The Ontological Argument: Something From Nothing

The Ontological Argument: Something From Nothing September 24, 2014

ontological nothingWhat does heaven look like? Does the heaven imagined by Fred “God hates fags” Phelps match that of Mother Teresa, who said, “The world gains much from [the poor’s] suffering”? Do these heavens match that of Maximilian Kolbe, the friar who volunteered to die in the place of a stranger in Auschwitz? These are three Christians with three possibly incompatible views of heaven.

Suppose the properties of Paradise are what we imagine them to be. The British comedy Red Dwarf explores this idea of the perfect life in one episode. In “Better than Life,” the three characters enter a total immersion game that’s better than life. They get whatever they want—food, cars, cash, girlfriends, power. Things go wrong when one of the characters can’t accept good things happening to him and corrects the balance by imagining his father’s disapproval, then being saddled with a nagging wife and seven children, and finally that all of the characters are buried up to their necks with jam on their faces, about to be eaten by ants.

This was just a television show, but if you reject the idea of imagining into existence the properties of a perfect life, you won’t care for this Christian apologetic argument.

Ontological Argument

Here’s the original argument as formulated by Anselm of Canterbury a thousand years ago. First define “God” as the greatest possible being that we can imagine. Next, consider existence only in someone’s mind versus existence in reality—the latter is obviously greater. Finally, since “God” must be the greatest possible being, he must exist in reality. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t meet the definition of the greatest possible being.

But this is crazy talk. How is this not wishing something into existence as with the Red Dwarf episode? If we can simply think God into existence, can we think other perfect things into existence as well?

This is like Zeno’s paradox. The conclusions of neither Zeno’s paradox nor the Ontological Argument seem to follow, and yet the error isn’t obvious.

Rebuttals to Ontological Argument

But perhaps our intuition fails us here. Let’s be more rigorous and explore some rebuttals.

1. Does the thing exist or not? The most obvious flaw is that the first step defines an imaginary being—God is the greatest possible being that we can imagine. But in step three, we are now talking about beings that exist. The definition of “God” from the first step no longer applies. We’re switching definitions mid-argument.

2. “Greatest” is subjective. This was the lesson from the Better Than Life game. Consider a few examples: I like sugar in my tea, you like your tea straight, and the Mormon either has iced tea or avoids tea altogether. “The greatest cup/glass of tea” is not definable.

Or religion: Muslims say that their religion is better because it’s a monotheism. Christians say that their Trinity is too, but the Muslims disagree. Which is greater?

Or warfare: was the English victory at Agincourt or the Greek holding action at Thermopylae greater? Was Hannibal’s generalship greater than that of Julius Caesar? Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said that the greatest battle is the one that was avoided. Is the greatest superhero the one who kicks the most ass or the one whose diplomacy avoids the most ass kicking?

Is the greater god the omnipotent one, or is he the one limited in power but who overcomes his limitations and nevertheless gets things done by cooperation? The Buddhist has yet another approach and will argue that the greatest being has “completely purified his mind of the three poisons of desire, aversion, and ignorance.”

One Christian imagines Buddy Christ and another a severe and unfriendly Yahweh—which one is better? Joel Grus said, “Yahweh doesn’t have a rocket-powered jetpack, and a deity with a rocket-powered jetpack is easily ‘greater’ than one who doesn’t have it.”

The first point in the argument—“God is the greatest being that we can imagine”—is not well defined, just like there is no “greatest presidential candidate.” These are subjective categories.

3. What’s better—the God of the OT existing or his not existing? Obviously the latter! Handwave about the Greatest Possible Being® if you want, but the unpleasant Yahweh of the Old Testament isn’t it. (More here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

At best, the Ontological Argument is yet another deist argument; that is, it argues for an unspecified deity rather than the god of the Bible. If it were convincing, the Christian would still need to argue for which god.

4. The greatest possible being can’t create. The GPB is perfectly satisfied and has no needs. No needs means no motivation to change or create, so it can’t be the creator of our universe.

5. The Ontological Argument invites its negative version. If we’re just imagining things into existence, other things will come through that door.

Define “God” as the worst possible being that we can imagine. Next, consider existence only in someone’s mind versus existence in reality—it would obviously be worse if this being actually existed. Finally, since “God” must be the worst possible being, he must exist in reality.

6. Questions about existence. Philosophers for the last millennium have wrestled with the Ontological Argument with no consensus. David Hume observed that to think of a unicorn (for example) is to think of it existing. Adding a second step after we’ve thought of a unicorn, “Okay, now think of it existing,” is meaningless. The same is true of God—the idea of God is the idea of God existing, and the argument no longer works.

Immanuel Kant argued that existence is not just another property like “blue” or “has four legs” that you can imagine (or not) about something. Theologian J.W. Montgomery agreed, “If one removes all the genuine properties from something, one does not find that existence remains; existence is the name we give to something that has properties” (Tractatus Logico-Theologicus, 119).

Wrapup

Imagine that you’re balancing your checkbook. You’re tallying up a list of figures and then stare at your calculator. Wow, you actually have a million dollars more than you thought—happy day!

When most of us reach a conclusion that seems to be crazy, we suspect that there’s something wrong with our analysis. Wishing God into existence is one of those too-good-to-be-true arguments that demands skepticism.

Let me admit that this post isn’t thorough and can only explore the ideas behind the Ontological Argument. Eager Christian apologists through the centuries have proposed many variations, taking a discarded version and giving it low-profile tires, spinning rims, and a new paint job. If you slap down one argument, they’re sure to demand that you evaluate all the others.

Are any of these variants valid? Do they prove God’s existence? I doubt it, but think of what this says about the arguments supporting Christianity. Must you really resort to such esoteric and impenetrable arguments to show the existence of a caring god who desperately wants you to know about him?

The Ontological Argument is effective because it violates Hoare’s Dictum. It’s complicated enough that there are no obvious errors. That’s its strength—not that it’s correct but that it’s confusing.

“That than which nothing greater can be conceived”
is most likely an empty set.
Draw conclusions accordingly.
Joel Grus

Photo credit: Anton Imm

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  • MNb

    To be fair it should be pointed out that many christian apologists have rejected the Ontological Argument. Thomas of Aquino is probably the most famous one; Gaunilo of Marmoutiers was the first more than 900 years ago.
    Good analysis. Many “refutations” are parodies. Now parodies are a great tool to indicate there is something wrong, but imo can’t be definite. The OA is entirely based on logic and thus the logical flaws must be exposed – if only by rejecting its assumptions. One way to violate Hoare’s Dictum is to hide those assumptions.

    “I doubt it”
    It seems to me – and I have argued it before – that in any OA the benevolent god can be replaced by the malevolent god. My compatriot the apologist Emmanuel Rutten seems to realize it and hence has brought up arguments why god must be good. Alas it’s in Dutch.

    http://filosofie.be/blog/emanuel-rutten/3465/is-god-goed/

    Warning: we are entering “S**t christians say” territory.

    “Kwaadaardigheid is slechts in staat tot destructie, tot chaos, en niet tot creatie.”
    “Evil is only capable of destruction, chaos, not of creation.”

    “De objectieve standaard voor goed en kwaad is goed”
    “The objective standard for good and evil is good.”

    “Het kwade parasiteert als begrip namelijk op het goede”
    “Evil as a concept parasitizes on good.”

    “Maar dan moet God goed en niet kwaadaardig zijn als we het kwade zien als een gebrek, als een privatio van het goede, als een niet-zijn in verhouding tot een natuurlijk zijn.”
    “But then God must be good and not evil if we see evil as a shortcoming, as a privatio of good, as a not-being in relation to a natural being.”

    “Een eenzame God kan immers niet werkelijk slecht zijn.”
    “A lonely God can’t be really evil after all.”

    “een slechte God moet een wereld voortbrengen om slecht te kunnen zijn.”
    “An evil God must produce a world to be able to be evil.”

    “Het goede is eenvoudiger dan het kwade”
    “Good is less complicated than evil.”

    “werkelijke kennis van goed en kwaad tot het inzicht leidt dat kwaadaardigheid noodzakelijk op termijn zelfdestructief is.”
    “real understanding of good and evil leads to the insight that evil necesarily is self-destructive on long-term.”

    “Het is immers incoherent om te denken dat een kwaadaardige God geldt als bron van morele verplichtingen”
    “It’s incoherent after all to think that an evil God asserts as a source of moral obligations.”

    Remember: this guy has graduated as a mathematician.

    • Dys

      Kwaad zal altijd zegevieren, want goed is dom.

  • Kodie

    I don’t understand this argument at all. Maybe my philosophy is naive, but “perfection” is a human invention and the motivation to innovate. When you make a tool, it’s better than not having that tool, usually, but once you use that tool for a while, you think, how can this tool be better, more efficient or comfortable to use or accessible. It’s just obvious to me that god is just such an invention, and every flaw you find in this story gets patched up with a new argument. The story of the fall, or the idea that we’re not perfect because we’ve inherited sin and fallenness relies on an imaginary ideal. Maybe that is unique to humans, but you mention this – if god were perfect, he would have no need to create anything, especially undeserving humans, just to have us fall to our knees in gratitude to have such a hard and shitty life. He could have wiped us out if he was disappointed in us. There doesn’t need to be a hell. Believers seem to agree no matter what that god is perfection, and yet perfection seems to be well inside the limits of human imagination. If there is a hell, they have to say that he’s perfect, and god’s personality is like one of the most stereotypically imperfect humans, needy and insecure and fragile, while demanding puny fallen humans to demonstrate perfect qualities like patience and generosity and humility. Don’t you think that’s weird?

    And yet in discussions regarding the personality of god, Christians constantly accuse us of making up a god from want, a god we’d rather, as if we get to design him. He’s not going to answer prayers like a wishing well, he’s not going to save everyone’s life, he’s not going to make everyone rich, he’s not going to give you the love or the job or the children you think you want, you get what he thinks you need, and if that makes your life tougher, that’s the gift of answered prayer in all god’s perfect wisdom. They say it’s meant to bring you closer to god, to reach your limit and beg. So yeah, who are we to judge the being who deals us these events for his own perfect purpose when we can’t see the grand design, and we have no concept of perfection. I say, yes we do. The best god anyone can imagine is one of the worst human beings, and we can certainly imagine a more perfect one, the one that obviously doesn’t exist.

  • Jim Hoerst

    In defense of Anselm (though I disagree with Anselm’s argument and the premises I am about to state) there are two unstated premises in his argument.
    1. Evil tends toward none-being. By this principle bad is a perversion of the good. Therefore to be evil is to be less authentic and less real.
    2. Only God is perfect, Anselm’s god is totally good, therefore totally real. Only his god could meet that definition, because everything else but God in the medieval mind would be perceived as having some form of imperfection however slight, after all we live in a fallen world.

    • Pofarmer

      Aint no fallen world buddy. It is what it is.

      • And, most important, not all of the s**t happening here is to be
        blamed on us, human beings.

      • Jim Hoerst

        I am not advancing any of the concepts I mentioned, I don’t believe we live in a fallen world or the evil tends toward none-being. I am only trying to frame Anselm’s argument in the medieval epoch.

        • smrnda

          I guess it makes more sense to conceive of evil as tending towards non-being before the industrial revolution.

    • smrnda

      I’m going to take issue with 1. “Evil tends towards non-being.” This kind of works in that many bad things involve destruction, but this doesn’t seem to be universally true. I’d suspect you’d agree that a dictator building a massive prison to house dissidents is evil, but it’s a constructive act. A con artist fabricating credentials is a constructive act, but we’d probably both see it as bad.

      I mean, the prison for dissidents is as real as a nice art museum.

    • MNb

      Of course evil can be constructive. It’s rather silly to argue that building a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons is good (because constructive) but using them is evil (because destructive).
      Perhaps a better example is slavery. Nowadays slavery is considered evil. Still slavery resulted in many awesome buildings during Antiquity. Slavery also made the Southern economy blossom – in 1860 it was one of the richest regions in the world.
      Even medieval legend recognizes this. There are many tales about people selling their soul to the devil (apparently a bad thing) for wishes being granted (obviously something constructive).

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

    • Greg G.

      “Evil tends toward none-being.”
      I think that is only true if it is defined that way. If the ancestors of our livestock could have defined what the humans were doing to them, they would have called it “evil” but now their descendants are the most successful large animals on the planet.

    • hector_jones

      “Evil tends toward none-being.” There’s no reason whatsoever to believe that this is true. First of all, you would, at the very least, need to demonstrate that ‘evil’ is a quality of a thing and not merely a value judgement that we humans apply to things and situations. This is a problem that religion never seems to understand. What exactly is ‘evil’ and how do you detect and measure it?

      Then you would have to demonstrate with evidence this tendency on the part of evil toward non-being. You would have to design and conduct an experiment that demonstrates this and shows that overall there is less evil in the world over time. Have these experiments been done and, if so, where is the data?

  • KarlUdy

    It is interesting that objections to an argument that relies on the limitations of imagination suffer from an even greater lack of imagination.

    • Kodie

      It’s more like who cares what you can imagine. Is it in fact the case? No. All of religion seems to be a business about making excuses for god.

    • Greg G.

      The OA doesn’t rely on the limitations of imagination, it fails because of the limitations of imagination. Why would objections to it require greater imagination?

      • Kodie

        It really relies on a perfection that’s outside the limits of mere humans’ imagination. Since that’s so obviously not what we’re being dished, it must be beyond our understanding.

    • Dys

      The OA is literally defining god into existence based on wishful thinking. Kant’s objection to it has pretty much killed off the OA’s usage, although some have tried to spice it up and update it with modal logic (it still doesn’t work, but obfuscation helps hide the problems).

  • Greg G.

    The greatest possible existence I could have would be greater if it was real. Therefore I am God.

  • Rudy R

    The concept of “The greatest possible being can’t create” was the tipping point for me to deconvert from Christianity. Anyone on Earth who demands to be worshiped, like Yahweh does, would be considered a clinical narcissist.

    • And yet Christians by the millions will celebrate Yahweh’s fabulousness unaware of this problem.

      Similar problem: Wm. Lane Craig (and others) will state that they have no problem with God snuffing them out at any moment–they have no right to ask for anything, after all.

  • My fault with the OA has always been the human inability to truly grasp the infinite.
    The OA is predicated on the assumption that humans can visualize an Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent deity, but I contend that is false.
    We can visualize a Very Smart, Very present, Very potent , Very benevolent deity but not an Omni one.
    The joke question has always been ‘Could God create a rock so big even he can’t lift it.’ But that’s really the point, there’s no sound consensus on how Omnipotence runs into that issue. Can God create a universe where 1+1=3. Can God make something he wouldn’t know he made (the incompability of Omniscience and Omnipotence.)
    When humans picture ‘infinity’, either as a concept or a count, we just imagine ‘a lot.’ We picture a line stretching off into the horizon. Or a huge number of some countable object beyond our counting. But that’s not truly infinity. Our imagination has edges and bounds.
    So my fault has always been on the first assertion. When someone says they define God as the ‘Greatest’, they are using weasel words, copping out to avoid actually defining what such a God would be. When the first argument fails the rest follow.

    • MNb

      “the human inability to truly grasp the infinite.”
      Circles are infinite. Still humans are totally capable of truly grasping circles.

      • Well, maybe the real problem is that the Christian God’s “omni” attributes are so many, and often conflicting: for example, how
        is He supposed to be both “omni-Just” and “omni-Merciful”?

        • adam

          Not possible, just another MYTH…

      • If by circles being infinite I assume you mean that circles have infinite lines of symmetry. Which is true. And I can both understand that and show proofs for that.
        But a human can not picture those infinite lines of symmetry. It is not just conceptually but biologically impossible. Even if you devoted every neuron of your brain to picturing the lines of symmetry of a circle over the span of the entire existence of your life there is a sheer hard limit to the number of lines of symmetry of that one circle you could envision.
        We can formulate the infinite. We can create definitions and representations of the infinite. But the actual, true infinite lies beyond the capabilities of the human imagination.

        • adam

          1. “But the actual, true infinite lies beyond the capabilities of the human imagination.”

          2. “If by circles being infinite I assume you mean that circles have
          infinite lines of symmetry. Which is true. And I can both understand
          that and show proofs for that.”

          3. So YOU can BOTH imagine “infinite” and show proofs.

          Therefore

          1. YOU are not human
          or
          2. YOU are not using human imagination

          Maybe it is reason and math….

          Have you demonstrated that there really is an ‘infinite’ outside the human imagination?
          I dont see that anywhere.

        • Okay, let’s put it this way. I can write a mathematical proof that shows a circle has infinite lines of symmetry, and clearly I can picture that proof. It works because of my understanding of math.
          I, however, can not picture all of those infinite lines of symmetry in my imagination. That is physically impossible.
          In other words I can visualize a finite representation of the infinite as a conceptual shorthand. I cannot visualize the actual infinite itself.

        • adam

          Ok,

          “In other words I can visualize a finite representation of the infinite as a conceptual shorthand.”

          Have you demonstrated that there really is an ‘infinite’ outside the human imagination?
          I dont see that anywhere.

        • This is turning into a circular argument that I don’t see much value in continuing. Here you go.
          https://proofwiki.org/wiki/Real_Numbers_are_Uncountable

          Proof that the set of Real Numbers is uncountable and infinite.

          And the Bekenstein Bound.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bekenstein_bound

          Proof that there is a physical limit for information that can be maintained within a given finite region of space.

          It is physically impossible to contain the information of all the numbers for the set of Real Numbers inside any known physical region of space, up to and including the human brain as well as the galaxy and the known universe.

        • adam

          Ok, you’ve demonstrated the finite within the scope of human imagination.

          Numbers are JUST representations and they are within the scope of human imagination.

          Have you demonstrated that there really is an ‘infinite’ outside the human imagination?
          I dont see that anywhere.

        • What I have just demonstrated is a proof that there is at least one data set comprised of infinite data points and that no known physical region of space, which includes the human imagination which is bounded by the physical size of the human brain, can contain that full data set.
          The human imagination can at best contain the definition of that data set.
          That is not the same thing. If I ask you to imagine a chair and you imagine the dictionary definition of a chair, you are not imagining a chair.

        • adam

          No, you havent
          A data set is a place holder, not a REAL thing.
          The place holder is INSIDE the human imagination.

          I understand conceptualization.
          We can conceive of anything within the imagination.
          It doesnt mean there is a representation in REALITY outside the imagination.

          Can YOU demonstrate that there really is an ‘infinite’ outside the human imagination?
          I dont see that anywhere.

        • I may have misunderstood what you were talking about.
          If you mean is any physical property in the universe infinite, and you discount all mathematical representaitons (Things like the set of real numbers, or the representaitonal value of pi which has infinite digits) that is currently unknown. While some theories state the topography of the universe is infinite, it is also possible that it is bounded. As shown by the Beckenstein Bound above the only possible way for infinite data to exist would be if there was a universe of infinite topography.
          Regardless, the nature of infinity in the real universe is not related to my critique of the ontological argument, only the capacity of the mind to imagine the infinite.

        • adam

          Ok, thank you.

        • MNb

          Just try to walk along the circumference of a circle from beginning to end. No symmetry required. Are you saying you can’t imagine the consequence of this attempt? If yes, how are you even capable of drawing a circle, even an imperfect one?

          “the actual, true infinite”
          The no true infinity fallacy.

        • Circles do have a finite circumference.
          C=2*pi*r
          That’s sort of why when you draw a circle you eventually stop, instead of having to move your pencil for eternity.

        • MNb

          Irrelevant for my point. Relevant is that the distance you walk along that circumference is s + n.C, which can have infinite values.
          Here s is the section of the circle measured from the starting point and n the number of times you completed the circle. If you swing a cord weighted with lead at the end this formula describes the orbit of the lead. More common is using periodic trigonometric functions with radials.

          “instead of having to move your pencil for eternity”
          That’s not the point either. It’s not that you have to – it’s that you can.
          Finite is not the same as limited. Finite means having a beginning and an end. The circumference of a circle has neither.
          Which leads us to the question btw if the god in the OA can be perfect and limited. I’ll leave that to smarter people than me.

    • Guest

      I think the use of the word “infinite” is sort of a weasel word. I have heard a Christian justify eternal torment by saying that when you sin against an infinite god you accrue an infinite debt. The sin committed is irrelevant because all sin is supposedly equally damning. However, I believe Catholics make some distinction with “venial” and “mortal” sins. A shining example of Christians not being able to agree on what their holy book says.

      • Pofarmer

        Well, Catholics(and Lutherans) kinda have two holy books. The Catechism is about as thick as the bible.

        • Kodie

          By thick you mean stupid, right?

        • Pofarmer

          No, I mean volume wise. But, think of the apologetics arguments we get here, and then think of them in a bible length tome. I didn’t get very far.

  • Mitch

    The ontological argument is stupid and useless. I won’t apologize for that opinion.

    The kind of person who would think that word games and imaginings can show truths of the universe is sorely lacking in critical thinking capability, Observation and experimentation are legitimate ways of understanding the world around us; mathematics is a legitimate way of describing aspects of the world.

    Word games, like this, are nothing but an ignorant waste of time, and all the OA proves is the gullibility of some people.

    • MNb

      While I largely agree a clever apologist could argue that mathematics is also a word game. No, math does not necessarily describe aspects of the world either. Non-Euclidean geometries provide a few examples.

      • Mitch

        That’s kind of why I turned that phrase the way that I did (“describing aspects”), and separated it from the statement about observation and experimentation. There were, obviously, qualifications. One can do all sorts of things with mathematics, and not all of them are applicable to reality, for sure.

        But when something is proved with mathematics, it is proved in a more logically consistent and solid way than any other form of knowledge. Mathematics is also universal, and even if a person evolved in a culture that used radically different methods for doing their math, the results would be compatible with the answers we derive here and now (like an imaginary alien with only four digits on a hand, would be likely to use base 8 system, instead of our base 10).

        There’s a vast gulf between what can be proven with mathematics and word games like the ontological argument. It’s not even apples and oranges; it’s apples and granite—they’re both two things you can find on Earth, but that’s all they have in common.

        • MNb

          “But when something is proved with mathematics, it is proved in a more logically consistent and solid way than any other form of knowledge.”
          Nope. It’s only proven within its own framework. As a teacher math it’s easy for me to both prove and disprove Pythagoras’ Theorem. For the first I only need to pretend that Euclides’ axioms are unshakably true. For the second I only need to change one such axiom and turn to the surface of a sphere.

          “There’s a vast gulf between what can be proven with mathematics and word games like the ontological argument.”
          A priori there isn’t, provided that the presuppositions of the OA are presented as crystal clear as the axioms of Euclides. Imo the most important presupposition is that a perfect or supreme (or whatever it’s called) being is also omnivolent.
          Of course many apologists violate Hoare’s Dictum in an attempt to make the OA look more credible. That’s much harder in math, exactly because math is a language designed to be crystal clear and unambiguous. But the OA also can be presented in a crystal clear and unambiguous way. You can find some examples here.

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/

  • RichardSRussell

    I think that the Ontological Argument is an example of the “meta” problem, which is perhaps best exemplified by the statement “This sentence is a lie.” Rules of logic fly right out the window when you allow self-reference into the room, and contradictions and paradoxes (paradoci?) are sure to follow.

  • Darren

    Or the modified Young Ones Ontological Argument:
    Imagine the world’s stickiest bogey,
    Now, a bogey that actually exists is stickier than a bogey that one only imagines existing,
    Therefore the worlds stickiest bogey must exist and it is up Jesus’ nose.

    • Kodie

      You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your imaginary friend’s nose.

      • Greg G.

        But you can imagine picking Jesus’ nose. He would have appreciated it when he was on the cross.

        • Kodie

          Bet he didn’t need help scratching his back though.

  • Brian

    Is the human imagination implicitly required as part of this argument, or is it meant more as a yardstick? Because if human imagination — imagine a perfect bejng — is requiredm then wouldn’t that flip the causal arrow and make humans the creator of God, and make God a being that couldn’t have been around to actually create the universe?

    • I still can’t get past the idea of imperfect human minds imagining into existence a perfect god. Can the perfect come from the imperfect? Said another way: is our imperfect mind reliable enough?

      • Kodie

        Aw, hell no. We have an amount of intelligence that we can imagine a greater intelligence. Just look at the person whose test you cheat off of in your classroom – it is really easy to imagine a greater intelligence. If you can find the smartest person who ever lived, you haven’t possibly looked everywhere. What are they smartest at anyway? We can imagine someone more intelligent, but we also can imagine this intelligence not being linear. Someone can beat the smartest person at a particular test, while not being above average intelligent at all. Does knowing something the smartest person does not know make you smarter than they are?

        If you can’t feed yourself, are you smarter because you can afford to hire someone to cook your food for you? Then most married men are geniuses. I know a successful man who seems to be living the good life, but is not embarrassed at being clumsy, and happily delegates tasks he does not trust himself to be responsible for – because they mean less to him and has grown accustomed to being indulged for his flaws, and having these tasks performed for him by people who pretty much feel sorry for him. He is charming and successful enough to enjoy life at the cost of … well he’s a man-child. I like to think I’m smart but I help him when he’s all thumbs too… like he’s a helpless child. Is he what you would call “successful”? There are things that embarrass him, like coming in 2nd in a competition, but being helpless does not embarrass him.

        Anyway I think our minds are not reliable enough to come up with something so perfect that all mankind agrees what that is. And so is there a perfection that can exist outside of the best we can imagine? I mean what if you got to heaven and there wasn’t an endless supply of cocktail shrimp? What if you don’t like shrimp, or what if you are a Jew and can you eat shrimp in heaven? Not everyone likes shrimp. One of the pleasures of life is eating, so many imagine eating whatever they want in heaven. I think it would be hell to say you won’t need to eat in heaven so there’s no food. But beyond our comprehension is something that’s so good it makes you not miss food. I am rambling this time to make a point. When I start to imagine what heaven would be like, there’s food. But what if you like your mother’s apple pie, but your mother is still alive. We know on earth that we miss our loved ones who die, but nobody ever talks about the experience of being in heaven actively hoping for people to die so you get to see them again – see them in some meaningful sense that is most meaningful on earth – mutual contact. Imagine being in heaven pining for your loved ones like you pine on earth for the mutual contact of god. If your mother is not in heaven to bake her apple pie for you (which I’m sure is what she imagines her heaven to be – chores!), then whose apple pie can you eat while you’re waiting? It might taste the same, but the experience of eating it involved a lot of other factors that can’t be replicated without certain people’s presence. Or is it more perfect to be satisfied with god’s love and need your mother’s love no longer?

        I ask these questions because no two people can occupy the same heaven, or god in heaven expects you to settle and tolerate less than perfect conditions like he does on earth. We can measure and test things like “biggest” but we humans cannot settle on what is “best”.

        • Good point. “Biggest by weight” is a quantitative measurement that should be unambiguous. Not so qualitative things.

        • MNb

          “And so is there a perfection that can exist outside of the best we can imagine? ”
          Imo this is the key question.

        • Kodie

          Imagine you die and go to heaven, and all it is is a perfect circle. I have two follow-up questions to that:

          1. Can we tell the difference between a perfect circle and the good-enough circles we’re used to?

          2. What is your opinion of a perfect circle? I think if heaven was a perfect circle, that would be disappointing.

        • MNb

          1) Yes, but we’ll need perfect instruments to measure the radius and we’ll remain busy for eternity to check. Well. I guess that’s one way to combat boredom.
          2) I don’t think so, but that’s because Heaven alredy disappointed me many years ago.

        • Kodie

          The point I’m trying to make is that I think we can imagine in theory, something that is perfect, and if it did exist outside of our imagination in reality, we would neither recognize it nor appreciate its perfection. Maybe some very special people would be keen on it for a little while, but even as you say it would keep you busy for eternity, I think in a maddening way. A never-ending task that never provides satisfaction is not heaven for anyone. The rest of us would be pissed off because where the fuck is the buffet?

      • MNb

        Can you imagine a perfect circle?
        Do you dismiss the Law of Boyle-Gay Lussac because you can’t imagine an ideal gas?

        • So therefore a perfect circle exists?

          Imagining a perfect circle is a fairly reliable process. A perfect god is much trickier, which is why I doubt that every human is a reliable source of the attributes of this perfect god.

        • MNb

          “So therefore a perfect circle exists?”
          Exactly. I suspect this is one major problem with the OA – not that we can or cannot imagine something perfect, but the jump from imagination to existence. The Law of Boyle-Gay Lussac for instance only claims to be a very good approximation, not a perfectly exact outcome.

      • Brian

        Agreed, but I imagine the out there is something like “we’re not imagining the specifics of the god, we’re speaking conceptually.”

    • Kodie

      That’s kind of weird. I am more familiar with areas of the argument that tend to the idea that because humans are so imaginative, god must exist. Imagining a perfect being seems to require a human but a perfect being would not necessarily need humans to exist to imagine it.

  • Alex

    If a Creator God exists without our imagining it, then the imagination has given the Creator God human attributes such as Love, Compassion, Vengeance, Justice. If a Creator God is ineffable, then the human imagination would play an important part in trying to understand God. So, in this sense, then yes, the human imagination created God to feel closer to the ultimate Divine. But did the imagination create God in its entirety, building upon concept after concept?

    If you trace Religion backwards you will vast changes in how God behaves, and under what circumstances. In the time of Jesus, to reflect the message he gave, God was Love. In the time of Joshua and the genocide of the Caananites (sorry, but regardless of religious beliefs it was genocide, or the Holocaust wasn’t genocide either), God was a War God. With Moses he was a Law Giver. At the time of Joseph he never made an appearance, so was this Divine Abscence?

    Every society creates a belief that reflects their needs. Rain and sun gods for crops, River gods for flooding, or the lack of, gods of the hunt. Tracing religion back as far as we can possibly go with available evidence we can see that a God was created according to their needs, hence the ever changing Jewish-Christian God. So this should say that YES God is created by imagination.

    It doesn’t take a perfect mind to create a perfect Divine. If you are in debt, alcoholic and homeless your God will either reflect a miserable, punishing God or one who is, by Grace, teaching you a life experience and will rescue you soon. Our imaginations create a God according to our needs. (I’ve said that three times, just realised.)

    Paul said something that we could attribute to the way people think about a Divine super entity:

    1 Corinthians 9:19-20 & 22:
    19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

    (Although why Paul-a Jew-would need to become a Jew is beyond me, even though he was a Christian Jew he was still a Jew.)

    • Greg G.

      You could add 1 Corinthians 13 as a way some would like to think about God, but it’s another passage that is about something else.

      1 Corinthians 13 (NRSV)
      1 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

      4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

      8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

  • Jon

    Bob:
    I was happy to stumble across your blog. I’m the pastor of an evangelical church in Canada. I have a group of young adults who meet with me weekly to discuss contemporary issues of faith. Your blog has an amazing wealth of material that challenges what we believe, and will provide fodder for our discussions for a long time.
    BTW, the reason I believe in God is because no one, no scientist, no atheist or philosopher, has ever provided me with a satisfying answer to the question, “Who started it all.” I read a ridiculous article in Discover magazine a couple of years ago in which the author admitted that science has not been able to answer this question adequately. The article went on to postulate that that the Big Bang was set in motion by forces from a parallel universe. Wow, that’s credible. Sounds like somebody was watching too much Star Trek. I haven’t searched your blog, so I don’t know if you’ve addressed this one, but reason dictates that before there was something, there was nothing, zip, nadda. So who pushed the button?

    • Kodie

      Nobody.

    • MNb

      “”Who started it all.”
      Like Kodie implies underneath you first have to show that a “who” is necessary.
      As for the Big Bang you better turn to stuff written by actual physicists. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is a pretty good start.

      “Sounds like somebody was watching too much Star Trek.”
      Dismissing a scientific hypothesis just because it’s beyond your imagination is silly.

      “reason dictates that before there was something, there was nothing”
      You’re incoherent. If god pushed the button, god is something and thus before god there was nothing, then who created god?
      Physics hasn’t answered yet if there was something before the Big Bang.

      http://www.superstringtheory.com/cosmo/cosmo4.html
      http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2014/04/scientists-find-imprint-universe-existed-big-bang

      https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/a-mathematical-proof-that-the-universe-could-have-formed-spontaneously-from-nothing-ed7ed0f304a3
      http://www.space.com/16281-big-bang-god-intervention-science.html

      So your reason falls apart – if you’re ready to accept science.

    • Pofarmer

      Try to come at the question without presupposing your answer. Sean Carrolls blog “preposterous Universe”. Would be an interesting place to start searching. There are several different theories for how our universe started, and none of them start eith, or require, or assume, any sort of “who”, it ‘s simply not necessary for the science, plus, as. MNb has noted, you get into the problem of infinite regress, which the normal christian tactic is to ignore it.

      • Also, we should be humble enough to anticipate that any answer from the frontier of science will be startling. Our common sense is no tool here (otherwise we wouldn’t need the folks with the doctorates), so that it gets offended is irrelevant.

    • Dys

      “the reason I believe in God is because no one, no scientist, no atheist
      or philosopher, has ever provided me with a satisfying answer to the
      question, “Who started it all.””

      As others have noted already, presupposing that a ‘Who’ is required is begging the question.

      “The article went on to postulate that that the Big Bang was set in
      motion by forces from a parallel universe. Wow, that’s credible. Sounds
      like somebody was watching too much Star Trek.”

      Wait…you’re going to laugh at the idea that this universe was jump started by a parallel universe and make an allusion to science fiction, but you’re perfectly comfortable with the idea of a cosmic magician doing the same thing? Your idea of what’s credible might require some examination.

      “reason dictates that before there was something, there was nothing, zip, nadda.”

      No, it doesn’t. We’re not even sure if ‘nothing’ is possible.

    • 90Lew90

      Who pushed the button? Why, Jesus! Of course! Silly billy.

      • hector_jones

        But like a cross-walk button he pushed it three times just to be sure. Hence, the trinity.

        Now you say ‘wooOOOooo!’

    • I live in Seattle but, by coincidence, I happen to be in Montreal at the moment, visiting family.

      I’m glad the blog is helpful. My two novels might also provide interesting starting points for your group. Keep me informed about how the blog is useful (or where it falls short), if that’s convenient.

      You’re right that science has unanswered questions, and perhaps it always will. There is speculation on what caused the Big Bang (Lawrence Krauss, for example), but be careful that your position doesn’t devolve into, “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.”

      Simply having a confident answer to the question of “what started it all?” doesn’t do much for the Christian, since other religions have their own (incompatible) answers. Confidence and accuracy aren’t the same thing.

    • SparklingMoon,

      ‘Nothing’ does not mean nothing at all but ”a nothing” that is not a product of some thing physical. God is a Spirit and highly spiritual in His Person and has created everything from His highly spiritual attributes and the countless particels of this universe are the physical manifestation of his countless Attributes.

      When we study physical world and its causes and effects, we find observations leading to a world small in size, particles leading to sub-particles, all of it invisible to our eyes. Solid matter changing to gases and even more ethereal in nature, and finally, it is said, the matter changing to energy, and sources of these energies are the angels.

      The Sanctity and Holiness of God’s Spirituality stops him to make a direct communion with physical universe therefore He has created Angels as a middle source to transfer his attributes to physical objects.

      • Dys

        Nope, God didn’t do any of that. Non-existent beings have a difficult time affecting reality.

    • hector_jones

      BTW, the reason I believe in God is because no one, no scientist, no atheist or philosopher, has ever provided me with a satisfying answer to the question, “Who started it all.”

      That’s not a very good reason. I had already reasoned my way past that question as a child. But let me ask you this: Why are you an evangelical?

  • SparklingMoon,

    What does heaven look like?
    —————————————
    Heaven is given a name to spiritual height in religious books and it has different levels or stages . Human nature is very spiritual and has been given an ability to attain this ‘Heaven’ . This journey towards heaven starts in this very world and a person must have to attain a certain level of spirituality (that is called Heaven) to continue his next journey after physical death.

    • MNb

      “Human nature is very spiritual”
      It isn’t.

      • SparklingMoon,

        Not only humans nature has a spirituality even each and every paticels of this universe have a spirituality of its own that refers to its source. It is proven that all that is physical and visible to us is divisible into smaller and yet smaller particles, leading in to ethereal, incomprehensible, and imperceptible world. Obviously, it gets its energy from a source not easily visible because of its size, and size of particles it is comprised of. There is hidden wisdom in all of this system. It is at those smallest of the smallest and ethereal places where angels operate to fulfill their duties.

        Brain is physical but mind is spiritual and spirituality of a brain has a close relation to the structure and particles of that brain.

        • adam

          There is no such thing as spirituality outside the human mind, it is an emotional construct.

        • SparklingMoon,

          Animals have also brain and nature but human nature has ability to progress its spirituality .

          A highly spiritual universe exist inside of this world and every human heart is the centre that is always connected to that spiritual world. All new knowledge (about any matter for a struggle is made by any one ) is first descended to human heart and later human brain draws it from there. Revelation is always on a heart.

        • Kodie

          Wow you are clueless about anatomy too.

        • Dys

          I’m guessing you never took a biology or anatomy class in school.

        • SparklingMoon,

          I am not talking here about these two worlds: A world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments. The second world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture.

          There exist also a third world which is hidden beyond hidden, which is so imperceptible that reason has not been granted the ability to reach it except through visions or revelation or inspiration.

          It is the way of God that for the discovery of the first two worlds He has bestowed upon man different types of faculties and powers. In the same way,God has appointed a means for man for the discovery of the third world; and that means is revelation, inspiration and visions. This means is never suspended at any time; indeed, those who comply with the conditions for achieving it throughout have been its recipients and will continue to be such.

        • Dys

          “The second world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture.”

          You got the conjecture portion right. Completely wrong about reason though. And in this magical hidden world you’ve constructed in your mind, hearts have the supernatural ability to store knowledge.

          Now you just need some actual evidence that any of it is real instead of new agey nonsense, and you can go off and win your Nobel Prize.

        • Kodie

          There’s one world. You are blithering nonsense.

        • well said.

        • MNb

          How cute. One religious nut has found another.

        • adam

          There is no such thing as spirituality outside the human mind, it is an emotional construct.

          If you have proof that there is (something besides words) then DEMONSTRATE what you are saying is true.

          Otherwise you come across as no different that any of the other THOUSANDS of religions.

        • SparklingMoon,

          God Almighty has two kind of Mercies. One Mercy that is equally for all human beings as physical body, brain ,earth, sun moon etc. Second kind of Mercy starts to work on the condition when a parson uses these abilities and blessings.

          For example a seed has an ability to turn into a tree and it brings its fruit when is sown in a soil . Otherwise a seed on a table even in hundred years never turns into a tree or brings fruit. This shows that a person must have to follow a particular path devised by God to have required result

          A person who uses his God gifted abilities in a particular direction (for example for Physics or Philosophy or Math etc) must receives knowledge according to his fields of interest or meditation. A person who does not use ability or meditate receives nothing

          The same matter is about God or about this hidden world.The way of God has its own laws to follow. The Human nature of all people possess different attributes of God Almighty but an extra attribute ‘ love of God’ is also part of human nature and other creature does not share this attribute with human beings.

          As human beings can progress the attributes of his nature (generosity kindness bravery etc) as have ability to progress this love of God through meditation. Man’s natural faculties and desires and urges, are natural conditions and when they are consciously regulated and controlled and are brought into action on their proper occasions and places, become moral qualities and when these moral conditions develop absolute devotion to God and complete accord with the Divine will, they become spiritual conditions.

          As I have written that it is a promise of God Almighty that ”We guide along Our paths those who strive after Us” (29:70)This heaven is given in this very life to a person who uses his abilities according to the law devised by God. A person who does not use this bestowed capacity and expects to have a response from God is like that seed who is on the table with a false expectation of fruit

        • adam

          Cruelty in the Quran

          Those in the Fire say unto the guards of hell: Entreat your Lord that He relieve us of a day of the torment.–40:49

          Don’t bother warning the disbelievers. Allah has made it impossible for them to believe so that he can torture them forever after they die. 2:6-7

          Allah has sickened the hearts of disbelievers and increased their disease. He is a spiritual anti-doctor.
          2:10

          If you try to compose a surah that is better than those in the Quran, and then fail, Allah will burn you forever if you in the fire that he has prepared for disbelievers, whose fuel is men and stones. 2:24

          Allah will shed human blood while angels praise him in heaven. (The angels question why Allah has to kill people; Allah says they’d understand if they knew everything like he does.) 2:30

          They who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful Peoples of the Fire. They will abide therein.”
          2:39

          There will come a day when Allah will refuse all prayers and help no one. 2:48

          Allah brags about drowning the Egyptian army. 2:50

          “Whosoever hath done evil and his sin surroundeth him; such are rightful owners of the Fire.” 2:81

          Christians and Jews (who believe in only part of the Scripture), will suffer in this life and go to hell in the next.
          2:85

          “They have incurred anger upon anger. For disbelievers is a shameful doom.” 90

        • Dys

          Plus Muhammad marrying a child of six and having sex with her at nine is perverted. Not exactly what you want in a prophet purporting to be representing God.

        • SparklingMoon,

          Prophet of Islam Mohammad(sa) had no marriage to a child of six or nine. If you mean by this child Aisha then according to the accounts of history the age of Ayesha (ra) at the time of her marriage to the Prophet of Islam (sa) was between 15 and 19. Ayesha (ra) was engaged to Jubayr Ibn Mutim before the Prophet of Islam(sa).According to historian Tabari:

          Ayesha ’s father(Abu Bakar), before migrating to Abyssinia in 615 AD, tried to spare her the dangers and discomfort of the journey by solemnizing her marriage to her fiancé. However,the engagement was broken by the bridegroom’s father in fear of persecution because Abu Bakr (the father of Aisha) had accepted Islam. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that if Ayesha (ra) was ready to take the responsibility of a wife in 615 AD,she was definitely not a little child ten years later when she married the Prophet.

          Secondly, it states in the Quran: ‘And assess the orphans until they attain the age of marriage then if you find sound judgment in them, release their property to them.’ (Quran 4:7)

          The Qur’an gives a clear definition of adulthood and marriageable age — when one has attained a good measure of mental maturity. As such, the property of the orphans must be handed over to them when they have mature intellect to properly manage it.So the Qur’an rejects the marriage of immature girls and boys as well as entrusting them with serious responsibilities.

          The first and foremost duty of prophet of Islam(sa) like other prophets was to maintain the revealed Law of God Almighty among the people by his holy example and according to all traditions his life was a mirror of the teachings of the revelation of the Quran.

        • Dys

          It’s nice to see you pick and choose which parts of your religion you decide to accept as true based on your personal preferences.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Muhammad#Aisha

        • SparklingMoon,

          There exist many accounts from history to inform us about the reality. For example, after the death of the Prophet’s first wife(Khadija) Khaula came to the Prophet of islam (sa) advising him to marry again. The Prophet of Islam(sa)asked her regarding the choices. She said, “You can marry a bikr or a thayyib.” When the Prophet (sa)asked the identity of the bikr she mentioned Ayesha’s name. Bikr is used for a fully grown and mature virgin lady, not a child. Thayyib is used for a woman who has been divorced or widowed.This illustrates that Hazrat Ayesha (ra) was not a little child at the time of her marriage.

          According to historians, Asma, (Ayesha’s elder sister) was 10 years older than Ayesha(ra). It is narrated that Asma (ra) died at the ripe old age of 100 years, 73 years after the migration to Medina. Thus, Amsa would have been 27 at the time of the migration,and Ayesha (ra) would have been 17.Under this explanation, Ayesha (ra)would have been married at 19,two yearsafter migration. (Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 371,Taqribu’l tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654.)

        • Dys

          Like I said, you pick and choose to reach the conclusion you’d prefer to be true.

          There are refutations of the attempts by some Islamic apologists to change the age of Aisha to something other than that of a child.

          http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Refutation_of_Modern_Apologetics_Against_Aishas_Age

        • adam

          The majority of traditional hadith sources state that Aisha was married to Muhammad at the age of six or seven, but she stayed in her parents’ home until the age of nine, or ten according to Ibn Hisham,[6] when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina;[7][8][9]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha

          Critics allege that Aisha was just six years old when she was betrothed to Muhammad, himself in his 50s, and only nine when the marriage was consummated. They base this on a saying attributed to Aisha herself (Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234), and the debate on this issue is further complicated by the fact that some Muslims believe this to be a historically accurate account. Although most Muslims would not consider marrying off their nine-year-old daughters, those who accept this saying argue that since the Qur’an states that marriage is void unless entered into by consenting adults, Aisha must have entered puberty early.

          They point out that, in seventh-century Arabia, adulthood was defined as the onset of puberty. (This much is true, and was also the case in Europe: five centuries
          after Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, 33-year-old King John of England married 12-year-old Isabella of Angoulême.) Interestingly, of the many criticisms of Muhammad made at the time by his opponents, none focused on Aisha’s age at marriage.

          According to this perspective, Aisha may have been young, but she was not younger than was the norm at the time. Other Muslims doubt the very idea that Aisha was six at the time of marriage, referring to historians who have questioned the reliability of Aisha’s age as given in the saying. In a society without a birth registry and where people did not celebrate birthdays, most people
          estimated their own age and that of others. Aisha would have been no different. What’s more, Aisha had already been engaged to someone else before she married Muhammad, suggesting she had already been mature
          enough by the standards of her society to consider marriage for a while.It seems difficult to reconcile this with her being six.http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/17/muhammad-aisha-truth

          So she was probably about the same age as Mary, when ‘god’ impregnated her.

        • SparklingMoon,

          The majority of the traditional hadith sources confirm that the age of Aisha (ra) was above fifteen .Historians agree with the following dates in the history of Islam: 610 AD: Islam was founded when the Prophet received his first revelation. 615 AD: Muslims migrated to Abyssinia. 621 AD:Hadhrat Ayesha was engaged to the Prophet Muhammad (sa).625 AD:Hadhrat Ayesha (ra) was married to the Prophet.

          The time before Islam is known as the time of ignorance. Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, reports, “In the time of ignorance he [Abu Bakr] married Um Rumaan… She bore him Abdul Rahman and Ayesha. All of his four children which are mentioned here were born during the time of ignorance.”1 There is a fifteen year period from the beginning of Islam to the marriage of the Prophet with Ayesha. If Ayesha was born before Islam, thus in the time of ignorance, then she was at least 15 years old at the time of her marriage.

          Secondly, the only one account which describe Ayesha to be 9 at the time of her marriage can be traced to one person, Hisham Ibn Urwah. Hisham Ibn Urwahlived in Medina for the first 71 years his life. His students included people like Malik Ibn Anas. Not a single person from Medina has corroborated this account. Hisham then migrated to Iraq. It is from there that we find these accounts in some books.

          Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions ascribed to the Holy Prophet(sa), reports that, “narratives reported by Hisham are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq.”It further states that Malik Ibn Anas also objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb Vol. 11, pg. 48 – 51)

          Meezaan al-Aitidaal, another book on the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet reports that when he was old, Hisham’s memory suffered quite badly.(Meezaan al-Aitidaal. Vol. 4, pg. 301 – 302) Thus, it seems that Hisham’s memory had failed at that advanced age and he could not remember details.

        • Dys

          “The majority of the traditional hadith sources confirm that the age of Aisha (ra) was above fifteen”

          You were already provided sources that debunk this claim.

        • adam

          The majority of traditional hadith sources state that Aisha was married to Muhammad at the age of six or seven, but she stayed in her parents’ home until the age of nine, or ten according to Ibn Hisham,[6] when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina;[7][8][9]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…

        • adam

          At least the bible ‘god’ waited until 12 or so.

        • SparklingMoon,

          The opening chapter of the Holy Quran gives us clearly to understand that Almighty God made man, not for consignment to everlasting torments, but for attainment to higher and higher conditions of existence and to deal with him most mercifully. It states in the very beginning of the Quran: “All praise is due to God who is Nourisher of all the worlds, who is the most Merciful (the Arabic word ‘ Rahman’ used here indicating the showing of Mercy of God to His creatures without their having done any thing to deserve it), the most Compassionate (the Arabic word ‘Rahim’ indicating that whenever a person implores His mercy or does anything to deserve it, He forthwith shows mercy), the Lord of the Day of Judgement.”

          The four attributes of the Divine Being mentioned in these opening verses of the Holy Quran are the basis of all His other attributes. These four attributes speak of the unbounded Mercy of God shown to His creatures in all the worlds, i.e.,in this world as well as the next.

          It is true that the Holy Quran mentions hell as the abode of evil-doers and even depicts its horrors, but it must be borne in mind that according to the Holy Quran both heaven and hell are places for the perpetual advancement of man to higher and higher stages. The Holy Quran says : “Verily you shall all be surely transformed from state to state” (84:19).

          The whole mankind is addressed in these words and accordingly, as those in paradise shall make perpetual advancement, those in hell will not be suffering fruitless torments. On the other hand, the torments of hell will be the means of purging them of the evil effects of their deeds done in this life. This is the only philosophical explanation of hell,and this explanation has been given by no other book but the Holy Quran. The Quran teaches that heaven and hell grow out of a man; that a heavenly or hellish life begins in this world and that the spiritual fruits of good or evil deeds done in this life assume a manifest form in the next. The fire of hell is no other than the fire of sins as the Holy Quran says: “The fire of the wrath of God burned on account of sins which rise above the hearts.” The origin of the fire of hell is, therefore, in the sins which a man commits in this life, that he prepares a hell in which he will find himself in the next. (The Doctrine of Hell)

        • Dys

          But in reality, man made God. So the not-really-holy-at-all Quran is wrong. I’m glad we could help you out with that.

        • adam

          Every religion has ‘words’, they are unreliable and subject to interpretation.

          In order to ‘belief’ I need proof of what YOU CLAIM.

          The evidence indicates that it is MAN who CREATES ‘gods’ not the other way around.

          If you can DEMONSTRATE YOUR ‘god’ then you can END DISBELIEF right here and now.

        • SparklingMoon,

          There is an interesting article ‘ Secular Viewpoints Examined’ by Mirza Tahir Ahmad’ free online to read related to your question (The evidence indicates that it is MAN who CREATES ‘gods’ not the other way around.)

        • adam

          Every religion has ‘words’, they are unreliable and subject to interpretation.

          In order to ‘belief’ I need proof of what YOU CLAIM.

          The evidence indicates that it is MAN who CREATES ‘gods’ not the other way around.

          If you can DEMONSTRATE YOUR ‘god’ then you can END DISBELIEF right here and now.

        • Dys

          You do know that just spouting your silly theology doesn’t amount to anything, right?

        • well said.

        • MNb

          Not only do humans nature not have a spirituality, even each and every particle of this Universe does not have a spirituality of its own, whether it refers to its source or not.

          “It is proven that all that is physical and visible to us is divisible into smaller and yet smaller particles”
          Wrong.

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

          If they were endlessly divisible they would violate

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

          and we wouldn’t need

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

          You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Dys

          It’s all chakras, energy fields and other woo. New age mumbo jumbo and the people pretending to have special insight into it are charlatans; experts at imaginary things that they desperately want to be true.

        • SparklingMoon,

          God Almighty has created all properties of the material things. These properties are inherently present and get manifested through the agency of Angels. Matter is dense and Allah is Lateef Incomprehensible (Lateef). When we look at laws of nature we see that God’s rules work upon visible things with forces working upon the finest and invisible. Human body is controlled by Mind, Soul, spirit, whatever we call it, it is invisible and ethereal. Once it departs from the physical body, the physical body becomes useless and lifeless.

        • Dys

          “Aromatherapy may be the solution to what’s holding you back from a magnificent metamorphosis of healing. You will soon be re-energized by a power deep within yourself — a power that is spatial, sentient. Through ayurvedic medicine, our lives are engulfed in transcendence.

          Nothing is impossible. Consciousness consists of ultrasonic energy of quantum energy. “Quantum” means an unfolding of the advanced. Insight is the richness of serenity, and of us.”

          In summary, my bullshit is better than yours. I win!

          “Once it departs from the physical body, the physical body becomes useless and lifeless.”

          Also, when the physical body dies, your mind, spirit, soul, whatever you want to call it, ceases to exist because it’s generated by your brain. There’s no good evidence of any afterlife.

        • hector_jones

          Quantum. Nice touch.

        • this is quite an admission, Dys. request – don’t spew bs when you respond to my comments – deal?

        • Kodie

          So you’re a Muslim now?

        • I was about to ask that. Maybe Greg doesn’t much care who he’s supporting, just so long as faith is involved.

        • Dys

          I’m sorry you didn’t get the joke Greg. I was pointing out that Moon Sparkle’s nonsense is practically indistinguishable from a New Age Bullshit Generator.

          Here’s my offer for you – I’ll stop confusing you by making jokes that are beyond your ability to grasp, if you stop trying to be funny. Deal?

        • It’s not nice of you to have gunfights with poor Greg. You know that his gun isn’t loaded.

        • well said.

        • difficult concepts to express – impressive.

        • Kodie

          You’re impressed by the uncited quotes of a rambling Muslim with no original thoughts – your brother from another mother.

        • Greg was a Muslim in a previous life.

        • SparklingMoon,

          It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his writings:”It is a mystery of ”Rububiyyat” that creation comes into being by God’s words. This may be understood as meaning that creation is the reflection of God’s words or that God’s words themselves, by Divine Power, take on the shape of creation. All souls and bodies are words of God which, through perfect Divine wisdom, have been clothed as created objects. It cannot be gainsaid that whatever qualities are found physically and mortally in heavenly bodies and elements are spiritually and eternally present in God Almighty

          The relationship of the whole of creation and of all the worlds to God, the Lord of Honor and Glory, resembles the relationship which subsists between the soul and the body. As all the limbs of the body are subject to the designs of the soul and they all move in the direction in which the soul moves, the same relationship subsists between God Almighty and His creation. When God, Who is the Cause of causes and to Whose Being all beings are related, makes a move towards the creation of anything, then if that move is on a full scale it occasions a move in all creation, but when it is a partial move, it occasions a move in some sections of the universe. The whole of this universe including all its sections is designed to carry out whatever is intended by the Cause of causes and is like the limbs which do not operate on their own, but are supplied with power all the time by the Great Soul as all the faculties of the body operate under the direction of the soul.

          Secondly, Just as the Sun keeps to its orbit and its heat and light continue to envelope the earth and benefit each and everything in accordance with the capacities of each, the same is true about spiritual entities (Angels). Call them what you will; for instance, celestial spirits after the Greeks or, in terms of the Avesta(The sacred book of ancient Iran, contains the teachings of the Prophet Zoroaster) and Vedas (Four sacred books of Hindus.) call them spirits of stars, or, in the simple and straightforward manner of those who believe in One God, call them God’s Angels. In the infinite wisdom of God Almighty these spiritual entities are busy serving everything that exists on earth and has potentiality and are helping everything attain its desired goal to the fullest extent. The functions they perform are both visible and invisible. Just as our bodies and overt functions are influenced by the Sun, the Moon and other planets, all these Angels too are exerting their respective influence on our hearts, minds and indeed on all our spiritual functions in keeping with our respective capacities.

          .

        • inspiring words, thank you.

    • Dys

      Here’s a website for you – the New Age Bullshit Generator. It’ll help you discover new things to believe in.

      http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/

      Also, heaven is imaginary, and the available evidence suggests that there’s no ‘you’ after physical death.

      • SparklingMoon,

        A person takes with him from this world the eyes with which to behold God Almighty and the senses with which to perceive Him. He who does not acquire these senses in this life will not enjoy them in the hereafter. This is a mystery which is not understood by the common people.

        The truth is that to recognize God Almighty without any error and to acquire a true understanding of His attributes in this world is the key to all comforts and delights of the future. We carry a torment with us from this world and that the blind existence and foul actions of this world will appear in the form of the torment of hell in the other world and they will not be anything new.

        As by shutting the doors of a room a person deprives himself of light and of fresh life-giving air, or by swallowing a poison he puts an end to his life, in the same way, when he moves away from God and commits sin, he falls into a darkness and is involved in torment.(Ruhani Khazain)

        • Dys

          Yep, that definitely sounds like the type of nonsense that would come from the bullshit generator. That it’s something that someone (in this case a muslim who thought he was the messiah) actually wrote doesn’t change the fact that it’s BS.

        • SparklingMoon,

          The life in the hereafter would not be material. Instead, it would be of a spiritual nature. The soul giving birth to another rarer entity, which would occupy the same position in relation to the soul as the soul occupies in relation to our carnal existence here on earth. This birth of a soul from within the soul will be related to the sort of life that we have lived here on earth.

          If our lives here are spent in submission to the will of God and in accordance with His commands, our tastes gradually become cultured and attuned to enjoying spiritual pleasures as against carnal pleasures. Within the soul a sort of embryonic soul begins to take shape.New faculties are born and new tastes are acquired, in which those accustomed to carnal pleasures find no enjoyment.

          These new types of refined human beings can find the content of their heart. Sacrifice instead of the usurpation of others’ rights becomes enjoyable. Forgiveness takes the upper hand of revenge, and love with no selfish motive is born like a second nature, replacing all relationships that have ulterior motives. Thus, one can say a new soul within the soul is in the offing.(Life after death)

        • Dys

          What I imagine your thought process must be like:

          “Hmm…doesn’t look like they’re buying into my magical, unsupported worldview. I know! I’ll just spout more of it! Surely if I just keep throwing enough new age nonsense at them, something will stick, and they’ll become fooled and think I make sense!”

          Fess up – you’re a Deepak Chopra fan, aren’t you?

        • Kodie

          SparklingMoon as I understand is actually a Muslim. I don’t know if there is a hippie Jesus freak analog in Islam, but that’s actually what this is. And no, SM never backs up their claims.

        • Dys

          Yeah, I kinda figured it was some type of Islam, based on the quote she? used. But it sounds like some kind of hippy, new age version of it.

        • SparklingMoon,

          I do not believe that the God of Christians or the God of Muslims are different. God is one, as the law to which the world is subject is one law, and the system which links one part of it to another is one system and Science builds itself on the belief that all natural and mechanical changes are expressions of one law.

          It is not possible that this One God Almighty who is working behind this physical world ever had any contradiction in his revelation and had revealed to prophet Moses something different to prophet Jesus or prophet of Islam about heaven and hell or about some other topics of religion.

        • Kodie

          Most of the world disagrees with you, because all y’all make this shit up to please yourselves. God is no part of science. Science does not build itself from god. You’d know how the heart works if you understood this.

        • SparklingMoon,

          Science is a knowledge about these two worlds: A world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments. The second world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture.

          There exist inside of this physical world an other very hidden spiritual world, existing equally everywhere and working and controlling the whole system of our world. This very spiritual world is opened only by God to His Prophets and some poise people through visions and to all other people sometimes in their dreams according to their spiritual condition.

          Scientific instruments can never discover this world; very hidden in its spirituality. The sight of scientists or worldly people reaches only to the physical particles and their functions and their thinking never crosses to that world, working very silently beneath these objects.

        • Kodie

          1. You said this already. It’s just jibber-jabber.
          2. You are a scientific instrument, a crude one. If something is real, a human can build a better instrument to detect it.
          3. No such thing as prophets. They’re not even good guessers, they’re either vague or someone makes it their mission to fulfill their “prediction” in some lame attempt to prove that person a “prophet” or seer.
          4. You’re an idiot for being impressed by the weakest arguments and continually believe your jibber-jabber will impress us by repeating it.
          5. There is no other real world. Your imagination is not a world.

        • Dys

          Science doesn’t back up your magical world of nonsense. So you place your imaginary world outside of science, which allows you to make crap up and pretend you know what you’re talking about.

        • adam

          There is no such thing as spirituality outside the human mind, it is an emotional construct.

          If you have proof that there is (something besides words) then DEMONSTRATE what you are saying is true.

          Otherwise you come across as no different that any of the other THOUSANDS of religions..

        • Dys

          “I do not believe that the God of Christians or the God of Muslims are different.”

          Neither do I, really, because neither one exists.

        • adam

          There is no such thing as spirituality outside the human mind, it is an emotional construct.

          If you have proof that there is (something besides words) then DEMONSTRATE what you are saying is true.

          Otherwise you come across as no different that any of the other THOUSANDS of religions.

        • amen

        • MNb

          Wrong.
          To SparklingMoon you should say

          amin.
          Stress the second syllable.

        • Dys

          Cheerleading through old posts, are we? Did you get bored of upvoting the latest trolls or something?

        • hector_jones

          Is it merely a coincidence that hasish is produced in countries that are predominantly muslim? I think not.

        • Kodie

          I’d like to make a matching game of religions and their mind-altering substances of choice.

        • hector_jones

          What I imagine Sparky’s thought process must be like:

          “What will I do if the drugs stop working?”

        • Kodie

          Then why is god so bad at it? Why are humans expected to exceed god?

        • adam

          What ‘life in the hereafter’?

          You’ve demonstrated NO SUCH THING.

          Why do YOU have to be DECEITFUL?

        • SparklingMoon,

          When a person acts there is a corresponding action by God Almighty.For instance, when a person shuts all the windows of his room the corresponding action of God Almighty is that He makes the room dark. That which has been appointed as a necessary consequence under the Divine law of nature is the action of God Almighty, inasmuch as He is the Cause of causes. In the same way, when a person swallows a fatal dose of poison the reaction of God Almighty would be that he would die. In the same way, if a person acts carelessly so as to attract an infectious disease, the reaction of God Almighty would be that he would suffer from that disease.

          Thus, as in our physical life there is a necessary consequence of every action and that consequence is an action of God Almighty, the same is the case in spiritual matters. God Almighty makes these points very clear in a verse: those who seek God with full effort, their action is followed by Divine action that they are shown the path of God; those who deviate from the right course, their action is followed by Divine action that their hearts are perverted.

          This is further illustrated in the verse: He who is blind in this world shall be blind in the hereafter and even more astray.This is an indication that the righteous behold God in this very world and thus the foundation of heavenly life is laid in this world and the blindness of the hereafter is generated by the foul and blind life of this world.

          Again it is said:Those who believe and act righteously shall inherit the gardens beneath which rivers flow. In this verse God Almighty has described faith as a garden beneath which rivers flow. It is here pointed out that the relationship which streams of water have with gardens is the relationship which subsists between faith and actions. As no garden can flourish without water, no faith can be a living faith without righteous action. If there is faith and there are no actions, that faith is vain, and if there are actions but there is no faith, those actions are mere show. The reality of the Islamic paradise is that it is a reflection of the faith and actions in this life. It is not a new thing which will be bestowed upon a person from outside.

          A person’s paradise is generated from within himself and everyone’s paradise are his faith and his righteous action, the delight of which begins in this life. The gardens of faith and actions and the streams that flow through them are seen in a hidden manner in this life, but in the hereafter they will be perceived overtly. The holy teaching of God Almighty tells us that the true and pure and firm and perfect faith in God and His attributes and His designs is a pleasant garden of fruit trees and righteous actions are the streams that irrigate that garden.( Ruhani Khazain)

        • Dys

          Copy/Pasting religious assertions demonstrates nothing. No good evidence for an afterlife, no evidence of heaven or hell, no evidence that any god has ever done anything. You’ve got nothing.

        • adam

          What ‘life in the hereafter’?

          You’ve demonstrated NO SUCH THING.

          Why do YOU have to be DECEITFUL?

        • Kodie

          For instance, when a person shuts all the windows of his room the
          corresponding action of God Almighty is that He makes the room dark.

          How dirty are your windows???

        • you are obviously very dedicated to your faith and have achieved impressive levels of spirituality – it is a pleasure to read your comments.

        • Greg G.

          If you copy practically any part of a Moon post and Google it, you can find where he copied it from, then read the original.

          He is from a denomination of Islam from India.

        • the way you use the word deceitful, adam, makes me wonder whether you just stepped out of a rabbit hole

        • Kodie

          Why, explain what’s wrong with it, fake lawyer.

        • adam

          Yes, the rabbit hole of deceitful people like YOU.

        • Kodie

          Oh bullshit. It’s not a mystery because it’s fiction.

        • SparklingMoon,

          it is said by God Almighty: ”We guide along Our paths those who strive after Us” (29:70) This means that those who seek God with full effort, their action is followed by Divine action that they are shown the path of God;and those who deviate from the right course, their action is followed by Divine action that their hearts are perverted. Paradise is that it is a reflection of the faith and actions in this life. It is not a new thing which will be bestowed upon a person from outside. A person’s paradise is generated from within himself and everyone’s paradise are his faith and his righteous action, the delight of which begins in this life.

          Faith which is free from all excess and defect and falsehood and vanity, and is perfect in every way, is like a tree that is free from every defect, its root is firm in the earth and its branches spread into heaven and it brings forth fruit at all times. At no time are its branches without fruit. God Almighty has likened faith to a tree that bears fruit at all times and has specified three signs of it.

          The first is that its root, that is to say, its true meaning should be firm in the soil of man’s heart. Nature and human conscience should have accepted its truth and reality.

          The second sign is that its branches should spread into heaven, that is to say, it should be reasonable and should be in accord with the heavenly law of nature which is the action of God. The arguments in support of its correctness and truth should be deducible from the law of nature and should be so perfect as if they are in heaven and cannot be reached by any criticism.

          The third sign is that its fruit should be eternal and unending. That is to say, its blessings and effects should be perceptible in every age and should not cease after any particular period. (Ruhani Khazain)

        • Kodie

          God is a fictional character.

        • SparklingMoon,

          Indeed God is the Being Who has ever called mankind to Himself by announcing:I am present.It would be impertinence to imagine that man has laid Him under an obligation through his understanding of Him and that if there had been no philosophers He would have remained unknown.

          Reason, if it is not tainted with atheism, can only help us analyze the creation and conclude that it must have a Creator, but it cannot grant us any certainty as to whether there actually is a Creator. It may, on the contrary, lead us to believe that the whole universe is functioning on its own and that some objects have an inborn ability to create others, but it can never bring us the kind of perfect certainty or complete awareness.(Ruhani khazain)

        • Kodie

          Atheism ain’t tainting shit except delusion.

        • Guest

          Atheism is impotent rage, cowardice and stupidity.

        • Kodie

          How much money do you pay to the religious organization of your choice?

        • Dys

          Projection is a terrible thing. You should stop doing it. Especially considering you’re the anonymous ignorant troll who threw a hissy fit, exhibited blatant hypocrisy, childishly pretended you’re an authority on the subject matter, and then whined about how you weren’t going to talk to some of us any more because we pointed out how crap your arguments were and how much you were embarrassing yourself.

        • adam

          Why ‘god’ needs worshipers:

          In short: the Bible writers do not describe God’s power like naturalists describing an insect–they create God’s power by writing it into being, by speaking of it (“praising the LORD”), teaching it to their children, etc.

          To answer the question, why does God need worshippers, we need only ask, why does a king need subjects? A king without subjects is not a king at all. But with subjects who obey him, a king has enormous, and genuine power. He can speak a command, and an army marches. A temple or a palace springs into being. At the king’s word, his enemies can be slaughtered, and an entire nation of people can act as one.

          But what sort of a king is God? After all, a king must exist
          in some form, in order to reign. We can point to a Ramesses or a Napoleon, and say, “there he is.” As a human being, he has real needs and wants that his subjects provide. Furthermore, rebellion, or even indifference is a genuine threat to his power, and he will act to crush both, in exactly the same manner that God acts. The whole point of having subjects is that they, collectively, have power the king, in
          himself, does not have. By himself, he could not raise a palace or a pyramid, or conquer a neighboring nation.

          In other words, by proclaiming himself to be a King,
          God not only confesses that he is not “omnipotent,” he admits that humans have power that he lacks. Everything God commands people to do, from waging wars, to passing collection plates in church, to banning gay marriage is ironclad, demonstrable proof-in-action that God cannot do these things in and for himself.

          So we can see that, as a king, God is dependant on the obediance of his subjects. But we still cannot point at someone sitting on a throne somewhere and say, “there he is, there is God, our King.” Kcrady

        • SparklingMoon,

          God Almighty has no need of our worship but we as a human beings need to worship Him to fulfill the purpose of our life. It is written by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ” It is obvious that it is not open to man that he should himself lay down the purpose of his life by his own authority inasmuch as man does not arrive in the world of his own will, nor will he depart from this world of his own will. He is a created being and He Who created him and bestowed upon him better and higher faculties than those bestowed upon other animates, has enjoined a purpose for his life. Whether anyone comprehends that purpose or not, without doubt the purpose of man’s creation is the worship and understanding of God Almighty and to lose himself in Him.

        • adam

          Why ‘god’ needs worshipers:

          In short: the Bible writers do not describe God’s power like naturalists describing an insect–they create God’s power by writing it into being, by speaking of it (“praising the LORD”), teaching it to their children, etc.

          To answer the question, why does God need worshippers, we need only ask, why does a king need subjects? A king without subjects is not a king at all. But with subjects who obey him, a king has enormous, and genuine power. He can speak a command, and an army marches. A temple or a palace springs into being. At the king’s word, his enemies can be slaughtered, and an entire nation of people can act as one.

          But what sort of a king is God? After all, a king must exist
          in some form, in order to reign. We can point to a Ramesses or a Napoleon, and say, “there he is.” As a human being, he has real needs and wants that his subjects provide. Furthermore, rebellion, or even indifference is a genuine threat to his power, and he will act to crush both, in exactly the same manner that God acts. The whole point of having subjects is that they, collectively, have power the king, in
          himself, does not have. By himself, he could not raise a palace or a pyramid, or conquer a neighboring nation.

          In other words, by proclaiming himself to be a King,
          God not only confesses that he is not “omnipotent,” he admits that humans have power that he lacks. Everything God commands people to do, from waging wars, to passing collection plates in church, to banning gay marriage is ironclad, demonstrable proof-in-action that God cannot do these things in and for himself.

          So we can see that, as a king, God is dependant on the obediance of his subjects. But we still cannot point at someone sitting on a throne somewhere and say, “there he is, there is God, our King.” Kcrady

        • Kodie

          There is no purpose in life. Yours is man-made, how do you like that?

        • SparklingMoon,

          The real purpose of all the external and internal limbs and faculties that have been bestowed on man is understanding and worship and love of God. The purpose of the creation of a thing is determined by its highest achievement beyond which its faculties cannot rise. Forinstance, the highest a bullock is capable of is ploughing, or irrigation, or transportation, and therefore these are the purpose of its life and it cannot rise above them.

          But when we take stock of man’s faculties and powers to discover his highest capacity, we find that he is invested with the faculty of seeking after God so much so that he desires that he should become so devoted to God’s love that he should have nothing of his own and that everything should become God’s.He shares his natural needs like food and drink and rest with other animates, and in industry some animals are ahead of him; for instance, the bees produce such excellent honey from every type of flower that man has so far not been able to compete with them. It is clear, therefore, that the highest capacity of man is meeting with God Almighty and thus the true purpose of his life is that the window of his heart should open towards God.(Ruhani Khazain)

        • Kodie

          I don’t believe you. I’m sorry you base your whole life on a fantasy.

        • 90Lew90

          *Insert loud fart here*

        • Dys

          Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – Islamic heretic and wannabe prophet who thought he was the second coming of Jesus until he died. Then he stopped existing, just like every other person who’s died.

          God doesn’t exist, Jesus is dead, Mohammad wasn’t God’s prophet, and none of your supernatural wishful thinking has any basis in reality.

        • SparklingMoon,

          The Founders of religions like Moses, Jesus, Krishna,Buddha Zoroaster,Prophet of Islam etc.did not possess those powers and accomplishments which ordinarily make lor successful leadership. They knew little or nothing of the arts or culture of their time. Yet what each taught turned out to be something in advance of his time,something pertinent and seasonable. By adopting this teaching a people attained to a great height in civilization and culture, and retained the glory for many centuries. A true religious Teacher makes this possible. Yet it is inconceivable that a person innocent of ordinary accomplishments, as soon as he begins to lie about God, should come to have such tremendous powers that his teaching dominates all other teachings current in his time. Such a development is impossible without the help of a powerful God.( Ruhani Khazain)

        • Dys

          Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Quoting your favourite Islamic heretic means nothing.

          Additionally, he doesn’t have the information necessary to make the claims he does about the founders of the religions. He’s making things up.

        • Guest

          Prove it. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

        • Kodie

          Why do you pray to Allah?

        • Guest

          Can’t do it? Aww.

        • Kodie

          Uranus then?

        • Guest

          Where?

        • Kodie

          You pray to Uranus, right?

        • Guest

          LOL, no. You’re cute when you’re desperate.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you pray to Uranus?

        • Guest

          Why should I? Do you have cool tattoos?

        • Kodie

          You believe in god and Uranus is a god.

        • Guest

          Of course, but it’s more important that he believes in me.

        • Kodie

          Too bad. How much money do you give for that?

        • Guest

          It doesn’t cost me anything. It’s totally free.
          You should get in on that action, it’s a really good deal.

        • Kodie

          Because I’m not a fool.

        • Guest

          Prove it.

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who didn’t back your claim.

        • Guest

          What claim was that?

        • Kodie

          You made a claim about atheists.

        • Dys

          ‘Guest’ will probably just cop out and say it was his own hate-filled and bigoted opinion. He’s not big on honesty.

        • Kodie

          Maybe he’ll try another cheesy pickup line.

        • Dys

          Maybe…it’d be an improvement over the silliness he’s trying now.

        • Guest

          Cheesy pickup line.. on you? LOL no, you’re not my type, sorry to burst your bubble. I’m sure you’ll get over it.
          Is the boy still crying? He’ll get over it too, he just needs to grow up.

        • Dys

          You haven’t been reading your own comments obviously.

        • Dys

          But we’re still waiting on you to prove all your assertions. Did you finally get over the temper tantrum you were throwing when this was pointed out to you?

        • 90Lew90

          “Reason, if it is not tainted with atheism…”. I’m afraid it’s religion that does the tainting. Obviously.

        • Guest

          Prove it.

        • Kodie

          I just did.

        • Guest

          No, you declared it, which proves precisely nothing.

        • Dys

          Wait…if you understand that, you must understand why none of your points make any sense. You’re learning! Congratulations!

        • Kodie

          He’s a character in a fictional book.

        • Guest

          Prove it.

        • Kodie

          The book doesn’t prove god isn’t a fictional character.

        • Guest

          Prove that.

        • Kodie

          Prove what?

        • Dys

          He’s just cranky that he couldn’t back up any of his assertions, so now he’s resorting to childish trolling out of spite and ignorance.

        • Pofarmer

          I must have missed the substantive arguments.

        • Dys

          They were impressive…in particular, I liked “not really” and “no it’s not”. There might have even been a “nuh uh” in there as well.

        • Kodie

          No substance and no arguments.

        • Guest

          Prove the book doesn’t prove God isn’t a fictional character.
          And never mind the boy, he’s been dismissed.

        • Kodie

          The book “declared it, which proves precisely nothing.”

        • Guest

          But that doesn’t prove he’s fictional, it only proves that the book doesn’t not disprove he’s not fictional. In other words, prove it.

        • Dys

          Not familiar with the fact that the positive claim carries the burden of proof I see.

        • Kodie

          I’m under no greater obligation than the source of the story itself.

        • Guest

          Fair enough, but since you’ve made the positive claim that God is fictional the burden of proof is on you.

        • Kodie

          No it’s not.

        • Dys

          Guest doesn’t understand what a positive claim is either…don’t expect too much from him though, he can’t even figure out how Disqus works.

        • Guest

          Yes it is.

        • Dys

          Nope, it’s a negative claim actually.

        • Kodie

          I don’t have a burden of proof. How can I believe something that’s not true?

        • Guest

          You made the claim, so you have the burden.
          How can you? But you believe in evolution don’t you?
          And that isn’t true, so you tell me, how do you do it?

        • Kodie

          Literacy.

        • Dys

          But it wasn’t a positive claim, so no, she doesn’t. And if you don’t accept evolution, that’s unfortunate, since there’s mountains of evidence and research supporting it. Not so much for “god did it”.

          So you don’t understand burden of proof or science. High school will be very beneficial for you.

        • Dys

          Aw, the little troll is still suffering from delusions of grandeur. No one cares who you tried to dismiss, because you’re not any type of authority. Once you get past the sixth grade, you’ll understand.

        • Dys

          When you get to high school english, they’ll teach you what a double negative is, so you can avoid making catastrophes like you did here.

        • Dys

          You can’t demonstrate any of your claims are true. You’re just spouting spiritual gibberish.

        • hector_jones

          Until now I didn’t think anyone actually read sparky’s comments.

        • Kodie

          I don’t read the whole thing.

        • hector_jones

          To me they read like spam. I don’t read them at all.

        • Kodie

          I got bored?

        • hector_jones

          Awwww you miss jenna 🙂

        • Dys

          “It’s all fabricated; I made it all up. You guys should really stop quoting my works, because it really doesn’t make any sense. Especially Ruhani Khazain. I came up with that stuff when I was taking a lot of drugs, which is why I thought I was a messiah. Boy, did dying ruin that delusion for me.” – Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

    • Dys

      It’s also worth pointing out that you’ve completely failed to address the actual topic of discussion (that being the ontological argument and its failure), and are doing nothing more than preaching and reiterating your theology, none of which you can be bothered to actually support.

      It looks like you don’t have anything more than “I super-duper believe this” as a basis for your religious faith.

      • SparklingMoon,

        When it is said that God Almighty is Greatest that does not mean that God is something like a huge entity. The word ‘Greatest’ for God, refers to the greatness of His attributes as Most Gracious, Most Merciful, ,Omnipresent , Omniscience etc.

        The Holy Books say that God is Greatest in all His attributes in comparison to all other that exist in the whole Universe. For example God is Generous and human nature is also invested with this attribute and a person also can be a generous but the generosity of a human being in his limited circle has no comparison to unlimited generosity of God that is prevailed in the whole Universe and it is not possible for a person, through his human understanding ,to cover the unlimited circle of His attributes that are working everywhere.

        • Dys

          For the purposes of the ontological argument, it doesn’t matter what the Quran says about anything. You still haven’t actually dealt with the argument and its failings at all, you’re just making unsubstantiated assertions.

          In fact, given this response, it’s doubtful you comprehend the argument or the problems with it at all. Besides which, you can’t have a God with the greatest possible attributes because some are mutually exclusive. For example, perfect justice and perfect mercy are incompatible.

        • SparklingMoon,

          perfect justice and perfect mercy are incompatible.
          ———————————————————–
          God Almighty combines in Him both the attributes of justice and forgiveness, without there being any inner conflict between the two attributes. God is not only Just but is also Forgiving, Merciful and Beneficent. If He so desires, He does not stand in need of any outside help to forgive the sinful.

          It can be shown that forgiveness and justice are balanced and can coexist and do not always contradict each other. Sometimes justice demands that forgiveness must be extended and sometimes it demands

          Let us turn our attention to this issue with reference to common human experience. It can be shown that forgiveness and justice are balanced and can coexist and do not always contradict each other.

          Sometimes justice demands that forgiveness must be extended and sometimes it demands that forgiveness be withheld. If a child is forgiven and is encouraged to commit more crime, then forgiveness is itself bordering on a crime and is against the sense of justice.But if a child repents, for instance, and the mother is convinced that the same crime will not be repeated, then to punish the child would be counter to the sense of justice.

          When a repentant person suffers, that in itself is a punishment which may in some cases far exceed a punishment imposed from outside. People with a living conscience always suffer after committing a sin. As a consequence, the cumulative effect of the repeated pangs of conscience reaches a point where it may result in God taking pity on such a weak, oft-faltering, oft-repenting servant of His.

          This is the lesson in the relationship of justice to forgiveness, which people of high intellect or even people of ordinary understanding draw alike from a universal human experience.(justice and forgiveness)

        • Dys

          If they’re balanced, they’re not perfect in their own right. Because perfect justice and perfect mercy are mutually exclusive. Someone who is perfectly just cannot be perfectly merciful, because mercy is the suspension of justice. So you didn’t refute my point – you’ve basically said that God has compromised, imperfect attributes of justice and mercy.

          But once again, I see you’ve completely ducked the actual topic, and chose to address a side issue instead.

          So…the ontological argument…got anything?

        • SparklingMoon,

          Someone who is perfectly just cannot be perfectly merciful, because mercy is the suspension of justice.
          ——————————————————–
          Human experience teaches us that it is always the prerogative of those who suffer at the hands of others, to forgive or not to forgive. Sometimes governments, to celebrate a day of national rejoicing or for other reasons, may declare an amnesty to criminals without discrimination. But that does not in itself justify the act of pardoning those who have done some irreparable harm and caused perpetual suffering to their fellow innocent citizens.It should be remembered that if the act of indiscriminate pardon at the hands of a government can by any measure be justified and if this is not considered by Christian theologians as a violation of the sense of justice then why do they not extend the same courtesy to God and concede to Him the right of forgiveness as and when He so pleases? After all,He is the Supreme Sovereign, the Creator and Master of everything.If He pardons anyone for any crime that may have been committed against fellow beings, the Supreme Master has the unlimited power to compensate the aggrieved so generously as to make him perfectly satisfied with His decision.

          We are born attuned to the attributes of God. He so declares in the Holy Bible: Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness.’ (Genesis 1:26)

          On the same subject in the Holy Quran He says: And follow the nature made by Allah—the nature in which He has created mankind. (30:31)

          This tenet, common to both Christian and Muslims alike, requires that human conscience is the best reflective mirror of God’s conduct in a given situation. (Mercy and Justice)

        • Dys

          Ok, so you don’t have anything other than theological nonsense, which doesn’t actually counter anything I said, and you still haven’t addressed the ontological argument at all.

          So really, you’re just here to preach crap that you can’t demonstrate is true.

        • I agree with the first part of your comment which is a self profession by you of possessing a knowledge of the ontological argument – so, within the context of the argument, you would understand that it is possible for God to have what we perceive as “mutually exclusive” attributes.

        • Dys

          within the context of the argument, you would understand that it is possible for God to have what we perceive as “mutually exclusive” attributes.

          Then the god you’re proposing is irrational and illogical. It’s not a question of what is perceived to be mutually exclusive, it’s what’s actually mutually exclusive. Mercy is a suspension of justice. It’s a bit funny that you’re trying to violate logic in a logical argument for the existence of god.

          In trying to squeeze in mutually exclusive terms into a definition of god, you undermine any attempt to use him as a foundation for those principles.

          On a side note, I dealt with your objection a year ago in a further reply to Moon Sparkle. You should have kept reading the thread.

        • The claims about God don’t make sense? Sure, I’ll buy that.

    • Without Malice

      You seem to have an endless supply of bullshit in your back pocket that you can pull out from time to time in order to show that you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

    • RichardSRussell

      “Believe this simply because I say so” is not persuasive.
      Under certain circumstances, tho, it may be threatening.

      • SparklingMoon,

        What I bring is sometime very different from other commentators or theologien and the purpose of mine is never to threaten but to convert the attention of readers to prevailed fundamental mistakes about some terms of religion. As all systems of this world have foundational laws and principles and their right information helps a person to step in a right direction as religion also some laws to understand its whole building. A building that is not based on a straight foundation will always heighten to a wrong direction.

        I have tried to make in my posts to understand the real meanings of Heaven. Sometimes the concept of sky is confused with heaven.(as it is considered by some followers of Trinity that Jesus after cross had moved with his physical body towards sky and had seated himself in the right hand of God Almighty (as God was sitting some where above with His physical body) Earth is moving in space and from different directions has its own direction for sky therefore Sky is the name of Physical height from earth to other planats or stars .

        It is always described by prophets that God Almighty is in Heaven and controls the whole universe. This Heaven is, actually, a name for spiritual height and this spiritual height is an eternal part of all existed particles of this universe . When we make a study of physical world and its causes and effects, we find observations leading to a world small in size, particles leading to sub-particles, all of it invisible to our eyes. Solid matter changing to gases and even more ethereal in nature, and finally, it is said, the matter changing to energy. It is at those smallest of the smallest and ethereal places where angels operate to fulfill their duties.

        God and Universe are united together. As countless different kind of particles of this Universe are a physical manifestation of His countless Attributes and each and every particle of this universe obtain its sustenance constantly from His attributes through Angels.The Sanctity of God’s Spirituality stops Him to communicate directly to physical objects therefore Angels have been created as a middle-source to transform the attributes of God into physical particles of this universe.( Angels have this ability to communicate to one side the spirituality of God and on the other side to communicate physical particles ( because of their being created))

        As the person of God Almighty is working for creation and sustenance behind each and every particles of this world therefore it is told by all prophets that God is Creator, Omniscience, Omnipresent,etc.

        The word Heaven is also used in religious books as a goal of human life. (It is considered mistakenly by some people as a garden like place where people would be placed after physical death). God Almighty is fountainhead of all spiritual Holy attributes. Human nature or soul or spirit is also bestowed by these holy attribute and Love of God to make a journey towards Him. All people have been equally given this ability to enhance these attributes as a source to attain the goal of human life.

        As all people are not on the same level of spirituality by practicing these attributes in the love of God Almighty therefore would have different levels in heaven according to the condition of their nature or soul and have to continue the next journey from their different stages of spirituality towards God. A human spirit that has not attained a certain level of spirituality in this wold by practicing these morals have to stay in a place that is called hell to improve itself and then will start its next journey for spirituality.

        • Dys

          In other words, he spreads theological BS that he can’t prove instead of dealing with the topic at hand. If SparklingMoon could be bothered to read, he’d realize that Bob’s post explicitly calls out the multiple, incompatible views of heaven. Showing up and going “no, no, no, I’ve got the right view of heaven” merely provides evidence to support the post.

  • I believe that BobS has offered St. Anselm’s ontological argument in a context that makes it easy to conclude it is stupid and useless. Indeed, BobS. has noted with his wry wit – and I paraphrase -“I always go to the teachings of people who lived in ancient centuries to instruct me with 21st century thinking:.

    Indeed, I believe one will take from the post that to any one who embraces the argument of St. Anselm is the kind of person that lacks the capability of critical thinking and who instead loves word games and also is convinced that human imaginings can show truths of the universe, how silly, right? not right.
    Let’ face it, the audience BobS is writing for are people who are convinced that observation and experimentation are the only legitimate ways of understanding the world around us and that Mathematics is the “ontological argument” that the 21st century thinker uses for describing aspects of the world.
    Yeah, word games, that St. Anselm’s argument represents, are nothing but an ignorant waste of time, and all the OA proves is the gullibility of some people, right? Wrong.
    I ask you, do you have a brain? do you have an imagination to construct a spectrum? do you have the capability to compare, contrast and analyze ideas on this spectrum? yes? good, then the argument is not a word game and we can now begin to appreciate it – indeed, we use these capabilities to interact with our world every day – yeah, atheist, get real.

    • Dys

      I sincerely hope you don’t think you’ve presented a counter-argument here. Because all you’ve really done is whine about how BobS said things you don’t like about an inherently flawed logical argument.

      • Kodie

        I think that’s all Christians have left.

        • Dys

          After reading his attempt at a defense of the ontological argument…he was better off just bitching and complaining.

    • Kodie

      You missed the opportunity to say something substantial. All you can do is complain and whine that we don’t find Christians credible with this (or any other) argument, to date, and pretend (to make yourself feel better and smarter than you are) that it’s because we’ve pre-decided. You could have been (in theory) the one to present this information to us, but you chose to be dull like always.

    • MNb

      “people who are convinced that observation and experimentation are the only legitimate ways of understanding the world around us.”
      Thanks for demonstrating that you understand zilch about science. The scientific method consists of two parts: theory (ie deduction) and empiry (ie induction).
      Your total lack of understanding what scientific thinking is is confirmed by your questions:

      “do you have a brain?”
      Likely, as brains have been observed in other people and there is a good theory about human brains.

      “do you have an imagination to construct a spectrum?”
      Likely, as psychologists have both observed human imagination and formulated theories about it. As for spectrum, that’s a handy abstract concept to describe a lot of things.

      “do you have the capability to compare, contrast and analyze ideas on this spectrum?”
      Same answer as to your previous question.

      “then the argument is not a word game”
      Excellent rejection of science again – this time psychology. Not that you were expected to know that branch of science better than other branches – ie poorer than poor. Psychology since long has established that not every product of human imagination relates to an external reality (ie outside the human brain). So this is a total non-sequitur.

      “atheist, get real”
      Says the guy who lives in a self-created dreamworld.

  • In the summary
    of the St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument above, BobS writes, “Are any of these
    variants valid? Do they prove God’s existence? I doubt it, …”

    Ok, you’re
    on the fence. Let’s see if I can push
    you over onto my side of the fence, and let’s keep it real simple.

    “Here’s
    the original argument as formulated by Anselm of Canterbury a thousand years
    ago. First define “God” as the greatest possible being that we can imagine.”

    First, the
    fact that we have imaginations is a reality.
    All of us can use this imagination to imagine the greatest possible
    being.

    Your
    response, “Greatest” is subjective” –My response? Sometimes it is and sometimes
    it isn’t. In all the examples you give, it is, in the argument for proving God exists,
    it isn’t. St. Anselm’s argument requests
    that we imagine the greatest being that exists in God’s reality not ours and
    that is why greatest is not subjective and that is why Kant’s Objection pertaining
    to “Existence” is not a separate attribute that needs to be proved in the
    argument.

    The
    concept of two realities also refutes all the arguments raised by Dys and
    others that God can not have conflicting attributes – St Anselm’s argument
    highlights this fact when he emphasizes how we can imagine a greatest being and
    the concept of “greatest” is not subjective – it is because our contact with
    God is only on a plain that can not be comprehended by our corporeal senses.

    Jesus is
    God’s attempt to reach us in our reality – we understand God by way of his
    manhood but not by way of his Godhood.

    Lost,
    ok, promised to keep it simple – I have two cats, one is meek and mild, the
    other a tiger. They both like their
    belly rubbed. I can rub the first cat on
    her belly and she’s in heaven. The second, I have a stick with a little hand at
    the end. I rub his belly from a distance
    so I am not clawed and he ends up in heaven.

    Meaning,
    we all have an itch, the theist allows the warm gentle hand of God to enter his
    live through his spirituality and imagination, the atheists do not allow God to
    enter into their life, denying the use of their imagination or acknowledging
    their spirituality, they do get their need for answers about life satisfied by science
    and mathematics. Theists get God’s loving hand, atheists get the stick.

    • Kodie

      Wow, I wasn’t getting it until your superb cat analogy, and now I think I finally get it! You think we want god but just won’t admit it, and this stuff makes no sense because we don’t want it to. Right?

      Because that’s how little you know about how crazy your fantastical beliefs are, when compared to reality. No matter what you want, if it’s not real, you have to face that. You don’t want to face that, so you keep cranking these fantasy stories. Seems kind of greedy to me that you think you know something by way of getting that itch scratched via fantasy and that has any relevance here to us, or in reality. The argument fails, you can wish for god but it doesn’t need to be true, just because you want it real bad and you can imagine it so lifelike.

    • Dys

      Ok, you’re on the fence. Let’s see if I can push you over onto my side of the fence, and let’s keep it real simple.

      Must you always start with these blatantly false assumptions? I know that if you’re called out for your dishonesty, you’ll inevitably retreat to the joke excuse, but the fact of the matter is that you’re absolute shit at making jokes. So just stop.

      St. Anselm’s argument requests that we imagine the greatest being that exists in God’s reality not ours

      So your understanding of Anselm’s argument is that it’s inherently circular, because it assumes that a god exists first.

      that is why Kant’s Objection pertaining to “Existence” is not a separate attribute that needs to be proved in the argument.

      It actually doesn’t address Kant’s objection at all. But you’ve essentially just admitted that you’re assuming the conclusion of the argument from the start. Kant’s actual objection is dealing with whether a god that exists is greater than one that doesn’t. And he concludes that treating existence as a property that something can possess makes no sense.

      The concept of two realities also refutes all the arguments raised by Dys and others that God can not have conflicting attributes

      No, it doesn’t Greg. Mutually exclusive properties are still mutually exclusive regardless of how many realities you’re considering. You’re confused, and I don’t think you have a good grasp on the ontological argument at all.

      Jesus…God….

      All your references to Christianity are entirely irrelevant to the ontological argument.

      the atheists do not allow God to enter into their life, denying the use of their imagination or acknowledging their spirituality

      It’s not that atheists have a problem with imagination Greg – it’s that we understand the act of imagining something doesn’t make it real. Apparently you haven’t figured that part out yet.

      Theists get God’s loving hand, atheists get the stick.

      Really, it’s like you just want to assert that the ontological argument is sound, even though it’s really not (and you can’t really defend it). But your real interest is obviously coming up with crap analogies to explain the silly theology you continue to try and sell us, despite not being able to provide a good reason why anyone should take it seriously. If all you’ve got is the “god-shaped hole” nonsense, you don’t have anything except a case of begging the question.

      • Dys – you state this above – “So your understanding of Anselm’s argument is that it’s inherently circular, because it assumes that a god exists first.”
        I see that this is a constant theme in your comments in this post and one which I sought to address by the question -do we or don’t we have an imagination? First the imagination, then the use of the imagination, then discovery of the existence of the greatest being – where is it circular there?

        Oh, and, earlier, your claims of Thomas Jefferson not being a Christian, were the claims based on his writings in 1794 – in 1776 he was born an Anglican and was firmly rooted thus.
        Even at the end of his life, Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being.

        • Dys

          do we or don’t we have an imagination?

          Of course we do. But as you apparently need to be reminded, the ability to imagine something doesn’t mean that thing necessarily exists.

          where is it circular there?

          It was with this quote of yours: “St. Anselm’s argument requests that we imagine the greatest being that exists in God’s reality”. In making this statement, you’ve already assumed the existence of God in the context of the argument before ever beginning. Hence it’s a circular argument…and as you’ve phrased it, incoherent besides.

          And you still haven’t actually dealt with my points regarding the mutual exclusivity of justice and mercy. Nor have you dealt with Kant’s objection of existence as a property. Multiple realities doesn’t allow you to dismiss any of these objections. At its core, the ontological argument is an attempt to define god into existence, and adding more realities into the picture doesn’t really change that.

          Even at the end of his life, Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being.

          I never said Jefferson wasn’t a theist. I said he wasn’t a Christian (except by how he meant in his own personal definition of the term). I also previously stated he was raised in the Anglican church, but adopted rather unorthodox views to the point where he was wrongly attacked for being an atheist. So face facts – he wasn’t a Christian when he authored the Declaration, nor when he was president, nor after that. It’s believed he seriously started questioning religion starting in 1760, when he was exposed to enlightenment ideas.

        • Pofarmer

          :”he wasn’t a Christian when he authored the Declaration, nor when he was president.”

          And today we have numbnuts like Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson running for President. Ack.

        • “he wasn’t a Christian when he authored the Declaration”

          debatable – one thing is clear, he wasn’t an atheist.

          “And today we have numbnuts like Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson running for President. Ack.”
          I know, go Trump!

        • Greg G.

          Jefferson was a Deist but if the findings of modern cosmology and biology had been available in the 18th century, he likely would have abandoned Deism as well.

        • and if you were sitting with Jesus at the last supper, you’d have abandoned atheism – plus, you would be well fed – I heard the wine was impeccable.

        • Whenever 13 guys get together for dinner, one of them must be the Son of God?

          If I were there, I presume I’d just see 13 guys getting together for dinner.

        • Dys

          debatable

          Not really. Unless you consider someone who denied Jesus was the son of god, denied Jesus’s divinity, denied the trinity, denied Jesus’s resurrection, denied the miracle claims of the bible, and denied the god described in the OT is somehow still a Christian purely based on the fact that he liked Jesus’s moral philosophy.

          he wasn’t an atheist.

          Which I don’t recall anyone making a case that he was.

          I know, go Trump!

          Because hurray rampant sexism and cognitive dissonance?

        • “Which I don’t recall anyone making a case that he was.”
          The point of St Anselm’s argument is proving the existence of God not the existence of the trinity or the godhood of Jesus – my point is that Jefferson did believe in God at the time of the writings of the Declaration and his presidency, he was not an atheist -(unless you have a new definition for atheist)

        • Dys

          The point of St Anselm’s argument is proving the existence of God not the existence of the trinity or the godhood of Jesus

          So you’ve changed tactics because you were failing badly. That’s fine. The argument doesn’t hold up very well, and you haven’t actually bothered to deal with the rebuttals.

          my point is that Jefferson did believe in God at the time of the writings of the Declaration and his presidency

          No one is disputing this. Jefferson did believe in a god. It just wasn’t the Christian one. Which I’ve said multiple times for multiple days now.

          he was not an atheist

          Again, no one is saying he was one. Unless you can pull a quote from someone here insisting otherwise?

          It seems that you’ve retreated to arguing for things I’ve already said in refutations of your other posts. So pretending that you’re being argued against in regards to Jefferson’s beliefs, is incredibly silly. I guess I should take it as a compliment that you’ve at least managed to correct your previous errors on that front though.

        • “Because hurray rampant sexism and cognitive dissonance”
          Because he’s better than Hillary and Bernie? It’s called holding your nose and pulling the lever.

        • Dys

          Not even close. Trump is a bad joke, and definitely not a better choice than Hillary or Bernie. I would prefer the oval office not be filled by a rich, entitled, racist and sexist asshole.

        • Hillary being a lifetime politician is part of the problem and our government will get more HUGE than it already is -and Bernie is a communist. Let’s put it this way, I would vote for YOU over the candidates claiming to be “dems.”

        • Dys

          You do know that socialism and communism aren’t the same thing, right? Bernie’s a socialist, not a communist.

        • and that’s suppose to make me feel better? Good Grief!

        • Dys

          Considering the difference between the two, it should, even if you don’t like either position.

          But Trump is a joke candidate…the scary thing is that Carson is leading now (despite Trump’s anti-reality field), and we’re finding out that being a neurosurgeon is no guarantee of intelligence.

        • and would somebody please give him (Carson) a cup of coffee.

        • Paul B. Lot

          It might have been said to make you feel better, if @DysDNA:disqus were under the impression that you had any idea what these terms mean, or what you are talking about.

          Luckily, I have no reason to believe that Dys was under that misapprehension.

        • It’s like talking to a kindergartener.

          The Soviet Union was communist. Denmark is socialist.

          See the difference? One was a brutal dictatorship, and the other is kicking our ass on almost every social metric.

        • Paul B. Lot

          *Democratic socialist

        • trust me, adding the word “Democratic” does not help…

        • Paul B. Lot

          “trust me”

          Lol, no.

        • Dys

          See, I’m glad I waited…that was going to be my response as well.

        • so college tuition will be free – first – when did going to college become a “right” – second – and whose going to pay for all these free things Hillary and Bernie are promising – baaah!

        • whose going to pay

          Nice! Conservatives hate to pay for stuff … except the stuff they like. We could pay by reducing defense spending. Seriously–how much more than everyone else do we really have to spend?

          http://schema-root.org/military/budget/military_spending_us_vs_world.gif

        • MNb

          Smart people – ie not you – understand that a well educated population benefits the country. Hence education is a governmental interest.

          “whose going to pay ….”

          The same source that pays for the most expensive defense force in the world, stupid.

          The candidates you promote btw try to make American the education system worse than the Surinamese version, a much poorer country than the USA.

          This is what you’re advocating.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2015/11/01/when-state-representatives-try-to-kill-their-own-educational-system/

          But I get it. You want to get it your way so that less people will notice how stupid you are – by means of an education that is guaranteed to produce even more stupid people.

        • I think I know a way you can pick up a few bucks, MNb – call:
          “speechwriters for Bernie -666-666-666”
          ,

        • Kodie

          This is what makes you so unpleasant, Greg – not even the terrible joke line – you literally think that a candidate for presidency is the literal devil you literally are frightened of. Grow the fuck up.

        • MNb

          Thumbrule: whenever Greg is shown wrong he pulls off a sad joke instead of just admitting it.
          Btw I’m not a fan of Iron Maiden.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Number_of_the_Beast_(album)

          See, christian symbolism means exactly zilch to me, thanks to my largely secular upbringing.

        • Greg G.

          Being free doesn’t mean it is a right. Giving a level of education to people who can be improved by it can benefit everybody.

        • we have to have some standard for figuring out what services to provide for free – and I hate to break it to you but not all families feel college is a necessity for their children – so they have to pay for all those other families that do? (and I have a kid in college, so I’m actually working against my own interests here.)

        • Greg G.

          Look at the long term effect. If a college education increases earning potential, then a student will pay more income tax on the greater income, paying for that education and more.

        • Are you going to find a loophole for those who don’t want to pay for public schools as well?

          I hate to break it to you, but not all families feel that America’s 5% need to spend 50% of the world defense budget. When you find a way out for those who don’t have kids going to college, are you going to find a way out for those of us who object to our bloated military?

        • You’ll be sorry….

        • Paul B. Lot

          “You’ll be sorry”

          Hahaha

          You’re a good troll!

          I’m 98% convinced you don’t believe any of the things you say you do; that you’re a sock-puppet for someone who’s just enjoying taking the piss. I can think of no other explanation for your simultaneous a) complete incompetence on all matters of logic and rhetoric and b) ability to say such hilarious shit.

          In any case; bravo. You gave me a smile 🙂

        • glad to do it, but I do believe in the things I write, I must admit, I sometimes wonder whether anything I say makes an impact. much prefer the theist/atheism discussion – politics is a complete train wreck – yet I can’t look away.

        • Kodie

          I sometimes wonder whether anything I say makes an impact

          Like a thud? Yeah.

        • no, you don’t understand, believing life is meaningless – that’s what atheists do, when a theist begins to think that- it’s a big deal.

        • Kodie

          I’m to understand that you think we need your help with this, since you’ve certainly never read anything we’ve written.

        • that’s the problem, I’ve read to much and a life without God would be meaningless – I’m the cat that needs warmth.

        • Kodie

          You believe a comforting lie, you believe many comforting lies, one of which is that we atheists believe life is meaningless and lead meaningless lives, and instead of facing up to your comforting lie, and admitting you just like it, you feel much better thinking we need to be adjusted by someone like you in order to see what you think you see. You’re delusional, bub. You’re wrong about many things, demonstrably wrong, and that comes at the root from believing that there’s a conscious and intentional deity to pray to and who cares about you. That’s kind of greedy and arrogant. Look around, there’s nobody but you, your family, and other people who can still tolerate you.

        • Dys

          I’ve read to much and a life without God would be meaningless

          Everyone comes up with their own personal meaning to life. Some just choose to attribute a religious reason to it. The problems arise when those who have decided a religious reason works for them try to impose their meaning on others.

        • Understood. I saw the movie, “Pay It Forward” on cable over the weekend – really moving, life can be improved by good honest random acts of kindness without regard to religion.
          But, my view is that it’s not enough, I need more, I have a need for answers – and there’s no way the questions I have will be answered by science- so, there I have a mind that has composed questions that can only be answered by a greater being -it makes sense to me that there must be one who will provide the answers after this life is over.

        • Dys

          In other words, wishful thinking. Because the thought that you might never get the answers you want bothers you.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I have a mind that has composed questions that can only be answered by a greater being”

          “A greater being”….than you?

          Why not ask your “Tiger”, then?

        • MNb

          Religion doesn’t answer your questions either – it only makes you feel good.

        • the bible goes into detail on how the world was created in Genesis – last time I looked science is giving us the big bang theory that still does not say what caused the “bang” – gee, MNb, if we do the math on which gives us answers to my questions – Bible =1 Science=0 – Science loses- deal with that reality!

        • MNb

          Evidence for the Bible: zero.
          Evidence against the Bible: a lot (two conflicting creation stories for instance).
          Evidence for the stupidity of Greg: one more piece with “What caused the Big Bang”. All relevant Big Bang theories are probablistic and hence this question is not even incorrect. It’s simply irrelevant.

          “if we do the math”
          Then it becomes clear that you’re not even capable of counting to five.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible does not go into details about the creation of the earth. What little the Bible does say is wrong.

        • wow, look at you, so you’re saying you have proof that God did not create the world in 6 days? I want the cereal you had this morning.

        • Kodie

          Are you saying that the bible is proof that something named “god” created the world in 6 days? Because you’re 4 years old?

        • Greg G.

          If you want to play that game, then knowledge is meaningless. It cannot be proved that the universe did or didn’t come into existence with a fake history 6000 years ago or 6 minutes ago and there is no way to know if we are brains in vats, a dream of Vishnu, in the Matrix or that Vishnu is a brain in a vat dreaming of the Matrix and we are in that.

        • Chris J

          Define your terms. Are you talking about 6 periods of 24 hours? Are you a young-earth creationist that thinks the universe is only 6,000 years old, or are you comfortable with the idea that God could have spent 6 days creating the universe (a la the current scientific picture of the Big Bang) and then waited around for billions of years until he created man?

          Here’s the rub; the science is indisputable. No matter what your hypothesis, the universe is such that it behaves and looks like one that is 13.82 billion years old. This is because science builds a model of how the universe is through observation, and that is what our observations show.

          If your hypothesis results in anything contradictory to reality, then it is disproven. If your hypothesis adds nothing to reality beyond things that can’t be observed, then it is useless.

          So, again; define your terms. That will tell you if we have proof that God did not create the world in 6 days.

        • Dys

          so you’re saying you have proof that God did not create the world in 6 days?

          And your proof that it did is….? Let me guess – it’s in a book you like.

          All you wind up with is the nonsensical position of believing whatever you like because it can’t be proven false. Although the fact that the bible gets the order of things wrong should create serious doubt in your mind as to whether the rest of it is correct.

          But knowing you, that isn’t the case at all.

        • Science says it didn’t happen, and it does so with evidence. Religion … not so much.

        • Bible =1 Science=0

          Because the Bible just says shit without evidence but Science does the heavy lifting to actually find out things for sure?

        • Kodie

          It’s a problem since you can’t tell fantasy from reality. The bible’s “details” are a myth – a lot of cultures tell a story about how the world started. Didn’t you learn this at school? Is a fictional story more factual than “I don’t know”? You are fucking stupid.

        • Dys

          You missed the part where the Bible fucks up the order of when things appeared. Flowering plants didn’t exist before animals, vegetation didn’t exist before the sun or moon, among other things.

          You’ve also seriously confused having an answer with having a correct answer. But you’ve made it clear that you don’t particularly care if you have the right answer…you just want an answer.

          So…Bible=0. You’re welcome for the correction.

        • Kodie

          It doesn’t only make him feel good, it makes him believe we must be broken and missing something that he compulsively needs to pester us.

        • Greg G.

          it makes sense to me that there must be one who will provide the answers after this life is over.

          You are missing out on enjoying a meaningful life because you are waiting for it to be explained to you when it is too late. That is what theology does to your brain.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t know the answers so you resort to your imagination.

          Godisimaginary.com

        • Greg G.

          Atheists do not believe life is meaningless. We don’t believe there is any teleological meaning. That is what many theists consider meaning. That depends on the existence of a god for meaning. The atheist meaning of life holds whether there is a god or not while the theist probably has a meaningless meaning of life.

        • MNb

          Yeah, as post-WW-2 history of Western Europe totally shows.
          Sure Americans will be sorry about affordable and accessible health care, for instance.

        • MNb

          Yeah, let’s trust stupid and ignorant Greg instead of Post WW-2 Western European history …. where countries had governments more radical than Bernie Sanders.

        • MNb

          “Bernie is a communist.”
          Some more “communists”:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_Attlee
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_Hollande
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmut_Schmidt
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olof_Palme1
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joop_den_Uyl

          Sanders is even less radical that those.
          So we may conclude now that you’re ignorant of politics as well.

        • “When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why people are hungry, they call me a communist.”

          — Helder Camara, archbishop

        • MNb, you can’t fool me – I read your comments praising the U.S. – please, a socialist? as John Wayne said in the movie the Searchers – “that’ll be the day”.

        • MNb

          I don’t need to fool you – you are perfectly capable of doing that yourself. You do it again in this short comment.
          Whether you want Bernie Sanders in the White House or not is totally your business. What I’m talking about is
          a) what you mean with “:communist”;
          b) how more radical politicans in Western Europe totally did (not) ruin their countries.

          Of course I should have known that those points would fly way over your head.

        • What does it say about the GOP that the front runners have never held public office, and they celebrate that fact?

        • the system is a quagmire and corrupt – you still want someone who is in the system to fix it? kinda like why there must be a God – he created a paradise, we turned into a nightmare – no one apart of the creation can fix it – we need God.

        • God is the one we go to? But he’s the ultimate insider! He’s been around since forever, and he actually created the system! According to you, we should throw the bums out, and God should be first on your list.

          You really need to go to analogy school.

          (Perhaps analogy school would look like this simile school from Seattle’s Almost Live comedy show.)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT6_PXXjU94

        • MNb

          Hey Greg, excellent principle! Let’s apply that to the RCC, another system that is a quagmire and corrupt. Not anyone who is in the system will fix it. You need an outsider!
          BobS for pope.

        • too late, you already made Pofarmer the pope.

        • MNb

          Actually I didn’t make Pofarmer the pope. So now your memory begins to fail you as well.
          But I would be OK with him in the Vatican as well.

        • Kodie

          There was no paradise – that’s a creation myth.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Aaaand new fb profile background.

        • watch out what you ask for – you may get it.

        • MNb

          A bit like Western Europe, you mean? What a horrific prospect! Run away and hide, Greg, social indices might improve! You can’t have that.
          No, what the USA needs is an educational system worse than the Surinamese one.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2015/11/01/when-state-representatives-try-to-kill-their-own-educational-system/

        • And you really want Trump for president? Seriously–that’s the best American conservatives can produce?

        • Regan can’t run again, Ron, not his atheist son.

        • Greg G.

          Reagan?

        • Dys

          Reagan wasn’t the saviour the conservatives want to paint him as. They’ve built up a mythology around the man, and ignore all the pesky things he did that didn’t mesh with their agenda.

        • I wonder where on the political spectrum Reagan would seem now.

        • MNb

          “First the imagination, then the use of the imagination, then discovery of the existence of the greatest being.”
          Nicely ignoring the fact that human imagination doesn’t necessarily refer to something outside the human body. Or my beloved fairies, who perfectly take care of the flowers in my garden, exist as well.

      • Pofarmer

        “but the fact of the matter is that you’re absolute shit at making jokes.”

        He’s not great at making arguments either.

        • Dys

          I kinda thought that went without saying 😉

        • and you know what I thought – you need to stop using the circular argument rebuttal – you seem to know the definition of it, you just can’t apply it very well.

        • Dys

          Since I did point out exactly where the circularity in your statement was, I’d say it’s the fact that your reading comprehension is terrible rather than an instance of my incorrectly labeling your attempt at an argument.

          I suggest you re-read, and then correct your phrasing of what you want to say. Because as it stands, it’s definitely circular and incoherent. You seem to know that the ontological argument is a thing, but you don’t understand it very well at all.

          In case you missed it, I spelled out your mistake for you here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/09/the-ontological-argument-something-from-nothing/#comment-2338383649

        • it’s not my argument – it’s St. Anselm’s and there are many, many people who would disagree with you on that –
          but then again, St. Anselm didn’t ride a motorcycle so there’s one strike against him.
          (speaking of strikes, congratulations on your KC Royals for beating my Mets)

        • Greg G.

          it’s not my argument – it’s St. Anselm’s and there are many, many people who would disagree with you on that –

          Those would be people who so want an argument for God that they will accept one no matter how bad it is.

        • Hey, did you read how definite BobS was in his summary that the argument was a valid one – “I doubt it..” Not a ringing endorsement of confidence against it being as faulty as “you” would like it to be.

        • Dys

          Greg, Greg, Greg…are you seriously trying to say that someone has to express absolute certainty about a belief, or else they lack confidence in it?

          You can’t be that silly and irrational. Can you? Please say no…please?

        • no, but “I doubt it”? BobS is basically saying – St. Anselm’s Argument? Maybe Yes, May be No. – depends on whether he had his belly scratched that day.

        • Dys

          Okay…so you’re completely ignorant of the fact that saying “I doubt it” does not boil down to 50/50 fence-sitting? In fact, it’s just the opposite? Common idioms and phrases should not be beyond your comprehension. Yet you routinely surprise me in what evades your grasp.

          But even past that, you’ve had more than enough talks with BobS to know that your summary isn’t even close to being accurate. Which leads me to conclude that you’re being intentionally dishonest.

        • If you think I’m on the fence about this ridiculous argument, where you invent something into existence with your mind, then your reading comprehension is worse than I imagined, “Counselor.”

        • I gave six arguments against the ontological argument. You think you can rebut them? Go.

        • Greg G.
        • Kodie

          You’re really clinging to Bob’s doubt that these arguments are sufficient to prove god’s existence. You’re also a really shallow reader and thinker.

        • MNb

          Pssst …. even the favourite apologist of your very own RCC, Thomas of Aquino, thought Anselm’s argument bad. Doesn’t that tell you something?
          Oh wait – of course you’re not only stupid, you’re also ignorant.

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/#SH2c

    • MNb

      “Theconcept of two realities also refutes all the arguments raised by ….. that God can not have conflicting attributes.”
      So your god is both perfectly good and perfectly evil at the same time? Please elaborate.

      “we all have an itch”
      Because you have two cats I’m a closet believer?

      “denying the use of their imagination or acknowledging their spirituality.”
      Papua’s from New Guinea are higly spiritual people, especially when not spoiled by christians. What again was your method to decide who’s correct and who’s not?

      “Theists get God’s loving hand, atheists get the stick.”

      Better still, assuming your both perfectly evil and perfectly good god, atheists get nothing and are better off, as you show with every single comment.

      • Dys

        I think, based on Greg’s understanding, that if he just imagines all the arguments and issues that have been raised against the ontological argument have been dealt with, that magically becomes reality.

      • Because you have two cats I’m a closet believer?

        Don’t complain. That’s the best argument Greg has put forward so far.

        • Susan

          That’s the best argument Greg has put forward so far.

          It’s no less convincing than Anselm’s.

        • “It’s no less convincing than Anselm’s.”
          Why?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Psssst …. Susan tells us what she thinks of Anselm’s argument by comparing it with yours. And like everyone else she thinks very low of yours.

    • So God is terrified of atheists, so he has to give us treats remotely so we don’t hurt him? Doesn’t sound like a very good analogy.

    • Greg G.

      Why does the greatest possible being need a stick?

      The greatest possible equilateral triangle would have three sides that are exactly equal in length but absolutely zero in width. But such a thing cannot exist in reality. The greatest possible thing can only be imagined.

      • So you are refuting the argument that the existence of God can be imagined by denigrating the imagination – because it can be used to imagine something that does not exist in reality –
        And, I guess you’re one of those who blame the Newtown Tragedy on the gun rather than the mental state of the one who used the gun – see how silly that is?

        • Greg G.

          There is nothing in your reply that is close to correct. I think the concept of gods is completely imagination. But something doesn’t have to exist to be imagined. The ancient Greeks were way off on that idea.

        • Greg G.

          The link MNb provided ( http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/#SH2c ) for Aquinas’ criticism of Anselm’s ontological argument is similar to my criticism and I reached my conclusion independently of Aquinas.

        • the triangle that does not exist? – I refuted that below and my comment is completely original!

        • Greg G.

          Perfect triangles are imaginary. They consist of perfectly straight lines. Show me a perfectly straight line. What we call triangles are not perfect triangles.

          We have a general concept of triangles. We have a general concept of trees. But there is no triangle or tree that fits our concepts exactly. Our concept of a tree or a triangle is not actually a tree or a triangle. Likewise, our concept of the greatest possible being is not a being.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Chris J

          Wait, what? How is it “denigrating the imagination” to say that you can imagine things that aren’t real? Do the products of imagination, like stories and art, only serve as insults to it? That’s a bit twisted.

        • Kodie

          It’s “denigrating the imagination” to say that imagination can’t be used to make imaginary things real by simply imagining them, just because all things aren’t like that.

          Of course art and stories are making imaginary things real, in a tangible way. Everything you see around you that was created by humans began in imagination. We imagine that we can fly somewhere or talk to people on the other side of the world, and we make that happen. As it turns out, fictional characters are still fictional. They tend to take on attributes of real people or things, or composites or characteristics we find familiar. Sometimes, they have magical, supernatural skills, and that’s still imaginary.

          Most imaginary things have stayed imaginary, or are useless. Let’s not get too far and talk about all the useless imaginings that manifested in reality, but just because you can think of something doesn’t mean you have to. Any given individual must recall times when they’ve had ideas to do something, and then decided something else was better. Anyone in a creative field has loads of shit that went nowhere but trash before they even came to their final output. Children imagine something and create a fear around it – monsters in the closet, parents abandoning them at kindergarten.. just because you can think of something doesn’t mean it’s true, or really happening. Greg seems to suppose “the greatest possible being” is a being that can exist just by imagining it, but a perfect triangle “denigrates” imagination by comparing god to something impossible, thereby making him kick rocks and pout about it.

          I’d seen an interesting bit, years ago, on one of those Nova episodes (I think it was), where lying is a particular good stage of childhood development. Children who are punished out of the habit of lying with no leeway are at a disadvantage. When a child figures out that what they know to be true and what they tell someone can be two different things, it’s actually an advancement of their brain growth. That’s them learning to imagine something that they know is not true. I think that Greg must have missed this stage, although he has been deceitful, even over the internet, it’s quite obvious as a toddler smeared with chocolate saying their brother ate the cake.

        • Kodie

          Nobody is blaming “the gun”.

    • Paul B. Lot

      Dude.

      Just rub them both on the belly with your hands.

      When one of them gets fiesty, you discipline it; hold it by the scruff or something. Cats play bite/claw each other all the time, and they figure out the boundaries of pain/play by going hard until they get push-back.

      If you’ve never pushed back, your poorly-disciplined “tiger” cat doesn’t know the appropriate boundaries.

      This isn’t rocket science – cats have brains the size of a walnut.

      (Then again…for you, that might prove a worthy adversary….)

      • You are very close to the point I was making, I want to, but the behavior of Tiger is tantamount to his choosing the stick rather than the warm hand. Switching to the analogy of God, BobS’s comment also infers that the fault lays with the “scratcher” when in actuality it lays with the “scratchee” or the atheist. I believe the answer is the same in both cases – “emotional baggage”

        • Dys

          I believe the answer is the same in both cases – “emotional baggage”

          Of course you do…giving yourself an excuse to make false assumptions makes your self-assigned job much easier. And given what a terrible apologist you are, you need all the help you can get. Even if it’s not honest.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “You are very close to the point I was making”

          @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus, Greg, greggers….how are you supposed to know whether or not my point was “very close” to yours…when you do not grasp…what my point was?

          That’s your first homework-assignment: re-state MY point, in your own words, such that I agree it’s still my point.

          Once you’ve done step 1, we can move-on to talk about how utterly imbecile it is to claim that [you are being scratched by your cat] because [your cat has emotional baggage.]

          Maybe, once we’ve covered that topic, then we advance to a discussion of whether or not it makes sense to present the situation in-terms of “choosing the stick rather than the warm hand”…as if the “warm hand” were something the cat didn’t know it wanted/needed.

        • Dys

          When it comes to the ontological argument, I’m not sure Greg knows what his own point is, let alone anyone else’s.

        • That’s OK–God will give him the words.

        • amen

        • MNb

          That is the only word god has given to you?

        • and don’t elect socialists

        • MNb

          Yeah, they might improve the educational system and would make you look even more stupid. You can’t have that.

          A 19th Century saying: the capitalist keeps them poor, the clergy keeps them dumb. Ah, those were the days Greg is longing for.

        • Poor social conditions favor Christianity. It thrives on filth, misery, and degradation.

          Greg should push against any positive improvement so that his precious religion won’t die.

        • Good word, my brother. And don’t get me started about the sharing of assets in the early Christian church!

          Fucking communists.

        • Greg G.

          Acts 4:32-35
          32 The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 With great power, the apostles gave their testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Great grace was on them all. 34 For neither was there among them any who lacked, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet, and distribution was made to each, according as anyone had need.

          That is pure socialism.

        • that was then, this is now-

        • Kodie

          Can you please go into great detail about what you hope Trump would accomplish if he were president? All you said earlier is that ‘don’t elect socialists’ because you’re superstitious, threatened people they’d get what they wish for, and unknowledgeable about politics, and complained about big government or favored small government. Since you make so many fucking mistakes already (since all the time you’ve posted here), I’m not sure you know what words and concepts mean in order to like them or be afraid of them. What do you think we wish for? What is going to happen? What are your sources?

        • The most important accomplishment for the next president is to fix the economy – Trump is an expert negotiator and business man who, if he is serious, may be the best candidate to accomplish this objective.

        • Kodie

          How is “fix the economy” a greatly detailed answer? It seems like you are just parroting a line you heard from your favorite news commentary source and don’t actually know what you’re talking about. Trump is filthy fucking rich, so who do you think he’ll be working for? If the middle class and lower think it’s them, they’re fucking wacked!

        • “fixing the economy” is indeed a very complex problem and if it was easy to detail, perhaps it might be easier to fix, and perhaps, already been fixed – I do believe we have good hearted and intelligent people in government but they are influenced by their special interests who have donated money to their campaigns. Trump, being as you say filth rich, may not be so easily influenced as others and my use his expert business instincts to identify and clean the muck that is slowing down the gears that need to turn to create new high-paying jobs. Also, I have seen many people lose their homes to the big banks who were bailed out being “too big to fail” and then watching as their executives had the nerve to pay themselves huge bonuses. I was one who was against giving the banks the bailout money. I do know Trump has had a lot of experience with banks fighting them to preserve his real estate and business assets – I’d like to give an outsider like Trump a crack at an economy that still has not fully returned to the peaks we saw before 2007.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Trump’s problem is that he just doesn’t believe in America.

          And Greg wants to vote for that?

        • It’d always be nice to have a stronger economy, but what’s the problem? Seems like unemployment is down, inflation is nonexistent, and the stock market hits record highs. But perhaps I’m missing something.

        • Greg G.

          I agree that we should not accept an idea simply because the Bible says it, but if one is going to accept the Genesis account of creation, why not accept everything? But if one is going to reject the socialism of Acts, one should have rejected Genesis. If one would apply reason to the Bible, then one should strive for consistency.

        • And what is Catholic tradition based on? Besides itself?

          Seems like you piss on the evidence you actually have in favor of what you like. Sounds like a pretty bold attitude.

        • MNb

          Exactly. And the suggestion that a self-delusional messias claimant was the son of god also belongs to then and not to now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s all about the perfect message though…stupid messengers notwithstanding. Three in one gods and all that jazz.

          Talking about bad analogies…Paaatriiick….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw

        • Ananias and Sapphira weren’t totally on board with the giving all your stuff for the public good. One thing led to another and zap! they were dead.

          “What part of socialism did you not understand?” came a voice from heaven.

        • God has really let you down. I’d fire him.

        • I can’t complain

        • Dys

          Yes, you can. And should…you’re not good at apologetics.

        • Greg G.

          I have seen William Lane Craig say that if his argument is convincing, then it is God talking to you but if you don’t then it is his own failure to communicate efficiently. That type of double-standard for God is absurd. If your apologetics fail, it is either God’s fault, he is letting you make a fool of yourself, or he doesn’t exist and you are making a fool of yourself trying to argue that he does. If God exists, though, you have a complaint.

        • ‘If your apologetics fail, it is either God’s fault, he is letting you make a fool of yourself, or he doesn’t exist”
          You do not analyze Craig’s comments properly – Throughout the history of salvation, you have God conveying the message to one or in Jesus’ case to twelve and then the message is disseminated sometimes successfully, sometimes not- Now let’s apply the proper analysis to the unsuccessful scenarios – God is perfect, the message is perfect, the messenger is imperfect, the recipient of the message is imperfect. Your analysis infers that if the messenger is imperfect then it is God’s fault because he should intervene and change the attributes of the messenger – first, this is improper because God will never intervene with the natural evolution of human beings as they develop, second, you are never willing to acknowledge that the recipient of the message, you the atheist, are imperfect in you comprehending the message.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now let’s apply the proper analysis to the unsuccessful scenarios – God is perfect, the message is perfect, the messenger is imperfect, the recipient of the message is imperfect. Your analysis infers that if the messenger is imperfect then it is God’s fault because he should intervene and change the attributes of the messenger – first, this is improper because God will never intervene with the natural evolution of human beings as they develop, second, you are never willing to acknowledge that the recipient of the message, you the atheist, are imperfect in you comprehending the message.

          WTF? By what method and standard could you possibly know that the original message is a) perfect, or b) whether the message passed on by the imperfect messenger is imperfect, a wee bit imperfect, a lot imperfect, or indeed perfect, or c) that because everyone receiving any message is imperfect, there’s no way of checking any of it?

          BTW, there is no evidence for your starting point. That there is a perfect being passing out perfect messages. On the contrary, logic points to that idea being a load of bollocks…so the rest of your comment is ergo also a load of moot nonsense.

        • “By what method and standard could you possibly know that the original message is a) perfect, or b) whether the message passed on by the imperfect….”
          Greg G’s analysis ends with God is imperfect without examining all options – a scientist or lawyer would explore options choosing the one that is the most logical. It is the least logical option to assume that God is imperfect and the messenger or the recipient of the message are perfect, especially when we know by first hand knowledge that we the messengers and the recipients of the message are without a doubt imperfect. The only thing logic points to you is that you should not try to think logically.

        • Dys

          Greg continues his fine tradition of being unable to comprehend what he’s being told, because his a priori assumptions have ruined his own ability to deal with logic.

        • Thank you for your critigue, Dys, please be more specific and I will try to make clear all my assumptions are identified and independently verified by scientific means. also, “a priori” are not necessarily bad if they are part of the common domain of knowledge.

        • Dys

          “a priori” are not necessarily bad if they are part of the common domain of knowledge.

          Considering one of your a priori assumptions is that the bible is inerrant, that doesn’t qualify in this case.

          I will try to make clear all my assumptions are identified and independently verified by scientific means

          That won’t be possible – the assumptions I believe you’re making are unfalsifiable.

          Greg G. was basically just pointing out what a meaningless cop out it is to take all the blame for bad apologetics on oneself, while leveling no criticism God’s way. Now, we know why it happens – to do otherwise would undermine most of the unsubstantiated a priori dogmatic assumptions concerning the Christian conception of God. It’s the Christian catch-22 – God gets the credit, not the blame.

          My criticism is that your summarization of what Greg G. was saying:

          It is the least logical option to assume that God is imperfect and the messenger or the recipient of the message are perfect,

          does not follow from what he actually wrote. No one doubts that the recipients of the message are imperfect. But it’s highly doubtful and improbable that the original message was ever perfect in the first place. In fact, since the notion that the bible is inerrant relies solely on failable human opinion.

        • that the bible is inerrant is not one of the assumptions that I classify a priori, Dys. I do read the arguments for whether the bible is inerrant and I participate in some when they interest me. I find that the conversation usually arrives at an impasse, but I agree it is not a priori fact and can be debated. Remember, not every conversation about the bible will have an argument on its validity.
          “does not follow from what he actually wrote”
          I agree it is not right to introduce an idea that the commenter did not write and then argue that idea. But, in this case, my point is the fact that he omitted these ideas was his strategy to make his argument attractive. What I did was to illustrate the part he omitted which logically flowed and by doing so, defeated his argument.. In this case, referring to the part he did not write was warranted.

        • Dys

          So you provide an alternative, improbable, and unverifiable resolution that conveniently leaves your presumptions concerning God intact (and essentially resulting in a “you can’t prove it didn’t happen that way” situation). It ends up like the apologists concocting stories to resolve the conflicting stories of Judas’s death.

          The a priori assumption I was more referring to was the automatic assumption (and judgement) that “God is good”, which leads to the situation where God gets all the credit and none of the blame, despite the obvious issues with such a stance.

        • MNb

          Then why do you refuse to consider the option that the message might be imperfect?
          And/or that your god is imperfect? After all the fact that I totally can imagine an imperfect is according to you evidence that there is such a god.

        • MNb

          “identified and independently verified by scientific means”
          You’re invited to show by scientific means that your god is perfect.
          Btw I can totally imagine an imperfect god. According to some of your comments that means that imperfect god also exists …..

        • Kodie

          Sure, try something you always fail to try to do. You mean “assumption,” not “knowledge.”

        • MNb

          “without examining all options”
          Neither do you.
          You refuse to examine the option that the message is imperfect.

        • Kodie

          He refuses to examine the option that the message came from humans, and was never perfect.

        • It is the least logical option to assume that God is imperfect

          It is the most logical option to assume that Yahweh is make believe, just like all the rest. You’ve done none of the heavy lifting to argue otherwise–probably because it’s heavy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg G’s analysis ends with the concept of God is imperfect without examining all options -…

          FTFY…let’s not get too far ahead of yerself. So, can ya expand on that by providing some options that Greg G has not examined? Remember though, only one example of imperfection is required to moot perfection.

          …a scientist or lawyer would explore options choosing the one that is the most logical.

          You are doing it again Greg, conflating scientist thinking with lawyer thinking even after it has been fully explained that you are wrong, with evidence provided. Heck, you are evidence enough that lawyer thinking is not always logical the way a scientist does it.

          Lawyers use logic differently depending on which side they represent.

          The prosecution uses the evidence and argument to provide a logical explanation to persuade the judge and jury to what probably happened.

          The defence uses evidence and argument to provide alternative logical explanations to try and persuade the judge and jury to what possibly happened.

          The judge and jury views both arguments and the evidence presented in order to come to a conclusion and then decide what is likely. The defence only needs to plant enough doubt to win. It is all about who is the most persuasive, in that light, the actual truth/logic has fuck all to do with it, otherwise innocent folk wouldn’t go to the mixer while obvious perpetrators walk scot free.

          That’s because logic has very little to do with law. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said it best in “The Common Law,” which he wrote in 1881. It’s still very true today:

          The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become. We must alternately consult history and existing theories of legislation. But the most difficult labor will be to understand the combination of the two into new products at every stage. The substance of the law at any given time pretty nearly corresponds, so far as it goes, with what is then understood to be convenient; but its form and machinery, and the degree to which it is able to work out desired results, depend very much upon its past.

          It is the least logical option to assume that God is imperfect and the messenger or the recipient of the message are perfect, especially when we know by first hand knowledge that we the messengers and the recipients of the message are without a doubt imperfect. The only thing logic points to you is that you should not try to think logically.

          Your reading comprehension is flawed. I never assumed anything. It has been argued with you here more times than enough, pressing the reset button doesn’t count in rational discourse.

          For a God to exist with even the minimum of attributes you Christians propose is illogical.

          If it is accepted both that if God existed then the world would be perfect, and that the world is not perfect, then it must also be accepted that God does not exist. The argument from imperfection can therefore be summarised as follows:

          (1) If God exists then he is omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent.
          (2) If God were omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent then the world would not contain imperfections.
          (3) The world contains imperfections.
          Therefore:
          (4) It is not the case that God exists.

          Multiply that with ALL the rest of the bollocks you lot assert your supreme being to possess, immaterial mind outside time and space for example, then logic and rationality go right out the window.

          But anyway, you do realise that in logic one’s premise should be established as sound, right? The God hypothesis is not sound. You know that to “assume” anything in logic is to open up a situation that makes an “ass” of “u” and “me”…right?

        • “Lawyers use logic differently
          depending on which side they represent”

          Whoa cowboy, they do? Here in the states there is a very popular TV channel called the “Food Network” and one of their shows is named “Chopped” where four junior chef contestants need to use ingredients that are not revealed to them to prepare a three course meal for 3 expert chefs. The lawyer using logic is like the junior chef using his cooking expertise – the knowledge of cooking or logic, does not change, only the application to the new ingredients of each course.

          “Remember, though, only one example of imperfection is required to moot perfection”

          For that reason, the rest of your comment could have been chopped.

          However, I was reading the rest of your comment and you raise some provocative points so I will need a little time to digest and respond, accordingly.

        • Kodie

          Please eat shit and die.

        • Paul B. Lot

          he lawyer using logic is like the junior chef using his cooking expertise – the knowledge of cooking or logic, does not change, only the application to the new ingredients of each course.

          This is false.

          Lawyers in both the civil and criminal systems do not exercise pure, rational, unbiased logic. They do not seek to see all of the evidence for, all the evidence against, note all the areas of confused/unreliable evidence, and then make a dispassionate case from there.

          They have a goal in-mind, and they pick the evidences, the interpretive frameworks, and the rhetoric necessary to convince judges/magistrates/juries to accept their version of the ‘truth’.

          You are a fool (or at least you play one on TV), so I don’t expect you to understand and/or admit this.

          I spend my time correcting your idiocy, not for you, but for those others unfortunate enough to have stumbled upon your ramblings.

        • “They have a goal in-mind, and they pick the evidences, the interpretive frameworks, and the rhetoric necessary to convince judges/magistrates/juries to accept their version of the ‘truth’.”
          But logic techniques do not change – and the way to present the case “logically” must be the accepted and widely used and respected logic technique of the age of the advocate.
          I have no problem with the part you place in bold and your use of quotation marks over the word truth.
          When IA was up for murder charges as he has reported here, his advocate was telling IA’s side of the story and the Prosecutor was telling the state’s side of the story. Are they not both the “truth”? The answer is yes, and the Judge will decide whether the State’s “story” meets the standards of the definition of the crime and if not, IA walks free as he should. All parties are presenting the truth and using the same theories and techniques of logic to present it and evaluate it – the only variables that are different are the facts of the case and the means with which the facts are presented to the Judge, thus being either persuasive or not in proving one’s case.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But logic techniques do not change…All parties are presenting the truth and using the same theories and techniques of logic

          You use words imprecisely and ambiguously – doing so has allowed you to confuse yourself. Advocates on either side of an issue are not using “logic techniques”, not in the sense of pure unbiased reason.

          * They are using rhetorical techniques to make the most persuasive case they can. *

          Our justice system is set up precisely because parties and advocates are biased to allow for a (hypothetically maximally) neutral third party to assess the actual logically entailed truth or falsehood of a case, and how that truth/falsehood pertains to the extant body of law.

          TLDR: Stop thinking ambiguously, that will help you stop writing/arguing ambiguously.

        • it is the curse of our language, especially the English language. have you ever looked in a dictionary? there are at least 4 or 5 meaning for even the simplistic of words – to quote one of our presidents “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” I recommend you do not overthink things and if you changed your practices of saying the rosary everyday because of words – go back, and connect with the spirit that does not use words and please, do the right thing. but, don’t forget to come back and thank me.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “it is the curse of our language, especially the English language.”

          And yet I managed to write clearly and concisely, with full sentences and punctuation, in my correction of your idiocy.

          All without cracking open my Merriam.

          I think it’s more likely the curse of our species, and the ability of our gene-pool to produce high-functioning imbeciles, like yourself.

          “I recommend you do not overthink things”

          I have no trouble 1) believing that you (or your character) think this is advice worth following, or 2) that you practice it. Every. Day.

          “go back, and connect with the spirit that does not use words”

          But, my dear @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus, to whom do you imagine I’d been listening for inspiration while I pen these charming, witty, and devastating critiques of you?

          BTW: Mary told me to tell you to stop calling her, she doesn’t want to talk.

        • Kodie

          Gold.

        • Kodie

          You self-absorbed, glory-seeking, proselytizing little fuck.

          Here is where you admit you have no grasp of reality, and encourage others to lose their grasp as well. Who do you think you are? “God’s messenger,” as if “the greatest possible being” would send the worst. You’re delusional.

        • Ignorant Amos

          the knowledge of cooking or logic, does not change, only the application to the new ingredients of each course.

          Really? Your lack of knowledge in how cooking has changed is as unsurpassed as your ability to use analogy effectively.

          The application of scientific knowledge to cooking and gastronomy has become known as molecular gastronomy. This is a subdiscipline of food science. Important contributions have been made by scientists, chefs and authors such as Herve This (chemist), Nicholas Kurti (physicist), Peter Barham (physicist), Harold McGee (author), Shirley Corriher(biochemist, author), Heston Blumenthal (chef), Ferran Adria (chef), Robert Wolke (chemist, author) and Pierre Gagnaire (chef).

          Our knowledge of the food we eat and how to prepare it has been changing since the advent of fire. New methods are continually tried and tested.

          You fail Greg, even on the basics.

        • “lawyers use logic differently….” These are your words.
          After my comparison to chefs using cooking techniques, you provided us with the history of the evolution of cooking techniques. Fine, and I’m sure Logic techniques have also evolved -that’s what is known as a “red herring”. No one is disputing that these techniques have evolved over the years.
          The dispute is that a person versed in the most recent incarnations of the technique will use them to his benefit and the only variable that changes in the use of the technique is the facts or ingredients that pop up out of the picnic basket.
          Please, let’s agree and move on to your other points.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “lawyers use logic differently….” These are your words.

          FFS Greg, they are my words, but not all my words, you need to quote mine a single sentence? You are such a lying toe-rag. Misrepresentation of what I said only makes you look the fool.

          Here’s what I said…

          “Lawyers use logic differently depending on which side they represent.”

          And they do.

          After my comparison to chefs using cooking techniques, you provided us with the history of the evolution of cooking techniques.

          NO, no, no, Greg. You can’t be changing what you said with hindsight in mind. It is disingenuous. This is what you said…

          the knowledge of cooking or logic, does not change, only the application to the new ingredients of each course.

          No mention of techniques in there, so I wasn’t replying to unchanging techniques, even though they do. I was pointing out that our knowledge of cooking changes, when you said it does not. It does.

          Fine, and I’m sure Logic techniques have also evolved -that’s what is known as a “red herring”.

          Who was talking about techniques Greg? If it’s a red herring it is one of your making. Whether Logic techniques have evolved/changed is a non sequitur. That you now want to equate knowledge with technique and admit that they do indeed evolve/change means you have acquiesced to my position.

          You spoke initially of knowledge. Do you not know or understand the difference?

          Knowledge refers to theoretical information acquired about any subject whereas technique, which is the skill in procedure, refers to practical application of that knowledge. Knowledge can be learned whereas techniques require practical exposure and can also be in-born.

          No one is disputing that these techniques have evolved over the years.

          Whaaaaa?

          Not in your original assertion, not in my rebuttal. But you did assert that knowledge in cooking and Logic was unchanging.

          The dispute is that a person versed in the most recent incarnations of the technique will use them to his benefit and the only variable that changes in the use of the technique is the facts or ingredients that pop up out of the picnic basket.

          Why Greg? Why do you start with the very deep hole digging when you have been found wanting?

          So let me get this straight in my head. You are now stating in that last comment that the unchanging techniques that you admit change are going to be the most recent changes that are beneficial, but those changes don’t count anyway because, get this, the only variable that changes in the technique are the ingredients that pop out of the picnic basket? Have you heard yerself Greg? How can you expect us lot to take such fuckwittery seriously?

          Please, let’s agree and move on to your other points.

          Let’s agree on what? Because at this juncture, I haven’t a fuckin’ clue what the fuck it is you are asking me to agree upon.

          But you can move onto the other points regardless. Which you are prone to do anyway. I love a good pretzelmania session. You get at Greg lad.

        • Kodie

          Let’s not overlook that he brought up a show called “Chopped” so he could make a little joke at the end. He wants to wave his hands and you agree so we can move on and forget he is an ass, like magic.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m at 85% in believing that @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus is a fake persona whose operator crafts responses specifically to be as annoying to “literal minded atheists” as possible.

          No other hypothesis makes sense to me, given the data at-hand….but then again, I’ve been wrong about things like this before, so 15% seems like a fair error-margin for my paranoia-filter to operate with.

          Whether or not he is a bad-faith-puppet doesn’t particularly matter to me, though. Satire and mockery are often mistaken as honest beliefs, and it seems to me to be as worthwhile to argue with Greg’s operator’s persona’s ideas as it would be to argue with an *actual* Greg.

        • Kodie

          Well, he is a sociopath either way. But I think he has to be really that dumb.

        • MNb

          “then it is God’s fault because he should intervene …..”
          No. He could should construct his message in such a way that the imperfect recipient is capable of getting it. The fact that that doesn’t happen indicates that the message is imperfect and hence that your god isn’t perfect either.
          If you’re interested I can tell you exactly what would convince many atheists that christianity is true – or at least force them to reconsider their position.

        • Greg G.

          You do not analyze Craig’s comments properly

          But I have analyzed Craig’s standard closing. He said it in closing at a debate I attended twenty years ago and he wrote it in a book. I have seen it several times. He is quite clear in his meaning. You are confirming what I understood him to be saying.

          You are holding your thumb on the scale. If things turn out well, you give God the credit.But if it turns to shit, you don’t blame God for not holding up his end like you credit him for when it worked well. It’s a double standard and the church has you so brainwashed that you cannot even call it what it is.

        • I understand that you are quoting Craig and that he has perhaps taken this comment as a “standard closing” for his debates and books. But this comment is easily understood, not by an means been trademarked by Craig, and can we not agree that it perhaps embraced by any person, really, who has delivered a message of persuasion, whether religious or not.

          To be fair, I will analyze this in the context of a nonreligious message to see if I can convey the logic of the statement and the reason why Craig is correct in his comment and is perfectly logical in his conclusion.

          A builder has constructed a home with a boiler, that he realizes will blow after 5 years, 5 years being the expiration date of the boiler. He calls you into his office and says, please tell the occupants of the house to evacuate immediately as the life of the boiler is near the end of its expiration date. Do everything in your powers to persuade them to leave. You agree, believing you are the man for the job and after all means of pleading available to you, the occupants of the house either do evacuate and are safe or do not and blow up.

          “If things turn out well, you give God the credit.But if it turns to sh.., you don’t blame God for not holding up his end like you credit him for when it worked well.”
          Ok, let’s apply what you said to the nonreligious context –
          It is turns out well, yes, we give credit to the Builder for being on the ball and alerting the homeowners of the danger lurking. If I am not able to persuade the occupants, how do we fault the Builder? The boiler has to have an expiration date, that’s not his fault. He picked a messenger that has assured him he is the man who can perform successfully. Don’t you see how the messenger believes either 1. he is at fault, 2. the occupant is at fault, 3. he and the occupant are at fault?
          Now, you have also implied that in the scenario where the occupants evacuate safely, the builder gets all the credit. – as it is true, the nonreligious messenger gets credit with immediate and material gratification, the religious messenger also is promised credit at a time appointed later by the builder
          Where do you disagree?

        • Greg G.

          Some people will accept his argument while some don’t. So he simultaneously screwed up while God gets the credit for those that fell for the argument.

          You are trying to have it both ways at the same time. God is supposed to be omnipotent. It shouldn’t matter how poorly Craig presents the argument. God should be able to convince everybody.

          Craig uses failed arguments. Gullible people are convinced by his style.

          You analogy uses beings that are not omnipotent. Put that factor in and the conclusion doesn’t work out the way you want. It is the only way to make an apt analogy about an omnipotent god. Excusing his failures by comparing him to a human is just putting your thumb on the scale.

        • It’s amazing that God is so not obvious that his fans have to play games like this to prop up their faith.

        • Greg G.

          What Craig does is not uncommon with Christians. Here’s a commenter doing it:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/12/what-did-paul-know-about-jesus-not-much/#comment-2343828214

          Sometimes a person presents good arguments and sometimes they are factually wrong. If God gets the credit for miraculously providing a good argument, he can be blamed for the situations when no miracle happens.

          That faith of a mustard seed can move mountains is a lie. That’s why there are no Christian earth-moving companies. They could work with fewer employees and no expensive equipment.

        • Oh, that’s right. I forgot that in your worldview, when you complain, they throw you into a lake of fire for a billion years.

          Sucks. Maybe my worldview isn’t so bad after all.

    • Chris J

      So, according to this argument from kitten bellies, atheists make God scared? So God has to find a way to not directly contact Atheists in order for them to go to heaven?

      And… heaven is feelings of pleasure given by God rather than something the kitten has to earn?

      What are you even trying to say here?

      • Kodie

        I think he’s saying we’re mad at god, but deep down inside, we really desire god’s love and affection (implied and alluded to, nothing else is meaningful). He’s saying we lash out like a bad kitty when approached because… I think he called it “emotional baggage”.

      • MNb

        Better not to ask that question, because Greg doesn’t exactly know himself. His analogies only serve to make him feel smart in his own eyes.

      • let me put it another way – you walk into Target on black Friday, there’s no shopping carts available so you grab a wheel barrel, you fill it up and go to the counter to check out. Standing in front of a door that says, Manager’s Office, the check- out person who wears a tee shirt that says, “I’m not the Manager” tells you to go away and come back with a shopping cart or he won’t check you out. When you ask for the manager, the check out person says there is no manager, do what he says or else. What St. Anselm argues is that by using your rationale, you can imagine that there is one greater than the check out person who is called the manager. The atheist, or more specifically, Greg G and MNB argue, that, even though, they can imagine one greater than the check-out clerk, that proves the existence of the manager, they will refuse to believe there is a manager, because he (Greg G) can imagine a four sided triangle, or because he (MNb) can imagine car-mechanic fairies. Moral of the story, don’t be like Greg G and MNb still in Target walking around with wheel barrels, looking for shopping carts.

        • Kodie

          We don’t imagine store managers, dumbass.

        • Yeah, but I am imagining “wheel barrels.”

        • Kodie

          In one of the stupidest analogies ever made by you or anyone else, you are imagining one greater than humans, a supernatural creator boss deity type of figure, *because* store managers do exist. I refuse to believe you’re walking around free, heading a family and maintaining employment, whether at a fake law office or anywhere else.

          The moral of the story – you’re fucking dumb as fuck.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “In one of the stupidest analogies ever made by you or anyone else”

          Beautiful.

        • first, if anyone would dare make an argument in court, similar to the semblance of an argument in your comment, with all the profanity, they would be tossed out on the ear, let alone not have their argument heard.
          second – how do you know there exists a manager here? you skip right over your reasoning – to which I would respond, you don’t seeeee him, do you? the person you do seeee, standing in front of you, says he doesn’t exist! So, explain how you knoooow that there exists a manager here. What you did is what is called – missing the Target!

        • Andre B

          first, if anyone would dare make an argument in court, similar to the semblance of an argument in your comment, with all the profanity, they would be tossed out on the ear

          Being tossed out seems like a moral victory when compared to being laughed out, which is almost certainly what would happen were somebody to try to make your case in court.

        • “Being tossed out seems like a moral victory when compared to being laughed out, which is almost certainly what would happen were somebody to try to make your case in court.”
          I never thought of that – rebuttal by laughter. Would you like to share why my explanation of St Anselm’s argument is so funny? Sorry to put a target on your back.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “rebuttal by laughter”

          You have misunderstood, again, @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus. You said:

          they would be tossed out on the ear, let alone not have their argument heard

          @an_dre_b:disqus points out that it might be better to be forced to leave the courthouse through the strength of the bailiffs’ arms rather than the strength of the court room’s laughter.

          In neither case would the petitioner get “their argument heard.”

          Without your argument having-been-heard, there could be no “rebuttal.”

        • Andre B

          Would you like to share why my explanation of St Anselm’s argument is so funny?

          The nature of humor is that, once explained, it tends to not be.

          Sorry to put a target on your back.

          LOL! Since when does asking somebody a question = putting a target on their back?

          Edit?

        • “Since when does asking somebody a question = putting a target on their back?”

          Remember the name of the store that we are talking about?

          To quote you:
          “The nature of humor is that, once explained, it tends to not be.”

        • Andre B

          Ugh.

          On the one hand, you should be burned at the stake for punning.

          On the other hand, well played.

        • you’re a good man.

        • Kodie

          NOT WELL PLAYED! Greg thinks his dumb jokes are fun and a way to seem like not such a terrible person/debater. He’s a terrible person, a terrible debater, and a terrible joke-telling ass.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hehehe

          1) I agree with you, his jokes are terrible. He is terrible.

          2) I love puns :-

        • Kodie

          It’s not that his jokes are the worst – it’s the reason that he makes them is that if we think he’s funny, we might listen to other things he says with our guard down. He also has the worst timing, or probably from his perspective, the best. When you ask him a direct question, he can stall by leaving a steaming turd of a pun, and later on, “forget” what the question was. When what you want was an answer, and instead, you get a shitty pun, that makes the joke itself unfunny. He also has a tendency to answer a joke (for the rest of us, because what else can we say that hasn’t already been said, might as well make fun of Greg’s stupidity) as though it were serious, proving he has no actual sense of humor. And also the desperation to fit in that he demonstrates by trying to bring us to Jesus with a joke instead of a good argument. And it’s worse when he makes such a shitty analogy just for the purpose of making puns that make reference to it instead of defending his shitty argument/analogy.

          He’s a hot mess!

        • Andre B

          Be that as it may, I still fell for it. The call on the field stands.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Kodie

          Nobody missed that you told a joke, Greg. It’s just dumb, and it looks like you’re trying to get some traction out of making dumb jokes instead of focus on the criticism, which you can’t defend. I thought Bob warned you.

        • Andre B

          Nobody missed that you told a joke, Greg.

          I mean…false.

        • Kodie

          Your argument isn’t funny, you’re not funny, nothing you’ve said in your history has been funny – what’s funny is that you claim to be some kind of lawyer, meaning, you studied exactly what makes your arguments so fucking stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seems silly for Target to have a managers office and no manager. No?

          My step son worked in Target, Jacksonville. I’m sure there are a number of mangers at each branch, I actually met a number of them on occasion.

          I’d have to run with the check-out op telling lies and investigating further. Result, a) there is indeed no manager, what are the chances?, or b) the check-out op was lying, what are the chances?

          In any case, another shite analogy from the shite analogist.

        • MNb

          “how do you know there exists a manager here?”
          You’re the one who must answer this question, dear stupid catholic, because you are the one arguing for an immaterial über-manager from analogy, not us.

        • and that’s why you’re still walking around Target with a wheel barrel, and I’m not.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Read my previous comment, my dear stupid catholic. I wrote that

          I wouldn’t look for shopping carts. I would leave the wheel barrel exactly there, with all the stuff in it, right before the nose of the check-out guy.,
          And I would go to another supermarket.
          Maybe you should shop for another worldview as well.

          And that’s what’s so funny about your analogies. They show exactly the opposite of what you want to show.

        • wouldn’t it be easier to just believe the manager exists and ask for him to resolve this terrible misunderstanding.

        • MNb

          As soon as your god gets in contact with me I will ask him.

        • he already has, I’m his messenger

        • MNb

          Your credentials are not trustworthy.
          Plus I want to get in contact with him personally, just like I would want to get in contact with the manager personally. In your analogy the check-out person is the messenger. It’s his message that there is no manager.
          You’re the check-out person.
          Your message is no manager – ie no god.
          The only sensible thing to do is walk out of the supermarket – ie walk out of your stupid religious worldview.

          Or your message is different? Then I can check out with my wheel barrel and be fine.

          Like I said: the funny thing with your analogies is that they show exactly the opposite of what you want to show. That’s why I disagree with Kodie for once – I hope you don’t get banned. Your stupidity is a bottomless source of amusement.

        • thank you, MNb, yeah, I do try to follow the guidelines BobS sets up for not getting banned with submitting, in my opinion, thoughtful comments, but then I do get enticed into the verbal foreplay. Ok, first, the check out person represents other atheists who you read and on whose words you base your opinion – this is why you now have to use the cognitive faculties, St Anselm argues be employed, so you can overcome the opinions of the misinformed check-out person to establish contact with the manager by your own reason. I’m the store clerk at the next counter, with the tee shirt that says “I’m here to help”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I do try to follow the guidelines BobS sets up for not getting banned with submitting, in my opinion, thoughtful comments

          We know, @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus. And we understand.

        • Kodie

          You’re not helping anyone.

        • Kodie

          Greg is a useless piece of shit that has long since wrung out any amusement for me, and the longer he keeps up, the less likely I will hang out.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “the less likely I will hang out.”

          :-/

        • Kodie

          You’re nobody’s messenger, you’re a fool believer who thinks you have a message from a being that doesn’t exist, and you have proven he doesn’t exist by trying. Why would “the greatest possible being” send an idiot like you to deliver messages?

        • Which is just what you’d say if God was made up.

        • Kodie

          Not if the clerk is being an ass. On what planet do they not allow you to purchase items you brought up to the register, just because it’s in a different thing? So the clerk is being an ass, just like you, refusing to produce the manager for the person asking is YOU, you’re the asshole clerk.

          But it’s also true what MNb says – you’re the one wheeling around a wheelbarrow insisting that the manager exists and that you’ll wait as long as you have to for them to come out and help you purchase stuff you put in a wheelbarrow. We’re leaving that shit in the aisle and getting the fuck out. You’re nuts, and your analogy sucks in so many ways.

        • Kodie

          In another example of you failing to admit when you’re wrong, I didn’t say anything about your fictional Target store where there’s no store manager in evidence.

          And then you told a painful joke. I hope you get banned soon, you suck entirely.

        • MNb

          How do you know there is someone greater than the check out person?
          Moral of the story, before you draw any conclusion from an analogy, also take a good look at the differences. My first graders (12, 13 years old) already understand that when I present them the planetary model of molecules.
          Thanks to catholicism your comprehension is worse than of those first graders.

          Btw your last line is completely wrong as well. I wouldn’t look for shopping carts. I would leave the wheel barrel exactly there, with all the stuff in it, right before the nose of the check-out guy.,
          And I would go to another supermarket.
          Maybe you should shop for another worldview as well.

        • Kodie

          Look out for Greg to arrogantly point out the 6-year difference between your first-graders and America’s.

        • MNb

          I hope he will – I never get enough of exposing his stupidity.
          But after what Neil Carter wrote about education in Mississippi (have you read it?) I bet even he won’t fall for it.

  • What’s the consensus on Greg the “lawyer”? Kodie wants him gone, and I think MNb uses him like a dog uses a chew toy.

    If he’s more trouble than he’s worth, I can put him in perpetual timeout.

    • Ignorant Amos

      He makes me feel clever. Superior? No, definitely clever.

      I’m hedging my bets that some day will come when he will find a way to prove he really is a lawyer, upon which case I will throw a party, because how clever will I then feel?

      He is an prime example of how asinine a person can be with just one head and an advert on how not to defend a religious belief using….well, just about everything. He shoots from the hip before even the most rudimentary browser search, then when he is rebuked, he gets his shovel out and proceeds to dig down.

      I don’t think I would want to see him put into file 13, but will go with the consensus if it is decided he is bringing nothing at all of worth to the discourse.

      • Thanks. I interpret IA and Paul to be saying that he’s a mindless zombie for Christ but not annoying enough to ban.

        The polling booth is still open …

        • Kodie

          All I can say is, I like it better when Greg leaves on his own, and dislike it immensely when someone reminds him we exist by responding to one of his old posts. I don’t enjoy his posts, I don’t enjoy responses to them, that toy has been chewed. I like that different voices are tolerated, but Greg offers nothing, not even, to me, any value in looking so stupid as to make Christianity’s stupidity apparent to anyone else. I would rather mechanically tweeze all the hair from my legs, which I don’t think any of you all would, and in fact, is what I did yesterday rather than keep up.

    • Paul B. Lot

      I find @disqus_cEZGnrlZRS:disqus mildly entertaining, whether intentionally or not, but I understand that not everyone does.

      It would be no great intellectual or comedic loss if he were 86’d.