From cult member to apatheist

From cult member to apatheist February 3, 2017

Where do I start narrating my God apathy? My teenage years, or from way back to my childhood? My childhood it is!
I was raised in a family of Grail Message adherents. It’s very unlikely you’ve heard of them as the Grail Message is not a popular religious movement. The Grail Message was written by Oskar Ernst Bernhardt under the pen name of Abd-Ru-Shin and was popular in Germany pre-World War 2. Anyway, not to bore you with unnecessary details, let’s continue my narrative.

I recall my childhood filled with stories of elemental beings, God’s little servants that man the air, wind, fire and earth. These servants were somewhat like the fairies, elves, gnomes, and salamanders of ancient times. You were supposed to be good children so that the “beings” would show themselves to you. Oh, I still remember many a time I prayed and begged to see these little beings that were touted as friends of children. Alas, I never saw them!
Then I went away to boarding school and met children from diverse religious backgrounds. The Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses … lots of them. Even at that young age (I was 11 at the time), we little ones were so concerned with living in accordance with God’s Word so that we’d go to Heaven when we die. There were lots of tracts, Saturday fellowships, and religious services. But somehow, I noticed that these activities did little to curb the childish spitefulness and malice prevalent in so many of my schoolmates. In my childlike mind, I put it down to the kids’ not really believing in God.
Characteristic of places where one religion is prevalent, I observed the teachers punishing the Jehovah’s Witness students for refusing to sing the National Anthem, and the students engage in petty arguments over who didn’t act like a true Christian, or Muslim as the case may be. As my self-esteem at this age was still quite low, I kept to myself, reluctant to disclose to anyone where my religious beliefs lay. I still smile wryly whenever I remember those days.
University came and man! My discomfort with religion grew the more. Everywhere you looked, there was a church or student fellowship poster. Students would casually ask you what fellowship you attended, as casually as they would ask your name. I began to wonder if there was anything in my dressing or mannerisms that prompted such morbid curiosity. As I walked to my class, I would sometimes wonder what it would feel like to have no faith in God, any god.
I tried to imagine myself living the life of an atheist and I would push away such thoughts, horrified that they even occurred to me in the first place. In Nigeria, it is generally accepted that you need a god because the omnipresent witches and wizards in Nigerian would pounce on you if you lacked faith in God. How funny!
All the while, I was a practicing Grail Message adherent who firmly believed Abd-Ru-Shin was the Son of Man, the comforter sent by Jesus Christ to bring the Judgment (whatever that means) and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. I took a course in philosophy and my favourite part was Fallacies in Logic, where Argument from Ignorance, Appeal to Authority, and Fallacy of Composition were taught. I accepted the truth in these fallacies, but never really applied them to myself immediately. However, this was the seed of my scepticism.
Fast-forward to a few years later, when I started reading articles on psychology online. I saw a lot of things I recognised as true, but I dismissed because they contradicted the truth of the Grail Message – until I read up on Defense mechanisms in Psychology, and I realized that Abd-Ru-Shin used a lot of defense mechanisms in his book. This realisation made me stop believing in the word of the Grail Message.
I still believed in a God, but I rejected the gods propounded by other religions, saying they were thought out by their founders. Until one day it occurred to me: “Oge, what makes your god any more real than the other gods you rejected? What if this god is also a figment of your imagination?”  And I said ” the heck with it, I’m done with this God stuff!”
In my experiences, I’ve come to realise that belief in a god or in the tenets of his faith does not make a person a good human being. Human beings will always do what suits them, and say God said … God understands … God approves … I observed that the belief in a god is basically like a crutch, a substitute for mature and healthy coping mechanisms for the vicissitudes of life.
I concluded that I can’t prove the existence/non-existence of this god or gods people talk about. Rather than bother myself with it, I will live my life the best way I know how especially as the belief in God won’t stop me from doing what I decide to do. I will make as many meaningful social connections as I can, and not bother myself with what comes after death. To those who ask me “don’t you think of where you’ll go to after you die?” I respond to wherever I was before I was born!
Here I am today, an apatheist!
• Oge Igboegbunam is a freelance content writer and SEO copywriter living in Lagos, Nigeria. You can read her recent Church and State article “Good Without God: The Life of a Nigerian Atheist” here.

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  • e2n

    Hahahahaha.
    You were lucky you grew up an adherent. I had to go through different churches to discover that religion or “god” is a scam

  • Angela_K

    Well done for shaking off the mind shackles of religion, a brave thing to do in a country like Nigeria where religion rules.

  • Sis, that’s it…? To heck with it, without regard for even the scientific evidence?
    I lived in a world of skeptics and that brought me to read at least pieces of work by non-believers. The thing that I like about the best of them – much like the best Christian writers that I’ve found – is their candor.
    Did you ever wonder why Darwin entitled his most famous work on evolution “Origin of Species” i/o “Origin of Life”? …or why he refers to the Creator throughout the introduction and a chapter he titles “Problems on the Theory”? He acknowledged that his theory was just that. And even if true, didn’t explain away a creator. Which begs the question, how did modern atheism transform Darwin’s writing into the basis for dismissing God?
    The best way to understand may be to view it from the context of your writing process. When is the last time that you perfected truly quality work in a single draft? If we looked at the metadata behind your finished product, we’d typically find more evidence of revision than finished product. But look at the fossil record. Hundreds of thousands of species have nothing there but functional “final” drafts. An evolutionary fossil record that explains the origin of life should be overflowing with evidence of revision. But it’s so replete with evidence of single-draft life-forms, that any fossil that looks non-functional is considered a mutation.
    A little more food for thought: when was the period in history when these life forms evolved to fit the environment?
    …the period when cows couldn’t breath oxygen? …the era when dogs lacked a digestive tract? …the time when fish had no gills and birds had no eyes? …the time when plants couldn’t process sunlight, vegetation couldn’t produce seeds, water evolved from ??? into H2O, etc…?
    There is absolutely no evidence for the environment evolving into a suitabile stat— or life evolving from incompatibility to compatibility with it. There couldn’t be really…
    At the moment any life-form – even a single “common biological ancestor” – was incompatible with its environment …it was doomed to die in the first generation. The moment it couldn’t eat…dead. Couldn’t breath…dead. Couldn’t reproduce…dead. Which makes for a reallllly short evolutionary history of life. So they assume all of these things, then pick up the story at a more convenient point in the “theory”. Never giving evidence explaining the origins of life…thus Darwin’s title “Origin of Species.”
    So at it’s strangest, evolution is stuck with a fossil record requiring them to explain how all lifeforms simultaneously became compatible with this environment…smh. And at its best, it’s stuck with a fossil record with no evidence that even a single common ancestor could survive both: (1) an imperfect start…and (2) an imperfect fit with its surroundings.
    Essentially, evolution may have become the fairy tale that accuses its opponents of believing a fairy tale.
    I’ve had to reject much of the religion of my youth as well, sis…but please don’t trade religious fallacies for atheistic ones. What you were introduced to in the form of religion may never have truly been God.
    Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
    6 …He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

  • Daz

    @Marcus Campbell

    “Which begs the question, how did modern atheism transform Darwin’s writing into the basis for dismissing God?”

    Modern atheism didn’t. Religious critics of modern atheism, however, love to portray atheists as making such a claim. It gives them an easy straw-man to argue against.
    The theory of evolution by natural selection says nothing about abiogenesis, the origin of life; therefore the theory says nothing, obviously, about whether life was divinely created or not. What it does do is say, and it is backed up by a helluva lot of good evidence when it says it, is that all life is ancestrally related, and that, therefore, individual species were not created individually.
    And yes, having removed the need to invoke a creator by providing a naturalistic explanation in that instance, it does weaken the case for the existence of such a creator; but no, as I said, it does not, and cannot, “prove” that a creator doesn’t exist.

    “A little more food for thought: when was the period in history when these life forms evolved to fit the environment?
    …the period when cows couldn’t breath oxygen? …the era when dogs lacked a digestive tract? …the time when fish had no gills and birds had no eyes? …the time when plants couldn’t process sunlight, vegetation couldn’t produce seeds…”

    Where have you seen claims that any of this happened? Do you actually understand the theory you are arguing against? I ask because it really does not seem that you have a single inkling what it actually says.

    “water evolved from ??? into H2O, etc…? “

    Eh? Firstly, water is not alive and its existence does not, therefore, have to be explained by the theory of evolution.
    Secondly, the production of water by combining oxygen with hydrogen is high-school science. All you need is a source of oxygen, a source of hydrogen and a source of heat. Given that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and that oxygen is the third-most (the second is helium, which is inert), and that sources of intense heat are not exactly uncommon in the universe, just how bloody difficult do you expect it to be, to produce water?
    And for the rest of your comment, frankly, I’m having a hard time working out whatever it is you are trying to say. Whatever it is though, if it followed logically from the points discussed above, it will of necessity be incorrect, since your starting-premises were false—laughably so.

  • e2n

    MARCUS, WHAT IS MODERN ATHEISM

  • Thanks for sharing, Daz.
    Anyway, since my corrected comment didn’t post, I’m linking it here. If you care to simply replace my previous comment with this text, it might provide a clearer basis for discussion (even if you leave the original in parenthesis). If nothing else it simply reads better. Of course it’s up to you though:
    Sis, that’s it…? To heck with it, without regard for even the evidence?
    I lived in a world of skeptics and that brought me to read at least pieces of work by non-believers. The thing that I like about the best of them – much like the best Christian writers that I’ve found – is their candor.
    Did you ever wonder why Darwin entitled his most famous work on evolution “Origin of Species” i/o “Origin of Life”? …or why he refers to the Creator throughout a chapter he titles “Problems on the Theory”? He acknowledged that his theory was just that. And even if true, it didn’t explain away a creator. Which begs the question, how did modern atheism transform Darwin’s writing into the basis for dismissing creation?
    The best way to understand may be from the perspective of your writing process.
    When is the last time that you perfected truly quality work in a single draft? If we looked at the metadata behind your finished product, we’d typically find more evidence of revision than finished product.
    But look at the fossil record. Hundreds of thousands of species have nothing there but functional “final” drafts. An evolutionary fossil record that explains the origin of life should be overflowing with evidence of revision. But it’s so replete with evidence of single-draft life-forms, that any fossil looking non-functional is called a mutation.
    A little more food for thought: when was the period in history when these life forms evolved to fit the environment?
    …the period when cows couldn’t breath oxygen? …the era when dogs either had no mouths or couldn’t digest the food available? …the time when fish had no gills and birds had no eyes? …the time when plants couldn’t process sunlight, vegetation couldn’t produce seeds, water evolved from ??? into H2O, etc…?
    At the moment any life-form – even a single “common biological ancestor” – was incompatible with its environment …it was doomed to die in the first generation. The moment it couldn’t eat…dead. Couldn’t breath…dead. Couldn’t reproduce…dead. So they assume all of these things, then pick up the story at a more convenient point in the “theory”—never giving evidence explaining the origins of life. Thus Darwin’s title “Origin of Species.”
    So at it’s strangest, evolution is stuck explaining a fossil record where thousands of lifeforms simultaneously became compatible with this environment. And at its best, it’s stuck explaining a fossil record with no evidence that a single common ancestor could survive both: (1) an imperfect start…and (2) an imperfect fit with its surroundings.
    Essentially, evolution could be on its way to becoming the fairy tale that accuses its opponents of believing a fairy tale.
    I’ve had to reject much of the religion of my youth as well, sis…but please don’t trade religious fallacies for atheistic ones. What you were introduced to in the form of religion may never have truly been God.
    Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
    6 …He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

  • Oh…and Daz, it sounds like you’re committed to the belief that water just exists—thus its origins don’t have to be proven. So if water “just exists,” then that naturally proves the possibility that God too just exists—and always has…right?
    …kind of like a fossil (a less complex thing) is evidence of life (something even more complex).

  • remigius

    Marcus Campbell. That’s some impressive weapons-grade ignorance you’ve got there, bro. You might want to read a book or two before embarrassing yourself on the internet.

  • Daz

    Gadzooks!
    I’m not even touching the evolution stuff. You just made the same bullshit claims which do more to show your lack of learning than they do to shed any light on the question, but repackaged them slightly.

    “Oh…and Daz, it sounds like you’re committed to the belief that water just exists—thus its origins don’t have to be proven.”

    Uh, no. I explained how water exists. Of course, to explain how oxygen exists, you’re gonna have to learn some physics. Specifically, that of stellar nucleosynthesis. For hydrogen, you’ll need some cosmology and some quantum physics—but don’t worry about the latter too much, you’ll have learned much of the quantum stuff when looking into the origin of oxygen.
    For years, I’ve been recommending Timothy Ferris’s Coming Of Age In The Milky Way. The last couple of chapters are a little out of date now, but it still serves as a good introduction to the general topic, as well as making for a highly enjoyable read.

    “So if water “just exists,” then that naturally proves the possibility that God too just exists—and always has…right?”

    Rephrasing that so you’re asking the question you would ask if you knew anything about what you’re talking of:

    “So if the universe “just exists,” then that naturally allows the possibility that God too just exists—and always has…right?”

    The possibility? Yes, no, maybe. If this universe is all there is, then no, nothing, no pre-existing gods or demons and no extra-universal realms are possible by definition.
    If some kind of multiverse exists, then it’s possible, under some hypotheses, that our own universe was started deliberately from the outside; but the being (god, super-weapons manufacturer, bored physics student, whatever) who did it would almost certainly not be able to reach inside to tinker with it and pass commands to its inhabitants.
    Positing an apparently uncaused and unevidenced creator in order to explain an apparently uncaused but very much in-evidence universe, though, is silly. It merely shifts the “ultimate cause” question back a step, whilst adding no explanatory power.

  • remigius

    Daz, don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply from Marcus. He’s gone to the library – he may be a while.

  • Daz

    If that much tightly-packaged ignorance walks into a library full of knowledge, I expect the ensuing explosion to wipe out the entire planet and cause a gigantic rip in the space-time continuumuumuum thingamabob, into which the entire universe will be pulled.
    Marcus is, in fact, an act of anti-creation just waiting to happen.

  • Remi…Daz…I was actually out hoopin’. But wasn’t it Origin of Species that said humans evolved FROM animals who throw crap when they get upset…? :]

  • remigius

    “I’m not even touching the evolution stuff.”
    Mind if I do?
    “…when was the period in history when these life forms evolved to fit the environment?”
    Life forms don’t evolve to fit the environment. Occasionally some mutation will occur that confers an advantage in an environment.Those with the mutation will be more likely to survive and thrive – thereby passing on the mutation and leading to a new species.The Peppered Moth is just one example. If you want more examples just look at every species that has ever existed.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution
    “…the period when cows couldn’t breath oxygen?”
    There was never such a time. Cows have existed for less than 12 thousand years. They have always breathed oxygen.
    “…the era when dogs either had no mouths or couldn’t digest the food available?”
    The mouth and digestive system evolved first. Mammals evolved much later.It is interesting to note that both of these examples you have used to refute evolution are of animals that didn’t evolve, but were created – genetically engineered by our neolithic ancestors many millennia ago.
    “…the time when fish had no gills and birds had no eyes?”
    Breathing organs and eyes evolved first. The fish and the bird – much later.
    “…the time when plants couldn’t process sunlight…”
    There never was such a time.
    “…vegetation couldn’t produce seeds.”
    Not all vegetation reproduce using seeds. Many use asexual reproduction – rhizomes and tubers. Ferns and moss use spores.The ancestors of these plants would have used the same technique.
    “But wasn’t it Origin of Species that said humans evolved FROM animals who throw crap when they get upset…?”
    No.

  • Remi…I love how that one slipped right by you. Thanks for playing. lol…last word’s yours…

  • Daz

    Huh?
    Dear Marcus,
    Please learn to speak intelligibly.
    Yours hopefully,
    —The rest of the world.

  • …exactly, Daz…apparently evolution aint ova. ;]
    #crapthrowa
    Last word’s yours too though. Thanks for playing! :]

  • remigius

    “…apparently evolution aint ova.”
    Nice one Marcus. You inadvertently made a joke about gamates in ansiogamous organisms.
    Got any more?

  • Daz

    “Last word’s yours too though”

    Ooh goody! Struggling to find a fitting word to end this, I came up with…
    *drum-roll*
    … flapdoodle.

  • remigius
  • e2n

    Dear Marcus,
    What is your take on creation?

  • Daz

    Cow-slaver, piffle, hornswoggle, blather…

  • e2n…I believe that both atheism and biblical creation require faith. Technically both are possibilities, so I avoid the condescension of our two…above.
    I believe in biblical creation though.
    If you accept the possibility of an intellect powerful enough to weave together an ecosystem where plants, animal(s), sun, rains, waterways, etc. simply fit – throughout all recorded history – then the possibilities are almost endless. If you believe that intellect also may be responsible for the universe…then it’s time to stop placing limits on its abilities and consider: who is the Creator?
    “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”
    -Albert Einstein from “Einstein and Religion” by Max Jammer, Princeton University Press

  • e2n

    Good Marcus,
    Let’s take your point one by each.
    You believe in biblical creation. Kindly answer the questions below;
    Do you believe man was made from sand?
    DO you believe woman was made from a rib?
    Do you believe bushes can talk?
    Do you believe snakes can talk?
    Do you believe donkeys can talk?

  • Daz

    “I believe that both atheism and biblical creation require faith.”

    This is true-ish, but only in the sense of cheap word-play with various meanings of the word “faith.”
    The atheistic position (though not atheism itself, which is simply a lack of belief in something) requires faith in the sense of trust. Specifically, trust in scientific methodology and similar modes of thought as a means of casting out false ideas.
    The theistic position requires faith in the sense of belief in the truthfulness of a proposition in the absence of supporting evidence.
    Go find that library, Marcus. You’re getting boring.

  • remigius

    I can see why you like the analogy of the dim child in a library, Marcus. You really should go to the library.

  • e2n…yes to all.

  • e2n

    MArcus,
    Have you seen a donkey talk before?

  • Can’t say that I have. But for the sake of mutual respect, have you seen the documented evolutionary chain explaining the origin of life for…anything?
    If so please attach the link.

  • remigius

    “e2n…yes to all.”
    Then you’re not the dim child in the library, Marcus.
    You’re the dim child outside the library just ‘hoopin’. Not even bothering to go inside because he thinks he already knows the answers. Pity.

  • e2n

    No I haven’t seen.
    But just to be sure, if you think evolution explains the origin of life, then I think you may be on the wrong track.
    Evolution explains the relationship between living things especially with adaptation to their environment.
    Daz, correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Daz

    Forget the talking donkey. I wanna know how a fuckin’ bush talks. No throat, no tongue, no vocal cords, no lungs…
    Then I wanna know how a person can survive seventy-two hours or more in the belly of a fish.
    @e2n
    With the slightly pedantic substitution of “species” for “living things,” so as to avoid the possible implication that (or wilful misreading to the effect that) individual creatures can evolve, I’ve got no argument with your definition.

  • remigius

    “…have you seen the documented evolutionary chain explaining the origin of life for…anything?”
    Evolution has never claimed to explain the origin of life. It explains the, er, evolution of life. Two quite distinct things.

  • e2n…evolution typically tandems the big bang theory and others to fill in those gaps. Which particular theory explains origins is semantics though. The point is that a conscious atheistic belief system demands an explanation for the origin of life.
    The absence of a logical explanation involving a blend of spontaneous ignition and repeated improbable coincidence is what led men like Einstein to a firm belief in God.

  • e2n

    Marcus,
    Let’s start from page one of the bible. i’ll ask as an innocent child.
    God said ” Let there be light….and there was light”
    Marcus, in what language did god give that order

  • Daz

    “Which particular theory explains origins is semantics though.”

    Nope. When and if a strong enough set of hypotheses regarding the origin of life emerges it will be, by definition, a theory of abiogenesis, and it will be in the realm of biochemistry.
    And the absence of such a theory does not imply that a god did it. It merely means that the origin of life is, at present, unknown. That our knowledge of the world is incomplete.

  • remigius

    “…evolution typically tandems the big bang theory and others to fill in those gaps.”
    No it doesn’t. Evolution and the Big Bang are two completely separate fields with absolutely no overlap. One had no bearing on the other. Whoever told you that they do is wrong.

  • e2n…not sure…how many languages do you suppose that there are outside our galaxy?
    Which then begs the question, is your question trivia…or one raising a fact that disproves the existence of God?

  • Daz

    Umm. Galaxy is not a synonym for universe.
    Get thee to that friggin’ library, go. Farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs blather on, a fool thou art, for wise men know well enough what mockery you make of science. To a library, go, and quickly too.

  • Edwin Salter

    Hi Marcus. This gets rather tiresome as you shift about from an origin (?) of the universe to the origin of life to the evolution of life. The first cosmological question is very peculiar and still a matter of debate (but if you want to say God went Bang there’s nothing at present to stop you except that it’s rather a pointless non-explanation).
    The origin of life has very plausible explanations in the chemistry of replicating systems given the immense time spans and variety of environments.
    If you don’t accept that life forms evolve (neither fossils nor dogs persuade), we think you’re just being silly.

  • Edwin…again the semantics are irrelevant. If you think that you’ve got a concise explanation—dispense with the theories and the nomenclature, and simply show us the evidence for the origin and evolution of a single mammal…fish…bird…
    …you name it and link it to us.
    e2n had the decency to admit they haven’t seen it…ever.

  • e2n

    Marcus,
    Evolution is a continuous study. We are using what we have now to understand what we had then.Of course, there are questions we cannot answer and it’s best to say “we dont know / we are still learning” than to ascribe everything to God.
    Especially a god that has human traits…

  • Daz
  • e2n…what do you actually know about the God of the bible?
    …and how do you know that it’s not us who carry His traits?

  • Reechee

    Marcus, very cunning of you starting with you believe in the biblical creation and then jumping to using a “scientific authority” in the form of Einstein and his quote. It is worth pointing out that your biblical god and eintein’s god are not the same. That selectvie quote you used is quite telling as it is one that does not insinuate that Einstein is a Deist and his god could never be the same one you refer to as the biblical god.
    Choice quotes to help you:
    1929: Einstein tells Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein:
    I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
    Brian, Dennis (1996), Einstein: A Life, New York: John Wiley & Sons, p. 127, ISBN 0471114596
    For Spinoza, God had infinitely many properties of which only a finite number of those were represented in our Universe – and represented “unity of all that exists” and a “regularity of all that happens”. And this order is what Einstein was referring to when he famously quipped “God does not play dice with the universe”. Spinoza also stated that only God possessed free will, with our universe (humans included) being moved solely by fixed laws.
    1950 letter to M. Berkowitz, Einstein stated:
    My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.
    1954: Einstein in a letter to Eric Gutkind on January 3, 1954 wrote:
    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
    letter to Eric Gutkind
    1954: Einstein also wrote:
    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
    Letter To An Atheist (1954) from Albert Einstein: The Human Side (1982) ISBN 0-691-02368-9

  • e2n

    Well all I know about God is what I was thought in Churches using the bible.
    But let me agree with you and say “we carry his traits”….Do you think such traits are good?
    Examples are jealously, affinity for murder, hardheartedness. These are human traits supposedly gotten from God (i’m using your premise).
    Do you think these traits are good?

  • remigius

    “e2n had the decency to admit they haven’t seen it…ever.”
    Marcus, let me correct that for you…
    “e2n had the decency to admit they haven’t seen it…ever.He/she then went on to explain that such a thing could not be seen because I, in my ignorance, confused evolution with abiogenesis. I have now learned the difference and will not be making such a mistake in future.”
    That’s better.

  • Edwin Salter

    May I take you as a single mammal, Marcus? You have neanderthal genes, are distinctly iffy for walking upright, sport useless nipples … Complain to your Designer now. ‘Bye from me.

  • remigius

    “You have neanderthal genes…”
    I doubt that, Edwin.Marcus is from Malawi,in sub-Saharan East Africa. The Neanderthal lived in Europe to Central-North Asia.
    Everyone except Africans have Neanderthal genes that were picked up through interbreeding in Europe/Asia. Africans have no such genes.

  • e2n…I’ll use your approach, but I’ll spot you jealousy.
    The Greek word (the NT language) is derived from zeal, and has both positive and negative implications—as distinguished from envy, which is almost always not only pejorative, but destructive. Jealousy rooted in truth is healthy (eg. A healthy parent has kids, wants their love, and also wants them to love people who will nurture them in healthy ways. A healthy parent is properly jealous for their child’s affection when they see them attracted to adults with ulterior motives (eg – pedophiles)).
    God describes Himself as a jealous God.
    The bible does not so much describe Him as having an affinity for murder…so I’ll ask you to refer me to the passage that prompted your comment?
    Likewise I don’t think that it describes Him as hard-hearted, so if it does…please refer me to the passage that you’re thinking of as well?
    Finally, no one does evil for evil’s sake. Even evil acts are committed based on a misguided attempt at feeling good—or even a pathetic kind of joy. (CS Lewis) Thus the fundamental motivation of humanity is to seek that which is – or at lest seems – good. Thus, for every negative trait for which you think God deserves the blame—the only emotions/motives that we know to truly be fundamental…are to seek that which is good.
    Thus the biblical description of the Creator being defined by love.
    The bible describes the way in which that fundamental pursuit of good became perverted—through the effects of ambition and envy on free will. Essentially the emotional devolution – and eventual restoration – of humanity.

  • Edwin…”the documented evolutionary chain,” that would involve the chain of progression from the origin, through the fossil record, to the present—not so much a reference to a single suspected link in the chain.
    Thanks though.

  • Daz

    It is true that “jealousy” can mean a kind of protective carefulness. A person may be described as jealously guarding their reputation, for instance. However, Marcus’s assertion that this is the meaning of the usage in question rather flies in the face of “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” while although “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” certainly fits his definition, what God would appear to be protecting in this case is himself and his own ego, not his followers.
    Certainly he’s defined, at least partly, by love. A craven and pathetic self-love.

  • What Daz mentions are commands derivative of Godly zeal / jealousy. He already said it: jealously guarding reputation.
    No other Gods is basically what we now call brand recognition. If there really is a greater god, the command is petty ego. But if there truly is no greater God—it’s brand recognition. Nike sues knockoffs constantly. God simply says “recognize game”…name.
    It’s the same with not taking his name in vain. Think of a decent dad. People know not to —- with you when he’s around. But you need to know not to —- with Him either. The more you keep that in mind…the more likely you are to keep it peace with even a patient father. Respecting a good dad who can actually kick —-…his name, his brand, what he can do—is foremost just right if he’s looking out for you. Moreover it keeps you in the proper state of mind, that even though he loves you…
    Ultimately he doesn’t need your respect, because if you disrespect him enough—he’ll get it.

  • remigius

    “…that would involve the chain of progression from the origin, through the fossil record, to the present.”
    It depends on what you mean by origin. If you mean the first form of life on Earth – it would be such a primitive orgasism that it’s age and characteristics would probably preclude its appearance in the fossil record.
    Some biogenic carbons have been found (approx 3-4 billion years old) but we don’t know whether they are the first ever life forms.
    If, however, you mean the common origin of of all species of life ‘through the fossil record, to the present’ – then yes we do have such a record. It’s in our genomes.
    We can trace our ancestry back to the common ancestor of all life on this planet.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_universal_common_ancestor

  • Remi…in court they use a principle called chain of custody—without which evidence like firearms are completely inadmissible. Chain of custody documents the actual progression of a piece of evidence from the crime scene to the courtroom on the day it’s presented at trial.
    I appreciate what you said, but I need the evidence itself in the fossil record. They don’t have the evidence in the generic biological genome—they still don’t completely understand the human genome.
    I’ve heard for years that “we have it,”but you won’t find a link producing it for a single bird…fish…mammal…
    I appreciate you being serious though.

  • remigius

    Marcus, if you are expecting such a ‘chain of custody’ in the fossil record – it simply isn’t there.
    But as you will no doubt be aware not all evidence needs chain of custody. Witness testimony is admissible evidence but we don’t put witnesses in a plastic bag with a date code.
    The fact that fossils exist is evidence that those creatures existed. The fact that genomes of all living things carry information about it’s lineage is proof enough.
    And yes I was a lawyer too.

  • …then, bro…you know the difference between crossing an expert and a lay-witness. A lay-witness’ testimony carries no weight in scientific matters—because it lacks the objective credentials.
    The chain of custody for the evolutionary chain of a single complex life form would objectively end the discussion—but it doesn’t exist. Which is why none of you all have been able to link it here, man.
    If it existed they would have simply taught that to us—and spent less time teaching us to ridicule competing belief systems.
    Best evidence rule, man: the best evidence of a thing is the thing itself…not the competing assertions about it.

  • remigius

    “…the best evidence of a thing is the thing itself…not the competing assertions about it.”
    And that evidence has to be interpreted or it is of no value to the case. As you know, most criminal cases are founded on circumstantial evidence. These include DNA, fingerprints, GSR, etc. They alone are not proof of guilt but are evidence from which guilt may be inferred.
    Likewise the fossil record is not proof of evolution but evidence from which evolution can be inferred, and to a very high probability – much higher than the burden of proof required in a criminal case.
    The ‘evidence’ for any of the creation myths would not satisfy even the lower burden in civil proceedings.

  • We can agree to disagree…I’m especially inclined to do so now b/c it’s bedtime. I’ll take this parting shot though:
    whether it’s the fossil record or the human genome, none of you produced the “substantiated proof” linking us to the beginning, wherever that is—and that’s typically the knock on Christianity…belief without conclusive evidence.
    My point is fundamentally: mutual respect. I think that we’ve at least approached that. I could be wrong, but…

  • remigius

    Goodnight Marcus. Don’t forget the library tomorrow.

  • …lol…Goodnight!

  • Edwin Salter

    Reappears corrected – remigius – goes to show…
    While here – Marcus – you could look (if only for curiosity of argument) at how something as surprising as the human eye has evolved (and been approximated to independently) – and your most ancient genes evidence our origin in Earth life generally (noting that life could have arrived here)- there are so many evidences of continuity .. evolution (several theories prior to natural selection) was convincing enough even before the genetic mechanism was known.
    Back to the sensible conclusions of Oge I.