Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically

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What I Believe

This entry was originally posted by my friend Joshua McGee (@mcgeesorg) at his website.  I am reposting it with his permission.

What I Believe

Regarding the shared bits of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc., here it is, in second person:

I believe that your God was the favorite tribal deity of a polytheistic, nomadic, historically insignificant Bronze Age people living in North Africa and the Near East.  Through a bizarre historical accident, a tiny messianic doomsday cult of this people was adopted as the state religion of the most powerful empire on the planet, despite the utter failure of any of the doomsday prophecies to transpire in the allotted time.

I believe your shared “testament” is a heterogeneous anthology of self-aggrandizing revisionist history, stolen legal codes, institutionalized bigotry, justifications for ethnic cleansing, “Just So” stories, the ravings of the mentally ill, census data, a sprinkling of common sense, and some truly beautiful poetry and children’s literature, all of which was rolled together and authorship attributed to a deity, which means to many of you that it has to be 100% factually accurate, even when it’s internally inconsistent or demonstrably wrong.

I believe the premise and existence of the modern state of Israel is at least as bizarre as if my family declared ownership of the British Isles, invaded, subjugated the citizenry, imposed martial law, renamed the nation “Gondor”, and declared war on Western Europe.

I believe that were we to argue theology, I’d argue to the point where we agreed that your god is undetectable, untestable, unpredictable, inelegant, unnecessary, paradoxical, and at least one of impotent, malicious, and completely incomprehensible, not to mention just plain weird, at which point I’d consider the topic not worth any further thought, you’d declare ineffability a feature rather than a bug, and I’d look at you as if you’d turned into a walrus in front of my eyes.

I believe people who “sort of” believe in God, “don’t really think about it”, “guess they do”, or find it the path of least resistance, are pussies leading unexamined lives.

I will, however, fight tooth and nail for your right to engage in your superstitions in your own home or normally-taxed buildings, or very quietly and personally in public.  I believe it is your right to live an unexamined life, in the same way that it is my right not to exercise, even though I know failing to will contribute to my early death.  I get it, kinda: we all have mental blocks.  I will even tolerate you indoctrinating your own children, although I really wish you wouldn’t, in the same way I wish Jews would stop mutilating the genitals of their male infants and Mexicans would stop piercing the ears of their female infants.

So there.

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101 Responses to What I Believe

  1. BK says:

    I happen to believe in God – the same God of the bible. I have my reasons for this and all of them are good ones, not just the same old “blind faith” tripe used by most Christians and to keep this comment relatively short, I will not go into ALL the details as to the reasons why I believe as I do.

    Having said this, and having read a number of articles and posts released by professed atheists (including yourself), I am glad not to be of your number. It seems the more I read, the more bashing I see of the “believing” population. What I do not see are any good reasons to bash, belittle and degrade people for the way they believe. I hear you go on and on about how Christians bash atheists and yet, I’ve never seen this personally. I’ve known many atheists and, while they all seem to feel this way, I’ve never seen them in any way belittled or bashed.

    However, coming FROM atheists, all I see is mindless bullying. Personally, I don’t give half a crap what you or other atheists believe. If you wish to believe in NOTHING, fine. I have no problem with it. Just stop trying to cram it down my throat because I’ll never understand it and, frankly, don’t even want to try.

    It just seems to me you could ease up on the ridiculous bullying, bashing, belittling and pushing around of a group of people who haven’t done a single thing to harm you in any way except to offer a little prayer on your behalf.

    What a terrible and otherwise horrific thing to impose on someone who doesn’t believe as you do! The absolute NERVE of these people to presume you could possibly TOLERATE the insolence of their prayers! It’s obvious to me now that atheists have NO patience with others whatsoever and seem only to have the desire to bully others and attempt to show their mental superiority by bashing those whom they “think” they have some kind of mental or educational edge over.

    This is, incidentally, in no way true. There are many highly educated people out there who either believe in the God of the bible or in Intelligent Design. They have very good reasons for these beliefs too. The only thing I see from atheists is that they simply don’t want to believe in ANYTHING. There are no valid reasons for these beliefs (or non beliefs) except to find reasons to beat down others to give themselves some kind of satisfaction at the expense of the feelings of others.

    They don’t believe in God, Intelligent Design, Evolution or any scientific theories to date with regard to creation, life or anything else. So exactly HOW do you go through life feeling superior without ANY stance on ANYTHING? Scientists, Evolutionists, Darwinists, Creationists and those who subscribe to Intelligent Design or even alien theory are ALL superior. They are actually DOING something to find answers. Atheists do nothing but bully those who are looking for answers!

    What kind of people have so little respect and so great resentment for other people as to want to try to crush their morals, beliefs and feelings to make themselves feel better? I personally have dealt with bullies all my life and if there is one thing I know, it is that I don’t have to tolerate them and I don’t have to be pushed around by them.

    Therefore, all I can say is – go ahead and continue to do your worst as you usually do. Keep belittling and looking down your nose at all the people you “think” are beneath you. The reality is – they will keep praying for you anyway whether you like it or not and they won’t feel bad about it.

    If you were truly guided by reason and instructed by science, you would do your homework. You would truly look for answers and not simply be another sheep guided by whatever atheist guru is the next “thing”. Lots of people claim to have answers, but most of them don’t. If you just go around believing them because they say you should, you are no better than the rest of the population who do not do their homework and blindly follow whomever is the latest and greatest self-professed guru.

    If you’re truly guided by science, you will know and be well read on subjects such as the Big Bang, String Theory, M-Theory, evolution and natural selection. Also, if you REALLY do some digging into these theories, you will find that not a single one of them has a complete set of answers.

    So if you are one of the masses who really enjoys only having partial or no answers and bases her beliefs on a literal “house of cards”, more power to you. Personally, I think I will remain with the strength of knowing my beliefs are based on a MUCH stronger scientific foundation.

  2. Kevin Bush says:

    BK, most atheists I know are guided and enlightened by science. They accept theories that have strong supporting evidence, and they reject theories that have no evidence and/or are appeals to made up authorities. I know not of these supposed “belief-less” atheists you speak of.

  3. Jewlz says:

    Brilliant.

  4. Beast says:

    Bk
    You say atheists do nothing but bash believers? Have you visited any atheist channels on YouTube? Read some of the comments left by so called Christians then come back here and judge about who is bashing who. If i were Christian i would be too embarrassed to come back here.

  5. Scott says:

    “If you wish to believe in NOTHING, fine. I have no problem with it. Just stop trying to cram it down my throat because I’ll never understand it and, frankly, don’t even want to try. ”

    That explains everything now doesn’t it??? You don’t understand it and you don’t want to try. I think I said something similar when I was 9 and being taught long division.

    Ya see, we atheist have tried to understand your beliefs, and we always end up with the same conclusion…it doesn’t make sense. Religion doesn’t add up. It’s a failed science. It’s not logical. It’s immoral. It’s a lot of things, but most importantly, it just plain doesn’t make sense. That’s why it requires faith in order to understand it.

    I stopped believing in Santa for this same reason…it just didn’t make sense anymore. The same goes for the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, ghosts and others. I’m pretty sure you don’t believe in Santa anymore either and I’m willing to bet if you met an adult who still did you’d laugh in their face…and rightfully so, it doesn’t make sense to believe in things that are not real.

    The problem is, that your religion does more for you than give you presents on Christmas…it keeps the lights from going out. It’s the fear of dying that keeps you from putting god in the same category as Santa and the Easter Bunny. You’ve got eternal life riding on this bet.

    In my opinion it’s this bet on eternal life that makes it taboo for others to criticize your beliefs…and that’s what needs to change. It hasn’t been atheist who have been pushing their beliefs down peoples throats for the last 2,000 years. It’s about due time religious people started getting some heat for unjustified and immoral beliefs.

  6. I have attempted several times to make such a declaration. I get too wordy, too wound up in being anti-religion. I think this is well expressed and agreeable with my mind. Thank you for the eloquence.

  7. If one gets to know God, then you don’t have to argue about it. If any atheist were to experience the power of God’s Holy Spirit, they would quickly change their minds…I’ve seen it happen many, many times! The problem is not with the atheist…the problem is the church, the perception of the church and “Christians”, and the apparent lack of love present in the “body of Christ”. We are working on it! To all doubters out there, God does exist AND can be known. Period. It is pointless to hurl “faith bombs” at each other…it always ends up in bitter venom. This is not what Christ intended. Although all Christians know that we are “hated by the world”, it should not be from being hypocrites and loveless people! Our fault guys…like I said, we are working on it. I hope each person who reads this post at some point will encounter the living God. It is too precious to miss! Christ beckons us into a spiritual life; but many, if not most Christians feel “all is good” once they get their ticket “punched” for heaven. It is sad, and I apologize to all atheists out there that we have not represented our Lord well enough to beckon you in love and not in hate…

  8. Scott says:

    Really? “If one gets to know God, then you don’t have to argue about it.” Can you please explain how you know God? I’d really like to hear this.

    The reason I think this is interesting is because I know a guy who also claims to know god, in fact, he talks to Jesus too. He lives in a cardboard box on the street corner near my place and has been caught raping dogs a couple times. He really loves Jesus though, he’s always chatting with the guy.

    My aunt used to be real big in the Baptist church. She said she knew god and could give examples of how he personally changed her life. In fact, she used to say god spoke to her, until they had to lock her up because god was telling her to drown her kids. I wonder why god told her those things?

    I think you can see the problem here. Anyone can say they know god, and quite frankly, no one can prove it. Do you think those 9/11 terrorists knew god? Who are you to say they didn’t? They certainly believed in their god and religion with all their hearts. Are you that committed?

    Because you can’t prove you know god and because they can’t prove they know god, then it’s safe to say, no body can claim they know god. You are doing nothing more than claiming the color green as the best color in the world, and someone else is claiming it’s the color blue. But instead of calling it a day and going home, religion decides to preach its immoral philosophy and condemn anyone who doesn’t think the same. It’s totalitarianism.

    I have no doubt you have felt some pretty intense spiritual moments in your life, but please understand, so have billions of other people who follow gods you don’t approve of. So have people who don’t even believe in god. Having a beautiful, mind blowing, spine tingling moment does not prove god exists, it just proves your human.

    So….if you “know” god and so does the homeless guy, my aunt and the 9/11 terrorists, then I’m sorry but I have to discredit you all. Your claims can not be proven or justified. As the late Christopher Hitchens once said, “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

  9. I know its not logical; it is by nature impossible to understand completely. All humans have a spirit, and many cultures, religions, and systems of transcendence can achieve a heightened awareness of its existence. You assume too much about my perspective. Please don’t make jumps that are unwarranted and faulty. God created the spirit, it is “His Image”, and God is Spirit. The problem is that it is very difficult for the “average person” to achieve this state of awareness and peace. The beauty of Christ is that He bridges the gap for us…out of love. He put on flesh so that we might put on spirit. Trying to live a good enough life for a god is almost impossible and is nothing more than slavery. Jesus pays the price that we are unable to pay. He invites us into the presence of God without blemish. The problem with most people is they are either unwilling or unable to comprehend grace. Grace is a real experience; you can feel it in your body and soul. When a man truly understands the overwhelming love that God has for him personally, he cannot help but be changed. That is the “evidence of things not seen”. Whether a person continues to grow spiritually is the real measure to their faith. Because there are forces that battle 24/7 to convince us that it is “too good to be true” or that the spirit is just something we humans made up, all can get sidetracked…even as a corporate entity like the church. But knowing God is completely dependent on whether YOU want to know Him. A Christian is one who seeks God and that seeking is rewarded. Some people receive this awesome gift only to never open it! Like getting a free BMW, but never driving it. A true Christian is one who forsakes all things that perish to gain things that are eternal and very, very real. So these “Christians” you are talking about are really not “followers of Christ”. Because a true Christian is known by their love and by their peace. Period. If they are not loving and peaceful people then they are selling you smoke! I guess there are those who believe in Jesus, but never make an attempt to know Him. Maybe you should get a larger sampling domain and explore a bit. Broad brush-strokes don’t work any longer my friend. I won’t cast you into a category if you will do me the same favor. And if you do toss me into a category then I have no choice but take that as a clear signal not to respond…and you can have the last word.

  10. Scott says:

    “I know its not logical; it is by nature impossible to understand completely.”
    -You see, it doesn’t make any sense to you either, therefore, you need faith to understand it.

    “All humans have a spirit”
    -Can you prove this? Sorry, it is you who are assuming too much.

    “God created the spirit, it is “His Image”, and God is Spirit.”
    -Again, assuming something that cannot be proven.

    “Trying to live a good enough life for a god is almost impossible and is nothing more than slavery. Jesus pays the price that we are unable to pay. He invites us into the presence of God without blemish.”
    -So what you are telling me is that I was doomed to hell from birth, but commanded by god to be good. But that still is not good enough…I have to fall on my knees and claim Jesus as my savior and god?

    How can you not see this is a dictatorship? This is the same as North Korea.
    You say I have a choice but I do not. If I agree with you then I live forever, if I don’t, I’m tortured for all eternity. What type of benevolent, loving god/christian would do such a thing? It’s immoral.

    What is even more messed up is that it doesn’t matter if I’m good or bad in this life, I can do whatever I want and get away with it by giving my life to Jesus. Totally immoral. How could a human sacrifice(Jesus) clear the slate? Can I sacrifice my next door neighbor because I committed a sin and still get into heaven? How would you like it if we started releasing guys on death row if they recently gave their lives to Christ? Would you let these known murderers into your home? Why would you want to party with them in heaven for all eternity?

    “A true Christian is one who forsakes all things that perish to gain things that are eternal and very, very real. So these “Christians” you are talking about are really not “followers of Christ”.”
    -Again, claiming things that cannot be proven. Have you ever considered you might not be a true Christian? There’s a lot of versions of Christianity out there, are you sure you picked the right version? I’m sure there are some evangelicals that think you are a fake Christian. What about the Mormons or Shakers? Who’s the right Christian?

    “Because a true Christian is known by their love and by their peace. Period.”
    -Sorry, love and peace cannot be a Christian trait if you claim I’ll burn in hell for all eternity for not believing in your god. That’s just messed up. Also, by your reasoning, anytime anyone does something good then it’s Christian, if they do something bad, then they are not true Christians. Do you hear yourself? Isn’t the whole Christianity concept based on the idea of you committing sin and still being a Christian???

    “Maybe you should get a larger sampling domain and explore a bit. Broad brush-strokes don’t work any longer my friend.”
    – I was a Christian for 13 years and went to church 5 times a week. Finally broke free when I learned that the only reason I’m a Christian is because I was born into it. I also started to disagree with the immorality it condoned. I then spent years studying other religions looking for answers…ended up in the same spot. Religion is a failed science from the bronze age. It’s faults a self evident yet people still cling to it because it makes them feel better about an event in which no one ones the outcome, death.

    Your god/belief, is like all other gods/beliefs. Your god is just a real as Zeus and Apollo 2,000 years ago and was defended just as fervently by people just like you.

    Every single thing you have written here today cannot be proven and must be accepted on “faith”. We could have been arguing about Santa Claus this whole time and it wouldn’t change a thing. It’s 2012 and we should expect more of people. Emancipate yourself from this bigotry and hatred and start loving because you want to, because it’s human to do so…not because you are afraid of being punished in hell. Worshiping a self imposed celestial dictator is no way to live.

  11. Beast says:

    Disciplegideon
    While i disagree with you on the subject of religion, you unlike most so called Christians appear to practice what you preach. You have written respectfully and i believe from the heart. I can ask no more from any man; may your god smile upon you.

  12. Hi,

    The beliefs as stated seem to be reasonable enough, if a bit harsh and pessimistic, but that’s just my view.

    I guess they are based on a false assumption that there is nothing more to existence than the physical reality we can perceive with our senses. As the late Christopher Hitchens once said, “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

    By definition there can be no physical evidence for God. End of story really. To say that a lack of physical evidence is actual evidence for “no God” can be said to perfectly fit the definition of a straw-man argument. What we are then left with is our beliefs and our faith.

    Our faith in a God or our faith in something else that will explain the mysterious world we live in. Isn’t it blind faith that determines a belief that the unknown will become known in a predictable fashion and confirm our existing beliefs?

    “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man.”
    – Albert Einstein

  13. Selaniest says:

    I agree, the whole God thing is pretty crazy. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I happen to be a Christian because God answered a prayer for me.

    So now I spend my time trying to figure it all out. In truth, I never will. But I think I have figured out the most important, that being love.

    Now I know you likely aren’t asking for it and probably don’t even want it. ( I mean, you don’t know me, right? ) But love, I do.

    Be at peace, friend and thank you for putting up with us! We tend to be annoying at times but, a lot of us mean well!

  14. Scott says:

    “I happen to be a Christian because God answered a prayer for me. ” Can you explain how god answered your prayer? Also, please explain how god interacting with you in this way is any different than when my aunt was told by god to drown her kids? (see my comment above)

    How can you tell the difference between people touched by god and crazy people?
    If god told you to drown your kids and commit murder, would it all of a sudden be OK? I’m willing to bet you’ll have a hard time answering that. On one hand, god is the boss and what he says goes, but on the other hand, you love people and don’t think it makes sense to go walking around killing people.

    This is why the belief thing fails and is a moral hazard for anyone who follows it. The 9/11 hijackers were operating within 100% of their beliefs. According to their god/religion, they are correct. So, how can you be right and they be right at the same time? You both believe in things that can’t be proven, yet your willing to bet your life on it and other peoples lives.

    Lastly, please try to understand the scope of the world at hand and the problems abound upon it. It seems highly unlikely that god is out there helping Tim Teebow and yourself when there are millions of women and children in Africa right now who are pleading for help with bloated bellies and flies in their eyes Why in the world would a truly loving god answer your personal prayer and help a teenager win the music video awards???

    There will come a time when you finally discover that you’ve been praying to yourself all those years…that you are your own god and you have the ability to answer all those prayers yourself. You can be stronger, kinder, benevolent…valiant.

  15. Selaniest says:

    Well, the short version is that i prayed and my God answered. Literally, a lady ( friend of the family ) showed up in a nightgown, coat ,robe, and bible.

    I was praying for intervention and God’s will be done in a family argument. She showed up at the door, I answered and asked why she was there and she said ” I don’t know, I was pulling down the covers and God told me to get over here” !

    Now, I wasn’t praying out loud and was praying in private. So it’s my only conclusion. Too many things were in line. The timing, the bible, the message.

    If I wanted to get real crazy, I could start pondering telepathy but, still wouldn’t explain the bible.

    So about all the evil in the world, I don’t have the answers. I can only say I do my best to serve and act in hopes it is explained in the future.

  16. Scott says:

    Wow, how random that a friend of the family stopped by your house to help you out in a time of need.(sarcasm) Crazy random strange events take place everyday and we don’t need god to explain them. I know a guy who’s been hit by lighting 3 times, does this mean god wants to smite him?

    So by your logic, it means that anytime anyone hears god or has a wish granted then it proves his existence? Does this mean my aunt wasn’t crazy after all and she should have drowned her kids like god commanded? Does this mean god is real because when I was 10 I prayed that I didn’t have to take a math test and on that day the teacher didn’t show up…found out she was in a car accident. Did I cause that?

    “So about all the evil in the world, I don’t have the answers. I can only say I do my best to serve and act in hopes it is explained in the future.”
    -Well you should be ashamed of yourself for being so apathetic. Its this lazy do nothing attitude that lets hatred and bigotry run wild.

    Prayer is a great way of doing nothing but making yourself feel like you’re helping. Remember, you are your own god, you can answer your own prayers.

  17. Selaniest says:

    Well, you sound like you think you have it all figured out. I gave you the answer you asked for.

    I will say your aggression is interesting. Sad but, interesting. That’s ok though, I’m used to it.

    Peace!

  18. Scott says:

    Nope, no anger here. Because I condemn immoral beliefs and apathy, it doesn’t make me aggressive.

    You’d be surprised at how much we can figure out when we try. Throwing our hands up and letting some unprovable entity drive is no way to get where we want to go.

    But no worries, you’ll get there, maybe not today or with this correspondence, but you’ll get there. You’re already reading atheist blogs and responding in the comments…it’s a great start.

    I sincerely wish you the best.

  19. Lori says:

    All of the theories in science are explained in the bible, a book that was written a thousand years before any theories were established. I also believe we have souls. It isn’t my brain that decides what kind of music I like. It isn’t my brain that decides my hobbies, interests, thoughts, and actions. It isn’t my brain that decides my sexual orientation. It is my soul. I notice some atheists say they stopped believing because things like rape, murder, and abuse occur. They wonder why he lets it happen. If everyone was religious, there would be no rape, murder, or anything like that. Everyone would help each other. Some people wonder why bad hings happen to them, even though they believe in god. They wonder why he won’t help them. You have to earn God’s presence, recognize it, then act on it. So if you atheists ever change your mind about God, remember to earn his presence. I hope you do.

  20. Nice guy says:

    ‘If everyone was religious, there would be no rape, murder, or anything like that. Everyone would help each other.’ is it not possible to be like this based upon a notion of liberialism – doing not harm to one another, as it is for the maximum benefit of all, and securing each indidivuals person.

    Religion can allow for things like rape, murder and abuse. recent scandals in the catholic church, 9/11, the Crusades, the Inqusition, stoning adulterers, all come from religion.
    I dont beleive in anything beyond the physical, im sorry, and i dont judge those who do – if you want to believe and live however you want that is a-okay with me. But you have to give the same respect to others and not attempt to negatively interfere with their lives.

    If you want some great reading on the subject, J.S Mill’s On Liberty – totally changed my view on the world (know it has flaws). We dont need religion to keep us in check, rather a sense of empathy for those around us (and a system of enforcement for when people go against this)

  21. Lori says:

    I’ll admit that statement was a little ignorant, but I’m saying that religion helps with our actions. We want to serve god and go to heaven, so we follow his commands. And I do have respect, I’m sorry if I said anything that put you off. Oh, and religious people tend to have greater empathy than those who don’t believe. I know this isn’t true for everyone, just a generalization.

  22. Daz says:

    “All of the theories in science are explained in the bible”

    Examples, please. Start with some quantum theory—that should be interesting.

    What’s more, if ‘all theories in science’ are represented in the Bible, could you please tell all those anti-Darwinists that the theory of evolution is Biblical, and ask them to shut up? Thanks.

    “If everyone was religious, there would be no rape, murder, or anything like that.”

    You realise that atheists tend to be under-represented in the prison population, when compared to their numbers outside?

    “You have to earn God’s presence”

    Either a god exists or a god does not exist. Nothing you or I can do will influence that; it is not something which can be earned.

  23. Lori says:

    One more thing. 9/11 didn’t come from religion. A group called he Taliban planned the attack. Not all Muslims hate americans. No religion teaches hatred. Stoning adulterers happened in the old testament. Jesus came and died for our sins so we could have a second chance.

  24. Nice guy says:

    it can help, but it does not have to be the only way of doing so. the example of liberialism shows people can co-operate and be good to each other, without religion.

    ‘ I’m sorry if I said anything that put you off’. Sorry, i wasnt trying to pick on you, just answering the thread in general.
    Im not sure about the empathy thing – i wouldnt want to try and test it. I think we all need to be more empathic (especially in a world with 7 billion people) but not sure if religion is the right way to go about it. If you met a muslim, a hindu or even a satanist in need of help would you feel as much for him as if he was just a fellow human who needed help? Its just something to ponder.

    Hope to be civil and not descend into angry name calling:-D

  25. Nice guy says:

    ah, right. 9/11 was a attack by alqaeda, not the Taliban. Both have strong islamic elements (as well as secular goals not basaed on religion) Not all muslims do hate America, or the west or even non-muslims, but a small, violent proportion do. They are the problem – if all religious people just worshipped and caused no problem, it would be fine, but *some* do and need to be prevented from doing so. Another great book is Jason Burkes Al-Qaeda, explaining Al-Qaedas goals and how they operate.

    Stoning adulterers still happens today in Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is a horrbile practice. The UN believes hundreds still die each year from it.

    But people continue to commit Christian sins – we have squandered this second chance then surely?

    As I say below, dont want to descend into name calling.

  26. Lori says:

    I will definitely try my best to help anyone who needs it, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. I am a very selfless person. I believe God put me here to help others.

  27. Nice guy says:

    im glad of your actions, the motivations dont matter.

    But in other situations it becomes a problem. If you limit others, due to moral commandments from God, it goes against liberal notions and enforces a particular view on a person. If that person does not recognize God’s authority, they will perceive it as others stopping them from doing something that will cause no harm to others. For example, masturbation. It harms no-one else(if done privately) but is prohibited in the bible. Would you say they should be stopped from doing it?

  28. Lori says:

    Oh, right. I’m 13 and don’t pay well attention in class…and I don’t watch the news haha.
    I didn’t realize you were talking about Muslims stoning people, sorry.
    I don’t think people should be stopped from masturbating, we have confession. You sin, you’re sorry, you tell the priest and ask for God’s forgiveness. Everyone masturbates at some point in their life, it just depends on your decision to confess or not.

  29. Scott says:

    Lori, if you found out tomorrow that god does not exist, would you then stop helping others? Are you saying that without god’s reward(heaven) and punishment(hell) you would be a wild and crazy person running around committing crimes etc?

  30. Lori says:

    Of course not. Helping others is my purpose in life.

  31. Scott says:

    Awesome, glad to hear it! The next thing to do is to help yourself and learn as much as you can about the world around you. Be skeptical and take nothing for granted.

  32. jack says:

    I don’t understand why atheist get so upset with people who believe in God, or anything else for that matter.
    If we came from just chemicals, why does it matter what anyone believes. Chemicals have no logic, no morality, no love, hate, and so on. These laws do not make any sense in an evolutionary universe.
    However in a universe that was created, they do.

  33. Daz says:

    I don’t get upset that people believe such things. I get upset that (as alluded to in the OP) my taxes help to pay for them as they indulge in this ‘private belief’. That, because of political campaigning grounded in beliefs that I don’t share, laws and legal judgements are made, supposedly in my name, that deny equal human rights to homosexuals. That statements made in disagreement with those beliefs, although usually milder than most political reportage, are often cited as hate-speech and persecution. That women’s rights to decide what happens to their own bodies are denied, mostly on the basis of a soul for which there is no evidence entering a blob of cells you’d need a microscope to see.

    I could go on, but you get the point, I assume. I have no problem with the beliefs, but rather with having the consequences of other people’s beliefs forced on me by law.

  34. Scott says:

    “Chemicals have no logic, no morality, no love, hate, and so on. These laws do not make any sense in an evolutionary universe.
    However in a universe that was created, they do.”

    So tell me, if you found out tomorrow that god doesn’t exist you’d start stealing, raping and murdering? I doubt it. Do you think people thought rape, stealing and murder where just fine before Moses walked down from Mt Sinai with the Ten Commandments? I don’t think so.

    Morality/ethics is a natural occurring phenomenon which a majority of scientist agree. If you want the most recent information regarding morality, Google “Sam Harris and Morality”…you’ll get solid dose of articles and Youtube videos. Watch any Sam Harris video and prepare to have your mind blown…there’s no going back after that.

    Also, religion has a really bad track record regarding morality and ethics…I think it’s best not to quote them as good sources.

  35. OK…enough already people. Scott, I don’t know what you have been smoking! People always denegrate into perversion. Read a history book for goodness sakes! People are fine until they run out of rope, and then they deteriorate…did you forget about the holocaust, do you read newspapers about the genocide in Africa? Remember the middle ages? Maybe you haven’t read or don’t believe the ancient texts that refer to Sodom and Gamorrah, the Flood…but there is plenty of nasty crap in all regions history. So stop with the man is basically good crap…you know better…

  36. Beast says:

    Disciplegideon
    People always degenerate into perversion? Are you including Christians too? Speaking of history and the holocaust; you are aware that Hitler was a Christian and made speeches about it while being filmed. He is speaking German but there are subtitles; I understand just enough German to know the subtitles are not propaganda by atheists. The middle ages when people, mostly women were burned at the stake for being witches. The perversions committed against those women was never directly recorded because well they were burned at the stake shortly afterwards. Since perverts like to brag things were recorded though. I believe the Christian (Catholic Church) led the way. Yes there is a lot of crap in history. Abe Lincoln is quoted in the movie Pollyanna as saying “If you go looking for the bad in people you will surely find it”. The reverse can also work. I find it strange that the Christians and a few other religions are always looking for the bad while the Atheists, Pagans and others are looking for the good. From your own book “Judge not lest you in turn be judged”.

  37. Scott says:

    @disciplegideon
    I think you are over simplifying my statement. Morality/ethics is a natural occurring phenomenon, but so are stealing, rape and murder, no one is denying that. What I’m saying is that humans would rather be in a comfortable state than a state of suffering…we seek well being. Would you choose a glass of lemonade, or a glass of gasoline? Would you like a kiss on the lips or a punch in the face? Would you like to walk on the beach or be eaten by a bear?

    We do not seek pain, and when faced with choices we tend to go with the least painful option. This is the basis of our inherent morality. We seek a pain free state. And since we are social creatures we understand that our actions have consequences that could affect others. I doubt there’s a human alive that has stole, raped or murdered without sweating or raising their pulse. We know we are causing others distress and this inherently causes us some distress. So, most often, we choose the less stressful option, and that would be not to steal, rape or murder.

    So why do people steal, rape or murder? Lots of reasons, but lets single one out. Personally, I think one of the biggest reasons both today and in the past is competition for resources. Two dogs, one bone, sooner or later a fight is gonna break out. People need elbow room and when they don’t have it things can get tense. In order to ease that tension some people resort to violence. Now does this mean our inner moral compass no longer gives us an accurate reading? No. It still reads true, we just don’t follow it. Why? Because we are animals and primitive emotions take over.

    Another reason these primitive emotions can take over is when we are given just and noble reasons for having them, despite the inner distress it gives us. Cultures and societies around the world use religion/beliefs as their justifications for their crimes against humanity. Yes, I know of the holocaust and the genocide in Africa. Hitler, and I quote, “was merely doing gods work” and the Vatican turned a blind eye. As for the Genocide in Africa, everyone knows the Rwandans and Tutsis are primarily Catholic, this didn’t stop a thing.

    Given a noble reason or belief, a man can pick up and knife and kill another man, but make no mistake, his pulse will rise, his palms will sweat and his hair will stand on end. Our bodies know what is right and wrong, it’s our minds that tell us otherwise.
    Religion has been helpful by trying to give us a moral code, but it also has been hurtful by giving us reasons for rape, slavery, hate, murder, etc. I think it’s time to abandon the religion morality model because it’s causing too much collateral damage.

    So are humans inherently good or bad. No, they are just inherently human, they can be both. But do they have a moral compass? Yes, and it always points to a better state of well being. But don’t take my word for it, the best minds on the planet agree. Sam Harris can walk you through this concept much more eloquently than I can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm2Jrr0tRXk

    One last note regarding religion and morality. I hear a lot of people saying that religion creates morality. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. For if you are making life choices, in which you will ultimately be rewarded in heaven or punished in hell, then you are not making a moral or ethical decision…you are merely escaping punishment or seeking a reward. This is not morality.

  38. There is a difference between judgment and discernment. Wisdom is given to those who seek it. The travisty that you refer to is “taking the Lord’s name in vain” and it is a very serious affair! If you would open your mind a bit: All through the accounts written in Scripture, one can plainly see that the only people that Christ couldn’t tolerate were the Saducces and Pharasies…the religious folk who thought their sh*t didn’t sink and stood above others in judgment. It was OK to be a sinner, a thief, a prostitute, a liar, and on it goes…BUT if you think that God honors the proud and religious…oops…wrong.
    So many atrocities have been committed in the “name of God” so Christ gives us a standard against which to compare. He said that His children will be children of light and love…that their life would be marked by love and fruits of the spirit, which are as follows: love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. The Bible tells us that these are the attributes of a Christian. It flies in the face of human nature: how can one love their enemy? as commanded…why should you bless those who curse you? as commanded…YOU can’t BUT Christ invites us into a spiritual life where the Holy Spirit will teach you, guide you, empower you, and generate all the “fruits” that I listed out of the Book of Galatians.
    So you see, the Bible tells in words and the the Word grows inside and one cannot help but produce what seems impossible. So I can assure you with all sincerity that I know the human heart is simply awful…nothing is ever enough, we want to control, even in our best moments we are still self-centered, when people feel they are no longer in control…the worst of us comes to life…and it ain’t pretty. We should all know this intrinsically, if we are honest with ourselves. We try to put things into our hearts to plug the hole of lonliness and longing for something more…the human heart is never satiated and because we live in an unsatified state, we seek entertainment and business and taking up time to walk as fast as we can to get away from ourselves. Nothing can complete a human heart but God Himself. It is all about love, my friend.
    Final thought: the beauty and magnificence of Jesus Christ is that He pays the price that we cannot. God gives Himself to show us we are worth the price…talk about self esteem! If every person would just stop analyzing, sifting, excusing, accusing, and just seek out the Truth that they are supremely special and loved by none other than a tangible God…isn’t that what we all want? To be loved?
    So I sit here and cannot judge…I feel nothing but sadness over the whole state of affairs…sadness that people out there like you haven’t seen the truth, and sadness that believers in Christ and the church are woefully lacking in wisdom and understanding. Each is accountable to God personally, not as a whole. Many of my believer friends are not living a Christian life and they fall into the religious category. Should I apologize for them? Or should I advise you, my friend, to expand your experiences and find these Christians that I speak of?
    Peace be with you and thank you for the platform…hope I don’t sound “preachy”…just telling you what is in my heart and what I know to be true.

  39. Daz says:

    If you really believe you’d be that self-centred without your faith; if you truly believe that everyone else you meet is that self-centred, but masking it, I pity you.

    You’re missing a lot of life.

  40. My eyes are open, my friend…I am not the one missing out. Over time, you will see that what I speak is truth. Time will show you and true self-examnation will reveal the reality of what I speak. There is overwhelming beauty all around us to see!
    You know, most atheist are closer to finding Truth than many “believers”…I have much hope for all who question the meaning of life. At least you are pondering hard upon it! An unexamined life is not worth much. May you find what you are knowingly or unknowingly searching for.
    There is a cure to the deprived, human heart…a union with the One that created it and loves it. Expect the miraculous, expect the amazing, expect to see life with new eyes. I wish you the very best, my friend.

  41. Scott says:

    @disciplegideon
    “hope I don’t sound “preachy”…just telling you what is in my heart and what I know to be true.”
    -Just because you think it’s true, doesn’t make it so. This is called wishful thinking. No matter how much I want to believe in Santa, it will not make him real. I’m sure you have very real emotions regarding your beliefs, but that does not make them real. We cannot simply believe things for their usefulness or how they make us feel. Again, this is wishful thinking.

    ““taking the Lord’s name in vain” and it is a very serious affair!”
    -Please explain in detail how it is ethical and justifiable to punish this offense. Seriously, please explain this if you respond to anything in this comment.

    By your logic you are stating that a god has the right to kill you because you spoke badly about him. This suggest you don’t believe in free speech. Are you against the first amendment? Are you suggesting that supreme leaders have the right to take away free speech? What do you think about North Korea or Nazi Germany? Everything Hitler and Kim Jong Il did was legal under their countries law. Like it or not, they were in charge. How do you think they treat people who speak out against the regime? Yep, that’s right, pretty similar to your loving and benevolent god. Take his name in vain and thou shalt be killed! This is called totalitarianism and your god is a dictator.

    Lets make it even easier to understand. Did you like the movie Braveheart? Why? What did you think of that ending? Under England’s law at the time, the king had every right to disembowel William Wallace in public for his crimes against the empire. In the end, Wallace refuses to submit to the king and beg for mercy. He uses his last bit of strength to yell “Freedom!” We all love this movie because it shows a person fighting against tyranny and oppression. It is undeniable that your god offers the same choice as the king in that movie or as Kim Jong Il, Hitler did to their people. Follow me and live forever, speak out against me and die. Sorry, this is not a choice, this is a gun to the head and anyone who thinks it is, is clearly holding the gun.

    So, disciplegideon, welcome to the Nazi party! Your wishful thinking has elected a celestial dictator and now you get to walk around and tell people what to think. If they disagree with you then they will be tortured for all eternity. This is totalitarianism and if you think it’s not then once again, you are holding the gun.

    Let’s now look at this statement from another angle: “taking the Lord’s name in vain” and it is a very serious affair!” Prove it. Seriously, prove this statement. Don’t say the bible says so because we all know that’s circular reasoning. The Koran is a legitimate religious text as any and it says its OK to kill infidels…do you think this is justifiable? If we take your biblical laws and text as true, then we also have to take everyone’s laws and text as true. How would you like that?

    Your statement has been asserted without evidence, therefor is can be dismissed without evidence as well.

    I’ll try to my best to respond to your other comments…there’s a lot of bigotry and thought crimes going on and not enough time to police them all. Where do the days go???

  42. It’s not wishful thinking…it is called hope.
    The only one who can prove to you there is a God is God Himself…why don’t you call Him out in a prayer and shake your fist at him like Herman Melville did (or more recently, the fictional Captain Dan in Forest Gump)…Why don’t you just say, “What the hell”…if you don’t believe anyway, why don’t you ask Him yourself to prove or disprove Himself to you…do you have the courage to do that Scott? Seriously, call Him out! “Hey, you up there….if you exist, show Yourself! Otherwise I will never believe in You! You are just a slave-driving, oppressive, unloving, probably figment of peoples’ imagination…you don’t have any power! You are a joke God…because you don’t even exist, and if you do exist, you are mean and nasty and unholy, not to mention a merciless god!”
    I dare you to move on that one. I have to catch your response before it gets typed, “That’s bullsh*t…I’m not going to pray to something I don’t believe exists”…true and a good point…but, why don’t you try to “fake it”…now you will carry this with you the rest of your life….seriously, tell this imaginary god that is my “wishful thinking” and see if He doesn’t answer you…He will respond, but not in the way you think…do you have the conviction of heart to deny Him to His face?
    I don’t have a “dog in this race”…this is your race. I’m just challenging you as a human being and as a person I now care very much about…for what it’s worth.

  43. Scott says:

    “It’s not wishful thinking…it is called hope.”
    -Sorry, but: Hope = Wishful Thinking. You can call it whatever you want, there is no difference.

    “why don’t you call Him out in a prayer and shake your fist at him”
    -Did that at 12 when my parent were getting divorced…nothing happened. I question him and all the other gods new and old everyday and nothing ever happens.

    “why don’t you ask Him yourself to prove or disprove Himself to you.” Do you have the courage to do that Scott?”
    -Ask him to disprove himself to you??? That doesn’t even make sense. Do I have the courage to do that? Yes, I do everyday. Since he’s omnipotent I don’t even have to raise my voice, he even can convict me of thought crimes too! I’m starting to rack up quite a rap sheet.

    “You are just a slave-driving, oppressive, unloving, probably figment of peoples’ imagination…you don’t have any power! You are a joke God…because you don’t even exist, and if you do exist, you are mean and nasty and unholy, not to mention a merciless god!”
    -You got that part right.

    “He doesn’t answer you…He will respond, but not in the way you think…”
    -If you remember one thing from this correspondence, let it be this. If I were to catch aids tomorrow and get hit by a bus, it still wouldn’t prove your god exist. Furthermore, if the heavens parted and god himself stood before me I still would not bow down and accept his rule. As you said earlier, he’s a slave driver, oppressive, unloving, jealous, capricious, unholy and immoral. His reward of heaven and his punishment of hell do not change the way I feel, it merely proves he is a celestial dictator. A life in hell would be more satisfying and more ethical than kneeling at the feet of a dictator. Remember, just because he’s boss and can kill you, doesn’t mean he’s right.

    “I don’t have a “dog in this race”…this is your race. ”
    -Yes you do, you’ve got eternal life riding on this conversation. Your thoughts and the words you are typing are literally a life and death matter for you…god is watching. To me, it’s just pointing out immorality and ignorance.

    “I’m just challenging you as a human being and as a person I now care very much about…for what it’s worth.”
    -Thanks. I care for your well being too.

  44. jack says:

    One of the problems you are going to find when you examine your statement, from a rational perspective is that there is no foundation for you to make any moral claims whatsoever, or be angry about any that are made. That is as a non-Christian, you cannot rationally claim that anything is an atrocity, or that anyone has done anything wrong. You can certaintly say that people who believe in a biblical God has done things that displease you, but the concepts of right and wrong are meaningless in an atheistic universe because there can be no objective universal standard – only personal, subjective opinions. By the way, I pay school taxes that teach evolution, which is a belief forced upon my children.

  45. CHRISTIANITY IS NOT RELIGION!!!
    IT IS A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD…
    I am terribly sorry that you do not know Him.
    By the way, let me fill you in bit: I walked away from God, I have spent my entire life studying science, philosophy, art, all of it…I used to be like you, I was pissed at God! My biological father walked out of my life when I was very young, both my mother and my step-father (whom I loved very much) both died in horrific fashion at the cruel hand of cancer at early age, my grandmother (a professed Christian) took 15 valium and put a bag over her head to commit suicide. I have been an alcoholic, an addict, been in jail for several stints as well. I also, amidst my crazy life completed 7 years of college and am constantly self-educating by reading Christian and non-Christian books. I almost killed myself in an accident and had to be flown by helicopter to save my life…which I didn’t even want saved. So stop with all the theories (heard them all) and the “I believe” statements (been there, done that). I don’t care about the arguements. AGAIN…I know my God…I would die for even His name in a heartbeat. you just don’t get it…

  46. jack says:

    I do not agree that morality/ethics is a natural occurring phenomenon. By your writing Scott, it looks as if you are an atheist. If I am correct, then your atheist position is inconsistent. On the one hand, you believe people are simply chemical accidents. On the other hand, you to some extent treat others respectfully, as if they were not just chemcial accidents. So with respect, your positon is intellectually schizophrenic. The Bible explains why the atheist behaves this way. It tells us that every one knows in his heart of hearts the biblical God (Rom. 1:19-20) (This is why we all know it is wrong to murder.) But people suppress that truth (Rom. 1:18). They reject the light of knowledge that is only found in Christ (Col. 2:3) because they prefer darkness (John 3:19) and ignorance (Prov. 1:7, 1:29). I do not doubt that you are moral, and that you know it is wrong to murder. My point is that on your professed beliefs, such morality would not make sense.
    An atheist lives in an irrational, intellectual “hell” – believing contrary things at the same time. On one hand, people have intrinsic value; and on the other, they are said to be simply chemical accidents. Do you see the inconsistency?
    The only way to escape your “intellectual hell”(that is, having an inconsistent/irrational worldview) is to repent and ask God to give you a renewed mind, just as I and all other Christians have had to do. Only then will you be able to have a worldview that is rationally consistent and make sense of human reasoning and experience. i know you don’t want to hear that. But you see, that’s part of the problem.

  47. jack says:

    I have found that evidence (knowledge) points to Jesus, which always increases my faith. Knowledge is true justified belief, and belief must be true in order for it to be considered genuine knowledge. However just because a belief may be true, it does not mean that a person really has knowledge of it. My neighbor said that she just knows it will be beautiful next Sunday. Does she really know this? No, she may believe it, but there is no guarantee that her belief is true. What if it turns out that it is sunny next Sunday, and she says, I knew it would be sunny today. Did she really know, I don’t think so, so even though her belief turned out to be true. She had no knowledge of the future, therefore no good reason for her belief. Unfortunately many today, say they believe in something or someone, without real knowledge of their belief. Even the non-believer believes in not believing, and is also required to exhibit knowledge for that belief. I believe in Jesus Christ because I have a reason for my belief, which is based on genuine knowledge, which in turn increases my faith.

  48. Scott says:

    @disciplegideon
    Sorry, but Christianity is a monotheistic religion…just like many other religions. Look it up. You chose to stick with Christianity because you were most familiar with it and it makes you feel good about things. If you were born in India or the middle east you’d be praying to different gods. It’s as simple as that. Can you comprehend that the world is a pretty big place and you and Jesus are not the center of it? If we were to drop you off in the middle of the Congo or Mongolia you would be considered a lunatic for what you think. You are not new, you are not fresh, you are one of a long line of people who have made extraordinary claims and will pass just like all the rest and be remembered in the course of history as another mythological god worshiper.

    I’m not pissed at god. That’s like saying I’m pissed at the Easter Bunny. What I condemn is the preaching of immorality. It’s time people stand up and condemn irrational beliefs and unethical doctrines.

    It does not matter what so called life experiences you have had. You can not prove that they were the work of god. Your experiences, conversations and relationship with god is just the same as the homeless guy on the corner who rapes dogs and talks with Jesus. Both of you have the same experience. You cannot prove each other right and you can’t prove each other wrong. So, you are left with zero…nothing. This is why religion requires faith. Because you have no evidence to believe in what you do.

    Faith = Hope = Wishful Thinking = (the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality.)

    “I don’t care about the arguements. AGAIN…I know my God…I would die for even His name in a heartbeat. you just don’t get it…”
    -This is why this conversation is going no where. You don’t care about the arguments. What this tells me is that you are irrational, and we all know you cannot be rational with a irrational person. You defy logic, you defy reason and seem to have a lack of regard for evidence and facts. This is the definition of delusion: A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence.

    It seems you are firmly intrenched in your beliefs and seek no further knowledge. The fact that you’d die for his name in a heartbeat does not impress anyone. The 9/11 hijackers died for their god and killed thousands of others. Did that make their god real or more believable?

    It’s sad this conversation seems as if it was over before it even started. You seek not truth, but to further your own beliefs. I can say this though…if evidence were to rise that god does exists, I would have to agree. After all, I’m a rational being. However, I’d never kneel at his feet…that would make me an immoral person.

    I’m thankful there is no such evidence.

  49. Scott says:

    @jack
    “I do not agree that morality/ethics is a natural occurring phenomenon.”
    -It doesn’t matter if you agree or not, science is starting to point to this conclusion. Watch the Sam Harris video I linked to somewhere on this page.

    “On the one hand, you believe people are simply chemical accidents.”
    -First…I never said that. Second…that is a simpletons view of the world. That statement shows your contempt for science, biology, evolution, firmly putting you in the dark ages of now common knowledge.

    “So with respect, your positon is intellectually schizophrenic.”
    -Aren’t all schizophrenic problems inherently intellectual??? I have a feeling you are trying to sound smart.

    “The Bible explains why the atheist behaves this way.”
    -You can’t quote the bible. Sorry, then I can quote any religious text from any century and claim I’m right.

    “I do not doubt that you are moral, and that you know it is wrong to murder. My point is that on your professed beliefs, such morality would not make sense.
    An atheist lives in an irrational, intellectual “hell” – believing contrary things at the same time. On one hand, people have intrinsic value; and on the other, they are said to be simply chemical accidents. Do you see the inconsistency?”
    -I’m sorry but I really tried to understand this but it doesn’t make sense. Can you rephrase this so it’s easier to comprehend? No offense but it looks like you tried to be smart but got lost.

    “The only way to escape your “intellectual hell”(that is, having an inconsistent/irrational worldview) is to repent and ask God to give you a renewed mind, just as I and all other Christians have had to do. Only then will you be able to have a worldview that is rationally consistent and make sense of human reasoning and experience.”
    -This suggest that believing in god or being Christianity gives you a consistent and rational world view. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I think even you are aware that the bible is incredibly inconsistent and that is why you cherry pick your verses and commandments. You don’t follow the whole thing because that would mean living in the dark ages again. Also, if Christianity and gods word is so crystal clear then why do we have hundreds of Judeo-Christian variants? If I were god I’d make myself known and my word easy to understand. Why all the fuss with ancient texts and not showing yourself.

    Also, you believe in love and compassion, yet you’d condemn your mother to hell for eternity for not believing in god. Does this make sense? Is this moral? Is it possible that a human sacrifice(Jesus) could absolve you of murder, rape etc? This is called scapegoating and it’s immoral. How is this rational?

    “i know you don’t want to hear that. But you see, that’s part of the problem.”
    -Correct, I don’t want to hear that. Just as you don’t want to hear that your an infidel and worthy of death by sword from a Muslim.” Jack, you are just as much an atheist as I am, I just refuse to believe in one more god than you do.

  50. Scott says:

    “I have found that evidence (knowledge) points to Jesus, which always increases my faith.”
    -Please share this evidence as there are 7 billion of us that would like to know the truth.

    “Knowledge is true justified belief, and belief must be true in order for it to be considered genuine knowledge.”
    -Wow, you should just stop. This is just horrible. I should stop responding to your comments, it’s like debating a 5yr old on Santa.

    “I believe in Jesus Christ because I have a reason for my belief, which is based on genuine knowledge, which in turn increases my faith.”
    Wow, again, a completely unintelligible statement. Circular reasoning. This is so messed up I don’t even know where to start.

  51. I agree, there is no point to all of this…as I said two or three days ago! You would just have to be a person in their 20’s parroting what’s been shoved down your throat…I feel sorry for you…YOU are the one who has his head in the sand. Your worldview takes a hell of a lot more faith than mine. I have given you my testimony, I continue to educate myself in many areas…you, however are acting ilke a coward. A coward too afraid to see the other side to the story. you think man will save himself or that you will figure it all out or that your opinion actually matters. You build your house on sand my friend and I offer you a firm foundation, but your pride is too much. You can’t handle the truth because it would destroy you. You can’t and won’t listen to anyone…you my friend are a genius…why do you think you can speak about or even stand in the same room with a thoroughly examined life…you sit in a corner, like a whimpering child and throw ridiculous claims and circular reasoning at people hoping for what? For us all to bow down to the greatness that is Scott! I will pray for you, whether you like it or not and I don’t give a damn if you don’t believe….I will pray for you anyway…when this life is over, I hope to see you in the good place, my friend. Go ahead and take your parting shots…I will not be responding. Honestly, I really don’t have the time to go through the exhaustive list of proofs of God’s existence: people a lot more brilliant than you and I have been sparring since 100 AD…some can hear the truth….some cannot. If I’m right, you are screwed….If you are right, then I lived the rest of my days in peace and love…good luck with your bitterness, but when you finally come to the end of yourself…Jesus will still want you! That, you cannot change. You have pushed me to the point of realizing you are just lost…and probably too young to have a conversation with an adult that is only trying to help…May God bless you, regardless of your state. And by the way, if you want proof of God’s existence, really look up into the night sky and convince yourself that you are the result of a random explosion in space (but where did space come from?)some eons ago and that the earth just spontaneously generated itself….are you serious? Honestly are people really that clueless? Talk about blind!..Yeah! I believe that we evolved from nothingness! Isn’t that easy to believe….c’mon everybody! Let’s jump on that bandwagon and tell the world the great news! YeeeeHaaaaa!
    Good luck Scott

  52. @ Scott,

    I know you are in the middle of another discussion and so are likely to weigh your points but I need to make some comments:

    “Sorry, but Christianity is a monotheistic religion…just like many other religions. Look it up. ”

    I do find it amusing that very many atheists (not putting you in this camp but your writing indicates you might fit) are against God but when you get down to it they are only against the Christian God and not really the entire Christian God but actually their own interpretation of what they think that God is. Yes, Christianity has been perverted by people to be a religion, just as Buddhism has been perverted by people to be a religion. If you go back to the fundamental teachings of either then there is NO religion but a means for the individual to come to know “God” or the “ultimate truth”.

    I won’t comment more on your lunatic reference you use either by indirect association or direct insult, except to say that it is uncalled for and points not to the person you are speaking with but more to your own inner state of conflict. (No need to reference God for that one but any good book on psychology might help there.) You might not be “pissed at the easter bunny” but you sure are pissed at something, even if it is just what you consider to be delusional people.

    “What I condemn is the preaching of immorality. It’s time people stand up and condemn irrational beliefs and unethical doctrines.”

    I totally agree with you on this one and part of that is standing up against the churches and what they are doing by propagating the AIDS epidemics in Africa for instance and by their dogma actually going aginst their own core teachings. Many churches are immoral. But as a question for you, does that make God non-existent or unworthy of belief? As an example if a corporation (pick a name such as Enron or Mobil oil or Shell or Goldman-Sachs or Monsanto etc etc) acts immorally in the capitalist system does that mean capitlaism is wrong and should be abolished? Your argument doesn’t hold water.

    “You can not prove that they were the work of god.”

    Of course not, as I said in my first statement there can be no physical proof of a non-physical God. Of course if you believe it exists then the “proof” is everywhere in existence (as is said in the Qua’ran), but if you don’t believe then there is zero proof and never can be – so what does your statement point out except the bleeding obvious which is pointless?

    “A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. It seems you are firmly intrenched in your beliefs and seek no further knowledge.”

    You seem to be saying that God is not needed and everything can be explained without the need for a God of any kind to be present in the solution, and there will never be a time that a God might be part of the solution. That is a positive assertion based on no evidence at all, except for your own faith that explains how the universe works. It seems you are firmly entrenched in your beliefs and seek no further knowledge.

    Finally… “I can say this though…if evidence were to rise that god does exists, I would have to agree. After all, I’m a rational being. However, I’d never kneel at his feet…that would make me an immoral person. I’m thankful there is no such evidence”

    You know there can be no such evidence unless you choose to believe it. Just as most of the major advances in science looked at exactly the same “evidence” as everybody else but saw a difference cause for the effect (the “evidence” is just an effect and not the cause). You are in no danger of seeing any evidence that doesn’t fit your existing underlying beliefs. It is also only your own belief that says God seeks you to kneel at his feet. The God I believe in does no such thing, but you probably don’t want to hear that.

    An entertaining read anyway, but some less agro would be good.

  53. What doesn’t make sense is arguing, either for or against. I don’t recall ever reading in scripture where it says we should debate the existence of God with the unbeliever (correct me if I’m wrong – and I’m addressing the believer with that statement). Whether you believe or you don’t, God is perfectly capable of proving and defending Himself… and if He doesn’t exist, then that should be provable too. Problem is, you really can’t prove OR dis-prove… so why argue the point? You either believe or you don’t.

  54. Daz says:

    If it causes unnecessary suffering, it’s wrong. Of course, it gets complicated when we have to apply judgement to what constitutes ‘necessary’ (and, sometimes, even ‘suffering’) and weigh up whose suffering is must unfairly increased in no-win situations, but the concept is simple. Even a child too young to have been taught religion or any kind of ethics instinctively does it, when they cry ‘that’s not fair.’ Of course, they weight their own suffering much more than anybody else’s (a cynic might say that they’re merely being more honest than many adults), but they get the principle of fairness right off the bat.

    As for your general claim that without gods we have no grounds for morals, take a look at studies of religiosity in prison population. You’ll find that, in general, atheists are under-represented, which certainly wouldn’t be the case if the religious tended to have better moral instruction and (divine?) guidance.

    Evolution is not a belief in the religious sense. There is a huge amount of actual, physical, evidence supporting it. Please show actual physical evidence supporting a contention (in this order) (i) that a god exists, (ii) that it desires our worship and obedience, (iii) that it deserves our worship and obedience, and (iv) that we can say for sure just what form of worship it requires and what teachings it wants obeyed. Then we can talk about it being fair to allow the church (there would be only one, in that case) to be given tax breaks and other concessions that aren’t given to the rest of us.

  55. Scott says:

    @disciplegideon
    “You would just have to be a person in their 20′s parroting what’s been shoved down your throat…I feel sorry for you…YOU are the one who has his head in the sand.”
    -I’m 34. I’ll disregard the insult, it makes you look weak.

    “Your worldview takes a hell of a lot more faith than mine.”
    -On the contrary…my worldview is the the exact opposite, it’s the rejection of faith.

    “A coward too afraid to see the other side to the story. you think man will save himself or that you will figure it all out or that your opinion actually matters. You build your house on sand my friend and I offer you a firm foundation, but your pride is too much. You can’t handle the truth because it would destroy you. You can’t and won’t listen to anyone…you my friend are a genius…why do you think you can speak about or even stand in the same room with a thoroughly examined life…you sit in a corner, like a whimpering child and throw ridiculous claims and circular reasoning at people hoping for what?”
    -Wow, I must be getting somewhere, you seem to have no response to the failings of your beliefs…you are starting to get nasty and attacking me personally.

    “if you want proof of God’s existence, really look up into the night sky and convince yourself that you are the result of a random explosion in space (but where did space come from?)some eons ago and that the earth just spontaneously generated itself….are you serious? Honestly are people really that clueless? Talk about blind!..Yeah! I believe that we evolved from nothingness!”
    -Really? That’s proof? Your lack of understanding in mathematics, physics, cosmology, etc are probably the reason you think that god must be responsible for things. Using god to fill in the blanks is a very easy way to turn of thinking for lazy minds. Also, if we use your example of “where did space come from”, then we also have to ask, where did god come from? He didn’t just create himself did he? That can’t be, everything has to have a creator….see where this is going, nowhere.

    Also, if you think evolution is not real then you are ill-informed. Evolution is a proven fact. Look it up. It’s just a proven as gravity. Exactly how it works and what mechanisms are at play are still only theory’s, but, like it or not, evolution is real. Anyone who debates this is clearly ill-informed or is refusing to participate in the reality we all know. They might as well make up their own math too.

    If this is your last response, then I hate to see you go, you didn’t answer any of my questions on morality. I have questioned your beliefs and debated you on their ethics, and in the end, I’m called a coward and a whimpering child for not caving in and accepting them on faith. Can you see what you offer is not more knowledge or truth, but rather giving up? You are asking me to turn my brain off and stop thinking…to take the world as it was viewed during the bronze age. You are not offering me salvation, you are offering me a poisoned chalice.

    If Monicks would like I’d happily debate you in a blog post, should be good fun. Pick your topic and we’ll have at it.

    If not, then best of luck and farewell.

  56. Scott says:

    @jenenemathews
    -Yep, that’s pretty much banned in the bible, even thinking about other gods or if all this stuff is even real is a thought crime. It’s a great way of policing peoples minds, make it a sin to think outside the box.

    “Problem is, you really can’t prove OR dis-prove… so why argue the point? You either believe or you don’t.”
    -Agreed we can’t prove or dis-prove, but we can certainly agree that flying planes into buildings, genital mutilation, hate crimes, female oppression, and a million other things should be debated and scorned. The whole god thing is a pretty eloquent and beautifully designed system, but when you pull the curtains back you’ll discover it’s immoral, comes with a lot of baggage and causes a lot of collateral damage.

  57. “but we can certainly agree that flying planes into buildings, genital mutilation, hate crimes, female oppression, and a million other things should be debated and scorned.”

    Most definitely agreed! Fortunately, my beliefs and my God do not promote that. I do have a really big problem with the way the majority of organized religion has perverted Christianity.

    You didn’t ask, but just for clarification and introduction purposes, I was raised in the Christian church. I spent many years in my 30s and 40s (I just turned 49) thinking outside the box and questioning what I’d been taught, and researching and talking to many people of many different faiths (and lack thereof). I came to a point where I was REALLY unsure that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true. I had many questions.

    I am a meek person, sometimes to a fault. I am least of all bold in any way, especially when my beliefs differ from that of others (and that’s regarding anything, not just Christianity). If you and I were talking face to face, I probably wouldn’t say a whole lot of anything. That said, four years ago I requested a meeting with a pastor who seemed like the first genuine pastor I’d ever met. I decided to be completely honest with him, and actually BE BOLD. I told him flat out that I questioned if Jesus was real. I still believed in God, but thought the Jesus story was a little bit… fairy-tale like and questioned why God would allow something so horrific to occur as the crucifixion of his Son. I TOTALLY expected him to argue with me or at the very least point out in scripture the error of my ways. To my utter shock, his response was that he was glad I was questioning. What the…??? I had WANTED him to prove to me that I was wrong. I wanted him to show me why the gospel was true so I could finally have my questions answered in a way that felt right to me. Instead, he showed me grace, and trust that I could make my own decisions, draw my own conclusions, actually think for myself, hopefully guided by God. He never told me that’s why he responded as he did, but that’s what I believe he did.

    The past year has brought about events that have brought me back to what I was raised with, but with far greater grounding and understanding of who God of the Bible is (who He has revealed Himself to be to me) which is a God of FAR greater compassion, grace, freedom, and love than I believed or was taught in my youth.

    I have just recently come to the understanding that it is not my call to argue or prove what I believe to be the truth to anyone. I thought back on my whole life and how I have dreaded conversations with those who don’t believe because I don’t know how to PROVE that my beliefs are right without looking like a complete idiot. It started when I was 5 years old and the neighbor boy said that God didn’t exist. I went into the house, got my Bible and brought it out to try to prove to him that he was wrong. He laughed at me, insulted me, called me names and from that point on, I was terrified to tell anyone what I really believed. But now, I understand that it’s OK if people don’t agree with me. It’s OK if I can’t prove that Jesus is the Son of God. I’ve learned to never say never, but I’m fairly certain that I will never be one who preaches the gospel, at least not in the primarily understood semantic form of the word. But when asked, I will now talk about what I believe to the extent that I feel safe to do so… and without being pushy… but I won’t argue about it. I believe it is everyone’s right to discover what God reveals to them, in the timing that he reveals it. Does that mean that I believe all beliefs are true? right? moral? No… Thats the beauty of beliefs. We get to decide what is truth, and I believe that God, as described in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, is truth. Could my beliefs be incorrect? Absolutely! I am, after all, only human.

  58. P.S. When I said that my beliefs don’t promote that, I meant that they don’t promote doing those things you listed.

  59. Scott says:

    @thirdobservation
    -Yep, I’m a atheist. As for my lunatic comment, that was not a cheap shot at him, sorry if it came across that way, not my intention. I was trying to make the comparison that his beliefs would be considered crazy to someone of another faith…like Digambara.

    “You might not be “pissed at the easter bunny” but you sure are pissed at something, even if it is just what you consider to be delusional people.”
    -Men, women and children are dying right now for crazy, irrational and immoral beliefs. I think it’s about time we stopped being so passive and start questioning some of these thoughts.

    “so what does your statement point out except the bleeding obvious which is pointless?”
    -Not sure what you are asking here. I was stating he had no proof for his claims. It does not matter if we are talking about a physical or invisible god. That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. Zero = Zero.

    “You seem to be saying that God is not needed and everything can be explained without the need for a God of any kind to be present in the solution, and there will never be a time that a God might be part of the solution. That is a positive assertion based on no evidence at all, except for your own faith that explains how the universe works. It seems you are firmly entrenched in your beliefs and seek no further knowledge.”
    -Nope, never said everything can be explained. That would be a lie. At our current understanding of the universe I definitely agree that God is not needed in the equation. If one day we find out that god is necessary then fine, I’ll support that. Luckily there is no evidence for that, and until we do, I’ll be finding out more about the wonderful cosmos we inhabit.

    “You know there can be no such evidence unless you choose to believe it.”
    -This is an amazing sentence and you should really think about it more. This is what you are basically saying….It won’t be true unless you believe. Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with the believer/claimant. It is up to you to prove what you claimed…this is what our legal system is based on. You are asking me to “believe” or “have faith” in your evidence. I’m sorry, but you have no evidence, you have no proof. This is why it’s called faith.

    “Just as most of the major advances in science looked at exactly the same “evidence” as everybody else but saw a difference cause for the effect (the “evidence” is just an effect and not the cause).”
    -Science makes no claims at what cannot be known, it only inches closer and closer to understanding the nature of the universe and how it functions. Religion on the other hand makes claims at what cannot be known and will kill for those beliefs.

    “You are in no danger of seeing any evidence that doesn’t fit your existing underlying beliefs.”
    -Not true, I’ll chat with you guys all day and debate with anyone, I’m open to it all.

    “It is also only your own belief that says God seeks you to kneel at his feet. The God I believe in does no such thing, but you probably don’t want to hear that.”
    -Really, your almighty god does not need me to accept him as my savior? I can commit any sin imaginable but if I don’t accept him as my savior then no deal, I go to hell and will be tortured for eternity. This is a malicious being.

    Let me ask you this, I’d love to hear your response. Let’s imagine you have a kid and he’s 18yrs old and he hates your guts. Literately hates you like no other and doesn’t even think you’re his real father. Do you have the right to kill him? Why not? God can do it to you. Another example: Did Kim Jong Il have the right to kill North Koreans who didn’t believe in him? Why not, he’s the leader of North Korea. Like it or not, he’s boss. It’s this dilemma that is so hard for Christians to understand. Why does god have the right to torture me for all eternity for not believing in him? If he is indeed my father, then why kill and torture his son for merely not believing in him. Is this something a father does?

  60. Scott says:

    @jenenemathews
    “Fortunately, my beliefs and my God do not promote that. I do have a really big problem with the way the majority of organized religion has perverted Christianity.”
    -Sorry but Christianity is already perverted. That’s why people don’t read the entire bible and cherry pick it’s texts, because it’s an absolute horror. Also, if you are free to believe in your god, then so does everyone else, and you know what that means.

    “We get to decide what is truth, and I believe that God, as described in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, is truth. Could my beliefs be incorrect? Absolutely! I am, after all, only human.”
    -Sorry, not true. We don’t get to decide what’s true. Your beliefs have no impact on fact or reality. Wishful thinking does not make it real.

  61. “Wishful thinking does not make it real.”

    You are absolutely correct. Like I said… not trying to prove anything. I couldn’t if I wanted to…. which I think I also said? 🙂

  62. “I was trying to make the comparison that his beliefs would be considered crazy to someone of another faith…like Digambara.”

    Just like round-earthers appeared crazy at the time of the flat earthers. What is your point? The majority or strongest view is the truth? Surely the truth is the truth and opinion doesn’t come into it. You need to be able to look outside the small box of existing beliefs to find anything new. If you can’t do that (either as a fundamentalist Christian, Muslim or atheist) then you are stuck in your own dogma.

    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. Zero = Zero”

    Sorry but you really do talk some rubbish that is not based in true science but only the dogma that science knows or can know all. Where is the evidence for the big bang? Sure the universe is expanding, but there is zero hard evidence for what happened 14 billion years ago and it actually goes against known physical laws, should we dismiss it? Please answer that question, if there is no actual physical evidence for something should it be dismissed? Should we dismiss the theory that life was created spontaneously since there is zero actual real physical evidence for that occuring in accordance with the theories? Puurlease.

    “This is an amazing sentence and you should really think about it more. This is what you are basically saying….It won’t be true unless you believe. Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with the believer/claimant. It is up to you to prove what you claimed…this is what our legal system is based on. You are asking me to “believe” or “have faith” in your evidence. I’m sorry, but you have no evidence, you have no proof. This is why it’s called faith.”

    Yep, that’s pretty much exaclty what I was saying. I guess the fundamental difference between you and I is that I understand most beliefs (or theories) of just about anything requires faith but you deny faith. Even the most basic of questions requires some degree of faith. If I ask who you are and where you start and finish you can’t answer me without me being able to raise questions that can only be answered on faith. Go and try it if you like. Explain to me with physical proof and hard evidence of exactly who you are where you finish, and where thought originates and where creativity originates and where self awareness originates. I bet you can’t. Do you deny you exist and do you deny self awareness and do you deny consciousness because there no physical “proof” except personal experience? If I said personal experience was proof of God you’d say I was like a lunatic raping dogs, what’s your excuse?

    Use your own standards to judge yourself, please.

    “Science makes no claims at what cannot be known”

    Hah, very true. But people make the claim all the time that if there is no proof it cannot be known. Science should remain SILENT on what is not known and in the mean time say it is possible. That is TRUE science and true understanding. To say that a theory can be dismissed if there is no evidence is mere dogma to justify a position. I’d like to hear your response to that.

    “Really, your almighty god does not need me to accept him as my savior? I can commit any sin imaginable but if I don’t accept him as my savior then no deal, I go to hell and will be tortured for eternity. This is a malicious being.”

    That is your understanding of the God you don’t believe in. There are very many theologians that will disagree with you.

    “Let me ask you this, I’d love to hear your response. Let’s imagine you have a kid and he’s 18yrs old and he hates your guts. Literately hates you like no other and doesn’t even think you’re his real father. Do you have the right to kill him?”

    Of course not. The law doesn’t allow it. 🙂
    Seriously, the answers to all of your questions can be summed up very neatly by simply saying that it depends on who you believe you are.

    Let me ask you another question, if you were my 18 year old son and you had an ingrown toe nail that was causing you much suffering and had the potential to cause an infection and kill “you” and I had a pair of scissors and could cut out the toe nail to protect you then should I do it?

    If I believe “you” are the toe nail and by cutting it off I am killing you then I should not. If I believe that “you” are more than the toe nail and cutting it off will do “you” no harm then I should cut it off. Personally I believe that I am more than my physical body (I understand that you don’t) so my physical body can be “cut off” and do no harm to the real me. I have no fear of death or what lies beyond. Now, in reality I wouldn’t cut off a son’s arm or leg and I wouldn’t kill a person either but I hope the analogy explains some of my beliefs and why the ethics are identical (do no harm) but the difference is in what is being harmed and why.

    It also explains why ethics can be twisted by unscrupulous churches and power brokers so that innocents can be killed with no mercy or second thought. I would gladly stand beside you in the fight against that. (Sorry this is so long but there was a lot to get through).

  63. Scott says:

    @thirdobservation
    “Just like round-earthers appeared crazy at the time of the flat earthers. What is your point? The majority or strongest view is the truth?”
    -We all know that being the majority doesn’t make one right. My point was that he’s just as much of an atheist as I am, I just refuse to believe in one more god than he does. He must think the beliefs of the Digambara are crazy and the Digambara must think his are too.

    “You need to be able to look outside the small box of existing beliefs to find anything new. If you can’t do that (either as a fundamentalist Christian, Muslim or atheist) then you are stuck in your own dogma.”
    -I’m willing accept new evidence as it presents itself, but I’m not willing to take a leap of faith and believe in things just because it makes me feel good. Again, that would be wishful thinking. This process of accepting new evidence and building upon it in order to find truth is called the scientific process and it’s not Dogma.

    Please explain to me how my box is small because I don’t partake in wishful thinking. With that logic I can claim that you’re box is small because you don’t sympathize with the Koran and the belief in killing infidels.

    “Sorry but you really do talk some rubbish that is not based in true science but only the dogma that science knows or can know all. ”
    Sorry, that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence, is not rubbish. Your beliefs have no evidence to support them…that’s why its called faith, and that’s why I can dismiss your claims at a whim. Science can’t know it all and has never claimed it can. It works tirelessly trying to learn more and more while constantly updating it’s theory’s and knowledge with updated evidence.

    “Where is the evidence for the big bang? Sure the universe is expanding, but there is zero hard evidence for what happened 14 billion years ago and it actually goes against known physical laws, should we dismiss it? ”
    Are you serious? The evidence is all around us. Have you not read anything in the last 50 years? I can’t explain all of this to you in a blog comment. You seriously need to update your facts. There really should be a education threshold to hold some of these conversations. I feel like Galileo arguing about heliocentrism with the Vatican.

    But, to answer your question. Should we dismiss it….yes. If it’s not testable then it doesn’t even meet the requirements for it to be a hypothesis. It’s pure speculation and therefor worthless. By the way, I strongly recommend looking up the scientific method and trying to understand it more, you seem to be confused on the definition of a theory.

    “Explain to me with physical proof and hard evidence of exactly who you are where you finish, and where thought originates and where creativity originates and where self awareness originates. I bet you can’t. Do you deny you exist and do you deny self awareness and do you deny consciousness because there no physical “proof” except personal experience? If I said personal experience was proof of God you’d say I was like a lunatic raping dogs, what’s your excuse?”
    -This is unintelligible and I don’t know where to start. Please, don’t try to bring metaphysics into things, then we’ll be debating if one plus one really equals two or if we are all just a software program running in a computer somewhere. This is an escapist tactic and it does not work.

    “But people make the claim all the time that if there is no proof it cannot be known. ”
    I don’t see a fault with this claim. How can it be known if there is no proof? How can you “know” there is a tea kettle orbiting around the sun if there is no way for you to test, prove or verify it’s existence. It makes no sense to say or even hypothesize the existence of a tea kettle floating around the sun if there is nothing to suggest there is. I have to admit, and so would any rational person, it’s possible there’s a tea kettle out there, but it’s not likely. Just like a belief in god, there’s no proof to suggest he’s out there, it’s possible..but it’s not likely.
    By the way, if you want to get really deep…nothing can be actually “known”, only theorized with supporting evidence…but that’s a whole other debate.

    “To say that a theory can be dismissed if there is no evidence is mere dogma to justify a position. I’d like to hear your response to that.”
    -Again, you need to look up the definition of the word theory. Theory: a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.

    Without tested evidence theories must be abandoned. This is why the scientific method works and religion does not. When religion discovers new evidence, it does not abandon it’s theories, it digs in deeper and simply claims god did it.

    “That is your understanding of the God you don’t believe in. There are very many theologians that will disagree with you.”
    -Null statement. Lots of people don’t agree with me, doesn’t mean they are right.

    “Seriously, the answers to all of your questions can be summed up very neatly by simply saying that it depends on who you believe you are.”
    -You dodged that question. It’ll haunt you though. Think about why god can be immoral and you cannot. Or why you can be immoral and be forgiven by a human sacrifice.

    “Let me ask you another question, if you were my 18 year old son and you had an ingrown toe nail that was causing you much suffering and had the potential to cause an infection and kill “you” and I had a pair of scissors and could cut out the toe nail to protect you then should I do it? If I believe “you” are the toe nail and by cutting it off I am killing you then I should not. If I believe that “you” are more than the toe nail and cutting it off will do “you” no harm then I should cut it off. Personally I believe that I am more than my physical body (I understand that you don’t) so my physical body can be “cut off” and do no harm to the real me. I have no fear of death or what lies beyond. Now, in reality I wouldn’t cut off a son’s arm or leg and I wouldn’t kill a person either but I hope the analogy explains some of my beliefs and why the ethics are identical (do no harm) but the difference is in what is being harmed and why.”
    -Not sure I get the question? Can you come up with another analogy or rephrase it and I’ll try my best to respond.

    “It also explains why ethics can be twisted by unscrupulous churches and power brokers so that innocents can be killed with no mercy or second thought. I would gladly stand beside you in the fight against that.”
    -I agree, ethics can be twisted and texts can be taken out of context. That’s why it’s best we not get our ethics and science from bronze age teachings and myths. I also would gladly stand beside you in the fight against tyranny and oppression, this is always a noble cause.

  64. Rightio then,

    So we are discussing the concept of God but you refuse to allow metaphysics or philosophy or even rational thought to enter the conversation, but only the physical sciences as defined by you. That does make it very difficult to have a choerent conversation when the topic itself cannot be discussed in the relevant “languages” but I’m up for the challenge.

    “My point was that he’s just as much of an atheist as I am, I just refuse to believe in one more god than he does.”
    Yes I’ve heard that one before and it is very good. So if there is not unanimous consensus on a subject then you will disagree with the entire subject – oh no sorry you will only disagree if that subject is titled “God” or metaphysics.
    Have you heard the one about the blind men each feeling a part of an elephant and then disagreeing on the qualities of that one elephant? You would obviously dismiss the notion of elephants. Oops sorry, philosophy. But you started it.

    “Please explain to me how my box is small because I don’t partake in wishful thinking. With that logic I can claim that you’re box is small because you don’t sympathize with the Koran and the belief in killing infidels.”

    Two points here – you only define it as wishful thinking because that’s what you believe it to be. Many billions around the world from all cultures and continents disagree with you. Coincidence or corroborative evidence? You brought up a court of law before and that may satisfy the beyond reasonable doubt provision – at least a court understands the “proof” cannot be obtained (as you have pointed out yourself but if I said the same you’d shoot me down – as you have done). My point to you is that there is no “proof” of anything so for you to claim there is no “proof of God” is borderline delusional and at least hypocritical. You don’t apply the same standards to yourself as you do to others. You only set a standard you accept and then say nothing else fits. I’m sorry but the world doesn’t work that way.
    Second point – I do sympathise with the Koran and the belief in killing infadels – just as I sympathise with Americans and the killing of innocents caught up in a battle against an unknown enemy on foreign soil they have no right to enter. I don’t agree with either but I understand (sympathise) with the reasons for it. In my view both are immoral based on false beliefs and wrong ethics. Are you willing to stand up against ALL immoral acts or just religious ones?

    “Are you serious? The evidence is all around us. Have you not read anything in the last 50 years?”
    Ohhh, I certainly know about the big bang and associated theories. Have you read “The God Theory” written by an astrophysicist with mathematics to back up its base premise? Oh sorry mathematics is not scientific so you wouldn’t accept that just as a lot of scientists refuse to accept string or M theory since it is just mathematics and not based on evidence. You do make this hard.

    “Please, don’t try to bring metaphysics into things, then we’ll be debating if one plus one really equals two or if we are all just a software program running in a computer somewhere. This is an escapist tactic and it does not work.”

    It is not an escapist tactic but a discussion about the subject which is actual metaphysics. Now if you believe (without evidence so you obviously cannot) that there is nothing beyond the physical then metaphysics does not make sense. But as you say – just because it doesn’t make sense for the box you live in doesn’t make it wrong. To refuse to metaphysics within the context of God…. I’m lost for words.

    “When religion discovers new evidence, it does not abandon it’s theories, it digs in deeper and simply claims god did it.”

    Bull-dust. People who don’t understand God will do that because they have no better answer (just as a poor science teacher will answer by saying that’s just the way it is). The God I believe in is totally compatible with quantum mechanics and the latest theories in science such as the multiple universe theories.

    “You dodged that question.”
    No I didn’t but you just didn’t like my answer, there’s a big difference. it will not haunt me because you are quoting what you believe to be “God” and asking your questions about your poor excuse for a God. I wouldn’t believe in it either but just because you can’t explain or don’t understand it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. (yeah I know but if I tried you wouldn’t believe me and you’ve set the rules so I can’t anyway.)

    “I agree, ethics can be twisted and texts can be taken out of context. That’s why it’s best we not get our ethics and science from bronze age teachings and myths.”
    OK. Ignoring metaphysics and philosophy, where should we get our ethics?

    As far as I’m concerned the Bible or any other spiritual text is not meant to be a scientific text and people who do are badly missing the point so we totally agree on that point. I get my science from science texts and my ethics from other sources I’m not allowed to discuss.

    I’ll finish with a quote from a scientific dude since you won’t believe me but he mixed the physical with the metaphysical and was reasonably successful….
    “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man.”
    – Albert Einstein

    P.S. Sorry for the sarcasm dribbled through that, but really what are we trying to discuss? Which again breings home my point about the dogma that science can cover all areas when clearly it cannot and should not. I am enjoying the discussion though.

  65. Scott says:

    @thridobservation
    In an effort to streamline this conversation I will not nick pick your response, but rather respond with a broad statement.

    After reading your comments on this thread and your blog, it seems you have found a comfortable home in the world of metaphysics. By using metaphysics you have found a way to deny evidence, logic or morality by claiming everything is possible, every experience could be real and everything is relative.

    As you have stated over and over, your god may be harmless and you wouldn’t hurt a fly, this is not the issue at hand. It’s your acceptance of unfounded beliefs that leaves the door open for other peoples perverted beliefs such as the killing infidels or the oppression of women to name a few. If we honor your beliefs, we must honor everyone’s.

    Your statement below perfect explains your conundrum. It also sent chills down my spine…

    “I do sympathise with the Koran and the belief in killing infadels – just as I sympathise with Americans and the killing of innocents caught up in a battle against an unknown enemy on foreign soil they have no right to enter. I don’t agree with either but I understand (sympathise) with the reasons for it. In my view both are immoral based on false beliefs and wrong ethics. Are you willing to stand up against ALL immoral acts or just religious ones?”

    Your statement above is horrifying. You sympathize the act of murdering men, women and children who do not believe what you believe. Shame on you. This is utterly horrifying. You then claim that they are based on immoral and false beliefs…..what????? How can you claim that they are immoral, your comments suggest all beliefs are valid. Let’s not forget that the Koran commands them to do this…this is the word of god remember. Who are you to discredit god??? Also, how can you say there beliefs are false? I thought you were the king of metaphysics and everything is possible? According to your rules they cannot be right and they cannot be wrong, they can only “be”.

    See what you have gone and done….you’ve left the door open for everything. If all you need is personal experience, unjustified belief or ancient texts to tell us what morality is, then any action can be claimed moral.

    I’m extremely disappointed in your world view thirdobservation. In a desperate attempt to play the middle ground, be liked by everyone and live forever, you’ve blinded yourself in a fog of metaphysics in which anyone is allowed to do whatever they want with no recourse.

    I think our debate can be best represented by this video…please watch. It’s uncanny the similarity: http://youtu.be/WwG9pDNSAXA

    By the way, you can quote famous scientist all day, doesn’t prove a thing. Einstein had various views on God, most often the view of Spinoza. A week from now we could prove all of Einsteins work wrong and the scientific method would keep on steaming ahead as if it never missed a beat. That’s the beauty of it.

  66. Shon says:

    Hi there. Just found your blog. Let me tell you about the atheists I’m most impressed with. It’s the one’s that don’t waste one second, one breath, one joule of energy on trying to prove that there is no God. Why do these atheists impress me? Because according to their beliefs, they only have a relatively small amount of seconds, breaths and energy to expend before their clocks stop ticking. Realizing this, they see the futility in wasting these precious resources on trying to prove something they don’t believe. So they ignore those that have “foolish” beliefs, and focus on enjoying what little time they have on this earth. They don’t get pissed off at religious folk, because they’re above that. They’re above that petty bullshit. They’d prefer to enjoy themselves rather than getting caught up in foolish arguments with foolish people.

    I have a lot of respect for these types of atheists. They stay true to their beliefs. They live life to the full, knowing that it’s not going to last that long, and it could end any minute! Man, I wish Christians could stay true to their beliefs in that way!

    So, unfortunately, I’m disappointed with your blog. It would be much more impressive if you said something like: “God doesn’t exist. The end. Now, let’s talk about something else. I don’t have time to play silly games and get into foolish arguments about myths and fables. So this will be the last moment I waste on this subject. Next!”

    Wow! If I came across an atheist blog like that – I would follow it! It would definitely be one of the most intelligent blogs out there!

  67. jack says:

    Hi Scott, I was wondering which science your were talking about.
    Is it Observational science (observable, repeatable) the science that finds medicines for different diseases, the science that invents things like computers, etc.
    Or is it Informational science where we can define information as a coded message containing an expected action and intended purpose. (DNA is an example).
    Or do you mean Historical (origins) science which involves interpreting evidence from the past and includes the models of evolution and special creation.
    Example being C14 dating. C-14 is unstable which means it is constantly decaying into nitrogen. The half life rate of decay is approximately 5700 years, and after another 5700 years, half of the remaining amount will have decayed, leaving only one-fourth of the original, and so on. So we can measure that decay rate, and find that it would decay to an undetectable amount just after 100,000 years.The thing is that C-14 has been found in coal that supposedly formed millions of years ago, in the evolutionary view. Oh, and the diamonds in which C-14 has been found are supposed to be over a billion years old in the securlar view. Using historical science, and detecting C-14 in things that are suppose to be billions of years old certainly challenges the billions-of -years view.
    I appreciate your concern for me.

  68. Daz says:

    We’d love nothing better, old chap. Unfortunately, your co-religionists keep shoving their outdated moralities, myths and fables into our schoolrooms, our parliaments, our laboratories and our faces.

  69. Shon says:

    oh come now! I have some good atheist friends that seem to be getting along just fine, and could care less about what those foolish religious people are trying to do. In fact, America (and the west in general) is more “godless” than ever! It’s a great time to be an atheist!

  70. Daz says:

    “It’s a great time to be an atheist!”

    Compared to at least the last 2,000 years, it is. Comparatively.

    Unfortunately I have this thing called empathy that sees the most powerful Christian on the planet telling lies about how condoms cause AIDS. I see homosexuals denied the same rights as the rest of us. I see children being taught a lysenkoised ‘science’ which claims that the world is about 0.1% of its actual age, and that the branch of science which our medicinal-drugs development is based on is flat-out wrong. I see women being denied control over their own bodies. I see wars being fought over what version of what fictional god should be worshipped. I see immanent environmental disaster being ignored ‘because god wouldn’t let that happen’ or in some cases welcomed as a sign of ‘the end times’.

    That’s a lot of suffering for someone with empathy to see. Makes me wonder why all this is happening, when no one has ever produced the slightest piece of evidence that the basic assumption of all those religions has any validity whatsoever.

    So, instead of griping at atheists, why don’t you try taking a few pot-shots at the people bringing your own house into disrepute?

  71. @Scott,

    (I couldn’t reply up there)

    Cool video, but just because it is funny doesn’t make it right. You are seriously trying to compare a belief held by billions to a fantasy held by almost nobody. Who is the one denying evidence?

    You said I am walking a middle ground trying to be nice to everybody, again who is denying evidence? I’ve already said that the killing of infidels is immoral and based on false beliefs – that could earn me a death sentence if anybody thought I was important enough to care about what I said. (I said I understood why it is done but I disagree with it – which part of that horrifies you – that I have empathy and understand or that I disagree and think it is immoral?) Please answer that.

    I also compared that to the Americans who invade foreign territories to kill an unknown enemy and said they are immoral. I’ve accused the church of propagating the spread of AIDS in Africa and going against God to prop up themselves, and I said most people who use “goddidit” don’t understand God.

    I will now say that your claim about the big bang of (paraphrasing) “just look around and the evidence is everywhere” is exactly the same as “goddidit” except it is “bigbangdidit” with just as much evidence. Why is the expansion of the universe occuring at an increasing rate? Is the universe a closed system and if so then why does it contravene the second LAW of thermodynamics, and if it is not closed then what is powering its expansion and decreasing entropy? What happened to cause initiation and a fraction of a second before? Why are you ignoring the evidence?

    Why did you ignore my question about unethical corporations and capitalism (to refresh your memory would you abandon capitalism or is it just religion you are against because of unethical churches?) Why would you forgive one belief system and not the other? Where is your consistency?

    Are you saying religion has never ever done any good at all? Where is your evidence?

    You also ignored my other question… Are you willing to stand up against all immoral acts or just religious ones? (See I do say there are religious immoral acts – where are my blindfolds, what evidence am I denying?)

    Yes, please be specific – what evidence am I denying?

    You saying that my beliefs open the door to unfounded beliefs such as killing in the name of God makes just as much sense as me saying that an atheist has no morals and so it can lead to depravity. It is rubbish based on a belief only and has no evidence to support it so by your rules both should be dismissed (and rightly so). Sure people have killed in the name of God and people have killed for oil and people have killed to wipe out God in Russia for example. Taking God out of the equation doesn’t change human nature when left to its own devices.

    “I thought you were the king of metaphysics and everything is possible? ”

    Good to see you can use a liberal dose of sarcasm too. Have you studied quantum mechanics? Do you understand probability states? Do you understand the multiple universe theories? Do you understand how an object can be in two places at once or how they can “communicate” at greater than the speed of light? Why are you ignoring the evidence and suggesting what we see is all there is and is the only possibility? Use your standards to judge yourself because you always seem to come up short when I do it (which is probably why you have 2 sets of rules).

    If I’ve offended you, thank you – see I can do it. If not then I’ll have to try harder next time. 🙂

    If you answer only one question please make it this one – what evidence am I denying? But I hope you will answer more.

  72. Scott says:

    @thirdobservation
    I can’t believe you’re still asking the same questions I answered 4 comments ago. I’m amazed how I can answer your question and you come back with 5 more that make no sense. I’m at a loss for words. Seriously, how can I debate a person who says stuff like this:

    “You are seriously trying to compare a belief held by billions to a fantasy held by almost nobody.”

    I think you just put the nails in your own coffin.
    You are suggesting that I’m foolish for comparing a majority held belief to a minority held belief. You obviously think the majority makes it right.

    How can I debate a person who thinks in this archaic manner? You ended our conversation with crazy talk. Are you aware the majority used to think the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe?

    I should have stop debating when you said you understand killing men, women and children for their beliefs.

    Goodbye

  73. Ah yeah,

    I’m the one that first mentioned the flat earthers who would have thought round earthers lunatics. I’m the one that mentioned that scientific advancement depends on people who can see outside the box of existing beliefs. Are you ignoring the evidence again?

    Sorry to hear you’ve run out of logic and reason and can’t answer my question, but then that would make your entire argument against me invalid (you can’t argue against my points so your argument does seem to be against me personally). Very sad to see you have left your last ditch effort as a misquoted ad-hominem argument that misses the point of empathy.

    Catch ya next time (unless you see me first).

    Chill.

  74. Shon says:

    Ah Daz. You unfortunately fit into the category of a disappointing atheist. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling you a disappointment. I don’t even know you, so that would be an absurd thing to say. But your approach to atheism is disappointing. I appreciate that you’re empathetic. In fact, I wish more Christians were. But unfortunately, empathy is meaningless from an atheistic perspective. You’re nothing but a speck of dust. Here today, gone tomorrow. Your empathy may sound nice and sweet and caring today, but it’s pointless. So what is an atheist’s goal? To rid the world of foolish beliefs, so that man can finally live in peace? Ok, then what? Wow! We finally rid ourselves of foolishness, and then we die. The end. Sure glad we had some empathetic atheists that proved the folly of religious beliefs! Even though we’re now just a bunch of corpses being eaten by worms.

    By the way, I’m not griping at atheists. I’m just disappointed in the majority of them. Much like you’re disappointed in religious folk. Atheists tend to think that religious people are screwing up the world. That may be true. But a true atheist, someone that actually stays true to their belief system, would say, “sure the world is getting screwed, but it doesn’t really matter.” Most atheists will hear that statement, and try to bring some “brilliant” defense of why it does matter. But when they do, they don’t stay true to their beliefs. The fact is, even if you do feel oppressed by religious folks, even if there has been oppression in the last 2000 years, it doesn’t matter. You’re a speck. You can fight, and wail, and rail against all the foolishness you want. But YOUR clock is ticking. YOU are about to be lost in a sea of dust. Even the memory of you will fade as the generations pass. So your life is ultimately pointless and meaningless. But you already know that – you’re an atheist! I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.

    Of course, pointlessness doesn’t mean that you’re worthless or valueless. If we met and became friends, I would value your friendship. But it the end, even that value would be pointless. We’d just be two specks of dust passing through a strange pointless existence we call life, which quickly fades to nothingness. History’s most impressive atheists know this, and usually teeter on the brink of insanity because of it.

    So atheists, please, stay true to your beliefs. Show all those religious people how it’s done! Please keep preaching that nothing matters because we’re all just matter! If you do that, you’re sure to have at least one person who will be thoroughly impressed!

  75. Shon says:

    By the way, 300 million years from now, nothing that’s been written on this page will matter. Unless, there’s something true about life that atheists refuse to believe. So keep type tying away dear atheists! All that energy you’re expending on that keyboard of yours is doomed to insignificance.

  76. Shon says:

    excuse the typo – that would be “type-typing away”

  77. Daz says:

    Thank you for telling me what my world-view is, and should be. It heartens me so much, to know that someone who’s exchanged a few paragraphs on a message board knows me so much better than I do myself.

    Human emotions are real, whether based in meat as I believe, or somehow ætherially added on as you no doubt do. Human pain and suffering is likewise real. In my world-view, wherein this life is all we have it’s more important that we minimise it to the best of our ability. I can’t say, as a religious person could, that life here is but a short precursor to an everlasting afterlife. It’s all we have.

    Take murder, as a simple, easy to understand example. Think of it as ‘theft of life’. To someone who truly believes in an afterlife all that is stolen is the small change, whilst the huge wedge of notes is left untouched. In my world-view, if I kill someone, then I steal all they have, down to the last ha’penny.

    It may not be important in the larger scheme of the universe but, at a human level, every death, every act of cruelty, is a despoilment of someone’s only chance at life and happiness.

    I make no claim to a great understanding of why such emotions exist but they do, and I have my fair share of them; your rather disingenuous attempt to deny reality, so as to score a cheap-shot, notwithstanding.

  78. Daz says:

    By the way, I’ve noticed the argument you’re using has appeared several times over the last few days. Been reading Eric Hovind’s blog, have we?

  79. Shon says:

    I’m really not trying to take a cheap shot. But if you really are an atheist, then you aren’t staying true to your worldview. And that is a sad thing. Everyone’s going to die, whether by killing, by cancer, or by age, etc. That fact puts an atheist in a conundrum. Because you really want to care, you want to believe in something, that man has a right to “life” as you said. But the atheistic worldview makes that caring – that believing in something, void and null. If you don’t believe this, then you’re not a true atheist. You have a mixed bag of worldview beliefs. And if that’s the case, it might behoove you to seek to discover why it is you’re an empathetic creature. You can have understanding, but that understanding goes far deeper than any atheistic belief can take you. And it’s far more profound and beautiful than just having a simplistic belief in an afterlife. Life is about, and is found in relationships. Relationships are meant to be eternal. The human heart longs for eternal love and communion with others. We’re meant for it. Atheism destroys that longing. And that is the saddest part of the atheistic worldview. The beauty of love, true love, ends in nothingness. We were meant for more than that – far more.

  80. Daz says:

    Considering you seem not to be interested in my actual word-view, being more interested in telling me what my word-view is, I see no reason to continue this conversation.

    You don’t need me anyway. The straw-atheist in your head seems to be working very well for you.

    Byeeeeeee.

  81. Shon says:

    Eric Hovind? I don’t know who that is. But you know what, it’s a bummer that you think that I’m using an “argument.” As if I’ve been studying some sort of defense of the faith, or something. I’m not using an argument. I’m really not even trying to prove a point. And that’s my point about the pointlessness of blogs like this or comments like the one’s presented on this page. It’s not an argument, I’m just a thinker thinking about the consequences of beliefs. Atheists like to point out the consequences of religious belief – that it essentially screws up the world. I’m just noting that atheistic belief essential makes all of this dialogue, all of these lengthy comments, pointless. And really, if religion, or religious people are screwing up the world – than that’s a sad thing indeed. But I find it just as sad that an atheist would expend their time and energy trying to prove a pointless point.

  82. Shon says:

    Hey Daz – You ended the conversation, but I just wanted to say one more thing. I looked back over my comments and realized that I probably sound like a total ass. So I apologize for that. Truthfully, I had no plans to find my way to a blog like this. I looked up the topic “christianity” on wordpress yesterday, and for some reason this blog popped up on the top of the list. I wasn’t looking to get into a debate, or wanting to try to prove anything to anybody.

    And you’re right, I didn’t even ask you what your worldview is, and I’m sorry about that. That’s actually pretty foolish of me. So thank you for taking the time to engage. Some of who you are came out in your comments, and I truly believe you are an empathetic person, and you do care about injustice, and that people have the chance to live a fulfilling life. That’s a great thing! So while we may disagree at the belief/worldview level, I’m truly thankful to share this existence with others that actually give a rats ass about what’s good and meaningful in life.

    So again, sorry for my demeanor, and I’m sorry that I didn’t seek to know how you think and view things. Thanks for responding in a courteous way! I do appreciate it.

  83. Scott says:

    @thirdobservaion
    “I’m the one that first mentioned the flat earthers who would have thought round earthers lunatics. I’m the one that mentioned that scientific advancement depends on people who can see outside the box of existing beliefs. Are you ignoring the evidence again?”

    -You proved my point again, your response makes no sense. I attacked your stance of “majority makes it right” and you come back with “I’m the one who mentioned it first”. Are you proofreading your comments? This is not how sane people communicate. I’m sure you’ve noticed a pattern in life now, that people find you hard to debate and you always end up winning. Interesting pattern?

    “Sorry to hear you’ve run out of logic and reason and can’t answer my question, but then that would make your entire argument against me invalid (you can’t argue against my points so your argument does seem to be against me personally).”

    -wtf???

    Just change your username from @thirdobservation to @thirdreich and people will understand your mentality much quicker than it took me.

  84. BK says:

    You obviously didn’t read my entire post. I don’t subscribe to organized religion either. I believe in God because of scientific reasoning, not as a result of “blind faith”. Belief in a higher power has nothing to do with Santa or the Easter Bunny, but it is what I would expect to hear from online bullies like yourself.

    You think that all your little digs and quips comparing God to all your fun fantasy characters make you look better and more powerful to others, but in reality only make you look more pathetic. You have no proof to back up your ridiculous statements and yet I have tons. Wanna have a real debate using science as your proof? I’m fine with that because I’ve done my homework and am ready for real debate. However, your bullying tactics will not work with me.

    So believe what you will. I don’t care one way or the other. My point is that I’m tired of the endless bullying of those who believe by those who don’t. I don’t care if you understand my beliefs or not. Your mind is already made up and you are obviously not open minded enough to actually listen to the science that works to the favor of the existence of God. There is a LOT of it too. Just because you don’t understand it or simply refuse to take a closer look does not mean it isn’t real – considerably more real than Santa or the Easter Bunny.

    There is nothing immoral about believing. Nor is there anything stupid about it. Immorality stems from the church and the killing and murder committed in her name, not in the name of God. Stupidity comes from close mindedness and outright refusal to look into anything other than what you want to look at. Go through your life with blinders on if you wish. My goal is to help those who are open minded and want to look closer at ALL options and truths before making up their minds. My goal is to give pertinent information to those individuals who may be on the fence with regard to their beliefs.

    I personally couldn’t give a crap one way or the other what your opinions are or how you came to believe or not believe what you do. Your bullying is not appreciated and if you can’t live and let live, then go stick your head back into your ostrich hole and be content there.

  85. Scott says:

    @BK
    I read your entire post and it makes some pretty strong claims you can’t back up. Scientific evidence for a supernatural creator eh? If you are ready for a debate, then let’s have at it. Pick one topic or one question and I’ll respond.

    Although, I feel we might end up nowhere because you’ve already stated: “I personally couldn’t give a crap one way or the other what your opinions are or how you came to believe or not believe what you do.”

    You see, how can we have a debate if you don’t care? I care about what you believe, that’s why I’m here trying to shine a light on it’s inaccuracies and immorality. To debate is to learn and grow. The moment we stop talking is the moment we all loose.

  86. BK says:

    You make reference to being guided and enlightened by science. Acceptance of theories is somewhat of a problem for me being they are only theories and most of them can be easily blown out of the water using the same science that supposedly supports them.

    If you choose to believe in groundless theories for no other reason than you want to find any way you can to not believe in a creator, then by all means remain enlightened.

    There is one thing we can agree upon. Organized religion is messed up. Just because I subscribe to the idea of God does not mean I subscribe to the idea of organized religion. They are not the same thing. If you choose not to side with organized religion, then we are on the same side.

    However, if you choose to not believe in God, then we are not on the same side and, as far as I’m concerned, can simply choose to move in separate directions without animosity. As I’ve stated, I do not care to be bullied. If there are “Christians” bullying atheists, then they are not living up to their own belief structure and are nothing more than hypocrites.

    We should be able to “agree to disagree” and leave it at that. If people care to have a civil debate upon the subject, I am more than willing to do so, but will not be bullied.

    Comparisons made with regard to God and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are beyond childish and speak volumes as to the intellect of the writer. I truly enjoy time spent with those who wish to have valid discussions or debates with regard to scientific theory. I am up for these kinds of discussions and may just have more than a few enlightening concepts of my own to introduce that you very well may not have heard before.

    I don’t care whether or not you believe as I do and will never bully or bash you for your opinions. However, I do have issues with morons who deliver nothing but baseless tripe for no other reason than to hear themselves speak. Good and honest debate is enjoyable – especially when both sides can eventually agree to disagree and still walk away friends.

  87. BK says:

    Excellent, Mr. Scott. My first subject will be the Big Bang theory as outlined by Stephen Hawking and 2 other British Astrophysicists in the late 1960’s. This seems to be a very popular theory and one that science has been trying to prove through quantum physics and mathematics with String and M-Theory.

    Please inform me as to exactly HOW a ready made universe contained within an infinite density singularity just “appeared” in the middle of nothingness? This should be interesting considering the greatest quantum mathematical minds on the planet can’t do it.

    You see, my ammunition is science itself, so if you truly wish to continue, I have much, much more. This question is only the tip of the iceberg. We can start here and move into other questions of equal interest.

    Once you have an answer for me that satisfies you, I’ll be happy to respond. 🙂

  88. Scott says:

    @BK
    “You make reference to being guided and enlightened by science.”
    -I’ve never made such a claim. However, science is a method we use to better understand the world around us. If the evidence changes, the theories then change, always inching closer and closer to truth. In contrast, religion or the belief in god is not a methodology, it’s blind faith. It answers all the questions in one swift motion. It assumes to much. It tries to know what we cannot know. Can you see the difference? Science is a methodology where as belief is an answer.

    When I compare god to Santa, it’s because they have just as much evidence to support their existence.

    I’ll respond to your debate question in another comment.

  89. BK says:

    Science may try to inch closer to truth, but how can it actually locate truth if ALL avenues are not carefully explored. Science automatically assumes there is no God and in doing so, constrains itself from exploring truths that may be out there, but that science will never see.

    While it’s true that for many the belief in God is blind. I do not subscribe to blind faith. It doesn’t make sense to me. However, my beliefs are based on careful study and conclusions based on what science itself has provided, not on comparisons to the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.

    Intelligent Design is the first step and based logically and systematically on scientific study by scientists who believe this way because current scientific theory does NOT have any valid answers.

  90. Scott says:

    @BK
    In regards to your Big Bang debate question of: “Please inform me as to exactly HOW a ready made universe contained within an infinite density singularity just “appeared” in the middle of nothingness.”

    Great question, this will prove my point precisely. Are you ready….

    We don’t know. That’s it. It’s that simple. Science has never made any claims on knowing what happened before the singularity. It also has never claimed to know what happens when you die. We don’t know. But we are trying.

    The way you phrased your question “just appeared in the middle of nothingness” seems to suggest the utter ridiculousness of such an event. I agree, it defies comprehension at the moment, but so did our knowledge of disease and thunderstorms a thousand years ago. Back then you could get a diagnoses of demon possession if you were feeling sick. Today, we go to the doctor and take penicillin. Just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean god did it. It just means you currently don’t know. Is it possible god did it, sure, why not…but it’s not likely. Wanna know why?

    Because of falsifiability. The criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability. -Karl Popper.

    You’ve obviously discovered that god is omitted from all scientific theories and formulas, and rightfully so. There is no evidence for god, he’s unfalsifiable, therefore exploring that possibility is a waste of time. Here’s an example:

    You can claim god created the universe. This claim is unfalsifiable.
    I can claim Elvis created the universe. This claim is also unfalsifiable.

    Would you like to debate with me that Elvis is not the creator of the universe? Do you now see how we cannot jump to conclusions and claim things we do not know? Science makes no such claim, it only says there was a singularity because there is evidence suggesting there was one. How the singularity came to be from “seemingly” nothingness does not suggest a creator. It just let’s us ponder our current ignorance.

    In summary. Science does not claim to know the unknowable. It uses falsifiability, refutability, and testability to build it’s theories of the world we inhabit.

  91. BK says:

    Very good. And actually debatable. However, there are other sciences to take into account. There are real scientists who support the concept of an intelligent designer because it DOES answer questions that standard scientific principle cannot.

    Bottom line – the singularity HAD to come from somewhere regardless of the fact that science simply “doesn’t know”. There is no proof whatsoever that ANYTHING can come into existence from nothing and highly unlikely that science is going to ever figure this one out. I say this because they can’t even figure out how to create life from its building blocks as an intentional act of will and using the most high tech equipment available in a laboratory setting! So how are we to believe that the universe could have come into existence from nothing as a random and chance event?

    Without some kind of help, it is simply not possible and not provable. And to suggest that it happened in a singularity that basically contained the entire universe in an infinite density singularity that appeared from nothingness as a random and chance event with no assistance of any kind from anyone or any thing whatsoever is simply ridiculous and mathematically has about a zero percent chance of having occurred this way.

    This is only the first of a multitude of zero percent probabilities perpetuated by the scientific community as fact.

    Regardless of whether or not science currently has these answers and regardless of “falsifiability”, the other end of the spectrum – provability – is not present in any way whatsoever.

    The universe is ordered and everything is structured and in perfect balance. It is mathematically extremely unlikely that this could happen by chance or random event. No matter what scientific theory you subscribe to, it cannot be proven that even the tiniest speck of matter can be created from nothing – not only by chance, but even by an intentional act of human will in a lab setting.

    To rationally conclude the existence of an intelligent designer based on scientific analysis, while also not provable, is considerably more logical. This is a logical conclusion which is debatable based on the structure and balance of all things living and non-living. Scientific observances indicate that chaos is typically the logical conclusion of something that would have come into existence purely as a random and chance event.

    In September of 2010, Stephen Hawking wrote, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

    There is one problem with this statement made by the man who is considered to be the most intelligent on the planet – gravity itself is made up of graviton particles. Where did THEY come from? No matter how you look at it, there is something involved that had to come from somewhere. Something cannot be created from nothing in any kind of spontaneous, random event – it is simply not provable.

    Not to take anything away from Hawking, of course, the man is a genius. However, even a genius can be wrong. Just because he made this statement does not make it true. No matter who says it and no matter what the source, everything should always be questioned and not simply taken for fact because some “expert” says it is so – this is something I feel relatively sure we both agree upon.

    Theoretical laws involving gravity exist separate from other theoretical laws. Gravity is the biggest reason that modern quantum mathematics cannot properly calculate back to the big bang and beyond. More recently with the introduction of M-Theory, it appears that the theories are now being generated to fit the math and not the other way around.

    Some of these theories based on mathematical reasoning (or possibly the other way around) are so far out there as to be on a level with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus! Nothing provable and everything based on math. The problem is that mathematics can be generated that will work if you manipulate the theory to fit! However, they have not been able to generate workable mathematical equations that fit real and existing probabilities and facts.

    Is the Big Bang a possible solution? It actually fits very closely with events as written in Genesis of the bible. However, is it a viable solution as having been, as Hawking suggests, a spontaneous and random event? Extremely unlikely.

    All things that are structured and balanced must have a valid reason for being so. I personally believe that the intelligent designer referred to in certain scientific circles is the same God of the bible. I also have my reasons for this, but because this particular debate is about a different subject matter, so this can be something for a separate debate.

    So should we continue this debate or move on to my next question? Happy to continue, but I think it will very likely result in an “agree to disagree” scenario.

  92. Scott says:

    @BK
    I’m sorry, what is debatable about this statement?
    “Science does not claim to know the unknowable. It uses falsifiability, refutability, and testability to build it’s theories of the world we inhabit.”
    -This is how science is performed, day in, day out. If we built theories on un-falsifiablity, un-refutablity and not testing then it would be called faith.

    Hawkings never said god does not exist, he merely states god is not needed. Our current understanding of the universe does not require the supernatural. To claim god does not exist it to claim the unknowable.

    “To rationally conclude the existence of an intelligent designer based on scientific analysis, while also not provable, is considerably more logical.”
    -Can you prove this statement? Why is it more logical to say a supernatural being created everything than just saying I don’t know?

    If I may assume, the basis of your entire belief is this….”Something can’t come from nothing, therefor there must be a god.” If this is the case, then where did god come from? If everything must come from something, then god must also apply.

    I don’t have a question for you, but merely a request:
    Please disprove Elvis is the creator of the cosmos.

  93. Hi shon,

    You said you are a thinker thinking about beliefs so here is an alternative for you to consider.

    Evolutionary theory is about the survival of populations, not the individual. It is highly likely that empathy has evolved as a mechanism to control large populations of people (or chimpanzees or ants or bees or any creature that lives in a society) by making each aware of the other. It is potentially how societies developed in the first place as opposed wandering individuals – like minded individuals who understood each other joined together and as more of them did this the group had better chances of survival. This empathy will increase the chances of the survival of the population in accordance with evolutionary theory.

    It is totally possible (if not necessary) to be empathetic and care about the welfare of other people and by extension other creatures and the globe itself and be 100% true to an atheistic belief system.

  94. Daz says:

    Shon, thank you. Your apology means more than you may think. In several years of engaging religious folk online, that’s actually the first time one has been big enough to acknowledge a fundamental mistake and apologise to me for doing so. (Conversely, I’ve been derided for ‘doing a u-turn’ or not having the courage of my convictions, when I’ve done so when compelled to by honesty and/or new data.)

    So here’s a beginner, working from there, for a new conversation.

    You acknowledge that you seem to see more empathy from atheists than you do from your fellow Christians. That’s a statement of fact (all be it anecdotal). It’s an is, not an ought; observation rather than wishful thinking. You also don’t appear to be a fundamentalist believer; you’re open to debate. So think on this a bit:

    Why do you need to believe in a god if there’s no evidence for that god, and given that you yourself acknowledge that the god-concept is not needed in order to be a good person?

  95. BK says:

    To say science does not know the answers to certain questions is merely nothing more than trying to hand me the same pile of “ifs and maybe” I’ve always heard from the religious sects. Most of the believers and non-believers are very similar with all the ifs, maybes and could be’s without any real proof to back them up.

    Granted I have no proof either, but at least I have a higher degree of logic backing me up than science has with its … well nothing actually. While science has answers to certain questions involving the realities we know, it has nothing whatsoever to disprove the existence of God. It’s theories have no provability and the math generated to prove one is disproved with another. String theory has 5 different workable math models to work from. Not very scientific if there are too many of them!

    Wikipedia’s definition of “falsifiability” is:

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

    Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment. That something is “falsifiable” does not mean it is false; rather, that if it is false, then some observation or experiment will produce a reproducible result that is in conflict with it.

    If we look at the very definition of falsifiability, how can you then assert this as any kind of refutability with reference to the existence of God considering there is no observation or experiment that either proves or disproves His existence and therefore cannot produce a reproducible result that is in conflict with it? There are no physical experiments with which to test science’s claim that there is no God.

    Logical means of observation with regard to intelligent design indicate a higher intelligence behind the creation of everything.

    Intelligent Design: The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof.

    http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php

    Some would argue that it is theistic in nature because there are many creationists who support it, but it is not tied to creationism and does not link itself to creationism.

    If you wish to say I don’t know means nothing and gives no answers. The questions involving the inception of the universe, universal stability, inception of life, etc. are all valid for those of us who seek the answers to them. For my money, I find logic and the proof I need by inserting God into these equations. The logic works with Him there and does not work otherwise. If you choose to simply say I don’t know and you are happy with that as a logical and satisfying answer, then I say, “Bravo” – you have found what you seek, but please don’t return to me with Elvis, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as the creators of the universe when we both know how ridiculous that sounds. I would say if you are really looking for falsifiability, you have found it with those three!

    Bottom line is that something cannot come from nothing. Life cannot be derived from non-life. Simple scientific fact. Can I disprove Elvis – yes. He wasn’t born until after the inception of the universe and therefore could not have created it.

    You have yet to give me any kind of disproof at all as to the existence of God. Whether He is needed or not is not the discussion at hand. And as to order, stability and stasis, yes He is needed or there would simply be chaos and mankind would not even exist.

    Life cannot be created from non-life – not even in a lab with high tech equipment when scientists are TRYING to create it. And you would have me believe that it is remotely possible for it to happen as a random event? Not possible. There has to be another factor – an intelligent one.

    As to whether I care about your beliefs or not (from an earlier post), I really don’t see the point. You will believe what you want – this is merely a debate, not an attempt at conversion or something. It wouldn’t be a successful one anyway. I do not in any way think that a debate of this nature will change your beliefs any more than it will change mine. May we simply agree to disagree and part knowing we both made what we believe are valid points?

  96. BK says:

    Actually, Scott – your claim that science has NEVER made any claims of knowing what happened before the singularity is not quite true. They believe they have answers that take them back prior to the Big Bang with M-Theory.

    However, even though some of them think they have the answers with M-Theory, they don’t. Too many questions still left unanswered and the answers they do have are like something out of a really way out there sci-fi novel. The theory has been created to make the math work.

    Also this theory does more to support the existence of God than it does to disprove Him! It’s absolutely hilarious! In their attempt to create a workable theory for the creation of the universe, scientists have actually done more to support the theory of the existence of God than to discredit it!

  97. Scott says:

    @BK
    “Actually, Scott – your claim that science has NEVER made any claims of knowing what happened before the singularity is not quite true. They believe they have answers that take them back prior to the Big Bang with M-Theory. ”
    –You are correct, M-Theory does theorize the events before the singularity. However, it does not say god does not exist…it’s nowhere in the theory.

    I think you are having a hard time understanding what a theory is. Here’s the definition: a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.

    The most important word in that definition is “tested”. If it can’t be tested or be deemed falsifiable, then it can’t be a called a theory. Therefore, theories can’t be random guesses…they have to have some evidence.

    So why would a idea as outlandish as M-Theory be regarded as a theory? Because, although not yet complete, the underlying structure of the mathematics has been established and is in agreement with all the string theories. Furthermore, it has passed many tests of internal mathematical consistency.

    “However, even though some of them think they have the answers with M-Theory, they don’t. Too many questions still left unanswered and the answers they do have are like something out of a really way out there sci-fi novel.”
    –This is just your opinion. I’m sure it sounds like sci-fi to you, but so did Galileo ideas in the 1600’s.

    “The theory has been created to make the math work.”
    –This is a lie. What evidence you to have to make this claim?

    “Also this theory does more to support the existence of God than it does to disprove Him!”
    –Again, your opinion. What evidence you to have to make this claim?

    “In their attempt to create a workable theory for the creation of the universe, scientists have actually done more to support the theory of the existence of God than to discredit it!”
    –Again, your opinion. What evidence you to have to make this claim?

    So, we are back were we started. Could you help me with my questions?
    1. Disprove Elvis is the creator of the cosmos.
    2. If everything must come from something, then were did god(Elvis) come from?

  98. Joshua McGee says:

    Hi. Joshua McGee here. I wrote this guest post that has, as of this writing, generated 96 (what?!) responses. Monica has asked me to come and address at least some of it.

    So, let’s start there. Monica did not write this. So when @Shon says “I’m disappointed with your blog. It would be much more impressive if you said something like: ‘God doesn’t exist. The end. Now, let’s talk about something else,'” he’s picking the wrong target. This post is all me.

    I had no idea I would generate, nor intention to generate, (what will surely end up being) more than 100 comments. What I posted is a summary of my beliefs, originally at my own blog. I stand by them, except maybe the rhetorical overstatement of “genital mutilation” that someone called me out for on Google Plus. That’s it. I think they’re well-reasoned. I am certain I have the right to them. I am more than certain that I don’t care what religionists here think about them. While I think that I might have some chance of changing the minds of some religionists, I expect that I have zero chance of changing the minds of those who go to blogs to pick fights.

    @Beast, @Scott, and @Daz: I am awed, startled, and a bit puzzled by your patience in this. If any of it was for my sake: thank you?

    Trying to distill 96 comments to what I think is the core issue, here’s what I came up with:

    @Jack: If we came from just chemicals, why does it matter what anyone believes. Chemicals have no logic, no morality, no love, hate, and so on

    @Shon: But a true atheist, someone that actually stays true to their belief system, would say, “sure the world is getting screwed, but it doesn’t really matter.” Most atheists will hear that statement, and try to bring some “brilliant” defense of why it does matter. But when they do, they don’t stay true to their beliefs.

    @disciplegideon: It flies in the face of human nature: how can one love their enemy? as commanded…why should you bless those who curse you? as commanded…YOU can’t BUT Christ invites us into a spiritual life where the Holy Spirit will teach you, guide you, empower you

    All three of you have said essentially the same thing. You believe that without a belief in your god, our lives cannot have meaning. I accept that you really, really, super-duper do believe that. I will grant that you think that without this belief, your lives will feel empty. I further grant that you absolutely think that I feel the same way, and because I don’t believe in your god, that I must likewise feel this way, and be living in some state of despair.

    But you’re wrong.

    You’re totally wrong.

    You could not possibly be more wrong.

    I make the meaning in my life. I choose to make it. I don’t need there to be a meaning of life given to me in an old book, or via a supposedly-omnipotent father figure, or any other external force. I choose my meaning in my life.

    And not only is this satisfactory for me, I don’t want it to be otherwise. I wouldn’t prefer servility. I wouldn’t prefer easy answers. I wouldn’t choose comfort over truth.

    I imagine that (some subset of) you will say that I’m misrepresenting your beliefs here, subtly or overtly. Here’s a solution: pick your favorite wording of why you choose to believe in your deity, or why you think that’s the only way your life has meaning, or why you think that mine must not have any meaning, or why you think that I’d be better off believing like you.

    That paragraph?

    The one you just wrote?

    I disagree with that.

    As I said in my post, I don’t care about your superstitions. You are welcome to indulge in them. I start caring when you try to indoctrinate my son — anywhere; or when you use your superstitions to set laws, or educational standards, or policy; or when you get tax exemption to teach such nonsense; or when you demand that your beliefs are respected rather than passively tolerated. You have the right to your beliefs. I have the right to find them imbecilic, uneducated, unexamined, and cowardly.

    And I don’t care if you disagree with me, or if you think I’m going to hell, or if you are going to pray for my salvation (or, indeed, my damnation). I’m writing this response for Monica. And, please: lay off her. It’s my post.

    If you respond to me, and if I find it interesting, I may respond. If Monica asks me to again, I’ll respond. But no promises.

    Loves!

  99. Scott says:

    @BK
    Your whole response can be summed up in one line:
    “Granted I have no proof either, but at least I have a higher degree of logic backing me up than science has with its…well nothing actually.”

    –Game over…this is an epic fail of intelligence. Like I said in another comment, there really should be a education threshold before holding these conversations.
    You’ve made up your own math, your own logic and your own science. Who can debate you when you don’t play by shared rules?

    You have a higher degree of logic than science??? Pretty arrogant…this is crazy talk.

    I’ve lost my patience, have fun playing Calvinball: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zRSvuGbL2L0/TE0IznoJehI/AAAAAAAAAgw/xKOZkx_ZYK0/s1600/Calvinball+8-26-90.jpg

  100. Alan Robertson says:

    If religion had no effect on the rest of the population it would be fair to complain of atheists attacking religion but atheists only use discussion, its the religious types who use bombs albeit a minute minority. The trouble with believing things for no reason is that you can believe anything in this way, good or bad. History and even much of the world today shows that when religious types get the upper hand they use it to persecute non-believers. Western religion has by and large adapted to a pluralist society so atheism and religion can co-exist but the same cannot be said of much of the middle east. Worse, when moslems come to western countries they export their lack of tolerance to free societies. I think people should be allowed to express their views without being murdered or blown up. nb Madrid, London, Moscow, Mombai, New York, Nairobi the list goes on.

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