lifetime is a gargantuan struggle. Don’t insult mine by coming to me with your feelings, your intuitions, and your superstition and claiming that’s evidence.

    If you have a god whose existence is provable, prove it. Otherwise it might just be “a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, or an underdone potato.”

    Which is what I’m going with, pending evidential confirmation of the reality of a deity.

  • John C

    Aor-

    For the sake of time and text…lets sum up all three questions…you asked…”Are you saying that your god does not want to be revered, obeyed, feared”?

    Now please “hear” my response since you are so adamant that I answer you.

    Before God came in the flesh (Jesus) people lived under a religious “system” called the Law. This was an endless, burdensome, external set of do’s and dont’s, rituals that they could never fully satisfy…and neither could we. They were “dead” laws.

    They thought that if they could keep all these mostly man made laws they could “earn” Gods approval, that He would then be pleased with them, accept them, yada, yada, yada. We have another name for it today…BS.

    The results of that flawed “system” was a performance based, fear-filled and false “view” of God in that He was burdensome, heavy, distant and “religious” and how could they ever “live up” to His stringent and never-ending demands. Why would they want to…except for fear, the unhealthy kind.

    Reverence, fear and obedience were “parts” of that old system or the “law” that enslaved them…and still enslaves most of “Christendom” today.

    How can you reverence (respect) a demanding and burdensome God? You cant from the heart…you might “say” something reverential but its just “lip service” and not authentic. It means nothing.

    When God came in the flesh (Jesus) He no longer dealt with the external, but with the inward or “heart” of man. He showed us the Father…His true nature and heart toward us that had been cloaked, hidden in the endless rules and rituals of the old, external and inferior fear-filled law, (performanced based view of God).

    Now, in Christ “love is the fulfillment of the Law”. The fulfillment of those things you asked me about. Even an atheist like yourself knows that love is an internal thing and not an external, contrived or manufactured response.

    You have placed those “things”, reverence, fear and obedience above the law of Love. That inversion is what is holding you back for all those are fulfilled in the one…the highest requirement…love. They are natural consequences of loving Him.

    Jesus said (paraphrased) “when you love me, then the natural consequence will be that you obey me”. But you have it backwards…you can not love, honor, obey, fear or revere a God you dont first really know or love. And what if obeying (following)Him was only good for…us? Again, the issue of trust is crucial.

    So God prophesied (speaks of a better, clearer way and view of Him, a new day) regarding these “external”, lip-service laws saying “In that day, (the Jesus day) I will write my laws (His ways) on their minds and in their hearts”. Now reverence, fear (healthy awe, respect) and obedience are all inward matters of the heart and not external “rules” by which we gain Gods acceptance. Fear is annihilated.

    How was Jesus able to reverence and obey when others could not? What was his secret? Its because he ‘knew” the Father, that is His nature being love. This is where we err. He said “the true worshipers of God will worship Him in spirit and in truth”. Once again, its all inward now. Where the spirit of the lord is there is liberty. Does that sound “religious” to you?

    So the offer to “repent” or change our minds from our current, faulty thinking (view of God) is really an invitation…back to life, to freedom from fear, from a performance oriented theology.

    Lets go all the way back to the garden before the “fall” of man for a minute. Remember Christ came to restore what was lost, what we abdicated (mainly our proper relationship, fellowship and view of God). Then we had unbroken fellowship, oneness with the Father, with the spirit. There was no duality, no good & evil. We were not limited by time and space, subject to the elements of cold, heat, etc.

    The “body” we had in the beginning was the same one that Christ had after the resurrection…it was of a spiritual nature, celestial and not earthly. While there was form, there was not matter, limitation, it was a “glorified” or of a spiritual nature and not subject to death and decay which was unknown to us at that time.

    When sin (death) defiled us, entered into that heavenly plane, we essentially “de-volved” into our current, earthly, lower, physical state of being that we “live in” today. In this condition we have lost our original ability to perceive spiritual or divine truth being limited to the “sense” plane. That’s why the things of God, the things of the spirit dont make sense to the natural, physical man anymore, he simply can not “see” them and now demands “proof” of the eternal, spiritual realm in which He was originally created. Oh the irony, the paradox.

    So now Jesus says…I am the way, the truth, the life. The “way back” to this eden, this original life that God intended. He calls it a “new and living way” as opposed to the old, dead law of trying to “earn” Gods acceptance by adhering to ridiculous and dead laws and rituals.

    Christ has satisfied all the requirements by putting to death the old way, the old you (yes we were also on the cross in Christ, that is our former selves, the old Adam that lost paradise). Now I have lost you for sure huh…again the story is so good…we simply cant bring ourselves to believe…Him and what He in His love has done for us. I can show it to you in scripture but I doubt you are sincerely interested.

    Fear, reverence, obedience??? These are by-products and not what God is ultimately after which is yours and my heart, our love. He is the God who wants to be loved. Those “other” things fall naturally under the umbrella of love when love is numero uno.

    He says “fear involves torment but perfect love casts out fear”. He is the perfect Father, His love for us is perfected and demonstrated in Christ’s sacrifice.

    The kingdom is come and where exactly did Jesus say the kingdom of heaven is? Within you.

    But you dont even “think” to look there do you?

    If you made it this far, good for you and I apologize for the long-windedness.

    Now…let the usual accusations and name calling fly boys…call me every name in the book, a fool, an idiot, a deceived, delusional, irrational simpleton…It’s ok because “I” died a long time ago…with Him and in Him. I have no reputation to uphold and man you cant imagine how liberating that really is. You cant offend a dead man.

    Col 3:3 sums it up best “for you died (that is your former self, old identity) and your (new) life is hidden with Christ in God.

    Aor…are you sorry you asked? Or did I answer your questions? If not, I tried.

    Warm regards

  • trj

    @John C:

    Since you agree that the laws of the Old Testament were mainly useless (or BS, as you say), at least in regards to getting closer to God, then why did God want people at the time to obey them, often by penalty of death?

    Or are you saying that the laws were not delivered by God as it says in OT?

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    I’d like to propose the following, not as a serious offer of proof, but to understand how many holes there are in it and what kinds of bad logic it uses to achieve its ends.

    So, the following premise says:

    The evidence of supernatural entities such as G-d, by whatever form one calls it, is in the assertion that science does not (and cannot, but that’s probably part of the refutation) have explanations or answers for all phenomena, and so until it can answer all questions with natural processes, G-d (or other entities) exists.

    I was going to start with the Clockmaker and Irreducible Complexity, just to get it out there, but I see we covered intelligent design and the probabilities earlier in the thread.

  • James

    @ John C

    Don’t mean to offend, but when i read your post it reads:

    “Now please “hear” my response since you are so adamant that I answer you……

    WHITE NOISE”

    I’m sorry to say that, but your firm held belief is without evidence, and you are just preaching lunacy, no different to cult members brainwashing their flock. Practically all Christian make up their own version of Christianity. It would be so hard to find two that believe EVERY single point the same, e.g. What is fact/metaphor from scripture, evolution, creation, young earth creation etc. Picking apart that thousands of beliefs and claims. The Point is these are all non-negotiable claims. You are alone. You all just pretend to respect each others beliefs, because you don’t want yours challenged, & you know that the belief you deep down hold most dear, is no likely to be more true then anyone else’s anti-rational nonsense.

    THE FACTS ARE

    Competing religious doctrines have shattered our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continual source of human conflict.

  • VorJack

    @Silver Adept:

    Well, my first reaction is that this is the classic “God in the gaps” argument. We don’t know how X occurs, so God must have done it.

    This is the fallacy of argument from ignorance, or “argumentum ad ignorantiam”. If we don’t know something, then the proper response is to say, “we don’t know.” We might, at some future point, solve the problem. But even if we don’t, it is a false dichotomy to say that if we can’t explain it with science it must therefor derive from God. To show that God did this or that you must build a positive case for it.

  • Marc

    As a visual artist I am convinced that the existence of beauty in nature is ipso facto proof of the existence of God. What possible evolutionary benefit can there be to appreciating the beauty of a landscape or a sunset? Explain to me how the ability to gauge sexual attractiveness in a prospective mate can be converted into non-sexual appreciation of natural beauty. No, there’s something out there, some quality of nature we experience and sense, that does not fall within the rationale of scientific analysis.

    Beauty is a quality of nature, like temperature or pressure. When we experience temperature, we are sensing the relatives speeds at which atoms vibrate. What vibrates to create the sensation of beauty?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Silver,
    You want to see this thread hit 500, don’t you?

    Basically your premise is saying that if we don’t have all the answers with science, then we should stick with God until we know for sure?

    A problem with that idea is that it assumes that not only are there only two choices, but that God is the best alternative. So, until the dethroned Ms. America proves that she didn’t do porn a few years ago, the runner-up will take her place and wear the crown? I submit that there are more than two choices, and God is not even close to being in 2nd place on the list of viable choices.

    I actually just talked about this on another post, but I will paste it here with a bit of re-wording:

    In order to consider God as a reasonable possibility, you would have to acknowledge all that we know about the history of man, and his many tales of now dead gods that were once believed to explain countless questions that we now are intelligent enough to know the answer for. So, since all of those things that humans once attributed to their god have since been proven to have a scientific explanation, wouldn’t that make God less reasonable on the list of explanations for things?

    Because “god” as an answer has failed so many times, wouldn’t that discredit it as a choice for future questions?
    So, just because we don’t know the answer to something, there is no good reason to use God to fill in the gap anymore than any other possibility. The only real reason that anyone chooses to use God to explain things is because it’s easy, it sounds good to them, and it boosts their ego because it gives their life and the universe meaning. I believe that given the history of using God to explain things, there is actually less of a reason to consider it than many other viable choices.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Vorjack
    “If we don’t know something, then the proper response is to say, “we don’t know.” ”

    Great point! Finding the answers is great, but if it means believing in something that has no basis, I’d rather stick with “I don’t know”. I’m perfectly happy with that.

  • Aor

    Strike three.

    They were yes or no questions, John C. Again you avoid and distract.

    Those are the tactics of a deceptive person.

    Answer the questions, with a yes or no.

    Three times you have avoided answering. Why are you afraid? Why are you ashamed? If you have any intellectual honesty at all you will answer the questions and if necessary retract statements you find yourself ashamed of. That is how honest people behave. When they are shown to be wrong, they correct themselves and maybe even apologize.

    That confusion you feel, that reluctance to speak, that is your doubt speaking. Your evasions and deceptions imply that you have deep doubts about your beliefs.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    The purpose of the “old law” was as a foreshadowing, or a “type” of what was to come with the new covenant.

    If you study in Exodus where the original 10 commandments, the LAW (after which man added numerous) man -laws you will find something very interesting.

    God first asked Moses to tell the people to “come up” themselves to the top of the mountain but the people refused…why? Because they were “fearful” of Him as we all have been since “shame” entered the scene after sin made its deathly entrance. Remember how Adam “hid” from God after sinning and God had to come and “search him out (although He knew where he was) saying “where are you Adam”?

    He still says that to us today. Disobedience to LOVE always causes death to us. God has a different definition of death than we do. Death is not merely physical but death is anything outside of, or apart from Him in whom IS life. Remember after the crucifixion Christ went and “preached” or liberated those that “died” under the old law.

    There is so much more but I doubt you really want to know…or am I being presumptious? LOL

    I appreciate you. The fact that we (out of all the other 6+ billion) are “communicating” at all in some albeit impersonal manner is rather cool I think.

    I can’t convince you but I can honor you, and so I do.

  • John C

    Aor-

    I spoke plainly. All three of your questions are consolidated under the one. You just dont want to hear so let me draw it out for you:

    1) “you shall love the lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength” is the first commandment

    so…… LOVE
    ___________

    then…. Reverence (honor, respect)
    Fear (you are God, not me)
    Obedience (I want to follow you)

    I can get my 20 month old grand-daughter who ‘just knows’ how much I love her and doesnt question my love to draw it out for you if you want.

    Its all about love man…thats the part you cant “see”. I know….whiffed again. lol

    I appreciate our discussions and you.

  • Jabster

    @McBloggenstein

    I kind of agree with your reasoning as to why a god should be way down the list of explanations for something but in a different way. To me it’s more that there is currently zero evidence of a creator and not a single scientific explanation is even remotely similar to it was god that did it.

  • John C

    Mcblog-

    You said “In order to consider God as a reasonable possibility…

    Tell me, what is reasonable about leaving paradise to come to earth to die a horrific death on a cruel, nail pierced cross? Love is not reasonable, its…love.

    Tell me how many apples fell from the orange tree today? The answer is…none.

    And so it is with love and reasoning.

    Press on my friend into another realm…the realm of the heart, the spirit where love is very….reasonable.

  • Aor

    You gave not a single yes or no answer, John C. Avoidance implies deception, deception implies shame. All you are doing now is dancing around hoping somehow somewhere someone will let you out of this, but it won’t happen.

    Shall I repeat the questions, so you can’t pretend to misunderstand them?

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be revered? Yes or no.

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be obeyed? Yes or no.

    Are you saying that your god does not want to be feared? Yes or no.

    Are you honestly trying to claim that not a single atheist in the entire world knows what love is? Yes or no.

    No blither blather, no attempts to distract and deceive. Just answer, plainly and clearly.

    I hope your friends read this. I hope your priest reads this, I hope all those you preach to read this, because you have shown yourself to be deceptive and ashamed. Your behavior here does more to deconvert christians than anything I could ever say.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Jabster

    Oh, I definitely agree with that. I agree that they are not even similar.

    It is with reluctance that I say that God must stay on the list, no matter how improbable, but only for the reason that it can’t be disproved.

  • trj

    @John C:

    Sorry, I don’t understand your answer regarding OT laws. You mention something about fear and love which are just statements, not answers, so I’ll ignore those, but your answer seems to be this:
    > “The purpose of the “old law” was as a foreshadowing, or a “type” of what was to come with the new covenant.”

    I don’t get it. How do laws like “people working on a sabbath must be put to death” or “don’t eat shrimp” or “sacrifice a pigeon when you’re menstruating” in ANY way relate to NT’s message of love, and how do they in ANY way bring you closer to God? What conceivable purpose did they serve if they are indeed, as you say, just BS rules? How does following BS rules prepare you to follow a message of love and tolerance which contradicts most of the old rules?

    Please explain this to me. I presume you’ll repeat something about the covenant of OT being a precursor to the covenant of NT, but in that case please explain HOW they relate to each other, rather than just saying they do.

  • John C

    Aor-

    I have no priest?? I am not “religious” He is my King…the abiding, inward Holy King.

    You do not know what to do with the rare, non-religious, spiritual man. You can’t “label” him can you. He doesn’t “fit” into any of your categories.

    Maybe he is “in this world but not of this world”?

    I plainly answered you. No, God is not interested in those three things, Reverence, Obedience, Fear. Because He knows they are disingenuous outside the bounds of love…the One thing that He is truly interested in possessing is your love, your heart. Now those “things” will naturally fall in place under the surrendered and liberated life, they are mere by-products and have no power in and of themselves.

    I dont know how much plainer I can say it. I am sorry if that doesnt work for you but I can tell you I am sincerely attempting to communicate the truth in my heart to you.

    Aor…let me try appealing to your logic…the problem is that you dont understand what your problem is. And you dont understand the solution He offers.

    Out with the old, in with the new.

    ?????

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “?????”

    Exactly

  • James

    @ John C

    “If you study in Exodus……..”

    Ok lets have a look

    The only real restraint God counsels on the subject of slavery is that we not beat our slaves so severely that we injure their eyes or their teeth (Exodus 21).

    The 10 commandments the only passages in the Bible so profound that the creator of the universe felt the need to physically write them himself and in stone. As such, one would expect these to be the greatest lines ever written, on any subject, in any language. Here they are. Get ready…
    1. You shall have no other gods before me.
    2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image.
    3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
    4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    5. Honor your father and your mother.
    6. You shall not murder.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    8. You shall not steal.
    9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

    If we are going to take the God of the Bible seriously, we should admit that He never gives us the freedom to follow the commandments we like and neglect the rest. Nor does He tell us that we can relax the penalties He has imposed for breaking them.

    If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @VorJack, @McBloggenstein

    Many thanks. It was one of the more common reasons I heard and occasionally still hear about the existence of $DEITY.

    More generally, I’d like to try something else, but it may not fit the criteria here. If looking for proof of the objective existence of $DEITY, then the following premise fails miserably.

    Attributed to Voltaire is the maxim that “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” That might be a proof of the existence of $DEITY, but in a highly subjective and personal way to each person that believes. Each person who believes, like przxqgl, is completely convinced of the existence of a deity. Perhaps all the believers in the world create their gods, and they do exist, in all their forms, created by their worshipers, affecting them in a wholly local manner, and then vanishing when those worshipers die.

    Aside from the issue where the premise basically acknowledges that it can’t be tested in an objective manner by science, due to the highly personal nature of the gods, what else is problematic with this view, if anything?

  • James

    @Silver Adept:

    “the premise basically acknowledges that it can’t be tested in an objective manner by science, due to the highly personal nature of the gods,”

    It IS a scientifc question. It fails the test……..

    The premise that people think it isn’t is the problem.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    I plainly answered you. No, God is not interested in those three things, Reverence, Obedience, Fear.

    And the question about atheists being able to feel love?

    The 10 commandments the only passages in the Bible so profound that the creator of the universe felt the need to physically write them himself and in stone. As such, one would expect these to be the greatest lines ever written, on any subject,

    And then Moses smashed them before anyone could see them, and God wrote them out again. He claims that the new version were the same as the old, but a careful eye will reveal that he made a few improvements:

    1. Thou shalt worship no other god (For the Lord is a jealous god).
    2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
    3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
    4. All the first-born are mine.
    5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
    6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
    7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
    8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
    9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
    10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.

    Exodus 34

    Clearly, these later commandments are even more profound and timeless than the original, but yet no Christians ever seem to even acknowledge the existence of these revised commandments…

  • John C

    James-

    What is the bible..exactly? Do you know? Is it a historical document, maybe its Gods “word”, what is it… really? Can you tell me? For from this basis we draw our “reasonable” (man-made) conclusions.

    Here’s it is…and while not a widely held or accepted “doctrine” when understood in its significance and profundity you will begin to ‘see more”.

    Its like this…”Each man within himself has moses and the israelites, the sadducees and the pharisees, the patriarchs and the very kingdom of heaven and hell. Thus, the events “described” in the bible, and looked upon by the pious as being things of a past history, are actually the descriptions of eternal processes taking place in the constitution of man…himself”.

    Now when we hear Jesus say “the kingdom of heaven is within you”…what is your (man-made) conclusion? What, who are you? What is the nature of your being? Things only reproduce after their kind right? You learned this in biology years ago didnt you? The law of bio-genesis?

    What is the essence of you, does the mirror lie? Is there more than…meets the eye? What or who is IN you?

    You say that you “see” (are wholly self-sufficient) so your sin, my sin remains. In contrast to “Lord I dont see, I dont understand, help me to see (wholly dependent). Hmm

    As the ancient mystic said “what keeps us from seeing and hearing God? Is it not our seeing and hearing ourSELVES”?

    Is anyone tired or hearing themSELVES? Or just tired of hearing…me?? Ha I know the answer to that one.

    Journey on guys…

  • John C

    McBlog (my fav atheist)-

    Of all the correspondence you have kindly “endured”, this last, little piece was specifically tailored for you. Let me repeat just the last few lines pertaining to love and reasoning just in case you missed or dismissed it:

    ————————————————–
    Tell me, how many apples fell from the orange tree today? The answer of course is…none.

    And so it is with love and reasoning.

    Press on my friend into another realm…the realm of the heart, the spirit where love is very….reasonable.
    —————————————————

    In the same way trying to find God, dismiss God, prove God through your “reasoning” is analogous to installing a screen door on a submarine. It is simply not “reasonable”. And that sort of thing is the “reason for reason”. But spiritual things are discerned…spiritually…or from the heart.

    You have to switch from head to heart…but you have convinced yourself (and others have helped you your entire life) that the heart can not be trusted. This is a shame. Our hearts are that aspect of deep life within us…His kind of life.

    Again, trust (you of your heart and His heart for you) are the key issues tied to “proving God”. You cant know a God who lives up in the sky, but you can know one that lives…in you.

    Transition…into the deep waters of your deep heart my friend. If you get lost dont worry I’ll come get you in my…screen door’ed submarine that miraculously holds water even though its not “supposed” to. Oh the foolishness of faith.

    Love & Reason….thats a good name for a sub! LOL

  • Aor

    You did not answer, John. You avoid and deceive and hide from making simple and clear answers to these questions. Your lies are pitiful and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    An honest man would have answered those questions the first time. You have shown yourself here to be deceitful and ashamed of your own words. Each time you reply without making those yes or no answers proves that you are a cowardly liar.

  • James

    @John C

    The teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently.

    Isn’t it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Jesus, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith failed?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Silver

    You sound like you’re writing a thesis.

    This is how I understand what you’re saying:

    Man needs God. Because Man created God, he exists, but only within the minds of each person that has created what they believe God to be.

    Is this right? I actually think that this idea is very close to reality, except for the part that man needs god, of course.

    I’m sure there is much more that is problematic with that, but this is all I can think of at the moment:

    Because of the “highly personal nature” of said created gods, this allows interpretation of each individual’s faith, and how they and their beliefs interact with the rest of the world. Because of the nature of “God” as an omnipotent father, and as someone that is judging you, this provides more opportunity for people to act on their emotions (regardless of whether that action goes against the norms of that society), and in essence can be blamed on their god, if needed. In most blatant and basic terms, “The voice in my head told me to do it”.

    An example of this can be a person that was demonstrating for proposition 8 in California recently is asked by someone why they hate gay people, their response is “I don’t hate them, God does”.

    Does that make sense? I’m actually not sure I answered your question. I think lack of sleep is catching up with me.

  • John C

    Aor-

    I answered you. Perhaps even one of your athiest friends will come to my aid and affirm that I in fact answered plainly in yes and no terms? (im not holding my breath but it remains a possibility)See below:

    “I plainly answered you. No, God is not interested in those three things, Reverence, Obedience, Fear. Because He knows they are disingenuous outside the bounds of love…the One thing that He is truly interested in possessing is your love, your heart. Now those “things” will naturally fall in place under the surrendered and liberated life, they are mere by-products and have no power in and of themselves”

    Now you resort to name-calling? I have only been kind in return my friend. I value you, your thoughts and position. If you keep calling me names then I will just have to….love you more!! LOL

    Paradoxical Paternity…its a trip huh?

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    Ive been following the discussion on this thread via rss. I just want to say that not only my head but my heart tells me a god does not exist.

    With my heart I have discerned that spiritual things are not only inexistent but totally worthless.

    If, like John C says, the heart is the key to validate beliefs then I have proof that god does not exist. Thanks John C for giving me the tools to validate my atheism beyond all doubt.

    I have made the transition…into the deep waters of my deep heart friends, and found that god does not exist.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    John C:

    I answered you. Perhaps even one of your athiest friends will come to my aid and affirm that I in fact answered plainly in yes and no terms? (im not holding my breath but it remains a possibility)See below:

    “I plainly answered you. No, God is not interested in those three things, Reverence, Obedience, Fear. Because He knows they are disingenuous outside the bounds of love…the One thing that He is truly interested in possessing is your love, your heart. Now those “things” will naturally fall in place under the surrendered and liberated life, they are mere by-products and have no power in and of themselves”

    That does indeed answer three of the four questions you were asked. The fourth question (which remains unanswered, at least explicitly) was:

    Are you honestly trying to claim that not a single atheist in the entire world knows what love is?

    I think I can infer your answer, from the long, rambling nonsense you’ve spouted, but I’d appreciate a simple yes/no answer at least as much as Aor would…

  • John C

    James-

    Your whole position supposes that we “cant” know more than the possibility that we “can”, why is this?

    And how is it that I have arrived at a very different conclusion than yours? Did I make the mistake of trusting Him? Sight unseen?? By Faith??? Oh no.

    You continue to reference tragic, deplorable historical evils that I have never disputed. What do I have to do with that? We have all witnessed man’s utter capacity for evil, it is no secret that man can behave like an animal. Why do you dwell there…in the past?

    Perhaps you have fallen for the “labeling” scam. This is where everyone gets “assigned” to a certain group or name. Tell me, who was Jesus? What group did He belong to? Where did He come from? Where did He go? Do you know?

    When you know this then you will know who you really are as well.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C,

    “my fav atheist”

    I’m blushing!

    “Tell me, how many apples fell from the orange tree today? The answer of course is…none.

    And so it is with love and reasoning.

    Press on my friend into another realm…the realm of the heart, the spirit where love is very….reasonable.”

    It’s amazing that you’re speaking English, in grammatically correct sentences, and yet I don’t understand a word!!! I seriously don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think you understand that you’re speaking another language to me.

    As far as the rest, I actually do understand what you’re saying for once. Again, a few hundred words summed up in once sentence “God can not be known through reasoning or the mind, only through the heart”.

    I think you’ve repeated that dozens of times by now.

    However, if God can not be known through reasoning, then I do not want to know him.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    “Tell me, who was Jesus? What group did He belong to? Where did He come from? Where did He go? Do you know?”

    If Jesus existed he most probably would had been a Jew, born from human parents and died like everybody else.
    And not only that but I know myself even if i did not know Jesus’s bio (impressive, huh?)

    My heart and my mind still tell me that god does not exist.
    And how is it that I have arrived at a very different conclusion than yours John C? Did I make the mistake of not trusting Him? Sight unseen?? By Faith??? Oh no.

  • John C

    Winter-

    Im sorry, I didnt really see that last question as the threads have been coming fast and furious.

    The question being. “Are you honestly trying to claim that not a single atheist in the entire world knows what love is?”

    I cant find an explicit reference for me ever stating those exact words…can you? If I said…”you dont know what love is” than I will take responsibility and hold true to that…but the other I did not say…that I can find?? Please show me if I am wrong here but I am pretty certain that specific wording is a misquote.

    I would be happy to try and answer the other if you are still interested.

  • John C

    Brigno-

    Thanks man….I appreciate your participation and time. I cant give you anything you dont want or believe….so you are right my friend…for you…there is no God.

    Its kinda like Burger-King…you get it “your way”. You get to choose to be your own God.

    As for me, I’ll take mine with extra love and mercy, it makes life so much more “flavorable” than the traditional condiments of fear and doubt. They leave a bad taste in my mouth. LOL

    Peace B…seriously…may 2009 be awesome for you.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C

    I’m not sure you said it, but it was implied for me.

    Most atheists are skeptics and reasonists.
    Therefore:

    Questioning God = hardened heart.
    Hardened heart = not truly knowing what love is.

    This is what I understood

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein
  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John C says: “You get to choose to be your own God.”

    Well my heart tells me that I am not God either so I do not understand what you mean.

    john Says: cant give you anything you don’t want or believe

    John, you have given me plenty. By showing me how the heart is proof enough for a belief you have validated my atheism. Thank you so much!!! U are awesome.

    Let me go further and tell you that my heart has also shown me that i can have and give extra love and mercy and have an even favorable life with out god existing. With out fear or doubt. Isn’t this cool?

    This whole heart thing is great. Thanks!!!

  • trj

    @John C:
    Upon re-reading your answer concerning OT laws I realize that you were indeed trying to tell me something with your references to love and fear, but your answer eludes me, and for that matter I don’t see it as a sensible answer.

    I’d still very much like to hear if you have an answer to what purpose the OT laws served, so here are my follow-up questions again:

    How do laws like “people working on a sabbath must be put to death” or “don’t eat shrimp” or “sacrifice a pigeon when you’re menstruating” in ANY way relate to NT’s message of love, and how do they in ANY way bring you closer to God? What conceivable purpose did they serve if they are indeed, as you say, just BS rules? How does following BS rules prepare you to follow a message of love and tolerance which contradicts most of the old rules?

    Please explain this to me. I presume you’ll repeat something about the covenant of OT being a precursor to the covenant of NT, but in that case please explain HOW they relate to each other, rather than just saying they do.

  • John C

    Mcblog-

    You may not yet realize it but you are actually making progress my friend…yes…you have taken the first steps on an amazing new path…the path of life and light!

    You have made the discovery of states…that there is one place, that being reason and another realm, that being of the heart…or the spirit world. And not only that but that that they have two distinct languages…wow. Hmm…where have I heard this before? Maybe some ancient, long irrelevent text I dunno…lol

    And it only took us two days! I’m kiddin with ya bro.

    Now just imagine what you might “see” on this new path you have begun to blaze…what wonders await you? But you will need an escort…fortunately He has a torch-light in hand…and its your lighted heart! Oh my…sounds kinda like a…fairy tale huh?

    You better brush up on your fairy tale reading cuz you just might have the grandest tale of all to tell when all is said and done…that is when the path is well-worn with joy, peace, life, light, mercy, hope, friendship, fellowship and…LOVE! Oh the tales you will tell!

    You’re gonna need some good trail-hiking shoes!

    The Presence…that’s what its all about.

  • John C

    Brigno-

    You are gifted…bright, funny. I’m just glad I was able to be so helpful to you tonight…lol.

    That love in you, that YOU possess within yourself and manufactured OF yourself. Can you tell me where the parts came from? You see I need to order some more and am looking for a good…Source, Supplier? I’m fresh out…thanks Brig.

    All this love-talk reminds me of a song “enclosed by you’ by the band Telecast with the line “love is the soil by which our nature grows”.

    Maybe I can just “plant” some of that love seed Brig…send me a seed or two would ya?…just dont let the postmaster find out. lol

    You…cool.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    Sorry, not trying to ignore you Im just so busy getting blasted…lol. I will expand further after this brief post…but first find the post above where I describe “what the bible really is”…then we can start from there…

    Back at ya soon man

  • John C

    oops…my bad…right band wrong song…Infinite Worth, not Enclosed by you…just for the record not that anyone cares I know.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John says: “That love in you, that YOU possess within yourself and manufactured OF yourself. Can you tell me where the parts came from?”

    My heart tells me that they evolved in our species as a trait. Not only that but it indicates that a god had nothing to do with it. Nice, huh?

    John says: You see I need to order some more and am looking for a good…Source, Supplier? I’m fresh out…thanks Brig.

    Maybe you can get a girlfriend…or a boyfriend. My heart does not judge. It is up yo your heart.

  • James

    @ John C

    “James – Your whole position supposes that we “cant” know more than the possibility that we “can”, why is this?”

    You are dripping with intellectual dishonesty

    If you have trouble understanding atheism :

    Consider: every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian. And yet you do not find their reasons compelling. The Koran repeatedly declares that it is the perfect word of the creator of the universe. Muslims believe this as fully as you believe the Bible’s account of itself. There is a vast literature describing the life of Muhammad that, from the point of view of Islam, proves that he was the most recent Prophet of God. Muhammad also assured his followers that Jesus was not divine (Koran 5:71-75; 19:30-38) and that anyone who believes otherwise will spend eternity in hell. Muslims are certain that Muhammad’s opinion on this subject, as on all others, is infallible.
    Why don’t you lose any sleep over whether to convert to Islam? Can you prove that Allah is not the one, true God? Can you prove that the archangel Gabriel did not visit Muhammad in his cave? Of course not. But you need not prove any of these things to reject the beliefs of Muslims as absurd. The burden is upon them to prove that their beliefs about God and Muhammad are valid. They have not done this. They cannot do this.

    CAN YOU????

    Muslims are simply not making claims about reality that can be corroborated. This is perfectly apparent to anyone who has not anesthetized himself with the dogma of Islam.
    The truth is, you know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims. Isn’t it obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn’t it obvious that anyone who thinks that the Koran is the perfect word of the creator of the universe has not read the book critically?

    Isn’t it obvious that the doctrine of Islam represents a near perfect barrier to honest inquiry? Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions.

  • John C

    Brig…

    Now love…evolved too? Ok, from what? Little amphibious tadploes of…reason reptiles?

    Im just messin’ w/ya Brig, no harm meant.

    Any “love” you or I may show, declare or even demonstrate is from the source…LOVE Itself.

    Ah heck…just love!

    G’nite Brig…

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C

    “You may not yet realize it but you are actually making progress my friend…yes…you have taken the first steps on an amazing new path…the path of life and light!

    You have made the discovery of states…that there is one place, that being reason and another realm, that being of the heart…or the spirit world. And not only that but that that they have two distinct languages”

    How you got that, from me saying I don’t understand a word you’re saying, I have no idea.

    This God stuff is quite a drug, and you are hyped up on it my friend. Big time. Perhaps it clouds your judgment?

    You seem to have missed that I said “if God can not be known through reasoning, then I do not want to know him.”

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: Now love…evolved too? Ok, from what? Little amphibious tadploes of…reason reptiles?

    Look into your heart dude. Human interaction brought love about baby!!! Just read any book on evolutionary psychology with an open heart and you will receive this truth.

    John: Any “love” you or I may show, declare or even demonstrate is from the source…LOVE Itself

    Exactly. Where “source” is just another word for humanity. Great to see your heart is warming up to the truth. You have taken the first steps on an amazing new path…the path of life and light!

    G’night Johnny.

  • John C

    James-

    I appreciate your post, I really do and I read every word carefully, thank you. It helps me to understand you and your position better. I tried to find something I could “live on” but I could not, im sorry.

    That’s because there is no “life” in religion. It is a burdensome “system” of external rules and endless rituals. As I have stated previously and bluntly…religion sucks, its oppressive and contrary to our (original) nature which was birthed in love and freedom. Thankfully, that is not what Christ came to bring…quite the opposite.

    As far as me “dripping with intellectual dishonesty”, nothing I have stated is derived from the “intellectual” plane, but rather the heart or spiritual realm. Not sure what to say to that.

    What is not “apparent” is that this King I speak of reigns inwardly, from the throne of our hearts…yet completely, fully. His kingdom is one of righteousness, peace and joy. Is that something you are interested in James?

    I have one suggestion for you if you care to know. One of the more fascinating descriptions of how a man comes to know himself, to know God, etc is found in the autobiography of George Fox. He tells, in plain language how this occurs in a man, inwardly speaking. His story, and the movement it spawned is fascinating from both a historical and personal viewpoint. You may enjoy reading it if you like things like that.

    Best to you James.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    BTW:

    Would your heart agree to the following?
    Any “hate” you or I may show, declare or even demonstrate is from the source…Hate Itself

    What does your heart, John, tell you about the source of hate? Humanity is capable of both (hate and love). No wonder my heart has confirmed we
    (humanity) are the source.

    Since my heart has confirmed all of this I hope that soon enough you will accepted it all as fact. A you can see it fulfills all your evidentiary requirements to the T.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Simply amazing.

    As I said last night when you first popped up, John:

    I can’t even imagine the kind of delusional mind it takes to spout such unintelligible sentences.

    And now I can’t imagine the kind of mind it takes to try so hard to avoid a question.

    You’re no longer entertaining.

  • John C

    Mcblog-

    Here is what I was referring to in your post “As far as the rest, I actually do understand what you’re saying for once.”

    I apologize if we (or I) got our wires crossed. As far as being “hyped” up this is how I have been now for the last 23 years…ever since I “believed and received Him”, His spirit in me. I know, its too simple for you, there must be a catch right, some technique???

    As I told James, this “inward kingdom” is one founded on righteousness, peace and joy”. After all, that’s what He promised it would be like.

    If you want to “understand” the process by which a man comes to know himself, to know God (inwardly) you might want to read the account of George Fox, his autobiography “penned” no pun intended by William Penn in the 1700′s. Its a wonderfully descriptive illustration of the “process”, inwardly speaking.

    Take care

  • John C

    Mcblog-

    Im tired, what question have I missed? I have several things going on at once…please tell me I missed it…literally.

    Thx

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: Thankfully, that is not what Christ came to bring…quite the opposite.

    Yeah because Christ is your invisible heart/spiritual friend only if you do what he tells you to do. Gotta love that freedom!!!

    John 15:14 (New International Version). You are my friends if you do what I command.

    Sweet!!!

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: As I told James, this “inward kingdom” is one founded on righteousness, peace and joy”. After all, that’s what He promised it would be like.

    Which is kind of strange since my heart has all of the above with out any king or kingdom. Much less a god my heart has proven does not exist.

  • John C

    Brigno-

    You are doing a good job of describing what is called “duality”, or the knowledge of good & evil. This too, is a result of the “fall of man”.

    Christ came to restore to us the virginal (un-polluted) mind that we had prior to losing our innocence. We knew nothing of this.

    In the spirit, that is in Christ there is no “duality” no good and evil, no potential for evil.

    That argument only serves to undermine your position, I dont mean that in an unkind way.

    Ask, seek, knock…

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “what question have I missed?”

    James’ last comment, seen here:
    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/12/29/believers-make-your-best-case-for-god/#comment-7322

  • Aor

    Well, its nice you took the opportunity finally to answer at least 3 of my 4 questions. I didn’t bother reading many of your long diatribes after that point, so if you decided to answer whether you thought atheists have the ability to love yet?

    Now, back to your three answers. You are now claiming that god does not want to be feared, revered, or obeyed. Wouldn’t an omnipotent god have the ability to want anything he wants at any time he wants? If the god cannot want to be feared, or revered, or obeyed, then the god is not all powerful. Who are you to place limits on the power of an omnipotent being? Can you see the error of your ways?

    Your god, assuming your opinions of him are accurate and true, cannot be omnipotent.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    ((John C to Aor))

    “I understand where you’re coming from, Aor, I really do. And I love you for it.
    Did I answer your question?”

    I imagine him a preaching version of Richard Simmons, with the short shorts and everything.

  • Sunny Day

    “Im tired, what question have I missed? I have several things going on at once…please tell me I missed it…literally.”

    He’s like the Energizer Bunny of Babbling Bullshit.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: You are doing a good job of describing what is called “duality”, or the knowledge of good & evil. This too, is a result of the “fall of man”.

    Not really. I’m talking about hate and love and how humanity is the source of both. And my heart also tells me that man (as in humamity) has not fallen from anywhere. Again, you need to open your heart more John.

    John: In the spirit, that is in Christ there is no “duality” no good and evil, no potential for evil.

    Which again is strange since i do not have any spirits (which again my heart proves as non-existent) and i have no potential for evil either (since I constantly decide that will not be the case). Don’t believe me? Maybe you should open your heart more. Heck, I’ll even be your friend even if you don’t do what I tell you to do.

    How does that sound? Much more love and freedom than John 15:14.

    Ask John. Keep knocking. Do not stop the search.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    Aor said:

    “Wouldn’t an omnipotent god have the ability to want anything he wants at any time he wants? If the god cannot want to be feared, or revered, or obeyed, then the god is not all powerful. Who are you to place limits on the power of an omnipotent being? Can you see the error of your ways?”

    Well if an omnipotent being existed (all here know what my heart says about it) by definition he would not have any wants at all (hence the omnipotent part). This would precudle such a being from even creating stuff (much less humans) since he would not have any need or reason for it (them). An omnipotent being by definition is complete in itself. Creating stuff negates such a definition from the root.

    The fact that we are here indicates such an omnipotent being cannot exist.

  • John C

    Aor-

    You hit the nail on the proverbial head! Here is the secret…you ready? Its your lucky night!

    THE POWER OF GOD IS THE LOVE OF GOD. That can also be reversed. What does LOVE demand?

    “Some day, after we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.” Chardin

    Love is the most powerful force in the universe.

    And remember HE IS LOVE. Do you see it?

    So then, what does LOVE (GOD) want? You. It’s your perception of Him that Jesus asks us, begs us to change…from a monstrous to a loving Father. Its your perception of power (love) that needs mending.

    I addressed the issue of Atheists (why do you insist in taking upon yourself an identity that the Father has not given you) and love to some extent in one of Brigno’s comments.

    LOVE is not a thing, something abstract or vague…it is a PERSON. To the degree that you or I “love” is to the degree that we are imitating our original “source” which is LOVE itself…so naturally, since you were made in His image and likeness…you have the capacity to demonstrate to a degree your original paternity, or spiritual heritage. The degree that you have this capacity is determined by the condition of your heart, your “likeness” of the original mold.

    Does everyone love the same? With the same intensity? No. When we come to Him, to LOVE, in love then He pours it out on us and in us.

    Love is a light. God is light and in Him is no darkness. So that’s why he says to “walk in the light as He is in the light”.

    You are on a path, a journey into the very heart of LOVE (GOD) whether you see it or not. That’s what LOVE does, it…LOVES…get it?

    Hang in there Aor!

  • John C

    Aor…have I answered (or tried) to answer all of your questions now?? There were 4 right?

    Please let me know, Thx.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: Love is the most powerful force in the universe.

    Maybe it is because of the midi-chlorians. LOL!!! Love is a feeling dude, a description we give about our state when our brains experiments certain chemical compounds.

    John: And remember HE IS LOVE. Do you see it?

    But only if you do what he tells you to do. Really conditional from what I can read in the bible…

    JOhn:Its your perception of power (love) that needs mending

    It is your perception John that needs mending. Open your heart John (and brain too. It can only help).

    JOhn: LOVE is not a thing, something abstract or vague…it is a PERSON.

    Which is totally ridiculous since a feeling and a person are not synonymous. By your assertions hate should be a person too.

    John “To the degree that you or I “love” is to the degree that we are imitating our original “source” ”

    And by the same token the degree you or I “hate” is to the degree we are imitating the original “source”. Nice!!!

    JOhn: Love is a light.

    Love is a feeling My light is a candle when the power goes off. Or a flashlight.

    John: God is light and in Him is no darkness.

    Which is kind of dumb since we can see light but not darkeness. Has anyone seen god? Hmm….

    Hang in there John!!! Open your heart!!! You can do it.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    Do you mind if I have a conversation with you about multiple threads at the same time? I want to try and answer some of the questions you have raised in this thread. It is not that your questions have not been answered — many commenters have tried to answer your questions, but it appears that you have either avoided these answers or that you missed them entirely. I will try to give it another go, to answer as many of your objections in one place as I possibly can.

    You say that you know your god when the hungry are being fed, but you refuse to acknowledge that the hungry are also being fed by people who have no connection to your god. People who ostensibly deny the existence of any god or worship a different god also feed the hungry. A lack of religion (more precisely, a lack of your religion) does not prevent people from doing acts of good!

    What are the limits of your belief? I know you say that you are “not religious”, but would you consider yourself a Christian? Are you a member of any particular denomination within Christianity? Also, do you accept any other religions outside of Christianity – is your belief inclusive of Hindus and Muslims and Jews and other religious people? It seems that you are implying that you worship a “non-religious” god – then why wouldn’t other religions be included? Why would your god place such a limitation as belief in one particular dogma on us if he is not religious? You are religious, you are a Christian, if you do not accept the other religions. To say anything else is deception.

    You also claim that your god is extraordinarily better at such actions as “love, compassion, selflessness, mercy”. Where is your evidence of this? The god of the Bible may possess some attributes of a god of love as love is defined in the Bible, but your god fails the standard within the Bible of what love is, and your god also fails the standard of what most reasonable people would consider loving. 1 Corinthians says that love is not jealous, yet your god claims to be “a jealous god”. You claim that your god is compassionate – yet ask yourself the following: is it really compassionate for a god to create creatures with a predisposition to sin, then set them up in a situation where sin is an inevitable consequence, and then send them to eternal punishment for transgressions which occurred mainly because of humans characteristics — characteristics which would have been created by your god if he had been the creator, which he would have had full knowledge of before and during any temptation. There is a name for what your god did, and that name is negligence. The god of the Bible is clearly negligent to allow his creation to fall into a condition of “sin”, if he really did have the information he had about our human nature. I do not believe that such a negligent god is compassionate. I would say he’s incompetant, but not compassionate. You say that he is selfless, but he couldn’t send word of himself for all of human history until the last 4,000 years, and then he completely disregarded all gentiles until the last 2,000 years of human history, if the Bible is correct. This is not a selfless god — this is an incompetant god. This supposed “divine plan” seems much more human to me than divine — because this plan is so illogical in ways that are so fundamentally human. You say that your god is merciful, yet he allows most of his creation to suffer eternal punishment for the errors committed in what amounts to the flick of an eye in the lifetime of a deity.

    I see atheists who work for the poor, but they don’t do it because of atheism, they do it because of their empathy for others and their compassion for other people. If you do something good because you love others, it shouldn’t matter whether you have a religion or not. If you value morality, you will do good things, whether you follow your religion or no religion. Many people have given you evidence of this but so far you have ignored it.

    You say that only those who love truth can love Christ — but what if the truth leads in another direction? You have blind faith — I know of people who have had blind faith in many things other than Christianity, but that does not make those things true. Also, there is no way to measure who loves your god or who doesn’t, if that even means anything, which I suspect it doesn’t. What I’m saying is, there’s no objective way to say if someone is “really a Christian”. You say a lot of things which have very little meaning because there is no way to test them. Your words are nice, but what do they mean? I can’t find any meaning to them.

    You say that there is something missing from me – a piece of the divine. But many atheists and people of other religions can tell you that they are living completely fulfilling lives without Christian religious faith. Many people live completely fulfilling lives without any religious faith at all (as I try to do). What is more likely, John, that something is missing from humans that is divine, or that something human is missing from the divine?

    I have mentioned to you before that the god of the Bible never succumbs to joyous laughter — a fundamentally human experience. There is more humanity missing from the Bible and other holy books that would improve it than there is divinity missing from me that would improve me.

    You say that “humility is the gateway to god”, yet isn’t it also an act of humility to say that one does not have all the answers? You have come to us and told us that you have all the answers for divine truth, and yet you ask us to be humble. I don’t know how we came into existence, but I don’t think your religion has anywhere near all the answers. Humility does not necessarily lead to your opinion.

    You say we have lost our innocence, yet if your god created everything, is it not your god that allowed us to become this way? I do not believe that we were ever “innocent” – I think there are many emergent behaviors that have been labeled by the religious as “sin”. We humans are specifically a certain way, and any creator god must receive not just the credit, but also the blame for these actions. He or she must be specifically accountable for all of our defects as well as our advantages. Who else do we blame for the non-working appendix (except for evolution)? This kind of reasoning is part of why I think the non-supernatural explanations tend to work better generally.

    You keep saying that there is a divine absence in all of us, and I keep saying that there is a human absence in our concepts of the divine. You say yourself that “joy, laughter, and peace come from our inner man” — these things do not come from the god of the Bible, because there is not account of these things in that book. Some of the things in it are sensible, but there are serious omissions.

    I am certainly not threatened by any idea of faith: I used to be a Christian, and I would never be threatened by my former self, and I sincerely hope that my former self would not be threatened by who I am today. I wouldn’t mind having faith in some kind of religion, but I don’t see the evidence that it is true, nor do I see evidence that it is desirable. I am not afraid. Given the number of gods demonstrated throughout the course of history, I’ll also take Pascal’s Wager, too, haha.

    You say that a human cannot know a certain kind of “love” without this spiritual experience of yours — without your religion. Yet there are many who do not share your religion who share the same experiences that you do. If only your spirituality is correct, this is not plausible. But if it is not correct, this is perfectly plausible.

    I suspect that you may have tried to answer some of these questions before, or that you may not be able to answer many of these questions, but I sincerely hope that you will try to answer them for your own sake.

    I’m not sure why I wrote this much, but you probably aren’t sure either why you write as much as you do, so I guess we have that going for us.

  • John C

    Brig-

    Your cynicism taints your attempts to prove your point…that point being that in YOU is all YOU need and are self-knowing and ALL (self) sufficient in and of….yourSELF? I do not “hear” the authentic voice of LOVE in YOU. But SELF or the EGO is plainly communicated thru YOU.

    While I have at times I employed various communicative “techniques” to include puny attempts at humor, fairy tale descriptions, etc…I have never been cynical or mean-spirited or just plain…ugly to you or to any of your online brethren.

    You give the impression of being youthful, chronologically speaking.

    This forum, this site is called “Unreasonable Faith”. Daniel has gone to great lengths to ensure the integrity of the dialogue is one of a civil and sincere nature, regardless of your viewpoint even inviting people of “unreasonable faith” (like me) to share, however disparate and “unreasonable” a particular “view” may be.

    So please…lets continue on in that same high…dare I say…”spirit” of superior dialogue and not let it “devolve” into a tit for tat type of thing. Let us take the “high road”…together. Then we can have an “intelligent” conversation even if you think my words are quite…unintelligent.

    Thank you.

  • James

    @John C

    You have avoided all the questions that everyone is posting, mainly:

    Asking you for evidence for why you believe what you believe & to justify it

    Every post comes back a massive relentless BLAH about Jesus and inner BLAH, and its just getting tired. People are asking you to justify your beliefs and instead you just keep plugging them as though they are Fact & go into harping on about Jesus.

    The mental gymnastics that your mind is going through was amusing for a while, but its wearing thin.

    I have no doubt that your acceptance of Christ coincided with some very positive changes in your life. Perhaps you now love other people in a way that you never imagined possible. You may even experience feelings of bliss while praying. I do not wish to denigrate any of these experiences. I would point out, however, that billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences—but they had them while thinking about Krishna, or Allah, or the Buddha, while making art or music, or while contemplating the beauty of Nature. There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality. You are, of course, right to believe that there is more to life than simply understanding the structure and contents of the universe. But this does not make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about its structure and contents any more respectable.

  • Aor

    So when I say that you are placing limits on the abilities of your omnipotent god, and you say I hit the nail on the head, you are openly admitting to have the power to limit the abilities of your god?

    The arrogance. The foolishness. You astonish me.

    Do you really understand what your beliefs say about you?

    To believe in saving people implies that people are better when saved. There are the saved, and the unsaved. That means unsaved people are less than saved people because being saved is better. This is called bigotry. Discrimination based on religious belief. Your beliefs are based on a completely bigotted concept. Us and them. Christians and heathens. All religions that have the concept of ‘being saved’ are bigotted religions. You not only are bigotted, you go around trying to turn other people into bigots as well. On top of that you are apparently too deluded to see how true all of what I said is and will just go off on another long winded diatribe about magical father figures.

    Your ignorance and self delusion is horrifying.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Wow…The reason that you “wrote so much” is because you have that much on your heart…its awesome. And you have the audacity to admit that you are essentially a “seeker” or a “searcher”. Can I take the liberty to translate that for you? It simply means that your heart, and mind is still…open to some degree. And that is a good thing, a humble thing. A good staring point in my humble opinion.

    Lets get one thing straight please…you said that I said “that I have all the answers to divine truth”. Tele…when, where did I say this…explicity…please. We both know better. Can you honestly find that in any of my posts? I dont think so…lets put that one to bed immediately. That is only fair. Thank you.

    Speaking of bed….I have been up way too long and am too tired to try and respond (well) to all your insightful questions and comments. With your permission, I would like to pick this up again tomorrow…or after I have slept.

    I will share what I can for now. When I said that God was a “jealous God” I was referring to the OT Exodus passage where LOVE was saying that we should not serve ‘other’ Gods…and God says that He is a “jealous” God meaning He is “jealous” for us…for our hearts. He does not want us to be divided in our loyalities, in our love. Do you see that? He is “jealous” for…us in a good way. Exodus 20:4-6.

    Instead, you referenced a well known NT text found in 1 Cor (the love chapter) describing the attributes of God (LOVE) declaring LOVE, in its pure form does not “envy” or in some translations reads is not “jealous”. These are completely different topics altogether. We were not communicating there.

    Tele-if you received a Christmas card w/o any return address or name on the envelope could you still “know” who it was merely by the content of the letter? By the heart (character) of the sender that you…know? I bet you could, anyone could because he “recognized”, “in the letter” the attributes of the sender. In the same way, so many people try to “know God” by reading a letter from someone that they do not (yet) intimately “know”. The resulting chaos and misinterpretations are to epidemic proportions and lead many to dispair.

    Only after one “knows” the author…LOVE (God), can he interpret well the text because…he knows the nature, heart or character of the one who wrote it. Does that make any sense to you at all? If not, thats ok. So there it is no surprise when “new believers” who have responded to an emptyness, a void get “frustrated” by what they “see” in the words of a…stranger. The best way for me to describe to you the true “new birth” experience is to defer to George Fox’s autobiography. There, he does a beautiful job of articulating the inner processes of regeneration and light. Remember, the letter (old external law) kills, but the spirit (His within us) gives life…surely you remember that verse from 2 Corinthians.

    Now I realize I have not yet answered your questions, or even attempted to. I am merely sharing a couple initial concepts with you that may, or may not be helpful to you on your journey or for our our future discussions.

    I’ve got to get some sleep…take care…will catch back up with you tomorrow…errrh I mean after I have slept! LOL.

  • John C

    Aor…I spoke only about LOVE in my last post. How did you miss that? I did not say anything about “saved” or “unsaved”??? Where did that come from?

    Goodnite Aor

  • John C

    James-

    Did you ever think to simply “believe” what Christ said? This is not so complicated, but as usual it always comes down to the trust issue.

    We just dont trust Him…I dont know how else I can put it without quoting endless scriptures and I know nobody here wants that…lol

    Goodnite….take care.

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @McBloggenstein -

    If I sound thesis-like, it’s because I’m officially agnostic about the matter of existence, non-existence, and who the being(s) in charge are. I’m trying to throw a few actual ideas and evidence into the mix, instead of pontificating about how everyone here needs to find Jesus and accept him as the personal savior of the world.

    I like the created-gods theory, myself, for many of the reasons you detailed, plus it makes the most sense to me about why religions change over time – if there were a constant objective deity over time, one would think that history would repeat a certain type of deity across all cultures and peoples – even if there was only one supposedly chosen people at a time.

    So what about the idea that there are miracles, things that apparently defy the laws of nature? These days the medical ones tend to be the ones that get the press, where people are cured of diseases without apparent medical explanation. (Have we had any of those recently?) Do those make for some amount of God-proof?

  • Jabster

    @Silver Adept

    The only thing that would worry me was if ‘miracles’ didn’t happen as it would suggest that some other force is making a world which should have many random events into a more non-random world. Imagine if you flipped a coin and it always went heads then tails heads then tails etc. now that I would find strange.

    As for medical miracles well I don’t see people jumping on the bad wagon of “it was god that did it” when bad things happen do you? When was the last time you saw a story claiming that when someone died in way that medical science can’t explain was because god killed them. The second problem I have is the wish to believe that god did it can cloud the judgement of those that have witnessed the ‘miracle’. A simple case is when my aunt explained that the power of pray had caused one of her friends to go into remission from cancer. When pressed on this she did admit that he was receiving medical treatment at the time but was still convinced that it was god’s intervention through the power of prayer. Well I think we can save a lot of money but getting rid of all those expensive doctors and replacing them with a system of praying for them – for believers only of course.

    If you really want to see how ridiculous the idea of miracles are just take at look at this story:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/mar/31/catholicism.france

    It seems impossible to see the gaping whole that shouts this is not evidence for a miracle!

    Anyway hope that helps with your thoughts …

  • James

    @John C

    James-

    “Did you ever think to simply “believe” what Christ said? This is not so complicated, but as usual it always comes down to the trust issue.”

    WOW That is the answer we finally get to…….. The topic is:

    Believers: Make your best case for God.

    Quite frankly after ALL we have heard from you I expected more. Just “simple belief.” Very disappointing, and the worst case for God made on this thread. The burden is upon you to justify your beliefs about God Jesus Etc.

    Religious ‘Truth’: Here is the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it?

    The Scientific Method: Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them?

    Please answer what evidence you give for why you:

    1 Aren’t Muslim & Don’t believe Muhammad also assured his followers that Jesus was not divine (Koran 5:71-75; 19:30-38) and that anyone who believes otherwise will spend eternity in hell.

    2 Aren’t a Scientologist
    3 Aren’t a Zeus Worshiper
    4 Believe what you do about Jesus etc

    I would like to know EXACTLY the evidence for your beliefs & what is the reason in your mind that has convinced you beyond doubt that the things you claims are true.

    Nothing Irrational…… Nothing Anti Rational…….. Evidence & logic only please……..

  • Jabster

    @James

    “Quite frankly after ALL we have heard from you I expected more. Just “simple belief.” Very disappointing, and the worst case for God made on this thread.”

    Is it really the worst case made for god as it least doesn’t pretend that it’s anything more that just plain old faith. I find it far worse when someone tries to prove that a god or gods exist through the likes of logic, science, evidence, intellectual dishonesty etc. Possible the only thing worse is trying the old believing in god is just as rational as not believing in god trick.

  • http://brigno.tmblr.com Brigno

    JOhn: I do not “hear” the authentic voice of LOVE in YOU. But SELF or the EGO is plainly communicated thru YOU.

    Well by the same token I do not hear the voice of love in you even less. You are the one communicating self and ego.

    JOhn:You give the impression of being youthful, chronologically speaking.

    Really? Does hijacking your arguments to support my atheism make me youthful? Maybe it is because your argumentation suffers from undue youthfulness.

    John: we can have an “intelligent” conversation.

    Sure. Let us know when you are ready….Endless blah about heart and love does not cut it. I told u before. My heart tells me the contrary position to you is true.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John C: Thanks for sticking around and interacting with us. Thats more than more believers do!

    I would really like you to respond to James’ comment asking you to show why your religion is different than Islam:

    Consider: every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian. And yet you do not find their reasons compelling. The Koran repeatedly declares that it is the perfect word of the creator of the universe. Muslims believe this as fully as you believe the Bible’s account of itself. There is a vast literature describing the life of Muhammad that, from the point of view of Islam, proves that he was the most recent Prophet of God. Muhammad also assured his followers that Jesus was not divine (Koran 5:71-75; 19:30-38) and that anyone who believes otherwise will spend eternity in hell. Muslims are certain that Muhammad’s opinion on this subject, as on all others, is infallible.

    Why don’t you lose any sleep over whether to convert to Islam? Can you prove that Allah is not the one, true God? Can you prove that the archangel Gabriel did not visit Muhammad in his cave? Of course not. But you need not prove any of these things to reject the beliefs of Muslims as absurd. The burden is upon them to prove that their beliefs about God and Muhammad are valid. They have not done this. They cannot do this.

    CAN YOU????

    Muslims are simply not making claims about reality that can be corroborated. This is perfectly apparent to anyone who has not anesthetized himself with the dogma of Islam.

    The truth is, you know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims. Isn’t it obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn’t it obvious that anyone who thinks that the Koran is the perfect word of the creator of the universe has not read the book critically?

    Isn’t it obvious that the doctrine of Islam represents a near perfect barrier to honest inquiry? Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions.

    Why are your views more credible? Why should we believe it? You have been preaching to the heart instead of to the head. That can be quite effective for people who do not have an intellectual bent. But we need reasons. Many of us used to be Christians but left it because we feel it is intellectually bankrupt.

    So I’d be interested in your response to James questions. I think he makes excellent points.

    * * *

    Also, I find your claim not to be a religious absurd:

    I am not “religious”

    I know they teach you to say this at church — it’s about a “relationship” not a “religion.” But honestly, do you really think that? Don’t you go to church? Don’t you believe in a holy book and read it regularly? Don’t you try and follow it’s teachings? Don’t you give money to a church? Don’t you have creeds and doctrines you follow? Don’t you follow a leader — Jesus? Don’t you try and preach what you believe to others to convert them to your viewpoint (like you are here)?

    You certainly are religious!

  • http://brigno.tmblr.com Brigno

    JOhn: And you have the audacity to admit that you are essentially a “seeker” or a “searcher”.

    Do you have the same audacity John? If you still have it we can help you!!!

    John: He is “jealous” for…us in a good way. Exodus 20:4-6.

    Exactly. Like when god in a fit of jealousy killed 24,000 Jews who followed Baal (Numbers 25:9) . Love god or die!!! Love god or burn!!! The god is jealous in such a “good” way!!! WHOOHOOO!!! Death and pestilence never sounded better. Nice!!!

    John: Only after one “knows” the author…LOVE (God), can he interpret well the text because…he knows the nature, heart or character of the one who wrote it.

    Exactly. I know love and found it to NOT be god. My heart, again confirmed it.

    John: Does that make any sense to you at all?

    Sense has nothing to do with anything. One just has to look into our own hearts and understand LOVE baby. Don’t try to go all rational on me John. That is not the way.

    John: The best way for me to describe to you the true “new birth” experience is to defer to George Fox’s autobiography.

    A much better, and more entertaining one can be found in the life of George Carlin. Nothing like the un-birth experience. Search in youtube his last HBO show. Beautifull!!!

    John: Remember, the letter (old external law) kills, but the spirit (His within us) gives life

    Exactly. The law people say the Jewish god gave kills. Can you imagine all the lives that could have been saved if the spirit would have been given first instead of some murderous laws?

    What a nonsensical god. Although it does not matter since my heart has proven that all of it is false.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    John C:

    The question being. “Are you honestly trying to claim that not a single atheist in the entire world knows what love is?”

    I cant find an explicit reference for me ever stating those exact words…can you?

    Those exact words? Probably not. But that’s why we’re asking for you to give a simple yes/no answer. If you had said those exact words, we wouldn’t need to press you for an answer, would we?

    You did say:

    He will always be found in paradoxical contrasts to what we call normal human behaviors, ie extraordinary acts of love, compassion, selflessness, mercy and ways that are foreign to everyday humanity. This is why you dont see atheists running soup kitchens or housing the poor, loving the unloveable, the despised and destitute. It takes God in man (His spirit of love) to make a God man behave like His Father…God.

    And:

    What if your wives, your children saw the kindness, the mercy, the love of God in you? How would that change your marriages, your families? How about your own peace? Isn’t that a rare commodity these days? He says “My peace I leave with you”

    Both of which strongly imply that you don’t believe that atheists are capable of love. If you think that they are, why not simply say so? What is stopping you from saying “Atheists are equally as capable of love as Christians” if that’s truely what you believe?

  • http://joniruhs.wordpress.com Joni

    OK, I admit I couldn’t read through all 500 comments. But during the first 10-15 it didn’t seem anyone actually posted what you asked for. There were excuses and there were commentaries on why you shouldn’t have written this post. Hmm.

    In the last 2 years my sheltered Christian viewpoint has been “enlightened” by blogworld. My standard answers of why I believe what I believe don’t cut it as they used to. When I grew up, the existence of God was a given. It wasn’t questioned. What you did with that info was another story. With our current global culture, not only can you decide to believe (or not) in God, but there are a variety to choose from.

    I’ve read books including Josh McDowell’s More Than A Carpenter, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and have heard Lee Strobel (The Case For Christ et al) and others speak on evidence. To be honest, its been 20 years and I haven’t really revisited the evidence in depth where I can rattle off hypothesis and support. I know what I believe and have personal experience–what you may call circumstantial evidence–to enforce my faith.

    What I appreciate Dan, is that you welcome true dialogue and through your blog and other atheist or skeptic blogs, I am challenged to see faith through YOUR eyes without agenda. So, I may just have to go back through my evidentiary materials and see if there is something relatable that I can discuss with you. So I’ll get back to you on that!

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Jabster

    “Is it really the worst case made for god as it least doesn’t pretend that it’s anything more that just plain old faith.”

    I agree. I would be most satisfied (although I am not necessarily seeking satisfaction) with the answer “I can’t prove it, I am satisfied with just having faith.”

    That is more honest to me than anything else. It seems to me the idea that “Of course there is proof!” is what plants the seed for people to proselytize. Meaning that because they somehow KNOW it is true, they must convince others.

    Admitting that one doesn’t know everything, and that it really is just a matter of faith, is of no bother to me at all.

    Being convinced that one knows the truth, and lives under the idea that everyone else that doesn’t know just needs to be taught it, does bother me.

  • Jabster

    @McBloggenstein

    One of things that I’ve noticed that separates believers from non-believers is the ability to answer a question with I don’t know the answer to that. This often occurs in using the answer god works in ways we cannot hope to understand which has to be the biggest cop out of all time. Can you actually imagine any other ‘intellectual’ discussion which this would be offered as a reason why something is true and no further explanation is required. Possibly this is related to the reason why you so often see a believer’s line of reasoning that if you can get the other side to say they don’t know something or admit a theory is not perfect it means that it must be god that did it and that’s a fact. Maybe as I’ve never believed in god I’ll never get to understand this line of reasoning.

  • John C

    Winter-

    Here are my comments regarding the capacity for “Atheists” to love that I wrote last night in a previous post:

    ———————————————–

    LOVE is not a thing, something abstract or vague…it is a PERSON. To the degree that you or I “love” is to the degree that we are imitating our original “source” which is LOVE itself…so naturally, since you were made in His image and likeness…you have the capacity to demonstrate to a degree your original paternity, or spiritual heritage. The degree that you have this capacity is determined by the condition of your heart, your “likeness” of the original mold.

    ————————————————

    Then I quoted (which you have not seen me do often) Chardin: “Some day, after we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.”

    The issue being…what or who is love as opposed to a mere “act” that can be measured, quantified.

    So my answer? YES “atheists” can “love” by virtue of original, spiritual ancestry, and the law of bio-genesis. There is a latent “God” residue in us all in the same way. You originally came from HIM and HE is LOVE…and were made in His image and likeness so naturally…YES…to the degree that you are “like Him”. Now here’s the kicker…Jesus said (in the flesh mind you) “when you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father”. We are to be expressions of Him and He is LOVE? Can you see that? We can either be full or SELF or full or CHRIST (God in man).

    The question is Winter…just how much of Him (love) do you want in YOU? …or “until Christ be formed in you” Galatians 4:19. We love accordingly and proportionately to our degree of “Christlikeness”.

    Thats the best I can do…sorry if not good enough but I sincerely tried to answer you.

    Take care Winter

  • Aor

    So now your claim is that atheists have less innate ability to love than christians. That is a clearly bigotted statement. Indefensible. That attitude spreads hate.

    Once again you disgust me.

  • http://annacondor.wordpress.com/ Anna Condor

    @ Metro

    It would be too much to reply to your questions. I can only send you to another post on this blog, to read and maybe understand a part of my …answer to you

    here it is: http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/11/17/an-evil-god-introduction/#comment-7299

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Thank you for you kind hosting during my brief “season” amongst you and your extensive online community. There are some great guys (and gals) to be found here. I appreciate the candid, sometimes blunt but always “authentic” discourse from the majority, from all but one.

    You have asked me many questions in your recent post. If I were to try and satisfy all of them in one, (very long) post it would be self-defeating and you and I both know that no-one would actually read it. And neither would I. LOL. This one response will be long enough in and of itself.

    So, with that being said…lets parcel out a couple (brief as possible) responses, then we can pick it up later or in piece-meal stages if you like.

    Lets start with the “arent you religious? Don’t you attend church, follow Jesus? etc, etc question. It requires a little “background” if you are willing.This is the best, sincerest way I know to answer you:

    I used to attend the traditional “church” but after coming to know Him (inwardly and intimately just as He said we could) and the liberty He imparts I find it difficult to “sit” under oppresive “religious” doctrines devoid of LOVE with their emphasis on “doing” “religious” “things” as opposed to simply allowing Him to “be” Himself in us, and as us.

    This is part of the “mystery of the ages” that Paul spoke about, that being “Christ IN YOU”. That is the only authentic “Christian” experience as Christ In YOU is our ONLY possible fruitful “ministry”. And the only “law” now is the law of LOVE for in it, that is rightly placed at the head, all the others are naturally fulfilled. This is why Christ (love) is the “head” of the “Church” of those who have His DNA (spirit of love) abiding in them.

    But because we refuse to actively “employ” the spirit-sensitive capacities of the heart, we miss out on the life that He longs to restore and impart…within us. This is why LOVE says “above all else…gaurd your heart, for out of it (your heart) spring forth the issues of LIFE”. But instead of gaurding, giving attention to it, treasuring it and yes even following it, we dismiss it entirely as “untrustworthy” and fall back on our physical senses, what we can “see” in the physical, sense realm limiting ourselves to mere “reasoning”. The simplicity is a stumbling block to many I know.

    If you owned a Ferrari and only drove it in school zones under 20mph…you would be severley limiting its full, intended potential to a mere fraction of its fullness. This is what we do when we “insist” on living in one mode only, the realm of the intellect, reason. Reason has its purpose and I employ it in all reason-requiring activities. For example, when I balance my check book I actually use a calculator with proven mathematical formula’s. And when the light goes from green to yellow I begin to brake…you get the point.

    Following this line of thinking Jesus says “that which is of the flesh (natural realm) is flesh, but that which is of spirit (spirit realm) is spiritual”. The LIFE is in the spirit realm…unseen by natural, earthly eyes. It is nonetheless “less” real.

    I used the following little example to help to illustrate my point to Mcblog yesterday, perhaps you missed or dismissed it, thats fine but it speaks directly to our current challenges within our individual consciuosnesses that we are attempting to muddle through. My apologies in advance if it is redundant.

    “Tell me, how many apples fell from the orange tree today? The answer of course is none. And so it is with faith and reason”.

    LOVE is not reasonable therefore it (HE) can not be discerned by it. But He can be known in you and by you. Why would LOVE tell us otherwise if this “life” He offered was imposssible for us to receive?

    Transitioning….now there a a few “ministry” models that to me, seem pure-hearted, authentic. However, these are not the mega-church, “power” ministries that so often steal the spotlight of modern “christendom”. I have never been “told” as you put it to say I am not religious. The only One I follow, my “leader” as you put it is the LIGHT of Christ within…again, just as He said. I am not here to judge “ministries”, I just dont want to miss out on the authentic experience of LIFE that He offers in the spirit.

    Unfortunately most “churches” are tied to “systems’ and have not been “liberated” themselves so we have the proverbial “blind leading the blind”. The end-game being conformed to His nature, His image which is truly ” spiritual” or free as opposed to “system” and performance based.

    I give as I feel “lead” to give, not under compulsion, and not scheduled for then the motive would not be one of love, but rather duty. Do you see this? It always comes back to love and freedom which more accurately constitutes His offer.

    Our problem is that we have never really seen truly spiritual people, so we confuse them with “religious” “folk” for lack of a better term and lump them (and Him) in with the whole lot. This is regrettable and the cause of much division in and out of “christendom”. This is also why they couldn’t put a “label” on Jesus and why the world still cant put a “label” on His real followers today. They are “in this world, but not “of” this world having a heavenly “citizenship”. Strangers and aliens in a “foreign” land with no SELF identity being found only IN HIM. I have been labeled, called every name in the book, its ok. Its ok because you cant offend a dead man….right? I died with Him, in Him and now my life is hidden with Christ in God. I have no reputation or identity to preserve. This is a mystery I know. Paradoxical paternity.

    Religion…the attempt to assuage a supposed angry God by trying to adhere to an endless list of laws and rules to earn His acceptance that are contrary to our nature…stinks, is dead. We need a new nature.

    So you tell me, am I religious? Does this describe a religious person or life? The negative connotations that are tied to the very word “religious” are frustrating our discussions here. Life, the liberated life will always be opposed, ridiculed in this physical realm.

    As I have written in other texts, I believe the best, literal description of the inward light and new, spiritual rebirth experience is best described in the journal and autobiography of George Fox ironically “penned” by William Penn in the 1700′s. Its online…somewhere if you care to “hear” it.

    He came to restore the “whole” three-part man which includes your “intellect” as you call it which is from your soul (mind, will, emotions) so when you know with the heart (spirit) your head will take its rightful place and the internal “war-ing” in your mind will come to an end…peace will reign…if you want HIM to.

    Now, regarding some of James’ questions that you referenced. The TRUTH must come to be known individually in each of us. I can only fellowship with it in others, not live it for others. Read the FOX thing.

    While you relish the questions themselves because they are “snares” meaning there is no possible way for me to answer them to your satisfaction or to James’ satisfaction. That is in part, why they were asked in the manner in which they were. Keep in mind, that this same approach keeps one wondering in the desert of human reasoning…endlessly.

    The only “reasonable” response to a portion of his question is this: “you shall know them by their fruits”. That is the fruit of their lives. What are the nine “fruits” of the spirit-led life? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Do you see these actively in a person? Then perhaps he is a product of the tree of life and not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Can you love your enemies, those who hate you without cause, who spit on you, mock you and call you names? LOVE is a POWER.

    So…you win, you got me, game over. I cant (satisfactorily to your end) answer all his questions.

    Daniel…in spite of this identity you have assumed (atheist) you claim to still be on the “journey”. While you may have some understandable resentment, some lingering disappointment tied to your previous, unfullfilling “religious” experience, nevertheless the “journey”, your journey to the center of LOVE continues. This is due to the merciful nature of LOVE ITSELF, not tied to you saying “i dont see” therefore I dont believe…so its all over. Does this make any sense at all? I say journey on…you are impressive.

    Thanks for “birthing” this awesome forum. I commend your creative, net-savvy site here and I love the name…unreasonable faith.

    John

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John: Thanks for your response and sharing your story. We would consider you religious, even though you don’t consider yourself religious. That is, we consider anyone who believes in the supernatural realm, worships a deity, attends a gathering to worship with said deity, believes and follows a holy book, etc. to be religious.

    While you relish the questions themselves because they are “snares” meaning there is no possible way for me to answer them to your satisfaction or to James’ satisfaction.

    I relish the questions because they help us know what is true or false. They are fundamental questions of epistemology (how you know what you know). If you can not explain why your religion is more true than another, then why believe it?

    For the same reasons you reject Islam and Hinduism and Buddhism and Mormonism and Scientology and every other religion, we reject Christianity. Until it can be shown that Christianity is more true than these other religions, all emotional appeals to us will fall on dead ears. However, show that your religion is true, and that your God is real, and we will happily believe.

    So…you win, you got me, game over. I cant (satisfactorily to your end) answer all his questions.

    Fair enough.

    Thanks for “birthing” this awesome forum. I commend your creative, net-savvy site here and I love the name…unreasonable faith.

    Thank you! And thanks for your participation.

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Thanks…as you have heard, it takes a child to “see” the kingdom…and you are all grown up. But I know you see this from a position of strength. When you see your “maturity”, your impermeable fortress of reason as a limitation rather than a garrison…then the Kingdom will begin to be revealed to you and in you.

    So, from your high-tower of reason…you are right, again and always will be till the child ascends the high wall and slays the Goliath of reason.

    I hope we can stay in touch as you continue your search for “proof”….you dont have to look very far for the child is in the middle of the middle of you.

    John

  • trj

    @John C:

    You sound like you’re wrapping up and preparing to leave. Before you go-go: do you have an explanation for what purpose the BS laws (your words) of OT served?

    Usually Christians will say that NT is the new covenant which annuls the old laws – to which I’d agree with them – but I’ve never heard any of them being able to explain why it was apparently just fine to stone homosexuals (to name just one example of the glaringly cruel God-mandated laws) up until that point in time.

    Would you ascribe this to the usual “unknowable ways” of God, or do you have an explanation that makes a little more sense?

  • Sunny Day

    “So, from your high-tower of reason…you are right, again and always will be till the child ascends the high wall and slays the Goliath of reason.”

    Nice metaphor, Religion will make us stupid.

  • John C

    Sunny-

    You are right and that’s why Christ did away with it.

  • Aor

    Religious person:
    Noun
    1. religious person- a person who manifests devotion to a deity

    Don’t even pretend not to be religious. Its laughable.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    Thanks, sorry I wasnt able to get back to you in a timely manner last night, I was covered up pretty good as you could tell! LOL

    Here’s my thoughts on the significance (or lack thereof) of OT laws, the purpose of them. First, there are so many….what’s the practical, logistical, daily consequence of this? How does one go about, specifically “not” being a law-breaker and incurring “judgement”? I mean it must have been a heavy, heavy thing on a daily basis. Do this, dont do that, yada, yada. It was never-ending.

    I will also assume for the sake of our discussions that you have read, or are at least somewhat familiar with the various NT verses declaring the NT covenent a new, better one, etc. I gather this from your previous posts. This helps me not to have to quote them to you.

    Before we go any further, some other things should at least be considered. Warning, these are even less “measureable” so bear with me…again these are just my intuitive thoughts, not some widely held “opinion” or doctrine. Most of what I say gets poo-poo’d anyway by the religious folk.

    For starters, lets review my preferred definition of what the “bible” is in the first place in case you missed it last night, sorry if its redundant:

    “the bible is like this…each man within himself has Moses, the Isarealites, the Sadducee’s, the Pharisee’s, the Patriarchs and the Kingdom of Heaven and Hell within him. Thus, the “events” described in the bible, and looked upon by the pious as being things of a past history are actually descriptions of eternal processes taking place in the constitution of man”.

    It’s a mouth-full, mind-blowing concept I know. But its also a sense-making game changer when viewed through the lens of love.

    Additionally, to adequately address, consider your question I would have to add the following: Is the OT literal or parabolic..or partially (like the Genesis, garden part for illustrative purposes) parabolic and the rest literal? This has to be considered because Jesus often spoke in in-direct parables for them that had “ears to hear” as He put it.

    So you ask yourself things like….how is it that Levi paid tithes to Melkizadek while yet in the loins of Abraham? And…what is the significance of this…if any to us today? What’s the secret behind it all?

    So, with all this in mind I offer the following, purely personal, unsubstantiated comments:

    The OT law was God showing man his (mans) ridiculous and faulty view of God and then…in reverse “revealing” His true nature/self (LOVE) in the Person of Jesus, the spitting image of His Father. “When you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father”. A turnabout revelation of the highest and polar opposite order if you will.

    Its like God was saying…this legalistic, burdensome, heavy, ritualistic, demanding “LAW” is how you (mankind) view Me…so ok, live what you believe. Now, how’d that work out for you? Did attempting to “keep” all those external rules help you to know me better, to earn my love and approval?? Did it (external rule keeping) satisfy the deep longings of your heart?

    Keep in mind that I also believe some wild and wonderful things about our “original” state or condition of “being” before sin (death) entered and mucked up the whole beautiful scene. I believe that God is desperately trying to remind us, a “devolved” spiritual being now trapped in an earthly “garment” in a progressive sort of way of who we were, our true spiritual nature and identity in HIM…so eventually things come…full circle. What was lost, paradise, life, light, unfettered fellowship in the Spirit is once again….recovered.

    I mentioned about the fairy tales (Im sure everyone got a great laugh) but they are extremely significant to “our” collective story. Before you simply “write them off” consider this….where do they come from? A rich imagination, what is imagination anyway? And why is there always a perfect condition or love story that gets “interrupted” by a villian, or a beautiful woman to be won, a great loss, a recovery…a happily ever after? What are the fairy tales telling us?

    Of course, these are all things of the heart…the spirit so they cant possibly be true can they? Or can they?

    OT=ok this is how you view me…heavy, burdensome, go ahead then, try and know “ME” through your distorted lens…how’d that work out for you?

    NT=this is my real nature, LOVE, MERCY, FREEDOM.

    LOVE (JESUS/GOD) being the END of the law…thank God! Romans 10:4

    Take care TRJ

  • John C

    Aor-

    Thanks, I have been free from the burden of “religion” for so long now I had forgotten what it meant…thankfully.

    And I have a definition for you my friend:

    What you refer to as a deity is actually Father, and His name is LOVE, “deity” is impersonal, rigid, and deaf.

    Reason is good for some things Aor…but its not a panacea in and of itself…its view is limited to one plane only.

    There is more…does your heart ever whisper this to you? In the night, when all you hear is…nothing?

    Or have you so suffocated the life of your inner man with the pillow of reason that his pulse is so faint you can barely hear him struggling, gasping, calling for….you.

    You have a heart Aor…I know you do my friend.

    Let it breathe…please…take the pillow off (i just heard your heart say that to me) LOL Relax…I’m joking, joking…Aor

    Dude, your heavy, lighten up.

    Keep’em comin bro…

  • John C

    James-

    I’m sorry that my sharing the simple way, the simple truth was not complicated enough for you…I will try and make it more difficult, confusing next time….I’m kidding.

    You keep going back to this thing you call “religion” which, in contrast to a LOVE, I understand is the illogical practice where one (grappling in darkness) pays homage (for some strange reason) to an unknown and unknowable…diety of sorts??

    Why would anyone do such a silly thing when He has clearly shown us the child-like way into the Kingdom? Into the bosom of His love??

    Trust is not a dirty word, faith is a five letter word, not four.

    I am under no compulsion as you state to “prove” anything to you. How can I give you anything you have no interest in receiving? LOVE can not be coerced, force-fed to an unwilling recepient.

    No burden on me, all the heaviness of “religion” and keeping of the “law” is a deceased, dead and now the only requirement of the law is the law of LOVE.

    Thanks James, press on…I’m here with you.

  • Aor

    You are clearly deluded. You fit the definition of a word perfectly and yet deny it. Or, pretend to deny it. I find that much more realistic. Given your history of lies, that is.

    Why do you choose those methods? When confronted, when doubted, a person who has a solid faith would have no need nor reason to lie or evade or deceive in any way. Yet again and again you choose to avoid the truth as if it were the plague. Judging you by your actions leads to the conclusion that you are an unreliable witness.

    Read those last two words carefully, let them have a few moments to sink in.

    You came to witness, and showed yourself to be unreliable. How does it feel to fail at a task that is so important to you, to be so incompetent at it that you are quickly exposed as a liar on multiple threads?

    If you truly believe that your god wants to to witness, then he set you up to fail.

  • John C

    Aor…

    You’ve never met “my” kind before have you? You just dont know what to make of me do you?

    You try, you “label”, you resort to name calling, etc. Its ok, it neither bothers or surprises me, I am LOVE.

    You suppose I am here for some “religious” purpose or that I have some pre-set “agenda”…no Aor…I am here for…you. You are the very reason I have come.

    What do you make of this my friend? What does your heart tell you, who am I…really? And who are you…really? Or have you imagined a vain thing, assumed an identity in and of yourSELF?

    When you really want to know, then you will.

  • Aor

    I have met your kind countless times. You are quite common.

    Most theists I have discussions with rely on lies and evasions, like you. Most refuse to take firm positions when confronted, like you. Most attempt to redefine terms to suit themselves, like you. The rare ones are those who realize how poorly they come off and gradually learn to at least attempt to use some form of reason.

    I’m not calling you names, John. I’m describing your actions. You showed yourself to be a liar. You showed yourself to be a bigot with a bigotted belief system. If you don’t want to be those things, the power to change is yours and only yours. I’m not the one making you lie. I refuse to accept the blame for that, John. You want to make others appear guilty in this to avoid your own responsibility. Yet another despicable character trait. Just another sign of the shame you feel for how you have behaved here. Doesn’t your god call you to behave better than that? Isn’t there some part of you that wants to maintain a higher standard than you have shown here to us?

  • John C

    Theist, liar, bigot, despicable? And how is that you have you arrived at this conclusion Aor? Please, tell me Aor, How have I wronged you?

    Is it because I call Him Father and not “deity”?

    Because I say He is LOVE and can be KNOWN…intimately?

    Why do these things bother you so? Why do you find LOVE so threatening?

    When you can answer this you will be well on your way my friend.

    Oh…you didnt know that WE were GOING somewhere? Yes…but first you will have to “grow down” to fit into such a wide, open space.

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @Jabster

    I’ve seen lots of people saying that death is God’s will, usually when deciding time of death more than method, but there are a lot of really repulsive “christians” who are all about proclaiming that people die because they’re unbelievers or because the nation aren’t all their denomination, shunning all others. Fred Phelps is one of them, but so is James Dobson or Jerry Falwell.

    I’ve also seen lots of stories in the news about what happens when prayer takes over for medicine – most of them end up with death, especially in the children who are forced to be prayed over rather than looked after by a doctor.

    May as well take up a little bit of what John C was going after, but perhaps more succinctly. Most True Believers are convinced of the veracity of their scriptures, or at least their God-given-ness, regardless of which God we’re talking about. The presence of so many holy books might disprove each other’s claim to being the true divinity.

    What about the possibility that with so many stabs at trying to define what a divinity is, we’re bound to get one right at some point, whether in history or in the future? Not that we’ll know which one it is, considering that nobody has come back and can tell us, yet.

  • John C

    Silver…

    Forgive me for intruding…if I may. You said “Not that we’ll know which one it is, considering that nobody has come back and can tell us, yet.”

    What about the One they called…Jesus? Not only has He come, walked among us, died but was raised again, came back as you call it.

    You seem level-headed, polite..have you ever, for yourself considered the message, the story outside of a “religious” influence? Without pre-conceived notions…I know that is not easy thing for any of us, myself included…I am just wondering.

    Thanks

  • James

    @ John C

    I recon you saw, heard and felt something considered supernatural, like a ghost. You’ve decided to absolutely believe in what you’ve just experienced as real. You might say, “I know what I saw, I know what I heard and I know what I felt. I know what I know. I wasn’t hallucinating nor was I delusional. I don’t know how to prove it but I know it was absolutely real! It was what it was! Period!”

    You may have family and friends who share your beliefs. After all, that’s where beliefs usually come from. With the above confident declaration, you seek out other individuals who had the same or similar experiences.

    You also find articles and other “facts” and “evidence” that would support what you’ve experienced. When enough “facts” and “evidence” are gathered, you convince yourself further that such experiences are in fact real.

    These practices lead to self-delusion. This is what happens when you conclude something first, and then work backwards to find facts and evidence to support it.

  • John C

    TO ALL…

    I HAVE TRIED TO ANSWER MANY OF YOUR QUESTIONS…SO NOW PLEASE ANSWER JUST ONE FOR ME IN RETURN…WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO MARC’S INSIGHTFUL POST BELOW?
    ————————————————–

    “As a visual artist I am convinced that the existence of beauty in nature is ipso facto proof of the existence of God. What possible evolutionary benefit can there be to appreciating the beauty of a landscape or a sunset? Explain to me how the ability to gauge sexual attractiveness in a prospective mate can be converted into non-sexual appreciation of natural beauty. No, there’s something out there, some quality of nature we experience and sense, that does not fall within the rationale of scientific analysis.

    Beauty is a quality of nature, like temperature or pressure. When we experience temperature, we are sensing the relatives speeds at which atoms vibrate. What vibrates to create the sensation of beauty?”

    —————————————————

    AND…this

    Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20).

    ANY CANDID, INSIGHTFUL THOUGHTS?

    THANKS

  • Jabster

    @Silver Adept

    You put christians in quotes as though they are not following the lead from the Bible in god commanding people to be put to death. Yes it’s repulsive but only serves to demonstrate how easy it’s to read into the Bible what a person wants to read or ignore and dismiss other parts. How often have you heard the phrase used “not a proper Christian”. Well I bet Fred Phelps thinks he’s a proper Christian and I bet he’s got proof in the Bible to back up his ideas.

    On your last point I’m not really sure what you’re getting at here as you seem to be assuming that “a divinity” exists otherwise it’s a non-question or it’s already been answered by every book that says there isn’t one. To me you could just have well asked surely if we all start writing Harry Potter books then one day we’ll get to the true story of Hogwarts. Even if you assume there is one (which I don’t) I can’t begin to imagine just how unlikely it is that someone will just guess the right answer even with the many thousands we’ve churned through in such a short space of time. If this is ever used as an argument for why “my faith is true and yours isn’t” then I don’t see that being any different to blind faith which essentially is what religions have now to prove the truth of their path.

  • John C

    James-

    Thanks…you just tried to explain an encounter wiith the Spiritual realm within the context of reason…again. Since we both know the two (spirit & reason) are markedly disparate “states” (if in fact the spirit realm exists as I claim) then perhaps we should recognize our mutual limitations in this regard, that being the futility of our continued correspondence in the same, pointless fashion.

    You are searching for…proof, right? This is what you have told me numerous times. And what has been my response? What is it? Have I tried to “convert” you with MY words? Make you believe something I believe? No, instead, I have tried to point you in the direction of the LIGHT so that you can “see” and experience this “spiritual” realm for yourSELF. Did you ever read the George Fox Autobiography?

    Please…”SEE” for yourself.

    James…do you really want to “FIND TRUTH”, PROOF”? As you have stated? Or would you prefer to wander in the desert of human reasoning forever? This is a sincere question, I dont mean it in an unkind but strictly inquisitive manner.

    You have stated that you want “proof” but are unwilling to move beyond your self-imposed boundaries of logic & reason (in which you can not “see” it), so then how will you ever obtain that “proof” for yourself that you claim to seek?

    Can you see our quandry here? I guess now the tables have turned a bit. Please convince me that you really do seek…proof? Do something different, lay down the old, pick up the new…something if you are sincerely seeking “proof”…otherwise we are both wasting time & energy.

    Thanks

  • Jabster

    @Jon C

    Yep here’s an reply why doesn’t Marc think it’s ipso facto proof of any one of the other thousands of gods the humans have also made up?

    Or please explain why god has created beauty and for the answer to this I’m expecting a full explanation which isn’t just because he does or your normal blah … blah … blah … Jesus … blah … blah … love … blah … blah … blah … quote from Bible even though you claim you’re not religious or a troll.

    If you could just answer the above that would be fine and dandy.

  • John C

    Oh Jabs-

    We are back to “religious, “troll” and “blah” and I thought you were above the others my friend.

    I have answered many, many questions from many of you…now I asked for just one in return. Just this once, I will have to ask you to answer in a more thoughtful and comprehensive fashion. I have never done this before but we have reached a collective “crescendo” of sorts and its time for some boundary changes if you will. It is plain…plain I tell you. Please give it some real thought…I have seen examples of deep contemplation you possess in corresondence with your fellow atheiists so I know you are quite capable.

    Now…I have to get back to my troll patrol…LOL

  • Jabster

    @John C

    “We are back to “religious, “troll” and “blah” and I thought you were above the *others* my friend.”

    Yet you claimed that you had enjoyed conversing with all expect one – more of your lies I see.

    So back to your question – why is that after a few pints of lager I really get a hunger for a vindaloo washed down with even more pints. A hunger for a vindaloo is surely ipso facto proof that God does not exist. Why would such a loving creator give us a hunger for something that is so unenjoyable and frankly painful at times? The only reason I have come up so far is that he is giving us a taste of what pain there is in the “ring of fire” in hell – well in the morning anyway. Why do you think. Is this a sign from god?

  • James

    @ John C

    There is a big difference between you and most of the people posting here. You think you are the enlightened one because you are looking for the truth and we are limited by boundaries. You think that we are missing out by not accepting Jesus, spirituality etc.

    We would not disagree on many points especially on spiritual experience, but the big difference is that where I consider the claims you make claim possible, unlikely, but possible, you consider them fact, it is that simple.

    You can not possibly have the answers you claim to, no one can, but his does not stop you.

    DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?

    If 1000 random people with differing views were put into a room for a discussion about the nature of the universe and behaved like you, it would be chaos. It can only go 2 ways when there is no evidence to support anyone belief over another and no one will change there view. Either you all pretend to get along, and try to respect each others belief, or a war starts.

    You want to separate yourself from religion, but your rational has the same outcome.

    It is the common misconception that people in your situation always make. That the sceptic is closed minded and misses out on these wonderful things you are experiencing, but consider:

    If science were next week to find evidence, & wrote in all the worlds science journals and magazines that any 1 of the religions are true, or if God/Jesus was to reveal themselves, then practically all the sceptics would convert in light of the evidence.

    However you are in the group of the anti rational. No matter what facts contradict your beliefs, people like you will always make up your own personal rational and stick to your dearly held version of the truth.

    In light of this, I would really ask you to have a think about who is the closed minded person here.

    I am excited about all the new things we learn from scientific discovery and think it is the marvel of the human race that we achieve this. Why should I give you the benefit of the doubt &, contrary to evidence agree with you?

    As stated:

    Billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences—but they had them while thinking about Krishna, or Allah, or the Buddha, while making art or music, or while contemplating the beauty of Nature. There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality.

  • James

    @Jabster

    “A hunger for a vindaloo is surely ipso facto proof that God does not exist. Why would such a loving creator give us a hunger for something that is so unenjoyable and frankly painful at times? The only reason I have come up so far is that he is giving us a taste of what pain there is in the “ring of fire” in hell – well in the morning anyway. Why do you think. Is this a sign from god?”

    Lol – Good one!

  • trj

    @John C:

    OT=ok this is how you view me…heavy, burdensome, go ahead then, try and know “ME” through your distorted lens…how’d that work out for you?

    NT=this is my real nature, LOVE, MERCY, FREEDOM.

    I see. So God deliberately and personally laid down a bunch of false laws to make a point, then later voided those laws.

    I’m sure that through the centuries the countless thousands of people who were stoned or shunned for transgressions that were not really transgressions, or the conquered peoples who were savagely killed or enslaved because of God’s laws and dictates thought that was a really good way of going around it.

    Sorry. That is an absolutely awful answer. If it’s true then God is the ultimate deceiver, at the expense of innocents. Clearly such a god is not “just and merciful” but simply a complete bastard.

    Do you really believe this yourself? You don’t see any problems with this, like, say, the utter reprehensibility of such a deceit?

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    I have love, mercy and freedom without a god. All John’s verbose nonsense is totally unnecessary. I suggest the rest of the nice people here stop wasting energy on an individual that redefines every single word used in discourse to the point that they are meaningless and worthless.

    When a person that believes a god exists, that has written the bible and that Jesus is his son denies being in or having “religion”, one realizes there is no use. When someone is so deluded that the meaning of simple words escape him, there is no point in trying to have a sensible discourse with.

    Aor and McBloggenstein, do you have blogs of your own? Let me know so i can add them to my rss feed. If not you guys should have one.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    You suppose I am here for some “religious” purpose or that I have some pre-set “agenda”…no Aor…I am here for…you. You are the very reason I have come.

    This conversation keeps getting weirder and weirder. Aor, it seems God is finally speaking to you! He has come for his child to bring you unto his bosom. Let us know how things work out. :)

  • Aor

    God’s bosom doesn’t interest me. I’m not into man boobs.

  • Aor

    @John C.

    I call you a liar because your have lied to us, here, on this very topic. You also lied on another thread on this same site. Multiple lies in a very short period of time. That is a sign of an unreliable witness.

    I call you a theist because you believe in a god. The word has a definition, and each time you pretend to not fit that definition you appear more and more ridiculous. You may as well claim to be a four headed alien for all the credibility you have.

    I call you a bigot because, as I pointed out earlier, you have bigotted beliefs. A person with bigotted beliefs is a bigot. Again, words have definitions. You do not have the right to insert your own self serving definitions for those words because that is just another form of trickery.

    I call you despicable because you are. You came here to witness, to proselytize. You lied about that once confronted. You lie about things in such an incompetent way that your lies are quickly shown for what they are. Rather than admit that you have been caught in a series of lies you continue to lie and try to use those lies to shift the blame. Shifting of blame in this situation, where your own words mark you clearly as a liar and a bigot, is despicable.

    Nobody can read your words and feel any respect for you.

    @brigno
    No, I have no blog. I may have to start one so I have a place to hang the scalps.

  • John C

    Guys-

    GENERAL:

    After many, enjoyable discussions and my attempting (not to your satisfaction I know) to answer you numerous inquires…not one of you responded with any sincerity or depth to the only real question I asked in return? Why is this?

    SPECIFIC:

    @JAMES-

    Thank you, at least your posts have some breadth and continuity to them. I appreciate that in you. I do understand what you wrote to me, thank you. Please know I am not special as you put it, the only “”enlighted” one but, just as He said…it IS possible for us to know divine TRUTH. This is a wonderful part of the “good news”…we CAN know, can receive. This is an aspect of the big picture you struggle with. I wish you wanted to know this but you are where you are…for now. Thanks James for bearing with me and actually reading, considering my responses regardless of your conclusions about them.

    @JABS-

    You were not “the one” I eluded to when I said that I enjoyed my many discussions with all…except one. The “hunger” you described was in the physical, fleshly realm. Our Flesh man/bodies get hungry for (food, water, sex, etc) and so our spirit man has a different kind of hunger, but since we can not simply run to local “spirit tavern” we end up ignoring and self-medicating ourselves in hopes of drowning out forever the deep longings we all feel which originate from the spirit realm. Fortunately, it will never go completely away…beacuse LOVE always continues to call for us until we are…no more. So, hope remains.

    @TRJ

    You are “hearing” a letter from a Writer whose heart (nature) you do not (yet) know…you have got the proverbial cart before the horse my friend. You are majoring on the minors and have allowed this to bring you to an abrupt, incomplete and faulty conclusion. Your lens excludes the good…will not (currently) permit the light to shine IN you. Yet, even still, I hear the faint voice of the seeker, the heart-life alive in you. This is only and always tied to our degree of and desire for LIFE, for TRUTH itself. I hope you can maintain that small crack in the hollow of your inner man, in the middle of the middle of you. The letter (law) truly kills, but the Spirit (within) gives life…you are familiar with this verse I know…but the Author…He remains a nobody to you so how can a nobody write a…some thing, huh? I hope the New Year bring fresh revelation. Thanks for being patient with my (most unhelpful to you) response the other night, it took me too long to get back to you, i apologize. Have you looked at it thru the lens of my (unusual) explanation of what the bible actually is? If so, then what part of the eternal process, which parcel of land in the desert are you currently plodding along at right now. Not that I have fully “arrived” either. Thanks TRJ-Truth Reigns Joyfully.

    @AOR-

    Nothing, not a thing in the world. Not your objections, your disbelief, your utter rejection or words of despise and disgust can keep you from the power of God, His love for you. He has spoken to you…appealed directly to you. You reject Him, still, He loves. When the power of love finally overwhelms you, reaches to the very depths and you are humbled, awed, perplexed, astonished by it…then, that will be the day you remember forever…the day when the LIGHT of love shone into YOU, your spirit that is. It warms…literally warms up the frozen-over chill of the previous winter’s remaining ice and frost that hinders the sprouting seeds of life within. Spring is coming my friend, can you hear the birds (singing voices of morning glory) beginning to awaken you, to herald the dawn of a new day?

    @MMBLOG-

    Im sorry, its the best I can do in the one plane…to show there are actually two…that being the natural and spiritual. So, one last time…I know you love it so much, so here goes…”tell me Mcblog, how many apples fell from the orange tree today? The answer of course is…none. And so it is with love & reason. Press on my friend into another realm, the realm of the heart…the spirit where love is very…reasonable”.
    I’m the only nut that fell from the nut tree I know, lol. Thanks Mcblog for journeying with me a little, even if you think we never “went” anywhere, I appreciate your willingness to go “nowhere” with me.

    @DANIEL-

    Dear Daniel, your resentment, the sense of having been “duped”, made a fool of by the religious “law-keepers” of the past has driven you, still drives you on with inverted passion to “undo” your prior foolishness, NEVER AGAIN you proclaim (in your mind) will I be led astray. Not only that, but I will MAKE SURE, TAKE ACTION, POST A SENTRY so as to protect others from ever making such a terrible, foolish mistake, from venturing into the realm of…unreasonable faith. I admire you, your passion, your zeal, it is commendable but is also a “dead work” and thus it brings forth from its own (dead) kind. But fortunately, there is One who can bring to life that which is dead…and LIFE has not rejected you and never will. The more you fortify and defend your high wall of reason with the dressings of disbelief and negativity the more you attract the FORCE of lOVE (the negative attracts the positive) on you and all you do. But certainly you already know this, the physics, the science, the quantum. Oh the paradox, the irony. LOVE is like that…it never quits. You cant make it quit, thankfully. So go ahead, build up, strengthen, fortify your castle of contentment with the hard rocks of reason. Oh, you forgot…spirit is not limited by matter..and you my impressive online friend “matter” very much to Him.

    I sense my time, at least for now should come to end amongst you. This, I am sure is very welcomed news by all..lol.

    You have made some good “points” thank you. But it is not commentary or points that I am after in the end, and neither are you….really.

    So, you have the remainder of this day to bash, criticize, ridicule or simply…ask questions. After today I have to get back to a more “reasonable” activity, ie the job…you know that realm where we “struggle for the legal tender” to borrow an old line from Jackson Browne.

    Thanks guys…for trying, and for putting up with me to the degree that you have…I love you for it.

    John

  • Jabster

    @John C

    You’re not trying to write one of those books like the Time Wasters Letters are you where you get humorous replies to your posts? A quick hint if your are – you need to seriously get some better material or drastically edit posts and replies otherwise you’re going to be about as funny as a bad case of farmer giles on a very, very cold day.

  • John C

    Jabs-

    What about the Fairy Tales? What do they mean? Where do they come from? Imagination? What is it? Where does it come from anyway? No one ever had one, not one introspective thought, response to that question? Considering the long, rich history of fairy tales and fables I thought that at least one of you “learned” men would have at least some kind of thought about them?

    Was there (ever) a “once upon a time”, if so what was it like? Was their (ever) a romance, a great loss, a “separation” and most importantly will there be a “happily ever after”? I mean really, are all these centuries of story’s just that…story’s? Not one response from the educated ones, I dont get it.

    And no, I am not writing a book…I really “live” this. I know that is disappointing to you…but again reason does not portend to the realm of LIFE, its actually a barrier. The only “reason” is where LOVE says “come, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow”.

    Now thats my kind of reason…unreasonable!

    Be good Jabs…no just be His…lol

  • Aor

    Despite being offered countless chances to reform, to apologize for your deceptions, to learn from your mistakes, you return to mindless babble.

    As I mentioned earlier, your presence here does a great deal to convince people that we are right and you are wrong. Simply by speaking to us and showing your true colors you have turned people away from the mystical and supernatural and toward reason and skepticism. Thanks for your unwitting assistance.

  • John C

    Oh sorry, I forgot…and what about song, poetry, music?…why does it “move” us as so (inwardly speaking). What are they (song, poetry, music) saying to us, to our hearts…collectively?

    Here’s a secular (your kind) of song for this experiment. If you saw the little foriegn hit film “ONCE” there is a song on that soundtrack that captures a bit of what was lost…paradise. Its not really even in the words…its “heard” in the totality of the song, the rythem, the mystery of the tune itself…where did “that” come from? She (the singer is not a self-professed crazy deist-worshipper). It also “longs” or desires for the restoration.

    The song is titled…”If you want me” by Marketa Irglova. I hear the residue of a past love, a past paradise calling for its lover…do you “hear” anything…or anyONE in this “secular” song?

    If anyone owns up to actually listening to it please share with us your “heart-felt” conclusions, that being how it “moved” you or not.

    Fairy tales, song, poetry…hmm, what is HE saying thru them? And can we hear the voice of LOVE calling for its…long lost LOVER to return to…paradise, the kingdom lost…but here…and now.

    Or is this our problem…

    For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them. Matt 13:15

    There are “hints” everywhere guys…

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: Oh sorry, I forgot…and what about song, poetry, music?…why does it “move” us as so (inwardly speaking).

    It is called rithm and melody. A natural occurrence, and as natural beings that we are we tend to enjoy it.

    If god is hiding in a metallica song? Sweet!!!

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @John C

    Unfortunately for many believers who want to put it forward as proof, the Jesus story doesn’t have corroboration or narrative accounts of his resurrection outside the community of believers that already takes it as fact that he did so. The only people who witnessed the resurrected self and chose to wrote about it were those who already believed in the prophecy and found it fulfilled in him. Had he, say, presented himself to several people outside the cult and had them witness the marks, the story, and the rest, then there might be a chance of “death and resurrection” as an event that happened, rather than a claim made to prove the divinity of the Jesus figure.

    So, nobody has come back in a way that would satisfy the conditions to be an event rather than a religious belief. The Jesus story parallels Mithras and a lot of other gods who die and are reborn.

    @Jabster

    Mm. Thank you for pointing out the underlying assumption. Consign another attempt to the scrap heap. As for the individual nature of Christianity, you’re right there, too.

    Stepping into a different definition of divinity, perhaps, what about theories like Gaia consciousness and others that posit that planets, or perhaps the universe itself, is sentient in some manner and acts accordingly? Might fall more under the Clarke definition of sufficiently advanced science rather than the existence of a being outside the natural universe, but if such things could be proven to exist, would they be accorded godhood status (at least, until we caught up?)

    I guess I’m looking at the possibility of god/gods being aliens or us being the appendages of a larger entity (the Earth-as-computer theory, thanks, Douglas Adams). Is that an improper redefinition of the God we’re looking for here?

  • John C

    So then…we are simply…orphaned…forever? Then why are we even discussing these…things of reason and spirit, why are we (collectively) exploring them from disparate viewpoints? Therein lies the very substance of what you regard as “un-proveable”. Finally…I found some (yet faulty im sure) degree of logic and reason to appeal to your senses. WHY? Why do you hang with me when you so ardently oppose ME? There is much said in that one statement if you will only “hear” it.

    Yes, Brig…even in Metallica song God speaks…what do you “hear” which God is it my friend? Does He love or hate?? It depends on what you want to hear doesn’t it?

    My best…

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    I’d like to continue our conversation.

    You theorize that (paraphrasing) “each human has the law within themselves, therefore the events of the Bible are descriptions of eternal processes taking place within the ‘soul’ of humanity”. If the Bible really is about these eternal processes, then which humans does the Bible apply to? Does it apply to the Gentiles who lived before the coming of Jesus? Why didn’t your god start caring about them until the last 2,000 years or so? Your theory doesn’t account for all the people who have been excluded from this series of “eternal processes”. Therefore, it is not a “game changer” even when viewed through a “lens of love”: it is really loving to exclude so many people???

    You say that the OT was your god showing man its sinful, “ridiculous” view of the Biblical god, and that Jesus is a “true” “revelation” of the nature of the Biblical god, no?

    However, why would your god set up the events of the OT in this “legalistic” manner which you acknowledge to be “ridiculous”. You are almost where I am, John — you said that the OT is merely (paraphrasing) “a flawed concept of god” — and I am saying that the OT is a flawed concept of morality. We both agree on this idea. So based on that premise, what is more likely to you — that a Jewish tribal society came up with this “legalistic” “ridiculous” system of law, or that a divine being came up with this system? The Bible says that this system was introduced by your god. You must acknowledge that your god is responsible for this divine plan if you want to continue to make your case for the Truth of your Bible — however, you could just acknowledge that it is far more likely that these OT laws are the laws of men, and not the laws of a divine being, as I have.

    Jesus of Nazareth says that he came not to change the law, but to fulfill it — and that the law could never be changed. So if the law really was “ridiculous”, then wouldn’t you say that Jesus also stood for the “ridiculousness” of the law? Is he really any better than the OT? Why would your god wait so long to care about the Gentiles, anyway? This seems to be a pretty important omission.

    You say that Jesus is the end of the law — but think about this: Isn’t Krishna the end of the law? How do you know that the end of the law is Jesus and not Krishna? There are many similarities in the doctrine of grace mentioned by Christianity and some of the things claimed about what Krishna does for humanity. For the Jews, they had all of the complicated, legalistic laws — for the Hindus, they also had all of these rituals and directions for how people ought to live — but Krishna says “bring me your failure”, just like Jesus of Nazareth says “bring me your sin”. I think it is far more likely that our human religions evolved, given these remarkable similarities. What do you think?

    Neither trust nor faith are five-letter dirty words, but “blind” is a five-letter dirty word: blind faith and blind trust are not positive things. I have faith in things that can be validated and tested and things which have evidence, and I have trust in my family and friends that have shown love for me — trust which has been actively rewarded. This is not blind faith or blind trust: I know what I have. I realize that you believe that you know what you have, as well – that you believe you have a spiritual trust in a higher power. I agree with you that there is no higher power in our existence than love or faith, but I see that love and faith in my fellow human beings, and you see it in the form of a creator god. I look at the supernatural explanations, and I see no evidence of their truth. I look at the evolution of religions, and the “legalistic” “ridiculous” nature of much scripture and religious history, and I think it is more likely that these things are man-made. If there were a deity, I would not want to insult him or her by ascribing them these things. I do know what love is — we are thinking about the same thing, are we not? We just have different names for it. You don’t need your religion to feel this way, to do these things.

    Do you want to know my opinion of fairy tales? I think they’re valuable, and they illuminate our history, but why would I believe them? We think about such stories as “Hansel and Gretel”, when families could not feed their children. Yes, this story has a realistic context, and it is probably a metaphor to explain rhetorically the suffering people encountered at a particular point in time. But why would anyone take this story as any kind of literal truth?

    You ask, why do song and poetry and music affect us so profoundly? I like to think about what music would’ve sounded like thousands of years ago at the beginning of the development of instruments. The first music for humanity would’ve been the sounds of nature — and then, we managed to build instruments that could recreate these sounds at will, and even create new sounds. Sound resonates (har, har, har) with us and has meaning because it has always been an important part of our existence. Evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense that music and song would affect us so profoundly, when sounds make up such a critical part of our environment and our existence as humans.

    Fairy tales, songs, and poems are all tributes to human love and human existence. We long for the love of our mothers, for the love of our spouses, for the fellowship of our friends, and the devotion of our children. You long for a paradise — some of us just long to be held in our parents’ arms (subconsciously at least) — or we want to go back to simpler (seeming) times: we always want to be “innocent” — we humans have this strong, profound urge to return to “simpler” times. We have these ties to the people and things and places we love that are cemented in the earliest years of our lives and continue to be cemented throughout our lives, and yet these things are constantly being altered and changed. It is our human nature to seek sameness and avoid change. Our artworks and art forms express these longings.

    You suggest that our hearts have grown dull, but if this is the case, our hearts have never changed. Religion has never been able to change the fundamental qualities of our existence. People believe across all religions and all forms of spirituality that some sense of the sacred has intervened and changed our human existence, but I see no proof of this in our lives. You say the hints are everywhere – but I have this feeling that they’re in the same places they’ve always been. Religion is one way to deal with the problems we have, and I don’t necessarily object to it — but I wish people would realize that it is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Love has always softened hearts with or without religion or spirituality, and as long as we are here it always will. In spite of all this apparent spirituality and religion, we humans are a lot like we were a long time ago, even before the development of religion and spiritual traditions. My religious teachers told me that there was a new love in the world since the time of Christ — Hindu teachers would’ve told me that there was new love since the revelation of Krishna to Arjuna — Buddhist teachers would’ve told me that there is new compassion in the world since the revelations of Buddha. Yet everywhere I look, I witness the same love and the same hopes and fears and “sins”, and the same human story.

    Christians and other theists often say that there is “larger reality” that atheists and others “ignore”, but I contend that our reality is larger than all of the individual traditions and concepts of any spirituality or religion. We have our own story, as humans, that is important enough by itself, which religion has added to and detracted from at various points, but it has not changed the fabric of our existence significantly.

  • trj

    @John C + Marc:

    Here’s my answer to the following:

    As a visual artist I am convinced that the existence of beauty in nature is ipso facto proof of the existence of God. What possible evolutionary benefit can there be to appreciating the beauty of a landscape or a sunset? Explain to me how the ability to gauge sexual attractiveness in a prospective mate can be converted into non-sexual appreciation of natural beauty. No, there’s something out there, some quality of nature we experience and sense, that does not fall within the rationale of scientific analysis.

    Beauty is a quality of nature, like temperature or pressure. When we experience temperature, we are sensing the relatives speeds at which atoms vibrate. What vibrates to create the sensation of beauty?

    Well, the problem with this is that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. There’s no objective measure of beauty, and people disagree over what is beautiful. When you say “Beauty is a quality of nature, like temperature or pressure” your statement is simply false.

    Not only does beauty differ between different perceptions, it also depends on context. Most of us admire the beatiful, graceful tiger stalking its prey on the Discovery Channel, but if you were to find yourself in the Bengali jungle being stalked by a tiger I daresay you would never again see tigers as beautiful, were you to survive the experience.

    Furthermore, your criteria are biased. If you’re going to mention beauty you also have to mention ugliness which is simply the negative form of beauty. If you think beauty somehow indicates a godly design you’ll have to accept the same god also created the most repulsive things imaginable – horrible birth defects, spontaneous abortions, bubonic plague where you choke on your own bloody vomit as your skin rots, shit, maggots, gangrene, mud-slides, festering swamps, etc – you get the picture.

    A god might have created all those things, the beautiful and the ugly, but for some reason the ugly ones are never mentioned in this argument. Really, the argument for beauty is simply an appeal to emotion and as such it is rather unconvincing as evidence.

    As for how we evolved the ability to appreciate beauty, who knows? A large part of it is undoubtedly due to evolution and as such hardwired into our brain. But who says we’re limited to the primitive reptile part of our brain where such instinctual information is likely stored? Who says appreciation of beauty must always be derived from our genetic heritage? That is a false assertion.

    Some people consider complex math the most beautiful thing in the world. This is an acquired trait which the persons developed at some time in their lives. Most other people don’t share it. There’s nothing mystical about this. There’s nothing that says we can’t use our mental capacity to find beauty in math, architecture, nature, art, etc. We may all share a somewhat similar taste in a lot of things, and most of it might well be explained by our common heritage, but there’s no rule that says we can’t appreciate beauty at an intellectual level.

    And while we appreciate and categorize beauty it doesn’t mean there’s some inherent quality to beauty. The religious and the romantically inclined just like to think so.

  • John C

    Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the…TRUTH.

    blah,LOVE,blah,TRUTH,blah,PEACE,blah,MERCY…

    Sorry, but I got the blahs today! lol

    (ok Brig…go ahead and throw it all right back at me in some childish, retribution-like fashion, bring it on man like you always do I can take it cuz Im wearing my “brown” pants today so all the BS doesnt look so poopy) LOL I’m full of it I know. lol

    Im pickin on you…your my new Fav Atheist…sorry McBlog…love you still man. I hope that doesnt melt your snowmans heart.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    Excellent post, loved it…I’m not being fecitious (sp?) but sincere…thank you, it was thoughtful, authentic and not vague. But you left out the life verse that originally accompanied the post at the bottom of it? Why…that was the whole point.

    Yes, math is a beautiful thing but what is it…exactly? We only “see” it in the physical, text form, but what is it really? What are numbers? Whats behind door #? Do you see that, again not being cynical, just wondering if you have ever thought of it that way?

    What if the “ugly” as you call it is a consequence of our own making, our choosing to rebel from paradise and the Oneness, now being a divided state where there is both good & evil, as opposed to only good, you know that “tree” of SELF which its fruit we were warned not to “digest” less it birth into our (perfect) existance a duality of dire consequence?

    Your post is getting closer…

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Any thoughts?

  • Aor

    So now you are asking why we are discussing these things? Appeal to our senses? Reason? You must not understand the meaning of your own words. Lets take a look at them.

    “Then why are we even discussing these…things of reason and spirit, why are we (collectively) exploring them from disparate viewpoints? Therein lies the very substance of what you regard as “un-proveable”. Finally…I found some (yet faulty im sure) degree of logic and reason to appeal to your senses. WHY? Why do you hang with me when you so ardently oppose ME? There is much said in that one statement if you will only “hear” it.”

    What does any of that mean? The first sentence.. why are we discussing these things when we disagree? Is that what you mean? You should know that, you are the one that came here to discuss it. If you don’t know why, you should be asking yourself.

    The second sentence.. do you mean to say that disagreement is the substance of the unprovable? Again, what language is it that you think you are speaking?

    The third sentence… ‘finally you appeal to our senses’ by stringing together sentences with no meaning in a language where you define all the terms to suit yourself?

    The rest of it.. why do we keep talking when we disagree with you? Are you insane? Are you claiming that once you express your opinion nobody in the entire universe has the right to respond to it somehow proving you right just by responding? What the hell? You are damn right there is much to be said in that statement, but you show you have no idea what any of it means.

    I hope somewhere in the world there is a person you can rely on, someone you trust, a person with the ability to speak and read the english language, who can go over your words with you and tell you once and for all that you sound like a parrot who grew up in the world’s most inbred nunnery.

  • trj

    @John C:

    you left out the life verse that originally accompanied the post at the bottom of it? Why…that was the whole point.

    Sorry, I used Marc’s original post. I didn’t realize you wanted a comment to your addition.

    And I don’t think I have one, really. You know us atheists, we don’t care for bible verses; they don’t persuade us one way or another. At most they are irritating background noise. Preaching to the choir. Sanctimonious self-indulgence.

    Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20).

    I see nothing original in this quote. It appears to argue that since we can see the world around us God must have created it. “The evidence is all around you” as believers like to say. It’s the archetypal God of the Gaps argument and a classic non sequitur.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    Thanks for taking a look at it anyway. Of course, you “labeled” it “bible” before reading it so that invariablely distorted things since you had a “pre-conceived” idea prior to “hearing” it? Am I right? I dunno…maybe my foolish faith is just too liberating, too true and I am too much the fool! lol

    Maybe we should perform a “double-blind” study, no, that wont work because we say that we “see” (for ourselves) so strike two. Here’s an idea…we could empty ourselves…of ourselves, turn our own (dim) life-bulbs down (just for once, for a few brief, liberating moments) and be as children knowing nothing but sincerely “wanting” to know and (foolishly) trusting “Pappa” to simply “tell” us what is in fact…true. Of course that would require a trusting that He in fact IS and actually…cares enough to “speak” to our…inner-child. Then maybe we could “grow up”…in Him?

    I know, I know…strike three.

  • trj

    @John C:

    What if the “ugly” as you call it is a consequence of our own making, our choosing to rebel from paradise and the Oneness, now being a divided state where there is both good & evil, as opposed to only good, you know that “tree” of SELF which its fruit we were warned not to “digest” less it birth into our (perfect) existance a duality of dire consequence?

    I had a feeling it would come to this. You propose the classical utopian Eden where everything was perfect and beautiful, until we humans went and ruined it all by eating some fruit. So everything ugly in this world is of our own doing. God never had anything to do with it.

    I don’t know if you subscribe to the metaphorical Eden where the Fall of Man is simply a story describing our inherent wickedness, or if you actually believe in a literal Eden with talking snakes and whatnot.

    If the latter case, the following will insult you deeply, but I can’t really say it more diplomatically than this: If you believe in a literal Eden you are willfully ignorant and intellectually dishonest, not to mention plain stupid.

    I expect that is not the case with you. However, the metaphorical Eden holds its own problems. A metaphor doesn’t absolve God of creating ugly things, because a world truly without ugliness is a paradoxical state with no resemblance to reality, so it could exist as a metaphor but not in the real world.

    If you’re insisting diseases or horrible death didn’t exist on the pre-human earth you’re no longer using a metaphor to explain ugliness. But if you are using a metaphor you must accept that your beauty/ugliness duality is false and thus God created ugliness as well as beauty, regardless of the metaphor.

  • John C

    TRJ-

    What if (metaphorically) the “fruit” was…knowledge, or self-knowing over…Innocence, trusting the Source, the Father in whom was…ALL? That is all that “we” ever needed.

    The apple of self is always rotten T…stop eating.

    Now Christ (tree of life) tells us to “eat His flesh, and drink His blood”?? Why is this T? Sounds disgusting huh? Makes no sense does it? Or does it?

    Through much tribulation (internal war-ing) we come into the Kingdom of God…again.

    There is a love…

  • trj

    @John C:

    What if (metaphorically) the “fruit” was…knowledge, or self-knowing over…Innocence, trusting the Source, the Father in whom was…ALL? That is all that “we” ever needed.

    Well, that works nicely as a metaphor. But as I said, a metaphor doesn’t explain away that God must have created ugliness.

    – And with that I’m off to bed. I’m running GMT+1 here. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to calculate which time of night that is. Nighty-night.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    Would you mind responding to some of the things I said in my last post? Thanks.

  • Aor

    @John C.
    What if, metaphorically, you start making some sense? Haven’t I already shown you that your words do not mean what you think they mean? You deceive yourself, and you attempt to deceive us.

    Have you stopped denying that you are a religious person? It would be nice if you retracted the more obvious lies.

    You avoid dealing with the issues I and others have raised. We can see you avoiding those answers, and the only conclusion is that while you claim to have the truth, you aren’t even able to convince yourself. Your behavior is shameful.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John: I really liked trj’s response to the beauty argument. My response would have been similar. But I’m enjoying staying on the sidelines reading the comments!

  • The Benny

    For those happy to indulge John C. a little further you can find the song he mentioned on YouTube:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8YzDQLz57yY

    I’m not sure it’s going to convert anybody though, especially when divorced of any context the film adds to it. I thought it was a nice song but not anything life-changing.

    Taken at face value the lyrics suggest it is about somebody missing a lover, not craving the love of God that we’ve all lost. That the ear (and mind) of the listener plays a big part in the interpretation would seem to support the secular, personal view more than the general, spiritual one.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Thanks, and yes I read every word. It’s the least I could do considering the breadth of thought you put into it, thanks for sharing. Some of your writings have the element of the heart clearly “heard” in them, not just today but in previous posts. There is more than a mere statement of “these are the facts so this is my conclusion” in your posts…in my humble opinion. I suppose you are “less” closed than others if you can bear with me a moment in my language, or foolish way of thinking.

    I wouldn’t imagine either (in a moment of candor) that you would be voted “fav atheist” by your comrades, but I am taking liberty’s here I realize and am being light-hearted with you for levity’s sake.

    You make some excellent points…too many to respond to in one post…but points alone, or the making of them do nothing to satisfy the longings on the inside….and this you already know…all too well. For you are exeriencing that NOW…the void, the hunger…this is partly why your posts are quite lengthy, you have a lot on your heart my friend. I dont mean to offend you but you are not far from the Kingdom.

    Not sure if you read any of my earlier posts today but some may be helpful or at least “topical” and interesting to you if as you say…(paraphrasing) that you dont want to be…helped. But IF you did want to be helped (pretend w/me here for a minute) to “see” your way…to the LIGHT within than I might say something like this…the LAW is LOVE…did you “hear” that or did you just read it. That is the only requirement for in it (love) all the others fall in their place like fruits on the “tree”. That is why Christ was able to “fulfill” it being LOVE HimSELF. And now we are IN HIM and HE IN US…so then what are WE Tele? Tell me. How is it that I can tell AOR I am LOVE if you are not also…LOVE?

    That LOVE you spoke of “knowing” through your family and friends? Exactly what, in those…(sorry) “heart-felt” tender, memorable moments is it that you are “experiencing” and how then can you “know” it if you yourself are not “of” it…LOVE?
    You (and I) were cut from the original LOVE tree so we cant help but “know” (ourselves) when we “hear” ourselves speak….think about it.

    Unlike your comrades here you often quote living words to me in your posts…you call it by this term “bible”, which for many is sadly construed from a negative, or “religious” position and keeps them from seeing. The problem (as I have said previously) is that you have no “return address” or name (nature) on the outer envelope (the text) so naturally you dont know or trust the Author of the “letter”, how could you? Its impossible. Its like receiving a letter from a complete, foreign stranger talking about things in some remote, distant land in a language you dont speak…it makes no sense.

    This is why I said that the bible (in and of itself) is not “the way” to know Him. Since you quote “scripture” back to me please allow me one (very appropriate) word back “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you will find eternal life (HIM), and these are they which testify of Me. BUT YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO COME TO ME that you may have life”. John 5:39&40.

    Oh Tele, do you see it? You, more than the others are “in-touch” with this foolish, trifle little “emotion” you call LOVE (GOD). You are aware of it…because it is “of” your original, spiritual ancestry. You were “cut” from it…so it (LOVE) “feels” natural…and good and right…because it is. LOVE is the only thing that can assuage those longings that DONT GO AWAY in your deep-heart. You have described them beautifully through family, friends, etc. You KNOW love because it is your original nature, your very substance. Now Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, the life” back to your home…land…which is LOVE. We are in need of transplantation back into the original, heavenly vineyard…fortunately He has “grafted” us back in to the original “tree” of life…if we do not continue in UNBELIEF. Romans 11:23 & 24.

    We can all state, from learned memory the very day in history that the Revolutionary War began, can’t we. We (this runaway, rogue bunch of rag-tag freedom seekers and tax avoiders…lol) declared our independence on Independence Day, July 4th, 1776 right?

    But how many of us can quote the exact day the war ended, when it was finally over? How many w/o googling it first? When was the peace-treaty signed? WHEN DID IT END Tele? Do you hear this?

    And so it is with us…we declare our independence (from LOVE) and the inevitable, internal war’ing begins because we are now a nation divided (against ourself) and we all know it can not stand…divided. But oh how we try. So, when (exactly) is your (internal) war going to end? The papers are on the table (of your heart), the offer of peace, reconciliation is right there…awaiting your hearts “signature” agreement. The paradoxical thing is that YOU are the one, the only one who gets to decide when it all ends.

    And when you finally “sign off”, give up, die to SELF (receive like a child, fully) then that inner man (your heart) that has been aching, longing for its healing balm, begins the honeymoon “trip” with its (internal) lover (spirit of Christ) and the marriage (of soul & spirit) can then be consummated culminating in the re-birthing of LOVE in you and AS YOU.

    THEN THAT THING YOU CALL “BIBLE” WILL BEGIN, BUT ONLY BEGIN TO MAKE A LITTLE MORE “SENSE” DUE TO NOW HAVING THE VERY LIGHT WITHIN YOU BY WHICH THE TRUE MEANING IS UNDERSTOOD.

    When you “begin” to know GOD within who is SPIRIT John Ch 4…(by the spirit) within yourSELF things will take on form and confusion will begin to be vanquished….but its a “journey” and many (as we have witnessed even here) give up, quit so they never “realize” the end product…that being LOVE, the FAIRY TALE “story” that you so kindly included in your post.

    You said many insightful “close” things in your post which SHOUTS as to your spiritual GPS location at this point in this thing we are presently confined within called…time. LOVE knows EXACTLY where you are right now and you have begun to “hear” it. You can tell when you are getting warm (closer) because the liberty bell (within) will begin to clang, to ring LOUDER & LOUDER until you are willing to risk it all, lose yourSELF, give up your given name, your reputation, ANYTHING it takes to gain your LIBERTY.

    You have been “listening”, now TRUST the bell’s vibrations and be willing to be found a fool (like me) that you might find the FULL (SPIRIT-LED) LIFE, the LOVE your heart is (trying) to lead you to.

    When TELE? When will the war end? I will leave you with this last word since you know something of that which you call “bible” although it is not technically “scripture” but a chronological fact…..”AFTER THE MANY WARS OF DAVID COMES THE PEACEABLE REIGN OF SOLOMON”.

    Thank you for your words and thank you for “hearing” (notice I didint say mine) these as well if, in fact you made it all the way….home!

    John

  • John C

    Aor-

    You had the best line of the night…”John, what if metaphorically you started making some sense”

    Now that was brilliant, funny, beautiful! I love it!

    The rest of your post? Not so much…couldnt “hear” any LOVE in it bro.

    Thanks

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Thanks for putting up with me…you have gone the distance and certainly earned the respect of this “fool” for what its worth to you, I’m sure not much! lol

    As for TRJ’s comments on beauty in response to my original post…I certainly agree that beauty, if that’s what we want to call it (while not its best description although it is…beautiful) is somewhat subjective, that being individually discerned or appreciated.

    But I would add…by degree’s that meaning (careful, its gonna get crazy now) of how “similar” the state of the individuals inner “heart” life or consciousness is in contrast to the original “mold” of paradaisical…EDENic “existance” in which we were originally “soiled” or “birthed” in AND thrived in prior to the “disruption” or entrance of DEATH….the great divider (death and life are as light and dark) from HIM…being LOVE & LIFE. The split..was…shit! LOL

    Well, at least you cant say I didnt warn you Daniel before we ventured down this, ancient “rabbit-hole” together…lol.

    So, yes, its a matter of “tuning” the pitch-fork and of nature, meaning ours or His being the dominant reality or consciousness within us…individually.

    This time, I’m not even going to ask if that made any sense to you, again you asked, I tried.

    Thx D

  • John C

    Benny-

    Thanks for posting that youtube clip…but that song is just one I have “heard” that has that element in it, dont put all the marbles in one pocket…but there is a certain “ring” a paradaisical “calling” that accompanies its nature and I “hear” it…Why? Cuz I’m just nuttier than a fruitcake man…lol

    (seasonal reference for ya there, thought it might be appropriate…in more ways than one…ha)

    But seriously, The LOVER calling to LOST LOVER in the spirit realm is a powerful, powerful “thing” Benny.

    But if you are seriously interested in “hearing” more of such things I have a list across media lines, certain songs (both secular and what’s termed “christian”) and books, films that all carry this mystical quality in one capacity or another….the faint but distinct voice of LOVE calling, longing, aching for its LOVE.

    What is GOD saying to us through (yes secular) media today?? Can you hear it, have you? Cuz once, if just once you “heard” and “knew” that voice that you were originally “immersed” and soiled in you could find your…way back there…to…HOME.

    I know…just more…BS.

    Now go ahead and “quit yourselves like men”. LOL

  • John C

    Daniel-

    I had an experience last night…while out to dinner that instantly caused me to think about you and your interesting and candid story which took some serious cajones to “post” for all to see like you have.

    I almost wish I could post this one to you privately but I will risk your continued, accomodating manner since I am wrapping up tonight…at least for a few days while I get back to my ‘fake” world..ie work. lol

    I picked up a traditional, after-dinner candy mint wrapped in plastic from the bowl on the way out of the place. As I headed for the long walk back to the car I began “wrestling” with the plastic coating, but, hard as I tried I couldnt seperate it from the candy all the while looking forward to the sweet reward on the “inside”. After all it was already “in my mouth” and it (the plastic) was all that stood between me and my hearts desire…sugar, lol. To make a long story as short as possible (odd for me I know) I finally go so damn frustrated that I simply tossed the whole thing, candy and all…away.

    Then instantly, like the proverbial “flash of light” you came into my mind. Why? Why did “I” think INSTANTLY about you at that particular moment? I hadn’t thought about the forum, the discussions, you or anything, cuz I was enjoying the best chicken enchilada’s this side of the Rio Grande baby! lol

    Only you and GOD know your story…the “reason”, the journey ended…for you (im only repeating your words, but paraphrasing I admit)…I dont know, you tell me WHY you came to MY MIND INSTANTLY in a flashing sort of way. FLASHING I TELL YOU…BRIGHT, INTENSELY BRIGHT, SUDDEN.

    And dont blame the funny looking, green, “leafs” I found mixed in with my gaucamole dish either…lol

    Thx D

  • Aor

    I’m not interested in impressing you John. I just want to get you to start acting like atheists are your equals and not the prey in some supernatural game of hide and seek.

    Your deception does not go unnoticed. Don’t you think that your god would notice it too? Considering how much words like truth and love come out of you and your ilk (I like that word, ilk) wouldn’t you have to conclude that your god does not approve of your lies? If your god is truth, then you cannot be a follower of your god since you have shown a disrespect for the truth, thereby disrespecting your god. Do you understand that? Your lies imply that you are not what you claim to be because you violate the belief system you come here to convert us to. So by believing what you believe, you do not believe what you.. oh wait now I sound like you.

  • John C

    McBlog-

    Wherefor art thou, ye scowling snowman sailor ye?

    You said (paraphrased) “If there is a “God” and He cant be known through reason than I just dont care to know Him” Did I get that right?

    Now, I dont know how old you are, just how “worn” your earth-suit is but regardless, have you stopped to consider (I’m sure you have, after-all you are very “reasonable”) the enormity of possibilities you have (prematurely), irregardless of chronological age simply and forever “discarded” with this GIGANTIC, small-minded statement of self-imposed LIMITATION?

    So, like me…”YOU KNOW” beyond a shadow of a “reason” (for you have never ventured outside of that one, limiting plane, so it cant come from any other, if in fact it exists) that, even if, and that’s a big if there actually is a GOD and He, (what or whoever He is) happens to be GOOD, LOVING or LIFE HIMSELF meaning NECESSARY TO YOU, to your continued existance or “life” that YOU , irregardless dont want HIM…ever, because He/It Is not…reasonable? In that (?) can not be perceived within your (current) one-state?

    If that’s the case, then you have tons of faith…in reason. Extraordinarily, even “zealous” amounts of faith…in the one plane being, in the end…the one and only plane.

    I know you owe me ZERO, but after all the discourse, please help me out with this one, it seems contrary and illiogical to me but of course it takes one to know one as the saying goes….lol.

    You have to agree, that is a big, little statement Mcb. I wonder, does anybody else share that same, extreme view?? Just in case you are “listening” in on mine and McBlog’s “private” conversation..ha. But seriously guys, would any of you care to venture that far…melt w/McBlog? Im interested to hear back.

    Its not that you dont believe…its the ENORMOUS (and small at the same time) statement that seems to me to be too “presumptive” in its meaning or essense? I wouldnt go as far as…arrogant, because it remains an unknown (to you) so I give you credit there but if it walks like a duck…just kidding.

    And yes, the default, standard “atheist” explanation, with any personal twists will do fine, just please lets not re-visit the “burden of proof” issue again being on me because that is not my question.

    “IF GOD CANT BE KNOWN THROUGH REASON THEN I DONT (EVER) WANT TO KNOW HIM/IT”

    DOES ANYONE ELSE SHARE THIS SAME (RATHER EXTREME) VIEW? OR IS THIS A COMMON THEME AMONG THEM THAT ASSUME A LABEL SUCH AS THE ONE WHICH YOU HAVE ALL CROWNED YOURSELVES WITH?

    Shows how little I know about those that dont…believe huh. Bear w/me, I’ve been in LOVE for so long now I cant remember what it was like to be an orphan…I dont mean that in an ugly or mean-spirited way…I really cant relate to not knowing HIM as FATHER, I know that makes me a simpleton, a mere, irrational fool of a…SON.

    Hope you reside in the frozen tundra so you dont melt away before responding…thx

  • John C

    Aor-

    There is no status or competition, no “class system” no hiearchy (sp?) here Aor. Its not like that. There is no “striving for significance” or status in the spirit realm. So, I dont understand that comment.

    If, however I have said anything that caused you to feel “less than” in any way then please accept my sincere apologies, that is really not my intent, really. Im sorry if I offended you, inadvertantly.

    As for the other aspects of your post, here is something that will shock you…TRUTH is a PERSON Aor…do you “hear” that…TRUTH? And HE is incapable of lying…its just not in HIM…his nature to lie…that is from the other.

    As for ME? My old SELF, the EGO that DIED, was crucified w/HIM…sure he (SELF) can lie his $@% off cuz he has always been a liar and he (your ego, false personality, self) is still lying…to you..do you get it? WHO ARE YOU AOR?

    You are more than you know my friend. I am just trying to get you to see your own immense value, then maybe you will want to search out this “pearl of great price”, this “treasure buried in earthen vessels” . Your body is the “earthen vessel” and your body is not…you.

    Here’s a “reasonable” clue for you to consider please:

    Just where is it that gold, and precious, brilliant, sparkling diamonds, emeralds and rubies are found AOR? Where? Are they not “mined” from inside the…EARTH?? So, with that in mind, what, or Who is inside you AOR? Is there anything worth mining?

    How much do you WANT to know TRUTH AOR? Or what can you be appeased by? What is it that can pacify you from asking, seeking, knocking?

    Is it sex, alcohol, power, money? What are you going to allow to stand between you and…LIFE?

    IF YOU HEAR NOTHING ELSE I SAID HEAR THIS: YOUR BODY IS NOT YOU.

    Thats a good, albeit giant I know first step.

    Take care AOR

  • John C

    Aor…

    If you add just one letter, an “M” to your favorite word “ILK” then you get____

    As a new-born baby longs for its mother’s nourishing and life-giving _____

    …thereby you may GROW in the bosom of LOVE.

    But first you have to be “born” of the spirit, birthed from “above”…then you will naturally suckle and…LIVE.

    Maybe it will make sense one day…take care AOR.

  • Jabster

    @Silver Adept

    Just to cover the god/gods being aliens thingy. I’ve seen many variants of this ranging from microbes from space, to fully fledged aliens to races that can create whole universes. To my mind the way to think it about it is two fold. Firstly what fits, at least partially, with what we can observe and what sort of makes some sense with what we already know. So if for example you take the ‘microbes’ from space – yep we can observe debris in space that lands on Earth but as yet haven’t discovered the necessary (or what we think is necessary) build blocks of life. This still doesn’t cover where life can from though as how where these ‘microbes’ created in the first place. Moving on to the advanced aliens. This I find the less reasonable as I’ve never seen convincing answers of where are the ‘creators’ are now and why did they create such minor life forms on this planet. The last I find fascinating but something stops me find it reasonable as it’s just so different. What if the complete Universe was created as an experiment by a highly advanced race into how Universes are formed – this would certainly fit technology as god mould. I’ll leave you to think about all these but my money is still on the mundane one of life formed by some as yet unknown process on Earth.

    As to being a proper definition of god – well gods by their definition are supernatural so if we really discovered what they are then they become part of our world and would have to leave the supernatural world to the ghosts and Feng Shui!

  • Aor

    Don’t even bother with your mystical crap, John. Seriously.
    You blatantly misuse the english language in order to muddy the waters rather than defend your own position on anything. When a person shows such a firm determination to avoid the truth at all costs and yet claims to be a follower of the truth, readers can add two and two together. You reek of deception and shame.

    I was quite serious when I recommended that you find someone you trust to go over what you say. You need a second opinion on your own opinions before you should let those things out in public.

  • John C

    James-

    I have not “claimed” to “know” anything that HE said we couldn’t know.

    Btw…the origin of the term to “know” is of an intimate, yes even sexual-type of expression. Like when Adam “knew” his wife and the result was a SON. I think he “knew” her pretty well wouldn’t you say? You get my point.

    So, in “light” of this He said that “knowing” HIM was tatamount to life eternal for He is LIFE…and that HE would be IN us and WE in HIM. Do you see that? And that is the only way we can know HIM, that being IN us.

    We are not describing some fleeting, flimsy, esoteric (while it is mystical) “religious” experience but rather a tangible substance of spirit INVASION of our own dark territories within. This is how the kingdom comes to expand within us, by vanquishing our, former dark…ness. Darkness reigns where light is…not. But we have to let the LIGHT in us so it can dispell the dark realms and “enlighten” our darkness so until…our EYE BE SINGLE (meaning all the darkness gone) then our whole SELF (body, soul, spirit) will be FULL of…light.

    The light of LOVE and LIFE literally bursting into the realm of death and darkness…He having delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His…LOVE.

    So, when you “KNOW” LOVE the result is always a Son…of LOVE. Do you see that?

    Now, I have given you guys a nice term to “play” around with…did you notice I said “substance of spirit”? How is that? What world, what realm is the “real” one…of substance?

    WE CAN KNOW….JUST AS HE SAID WE COULD.

    I hear the LIGHT INFANTRY, the INVASION has begun.

    As always…thank you James.

  • John C

    Aor-

    I appreciate that we dont fully communicate, your point there being clearly understood by both of us, thank you.

    Our area of difficulty seems to be mainly related to this thing we both refer to as TRUTH, am I speaking plainly?

    So, then let me inquire of you…what is your definition of TRUTH since it seems to be our most contentious issue?

    Not Webster’s definition but….your’s since we all wind up living our (individual) lives by our own “TRUTH” or truths.

    What does truth mean to you AOR? I have (plainly) stated “my” truth is that TRUTH is a PERSON who has a LIFE WITHIN US and therefore can be demonstrated or lived out, proven, but you say that truth is?? what?

    I am speaking plain english to you now my friend. What is “true” to AOR?

    Just asking…plainly as you requested.

    AOR=Always Outwitting Reason? LOL JK…sorry, I couldnt come up with anything better…I’m just not that clever!!

    I wont write (bother) you anymore unless you initiate…so the proverbial ball is in your court…plus I have to get back to work this week and will only have brief stops here, no more “loitering” for me…lol

  • James

    @ John C

    “I have not “claimed” to “know” anything that HE said we couldn’t know. …..Cue WHITE NOISE”

    Ok look, its time to call it a day. There is only 2 possibilities here, and either are of little interest.

    1 You are clever…… Delusional but a clever, calculating troll who doesn’t believe what he posts, but knows he can successfully & endlessly wind up rationalists.

    2 You really believe the things you say.

    Based on your posts I know you are genuine any more. You are a fake & I’m tired. I am convinced of that.

    It would be a shame for this thread to end, as i like it and think it can help people who are genuinely searching for new perspectives but that is not something you are interested in.

    From now on i will still check this tread but will not read/respond to your posts & would advise others to do the same.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John: I’m assuming your story is asking, “Why did you throw away Christianity when you had a bad experience with it?” However, I did not have a bad experience with it. I threw it away because it no longer appeared true to me. And as I researched Christianity more, I realized it was all myth based on anecdote. So the reason I threw away all of Christianity, instead of just changing churches or finding new Christian friends, is because they’re all the same to me — a religion based on myths, but adored as history.

    It would be the same if I worshiped the Greek gods and finally realized all those stories were just made up.

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Thanks for the plain response…its better than I can often muster myself according to most of your “faithful” ones.

    Your experience, your journey is…your’s after-all and so while I can not fully appreciate every aspect of why mine (for me) has been one way and yours took another trail, I still appreciate your recognition of the mutual “journeying” through life that we nonetheless…have in common.

    Thank you.

  • John C

    @James-

    #2 is the correct answer- I actually do believe every word that I have attempted to share with you, passionately. No, I am not “clever” merely of the…Root. I have given you some mighty clues as to my true identity but so far, not one has rightly identified my nature, that being my true ancestry. And no, it can not be found in my “given name”.

    The term “troll” was not one that I was familiar with until you guys introduced it to me, I have never been to any other so-called “atheist” sites merely to “pick a fight” with…anyone, ever. That was not the reason for my coming here James. I suppose you see that type here from time to time and therefore I am lumped in with the “trolls”. So be it.

    I have said it several times, its worth repeating (especially since you are not reading this anyway) that the story, the “deal” is just too good for most of us to get our “hearts” around…and therefore only a “few” ever really do see and receive what He so longs to impart. If you remember, they didnt believe Him either.

    Im sorry (if you actually read this) that I was not better able to share my TRUTH, my story in a more communicative or “enlightening” manner so that you too could “hear” it for yourself.

    Thanks for the degree that you participated, trodded along.

    Warm regards.

    John

  • John C

    McBlog-

    As I look again at my earlier post…I dont like it very much. It does not come off well at all…so, the thought I was getting at was not articulated well enough to justify a response from you, not that you owe me one anyway…lol.

    So, sorry if you had to plod thru all that only to get to…this.

    I’m sure my acknowledgement of my shortcomings with that particular post will ignite a firestorm or sorts tied to previous posts…thats ok, I had to say to you what I just now said…at whatever the cost to me.

    Pappa told me to, said I was being demanding, petty, not enough of HIM in there (the post) for Him to sign off on it, my bad.

    Thanks, John

  • The Benny

    @John C.

    The thing about your list of songs is that they are YOUR list of songs that affect YOU personally. Whatever amount of hidden longing for godly love you hear in them comes from you. God is saying nothing in secular songs, Christian songs or even the Bible, it’s all just us humans either deliberately trying to spread messages or believing we hear them.

    There are certain songs I hear that instantly make me think or feel certain things because of what I associate them with, things that perhaps nobody else feels in quite the same way, be it because that song was on the radio all the time when I was doing specific things or because it was used to good effect in a TV show. The additional layer of context is all from me though, just as everything you’re hearing in your songs is being added by your mind.

    That you hear love or God or Jesus in music simply means that you are adding it, just as it would if somebody claimed to feel Allah, Mohammed, Krishna, Apollo or any other deity/prophet, or even just like a schizophrenic who claimed that there were hidden messages of hate and evil in certain songs.

    Of course, as an atheist I’d even go a step further and say that everything you’ve felt or experienced that has reaffirmed this magical love is all from your mind and nothing else. There was nothing godly behind the old or new testaments, Jesus either didn’t exist or has had things falsely attributed to him, and nothing is observing us and hoping that we fill ourselves with love.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John: “Thanks for the plain response…its better than I can often muster myself according to most of your “faithful” ones.”

    -I propose Daniel to be elected as the new pope of atheism. The atheist “faithful” support you.

    LOL.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Wow, I’m honored. I’ve always wanted to wear a robe and a crown without people laughing at me.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Holy flaming hell!

    @Aor:
    Yes, we’ve seen the likes of John C. before. Ridonkulous, thy name is Kemp.

    How refreshing to have a contender for the crown. I have rarely seen more delusional, tailchasing, rhetorical nonsense as has been put out here by John C.

    However, I’m not engaging him. He has no rational point to make and no way to answer questions in any logical, coherent way.

    In fact he nicely sums up his own bizzarre worldview in saying:

    So, from your high-tower of reason…you are right, again and always will be till the child ascends the high wall and slays the Goliath of reason.

    So first we must kill our brains, then we can enfold the maybe-messiah into our blood-pumping organs.

    Makes more sense than anything else I’ve read from him.

  • Aor

    John C, you are washed up. You tried your best, you used many of the more common theist lies and misrepresentations, you used the standard attempts to deceive and distract. What did you gain? You lose your self respect, and what did you gain?

    Not a single follower. Your failed attempts to witness to us just made you and your belief system appear for what it was: a bigot spouting bigotry.

  • VorJack

    “Wow, I’m honored. I’ve always wanted to wear a robe and a crown without people laughing at me.”

    We’ll have the ceremony in the morning. Given our contentious nature, I suspect we’ll have the Atheist Reformation shortly after lunch.

  • trj

    You’ll have to wear a really big hat, Daniel. Otherwise we won’t be able to take you seriously.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Damn it, trj, it’s a CROWN! I demand a CROWN! Hats are for Terry Pratchett.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    I just finished nailing another set of Theses to your door, Daniel.

    This is exhausting. I wish I had started the Reformation on a day when I got more sleep.

  • John C

    AOR-

    You are right my friend, I am all washed alright…in the precious blood of Jesus, precious I tell you…but its a very, very, very childish thing such as is the nature of TRUTH and is therefore too…truthful to be seen by the….RICH. Tell me AOR…who are the RICH? What is the meaning of this, non-sensical, mystical little morsel? And why must I speak to you in parables, have you (entirely) lost your heavenly…hearing? The language of the…heart and not the…head?

    GUYS…

    Now come on, what would the holidays have been like without having me to kick around…now really. You know that you require some routine “validation” by which you continually measure your ever increasingly hardened hearts of stone against the….Chief Cornerstone…no? After all, what’s a little holiday without the…spirit? LOL

    Metro-

    Sorry, but I’m already “engaged” because LOVE…loves, its like that man, its crazy…really, really CRAZY I tell you…its just like…well…ME. Who is this Kemp character anyway?
    I know nothing of philosophy or religion, neither seem to portend to…LIFE. Just how many labels, how many more boxes will you attempt to place me in within your…theology of unbelief? Tell me, where do I…fit? The LOONEY BIN or the LIBERTY BIN? Which one my thoroughly un-engaging, online, atheist-donning, lover of logic and reason? LOL

    I have to go now, I see the little white men in little white suits coming to escort me to the paddy wagon of…reason.

    I’m really a nice guy Metro but you dont KNOW me do you?

    All in fun guys…or is it…in…TRUTH…or…as you call it…..BS?

    Its Crazy, and so am….YOU?

    Crazy New Year guys…

  • John C

    Daniel…

    You had a crown, were being fitted for one by the trials and testings of your…faith…but…unfortunately because you couldn’t “see” the Tailor at work you relinquished your crown before your mind was sufficiently renewed (in the spirit) and it grieves the heart of the Tailor greatly…for He was so looking forward to placing it upon your NEW MIND and rewarding you for your…unreasonable faith.

    Nevertheless…Hope Remains!

    ————————————————————————-

    Transitioning…you asked about the beauty quote, I answered you…so…any thoughts? I realize they will likely be in direct contrast…and of course its your excellent forum…but just wondering what you thought about, what you asked me about…if anything?

    THX

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John: Since the “Tailor” doesn’t talk to me, perhaps you could pass on that if he is grieving so much for me, all he has to do is let me know himself. Not from a 2,000 year old book, not from a preacher, not from some guy commenting on my website, but from God himself.

    Is that really too much to ask? I don’t think so.

  • trj
  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    Daniel: “Is that really too much to ask? I don’t think so.”

    -I agree. Especially if omnipotence is one of the attributes it possess.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @John C

    I’m really a nice guy Metro but you dont KNOW me do you?

    Only through your writings. But that’s enough to know you’re too crazy for me to engage.

    Oops …

    [Sudden silence]

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    [Breaks silence briefly]
    Re. Monsieur Kemp: You may find him, or his essence, spewed across the page, here:
    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/12/21/science-is-limited-by-its-refusal-to-make-stuff-up/#comments

    [Lapses into silence again]

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Holy CRAP nugget Batman!

    I look away for a second… (ok three days)

    A fun fact for everyone: I pasted this post+comments into Word. Almost 95,000 words.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Metro

    I kinda agree about the similarities to Kemp’s methods. However, at least Kemp spoke a language we could all understand.

    John C. talks in metaphor and takes 500 words to say what could be said in one sentence. I think that has probably at least doubled the arguing going on here.

  • Sunny Day

    “A fun fact for everyone: I pasted this post+comments into Word. Almost 95,000 words.”

    With a Radioactive Babbaling Bullshit count.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    What is this I hear? A Kemp WIN!?! :)

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C:

    “Wherefor art thou, ye scowling snowman sailor ye?”

    Dost thou fingers typeth with the spirit o’ the LORD?

    You asked me:

    “You said (paraphrased) “If there is a “God” and He cant be known through reason than I just dont care to know Him” Did I get that right?

    Now, I dont know how old you are, just how “worn” your earth-suit is but regardless, have you stopped to consider (I’m sure you have, after-all you are very “reasonable”) the enormity of possibilities you have (prematurely), irregardless of chronological age simply and forever “discarded” with this GIGANTIC, small-minded statement of self-imposed LIMITATION? [...] You have to agree, that is a big, little statement Mcb. I wonder, does anybody else share that same, extreme view?? “

    It doesn’t look like anyone else answered that question in my absence.

    I am actually curious if anyone else agrees with that statement… That if God can not be known through reason, then I don’t want to know him.

    I stand by that statement, because it is for the very reason that I view the world skeptically, logically, and with reason that I am an atheist, and do not believe in the supernatural.

    Anyone else?

    (Or should we let this thread die out? And save this one for another day?)

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    If God can’t be known through reason then by definition I can’t know him, for to know something requires reason.

    I might be able to feel him, but without reason, I could never know what I’m feeling.

    I might be able to see him, but without reason, I could never determine what I’m seeing.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    As to whether or not we can know a god through feeling: isn’t this why Christians say we have the Bible?

    What the specific dogmas, traditions and writings of Christianity, how would we cordon off our “spiritual” feelings in this one particular direction? What would prevent us from becoming Hindus or Buddhists if this belief system never existed in the first place?

    The Bible is the instrument that is supposed to make up for the reliance on feelings (along with other writings), but it is vague and filled with contradictions and errors. What are we supposed to make of that?

    John C is right in a way: it really is about what “feels right” to people, not about the evidence. It’s just a coincidence to people like John C that Hinduism “feels right” to so many people born in Hindu families, or that Islam “feels right” to so many people born in Muslim families.

    I think it is evident that religion in general can play to people’s basic needs — and usually people stick to what they know, unless it’s absolutely disadvantageous. This applies both for religion in general, and for specific branches of religion individually. Many people are comfortable with religion and don’t wish to be disturbed, and many people are comfortable with a specific kind of religion.

    I know there are multiple collective and individual benefits of non-belief, but I have come to believe recently that for many people the advantages of belief outweigh the advantages of non-belief, or at least it appears that way to many people.

    This “rational apathy” about religion is really similar to what I learned in my poli. sci. class last semester about “rational non-voting”: the benefits of being informed are not necessarily strong enough for individuals to inform themselves. I have come to believe that for many people it is perfectly rational to be non-rational about some things, otherwise religion would’ve played a less prominent role in peoples’ lives much earlier in our history.

    Especially for more liberal Christians or other theists, there really aren’t that many benefits to non-belief. There are just some people who aren’t ready for it, or who may not be ready for it psychologically for a long time.

    I don’t believe that in general people need this belief, but I think that some people have been conditioned to need it, and perhaps our friend John C is one of these people.

  • John C

    Tele/Mcblog-

    There is an observation in your post (Tele) that is very helpful to our discussions and ties into Mcblogs post question to his fellow Atheists. You (Tele)said “It’s just a coincidence to people like John C that Hinduism “feels right” to so many people born in Hindu families, or that Islam “feels right” to so many people born in Muslim families”.

    Here is where you err…nobody is “born again” the first time, but the second. So, while one can be born a Hindu or a Muslim, by virtue of being born into a Hindu or Muslim “family” one can not be “born” of the spirit (christian as you call it) simply by being born into a so-called “christian” family. For that is the “first” birth, not the “second” or “again” birth.

    That is why we read this “for that which is born of the flesh…is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit…is spirit”. The first (natural) birth being of the fleshly-kind, the second “birth” being of the spirit-kind.

    One can certainly be indoctrinated into a particular religious belief-system, be it hindu, christian, whatever by virtue of their being born into that family.

    But the true spiritual “birth” the second is an internal, not an external “event” and therefore it does not take place in the natural realm and can not be “seen” or witnessed by the natural eyes of reason.

    So, if one were to completely extinguish all possibilities of the spirit realm’s existence then that would (naturally) prohibit one from ever experiencing this “spiritual” or “second” re-birth which is spiritual in its nature.

    This is why I say (plainly as I know how) that when one completely dismisses the activity, intuition, or feeling aspect of their humanity (which is of the spiritual nature) then one obviates, or disallows the possibility of this second (spiritual) birth ever occuring in the unseen realm of the spirit.

    So then we arrive back at Mcblog’s question to his fellow “Atheists”. Paraphrased: If I say that I dont want to know a GOD who can not be “known” (at least initially) only by the means of reasoning then I (McBlog) say that I dont want to know Him EVER even if He does exist (in any other possible realm) that might be…possible. McBlog wants to know if you guys agree with that rather…extreme statement.

    I would be interested to hear your responses as well.

    Thx

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    I think that we may have finally arrived at a meaningful juncture in this discussion: what is more critical when evaluating supernatural explanations, the “activity, intuition” of the “spirit-kind” or “spirit realm” or “the means of reasoning” (logic)?

    John C suggests that his own intuition is the most valuable resource to evaluate the presence or absence of “spiritual” Truth and the particular utility of particular spiritual truths is also best judged by intuition and feeling in this view.

    What is my view of this way of thinking, as an avowed rationalist? By professing a lack of belief in religion, am I effectively denying a larger “spiritual” reality without adequate consideration, and if so, is this necessarily wrong or undesirable?

    All human beings are equipped with the same faculties. Using these faculties, we all make attempts to judge the world as best we can. Our observations inform us that there are many, many people making claims of the “spiritual” supernatural component with varying attributes. Many of these claims demand exclusivity; some do not. However, I have found that those which do not claim exclusivity take on a level of vagueness which typically renders them to be meaningless. There are several religions which say they are exclusive but logically it is impossible for all to be correct.

    I have tried to get John C to answer whether he accepts “spiritual” truths from belief systems other than Christianity, and it seems that he is on the verge of saying that Christianity is exclusive.

    I have observed that practically all religions, whether exclusive or not, have developed for many of the same reasons.

    There may or may not be a larger spiritual reason behind the development of all religions. This I can never know for sure — but I do know that I have no evidence to believe there is such a “spiritual” reality.

    What kind of evidence is best? John C says that “intuition” is the best evidence, but intuition usually tells us that our personal spiritual feelings are indicative of the religious traditions to which we have been exposed — not which we have objectively identified for ourselves, a great majority of the time.

    “Intuition” is not enough for us, John C. That is the basic problem with this discussion. You’re asking too much of us. We know that intuition is unreliable because it produces conflicting results: we claim to have all of these unique feelings, but we have definitely documented these same experiences in the feelings of non-Christians, too.

    The evidence for a supernatural origin of religion is not in and most of the evidence that we do have suggests that religions known to us now are human-derived.

    I’m an atheist in part because the evidence suggests to me through a study of the Bible, Christian tradition and history, a study of comparative religion especially other religions besides Christianity (which I emphasize because I grew up Christian), psychology, and biology that a human origin of religion (especially the Christian religion) is the best explanation available.

    It’s also a matter of where we’re coming from: if you assume that there is a spiritual plane to our existence, then you are probably going to ignore all other evidence for or against particular forms of religion, even in the case of the one which you practice.

    If you assume that there is no such existence, you might also end up ignoring much of the evidence.

    John C, I never thought about these kinds of things until I could suspend my belief for a moment and think about these things without the lens of “faith” as you describe it. Don’t be afraid to do likewise.

    I know that you’re not explicitly trying to “ignore” the evidence, at least from your perspective, but maybe you feel that your nature cannot allow you to consider it?

    You’ll find that the “feeling aspect” of humanity is not limited to religion or spirituality, which I feel personally is one of the greatest fears of most theists. I described for you earlier in this thread how you could find love, empathy, and compassion in your life without a supernatural source. A few atheist writers such as Sam Harris have even pondered and embraced a certain sense of spirituality for atheists: a sense of wonderment and amazement at the cosmos and the natural world and a joy and enthusiasm in our relationships with our fellow human beings.

    Sure, religion or “spirituality” is an essential part of whom many of us are, and I’m sure it will continue to be that way for a long time to come, and if certain people want to live their lives like that in a non-fundamentalist manner, I don’t really care — but religion isn’t necessary for being fully human. It’s more superfluous than essential to our existence.

    One last question for you, and I’ll make it about your favorite topic, love:

    What’s more loving — doing something good for the sake of doing something good (empathy, the Golden Rule), or doing something good because of a coupled set of the ultimate threat (eternal punishment) or the ultimate reward (eternal bliss)? Which one of these two options is closer to the true nature of love which you’ve spent so much time describing — the god of the Bible, or the humanistic concept of love which many of us have embraced, love for its own sake which everyone knows — which most Christians know and most theists know and most non-theists know — if there is a religion that truly promotes love for its own sake, I may embrace it — but I know that Christianity (by its own teachings) is not such a belief. What do you think?

  • Pingback: Making The Case | I Eat Gravel

  • John C

    Tele-

    As always, I appreciate your sincere and thoughtful response, as I have previously stated (whether to your liking I will leave that to you…lol) that I “hear” an element of the “heart” in them that I can not ascribe to many of your colleagues, not meaning that in an ugly fashion, but rather from an observational context…alone.

    The “point” that I hear being the key in your response is summed up in your one statement, you said “I have tried to get John C to answer whether he accepts “spiritual” truths from belief systems other than Christianity, and it seems that he is on the verge of saying that Christianity is exclusive” Lets start here please. Can we try and define what truth is? I think that is important dont you?

    Is truth, a singular, all-encompassing ONE that is only “known” through its reception and “living” it or is it more thinly…applicable and less…true? Is it better defined as we supposedly “see” it today…through a myriad of “belief systems”. Now this is a “selah”, pause and think about that kind of question, for this is of great importance to us “truly” communicating further..as we are both so sincere about “trying” to do.

    So, as I have said before (not sure it was heard, lol) that rather than a “system” truth is actually a…LIVING PERSON. And living IN this PERSON of TRUTH is the only way we can “know” (intimately” TRUTH HIMSELF. Now, I realize that makes me sound, to you as some very “elite” man. But TRUTH said we can all “know” HIM (the truth), so the difference being that I “believed” that I may “know”.

    But, to get to the actual “knowing” part IT (HE) must first be “received”, humbly as it were by the laying down of the natural faculty of reason in a response to His spirit calling for our spirit…yes by this “tugging on the heart that you so despise”….? So, you are at the proverbial impasse if TRUTH is literally a PERSON (“I, Christ AM..TRUTH”) if out of the LOVE of TRUTH for YOU HE has spoken to you TRUTH and yet since the heart-realm is discounted…you are not able to receive HIM…TRUTH itself…now I know that may offend, but please understand that is not why I described it in such a fashion, but rather I attempted (once again, im sure I fell woefully short) the reception “process” as best I can of the impartation of TRUTH, that being in the PERSON of Christ…HIMSELF as opposed to a belief “system”. Do you see the difference?

    So then, what is the culmination, conclusion of all I have said frrom the above paragraph’s perspective? Is it not this “YOU shall KNOW the TRUTH (HIMSELF) and the TRUTH (CHRIST) shall…SET YOU FREE”.

    I know you see this as being from (my) perspective…but I am asking you to see truth (himself) from a literal and personal context, not through the lens of a belief “system”. Remember, I didnt say it, the One who says that “He has no greater JOY than to see that WE are walking in TRUTH” for truth (HE) is always liberating, freeing. How can we (literally) “walk” in TRUTH unless we are IN HIM and HE IN US…again…just as HE said?

    Thanks Tele for continuing on…

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I agree with Daniel. If the existence of god cannot be reasoned, then why should I believe?

    Especially if the arguments one hears in his favour sound like this:

    Is truth, a singular, all-encompassing ONE that is only “known” through its reception and “living” it or is it more thinly…applicable and less…true? Is it better defined as we supposedly “see” it today…through a myriad of “belief systems”. Now this is a “selah”, pause and think about that kind of question, for this is of great importance to us “truly” communicating further..as we are both so sincere about “trying” to do.

    [...]

    But, to get to the actual “knowing” part IT (HE) must first be “received”, humbly as it were by the laying down of the natural faculty of reason in a response to His spirit calling for our spirit…yes by this “tugging on the heart that you so despise”….?

    Shorter John C.:
    “God calls to us all. But you have to stop thinking first.”

    Have I got that right, John C.? Answer simply “Yes” or “No” please. Or if you can’t manage that, at least try and keep the response to under a hundred-and-fifty words, eh? We are a simple people here.

  • John C

    Metro-

    Thx…I appreciate your input and will be as short as possible while yet doing it (your insightful question) justice, at least hoping to anyway.

    Lets break your two-part question down..FIRST “God calls to us all” MY answer is YES, Although you would get some opposition to that within the “traditional”, that is institutionalized “church” unfortunately.

    The SECOND question “…but you have to stop thinking first”.

    It, I believe is best answered through this ancient quote:

    “It is God’s nature (desire) to give HIMSELF to every virtuous (longing) soul, know then that HE is bound to act, to pour HIMSELF out INTO you as soon as HE finds you…ready (empty).”. I would add…of yourSELF.

    Now, maybe (if you read it) you understand the metaphoric post I asked of AOR yesterday? Who are the RICH?

    God has not given to man the faculty of reason for…no reason, a high intellectual “capacity” is a wonderful thing, yet remains a mere and limited individual apart from the whole, until it is RENEWED and the whole man is made WHOLE…again.

    Only 182 words! (in the above portion) sorry, but I tried lol

    THX Metro

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    So the answer to Metro’s question is essentially “yes”?

  • Aor

    John will never concede a point. Yet another sign of deceptiveness.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”.
    -Galileo

    It seems John C would not agree.

  • John C

    Daniel-

    Thanks, I appreciate your accomodating my continued, but diminishing presence, I will go away soon…I promise.

    _____________________________________________

    You said…

    “If God can’t be known through reason then by definition I can’t know him, for to know something requires reason.

    I might be able to feel him, but without reason, I could never know what I’m feeling.

    I might be able to see him, but without reason, I could never determine what I’m seeing.

    _____________________________________________

    If the light bulb is in the lamp, and the electrical cord is properly attached to the power Source then everything is “in place”….but there is still no…light. However the POTENTIAL for light manifesting is very very…real, is it not?

    So, in this simple analogy we are the lamp (our body) that has a spiritual component, the bulb that remains hidden, unseen being “covered over” by the lampshade (body).

    Then how is the bulb…illumined or light’ed within us?

    It would seem like a natural thing right? Since the lamp and bulb were created for this explicit purpose, that being to express light (love). But since, for us our “own” light (which compared to God’s is as moonlight is to sunlight) or dark, yet is all we have ever known so to us it is as true…light.

    So that is why we hear these true (if we want to hear, because that is how it is always…heard, by the wanting to) words, “if your eye be single (in Him) your whole body (remember our analogy here) will be full of (His) light, but if your (own) light be dark….how great that darkness will be”.

    So, we “reason” that we..see. But we only see by the..light of the moon (our own dark…light) until the SUN-LIGHT BREAKS FORTH because we WANT it to & TRUST the Source (of LOVE) to…enlighten…our bulb. The bulb, your inner-spirit man bows to the power Source…longing to be…illumined and the Source longs to impart the TRUE LIGHT.

    But, we are mostly content to live by…the light of the moon. So the room of our inner life stays…dark with…mere moonlight…until until we stop saying that we “see” of our own (dark) light and humbly say Lord, I CANT SEE, but I WANT TO SEE, please help me to see. Then LIGHT can enter within IF it (LIGHT) finds us…empty or dark enough, that meaning not content to live by our own little…dark…ness. But as long as we say “we” see…we…dont.

    Then the light and spirit of wisdom come IN and begin to illumine the WHOLE man to include his (now enlightened) faculties of reason. So we hear (if we want to) “be ye RENEWED in the spirit of your MIND”.

    So, responding to your comment that we “might be able to see Him but w/o reason we could never know what or who we are seeing” that is…unless we were to SEE by HIS light and not by our OWN…dark…light.

    I know, “when exactly is it that you are leaving my forum John!! Soon…I know, not soon enough! LOL

    Thx for putting up with my illogical…love.

    John

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @John C.
    Thank you for a polite response. I’ll go with Galileo, thanks.

    I spent a couple of decades longing for god. How long should I have put up with the silence in response?

    Of course, if one believes sincerely enough, one can make water run uphill. The fact that no-one’s ever done it merely means no-one’s ever believed sincerely enough. Though some seem to convince themselves they’ve done it.

  • John C

    Aor-

    Can we just simply converse? Now (according to you) I am being purposefully deceptive? No, I really am being sincere in my heart. Why dont you stick to the kinds of labels that your fellow-men do like calling me…delusional….at least that has a ring of…innocence to it. lol

    Thx A

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @John C

    “So, we “reason” that we..see. But we only see by the..light of the moon (our own dark…light) until the SUN-LIGHT BREAKS FORTH because we WANT it to & TRUST the Source (of LOVE) to…enlighten…our bulb.”

    This means no more to me than “If we want to see/feel it bad enough, we will, no matter how unreasonable.”

    Similar to what Metro just said:

    “…if one believes sincerely enough, one can make water run uphill. [...] some seem to convince themselves they’ve done it.”

  • Aor

    I am trying to converse, John. I ask you questions, you avoid answering. I have caught you in lies on this thread and on another.

    You claim to not be religious. You do this by redefining what the word means. Blatant deception, which you repeat for any term you want to steal out of the public domain and redefine for yourself.

    Each time I raise these points, you avoid and evade and run as if you were ashamed of the answer. Why not answer simply and clearly? At this point nobody expects the truth from you. Your pattern of behavior is clear and your credibility is gone.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    Aor: You claim to not be religious. You do this by redefining what the word means. Blatant deception, which you repeat for any term you want to steal out of the public domain and redefine for yourself.

    -Aor hit the nail on the head. Credibility requires first and foremost honesty and clarity. At this point I expect neither from John.

  • John C

    Metro-

    One of the more commonly-held and limiting misconceptions about God, in my humble opinion is that God is a mere “Sky God”, being separate, or outside of us. We “reason” like that. But Jesus taught just the opposite. That’s why we hear things like “the kingdom of heaven is within…you”.

    This is why Paul (the “apostle”, a man like us, full of His Spirit of love) says this is the big “mystery”, that being “Christ IN YOU”, in fact going so far as to call it the “mystery of the ages”. What does that mean?

    How could you possibly know a God who lives in the sky? You cant, but you can know one who lives in YOU. How could you…not?

    So, I used the following example in my post to Aor the other night in my attempts to communicate this “mystery” of the ages, the natural world (the seen world revealing the unseen) clues.

    Ex: where do we find gold, sparkling, diamonds, brilliant sapphires, emeralds, silver, “precious metals”? The answer is of course…deep in the earth, buried right? So we have to “mine” it to actually “see” it but we know it is down there, somewhere in all that hard and crusty…earth.

    Now, we hear (again, if we choose to) that we “carry this “treasure” (His spirit)) in our own earthen vessels” meaning our body, which is “of” the earth or natural realm, the flesh realm, you know the old dust to dust, ashes to ashes as our “body’s” simply return to their original…state…of earth and decay.

    Then we hear “that which is of flesh is flesh, but that which is of the spirit is spirit. The first, natural birth being one of a fleshly human nature, the second being of a spiritual (God) and unseen nature.

    So, I ask you the same question, is there anything, or any”one” IN YOU worth mining, worth digging for? Does IT sparkle? Shine? Is it more precious than…gold?

    So now you understand (or maybe just can appreciate why I would say) that one of our problems is that its just “too good” to believe and so we…just dont, but oh if we…do.

    Ok, I’m not even going to count the # of words I used that time but you have to admit I’m getting better? Or worse depending on your view, lol.

    Thx if you made it this far…

    John

  • Aor

    I notice you avoided responding to me yet again, Deceiver John C.

    So will anyone else who reads this. As I said before, you do more to convince people that religion is flawed than anything we could say. Your shining example of hypocrisy and deception shows the readers more than you can imagine.

  • John C

    Aor-

    Your right, “religion” is flawed…terribly. Thats why the TRUTH had to do away with the LIE.

    ——————————————————————–

    Do you wear prescription glasses, contacts?

    If so, I hope they give you lenses or contacts for “each” eye cuz we have two…eyes…and two ears but only one…mouth.

    Why is this Aor? Could it be that we need to “hear” and “see” twice as badly as we need to…speak?

    ———————————————————————

    Clue this time: I am referring to the “unseen” realm of the spirit and not to you personally when I say this…so dont get all offended and take it that way…please.

    Im going to go eat now…so that way I will finally shut up!

    I know that makes you all happy! lol

  • Aor

    No, John. Once again you are here to lie and deceive.

    I make clear and valid points. You respond with… more bullshit.
    Lies, piled on top of lies. Who are you trying to convince?

    You deceive us. You deceive yourself. Your words are not in english because you redefine them whenever you need to.

    @daniel
    This John C makes me curious. I wonder if his IP address matches any of the other posters on this article? Like perhaps Grapeape, considering how Grapeape segued John to us so lovingly. I may be completely off on this, but his trolling makes me wonder just what he thinks he can gain from this.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    We obviously have different answers about whether or not this “spiritual” element exists.

    From what we know, from what we have observed, there are so many wildly differing interpretations that your concept is losing much of its meaning.

    When we ask you simple questions about religion, and you say that your spirituality is not in the form of religion, but it appears to be suspiciously identical to the tenets of Christianity, then our suspicions may be aroused, indeed.

    Your spirituality walks like Christianity, it talks like Christianity, and it smells like Christianity. Are you religious or are you not religious?

    You suggest that there is a form of “LOVE” out there for all of us, but you say that we have to accept your explicit form of spirituality to access it.

    John C reminds me very much of a cartoon from atheistcartoons.com.

    There are two mountain climbers. One says to the other, “you know, I am a simple seeker of truth”. There is an enormously large, almost immovable box tethered to the mountain climber.

    His friend asks what the box is, and the box says “dogma”.

    The mountain climber claims that it’s “just a few supplies”.

    Without this dogma, we would all be our own seekers of truth, free to come to our own conclusions. Without the writings and trappings of your traditional faith, John C, how do you know that you would come to the same conclusions?

    Why don’t you just set the “dogma” to the side for now, and try a more open-minded approach instead?

  • John C

    Btw…I think Tele’s and Metro’s little ICON’s, symbols next to their names are the coolest looking ones, (no pun intended there Mcblog).

    Why couldn’t Daniel have assigned a different one to me? Maybe something like…a pomegranate…who understands the symbolism tied to the pomegranate? Anyone? Its an ugly looking thing on the outside, but oh the beauty and super sweet seeds on the inside…yum yum. Have you ever sliced one open? Tasted of its…kind? Hmm.

    What is Father saying to us through this “earthly” or natural realm…clue of fruit…pomegranate’s and stuff?

    I know,..that I’m just nuttier than a freakin’…$#@%

    Got any pomegranate ICON’s Daniel? lol

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    In Greek mythology, doesn’t Persephone eat six seeds from the pomegranate while she is in Hades, thus originating the cycles of winter and summer?

    That’s one interpretation I’ve heard; please pardon me if I’ve gotten part of the details wrong on this.

  • John C

    Aor-

    I am neither grape nor ape. And neither are you.

    Daniel (still) retains too high a character Aor to stoop to your…poop. See…I can speak plainly…lol

    Besides, what possible “gain” do I get from hanging out here, with you when you despise me so? As you have already told me time and again I have not made, no not even one…convert here. And tell me, what is it that I would try to “convert” you to anyway? Some faulty ‘religious’ system or vain set of beliefs? How would that be helpful to you? It wouldnt.

    I have no ‘quota’ Aor…I just thought we could have some good, enlightening conversations…and we have…at least the conversation part anyway, not sure about the enlightening…lol

    J

  • Sunny Day

    The words, they kill brain cells.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Thanks, I finally found something in what you said that we will both understand…get ready cuz we are actually going to…communicate! And maybe for the first time! lol I’m going to capitalize it cuz its important not cuz im yelling at ya bro:

    YOU CALL IT ‘RELIGION’ BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO OTHER REFERENCE, NO OTHER NAME FOR IT AND THIS IS THE WORLDS MOST UNFORTUNATE DILEMMA.

    And since I wouldn’t want to ruin our little first time, communication thing here…I’m going to leave it at that and actually go eat like I told Aor…a hundred hungry stomach growls ago…lol

    All the pomegranate talk is making me hungry.

    We’ll talk about the pomegranate later…if you want to.

    J

  • John C

    …OR THE SOURCE OF THE WORLDS PROBLEM.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    “What is Father saying to us through this “earthly” or natural realm…clue of fruit…pomegranate’s and stuff?”

    - How about what your imagina… i mean father is telling you through the durian fruit? I would love to hear that one. LOL!!!

    Primates like John are hilarious!!!

  • Aor

    John C. I have no respect for your words because you have shown yourself to be a liar and deceiver.

    What can you gain? You are following your call to witness, which you lied about in the past on another thread. What reason does a troll have to troll? They enjoy the process, as you do. The fact that you have not converted anyone doesn’t stop people like you from hoping. You enjoy arguing, you enjoy feeling like you are having some sort of effect, good or bad or meaningless, you simply enjoy the process.

    But this is just another attempt on your part to distract.

    Its been a long time since anything you said had any effect, John. The ones still participating in this conversation saw through you long long ago.

  • Aor

    PS. If daniel has something to say to me, he can say it whenever and however he wishes. I doubt he would appreciate a proven liar and deceiver attempting to put words in his mouth.

  • John C

    Guys-

    Im sure you will be happy to hear I had a great dinner! I had chicken fried steak and vegee’s. Hey, why do they call it “chicken” fried steak when its really just ground up steak…fried steak anyway? Hmm maybe things are not always as they appear?

    So after I ordered my food the waiter asks me the most profound question…I EVER HEARD…he says “so, what are you thirsty for”?

    Exactly.

    ————————————————————————-

    And no, I dont want to hear about your fav ale at the micro-brewery either…lol

    Thirsty John

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @Jabster

    Excuse my late reply. Haven’t been able to sit and key one in for a while. Thank you for your help on the Extraterrestrial beings theory. Would you consider your response adequate to cover the “uplifting” theory, where somewhere in the process of evolution, ET interfered and generated something better than what was evolving?

    If the universe were sentient, I think we’d find out, but it would be “The Last Question.”

    Thank you for all of your kind responses to my attempts to provide substance to the thread of commentary.

    @Daniel Florien

    I’d like to riff a bit on something you mentioned earlier and get your opinion. The quote:

    “And as I researched Christianity more, I realized it was all myth based on anecdote. So the reason I threw away all of Christianity, instead of just changing churches or finding new Christian friends, is because they’re all the same to me — a religion based on myths, but adored as history.

    It would be the same if I worshiped the Greek gods and finally realized all those stories were just made up.”

    I’m curious – is throwing it away the right action? I mean, disbelieving the complete veracity and historicity, sure, that’s logical. But there’s usually additional components to the myths that teach lessons or relate histories or make them stories that may be worth passing on. Even if you realize that they’re all made up, wouldn’t stories of the Greek myths and gods become “skillful means”, to borrow a term from the Buddhists, as ways of getting at truths and lessons by packaging them as lies and stories? For that reason, wouldn’t they be worth keeping and possibly “believing” in, in the same way we suspend our disbelief in plays and moving pictures so that the attempted point(s) gets across?

  • John C

    Aor-

    Relax, pls. I did not put words in anyone’s mouth, much less Daniels who, by now knows me better than you…and why is that Aor? Since you and I have shared more posts than anyone else?

    If anything, i was paying him a complement not that it means anything coming from me….to him…to him. Did you catch that one?

    Anyone who runs a business or website or whatever where they have to deal w/the public on a daily basis, like Daniel does knows what I was saying.

    I may be foolish, but mean-spirited? Me thinketh…not.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Wow…you mentioned the #6 and pomegranates in the same post man…do you have any idea of the (combined) symbolism??

    You have said some amazing stuff before but you really blew my mind with that one…

    Pom^6

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    @ Silver Adept

    I agree with you that there are many positive things which we can learn from these mythologies and traditions, but I disagree that we need to believe them in the same way which someone “believes” a movie plot to receive positive benefits.

    There are positive lessons in Aesop, but I don’t worship him. Perhaps that would be a more appropriate analogy?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    Don’t thank me; thank the ancient Greeks. It’s their mythology, not mine.

    I didn’t come up with it — I just tried to remember a single anecdote of what I had learned previously, which probably isn’t even fully accurate.

    When we think about symbols and meanings, I am sure that the Greeks had specific reasons for using specific ones. I wish I knew more about that, though.

    You mention that the combination of the two is powerful symbolism, and if that is the case, I’m sure the ancient Greeks were well aware of that fact, and that may have played a role in how that particular myth was developed.

    It’s an interesting question: did the myths influences the symbols or did the symbols influence the myths, or both? I wish I knew more about it.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Thank you for the cordial nature in which you routinely respond to my…non…sense, I really appreciate you.

    So, if the “Greeks” made it up…then where did THEY get it from? Its kind of like that old Breck shampoo TV commercial if you are old enough to remember it…”and she told two friends and she told two friends and she told two freinds and…so on and so on to infinitum…

    So, where do they (lore, myth, fable, and yes fairy tales) really, originate…from. How far back to you have to go?

    Oh the Root, of Jesse…now there is an ancient tree.

    J

  • Aor

    I doubt anyone really knows you, John. You won’t be pinned down to any fact. You won’t accept the definitions of words, so you are unable to speak any recognizable language. Nobody can truly understand you because you don’t understand yourself.

    But this is just going around and around and around.

    If you decide to speak english one day, I’ll be waiting.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    You raise an interesting question about the origins of lore, myth, and fable. Indeed, how far back do we have to go?

    Humans have evolved and adapted gradually over tens of thousands of years. Especially in the last ten thousand years (since the agricultural revolution), the pace of human technology and adaptation has greatly accelerated.

    I have heard the hypothesis that the Garden of Eden isn’t really a story about “sin” so much as it is a story about the agricultural revolution.

    I wish I knew more about the subject of mythology, but it seems that many of these stories have common elements. The Middle East (especially Syria and Iraq) is the place where the oldest remnants of human civilization can be found. It is not surprising that many stories have similar mythological origins.

    Again, it just seems more and more likely to me that the Bible is a human-made book, and the OT is part mythology, part traditional teachings, and part loosely historical account. The NT in its context is a religious movement similar to Islam or certain forms of Devotional Hinduism or Buddhism or Jainism or the Mormons.

    Mythology and religion, I have become increasingly convinced, have developed through humans. Religion seems like an emergent property of human consciousness. It doesn’t seem supernatural to me. That’s my interpretation of the evidence we’ve got and the lack of supernatural evidence that I have, that any of us have.

  • John C

    Tele-

    They “come” from our latent paradaisical memories, that is the ones that have the familar Edenic character, the “once upon a time”, and the “happily ever after”….

    There is no other “reasonable” explanation…at least to me because everything that is, came from something that…was.

    J

  • http://treedreamer.com/?p=95 Mathurine

    @Yasser

    [[If Islam was the religion of false hood it would not have increased like it is now.]]

    What does the truth of Islam have to do with the fact that Muslims have some of the highest birth rates in the world? Let us be honest. That is the reason Islam is “increasing.”

    [[Speicially USA 60% of American woman are accepting Islam.]]

    No, 60% of American women are not Muslim. And the United States, like Canada, the UK, France, Australia, and other Western nations hemorrhages converts, especially women as they come to see the contradictions of the Quran and Sunnah. Although anecdotal, Muslim scholars in the US estimate that anywhere between 50-75% of converts leave Islam. So just because 10 people accepted Islam today doesn’t mean Islam is growing – since 5-8 of them will leave it (sooner the better).

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    I also believe that these things came from “something that…was”. That’s why I believe these beliefs came from humans.

    I cannot make myself believe that the “Eden” account is anything but metaphor. All evidence of human evolution and the properties of human behavior demonstrates this. Your explanation is not “reasonable” to me.

  • John C

    Tele-

    Ok? So then we agree…in essense. So that means that those ancient tales, lore, fables came from “somewhere IN man, or “from” his mind…you suppose?

    Because, as we know (and agree) by the law of bio-genesis that things only reproduce after their (own) kind…so HOW did the paradaisical kind (utopian) aspects come into the mind of…man when we “see” so much the opposite…kind of human..experience being experienced…today?

    Where did the idea of the “perfect” or Garden life originate if it wasn’t from the garden (edenic) experience?

    Just a thought…or is it? Just wondering.

    Thx

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Im sure you will be happy to hear I had a great dinner! I had chicken fried steak and vegee’s. Hey, why do they call it “chicken” fried steak when its really just ground up steak…fried steak anyway? Hmm maybe things are not always as they appear?”

    wow

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Aor:

    “John C” has always been “John C”. John as a very unique way of writing that I expect would give him away under any name. :)

    @Everyone:

    Holy smokes 625 comments! You all are amazing. This is a new record for this blog.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @John C.

    “So, I ask you the same question, is there anything, or any”one” IN YOU worth mining, worth digging for? Does IT sparkle? Shine? Is it more precious than…gold?”

    Most people are more precious than gold. But it needs no imagining of some invisible spirit within them to believe that.

    I feel you’re alluding to the old argument of whether an atheist can find intrinsic worth in anything human. And of course we can.

    Each human being is unique, there are none like us. We break humans at our peril. From the economic principles of scarcity alone one can build a moral code without reference to a god.

    The problem is that you can’t point me to the spirit. Its existence cannot be proven. So you ask me to believe in it, and I reply that I see no reason to.

    What is to be gained from me forcing myself to believe the unbelievable? And isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

    Why can’t I simply try to be the best person I can be and not worry about living to the impossible standards of a god or gods?

    @Brigno:
    There’s a reason that Durian is called “the fruit of heaven and hell” :-) Thanks for the lol (I’m allowed to type “lol” because I actually did).

    @Silver Adept:
    In response to your last question: We can keep all the mythology we want. But it still makes no sense to live our lives based on it, nor to apply the teachings of myth (valuable in themselves in many instances) to our lives without thought, or in the belief that failure to do so will bring punishment, and that we deserve such punishment for failing to properly apply the myths to our lives.

    I learnt the story of Icarus in grade school, and still remember the picture in my reader. The point was well taken: Pride goeth before a fall. But to take that story as anything more than a metaphorical morality tale would make me a fool.

    What if I decided that aircraft were an abomination, based on that story (and not uncommon in some religions in the early days of flight). Would it be right for me to work to have them banned?

    @John C.
    And as for where the myths came from John, people made them up. Just the same way we told tales to one another as children to explain the weird behaviour of grownups, other kids, and the natural world.

  • John C

    @Metro-

    Thx…you said “Why can’t I simply try to be the best person I can be and not worry about living to the impossible standards of a god or gods?

    What if the “impossible standard” was “sown” into you…HIMSELF and there was no more “standard” or “law” to live UP^ to except the law of LOVE…who IS the Standard? Let that one sink in a little.

    Your words communicate your “perception” of the very nature of this (what if) God character being of a “impossible” standard…Keeper? Can you see that? Where did THAT (flawed perception) originate? Instead, what if (IT) were…pure….LOVE in place of “standard”? How would that change things…for you?

    Nothing wrong with being “moral” or “good”, the problem is, that in itself assumes a reference point…no? Then what or Who is…good? Im sorry I’m honestly not purposefully trying to talk (wierd) but that is the best way I know how to say it.

    Met…I appreciate you and the high manner in which you attempt to communicate to me (the fool) lol.

    John

  • http://silveradept.livejournal.com Silver Adept

    @Teleprompter and @Metro:

    Thanks again. I guess I was thinking more of relatively harmless things like the story of Santa Claus when it came to belief, as archetypes that you invoke as shorthand or to get your mental state where you want it to go, but not necessarily literal belief in those entities. You hit where I was aiming for – extract the meat from the fat, keep that and use it with thought. It sounded like a dismissal of all myths, which even Plato didn’t advocate. Seemed wasteful to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C

    Current topic aside, I wanted to offer a tip that would help you communicate better, if you don’t mind.

    I recommend that you don’t use so many “quotes” and (parentheses) when you write. Also don’t make words BIG when they don’t NEED to be.

    It would make what you say about 1000 times easier to read and understand. I know you are trying to express your tone through text, as if you were talking, but it really doesn’t help.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Silver Adept:
    No worries. It needed saying, in any case, and you said it. :-)

    @John C.

    Your words communicate your “perception” of the very nature of this (what if) God character being of a “impossible” standard…Keeper?

    I suppose. But the problem isn’t my perception. It’s the “what-if” god.

    To me there is no difference between moral behaviour with a god or sans a god. Which makes it difficult to answer your question about what would change. If I somehow gained knowledge of god, I’d imagine the changes to be very profound inside. But externally they might be invisible. Or I might give up pork. Or sex. Or I might strap dynamite to my waist and wander off to martyrdom.

    But first I have to become convinced that there’s a god. Which is where you come in: How should I change my perception to allow me to perceive god? You can’t seem to explain it clearly. I keep getting this “just let go and believe” vibe from your writings.

    Why do you feel I should do that? Would you send me all your money and live according to my directives if I simply asserted that it would be good for you to do that? Should I go through life with my bullshit detector turned off simply because I believe most people are good, given the opportunity to be so?

    What is it that you perceive that is god? And why can I not perceive it? And why should I believe that it’s an external being and not simply something you brought with you? Back up the assertions please. And plainly. You sometimes seem to approach coherence, but always seem to shy away at the last minute.

  • John C

    McBlog-

    Thanks, I think you are probably correct there in most cases. As I have stated, I am new to this whole blog world and am more at home within the creative allowances of WORD, thus the textual limitations here are a bit…suffocating?

    So, I’m sure I have over-used, or mis-used at times, particularly given the ridiculous number of posts! In other cases, the variance or contrast may have been justified.

    Thx for your constructive feedback,

    John

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    John, that last post was a tremendous improvement in communication!

  • John C

    @McBlog-

    Along those lines…did you (or anyone) see the PBS piece last night on the history of the font/typeface….Helvetica? Fascinating.

    Very relavent to our ongoing discussions here. The point being that “why is Helvetica so universally well-received”, what exactly is it about the shape, contours, roundedness of the font itself…sans serif’s (or jagged, sharp, edgy) lettering. Why, out of all the other fonts out there, does this ONE stand out so…kindly and invitingly?

    Makes me think about things like Album Covers and why are some so…gravitational in that way? They seem to draw you in, what IS that power? Me, talking about the art of communication…how paradoxical…lol.

    As we have all seen here, just because something is legible, doesnt necessarily mean its communicative. There is (apparently) more than meets the eye to the science of textual communications, graphics, etc. Maybe more than meets the mind.

    Makes me wonder…with the different font’s out there, what is the Spirits font? How does He express Himself to us? What does Spirit font look like anyway?

    John

  • John C

    @Daniel-

    Thx, and to think, it only took me a week and 4 G’zillion posts later to finally get it right! lol

    Take Care…

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I think Spirit would be a heavy Gothic, but sans serif, font.

    Ha! Look at number seven here:”Spirit Medium” font.

    It’s kinda gothic, sans serif. Maybe it’s the medium we’re looking for? After all, the medium is the message, right?

    And who better than a medium to connect us to the spirits?

    Although I myself find a bartender more effective and cheaper in the short term.

  • John C

    @Metro-

    Thanks, very insightful and well-positioned response Met, helps me to hear your inner wheels turning a little better. Let me try without quoting scripture to you since that will lead us both nowhere to at least attempt to address, as best I can the process as plainly as possible.

    I am not expecting you to fully understand, but sincerely wanting to respond to you in kind given the breadth of your most insightful thought.

    I’m going to say something that will seem quite shocking (coming from me, no…lol) but please let me explain. We are literally as two entirely different or unique species altogether, though we are both…mere men. This accounts for the lack of true communication though we both posses the same equipment, we are on very disparate frequencies.

    For one, lives from his natural human nature and physical ancestry taking upon himself the associated identities…his given name, physical address, vocation, etc. He supposes these make up his identity. He says I am such & such name from such & such place and I do such & such from 9-5 each day therefore that is who I am. This man has been born, one time in the physical sense. He is one…man. He is “of” this physical earth (dust to dust) and is a natural man.

    The other man is more accurately depicted as two men, in one. While he has also, naturally come into physical existence in the same manner as the other, he through what may be best described to you as intuition, or an inner sensitivity and receptivity has received by faith (intuition) the substance of the inner life, which is of a spiritual nature and in fact is, life itself.

    This second birth as it is sometimes called occurs in the unseen realm of the spirit which, while unsee-able to the natural eyes of man is nonetheless of a very substantive or spiritual nature or matter for it is truly eternal, that is not subject to death and decay. The spirit realm being of a more substantial nature, this statement being perplexing to you I realize.

    Now, this newly twice born man with two identities (natural & spiritual) has the option to choose from which identity, either his natural or spiritual he will live out of or identify with as his “true” nature and self. This decision here is the critical differentiator for the purpose of our discussions. Is he who he was born, who his parents, teachers, etc have always told him he was or is he who his new heart is telling him he is? Which one will he trust and follow? This determines, in the end who he will ultimately become.

    As we know, what or Who we believe makes up our inner belief system or consciousness which is closely tied to our perceived identities. The real question being, is their one out there that truly is…the true, authentic, original one? If so, how can you know? And Why does it matter that he assumed that particular identity over all the other possible identities?

    ______________________________________________

    There’s a “plain” sampling for you as an appetizer. lol

    But, its more “science” than spirit in this elemental form. The true language of the spirit is much more…fairytale-like and colorful, more creative, bounding with…hope, life, love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion. But I always hear back that you dont “hear” that foriegn tongue so I am trying hard not to “speak” it yet speak something of substance (remember spirit has substance) to you at the same time.

    Next time…if you care to, we can delve more into the striking contrast between a “religious” man and a “spiritual” man for they truly are as night & day. The former consisting of a rules-keeping mandate that strongly tends to oppression and despair, while the latter leads to the liberating…life.

    Thank you Metro…I gave it my best effort in your language.

    John

  • Sunny Day

    Bi Polar.

  • John C

    Sunny Day-

    Perhaps you should consider changing your screename to “Moony Night” cuz instead of living by the light of the sun, (His light within), you insist on living by the light of the moon (your own dim light in contrast to His).

    Didnt you know that the external reveals the internal?

    Thx Moony, lol

    John

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    John C-

    Perhaps you should consider changing your screename to “Loony” since the moon does not have any light of its own.

    Like all your analogies, this one is a mayor FAIL.

    Thx Loony, lol

    Brigno

  • John C

    @Brigno-

    You said it!

    We dont have any light of our own….or our light is zero compared to His. Thats the symbolism used in that dreaded thing called scripture. You made my point exactly dude.

    Besides, what are you doing reading other peoples mail? lol

    Be “good” Brig…

    J

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @John C.

    I am not expecting you to fully understand, but sincerely wanting to respond to you in kind given the breadth of your most insightful thought.

    Darling, was that sarcasm?

    Okay, so I realize you’re trying to translate for me. But you have to realize that what you’re saying still doesn’t make any meaningful sense.

    We are literally as two entirely different or unique species altogether, though we are both…mere men. This accounts for the lack of true communication though we both posses the same equipment, we are on very disparate frequencies.

    No. We are both humans who share a common language adequate to approach almost any situation. We are empathic beings too, so if you tell me you feel X then I share echo of that feeling of X. Which ought to provide us some iota of a common platform. In total defiance of the evidence thus far.

    So if you tell me you feel your god, experience Him in some way, and I don’t share that feeling, then either something’s wrong with your (or my) reasoning or emotional states, or you’re not communicating from a point of commonality from which you can lead me to that experience.

    For the record, I’m emotionally and mentally as normal as they come. Not on any medication for either, not under any form or treatment.

    For one, lives from his natural human nature and physical ancestry taking upon himself the associated identities…

    Seems like the thing to do, within the limitations you describe. It’s a series of labels to describe in some form the entity inside our heads. We’re four-dimensional beings. The tags we ascribe to ourselves merely label the point in time and space that our minds and bodies occupy. So okay, I’m willing to accept this as a description.

    The other man is more accurately depicted as two men, in one. While he has also, naturally come into physical existence in the same manner as the other, he through what may be best described to you as intuition, or an inner sensitivity and receptivity has received by faith (intuition) the substance of the inner life, which is of a spiritual nature and in fact is, life itself.

    And here we run into a problem. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You begin to talk here of a spirit world which is unseeable, but not unknowable. I have no experience of this spirit world. I acknowledge that invisible things may be reasoned. But they cannot reliably be found through intuition. I don’t believe in ghosts, although I’d like to believe something of me might survive beyond physical death. Why? Because merely intuiting that it could be so, that I would in fact like it to be so, is insufficient to convince me that it is so.

    You speak of a second birth into this spirit world. I know of no-one who can offer me anything beyond “You just gotta believe” as evidence of this second birth. Thus far including yourself.

    Now, this newly twice born man with two identities (natural & spiritual) has the option to choose from which identity, either his natural or spiritual he will live out of or identify with as his “true” nature and self.

    Well as far as I know we’re not communicating through the Mystical Higher Plane, so I guess I’m talking to the one the Post Office delivers to, right? If you were writing in letters of flame on my wall with an invisible hand, I might be more inclined to accept the assertion.

    As we know, what or Who we believe makes up our inner belief system or consciousness which is closely tied to our perceived identities.

    No. Our consciousness persists in spite of our beliefs. Which is why this comment board and this blog exist.

    However, our beliefs are certainly tied to our identities. In some cases they seem to almost substitute for them.

    In throwing away my belief in my religion, I knocked down a house nearly two decades in the making, and it took me another decade to level the foundations, because my identity had always been bound up with my religious faith. Do I want to believe here’s more to life and whatever’s beyond it? Sure. I just don’t see any reason to.

    But, its more “science” than spirit in this elemental form.

    No. It’s not. You offer me assertions without proof. The invisible may be deduced through reason, through investigation. THAT would be science. What procedures will allow me to perceive this second world of yours? What habits of thought or powers of reason can I bring to the table in order to find this spirit world?

    And it seems to me as though your answer is always “None–you just have to abandon thought and simply believe.”

    But you still don’t tell me why I should. Nor why that’s a good idea.

  • Aor

    I wonder if John’s idea that we are two distinct species is another confirmation of his bigotry, an attempt to make us seem like ‘other.’ Believers = good, unbelievers = burn in hell forever.

  • John C

    Aor-

    Never have I said anything like that my friend. You can only put words in my mouth to the degree that they are true.

    JC

  • Sunny Day

    @Aor

    “I wonder if John’s idea that we are two distinct species is another confirmation of his bigotry, an attempt to make us seem like ‘other.’ ”

    @John C

    “Never have I said anything like that my friend. You can only put words in my mouth to the degree that they are true.”

    Anything like this?

    “We are literally as two entirely different or unique species altogether, though we are both…mere men. ”

    It seems only ONE of you is a dishonest scumbag.

  • Aor

    Any response John? Or do you still think that by ignoring your mistakes they will somehow go away?

  • My2centsPenny

    I would submit to you an exercise for those of atheist viewpoint and doubters to pray. Not in literally asking for specific material concerns but a simple no fault nor negative unselfish statement. The only way for this exercise to be fruitful and prove an existence of a God is that first, you must believe that (1) there is a God, (2) prayer works, (3) understand that you don’t always get what you want in prayer but what you need, and (4) this exercise must have at least 3 months exercise at least once a day with the understanding that a single doubt negates the whole exercise.

    As I said, I would… but how many could try an exercise to believe in something without a smidge of doubt when they are pre-disposed and adamantly persistent to scoff and to believe otherwise. Our battle is not with flesh against flesh. May you and your followers be blessed, Daniel with God’s grace. In Christian love, Penny

  • Sunny Day

    “I would submit to you an exercise for those of atheist viewpoint and doubters to pray. Not in literally asking for specific material concerns but a simple no fault nor negative unselfish statement. The only way for this exercise to be fruitful and prove an existence of a God is that first, you must believe that (1) there is a God, (2) prayer works, (3) understand that you don’t always get what you want in prayer but what you need, and (4) this exercise must have at least 3 months exercise at least once a day with the understanding that a single doubt negates the whole exercise.”

    WTF? Thats just gotta be some of the dumbest things I’ve read since Kemp and John C.

    An exercise for Atheists that proves the existence of gawd but first, you must believe in god, prayer works but sometimes not always, and you have to do it for 3 months.

    Are you retarded?

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    SD: “An exercise for Atheists that proves the existence of gawd but first, you must believe in god, prayer works but sometimes not always, and you have to do it for 3 months.

    Are you retarded?”

    - My thoughts exactly. Maybe it’s a Poe (see poe’s law).

  • Aor

    @John C.

    It’s been a while now. Are you going to respond?

    You got caught, John. By your own words. You haven’t spoken on this subject since. Your guilt and shame are almost palpable. An honest person would at least admit they made a mistake, perhaps chose a phrase poorly. Honest people admit their mistakes and try to improve. You do not.

    Again, you have been caught in a lie. Not the first time, is it John? How can that keep happening to you? Are you ever going to learn?

  • Pingback: Why is your religion more valid than another? « Unreasonable Faith

  • Aor

    John C? Hellooooooo… any response?

  • http://www.nbphotographix.com nbphotographix

    The Existence of God…
    I will not bother writing anything, cause it seems when you guys begin to feel even a tiny bit of pressure to defend your views, you immediately attack bad grammar and sloppy punctuation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwQnXOl2e9Q&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdQ7feXPou4&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6xm6aGtXss&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhfNZR75r6k&feature=related

  • Aor

    Sloppy thinking is more likely to be the target than sloppy punctuation.

    As for Ravi Zacharias, he claims that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. This is a blatant falsehood that he has been repeatedly informed of. Once a person repeats something that has been shown to be false you really must question how trustworthy they are on anything else.

    As for being being pressured to defend our views, I think you may be suffering from wishful thinking. In my experience it is those who fall victim to magical thinking that have the most difficulty defending their views. The skeptical approach is one that you yourself use for every religion other than your own, I assume. Maybe its time to take it that one last step and open your own beliefs to rational criticism.

  • http://www.mehk.org Tanveer Maqbool

    I will try my best to make my case so strong for my LORD (GOD)

  • BSG

    I have come to this discussion a bit late but I thought I would have my pennys worth.

    Ironically it is cutting edge science which has provided a theory which suggests the persence of God. This may get a bit complicated.

    Ok in quantum physics there is a theory calledd “quantum superposition”. Unlike Newtonian particles, where large particles position can be predicted, quantum particles, while in the “unknown state” can exist in numerous locations simitaniously thoughout the universe, this is called the wavefunction of the particle. The position and nature of this particle is only confirmed when the particle is observed. A simple example of this is Schroedinger’s Cat. As strange as this seems this is accepted scientific theory.

    A few theories have been suggested to explain this, the first is the multi-verse theory, where all possibilities within the wave function exist in seperate universes. The other theory is called the Copenhagen Interpretation, this theory states that the particle exists in a kind of “quantum smear” until observed where the wavefunction collaspes into the “one true reality”.

    So apply this theory to the creation of the universe. When the universe was still a singularity, moments before the Big Bang. According to quantum theory this partcle will remain as a quantum smear , existing in all possibilities. In order for the wave function to collaspe, and create the conditions suitable for the Big Bang, there must be an external observer or God. If you don’t accept that theory the only thing you are left with is that we are just one of an (probable) infinite number of multiverse.

    For background I am neither Thestish or Athesit, more Agnostic. Although agnostic in the truest sense of the word, I don’t know the nature of God. For me, there are many unexplainable aspects of the universe which neither traditonal religion or science can explain, so I am keeping an open mind.

  • Stephen Rodriguez

    If nothing else… look at the skeleton of the human knee – nothing but design could have made that. Look at ANY part of the human anatomy… or anything that lives, nothing but design made it. If you do not believe…. then…. go to HELL! <—- now I know and you must admit that those few words made you angry… now ask yourself why… given that, as you say you do not believe. The anger you felt reading that only PROVES that everyone believes in GOD, some try to hide it by claiming to be an atheist… but everyone believes… short, sweet, and simple.

    • Jabster

      Not overly good trolling as it was a bit too obvious, no where near enough use of CAPS for example. I’ll give you a C+ as at least you made the effort but you’ve got to pull your socks up if you want to troll properly.

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ AVlCENNA

      So bad knees are due to an incompetent god?

    • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

      Knees are incredibly inneficiant. The whole human skeleton is under-spec for the job it does, frankly – anybody with some basic knowledge of biology can see that we’re a short step from a skeleton that works very well for quadrupeds, not so much for bipeds. So yeah, you fail at knowing shit about shit.

      • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ AVlCENNA

        But rather good at making tools to do our job for us and indeed convert animals into impromptu shish kebabs using pointed sticks.

  • Alexandra

    I can’t prove God exists. No one can. If we could, then religion would be considered a science, not theology. That’s why it’s called faith. I don’t want to preach to you, and I don’t want to tell you that you are wrong. But I know you feel like something is missing; it gets easier to ignore over time and some people live their entire life not having to confront it, but that feeling is still there somewhere. I used to think religion was a joke, and I never believed in God myself until something horrible happened to me. At first I destroyed myself, inside and out. Out of desperation, I did anything I could to escape the pain. I tried everything and nothing helped. Nothing. So I turned to God. It wasn’t magical. I didn’t wake up one day and find that all my problems had disappeared. The pain I had felt was still there, just as strong as ever. It was an intense loneliness, a suffering. But suffering is pain with a purpose, pain with faith. The knowledge, which is found through God, that your sacrifices are not in vain and that one day the pain will end… Desperation is what happens when people suffer without that knowledge, that purpose. Desperation is suffering without faith. I no longer feel desperate, and I no longer feel as though something is missing.

    • Custador

      “I know you feel like something is missing;”

      *sighs*

      No. You don’t “know” that we feel like something is missing. You think that we must feel like something is missing, because you’re unable to imagine what it’s like to have no belief in the supernatural. Do I honestly feel like something is missing? No. You’re wrong.

      [Insert Standard Issue Christian Conversion Story-Topper]

      Congrats, you chose fantasy over reality to escape your woes. You’re not alone, plenty of people do it. But most people know it’s fantasy and don’t try to justify retreating into the Twilight Zone by pretending it’s actually the ultimate reality. Only religious people do that.

    • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

      Why is it that suffering means something if you have faith in someone who can end it with a thought but chooses not to? That would make me more desperate and despairing, to believe in a loving entity that didn’t care enough about me to, for example, stop me from living in constant physical pain. Actually, it did, and when I eventually came to the conclusion that there was no superman out there who would save me, I actually found it easier to deal with meaningless suffering because I could accept it was meaningless, my unlucky lot in life, and not the will of a vicious bullying control-freak who put me in this position and refused to help.

  • Len

    This is comment number 666. If that’s not proof of god then I don’t know what is.

    • UrsaMinor

      No, it’s proof of math.

      • Elemenope

        Pshaw. Real math geeks write it 665.999…

        • UrsaMinor

          Not quite. Real math geeks will write it in base 13, with the digit C as the repeating triadecimal.

          • Elemenope

            Or it could be written as its unique prime factorization: 2(3(3(37)))

            Or as the 36th triangular number.

            Or as the sum of the squares of the first seven primes.

  • http://illbehonest.com Chris

    Easy enough. Who do you think the following verses are about?

    “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

    “Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

    “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
    As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle[c] many nations;
    kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see,
    and that which they have not heard they understand.

    Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
    For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
    He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
    and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

    And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death,
    although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
    Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

    Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
    Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
    because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;
    yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

    The answer is obvious. Jesus. The next question is when where these verses written. The first is Zechariah 12:10. Zechariah was written in the 6th century BC. The second quote is from Psalm 22, written by King David about 1000 years before Jesus was born. The last is Isaiah 52:13-53:13 which was written in 700 BC.

    Let’s break the verses down. Crucifixion didn’t exist when these verses were written and they all refer to Christ being pierced. The bible also says that lots will be cast for His clothing. Most striking is the verse “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.” Again Jesus Christ was cruicifed with two theives and placed into a rich man’s tomb.

    There is extra-biblical evidence that confirms the events of Jesus Christ’s life and death.

  • Marty

    Faith is the substance of
    things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Faith in a living God must not
    be a blind faith. It is not to be rooted in fairy tales. Faith is being sure of
    what cannot be proven by looking at the evidence of what can be seen and felt.
    Faith must take over in those areas of life for which there is no opportunity
    for proof. It should be a reasoned belief that accounts for all of life based
    on the evidence produced in science, history, social science, and personal
    experience. Here are several rational arguments that challenge the assumptions of the atheist movement. Proof is not the goal for neither argument can prove the existence or non-existence of an eternal being whose essence goes beyond the framework of time and space as we know them. Atheism is a much a faith statement as is Christianity.

    The first argument has to do with the assumption that God must have sprung into being. The biblical God is one who claims to be everlasting and self-existent. In the God Delusion,

    Richard Dawkins says,..” If you have problems seeing how matter
    could just come into existence – try thinking about how complex intelligent
    matter, or complex intelligent entities of any kind, could suddenly spring into
    existence, its many, many orders of magnitude harder to understand.

    The assumption is that God sprang into being in a manner similar to the universe itself. People of faith generally believe that God was not created nor sprang into being. He is the only self-existing thing. Dawkins rejects the notion of God as an argument because God does not fit the pattern of what is observed “in the universe” as more complex ordered things arising from simpler
    ordered things. The problem with asserting this statement is that the Big Bang is not exactly a simple event. It is, in and of itself unfathomably complex. It
    is inexplicable, unbelievable and beyond comprehension and proof according to all that we observe in the universe after the event. It is a singularity
    and for lack of a better word, a singularity is something miraculous.The only thing we observe being formed out of absolute nothingness is nothing. A
    believer would perhaps state that one area where something can arise out of
    nothing is in the area of creative thought. This is a notion which fits the
    view that this Universe was spoken into existence by an intelligent being.
    Dawkins cannot assume that God must have a beginning and not be pre-existent when his own theory must at some point also run into the problem of what has always been. He believes in something he cannot see as being true. It is his faith in blind random chance that forces his conclusion.

    Dawkins and others use flawed
    logic to explain causes based on what is observed within the present space and
    time continuum. These arguments use the observations of this universe to talk
    about the nature of things which happened at a time or place where this
    universe has no perceivable application. All of the Data that we ever collect
    will come from this universe and this universe alone. Mathematicians know that data is great to use to Interpolate (to explain the environment and
    timeline from the framework where the data was collected) but dangerous
    assumptions can be made when data is used to extrapolate. A God who creates
    would exist before the beginning of this universe; He would have a pre-existing
    eternity to become or to have always been immeasurably complex to us. The
    argument that the universe could not be made by a more complex intelligent
    designer is not valid. He says that you cannot postulate something far more
    complicated as a beginning than the thing you are trying to explain. The logic
    is centered on the universe and its starting point. The starting point for a transcendent Gods existence would come outside of the observable universe is not limited by what we observe in this space and time. The starting point for God can come from eternity past or outside time as we know it altogether.

    The argument that a complex creator could not exist before the apparently simply ordered things of this universe which grew in complexity is not valid. If a person is walking along the beach and sees writing in the sand for the first time, the assumption is that it was written by a person of intelligence. The writing is very simple, strokes in the sand. The message is complicated and the writer of the message is unbelievably complex. You cannot rule out an origin or an originator simply because you do not like the idea. Think of the complexity of DNA, which for all practical purposes is an instruction book for creating unique living beings. The codons form words which detail every aspect of putting together every cell, every structure and system that makes us who we are. Every strand of DNA is an unbelievably complex book to be written without an author. One strand of DNA creation for the simplest of life forms is so complex that it demands more time than the 3 to 4 billion years on earth that are presently being postulated.

    Why should this unbelievably complex system arise by purely random processes? 3 to 4 billion years is used as a form of proof that long enough periods of time has been taken for life to arise purely by random processes. The time frame given, however, is nothing but a blink in the eternity demanded by random chance for thesemechanisms to arise.

    Again, remember that the argument of the atheist states
    that this process is dominated purely by random, natural events. The formation
    of simple replicating proteins and amino acids is complex, not to mention the
    structure that needs to be in place to support the replication process once
    they have begun. The atheist view actually agrees that the probable existence
    of life is infinitesimally small; they just found an explanation to stack the
    odds. The natural claim dictated by random chance and strictly mechanical
    forces is that a virtually limitless number of universes could be forming all the time in realms unseen by us. The truth is that life is unbelievably unlikely without the constant supply of universes to beat the odds. The Multi-verse theory is driven by the need to have a limitless supply of universes so that life can become remotely probable. There is no valid evidence to support this explanation over the existence of a transcendent God. The belief in a Multi-verse is taken purely by faith and is something unseen, unproven and untestable.

    Atheists argue that God could
    not or would not create in a manner consistent with what is observed. I see a
    God who speaks about His creation as if it is His handiwork, His novel, His
    work of art. He laid down a canvas, provided a backdrop and setting, He tends
    to the smallest details. This creative process seems to suggest that a rational
    Creator might fashion the creation of the universe from simple to complex as
    observed. Read the book of Genesis and tell me that it does not vaguely sound
    like the framework for life evolving on this planet. Life in Genesis starts
    with the smallest of life in the ocean, the green plants. We are even told that
    the green plants have been given for food. Amazing! Life comes out of the ocean
    onto land in bigger and bolder strokes. Life before man was beautiful, stunning
    and progressive. God said it was good. God’s finest and most complex work
    culminates in the creation of Man. Man was created in the image of God. He
    created the human brain with the capacity to hold the image of God, a spirit
    able to discern right from wrong and to freely choose his own path. Man is the
    most complex being on this planet. Creation progresses as observed from the
    simple to the complex and it continues to this day. I do not understand these
    processes, but it is the substance of my hope and it is evidence of what I
    cannot see. You see Genesis as a fairy tale because God cannot exist and I see Genesis as an overall schematic that gives purpose and meaning because God had a plan.

    The question is not can God
    exist but how would a transcendent God interact with this world if He exists?
    Science in and of itself is not big enough to grasp the totality of this kind
    of truth. Men and women are thinking feeling beings that are aware. They have a sense for the eternal. It is a desire placed firmly in the each heart. Why? Our
    own experience proves that consciousness exists and comes from somewhere. An infinite being, God would have to take on severe limitations to relate with
    finite beings, humans. The infinite must limit itself and become finite because
    finite limited men and women cannot become infinite. A transcendent being could
    come to us in our form because we cannot go to Him in His. A being of perfect
    love would come in a way that pours out perfect love. Greater love has no man
    then he who would give His life for a friend. Richard Dawkins loses sight of
    the meaning and purpose of Jesus in his remarks on the unfairness of His
    substitutionary death for the sins of men. Jesus is God’s demonstration of the greatest form of love and compassion. Jesus is the ultimate expression of the Glory of an infinite God who desires relationship with free- thinking men. It is the ultimate expression of love to a world that is lost.

    … in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—so no one can boast. (NIV Ephesians 2:7-9)

    He knows our pain, He feels
    our hurt, He knows our struggles and He leads the way. He loves us so that we
    may love through Him. He is not religious, he is relational and He asks us to
    love the least. Love the hurting. Love the lowly; Love those who have wronged
    us. He asks men not to be bound by natural selection, but to be born again in
    spirit as God is spirit. God says he will work in men to change them in ways
    they cannot change themselves.

    Men and women appear to be wired to search for a sense of meaning and purpose. People will forfeit their life when they feel existence has become meaningless. A documentary showed an atheist running a camp to promote atheism to kids. This lady running the camp said, “ …well, it might be nice to think that you would be reunited with your family and loved ones after you die but it is just not so. There is nothing after this life and that gives me comfort. I am free to do as I please here.” Why is that comforting? How is that a comfort? Maybe, most people are fools to desire to live beyond this lifetime and to reunite with their loved ones. Maybe, they are fools to wish so hard for this continuation of relationships. Dawkins would say that the deep desire for eternal life does not prove God exists, it also does not prove He does not. The deepest desires of the human heart can be met in God. He can even make sense of the foolish things of this world. The death of an innocent young child is tragic, and it is not the way it is supposed to be. It hurts beyond words. But we see this in our time and in our limited view of eternity. God sees an eternal being. He sees the child from the perspective of eternity and He still holds the life of the child in His hands. If the child live to one hundred or dies at birth, the same God holds the child in His grasp for eternity. His perspective is not ours. His ways are not ours. Men like Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens only see life from the perspective of this earthly timeline. A god who only exists in this time and space would rightly be judged as capricious, mean spirited and arbitrary. I too, reject that god. People realize that something about death is terribly wrong. Death separates us from those we love and People are justified feeling pain when they feel the sting of death. Death hurts, but God does not intend death to be the final answer.

    Three main options appear to exist for eternity; either God does not exist and all men cease to exist when they die, God exists impersonally, where men need to justify there own existence or earn his favor or God loves the universe and is personally in love with mankind. The first option is that there truly is no God and life is utterly devoid of meaning. The fact that anyone exists now would ultimately become pointless. Someday, all mankind will be gone and all of the awareness of those who have ever been will be gone. No one will be left to be aware. Be good, be bad, be evil, it doesn’t matter. Giving “thanks to the void” as Dawkins would suggest, is an utterly pointless act.
    Living for others who will soon be gone makes no sense. Mistreating those who
    technically will no longer exist in a very short while should be no crime at
    all. Why should anyone care about random forces that will themselves one day
    disappear into the vast emptiness of eternity?

    The religious believe they can
    work their way to God. They somehow think they can contribute to the universe
    in a meaningful way that will impress the one who made the universe. This path isexhausting, defeating and overwhelming because men and women instinctively are convicted by wrong they have caused or the lack of worth they feel when they simply don’t measure up. The path of religion where man justifies himself before god is also treacherous. Men begin to feel the mandate is theirs and god becomes subservient to their views and not the other way around. The atheists who rally against the religious who
    justify their own cruelty and violence by invoking the blessing of God are
    justified. Listen to what angers God? Why is He says He is full of Wrath? God is angry with the unjust systems of the world and the cruelty of those who lord their power over the weak. He is angry at those who call themselves His and lack His compassion.

    When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you;
    even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! … Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (NIV Isaiah 1:15-17)

    God says those who are the bullies of the world will one day pay account to Him. It is too easy for men and women to become intoxicated on their own worthiness before God. Following a code of behavior, a set of rules can never make a man or woman good enough or big enough to walk on equal
    footing with God. Logically, if God is big to create the universe, no man, no nation, no world can ever stack up to His designs and His plans.

    God asks men to join Him and
    Love people as He loves them. He asks men to be humble and give thanks. He asks
    men to be His arms, His legs and His Mouth to visit the lonely and hurting, to
    bring food to the hungry, to love the unlovable, and to speak up for those who
    can’t speak for themselves. Only
    God is big enough to hold a man or woman for all of eternity. Eternity is a
    long, long time. A God who holds men and women for eternity must love them
    enough to accept them in spite of all their faults and failings. The interesting thing is, the more a person
    comes to grip with the love poured out on them by God; the easier it becomes to
    love those who may be considered less than worthy.

    Finally, how can God reject
    those who don’t love him? It is not God who
    has done the rejecting. That is the tragedy. God simply gives men and women
    what they want. He says He will lead the way and open the gates to heaven for
    all who will follow. “For God so loved the world,
    that He gave His one and only son, so that He who believes in Him, shall not
    perish but have everlasting life”. (NIV
    John 3:16) How does God reconcile those who have not had the opportunity to
    know, to hear, to grasp his goodness? I do not truly know but I believe He is
    good and He has asked me to share about who He is. He is able to reach out to
    and save all who look for and long for Him.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    Ok, lets hear it. What is your case?


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